Progress Report – 5/26/17

I’m happy to report it was a great week! While my weight went up a smidge – up .7 pounds to 268.8 – I stayed true to my low carb eating plan, started meeting with a nutritionist, and saw my fasting blood sugars continue to fall. I’m encouraged! This week I’d like to see my weight reflect my effort, so I’ll identify a couple key changes to make. The biggest change I’ll be making is at the request of my nutritionist – begin focusing on nourishing foods. Sure, I didn’t eat many carbs this week, but most of what I did eat was cheap and refined (i.e. plenty of cheap cheese, bacon, and ground meat). This weekend I’ll take a field trip to Whole Foods to begin familiarizing myself with nourishing, filling foods, raised ethically and healthily. I’m pretty darn excited to see what I find!

I’ve also decided I’d like to implement a “moderate ketogenic” diet. This means I’ll try to keep my daily carb intake below 50g, rather than the strict keto goal of 30g. I believe this will allow me to integrate a few carb-containing foods into my day, resulting in fewer cravings and more overall satisfaction.

In other news, yesterday I took my first walk in over a month! I’ve had to do my best to stay off my foot since the surgery, but this week my doctor said I could start putting some weight on it from time to time. So, I leashed up my new dog Walter (!!!) and explored my apartment complex. We were out for about a half hour, and we walked maybe a half-mile (partly due to my foot, and partly due to Walter’s ridiculous sniffing of everything). But, we were outside enjoying the day.

So, there you have it. Onward!

No, I’m not dead

Holy cow, where do I start? Since I last posted, life has pretty much been the same. I mean, apart from packing up my life and moving to Colorado, a new job… oh, and the bone infection in my foot. So yeah, pretty standard.

I weighed in at 268.5 pounds this morning, which, honestly, isn’t all that bad, considering the complete upheaval of my life and ensuing injury that has rendered me all but immobile. The recovery for the foot injury will take another 6 weeks or so, and then I’m heading straight to the mountains for a hike.

I haven’t been on keto for more than a few days at any given time, so I’d do well to be a bit more disciplined with that.

Any who, that’s the update I’ve got for today. More to come!

Progress Report – 12/23/2016

After an emotional roller coaster of a week, I’m down 2.6 pounds to 259.5. Hello 250s! The last time I can remember weighing in lower than 260 was in 2007. That’s almost a decade ago!

I’m heading home to Southern California for the weekend to celebrate Christmas with my family. We have a couple meal traditions, some candy in the stockings, and a gift certificate to The Cheesecake Factory we’ll be using on Christmas Eve. So, I’m going to take a bit of a break from the diet restrictions. I won’t go nuts, but there’s no way I’m skipping mom’s cooking, especially on Christmas morning!

I’ll be back on Tuesday, and, after a work team breakfast at Key’s Cafe, it’s back to the grind. My focus when I return will be on becoming fully fat-adapted. I haven’t gone more than 8 days sticking to the keto plan, and I want to see what’s possible if I do. The plan is to stick to a fully keto diet – no cheating! – for 6 weeks, then begin reintroducing certain carb-rich foods (very similar to the Whole 30 plan). Mainly, I want to see how my blood glucose levels react to certain foods, and see if I can integrate them into my diet without my those levels spiking.

My emphasis here is on living a healthy lifestyle. The diet is a bit extreme, and I don’t plan to stay 100% keto for the rest of my life. However, I want to exercise the self control necessary to complete these experiments, knowing they’ll lead to a more fulfilling, healthy life. I’m also hoping I drop some serious weight at the same time!

Over the last 3 months I’ve dropped 32.5 pounds. That’s nuts. I can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring!

Progress Report – 12/2/2016

You guys, I’m freaking pumped. I weighed in at 265.7 pounds this morning. That means I dropped 6.2 pounds in a week. Holy crap! I’m loving digging into the keto thing more and more.

Now, while the warrior plan worked out pretty darn well this week, I don’t think it’s sustainable for me. I was extremely hungry by the time I got home in the evenings, and, well, that just wasn’t too enjoyable. So, I’m going to work in some light lunches this week. I also noticed I’m focusing a bit too much on protein-based foods (read: meat), so I’m going to work more veggies into my dinners as well.

One major difference I’ve noticed this week is an increase in confidence. I’m finally learning to take control of my food intake. In the past, weight loss has generally occurred during difficult times (read: breakups and the ensuing depression). This week, I simply put in the work, prayed quite a bit, and boom, I was successful. This gives me the confidence and courage to keep putting in the work to take control of my life.

This week I also reduced my insulin intake quite a bit, mainly because I was afraid of my blood sugar going low. Well, that didn’t happen, and my numbers have actually been pretty high (180-190s). Now, that may be due to my protein intake being a bit high, but, since I was on the warrior plan this week, I doubt that. But, the adjustments I mentioned above, along with splitting the difference in my insulin changes, should do the trick.

What successes did you have this week? Anything, big or small, let’s celebrate together!

Progress Report – 11/4/2016

Monday brought the beginning of my true LCHF lifestyle. I had been weaning myself off carb-heavy foods for the month leading up to it, and I finally took the plunge. The scale congratulated me for my efforts this morning with a 4.4 pound loss! That brings my weight down to 266.3. I started this journey at 292, so this means I’ve officially lost over 25 pounds! I can’t tell you how great this feels. Wait… yes I can. This feels great!

I’m finding the LCHF lifestyle to be a bit of a transition. I was consuming 50-100g of carbs at every meal, but now I’m staying below 30g per day. That has brought about some intestinal… difficulties… But, 5 days in, things are starting to settle down. The one huge benefit I’ve seen is that I can actually tell the difference between a craving and true hunger. Last night around 9pm I thought to myself, “Man, I’m hungry.” Then I stopped and realized, nope, I feel full, and I really just want pizza. So, I popped a couple pepperonis and called it an evening.

This week was a bit light on the blog posts, but I’ll be ramping those up again next week. Stay tuned!

Oh carbs, how I love thee

I love carbs. I regularly crave potato chips, Oreos, and pizza crust. In fact, I crave just about everything that even hints at the presence of sugar.

In college I survived on a steady diet of Mountain Dew, soft serve ice cream, and rice (preferably with sesame anything).

Enter “the betes.”

That’s right – I have type II diabetes, and it sucks. I give myself two insulin shots each day (before lunch and dinner), and test my blood glucose three times each day. I send my reports to my endocrinologist and diabetes nurse every Friday. It’s a pain.

So, I’ve decided to start weaning myself off carbs and starches. Goodbye Oreos. Goodbye Mountain Dew. You gave me diabetes.

I started off easy – I stopped “treating” myself to cookies and doughnuts. Seems pretty obvious, right? So, I did that for a week. Next, I switched from brown rice to wild rice. Wild rice has half the carbs, and it tastes pretty fantastic. Last week, I attempted to keep my mealtime carb intake to a max of 30g. I say “attempted” because I was only successful with about half my meals. I generally kept my carb intake to 45g per meal, and one meal skyrocketed to about 100g thanks to a low blood glucose reading (high 40s) and the intense hunger that followed. So, we’re back to that goal today. I want to be successful in that goal before I move to more strict goals.

“Who are you? A disciple of Robert Atkins?” Not quite.

A Diabetes Primer

I’m going to do this fast. You ready? Diabetes = insulin resistance. Here’s how it works:

high carb intake –> fat is stored in the liver –> fat is stored in the pancreas –> cells become resistant to insulin –> more sugar is left in the blood stream –> the pancreas is forced to pump out more insulin –> beta cells in the pancreas can’t keep up with insulin production –> “the betes”

Diabetes, then, is not primarily a disease of high blood sugar, but a disease of insulin resistance. Reason dictates, then, reduced/eliminated intake of carbohydrates leads to less fat stored in the liver, pancreas, and beta cells start firing again.

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes I was told I would have it my entire life. “It is a chronic, degenerative disease. It is irreversible.” However, recent studies have shown type II diabetes is, in fact, reversible. The key is how we view the core cause of diabetes.

We like things simple here in the US. We want our potatoes freedom-fried, our candidates with catchy phrases, and our diabetes treatment straightforward. More sugar in your blood? Pop a little insulin in there, and boom, Wilfred Brimley gets his pay check. This keeps us from that pesky behavioral change and allows us to continue eating the food we crave.

The problem is, we’re treating the symptom, not the cause. It’s like using Head-On to treat the flu. You remember those amazing commercials – “Head On, apply directly to the forehead. Head On, apply directly to the fore head. Head On, apply directly to the forehead” (I’m not kidding). But the headache isn’t what’s causing the flu. Your antivaxxer cousin is. Okay, not really (hopefully). But it makes sense, right? A topical cream (or whatever the heck Head On is) isn’t going to cure your flu.

So, to reverse insulin resistance we must reduce our carb intake. For a time, we may even need to eliminate it entirely. Short term pain for long term gain – the antithesis of American values.

Of course, along with the reduction in carbs we have weight loss, increased energy, and an improvement of our overall health.

So, what’s keeping you from making better choices with your carbs? What is your favorite carb? Can you go without it for a day? A week? Let’s do this in community, my friends!

Where I’m Going

So, you’ve read where I’ve been. I’m dealing with some serious health stuff here. While weight loss is one goal, it’s not my primary focus. Dealing with my diabetes diagnosis is the biggest thing weighing on me (see what I did there?). Therefore, cutting carbs is absolutely necessary, and weight loss is a fantastic byproduct.

Goals

I started this journey weighing in at 292 pounds. As of Friday I’m down to 270.5 pounds. For those of us who don’t math good, that’s a loss of 21.5 pounds in about 2 months. Not bad, right? But I’m not stopping there. A friend challenged me to get down to 250 pounds by Thanksgiving. Challenge accepted. Thanksgiving is just under 6 weeks away, which means I need to lose an average of just under 3.5 pounds per week. That’s intense.

Here’s my motivation. Remember that whole diabetes thing? Well, I contacted my diabetes educator/nurse to let her know about the weight loss and my lower carb intake. I have experienced quite a few blood glucose “lows” lately (those seriously suck), and I was getting a bit concerned I was taking too much insulin, not to mention the fact I’m only eating 2 meals per day. She consulted my endocrinologist, and they decided to lower my insulin dose. A lot. 2 weeks ago I was taking a total of 185 units each day, split into 3 separate doses. As of Thursday I’m taking 100 units of insulin split into 2 separate doses. That’s a 46% decrease.

Hell. Yes.

I was pretty skeptical of the whole IF thing. But, I really can’t argue with the results I’m getting. IF has allowed me to feel more satisfied on fewer meals and calories, and the type of calories I’m consuming – protein and fat instead of carbs – is directly affecting my body’s ability to process the carbs I am eating.

My ultimate goal, determined together with my doctor, is 200 pounds. That’s a total loss of 92 pounds, and 70.5 pounds away from where I’m at today. That seems insurmountable. But, then again, the idea of dropping 20 pounds in 2 months seemed ridiculous, too.

So why not go for it? Do I get hungry? Yup, especially in the morning. Am I drinking a lot more coffee to make me feel a bit more satisfied in the morning? Yup, but coffee actually feels like a wonderful treat now, in addition to the necessary vehicle of morning caffeine.

That’s where I’m at. It’s not easy. It’s forcing me to develop self control and discipline in an area of my life were, honestly, I thought it impossible. Here we go.

Where I’ve Been

13322203_10100695987522859_6184094153817042092_nThis picture was taken 27 years ago. Cute, right? I mean, how did my folks know I was going to be such a rock star musician at such an early age? Wait… never mind.

This is the last memory I have of being small. Sad, right? Not really. I’ve always seen myself as a big guy, so I don’t really see the “slim Clayton” as something I lost at a certain point of my life.

 

I weighed in around 250 in high school. When I got to college I ballooned up to 270ish, and maxed out at 305 a few times. Thank you Mountain Dew, “grilled cheese Wednesdays,” and platters of brownies that we somehow managed to sneak out of the dining center.
52547_10100257312421279_1463667317_oThis is me in 2012. I’m sitting right around 300 pounds in this picture. I’m being interviewed by my pastor about my recent trip to China in front of 500 people (x 4 services). I can’t see past my belly when I look down. I’m embarrassed by my appearance, especially when I glance back at the shot of me on the giant video screens.

 

 

 

 

Fast forward to mid-August of this year (2016 if you’re a Star Fleet researcher sifting through the Earth archives). I’m tipping the scale at 292. A long-term relationship has ended (basically – more on that in a future post, or, maybe not), I hate my job, and my life is in shambles. I can’t eat, can’t sleep, and can’t stand the person I’ve become.

Let me back up for a moment. In 2008 I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Type II Diabetes, here’s the basic synopsis – Clayton’s fat; Clayton’s body is resistant to insulin and/or has stopped producing its own insulin (damn you, pancreas!); Clayton’s fasting blood glucose level should be below 100, but it’s at 365 when he’s tested. Cue the hand-slap from the doctor. I start taking pills and insulin. Earlier this year I was taking so much insulin my endocrinologist (second hand-slapping doctor with a significantly more direct approach to dealing with me) switched me to U-500, a type of insulin 5x more concentrated than standard insulin. Clayton feels more shame. Clayton begins blogging in the third person.

Back to August. I lose about 15 pounds in 4 days, primarily due to my inability to function as a normal and newly single human being. The relationship begins its death throes, Clayton starts eating again, and he’s up 10 pounds. Now it’s mid-September, the final breakup conversation happens, and Clayton is back to his unintentional fasting plan.

Once the initial shock of the sudden change of my relationship status wore off, initiating the oh-so-fun anger and depression stages of grief (whoever conducted that research was a genius), I decided to take control of my eating habits. I already had some momentum going in the right direction. I was down to 275 pounds, and my manzierre (or bro if you’re more of a Kramer person) was down to a solid A-cup.

A friend of mine introduced me to the idea of intermittent fasting (IF) and the 16/8 plan. Here’s the basic premise – The body’s process of digesting the food we eat lasts about 12 hours. If we don’t eat anything for longer than 12 hours, the body begins burning its fat stores. Every hour after that 12 hours expires is another hour of pure fat burned (more on the science of behind this in a later post). So, I figured, what the heck; why not give it a try? I started skipping breakfast and decreasing my carb intake.

So, that’s my story.

Oh, you want to know how it’s going? You’ll just have to wait for my next post!