Sunday, December 23, 2018

Keto Update Two

It's been four weeks since I re-started my Keto experiment.

The bad news was that I could never get my ketones high again after our Hanukkah weekend with my couple of slip-ups. I was technically still in ketosis but hovering between 0.9-1.2 where I had been 2.2-2.5 the previous week. Frustrating! Moreover, I just wasn't feeling satisfied after eating. I was trying to eat tons of green vegetables with plenty of fat plus as much meat as I felt like I needed and it just felt like something wasn't clicking.

Then last week we left home in San Miguel to travel to Mahahual, Mexico, a tiny town on the Yucatan peninsula near the border with Belize. I knew food options would be limited in Mahahual so I brought some serrano ham (doesn't need to be refrigerated until opened) and cream cheese along for the travel and was amazed that I didn't eat anything sugary or carby along the way. Usually I have zero discipline on plane flights. This was an amazing first for me!

We arrived and I was able to get turkey and tuna and mayonnaise (the kind made with bad fats but oh well) and eggs of course so that was a relief. Plus tomatoes and achayote (a yummy green vegatable that tastes like brocoli stem). We were having a great time visiting our friends there until we all got hit by the stomach bug. One at a time, on successive days, which was lucky in that I could focus on the sick one, one at a time, but it meant we didn't get out much. The last day, our friends started to get it. Ugh. Getting other people sick is the worst!

Anyway, the day I got sick, my last meal was at about 10:30 am. I didn't want any food the rest of the day because I felt so miserably wretched. The next morning I felt much better, just weak and a bit wobbly, but I decided that since I had already gone 24 hours, why not keep on fasting and see how I felt? According to my book on fasting, it actually gets easier after the second or third day. I didn't have a goal in mind and I figured I could just see how I felt. And that it might be good to give my stomach a change to further recover anyway.

I ended up fasting 57 hours! I couldn't believe it! I would have NEVER said I could do that! But according to Dr Fung, as one's body learns to burn fat (ketone bodies) instead of glucose, we actually get very good at it. I did get some headaches, which is apparently typical for those new to fasting, and will eventually wear off. But otherwise my energy felt great and I never felt nauseous or any other symptoms of low blood sugar. I only decided to eat at that point because food just sounded so good. My ketones as of the that morning (I broke my fast at dinner time) were 3.6! I had never gotten above 2.5 before and that had been a couple weeks prior and more recently had been stuck around 1. I had a half a protein granola bar that night after dinner.

The next day (ketones again 3.6 despite breaking my fast and especially, having the half granola bar) I was thinking I might do a 16 hour fast -- that is, have coffee (with cream, which technically is breaking the fast but is a low enough number of calories and pure fat so shouldn't spike insulin much) and then eat lunch. But at lunchtime, I just didn't feel that hungry. So I waited for dinner! The only challenge was that I had trouble feeling full at dinner without eating carbs. I had two generous servings of brocoli with melted butter poured over it, salad with cheese and vinagrette and peanuts, grilled squid, grilled fish, spare ribs and finally some cheese to try and fill up (we have since moved to an all inclusive resort near Cancun so we were eating at a buffet -- I didn't have large portions of any of these). I never felt completely satisfied but it was good enough. Until I got back to the room and felt hungry again. I ended up eating some almonds and one of the kids protein granola bars. Not ideal but I just needed something.

This morning I woke up feeling good. I was curious what effect the granola bar would have on things. My ketones had dropped to 2.6 but that is still moderate ketosis and quite good. I had coffee with plenty of cream plus a few bacon crumbles from Amelie's plate. And again just didn't feel like eating lunch! I can't believe it! I want to measure my ketones again before dinner. I've never checked them in the afternoon before so I'm not sure what to expect.

I don't have a scale here -- hoping I can sneak over to the gym at some point without the kids to see  if they have one -- but I feel like I'm losing. So exciting! I've never had ANY diet work before. And fasting in some ways is so easy. I LOVE not having to think about my food choices. I just don't eat. Nothing to prepare, nothing to clean up, nothing to debate. It's awesome!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Keto Update One

It's been two weeks since I've started my keto experiment.

The good news is that I got into ketosis, as defined by my ketone meter, pretty quickly. And it seems like I've dropped a few pounds, which is pretty amazing for me who usually can't lose any weight due to PCOS... except I dropped about five pounds from my move to Mexico and trying to get enough sleep and eat consciously... which is a lot easier when I am not flat-out exhausted from the craziness of work plus single parenting in NYC.

The bad news... it's not really bad, but this doesn't feel quite has effortless as many people make it out to be. I do feel hungry and unsatisfied some of the time. My hope is that this will pass as my body gets more accustomed to burning fat instead of glucose for energy. And I must admit it's definitely not as hard as I thought it would be. When I tried Atkins years ago, I NEVER felt satisfied. I do feel satisfied now, it just wears off more quickly than I would like.

Unfortunately, I had two slip-ups this past weekend, one as a result of eating too much meat and not enough vegetables at a restaurant meal (they didn't offer enough veg so I compensated by eating too much meat) and then having cravings for crackers which I succumbed to. Sunday we had a Hanukkah party and I really was fine not eating any latkes but then it felt weird as the host to not even taste the food I was cooking and serving. So then one bite turned into three latkes as they were divine.

I was also feeling some social anxiety this weekend about whether or not to go to a benefit concert for the kids' school -- I ultimately decided to skip it -- and having a low turnout for our Hanukkah party. The anti-anxiety effects of keto can't come soon enough! Luckily or not, it's hormonally related and not constant during the second half of the month. So I feel better now but I can't credit keto for that.

Anyway, I'm feeling very grateful because it doesn't seem like these two slip-ups caused any weight gain which is a first for me in my long career of dieting.

So overall I am feeling good but I'm looking forward to feeling a bit more satisfied with this WOE. It's not terrible now, but it could be improved.

I used up the last of my lancets today. Ketones were 1.2 and fasting blood sugar was 85. So I'm in ketosis but not as high as last week when my ketones were up to 2.5. I'm guessing that's because of my weekend indiscretions. Hopefully my Amazon package with more lancets and test strips will arrive soon! It's definitely very reassuring to see when I am in ketosis. Much better than weighing myself.