A little over a year ago (April 2017), I started this weight loss journey and somewhere along the way stumbled upon Keto/LCHF (low-carb/high-fat). I’ve definitely been more LCHF than I have been Keto. From August, when I started a Masters program to now (summer break), I have pretty much maintained my weight loss (about 35lbs) within 4-5lbs for that entire time. I think I’ve got maintenance DOWN! But I’m not where I want to be and something has to change. Once again, it was a photo that was my wakeup call. The group photo of our class at the end of the year embarrassed the hell out of me. I’d been thinking because I’d lost nearly 40lbs I was doing pretty well, but clearly, I’m not.
So I am rebooting my Keto journey. I will do some things similar to the way I did it the first time around, but I think I am going to have to redouble my efforts to get past my body set weight. This will be a bit of a challenge because it means being much more stringent about counting macros and, this time around, watching total calories. I won’t be counting calories because as everyone SHOULD know, “calories in/calories out” is bogus science. A Snickers bar is about 75 calories and an egg is about 75 calories. You cannot tell me that Snickers bar does not do more long-term bad stuff to your body than that egg (the near perfect food). So dispell the notions that weight loss is all about calories. It’s about what you put into your body.
And let’s be clear. I, in no way, shape or form, think that I have somehow failed and it’s back to the drawing board. I have not failed. I maintained my weight loss for nearly a year as well as successfully completed my first year of a Masters program while still working full-time. I just didn’t lose as much as I wanted to and that’s partly because of my crazy schedule with school and work and partly because I stopped consciously paying attention to my macros. And I cheated some. Not cheat days, but cheating. I started eating popcorn again – pretty regularly. Two tablespoons of popcorn are over 20g of carbs – my entire daily allotment! Of course, all the literature warns that if you start eating carbs again, you will crave more carbs and that’s what happened. I didn’t go back to “the bad stuff” (bread, pasta, rice, etc), but I did start snacking more (on things like cheese, nuts, and “keto-friendly” processed foods). So popcorn became my gateway drug and I just have to eliminate it. Period.
Step One of the Reboot – Get Back on Schedule
I believe the reason I slipped so easily is I let my school/work schedule be an excuse not to eat wisely. Our program feeds us dinner the two nights a week we are in class. Initially, I looked ahead on the calendar and if it was something I could eat around, then I would eat at school. But as we know, carbs, especially sugar, are everywhere – most sauces and all breading are high carb. Next semester, I need to do better at meal prep and bring my own meals. The one thing I have to work around is the timing. On a school night, I ate at 5 pm. At home, we eat around 8 pm. I need to find a consistent mealtime – probably more like 6 pm which is more realistic to maintain all week. But first I have to get into that schedule.
This week I have fasted as much as I can. I did a 24-hour fast from Sunday 8 pm to Monday 8 pm, then a 16-hour fast from Monday 8 pm to Tuesday 2 pm then another long fast (probably 18-hour when I break fast with something little around 10 am this morning – UPDATE: I am going to make it until 2pm so I will have another 24-hour fast this week.). My goals this week are:
- Get back to regular fasting (at least one 24-hour fast a week and minimum of a 16-hour fast daily)
- No snacking between meals – meals should be sufficient enough to not require snacking
Step Two of the Reboot – Exercise
I did no exercise the first time around, but that needs to change. It’s not because exercise will make me lose weight more or faster, but because I need it. I have lost weight and I do feel I can move more and it will be good for my overall health. I will start slowly with high-intensity interval training twice a week.
Step Three – Real Food
I will also get back to real food. I have been reading again in the Keto literature and it always comes back to “eat real food.” Real food is hard, especially if you have a crazy schedule, but somehow I need to find a way to make it work. Yesterday, I had an awesome salad to break my 24-hour fast. It was nearly 800 calories but contained lots of healthy fat and protein. It had spring mix lettuce, cucumbers, avocado, hard boiled egg, grilled chicken and Marie’s Caesar Salad Dressing. It was delicious and filling. I came home and did not eat again. Here it is 8 am and while I’m hungry, I’m not starving. Real food.
Finally – Find Distractions and Stop Snacking
I have a bad habit of coming home from work and just sitting at the computer and watching TV. In my pre- and post-Keto/LCHF life that induces mindless snacking. It’s still bad even if the food I am snacking on is so-called “good” food – real food – but it’s still snacking and it still messes with my metabolism. For now, I am doing simple things – like coloring in my various adult coloring books. I am also trying to go to bed earlier. I remember when I used to do Weight Watchers (epic fails!) one of the things they said (which I find helpful) is, “if you run out of points, go to bed.”
So join me in my Keto Reboot and the second phase of my weight loss journey. This blog serves as my diary and maybe occasionally some advice, but you need to do what works for you. This way of eating works for me, but you have to be aware that once you start this, and do it correctly, you will lose a lot of weight very quickly but it may not be your goal weight and it is easy to become frustrated and go back to old ways, but I know I cannot go back to refined carbs. Ever. I had a long weekend that I called my cheat weekend (first real cheat days since I started over a year ago). I had something high carb and indulgent every day for 4 days but otherwise ate pretty well. I gained 5.5 lbs and my blood sugar is back over 100. I’ve lost 4 of those lbs with my recent fasts, but my blood glucose is still over 100. I need to get that back into the 80s where it was. Clearly, I am carb-intolerant. I simply cannot have them as they do bad things to my body and my health.
I recognize that I will never be at a place in my life that I will never be watching what I eat. At least with Keto/LCHF, I eat fantastically delicious foods cooked in butter and oils containing delicious fat and I eat till satisfaction. There is no other way of eating that I have found that works for me that allows for that. This is still the right path for me.