Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Keto Khronicles: April 2017 - When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Keep Going

Hey, all! Long time no talk! I know I've said it before, but it's been really hard to find the time to sit down and write a blog post lately. I do stay pretty active on social media since that's easier to do on the go. Plus I have honestly been struggling a bit. Not with staying on track or thinking of going back to who I used to be. I will never go back to that person. But, as I mentioned in my previous Keto Khronicles post, I've been plateaued for a while. The stall, the wall, the plateau. No matter what you call it, it sucks. If you follow me on social media you probably know that I finally broke that plateau a couple weeks ago and officially surpassed my halfway point. That felt amazing! What didn't feel amazing is when I stepped on the scale the following Wednesday (April 5th) and had "gained" 7.6 pounds in less than a week. Yes, that really happened. I tried not to let it bother me because I KNOW the scale lies, but I would be lying if I said it didn't affect me. It's not the time of the month that I should be retaining water so it definitely took me by surprise. But wallowing in it isn't going to accomplish anything. Eating crappy carbage sure wouldn't accomplish anything. And I wasn't tempted to eat crap, at all. I have changed mentally and going backwards doesn't cross my mind. That me was in a dark, depressing hole. It was a scary place and I don't ever want to visit there again.  All that being said, when you still have over 100 pounds to lose and it's been over 2 months without any significant loss on the scale, it does make you wonder what you're doing wrong. Especially when you see all the success stories of people who have lost 140 lbs in 10-12 months. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for those people. Super happy. I know how amazing they feel. And I am proud of how far I've come, but I am still extremely overweight. I still weigh more than a lot of people do when they start. To think this is going so slowly and it feeling like it may take me 5-10 years to get to my goal weight is extremely depressing.

So, what do you do when you feel like you've hit a wall? Well, I've done several things. Number one is I focus on every other aspect of my life that has improved because of both eating keto and the weight I've lost so far (which is a result of keto, obviously). In addition to weight loss I've improved my health dramatically in every way. I have energy to do things now - plenty of energy! I used to fight sleep all day long. I couldn't do anything on the computer without nodding off. I never have that problem anymore. I am actually active. I go for long walks with my dog and take my nephew to the park and even run with him. Up until a few months ago I hadn't run since I was a child! I haven't had heartburn even once while eating keto, it used to be a pretty often occurrence. I just feel absolutely amazing eating this way. Not to mention, the food is delicious. I'm definitely not deprived.

Another thing I do is remind myself that this process is not just about weight loss. This process is about healing my body inside out and head to toe. I did not get to 402 pounds overnight. It was a lifetime of mistreating my body. I can't expect it to heal overnight. So I try to remember that and be kind to my body.

Once I put all of this in perspective I try to switch things up. Our bodies are smart and adjust to what we are doing. Our bodies freak out when we start losing weight. I mean, I've been overweight since I was 7 years old. Now I'm dropping fat and my body is like "whoaaaa, hang on there. What's going on??" I cut sweeteners completely for 2 weeks to see if that had an affect on me. Once I added them back I did so very slowly while checking my glucose and ketone levels to make sure my body didn't have a negative reaction. It was a wonderful learning experience, but it didn't result in any change on the scale. I went "intermittent carnivore" for a couple of days each week for 2 weeks. During these days I would have meat and fat only, no carbs at all (except for one day where I had a couple in some heavy cream). This is what finally allowed the scale to move. I'm not sure if it was the lack of dairy, the lack of carbs, or just the fact that I was switching it up with caloric totals from day to day. 

Speaking of calories, they are not as important as most of the world thinks. I'm not going to sit here and pretend to know everything, I definitely don't, but I do know that the main cause of weight gain - and lack of weight loss - is hormones. This is why Type 2 diabetics are overweight. Their insulin has been so high for so long, while going undetected because their glucose isn't high enough to register yet, it has caused their cells to store fat. (If you will remember from a previous post, one of insulin's jobs is to prevent fat from leaving cells.) People who are overweight and diabetic are overweight because of the high insulin, not the other way around. Think about medicines that cause us to gain weight! How many women have gained weight from birth control pills? Anti-depressants? Most definitely a side effect. Are these pills loaded with calories? No. What do they do in our body? They alter our hormones. The change in hormones is what causes the weight gain. You could lower your food intake and add in hours of exercise every day and it would not move the needle. Yes, it might short term, but not in the long-term. 

For people who are metabolically deranged - people who are severely overweight - the key to successful and sustainable weight loss is lowering your insulin level. Even if you aren't diabetic it is highly likely you have high insulin (which will lead to you having diabetes later on in life). I was never diagnosed as diabetic but diabetes is on both sides of my family and with the state of my health I have no doubt that's where I was headed had I not done something. Sometimes people who are severely metabolically deranged hit a wall in their weight loss. This wall is from their insulin evening out to a set level - called basal insulin. I'm beginning to wonder if this is where I am right now. My body has obviously lowered my insulin since I've lost 136 lbs so far. But if it's at a level it's comfortable at it could be a very long time before it budges again on its own. Experts recommend fasting for people who have reached this level. (Fasting is also used for many other things other than just weight loss. I highly recommend checking out the links I will post below. It is fascinating!) I want to state plainly that fasting is NOT about calorie restriction. It is NOT about starving yourself. Fasting is actually very healthy. Think back to our ancestors. They didn't have 3 square meals a day. They tended to feast and then fast. After reading Dr. Jason Fung's books and listening to the episodes of 2 Keto Dudes that I will link below I have decided to start tackling some extended fasting. I've done several 20-24 hour fasts. I have often done "OMAD" (one meal a day). Intermittent fasting helped me greatly when I plateaued last year. I think part of that was due to fasting and part of it was due to me changing things up. My body has now gotten used to that.  I did do one extended fast of 40 hours a couple of months ago. It was sort of by accident as I just wasn't hungry. I felt amazing while doing it! Before I started the unplanned fast I felt like I had a cold coming on. By the end of the 40 hour fast I had no symptoms of a cold. It was a time of year I always get a cold that lasts several weeks. The fact that I never fully got sick and felt so much better so fast led me to doing some research and there are studies that show fasting while sick can help your body heal faster. It can focus on healing and not processing all the food coming in. I definitely experienced that personally and it was pretty awesome!

In preparation for my first planned extended fast I feasted the last couple of days - meaning I ate quite a bit more than I normally would. This is supposed to help rev up my metabolism to get it used to burning that many calories so hopefully once my insulin level drops my body will start burning my stored body fat at the rate of the amount of calories I've eaten the last couple of days. I'm not sure how long this fast will last. I'd  love to at least go 36-48 hours. 3 days I would be thrilled with. Fasting is something I think you have to work up to and start slowly so I am going to listen to my body and go by how I feel. 

This feels like a good place to head into my measurements and weight for the past month. Don't forget to check out the links about fasting below to learn more!

As you can tell, even though I technically "gained' almost 8 lbs on April 5th (as I mentioned above), my measurements two days later were pretty darn good! I FINALLY got below a 60" hip measurement. I can't even explain how happy that makes me. I know 58 3/4" is still a huge measurement, but considering I started at 85" I will take it for now! I also lost a decent amount on my waist and bust/under bust. Of course I lost the most from my bust! LOL I can't wait to see how fasting plays out for me. 

I weighed this morning in preparation for the fast and weighed in at 272, so my body is still hanging onto that extra weight and in the same weight range I've been for pretty much the last 2+ months (270-275). 

2 Keto Dudes Episode 58 - Switching it Up with Megan Ramos

2 Keto Dudes Episode 61 - Metabolic Rate

The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung
The Complete Guide to Fasting by Jimmy Moore and Dr. Jason Fung

Short Video from of Jacqueline Eberstein, RN, who worked closely with Dr. Robert Atkins for three decades. She has a lot of experience treating people with weight issues and talks about how hormones affect women and their weight. 

Fasting Talk is a podcast by Jimmy Moore, Dr. Jason Fung and Megan Ramos that I just started listening to this morning. I think it is going to be very helpful and can't wait to listen to more!

If you'd like to follow along on my fasting journey make sure you check out my social media links as I plan on talking about how I'm feeling, what I'm drinking and taking as far as supplements. I will have black coffee (because that's something I won't give up hahaha), water and electrolytes, as well as my daily vitamins. If I feel like I need it I will allow myself some broth and maybe a little bit of fat (like butter or coconut oil) since fat doesn't spike insulin levels like protein and carbs do. I'm really going to listen to my body and go by how I feel. 

My social media links:

Thanks for reading and happy keto-ing! <3