Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Weight Loss Update - Down 64 lbs

When I last updated on my food choices and my lifestyle change back in April, I was several months into a ketogenic diet and had lost about 50 pounds. Here we are almost 4 months later in August and as of today I'm down almost 64 pounds. So clearly, things have slowed down, but I'm keeping to my low carb high fat diet. I stalled for a while, hovering in the 50-60lbs lost range for a few months.  But I'm back on track and I've lost 10lbs in the last two weeks. So what's been going on?

A few things contributed to my stall. My one vice in this changeover was that I never stopped drinking beer. As you may know, beer is sometimes referred to as liquid bread. It's counter to what I'm trying to do. Early in my dietary changes I could get away with occasionally having a few beers without it seriously impact my loss, but as my body mass has decreased it hasn't been as easy to get away with consuming beer. A few beers sends me into a week-long stall.  So I'm in the middle of a 30 day challenge to stop drinking all alcohol. Not that hard for me - it's a bit of a damper on my social life, but so are studying for exams and my kids.

The second factor was that I stopped tracking my food intake in mid-April. I was going on the theory that you eat until you're full and that you shouldn't have to count calories. This didn't work particularly well for me because while I could hold my calories in line with maintaining my weight, I was struggling to create a deficit which would promote weight loss, even with moderate exercise. So I'm back to tracking my foods, even if it is a mild inconvenience.

Related to the tracking was the protein creep. Some information on ketogenic diets indicates that if you let your protein intake increase enough relative to fat that it will have a gluconeogenesis effect similar to if you were eating carbs. This may have been happening to me but since I wasn't tracking foods, I didn't know for sure.

So after my family vacation in which I stayed low carb on food but ate whatever I wanted within that bound for a week and had a few beers or cocktails  every day, I decided to tighten things up. And I can already call it a success after 3 weeks.

Even the easiest form of this lifestyle where you cut carbs and don't track foods is tough for a lot of people, but the tracking adds another layer. But it helps me to stay accountable and not let my portion creep start to get out of control. And it's helping to keep my protein in check. I've actually loosened up on the carb restriction in the diet, occasionally having a few blueberries, an ear of corn, or some squash.

When I hit the sweet spot, it's not unusual to have days where I drop a pound. It evens out with other days where I don’t lose anything or even go up slightly. I weigh myself daily first thing in the morning (after I've used the facilities and before I eat or drink anything).

I'm eating 1500-2000 calories a day without any struggle of feeling hungry. I've backed off on the eggs and bacon, breakfast staples that i ate a lot of early in this dietary change and I'm drinking bulletproof coffee which I use 2 TBSP of Kerrygold unsalted butter (available locally at Whole Foods and Trader Joes, harder to find in most mainline grocery stores) and 1 TBSP of coconut oil. I put that with 10-16 oz. of coffee in a blender on high for 30 seconds and enjoy it. It tastes not unlike a latte to me and helps keep me full all morning.

Otherwise, I eat a lot of salads with a high fat low carb dressing like blue cheese or ranch. I've cut the protein dose of chicken or red meat to just one meal a day and have limited my cheese intake but still have a bit every day.

All said, I feel better than I have in years. I have more energy, I can do things with my kids without getting winded, and I'm just generally enjoying life despite a lot of stressors.

I'm really excited that I'll probably be able to keep up maintenance once I'm to goal weight without having to track long term and still be able to have a few beers here and there. Because even though I stalled for a while, I was able to maintain my weight and not have any substantial gains over the past two months. And that was with eating whatever quantity I felt like eating within the bounds of the dietary lifestyle I've chosen.

I'll do another update when I'm closer to goal weight - I do think it's going to take me another 6 months to a year to get there, but I'm confident that I can do it.