Yesterday, I was worried. Today I’m uncertain I’m doing the right thing for my body type.
When did the Atkins diet years ago, I had tremendous success with it. I ended up losing 35lbs in less than three months. I knew from the science of it all, from the sheer logic of how things work, the diet would work for anyone.
Later, when I tried it again, I found I wasn’t able to lose weight effectively. There were two things happening at that time — I became irritable to a problematic level, and I still didn’t bother to correctly research the diet. What I did wasn’t the Atkins diet at all. It was some mutated form of low-carb, high-protein diet without any concern for anything except carb count.
I never understood what went wrong, why it didn’t work, and why my brain chemistry fell off so poorly and sharply.
More recently, I’ve learned about gluconeogenesis, and that the Atkins diet is actually a ketogenic diet — meaning ketosis is the point of the diet, not a side effect from it. Which means the diet is not simply low-carb. It’s a low-carb, high-fat, moderate protein diet. And that’s very different than what I did before, and since.
I’m not sure why I had success at all on my version of “Atkins” the first time around, but I can’t deny I did. And I don’t know why I didn’t have success the second time around, but I can say it probably had to do with gluconeogenesis and insulin resistance, or metabolic syndrome perhaps. I can also say I never paid any attention to fat intake, either time. I only did my best to lower carbohydrate intake and disregarded how much protein and fat I would intake.
Now I realize how incorrect this is, and I’ve tried to adjust accordingly. Rather than increase my carbohydrate intake to locate the Critical Carbohydrate Level for Weight Loss, as I previously tried (I guessed I’d have to start around 35-50g per day, but never really located it). This time around, I followed the advice of Dr. Peter Attia, and Gary Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat. I looked into the statements they made, and similar statements from Drs. Phinney and Volek (associated with the Atkins center), and realized to do this the right way, fat is critical.
So I set out to add fat to my diet, but rather than simply up the fat, I’d cut the protein and lower the carbs too. So my intake, while I measured it, looked like 70-75% calories from fat, about 20% calories from protein, and the balance carbohydrates.
It looked good, and right. And the caloric intake wasn’t excessive either — perhaps 1600 a day total, never more than 2K. So that seemed okay, considering I weigh in at doggone near 300lbs, and most guidelines suggest eating 10 to 12 times your weight in calories.
But after doing this for a while, I decided to figure out whether I actually had the right mix of caloric intake and built a spreadsheet which did the calculations for me (which is how I came up with those percentages above). Then I stopped using the spreadsheet, because we got urinalysis strips to test for ketones in our urine (we’re very well into ketosis now). But after weeks of trying to make sure we’re ketogenic dieting, neither of us seems to have lost any weight.
In fact, I may have actually gained a little. (YIKES!)
So with my carbohydrate intake low, my fat intake making up 70-75% of my caloric total, and the balance belonging to carbs, I’m deep in ketosis, but not losing weight. Or noticeable inches, either. (Clothes fit the same, or may be a hair tighter around the gut, can’t tell definitively.)
So what gives?! What other nuance have I missed, what other subtlety is there that I don’t know about? Why does this have to be so frickin’ hard?!
I’m very frustrated, and now, I’m staring down the barrel of perhaps admitting I either am still doing this incorrectly, or this will not work for me for some reason (which I won’t pretend I can fathom). How do I proceed? Do I give this another month and see if something good happens? Or should I abandon ship and try something else?
When/if I do abandon the ketogenic diet, I’ll be using Paleo for sure. That’s a given. That diet works as effectively (some say moreso) than the ketogenic diets do. So that one’s next.
But I feel I should be giving this a fair shake and for some reason, I can’t reach a point of feeling I’ve done that.
I’m tired of agonizing over something that’s supposed to be easy. I wish someone would offer me some suggestion I can make the decision on.