diet, weight loss

Waiting is the Hardest Part

As Tom Petty once said, “the waiting is the hardest part.”

On Monday I moved away from what I’d been doing for the last four months — which finally, finally seemed to be working, albeit slowly — to an even more aggressive ketogenic approach to my diet.

I did it in coordination with my wife, who felt so sure, so strongly, that she was getting too much protein for weight loss because of gluconeogenesis. So after reading a blog post in which another low-carb dieter, struggling with his weight (and actually gaining a little bit back while eating low-carb) after being on a ketogenic diet for eight years, in which he explained how he lowered his protein and increased his fat and dropped 20lbs in a month, she decided to try it.

The low-carb dieter explained he found a device, mentioned in a book by ketogenic diet gurus Drs. Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney, which measures blood ketones as an alternative and more accurate way to determine ketosis. He found, despite deep ketosis levels according to his urinalyses, he wasn’t ketotic at all. In fact, his blood ketones were paltry. By making the adjustment in protein and increasing his fat intake, he went immediately into high ketosis levels in his blood, a much better measurement of keto-adaptation. He also started losing weight almost at once (within a few days).

Despite high stress levels which bounced his weight slightly over a week or so, he dropped about 16lbs in the first two weeks and 20.2lbs overall during the month from May 15 to June 15, 2012. He charted his results and posted those charts on his web site. All his frustration came crashing to a halt and he says he will share his menus after he completes the ninety-day experiment.

All well and good, but I’ve been nervous about transitioning to a new way of eating for a while now. On this blog I’ve posited my frustrations and temptation to go to a paleolithic-style diet instead, abandoning the ketogenic lifestyle for something so many say works. The thing is, I know ketogenic diets work too. The science is too sound, too well documented, and history shows how much success can be had from following this lifestyle. The jury isn’t out on this. It does work, but you have to reach a ketotic state and when you do, it’s going to result in weight loss.

Still, what I was doing was working, and to be brutally honest, our new way of eating seems to have increased my protein intake, not lowered it. (I don’t know that for sure but my wife is weighing our servings now, where she didn’t before.) I seem to be hungrier earlier in the day, though I have to admit over the last few weeks I’ve found intermittent fasting (for 16-18 hours a day) much more difficult than previously.

I had to really force myself to finish dinner last night. My allotted serving of chicken breast, slathered in soft, warm butter and served with two cups of salad greens topped with bacon bits and shredded cheddar, and served with a side of 4oz of full-fat cream cheese. I almost couldn’t finish it, but did manage.

Of course, this is the old reflex: eat everything on the plate. We don’t count calories (most low-carb dieters don’t) and I won’t start now, but WOW that left me full. The solution, of course, is not to eat more than I want. I should eat the fat, however, since that is the one macro-nutrient we substitute for the lowered protein and carbs. (I’d be interested to know what the carb count is for me daily at this point. Back to my food tracker!)

So, my next weigh-in is Monday, but I might cheat and have one tomorrow. I generally check myself without storing the number on Fridays, but never weigh myself on weekends, and right now, the suspense is killing me. I want this to work so desperately! If I could topple 20lbs a month for a few months, then settle in at a brisk 12-15lbs per month, I could be at goal weight before the year’s end. How nice would that be?

I just have to wait and see I guess. And that’s the hardest part.

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