Starting again

I’ve been scraping the bottom of 480 again, still in the 470s. Been here a while. Too much vending machine food last week and yesterday. Saturday wasn’t bad, but for most of a pint of gelato; Sunday was much better.

I have the car most of this week. I went to bed early-ish (around midnight) and was up before my alarm at 6:30a. But I left around 7:30 to drop my wife off at work and didn’t reach my office until nearly 10a.  Breakfast today was too many donuts from two different shops and a ham, egg, and cheese croissant with a Monster. Yeah, it hits some lizard brain buttons at the time but it doesn’t take long for me to feel gunked up, and that feeling and the distraction increase lasts hours longer than the minutes-long endorphine hit.

I did listen to a few Fasting Talk episodes today, which helped whip up a motivation to start this afternoon. So I had  a bunch of eggs and bacon and guacamole, then marked 4pm as the start.  I’ve had some exogenous ketones this evening to see how it impacts the Ketonix.

Yep, I finally received my Ketonix ketone measuring device.  I guess I have a good baseline for “not in ketosis.” I was barely out of the green according to the app, but the color didn’t change on the device itself.  So far I’ve used only it in wired mode, but it did come with a battery.

Anyway. Been feeling lousy lately. Limping from left knee pain. Quads tight enough to require excruciating work with one of those rollers like Bart had way back at the clinic in 2013. Lots of inflammation. Feeling lousy, feeling flighty. Eager to get back into that fasting groove.

Honestly, even though Monday is a holiday, I wouldn’t mind trying to do 7+ days.  The Fasting Talk episode I heard today mentioned someone who broke a plateau – he was regularly doing 6 fasting days for every feast day – with a two week fast. Mix it up…

But, first things first. Let’s make it through to the end of the day, then overnight. The first few days are the toughest when coming from a carby streak. So, a few hours or minutes at a time, for now. Then a day at a time.

Fast 5 #3, Day 1

The fast last week went better than I expected. The feasting, less well.

I felt pretty good about Friday’s eating. The first meal Saturday was our biergarten usual of sausage, sauerkraut, Brussels sprouts, and a roasted cauliflower with capers and onions. I stuck to water all weekend, which I’m happy about. But my nephew stopped by to get some pants hemmed, and we took him to dinner. I got overruled and we went for Mexican. My meal wasn’t bad – seafood and veggies, and I skipped all but a forkful or two of the rice. But they brought out chips and salsa, and I ate a lot. It could have been worse, but had I skipped the chips I would have considered the day more of a success.

The next day I was up 7 pounds from Friday. I added another three pounds for a total of ten. Yeah, a lot of inflammation, and i haven’t pooped in days. I’m not freaked about it; that weight will go away, and my high was still three pounds fewer than the Monday before.

I had a binge around noon. I started with two eggs and mayo, but before i was done I’d downed several vending machine items. So, the fast starts now (1pm).

Update: yeah, the vending machine struck again.  Fast starts later tonight.

Thursday (day 4)

I’m still water fasting. I’m on track to end tomorrow, and eat from Friday to Sunday. The Fast 5, Feast 2 approach served me well last week, and it’s worked even better this week with the full water fast.

The scale made me smile this morning: 449.4 lbs.  I’m down thirty pounds from two Saturdays ago. Less than 10 pounds away from the 430s and Metric Onederland.

My blood sugars continue to decline.  I was under 100 before noon, and at 2pm it showed 84. Yay!  I hope my Ketonix arrives soon; I want to start tracking ketones during fasts. The blood strips are painfully pricey.

Consistency is willing to be my friend. I’m not on cruise control, but I may be flirting with it.

I was concerned about today; first day driving myself this week. But so far so good. I need to stop for gas on the way home or tomorrow morning.

The 120 hour mark is 8pm tomorrow. There’s a Cinco de Mayo party at work at 4pm; if there’s food I can eat, I intend to. As Dr. Fung says, if you’re at a party, eat the cake. I don’t plan to eat cake, but celebrating is one good reason to feast. I’ll have made it through the work week. Party responsibly: I have a massage the next morning, and I get more out of the massage when my inflammation is low.

Update: 4 days down. 24 hours to go.  8pm BG was 80. Can’t complain.

Wednesday, and number crunching

Tuesday went well. Aside from Fasting Tea and my medications, it was all water and salt. I’m not feeling cold extremities; I slept hot last night. Compared to my first water fast, when I was very cold, I feel pretty normal. Not quite overheating, but not cold.

My blood sugars have been right around 100, with some readings in the 80s later in the day.

I haven’t consistently weighed or taken blood this year, though since February I’ve been more consistent. My weight’s fluctuated this year between 440 and 480, give or take a few ounces, but since i didn’t weigh every day these are rough numbers.  The months (December, January) I barely weighed were months my eating was not managed.

  • January:  big gains from October, (Low 458, High 478, Average 467)
  • February (start of IDM): big losses (low: 440), big fluctuations (24 lbs).
    • Low 440.4, High 464, Average 454.2
  • March: the swings were narrower (12 lbs). 11 days in 450s, 9 in 460s, 2 in 440s.
    • Low 447, High 469.6, Average 457.8
  • April: Big fluctuations (21 lbs) and higher highs until I resumed fasting.
    • Low 458, High 479, Average 467.7
  • May: Only three days in, and I’ve been fasting every day.
    • Low 453, High 460.8, Average 456.6

Reviewing the year, February and March showed relative success in keeping weight off with fasting.  April showed a month mostly off the wagon, with a lot of donut runs and vending machine food. I’m doing much better the last two weeks; the weekend’s eating, though hearty, cooperated with the fasting. I’m down 25 pounds in 10 days. I know that rate isn’t sustainable and that most of it’s water, but 25 pounds less to lug around is noticeable.

My goal for May remains to do five days on, two days off fasting. Tomorrow will be a challenge as we’re supposed to taste-test drinks for a cubicle crawl next week. I intend to beg off. This week is easier than last week was, when I was “fat fasting” and taking the exogenous ketones. I’m tired earlier at night, and waking up earlier, which supposedly gives me more prime sleeping hours, which itself is supposed to be good for weight loss. We shall see.

I plan to be a bit more anal about metrics, just because I like and respond to numbers. I’ve set up spreadsheets to help with tracking weight and blood sugars, ketones as soon as the Ketonix arrives, and major measurements (waist, chest, neck, bicep, thigh). We’re told to toss our scales, and I know that fat loss doesn’t always mean weight loss. You can be building muscle. You can be retaining water (see Whoosh Effect). I can detach a bit from the scale if I can see progress in the other numbers. The blood glucose readings have been enlightening.

 

Tuesday

So far so good on this week’s fast.

If the goal is, as it is this week, 5 days, that’s 120 hours. Knowing when you want to stop means you can count down, which psychologically may help the motivation. Instead of “wow, I’ve made 48 hours!”  you think “only 72 hours to go.”  Endurance is rewarded with a smaller number.  I’m trying that this week.

Yesterday went about as well as I could ask, fast-wise.  I was tired from the very late Sunday night and frustrated from the doctor appointment, but I got to work early enough to leave by 7 pm, and was home while there was still daylight. I was tired enough to crash-nap almost as soon as we got home; I went to bed at an unheard-of 9 pm.  For the day, I had 2tbsp of olive oil and my daily medications. The rest was water and Celtic sea salt.

I woke at 5 this morning, well before my alarm. I got some work done and enjoyed the quiet time. I tend to do that at night, which throws off the next day. This way, I was more awake, which was nice. I was still a bit late out the door, but I felt less harried.

The scale read 456.0, a nice drop from the day before.  My legs are still swollen, but less so; the inflammation is slowly emptying out. I’m a bit low energy when I walk, but I’m breathing better. Blood sugars are in the 100-109 range so far today, with a 93 at 3:30p.

New Month, New Week, New Fast

I gained a few pounds over the weekend, which isn’t totally surprising – fast when fasting, feast when feasting. Saturday we had a big plate of sausage, fried Brussels sprouts, and sauerkraut. I also had three tubs of greek yogurt before day’s end, along with four boiled eggs with avocado mayo. The only thing I’m questioning is the yogurt, which could have more carbs than I realize. it’s dairy, so even if it’s as high fat as alleged it still has dairy sugars.  In hindsight, I also didn’t get enough water.

I went to bed before midnight, but I felt horrible the next day and slept until almost 4pm.  One meal, consisting of two bowls of cabbage and sausage, with some added coconut oil, and another yogurt. My late night blood sugars, my only reading over the weekend, was 99.

This morning’s reading was 117.  My weight was up a few pounds to 460.8, which wasn’t a big surprise, though I’d hoped to remain under 460. Going to bed after 3am probably didn’t help.

I met with the doctor this morning, knowing I didn’t have a home run of a few months behind me.  He recommended a group program like OA, a meal service that provides all meals, something more like the South Beach diet, and bariatric surgery. I was open to OA, I have been considering the meal service if I can find the right one, and said “death first” to the surgery. He emphasizes low fat, high protein, but in reality his push for south beach and Atkins isn’t that far at all from what Dr. Fung pushes. Most of the fat in the Fung approach is body fat. Fung says is, “whatever diet works for you, as long as you fast. The fasting will bring your insulin resistance down, and that’s where the real magic happens. no diet alone will fix what’s fundamentally broken.”  So in a way I could just acquiesce, at least in the consult. But the next time surgery comes up I want to share the articles that Fung has written that point out that fasting does voluntarily what bariatric surgery forces on you (at first, but not forever).

But that means being consistent over a lengthier period of time.

All in all, the weekend was successful in being hearty but not being high carb, or (if the yogurts have more carbs than expected) at least junk food free. I ate well but had no sodas, no sugary snacks. I wanted to go from fast to fast with as close to keto as I could, and compared to my normal eating, I succeeded.

The weekend on the Facebook group featured a discussion on exogenous ketones. The only approved version by IDM is MCT oil. The stuff I bought? not so much. This article was part of the discussion. Apparently exogenous ketones in forms like ketone salts will spur gluconeogenesis, which we want to avoid on a fast – it has an insulinogenic impact, about half that of carbs and slightly lower than protein, but the big thing is that it gets burned as energy before the body will return to its fat stores, so it’s going to slow progress.  I suspect i’ll keep using it to transition back to keto from a carby state, but I want to not do that very often going forward. The fewer crutches, the better.

Dr. H’s clinic’s motto was “trust the process.” many parts of it I still do, just not the endless cardio.  The IDM clinic’s is “progress, not perfection” but they also believe that trusting their process will bear fruit.

This week’s plan is similar to last week’s: fast until Friday evening, then feast (ketogenically) over the weekend.  I had a shot of oil this morning, but I’m still sated from last night.  Sufficient fat really is sating when carbs are low. I’m pleased with last week’s progress – down a net 18 pounds, cravings way down. A bit rattled from the doctor, but determined to follow what I have confidence in. Consistency is the key – the success stories in and out of the clinic are losing with fasting and maintaining with (keto or LCHF or NSNG – no processed carbs, all carbs from fiber-rich vegetables).

Fast, rest and feast, then back to fast, repeat. Eating well over the weekend makes me feel energized for fasting. A good fast makes me feel like Feasting Happy.  When I veer off back into old habits, I find it harder to get back to fasting, and when I do it feels more like a rescue operation. I’d much rather feel like my fasting and fooding are working together.

I don’t have a weight loss goal this week, though I’d be happy to see the south side of 450. I have some inflammation still, but I lost most of the easy weight last week. I want to add consistent morning blood glucose readings at 11am.

Fat fasting

Still quite a bit of swelling in the legs, but down a couple more pounds.

I had an early conference call with IDM, but I didn’t get home from work until 11:30pm. Yeah, not a lot of sleep. I didn’t go back to bed, hoping that this will help me turn in early tonight. Good advice and insight from Nadia, reinforcing the habits I’m trying to instill.

I’d like to get to five days on, two days off. The question is flexibility, and the right ratio of macros.  The weekends are best for planning to eat; one restaurant meal like the sausage party at Rasselbock (without the ginger beer or pretzels), and the rest of the eating at home.  Two meals a day on Saturday and Sunday are easier to do when I’m with my honey. During the work week, fasting is the safest and least complicated, and would save me a crap ton of money, but I’ve found this week that fat fasting helped me to transition to a water fast. Eggs, bacon, butter, coconut oil – could be tedious after a while, but if it works to anchor me for the next lap of fasting, it could work. Rather than all or nothing, If I can leverage fat fasting and water fasting to get through the work week, , and resist the simple carbs on weekends, it could be a winning formula. As my body gets more used to fasting, the need for fat fasts should diminish.

My meal today was around 1300 calories. 4 eggs,  2tbsp of avocado mayo, 2tbps of Kerrygold, and a 220 calorie bar of 99% cacao. I’m aiming to stop any eating around 4p, but I’m already sated.

The fasting the previous few days has helped with blood sugar levels, and the food I’ve eaten hasn’t moved the needle upward. BS has been around 90 all day.

It’s probably good I don’t have any nuts on hand; I could polish off a bag of them in a hurry. a spoonful of butter or coconut oil? not so much. But it reminds me of the last time I did eat a bag of nuts on day 5 of a fast, and it tided me over for two full days.

On to day 4

Were I only counting pure water fasts, I’m not fasting today.  By a more liberal definition of fasting (less than 500 calories in a day,  80% or more of it fat), I’ve finished three days as of 8 pm today. Going by how my body feels and is responding, I am willing to call this the start of day 4.

My blood sugars moved below 100 this afternoon, and I recorded an 88 later in the evening.  My wife noted my breathing is “more dry;” I am still getting short of breath easily, but I can take deeper breaths, and if I cough it’s not a wet cough.  Lowered inflammation in the chest, I’d guess. My legs are less swollen. My knee isn’t as achy. I slept decently last night, and felt wide awake at 6 am. (I went back to sleep, and was groggy when I finally woke up around 9 am.)

My weight was down another four pounds, 15 pounds from Saturday.

My brain feels sharper.

I felt some solid temptations today when I went to the break room, but I also heard the counter voices. I did resort to InstaKetones a couple of times. I regret nothing.

I changed my goal from 410 pounds to 440 pounds, which is a hair below my lowest recent weight. I haven’t bounced below it yet, so that’s the goal. After that I’ll likely stick to smaller near term goals so it’s close enough to reach with a decent fast, if I don’t backslide. The folks who have had the most success this year, the folks featured on the podcasts, are those who are consistent – cycling between five days fasting (weekdays) and two days of keto eating (weekends).

I’m feeling good about the last three days because I wasn’t perfect, but I was doing pretty well. Each day I’ve aimed to improve on the day before.

A note on the ketones. It came up on the Facebook group, and Megan was pretty blunt about sticking to coconut and MCT oil for “ketones”, which is cheaper than the over-priced, over-processed crud I bought. I don’t disagree, and the coconut oil is a lot cheaper, so when I finish these bags I likely won’t get more. I do think it made the last three days easier, but I don’t want to use it as a crutch. The closer I am to pure water fasts, the more autophagy I can rely on to deal with loose skin.

New week, new fast

I managed a 17 hour fast from Saturday to Sunday, and aside from a bunch of nuts and parmesan crisps around 2pm yesterday, have maintained a partial fast. I’ve had fewer than 200 calories today – a ketone protein bar, a serving of instaketones, and three small squares of 99% cacao. It did have an impact–my blood sugars were 108 around 11am and 107 at noon, but  1pm it had jumped to 120. at 2pm, back down, to 104. I’m going to do more frequent testing today.

Late last week my sugar cravings were again out of control, and I nudged the scale close to 480 by Saturday. We ate well overall on Saturday, but did have some ginger beer with our dinner. Sunday all I had was some nuts and parmesan crisps, and a bottle of kombucha. The combined fasting hours did help; I dumped a lot of waste yesterday. I was 468 this morning.

I’ve been having waking hallucinations a few nights a week the last few weeks. I wake up and see some pretty vivid, disturbing images for a few seconds. Could be a trick of the small amount of light in the room, but when the images move (spider crawling) I suspect it’s something more, It’s a recent phenomenon, so I brought it up with my psychiatrist this morning. She suggested bringing the Wellbutrin dose down to a consistent 300mg for 3-4 weeks. I’m curious to see if that helps.  My psychiatrist said there’s a lot of dopamine massaging going on with the Wellbutrin.

The swelling in my legs was bad last week; the weekend fasting helped to purge a lot of that water. But I’m still bloated. I haven’t seen the 440s since February, so I want to buckle down with a decent longer fast.

Progress not Perfection, Day 3/Day 1

A lot of things can derail you. Your eating – or non-eating – can be on target, but if you’re stressed out, or you’re not sleeping, you’re not going to see good results.

Last night I made the mistake of not going straight to bed after taking my evening meds. My wife came in and turned on her computer, and it had problems. McAfee was slowing her system down, badly.

Long story short, it wasn’t until after 4am or so that I crawled into bed with the computer (mostly) fixed and (fully) usable. I was up around 9a to drop Honey off at school. I was exhausted.

I tend to make high-calorie decisions when I’m tired.

I swung through Arbys on my way to work. Got a gyro and a fish sandwich, a small order of jalapeno bites, and a large Mountain Dew.  Yeah, not the best.

I ended up making it 61 hours of fast-friendly living before the drive through.

I’d like to start the clock again today. Maybe around 4p.