It’s time for a Weightloss Wednesday! This has been an eventful week as I was 230.3 last Wednesday, then got to as high as 236 in the next few days because, you know, Thanksgiving and now I’m down to 233.2 lbs this morning. I have absolutely no regrets about gaining 6 lbs from Thanksgiving because that’s the beauty of being ketogenic 99% of the time. I can eat what I want on Thanksgiving and feel confident that the whatever I gain can be taken off quickly and easily just by getting back to my regular routine. I should also say that the majority of my Thanksgiving was keto, I just had some Sweet Potato Crunch that while it was sugar free, it certainly had a lot more carbs than my usual diet.
It was also interesting for anther reason, there was a bit of a dustup over this week’s My Sugar Free Journey Podcast where I talked to someone who advocated a calorie restricted diet for weight loss. I think I made my views on this pretty clear in this post but it was so interesting to hear how the “other side” thinks. If there is anything I can say to anyone reading this, it would be that you have probably tried the old “eat less, exercise more” diets and the probably worked for a short time and then you gained all the weight back. There is a reason for that! Always being hungry is not a viable weight loss solution and it’s time to try something else. I would start with this post on What is a Ketogenic Diet and contact me with any questions. You can also check out our support FaceBook page if you could use some support.
How are you progressing? Let me know in the comments below!
You Are Just Using a Ketogenic Diet to Restrict Calories! It’s the Calorie Restriction That is Causing the Weight Loss, Not The Ketogenic Diet!
First of all no one is debating this, a well-formulated ketogenic diet does result in a calorie deficit because a ketogenic diet does a much better job of suppressing appetite than a typical American diet but I think people who say this are missing the point. If you are investigating a plane crash and I asked you why the plane crashed, you could answer that gravity pulled the airplane to the earth which caused the plane to crash. That’s certainly what happened but it doesn’t answer my question. When I ask you why people get fat and you say it’s because they ate too many calories, you haven’t really answered my question.
What we are trying to get at is the underlying reason we are eating so many calories to our own harm. No one sets out to be 400 lbs, it just kind of happens over time but what is the mechanism that causes weight gain year after year when obesity did not use to be the problem it is now? Something has changed in our environment that is causing this and I think the evidence points towards not on increase in total calories but an increase in added sugar to our foods which leads to increased insulin levels in our bodies.
It’s the insulin levels that cause weight gain not only because it is an important hormone in the process by which we store excess blood sugar as fat but also because the body has a hard time pulling fat out of long term storage when insulin levels are high. It’s far easier for the body to release the ghrelin hormone which drives hunger and causes you to eat, which tops off your blood sugar level rather than do the hard work of breaking down stored fat for fuel.
Opponents of the ketogenic diet say it only works because you are restricting calories and we would say it is exactly the opposite. I can restrict my calories and control my appetite because the ketogenic diet suppresses my insulin which causes lower levels of ghrelin (the hormone that stokes hunger) and greater sensitivity to leptin. (the hormone that causes feelings of satiety) While it is certainly possible to eat so much food on a ketogenic diet that you don’t lose weight (one of the reasons I had to get rid of the can of nuts on my desk) it is a heckuva lot harder to eat more calories than you should on a high fat diet.
Mike Gave Hard Science And All You Talked About Was Your Personal Experience
This might be my one regret about the interview, (well, that and leaving off the Dr on the title card) but it came from a place of not wanting to be rude to my guest or flat out say he was wrong but now that I’ve had some time to consider the objections, I realize I should have done a better job in this area. As for the science, I am just not going to do a better job at than what Drs Phinney and Volek have done with their 2 books, or what Dr Lustig did in Fat Chance, or what Gary Taubes did in Good Calories, Bad Calories. In fact, if you really want to to see the science behind exactly where this obesity epidemic came from, I recommend you start with Gary Taubes.
But if I had it all to do over again, I would have tried to do a better job making one important point. The rules for weight loss are different if you have 20 lbs to lose vs if you have 200 lbs to lose. I’m not saying that calorie restriction doesn’t work, I’m saying that someone who is morbidly obese has a MUCH harder time staying on a calorie restricted diet than someone who isn’t. The fact of the matter is, people who are morbidly obese are not paragons of self-control who can eat 500 less calories a day for the multiple years it will take to lose 200 lbs. Are there some who have done it? Of course, but not too many. Now if you can afford to hire some like Dr Mike Israetel or someone from Renaissance Periodization to assist you, keep you accountable, make you meal plans, and do all the other things that are helpful on a diet, then more power to you. I am sure that increases you chances of success by a wide margin but for the average guy that is morbidly obese, we need something a lot easier. Which brings us to the next objection.
Keto Is Great If You Are Lazy
First of all, any one that embarks on any health journey and has success is far from lazy. Let me tell you, while keto might be the easiest way to lose weight, it’s still not easy. It is hard work to move that needle every morning and I applaud anyone who conquers obesity in whatever way works for them. This struck me as a disrespectful way of saying that keto is “cheating” and that people who exercise 2 hours a day are somehow morally superior to those of us that simply do not have the time necessary to train for a weight lifting competition or run a marathon. You put the health of someone who was once morbidly obese and lost 100+ lbs through calorie restriction and large amounts of exercise against my health and I feel confident I can hold my own. Exercise isn’t needed to lose weight on keto but for the first time in my life I want to exercise because I can actually use my stored fat for fuel instead always being in “fat storage” mode with high levels of insulin.
The most important difference between these 2 ways of approaching weight loss is with keto, eating less and exercising more are the end results, not the means by which you get there.
I Am a Douche
The internet certainly brings out the best in people. A common complaint was that I shouldn’t have restated my case at the end of the podcast and it was disrespectful to Dr Mike. I’m sorry if you feel that way but keep in mind that here was a week between the interview and when I recorded that last bit so I had some time to think about what he said. I don’t take everything at face value and took the time to genuinely consider his points but found them wanting. If I had 20 lbs to lose and wanted to train to increase my athletic performance, I would absolutely take Dr Mike’s advice to heart and do what he says but that’s not my story. I needed something that would get the weight off quickly (If I did his protocol of 12 weeks calorie restriction, 4 months maintenance it would be maybe 5 years before I lost what I lost in less than 2 years on keto) because I was in real danger of a heart attack or some other life threatening event. Also, in all this talk of weight loss, we haven’t discussed the other benefits of keto I’ve experienced such as a drop in my blood pressure that preceded any change in my weight, a reduction of my asthma, less joint pain, more energy, and a perfect cholesterol panel and A1C. Those last 2 happened after a few months but the other benefits happened in a matter of days. I will never forget seeing my BP drop almost 30 points in 2 weeks just by not eating sugar. (My wife also reminded me that I stopped snoring)
The interview was great and the discussion that happened afterwards was enlightening but I think I’ll stick with what works but I’ll leave you with this final thought. Is it possible, just possible, that the reason calorie restriction works is because in the course of restricting calories you are also restricting insulin and reducing the load on your liver by making it so it doesn’t have to process as much fat and carbs at the same time? Could we all be like the blind men touching the elephant, all describing different aspects of the same animal? I think if this debate is ever settled once and for all, we might be surprised at how much each camp had in common.
UPDATE: Reading over the comments I realized I missed another question that came up. At one point in our conversation I mentioned that when I eat carbs, I am heavier the next day and Dr Mike said that was because of water retention. I didn’t push back at the time because I knew that carbs cause water retention in the muscles but that doesn’t matter. You can’t say that 170 lbs lost is due to a loss of water weight but more importantly, the weight stays on for far longer than it should if it is just water.
On Thanksgiving I had a few spoonfuls of sugar free sweet potato crunch and I think I had another helping the next day. Friday morning I had gained 5 lbs from Thursday morning and now that I am back to my normal ketogenic and reduced calorie diet, the weight hasn’t moved for about 5 days. This is because I’m not retaining water (maybe a little but certainly not 5 lbs and certainly for this long) but because I am so insulin resistant, even a small amount of carbs triggers a massive insulin spike which makes it impossible to lose weight until it finally subsides, usually in about a week. It’s not the calories alone that control whether or not I lose weight, my insulin levels are a crucial factor in my weight loss but (and here’s the crux of the matter) if I focus on calorie restriction but keep my insulin levels high my rate of weight loss is slow to non-existent and if the past is any way to judge, I will give up at some point in the process. But if I keep my insulin levels low by avoiding carbs, I get calorie restriction thrown into the bargain.
It’s time for Weightloss Wednesday! I’m soooooo close to being at my next weight loss goal. So close in fact that I felt a little disappointed when I stepped on the scale this morning and saw only 230.3 lbs instead of something south of 230, but hey, I’ll take it. I was hoping to be under that goal by Thanksgiving because I have no intention of losing weight tomorrow but I’m not too upset because this means I am a hair’s breadth away from being 170 lbs lighter than I was.
I’ve gotten a few questions about what I’m doing for Thanksgiving so I wanted to share that. First of all, our Thanksgiving will of course be almost entirely keto with a few exceptions. The big exception will be that I will be using Splenda brown sugar to make a glaze that goes over the ham. Now, you might say (as I did last year) “Splenda is a sugar substitute so surely the Splenda Brown Sugar blend is sugar free!” Well you would be wrong. The first 2 ingredients are sugar and molasses with the Splenda only showing up after all the sugar. After doing some research I realized that it is the molasses (which makes brown sugar “brown” and gives its unique flavor) that is almost impossible to find a keto version of so after some soul-searching I decided to throw caution to the wind and have a little sugar with my ham. I think I can celebrate a smidge after a 170 lb weight loss.
As for everything else, we are strictly keto with lots of high fat green bean casseroles, baked Brussels Sprouts with bacon, lots of cauliflower mashed potatoes and possibly some cauliflower stuffing as well but I think we are undecided on that. There will also be a turkey to go with the ham which is weird because we are feeding like 8 people and cooking enough for probably 20. We will be having leftover turkey and ham for days.
Something else happened to me just an hour or 2 before I posted this article that I thought was interesting. I was out walking my dog as normal and someone I never met before that lives in my area stopped me and told me that I was doing an amazing job losing weight. It was cool to see that the change has been so dramatic that people who don’t even know me are able to see the difference.
How are you progressing? Let me know in the comments below!
I have a long and complicated history with Brussels Sprouts. Whenever they were on the table growing up, I couldn’t stand them. If my mom ever spooned a few on my plate, I would just stare at them throughout the meal looking for an opening to discreetly throw them on the floor for the dog. Of course, the dog had enough sense to not eat them either so they would just sit there until mom found them after the meal. Those were the nights I was sent to bed early.
Once I was an adult, I NEVER made those little cabbage heads of doom. Of course, I almost never ate real food either so it’s not like I was making a conscious decision to avoid them. But then I got married and realized Dian LOVES them. Like, eat-them-every-night loves them. I usually just pan fried a few for here and made something else for me but after I cut out the sugar and my taste preferences began to change, I started really enjoying them. (A fact that still kind of shocks me)
So over the years I’ve come up with a few different ways to cook them but last night I wanted something a little different. I wanted something a little creamy, and cheesy, and with lots of bacon. You really can’t go wrong with that.
11/16 Weightloss Wednesday: Huge Weight Loss This Week!
It’s time for this week’s Weightloss Wednesday! This has been such a good week because for whatever reason the weight is just falling off with an almost 5lb drop from last week. I’m not exactly sure what has changed but I’m not complaining! So this morning I was at 232.7 lbs which means I have lost 167.3 lbs total so far. Wow! It also means that I am close to meeting my next mini-goal of 230 lbs!
I haven’t really changed anything this week so I can’t point to one thing and say, “this is definitely why I lost so much weight this week” but I have been able to make some headway in the overeating issue I talked about last week. I have been making a point of just putting enough on my dinner plate to fill me up instead of trying to eat everything I cooked. Leftovers are a good thing! It is encouraging to see progress on this front because it has been such a mindgame to try to keep myself from overeating or eating whatever ends up in front of my eyes. This is encouraging because my goal is to not only heal my body from the decades of poor nutrition but to also heal my mind from poor eating habits I have allowed myself to fall into over the years.
On the exercise front, I hurt my back just a bit a few weeks ago and stopped pretty much all exercise until I healed from that but the pain went away at least 5-7 days ago but I haven’t gotten back in the rhythm of regular daily exercise yet. I noticed yesterday that most of the gains I had made in my leg and arm muscles were fading so I really need to get back on the ball in this department. I like how those biceps looked!
How are you progressing? Let me know in the comments below!
11/9 Weightloss Wednesday: Making My Body Great Again!
It’s time for another Weightloss Wednesday! As of this morning I am at 237.6 pounds which means I am 162.4 pounds lighter now than I used to be. Which is a good thing but earlier this week I was a hair’s breadth away from 235, but my grandson had a birthday party and while I didn’t eat any cake or ice cream I might have had a few chips and salsa. The party only serve to remind me that I am still incredibly insulin resistant and that even the smallest amount of carbs can wreck my weight lost. However, it is nice to see that even with a cheat day mixed into the week I could still continue my weight-loss journey.
In other news, on my Facebook page last night I did a short video explaining why I was Voting the way that I was voting. I wanted to wait until after the votes were done because I didn’t want to influence anyone to vote one way or the other but now that it’s done and Donald Trump has won presidency I thought this would be a good time to talk about some of my frustrations that I was dealing with in the run-up to the election.
About a month ago I got a notice from my insurance company telling me that my premiums for the next year we’re going to go up by over $300 a month. Keep in mind that this is the insurance that I absolutely have to have, not for medical reasons because I don’t really have any medical issues but because President Obama mandated that I have to have medical health insurance. So it was devastating to find out that the insurance that I absolutely have to pay in order to be compliant with the law is going to increase so much that I would have to make a choice between not having the insurance and not being in compliance with federal law or paying the insurance and basically just going bankrupt because I do not have an extra $350 a month to spend on insurance, especially insurance that I’m not actually using. The other thing that is frustrating about this particular development is the fact that when I was under a doctor’s care all my doctor did was make me sicker by giving me bad dietary advice to handle my blood pressure, my weight, my metabolic syndrome and the other issues that I was struggling with in my house. I was getting the standard medical advice which was to eat lots of heart healthy grains, to cut out fat and basically to do all the things that I now know are 100% the wrong thing to do when your trying to take control of your health. Now I’ve been told that I have to pay an extra $300 a month for the privilege of receiving bad medical advice from doctors that I will rarely if ever go to.
This was the primary reason why I felt compelled to vote for Donald Trump for president. I had a financial stake in this particular election because if Hillary Clinton had won and there had been no changes to Obamacare as it stands now I would have probably gone bankrupt at some point next year or have to apply for some kind of Government assistance. Keep in mind that I’m the guy that when he had 4 kids living at home figured out how to coupon, figured out how to control his food budget and learned how to live frugally for the specific purpose of not having to go on food stamps or any other kind of federal assistance. And now here I am with all the kids moved out and I’m living with just me and my wife and I’m having to consider going on some kind of federal assistance just to make ends meet to pay for this medical insurance. It’s absolutely crazy!
So having said all of that let me just say again that your medical destiny is in your own hands. A lot of the issues that you deal with in your body can be fixed just by changing your diet . You can do it and I’m here to help. Please feel free to reach out if you need anything from me.
How are you progressing? Let me know in the comments below!
If there is anything that tripped me up in those early days of keto, it was what I drank. I got over my addictions to sugary foods and desserts relatively quickly but I still liked my sweet tea and Coke Zero. In fact, if there is anything I struggle with even today, it’s sweet drinks so if that’s something you fight with, you are not alone.
Why Drinking Sugar is Worse Than Eating It
The problem with drinks containing any sugar or carbs in it is you are getting a hit of sugar without any of the fiber that comes with food to blunt the glucose hitting your liver. So your liver gets a massive dose of sugar all at once instead of having it slowly absorbed over time if you had eaten the same amount of sugar or carbs in a piece of food. This is why someone who drinks a lot of beer gets a “beer gut”. All those carbs from the beer hit the liver all at once and the liver just starts packing it away into fat cells as fast as it can. The nearest fat cells to the liver are of course around the midsection so that’s where most of the fat gets stored. You would see the same phenomenon in someone that drinks a lot of fruit juice for the same reason.
What About Artificial Sweeteners?
The most important question for those of us trying to lose weight through ketosis about artificial sweeteners is, does it cause an insulin reaction. It might surprise you to find out that some sweeteners like the Saccharin in Sweet n Low will cause enough of an insulin reaction to slow weight loss and possibly even knock you out of ketosis. Not to mention that the granulated form is mostly maltodestrin which ansolutely causes an insulin reaction all by itself. (This is true for most powdered sweeteners and all things being equal, you are better off using something in a liquid form) Also the Aspartame in Equal may not cause an insulin reaction but just Google Aspartame Poisoning for enough horror stories to never pick up a blue packet again.
You might need to do a little experimentation to find out which artificial sweetener works best for you. In my house, my uses Xylosweet in her morning coffee and my Walmart just recently started carrying a liquid Stevia that has quickly become my new favorite thing. Here is something similar on Amazon.
The important thing here is to make sure that you are not drinking anything that is causing an insulin reaction that will kick you out of ketosis. So drink distilled liquor instead of beer or wine, or if you must drink wine make it as dry as possible. Be careful that if you are sweetening a drink that you are using a sweetener that won’t cause an insulin reaction. And finally, as a general rule, drink more water than anything else. You can never go wrong with water.