Friday, April 30, 2010

What I Have Learned So Far and Where I Will Go Now

It was about a month ago that I wrote my "confession" post and got serious again about not succumbing to the cravings. I have done fairly well through that time but it has been a frustrating time as my weight has not responded at all. I had assumed that I would return, at least, to my pre-"carb bloat" weight of around 172. Instead, I have been stuck fluctuating between 176 and 178.

Because of this, I spent alot of time soul searching about whether to stay zero carb. As Kristina and Karen have both mentioned, the thoughts of "why am I doing this if it isn't working" keep rearing their ugly heads. I also read a lot of low carb and paleo blogs and most of them are pretty adamant that you don't have to go to zero on the carbs to be healthy. That works on you, too, when things aren't going your way. I'll have to admit that I have strongly considered going a more paleo route.

With all of the soul searching, I keep coming back to something that is a foundational belief for me - for me to lose weight and be healthy, I [b]must[/b] eat only small amounts when physically hungry. Anything that interferes with that will keep me from my goals. With that in mind, here is what I learned over the last year+ (actually more like eleven years+):

Carbs, even "paleo" carbs like nuts and low starch veggies, screw up my hunger by making it harder to stop eating when satisfied.

Caffeine masks my hunger signals, making it harder to tell when I am physically hungry.

My body doesn't seem to take well to consuming calories in liquid form. Even if I wait until I am hungry to take in food that way, like cream in coffee, it messes up my hunger signal the rest of the day. This is true even with decaf coffee or if I do a shake (cream and egg), so it isn't just the caffeine from the coffee.

Dairy doesn't mess me up unless it's in a liquid form and I eat it with eggs or meat (the raw form seems to help with the sinus issues but I am talking hunger signals here).

Too much fat interferes with hunger frequency. It takes longer to get hungry and I get tempted to do things like eat with my family when I am not hungry. If I eat the right amount, I tend to be hungry mid-morning and then again around dinner time. I am not talking about low fat but just stuff like not snacking on the butter while cooking my steak or draining a little of the stuff that cooks out of the hamburger. I assume that my body will let me know if I don't get enough fat.

With all of that in mind, it is obvious what I have to do to get to where I want to be. Eating only when hungry is paramount and zero carb is the tool to achieve it. The health benefits are nice but they aren't my main concern at the moment, to be completely honest.

Since tomorrow is May 1, I am going to consider it as Day 1 of phase 2 of my zero carb journey. I spent the first 13 months screwing around and learning what worked and what didn't. Now it's time to implement all of that knowledge and actually do it. I am not eating carbs or anything like that today; it's just that May 1 is easier to remember than April 30.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Musings about dairy

My best period of weight loss on ZC was the period between Sept and Nov of last year. During that time, I lost weight and didn't have cravings. I was meat, water and a little black tea only during this period.

The problem, though, was that I never felt great. I kept waiting for the boost of energy everyone talks about and it didn't come. When I added dairy back on our trip over Thanksgiving, I felt really good. My energy level came up and I just felt better.The only problem was I started getting stuffed up, the cravings started and my weight loss slowed.

After I fell off of the wagon over Christmas and New Years', I vowed to get back on track and went beef and water only (I misspoke about this month earlier in my journal). The cravings subsided and I dropped the weight I had put on over the holidays. However, the familiar rundown feeling returned. I also didn't go any lower than pre-holiday weight. Unfortunately, I fell off the wagon again over my birthday the first of February and that is when my weekly struggles began that I journaled about earlier and finally overcame again a month ago.

Since getting back on to ZC a month ago, I keep trying different things to see if it is possible to have some form of dairy so that I feel better but without the cravings, stuffiness and with being able to lose weight. Have my cake and eat it, too, so to speak.

At first, I suspected carrageenan in cream but it didn't change things when I found cream without it. Then I thought perhaps it was the casein and tried goat dairy because it has a different form of casein that is not supposed to bother us as much. The cravings subsided with that but it stuffed me up as much.

The latest thought from reading around is that it is pasteurized dairy that is the problem. I have read quite a few people that claim that they were stuffed up with pasteurized dairy but not raw. Since I can get it fairy easily, I figured I would give it a shot.

I just started this week so it is too early to tell anything yet. I am still stuffed up but it takes a little while to get it out of my system. My energy levels are good and I am not as tired as I was last week when I was trying to do no dairy. I haven't had any cravings since starting but it is still early. One problem I do have is that the raw milk is pretty good and I want to get in to it more than I should but it is also new and a bit of a novelty, so that may play a part.

As for why dairy makes me feel so much better? I don't know. It could be an addict getting his fix, though three months of no dairy didn't help in that regard. I don't think it's the extra fat because I eat very fatty meats as it is. If I have dairy, I eat less meat, so it isn't additional fat. To be honest, I am starting to wonder if it isn't just raising the baseline carb intake just a little.

I am also thinking I may have to grin and bear it going meat only until I am at a reasonable weight and then look at dairy as a maintenance item, like Charles is doing. I am going to give the raw dairy a little more time to see what happens before I do that.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April 21, 2010 update

Yesterday went pretty well. I wanted coffee all morning but resisted. I had a bit of a headache all morning. Strangely, I was also sleepy all day despite getting a decent night's sleep the night before. I assume it's because I am still working the caffeine out of my system.

I ate a burger bowl early on when I got hungry. I was kind of getting hungry again by the time I got home from work but held off until dinner time when I had a thick ribeye off of my slab. I had been worried that this slab wasn't going to be as good because they had trimmed so much fat off of the side. However, it is very nicely marbled and not nearly as dry as the last two slabs were. It's only been aging two weeks but is disappearing at an alarming rate.

I had no dairy yesterday, of any kind. I was still pretty stuffed up last night but I imagine it will take some time to work out of my system.

My weight was down slightly, .2 pounds. That is essentially holding but better than what it was doing last week at this time - going up.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 14, 2010 Update

As I have mentioned before, I didn't have a clean week all through January, February and March of this year. I would be ZC from Saturday or Sunday through Thursday and then fail on Friday and/or Saturday. During this time, my weight would fluctuate from 175-ish right after a carb up down to around 171 by Thursday. It did this like clock-work.

My last carb up was March 27, when my wife and I celebrated our anniversary by eating at a Thai restaurant and then having some Easter candy and ice cream later that day. My weight shot up to 179 the next day, followed by 181 the next day!

I returned to ZC after that, except for the Diet Pepsi, and I expected the weight to drop back off like it had been doing. I dropped down to the 176 - 177 range but it hasn't wanted to budge since. Since the difference was in the Diet Pepsi, I felt that the Diet Pepsi was holding my weight up so I stopped drinking it last Friday. It has been six days and the weight is still holding and, in fact, has been slowly increasing over the last three days.

I kind of remembered my weight doing something similar last time, so I went back and reread my journal from last September through the first of November. I had remembered the weight going up right after giving up DP but then dropping off really quickly after that. It wasn't quite that simple, though. It looks like I better expect to stay at the higher weight for a while.

I gave up DP and all AS on September 18. My weight started to creep up after that and peaked after about a week (where I am now). After 10 days, the extra weight dropped off and I was back to where I started. On September 29, I dropped all dairy.

My weight dropped a couple of pounds after that but I held it for almost three weeks. On October 22, I started losing again. This loss turned into an almost six pound loss in a week.

Carbs are bad enough but it looks like carbs plus Diet Pepsi is lethal, weight-wise. I probably really dicked myself this time. All I can do is to stay ZC and wait it out and hopefully remember this next time I want to be stupid.

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 12 2010 Update - Starting Year 2

Yesterday, April 11, was one year since I started down the carnivorous path. I wish I could say I have been ZC the entire time but, of course, I haven't. Still, I have seen a lot of health improvements along the way and am thankful for this way of life. My goal for the next year is to stay the path.

In keeping to that goal, I made it another week ZC. There were fewer cravings and temptations this weekend and eating wasn't a problem. I still haven't been very hungry. I'm not really sure where my appetite went.

Confession time #2 - about a month ago, I started drinking Diet Pepsi again. At first, it was just here or there. I started drinking it pretty heavily two weeks ago, about the time I got back on track food-wise. As before, I get no carb cravings from it and this time, I didn't get dizzy. However, I wasn't losing the "temporary weight gain" from my last carb up and I figured that had to be because of the soda because the food was in order.

I had always planned on dropping it again and finally decided to last Friday. I had my last one Thursday night. I had expected a day of headaches but didn't expect anything too bad because the withdrawals weren't that bad when I gave it up seven months ago and I hadn't been back on it very long.

I was wrong. I was useless Friday and Saturday and was extremely sick. Besides the vicious headache, I just felt ill in general. I woke up Sunday feeling better, which was good because I didn't think I could stand another day like Saturday. I had the headache come back for a while on Sunday afternoon but I think I am on the downside of it.

It was interesting that when I first started having one here and there, it was actually not that good, which is why I didn't go whole hog at first. Then, one day it started tasting great again. Thinking on that, I now believe that once it starts tasting good is when you are hooked again. It's like your body is now dependent and changes your brain to think that it tastes wonderful so that you want it more. I have heard that smokers go through the same thing - at first it makes them want to puke and then, after a while, smoking tastes great. I hope I remember this next time I think it's okay to "have just one". Currently, I am not tempted to "have just one" because I don't want to go through another weekend like this last one.

I spent most of the weekend on the couch, trying to keep my brain from leaking out of my eyes. Unfortunately, all that laying around aggravated my back and now it really hurts. It has gone from being just in my lower left back to now going from that spot, down my hip to the front of my thigh. It is very sore. Hopefully it will loosen up soon as I get to moving around again.

So anyway - here is where I am now. No caffeine, no cow dairy, very limited goat dairy, water and meat, mostly beef. I think that should get me going into year 2 nicely.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April 8, 2010 update

My first day of no dairy and coffee went well. I didn't have any cravings for it and my energy levels were actually up a bit. It may just be that I am getting past the induction flu stage.

My hunger levels are still really low. I think I am going to go back to eating strictly to hunger (or to any cravings). I will watch it carefully in case the craving rear their ugly heads again. I was hungry early yesterday and had some ground beef around 8 am. I was feeling kinda, sorta but not really hungry around 2 pm and ate one boneless short rib. I wasn't hungry by dinner time and wasn't going to eat. However, when I cut a ribeye steak off for K, I decided to do a thin one for me, too. It was really good, so maybe I was hungrier than I thought.

My weight was down slightly this morning. However, my body really seems to want to hold on to the weight I gained after my last carb up a couple of weeks ago. It is coming off really slowly.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April 7, 2010 Update - Dairy goes bye-bye

Well, today is the day that the dairy and coffee go. I had planned on finishing out the week. However, yesterday I suddenly just didn't want it any more. I got rid of the rest of the HWC and packed up all of my coffee making stuff at work and took it home.

The coffee and HWC was messing with my hunger signals. I always waited until I was hungry to have it but I was rarely hungry the rest of the day after having it. However, cream alone for fuel was upsetting my stomach. Then, if I ate some meat, I would feel overstuffed. It became too much screwing around. Like Mel says - KISS - so it goes.

I did engage in a little "last supper" eating last night with some cheese. It didn't affect my weight as I was down a little this morning but I woke up completely stuffed up and kept sneezing this morning. It's kind of a relief to have it go.

Dairy is definitely my "bad girlfriend". I keep going back to it, each time hoping that "this time" will be different but finding out that after the initial pleasure, it isn't good for me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 6, 2010 update

Nothing particularly interesting to report but I want to keep journalling so that I stay on track.

I'm still on track and haven't had any cravings lately. I thought about a handful of nuts Sunday afternoon but it was easy to ignore the thoughts and stay clean.

It is a little frustrating that the weight is coming off veeeeeeeery slowly. I think it is because I have been more worried about eating only animal products and not worried about eating to hunger. I am actually not very hungry at all but I have been trying to eat with meals so that the cravings stay at bay. Once I feel a little more comfortable about the cravings staying away, I am definitely going back to eating only when physically hungry. I feel better doing that.

I am still dragging a bit too, so I think I am still going through induction flu. I hope to snap out of that soon.

Monday, April 5, 2010

April 5, 2010 update - Made it through a week!

I had a really busy weekend, so I didn't get a chance to post much.

The food part went pretty well. I stayed zero carb the whole weekend, though I ate way too much dairy. I think I was engaging in a little "last supper" eating as I know I have to cut it out and I really don't want to.

I was answering a question last week and wrote that the only difference between the time I was doing well and the time I was struggling was the reintroduction of dairy at Thanksgiving. I hadn't thought it through that clearly, so it was a bit of a light bulb moment. So, now that I hit my first goal of making it through a week staying zero carb, now my next goal is to clean it up some and get rid of the dairy and the caffeine, while staying zero carb, of course. I am still not worried about eating to hunger as I want to make sure the cravings don't get out of control again.

I am only down about three pounds for the last week. My weight was up a bit this morning but it was probably due to the salt in the ham we had for Easter dinner last night. It was pretty good ham and I ate more than I should have.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 1, 2010 update

As I have said before, Monday through Thursday is not normally a problem for me. It's when I am home on the weekends that I have problems. However, I seem to have a different mindset this week and I am feeling pretty good about staying ZC. I don't know if it is because I have been journalling about my struggles or because it has been really relaxed at home (since the boys are gone) but whatever it is, I like it. The proof is in the pudding, of course. I still have to get through the weekend.

I haven't been very hungry lately. I had a hamburger bowl late yesterday, about 2 pm, and then I basically forgot about dinner. Around 7:30, K wasn't forgetting about dinner, so I cooked up a tri-tip for her and I. I wasn't really hungry at the time but it was a very good steak, one of the best I have had in a while.

I was down another 1.4 pounds though I am still heavier than last week.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March 31, 2010 Update

Yesterday went well. I had back ribs for lunch and boneless short ribs for dinner. The short ribs were from WinCo and were a different kind than we get locally. They were much more like chuck steaks and had spots that were so tough you couldn't chew it completely. However, they were very tasty and the fat on them was very good.

I haven't been eating at full hunger as I am not fully trusting my hunger signals at the moment. Until the carbs are out of my system, I will eat when I feel it coming on but not wait until full, stomach growling hunger. I will return to that after I get over the cravings.

I thought of another reason that I have been having problems on Friday. I work at home on Friday and spend most of the morning on the computer in my office. I like to take a break at noon so I would wait to eat until then, even if I got hungry earlier (that way I could eat while watching Perry Mason). I think waiting that long was helping to set up the cravings. This Friday, I think I will try to eat something early and then follow my hunger the rest of the day to see if that helps me get through the day without caving to cravings.

I was down 3.8 pounds this morning (1.4 pounds from Monday). Whoosh goes the water weight.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March 30, 2010 Update

Monday through Thursday is never really the problem for me when eating ZC, so it isn't surprising that yesterday went well. I don't really have a food plan other than ZC but I am trying to stick with just meat. After the big steak off of my dry aging ribeye slab last night, I really wanted a piece of cheese but resisted. I ended up feeling stuffed after a little while, so I definitely didn't need it.

I don't know why I always want that little extra of something after eating my meat for dinner. It isn't always a carb craving; I just feel like I want something different than the meat I just had. It is probably habit more than anything.

I woke up early this morning - 3 AM instead of 4 AM. I laid there for a bit but finally got up and came into work early. I have a headache this morning and I was also hot, so there was no going back to sleep. I am dreading the headache that is coming. Stupid carbs.

I was up a couple of pounds this morning. It was probably from weighing earlier than usual after a later than usual dinner as well as the last of last weekends carbs in my system. I know that it will come back down if I get my act together but it is still distressing to see the 180's again.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Reboot time, again

This has been a tough post to write. I have started it several times and deleted it and keep putting it off. It is time, though, to get it out.

I have written several times over the last few months about my struggles but I haven't put out any details. However, it is now confession time because I haven't been able to reign myself in through health and weight concerns so it is now time to try public humiliation.

I haven't had a clean week of eating since the first of the year. I start every Sunday with the best of intentions to get back on ZC. Every week, it's "this week is going to be the week I go back to full time ZC". I do great and then become possessed on Friday and/or Saturday and eat nuts or get into the ice cream. I then repent of my deeds and regain control and swear off carbs forever and then the whole cycle repeats.




I have also engaged in behavior that scares me. I have binged on ice cream in secret, even hiding the empty container in the trash and washing all of my dishes so that K wouldn't know. I have also seriously considered purging after a binge, pretty much only being stopped by the fact that I have never been able make myself puke. This behavior scares the hell out of me and I don't know why I am heading down that road. It's like if no one else knows what I am doing, then it didn't happen.

So here I am, hat in hand, at the beginning of another week, determined to go ZC again and stop the idiocy. I am going to stop doing this in secret and go for full disclosure so that if I screw up, everyone will know. I am going to post about everything, so if you don't want to see a grown man flailing, bitching and complaining, you better avoid my blog for awhile.

So why do I think it is going to work this time?

For one thing, I saw this morning that I am now a full 10 pounds heavier than my low and am bumping back up against 180 lbs. It's time to stop the slide.

I also had an epiphany last week. I have been struggling since the beginning of the year, as mentioned, and two things happened at that time that is probably affecting me.

I had cheated on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day (but not in between those days). The holidays' indulgence had caused me to put on a few pounds so I decided that I was going to very carefully eat to hunger as I got back on track with ZC. I was going to eat small amounts when I got hungry and then rely on getting hungry more often to make sure I got enough fuel.

I also started my push up routine (and later added the squat routine). This workout routine really helped to put on muscle and I felt a lot better physically even doing mundane things like climbing stairs and bending down to get something out of the lower cupboards.

I think that the problem was that I was doing something that was requiring more fuel (putting on muscle) while cutting back on fuel intake. I relied on my hunger signals to make sure I was getting enough fuel but it didn't work for some reason. I didn't get hungry more often. Instead, my body started screaming for more food in the form of cravings, probably because I had upset my insulin levels with the holiday cheats. I would end up cheating after four or five days. I would actually feel like a passenger in my body as it would go onto autopilot and start eating stuff it shouldn't.

Of course, I would feel terrible about it and vow to get even stricter with eating to hunger and being ZC and start the whole process over. I think it has been a vicious cycle.

So - I feel that I might finally be able to end that cycle. I have started eating more when I get hungry. I am also not fully trusting my hunger signals at the moment because my insulin is so unsettled. If I start craving, I am going to eat. A little while ago, I suddenly got very sleepy and decided to eat instead of ride it through like I normally do. The sleepiness went away.

Right now, I am not concerned about weight loss or gain. I simply want to string enough consecutive ZC days together to get my insulin under control and get the cravings to stop. If I have to overeat meat to do that, I will for now. I think my hunger signals will straighten themselves out once my insulin is back under control and I can  trust them more at that point.

I have to do this not only for myself but for my boys. They are drifting towards ZC but they see me cheating (not everything, but enough). That isn't being a good role model for them.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March 5, '10 Update

know it probably won't sound like it with the rest of this post, but I am really starting to feel that my mind is getting back to what I call my zero carb zen state. I had that from September through November and did great. I ate just meat and didn't worry about things and everything worked great.

I got thrown off track during the holidays and since that time, I keep going through periods of cravings and doubts about the sustainability of this way of eating. However, after a nice discussion with Kelly and Caitlin the other day along with reading Mel's posts on keeping things simple, I am feeling myself get that mindset back and am feeling much more optimistic about being able to continue ZC. As I said before, it is easier said than done, but I think I am getting there.

Okay, now for the obsessive part. Last weekend, I determined for sure that the milk protein casein affects me similarly to gluten. I did some research and found testimony that some people sensitive to casein can get away with dairy that is low casein, like butter and heavy whipping cream. Butter has never affected me in any way and I have contnued to use it, even during my "dairy free" periods.

I decided to see how cream alone would work, since it was supposedly low in casein. I don't really have any use for heavy cream except in coffee and tea, so I had coffee the last two days along with an organic heavy cream whose ingredients included only cream and carrageenan. It was the purest I could fine. I included the coffee with cream with my meals when I was hungry so that I wasn't eating outside of hunger.

It turns out that it is no dice with respect to the cream. It didn't necessarily bother my stomach (that could be the coffee) but my sinuses seriously clogged up after both nights I had it with no other dairy. I could keep trying things like goat milk, raw dairy and stuff like but I am not going to. I throw up my hands in surrender. Non-butter dairy doesn't work for me even outside the constraints of zero carb, not to mention that it is stupid to keep trying to add back coffee while everyone else on ZIOH is trying to kick it. I will say that part of the reason behind having coffee was that the warm weather has kicked off horrendous cravings for Diet Pepsi that have had me climbing the walls.

Yesterday, I packed up all of my coffee making paraphernalia and took it home. Some of it is going into the garage sale pile. For some really odd reason (probably because I am really odd), I never get tempted to make coffee at home, only at work. I can't stomach any of the coffee I can get close to work, so now I am done. Fini.

There is some proof that gluten and casein can act like opioids in those that are intolerant to them. I am really starting to believe it. Gluten wasn't that hard for me to give up but dairy has been a bitch. I keep acting like an addict looking for one tiny fix or some way to keep the supply coming without somehow affecting me otherwise. I never eat a lot at a time - a slice of cheese after dinner or a splash of cream in my tea - but I want it every day. It's like an alcoholic that only drinks a couple of beers but has to have it every day. I think this finally explains why I feel better when I include dairy - I'm getting my fix.

Unfortunately, like any other opioid, the only way to get over it is to get it out of your system. I think if I can make it through the weekend and the next couple of weeks without a fix, I can finally get through all of this BS that I have been going through since the holidays.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March 2, '10 Update

Yesterday was a good day. First hunger hit earlier than expected - about 8 am - and I had one of my 1/4 pound burger bowls. I wasn't hungry again until after my squat workout. Dinner was still an hour off, so I scrambled up a couple of eggs and threw in a handful of ground beef. I had been eating a couple of hard boiled eggs when hitting a "mini-hunger" but dropped that. I can seriously cook two eggs faster than I can peel the hard-boiled eggs.

Even though I wasn't hungry again, I ate dinner an hour and a half later. The eggs hadn't really filled me up, so I figured it was okay. K had done up a pork shoulder roast in the crock pot. I pulled off a hunk of it, mashed it up and mixed it with some of the juices. It was a bit salty because she had put some Italian seasonings on it but it was really good. It was the first non-bacon pork that I had enjoyed in quite a while. My weight was down a little this morning, so the salt wasn't a big deal.

I was reading Charles' journal yesterday where he was talking about eating dinner until he was stuffed and still dropping weight. Mats also mentioned it. I have been eating smaller amounts when hungry and don't really eat much. I have been a bit concerned that I don't eat enough, especially with my workouts.

Old advice from before ZC that you can't put on muscle without an excess of calories is rattling around my brain. I don't worry about calories but I also haven't really seen an increase in hunger from the workouts. I have been wondering, though, if the cravings aren't at least partly caused by not eating enough for the workouts. I had the cravings before I started consciously eating smaller amounts but I have never really eaten a lot since starting ZC, especially compared to what I read on ZIOH.

Of course, I also realize I am obsessing again, so I'm not really going to try to change anything at the moment, other than really treat cravings as hunger. If I start wanting some nuts after dinner, I am just going to eat more dinner and stop trying to white knuckle my way through the cravings. Other than that, I'll just keep eating meat when physically hungry.

Monday, March 1, 2010

March 1, '10 Update

Not much to report these days. I am still dealing with cravings but I think it is getting better. I wasn't too good about the "no dairy" thing this weekend but I have definitely determined that I don't tolerate casein well so that should help keep me away from dairy now that it is firmly in my mind. It worked with gluten once I knew for sure that I couldn't tolerate it. Nothing tastes so good that it is worth putting up with a constant upset and/or painful stomach.

I have also realized that I have been putting too much time and effort into this. Like I said before, I keep trying to go with what I can get away with instead of just going with the flow and just eating meat when hungry without obsessing over it. I am not sure how to turn it off and "just do it" but it is something for me to be aware of.

On the positive side, we had a beautiful weekend. It was sunny and in the low 50's with no wind. On Saturday, I got our bikes out and cleaned them up and got them ready to ride this season. Then the boys and I went out and rode for about three hours, hitting some of the light trails near our house. It was a blast.

The amazing thing to me was how well I did physically, considering I hadn't ridden at all since last summer and I didn't do so well then. I barely rode last summer because I just struggled with getting enough air and would get winded way too easily. I didn't have that problem Saturday at all. There was one long, steep hill near the end of the ride that I got a stitch in my side on but I recovered pretty quickly. I have ZC and my push-ups/squats to thank for that, I believe.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

February 25, '10 Update

Yesterday was a hungry day. I was first hungry early, about 7 am, and had a quarter pound burger bowl. About noon, I was kind of getting hungry but was really wanting some coffee. Since I am treating cravings as hunger, I ate another burger bowl.

I was hungry again at 6:30 pm. For dinner, I cut up the rack of ribs that came with my monster rib roast. When they were finally done, I ate three of them. I probably should have stopped there, but they were so good that I ate another one. That proved to be a mistake. The ribs were so fatty that the extra one took me into fat overload and I spent the rest of the evening kind of queasy. In fact, my stomach is still unsettled this morning and I feel really warm, like I'm running a fever. I doubt that I will be hungry any time soon.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February 24, '10 Update

Yesterday went pretty well. I got first hunger around 10 AM and ate one of my quarter pound burger bowls. Surprisingly, I didn't get hungry again until around 6 PM, even with doing my squat routine when I got home. I was supposed to have my aged ribeye and the family was going to have chicken fajitas (no shells) but K decided she didn't want to make them. So I had to share the remains of my 3+ week aged ribeye. In fact, I had to sacrifice and eat the end piece because no one else likes it. It was still good but a bit chewy because of the dried crust.

One of our local markets had ribeye on sale for $3.98/pound a couple of weeks ago. They ran out before I could get some and gave me a raincheck. It has taken two weeks but I finally picked up a roast yesterday.

I had told them that I wanted a six bone roast. When I came to pick it up, I found that was a bit ambitious. The thing was 15 pounds! It was huge. However, it has worked out okay since my other roast is done. I am going to cook up the ribs tonight and then will start working on the roast in a day or so.

The other day, I was talking to Charles about clothes and he recommended Abercrombie & Fitch as a place to get fitted shirts. I looked through their site and found a long sleeved T-shirt I liked that was on clearance. According to their size chart, I should take a Medium so that is what I ordered.

I finally got the shirt yesterday and tried it on. When I was looking into the shirt before putting it on, I was thinking that there was no way that I would even get it on let alone have it fit. However, I got it on (and off) just fine and it fit okay.

Being fitted, it is more form fitting than I am used to so my mind was telling me that it was too small. K said that it didn't look too small, though, so I guess my mind has to get used to more form fitting clothes. The sleeves were surprisingly long (I have long arms, so this is usually a problem with Medium shirts). However, it doesn't fit well in the shoulders. The seam is at least an inch back from the point of my shoulder. I wonder if that is going to be a problem with Medium fitted shirts and I'll have to choose between fitting in the waist and fitting in the shoulders?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February 23, '10 Update

 I have been struggling with carb cravings since around Christmas. I am unsure what has been causing them but I need to get to the bottom of them because I am not strong enough to live with constant cravings. What I decided to do is to strip out all of the marginal zero carb foods, like dairy, coffee and tea and stick with just meat and water. I will continue to try to get in a variety of meats plus I do eat eggs occasionally. I started this last Sunday.

Yesterday went pretty well. I made sure I had enough food on hand and didn't really have a problem with cravings.

When I made up my hamburger bowls for the week, I put a quarter pound of ground beef in each one. I then took a bunch of them to work for my lunches. I wanted to have a smaller amount of food available when I got hungry but have plenty on hand in case I got hungry more often.

First hunger came about 8 am. I ate one of the hamburger bowls. I really wanted a coffee, too, but drank a mug of hot water instead. That curbed the coffee cravings.

I thought that might last me until I got home but my stomach started growling again at 2 pm. I ate another hamburger bowl.

I did my push up routine when I got home at 4 o'clock. My stomach was growling again by 6 pm when dinner was ready. Dinner was flanken ribs baked in the oven. I overate a little, having five strips, but they are a favorite of mine and were nice and fatty. I suspect that it will be a while before I get hungry this morning.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Letter To My Sister

I have been corresponding with my sister in the hopes that zero carb may help her regain her energy levels. As a busy mother of three, I am sure they are sorely missed.

I wanted to explain, as simply, as possible why going zero carb is necessary for long term success once we are overweight. This is what I came up with. I am posting it here, too, in case it may help someone who is considering zero carb.

I am sorry to be going on and on like this and I hope it isn't boring you to tears. As you can tell, I am pretty passionate about it. :)

I wanted to address your low energy problem. I understand it completely because that is exactly how I felt. You described it nicely. I have done very little on the house over the last few years because I had no energy for it. I just wanted to hang out on the couch and didn't do stuff with K and the boys because I was tired. It was depressing because we won't have Garret at home much longer and we have been promising to do stuff like hiking and camping for years.

I think this summer will be different because I have a lot more energy. It isn't so much that I am bouncing off of the walls; it's just that I have a more consistent level. I also don't want to sit as much. I am watching a lot less TV lately because I just don't want to sit still that long.

You would think that overweight people would have more energy because they are carrying around bags of energy in the form of fat. However, it doesn't actually work that way. The problem is we can't access that bag of energy.

The common thought on how to lose weight is simply that you have to take in less energy than you use. Eat 500 calories less a day and you'll lose a pound a week - that kind of thing. It's so simple that it works, right? You and I know that it isn't that simple in reality. It turns out that we aren't fat because we overeat or don't move enough. We overeat and don't move enough because we are overweight. It's an important distinction.

People think that fat is just bags of energy that hangs off of us that we can dip into when we use more calories than we take in. However, fat is actually constantly circulating through us and is metabolically active.

You can think of the fat in our bodies as a series of pools interconnected by pipes. One pool might be our belly while another is our backside. The way that it is suppose to work is that when we eat, insulin drives the excess fuel into our fat cells (fills the pool) and then, between meals or at night when we sleep, the pool then drains back into our blood, giving us fuel for those times that we need energy between meals.

Insulin is the hormone that controls this process. One of its main jobs is to maintain your blood sugar. When you eat stuff with carbs in it, those carbs become glucose in your blood stream, which raises your blood sugar. Your body will pump out insulin to control this rise to try to keep your blood sugar from going too high. The more carbs one eats, the more insulin is required to maintain the blood sugar levels.

Insulin will initially try to put the extra sugar in your muscles and liver. However, once those are full, it turns to the fat cells.

This is how it is supposed to work. However, what happens is that over time, it takes higher and higher levels of insulin to do its job. The body's cells become insulin resistant, so the insulin stays in the blood at a higher than normal level (so will the blood sugar level).

Insulin's job is to put blood sugar into the fat, not to take it out again. You can only access that energy in the fat when the insulin drops again. Going back to my pools analogy, high insulin "clogs" the drain pipe, making the pools back up and get bigger. This clog also slows down the release of fuel back into the blood stream.

So now, instead of getting some fuel when needed between meals, the cells "get hungry" once the fuel in the blood stream is gone. The body has to combat this by increasing hunger and by conserving energy.

This why you have no energy. Obesity is actually internal starvation. The only way to combat this lack of energy is to either eat all of the time which, of course, only makes the problem worse, or to bypass the problem of the insulin resistance. If you don't eat food that contains carbs, you won't need as much insulin and eventually the levels will drop. Once the levels come down, the drain unclogs and the fat is free to flow out again. Once the fat is free to flow, the cells now can fuel themselves (giving you energy again) and the pools can shrink.

It has nothing to do with calories eaten or working out. It is all hormonally driven. Without insulin blocking the fuel, your body won't constantly crave food and you'll be more active because you'll have more energy.

Sorry for the lecture. I just wanted to explain why zero carb worked because it isn't obvious. Plus, you don't hear the truth in the deafening din of the "calories in/calories out" crowd.

Hopefully that helps.

Love, Ryan

February 19, '10 Update

Yesterday was another good day. I first got hungry at 7:30 am and had some goat coffee. I was hungry again at 11:30 and ate a 1/4 pound of ground beef. I expected to be hungry again by the time I got home from work but it didn't happen. I finally started to get hungry around 7 pm. I warmed up a few slices of ham and melted a little goat cheese on it. It was pretty good but salty. I was still a little hungry after that and ate a chicken thigh to round out the meal. I didn't want to overdo it on the ham. The salt from the ham made me a bit puffy this morning but I feel fine otherwise.

I think next week I am going to drop the coffee again. I am not addicted to it and don't drink it at home on the weekends. I drink it more for something hot to hold and drink when I'm cold and for a shot of caffeine when I haven't slept well (which is pretty much always). I think I have been getting a rebound effect from the caffeine, though. I drink the coffee early and then get super sleepy around 2 pm. It's all I can do to stay awake when that happens. With the days finally warming up, I won't really need the hot drink anymore.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February 18, '10 Update

I struggled a bit over the last weekend. With the long weekend, for some reason, I wanted to eat more. I wasn't really hungry, just "munchy". I also had no luck staying out of the cream and cheese (cow dairy).

Once I returned to work on Tuesday I was able to get back into the groove. Yesterday worked really well. I had my first hunger about 8 and had some coffee with goat milk. I was hungry again at 11:30 and ate a quarter pound hamburger bowl. I was hungry again after doing my squat routine and ate a hardboiled egg to hold me over until dinner. I was hungry again by dinner and ate a 3/4" thick ribeye. I also had a small slice of ham with some goat cheddar melted (kind of) on it.

I probably overate a bit at dinner but I wasn't stuffed or even excessively full, so I am not going to worry about it. It was also a cow dairy free day, so I hope I can stay away from it now.

Yesterday was a beautiful day. It was sunny and 50°. I was stuck in the office all day but enjoyed it anyway. It was definitely giving me spring fever. Today and tomorrow are supposed to be similar, though it is foggy right now. I hope it will burn off soon.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

February 13, '10 Update (44 Weeks)

The experiment is going really well. I must have eaten a bit too much Thursday night because I didn't get hungry yesterday until 2 PM. I ate half of a burger bowl (100 grams) and a little goat cheese. That held me over until about 7 pm at which time I ate the rack of ribs that came with my last ribeye roast (four bones). They were pretty filling but I ended up eating a couple of thin slices of cheddar that were leftover from the boys' burgers.

I am really torn on the dairy. I like how I feel when I eat it and I like the variety that it adds, plus I just like it. I don't like being stuffed up and my wife doesn't like that I snore worse because of it. I weighed 172.2 pounds last Saturday and weighed 169.6 pounds this morning, so the dairy clearly doesn't inhibit my weight loss. I went dairy-free all January and didn't lose an ounce.

I picked up some goat cheddar this morning and am going to try goat dairy for a while to see if I can still do dairy but have less sinus problems in the meantime.

As I said, I lost 2.6 pounds this weak by eating smaller amounts when physically hungry. Since last Thursday was 10 months since starting ZC (44 weeks), I decided to do some picture updates. Unfortunately, the lighting isn't that great on the new pictures. I have been at a lighter weight before, 169.0 lbs in mid-December, but this is the lowest weigh that I have measured at. Since I am sure I have put on some muscle the last month and a half, I think I am leaner than in mid-December, despite the higher weight.

Here are the net changes in my measurements over the last 44 weeks:

It amazes me that I have lost more than six inches off of my stomach. The bodyfat calculator I use put me at 12.4% bodyfat. However, you should start seeing abs at 15%. Since I still don't have visible abs, I estimate that I am in the 17% range now.

Here are the before and now pictures. Sorry about the bad lighting.






Finally, here are the other two T-shirts that K bought me for my birthday. You'll have to forgive the wrinkles as they were folded up in the closet. The food chain one is my favorite.



Thursday, February 11, 2010

10 Months ZC update

The eating small amounts when hungry experiment is still going strong. I didn't get hungry yesterday until 10 am, which meant I ate too much Tuesday night. I had half of a burger bowl (about 100 grams) and some coffee and cream. I was hungry again at 6 pm and ate two chicken thighs and some cheese.

I have been doing a little "last supper" eating with the dairy, I think. I am going to cut it out again because it throws off my hunger during this experiment but wanted to wait until after tomorrow. We are going to Spokane tomorrow and the thing I know works best (both for ZC and for gluten) for eating out is the BK $1 double cheeseburgers, plain, no bun. The cream will be gone today and no more cow cheese after tomorrow.

I didn't feel any leaner this morning but the fat that is there is squishier, which is usually a good sign. It usually means I am going to drop some weight soon. I am still not weighing but may consider it Saturday, along with pictures and measurements if I feel there is any significant progress since last time I did them. It would be for my monthly update, since I started ZC 10 months ago today.

The thing that is so difficult about eating this way is cooking just enough and being prepared. The burger bowls make it easy but dinner is a little tougher. However, cutting the steaks off of my dry aging roast does help because I can cut them thin if necessary. To be honest, part of wanting to eat more than I need is wanting to eat the stuff I cooked up beforehand (like my burger bowls) before they go bad.

One other thing to mention is that my energy is still good, so I don't think I am undereating. I don't want to undereat; I want to eat just enough.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feb 10, 2010 Update

Day 2 of my experiment went okay. I first got hungry early, about 7:30, so I must have eaten the right amount Monday night. I had half of one of my hamburger bowls (about 100 grams). I still have some cream to use up so had some coffee and HWC, too. The bad thing about the cream is that it takes me awhile to drink the coffee so it stretches the meal time out a long time, which throws off the next hunger time.

I wasn't hungry yet when I got home and did my squats routine with no sag in energy. About 6:30, I was starting to get hungry and decided to cook my ribeye since the family was eating then. I didn't think I was all that hungry yet but after I started eating the steak I got very hungry. I ended up eating my 3/4" thick ribeye and a bit of cheese. I probably should have stopped after the steak. I need to slow down my eating again so that I can feel when I am no longer hungry and get out of that "more, more, more!" mindset.

So, again - not perfect, but better. When the cream is gone, the cow dairy is gone and so is the coffee (yes, I know I have said that before but this time I mean it, darn it). It again may be my imagination but I felt leaner again this morning when I got up. Since I am not currently weighing, though, I don't really know what is going on for sure.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Feb 9, '10 Update

The first day of the "eat small amounts when hungry" experiment had mixed results. It was because of two factors. The first was because I barely slept the night before and was very tired at work. I decided to get a coffee to wake me up and had some cream in it as I can't choke down coffee black. I waited until I was hungry to do this but the dairy and the caffeine are factors that might throw off any results.

The second factor was that I wasn't very prepared since I decided to do this on the spur of the moment. I was okay at first hunger at noon and ate a chicken thigh. I was hungry again when I got home from work and ate four pepperoni slices (these are the "sandwich pepperonis" from the deli) wrapped around some goat cheese. I also had a little cheddar since I already blew the no dairy thing. I didn't want to eat a bunch so I would be okay for dinner but didn't have anything quick so settled for the processed meat. It didn't set off cravings but still not the best choice. I am going to try to have some ground beef I can scoop out or some eggs on hand.

At dinner, I was borderline on hunger. In retrospect, I probably could have waited. I sliced a thin steak off of my dry aging ribeye roast and ate that. It was probably a half inch thick, so it wasn't a lot.

One day isn't enough to tell me anything. I did feel a little dead doing the push ups last night but that isn't unusual for Mondays. I don't think it was because of eating less. I did feel a little leaner this morning but it might be my imagination. It's possible that there is less bloating because there is less food.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Feb 8, '10 Update

I didn't end up eating very well Saturday. My wife had been bugging me about a pack of all beef hot dogs in the freezer so when I finally got hungry Saturday I thought that sounded good for a change. They were less than a gram of carbs each so I figured that they would be okay, if not the best thing to have. Unfortunately, it was a bad move and it set off cravings. To kill the cravings, I ate dinner with the family a couple hours later, despite not being hungry. They were having "breakfast for dinner" so I had bacon and eggs. I ended up throwing in some cheese with the eggs. I got through the cravings okay but was stuffed up that night because of the dairy. No more hot dogs.

I figured that I wouldn't get hungry very early yesterday since I had eaten when I wasn't hungry the night before. To my surprise, though, I got hungry about 10 am. I had a ribeye that was about 12 oz. I also had a little goat cheese that I had found while shopping that morning. It was pretty good. I was starting to get hungry by 6 pm while making dinner for K and the boys so had about .4 pounds of baked ground beef with a little goat cheese on it. I was still a little stuffed up last night but it may still be the dairy from Saturday still in my system. I'll try the goat cheese again later in the week and see if it affects me.

I have been debating with myself about the best way to approach the eating when hungry issue. I am trying hard to eat only when physically hungry, even if it means missing dinner with the family. The thing that I am not sure about is how much to eat when I do get hungry.

When I lost almost 50 pounds doing Weigh Down, the idea was to eat a small amount when physically hungry. The idea was that if you wanted more, you just waited for the next hunger, which should be 4-5 hours later, if you ate the correct amount the time before.

When I started zero carb, it seemed that eating until you couldn't another bite was strongly encouraged and just eating a small amount when hungry was considered "restricting" and was frowned on. I have struggled with that from the beginning. My stomach isn't happy when I eat too much and I end up eating only once a day or getting hungry at odd times. However, I wanted to do ZC "right" and didn't want to screw something up.

I have decided now, though, to try eating the smaller amounts when hungry and just eat more often if I get hungry sooner from not eating so much. I made the hamburger bowls I take to work smaller this week and will just eat the pemmican I have stashed in the work fridge if I do get hungry again during the work day.

I am not trying to force weight loss or anything like that. What happens, though, is that I will get hungry around noon, eat a big lunch and then not be hungry at dinner time. I'll end up eating anyway just because the family is eating and I'll end up with more food than I need. What I am hoping for with eating the smaller meals is that I'll get hungry more often and be able to eat just enough.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Feb 4, '10 Update

Yesterday went really well. My hunger worked out perfectly. I was hungry early, about 8:30, and was stomach growling hungry for dinner at 6:30. I had a couple of left over boneless ribs and some meatballs (made from 2:1 ratio GB and Italian sausage) for first hunger and a thin cut ribeye off of my dry aging roast and a couple of chicken thighs for dinner.

I had good energy again yesterday though not exactly bouncing off of the walls or anything like that. I did get a trace of the headache back but it stayed just a trace, so not so bad.

I had been doing my push up routine three times a week but have decided to drop it to twice a week. I have added two days of the "200 Squats" routine instead. I started the routine last night and it went okay. My thighs kept wanting to cramp up between sets but would work out once I got going. That was kind of weird. My legs are a little sore this morning but not too bad. I do have to be careful on our stairs after the workout, though.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Feb 3, '10 Update

Yesterday was a much better day than Monday. I didn't get a recurrence of the headache and had much more energy. I got hungry a little earlier, around 10 am, and had ground beef. Again, at dinner, I wasn't full stomach growling hungry but ate a pork steak anyway. I had done my push up workout and was feeling tired. Eating a little helped. I just had the one steak (maybe 10 oz?) so it was enough to bring the energy back up but not too much, since I wasn't full hungry yet. Ideally, I would like to be getting hungry early in the morning and again at dinner but it is up to my body. I don't want to force it.

Because we were travelling last Friday and I had the headache Monday, I didn't do the push ups in almost a week. I thought the extra rest might help my recovery but it didn't turn out that way. Yesterday's workout was brutal. The amount I was supposed to do increased by 18 over the five sets. That's a big jump. I did all of them but had to break the sets up with a little more rest time. I'll keep repeating the day until I get through it. The next day's workout jumps another 17, so it's getting into the hard stage.

One thing about not weighing is I keep having this little voice in the back of my mind saying "but how do you measure your progress?" That's the diet mentality rearing it's ugly head. Progress should be "did I eat carbs today?" If not, and ate to hunger, than I was successful

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Feb 2, '10 Update

One problem with not counting the days anymore is coming up with a title for the daily (or near daily) updates. unless I can figure out something clever in the future, I'll probably just title it with the date of the update. Boring...

Everything went pretty well yesterday. I didn't think I would get hungry yesterday until late but got full on, stomach growling hunger at noon and ate some ground beef. I was getting hungry by dinner but not growling yet. However, it was my birthday dinner, so ate anyway. I had a rack of ribs that I had cut out of my ribeye roast.

I was actually craving coffee and tea yesterday. I must have been having it more than I thought or it could have been because I was wanting the dairy that I have with those. I didn't have coffee, tea or dairy though. I don't know if not having those things caused it but I ended up with a brutal headache last night. It was one of those "curl up in the dark and try to keep your brains from leaking out your ears" headaches. I took a handful of ibuprofen and went to bed early. Fortunately, it is mostly gone this morning.

I ended up skipping my push up routine because of the headache. I have decided to try only doing it twice a week rather than three times. This old body was having trouble keeping up with the ever increasing amount with less recovery time. I am going to also do the same guys "200 squats" program on alternate days. Push ups on Mon/Thurs and squats on Tues/Fri.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A new mindset

I am not one for new year's resolutions but I do frequently make big changes around my birthday, probably because I tend to reflect on my life as I approach being another year older. An example of this was when I went gluten free on my birthday four years ago. That was a positive, life changing choice.

I now hope to make another one.

I have posted a lot lately on being frustrated about not losing more weight. I struggled (and lost that struggle) mightily over the holidays. I have screwed around with tweeks - dairy or no dairy, all beef, etc. I have perused other blogs looking for other tweeks that might work.

It finally hit me this last weekend that what I was doing was dieting! Despite my protestations to the contrary, I was still focusing on losing weight only. I still entertained occasional thoughts about relaxing ZC when I got to goal.

I think the daily weighing was keeping that alive. It was all about getting that lower number to show, despite knowing that a scale is terrible way to actually see what is going on in my body. When I wouldn't see a drop for awhile it made me want to do something different in an attempt to get it going the right way again. A month of beef and water with no loss made me question zero carb.

So - what I have decided to do for my birthday is to quit dieting. I have packed away the scale. I will stop counting the days that I have been ZC on my blog. I won't track my average weight any more.

I have to admit to myself that zero carb is what I have to do for my health - for life. I know there is a "one day at a time" mentality that is important to have but I have to realize that if I want to keep lifelong digestion problems at bay as well as keep feeling better than ever, this is what I have to do.

It is just like when I went gluten free four years ago. I didn't go into that thinking that I would go gluten free for a while and then add a little back in when I felt better. I just knew that my body didn't tolerate gluten and that was it. I know now, after attempting zero carb for ten months, that my body doesn't tolerate plant carbs and sugar either and that is it.

I didn't really struggle with no gluten but I did go through a mourning period. I don't expect to not struggle with carbs though and I imagine that there will be a mourning period, too.

For me to be successful at this, it can't just be a matter of not eating carbs because I feel a flatter stomach and don't want to lose that. That also keeps the diet mentality alive because I tell myself that if I eat carbs, I can just jump back on zero carb and lose anything I might gain by a foray into carb eating. Being zero carb, like being gluten free, is living in a way that maximizes my health and well being.

I have had so many improvements in my health since starting ZC, despite my occasional failings. I have effortlessly lost a bunch of fat. My blood pressure came way down. I have next to no inflammation in my body. My joints stopped hurting. I sleep better. I seem to muscle on faster. Some scary symptoms, like shortness of breath at times, went away. Very importantly, my stomach stopped hurting all of the time. None of this is worth giving up for chemically tasting ice cream and candy.

So, at the risk of sounding like I am still in diet mode, here is where I am now.

I have lost being in tune with my body. I have been eating pretty much the same thing at the same time every day - a hamburger bowl at first hunger and a steak at dinner. Charles says over and over that our bodies have different energy requirements each day so I am going back to really paying attention to my hunger and eat only when it shows up. If it means not eating dinner because I am not hungry and then getting up to eat at 2 am because I get hungry then, so be it.

The various issues that crop up when I eat cow's dairy are very annoying, so that is out again for now, except for butter. Because gluten intolerant people frequently also have issues with casein, I am thinking that I am sensitive to the casein and it is keeping my cravings alive. In fact, the reason I feel better on dairy, despite the other issues I have with it, may be because of the opioid effect that it has on those sensitive to it. A bit of the "hair of the dog", so to speak. In the future, if I decide I want some form of dairy, I will experiment with goat cheese as it doesn't have the same form of casein.

Going for now on the possibility of a bovine serum albumin (BSA)/casein sensitivity link, I am also going to add more variety of meats back in. Since it looks like BSA is denatured with cooking, I will cook my beef a little more too.

I am also packing away my tea for now. I don't drink it very often (2-3 times a week) so it isn't a big deal. However, my goal is to feel the best I possibly can, so I want to strip the extras away for now.

Feeling the best I can should help avoid those moments of carb weaknesses. Eating gluten for me is like introducing glass into my intestines. If I am feeling great on zero carb, introducing carbs should have similar effects on my well being, fat gain or loss notwithstanding. While I would love seeing my abs at the age of 46, remaining healthy into my later life is getting to be increasing important to me. I have full faith that zero carb is the golden ticket for keeping (and regaining) my health.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 292

Not much to report. Still eating ribeyes and 80/20 ground beef along with a little cheese and cream. My weight bounced back up into the 171's after being in the 169's over the weekend. That isn't unusual for mid-week, though.

I am finding that dairy is a two edged sword for me. I feel much better and have more energy. I had hit a wall last week with my pushup routine and absolutely blasted through it this week after adding dairy back in.

All that is great, plus I like it, but on the flip side, I am more stuffed up and sneezy. My weight loss also seems to come to a halt, at least temporarily.

If I knew what was 1. causing the energy and strength boost and 2. causing the sinus distress, I would know what to do. The energy may come from an increase in fat but when I don't eat dairy, I eat undrained 80/20 gb and untrimmed ribeyes. I would think I am getting plenty of fat. Maybe it's coming from the very slight increase in carbs? I wouldn't think so but don't know. I don't think it is from the increased calcium.

As for the sinus stuff, is it caused by the milk protein casein, the milk sugar lactose or something else inherent in dairy? If it is lactose, aged cheese should be okay because it is supposed to be low in lactose. If it is casein, cheese is probably out but cream may be okay because I believe it is low protein. If it's something else, I am screwed and will have to figure out how to keep the energy level without it.

I think the cream is more of a problem for me. For one thing, I like it best in coffee and black tea (unsweetened). The caffeine may be why the weight loss stops. It also messes with my hunger if I have it earlier in the day. For now, I think I will drop the cream once I run out and see how it goes.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 289

I hadn't had any dairy since Jan 3 but have really been wanting some cheese lately. I ended up eating some cheese with some burgers Saturday night and on my hamburger bowls yesterday. It really hit the spot and didn't seem to cause any problems. It's funny how some times I can take it or leave it and other times, it is something I really want and tastes really good. I don't go crazy with it when I do it eat, so I don't think it's  big deal to phase in and out of my diet.

My weight has finally been dropping a little, with it going back into the 160's a couple of times over the last few days. I was 169.4 lbs on Saturday and 169.8 lbs this morning. Hopefully this trend will continue.

My hunger has been acting really strange lately. Instead of the familiar sensation of hunger that I usually get, I will just get tired and a bit light headed. I have also been extra tired lately and kind of dragging around. I think I am getting enough fat, so it just may be because it's late January (a bit of SAD).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 283

On Sunday, while doing our weekly grocery shopping, I was in the meat dept, checking out the pork shoulder steaks. It seems like a lot of folks here eat them. They were fairly cheap and looked very fatty. However, the thought of eating them turned my stomach. I just can't get my head back around to eating large slabs of pork.

That said, dinner last night was pork riblets. These are long time favorites and very fatty. I used to love them but they were pretty much "meh" last night. They upset my stomach a bit, too, though that might have been the Frank's sauce they were marinated in. Pork is way cheaper than ribeyes; I wish I could get myself to eat it.

The other weird thing that happened at the store was a sudden craving for Oreo's when I walked by a stand of them. That actually brought me up short because, for one thing, I couldn't eat them even if I wasn't ZC because of the gluten. The other thing is that I don't even really like Oreo's. The cream filling was good but the cookie part kind of sucked. The cookie part always tasted chemical-ly to me. Just a drive-by craving, I guess. I went home and ate a ribeye.

I started week three of my pushup routine. The numbers I had to do took a big jump. I made it through (barely) though the last set had to be broken up a little to get them all done. I am thinking that I am hitting the wall of being up to adapt to the increases each day that I do it. I don't think that has anything to do with ZC. I think it has to do with being 45 and out of shape. Still, I am amazed I have kept up so far.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 279

After thinking yesterday that I might only be hungry once that day, I ended up getting first hunger pretty early - about 9:30. I had a hamburger bowl at that point. I wasn't really hungry the rest of the day until around 7 pm. K was cooking dinner for her and the boys and the smell and thoughts of food triggered my hunger.

K had bought some steaks for the boys. J didn't want his so that is what I had. They were cross rib steaks, which I think must be some form of round steak. They were way too lean and not very tasty. We have used cross rib roasts for stew meat and they work very well in that capacity. However, plain, they aren't so good. It actually kind of bothered my stomach, so I had two small chicken thighs to add some fat. That worked, though I felt kind of out of sorts the rest of the evening.

The scale is still moving in the right direction. This morning, I was down to 170.4 lbs. That is still 1.4 pounds higher than my low in December, but better than the 172 I have been at since New Years'. Adding in the uncertainty caused by the resistance exercises I am doing and everything is working well again. The funny thing is that the little extra bulk I am getting in the shoulders and chests is making me feel fatter than I look in the mirror.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 277

I am finally seeing some progress on the scales again. I was down about a pound and a half this morning. I am still close to two pounds over my low but I think I am heading in the right direction again.

I think part of the problem is that I have been seriously detoxing over the last week. It's almost like going back to the start of ZC again. I have had some breakouts and have smelled weird at times (TMI). I have also been "sneezy" like my hay fever has kicked in, which is odd for this time of the year. Yesterday, I also had a vicious headache that lasted all day. I went to bed early because of it but it woke my up at 2 AM. I had to stumble downstairs to take a handful of ibuprofen. That knocked it back but I can still feel the ghost of it.

Food is going well. I am eating ground beef at first hunger and ribeyes at night. I am still working out the night part as I am not generally in full hunger but getting close enough that I would probably be woken up at night by hunger so I tend to eat my steak later in the evening. I think what may eventually work out is that I won't be eating more than once every other day.

It almost worked that way yesterday. I wasn't hungry until almost 12:30 pm. I ate a hamburger bowl at that time and wasn't hungry the rest of the day. However, I ended up eating a small hamburger bowl last night because my stomach was unsettled from the migraine and I was feeling a bit run down because I had given blood at 3 o'clock.

What I would like to have happen is to be hungry early one day and then be hungry again late in that day. Then the next day be hungry later in the day and get hungry just once that day. It would make it more concrete on when to eat and not have these unknowns at night. But - whatever. I am not going to force anything and I'll just go with the flow here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 269

I'm getting back in the swing of things. I was hungry early yesterday for some reason and ate a hamburger bowl about 8 am. I was hungry by the time I got home and ate the last of my ribeye roast that I have been working on for the last week. Other than a slight headache, I feel pretty good.

I am bummed that my ribeye roast is gone and so are the holiday prices for them. I have several packs of cut ribeyes that I got on markdown ($3.78/pound) for the rest of the week but cutting the steaks off the roast as it air dried was pretty good. Also, 80/20 ground beef was on sale here for $1.58/pound. I have been using it for my hamburger bowls. However, it has been disappointing. It is very lean for 80/20 so it doesn't taste that great. I can't get any fattier ground beef unless I get the chubs. I like the fresh ground better so I'll just add butter to this to get through it and then go back to buying my ground beef at the other store (Safeway), which has much better ground beef.

I have been feeling antsy lately so have been looking for ways to be more active. The weather has been horrible, so I can't ride my bike. I have been doing some DDR on and off and will probably continue that.

I was thinking about getting back into some of the Physical Culture stuff and stumbled on to this website - 100 Pushups. On a whim, I decided to see if I could accomplish this. I have never been particularly strong or good at pushups (I have long arms, for one thing, which changes the leverage) so it will be a challenge. When I did basic training at age 17, the best I did on my PT test was 42 pushups in two minutes. I was in great shape then but ate horribly, so we'll see if ZC can make a difference to this now 45 year old.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 268

Thank God the holidays are over.

I don't think I was mentally prepared for eating ZC through the holidays. I wrote beforehand how holidays were so entwined around food and how different they would be without all of the treats. I thought I was ready for that and it wouldn't be an issue. However, when the rubber actually hit the road, I ate off plan way too much.

The strange thing was that I was fine in the day to day. The treats available at work or just around weren't a problem. The problem came with the "traditions", times when doing something with the family had always included treats. Those were the times I caved, unfortunately.

Well, the holidays and those traditions are over for the year and the good thing is that I have nearly a year to prep for them next time. I will also know what to expect and how to handle them different. It is time to come up with new traditions, too, I think.

Thinking back to before Thanksgiving, I think I have also pinpointed another culprit. I had been doing meat and water only for nearly three months and was feeling great and really slimming down. We went down to K's parents' place for Thanksgiving and I added dairy back into the mix because it made it easier to deal with the lean and tasteless meat eating at someone else's place. I pretty much instantly felt different and had more cravings after that.

It is pretty clear that dairy is a gateway drug to me. I do fine with it physically, except for my sinuses. However, mentally, I feel more on the edge. That great feeling I had before Thanksgiving I call my ZC Zen. Zero carb is just effortless at that point. However, add in the dairy, and that good feeling dissipates and ZC is a bit more of a struggle. I start thinking a taste of this or that won't hurt and then all bets are off.

So the dairy is finally gone again. I am back to the day to day normalcy like before the holiday season. Instead of being disappointed, I feel relief to flee back to the safety of ZC. Hopefully next year, I will be strong enough to get through the holidays without succumbing.