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A mere shadow...

Friday, October 5, 2018

It's true - we're a mere shadow of our former selves. Why did we do it? When did we do it? How did we do it? Here's a bit of a recap as well as some hints/tips for those considering this as a new way of eating (it's not just a diet, it's a diet change for life).

The pluses, besides the weight loss and better health: we rarely feel hungry and we crave the bad foods less and less. We know we're eating healthier, too, even when we eat out we find it relatively easy to order something that fits our needs. No sauces or gravies, hold the dressing (best on the side), forgo the pasta, potatoes and bread. Even fast food places are used to people ordering burgers without the bun.

But don't discount the medical benefits. Stu was taking three different medications for hypertension and one for type 2 diabetes. Is off all the original meds and only taking a low dose of another med for his hypertension. His blood sugar is consistently in the 80-90s every day. He is still on a statin for cholesterol but doesn't get more blood work done for a couple more weeks to see if that has improved.
BEFORE Dec 2017 - 40# loss - AFTER Oct 2018
BEFORE Feb 2018 - 29# loss - AFTER Oct 2018
We opted to go sort of a lazy keto route (high protein/low carb). Lazy because we only tracked our intake of calories and carbs. We started out by calculating the number of calories needed to maintain our current weight, our BMI, then our calorie intake limits to get our percentages for tracking (we used MyFitnessPal.com to track - the free membership only allows using a percentage and then calculating that into grams).

From there we set Stu's initial calories to 1900 a day and mine at 1200. We both set a limit of 20-25 carbs per day using total carbs (true keto uses a special calculation for net carbs, subtracting fiber from carbs). We had friends interested and I wrote an email outlining some of what we were doing as well as tips for starting. I'm going to copy that here rather than reinvent the wheel.

  • Pick a date!
  • Get rid of anything in the house that won't be on the diet (Exception, something you don't "crave" and is good for kids/company. I kept rice meals for company. We also bought lo-carb tortilla wraps for sandwiches with company.)
  • Calculate your caloric and carb intake restrictions.
  • Chose how you will be calculating your intake. We used MyFitnessPal.com because I already had an account. I set up a second one for Stu and tracked for both of us. A bit of a pain but eventually he got the hang of what he could and couldn't eat and his limits.
  • Realize you will have bad days! Just go back on the diet as soon as you can.
  • After the first 10-15# loss, allow a splurge day but still try to keep carbs as low as you can. For example, where we used to get two large pizzas so we would have leftovers, instead we got one medium and split it.
  • DRINK WATER!!!! LOTS of water...twice what you think you will need.
  • Realize you may have up to a 5# water loss in the first week until your body adjusts.
  • Be sure to get fiber in your diet so you don't get constipated. We use mixed nuts (a serving of 20+/-) and green olives.
  • If you start to feel flu-like, you need to get your electrolytes back to normal. We use Mio Electrolyte version as an additive to water. You can also use Powerade Zero, it's pretty sweet so Stu cuts it 50/50 with water.
  • You can still bake but you will need some new items in your pantry: almond &/or coconut flour for one thing and a sweetener like Swerve. There are a gazillion recipes on the internet, just Google Keto and lo carb with the name of a recipe you like. You can even make 90 second Keto bread! We printed out two slightly different recipes and kept the one we liked best.
  • Our diet mostly consists of: eggs, bacon, sausage, beef, pork, chicken, sliced deli meats, hard cheeses, cream cheese, dill pickles, olives, mayo, real butter, real cream (although I still use 1/2&1/2) and most veggies. We look at the carbs in anything we are going to buy. We use low sugar catsup, for example.
  • Fruits are pretty much a no-no unless you can limit yourself to 2-3 strawberries of 8-10 blueberries. Bananas are definitely out initially.
  • Corn is out as are all legumes (beans, peanuts). Watch the amount of carrots, onions and Brussel sprouts. 

We rarely hit our calorie limits. We only watch calories and carbs. Stu is currently at 1800 calories, he started at 1900 but we had to adjust when he lost 30#. I'm at 1100-1200 calories and strive for the low end. We both try to stay under 25 carbs, preferably 20 or less. On our splurge days, we go for 30-35 max. We do a splurge day every 10-14 days. It might be a ice cream (one scoop in a junior cup rather than 2-3 in a large cone) or pizza (thin crust and 1/4 the size we used to get. We still get popcorn at the movies but the smallest size available rather than the jumbo refillable bucket.

We track using the free website & app, MyFtinessPal. There are a lot of tracking sites/apps, just find the one that works best for you. I chose to display calories, carbs, fiber, protein, fat in MyFitnessPal but we only closely watched the calories and carbs. We also only did total carbs, not net (a formula where you subtract fiber from total carbs to calculate net carbs).

I have a lot of recipes we have tried or plan to on Copy Me That - a great way to save recipes you find. I print them out but can refer to them online as needed and make notes. Here are the ones we currently have save.

Fat bombs, like the chocolate peanut butter ones I make and we love, help when you might feel hungry or crave a sweet treat. I also make sugar-free jello gummy bears for me since chewy candy is my downfall.

An air fryer is great for this WOE (way of eating) because of the minimal oil used (keeping calories in check). We have also fallen in love with Kerrygold Irish butter. We can even get it at Walmart. I also got our almond flour there. Swerve, for baking, I got on Amazon but it goes a long way.

There are a million, gazillion websites talking about keto/low carb and many folks will scoff when you mention it and others are like reformed drinkers when they discuss it. LOL! So we usually just say we are doing low carb even though we are closer to what is called lazy keto.

Remember, this is a new way of eating (WOE). It's for life or you will gain it all back, unfortunately.

Some results are obvious, Stu is down forty pounds and I'm almost at thirty pounds. Stu hasn't tracked measurements but because women lose more slowly, I tracked mine. Here were the results almost 2# ago.

So yes, new clothes have been needed for both of us. Stu was wearing waist size 38 pants (a little loose) and 36 (quite tight). Now he's wearing size 34. He's gone from XL shirts (and they were getting tight) to L and even a M in certain ones. Yesterday he pulled out a brand new white dress shirt, never worn, bought two years ago for cruises. He looked like he was wearing a bed sheet! New belts, new pants, new shorts, new shirts and a great new blazer for dress. I've gone from tight 14 pants to slightly loose size 12 and in one brand a 10. Tops have gone from XL to some L and and some M. So the same thing, new tops, bottoms and even my first classic black dress (that I may have bought too early and may have to get tailored). The biggest surprise is my shoes are getting loose!

One last note, just for the women...if you are on Facebook and you are sixty or older, I have a support group for those following a keto or low carb way of eating. It's not a research group and technically not a recipe group, although we do share recipes from time to time. It's a motivation, how are you doing, how can we help, sharing and caring group. (You must be over 60 and female!!) Women Losing it after 60: Keto/Low-Carb Support.

Ciao for now!

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