Saturday, May 14, 2011

little to no ketosis

So I used my first ketone strip a few minutes ago, and the result isn't very promising: as far as I can tell, there's been little to no ketosis over the past five days. I also weighed myself, and noticed that I had gained weight in the past day or two: the scale said 295, a net loss of a single pound. This comes as a disappointment after what seemed to be a steady loss since Monday (OK, I admit I peeked and checked my weight earlier).

So what's been going wrong?

I know that my adherence to the diet has been scrupulous in terms of what foods to eat and what to avoid. There have been no sweets aside from those expensive Atkins bars and shakes (which are permissible on the diet, though not in great quantities). The proteins have all been of the permissible kind-- no processed meats or anything pre-sauced or pre-crusted. The vegetables have all been either leafy greens or crucifers like cauliflower and broccoli-- no carrots or tomatoes* or anything else verboten.

All I can think is that my eating schedule is a problem, and possibly the quantities I've been eating. The first night, Monday night, I sat down to two chicken breasts plus a pork rib-- all merely salted and peppered and then pan-fried-- plus a large load of broccoli and cauliflower. I was stuffed by the end of that meal, but the following morning I saw I had already lost a pound. The second night was eggs and broccoli soup; again, I woke up and discovered, to my delight, another one-pound loss. I didn't buy those Atkins bars and shakes until Wednesday, and never ate more than two bars per day (which, come to think of it, may be a violation of the rules for the induction process; it could be that the bars are there to replace meals, not act as between-meal snacks). On Wednesday night, I had ground beef done up burger-style, plus spinach. On Thursday, I had salmon and chorizo (I checked the chorizo ingredients list and nutrition facts before buying: only 1g of carbs per serving) along with my spinach. Yesterday, Friday, was shrimp plus the rest of my broccoli soup from earlier in the week.

But each night, I was eating until I was stuffed, and I also had hunks of Monterrey Jack cheese waiting for me during my non-meal hours (essentially, the hours between 11PM and bedtime, which is usually around 3:30AM).

It could be that a bad eating schedule, combined with the huge portion sizes, and possibly also the introduction of those Atkins shakes and bars, have contributed to a near-lack of ketosis. I may have to get stricter about portion control, and may also have to avoid the temptation of the Atkins products. The latter won't be hard to do: they don't taste very good, and they're far too expensive: imagine paying $7 for a four-pack of 11-ounce "chocolate" shakes. That's nearly two dollars for about two swallows of ersatz milkshake. Not worth it.

I'm doing induction for the full two-week period, and my "official" weigh-in for this week isn't until Monday morning, but right now, things aren't looking good. It may also be that my body reacts differently to Atkins than my brother's does; I vaguely remember this being the case the last time I tried Atkins, years ago. For me, the best results have typically come from huge amounts of exercise coupled with smaller portions. That's what thinned me out when I lived in Switzerland: all the hiking.

But we'll see. It's too early to jump ship. I can't do much about my eating schedule, as I mentioned before, but I can reduce portions, avoid the Atkins products, and keep eating those diet-friendly proteins and vegetables. As my brother pointed out, not everyone can see results after X amount of time; some of us just take longer.

*While allowed on Atkins, tomatoes can only be eaten in very small quantities.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011


After two days on Atkins (Monday and Tuesday), I can already feel something of an improvement: no pre-diabetic headaches or blurred vision, and while it's premature to say anything about this, I suspect that a very tiny bit of weight loss has already occurred. I don't want to fall into the psychological trap of daily weigh-ins, so I'll wait until next Monday to report an "official" weight.

Tonight, when I'm done with work, I need to buy some Atkins products-- shakes and the like-- as well as more vegetables and proteins. With the sweet tooth I have, I'm already craving chocolate. I'm also going to have to curb the amount I eat at night; the first night, I think I ate way too much. Here are the previous two nights' meals (remember: I don't eat before work, so my only meal of the day happens around 11PM):

Monday night: 2 chicken breasts, a couple chunks of pork (all seasoned with only salt and pepper, and fried up in a skillet); a steamed mix of broccoli and cauliflower, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a dusting of garlic powder, and fortified with a bit of butter.

Tuesday night: soup made from frozen broccoli and leftover spinach, with butter and cream cheese added for robustness, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and a dash of paprika. For protein: scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese.

All of the above is very nice, but the sugar demon trapped inside my head is screaming that I need to eat six Lindt chocolate truffles right now.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

no RSVPs

Thus far, not a single student has RSVPed about the May 20 meeting. I'm beginning to think that my brothers and certain blog commenters are right: asking high schoolers to volunteer for this sort of work (i.e., helping me plan my upcoming walk) may be asking too much. I'd rather not believe that; most of the students I tutor are sharp, motivated, and creative. Some even have quite an activist bent. Why wouldn't that demographic want to help out with a project like this?

Part of the answer is, I suspect, timing: summer's coming soon, and students are thinking about vacation. Volunteering for a massive project now, when the year is effectively coming to an end, may simply feel like more work to the kids. I also heard from one student that his mother won't allow him to participate. This makes sense: many of those sharp, motivated, creative kids are being told by their parents to keep their focus on their studies; anything else is a mere diversion. (Tiger Mother, anyone? No drama class, no sports, and no musical instruments other than violin and piano!)

Unless someone pipes up this week-- a few someones would be better-- I may just scrap the May 20 meeting and try this again in September. Stay tuned.


Happy Buddha's Birthday!

For those who celebrate Vesak (known in Korea by various names, such as Seokga Tanshin-il, or Bucheonim Oshin-nal, or Bultan-jeol), I wish you a Happy Buddha's Birthday! Seong-bul hashipshio! May you attain Buddhahood.

Dalma Daesa (Bodhidharma), First Patriarch of Zen Buddhism, is here to cheer us all on:


Monday, May 9, 2011

true start

We've already had the false start. Now, at last, I stand at the threshold of the Atkins Diet two-week induction period. No more spare food to worry about, so the diet starts now. Wish me luck. Official weight at start time: 296 pounds. If, after two weeks, I don't see significant weight loss, I'll have to rethink my strategy.