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.