Reflections on a 24-hour fast

Yesterday we went to Cindy’s for the Browns game. Carrie brought a cauliflower ziti recipe that was a huge hit and Cindy made hot dogs. Now hot dogs are OK on the diet without buns. So I had three over the course of the day. Not until late in the 4th quarter did Carrie read the hot dog label and tell me that the Ball Park Franks we were eating were 4 carbs each!

Fuck! I just ate 21 carbs in basically one sitting by adding those three bunless hot dogs.

While my calories were still in range I realized that I really can’t eat anything more for the rest of the day. Maybe pickles or something, but I maxed out my carbs really early.

When I got home I realized I wasn’t hungry. At least for pickles, olives or sugar-free jello. So I didn’t eat anything.

We started watching some movies and eventually I just went back in and edited my fasting app on my phone to say I stopped eating at 2:00pm.

Was I really going to go all night with nothing else to eat? 16 hours from 2:00pm would allow me to eat again at 6:00am! (I’m not even awake by then – and I don’t eat breakfast anymore)

So morning comes and I feel OK. I decide to just push it until lunch because starting my eating window early will make me have to end it early. Eating from Noon to 8:00pm is what I try to stick to.

So another weird thing happened at work. As I’m getting closer to lunch I realize I’ve got a lot to do and I’m starting to stress about getting it done before lunch.

When I check my fasting app I see that it’s been 22 hours since I’ve eaten.

What would happen if I just waited and ate lunch at 2:00pm? What would happen if I fasted for 24 hours?

Surely nothing big and flashy – but I could say that I did it… OK – that settled it. I finished my work stuff and went for a walk.

I’m sitting here now at 1:40pm. I have a meeting at 2:00pm and I am planning to eat lunch right afterwards. I don’t want to just skip lunch altogether because I don’t want to waste the food (leftovers from yesterday! Yum!) but sitting here waiting, I’m thinking I could. I’m just not that hungry. It’s a weird feeling. Plus I feel like I have energy and focus that I don’t often have.

Researching fasting the last few weeks has led me to believe that people go without food for entire days all the time. And in 20 minutes I’ll be one of them.

I may repeat this in the future. I like it.

Whooshing past a goal

One of the stranger phenomenon that occurs when you are losing weight is the so-called “whoosh effect” […] It’s the name we give to a very common occurrence where you are eating right and doing everything you are supposed to do but no weight loss happens for several days and then all of a sudden, you lose 3-5 lbs in a single night.

I don’t know if this qualifies as a “whoosh” or not – but Sunday’s weigh-in was 282 pounds.

That’s 7 pounds less that last week. After two weeks of 3 pound losses, suddenly I am 52 pounds lighter than I was when I started this in July.

Yes – 50 pounds! That was the first milestone I set for myself. I was hoping I could make it 50 pounds down by Christmas this year. Then I thought I might make it to 50 by Thanksgiving. Now I don’t know what to think.

My ultimate goal of a “normal” BMI doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore. Although 165 pounds is a looong way off. I remember thinking I’d be thrilled if I could lose 100 pounds. And I’m halfway there in less than 70 days. It’s strange to think there may come a time when I have to start planning to stop losing weight and try to maintain my weight. I’ve never felt such a thing. As long as I can remember I’ve always thought that it would be nice to lose some weight.

Well, I can’t get a head of myself. There’s still plenty of challenges ahead. Vacation and the holidays are coming up and while I feel a lot better about them now – there will still be some roadblocks and tough decisions to make.

I am thinking that before vacation I should get back into the doctor’s office and make sure all this progress is having the intended effect on my health.

I feel amazing most of the time nowadays, so I can’t believe that anything I am doing is detrimental to my health, but the blood test numbers will tell the truth. And that’s the progress I really want to see.

Slow progress is still progress

Weekly weigh-in: 289 pounds.

Another 3 pound loss. After 3 weeks of losing 6 pounds a week the last two weeks I’ve only lost 3 pounds each week.

I’ve known from the beginning that the weight loss would eventually slow down and I was surprised to drop 6 pounds a week for the first few weeks.

One significant non-scale victory, however, was that I switched back to my old wedding ring this weekend. My new one flung off my hand while sitting on the couch. I showed Carrie and Ashley how I could slide it off just by shaking my hand (it’s been falling off in the shower for a week or so whenever my hands get soapy).

In August I was determined to track everything that went in to my mouth. I did so and I lost a ton of weight.

In September I want to start seeing much I learned about knowing what to eat and how much by not tracking as diligently and seeing how things shake out. I’m still tracking but I’m approximating a lot more and eating more foods that I don’t have exact nutrition info on.

Could the lack of exact tracking be what’s slowed me down? Or am I naturally slowing down because my body is acclimating to the new diet?

I’ve said that I don’t want to spend my life tracking my food – and I stick by that. I want to know what I can eat and how much of to eat. Eventually, I want to be able to go into a restaurant and just order food without figuring out what I can have and what I can’t.

On one hand – I am still succeeding. I am still losing weight.

On the other hand, by leaving my decisions to my instincts I may have slowed down my progress.

Maybe I don’t know everything I think I do yet.

End of a weird week

After all was said and done I weighed in on Sunday at 292. Only a 3 pound loss from last week. Up until now, I’ve been losing 6 pounds a week.

But last week was weird.

First was the Chinese lunch that may or may not have been higher-carb than I planned. Then there was birthday dinners (protein-heavy steak and hamburger). But there was also a shit-ton of walking (Air Show and Geauga County Fair combined for over 15000 steps – over 7 miles) making my calves rock hard.

So did I over-do it on the protein? Maybe. Did I pack on some muscle? Maybe?

All-in-all, I still lost weight. I still feel good. It still counts as a victory.

It’s nice to get back to the daily grind where things are more controlled. I think I did pretty well this weekend considering the potential food disasters I was presented with.

It reminds me of when I quit smoking – thinking that every time I did something without smoking I was able to say “I’ve already done this without smoking”. Now I can say I’ve already gone to the Fair / Air Show / Celebration dinner without eating a bunch of crap.

It’s getting easier.

Looking forward to this week’s progress.

Paying for my sins

Yesterday the office guys went out for lunch. It was the first group lunch since I started the new diet. Unlike the last “Dad’s Dinner (feat Uncle Chris)” that was held at Red Robin (a known quantity with published nutrition facts), we went to King Wah, a local Chinese place that has no nutrition facts available.

I decided on Szechuan Chicken with no rice. I thought “How bad can it be? Chicken and vegetables in a brown sauce.” Truthfully, I still don’t know how bad it was. While it tasted good, I did notice the sauce was a bit on the sweet side (rather than spicy, which I expected). Google-ing Szechuan Chicken recipes I found everything ranging from 4g carbs to 37g carbs per dish. All depending on the preparation, of which I had no idea in my lunch.

To be safe – I decided to plan on the high side and treat yesterday like an unanticipated cheat day.

I had dinner at home and then stopped eating. Carrie was talking about how she cheated and weighed herself yesterday and was down another pound. I decided to check and see what my damage was. 298 pounds. I gained 3 pounds since Sunday. Shit. Was it lunch? Or was it weighing myself fully clothed after two meals? I don’t know.

So as punishment (not really) I fasted from 6:44pm last night until a little after 1pm today. Over 18 hours. I’m not sure if it helped but I didn’t feel any adverse effects. If yesterday’s lunch was high-carb, then I certainly didn’t need any snacks last night. I’ve stopped eating breakfast in the morning since it’s easier to fast until lunch than it is to not eat at night.

I’ve read multiple times that weight stalls or small gains are normal and just “Keep Calm and Keto On ” (KCKO) so that’s my mindset. Today is Carrie’s birthday and we’re dining at Outback. I have already planned my low-carb dinner and don’t anticipate any surprise deviations in the near future.

I am interested in the long term effects of yesterday though. I wonder what I’ll weigh-in at on Sunday?

If nothing else it was a lesson learned in how easy it is to put on a pound or three and how hard it is to take them off.

The number starts with a “2”

I made it below 300 pounds!

Yesterday I weighed in at 295 pounds. I am officially lighter than my driver’s license (which was a big fat lie for the last 8 years, anyway)

Carrie lost 5 pounds and Ashley lost another pound last week. The three of us have not had bread, sugar or pop for almost a month. We spend our evenings talking about non-scale victories like fitting into old clothes or no longer having the after-dinner bloat. We’re saving money by not buying high-carb, high-sugar snacks at the movies (or anywhere else).

Some days it’s a challenge to figure out what we can eat – but it’s never a downer – it’s more like figuring out a puzzle. Carrie has rediscovered her love of cooking and she’s turning out day after day of delicious, healthy food with almost no waste or left-overs.

I have to take my new wedding ring off before I get in the shower because when my hands get wet and soapy my ring just falls off! I’ll have to go back to my old ring before much longer (the one I had to replace because it was far too tight).

This is also the start of birthday week. We don’t really have any plans for our birthdays other than dinner some place – but the Labor Day weekend is full of excitement. I’ll be turning 49 weighing less that I did when I turned 48 (or 47 or 46 and probably a few more years).

We’ve started wondering aloud if we’re going to need to buy new clothes before our trip to Salem in October.

We just might.

Almost There…

If my weight loss continues to progress at this rate, next Sunday the number on the scale will begin with a “2” for the first time in my memory. Literally. I have tried to remember when I was below 300 pounds and while I know it was sometime in the 2000’s I can’t remember if it was 2002 or 2009?

Yesterday I weighed in at 301 pounds.

I had the occasion over the weekend to look at my driver’s license and see that I’ve never changed my weight from 300 pounds since my last renewal. Everyone lies about their weight on their license, though, right?

We went to the Rocksino on Saturday to see Mike Polk Jr and lose some money. While all three of us actually made a little money and thoroughly enjoyed the show, the thing that surprised me most was my ability to walk around the entire gambling floor for an hour and 15 minutes before the show without developing that burning, nagging pain in my lower back and thighs that would normally have me desperately looking for a chair to sit down and alleviate the pain.

When I started walking every day back in May, I had no agenda other than I knew I had to move regularly to keep from freezing up completely. At the end of those first few walks I was in so much pain. So sweaty and out of breath, I knew that I had made a good decision to try to become more active. But, a small amount of walking should not hurt that much.

I’ve felt better over the weeks as I kept walking daily, but not until we started the weight loss journey did my walking become so much easier! The extra weight I was carrying around with me kept me in pain. Without the weight, I’ve managed to extend my daily walks and return to my desk feeling fine. Heart rate is up as it should be, and my forehead is damp if it’s warm out – but the pain is gone and so is the burning.

I don’t want to set unrealistic goals for myself, but based on the steady progress of the last three weeks I feel like I can really weigh less that 300 pounds by Sunday.

And I’m almost there.

I’m Melting!

So, one week into this new diet and I’ve decided to keep it going for a while. We picked Sunday as our “weigh-in” day since I don’t want to get into the mental roller coaster of weighing myself every day.

Sunday morning I weighed in at 313lbs.

I was sure there was something wrong with the scale. I had to step off and on three times.

That’s 21 pounds lost since my doctor’s appointment on July 12, 2018, where I confirmed I weighed 334lbs. (That’s 21 pounds in 24 days!)

We initially weighed in on July 31, 2018 (the day Carrie bought the scale) and at that point I was 323.

I’ve read that the keto diet will have you drop a lot of weight initially in water. Expect it to level out to 1-2 pounds a week afterwards. But I have also been eating at huge calorie deficit.

I went so far as to calculate the nutrition of lunches I know I’ve eaten as recently as last month and was shocked to see how often my “sorta-healthy” lunch was over half my recommended daily calories and quadruple my recommended carbohydrates. All in only one meal! (Sometimes I ate three of those meals in a day – and then had snacks at night!)

In any event, Carrie and I have spent the week congratulating each other (she lost 4 pounds in a week) and remarking about how much better we feel, in general. Things that we never thought would change just by eating better and losing weight are happening: better sleep, less pain, better moods, less pain, lower food bills, less pain. And it’s only been a week!

I’m trying to ensure that I don’t let this “honeymoon phase” of big weight loss and big changes make me sour on this idea as things start to slow down, but I’ve already started imagining what it would be like to fit into my older clothes and not avoid sitting at booths in restaurants.

There have been a lot of changes in my life over the last 10 years or so that I knew in the back of my mind were due to my weight and I always just figured it was part of getting older. I thought I’d never have the willpower to change it.

Even now, I’m hesitant to write things like this post because if I go back to my old ways, I’ll feel like a huge failure. But in the interest of having something to read next year and the year after – here we go. This has been the start of what I’m hoping will be a life change. I’m looking forward to fixing myself.

And I feel like I’m doing it.

Fat, Sick and Dying

I’ve dreaded making one of these posts because if I don’t follow through, it’s just a documented example of my failure.

“I’ve decided to lose weight.”

My liver enzymes came back really high this past month and I had to have an ultrasound to find out I’ve got “nonalcoholic steatohepatitis”. It’s early in the disease, as stages go, but as Carrie has said – it’s the first hard evidence we have to make some changes. Up until now it was easy to cheat or go back to old eating habits because while I was fat, I was sort of healthy. I mean, I had no heart problems or blood pressure problems. But this diagnosis means that the last few years of joint pain and poor sleep and no activity is not just a sign of getting old. I’m wearing out.

I’ve decided to try follow the advice of Keto and Paleo advocates and go lo-carb, high-fat, moderate protein.

Carrie and I are reading labels and finding out just how poorly we’ve been eating. While Carrie hasn’t had any blood work and has no symptoms of fatty liver, she says that she’s in the same boat and is going to try this new diet with me – because we both really would like to lose weight.

I’ve avoided taking any kind of “before” photos. I have plenty of pictures of me being fat.

I’ve downloaded MyFitnessPal and am using the app and the web site to track my food starting yesterday. Although I think the mere fact of writing down everything you eat is enough to shame you into eating less. I wish I had a daily diary of my eating from a few weeks or months ago. It would probably scare the shit out of me! So just tracking what I eat should be enough to eat less.

As far as what to eat – I’m looking for low-carb alternatives to daily foods. It’s not going too well – but it hasn’t been a week yet. I’m hoping the immediate side-effects of eating better (less inflammation, less farting, better sleep) will help overcome the temptation to go back to bad foods.

But in any event, this journal entry has the distinction of being the written documentation of when I decided to try to lose weight. I have no idea what I weigh, but I think I saw 330lbs on the scale at the doctor’s office a few weeks back – so I’m gonna use that number.

I weigh 330lbs at the beginning of August, 2018.

Let’s see what kind of progress I can make.

Wish me luck.