Posted in Diet, Health

Journey Back

I am trying my best to get back on my diet of choice, the Ketogenic Diet. It is a diet that has worked well for me in the recent past. It seems hard to get started though. And if you haven’t heard or saw on my other blog, I am no longer a school bus driver. I decided to give the job up.

The job itself was not causing my failure on my diet. I just haven’t been disciplined or cared enough. The job was causing a great deal of stress though. All I could do when I got home every day was sleep. I was sore, near physically ill from the stress, and dreading the next day. On weekends, I would go through several bottles of wine. This, I believe, was a result of job stress.

I haven’t worked there now for about 3 weeks. I feel like I’m becoming uncoiled finally. I was wound pretty tightly; tight muscles, joint pain, neck pain,¬†and back pain. I’m starting to feel better. Before I took the job, I had begun to practice the saxophone again and learn some tunes. All that ended slowly when I started driving. Eventually, I could not find the energy to continue. Just this week, I remembered what my musical goals were. I had planned to be in a group by this time, or, at least doing some solo work.

I feel I became really unhealthy while driving the school bus. I don’t think I will ever go back to it. So now, since I’ve started feeling better, I intend to try to go all the way. Not even a weight loss goal, just a goal of eating better. I need to decrease some of the inflammation in my body. I need to send my triglycerides in a downward trend, and, I need to lower my blood pressure. The keto diet was doing all of that.

I am a little scared though. I don’t want to fail. And I know I shouldn’t think about it in those terms, but, its hard not to.

Also, I need to get engaged again in some sort of exercise. I guess I will approach all of this one step at a time. And of course, it was helping to post here on my blog. It sort of kept me honest. Anyway, that’s what it is right now. Wish me luck.

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Posted in Diet

All-Star @ Waffle House

Yea, still not worried about any diet. I’m at Waffle House having breakfast. Waffle House is one of my favorite places to eat. I can see them prepare my meal, which makes me more willing to eat the food.

At this point, I have mostly given up on the diet thing, but still watching out for my health. I know I can’t eat like this every day. And for the most part, I eat at home and things are pretty plain jane.

The All-American is a big breakfast. It comes with your choice of bacon, sausage, or ham, eggs to order, grits or hash browns, toast and a big ole waffle!

The coffee is always good, and the price is right. I’m only here because I missed breakfast this morning. I could have gone home but I didn’t want to. I’m enjoying myself.ūüėä

Posted in Health

My Makeover

What exactly is a makeover anyway? What exactly should I be trying to achieve? Am I trying become a skinny person? I don’t think that is actually going to happen. I think I love food too much, and that includes all the ones that are supposed to be terrible for you.

I think maybe I am, or maybe should be, trying to simply develop a healthier attitude about foods in general. I still like the Ketogenic diet. It is easy to follow and a fairly healthy way of eating. However, I find that I am prone to taking advantage of the higher fat intake with the wrong kinds of fat. I have been doing better with that part. This year so far I am mostly overdoing it with the carbs. As you may know, the ketogenic diet is low carb by design.

I don’t ever remember being especially concerned about my appearance when it came to weight. However, before I turned 40 I had never been heavier than 185 – 195 pounds. When I turned 40 things just seemed to slow down; my metabolism, my running speed, and my energy level went way down. I got out of the Navy when I was 44. I feigned injury to get out of my final Physical readiness test (PRT). I would have probably hurt myself doing it anyway.

So when I began writing this blog I had just had my 50th birthday in March. The month I started writing (Sept), is the month my Mom died. She was my best friend. Nothing could have prepared me for such a loss. I was, and am, affected deeply by this event. I think sadness sometimes has a lot to do with the way we eat. Some of the times I ended up eating when I’m not hungry are times I thought to pick up the phone and call my Mom, having forgotten for a fraction of a second that she is gone. There are, of course, other triggers. I think this is what is meant by emotional eating. Everyone probably does it.

As far as controlling weight gain I believe exercise is half of the equation, but sometimes injuries can keep that from happening. I have had a lower lumbar fusion, two levels. I have had the same type of surgery on my neck, level C6. The one thing I am never without is physical pain. My doctors always ask me what my pain level has been between visits (1-10). Mine is always between 5 & 10. Most days it is around 8.

So, I don’t know what kind of a makeover am trying to achieve or could expect. I once thought that if I lost weight maybe my pain level wouldn’t be so high. I’m not sure I believe that anymore, mainly because I don’t think I will ever lose enough weight, but also because degenerative disc disease is, well, degenerative. So, a makeover I may need or want, but, I don’t know what that actually means.

Maybe, in the beginning, I wanted to prove I could lose a lot of weight, and be able to post before and after photos. Now I don’t care about that part of it. Some days I just want to feel sane or normal and feel good physically. Maybe I suffer depression. I don’t know. Perhaps a makeover of the mind is in order.

So, I don’t know what a makeover means for me. I will always try to watch my weight. At my age its a sensible thing to do. I want a healthy mind and emotions. Maybe when that happens (and I believe it will) I will have a better relationship with food, or a healthier one anyway.

Posted in Diet

Progress Report

July 30, 2017, Progress Report

I am holding steady at 245 lbs. I guess the good news is that I am not gaining weight. However, my goal weight of 170 lbs. is another 75 lbs. away. I have been holding at this weight since just after Christmas. The holidays brought delicious foods and treats that would break my progress. I thought I’d be able to get right back to my new eating habit, but it has been more difficult than I anticipated.

What has been happening is a consumption of too many carbs and sugary foods. This is a hold over from the holidays. After all, what do most Christmas treats consist of? Lots and lots of carbs and sugar. And carbs taste so good. I LOVE CARBS! And sugar. But they don’t seem to be my friends. They like to hang around too long mucking things up.

Well, I’m not upset about it. It doesn’t do any good to get upset anyway. I am determined, however, to reach my goal weight at some point. When that will be? I don’t know. I guess sometimes making such a huge change in life takes a while. I can be patient. The fact that I ¬†have not regained the initial 22 pounds lost is somewhat encouraging. I just need to continue on.

I still like the ketogenic diet. It allows me to eat many¬†of my favorite foods. It’s easy enough. The only time I have to use discipline is when my cravings for high carb sugary foods hits. But even then there are many low-carb, low to no sugar, high-fat keto-friendly treats I can make. Again, discipline. These are things I have to prepare, and, the more ahead of time the better.

And that is the key, isn’t it? Being prepared. I know how to be prepared but I am, and always have been a procrastinator. When that urge and craving for high carb sugary foods hits there must be something available at that moment that is in accordance with my¬†desired eating style or I’m doomed. If what I need is not available I will most likely go to the store down the street to fulfill my desire for foods that do me more harm than good.

So, I am not finished yet. I have a long way to go. One of these years I will reach my goal. The reason I say one of these years is that I believe a year is enough time to lose 75 lbs. or less without endangering my health. Hopefully, within the year I won’t regain any weight previously lost.

Posted in Diet

The Makeover Continues

I am holding pretty steady on my diet. I am not cheating as much as I have been all year.¬†At least that is what I thought. Even though I thought I was not cheating by not eating foods outside my diet most of the time, I think I was consuming too many calories. Still, haven’t gained weight, but I haven’t lost any weight either.

Today I went back to using myfitnesspal to track my meals and macronutrients. And as I suspected I ended up eating way less food. So even though I was eating the right foods I had forgotten what the right amounts of food looked like. It was just too much of everything, especially proteins. And proteins in excess can break down into sugars, raising blood sugar.

I am not on a high protein diet. It’s a high-fat diet.¬†The idea behind the keto-diet is to get the body to use fat for fuel. Giving it too much of anything, whether carbs or proteins can result in higher¬†sugar levels in the body, hindering efforts. My goal is to consume 75% fats (the good stuff), 20% proteins, and 5% carbs. This diet works well.

Even though I have not followed my diet very well I still have not gained all the weight I lost last year. I am still 22 pounds under my starting weight. My immediate weight-loss goal is 10 pounds. I think I can do that in 2 months if I can stick to my diet. Right now I’m 245 lbs. I would like to be at 235 lbs. by the end of June. That’s only 5 pounds per month (1.25 pounds per week).

My overall goal weight is 165 pounds. I still believe I can achieve it. I am very excited to still be in this “tltatemakeover.

Posted in Health, surgery

Report on my Dad

daddyI am back home in South Carolina now. For the past two weeks, I had been in Texas visiting my Father, who has been ill. I went there because when I heard about his condition it scared me. I lost my mom in 2013 and I never had the chance to tell her how much she meant to me. I wasn’t about to miss that chance with my dad.

I was there to assess what his health actually was. It was not as dire as it could have been, or as bad as my imagined scenario. And now that he is getting the proper help he will be even better. I left him in good hands with my brother and two sisters and his nieces and nephews; all of whom care about and love him very much.

achalasiaHis issue was related to not being able to eat. His diagnosis is a condition called, Achalasia.

Achalasia is a rare disorder of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. It is characterized by enlargement of the esophagus, impaired ability to push food down toward the stomach (peristalsis), and failure of the ring-shaped muscle at the bottom of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), to relax. It is the contraction and relaxation of the sphincter that moves food through the tube (http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/achalasia).

For the past two weeks my dad has been on a clear liquids diet; chicken and beef broth, protein shakes, juice, and water. He is very tired of it. He has lost a lot of weight. He is being scheduled for surgery to improve the condition. The goal is to dilate the ring-shaped muscle at the bottom of the esophagus, or lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which will hopefully enable him to eat more solid food again.

Coughing Man - ArrowsNow I was adopted, and I don’t think this condition is one that is hereditary. I think anyone can get it. I have already had problems with a hiatal hernia and GERD. I have taken medications for years to reduce acid reflux. I now control it by not over eating, and not eating certain types of foods. You’re probably thinking I avoid spicy foods, but you’d be wrong. It is high carb foods that are the real problem. My digestive system¬†does not appreciate high carb foods. I get gassy, painful digestive movements, and the worst smelling waste possible in a human. Whereas, when I eat high-fat carb and high fat diet digestion is very easy, less gassy, and therefore painless, and waste is not so smelly.

When I first encountered the problem of gerd/hiatal hernia I was in my 30’s. I ate a lot (I mean a lot) of high carb foods. I was literally stuffing myself beyond my stomach’s capacity. I also ate very fast. Maybe its a military thing. My father was in the military and also eats a lot (more than he should), and he eats very fast. I think the way we eat has a lot to do with digestive conditions we may develop later in life.

I am glad my father is getting the help he needs. I hope he will slow down and eat better foods. I have, and I feel 100% better when I really stick to low carb and high fat, or Keto. This is not where I was intending to go with this post. I guess it was on my mind more so since my dad’s recent stomach issues. Well I guess I will end this here.

Take care yourself and your digestive system. It is very important in the long run.

Posted in Diet, Health

1st Doctor Visit of the Year

I had my first doctor visit yesterday. It was just to get new scripts for my medications. The real fun doesn’t start for a¬†few weeks, blood work, and test results the following month.

I don’t necessarily look forward to it. For the past ten years or so I have been moving ever closer to type II diabetes. It is one of the reasons I chose to try the keto diet or low carb-high fat diet.

Throughout the years I don’t think doctors have been¬†very clear on what was moving me in that direction. All they talked about was me needing to lose weight. ¬†So I tried several diets. However, many diets are high in carbs and low in fats and they didn’t help. Not one of my doctors had talked about carbs or hidden sugars in certain vegetables and the¬†way they affect blood sugar. And most grains certainly have the same effect.

It has only been nearly a year since I have been trying to change my eating habits to a diet without high carb foods and sugar. I am addicted to carbs & sugar. It has been mostly easy. However, there are times that I fall off the wagon like an alcoholic, and it is very hard to get back on, as demonstrated this past holiday season. I’m sure you have seen the recipe posts.

So every doctor visit where I get the results of my blood test I’m worried that they will tell me I have finally reached my apparent goal of getting type II diabetes (not really my goal). I have been told I’m becoming, or, have become insulin resistant for several years now, but with no ideas or suggestions about how to change that. That is until Dr, Tara Hughes, my current doctor. She has been extremely helpful, and very supportive of my current diet. She is a very supportive person. You’d think all doctors would be.

Anyway, I have given myself nearly a month to get my act together before my first blood test of the year. I have for the most part been back on track since around Jan 2. I have until Feb 1 before I have blood drawn. A month after that I will sit down with my doctor to go over the results.

I’m not sure a month is enough time to help me because I really went off the rails in November and December. I was completely out of control. If I was a crack addict (or something worse) I might even be dead. And if I don’t get things under control I still may end up dead before my time.

Still, I am starting the new year almost 20 pounds lighter than I was last year. That is a positive start for me. I don’t intend to die before my time. My daughter has already told me I’m not allowed. So I’m still in the fight.

Keep watching for my success.

Posted in Diet

248.5 Week 43

It is week 43. My starting weight was 267 pounds. I have lost weight, but, I have also gained weight. As of this morning, I weigh 248.5, a loss of 18.5 pounds. In the last 43 weeks, I have had a weight loss of up to 39 pounds. I ultimately failed to stick to my diet for nearly 8 weeks beginning around November. And when Thanksgiving rolled around I was completely off my program.

I didn’t give up. I was just struggling. And I’m still struggling, but I haven’t given up. I am in a nearly 2-1/2 month slump but I am still fighting. The keto diet is still the easiest way of eating I have come across so far. However, like probably everyone in this day and time, I am truly addicted to sugar & carbohydrates.

With some discipline, I am sure I can overcome the carb thing. I have already taken measures to rid the house of things I should not be eating. I find that my temptation comes when I get bored. I have to find something to do.

I still have not found a way to practice my saxophone without hurting my neck or back. I can’t really go to the gym, but I don’t really have to. There are lots of exercises I can do without going to the gym, but going there gets me out of the house for a while. Boredom. It is my enemy. I need to have something to do during the day to keep me busy. Television is not doing the trick:)

Not sure what this post is really about except to say, I’m still moving forward. I have the right stuff to eat on hand and I know foods to avoid. There are plenty of things, and even exercises, that can get me out of the house. I just have to do them.

Posted in Diet

Keto Adaptation

Keto Adapting

I have spent the last several weeks, maybe over a month, eating all the wrong stuff. One day all I ate was cereal; high in sugar and carbs. It started with that stupid storm (Matthew); survival foods for when the power went out. It is very hard to get back on track when you get off, even for a short time.

macro_ketoWhen you get on the keto-diet there is a period of adjustment, usually referred to as keto-adapting. It involves keeping your carb intake very low, and your fat intake very high. It is not a high protein diet. High protein can be converted to sugar just like carbs. The macro breakdown is usually 5% carbs, 20% protein, and 75% fat. The fat is what makes this thing work.

It is during the adaptation period that the body gets used to the idea of burning fat for energy. During this period the body is burning off the last bits of sugar or glucose from the blood. When that happens the body has to find another source of energy; fat which is converted to ketones, which is then used as fuel. This will not happen though until all the sugar is gone from the blood.

I have a really hard time during this period. Mainly I’m dealing with false hunger pains. For instance, today after each meal, I would feel hunger with a full stomach. I don’t know why this happens. But once I adapt the very opposite happens. The low amount of carbs at each meal keeps the blood sugar from spiking and therefore, I can go long periods without hunger. That means fewer calories eaten, fat being used for energy, and weight is lost.

So, today is actually my first serious day trying to adapt to keto again. So, I am in for some days of discomfort. I have regained 10 of the 34 lbs. I’d lost. I’m a little disappointed in myself. I will not quit though. I am still very serious about reaching my goal weight of 165-170 lbs. I started at 267 lbs., and currently weigh 243 lbs. So, I have no new pics to post – yet.

Posted in Diet

Logging Meals

I have found that logging meals are key to my success. For the past several weeks I have had difficulty remaining true to my keto-diet. To fail on this diet is simple, consume too many carbs. And it is amazing how much weight gain happens just by adding carbs. In the last two weeks, I have put on 6 pounds. The other easy fail on the keto diet is not eating enough fat. Eating the amount of fat needed on this diet can be rather difficult. The diet doesn’t work without the fat.

What I know about myself is that I am more successful when I log the meals I eat. When I am logging my meals I am more likely to plan my meals. And planning usually goes hand in hand with success.

When I can look at the meals I have logged throughout the day it also enables me to adjust my macronutrient intake if I need to do so. If I haven’t consumed enough fat I can adjust. Or, if I have consumed too many carbs I can adjust my other nutrients to catch up.

In the last few weeks I have not been logging meals, and I have not done very well on the diet. So, beginning yesterday, I have begun again to log my meals. Even beginning to log meals is not an immediate return to success. Once you begin to consume food types you are addicted to, it is very hard to stop.

I am truly addicted to carbohydrates, such as bread, sugary snacks like cookies, or popcorn, or potato chips. So when I start in on those things it is very hard to get things under control again. For the most part, I keep these things out of the house, which is key to my success. However, sometimes when those urges come, there is nothing to stop me from jumping in my car and running down to the store for a quick fix.

Carb addiction is a real addiction and can wreak havoc on your health like any other. Damage may not happen as fast as drug or alcohol damage, but, it is happening and can kill you.

High carb, sugary diets lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other complications. So it is not just weight that I am interested in. Recovering good health is my first goal. Weight loss is just a byproduct of improving my health. If the only way I can succeed is by constantly logging and monitoring my meals then that is what I will have to do.