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Archive for August 2018

Energy   Leave a comment

This is not so much a benefit of not being hungry as it is more of a tag along experience.  The reason why you don’t feel hungry on keto is because you have a better gas tank all of the sudden.

Think of it this way.  Imagine I owned a dealership that had two nearly identical cars to sell you.  Every detail about the cars was the same.  The style, the color, the price, all identical save the fuel source.  With the first car you’d get a range of around 2,000 miles.  The other car has a range of 30,000 miles.

Well that’s how your body works.  When you rely on glucose as your fuel source you can only store 2,000 or so calories at a time.  That’s regardless of your size and shape.  2,000 calories, maybe 2,500 if you’re lucky.  That’s why your body craves food so much on a glucose based diet.  You go through a lot of your fuel tank each day even if you aren’t particularly active.

Now look at the person who is keto adapted.  Your fuel source is ketones.  Even if you’re lean and athletic you’re holding on to 30,000 some odd calories in your tank.  Way more than you’ll burn in a day, even if you’re very active.  So there’s no sense of urgency in your body to replace the fuel as you use it.  That sense of urgency of course is hunger.

How does this play out over the course of the day.  Well if you’re glucose based as your day goes on you’ll actually see the needle moving on your fuel tank.  And then your body becomes nervous.  It doesn’t want to wait until the tank is about empty, as we often do with our cars.  The body feels there’s a scarcity of food and it acts now to protect you.

Using the car analogy, if you are flying down the highway at 80mph and you realize that you need to start conserving fuel, what do you do?  You slow down of course.  You decrease the amount of fuel you need to burn and try to become more efficient in how you’re burning it.  As a human you experience this as tiredness and lower performance.

Now think of the ketone powered vehicle.  It doesn’t worry because even if you’re super active you’re likely only going through 10-15% of your fuel supply.  So there’s no need to take emergency measures to make sure you can go until the next fuel up.  In fact you could go a few days without fueling up before it becomes an issue.

So how does having all day energy play out for you?  You get more stuff done.  There’s no mid day taper off of performance.  You’re not wasting time having to refuel throughout the day so that’s more time you get to spend doing whatever you like.  When you wake up in the morning you don’t need to rush to fill the tank to get started.  You wake up with a sufficient fuel supply on board so you hit the ground running.  And staying up later isn’t an issue either, although you still should get a good nights sleep every night.  In an interesting “paradox” since I started I have more energy during the day but when it’s time for bed I sleep like a baby.

All of that is great and all, but I’d say the biggest energy boost goes to the biggest energy hog in your body, your brain.  It’s such a small part of your body but it uses about 20% of your daily energy expenditure. I’m not a biology major or medical professional, that’s just the figure I’ve seen in most everything I’ve read on the subject.  Brain fog, that feeling you get where it gets harder and harder to think and concentrate, is an energy issue.  When you switch to ketones you not only have a much larger reservoir of energy for the brain to use, it’s an energy source it finds easier to use.  You stay alert and awake all day with better mental focus and clarity.  And it’s not hard to see how that will improve your productivity throughout the day.  Imagine reading faster and comprehending better because you’re not having to keep going back and rereading passages due to brain fog.

All of this because you have more fuel on board which translates to more energy throughout the day.  So let’s get back to the car analogy we started with.  I have the same two cars to sell you.  The only difference is one will get you 2,000 miles down the road, the other 30,000 miles.  Which one are you going to buy from me?  The answer is pretty obvious.  So now the question is which body do you want?  The one that has a small tank and gets cranky when the tank isn’t full?  Or the one that can go for days without a fill up and still run at top performance?  Which brings us to the third things I mentioned, fasting.  And that is a topic we’ll cover in tomorrow post.  Hope you’re having a great day and see you soon.

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Distraction   Leave a comment

So first on the list of things hunger does to you is distraction.  If you’re hungry that’s what your mind will focus on.  It makes perfect sense from a biological imperative standpoint.  If you felt hungry but then your mind could wander you might not get around to eating.  Since hunger is the body’s way of informing you more fuel is needed, that would mean eventually you’d run out of fuel.  That, obviously, would be very bad for you. So once you get hungry your mind wants to focus on that need.

Now when you’re at work or doing something where getting food soon isn’t very likely you might be able to get your mind off of the hunger for a short bit of time.  But go too long and the hunger pangs will reassert themselves and they’ll be much harder to drive away this time.  We already covered why being really hungry is bad from a food choice perspective.  What we want to cover today is more of a quality of life issue.

For every moment you’re focused on your hunger you’re not focused on something else.  Like say that job that’s preventing you from getting up right now and taking care of the hunger pangs.  Lack of focus on your work leads to lower job quality. Lower job quality leads to poor performance reviews from your superiors.  And that can affect you in the wallet.

Or how about with friends.  If you’re focusing on your hunger you’re not focusing on the people you’re interacting with.  This can lead to interpersonal issues with the people you care about.  It gets even worse when you go from hungry to “hangry”. Then you’re compounding the distraction with grouchiness and irritability.

Or what about opportunities to make things better for yourself?  If your mind is on your hunger, you might be missing other things.  You might have missed a sight that could have brought a smile to your face.  Maybe someone you don’t know was being pleasant to you and you didn’t catch it because you’re distracted.  Maybe that person could have been a really good friend, or maybe more.  You’ll never know if you’re distracted and miss the opportunity to meet them.

How about the drive home?  The drive between work and my home is full of trees, and pastures, and streams.  It’s very scenic in some areas.  If I’m just focusing on what I’m going to stuff my face with when I get home I’m missing the relaxing view most of the way home.  Or maybe a cute critter or two along the way.  Or even the occasional fireflies that come and go around here.

The key is when you’re distracted you just don’t know what you’re missing because, well, you missed it.  And once you’ve missed it there’s usually no getting it back.  So if there’s an easy to way to deal with the distraction of hunger, mainly just not feeling hungry, why  not do that?  I’m almost never hungry and it makes my life so much happier.

I spend considerably less time on thinking about food. Just a little bit before shopping once a week and then maybe a little bit at the beginning of the day.  I don’t even really spend much time thinking about food when I’m eating.  Eating for me is more about getting nourishment in then it is about a pleasure response for quieting my hunger.  Sure I enjoy the food I eat. It’s delicious  But it isn’t the same kind of response as when you fix a sugar craving.  All the rest of the day I’m focused on what’s right in front of me.  Mainly because I’m not hungry.  It’s also because my keto diet just powers my brain better, but that’s for a different post.

So that’s it for distraction.  Tomorrow I’ll cover how you make the best use of all this undistracted time, having more energy.  Until then, how you have a great day.

Not Being Hungry Anymore   Leave a comment

If I had to share what I think is the biggest benefit of keto with you, surprisingly I wouldn’t say the easy weight loss.  It tends to be the reason most people do.  They have pounds to lose, usually a lot of pounds to lose, and they’ve heard about how successful people have been dropping those pounds on keto.  It’s the original reason I started.

But having been on the diet for well over a half a year now I’d say the number one benefit is not being hungry anymore.  I used to be a slave to my hunger, now I’m not.  How did this play out in every day life?

Well before on a glucose based diet I couldn’t go very long without getting hungry.  And the longer I went being hungry the worse my food choices would be when I got a chance to eat.  As an example, if I got hungry at work I’d have a certain period of time before I could do anything about it.  On my job I can’t just stop doing what I am doing and go get something to eat.  I have to wait until the next break or possibly after work to get something. After work being the worst case scenario.  If I got hungry an hour or two before work ended I’d be spending from that moment forward until I got in my car wanting food.  What’s the quickest way to fix that problem once I was off the clock heading home?  Stop at a drive thru.  And of course at that point I wasn’t thinking about what would be the healthiest way to deal with these hunger pangs.  I wanted easy carbs and I wanted them now.

This is what led me to gain all that weight.  The quickest and easiest ready to go carbs, that travel well, all tend to be bad for you.  And making it worse is the fact that these carbs don’t keep you sated for long so the cycle begins again.

Now I’m keto.  Things are totally different.  If I look back at the times since the beginning of the year when I was hungry they all revolve around the times when I was back on carbs.  Mainly my week off I just took, or my regular, monthly day off from keto.  Other then that I just don’t feel hungry.  Ever.

Using the work example, as I don’t ever feel hungry I’m not experiencing cravings on the way home.  So it’s easy to make it back to my house to cook a proper meal.  A meal I’m cooking not in response to a craving but because I know it’s time to nourish my body.  And when you’re making your meals revolve around nourishing your body, not stopping your cravings, you make better choices about what you eat.  The better you choices, the better your body.  This creates a cycle, too, it’s just a good one to be caught up in.

This is a very important point to bring up about the keto diet, or what I prefer to think of as the keto lifestyle.  A lot of people associate it with weight loss.  And certainly it’s great for that.  My monthly average weight loss from when I started is still nearly 10 pounds a month.  But if you associate keto with just weight loss it’s easy to assume that once you’ve lost all your weight there’s no longer any benefit to being in ketosis anymore.  And that’s simply not true.

So even if you have low body fat, or even ultra low body fat, if not being a slave to hunger and having hunger pangs all day is a good thing in your book you should try the ketogenic lifestyle.  Not having hunger pangs all day also adds other benefits to your life.  When you’re not focused on how hungry your belly is you can spend that time focusing on other things.  Also, the main reason you don’t have the hunger pangs anymore is you have plenty of energy already.  Hunger is your bodies way to tell you it needs more energy.  Fasting is also way easier when you naturally don’t feel hunger pangs.  I’ll cover all of these in greater detail over the next few blogs.  That’s it for now.  Hope you’re having a great day and take care until next time.

 

Gratitude   Leave a comment

A lot of nice things have happened to me lately.  I’m down 70 pounds from the beginning of the year.  I’ve done a decent job on working on my spending and financial habits.  I just got back from a wonderful trip to Bellingham, WA to visit my friends.  I don’t need an extender for my seat belt when I fly anymore.  In the past few months I’ve randomly ran into two people I haven’t seen in years.  It’s a pretty nice list and there’s even more I could add.

I’m certain if you spent a few moments you could come up with a list of your own.  Special things that are easy to notice.  When an unexpected happiness comes into our lives it’s easy to see it against the background of the regular.  Here’s the thing, you don’t only have to be grateful for the big things that stand out.  You can be grateful for all the small blessings you tend to overlook because they’ve become commonplace in your life.

If you’re reading this right now you’re still alive.  That’s something to be grateful for.  And you have some kind of electronic device to read this on.  Again, something to be grateful for.  You have an internet where you can find blogs like mine, you could be grateful for that as well.  Just the events surrounding your reading this post, including having the knowledge it takes to comprehend the language it’s written in, provides a nice list of things to be grateful for.

What if you spent some of tomorrow thinking about the different things in your life from this perspective.  What all goes in to your daily commute that you could be grateful for?  Do you have your own car?  That qualifies.  If you don’t then it’s likely you have access to some other conveyance that takes you too and fro.  Maybe it’s a friend who drives you, or a subway, or an Uber (or Lyft if that’s your preference).  Those are things to be grateful for.  Even if you walk, you can be grateful that you have the ability to walk and the energy to do so.

Anything you do tomorrow can provide numbers of opportunities to be grateful.  Cooking, typing, watching TV, even cleaning the house.  It’s just a matter of looking for the things in them to be grateful about.

Now if each one thing you do has a decent list of things to be grateful about, and you do a great number of things in the day, you’ll have a very long list at the end of the day.  That should make you feel pretty happy.  And it’s probably the same kind of day you’ve been just existing through for months and years now.  The only difference is you’re taking time to realize what’s good in it.

If you spend all that time thinking about how good things are, how grateful you are about these things, you take away time from focusing on things that bring you down.  Or things that try to convince you that life isn’t so good.  You get to choose what to focus on. It’s your life after all.

To help you along your way I recommend getting a note pad or a journal and just writing down three things a day you’re grateful for.  They make apps for smartphones that make this task even easier.  You just have to bring the commitment to do it.  Try this for a week, or if you can a month, and tell me how it feels.  I’m betting if you spend a few minutes every day taking note of three things to be happy for you’ll notice two big differences by the end of the month.

First, I’m betting that along the way you’ll notice that you started writing down more then three things.  It’s contagious.  Once you notice three things it’s easy to see a fourth or a fifth or a tenth.  And when that habit builds and the list gets longer each day you’ll notice a second thing, how much happier you are.  After all how can you not be happier when you realize all the blessing in your life.

It’s up to you of course.  It’s your life, use your time as you please.  But if giving up just a few minutes a day could lead to a happier you in a month, it seems like a small risk of time investment for such a possibly big payout.  Take care, and see you soon.

You never know.   Leave a comment

First things first, a quick weigh in check in.  I’ll do this quickly because I just did the post the other day about my progress coming back from vacation.  This week I weighed in at 283.0 pounds.  At 38.7% body fat that means I’m down to 109.5 pounds of fat.  Closing in on being less than 100 pounds of fat.  Just a little over 76 pounds of muscle.  A small but good increase.  A very pleasant weigh in.

Of course since I’m off of vacation now I’m also back at work.  Today was my second day back.  I’m not really happy with my job right now, mainly because I don’t like how I feel at the end of the day.  My attitude can be pretty negative.  I’m taking steps to look for a new job but in the interim I’m having to deal with those feelings. So I left work with a “glad that’s over” mindset, which isn’t a really healthy one.

On the way home I just wasn’t happy with my life.  I got home and had a nice keto meal.  Still not feeling it, I went to my room and laid back in bed for a quick nap.   I decided to check my phone first.  There was a ton of Instagram alerts about a post I was tagged in from a company I buy my keto creamer from.  It’s http://www.prymal.com if you’re interested (I am not an affiliate nor do I make any money/benefit from this, I just really like Courtney’s creamers).

I clicked on a notification and it took me to her post about how men like flavored creamers too (guilty!).  And right there, top center in a collage she made, was a pic of me I had taken on vacation and posted on Instagram.  It so made my day to be featured in a man crush Monday collage of her loyal, male customers.

As I scrolled through the rest of my alerts I found one from Courtney.  She had left a comment on that picture in my feed.  She commented how proud of me she was at my progress.  I responded to both the post and the comment to thank her for her kindness.  She replied back on the collage post to tell me she thanked me for being such a loyal customer and that she hoped I knew how deeply she appreciated it.

Here is a person I’ve never met face to face and I’m having a positive impact on her life.  By being a loyal customer I’m helping her dream company come true.  By making all the progress on keto I’m a source of inspiration to her.  And to think a short while earlier I was moping about in bed not happy with my life.

Sometimes you never really know the impact you’re having on others lives. In this case it was good, maybe great.  I didn’t take the actions I took that led to that impact with the purpose of creating that impact.  I just lived my life and it happened.  Without even trying I’m impacting someone’s life.

Here’s the thing, it’s a two edged sword.  As I stated earlier I’m not happy with my job, and I’m sure that I’m letting it show through at work.  I’m not trying to have a negative impact on the lives of others, but it’s possible I am.  I’ll never know.

The two points I’d like to leave you with today are this.  First, be mindful throughout the day.  Know what you’re doing and act with purpose.  Try to stay positive even in situations that you’d rather not be in.  Second, be gentle with yourself.  Even if things aren’t looking their best you can still be having a positive impact on someone.  Even when you’re not trying, even if you don’t know it.  And you’re more likely to be having that positive impact if you’re being mindful and positive.

We act and the impact of those actions ripple through the world we live in.  What that impact is may be something you’ll never know.  Just do your best this week to make it a positive one.  Who knows, if you spend all that time being positive the biggest impact could be on you.  Take care and see you soon.

 

Rising Sun   Leave a comment

It’s one of my all time favorite movies.  I’m a huge Sean Connery fan and I found this to be one of his most underrated performances.  It’s based off of the Michael Crichton novel of the same name.  In the movie Connery plays a police consultant called in to assist Wesley Snipes investigate a murder at a prominent Japanese electronics company.  It’s a great movie for sure, but I haven’t read the novel (I’ve included an affiliate link to both at the bottom of this post, just click the image).

I won’t go into great detail on either as I don’t want to give out any spoilers but there is a line from the movie I did want to share.  It doesn’t give away any of the plot so feel free to continue reading if you intend to read the book or watch the movie.  The line, spoken by Connery, is “Fix the problem, not the blame.”  It’s such a great line, and a great practice to include in your life.

The idea is that you have discovered a problem.  There are many actions you can take.  The one that usually comes up first is we want to know who caused the problem.  It kinda seems logical.  If there’s an issue that causes a problem, certainly somebody should be held responsible. The things is that figuring out who caused the problem doesn’t really do anything about fixing the problem.  It’s something we can figure out down the line, once the problem is fixed.  And that should be the focus, fixing the problem.

And while we’re discussing who to blame, it’s easy to see that you could substitute “what” just as easily for “who”.  Spinning wheels figuring out what caused the problem, before you fix the problem is jus as silly.  Unless you need to know who or what caused the problem to fix the problem, you should only be worried about HOW to fix the problem. Everything else is spending time on something that doesn’t really move you forward.

So from this point forward fix the problem, not the blame.  It more productive and actually improves your life.  Finger pointing, not so much.  Have a nice day and see you soon.

Blog Update   Leave a comment

Sorry for the no posts over the last week.  As noted in my last post I was on vacation.  I had intended to spend a little time each day blogging but it didn’t happen.  I had a week to spend with friends and get things done and I used it for that.  While I do apologize for my absence I’m sure you all can understand why I won’t apologize for making time for friends.  I hope you wouldn’t apologize for that either.

Having said that we are well behind on my weigh in progress and for my first post back I am going to fix that problem.  Going into the vacation I was a bit worried about one thing, how much weight I’d gain back.  The reason being, I decided to go off keto for my time in Bellingham.  I felt this would make it easier on my friends who I was visiting.  I’ve worked hard since January 1st to take the weight off and I wasn’t happy that this would cause some of it to come back.  As with most fears, the actual events were certainly less scary than the fears themselves.

The first weigh in of the month I weighed in at 285.4 pounds.  I mention this because I decided to go off keto a couple days prior to flying out.  I’ve had keto days off since the beginning of the year and never reacted poorly to them.  The past few months I’ve been really low carb and was worried that introducing a lot of carbs all of the sudden might make me sick. I didn’t want to waste any time on vacation on that.  So I started a little early, and did feel a little off.  Mainly felt a heavy feeling in my stomach and a bit tired.  Nothing too bad.  This was before my Monday weigh.  As such I had already gone up in weight.  On 08/13 I weighed 288.8 pounds.  I hadn’t even flown out yet and I was up over 3 pounds. More fear creeped in.

Now while I was in Bellingham I did eat whatever I wanted, but I kept it in reasonable amounts.  As an example, the first night I was there I went to McKay’s for trivia night.  This was an old weekly ritual we had when I lived there over a year ago.  Clearly we spent a lot of time there as one of the bartenders said he missed me and was happy I was back.  This made my day.  Food options at McKay’s are limited and definitely not keto.  I had a couple slices of pizza, some cheesy bread, and cinnamon sticks.  But I didn’t go crazy and eat a whole pizza or drink a ton of alcohol.  I enjoyed myself but kept it in boundaries.  The other bit of balance I brought with me was the commitment to get in a lot of walking each day.  I easily doubled my usual walking time every day I was there. And unlike here in Alabama where it’s mainly flat land, Bellingham, Washington State is hilly as all get out.  So twice the time and twice the difficulty.  I did this every day I was there, without exception.

The week went by pretty quick and I arrived home mid evening on this past Tuesday.  I had been fasting from a few hours before bed on Monday.  I had coffee, and a packet of Nomatic Keto creamer (35 calories of MCT Oil and fiber) but nothing else.  After relaxing for an hour at home I knew the time of accountability had arrived.  I walked into the bathroom with a small amount of trepidation, ready to survey the damage.

And then the scale made me realize I had been more worried than I should be.  I weighed 295 pounds.  After a week of carbing up and not worrying about food choices I hadn’t even gained a full 10 pounds.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t happy I’d put on nearly 10 pounds, just happy it wasn’t the 15-20 I feared it might be.  The story gets better.  I had told myself I would do a 48 hour fast. I still had another day of fasting to go.  After I was done fasting I’d weigh myself again to see what the results were.

I fasted all day Wednesday, went to sleep, and Thursday morning I carried out my usual routine for weighing in on Mondays.  I stepped on the scale and to my surprise I only heard one beep.  Now the scale I use from Greater Goods (affiliate link below, just click the image) syncs via wireless to their server and then an app on my phone.  The first beep means the weigh in is done, the second means the results have been synced to the server.  By the time I looked down to see what was going on the screen was already blank.  So I stepped off and stepped on again and this time when I heard the first beep I looked down and the screen said 284.4 pounds.  That was the problem.  The scale has automatic user detection.  It does this by figuring out which user is within 10 pounds of the weight.  As I had weighed in at 295 pounds on Tuesday my scale didn’t know it was me.  I got a glass of water, took my shower, got dressed, and then looked up how to tell the scale I’m me.  After figuring that out I went back in and told it I’m User 1 before weighing in.  This time it would have detected me anyway as I weighed in at 285.2 pounds due to the water I had drank, and most likely absorbed while showering.

The second number is the one I’ll use as it’s the one that was recorded into my log.  So I started out at 285.4 with 39% body fat, or 111.3 pounds.  After everything was said and done I was at 285.2 with 39.1% body fat, or 111.5 pounds.  Basically after all that I found myself back where I started.  Not bad for a week plus break from keto.

I’ve had a few days since then.  I’m back on keto now.  I’ll weigh myself in as usual on Monday morning and we’ll see how the numbers hold.  As for right now I’m pretty happy with it.  I realize now, as is often the case, I worried too much as it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  Most of the gain was water weight that I quickly purged via a fast.  It also reminds me that even if your diet isn’t great if you can just get out there and exercise you can tip the balance back in your favor.

That’s it for today’s check in.  Now that I’m off vacation I want to go back to trying daily posts.  We’ll see how that goes.  But as I’ve learned from the last week or so I’m going to just roll with things and not worry so much about consequences as worry is a no win game.  Hope you’re having a great day, and see you soon.