My Keto Secrets and Adjustments

2021 starting weight, 234.2lbs

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I’ve been fat for most of my adult life, apart from 7 years, 1990-1997. During those 7 years I was fit, lean and buff. I was also 34 years old to 41. So I was young. But apart from that, I’ve been fat since 1976. That’s the year I turned 20. Just so you don’t have to do any difficult math equations, I’m now 64. I know a lot about being fat. I’m quite an expert.

Oddly, I also know a great deal about healthy food. My wife and I were organic farmers for several years. We grew all kinds of vegetables as well as grass fed and pastured meats. I studied intensely to make sure we grew the most nutritious varieties possible.

During our farming years, I was fat. Correction, I was obese. Some years I was morbidly obese. But I maintained by obesity by eating massive quantities of really healthy food. Yes, it can be done.

That knowledge affects my thinking about food, and is the reason why I have combined elements of the South Beach Diet with my Keto lifestyle.

Now, when you also take into consideration that I’m a very serious Bible Believing Christian, I have a few challenges with what dietitians and main stream diet people have to say, including the Keto Purists.

I’m thinking out loud here, so this post may wander all over the place, but if you stay with me, I think we’ll get somewhere decent.

Keto makes sense for this reason. Our bodies can run on fat or carbohydrates. We need both, but we can run well on either one. Most of us fatties got that way by abusing carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates, like sugar. Therefore, if we eliminate those simple carbohydrates, we can begin to lose weight.

Not all simple carbohydrates are totally unhealthy. For example, honey. The Bible speaks in glowing terms about the benefits of eating honey. Keto purists say, cut it out. I’m going with the Bible over the Keto purists. But, for the period of my weight loss, I’m not eating any. I miss it. I love honey. For now, it’s gone.

Another thing I think Keto is wrong about, is potatoes. I’ve written about this a few times. Potatoes have been almost single handedly responsible for saving multiple cultures from starvation. God made them, they are not our enemy. For now, I eat them very rarely. Maybe once a month I’ll have some new potatoes roasted in the oven. Or in the summer I’ll have a small baked one, especially when I’m grilling out. I don’t eat mashed or boiled ones.

Keto has been right on some things, too, though. Just tonight I was reading about low calorie and low fat eating. The article was in a magazine. I won’t name either. Anyway, it was talking about how we should eat egg whites and skip the yolks. The moment I read that sentence, I stopped reading the article. Yes, the fat is in the yolk. So is the flavor. So is the nutrition. We used to raise our own chickens and we gathered eggs every day. Our hens were free range. The eggs were awesome. The yolks were dark orange, and filled with vitamins, minerals, and omega 3 fatty acids. All of those things came from the yolks.

We raised goats for dairy. I prefer cows milk, but our small farm was better for raising goats. I know that full fat milk from grass fed dairy animals is the healthiest you can drink. The 2% or skim milk has all the nutrition taken out of it. Why would I want to fill my stomach with stuff that has no nutrition. Yes, full fat milk has some carbs. I only have it in my coffee and once or twice a week I have some in the evening with 0 calorie flavorings in it. God made it, so if we consume it as God made it, it’s not going to hurt us.

I feel similarly about peas, corn, and winter squash. I eat all of those, in moderation. I’m not going to pretend I don’t.

Here’s my real secret. I track my carbs and my calories. When you get right down to it, cutting calories is still the secret to successful weight loss. I know some of you are gasping, and some may unsubscribe. So be it.

At first, when we go Keto, the calories are not important. Same with South Beach. When I first started, I could eat a whole roast chicken from the grocery store and have a few blueberries with full fat double cream on top for dessert, and still lose weight. That was awesome. But the part I didn’t understand was it was my cutting out the sugar, flour and white rice that was the key to my great start. After a while, I didn’t lose weight eating whole chickens. I had to start thinking.

I read the keto stuff and the South Beach diet recipes and noticed that both were talking about serving sizes. Some Keto experts talked about fat and protein targets. They were telling me, almost in code, that I could eat too much of the right stuff and not lose weight. They were replacing the word calories, with the words portion sizes. Suddenly, I understood.

That’s when I started tracking. I write down the carbohydrates and I write down the calories of everything I eat. My target for carbs is 30 grams. I don’t want to subtract fibre, so I track total carbs. I do enough math as it is. I have a 1900 calorie per day target. As long as I stay under 1800 calories, my carb total can go up to 50 grams. But between 1800 and 2000 calories, those carbs have to stay under 30 grams. 20 is even better. Right now, for example, it’s 7pm. I’ve had 750 calories and 25 grams of carbs. I’m not even a bit hungry. I ate some very filling food.

I’m not recommending 750 calories. That’s an oddity. But by tracking carbs AND calories, I allow myself the widest range of food. And I like that plan.

I couldn’t do that at first. I had to eliminate sugar, white rice, and white pasta from my diet. I had to get a grip on my bread addiction. We haven’t bought white flour is a year. I do have the occasional WW tortilla, especially for a breakfast burrito, or in place of a Naan Bread with a curry. But now that those things are under control, I’ve been able to balance my diet and keep losing weight.

My inspiration has been the YouTuber, Ally McWowie. Ally lost like 170 pounds on the Keto diet, but also by watching her calories. She is by far my favorite Keto Diet YouTuber. Her eating plan is totally different than mine. But her principles are rock solid.

What are you doing? Have you joined the Keto revolution? Are you Paleo? Mediterranean Diet? South Beach? There are so many excellent eating plans out there. Find the one that best matches your personality and life style. Just don’t go low fat. Seriously, you’ll be miserable, and you won’t stick to it. Study, find one you like, and just do it. You won’t regret it. I know I don’t.

Some Dietary Confessions to Clear the Air

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I try not to burden you with too many of my thoughts on dieting. Even when there’s a lot of research behind them. Part of that is because, there’s enough talk and not enough doing. I want to do the weight loss and earn the right to be heard. And partly it’s because dieting is personal, and different diets work better with certain personality types.

Keto/SouthBeach works for me. I love it. I am rarely hungry. Sometimes, my wife or I go through a few days where we’re really hungry for a few days. Fortunately, it hardly happens at the same time, or we might be in trouble. And for the record, I weighed in at 243.8 lbs. That’s down from a high of 305. But to be fair, I restarted Keto/South Beach at 280. I told people it was 275. I was embarrassed.

The reason for today’s post is to talk about my adjustments to Keto due to my health concerns, and my core values. So get ready. You might be disappointed. I could even lose a few followers, but I’m not going to hide anything from you.

The first thing is, I had open heart surgery 2.5 years ago. I had triple bypass. It would have been quadruple, but the 4th line is deformed and comes off one of the other three, and wasn’t blocked. The valve it came off of was blocked after this one. It looks really weird when I see pictures of it. I have had heart challenges for several years and had lots of pictures taken yet this deformity was never discovered. Anyway, I essentially have three, rather than 4 actual valves attached directly to my heart.

Because of that surgery and my years of poor diet, I am currently on a number of medications. My goal is to lose enough weight and get fit enough to lose the medication, but that time has not yet come.

My other problem comes from abuse I gave my body by racing sled dogs for over 30 years. I was fat, yet ran speed mushing races. I ran up and down a lot of hills. It did damage to my knees and ultimately to my back. Then after retiring from racing, I took up farming. Trust me when I tell you that farming a small farm can be a lot of work. But I loved every day of it. The only problem was, eventually my body broke down. Now I suffer from bad knees and some very serious sciatic issues.

As a result, I have to take pain meds that create bowel challenges. The Keto diet doesn’t help resolve those problems. I need fiber. Its as simple as that. About every other week, I will have oatmeal, and some root vegetables like new potatoes, fresh carrots, and some parsnips. I also have plenty of broccoli and cauliflower.

On days when I’m having those foods, I watch my calories very closely. I’m not going to have a bunch of carbs AND calories. I simply have to do it.

The results are, it slows down my weight loss, but does not eliminate it. I am very fat adapted and some weeks I don’t even go out of ketosis. When I do, I get back in very quickly. I don’t eat tons of this non keto food, but it does work better than meds for the bowel issues. And I’d rather treat myself with food that with chemicals.

Also, to be fair, I’m not against root vegetables and oatmeal. Those have been staple foods that have kept whole nations alive for hundreds of year. Scotland, where I live, is an example. Here, potatoes, rutabagas, carrots, parsnips, barley and oatmeal have been dietary staples and have kept people alive and thriving. Especially during cold winters. Scotland did not start having health issues until really the 1980s when fast food, and processed food became big parts of the diet.

I’m a Christian. That affects every decision I make. I believe that if it comes from God it’s safe if taken in context and in moderation. If an ungulate eats it, so can I. And I can eat the ungulate. Here sheep and cattle, eat rutabagas, potatoes, barley and oatmeal all the time. They will eat beans and peas too, if they get in the fields. Those are whole foods, and we shouldn’t be afraid of them.

The reason I am on Keto, is because I abused myself and drastic action is required. It is not because high carb whole foods are bad. Keto works for me because fat is filling, and I need to feel full.

I only eat new potatoes. And only a few, about once every other week. New potatoes are lower in starch. I fix them with the skin on. I cut them, and soak them just like you would to remove starch from older potatoes. Then I boil or bake them. They are full of vitamins and minerals and are not terrible in carbohydrates.

The vegetable I have to watch are Parsnips. Those things are delicious, especially after a frost, and they look so innocent, but they are absolutely packed with carbohydrates. So is oatmeal. It is a carb monster. It has lots of fiber, but the carbs are outrageous even with the fiber.

But the problem is not really with the carbs, it is simple and processed carbs that will do you in. Sugar, is a killer. It just is. White flour has had all the benefits removed. A loaf of bread from the supermarket will be loaded with both. It’s an evil, almost like no other. Sure it tastes good. But it’s poison. There are no nutritional benefits. Sure some have had vitamins and minerals added. That’s because they’ve taken them out of the whole grains to begin with.

I do my best to avoid all processed sugar, and white flour. I don’t drink fruit juice, even a small glass, if there in no pulp in it. Even then, it’s pretty rare.

Donuts are absolutely delicious. Delicious poison. And that makes me sad. I don’t eat them, because I’m an addict. I’m addicted to flour and sugar. I can’t have a small portion and then leave them. I will binge for days. So, I don’t eat them. Sigh.

I’m starting to ramble, so it’s time to bring this to a close. I felt honesty was the best policy. I’m just not going to hide either my health issues, or my dietary habits, and pretend I’m doing something else. Let me just end with this. I pretty much always watch my calories. I believe that ultimately, calorie control is the key to weight loss. If you want to learn more about that, I recommend you watch videos from Ally McWowie on YouTube. She’s awesome, and really honest.

Facing Obesity What I Plan To Do About It

Ok, are you sitting down? I want to tell you something…I’m fat. See, aren’t you glad you were sitting down? (Apologies for the selfie. It should probably come with a viewer’s warning.) I’m not overweight. I’m not pudgy. I’m not big boned. I’m fat. Morbidly Obese. And it’s been really hard on me. Not just physically, but psychologically, and spiritually.

I’ve been fat most of my adult life. I started gaining weight my freshman year of college and somehow, once the gut started to grow, it didn’t stop. By the time I was 31, I weighed about 265 lbs. Then, for a variety of reasons, I decided to make some changes. I ate less (more on that later), I exercised, and I started running 5 days a week. By the time I was 40, I weighed 165, and I was seriously buff.

Then I got married and came unglued. I stopped going to the gym. I stopped running. I started eating. And the weight came back. All of it, and then some. At one point, I tipped the scales at 305. I kid you not. Through some efforts, I managed to get my weight down to 275, where it’s been for a number of years.

The piper called in late August, 2017. It was time to pay the bill. I had a heart attack. While in the hospital, I had two mini strokes. I’m telling you, that was scary. Eventually, as in June 2018, I had triple bypass surgery. While under the anesthetic, I had another stroke. This one has left me partially blind in my left eye. I have blind spots in it and I’m currently receiving treatment for it.

Finally, the week before last. I had enough. A photo was taken of me at Church, and when I saw it, I literally cried. I saw a short, fat, old man, I didn’t even recognize. And my heart broke. One of the ways I avoid thinking about my weight is to avoid photographs and mirrors. If I don’t see myself, I don’t think about it. This time, though, I couldn’t avoid it. The photo was in a local newspaper. And I was mortified.

I can’t do anything about getting old. I’m 62. It happens. But I am in complete control over my appearance. I secretly wept most of the afternoon. I was depressed for much of the week. It was hard to concentrate on anything. All I kept seeing in my mind was that photo. And all I kept thinking was, you fat, useless, good for nothing. Then, I sat down with my smart phone, did some research, and made some changes.

First, let me tell you, and my wife can testify to it; since Y2K, I’ve been on Weight Watchers twice, no three times, The South Beach Diet, The Ketogenic Diet, the Heart Association Soup Diet, and even went on a juice fast after watching, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”. I lost weight on all of them, and kept it off with none of them.

I’m genetically programmed towards being overweight. Both of my father’s parents were seriously overweight. I remember my Grandpa Burton weighing 300 lbs when I was in Jr. High School. And my Grandma was much heavier than that. But it skipped a generation as neither my Dad, nor his brother have weight issues. Dad did, have to diet from time to time, but not always. I’m not sure about my uncle Jerry.

My Mom, was skinny as a rail until she was 60. After that, she put on a few pounds, but I don’t know anyone who would call her fat. And neither of my sisters is particularly known as a fatty. Nope, just me.

Now, while I am predisposed to easy weight gain, I know I don’t have to be fat, because I lost it, and kept it off for the better part of a decade. But at my advancing age, it’s going to take some thought this time.

First, I no longer believe in diet programs. I know they work for some people. But why are there so many different ones? Because each one suits some of the public psychologically. So while I was on one, I might be successful, but the moment I stopped, I gained everything back, plus some.

Basically, part of my problem is Spiritual. Let me explain. Many diets tell you that you can’t eat certain foods. You know: carbohydrates, dairy, potatoes, meat, or cheese, to name a few. But, I read in the Bible that none of those things are bad. And potatoes, were the food that saved Ireland. For many years, they were a staple food for people here in Scotland. In Bolivia there are over 400 different varieties of potatoes. People eat them like crazy.

Many diets ban honey. Yet, in scripture, Jonathan, the prince of Israel, was revived by eating it after a grueling battle with the Philistines. John the Baptist ate honey as a staple of his diet.

I can’t accept that anything God made is bad for you. I just can’t. And frankly, won’t entertain the notion.

Having said that, I must recognize that many things we eat today have been grossly altered from the way God made it. Let’s take honey for example, since it’s fresh on my mind. Honey, at least commercial varieties, is often not so much from plant pollen, as it is from bees drinking sugar water that’s put out for them. And then when it’s processed and pasteurized, many of the good bacteria are killed off, so it’s really just flavored, spreadable, processed sugar.

And bread. For thousands of years, bread was, “the staff of life”. Wheat, barley, and rye were full of nutrients and oils that made bread a true blessing. Then we learned to process flour and bread lost most of its nutritional value. Then we changed the way wheat was processed, and even more nutritional benefits were lost. Bread today, tastes awesome. But it is no longer the staff of life. It’s become a filler food.

Meats, and the animals that provide them, have been altered so much that it should be a crime. Animals are kept in tightly confined spaces and fed a diet of mostly grains until the meat is practically devoid of nutrients. Beef cows, in the states, are often treated with contempt in big feed lots, while we think of cows grazing on wide open spaces, as we enjoy a steak or a hamburger.

Pigs are called, ‘the other white meat’. Pigs aren’t supposed to be white meat. It’s the conditions they are raised in, and the diets they’re fed. It’s abysmal.

The same thing can be said of chickens, turkeys, and even fish. What we eat today, is far from what people used to eat.

Brittan and I know. We spent 10 years as farmers, and I learned more than I could ever share about beneficial ways to raise meat, fruit, and veg. I won’t even talk about dairy in this post. But its the same situation.

So here I sat, with my head all full of knowledge and opinions, with some decisions to make. So here’s what I came up with.

I’m going to eliminate all, highly processed food products from my diet. That includes bread, margarine, many lunch meats, and the like. And I’ve given myself a daily calorie limit. So far, I’m on day 6. I will weigh myself tomorrow to see how I’ve done.

Note: It’s day 7, today. I weighed myself this morning. 268.5. That’s essentially, 1 lb a day I lost this week. Now, I know a lot of that is water weight, and surface or easy junk being eliminated. But see, it’s gone,sianara, see ya, buhbye.

And let me say, I have not deprived myself. 4 days I had chocolate. 2 days I had cheesecake. I ate pudding. I had cookies. Oh, I had at least two baked potatoes. I had chicken cordon bleu. I’m eating what I want. With modifications, and with limits.

Some foods I’ve pretty much eliminated already. Others, will be cut out one at a time. Fortunately, we have two butchers less that a block from us. They both have local grassfed beef and local pasture raised pork.

This is not going to be an easy journey. Nor is it going to be quick. I hope you’ll join me and follow along in my adventures. Ask questions. Give me advice. I’d love to hear from you. You can even share your successes and failures. You may not bash any diet or anyone on a particular diet.

Feel free to send photos of yourself. After all we’re in this life together. We might as well get to know each other. Gosh, thanks for listening. God bless you all. Talk to you soon.