Sunday, August 25, 2013

ZERO CARB - WEEK 5 RESULTS


Just eat meat.  

That is what I have been doing for five weeks now.  Well, mostly meat, anyway.  As you can see by my food logs below, I have also been eating Fat Bombs, which contain almond butter, cocoa powder and Stevia, and I also had a small square of dark chocolate on one day and some macadamia nuts.

I continued Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) this past week. 

Below are my food logs for the past week.  I decided to try eating to satiety for my past few Up Days, and I found that I lost better eating a little bit more.  Click on any chart to enlarge it.

 
 

This was my average macronutrient intake during Week 5:


  
BLOOD GLUCOSE AND KETONES

Because I am eating the way I am every day, I am not checking blood glucose or ketones on a daily basis.  I checked my blood glucose every other day this past week, once before eating breakfast and thrice an hour after eating dinner and the numbers were 69-80-72.  Yesterday morning, I did both tests before eating breakfast.  My blood glucose was 75 and my blood ketones were 3.2.  My average blood ketones are 1.9, so I am still going strong in ketosis.



MY EXCESS BODY FAT 

My main concern is that I regulate my blood sugar, but I still have too much body fat and I'm hoping this way of eating will help me in that regard.

Because I started IF two weeks ago, I decided to start weighing and measuring again on a daily basis.  The charts below show my actual numbers in the darker line, and my 7-day moving average in the lighter color. Generally speaking, if the trend is down and the actual number is below the 7-day average, things are trending in the right direction.  The only things I want trending up are my lean body mass and my pounds of lean mass!

Here are my charts:

 



Since I started ZC five weeks ago, and Alternate Day IF two weeks ago, I have:

Lost 1/4" around my neck
Lost 1/2" around my bust
Lost 1-3/8" around my waist
Lost 1-1/8" around my belly
Lost 7/8" around my hips
Lost 1/4" around my thigh
Lost 1/4" around my calf
Lost 2.4 percentage points off of my body fat
Gained 2.4 percentage points onto my lean mass
Lost 7.2 pounds on the scale
Lost 5.9 pounds of body fat
Lost 1.3 pounds of lean mass


MY GOAL

I have a goal weight and body composition:

11.75" neck 
28.375" waist
38.5" hips
136 pounds on the scale
30% body fat
70% lean body mass

To reach that goal, I need to:

Lose 2-1/4" around my waist
Lose 1-1/8" around my hips
Lose 6.4 pounds of body fat
Gain 4.2 pounds of lean body mass


RELATED POST:  Zero Carb Results by Week

Sunday, August 18, 2013

ZERO CARB - WEEK 4 RESULTS


Just eat meat.  

That is what I have been doing for four weeks now.  Well, mostly meat, anyway.  As you can see by my food logs below, I have also been eating Fat Bombs, which contain almond butter, cocoa powder and Stevia, and I also had a small square of dark chocolate on one day.

ADDING ALTERNATE DAY INTERMITTENT FASTING

While I was visiting the Low Carb Friends forum, I found a group of people who are following a way of eating called Up Day Down Day.  Basically, it is alternate day intermittent fasting.  You can read an explanation of how it works here.  I have fooled around with IF in the past, but never really gave it a chance to see if it would work long term.

There are a lot of different ways to do IF.  One way that I considered involves eating nothing two days per week, such as Monday and Thursday, and eating what you want on the other five days.  I learned a lot of very interesting information by watching the video Eat, Fast and Live Longer.  I decided against this because I have a big appetite, and I am afraid that I would eat too much on the non-fasting days, and the plan would not work.

Another method involves eating in a certain window each day, such as between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm, and eating nothing in between.  I tried this once, but it did not seem to make much of a difference in my weight.

There is some compelling research being done in Chicago about alternate day fasting, which you can read about here and here.  Dr. Krista Varady has found that if she restricts her human subjects to 25% of their normal food on alternate days, they will not compensate by eating 175% on the non-fasting days, but will eat an average of only 110% of their normal food at those times

Yet another method is to eat nothing every other day and eat as much as you want on the other day.  I decided against this after reading that the same benefits can be gained by eating about 20-25% of the food you would normally eat on alternate days, and to eat a normal amount on the other days.  This does result, obviously, in calorie restriction, but the plan gives the credit to the activation of SIRT1, as mentioned in the link above.

This is the method I have chosen to try.  There is a calculator in the Johnson Up Day Down Day Diet (JUDDD) website that tells you how much to eat on the "Up Days" and "Down Days".  After joining the group at Low Carb Friends that are eating this way, I found out that many people do not use the calculator, but rather just eat around 400-500 calories on their down days and whatever they want on their up days.  Others have found that this was too much "freedom" and that they tend to over eat on their up days and lose no weight.  They then resort to the calculator and often find success with that.  There is at least one person there that I know of that ate nothing every other day and lost a substantial amount of weight doing that and has kept it off.

For myself, I have decided not to eat as much as I want to on my non-fasting days.  I just don't trust myself to not pig out and gain weight.  I am inputting my weight into the calculator each morning and using the numbers it tells me to use for my up days and down days.  For example, my weight this morning is 140 pounds, and the calculator is telling me to eat 1548 calories if it is an up day and 310 calories if it is a down day.  This totals 1858 calories for the two days combined with an average of 929 calories per day.  This is obviously pretty low, but it is only the weight loss period of the diet, and you can choose to eat more than that and still be in weight loss mode.  I chose the 20% weight loss mode, but you can go all the way up to 35%, and then the average calories per day would be 1045, which is more in line with a normal weight loss strategy.

As weight loss continues, you are to gradually increase the amount of food you are eating, using the calculator as a guide, if you choose, until you reach your goal and begin to use the maintenance calculation, which is 60% of your normal food on down days and 100% of your normal food on up days.  In my case, once I reach my goal weight of 136 pounds, I would be eating 917 calories on down days and 1528 calories on up days.  This would average out to 1223 calories per day.  Supposedly, this can be sustained for the rest of your life. 

The charts below show how I have been eating for the past week.  The down days are a little hard, but knowing that I get to eat more on the up days keeps me going strong.  It has only been a week, but I am already feeling that the down days are easier, which is what they say should happen.

Another option for maintenance is to do less down days in a week:  Instead of doing a down day every other day, you could do a down day every third day, or even every fourth day, if it does not cause you to start gaining weight.

Of course, the overarching goal of this is to reap the benefits of fasting without putting your body into "starvation mode" and causing the metabolism to slow down even further.  If you are eating a good amount of food every other day, it would be hard for the body to think you are starving to death!  Another benefit is that the fat stores appear to open up and allow body fat to be burned on the fasting days, and in my case, it seems to be working, because, in the past week, I have lost 1.6 pounds of body fat and only 0.2 pounds of lean body mass (muscle).  If I were to eat the 929 calories each day, instead of 310 one day and 1548 the next, a few things would happen - 1. Such a drastic daily decrease in food would cause my metabolism to slow down and stop weight loss, 2. Any weight I did lose would come not come from mostly fat, but lean mass would be being burned as fuel, which would raise my body fat percentage and 3. I would be so hungry every day that it would not be sustainable long term and I would just give up, especially since, with a slowed metabolism, I would have to eat less and less food as time went on just to keep from gaining weight again.

The question remaining for me is if this is a sustainable way of eating for the rest of my life.  That remains to be seen.  The best outcome would be if I could reach a healthy body composition and stop having to track what I eat, letting my newly-healed appetite signals regulate how much I eat.


EATING TO AVOID DISEASE

In the Johnson Up Day Down Day Diet, he says to eat whatever you want on your up days, and that includes junk food if that is what you want to eat.  He claims, and some of the people on the LCF forum agree, that this way of eating will work for weight loss even if you are not eating healthy food.  Without making any judgements about how other people choose to eat, I have hereditary terminal illnesses in my family, most notably ALS, and I eat in a way that should prevent me from getting those diseases, which means high fat, very low carb and no processed foods or unhealthy fats.  For me, it is about health first and weight loss second, and I have decided not to eat junk food.


PROTEIN NEEDS

Because I want to keep the proper amount of lean body mass, I want to make sure that I am eating a sufficient amount of protein.  I can't get this in every day, due to fasting on alternate days, but I want to get no less than 60 grams of protein averaged out between the two days.  That means that I am factoring in eating at least 16 grams of protein on fasting days and at least 104 grams on non-fasting days.


WHY I DECIDED TO MAKE THIS CHANGE

In a nutshell, even though eating around 1400 calories per day and staying in nutritional ketosis were helping me lose body fat at a nice rate, I found myself hungry a lot of the time, and I was starting to feel like I could not keep it up.  My appetite is just still too big!  A plan where I am only hungry every other day is more appealing to me than a plan where I am hungry every day!

Below are my food logs for the past week  As you can see, there were days that I went over the amount that the calculator told me to eat, but I got better at that as the week went on and I got more in the rhythm of the eating style.  Click on any chart to enlarge it.



This was my average macronutrient intake during Week 4:


  
BLOOD GLUCOSE AND KETONES

Because I am eating the way I am every day, I am not checking blood glucose or ketones on a daily basis.  An hour after dinner on August 16, I checked my blood glucose, and it was 71.  This morning, I did both tests before eating breakfast.  My blood glucose was 69 and my blood ketones were 5.2, which is really high (but not dangerously so).  My average blood ketones are 1.9, so I am still going strong in ketosis.


MY EXCESS BODY FAT 

My main concern is that I regulate my blood sugar, but I still have too much body fat and I'm hoping this way of eating will help me in that regard.

Because I started IF this past week, I decided to start weighing and measuring again on a daily basis.  I'm just too curious to see how my weight and measurements will fluctuate with Intermittent Fasting.  It should not be surprising, or alarming, to see more fluctuations than normal.  The charts below show my actual numbers in the darker line, and my 7-day moving average in the lighter color. Generally speaking, if the trend is down and the actual number is below the 7-day average, things are moving in the right direction.  The only things I want trending up are my lean body mass and my pounds of lean mass!

Here are my charts:



Since I started ZC four weeks ago, and Alternate Day IF one week ago, I have:

Lost 1/8" around my neck
Lost 1/2" around my bust
Lost 1" around my waist
Lost 1-1/2" around my belly
Lost 5/8" around my hips
Lost 1/8" around my thigh
Lost 1/4" around my calf
Lost 1.8 percentage points off of my body fat
Gained 1.8 percentage points onto my lean mass
Lost 4.5 pounds of body fat
Lost 0.9 pounds of lean mass


MY GOAL

I have a goal weight and body composition:

11.75" neck 
28.5" waist
38.5" hips
136 pounds on the scale
30% body fat
70% lean body mass

To reach that goal, I need to:

Lose 1/8" around my neck
Lose 2-1/2" around my waist
Lose 1-3/8" around my hips
Lose 7.8 pounds of body fat
Gain 3.8 pounds of lean body mass


RELATED POST:  Zero Carb Results by Week

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

THE FOOD MY FOOD EATS


Until today, the picture above is what my food (specifically, my beef) eats.


But now, I am happy to say that this picture is what my new food eats!

Today, I made good on my threat to buy a quarter of a grass fed, grass finished local cow!  I would buy grass fed beef now and then from the farmer's market or Whole foods, but the prices were pretty high, and I usually settled for the CAFO beef that I would find at the local grocery stores.  I've been spending time every other weekend in the Quad Cities area, and I heard that the beef there was less expensive than it is around Chicagoland.  The farm that I was looking at around here was around $9.67 per pound (cut and packaged weight).  The beef I bought today was only $7.87 per pound, so I saved $141.00 by combining my cow-buying with my sister-visiting!



Around a month ago, I toured Sawyer Beef with owner Neal Sawyer.  The farm is located in Princeton, Iowa, which is 30 miles away from my sister's house.  Neal was kind enough to drive me around his acreage in his pickup truck, looking for the herd. 





I really wished I had taken the opportunity to ditch my flip flops in favor of my shoes and socks, for when we found the herd, we had to wade through knee-high and higher grassy fields to see the cows close up.  Neal walked ahead and pointed out cow pies so that I could avoid them, something I was keen to do, whether in flip flops or shoes and socks!  It was wonderful to get out into the middle of nowhere, in nature at its purest, "hunting for my dinner!




We found the heard, which was vastly bigger than it looks here, and Neal pointed out the different breeds of cow.  I took at few pictures and we walked back to the truck as Neal told me the story of his family and how they got into raising cows.  






They started with standard corn fed cows, and then branched out into grass fed as demand began to grow.  They still offer corn fed cows, as some of their customers prefer the taste of cows fed this way.




I bought a couple of steaks and a roast to sample, and left Neal with the promise that I would be back soon to buy a quarter grass fed cow, left the beautiful countryside and headed back to suburbia and home.

After meeting Neal today at the barn where he keeps his many, many deep freezes, I handed over my cow money in exchange for around 80 pounds of beef in boxes.  

And this is what my $619 bought in yummy, heart-healthy, saturated fattiness, which is now happily awaiting consumption in my upright freezer:


36 pounds of Ground Beef
1 Arm Roast
1 Rump Roast
2 Chuck Roasts
1 Sirloin Tip Roast
5 Ribeye Steaks
1 Flank Steak
5 New York Strip Steaks
2 Filet Mignons
3 Top Sirloin Steaks
1 Brisket
5.34 pounds of Stew Meat
7.15 pounds of Soup Bones


Neal tells me that this should last my husband and me around a year.  We'll see!  In the meantime, I see that there is enough room left in my freezer for some pastured pork and chicken.  I need to start browsing the interwebs!

By the way, if anyone who lives near me is interested in purchasing some beef from Sawyer Beef, I will be returning to that area every two weeks or so and I would be glad to pick some up for you!

Visit the Sawyer Beef website and Facebook Page.

To read more about the benefits of grass fed beef, click here.