It hasn't been quite a week yet since I started my kinder, gentler challenge, but I need to catch up so that my charts line up with a week ending on a Thursday.
As I mentioned in my last post, I have taken a month off and am now engaged in my next challenge, which is to reach a weight goal of 130 pounds and a body fat goal of 25%.
I'm not sure I am going to be able to accomplish this, but I am giving it my best effort!
Here are my rules:
Rule #1. I will lower my weight goal by 0.12 pounds per day, which comes out to less than a pound per week. Each morning, I will weigh on my bathroom scale, and if I do not exceed my goal for the day, I will feast. If I exceed my goal for the day, I will fast until the next morning. This time, I will not be using my fasting blood glucose as a rule. As long as I eat right, my blood glucose is stable, so I am only going to check my BG occasionally.
Rule #2. Stay active, as outlined below.
I will have two ways of eating, and they will look like this:
Eating ketogenic diet, which means high fat, moderate protein and very low carb. What does that mean for me?
First of all, I have come to agree with those that believe it is a mistake to eat high fat when there is already excess fat on your body. In my case, High Fat Low Carb means that I will be "eating" high fat from my body and low carb from my plate. Dr. Stephen Phinney explains this concept quite nicely in this video, where he shows the following graphic:
As you can see, even in the first phase, when a person has excess body fat, it is still a high fat diet, with 25% of the needed daily fat coming from what you eat, and an additional 50% coming from your own body. This body fat needs to be taken into account when determining if a diet is "high fat" or "low fat." According to what you are eating alone, it appears to be low fat, when, in actuality, it is still a high fat diet. As body fat is "eaten", the percentages change until all of the fat needed is being eaten off the plate because there is no more excess body fat to "eat."
So, for the time being, I am eating the majority of my needed daily fat from my own body fat stores. Research has shown that the body needs at least 30g of fat per day to supply the body's needs, for brain activity, vitamin absorption and gallbladder function, to name a few. I will be attempting to keep my fat intake between 68g and around 80g.
For protein, I will be following the advice of Jonathan Bailor, who I mentioned here, to keep nutrient-dense protein at 1 gram per pound of body weight. For me, that would mean around 136g of protein per day for my current weight, and 125g of protein when I get down to my goal weight of 125 pounds. Pretty simple, huh? This also is in line with the recommendations of the Optimal Ketogenic Living Facebook Group (also mentioned in that same blog post) that is between 91g and 136g for a woman my height.
Carbs will probably always be very low, because I find that I can manage my blood glucose quite easily when I stay low carb. Jonathan Bailor says to eat 10 servings of vegetables per day, but I'm not sure if that would be a good idea for me, so I will probably stick with the OKL recommendation of 23g of net carbs per day, which is total carbs minus fiber. If I am eating that all in green vegetables, that is still quite a lot of vegetables, so I think I'm doing good in that department.
I am still sort of tracking my food. I am getting used to how many grams of protein, fat and carbs I need to make a nice meal, so I am doing the math until I have a better handle on it.
On the days that I don't meet my weight goal, I will be fasting. Although some fasting gurus say that a fast is only water, others say that incorporating very low caloric liquids is okay. I have decided that fasting for me will include water, coffee, tea and broth, all without added caloric sweeteners or fat. I do allow myself to have a few drops of liquid Stevia extract in my coffee and tea. It does not affect my BG, and I like it. And you can't stop me. I did it this way in the first three months of this year, and I suffered no ill effects.
My weight loss goal is now at a slower pace (about 50% slower), which should translate into more feasting and less fasting. In this past few days, I ate two days in a row, which was not that frequent as time went on in the last challenge. Since starting this, I have not fasted more than one day in a row, although that could certainly start to change again as I get closer and closer to my new goal.
I made a few charts to track my progress. On the first chart, the grey line is my long term goal. The blue line is my actual weight. The red line is my 7-day average. The second chart is a little heat map to show at a glance how often I have actually had to fast to achieve the results I am after. Click on any chart to enlarge it.
As for Rule #2, part of this challenge is that I have also made some commitments to build muscle and increase insulin sensitivity. I have committed to one day per week of heavy, slow motion weight lifting, using Body By Science as my guide. I have committed to HIIT twice per week on the treadmill at the gym. I have committed to taking 3-mile walks as often as I can, maybe twice or three times per week. The weight lifting should take care of the "gaining muscle" portion of my new challenge, and the HIIT and walking should continue to help with my insulin sensitivity. Notice that I am not trying to "burn calories" with my exercise. I'm done with that nonsense. It's not a problem of too many calories that need to be "burned off". It is a problem with hormonal imbalance that keeps body fat trapped and unable to be used for energy. The solution for that is to balance hormones, not to eat less and move more!
Below is my chart for The Big Five. It shows the exercises I am doing, along with the weight, reps and TUL, which stands for Time Under Load. The system is to lift weight very slowly up and down, and to attempt to exceed one minute and thirty seconds on each exercise. Each time that goal is reached, you increase the weight by at least another 5% for the next session. As you can see, I did not exceed 1:30 this past week, so there was no increase in weight. One of the great things about lifting this way is that the whole thing takes about 15 minutes and you only do one set on each machine. No more being in the gym for hours and doing multiple sets on each of twenty different machines! In and out fast, with the same or better results. My kind of workout!
Twice per week, once on the same day as weight lifting, and once a half week later, I do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on the treadmill at the gym. I begin by walking at 1.5 mph with 0 incline for about 2.5 minutes, then ramp up to a run for 30 seconds at over 6 mph (I keep increasing it each time) with an incline of 3. After the run, I go back to the walk for 2.5 minutes, then back to the run for 30 seconds. I do three of these intervals, ending with a walk, then a 5 minute cool down. I am on the treadmill for a total of 17 minutes, including the cool down.
The last activity I am doing is walking, at a leisurely pace, around my neighborhood or other beautiful places, or, if it is yucky outside, I will get on the treadmill at the gym. I would like to do this at least twice per week. I found a cool app for my phone that tracks my route, along with miles per hour and total distance. When I walk, I aim for around three miles in one hour. Here is what a normal walk looks like, and below that is my walking log:
There are nine weeks remaining for this kindler, gentler challenge. If I achieve my goal, I'm not sure where I will go from there. Technically, my doctor wants me to weight 122 pounds with around 22% body fat. At my age, I'm not sure that is possible, or even desirable. It's fun to think about, but not if it means I have to live a life of deprivation. I will be more than happy to reach my current goal. Heck, if I stay where I am now, it will be a big health improvement from where I started, which, in case you forget, was here.
This is a personal challenge just for me, but if anyone reading would like to join me, please talk to your doctor and make sure that it will not conflict with your current medical condition or medications. If you are taking the challenge, please be sure to let me know how you are doing! Thanks for reading!