So this past month was a game changer. But probably not in the way that any average person would think. I’m changing my way of thinking about all this because I’m realizing a bunch of things I thought and blogged was wrong. So mea-culpa.
If you don’t know, these posts are written early and scheduled in to my post rotation. While you are reading this at the end of the month, they are written at the beginning. So as of the time of writing this, I’m just coming off my milk cure. Basically, for most of the month of March, I didn’t eat any solid foods. My intake consisted of milk (from 3 1/2 quarts to a gallon a day) and sometimes water. I was taking in 2,000-2,400 calories a day when for the last 6 months, my average calorie intake on a daily basis was about 1,500 calories. According to my smart phone app, LoseIt, I needed to make sure that my calorie intake on a daily basis, didn’t exceed 1,700 calories in order to lose 1 pound a week. In addition, I set a goal of burning 3,500 calories a week in exercise to up my weight loss to 2 pounds a week. I managed to do that this during the 3rd month (couldn’t before that since I was dealing with a sprained ankle that wouldn’t heal).
All in all, I lost some inches, but I actually gained 1.4 pounds. I know that muscles are denser than fat, but even at that point, I should have seen some movement down on my scale. It was at this point that I went on the milk cure. When I went on the milk cure, I weighed 201.4 pounds. 3 weeks later I weighed in at 195.6. During that three weeks, I was on more daily calories than I’ve been on for a long time I lost a total of 5.8 pounds.
Wow. almost 6 pounds over 3 weeks. I experienced a weight loss of 3 pounds the first couple of days. Call that water weight if you will. But I lost almost 3 more pounds over the 3 week period. That is the two pounds a week of weight loss I was looking for and couldn’t find when I was doing calorie restriction (calories in/calories out).
During this time, I did some exercising, but not much. The whole idea of a milk cure is that you are supposed to rest and let your body heal. Which is what I did. So exercise also didn’t account for the weight loss. The most I exercised was during the 2nd week and it was for about 2 1/2 hours total.
So what happened? How come I couldn’t lose and actually gained weight on what most people considered a healthy diet and lost weight while only drinking raw milk? I mean for most people, that would be considered to be an oxymoron. We are constantly told that whole milk is unhealthy and has too much fat, and that if we want to lose weight, we should drink skim milk instead. Guess what? I drank whole milk. Straight from the cow to refrigeration and then to me. No centrifuges, no specific fat content. I drank what came out of the cow. Unpasteurized, full fat and non homogenized grass-fed milk.
Grass-fed milk is full of something called Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which works to prevent both cancer and obesity. It gave my body the kick-start it needed to drop weight safely.
I’m back on regular foods, but I’m not stopping my weight loss or my quest towards a healthy body. During my milk cure, I took the time to read a book by Gary Taubes called “Why We Get Fat” and it had me remembering the last time I really wanted to take control of my body and my food. That was 12 years ago and I realized that without constant reinforcement I’ll just slip back.
For the foreseeable future, I’m removing all grains, starches and most sugar from my diet (some berries and of course my milk will stay in so I can’t honestly say I’m going to be removing all sugars). Basically I’m going back on a low-carbohydrate diet. I want to get back into ketosis and stay there for the forseeable future. My diet will be both protein and fat rich. The fats will be mostly from animal sources (meats, lard, butter) with two exceptions, coconut oil and olive oil. I will be eating green vegetables, but will stay away from vegetables (like beets) that contain a lot of sugars. I certainly won’t be eating potatoes either.
I can hear some of you now. “Won’t Fat just make you fat?” And the answer to this is no. Believe it or not, grains and starchy carbohydrates are the fat makers. According to Taubes, an influx of carbohydrates influences the release of insulin. Insulin works very hard at storing those carbohydrates as fat, even to the point of not allowing that food we just ate to be used to fuel our bodies. People who store fat easily aren’t always hungry because they have no will-power. They are constantly hungry, because their bodies are cheating them of the energy they are eating. Storing it into fat with no intent of letting it be used.
With a diet of mostly fats and proteins with very little in the way of carbohydrates to start, my body (and my brain) will be forced to burn not only the fats I’m eating, but will go into my fat stores and begin burning that for energy as well. I will go into what is called Ketosis, or fat burning.
I plan on starting with what Dr. Atkins called Induction, which is ingesting 20 grams or less of carbohydrates a day and once I am in ketosis, staying in induction for about a month. After that I will up my daily diet by 5 grams per month. I’m going to attempt to stay in ketosis during this time. If my carbohydrates get to high, I’ll fall out of ketosis and I’ll know how many grams of carbohydrates I need to back down and stay at to continue my fat burning.
One of the nice things about being in ketosis (besides the weight loss) is that ketosis has a natural hunger inhibitor. Once I get there, I’ll be eating what my body needs rather than drooling over food because my hunger sense is out of wack. I’m also lucky because I won’t be craving carbohydrates the way that someone going on this straight from processed foods might. 3 weeks on the milk cure killed my cravings for sweets, carbohydrates and my coffee addiction. So I’m coming into this as pure as possible.
If I recall correctly, I topped out at 40 grams of carbohydrates a day the last time I did this. I lost about 5 pounds a month. I am allowing myself fermented raw milk products (yogurt, keifir, clabber) from the start and will incorporate fresh raw milk in a few months once I am up to about 25 grams of carbohydrates a day. Raw milk started my weight loss, I’m pretty sure that it will be a factor in continuing it. I also plan on continuing adding in my lacto-fermented foods such as sauerkraut and pickles into my diet from the start.
So why an Atkins like diet rather than something like Paleo? Basically, they are both the same, but Atkins allows dairy products (actually I think Paleo would allow dairy products if they were made from raw, grass-fed milk, but for the most part they don’t). Additionally, I’m big on the traditional diets ala Weston A. Price. So my final diet will be a mash-up of all of these.
One of the benefits of a ketogenic diet is that unlike a low-fat diet, its easy to stick to even after the weight has come off. For me that means that I’ll have to reinforce why I do it every few years (which I did not do the last time, obviously).
I’m still planning on exercising, but not to the extent that I did in the month prior. Weight bearing exercises a few times a week. Nordic Trac or Walking (C25K as well) when I choose. I will not be exercising 8-9 hours a week. More like 2-4. Exercising has a definite role in my overall health and well-being. It’s just not going to be about promoting weight-loss.
Again, I’m going to keep you apprised of how I do through this series.
April 2012 Measurements
|Weight||200 lbs||195.6 lbs||-4.4 lb|
Even with just milk, I mainly lost both pounds and inches. Although I say I lost 5.8 pounds on the milk cure, I only can claim 4.4 pounds for this report. That’s because I gained 1.4 pounds prior to the milk cure start. But still, a loss is a loss.
As to my measurements, even without exercising some measurements went down, others went up slightly and still others stayed the same. My waist went up 1/2 inch from last month, but my stomach came down 1 1/2 inches. While my thighs and biceps went up slightly (1/4 inch for both) my hips went down 2 inches. I think I can safely say that I did not lose muscle during my milk cure.
Fitness Report Series
- Report 1: Eating Healthy Food isn’t Enough
- Report 2: Fitness Report – Month 1
- Report 3: Fitness Report – Month 2
- Report 4: Fitness Report – Month 3
- Report 5: Fitness Report – Month 4
- Report 6: Fitness Report – Month 5
- Report 7: Fitness Report – Month 6
- Report 8: Fitness Report – Month 7
- Eating Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat (lewrockwell.com)
- Why We Get Fat (Taubes)
- Ketosis (Wikipedia)
- Ketogenic Diet Resource