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A pile of pork rinds, made by Utz.

Pork Rinds, the Snack of the Ketogenic Diet

Wow, what a month.

After a few months of calorie restriction that didn’t go anywhere along with copious amounts of exercise where I ended up gaining weight, I went on a 3 week milk cure and lost almost 6 pounds in three weeks. This month I embarked on my ketogenic (low carbohydrate) eating plan.

I wanted to measure how the low carb diet worked alone.  So I didn’t do any exercising for the first three weeks with the exception of a few weekly walks with GC.  During that three weeks, I lost 3 1/2 pounds.  So carbohydrate restriction is working for me.

My weight loss pattern (for people who are data nuts like me) seems to be about a pound to a pound and a half weight loss at some point during the week.  A few days after I lose that weight, I gain about a pound of it back, then slowly re-lose that pound over the week.  Once I’m back down at the lowest weight, I again woosh down about a pound to a pound and a half and the pattern continues.

I’m following an Atkins Induction plan of 20 grams or less of net Carbohydrates a day (Carbohydrates – Fiber = Net Carbohydrates).  I’m going to keep this up until I lose 30 pounds after which I’ll gradually increase my carbohydrate intake.  I’ll more than likely stay under 40 grams of net carbohydrates daily until the weight I need to lose is gone.  (40 grams was the amount I stayed at the last time, so I’m using that as my base).

One of the most interesting things on this diet is that I’m just not hungry. Ketosis has a natural appetite inhibitor, which means that I have to remind myself to eat. I have plenty of energy and my brain is clear.  So what am I eating on such a diet you may ask?

What I’m Eating

In the morning, if I am at home I’ll have a small kefir shake.  (4 ounces of home-made kefir, 1/8 cup of blueberries mixed with ice.  I’ll follow that up with 2 slices of bacon and 1 or two eggs fried in the bacon grease. If I’m at work, it’s usually 2 slices of bacon with 2 hardboiled eggs and 1/2 a cup of yogurt either topped with some blueberries or cinnamon.  I might have hot tea at home with some liquid stevia mixed in.  Total net carbs are usually around 6.7

Lunch time might be a few hamburgers (no bun, nothing else, just the meat), or some roast chicken or some leftover meat.  I usually have 2 ounces of cheese and either some olives or one of my own lacto-fermented dill pickles. If I’m home, I might have some home-made lacto-fermented sauerkraut in the place of the cheese and pickles.  Total net carbs are usually between 1 to 5.6

Dinner Time is usually meat along with a green vegetable.  The vegetable type typically depends on how many carbohydrates I have during the day.  Green leafy vegetables such as chard or kale or collard are usually about 3.6 grams a cup.  If I’ve been good about my carbohydrates during the day I might have a more seasonal vegetable such as asparagus 12-18 spears is about 5.1 grams, or artichokes (4 grams). Since my CSA is starting up, I’m going to be moving to green salads while the season is upon us.

Snacks are usually roast beef rolled up in a half slice of provolone (.5 grams each), Pork Rinds (0 grams) or some cheese (about 1  gram per ounce).  I also have a few cups of home-made chicken stock. Sometimes I’ll have walnuts or some cut up jicama. If I have enough carbohydrates left, I might have some kefir in the evenings. (9 grams per cup). I’ll rarely have a full cup, but might have 4-6 ounces.

My diet is working out to be an average of 1850 calories per day with 56% of my calories coming from monounsaturated fats (mostly animal (meats, butter, lard, bacon grease) with some olive oil), 36% coming from protein and about 3% from carbohydrates.

I’m definitely in Ketosis which means my body is burning fat. You will also notice that everything I am eating is considered either a whole food or is traditionally processed.  I’m not eating anything with sugars, no “low carb” processed foods.  Everything is a whole food. And with the exception of the olives, cheese and pork rinds, I have made everything myself.

Ketosis vs Ketoacidosis

I’ve had a few people express dismay that I am actively trying to get myself into a ketosis state.  They feel its dangerous, like kill yourself dangerous.  So I want to try to explain that here.

Ketosis (or Benign Dietary Ketosis – BDK as the doctors will tell you) takes place when your body starts burning fat for fuel. While the body prefers to burn glucose (and all carbohydrates eventually break down to glucose), it can and will do just fine by burning fat for energy.  The brain can also utilize medium-chain fatty acids to work.  The fat can be from your diet, or from your own fat stores.  The ketones eventually become acetone, which can account for breath, body and urine smells that are a bit different.

Ketoacidosis is found only in diabetics. It is most commonly associated with Type 1 diabetes, but can occasionally be found in Type 2 as well. It’s typically associated with a lack of insulin. Ketoacidosis is dangerous and  can lead to death.  But its solely related to a shortage of insulin.  Since my blood sugars are normal and I manufacture insulin, I am in BDK.


I’m giving myself rewards at every 10 pounds of weight lost.  My first 10 pound reward was going to be a massage and facial, but I’ve decided that I’m going to join a gym instead. My at home workouts are not doing it very much anymore and I need to get into more of a strength training regime.

Like everything else, I’m doing this mindfully.  Since I spent 3 weeks just on the low carb diet, I want to spend 4 weeks trying just the diet and strength training.  After that I’ll try another 4 weeks on the diet along with cardio.  After that I’ll merge both the exercises with the diet.  Along the way I’m going to track and figure out what works best for me both in terms of strength and health along with the weight loss.  (I’m not so focused on the weight loss as I am about being healthy).  I’ll then be able to come up with a reasonable plan to follow.

So I’m trying out gyms in the area.  Most of the gyms will give a free week’s trial, which I’m taking advantage of. The reason is that I want a gym that I can be comfortable with. I don’t want a meat market. Nor do I want one where people are unfriendly.  I want to be able to figure out how crowded the gym will be at specific times that I would go. So I need at least a week to try out a gym at least three times.

Some of the gyms that I’m trying are regional chains.  Others are franchises of national chains.  The regional chains are good about the trials.  The national chains not so much. While the national chain web sites might offer a free 7 or 14 day trial, the franchise near me itself doesn’t honor it (which kind of feels like a bait and switch since there is no mention on the web site that this may be the case until after I’ve signed up).  So those I’m counting out.  If I can’t try it, I’m not joining it.

There is one national chain that offers a 30 day trial for $8.95.  I’m hoping that the local franchise honors it.  So I’ll be picking out a gym in the near future. I’ve also opened an account on Fitocracy to be able to bring my workouts into the gym via my smart phone.  I’ve also found that the social networking aspects of it are helping to keep me motivated. If you are on Fitocracy, let me know here and I’ll follow you.

May 2012 Measurements

Measurement Starting Current Difference
Weight 200 lbs 191.60 lbs -8.4 lbs
Chest 39.00″  37.50  -1.50″
Waist 36.50″  33.00  -3.50″
Stomach 43.00″  36.50 -6.50″
Hips 45.00″  42.00 -3.00″
Thighs 25.25″  24.50 -0.75″
Biceps 15.50″  15.50 0.00″

I’m thrilled at my progress this month.  Although I just started exercising last week, I’m so pleased at the results. I’m almost or at my 10 pound weight loss goal.  In 2 months.  While my weight loss is not fast, it’s now both actually happening and sustainable. I lost over 5 pounds this month!

The exercising seems to be helping my measurements.  I’m at the my lowest measurement in 6 of 7 categories right now.  Weight, Waist, Hips, Thighs, Neck and Calves are all at the lowest measurements. And that’s with only 2 weeks of weight workouts.

I want to emphasize that my goal here is health and not weight-loss for its own sake.  At 200 pounds, I was finding it hard to go up and down my stairs.  My feet hurt when I got out of bed in the morning and I lacked energy to do the things I want to do.  My focus on losing the weight is not so I’ll look good in clothes, my focus has to do on being able to do the things I want to do.

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2 Responses to “Monthly Fitness Report: Month 5”

  1. WebErika says:

    Love your progress 🙂 You’re amazing.

    With the trial gym membership, what I would do, and have been successful with, is call the national chain headquarters. Let then know that you really want to trial the gym, but will the local franchise (who is actually governed by the national) honor it? Tell them which one, etc. Get a name and number from whom you spoke to, then go try the local to see if they will honor it. If they don’t let them know you’ll be in touch with their corporate headquarters to explain that you’ve been turned away.

    Should you have to do that? No, you’re right. But I have found that local franchises think they do not have to adhere to corporate policies, when in fact they do. It’s part of their franchise agreement for most. Good luck!

  2. Sandra Clark says:

    I actually did that believe it or not. The national chain told me they have no way to force the regional chain to honor it and apparently its on the email in small print after you sign up. I pointed out that something about that should be in the original advertisement since I never would have given them my contact information if I had known that.

    I call that bait and switch. So I won’t be using Anytime Fitness anytime soon.