Friday, June 24, 2016

THE 2016 CHALLENGE - WEEK 25 RESULTS


 Today is the end of Week 25. 

In the past week I have:
Gained 3 pounds on the scale
Gained 2.1 pounds of body fat (est.)
Gained 0.9 pounds of lean mass (est.)
Gained 0" around my neck
Gained 3/8" around my waist
Gained 1/2" around my hips
Body fat from 31.4% to 32.2% (est.)
Lean mass from 68.6% to 67.8% (est.)
Feasted 6 days and fasted 1 day
Lifted weights 1 time
Did treadmill HIIT 1 time
Walked 3 miles 0 times


Since January 1, 2016, I have:

Lost 14.4 pounds on the scale
Lost 15.1 pounds of body fat (est.)
Gained 0.7 pounds of lean mass (est.)
Lost 5/8" around my neck
Lost  3 3/8" around my waist
Lost 2 7/8" around my hips
Body fat from 39% to 32.2% (est.)
Lean mass from 61% to 67.8% (est.)
Feasted 112 days and fasted 63 days
Lifted weights 10 times
Did treadmill HIIT 14 times
Walked 3 miles 6 times

TRYING TO GET BACK TO NORMAL AND BACK ON TRACK

As you know by my last post, things have been really weird, what with my husband having a heart attack and all.  I have not been blogging, but I have been trying to get back on track by doing some longer fasts.  The fasting was pretty easy and the weight loss was great, but as soon as I started eating again, I would just gain it all back.  Here is what happened when I tried the longer fasting:

Fasted 4 days - Lost 7 pounds
Feasted 4 days - Gained back 6.8 pounds
Fasted 3 days - Lost 7.4 pounds
Feasted 5 days - Gained back 6 pounds
Fasted 1 day - Lost 2.2 pounds
Feasted 2 days - Gained back 3.4 pounds

That's a lot of big bouncing around, and I'm not happy with the results.  I started out the above at 138 pounds, and ended up, after a lot of deprivation, at 139.6 pounds.  I'm thinking my body does not respond to the longer fasts, and so I have decided to reset my goals once again and do what worked for me before, which is trying to lose an average of 0.2 pounds per day, and feasting on the days I meet my goal and fasting on the days I don't.  I estimate that it will take me till around August 4, 2016, to reach my new goal of 130 pounds with 25% body fat.

I made a few charts to track my progress.  On the first two charts, the grey line is my long term goal. The blue line is my actual weight.  The red line is my 7-day average.   I am showing two charts so I can see my progress since the beginning of the year, and also to get a close-up from the time I started again after Bill's heart attack.

The third 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.



Below is my chart for the Body By Science "Big Five".  It shows the exercises I am doing, along with the weight, reps and TUL, which stands for Time Under Load.


This is my chart for treadmill HIIT, which shows that I am now up to 7.1 mph during the running time.  I am going to keep pushing that up by 0.1 mph each time to see how fast I can go.  I will stop increasing the speed when I go flying off the treadmill! 


This is my chart for walking:



There are six weeks remaining for this new challenge.  If I achieve my goal of 130 pounds with 25% body fat, I'm not sure where I will go from there.


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!

To find out more about this challenge - the rules and how it started - click here.

Monday, June 6, 2016

AS SERIOUS AS A HEART ATTACK!

I wanted to put up this post in case anyone was wondering how things are going with my "kinder, gentler" challenge.

I am taking a break right now from weighing, measuring and tracking because on May 15, 2016, my dear husband, Bill, had a heart attack.  We had no warning, and did not even know that he was at risk.  Plus, he has been eating a healthy low carb, optimal protein, healthy fat diet for over seven years.  What the heck?

I want to write out the sequence of events, and I am hoping that this blog post might prevent someone else from going through what we went through.  So let me start at the beginning:

In September 2015, Bill had sudden onset vomiting and chest and abdomen pain.  We rushed to the ER, where he had an EKG and was told that his heart was fine.  The doc in the ER said it was probably just a stomach bug or food poisoning.  We understood that the normal EKG meant that his heart was healthy.  It was not, but no one at the ER told us that a normal EKG does not equate to a normal heart.

Four weeks later, in October 2015, it happened again.  Another ER visit, another EKG, and another clean bill of heart health.  This time, the ER doc suggested that Bill see a gastroenterologist.  Bill decided not to.  The ER doc did not mention seeing a cardiologist, even though Bill presented with chest pain and vomiting.

It happened again four weeks later in November, then four weeks later in December, then four weeks later in January.  Three more ER visits, three more normal EKGs, three more docs telling us to see a doc for the stomach, but no mention of seeing a doc for the heart.  In January, Bill finally decided to see a specialist, and after a few tests, was told he had GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).  He was given a pill to take and he started taking them.

Bill had slowly been gaining a little weight, even though his diet had not changed, and when he gained even more after starting the GERD medicine, he decided to stop taking it.  He had not had a stomach issue for several weeks.  He stopped taking the pills, and had another vomiting episode on May 10.  We called his GI doc, and he said to just start taking the pills again and everything would be fine.

On May 14, he fell ill and told me that he was tired and felt like he had been hit by a truck.  No chest pains, but just all over muscle aches.  In the evening, he had a headache and all his bottom teeth hurt.  I decided that if he was still not feeling well after the weekend, I would take him to the doctor.

On May 15, I went to lift weights at the gym, but Bill decided to stay home.  He said he felt better, but was very tired.  At 3 pm, he started having chest pains and difficulty breathing.  HE DID NOT FEEL THE NEED TO TELL ME THIS!  He thought he was having some sort of muscle spasm.  He spent the night sitting up in a chair, unable to lie down.

On May 16, as I was headed out the door at 4:30 am, Bill stopped me and told me he was having chest and back pain and trouble breathing.  We immediately got in the car to take the 10 minute drive to the hospital.  Neither of us thought it was a heart attack, or I would have called 911.  We told them in the ER that he was having chest pains, and after an EKG, things got pretty dramatic.

Within a few minutes, we were told that Bill was having a heart attack and needed immediate surgery.  He never clutched his chest and passed out.  It did not seem like a heart attack.  But standing in an ER room and listening to "Code Blue, Room 9!" over the PA system is something I never want to live through again.  Watching several medical persons run into my husband's room and start working on him was so frightening!  For the second time in my life, I felt like I was part of a TV show, the first time being when my daughter was in the ER after her fatal car accident in 1997. After an angioplasty and two stents, he was taken to the ICU, where he spent three days.  We found out that he had three blocked arteries in his heart.  One was completely blocked and that's where the two stents were placed.  Another one was 85% blocked, but the doctor said we would wait seven to ten days to put in a stent there, because putting in a stent can sometimes cause a heart attack, and the doctor did not want him to have two heart attacks so close together.  The other artery was only around 30% blocked, so no need for treatment on that one.

The cardiologist told me that if I had gone to work that morning and left Bill at home, he would have been dead in an hour or so.  He said that Bill did not have a "close call".  He had "THE call".

On May 17, Bill had an echocardiogram done to see what damage was done to his heart during the 18 hours that he was having a heart attack but did not seek treatment.  We were surprised to learn that there was no damage to the heart.

On May 18 we left the hospital and went home.  Bill was told to do a lot of nothing, to lift nothing, and to take a three to four month leave from work at the golf course.

On May 20, we were back in the ER because Bill was still having trouble breathing.  When we came into the ER, the same doctor was there.  He told us that Bill no doubt had congestive heart failure, and that his heart enzymes during the attack were the highest he had seen.  But the cardiologist said he did not have congestive heart failure, because there was no damage to the heart.  He did decide, however, to go ahead and do the surgery to insert the other stent, as long as we were there.  The surgery went well, and Bill was released from the hospital again the next day.

On May 23, I took Bill in to see the cardiologist in his office because he still could not breathe.  He was examined by the nurse practitioner, who told him that because his heart had suffered no damage, it must be lung disease brought on by fifty years of smoking (he quit ten years ago), and Bill was referred to a pulmonary specialist.  We made the appointment, but could not be seen for a couple of weeks.

On May 25, we were back at the ER because Bill could not breathe and was having head, neck and shoulder pain and was going back and forth between chills and hot flashes with extreme sweating.  The ER doctor told us that Bill had congestive heart failure.  Tests showed fluid around his heart and fluid around and in his lungs.  After he was admitted, the cardiologist ordered another echocardiogram, and this time it showed that there was damage to the heart.  So now the cardiologist concurs with the ER doc and Bill has been formally diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

Bill was put on a pretty high dose of a diuretic, and started losing water weight right away.  He was checked out by the stomach doc and the lung doc and got a clean bill of health from both, so it's all about the heart at this point.

On May 27, Bill was released from the hospital and sent home again.  He has a followup appointment today with the cardiologist, and next week he starts cardiac rehab.  In the ten days following his release from the hospital, he lost over 13 pounds of fluid.  His breathing is normal.  He sleep apnea is gone.  His energy level is good, but he does get tired a little bit after walking around.  He is not working, but we do take short walks around the block and such.  His mood is much improved and he is back to his normal, cheerful self.

But, enough about Bill!  I'm sure you are wondering how I am doing.

During the twelve days that we were going in and out of the hospital, I was stress eating and not sleeping.  I stayed with Bill at the hospital, sleeping on a futon next to his bed, and ate three meals per day in the hospital cafeteria.  The food was surprisingly good, with lots of low carb options.  I did eat a few high carb things, like I had a cookie twice during that time, and I had fruit and yogurt.  I was no nervous that I felt the emotional need to eat every couple of hours, and I gained several pounds during that time.

Needless to say, my plan for getting down to 130 pounds flew out the window when Bill's heart attacked him.  It has been three weeks since then, and I am now ready, emotionally and physically, to start taking care of myself again.  I fasted two days ago, and I am fasting again today, and may fast tomorrow as well.  This morning, I weighed 140 pounds.  I'm going to try to get on the fast track to getting rid of the weight I gained since May 15 and go on from there to my goal.  I took a break from the gym to take care of Bill, but I have started back again and have been lifting weights and making progress.

video

THE BIG QUESTION:  WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?

According to everything I know to be true, Bill should not have heart disease.  He has been eating low carb for over seven years.  He quit smoking over ten years ago.  He is active.  What has happened does not seem right, and I need to get to the bottom of it, and also find out if I am at equal risk.

From what I have learned, the cause of heart disease is not high cholesterol, but systemic inflammation, as these articles explain.  All of Bill's inflammation markers are high.  Maybe mine are, too.  I don't know.  And if he, and possibly me, too, have serious inflammation, what is causing it?  Is it the feedlot beef that is high in Omega-6?  Has a sensitivity to eggs been developing?  Is too much dairy causing inflammation?  I have no idea, but I intend to find out and stop this thing in its tracks so that Bill can recover, live long, and prosper.

In the third week of July, Bill and I are traveling to see Dr. Jeffry Gerber in Denver.  I have been following him for a while, and his understanding of heart disease is on the cutting edge of current research.  Bill will be tested and evaluated, and so will I.  If you would like to get an idea of Dr. Gerber's views on the subject, check out this great youtube video.

When we left the hospital, we were given a set of instructions that included the recommendation to eat 7-10 servings of grains per day, along with starchy vegetables, very low fat, virtually no animal products contained saturated fat, and low salt.  Basically, they want Bill to become a vegan.  This will happen over my dead body.  I know too much to ever let that happen.

And, all the doctors we saw told Bill that he needs to go on a statin drug.  Statins cause so many side effect, including damage to the heart muscle, damage to other muscles and memory loss.  Statins are bad, and Bill refuses to take one.  I have heard Dr. Gerber say that he does prescribe statins, but not very often, so we are hoping that Bill will not have to take them.  I trust Dr. Gerber, and if even he says that Bill should be on a statin, we will have to seriously consider it.

We will be depending heavily on Dr. Gerber to bring us through this mystery and out the other side.

I'm not sure when I will post again.  I will give an update when I can, and I will definitely let my readers know the results of our testing with Dr. Gerber.

Thanks for reading!



Friday, May 13, 2016

THE KINDER, GENTLER CHALLENGE - WEEK 19 RESULTS

                               Today is the end of Week 19.  In the past week, I have:

Rebecca in size 6 jeans on May 13, 2016
Lost 0.4 pounds on the scale
Gained 1 pound of body fat (est.)
Lost 1.4 pounds of lean mass (est.)
Gained 1/8" around my neck
Gained 5/8" around my waist
Gained 1/8" around my hips
Body fat from 30.3% to 31.1% (est.)
Lean mass from 69.7% to 68.9% (est.)
Feasted 6 days and fasted 1 day
Lifted weights 1 time
Did treadmill HIIT 1 time
Walked 3 miles 1 time

Since January 1, 2016, I have:

Lost 18.6 pounds on the scale
Lost 18.0 pounds of body fat (est.)
Lost 0.6 pounds of lean mass (est.)
Lost 1/2" around my neck
Lost  3 5/8" around my waist
Lost 3 3/8" around my hips
Body fat from 39% to 31.1% (est.)
Lean mass from 61% to 68.9% (est.)
Feasted 82 days and fasted 52 days
Lifted weights 5 times
Did treadmill HIIT 9 times
Walked 3 miles 5 times

Size 6 jeans, come to Mama!  Five and a half months ago, I was wearing a very tight size 12, and now I am wearing a properly fitting size 6.  It feels great!

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.


I have to admit that I broke my rules a few times this past week.  On Mothers Day, I was over my goal weight for the day, but I ate anyway because it was a holiday.  On Monday and Tuesday, I was over my goal weight for those days, but I was having a hard time mentally getting back in the swing of things.  I was back on track fasting on Wednesday, and have been following my rules since.

I did gain a little bit in inches, but I am not concerned.  Weight and inches naturally fluctuate up and down.  Improvements in body composition are never linear.  I'm looking forward to a good week!


Below is my chart for the Body By Science "Big Five".  It shows the exercises I am doing, along with the weight, reps and TUL, which stands for Time Under Load.


This is my chart for treadmill HIIT, which shows that I am now up to 6.6 mph during the running time.  I am going to keep pushing that up by 0.1 mph each time to see how fast I can go.  I will stop increasing the speed when I go flying off the treadmill! 


This is my chart for walking:



There are seven weeks remaining for this kindler, gentler challenge.  If I achieve my goal of 130 pounds with 25% body fat, I'm not sure where I will go from there.


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!

To find out more about this challenge - the rules and how it started - click here.

Friday, May 6, 2016

THE KINDER, GENTLER CHALLENGE - WEEK 18 RESULTS

Today is the end of Week 18.  In the past week, I have:

Lost 0.8 pounds on the scale
Lost 1 pound of body fat (est.)
Gained 0.2 pounds of lean mass (est.)
Lost 1/8" around my neck
Lost 1/4" around my waist
Lost 1/4" around my hips
Body fat from 30.8% to 30.3% (est.)
Lean mass from 69.2% to 69.7% (est.)
Feasted 3 days and fasted 4 days
Lifted weights 1 time
Did treadmill HIIT 2 times



Since January 1, 2016, I have:

Lost 18.2 pounds on the scale
Lost 18.9 pounds of body fat (est.)
Gained 0.7 pounds of lean mass (est.)
Lost 5/8" around my neck
Lost  4 1/4" around my waist
Lost 3 1/2" around my hips
Body fat from 39% to 30.3% (est.)
Lean mass from 61% to 69.7% (est.)
Feasted 76 days and fasted 51 days
Lifted weights 4 times
Did treadmill HIIT 8 times

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.




Below is my chart for the Body By Science "Big Five".  It shows the exercises I am doing, along with the weight, reps and TUL, which stands for Time Under Load.


This is my chart for treadmill HIIT:




This is my chart for walking, which I did not do any of this week, for various reasons:



There are eight weeks remaining for this kindler, gentler challenge.  If I achieve my goal of 130 pounds with 25% body fat, I'm not sure where I will go from there.


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!

To find out more about this challenge - the rules and how it started - click here.

Friday, April 29, 2016

THE KINDER, GENTLER CHALLENGE - WEEK 17 RESULTS

Today is the end of Week 17.

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:

FEASTING

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.

FASTING

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!

Monday, April 25, 2016

BREAK TIME IS OVER - ON TO THE NEXT CHALLENGE!

My weight loss and blood glucose challenge came to an official end on April 1, 2016.  You can read the final results here if you haven't already.  Even though I came in a couple of pounds over my goal, it was so close that I consider the three-month challenge a rousing success!  I was able to lose a bunch of weight and, more importantly, I normalized my fasting blood glucose.

In case you are curious, for these past few weeks, I did some more fasting, lost some more weight, went on a mini vacation, gained some weight and saw one post-meal blood glucose reading get very high indeed, convincing me, once again, that I cannot eat sugar without damaging myself.

One of the things that I have been doing has been trying to follow the Optimal Ketogenic Living guidelines for the amount of protein, fat and carbs to eat each day.  If you join the Facebook group for OKL, you can learn more about how this way of eating works.

According to the OKL chart, shown here, a 5'3" woman like me should be eating between 91 and 136 grams of protein per day, no more than 23 grams of net carbs per day, and between 68 and 159 grams of fat per day.  This last guideline - for fat grams - is a sliding scale based on your weight goals.  If you want to lose weight, stay at or near the lower amount of fat grams.  If you want to maintain your current weight, stay around the middle.  If you want to gain weight, stay at or near the highest amount of fat grams.

Fasting, in many different forms, is encouraged in this group, and reading the many threads and research articles will give you a real education on nutrition.  The works of Drs. Phinney and Volek are highlighted and followed, and I highly recommend the folks at OKL!

I have also been spending a lot of time watching youtube videos on nutrition, fasting, protein needs and kittens.  (It would not be a good day if I did not watch at least one youtube video featuring kittens!)

One of the people I have been listening to is Jonathan Bailor.  I got his book from the library, but it may just end up being one that I need for my personal library.  I heard about Jonathan and his thoughts concerning the ridiculousness of counting calories last year.

I seriously considered trying his weight loss method, but when I found out that he is against counting calories, I was discouraged.  Each time I have tried a weight loss method that does not involve tracking every blankety-blank-blank bite of food I eat, I have always gained weight.

But, after listening to someone that I respect interviewing Jonathan, I decided to read his new book and see what I could glean from it.  I have to admit that I was impressed with what I read, which I did with a newly opened mind, and found that the vast majority of what he was suggesting was right in line with the OKL chart I have been following!

Jonathan's recommendations include eating plenty of nutrient-dense protein (about 1 gram per pound of body weight, which is at the high end of the OKL recommendation), LOTS of green vegetables, and other colors, too, and what he calls 'whole food fats'.  He is not a proponent of adding a lot of oils or butter to food, but rather, eating foods that have natural fats contained within them, such as avocados, olives, eggs, nuts, seeds, coconut, etc.

My fear was that, if I ate the amount of veggies he suggests, my blood glucose would spike up.  But, for the past few days, I have been stuffing myself with green veggies, mostly raw, and my blood glucose was only 95 mg/dl at the highest, which was two hours after eating.  So far, so good, so I am continuing on.

The basic premise of the nutrition portion of the book is to eat SANE food and avoid inSANE food.  Jonathan explains the difference quite clearly in the book, and on his website, and maintains that if you fill yourself up with (almost) unlimited amounts of SANE food, you will not have room for the inSANE food.   

I love Jonathan's take on exercise, too, possibly because he agrees with what I have already decided is the right way to exercise - lifting heavy weights very slowly, doing a little bit of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) now and then, and taking part in other activities that you enjoy, for stress relief, if for no other reason.  Waking, riding a bike, yoga, etc.

I have a new appreciation for the concepts outlined in "The Calorie Myth," so I have to give it a pretty sweeping recommendation.


Of course, Dr. Jason Fung is a particular favorite of mine as of late, and I am rather impatiently waiting for Amazon to deliver my copy of his long-awaited book, "The Obesity Code."  Dr. Fung has written extensively on diabetes treatment and prevention on his website, Intensive Dietary Management, and his videos, both on his website and on youtube, are thought-provoking, eye-opening and life-changing to thousands of people around the world.

Dr. Fung uses fasting, both short- and long-term, to manage blood glucose, insulin resistance and Metabolic Syndrome.  It was his factual reporting about the benefits of fasting that really pushed me over the edge into fasting to manage my Type 2 Diabetes.  Again, I highly recommend that all my readers look into what Dr. Jason Fung is uncovering.  His methods are really game-changing!

So, back to me and what I am doing next...

Encouraged by my recent challenge, and seeing that it is possible for me to lose weight and manage my blood glucose, I have decided that, after this past few weeks 'break' that I am going to jump back in and try to lose a few more pounds of body fat and gain a pound or so of lean mass.

Seeing a recent low weight of 133.4 pounds a couple of weeks ago, and a body fat percentage of 29.5, I have set my new goal at 130 pounds with body fat of 25%.  That translates to an additional loss of 11.1 pounds of body fat and an additional gain of 1.3 pounds of muscle.  Can I do it?  There is only one way to find out...

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, weather permitting.  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!


 The chart to the left shows what my daily goals will be for my scale weight.  As you can see, the slope of the grey goal line is a little shallower now than it was for the first three months of this year.  My previous goal was to lose 0.2 pounds per day (on average), and, starting tomorrow, the new goal will be to lose only 0.12 pounds per day.  I am doing this to take a gentler approach to weight loss, to give my body a little break, and to give some loose skin a chance to firm up, which opportunity I certainly hope it will take advantage of!

From now until the end of June 2016, I will again be utilizing my Feast/Fast model, with one slight change - I will not be using fasting blood glucose as a determining factor of whether or not I fast on a particular day.  I really feel that I have increased my insulin sensitivity to the point where my blood glucose is stable, and although I will check it now and then, I will not routinely check it every morning to see whether or not I'm going to eat.

This time around, I will simply weigh first thing in the morning before I eat, and if my weight is equal to or less than my goal for that day, I will feast freely.  Even though I have been tracking my food intake for the past couple of weeks, just to get the hang of how much more protein and veggies to eat, and how much less fat to eat, I will stop tracking now and just eat in the amounts that I have become accustomed to.

And, speaking of fat, I do want to mention that I was eating a lot more fat in January, February and March than I have been eating lately.  (I am also eating a lot more protein, which has been shown in studies to aid in weight loss.)  I finally got it through my head that there is enough fat on my body to "eat" and I don't need Bullet Proof Coffee and Fat Bombs at this stage of my weight loss.  As I have heard said, all I need is Low Carb; I'm already High Fat!  The fat on my body will be utilized for energy until there is not an excess amount of it.  Each time I eat a bunch of fat, my body will burn that rather than the stores of fat already "on hand."  Eating less fat does not make this a low fat diet.  I am just eating the fat on my body instead of the fat on my plate.  And, even with the whole food fats that I am eating, around 50% or more of my calories are coming from fat, so even that is still considered a high fat diet.

When I get to the point were there is not a lot of excess fat on my body, I will get to increase fat to supply the energy I need to live.  I'm looking forward to that!  I do miss my BPC!


One more chart.  This is an extended Feast/Fast Heat Map, so that you can see at a glance how often I am fasting.  This chart starts on January 1, 2016 and ends on June 30, 2016.  One red block represents a 36-hour fast.  Two red blocks in a row represent a 60-hour fast.

As you can see, I have feasted for the past seven days in a row.  What a luxury!

All that will come to an end as I start my fasting again.  So I better get used to seeing a little more red and a little less green.

When I did my last challenge, I posted every day.  This time, I will probably post only once per week.  Even I get bored with mundane details every day!

My next post will be a week from now, and I will tell you how I am doing, and show you my charts.  I will be adding in an activity log that will show how my weight lifting is going and how many times I have done HIIT and how many walks I have gone on.

Oh, and I just want to give a personal thank you to my friend Lynn Weiler, who has been a real inspiration to me and gave me the little nudge I needed to start back up again.  And she is joining me in this challenge, so, with her permission, I may be sharing some of her results as well!  Thanks, Lynn!

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!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

HbA1c RESULTS CALLED INTO QUESTION.


IS THE HbA1c TEST A RELIABLE INDICATOR OF AVERAGE BLOOD GLUCOSE OVER THE PAST THREE MONTHS?

If you read my summary post from twelve days ago, you saw the picture I took of my test results from my home HbA1c test.  Watching what I ate and fasting a HECK of a lot of days in the first three months of the year, I still got a reading of 5.2%, which is equivalent to an average blood glucose of 103 mg/dl.

I was so upset when I saw that number!  How could it be true?  The answer is, it couldn't be true.


I went to the interwebs to check on the reliablility of this test and found several articles that showed that the results are skewed, either higher or lower, based on the patient's history of anemia and/or iron deficiency.

I have had anemia and/or iron deficiency since childhood. Even now, when blood tests are done, I am lacking in red blood cells.  Sometimes I take a supplement and that helps, and sometimes I just don't worry about it.

The article that I felt was the most clear was this one written by Dr. Chris Kesser.  In the article, he says this:

"Sugar has a tendency to stick to stuff. Anyone that has cooked with sugar can tell you that. In our bodies, sugar also sticks – especially to proteins. The theory behind the A1c test is that our red blood cells live an average of three months, so if we measure the amount of sugar stuck to these cells (which is what the hemoglobin A1c test does), it will give us an idea of how much sugar has been in the blood over the previous three months. The number reported in the A1c test result (i.e. 5.2) indicates the percentage of hemoglobin that has become glycated (stuck to sugar)."

However, people with low red blood cells get inaccurate results.  He continues:

"This confused me early in my practice. I was testing blood sugar in three different ways for all new patients: fasting blood glucose, post-meal blood sugar (with a glucometer) and A1c. And I was surprised to see people with completely normal fasting and post-meal blood sugars, and A1c levels of >5.4%."

You can read the rest of Dr. Kesser's article to learn how he changed his procedures and no longer uses the HbA1c as the determining factor when he checks the progress of his patients. For myself, I decided to check my blood glucose nine times per day over a one week time frame to see if it was true that my BG was rising so high after eating as to cause me to have an average blood glucose of 103 mg/dl, or 5.2%.

I tested my blood glucose right before each of my three daily meals.  I also tested one hour after beginning each meal, and again two hours after beginning each meal.  Of the seven days, I fasted only twice, from dinner one day until breakfast two days later, which made the duration of those two fasts 36 hours each.  On the first day that I fasted, I did check my BG nine times.  The second day that I fasted, I only checked it twice, because I could see from the last fasting day that there is barely any fluctuation when you are not eating at all.  On that second fasting day, I filled in estimates of what I considered to be reasonable numbers.

Here is a chart (click to enlarge it if necessary) that shows my results for this past week:




My TRUE average blood glucose over these 63 readings was 80 mg/dl or 4.4%.  And this is with me eating the same way that I was during my challenge, and even with me only fasting twice that week, when I was fasting three, four, or five times per week in the last half of the challenge, which would probably mean that my HbA1c should have been even lower than 4.4%.

My highest reading was 98 mg/dl or 5.0% (two hours after eating a meal) and my lowest reading was 68 mg/dl or 4.0% (the morning after a 36-hour fast).

My conclusion is that, had the HbA1c test been accurate, I would have gotten a reading somewhere in the neighborhood of 4.4%, not 5.2%.

Now that I have proved this to myself, I am going to go back to not checking my blood glucose as often.  I will check it now and then, and possibly when I eat a food I am not sure of to see if I can tolerate it.

In one of the diabetes Facebook groups that I belonged to last summer, I mentioned that I did not often check my BG.  The other diabetics were outraged and told me I had to test nine times per day or more every day for the rest of my life!  When I explained that I am perfectly controlled with diet and that I am on no diabetic drugs or insulin, they didn't care.  They felt that I was taking my disease lightly and it was an insult to all the diabetics that test multiple times per day.  They threatened me with blindness, nerve damage and amputations if I did not test every day.

At one point, I had made the mistake of saying that it was too expensive to do all that testing.  That's when the you-know-what really hit the fan!  They wondered what I cared most about, my disease or my money.

Well, since my diabetes is perfectly controlled with diet (and exercise), I care about the money.  If it ever becomes evident that I am no longer controlled, then I will spend the money.  For now, I will use that money to buy a nice steak!

Keep an eye out for my next personal challenge, which will center around body composition.

Onward and Downward!