Friday, April 29, 2016


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:


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!


  1. Hello Rebecca. Still trying to figure out my sweet spot as far as protein. Would you give me a sample of what you eat in one day. Also if you are eating at a deficit does it matter how much fat you get in your diet? If I am eating 500 calories less than what I burn daily does it matter where those calories come from whether it be fat or protein? If I'm eating at a deficit and I have more fat in my diet does it still matter since I'm at a deficit?

    1. Hi, Bill!

      I have to say up front that I do not believe there is any way for a person to know what their bodies are doing with the calories they eat, and how many calories they are burning. It is obvious that you have to be in a deficit to lose body fat, but the only way for you to know for sure that you are IN a deficit is to see the loss of body fat.

      Calorie math does not work. You cannot eat 500 calories less per day or exercise 500 more per day and expect to see a loss of 0.14 pounds per day.

      I highly recommend you take in this video to get some insight on that subject:

      And this one, too:

      This is the way I think of it: As long as I am eating dietary fat, my body is going to burn that as fuel, and my body fat will stay in place. So I do not add any fat to speak of UNTIL my body fat gets into the normal range, at which time I will need to eat more fat so that I have fuel to live.

      I have been convinced that eating at the higher level of protein (1 gram of protein per 1 pound of body weight) is healthy and aids in attaining proper body composition. So, on the days that I eat, I eat that much protein. If I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I eat around 45g of protein with each meal. Use whatever food tracker you are using to see how much protein you would be eating at your weight. You can either use your current weight to decide how much protein to eat, which will mean you will eat less protein as you lose weight, or just start eating the amount of protein you would be eatingat your goal weight, which will mean you will stay there until you reach your goal weight.

      I have decided to use my current weight as my deciding factor, and decrease protein as I lose weight. If I'm going to be really picky about it, that means that I would use 135.8 grams of protein as my goal for today.

      Carbs will always be kept pretty low, naturally, because I am Type 2 Diabetic.

      You asked if it matters where you get your calories as long as you are at a deficit. Yes, it matters.

      If you eat 2000 calories of very high protein and very low fat, you will be overeating protein and cause problems, plus, you need a certain amount of fat to function properly.

      If you eat 2000 calories of very low protein and very high fat, you will not be getting the protein you need to replace and repair lean tissue, and you will be eating so much fat that your body will not burn the body fat it already has as fuel, plus, your body will store the excess fat as even MORE body fat.

      It goes without saying that if you eat more carbs than anything else, you would likely become (if you are not already) insulin resistant and possibly diabetic.

      All calories are not the same. They are not interchangeable. As explained in the two videos I shared above, they are not all used as fuel. Some are used as fuel, some are used for repairs and maintenance, and some are stored for future use. All fuel comes from calories, but all calories are not used as fuel.

    2. I have been trying to come up with a good analogy. Try this one: All refrigerators are appliances, but all appliances are not refrigerators. In order for your modern kitchen to function properly, it need three appliances - a stove, a refrigerator and a freezer. The refrigerator is used for short term storage of food (energy that you need to access easily all day), your freezer is used as long term storage of food (energy you are saving for later), and your stove is used for immediate use of food (energy you are burning right now).

      You can't just say, "I need three appliances, so I will just get three freezers." In that case, you will be storing all your food for later use, and it is not easy to use as food (energy) unless you put it in the refrigerator to defrost for awhile, and then cook it on your stove. But you don't have a refrigerator or a stove. All you have are three freezers, which you continue to use as food (energy) storage.

      So if you are treating all calories as equal, it is as though you believe that they are all being used as immediate energy, which they are not. Generally speaking, protein is used for repairs and maintenance, and not for immediate energy, like when you exercise. The calories you take in as protein are not accessed when you exercise. Fat and carbs are used for immediate energy, and which one depends on whether you are primarily a sugar burner or a fat burner.

      Eaten in too much quantity, carbs and fat are stored as body fat. And you cannot exercise enough to burn them off, especially if you are insulin resistant, which will keep your fat stores "locked up" and not easily accessed.

      I cannot give you medical advice, but I can say what is working for me. I am eating around this: 136g nutrient-dense protein, 63-80g dietary fat, and no more than 23g net carbs nutrient-dense veggies per day. On the days that my scale weight is over my goal for the day, I do not eat until the next day. I left weights once per week, I do HIIT twice per week, and I try to walk 3 miles once or twice a week.

      But, and this is important, I do NOT do these exercises to "burn calories" and I have no idea (and neither do you or anyone else) how many calories I am burning when I do those things. I lift weight and do HIIT and walk to build lean mass and to increase insulin sensitivity. I'm sure I am using energy to do those things, but there is no way that I can say, "I burned X amount of calories on the treadmill today, so that means I should eat X amount of calories so that I can be at a deficit and lose weight today.

      All the best,


  2. Thanks Rebecca for the detailed information. I seem to have pretty good control over my blood glucose numbers. I am wavering all over the place I'm trying to decide whether I should increase protein or keep it where it's at. Since it has worked for you I believe I will go ahead and try to increase protein and give it a real shot. The only negative in doing this is every time I do so I get knocked out of ketosis. I want to be burning fat for fuel and be keto adapted. This may sound crazy but I can almost eat more carbs from green leafy vegetables and be okay versus increasing my protein. Increasing protein for some reason seems to kick me out of ketosis easily. But it's worked for you and I respect your opinion so I am going to go ahead and give it a try. Thanks again for all the information and I will definitely watch the Youtube videos. Thanks again Rebecca

    1. In the OKL FB group, there is a person named Jamie that was running into the same problem, but he kept at it, and slowly brought down his BG while eating more protein. I'm trying to remember what his ketones were like. I'll have to ask him.

      In the meantime, remember to chase results and not ketones. If you are eating a proper amount of protein, and leafy greens and fats, and you are losing body fat, you are in enough ketosis. I am no longer concerned about ketones. I don'e even check them anymore. If I am fasting regularly, I know I am in ketosis. If I am losing body fat, I know I am in ketosis.

  3. One final thought Rebecca. Is it realistic to think that when you're adding muscle that you can continue to lose scale weight? Also concerning protein I might be able to do the OK L guidelines as far as protein and fats but if I were to eat one gram per body weight I would have to take in 220 grams of protein a day and I only two meals a day so that would be really tough for me to do. I do think I will try the OKL protein guidelines and keep it on the lower end so I don't have to Gorge myself with protein in two meals. Once again Rebecca thanks a lot for your assistance I will stay in touch and let you know how things go.

    1. If I were a young man, or even an older one, the "adding muscle" concern would be valid. However, I am so low on testosterone that I will probably only be able to gain one pound of muscle, at the most, from this time on.

      So if I gain a pound of muscle, and it makes the scale go up one pound, and I fast because of that, it's no big deal. If I were gaining 10-15 pounds of muscle and going by my scale weight, that would be a problem.

  4. Ok. Very good. Have done a couple of meat only days and so far results look promising. I will give you specifics as i continue on. Could it be the added fat was raising my bg more than proteins? I thought fat was non insulinogenic? Its looking like it maybe. Hmmm.

    1. There are so many things that can raise BG besides the food you are eating, such as lack of sleep, illness, stress, etc.

  5. I so needed to read this tonight! I have only started the keto diet a week and half ago. My stomach has been upset. I was also thinking of lowering my fat. No more coconut oil in my coffee. And no smothered butter on my steak. I love the Atkins way. I am going back to that. Thank you and good luck to you :-)