Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Experiment #1: Fat Fast

When books have been written about a subject, it's kind of hard to condense it into a blog post but I'll see if I can do it without writing my own novel and boring you to tears. Where to even start?!
Let me get one thing out of the way from the start.
Disclaimer: What works for me may not work for you. Not only are we all different but trying something like this can be downright dangerous if you are taking medicine especially diabetic or blood pressure medication. Your glucose levels will probably drop dramatically. So if this looks like something you want to do, check with your doctor FIRST. Please! I don't want you dead. Again, these are my own experiences and your mileage may vary.

Did you read it? I'm serious. Insulin and blood pressure and all of that stuff is nothing to play with. Work with your doctor. I'm giving that advice but I seem to work against my doctor. He tells me to take a pill and I say no. He tells me to eat a certain way and I say no (but I'm doing it now. Don't tell him he's right. He loves that.).

What is a Fat Fast?
A fat fast is a mini diet in which calories are severely restricted to 1000 calories and most of the calories, preferably 90% or very close to it, come from fat. It is not a long term way of eating. It's short term and used to break through a plateau or help those with metabolic resistance to weight loss. Dr. Robert Atkins recommended it to some of his patients and it is mentioned in his books.

What's the goal?
The goal is to quickly dive into a state called ketosis. Sounds scary, right? If you know about diabetes, you know ketoacidosis is dangerous. This is not ketoacidosis.

When you severely restrict carbohydrates (it varies from person to person but usually 50g or less per day), your body has to become fat adapted. In other words, if it's not running off glucose it has to run off fat. So all day long your burning fat! A by-product of fat burning is called ketone bodies. There is a transition time as the body learns to burn ketones as its primary fuel, including the brain.

A glucose dependant body has around 2000 calories in its fuel tank to burn before bonking but it will send a signal to you way earlier that you need more fuel. In other words, you're going to get hungry for more carbs.

A fat adapted body has over 40,000 calories in its fuel tank. And ketone bodies are profoundly appetite suppressing.

So the goal is ketosis, breaking through plateaus, and helping those with metabolic issues that prevent weight loss.

It takes 2-4 weeks to become fat adapted though. It's a process.

I think I was becoming fat adapted at the end of the Whole30 but I can't be sure as I did not test for it but had the symptoms. That's another post though.

Well, sure. Anyone will lose weight on a calorie restricted diet! What's the big deal?
A calorie is a calories is a calorie? Not exactly.In 1956, Dr. Gaston Pawan and Prof. Alan Kekwick published a paper in the medical journal The Lancet about a study they performed.

They put obese people on low calorie, balanced diets of 2000, 1500, 1000, or 500 calories per day. Each patient stayed on his version for 7-9 days. The person who ate the fewest calories lost the most weight. Surprise!

Next, they put obese subjects on one of four diets, all with the same calorie content but where they got their calories was different: 1000 calories on a balanced diet, 1000 calories with 90% from carbohydrate, 1000 calories with 90% from protein, and 1000 calories with 90% from fat. If a calorie is a calorie then they should have lost about the same amount of weight.

Well, they didn't! The high carb diet actually gained weight. Gained on 1000 calories per day. The ones on the balanced diet lost some weight. The ones on the protein diet lost a little more. But the ones on the fat diet lost the most weight.

Another study in the 1960s had Dr Frederick Benoit put seven obese men on a total fast for seven days. No food at all. Yikes! They lost about 21 pounds each but 14 of those pounds was lean mass. Not good.

Then Benoit put the same people on 1000 calories per day with 90% of that coming from fat. They lost a little less weight, about 14 pounds in 10 days, but only .5 pounds was from lean body mass. They lost nearly twice as much fat and were able to preserve their muscle. That's a big deal.

But isn't it dangerous? Won't fat kill me?
Nope and nope. Typically an American eats 45% of his calories in fat if you're having around 2000 calories per day. So you'd really just be cutting back on other things.

This is eating healthy fats. Avoid polyunsaturated fats like vegetable oil, soy oil, safflower oil, and all trans fats. Monounsaturated is cool. Think olive oil and avocados.

Saturated fats have gotten a bad rap too. The whole "saturated fats causes heart disease" hypothesis has been largely discredited. Even according to the World Health Organization, "SFA intake was not significantly associated with CHD (coronary heart disease) events. There have been other journal publications basically saying the same thing but I won't bore you with each and every one.

Can I do this until I've lost all of my extra weight?
Nope. Not a good idea. For one thing, who wants to live off 1000 calories per day? Second and most important, there just isn't enough protein for long term. It's a short term thing. A fast.

Isn't ketosis dangerous?
Yes and no. Yes, if you have Type 1 diabetes. You don't want ketoacidosis which is extreme and uncontrolled ketosis. In healthy people, this normally doesn't occur. This doesn't happen simply from carbohydrate restriction. If you have a functioning pancreas, you can't go into ketoacidosis. If you are making more ketones than your body likes, it will convert a little protein to glucose, release a little insulin, and bring ketone levels down.

If you are a diabetic, check with your doctor first. I'm not a doctor. I have passed out and hit my head on a sink when blood was drawn before. I have no desire to be a doctor. Just want to fix myself.

Are there any benefits to nutritional ketosis?
See what I did there? I called it nutritional ketosis to differentiate it from ketoacidosis.

There have been several benefits discovered.
  • protects muscle mass during weight loss
  • provides an almost unlimited source of energy to muscles so there have been some ultra marathoners and triathletes who have switched to a ketogenic diet so they don't bonk.
  • appetite suppressing
  • has long been used to treat epilepsy
  • showing promise for treating cancer since cancer is glucose dependant
  • showing promise in treating Alzheimer's
  • despite years of warning of kidney damage, recent studies are showing a ketogenic diet reversing diabetic kidney damage.
  • increased energy and mental clarity. Some people report a euphoric feeling
  • consistent weight loss because the body is burning fat all day
What do you do on this fat fast?
Here's the nitty gritty: I eat 1000 calories per day, give or take. I try to get 90% of my calories from fat which isn't as easy as you'd think unless you want to go Paula Deen and belly up to a stick of butter. I eat 5 small meals per day at around 200-250 calories each. I supplement with magnesium because a lot of sodium is lost during the adaptation period which means electrolytes can get out of whack. That can cause some nasty headaches. Some people add extra salt to their food or drink a couple of cups of broth. I just take some Endurolytes capsules, which can be found at running stores, and be done with it.

That's about it.

What can I expect? How will I feel?
Day 1 isn't the most pleasant thing but it's not the end of the world. I felt a bit hungry and very sleepy. Mentally I wasn't quite there. No headache though.

Day 2 I still had the mental fog, still a little sleepy. Hunger wasn't too bad but I sure was ready for dinner!

Day 3 I was happy go lucky! Bouncing off the walls. It was such a dramatic shift. Mental clarity was better but I wouldn't say I'm 100% yet. Was so happy too. Hunger wasn't a problem.

Today is day 4.

Weight loss:
Ah, the good stuff!
In 3 days I've lost 3.8 pounds. Poof! Like that. I'm only doing this for 5 days though.

What do you eat?
I downloaded a little ebook called Fat Fast Cookbook. It's only $4.99. It outlines everything you need to know and has several recipes and tips.
Here are my meals for the past 3 days with all recipes available in the cookbook:

A camera shy iced vanilla coffee

"Yogurt" parfait
 Shirataki noodle mac n cheese (yum!)
 Romaine salad with a boiled egg
 1 oz macadamia nuts
 1 oz of sausage and egg
 Spinach salad with bacon
 Pepperoni chips with whipped cream cheese
 Curried Cream of Chicken soup
 1 oz macadamia nuts
 Sweet and tangy macaroni salad (yum!)
 1 oz macadamia nuts
 fettuccine with pesto (yum!!)
 Hmmm.....I seem to have lost a couple of pictures. But you get the idea.

It really hasn't been difficult. I still make dinner for my family and I eat my stuff with them at the table. That being said, I can't wait to break into this bad boy! Jalapenos and bacon? Yes, please!!
Fasting Glucose:
Sunday 105 (the day after having some beers and boudin and crawfish with Chuck.)

Monday: 93

Tuesday: 77

Wednesday: 80

I would measure my blood ketone levels but the strips are crazy expensive for the meter ($4-6 each in the US) but I found a place in Canada called Universal Drugstore where I can get them for $2 each. I have an order in for 20 but just waiting for them to arrive. I'll report back on that when I can actually do a test.

This experiment has been interesting and like all of the other experiments, I learn a lot. Experiment #2 begins on Friday.

I just want to say again, every body is different. I'm doing this to see how my body does. You have to find out what works for you. I am in no way saying that what I do is right or wrong. Just what happens to my body when I do these things. You shouldn't expect the very same thing to happen to you.

There are many highways to Washington DC. I may need to take a different route than you to get there. We don't all use the same road. Likewise, we don't all use the same path towards health and weight loss. Many time I was heading south when I should have been heading north. I'm closer to getting on the right path than I was years ago but I certainly don't have it all figured out. Yet. ;)

Have a wonderful Wednesday and happy travels on your path to health.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Free Julio

Oh, Monday, you come way too soon. I think I need an extra day added to the weekend. Here's a little funny to start the week. :)
 This post isn't so much about food and the ever present struggle to lose weight and get healthy. This is the story of a little soul struggling for freedom. (I'm being way too dramatic about this but just play along.)

Saturday morning Chuck had a shooting match so I tagged along to watch. He didn't do as good as he wanted and was pretty disappointed. I think he's been getting complacent and this disappointment will help fuel him to try harder and do better. The talent is there. He just needs more practice time. And ammo isn't exactly easy to find right now. State match is just around the corner.
 While Chuck is playing a game with friends, somewhere there is a little crawfish tied up in a sack. He's alive but his fate lies with a big pot of spices and potatoes and onions. It's not a good day to be a crawfish in southeast Texas.

Back in my life, we get home and cleaned up and relax for a while. Watch some TV. Browse Facebook. What's that? A sale on crawfish at a local restaurant? Let's go! We haven't been out in a while. Let's have a splurge night.

We sit at the bar because it's always interesting there. We watch a group of guys shamelessly flirt with the waitresses until the girlfriends show up and then that little show is shut down. I will never understand men like that. Chuck and I shake our heads and watch the show. Overheard one guy say, "I'm going to go home and wash the disappointment off."
 We order some boudin balls. Order the boiled crawfish special which also comes with a bucket of beer. The waitress goes to the back and opens the sack of crawfish where our little friend has been sitting all day. The crawfish are dumped into the pot but one little crawfish hangs on to the bag for dear life. He's not going to let go. The waitress grabs him and takes him to the bar floor just to see how long it will take him to crawl across the entire length of the floor.
 Our crawfish arrives and it's apparent very quickly that we should not have ordered the extra spicy. Our entire faces were tingling. We chatted about world events, hobbies, the people in the bar, and the spicy crawfish. All the time we make note of the little crawfish slowly making his way across the floor. Most waitresses don't even know he's there. He almost gets stepped on a few times. It seems odd to eat crawfish while watching a live one walk around.
 We manage to finish off the "mudbugs" or mini lobsters. They were the spiciest crawfish I've ever had. Ever.
 We sip on our last beer and watch as the crawfish is still struggling to find his way. Finally I ask the waitress if I can go behind the bar and get the crawfish. I'm not allowed behind the bar so I ask if anyone back there will get the little crawfish for me. After a few squeals from girls trying to pick up the little guy, a brave waitress grabs him and sets him on the bar.
I name my new friend Julio. He sits patiently as we finish our last beer and patrons ask what we're going to do with him. Every now and then Julio raises his little claws and gives us a peace sign. Or maybe it's victory in his case.
I ask the waitress for a to-go cup and I get Julio in there. It's a tight fit. He's not thrilled about this. Surely it's better than being tied up in a sack and squished with other crawfish though.

We make our way home and stop at the front pond of the neighborhood and set Julio free. He scurries backwards into some weeds to start his new life.

Little things may not mean much to the world but they can mean the world to little things.

In other news, still keeping the fats high. More on that Wednesday.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fasting Blood Glucose Reading, Low Carb Chocolate Pudding, Asparagus Gratin

Ok, I'll see if I can keep this post shorter today. They've been turning into novels lately and ain't nobody got time for that on a Friday. :)
As I've mentioned, I got a handy dandy gadget called a blood glucose meter to measure what's going on with my fasting glucose (when I first wake up in the morning), after certain meals or when I feel "off".

Since I've been following my low carb eating all week (except for a one meal that I'll tell you about later) I haven't had any episodes where my heart was pounding and I felt anxious and terrible. As a matter of fact, I've been feeling fan-friggin-tastic!

Fasting Glucose numbers:
2/16 83
2/17 85
2/18 83
2/19 68
2/20 79
2/21 80
2/22 130

I was concerned about the 68 but I had zero bad symptoms of low blood sugar and I wouldn't have even known it was that low had I not taken the measurement. So I'm not worried. I felt fine.

On the other hand, I was not feeling fine with the 130 reading. My heart was doing its dance in my chest and I just didn't feel as well.

Here's what happened and I'll try to keep a very long story short: Chuck has had a terrible week at work so I suggested a dinner out. We can still go out and I can order things that won't mess me up. We get to restaurant and Rachel sends a text that she has a prom dance meeting. Forgot all about it. So rush back home, rush to the meeting. Meanwhile I'm really hungry. Meeting lets out at 8pm. I haven't eaten since 11:30ish. So I send Chuck a text to meet me at a restaurant with Charlie. We get there around 8:30 and decide it's a good day to have a drink. Or two. And a handful of corn chips. And two chicken flautas. It may not sound like much but it has a profound effect on me. Why didn't I just get the fajitas or a salad? Because by that time I was hangry.

1 day of strength training and 1 day of having a 30 minute walk.

Feelings: Happy, not hungry unless I go hours and hours without eating, sleeping soundly, no cravings, clear mind

Weight Loss: I had gained back 5.2 pounds of the weight I lost in January. Since last Wednesday I am down 6.3 pounds by upping my fats, keeping protein moderate, and carbs low.

Low carb chocolate pudding made from avocados. Don't think of it as chocolate guacamole. I promise it's really good and creamy and filling.
 Asparagus Gratin. Wow! This is some good stuff! I substituted coconut flour in the recipe and added a little cream to the cheese mixture. Definitely a hit and will be making this again.
 Serve that with a filet mignon from the Sous Vide and you have yourself one happy tummy. :)
I put the steaks on a foil lined pan to torch them so they would have a nice char. That torch melted the foil! Which was kind of cool. Love playing with fire.

It seems counter intuitive to eat more fat to lose fat but it's working. I can't complain.

Have yourself a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Adventures in Fats

I've done a lot of stupid things in my life. Let's not say stupid. That sounds so harsh. Let's call them ignorant things.

In my dieting file of stupid ignorant things, I've tried fun things like:
  • a tuna fish diet (eat dry tuna and green beans)
  • severe calorie restriction (doesn't matter what I eat as long as I keep my calories around 1000 but let's see what happens when they're 500)
  • LA Weight Loss (my mom worked there and gave me the plan...hardly lost anything)
  • Grapefruit diet (ewww, but I don't like grapefruit)
  • Almost zero fat diet (lost some weight but was hangry most the time)
  • raw food diet (let's only eat raw fruits and vegetables. The cravings were debilitating. And I gained weight)
  • Juice fast for 2 weeks (let's juice fresh fruits and veggies and only live on that. I gained 5 pounds living off juice)
  • The "I have no clue what I'm doing anymore so let's just eat stuff out of the Hungry Girl Cookbook" diet (lost 25 pounds. Still hungry)
  • Weight Watchers (grab bag of success and failure. Even when following it perfectly sometimes I would gain or would only lose .2 pound. It was frustrating to try so hard and never know what results I would get. I did lose some weight. Was hungry often times. Got discouraged and quit)
  • Clean Eating (No changes in weight either way. I loved being able to eat brown rice and grains!)
  • Low carb (Much success! But was rebelling because I had to do it according to my doctor and I hate being told what to do)
  • The 4 Hour Body experiment for a month (Success with weight loss but not sustainable for me. The cheat days put my weight up so high that I had trouble losing the gain before the next cheat day. Learned a lot though)
  • Whole 30 (For a month in August. Much success. Had some bad cravings that went away. Experienced a lot of positive health benefits and weight loss. Also experienced some severe headaches and fatigue and mental fogginess starting out. But I believe it's a great plan though hard to stick to for a cheese lover)
  • Paleo (Great stuff here. Weight loss depended on how "free" I felt within the paleo rules. I know I can't do paleo desserts because of the sweeteners and my insulin resistance. But I could easily go overboard with the fruits and sweet potatoes. I think a low carb paleo would be the best for a person like me. Very pleased with paleo. Learned a lot.
You can see there has been a learning curve. I'm sure there's more that I've forgotten about. Remember the Maker's Diet? Yep. Tried that too. No success on that one.

And now I'm eating a mix of low carb and paleo. I do enjoy my dairy so I've decided life isn't worth living if I can't have cheese. That may be a bit dramatic. Let's just say I'm going to have cheese.

I'm making a conscious effort to increase my fats and cut way back on carbs. I realize carbohydrates are not an enemy to most people but if you could see how my body reacts to them you would know this is best for me. Your mileage may vary.

The goal right now is to get this insulin resistance and PCOS and thyroid issue under control. I asked paleo fitness guru Jason Seib about fueling recommendations before and after certain workouts. His advice to me was not to worry so much about that right now. He said I should concentrate on getting my metabolism working right. So here I am.

I have a new experiment planned for the month of March. I'll go over the details as the time approaches. You know I love experimenting. I learn so much in the process. This will be a number intensive experiment though and I'm not looking forward to tracking every little thing. But if I learn something new it's all worth it.

Here are a few things that a person trying to increase fats eats/drinks:

Coffee blended with 2 tablespoons cream, a little flavored sweetener, and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. It's like getting a latte from Starbucks. It's tasty and filling.
 There are several sugar free sweeteners you can find down the coffee aisle at the grocery store.
 The whole egg. Don't toss that yolk. Liquid chickens are good for ya. It's hard to see but this egg has a Harry Potter lightning bolt on it. Cluck Gable thinks it is the chosen one. The one who will stop the production of chicken nuggets and save the chicken race.
 Totally yum "macaroni" and cheese. Don't you distrust any food that comes with quotation marks? These are shirataki noodles which I have hated in the past but this is really good.
 Pizza bake. I topped it with homemade pizza sauce, Italian sausage, cheese, and fresh basil. Also a sprinkle of garlic powder and oregano. So easy to make.
 Can one ever get too much pizza? No. The answer is always no.
 The fam reaching for a scrap of sausage left. Yes, they loved it and ate all of it. Oh, and we also had salad.
 Lunch can be leftovers like this chicken parmigiana from the Valentine's dinner. I think this stuff is even better leftover.
 What you are not seeing is all the fresh produce that's being eaten too: cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, salads, etc. I had to go to the grocery store and saw this guy. Now normally I don't take pictures of people's asses but this guy has Jesus on his butt. The power of Christ compelled me to take a picture. You're welcome.
 The Sous Vide is making my life a lot easier preparing dinners. I vacuum sealed some chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder and butter.
 Dropped it in the water oven at 146* for about 3.5 hours. Poor Cluck Gable. He was traumatized when I asked if he wanted to get in the hot tub.
 One thing I have is more energy lately. So I decided to go visit a new meat market in my area. They have chocolate covered bacon!
 Lots of meats including cabrito (baby goat), elk, rattlesnake, boudin, venison, turtle, rabbit, buffalo and regular stuff like pork, chicken and beef. I bought a pound of alligator meat!
 Several sauces and spices.
 Did I mention chocolate covered bacon?
 I got some for the family and Cluck Gable dove into it. Crazy chicken. He approved. I had a bite of a strip and it was excellent.
 Dinner was my Dijon chicken that I make often. Everybody loves it. I used the chicken from the Sous Vide, topped it with the dijon sauce and cheese then put it in the oven for 10 minutes foe everything to melt. Then I used my new torch to brown it a little. Served over cauli-rice with a salad. It was so tender! All agreed that this was the best it had ever tasted. Success!
I have had zero headaches, zero mental fog, and zero fatigue since restricting my carbs and upping the fat. I've also had zero cravings which is nice. When I have restricted carbs in the past or even started a new Whole30 I would have about a week of bad headaches, fog, fatigue, cravings, etc but I haven't this time.

I'm supplementing with electrolyte capsules that I take when doing half marathons. Also taking magnesium citrate before bed which has the added bonus of helping me sleep even better. So maybe the electrolytes are helping with the "carb flu"?

I can tell you there has been a big difference between restricting my calories/eating low fat and restricting my carbs and eating high fat. I'm satiated and the cravings are gone and I'm in a fantastic mood and sleeping soundly.

Jimmy Moore described it best what happens when I restricted my calories/fats (this is pretty much exactly like my progression through it):
  • Cuts calories by eating smaller portions
  • Preferentially slashes fat because it has 9 calories per gram
  • Increases (cardio) exercise to “burn” more calories
  • Insulin and leptin resistance issue not addressed
  • Increased exercise causes hunger
  • Musters up the willpower to not eat despite hunger
  • Anger, irritability and outbursts become the norm
  • Metabolism slows, causing sluggishness and fatigue
  • Forces exercise to produce calorie deficit
  • Resists natural urge to eat, sleep enough
  • Despite cutting calories perfectly, scale stops moving
  • Frustrated by weight loss stall, gives up
  • Concludes s/he’s genetically programmed to be fat

  • I have finally had the energy to exercise. I actually want to move! How about that?! So yesterday I did a strength training exercise. You know, the usual stuff like squats, push ups, planks, etc.

    Anyway, you gotta find what works for you. We're all here with the same goal in mind: get healthy and feel good and live a long life. Whatever gets you there is what you need to do. My results may not match yours. But we can still support each other even if we're doing different things to reach the same goal.

    I'll be back Friday with some fasting glucose numbers.

    PS: Cluck Gable has his own Facebook page if you would like to follow his adventure and wisdom:

    Monday, February 18, 2013

    Low Carb Macaroni and Cheese and Valentine's Dinner

    Friday I took Chuck to get his second steroid injection in the neck by his pain management doctor. Last time was such a good experience for him that we were expecting the same this time. He wasn't supposed to eat anything before his appointment which was at noon. So I was being supportive and only had a few peanuts to stave my hunger and figured we'd eat lunch together as soon as his injection was over. Well, the doctor was running late and the appointment was for a different time. We didn't get to eat anything until 3:30. By that time we were starving!

    We went to a Mexican restaurant and I asked them not to put chips on the table. Why endure that kind of temptation? Instead I got tea and a cobb salad. Was so good and hit the spot.
     This injection didn't go as well. Chuck was nauseous afterwards, tired and his neck hurt. It's Monday and it's still hurting. It's disappointing to say the least. So with a nauseated, hurting hubby, we didn't do much Friday.

    Saturday Chuck made egg and cheese and bacon omelet thing. Good way to start the day.
    Then it was off to an Asian market. That was a LOT of fun! SO many different foods and spices. Many of them weren't labeled in English so I had not idea what they were. I did pick up a metal pot scrubber I needed. The English translation cracked me up!
    I also picked up a beef tenderloin for $21! I cut them up in to 11 1.5" steaks. Not bad! That's around $2 per filet mignon.
    Beautiful! I have each one seasoned and vacuum sealed to go in the Sous Vide.

    I also picked up a pork belly to try to make my own bacon. I'm not sure if it will be better than the stuff at the grocery store or not but I at least want to try it. Not too often you can say you're makin' bacon.

    I wanted to vacuum seal it and while getting it ready I noticed that it still has the skin on it. Ewwww. Then I found a couple of white pig hairs still attached to the skin. EWWWWWW! I broke out in a little cold sweat and quickly sealed and froze the pork belly. I was not expecting that. The episode of the pork belly to be continued......

    It was a busy day of going to places all over town but it was fun too. Stopped at Red Robin for a burger. Did you know they will wrap any burger in lettuce? Messy but good. They also have steamed broccoli as a substitution for fries.
     Went shopping at Whole Foods and got some aged cheddar and some shirataki noodles. I'm a sucker for good cheese. It's one of my favorite things. That and spicy foods.

    After going to yet another grocery store it was time to head home. I made myself a bowl of low carb macaroni and cheese. Omg. I haven't been a fan of shirataki noodles but this was so good. I got Rachel and Chuck to try it and they both agreed it was great. 2 grams carbs. That's it. Oh, how I've missed you mac n cheese!
     I got the recipe from Fat Fast Cookbook ($4.99 digital). I think I may have been going a little overboard on my protein lately. According to the books, I should be eating high fat, moderate protein, low carb. I have been eating high protein, moderate carb, low to moderate fat. Haven't planned it that way; it just happened.

    The Fat Fast Cookbook is for people who have hit a plateau and want a guaranteed weight loss breakthrough without losing lean mass. It's for losing your fat only. It's very high fat, moderate protein, very low carb and very low calorie. 1000 calories per day.

    I'm not doing a fat fast but I wanted the recipes and was intrigued by it. I have read about Jimmy Moore's incredible success with nutritional ketosis (not to be confused with ketoacidosis which is deadly). He's lost 66 pounds in 9 months. Not too shabby! I may dabble with it and see how it goes. The one thing I do know is I respond well to keeping my carbs low. Carbs are not an enemy to someone who has a normal metabolism. I do not. I wish I did because this girl loves her carbs. LOVES! :)

    Anyway, the recipes in the Fat Fast are good whether you use their recommended short term fast to kick start your weight loss again or not. I'm glad I got it for the mac and cheese recipe alone. I'm wanting some right now, as a matter of fact!

    Sunday we slept in a little. We stayed up too late watching funny stuff on TV. Impractical Jokers is so juvenile but I laugh my fanny off every single time I watch it.

    So we got up, picked up Charlie from a friend's house where he had a sleepover, had breakfast and started preparing for our Valentine's dinner with the kids.

    I like Valentine's Day but sometimes all of the hype is just ridiculous. I will not go out to eat on Valentine's Day because it's crazy crowded. This year we were trying to decide whether to go out on Sunday for Valentine's, make a splurge meal at home or keep it low carb. Last Sunday I had a bit of a scare after having a high carb day and I did not want to go through it again (pounding heart, pain in chest, dizzy, felt like I was about to pass out, anxiety and much more!). It's easy to stay motivated when you have a scare like that. So we made the decision to have a homemade low carb dinner at home. I decorated the dining room. The centerpiece is filled with red, pink and white M&Ms. Cute. :)
     I should mention that the fact that the centerpiece is not centered is driving me crazy in the picture. Ahhhh! OCD issue? And those two books on the bookshelf. You see them? Somebody laid them on top instead of standing them straight. Moving on....

    Instead of flowers and chocolates, I got a bottle of wine, a card and a kitchen torch! I love it!!! This thing is hot! I got Chuck a bottle of his favorite cologne.
     This dinner called for a bit of time in the kitchen. While cooking I made some nachos. I realize this sounds disgusting but even my kids like this. I put pork skins on a plate, top with cheddar, microwave until the cheese is melted then top with sour cream and jalapenos. Yum! I know, I know. But don't knock it until you've tried it. :) Oh, I bet this would be good with fajita or taco meat!
    Chuck and I worked in the kitchen for around 3.5 hours, taking many breaks while things cooked or whatever. It was fun and we managed to keep the kitchen clean the whole time. Bonus!

    Main dish was Chicken Parmesan Pasta bake topped with fresh basil. Wow! It was incredible! I took a recipe from America's Test Kitchen and reworked it to fit my needs. I made Kent Altena's fried chicken which my son, the fried chicken aficionado, claimed was some of the best he had eaten and liked it even more than my perfect tacos. That's a high compliment right there.

    Instead of penne pasta, I used spaghetti squash and a bit of riced cauliflower for more bulk. Next time I'll use two spaghetti squash instead of one. I also cut way back on the liquids since I didn't have a pasta to soak them up. Beautiful and tasty.
    I made cauliflower crust garlic mozzarella bread sticks and homemade pizza sauce to dip them in. I loved it. The rest of the group was not as impressed. I even used my torch to brown the top. :)
    Dessert was Peanut Butter Brownie Bites. These were great! And cute too.
    Everything (except the glass of wine) was low carb and gluten free. I was full afterwards but didn't feel bloated. I also didn't have any racing heart afterwards! Yay! Dinner was a success and a lot of fun. I served the kids' water in wine glasses and we ate while listening to Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller. Very nice evening.

    So all week I have been eating perfectly. Not one slip up nor any desire to "cheat." Hopefully last Sunday's scare is enough to motivate me to keep on track. So far, so good.

    I also feel so happy! My experience is that when I eat "off" I feel a little down and moody from time to time. I'm not sure about the science behind the food connection with moods but I feel that they must be linked somehow.

    No racing heart. Not once. This is a big deal since I have read over and over how people with insulin resistance are at a much greater risk for heart disease and stroke which is something that happens on my mom's side. I don't want it, thank you very much!

    I've been sleeping soundly. I had been having trouble staying asleep. I would have trouble falling asleep, wake up throughout the night, then wake up exhausted. This week I have been going to sleep easily and staying asleep and feeling rested in the morning. Could it have anything to do with the food? Maybe I'm not waking up because my heart isn't racing at night? I'm not sure what the cause but I'm relieved.

    Anxiety issues are gone. Maybe this is why I'm so happy? I would like to know if there is any link between anxiety and diet. There may or not be. I'm  glad my anxiety is gone though. Because it sucks!

    My energy levels are up. I've been wanting to add exercise to my routine but just lacked the energy lately. Now I feel energetic and can go, go, go all day without crashing. I'm actually wanting to go out and exercise now!

    All good things to report right now. Weigh in will not be until March 1. I hope my two weeks of eating poorly on the road didn't hurt my weight too much but we'll see. At least I'm on the wagon now and I feel my tummy has gone down somewhat.

    See ya Wednesday!