Friday, March 8, 2013

Experiment #2: nutritional ketosis

Experiment #1 had me doing something called a fat fast where my calories were restricted to 1000 per day and 90% of my calories, ideally, came from fat. Usually I could only get my calories in the mid to upper 80's.

The idea was that I would quickly dive into ketosis, lose weight but lose minimal lean body mass. It was supposed to be used by people who have severe metabolic issues or who had been eating low carb for a while and had stalled. In hindsight, I would not have started out doing a fat fast. I should have used it as it was intended. I was not in ketosis when I started and had not been really watching my carbs but for a couple of weeks.  I would like to try it again after I've been watching my carbs for a while.

You can't become fat adapted overnight and I was trying to push it to do that. It takes about 4 weeks according to the doctors and researchers who actually study this stuff.

Fat adapted. Nutritional ketosis. These are buzz words depending on which circles you hang out in. Fat adapted seems to be the phrase in paleo/primal circles. Nutritional ketosis is the phrase for low carb people. And if you're low carb paleo you can use whatever you want, I guess.

Either way, it just means your body has adapted to using fat as a fuel source instead of glucose. Your muscles can only hold so much glycogen so when the fuel tank gets low your body sends signals that it's time to eat. So you will get hungry more often. And if you are insulin resistant, your muscles aren't taking up the glucose from the blood stream like they should so you will get hungrier more often. It becomes a vicious cycle of muscles not getting what they need so you get hungry, you eat more carbs, muscles still don't get much glucose, hungry again but most of it is being stored as fat. So you gain weight. And it sucks, let me tell you.

When you are in ketosis, it means you have restricted your carbs so that your body must use fat as a fuel source. Since even athletes have at least 40,000 calories in fat to use as fuel, you always have plenty of fuel. You burn fat all day long. Another benefit is that you aren't as hungry. I read about one paleo guru who can go 24 hours without being hungry at all. It's not recommended that you go around not eating but the point is that you don't have to worry about cravings because you're just not hungry. Therefore, it will be easier to stick with it.

I'm not saying that everyone needs to do this or that it's perfect for every single person. But I'm thinking this will be very helpful to someone like me who has a big problem metabolising carbs correctly. I'm hoping that this will help me lose weight and become more insulin sensitive. Ketogenic diets are also being used to help people with diabetes, seizures, and even Alzheimer's. A new study is launching at Duke to see if a ketogenic diet will help people with cancer since cancer loves sugar.

This brings me to experiment #2: can a ketogenic diet help someone with insulin resistance and metabolic issues lose weight easily? Can it help with PCOS?

Goal: lose weight, curb all cravings and hunger, get insulin resistance under control, fuel my exercises with my own body fat.

For the month of March, I'll keep my carbohydrate intake below 50grams, my fat intake high, and my protein intake moderate. The formula for protein is .6 to 1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. Fat intake varies from person to person depending on how active you are and what your goals are. I will also be monitoring my blood ketones to make sure I am in the optimal range of between .5 and 3 millimolar. I'll be taking magnesium and potassium to make sure my electrolytes are ok because low carb has a dieuretic effect.

My information comes from these two books:
I finished the first book but still working on the second one. The first one is the bare bones and just what you need to know. It's also helpful for low carb athletes like endurance bikers, runners or bodybuilders.  The second book is in depth and detailed and discusses the hows and whys.

I have a lot to learn and I may make some mistakes along the way. It's kind of like taking the fat fast but adding in more protein and carbs and upping the calories some. I've been doing this for about a week now and my hunger has been almost nonexistent and no cravings. I can even have a pizza in front of me without feeling like I'm about to dive face first in to it. The weight has been doing an up, down, up, down number on the scale. I hate entering everything I eat to track it but I may have to do it a while just until I learn what I'm doing.

This does not look appetizing but it was good. Macaroni and cheese recipe from the fat fast cookbook with tuna added for protein. I will only be buying high end tuna from now on since I bit into a fish scale. Ewwwww!
 Other eats include salads with vinaigrette, eggs, bacon, macadamia nuts, cauliflower, broccoli. Lots of veggies. And even beef stew with a little coconut oil added.
 I apologize for the picture quality. I really need to start taking better pictures.

I did try my hand at making ice cream for the first time yesterday. The ingredient list was pretty short. Almond milk, sweetener (I used erythritol), cream, eggs, cocoa and a pinch of salt.
I used my new ice cream maker and churned up some low carb chocolate ice cream in 20 minutes. It was so good!!! Even picky Charlie liked it. It was much better than the low carb ice cream I used to get at the store. Yay! Success!! You can find the recipe at one of my favorite low carb recipe blogs HERE.
March 6 was Alamo Day remembering the day the Alamo fell. I have a flag that we got on one of our trips to the Alamo and it just happened to fly on March 6. Love it. I've never flown it.
Rachel has been feeling under the weather. Sick with a fever. Poor kid. She's feeling a little better today.
I've been one crazy happy chick. Maybe annoyingly happy? I've always got a smile on and everything feels right with the world. Love it! I'm losing some inches and the weight is slowly going down. Life is good. I'm a very happy Texan. :)
I'll post some more things here and there about my little experiment. If you would like to see how Jimmy Moore's experiment is going with nutritional ketosis, he is nearly to day 300 and has been posting updates on his blog. I can tell you that he is thrilled with the results and a doctor is submitting his results as a case study to a medical journal after the one year mark.

My friends, I wish you all a wonderful weekend. I kind of feel on top of the world right now. :)

**Disclaimer: It goes without saying that I am not a medical doctor and can not recommend anything for another person. As a matter of fact, if you want to try any of the crazy things I do you should check with your doctor first. Maybe even check your life insurance policy. I don't know. You know your body. I'm only doing what I can to help myself and share what works for me which may not work for you. OK? We're good? Ok.


  1. Happy Kelly. Happy Texan. Happy Mom. You are a rock star and don't know it. :D

  2. I cannot wait to see how experiment #2 goes for you!

  3. I, too, have been experimenting with a Ketogenic diet (sort of). I previously lost 50 lbs using a low calorie/low fat diet, but had plateaued for several months. I read Gary Taubes' book Why We Get Fat and it really changed my outlook on carbs and insulin. I wasn't eating that many carbs to begin with, but the reduction I've made has kick-started my weight loss. I'm only a week in, so I don't know how it's going to turn out in the long run. I've written about it on my blog I'm looking forward to seeing how it works for you. I also appreciate the book recommendations. For me, knowledge is power, and it makes me feel more in control of my weight situation.


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