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I Suck At Low Carb Dieting – Week 2

Posted Mar 04 2012 7:38am

Part 2 of a 12-part saga where our hapless low carb blogger tries to get past a stubborn stall, redeem himself, and finally be able to get clothes that more or less fit him.

Sun, Feb 26, 2012 – 208.4

The Atkins shake in the AM does have amazing powers of appetite suppression. I lasted from 5am to noon on the shake alone, when I had roast beef and butter. I went to exercise mid afternoon and actually spent the time to note the names of the machines and tally what I did:

Seated Leg press 180# x 30 x 3
Push (chest press) 70# x 10 x 3
Pull toward (seated row) 70# x 10 x 3
Lat Pull down 70# x 10 x 3

I did note my left knee didn’t like the weight on the leg press – I decided to ditch this for now – hurting myself won’t help anything

In the food dept. things went off the rails in the evening, as usual. As I had only about 500 calories up until then, the damage from a caloric standpoint probably wasn’t that bad, but gummy penguins and Lindt chocolate balls don’t a low carb diet make.

At least I exercised – and I must admit, not being in a particular rush, I kinda enjoyed it.

Mon, Feb 27, 2012 – 207.2

Woke at 4:30am and had my Atkins shake. I must admit that these things *do* have the power to stave off hunger. A greek yogurt at 10, then a small bit of roast beef at 2 and at 5pm left me with a 700 calorie deficit, which should leave me with enough calories when I get home – but the old habits struck – partially driven by exotic goodies my wife brought home – Chinese bean cakes – not particularly sweet, but heavy as hell – each one the size, shape and weight of a small cannonball. Without them, I would have been about the right amount of calories, though at 50 grams of carbs. These (and the dumplings – I didn’t mention the 8 or 9 dumplings?) were my undoing, and I can only hope for mercy from my scale the next morning.

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 – 207.6

Mercy was shown by the scale, but the descent from this number will be hard-fought. I needed something else. I think what I need is to remember this.

I think more people fail at their goals simply because they don’t remember them from moment to moment. We live in the ‘Age of Distraction’ as this post from Lifehacker about achieving goals states  and after a day at work that has a ‘brain eraser’ effect, I can’t remember what the Hell I committed to in the morning. I’m lucky I still remember my name.

So my morning self decided to send my evening self a message. I put an alarm on my iPhone that would go off about the time I got home. When I got it, the message said:

All you have to do is eat smart

That’s it.

The day – as usual – was fine. Greek yogurt, roast beef and butter. I’m sure my office mates would be horrified to see me wrap pats of butter around roast beef – to Hell with them.

It was an exercise day and I stopped at the little gym I have access to on the way home from work. The evenings seem to work out a bit better in general – my cognitive sweet spot is early in the morning. In the evening, I’m a moron, and the moron-brain is ideal for lifting a weight up, then putting it down, over and over.

I just focused on the upper body stuff. I took my time, and did each push, pull or whatever like it was the only thing I needed to do at the moment. I don’t mind it, really, when I take this approach.

What I do mind is all the other kinetic exercisers. Honestly, just watching these fit people flit about exhaust me. One good thing about going in the AM is it’s usually empty. There were a lot of people there this night. Luckily, the majority are drawn to the aerobic machines and leave the weight machines alone.

My workout was the same as Sunday, without the leg presses.

You might not be impressed with this workout. If so, you’re missing the point. The biggest hurdle for me is dodging a mountain of well crafted and finely honed excuses and actually going to the gym. Even if I went there and just watched the other people exercise, it would be a major leap.

I had gotten my message to ‘eat smart’ from the AM while exercising, and when I went home, while I did find myself availing myself of the leftover fries in the office and the leftover cheesecake in the kid’s room (really, my household is the absolute worst for a low carber), I was smart about it and only had a small taste of each, and recorded these tastes as well as the other stuff I had. I didn’t really eat dinner, but rather picked at bits here and there. Wasn’t starving – I think that the workout might help appetite somehow.

While not to the level of low carb I might have like to be at, I managed to keep my calories below the budget of 1600, my carbs at about 25 grams, and my fat/protein percentages at 71/22%.

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 – 206.0

Honestly, the most important thing at this moment is not results as much as establishing a routine. A sustainable, pleasant routine that doesn’t suck the life out of me.

Eating today was within the caloric allotment of 1600 though the evenings have been picking, really. While the eating is most definitely low carb, a few high carb things in very small tastes – a bit of regular cheese cake, 2 teaspoons of cranberry sauce, sneak in. My fat/Net Carbs/Protein proportions are 114/34/84 (69%/9%/22%).

Thursday, March 1, 2012 – 207.0

I had my shake at about 5am – and didn’t have anything until a 2nd shake on my way home from work 6:30pm. This was more from a combination of just not being hungry and being too busy – it’s common where I work for the work to take on such a life of its own that people miss meals.

I don’t necessarily think this is good for you, however.

I went to exercise – still more a small token of a workout just to ingrain a habit, and did the same stuff I did Tuesday, though it did seem harder today – I just made it.

My ‘All you have to do is eat smart’ alarm went off and I did eat smart – half of the evening. Right before bed I was still under 1000 calories, and there was fresh baguette, fresh cooked pasta, and pie. I had some of it all, though I did seem to keep under the calories for the day. Bad habit this: explaining away carb consumption with calorie count.

My fat/Net Carbs/Protein proportions are 58/86/73 (43%/32%/24%) – NOT how I wanted to start March.

Friday, March 5, 2012 – 205.0

I’m down 2 pounds but it’s not due to a low carb diet (though I still remember my doctor telling me he thought of a low carb diet as being under 150 grams). It’s an accident. I’ll take the 2 pounds, certainly, but it’s no win. The fact that I exercised 3 times for the week is the only goal I achieved to my satisfaction so far. I am having blood work done today (I finally got my ass to an endocrinologist for a complete workup) so no Atkins Shake in the AM.

Evening was more of the familiar pattern – carbs. I come home and find cookies on my desk, a pie on the kitchen counter, pasta in the fridge. It’s too easy. I’ll bet you I was within my calorie range, but I wasn’t low carb.

Saturday, March 6, 2012 – 204.8

OK – at the end of the second week I’m down 3.4 lbs. Awesome – right?

Nah. It’s still ‘the range’. I’m still living my own version of the movie ‘ Groundhog Day ‘ with the radio playing ‘I Got You Babe’ every damn morning. Or for a literary allusion, it’s like Ann Rice’s vampire chronicles where the vampires could never change no matter what they did. If they cut their hair for example, it would soon grow back to the length it was at the time of their being turned into a vampire.

What has changed – and the only real success I can claim for the week – is the exercise. I went this morning and did my normal weight routine, then went on the treadmill at a 12 degree incline at 3.0 mph for 20 minutes. I did this partly because I’m feeling a bit depressed (work is very stressful right now) and I’ve heard exercise is a good remedy for depression.

Around noon I had 2 avocados with salsa and sandwich peppers. Yum. Two avocados are pretty high calorie, however – and this did not satisfy – for whatever reason. Did the time on the treadmill increase my hunger? Did the fact that I actually had to work between 4am to 6am on an emergency at work have something to do with it? Is it just the ‘idle hands are the Devil’s playthings’ notion where putzing around the house leads to overeating?

I dunno. What I do know is that there seems to be a re-emergence of a pattern that I had last year right before I started taking off the weight – this total lack or inability to resist the goodies seemingly left on every surface by my family at all times. Don’t suggest I change their behaviors – that’s just not the way I want to go through life – improving other people through my lens of what is right and wrong.

But alas, the junk food seemingly never ended. A small taste of pasta, a slice of frozen pizza, 2 or 3 small baked potatoes with butter, a bite or 2 of Danish, some bread and cheese,  and what I would consider to be near suicidal – an entire liter bottle of Orangina, that soda they throw some old orange pulp in to trick people into thinking is not the same sugary crap as its brethren in the soda aisle.

Saturday night was an uncontrolled, indulgent crapfest.

And the weight result this morning – Sunday, March 4, 2011?

211. Impressive, but not in a good way.

Now – there’s no reason to panic – last night was a periodic set of behaviors that always results in a massive weight gain – pretty much all of it water. If I go back to my diet, it will come off in a matter of days. No worries.

The week’s success was re-establishing the habit of monitoring calories – still bad at it, but improving. There’s also the exercise. Going in the evenings seems to work better. It’s early on, and I can easily lose the momentum here, but I did get to the gym 4 times this week. I did actually find myself enjoying the weight training as I slowed down and didn’t focus on getting through it as much as being present and doing it.

I do find the Atkins Shakes an easy way of getting a breakfast. Obviously, it’s been of no help whatsoever this week, but I can’t blame the shakes for my own failings. What I might do is swap the Greek yogurt back in as a replacement when the shakes  are gone and see if there’s any real difference.

Being Sunday, I always take the time to reflect on the successes and failures of the past week, and re-establish my goals for the new week. Right now, I think shooting for some new low on the scale is unrealistic – but shooting for:

  • Continuing to watch my calories
  • Continuing to go to the gym
  • Eating low carb
  • Eating high-quality foods
  • Eliminating the high-carb crap food that surrounds me
  • Ketogenic low carb by week’s end

These are realistic. If I can get over the night eating issue and continue the exercise, those would be major achievements.

I committed to 12 weeks. I’ve got 10 to go. Patience, Grasshopper.

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