[In this installment, our hero, recovering from a Thanksgiving carbfest, spontaneously decides to experiment with eating MORE calories rather than less - including McDonald’s fries, Reese’s peanut butter cups, macaroons and fruit - with surprising results - which THEN get dashed by a delicious and indulgent turn-of-events]
Sunday, November 25, 2012 Weight 205.2
It is easy to do nothing, and It is easy to do something once you’ve started it: but it’s damn hard to get started. Starting was my goal for the day, and boiled down to the most simple, starting meant counting more than anything else.
It was a little shaky. The Thanksgiving leftovers still tempted me and did me in on a few occasions. I also had some bread. On the whole, however, I did count, and with reasonable accuracy. Once you’ve trained your eye, eyeballing quantities is good enough – the main goal is not to forget anything. I almost did, but remembered the macaroons anyway.
I had a can of tuna and 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise for breakfast, and bought roast beef and butter as well as Greek yogurt for the week. These have become both symbols and signals for my diet. They will get me in the groove.
Monday, November 26, 2012 Weight 202.2
A day off and alone in the house might be the perfect setup for a diet mishap, but I was mostly good. Lots of cream in my coffee and roast beef and butter for lunch. In the evening I had American cheese with ham while I spent some quality time with my daughter and helped her make paella from scratch. I had some – she did a good job. I finished up the day with the Lindt 90% dark chocolate.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 Weight 200.4
What was remarkable about the day was just how many calories I consumed. Cream throughout the day, roast beef and butter for lunch and a Greek yogurt at work gave me more than 1100 calories before I hit home, I was hungry and had to mildly resist temptation if grabbing fries from the kid’s McDonald’s I picked up on my drive home.
Once home I had 3 medium tomatoes with American cheese slices and mayonnaise which put me well over the top in terms of calories, but then I continued, having at least half of a large McDonald’s serving of fries, 2 clementines, a half-dozen grapes and 4 Reese’s peanut butter cup to top things off. An old routine, this night eating. If I had fought it I would probably have found my appetite deadened tomorrow.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 – Weight 200.4
Once again I show that calories don’t directly correlate with weight gain. I had double the calories I am supposed to in order to lose weight and I’ve gained nothing. Where did they go? I think the answer is: nowhere. Here’s something that gets lost in any discussion of calories: the absolute weight of the food. While calorically dense, the absolute weight of what I ate was relatively small compared with eating equivalent calories in bread or pasta. Additionally, 750 of yesterday’s calories came from medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) – a type of fat that is very hard for your body to absorb. My understanding is that you burn it or excrete it much more easily than you store it.
This was another day where I did not shy away from cream and butter. I had at least 8 tablespoons of cream and 4 tablespoons of butter during the day – 850 calories of pure fat. The roast beef I ate was a mere 140 calories. I also brought a salt shaker to up my sodium intake.
For dinner I had Thanksgiving leftovers – a huge bowl – maybe 2-1/2 cups of Brussels sprouts cooked in butter with bacon. These were so buttery I assumed 4 or 5 tablespoons there. I also had 2 squares of the Lindt 90% Dark chocolate, maybe 3 ounces of American cheese and maybe 1/3 cup of whole milk.
Thursday, November 29, 2012 – Weight 199.8
Back in that under 200 territory. My Loseit! app tells me that I am over my weekly calorie budget since Monday by 2,839 calories. It expects me to keep at 1,576 calories for a 2 pound per week weight loss. Right now I am down 5.4 pounds from Sunday, which should be impossible given the calories I am eating – but not only don’t ‘believe’ in calories, but have solid proof right here that calories are an awful way to gauge the potential for weight loss. In 3 days I have eaten almost 5 day’s worth of food according to my LoseIt! app and I’ve lost weight doing it.
I’m not saying you can’t lose weight on a caloric restriction diet…but why would you want to?
Continuing my spur-of-the-moment experiment of high calories, I used the last of my coconut oil to make 1 tablespoon ‘cubes’ that I refrigerated to put in my coffee at work.
At work I had 3 of them, which added 350 calories to my day. I also had cream and Greek yogurt, and roast beef and butter.
For dinner I had to bring my daughters to class and while waiting, ate Italian sausages from sausage & peppers. I ate a lot, and estimated at least 700 calories worth – if not more.
Friday, November 30, 2012 – Weight 198.4
This is the first day I checked for ketosis. I’m in. I had that feeling the other day. Given how much fat and MCTs I am eating, it would be an impossibility for me NOT to be in ketosis. It is also quite interesting to note that despite my eating as many calories as I have, I am down 6.6 pounds and pretty much the weight prior to my birthday/Thanksgiving pig out. Please explain to me how a ‘calorie is a calorie’ given how many I have consumed and lost weight.
Another high calorie day for me. I felt like I ate so much. By noon I had eaten 1000 calories in cream, coconut oil and a Greek yogurt. I had another yogurt as a late afternoon snack and was going to have tuna and mayo but didn’t find the time as I am so busy in work.
For dinner I used up the weekly deli meat that didn’t get touched this week: I had about 5 ounces of cheese and 5 ounces of ham with the ham rolled around the cheese and nuked until the cheese was melted. I threw salsa on top of that – pretty good.
I also had maybe 3 medium tomatoes with mayonnaise and 4 pieces of the Lindt 90% dark chocolate. I like the 85% AND the 90% – and I don’t think one has any greater impact on my diet than the other – the carb difference is minuscule.
Saturday, December 1, 2012 – Weight 197.6
Check this out: My Loseit! app, which assumes that I am on a calorie-restricting diet, recommends that I eat 1,575 calories to lose 2 pounds a week. That is a total of 9,450 calories for the last 6 days.
Instead, I ate 13,900 calories – 47% more than I was supposed to in order to lose 2 pounds in a week. That works out to over 700 calories a day – more than an extra meal. (Of course, this is dependent on my not screwing up the math here.)
I also ate McDonald’s french fries, clementines, grapes, bread, paella (rice), 4 Reese’s peanut butter cups, a glass of milk, and a macaroon or two.
Doing so I lost 7.6.
Think all of that loss was ‘water weight’?
Think ‘a calorie is a calorie is a calorie’?
Maybe one secret of losing weight is making sure you get enough calories – just the right kind?
Early in the morning, as I had run out of cream and my coconut oil was in work, I looked for a substitute. My wife had bought ‘Coconut Manna’, a goop made from ground coconut. I thought that if I warmed it up it would work.
Instead, I made a wonderful discovery. If you mix it when warm, it has brown bits in it, probably from that thin brown outside layer of the coconut. It has the consistency of a nut butter – and has an awesome, creamy taste. I ate 5 tablespoons as a breakfast for a 500 calorie meal, and a bit later when telling my daughter about it, convinced her to try some on toast with my wife’s homemade jam – she ate the entire thing. This is good stuff – I’ll have to experiment more with how I can use it.
My younger daughter, an early riser like her dad, woke early and wanted fried eggs. I made her eggs with toast, then after she was done and on her way to ballet, had maybe 1 leftover fried egg.
This day was a day where the family – including the kids – worked together to clean the house in preparation for Christmas. We go on vacation before Christmas and will arrive home immediately before, so now is the time to get things done as we won’t be here for ‘the last minute’. So we cleaned and vacuumed and after that was done, my wife wanted to go out for lunch.
As I was getting real hungry – and perhaps dealing with some stomach upset from the coffee sans cream, I grabbed some ham before we went out. It’s not necessarily a bad idea on a low carb diet to eat low carb before dining out. It can increase your options for avoiding carbs without being hungry. This was maybe 150 calories according to my Loseit! app.
We ended up at a small Italian cafe downtown. You can randomly pick from their menu and not be disappointed – these people know what they are doing and pride themselves on only using the best ingredients – they are fanatical about it, in fact – they own their own artisanal bread company and get much of their meat and produce locally. It’s the type of place where they run out of things all the time without guilt – they just didn’t have enough good product and won’t serve crap.
While the kids ordered pasta and my wife had a salad with trout (they were serving it with steak but ran out), I had an Antipasto. While we waited, they put out their artisanal bread along with probably some of the best tasting extra virgin olive oil with a blend of spices. I wasn’t going to pass up at least some because of a diet – good food is too important. I had a few crusts with as much of the olive oil I could sponge up.
When the antipasto came, it had 3 types of cheeses, two types of Italian preserved meats – I am well-acquainted with mortadella – a kind of bologna with huge chunks of delicious fat, but the other type? I dunno – I am a foodie of sorts, but not a particularly educated one – maybe I’m really just an enthusiastic eater.
It also came with a small cup of grapes – which my younger daughter promptly stole – and a cup of green olives, fresh and delicious, which included what must have been a small pickled pearl onion with was a surprise and an awesome burst of flavor.
The last item on my plate was the odd-man out: it looked like candied walnuts. I needed to make a decision here: this is a place where my daughter, after cleaning her plate, then mopped up every last bit of sauce from her pasta with bread. We joked that it appeared she might pick up the plate to lick it clean. Nothing comes to the table that hasn’t been carefully considered. I inquired about these nut clusters and the waitress said that they made them in house by putting the walnuts on parchment paper, heating them, then pouring honey on them and putting them back into the oven, providing the warning that if we tried to make them at home, the parchment paper was a must – or you would have a goddamn mess on your hands (my words – not hers).
I decided that, if these walnuts were there, then they were a requirement for full enjoyment of the meal, so I ate them in combination with the meats and the cheeses and the sweet flavor and crunchy texture added extra layers of complexity to the perfectly cured meats and the combination of mild and strong cheeses (one of which is I know is produced at an organic farm a short jog away from the Governor’s mansion – about a 20 minute ride from here.
The meal over, the wife and kids ordered dessert – a peach bread pudding. It came shaped like a muffin, and my kids tore into it with gusto. My wife, dismissive of bread pudding because it is made from their stale bread, originally planned to avoid having any, but one taste changed her mind about that.
Me – I stuck to my coffee – an ‘Americana’ – diluted espresso – as apparently folks on the Continent don’t drink coffee the way we Americans do.
I ball-parked the calories as about 1,300 when you included how much olive oil I mopped up – it wasn’t an unrealistic number.
After the meal, we went to Walmart for a Christmas tree. We had been live tree folks up until this point, but practical considerations made us switch this year. We found one ‘good enough’ and headed home after fighting the Walmartian chaos of that place before Christmas.
At home the kids and I put up and decorated the tree. Despite our ‘live tree snobbery’, the thing looked pretty good. The kids had fun putting up the ornaments and my wife thought it a fine-looking tree.
It was dark by this time and the kids and I were hungry. My youngest daughter had her leftover pasta from before and my older daughter wanted more pasta as she had enjoyed her bowl from before so much. We got a pot of water boiling and I had an avocado with a container of Greek yogurt and maybe a half cup of salsa I really like this combo: vegetarian (for those looking for vegetarian low carb meals), easy to make, and full of creamy flavor, different textures, and the kick of the salsa, only mixed in slightly, adds waves of spice to the creaminess.
I had already managed to pack away maybe 2,500 calories at this point – and there was more to come. I was cleaning the fridge a bit in preparation for the weekly shopping and finished up the meat and shrimp leftover from a few tablespoons of the paella my daughter and I had made. There were also some leftover edamame (soybeans) that I finished up. My daughter had made her pasta and it sat on the counter along with the jar of vodka sauce. I had a taste – delish. A wave of ‘what-the-hell’ hit at that moment and I helped myself to a large plate with sause and cheese.
When ‘what-the-hell’ kicks in, you’ve already crossed the line, I reasoned, so there’s little point in stopping now. I finished off with a glass of milk and 4 Godiva dark chocolates that I got for my birthday from my wife and kids.
You’ve got to see this daily number tally – it’s impressive:
Sunday, December 2, 2012 – Weight: 201.0
I gained 3.1 pounds in a day.
When you have a day like yesterday, I recommend you to consider doing a thorough exploration of the motives and situations, psychological, physical, social and possibly spiritual issues that might have caused it – and then do the exact opposite.
Shrug it off as no big deal. Enjoy it for what it was and pick up where you left off the next day. You only get one ride on this carousel .
The practice continues…