The porker strikes back
It’s been a long time since I wrote a porker update. I was worried about boring people by harping on about diet, but as I’ve now had several (very pleasing) requests from folks I don’t even know, I think there’s enough demand out there for a follow up! If you’re new to the porker experiments and you’d like to read more, you’d better back track and read from the start!
Phase III – The Ketogenic/Optimal Diet
Back in April I was doing well on the Ketogenic/Optimal Diet, I was eating about 2,000 calories per day, less than twenty grams of carbohydrate, and about 50 grams (my RDA) of protein. The rest of my energy was coming from fat, fat, and more fat. Butter, coconut oil, olive oil, lard, tallow, bacon fat, goose and duck fat, dripping, double cream, you name it. It’s amazing how many recipes you can make with a little extra fat.
Two weeks into the diet, and with the aide of some natural sunlight, my eczema had gone. Gone as in G-O-N-E, completely, utterly GONE. It was gone for several months. My weight loss stopped a week in, as I’d predicted. I’m just too lazy to exercise so I let things be for a while. My mood was fairly stable, though I would still get tired and irritable sometimes. I still suffered from low blood sugar mid-afternoon and it made me stupid and unresponsive. At the time I was learning to drive, so this was pretty problematic. Then I blew it. We went out for a few meals during the spring. I was thrown out of ketosis in spite of being careful and I felt horrendous trying to get back into it. (I hadn’t obtained a supplement called L-Carnitine at this point, if I had things might have been very different). So I didn’t get back into ketosis.
Phase IV – The Optimal Diet
Instead I opted to go on Polish Atkins, Dr. Jan Kwasniewski’s Optimal Diet. I stuck to between 30 and 40 grams of carbohydrate per day and 50 grams of protein. I ate about 2,000 calories a day. I didn’t cut anything out of my diet, I ate pretty much the same things, but added in some berries and the occasional slice of sprouted wheat bread or sourdough rye, or a glass of milk or some root vegetables at tea time. I felt really, really calm and chilled out, not at all stressed. My driving got much better and I felt more alert, I regularly felt energetic and I didn’t feel the need to overeat. My problems with tachycardia lessened and lessened and shortly my skipped heart beats were gone completely! I felt very strong. I had absolutely nothing wrong with me at all. No mysterious aches or pains or freakish symptoms. I put on a couple of pounds again, regaining glycogen from the carbohydrate which is to be expected. I occasionally dropped a pound when I had a physical day of walking or shopping, and put some back on if I ate out. I went up and down for a little while and landed firmly at 8 stone 13 pounds (125 pounds).
I finally got around to buying a blood glucose monitor and gave myself a fasting blood sugar test every day for a week. It was 5.6 mmol/l (100.8 mg/dl) most days and never below 5.1 mmol/l (92 mg/dl). 5.0 mmol/l or 90 mg/dl is considered “normal”. Dr Bernstein considers 4.6 mmol/l or 83 mg/dl to be the ideal normal. So my measurement is high but within the normal threshold; over about 6.0 mmol/l or 110 mg/dl is considered diabetic. So I’m not overweight, my stomach is flat, but my blood sugar is ever so slightly too high? How does that work? Can I be of normal weight but still insulin resistant? Halle Berry is a type II diabetic but she’s as thin as a rake. How? And I have a hell of a time losing weight, as you can tell from these posts.
So everything was going great. Then we went on holiday to Mallorca. Everything got blown to shreds: there is nothing to eat on Mallorca! The hotel food was inappropriate, the national dish is Paella. Because of the heat, the only cream available is UHT and it tastes foul. My way of coping was to take a small croissant for breakfast and heap it with a couple of ounces of butter, and have a couple of boiled eggs and some sort of cooked meat for breakfast. I found myself picking at the constant supply of fruit the hotel kept in the dining hall, which was full of fat Germans eating entire bunches of grapes. I didn’t have as much energy after day three of this routine. Soon I was always snacking on fruit and nuts and ham and cheese and the Danone live yoghurt that seems to be big on the continent (yoghurt has never done me any favours with regards to weight because I can never stop eating it). I swam in the pool every day. The chlorine really irritated my face, and all of a sudden despite all the sunlight, my eczema came back and was a raging inferno! I only realised that I could swim safely in the sea two days before we left, what a shame, I loved swimming in the salt water, which seemed to ease my eczema instead.
It turns out one small croissant per day is one small croissant too many. I put on five whole pounds on holiday! Damnit! I did not eat five pounds worth of calories! So I stopped to have a think. I didn’t really want to stress myself out by trying to get into ketosis again, especially as I was still having driving lessons and had my driving test coming up. I wanted to be as clear-headed and healthy as possible. I also wanted to let my body rest and heal, as I’d been putting it under a lot of pressure. I loved eating the Optimal Diet way, as it kept me so incredibly calm and peaceful. On the Optimal Diet I felt like I could cope with anything. After about two weeks on the Optimal Diet I had discovered that I was able to skip lunch occasionally without noticing or feeling hungry. So I stuck to the Optimal Diet and felt great, and I lived with the eczema on my face which was not getting better but not getting worse either. I neither lost nor gained weight, and I passed my driving test and coped with the stress of having our house sand-blasted.
I had finally returned to the weight I had been for most of my teenage and adult life – nine and a half stone (132 pounds). But I really didn’t mind being plump! The weight had gone on to my hips and my breasts, and my stomach was still flat so my figure was just intensified into a more exaggerated hourglass, and I felt quite sexy and mature. But sexy and mature isn’t enough for a girl who still wants to look ten years younger than she is, and doesn’t want to fork out on better fitting clothes and yet another set of new bras. So when it came down to it, how the hell was I going to lose all of this weight I’d put on during my holidays?
Notes from October 2007
Isn’t it amazing that I was eating this diet for so long, then as soon as I go on holiday and touch fruit, cold meats, croissants, and let my macronutrients slip that I suddenly gain five pounds and my eczema comes back with a vengeance?