Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mush...1 week check-in (Well, it started out that way)

Well, here we are one week into the plan. For those who may just be joining in on the blog, I started a weight loss regimen (You can read about that here).  The goal was to follow the South Beach plan on March 1st.  I realized a problem with my plan early on, however...I really should have mentioned this to my family - my wife, in particular.  She's definitely more of the planner in the household when it comes to setting up meals, and springing my plan on her 1 day before I was going to start wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done.  I thought I heard her mumbling something about "should have listened to my parents about him" and "reason number 479".

I initially thought about going all-in, full-bore with the plan, starting with "Phase 1"...for you Atkins followers, think of Phase 1 as the induction portion of the diet.  Basically, the idea is to quit carbs cold-turkey for a couple of weeks in order to start getting glucose levels to a more stable level.  It's also a period of fairly rapid weight loss, as water weight, along with actual fat, is shed off fairly quickly.  It is only for a couple of weeks, however, in part because the food choice is somewhat limited and going any longer could burn someone out on the diet quickly, and in part because there are potential health risks with burning a lot of fat for energy - namely ketoacidosis.

(NOTE...this is one of those A.D.D. moments I warned you about)

I know of several friends who are also embarking on a weight loss program that includes restricting/elimination hi-carb items, particularly wheat.  For those who are starting the journey of the Wheat Belly diet (or any low carb diet), make sure you read up on ketosis and ketoacidosis as it could be a potentially VERY dangerous side effect.  I've read quite a bit of the book by Dr. Davis, and I don't recall him mentioning this anywhere in the text.  While the literature about the changing genetic composition of modern wheat is very interesting (and I hope to start reading about research of this in places like the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association), a lot of the weight loss occurs through the same channels that other low-carb ideas do - namely reducing carbohydrates (especially those with a high glycemic index), eliminating the cravings, and ultimately getting your body into what is called ketosis, which is the processing of fat rather than carbohydrates for energy.  IMHO, so long as you are not diabetic or have kidney problems, ketosis itself is not a bad thing, and I think most people would agree with that if you are trying to lose weight.  One of the byproducts of burning fat is the creation of ketones (thus the name "ketosis").  Ketones are usually just eliminated from the body the normal way; however, if they are not allowed to be eliminated from the body, they can build up and ultimately cause ketoacidosis, which can be potentially fatal.

One of the things that I always do when starting a low-carb plan is to head to my local drugstore and buy ketone strips.  After a couple of days of the lower-carb eating, ketones are usually present, and the strips will detect them.  The stricter you are with carbs, the more ketones typically are present.  Again, this is usually a good thing, but you need to make sure that your body is able to keep getting rid of them.  If you start seeing "moderate" or"large" amounts of ketones registered on the strips (by color coding), please be careful!!!  MAKE SURE YOU ARE DRINKING MORE WATER THAN YOU NORMALLY DO as this helps flush the ketones out of the body and reduces the chance of a buildup of them (and, subsequently, reduces the chance of ketoacidosis). I think this is extremely important, whether your following Wheat Belly, South Beach, Atkins, or any low-carb plan.

Okay...back to weight loss.

I decided not to go strictly Phase 1...I know I could have lost 8-12 lbs in the first week, but I wasn't ready/willing to go that far again, especially as this decision impacts not just me but the rest of my family.  I went with a modified Phase 1-Phase 2.  Sheri (my wife) is awesome with this, and we're looking around for lower carb meals that we can all eat (as much as we can make a picky 7-year old eat).  We went to a couple of restaurants over the past 7 days, and I'd eat the top of pizza and skip (most of) the crust, or I'd eat the meat/condiments of a fajita and skip (most of) the tortillas.

The end result?  In the first 7 days of the diet, I'm down over 5 lbs!!!!  I'll take that as a huge success, considering that included a lot of Phase 2 dining and a couple of cheats (the freshly-baked brownie in the kitchen was calling my name incessantly, and the only way to silence it was to eat it).  This is with no additional exercising, other than taking the stairs to my office at work instead of the elevator.  If/when I get down another 10 lbs or so, I'll bring the running back into the schedule.  It has been nearly 2 months since I've been out there, and it is absolutely driving me crazy not to be running.  I hope that the time off has given my back/knees/IT band enough time to heal up and that the weight loss will reduce the load on them as I pound the pavement.

With that, I hope to see a sub-250 weight for the first time in several months with the next update.

Current weight: 251


  1. Way to go Mush, I'm proud of you. The ketones... is that something diabetics need to be worried about or can it hit anyone. I guess I ask because I have never heard of it before but my standing blood sugar level is like 78 so I have never thought to research stuff like that before.

    1. That's definitely something to bring up with your Doctor; however, ketoacidosis is one of the top killers of children and adults with Type 1 hyperglycemia, from what I've heard in the past. What happens is that the insulin being produced is not enough to convert the sugars from carbs into glucose. Since the glucose can not be used for energy, the body reverts to the next best thing for energy - fat. Ketone strips are located in the diabetes aisle of most drug stores for that very reason.

      I have a friend with multiple children who are diabetic, and they found out that one of their children was diabetic with this. Their daughter was lethargic while at Disney World a few years back, even after drinking a TON of chocolate milk at Whispering Canyon. Since they knew about diabetes already, they tested for glucose and ketones and found them. Soon after, she was
      on insulin.

      I'm guessing that those with Type II may also have to watch it since (I think) it's typically caused by insulin resistance (where your body can't use the insulin like it used to) or hyperinsulism (to the point where the pancreas just can't produce a whole lot any more). Let me dig around a bit more...again, the safest thing is a Doctor's advice.

      Oh, and I have the standard disclaimer. I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. The opinions and comments in the above post do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies or procedures of the Walt Disney Company or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, including but not limited to the Walt Disney World Resort and all areas contained therein. Any information or advice in the above post is subject to change at any time without notice. Tampering with, disabling, or destroying lavatory smoke detectors is prohibited. In case of fire, use stairs. This post is traveling at the same speed you are. Accounts and descriptions of this post may not be reproduced without the express written consent of the Commissioner of Baseball.

  2. Good Job on the weight loss. Awesome! Very informative blog as well...

  3. Well done Mush! Also thanks for the advice regarding ketones, I'm seriously considering going into the wheat belly diet but I have my doubts. As a runner you are always told that carbs are the most important thing so forgetting about them completely doesn't make too much sense to me. We will see.