Learning on the Keto Journey: Week 8

It’s been two months since my husband and I started on a low carb diet. We started with using an Atkins plan of limiting our carbs to 40 grams or less per day. There is an online calculator on the site that considers your size (height, weight, and age) and how much weight you want to use. Be both put our data into the calculator and it suggested we use the 40 or less plan.

After eight weeks, my husband met his weight loss goal and needs to maintain his “new” healthier weight. He’s finding it hard to not continue to loose more weight. Hence, he has “upped” his carbs to one hundred grams or less per day and is adding in more calories, too. He is very active, much more so than I. This activity (20 – 30K steps per day) contributes to his weight loss.

I am less than four pounds away from my goal weight. There’s been enough progress that I have not been discouraged on the way. Yes, I’ve plateaued for two to three days but then, like this morning, see a few more ounces of weight loss when I look at the scale.

The Scale: Friend or Enemy

So, how about that scale? Do we measure our weight every day? I do not. I find that two-three times a week is enough to see my progress or lack there of. My husband, on the other hand, is weighing himself daily. He’s trying to make sure he is maintaining and not loosing, so it is important he tracks more carefully. Our plan suggests that we weigh ourselves once a week. I do not thing that is enough to keep me motivated. The progress, even small, motivates me to continue on the diet and sustain the effort it takes to eat in a healthier way.

What have we learned?

We both agree that we were overeating. Watching our serving size and calorie count, has been enlightening. We’ve been able to observe how many calories and macro nutrients are in a serving by using the meal tracker. There have been some big surprises, too! One such surprise has been about fruits, normally deemed “healthy” have a ton of carbs, probably from their naturally occurring sugars. This is disappointing, as we both enjoy our fruit.

Apples from our orchard will be frozen for holiday pies this year. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2020.

We both miss the “crunch” of a cracker or chip. I discussed this in a previous blog about our keto diet and there is not much more to say about it other than these two foods are definite no-no’s. I am looking for alternatives and made some Keto crackers last night out of almond flour and sesame seeds. They were easy, but I didn’t care for the “smell.” My husband thinks they taste and smell like roasted pumpkin seeds and seemed to enjoy them more than I. We’ll see how fast they get eaten. I have my doubts that they’ll disappear.

Homemade Keto Crackers. © Carol Labuzzetta,2020

Another downside is there is something called keto-insomnia! Unfortunately, we have both experienced this. I struggle with insomnia anyway, so an added cause is very much a concern. Two nights this week, I was up until 3 am, struggling to fall asleep. Having fatty food before bed might be a cause and I attribute the second night of my insomnia this week to eating a keto macaroon and some pecans about an hour before bed. They were fine as far as my “numbers” for the day, but I believe they contributed to this very disturbing side effect. Last night I tried to avoid the insomnia by eating my last four allowable “carbs” for the day before bed. It is a suggestion that this remedies the insomnia.

The low carb guru and creator of the low carb diet, Dr. Atkins.

Micronutrients

Both of us have started to take a multi-vitamin. The keto/Atkins diet is fairly restrictive. One of the nutrients that is hard to obtain on it is magnesium. Apparently, a deficiency in this also might be a cause of the insomnia. Some foods that supply magnesium, such as bananas are not conducive to this diet. I hope the vitamin will help.

Keto shopping

Participation in the Atkins diet has been our choice. It has worked to secure the weight loss we sought. However, it is fairly expensive to eat following the guidelines of the diet. We are enjoying the process of looking for recipes and trying them. But, some of the ingredients are elusive. For over a week now I have looked for xanthum gum and psyllium husks at various stores to make a couple of dishes that sound appealing. We live in a fairly small area and I have not found them yet. I have one more store to check before I resort to an online order (thankfully, we do have Amazon prime).

Special flours are needed to make many of the dishes. These include almond flour and coconut flour. Special sweeteners are needed if you want a dish or dessert than will curb a sweet tooth craving. These include Truvia and especially, Swerve. The latter of the two does not have an aftertaste, which is extremely important for my sensitive palate. ( I can pick up on an artificial sweeter very quickly and have avoided them most of my life. I really do not want to change that now). Special spices are called on to add flavor and special binders might be needed to hold the food together. Luckily, eggs are acceptable and even suggested on the Atkins plan. I’ve eaten many of them!

Special milk is needed. Cow’s milk has too much sugar and not enough fat if you drink anything other than whole milk. So, we’ve converted to almond milk. It has worked well to replace my morning latte, as long as I use a dash of cinnamon to combat the smell.

My morning latte is now made with almond milk, © Carol Labuzzetta, 2020

Results

During our two month journey on a low carb diet, we have learned a lot – about food, about nutrition, about ourselves and our eating habits. It’s been very enlightening. We are motivated by the progress each of us has made, as well as a return to looking and feeling healthier. It is a lifestyle change, make no mistake about it. But, it takes time, commitment and, I’m sorry to say, a few extra dollars to be successful at the low carb weight loss fad.

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