Week Eight: Back in the Wagon

Thank god. I made it back home through the gauntlet of the worst airport on earth, and lost no luggage or limbs. Frankly, travelling in the summer of 2022 was super tense between other people’s cancelled flights, lost baggage and masked flights to and from Europe where even standing in the aisles was prohibited. Made me totally accept that World Masters in Vegas for September seems like a dumb choice, but my goals of weight-loss and training have no reason to change as there will be the Canada National Pro and Toronto Open coming up here.

So, two weeks of “faltering keto” and I really felt my body need to go back on the lifestyle. Estonia was hard because it is a carb-based society; camping was hard because it is convenience and processed food based in Nature. Regardless, one of the main concerns that I had about this diet was that it was all or nothing; every time I was forced outside of the diet program by life I would need to fight my way back through keto flu and two weeks of failure. Nope. Took one 21 hour fast and two more days to get back into light nutritional ketosis even though my glucose remains a little high. By next week, I should be golden and ready to start cutting calories again to reflect my goals and be able to train without feeling bloating in my abdomen. That was the great thing about training for hours a day in Estonia: I could eat whatever and just burn through it easily. In Toronto that will never Ben the case.

Felt good to finally be able to attend the virtual group meeting, too. Dr. Weimbs joined to answer any questions participants asked, and I learned a few more details about KetoCitra compared to other “ketogenous” products for the diet community. hearing about some of the science of testing and trials with rats helps put ideas into perspective even if the results in humans are not the same eventually. I am always skeptical about trials and the facts offered by second parties, but given that my own results continue to improve in my own key areas (weight, energy, blood pressure, inflammation), I feel like this is an interesting project of pioneering for later generations or maybe the guy down the street who just got diagnosed and is in full panic.

I am starting to get static at social events. People seem kind of upset when I won’t eat the birthday cake or chow down on samosas because of my “diet”. I am fine with it. I have zero problems saying no, and I have no real need to preach about the diet. The keto-therapy diet is a lifestyle change versus a “beach body” effort; I have no problems watching you eat a quart of ice cream and a burger – my daughter does that in a small scale because she is five years old and ice cream is key to a childhood of reckless joy. They will take it away soon enough once she wants to fit into those jeans or play a competitive sport or dance. I have no issues; eat away, but respect that I cannot and will not today. I think much of society’s hive culture functions as such: our friends prefer that we look and act like them when together. I guess the difference is that they do not have PKD and my body has different needs. It is all good.

One positive indicator for the diet remains my consistent weight loss since the beginning of the program intake month. In part that comes from being aware and accountable for my calories, but the efforts to avoid carbohydrates undoubtedly helps with the loss of actual fat versus just fluids or muscle tissue reduction. To get back into the 169lb range makes my body feels so much better overall. Wearing clothing feels better, I have very little flank ache and I feel calmer emotionally without the ups and downs of sugar/carbs as my fuel. Ideally, I would like to be between 160-165 pounds as that would be very fit for my short height of 5’6″. Now I know I could cut to that pretty easily, but I would rather keep this steady progression downwards going as I have no feelings of deprivation. If the weight loss stops naturally, then maybe that is my new normal and I can accept that.

Sustainability is undoubtedly the hardest part of a ketogenic lifestyle change for most people. Frankly, our bodies prefer homeostasis and returning to a previous state that in considers normal. The challenge of a diet is that it must become a lifestyle change that is permanent if progress is to be positive. And, well, bread tastes good, pasta tastes good, buttertarts taste euphoric, but they will kill me with their beauty like a siren calls to the unwitting sailor. Can you simply hoist yourself to be tied upon the mast so that you can hear the mermaids singing, as the hero Ulysses did in the Odyssey? I think it would be wiser to plug your ears with wax and keep rowing forward, as we all find ways to come down off the cross after a while.

What I find helps is coming to terms with the possible outcomes of choices. If I eat that Snickers bar, then I will want more and it is a steady road to dialysis wherein my food choices become permanently limited and somewhat dismal. However, if I choose to eat wisely now, and within a clear framework of moderation and boundaries, then that eventual outcome might become distant or never happen. Being very mindful of choice is a good way to avoid feelings of deprivation, so when I was in Tallinn and the restaurant offered house made, richly dark pumpkin rye bread I enjoyed it thoroughly, because not to do so would have left me with regret. But then, I can easily avoid processed bread at home or out at a fast food place on my way to an adventure like camping or our upcoming drive to Prince Edward Island. Pick your poisons carefully.

The taste of sweet has dramatically changed over the past month. I definitely taste raw food much more differently than before. Greens and herbs have more taste, fruit is super sweet and coffee is pretty intense. In some ways it is great, but then it does make eating those sweet things disappointing because they taste too sweet and sickly. I would say that most of my daily choices come more from what is in my fridge or garden than the Ren.Nu recipes. I might look at them as an idea space and then work from there. I did pick up some cauliflower rice at the grocery this week, just to save the hassle of grating it, but I will season it based on the meal we’re are eating instead of what a recipes suggests.

I also find that I no longer have that disgusted response to have a bit more fat with everything. I do find that cooking my kale and chard with lots of olive oil make both sides of the coin more palatable. In the end the week has gone fairly well. Next week should be stable and easier as we prepare to drive back to my home province for 3 weeks to spend time by the ocean. It will be easier to eat properly there as seafood is available and there will only be what I buy in the rental cottage for food. I do wonder how the diet will work come winter, with cold temperatures and darkness. After all…winter is coming.

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