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The end of day fifteen and the morning of day sixteen…  Live by the scale, die by the scale.
Morning weight: 355lbs.  (on Day 16)
I am up / down “3/18”.  As in, 3lbs up from yesterday and 18lbs down from my fasting start weight: 373lbs (the morning of Day 1).
As bad as it may be (for a dieter) to hit a plateau, it’s psychologically MUCH worse when you have a day to day gain.  One pound?  Okay.  Three pounds?  WTF?  (Pardon my language / expressions.)  Three pounds is either a healthy meal or it’s almost a half-gallon of water (or similar density fluid).  Since I didn’t eat and I don’t feel bloated (water retention), the most reasonable two explanations are:  1) I’ve accidentally moved the scale, so it’s giving different readings; or, 2) the universe is unkind and / or unjust.  (I prefer to think it’s the second option.)  To make it even more painful, the scale wasn’t “bouncy”.  The needle was stable.
Now, please recall I take my weight two ways each morning:  forwards and back.  This means I stand in almost the exact same spot each morning, but on “forward”, I bend my knees slightly and lean as far to the front as I can while maintaining full foot contact, but with my weight shifted fully onto my toes.  For the “back” weigh-in, I straighten my legs and tilt as far back on my heels as I can without falling off of the scale.  Again, I still keep my feet in full contact with the scale.  This gives me (respectively) my high and my low weight for the day.  The two weights tend to vary about 5 to 7 pounds (as much as 10, but so far never less than 5), and they also tend to vary between themselves.  By this I mean, they don’t usually both go up or down the same number on any given day.  It’s usually 1 and 2 or 2 and 1.  I’m not saying they don’t.  I’m saying it’s far less common for them to correspond.  Today they both increased by 3lbs from yesterday’s weigh-in.
Of course, I have to consider what I may have done different yesterday from any other day.  Off the top of my head, I can only think of two things:  1)  I had a mug of black coffee in the morning; and,  2) I had more fruit juice in my blend than normal.  The day before I was a bit fed up with the taste of the blend and I felt a bit down on my energy level.  I countered that yesterday by adding more juice and less ice to the blend mix.  This was probably somewhere between 8 to 12 ounces of juice.  It is certainly possible the extra fructose contributed to the weight gain.  It’s hard to imagine it to have been the black coffee.
About sugar (well, about fructose) –  my understanding is sugar doesn’t (by itself) cause water (fluid) retention.  What sugar does is promote an increase in insulin (there’s that hormone again) which causes the body to retain sodium (salt), which in turn causes you to retain water.  The body has a very narrow band of tolerance for sugar (glucose in the bloodstream) which is maintained by increasing or decreasing the amount of insulin in the body.
About the coffee – I tried adding the coffee because the intermittent fasting book I just read said it was okay to drink black coffee or unflavored (black or green) tea – or plain water, and it wasn’t considered “breaking” your daily fast period.  I have never had coffee or black tea while on a fast before (in over 35 years) as removal of caffeine (like sugar) is usually one of the targets of a “cleansing” fast.  I have had herbal teas before while veggie broth fasting (over 30 years ago), but never while on a veggie-juice or veggie-blend fast.  My expectation was that it would make the hairs on my forearms stand up.  Surprisingly, it did not.  I also don’t feel like I got my usual coffee “buzz” –  that “ahh” sensation.  We drink Folder’s ground coffee at our house.  It struck me as fairly bitter.  Not as bad as back in my (ancient) memory of my Army days, but nowhere near as enjoyable as my sugar / half-and-half / Bailey’s Irish Cream.  Most of the year, I only drink coffee on the weekends.  This last year, with joining Costco and paying only 2/3rds the price for Bailey’s, I’ve been going through a pot-load of coffee on any given day.  (A pot-load is between 10 and 12 cups of brewed coffee.  The Bailey’s and half-and-half are on top of that.)
Ultimately, there is little to no chance to guess or deduce what may have caused the “bump”.  All I can do is continue down the path for a day or two and see if it really is an aberration or if something has fundamentally changed.  I just finished my morning (10:30am) mug of black coffee.  I guess we’ll see what we see tomorrow…  The next step will be to eliminate the coffee and see what that does.  Time will tell (or not).
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On This Day In:
2018 Just Wondering
2017 Until I Think Of Something Better
2016 Who Are You?
2015 Renaissance Reptiles
2014 Book Return
2013 Keep Writing Your Truths
Perilous Times For The U.S. Military
2012 The Victor
2011 Forging Away At My Deadlines
2010 Try This With Your Shoes…

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The end of day six and the start of day seven…  Today completes the first week of blend fasting.
Morning weight: 362lbs.  (on Day 7)
I am down / down “2/11”.  As in, 2lbs down from yesterday and 11lbs down from my fasting start weight: 373lbs (the morning of Day 1).
Yesterday, was a peculiar day.  I had to give a blood sample in the morning for a doctor’s appointment on Friday.  This meant I had to “fast” (no eating of drinking of my blend) for 12 hours.  I stopped about 9pm the night before.  I got up and walked the dog about 9am, so I was on time.  I got to the office about 10:15am and gave the sample a little after 11am.  I almost never make an appointment to give blood.  I just bring a book or read email on my cell.  In this case, I did both.  Some time this week, I’ll get my results with my cholesterol and triglycerides levels and the doctor will review them with me to see where I stand.  Hopefully, both will be down (at least slightly) and I’ll be able to avoid any statins.  I was taking them in pill form for a number of years and been having a negative reaction (muscle pains and joint stiffness), but my cardiologist feels I will need to go back on something.  He’s recommending some new drug (new to me) which is administered via shot.   I’m not keen on drugs or shots (in particular), so I have another reason to make a go of fasting and losing weight.
After giving blood, I had a shot of OJ and then went out to mow the front lawn.  That took about an hour.  I settled in to drink at least a quart of my blend.  I watched a bit of TV and read a bit and then took a nap for about 2hrs.  After that, I watched some Netflix and then went to the pool for an evening swim (60 minutes / breast stroke).  I felt like it was exhilarating but (again) I tired quickly (after about 30 minutes).  So, it was another gut check to finish the time.  I just set a nice relaxing pace and got through it…  I can pretty easily do 40 lengths (25 yard lenghts) in under 55 minutes, so I say I’m doing 42 to 44 lengths an hour.  That’s a little more than one half mile (36 lengths).  It may not sound great to any young readers, but I started out in April taking between 75 and 80 minutes to do just 40 lengths, so I’ve made reasonable progress for an ol’ geezer.
Today is actually Day 7 of the fast and tomorrow I’ll be posting a photo of my progress.  Tonight I’ll make a decision about going for another week or just going day to day.  At this moment, I’m feeling great, so I’m leaning towards committing to a second full week and then switching.  The thing about “committing” is if I fall off the wagon, I’ll start beating myself up about it, whereas “day to day” is just until yesterday.  I know it’s psychologically wrong, but that’s the way (formerly) A+ personality types think.  “Set a goal.  MUST make it.  MUST make it. MUST aaauurrgghh!”
Why Studying Dieting Doesn’t Work…
On this journey I’ve struggled with dieting for most of my adult life.  I’ve almost always succeeded (for a while) in losing some weight, and then rebounded – sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly.  I’ve tried every diet plan I could reasonably afford, and almost all of them have worked (for a while).  For me, the problem has been, “What’s next?”  Sure, this or that diet works for a week or two, but what happens next?  I don’t want to “diet” forever.  This means over the last 20 years I’ve used “fasting” as my hack to a non-healthy eating lifestyle.  I either eat too much or I eat too frequently – or both.  For the longest time I’d felt this was some kind of psychological failure / adaptation on my part.  Although not poor while growing up, we certainly didn’t have the quality or quantity of food which I experienced when eating over at my friends houses.
It’s only in the last ten years I’ve thought maybe it’s not me with the problem.  Okay.  Yes, it is ME, but it’s not necessarily my brain’s (a lack of self-discipline) fault.  It’s not that I’m weak.  It’s that modern food is addicting and it’s promoted in advertising as a substitute for happiness.  I don’t mean psychologically addicting, by the way, although there is definitely some of that, too.  I mean modern food is full of chemicals (mainly) – sugar and flavor enhancers – which are meant to stimulate our appetites without giving us a sense of fullness (to tell us to stop stuffing our faces / stomachs).  I mean that modern food is physically addicting.  (Our stomachs, in fact, have sensors which tell our brain “we’re full, stop eating for a while”.  This is why drinking water before eating somewhat deadens our appetites.  The water – which has zero calories – takes up space and generates a sense of fullness in the stomach.)
The human body has served us well for thousands of years and until fairly recently, obesity (and in particular morbid obesity) has been rare.  The trend over the last ten to twenty years has been to blame what we eat (junk food / fast food), how much we eat (portions and frequency), and, everybody’s favorite culprit:  High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).  The problem we (as individuals and as a society) have is correlation is not causation and food science is closer to a “soft” science (like psychology) than it is to a “hard” science (like chemistry).  This is because we have little to no ability to create valid controls for a scientific test.  The primary variable is the human body and, despite appearances (we all “seem” pretty much the same), in fact, we have wildly different individual reactions to different types of food AND we have no longitudinal studies (that I am aware of) which show the same person has the same reactions to different types of food across their individual life spans.  What longitudinal studies we do have tend to be voluntary, subjective and self-reported.  We are, therefore, highly dependent on the person reporting to provide accurate and honest information / data for our analysis.  We then use statistics and hope accuracy and honesty will level out under our Bell Curve.
More of my random thoughts to come…
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On This Day In:
2018 Just Trying To Be Me
Day 39: Half This Game Is 90% Mental
2017 A Letter To 45
Some Small Place
2016 REDs
2015 Cities
2014 Still
2013 Dare = Hope
2012 Check My Math
2011 Just Asking

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The start of day forty-three…  And I only made it to noon.
Morning weight:  319lbs.  No change…
I am still down “54/61”.  As in, 54lbs down from my fasting start weight: 373lbs, and 61lbs down from my highest weight ever (two days before I started Juice Fast I): 380lbs.  Today’s weight is no change from yesterday when I gained 4lbs from my cheat evening (the night before).
Considering yesterday was the first day I EVER registered over 20 miles in steps (over 45K steps) on my FitBit, I was hoping for some kind of decrease.  But, it was not to be.  In all honesty, while not bloated, I do feel like I’m still retaining fluids from the cheat.  Which is what should happen when you suddenly re-introduce salt and / or sugar into your system.  I did both on Thursday evening.  I guess I just wasn’t able to clear them out enough to register a loss by this morning.
Bottom line:  I’ve decided to end this fast for now.  I’ve fasted for a total of 42 out of the last 43 days on a fast which was meant to be a 7 day fast.  Six weeks!  That’s a continuous fast of 41 days plus one more after my “slip / cheat”.  Eleven days longer than the four other “longest” juice fasts I’ve ever done (all those were “only” 30 days).  So, as Joe Cross would say: “Good on ya, mate!”
Reaction:  I have two main reactions, 1) I feel 10 years younger, and, 2) this evening, after my dinner, as I am writing this, I feel slightly bloated.  I did NOT end according to plan.  The plan was to spend six(6) days easing back into food.  I definitely have NOT done that!  I’ve jumped back in with a big salad for lunch and another big salad for dinner.  For dinner, I also had a sausage, a half cup of rice and a cup of pinto beans.  And I washed it down with 24 ounces of water with lemon slices which had been sitting for 24 hours.  When I say “slightly bloated”, it’s my tummy which is just full enough that I am not hungry, but I’m not stuffed either.
Other notes:  I’ve gone from a 54 inch waist to a 48 inch waist.  I’ve gone from barely being able to touch my two middle fingers behind my back to being able to grab either opposite wrist with the other hand (again, behind the back).  I am comfortable doing 5 to 7 laps (5×25 yards) in the local swimming pool in a nice slow breast stroke with minimal stopping time between turn-arounds.  At the start, I could barely do one lap.
So, what’s next?  Well, this week we are planning to join Costco.  While it is a little farther away and less convenient than Safeway, we believe we’ll be able to get a healthier selection of fruits and veggies at a more reasonable cost (even though we will have to buy substantially more at one time).
That’s takes care of the “sourcing”.  But, what’s the plan, you say?
We are currently planning on a modified Dr. Fuhrman, “Eat To Live” two-week plan.  Week One is hard diet (no meat) and week two is the softer (slower weight-loss) diet (meat is included).  We are flipping the weeks to start: soft and then hard; and then we plan to re-cycle through.  My wife will have whatever she wants since she is not strictly joining me on the diet.  She says she will try to stay with me, but no promises.  I said that’s fine.  Every dinner will be a large fresh salad, a half cup of rice and a cup of beans.  We may also have an optional cooked vegetable depending on her mood.  We may also have optional flesh: meat, poultry or fish.  I can only have 4oz of flesh at any meal.  In lieu of “flesh”, if she is making something else for her meal (usually a pasta and chicken dish), I can have a half cup of that.
Lunch will be a medium salad, a half cup of rice, and a cup of beans.  There may also be “something” for a change.  We are not sure what those somethings will be, but we are leaning towards veggie-patties or maybe a bean / beef / oats burger.  Again, the bulk of any meal should come from the salad and the beans.  I like pinto beans (because that’s what I was raised on), but we will alternate / rotate with black-eyed beans and kidney beans.  We will try to keep the salad different by using the various dressing recipes Dr. Fuhrman provides in his book.
Breakfast will primarily be oatmeal made with water or almond milk.  I will add fruit (dates, blueberries, black berries, strawberries and raisins) and nuts (walnuts and / or almonds) instead of sugar.  I will alternate that with the occasional fruit bowl (melon / mango / strawberries / other berries).
Snacks:  My go to snacks will be fresh fruits (apples and bananas or whatever is seasonal), nuts (walnuts, almonds or cashews), or raw veggies (mainly celery and carrots).
Fluids:  I will also use fruit and veggie juices for snacks.  I will try to drink at least 32oz of water (with a little lemon concentrate) – for my kidney stones, cranberry and pomegranate (again for my kidneys), and black cherry juice (for my arthritis).  I will occasionally also make veggie juices for between meals and for evenings.
Finally, cheats:  I am not “planning” a cheat schedule (yet), but I understand human frailty – particularly my own – so I fully expect a “small” cheat once a week or so and a “large” cheat once a month or so.  I expect this will work out over time and will depend on how much I’m losing and how eliminating salt and sugar from my diet progresses.  I do not feel I can / should completely eliminate salt, because I will still need iodine and electrolytes, but I am going to try really hard to minimize the sugars.  We’ll see…  Day by day.
Keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  Namaste!
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On This Day In:
2017 And Second By Second
2016 Bakeries And Coffee Shops
2015 Spirit Not Form
2014 Sometimes Even Kneeling Seems Insufficient
2013 Hobgoblins
2012 Got Sleep?
2011 Not Another Barren Corner

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The end of day four and the start of day five…  Today was a strange one…  6:00am.  Get up.  Walk the dog.  1 mile; 25 minutes.  Piece of cake.  And from there the battle was on.
The two things about juice fasting are: you have to have easy access to juice and you have to have easy access to toilet facilities.  If you don’t have the first, you’ll probably cheat and fall off the wagon.  If you don’t have the latter,  you can embarrass yourself.  Access to veggie juice has been easy so far because I made up enough for 3+ days.  Access to facilities is mostly managed by just staying home and going when nature calls.
Today I had two doctor appointments: one at 8am and one at 1:45pm.  This meant getting up earlier than usual to walk the dog and then going without a breakfast juice until after the first appointment.  The problem, of course, is the doctor’s office is 20 minutes away by car and I don’t want to risk getting stuck in traffic listening to nature’s call.  Bottom line: a cheat.  I have a couple of Ricola cough drops for the road.  And use them.  As mentioned yesterday, if my blood sugar level dips too much, I have problems – headaches and shaking.  I also lose the ability to concentrate on normal activities – like driving.  So, I take one while waiting in the office and then a second when I get in the car to drive home.  I try to convince myself a) it’s not “really” eating; and, 2)  they are sort of healthy.  I do this because I want to believe I’m being strict on this fast.  Okay, I’m not (convincing).  I get home and look them up.  First ingredient: SUGAR.  Second ingredient: Glucose syrup (aka: sugar).  Calories: 15 per cough drop.  Still, no point in beating one’s self up too much…  I made it home and had a 24oz bottle of blend (4 heaping tablespoons of roughage mixed with fruit juice).  An hour or so of peace, and then off to the loo (repeatedly).
I made it home from the second appointment and was in between extreme fatigue and getting ready to shake.  So, I treated myself to a large glass (16oz) of Naked Juice Mighty Mango smoothie.  This is “supposed” to be “healthy”, but nothing that tastes this good can be “healthy”.  The juice is 150 calories per 8oz serving (that’s 300 calories I drank) and has the equivalent of a can of soda pop in sugar.  The only significant difference is the sugar is fructose and not HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup).  My initial reaction was perfectly normal for a sugar rush: crash in chair in front of the TV.  And, after a 45 minute (sugar-powered) power nap, I am good to go for the rest of the evening.  Did I mention that Naked is owned by Pepsi?  Yeah, that kind of healthy…
Still, we are all human and I’m making up for it by having my veggie juice for dinner.  Note to self:  just stay home while juice / blend fasting.  Answer to self:  yeah, but sometimes life gets in the way…
And that was sooooo yummy I’m finishing the evening by drinking 30oz of ice water with 2oz of lemon concentrate.  My urologist told me years ago to drink lots of water and add a little lemon as the citric acid is supposed to help break up “some types” of kidney stones.  When I was in Saudi, my Indian co-workers insisted on pomegranate juice for curing kidney stones.  And, most lately, my co-workers at SSA (before I retired) used to tell me to drink cranberry juice (mostly those from the east coast).  So, I do a bit of all three, but mainly water with lemon, as it is the least expensive and requires the fewest trips to the store to replenish.  And, yes, my stones are still playing up.
And the news you’ve all been waiting for:  morning weigh-in 365lbs!  Somehow, I managed to drop 3lbs over a single day.  Actually, I’m cheating again…  I said I dropped only one yesterday, but it was slightly more and I was giving it a conservative rounding up.  This morning the arrow is clearly below the line, but I’m rounding up again – so it’s “really” only 2lbs to 3lbs instead of 3 to 4.  I don’t mind the inaccuracy because I’m using an analog scale and not a digital one.  Which means: 380 – 365 = 15lbs after four days of not chewing.   Minus “assumption” weight (10lbs), and I’ve lost 5 real pounds with three days to go.
It’s evening now and I’m half way through day 5, so I’ll project to finish the week between 8 and 10 real pounds down and then comes the hard part of breaking the fast with a lifestyle change which includes diet AND fitness.  The swimming (three times a week) is fun, but I’m going to have to breakdown and start a daily program of lifting weights, jogging and yoga.  Well, here’s to “eat less and move more”…  Four down, three to go!
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On This Day In:
2017 Outlasting Division
2016 Said The Man Who Trained To Fight For A Living
2015 Tripping On Treasure
2014 The Flower Of Light
2013 Eye Catching
2012 The Holstee Manifesto
2011 Three Crooners For The Shower
The Soldier’s Faith
Vacation, Books And Lots Of Movies

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