Dot’s 30-Day Keto Reset Challenge

It’s time to get back on track. Since mid-May, everything’s been on hold. That’s when Mom broke her hip and I got busy helping her get back on her feet. Those familiar with my blog know how easy it is for me to put everything else ahead of my own health, and that’s exactly what happened.

I was so focused on helping my mom that I never thought about how difficult it would be on me. While dealing with hospitalizations, doctor appointments, home modifications, managing finances (ours and hers), to the more personal tasks like cooking, dressing, bathing, managing meds … well, I ended up putting my own health (and life) on the back burner.

Thankfully, mom is much better now. Her hip is healing. She regularly does her exercises and goes to PT. She’s gained about 5 pounds (10 more to go!). Overall, I’d say she’s getting stronger.

That means it’s a perfect opportunity to re-focus my energies on Me. Ah, but what a crawl back it’s gonna be…

I haven’t taken care of myself these last few months. I’m frequently sluggish, not sleeping at night, and too quick to anger. My hot flashes rage unpredictably. Every little thing stresses me out. And you may have seen, I’m packing on the pounds again.

That said, I still cook healthy low carb meals. But I’m also cooking meals for my mother. Since 2012, what I cook, both me and my husband eat. But low carb eating isn’t necessarily the best thing for my mother. She’s way too thin and her doctor ordered that she gain weight – fast. That means that foods I stopped buying more than 6 years ago are back in my pantry and fridge. And let me tell you: when you’re a stress eater, that’s not a good thing.

To deal with all this, I’ve decided to do a complete reset – nutrition, mental and physical.

To succeed, I’ve come up 7 rules I’ll need to follow.

1. No Snacking!
I snack when I’m bored or stressed. Since mid-May, I’ve become a major snacker. It doesn’t matter if I’m hungry or not. Initially, my go-to snacks were nuts and cheese – both keto friendly foods. But other things started creeping in, like my mom’s potato chips, popcorn, ice cream. That stops today.

2. Counting Total Carbs
I’m sticking to 20g of carbs, or less, per day. And when I say 20g I mean total carbs, not net carbs. What’s the difference? Net carbs is total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols. A lot of low carbers count net carbs, and that’s just fine. But for me, I really need a swift kick in the you-know-what.

Truth is, since the end of May, I’ve essentially been carb cycling, but not in a good way. Some days I’d be more moderate, eating about 50g of carbs. Other days I’d eat +200g of carbs. Yikes!

Clearly, I need to go strict and enforce some serious discipline. Also, this change will be permanent, or at least until I hit my goal weight.

Recently, I heard a podcast with Dr. Eric Westman, one of the top low carb doctors and researchers around. He had the best definition of the difference between total carb and net carb counting:

“Total carbs is prescription strength. Net carbs is over the counter medicine.”

Nuff said!

3. Eat 1 or 2 Meals A Day.
Intermittent fasting helps, not just with weight loss, but with mental clarity and concentration, increased energy, sleep, lower blood sugar levels, and of course fat burning. Basically my eating window will be from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm (lunch and dinner). Which means 18 hours of fasting. Perfect!

4. Test My Blood Ketones Daily.
If I’m doing a keto reset, then I’ll have to know whether I’m in ketosis. I’m not expecting to be in ketosis overnight. It’s going to take awhile since I need to get all of the carb-loaded junk I’ve been eating out of my system.

I have 2 ways to test: urine strips, and a ketone/blood glucose meter. The urine strips are good, but not as reliable as the meter. Nonetheless, it isn’t as painful as pricking my finger. And it allows me to test more than once a day.

For more accuracy I’ll use my Keto Mojo. This requires blood samples from pricking my finger. I’ll do this in the morning before any coffee or water.

5. No Alcohol.
This was a goal I’d set for myself at the beginning of the year … and I failed miserably. The truth is, I really like wine. But I’ve been relying on it too much as a way to help me de-stress or wind-down from a busy day. I really can use a break, and so can my liver.

6. Take My Measurements (& Weigh Myself).
I need to know where I’m at. ‘Nuff said.

7. Daily Stretching & Flexibility Moves
This is a big one! In June, I put work with my trainer on hold. Unfortunately I didn’t have another stress-relieving outlet, thanks to my chronic calf injury.

I’m not allowed to go for walks, hikes, or train for a 10k. I can’t even do yoga because of the risk of rupturing my Achilles tendon. Standing and walking for more than 15 minutes can be downright painful. If I sit for too long, my ankle becomes stiff and painful.

My two main calf muscles are knotted up in a big tight ball and are pulling on my Achilles tendon, as well as causing plantar fasciitis in my foot.

Per my physical therapist, all I need to do is:

  • Calf stretches, at least 3 times a day
  • Ice my Achilles tendon and wrap a heat pad around my calf when inflamed
  • Wear a Strasburg sock at night while I sleep

The stretches won’t stop after 30 days. I’m using this reset to create a habit. I’m scheduling time to stretch 30 minutes a day, 3 times a day. I need to get it into my head that yes, I do have 90 minutes to spare a day. This is just too important. Not being able to walk around isn’t healthy when you’re 50.

Keto Challenge Updates
I plan to post regular updates on this blog about how my reset is going: my challenges, successes, and failures.

Today, I’m working on my first week’s menu, and I’ll post that tomorrow along with the starting data (measurements, weight, ketone levels, etc.).

I’m really excited about this. I know I’ll be successful because I’ve done it before.





Day 4 of My 7-Day Fasting Challenge

Day 4 of my 7-Day Fasting Challenge is winding down, and I am a bundle of energy. I’ve been running around my house going from chore to chore for about 10 hours. I took a “quick” break for social media and 30 minutes later I start crashing.

No problem.

I just moved to the next project. BAM! Energy levels come roaring back.

As for hunger, well, I’m just have no interest in food. Oh sure there were a few small rumbles, but they went a way as fast as they came. Heck, I was working in my kitchen about 5 feet from my refrigerator and I had no urge to eat.

My hunger is just gone. Sweet!

Checking Ketosis
Right before bed I decided to test my ketone levels. I just had too. I used two different strips — one I got from CVS and another that was sent to me by One Health to test. I’ll do a review of One Health’s ketone strips next week. However, I say they have one immediate advantage over the ones I currently use — length! When you have to pass the sticks through a urine stream, having a long stick is awesome.

Anyway, last night the strips showed that I was excreting trace amounts of ketones. By morning the strips showed I was releasing small amounts (1.5 mmol/L). A few hours later the amount increased to “moderate” levels or 4.0 mmol/L.

Using Ketosis To Protect Cells
So I am fat burning mode and loving it. The added benefit is that ketones protect our cells from cancer. In his presentation at the 2017 Low Carb Down Under conference, Dr. Gary Fettke talks about how things like protein and fatty acids serve as building blocks for cancer (glucose is the fuel), but are not readily available. So Cancer basically poaches them from nearby cells.

That’s where ketones come in. When you are burning fat for fuel instead of glucose, the ketone bodies act to protect healthy cells. So not only does it stop cancer from stealing from healthy cells, ketones also starves cancer cells. Pretty Awesome.

Check out the video for yourself.

 


7-Day Fasting Challenge: Day 3

Yay! Three fasting days down, just 4 more to go.  And I’m feeling awesome! Day 3 was easier than Day 2 by far. My energy returned. And that ravenous feeling I had the day before disappeared.

Like Day 1, I stayed busy all day. So there were no stray thoughts about food. I was just too busy to eat. And today I was lifting lots of heavy boxes and home office equipment. I may have missed my workout on Tuesday, but I had plenty of resistance training today.

I will add that I got very hungry after I was done with all the heavy lifting. That was expected and I just rewarded myself with a tall glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  That’s the way i role on a fast!

I did have two little hiccups. The first appeared in the form of a minor headache. Since I’d had to get up twice last night to go to the bathroom, I knew I lost a little too much sodium. A nice cup of bone broth with about 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt fixed me up in about 20 minutes.

The second happened around 6:00 p.m. That’s when the husband cooked his dinner. I went up stairs, thinking of the phrase “out of sight out of mind.” Well, that doesn’t really work when it comes to smell. Wow, that was a tough one. But I prevailed.

Opps! Forgot About Measuring Burning Fat?
During an extended fast it can take between 2 to 3 days before you reach full ketosis. Ketosis is a natural state where your body is almost completely fueled by fat. Normally on Day 1 of my fast I would track my ketone levels (ketones are small fuel molecules, produced in the liver from your body fat). However with all the excitement with my mom’s unexpected hospital visit, I completely forgot to measure my ketones. Ugh!

Well better late than never. Tomorrow morning I’ll start tracking my ketone levels. I’m using the urine sticks (you basically pass the stick through your urine stream).  Besides getting a reading first thing in the morning, I plan to also test my ketone levels after having my morning coffee and afternoon bone broth.

I’m just curious to see the effects both have on my fat burning.

Day 4 is coming up next and my biggest challenge is I’ll be home, working 10 feet away from my refrigerator. Here boredom is the enemy.

But between cleaning the basement, picking out a new kitchen sink, counter top as well as the color we’re painting our cabinets, I’m thinking I’ll have a pretty busy day.


7-Day Fasting Challenge: Day 2

Today was rough. I had no energy and just wanted to sleep. I ended up canceling the morning workout with my trainer. My gas tank was on empty. That was probably a good decision.  Why?

Right on time, they Day 2 hunger pangs started at noon and seemed to never let up.

When I do extended fasts, Day 2 is always the hardest. I assume it’s because my body is basically crossing The Rubicon — switching from glucose to fat burning. I attempted 7-day fasts before and it’s always Day 2 that made me cry uncle (and eat a steak).  Which is why I like to stay super busy.

For Day 2 I planned to paint the trim in my living room as a way to take my mind off the fact I’m not eating. However, that fickle finger of fate stepped in.

Instead I checked on mom and to be there for her first in-home physical therapy session. Mom’s recover is way more important than home decorating and stomach rumbling. Still, other than sitting in a chair and asking a couple of questions, I wasn’t terribly busy.

Which means my body did it’s best to break me.

I didn’t give in. Despite feeling exhausted, ravenous…and cranky.

Exhausted because I didn’t get a good nights sleep. Again, I’m assuming that’s because my body is burning up the last bits of glucose.

Ravenous because, well that’s obvious. I’m fasting.

The crankiness surprised me.  When I’m hungry, apparently I get ticked off easily.  It didn’t help the drive home was horrible. A 10 minute drive took well over 40 minutes. Now I hate sitting in traffic. Today I was apoplectic.

To make things worse, the angrier I got, my hunger increased proportionately. No amount of water could satisfy my stomach.  I suspect that cortisol may have been raging. So I was just making myself hungrier.

Once I realized I was sabotaging my own fast, I started calming down. Sure enough, the hunger became more manageable.

I’m hoping that Day 3 will go a lot smoother than today.


Week Long Fast: Day 1

As you know, I’m a big believer in the healing power of fasting to kick cancer’s sorry ass. Well it’s that time of the year where I do another week-long fast to help shed any pre-cancerous cells.

I’m wrapping up day 1 of my 7-day fast. Although I started the day with a ton of energy, it’s nearly 9:00 pm and I’m exhausted. That’s how I like it.

Normally I’m much more prepared going into a fast. But my mother’s hospitalization saw that I went into the fast by the seat of my pants.

All you can do is roll with it.

This morning, no bone broth. No bullet coffee. No water (UGH!). I just left for mom’s  place. Clearly I forgot about the fast.  So I just sucked it up, picked up black coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, and headed over to mom’s to help her out.

Now before you fasting purist out there say anything, I’m not doing a water fast. I’m following Dr. Jason Fung’s guides on extended fasting. However, my fall fast will be water only.

The good news was I stayed busy all day. Meaning not a lot of time to think about the food I wasn’t eating. If you want to fast successfully, keeping busy is the key. Time just flies by. Oh sure the occasional stomach growling wave hits. But when you are busy it’s easy to ride that wave. Besides, it only lasts 10 minutes at a time.

The bad news was I was so busy I forgot to drink enough water.  Thankfully it didn’t lead to a headache. However, the hunger pangs hit when I got the bright idea to make her some chili for the week.

Yep. I cooked on day 1 of my extended fast.

Not too bright. But I didn’t eat one bite…not even to see if it needed seasoning.

All in all, that is pretty awesome.

I’m so ready for Day 2.



Coffee Booster: Product Review

Two awesome things about the keto/LCHF gaining in popularity:

  • More healthy people
  • More products and services for this growing market.

One such product is called Coffee Booster, a fat supplement you add to your morning coffee. It’s a way to streamline your bullet coffee. Instead of reaching for multiple items (butter, coconut oil, MCT oil and/or cream), you can just use a tablespoon of Coffee Booster. Here’s my review:

DISCLAIMER: The folks at Coffee Booster reached out to me and offered a jar for free in exchange for a review. Other than the free jar, I haven’t received any payment. And whether I like the product or not, I’m posting an honest review.

You can learn more about Coffee Booster at Facebook.com/CoffeeBooster and on Instagram @CoffeeBooster. You can also purchase it from my Amazon Store, where I feature every product I use and like.