[Mensis Mirabilis] – Week 1 Update

WOO I survived week 1! Now here’s some stats:

Physical Difference

Week 1 Weight And Circ

Before we get into it let me just explain the setup of this graph. I consider Sunday night to be week ending and starting points. This is represented by the vertical lines on the graph. I consider everything before the first line to be Week 0 AKA no-diet, baseline week. Everything up to the next line is Week 1. I took weight and belly circumference measurements (measuring horizontally 1″ below navel) every morning right after waking up and tried to take another weight measurement in the evening approximately 12 hours after. The weight, in blue, is measured in lbs and uses the left axis and circumference, in orange, is measured in cm and uses the right axis. If I forgot to take an evening weight measurement I just took the average of the 12 hour before and after points, which worked out to be a pretty accurate estimate. Circumference measurements were only taken at the beginning of the day because they can get pretty wild, wacky and uninformative as you can see by that hump at the end of the week when I took a measurement in the evening. To account for all that noise, I’m also taking weekly averages for both, denoted in a lighter shade of both colors. The Week 0 average values are slightly meaningless because they were only taken for the Saturday and Sunday and represent the aftermath of New Years. Next weeks averages should be far more interesting to compare.

Right off the bat you can see a dip at the beginning of the week. This was definitely due to water lost during my workout Sunday night, which was later recovered a few days later, as you can clearly see. Even taking this into account there does seem to be a smooth, consistent decline in weight. This seems to be about 2.5lb in 4 days. Doing some reckless extrapolating I can expect my weight loss at the end of the month to be about 12lbs. This is a bit lower than I was expected but maybe things will get better as I go because I haven’t even been able to maintain full ketosis for more than an afternoon. This brings me to my next topic:

 

Blood Measurements

Week 1 BS and Ketones

Both blood sugar and ketones were measured every 12 hours. Blood sugar (red) uses the left axis and ketones (blue) use the right, both measure in mmol/L.

To be honest I really thought I would be in ketosis (> 0.5 mmol/L) on Monday morning but it turns out I either underestimated the amount work that goes into fully depleting your glycogen reserves or I underestimated the effects of gluconeogenesis AKA the transubstantiation of muscles into brain fuel. Even the Catholic Church is not this efficient. For the life of me I can’t figured out what happened Wednesday evening (the drastic dip/rise in the graph) as it wasn’t radically different than the other days. With all the elegance of a tango duo, the ketones (my own body fat!) seem to perfectly mirror the dip in glucose, making up the deficit and keeping me from being hypoglycemic. This peak/trough relationship right here perfectly explains how the ketogenic diet is supposed to work and why it is independent of calorie intake. The problem is, I apparently don’t understand this relationship enough to exploit it when I want. I suspect it has to do with the amount of protein I’m eating, but more on that later.

As you can see, my blood glucose was going AWOL at the beginning of the week but stabilized at around 5 mmol/L after Wednesday’s big dip. This was partially due to the fact that I started out measuring my evening glucose after my nap which unexpectedly spiked my glucose. I measured my before and after nap blood sugar a couple times and I consistently got a 0.6-0.8 mmol/l increase. I’m not sure why this is the case but it might have something to do with the dawn phenomen which causes a similar effect in the morning. From Wednesday onwards I made sure I took blood measurements right before my nap. The blood glucose variation could also be due to the test strips I was using which expired a month ago. The going rate for 100 more test strips is about $130 but a sweet ol’man sold me his brand new pack of 100 for $15 (God, I love Kijiji!). I started using the new strips Friday onwards but the stabilization started a day earlier so I’m not sure the expired strips were all that faulty. I tried to measure both strips to verify this but it’s surprisingly hard to draw enough blood for 3 strips from a single finger, especially since all that fish oil is supposed to act as a blood thinner.

 

Macro Breakdown

Week 1 Macros

Fats, Carbs, and Protein are are shown in blue, red and purple respectively and use the right axis and is measured in grams. The green line represents total calories and uses the left axis.

Since fat has more than double the calorie density of the other macro-nutrients as well as being my primary source of food by weight, it’s not surprising that it’s driving my total calorie input for the day. What is surprising is a) my carb intake during the Great Dip of ’16 and b) my slightly increasing protein intake throughout the week. As per classic Keto lore, eating too much protein is not a good thing, especially since I’m not working out. According to this site, low end protein intake to avoid muscle breakdown is 1g/Kg f Lean Body Mass and the high end is at 3.0g/Kg LBM. Assuming my body fat% is 20%, this range for me would be about 62g-185g. I was averaging about 110g by the end of the week but I’m going to experiment this week by bringing it closer to the lower end.

 

Mental State Tracking

Week 1 Mental State

Ew! Who knew tracking data points for 5 different values every hour for a week would make for a crowded graph? I’ll have to figure out how I can combine these values to day and week averages to make a more easy to read, more informative graph. In general I can say that the first few days were rough, but once I got into the swing of things I had far more focus and less cravings, especially by the end of the week.

 

Money Spent

Week 1 Cost

Total money spent on groceries this week: $42.39

Last Sunday I made steaks that have been sitting in my freezer for a while given to me free a while ago. I had to guess their price which I set at $12 for the pair even though I only ate about $7.50 worth of it. I kinda gave up on them by the end of the week because they started to smell funky. Apparently you can’t just cook steaks rare, cut them up and leave them in your fridge for a week.

Keep in mind this graph doesn’t represent the total amount spent this week, just the total amount spent of what I ate. I used to spend about $300 on groceries and going out on the weekends so it seems I’ve saved quite a bit. In fact, extrapolating out, I could save around $1000 by the end of the month if I keep up this pace. There was a lot of experimentation this week so perhaps next week I’ll be spending even less.

 

Goals for Week 2

I really need to get my protein down. I think all the stuff I’ve been eating this week has been unnecessarily protein rich, and coupled with my 50g salmon protein in the morning, my overall protein intake is just too damn high. I suspect this is what is keeping me from ketosis. As a mini-experiment this week I;m going to stick closer to the lower range of 65g protein as mentioned earlier and see what happens. To do this I need to eat foods that have way more fat than than protein. I made a query on the USDA nutrition databases to find foods that fit the following criteria: less than 5% usable carbs and a high fat/protein ratio.  I learned some interesting things. For one, nuts vary wildly in fat and protein amounts. Peanuts for example, my go to snack this week, has a F/P ratio of 1.36 while pecans blow it out of the water with ratio of 8! It is also only 4% usable, non-fiber carbs compared to peanuts which is 7%. But they’re also about double the price. I need to find a happy-medium snack.

I got some magnesium and vitamin D supplements on Wednesday and I’ve been taking 300mg and 4000IU, respectively, every day since. The one thing I have definitely been low on all through out is potassium because, as I mentioned in previous posts, it’s extremely hard to get enough. Potassium chloride seems to be the most efficient way to supplement potassium because to get to your daily recommended requirement you only need 1.5 teaspoons of the stuff. Unfortunately this is impossible to find only in Canada and any site that used to have it mysteriously no longer sells it anymore, perhaps due to a government ban. Luckily one Canadian site didn’t get the memo and I’m now holding in my hand 230g of potassium chloirde which arrived today. Adding this to my diet I should finally put to rest any mineral deficiencies I have.

I’m going to play basketball this Thursday to see how my cardio is affected by this diet. If all goes well, I should be running around for about 2-3 hours. Lets see if/when I start to feel exhausted. Theoretically a normal person will feel exhausted when his glycogen supply is depleted but my ketone supply is nearly infinite in comparison. It’will also see how my body deals with the massive calories deficit the next day and when the cravings will start.

Speaking of which, I think my eating schedule is too rigid and defined. My body knows exactly when it needs food but I ignore it for some reason. From now on I’m going to listen to my body and only eat when I have a craving or if I feel tired. Lets see how this effects my calorie totals this week.

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