Thursday, July 19, 2012

progress update conclusion (i think): what WORKS

I'm down another pound this morning, putting me under my "San Francisco starting weight" of three weeks ago.  As i don't have to go anywhere for over a month (knock on wood), i COULD actually make my goal weight before summer ends.  Here's hoping i won't get any surprises in my life to derail me....

A year ago, i was coming to the conclusion that i might have to reconcile myself to being overweight the rest of my life.  I felt i had gotten all the good i could out of low-carbing and paleo/primal eating, and that hormones had finally gotten the better of me; no matter how i reduced intake, it didn't seem to make any difference to my fat load.

This morning, i sat down in my thinking-chair (OKAY, the wing-chair in my bedroom where i like to read and watch movies) KNOWING that what's healthy for me is effective, and vice-versa.  It doesn't take super-human willpower to eat a restricted diet, and i can even have a wild splurge every month or so with no ill effects.  WOW.  This is the definition of empowerment.

I think that the first thing a person like me has to do is BECOME A FAT-BURNER.  If you're not fat/ketone-adapted, your body will fight you every step of the way.  Hunger and cravings will take over your mind.  Now, i was lucky in that i had broken the spell of carbohydrates quite awhile ago (and fully realize how seductively dangerous they are), so my quest was all about learning to control the metabolic flexibility we all need to thrive ... although, i didn't know that when i started.

I've learned that my instinct to wait a considerable time in the morning before eating is the correct one.  Kindke blogged about the morning cortisol peak, which gave me a good reason to indulge myself.  At home by myself, i have supplements and black coffee for breakfast most of the time.  :-)  The funny thing is, i've learned to PREFER my coffee black -- never in a million years would i have predicted that!  If i have a good reason to eat a meal in the morning, it HAS to be a protein-fat one -- i'm a walking example of a carb-laden breakfast inducing appetite later in the day.

Being fat-adapted, i sometimes have to make myself eat a meal in the middle of the day, because (with the load of "food" i carry around under my skin) i constantly have fuel to burn.  But i NEED my protein, so my dinner (my largest meal, whenever it is) is ideally about a half-pound of pastured meat; if it doesn't carry its own lipids along, it gets the addition of butter or real-cream sauce.  Depending upon how "good" i'm behaving, black coffee or 4 ounces of wine is the mandatory side-dish.  Drinking water or other cold beverages with a meal is a BIG mistake for me -- one thing a hypothyroid needs to make sure of is stomach acid!  Coffee and wine unbalance me the least.

Water, i drink at the midpoints between meals.  If i feel like a cocktail in the afternoon, but am inclined to deny myself the carbs, i'll make a pot of tea.  Jasmine or Earl Grey make for the perfect stress-buster, in lieu of a Gimlet!  The important thing is to make it in a pot and pour it in a cup (not a mug), and not work at anything while drinking it.  It makes you slow down.  Speaking of tea -- should i not be in the mood for coffee with food, i find lapsang souchong is about the only tea that isn't overpowered by a meaty meal.

I make sure to have something to eat before it gets too late; i never really like to start a meal after 8.  If i'm allowing myself any carby food at all, this is when it's acceptable.  Supper can be like dinner if i really feel an appetite, or it can be a tin of sardines, glass of raw-milk kefir, home-made gelatin, or even my own ice-cream if i'm not particularly hungry.

Sleep is immensely important to me.  Even though some experts get really hot about the legitimacy of "adrenal fatigue," i've found that treating it like it's real has improved my health considerably.  Stress creates a whole cascade of horrible effects on anyone with a weak thyroid, so by doing my best to pamper my adrenals, i save myself a world of discomfort.  I've installed F-lux on my old not-quite-dead laptop as well as on the one i'm using now, AND my husband's.  I darken my bedroom to the best of my ability, and cover the blue light of my cellphone.  The goal is my ideal of eight to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep, but if i wake during the night, i no longer stress about it; with the knowledge of biphasic sleep i've gained, i just read something soothing for an hour or so.

Sounds so simple....  But like my supplement routine, it took a lot of trial and error and PAYING ATTENTION to my body to come down to it.  It took input from knowledgeable sources of all kinds, many of whom write the blogs on the list on this page.  It took reassurance by Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Dr. Donaldson and Lucas Tafur that i wasn't ruining myself with the "extreme" diet i thrive on.  It took the notions put forth by eccentric doctors whose central points are sound, despite the lengths to which they push them.  Hell, i want to thank the WORLD for the help i've gotten in managing this tricky body of mine!


  1. Congrats on the release Tess, looks like it will be a holly, jolly, skinny x-mas! Question: you say you take a break every month or so. Is this planned? Every 3ish weeks approx. I dive head first into my roommates sourdough bread, raw local honey ect. & dont regain my composure for about 48 to 36 hours. I quickly relose my edema after a day fasting. ---- I know Nora Gedgaudas strickly frowns on any indulgences in gluten esp. What do you think? Im beginning to lose my guilt over this, since the whole "youll have start the whole adaptation process over" theory doesn't seem to apply to me. (As long as I dont binge on fast food, msg ect). Do you seem to bounce back fairly quickly? What do you generally cheat on? (Thanks in advance!)

  2. thanks! :-) the breaks i've been taking have been timed more to go along with special events than anything else, so far. but i've learned like you that short binges CAN be harmless. if one doesn't have full-blown celiac disease, i think a small amount of gluten shouldn't have a huge impact on a healthy GI tract, don't you? it's the chronic use that'll "getcha".... and a day or so of glucose-burning shouldn't ruin you, if you're fat-adapted for the most part. :-) at least -- that's my hypothesis at this point!

    last weekend, i splurged on everything my neighbor served when they invited us over for dinner. she knows i do LC, and within her knowledge of it is considerate about what she makes for us ... but she DOES like to tempt me! i had a ham salad AND a chicken salad on croissants, her margaritas, and key lime pie. i had no trouble going back to my regimen. :-)