The Keto experiment Part One: breaking the duck

Towards the end of May of this year I attended a charity Exercise Marathon run  by my friend and all-round jolly good person Paula Lamb.  Essentially,  a number of us  – mostly, but not all ladies and including several ladies of a certain age – signed up to do 12 hours of continuous exercise spread over several different classes throughout the day.   And so off to Crosby I went, partly because I wanted to support the charity, and partly because yet again I experienced that all-too common scenario that bedevils me in which my brain screams “Nooooooo!”  but the word that comes out my mouth is “Yes”.

Now I pride myself on being reasonably fit for my too quickly advancing years, and I felt that I would cope fairly well with the exercise sessions.  And in fairness, that is what happened, and I came away from the event quite pleased with myself. It wasn’t an Olympic performance but neither had I let myself down.  But a few days later something happened to change my opinion: someone posted a handful of videos of the event.

And there it was – right in the middle of the screen in one shot during the Burlesque session:

A very large lycra-clad waddling duck. 

It is only when you see yourself like this that you realise “Oh shit! THAT is what I look like!”   For some there may well be a “well tough, this is what I am” attitude. And to a great extent I have always been of the opinion that the outward appearance isn’t as important because I am quite fit. After all, I had cycled nearly 80 miles to get to the event.  But seeing myself like that made me actually question if my approach had been correct.   Yes, I do alright, but how much better could I be – performance and appearance –  if I shifted some weight?

Immediately after the video posting,  I started to think more about  this and even started to act on it. June and early July brought with them several long-distance cycle rides, and while I coped fine,  there was still a feeling of not being quite right. This was all against a backdrop of having had a fairly rotten winter and spring in which I had undertaken a few tests for a possible gall bladder problem, including the very unpleasant experience of a gastroscopy.  Never again!

And then came the shocker.

Mid-July, I had my annual diabetic review.  Since being diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetes some six years ago, I have successfully managed the condition with diet, to the extent that I was as near “normal” as I could be.  It came, therefore, as a huge shock to me to discover that the HBa1C result was showing as high.  Not just high, but ridiculously high.  Out went all notion of my having conquered the problem.  The stern finger of my diabetic nurse was waggling a totally different scenario.

“You have three months to do something about this.” She pronounced somewhat apocalyptically.  “Get it sorted.”

One of her suggestions,  lest you think diabetic practitioners in the Elderslie area are all Nurse Ratchett types, was to look at ways of reducing input in general but sugary ones in particular.  As one who has always professed that  I don’t overeat, one of the first things I did was to sit down and analyse if that was the case. While I do eat healthily at meals, I had to accept that the additional biscuits and bars of chocolate were being consumed far more regularly that I’d previously been prepared to admit to.  The combination of bad carbs from this and the silly carbs from sports drinks was the likely culprit in the current high blood sugar reading.

Then began the search for an appropriate eating regime. I dislike the word “diet” as it implies something both temporary and faddy. I needed something that would be a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix then back to old (and bad) habits.  A friend recommended the Keto system, and after having reassured myself that it could be done safely by T2D sufferers, I decided to give it a go. Essentially it means a severe restriction on carb intake, and since I am an all or nothing type of personality, I went for it.

My friend who recommended  had himself been on it for weight loss reasons.  My main reason was different: I needed to get the blood sugar level under control quickly and effectively. The timescale set by Nurse Ratchett was three months; the time period recommended for Keto was three months.  So it all fitted, especially with my all-or-nothing personality.

 

The Results so far

The new regime started on August 1st of this year, and I split it into two time phases of six weeks each.  I set myself a target of getting the blood sugar level down to within the acceptable parameters within the first phase.  The second phase would be to ensure that I maintained it at that level.  I had hoped to lose some weight along the way but it wasn’t the main reason for the eating regime.

So as we approach the end of phase one, how has it worked out?   Here are the results so far:

Results Phase 1

There are other results that I haven’t tabulated here, including body fat and visceral fat percentages. I am using a Boditrax system to monitor the weight and body issue results and a Glucomen GM Sensor machine issued by my diabetic nurse to monitor the blood glucose levels.

The results so far have made it all worthwhile. I am surprised at how quickly the positives started coming through, but am also aware that what needs to happen now is to maintain this level of success.

I will be stopping the strict carb regime after week 12 and moving on to a Go Lean plan devised by Paula.  I will reintroduce carbs gradually and monitor their effects.  I am especially interested in the effects of pasta and rice as prior to going Keto, I had had a sneaky feeling that these two substances, along with bread, were at the heart of my sluggishness and fatigue problem.

Anyway, Phase 2 begins next Monday.  It will be a minor increase in carbs but will remain within the Keto range.

Fingers crossed for a continuation of breaking that damn waddling duck once and for all.