It is Black Friday 2017—the day after Thanksgiving in the USA when half of the country goes insane and ventures out to start their Christmas shopping. I am staying in, which is my tradition because the only thing that sounds worse than dealing with all of that madness is lying in an operating room (again) undergoing major surgery.
When I weighed myself on November 7th, I was appalled to discover that I had regained 13 pounds of the 34 pounds I had lost earlier in the year following the Keto way-of-eating (WOE). I had even managed to keep the weight off, not adhering to Keto for over six months, until the month of October when those extra pounds reappeared like some menacing apparition from my past. “That’s it!” I thought.
I had precious little food in the house, no energy or time to grocery shop, but knew I couldn’t go another day waiting for resolve that didn’t seem to come. I found a pound of unopened bacon and oven-cooked it (FYI: bacon is a staple on the Keto WOE). By that evening, I had eaten an ENTIRE pound of bacon (for the first time in my life!). I had a killer headache and no other acceptable food, so drove through Del Taco and ordered a beef taco salad with no dressing and no chips. When I got home I added a dollop of full-fat sour cream and some salsa (with no added sugar). I was back “on plan,” albeit in an act-of-desperation, spur-of-the-moment fashion. The next morning I woke up four pounds thinner—after eating that pound of bacon the previous day. I had the energy to go to the grocery store and the butcher.
In the past 18 days, I have lost 10 lbs., having lost and regained a few pounds within that time. Last year, this fluctuation was especially annoying when eating “clean.” I have since learned that this a normal part of the Keto lifestyle and the normal fluctuation of our bodies due to water retention and/or hormonal imbalances. Particularly in the beginning, when the body is detoxing from sugar (e.g Halloween snack-sized candy) and grain (pumpkin crumb donuts) , and resetting itself from burning glycol (carbs) for energy, to burning ketones (fat), there can be stalls followed by what Ketonians call the “whoosh” effect where you lose multiple pounds “overnight.”
Last year, although I had started the Keto WOE four days before Thanksgiving, I did indulge a bit on the holiday. I gained a few pounds of the seven pounds I had lost the previous three days. This year, I was #ketostrong and only ate Keto-acceptable foods, including making my traditional cranberry sauce with permitted sweeteners.
I joined friends for their carb-laden feast and ate turkey, Brussel sprouts, green beans, and my “sweetened” cranberry sauce. When someone asked “can’t you have just a bite of dessert?” I replied, “I am deprived of so much of life because of my weight, that ‘depriving’ myself of dessert is easy.” That ended the cajoling. The evening was filled with much laughter and great conversation.
When I got home, I cut off a 2-ounce piece of cream cheese, poured a large tablespoon of my cranberry sauce over it and savored every creamy bite. I never went into a food coma, never felt my belly hurt from overeating and woke up this morning to the scale registering a .2 ounce weight loss. The day after Thanksgiving. I’ll take it.
When I was sixteen years old, I followed the Stillman diet (essentially a Keto WOE) to get to a slender 132 pounds after struggling with my weight since I was about eight. In my early 20s, I got down to my thinnest at 128 lbs., but the struggle has raged ever since. In the ensuing years I have seen my weight escalate (with a whole bunch of yo-yoing in between)—basically carrying around a full-grown man whom I would like to divorce myself of—permanently. I was at my highest weight about 14 years ago, but I’ve hovered within a 20-pound range for the “worst” part of the past twenty years–until I went Keto last year. I am now 14 pounds from a 21-year milestone (and all the milestones that will follow). This blog is dedicated to that journey.
I am filled with deep gratitude for knowing that Keto works (there are legions of inspirational stories with photos to PROVE it) and, that by eating fat (but eschewing sugar and all grains), it is possible to lose fat and regain health. I may have to pass on the traditional stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and pecan pie, but will never feel deprived because I am encouraged to eat delicious, full-fat, satiating food to lose weight. Thankful.