Tiger Tried and True: The Ketogenic Diet

ScaleFrom time to time, I will use this platform to post about things that I’ve sampled or experienced that are of great value. Most of the time I’ve dealt with good food or great restaurants or some must-have product. This post is going to be a little different from that.

One month ago, I learned that my cousin, who is more a like a brother to me, began a new diet called a ketogenic diet. I wanted to encourage and support him in this effort so I reached out to him, in solidarity, and said I would like to do it as well. In short, it has been one of the best decisions of my life. Let me explain.

I’ve always been a large person. From the time I was in kindergarten to this day, I was always among the largest people in my classes and amongst my peers. While I’m not considered morbidly obese, let’s just say I’ve always lingered on the fluffy side. When I was younger and an athlete, this was obviously advantageous and not a problem. As I’ve gotten older, however, and the exercise was fewer and farther between, the weight is harder to keep off. As a senior in high school, I was 6 feet 4 inches tall and 240 pounds. Now, at the age of 44 (almost 45), I am 6 feet 5 inches tall and (as of this morning) 292 pounds. For the past six years I have taken statin medication for high cholesterol.

One month ago today, I began the ketogenic diet. Basically, it’s an Atkins-like diet in which you eat very low carbohydrates, moderate protein, but, and this is the kicker,  you make an effort to eat a HIGH FAT diet. Yes, a HIGH FAT diet. The goal of the diet is to place your body in a state of ketosis. This is where you transition from being fueled by carbohydrates to being fueled by the ketones your body naturally produces as it metabolizes your own stored fat deposits. The book Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore can give you more insight. For the last month, I have eaten a diet consisting of 70-78% fat, 18-20% protein and less than 10% carbs. I’ve lost 17 pounds. This morning, my regular physician TOOK ME OFF OF MY CHOLESTEROL MEDICINE!!! All this while eating more eggs, cheese, bacon, beef, butter and coconut oil than you would think would be humanly possible. The diet is antithetical to everything you hear in the conventional health and wellness circles. I keep track of everything I eat on MyFitnessPal so that I can help control what I eat.

Historically, I have a couple of real trouble points in my lifestyle that work against me. First, I’m extremely busy. Between being a full-time husband, father and pastor, I also play radio personality and I’m a doctoral student trying to write and complete that work. It becomes easier to just “grab some fast food” when it is time to eat.

Secondly, I’m a night owl. Always have been. The night is my chance to kick back and try to unwind. This leads to, you guessed it, kitchen grazing! From about 9PM to Midnight, I can burn the floor up between my easy chair and the fridge.

Over the last month, though, I have not been hungry. Not once. In fact, there have been mornings that I have had to make myself finish off my cheesy eggs and bacon. I survive quite well at 1700 to 1900 calories, which, for my size, is conducive to about a 2 pound per week reduction.

At the doctor’s office this morning, my blood pressure was 130/80 and all my numbers were below any level since he began tracking them. He was beyond pleased and I had to spend about 15 minutes explaining the diet to him and he is considering it himself. As of today, I’m no longer on prescription meds of any kind. I have combined the ketogenic diet with the Advocare MNS system (multi-vitamins) and the Advocare OmegaPlex supplements. You can find them through the Health and Wellness tab here on my blog.

To say that I am thrilled with the results and the direction I am heading would be an understatement. Results may vary for different people, but I just had to share that this ketogenic stuff is Tiger Tried and True!!!

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Do It Anyway!

A funny thing happened in the middle of my walk.

Yes, my walk. Since August 12, I have taken a few. That is the day on which I began yet another journey toward better health and fitness. Only this time, I did it with much less fanfare than in times past. On a few occasions I’ve stood up like the publican praying in the temple and shouted from the mountaintops that I was dieting and exercising. I’m over that now.

After my most recent chat with my physician, I decided to take a multi-faceted approach to my lifestyle change:

  1. Cleaner eating (thanks to meddling women at church… and my lovely wife)
  2. Daily multi-vitamin regimen (thanks Vitacost.com)
  3. Counting calories (thanks MyFitnessPal.com and app)
  4. Wearing a FitBit Ultra (pedometer on steroids)
  5. Utilizing Endomondo GPS app w/ Polar heart rate monitor (to track and maintain my cardio work history)

I will give more detailed reports on each one of these later. I am trying to get to my point.

So last night I was walking in my parent’s neighborhood. Ten minutes into my walk I realized that I had left my FitBit (the pedometer on ‘roids…keep up) on its charger back at my house. “Great! How many precious steps have I now taken that I will not get credit for,” I thought to myself. Not to worry. I had my heart rate monitor on and I was tracking my every movement with the GPS app on my phone.

Fifteen more minutes passed by and I was worked up into a pretty good lather. All of the sudden my headphones go silent and my increasingly less trusty Droid Thunderbolt suddenly and without warning powers down. DRATS! Now what was I to do? I lost GPS tracking AND my heart rate monitoring. I felt like I was on the Apollo 13 mission. What else could go wrong? There I am, flattening the hills and straightening the curves in beast mode without any technological wonder to capture the sweat-filled moments for posterity. It takes my phone a good three minutes to cycle on. “How far might I travel in that amount of time without GPS,” I ponder. The questions were overwhelming me.

At least my watch was still working and it told me that I had another ten minutes before I had to stop and go pick up Ellie from dance. I could knock out one more hill… but I wouldn’t get “credit” for it I idiotically told myself.

Then I came to my senses.

Of course I’m getting credit for this. My body is the beneficiary of this endeavor whether or not some gadget records my progress. How silly of me to think otherwise.

Isn’t this the way it is with us sometimes in our faith walk? Do you opine the fact that no one was around to pat you on the back when you helped that lady carry in her groceries? When you gave back the extra $5 that the cashier mistakenly gave you at Wal-mart, did it knock the shine off to discover no one was in line behind you to see and be in awe of your honesty? It’s not necessary to “report in” to people that you, indeed, got in your twenty-minute quiet time this morning before work.

God sees. God knows. God is keeping tabs. On top of that, in much the same way that your body benefits from physical exercise, your body/soul/spirit all benefit from the exercise of your faith, whether any mere mortal man sees or not. You are building spiritual habits on top of being obedient to what God calls all of His children to do. Both of these have massive benefit for you in the long run.

So go ahead, even though you only have an audience of One, do it anyway!

After all, who else matters.

Random Thursday Thoughts

The Thursday Run:

Night #2 of No Boundaries at Fleet Feet went well. Really well, even. I missed my running buddy, Julie, who was down in her back. I guess that happens when you get as old as her. Filling in was my #1 daughter, Ellie, who was all decked out in her pink running finery.  The Green Belt was under water so we ended up having to run through parking lots, behind buildings, through alleys and such. It was a bit brisk out, but I am very proud of all the great folks who have committed themselves to this effort. Great fun is being had by all. I felt much better tonight than I did last Tuesday. I hope that trend continues.

Ohio State:

The double-standard I am seeing in certain sectors of sports media is sickening. The way the administration at Ohio State, as well as, coach Jim Tressel is handling this situation is atrocious. Some are lauding his efforts to knowingly withhold information which allowed key players to remain eligible for a run to a BCS bowl game under the guise that it somehow protected the players. Never mind that he was trying to protect his backside and his job. Bruce Pearl has been routinely filleted by the media weekly all season long for having 3 players (2 of whom play for other teams) over to his house for a BBQ and first denying it. He then went, of his own volition, back to the NCAA and fessed up. Tressel was outed by the media. Peal was fined $1.5 million and suspended for half of the SEC season. Tressel, thus far, has been assessed a $250,000 fine (he makes somewhere north of $3 million per year) and he is suspended for the first two games next season. They are of the “Sisters of the Poor” variety games against Akron and Toledo. It’s just plain pitiful.

The Wait Is Over:

Ever since the iPad was introduced last year, I have suffered from iPad envy. Based on my own personal needs assessment in conjunction with an understanding of the many hats I wear and after much research into computing, e-readers, smart phones and certain combinations thereof, I have determined that I could benefit from owning said iPad. Did that sound convoluted enough to be mistaken for plausibility?

I started an iPad fund last fall. Family and friends have made contributions through Christmas, Boxing Day (my Canadian friends), Presidents Day, Groundhog Day, Valentines Day, Laundry Day, and, of course, my birthday. Now the funds are in hand. My child will NOT have to go without shoes and my church has not had to go without my tithe. TOMORROW, IT’S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG!

According to sources, 5PM will mark the beginning of The Invasion of Best Buy or, as I like to call it, the Black Friday Best Buy Beatdown! I pity the fool that stands between me and my iPad 2! I’m normally a mild-mannered gentleman. Tomorrow the gloves come off. The forecast calls for mayhem the likes of which has not been seen in these parts since that unfortunate bear crossed paths with Davy Crockett. I will be rested and ready, well-hydrated and, quite possibly, main lining some Girl Scout Samoas just for good measure. I am going for the white, 64GB, WIFI-only model with the ingenious Tennessee orange cover thingamajig. I will be bringing the whole arsenal: The Suplex; The Cobra Clutch; The Jackhammer and even the People’s Elbow. A certain celebrity, who shall remain nameless, has claimed to have tiger’s blood flowing through his veins. That’s nothing. I’ve always had that, baby! If necessary, I will even resort to my secret weapon. I will stuff Ellie’s pockets full of cash and send her to the front of the line. Who could deny my adorable little Brown-eyed iPad Ninjetta?

Perhaps the next post you read will have had its genesis on my new iPad 2. Oh glorious thought! Stay tuned.

Perhaps a bit TOO ambitious…

Tonight around 140 people began a journey together. It was the first night of Fleet Feet’s “No Boundaries” Couch to 5K program. They divided us into three groups: turtles, gliders and the “more ambitious.” Since I had been working on running for 7 weeks already, I figured I would challenge myself and step up to the “more ambitious” group with my friend, Julie. Our dance card for the evening consisted of 6 intervals alternating 2 minutes of running and 2 minutes of walking.

When the groups shook out, I quickly realized that, size-wise, I would make two of every other person in my group. Then the running commenced and I drifted to the rear fairly quickly. Bless Julie’s heart for hanging back with me. However, two things became clear to me. First, the faster pace was something I needed because I am WAY too slow. Second, I was able to do the run.

There were friends I had not seen in a long time as well as many new faces I look forward to getting to know. Encouragement abounded. I can already tell that this journey will be very fulfilling and I eagerly anticipate sharing the successes with my new friends.