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Old 07-10-2013, 08:21 AM   #1
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Um, I may not actually have been in ketosis all this time....

OK, so yes, I have always stayed under 35 or 36 gross carbs for the last 6 weeks... except that one meal last Friday....

I have always had the horrible breath since LC, though it has lessened. And I had checked with ketostix which indicated moderate ketosis.... but I just found out that my ketostix were way out of date.... So yesterday I bought a new pack, and it does not indicate at all that I am in ketosis. Since Friday afternoon, following that cheat meal. I was right back on plan... and from Saturday until today, I have been under 25 gross carbs. An hour ago I checked with the new ketostix, and it didn't change even a tiny bit.

However, as I mentioned several times before, I have lost inches, so that would seem to indicate that I was in Ketosis.

So, one of 3 things happened as far as I can tell....

1. I was in Ketosis at one point

2. I have never been in ketosis.

3. My body is not back in ketosis after that meal on Friday.....

that said, I do remember that on day 3 of going LC, the stix did indicate ketosis, and a few other times when I checked with the old stix, it said I was still in ketosis. So, getting in ketosis was really fast when I started, but maybe not after the 1 cheat meal?

Last edited by Garlic; 07-10-2013 at 08:24 AM..
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:23 AM   #2
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Ketostix--even those that are not expired--are notoriously inaccurate, and skew toward false negatives. Just because you don't get a positive with them doesn't mean you are not in ketosis.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:26 AM   #3
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I agree with Ntombi. The ketostix don't mean much. If you really want to know if you are in ketosis you should get a blood ketone meter. The strips are expensive but perhaps because you are diabetic you could get them covered by insurance.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:26 AM   #4
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I wouldn't put too much stock into what the ketostix say.

Are you counting all carbs- those in hwc, eggs, artificial sweeteners, hard cheese,? Are you weighing and measuring your foods? Do you check the carb count on everything? If you are doing all of these thngs and are sure that you are under 35, then I wouldn't worry about ketostix.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:27 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by nolcjunk View Post
I wouldn't put too much stock into what the ketostix say.

Are you counting all carbs- those in hwc, eggs, artificial sweeteners, hard cheese,? Are you weighing and measuring your foods? Do you check the carb count on everything? If you are doing all of these thngs and are sure that you are under 35, then I wouldn't worry about ketostix.

yes, yes, and yes.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:45 AM   #6
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If you are eating only 35 to 36 net carbs per day then you should always be in keto even once your brain adapts requiring less and less glucose from diet and/or gluconeogenesis.

That said, depending on your brain's glucose requirement one cheat meal (depending on the amount of carbs consumed) can knock you out of ketosis, and begin to restock your liver with glycogen. Personally, I have noticed a delay sometimes (of a day or two) after a cheat before I lost my keto symptoms and gained some water weight; so time doesn't always appear to be of the essence, with my body at least.

Like others have said, ketostix are but one method, as is the breath test, and the blood test, and the calculations of net carbs consumed. I have also gotten a bad batch of ketostix before, where half of them didn't work (showed negative and positive from same sample). Also have to be careful not to touch the test strip b/c the oils from your hands can interfere and block the reaction. I think light and humidity can also affect the test strips.

losing weight/inches is possible even when you are not in keto, so that is not necessarily indicative of being in keto.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:46 AM   #7
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I've been reading your posts and struggles with not losing and can't help but wonder if not having a specific plan is part of the problem? Eating low carb is the main thing, but every plan has specific rules beyond that. Is there a reason why you're doing your own thing and aren't following a plan? Also, it makes it more difficult for people to give you advice because you don't have a plan and there are many different ways of eating low carb. Yes, a lot of people do their own thing, but its usually after tweaking an existing plan. I wish you the best.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:00 AM   #8
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I will test positive on Ketosticks if I drink Vodka. I don't even have to be on low carb, If I ate light that day and drank heavy that evening I will turn the stick. I depend more on the feeling of energy, and calm and clear thinking and lessening of joint pain and, of course, bad breath and a lessening of appetite to indicate true ketosis. When I am in true ketosis I have to schedule times to eat because I have almost no hunger at all. I can usually get there in 3 or 4 days with a fairly fatty diet. Brisket is a huge induction favorite for me. Also eggs with butter or mayo, 73% lean ground beef sautéed with cabbage in butter, chicken and avocado with Mayo...things like that. I try to hold off on sausage and bacon because of the processing but I do love a skillet of Italian sausage with peppers and onions. And that one wonderful and tasty treat meal: Grilled Ribeye. (Thank Goodness for Costco!)
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taxbane View Post
If you are eating only 35 to 36 net carbs per day then you should always be in keto even once your brain adapts requiring less and less glucose from diet and/or gluconeogenesis.
and most days 25 gross carbs or less.... some days even 10 - 12...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anonymousity View Post
I've been reading your posts and struggles with not losing and can't help but wonder if not having a specific plan is part of the problem? Eating low carb is the main thing, but every plan has specific rules beyond that. Is there a reason why you're doing your own thing and aren't following a plan? Also, it makes it more difficult for people to give you advice because you don't have a plan and there are many different ways of eating low carb. Yes, a lot of people do their own thing, but its usually after tweaking an existing plan. I wish you the best.
Thank you. Well, the thing is, I'm a bit of an anarchist, LOL.... or at least I am an extremely free spirit who isn't likely to follow a plan very well, even if I tried.

I have read: Wheat Belly, The Diabetes Solution, Why We Get Fat, The Atkins Revolution, South Beach Diet, and a couple others, and even they can't all agree on what is correct, so who am I to know better than any of them? I also watch videos from the experts on Youtube.... I really like Dr. Attia ( forget his first name ). And I even follow some of the more famous folks on Twitter.

Again, the only commonality is basically the need to reduce carbs, some more drastically than others.

I'm also a guy who can be easily swayed with a solid argument. So I can float from believing one thing o Tuesday, and something else on Friday.....

So, you see, with my personality, being strict at anything in my life just doesn't work well. I am incredibly surprised that I have made it 6 weeks without giving up on low carb altogether. I think it is especially hard for me since I haven't lost a single pound.... but those other positive benefits I have had offset the dismay of not a single pound lost.

In fact, by watching Dr. Attia, I am actually EXCITED to take my next A1C test, and blood panel. I am expecting HUGE improvements. Last week while I was on vacation I was talking to the owner of the house we rented, and he was telling me that his mother went low carb and in 5 months she dropped her A1C level over 4 points, and was under 7 for the first time in many years. Well, my A1C was 10.1 in late May, and I am really hoping I get into the high 7's by late September, when my tests are scheduled. And then I have a goal of under 7 my sometime in the spring. Even without losing weight, I think / hope I can hit those goals.

Also, and this is JUST ME, but if I have to cut back carbs even more, I will, but at that point I just know I will hate this WOE. I don't love many vegetables, but the ones that I do love, I love a lot, and would have to almost give them up 100%.

I hope that kind of answers your question as to why I don't follow a specific plan.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:22 AM   #10
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Fully understand the need to question. I question though that you can evaluate what does work or not work, if you have not tried something that is "proven" to work. Eg,we have data that VIT C is good for us, but no data what happens if you were to eat only citrusfruit as your carb allowance. My suggestion would be follow some plan that seems doable for a month or so and then change, if you feel the need. You would not build a car unless you knew all the components you need. In lowcarb nutrition it is worse. There is no master list what components are required for you. You can make stabs at it get some right, but it is an education process.
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:33 AM   #11
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I lost a considerable amount of weight by keeping my carbs very low for years. I never registered postive on the ketostix and rarely had any other symptoms. I think too much emphasis is put on testing and being "in ketosis". Eat like you're supposed to eat. If you fall off the wagon, get right back on. Just keep moving forward and don't let yourself worry about nit-picky things. Just my 2 cents, lol
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:45 AM   #12
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This is an exert from a blog by a guy named Michael O'Neill aptly named Ketopia!

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What ketostix measure

A color scale for acetoacetate ketone concentration


First off, we need to understand what ketostix actually measure, and more importantly, what they don’t. Generally speaking, ketostix measure excess ketones in your urine. They are considered excess, because they are removed from your serum and shunted to your urine by your kidneys. Their caloric content is thereby wasted.
Of the three types of ketones (acetate, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate) produced by your body, ketostix only measure acetoacetate. This is extremely important to understand, because it turns out that your body produces different quantities of these different types of ketones depending on how long you’ve been in ketosis. If you’ve been in ketosis for a while, you’re going to see a reduction in the “intensity” of what you register on your ketostix for two reasons:

A change in the relative volume of the ketones produced/present in your body
A reduction in the volume of ketones in your urine as your kidneys reduce the amount they secrete
Both of these are covered below.

Changes in the types of ketones you produce

When you first start your ketogenic diet and you are not yet fully ketoadapted, your kidneys actively excrete two types of ketones into your urine: beta-hydroxybutyrate (not technically a ketone, but it is generally referred to as one in the literature) and acetoacetate. These ketones are created in the liver in a roughly equal ratio (Note: Technically, acetoacetate is created by the mitochondria of liver cells, and from this beta-hydroxybutyrate is created and acetate is produced as a side product. (source)).

When you start restricting carbs, Phinney and Volek assert that at first your muscles use both beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate for fuel, but after awhile, they begin taking the acetoacetate and converting it to beta-hydroxybutyrate, and returning that to your serum. As mentioned before, beta-hydroxybutryrate is not technically a ketone. It is more of a “ketone reserve. When plasma acetoacetate concentrations begin to decrease, more of it is produced from beta-hydroxybutyrate” (source).

As a result of the continued conversion of acetoacetate to beta-hydroxybutyrate, the serum and urine volume of acetoacetate (the only ketone detected by ketostix) is significantly reduced. Your takeaway point is this: If you stay on your keto diet for long enough, the primary ketone circulating in your serum (and consequentially, present in your urine) is not detected by your ketostix.

Reduction in kidney excretion of ketones

Besides the change in relative volumes of serum ketone types, as you become keto-adapted your kidneys naturally down-regulate the volume of ketones they excrete into your urine. So even if you still had high-serum acetoacetate (which can be detected by ketostix), you’d still be seeing lighter colors on your ketostix because your kidneys are simply not excreting as much of them into your urine as they were previously.

The precise reason for this downregulation is not described by Phinney and Volek, but they speculate it is to prevent wasting the minimal amount of calories contained in urine ketones. Ultimately suggest that it is the result of kidney adaptation to sustained carbohydrate restriction (164-5) and leave it at that.

Even though we lack the sophisticated understanding of why kidneys downregulate ketone secretion into urine, we know that it happens and we know that the volume of acetoacetate in your serum drops as you become more fully ketoadapted.

So quite literally, after a few weeks into your low carb ketogenic diet, you’ll likely start seeing a change in your ketone levels as measured by ketostix. This is completely normal and does not mean you are having trouble with your diet. It doesn’t even suggest that you aren’t in ketosis anymore, because it can’t. Ketosticks are unable to measure the type of ketone that constitutes the majority present in your blood and urine at this point.

This doesn’t mean you have no way to monitor your ketosis: If you really want to know something important about ketones, you’d measure your serum beta-hydroxybutyrate levels. This is possible by using a portable device like the Abbot Laboratories Precision Xtra Glucose and Ketone Monitoring System. If you go this route, you’ll also have to buy their very expensive and proprietary Precision Xtra Ketone Test Strips to use with it. And when I say expensive, I’m serious. You’re looking at ~$5.00 each time you test.

So you can spend the money and keep an eye on your ketone levels by measuring serum levels, or you could just not spend money on ketostix and expensive testing gizmos. As long as you eat 20g of carbs a day (or less), you are pretty much guaranteed to stay in ketosis.
I like the take on ketostix but I do disagree that 20g carbs per day will guarantee ketosis. Many people have to moderate protein intake as well.
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:52 AM   #13
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in the olden days we assumed everyone low carbing and losing weight was in ketosis. those were used as synonyms. well, it turns out it's not that simple. some don't go into ketosis very easily, right?

well, on the one hand, that's too bad. there are apparently benefits to that...

on the other hand, a LOT of the stuff that had previously been attributed to ketosis is really true of all low carb weight loss whether actually in ketosis or not.

at this point, I believe I lost well over 100 lb without ever technically being in ketosis. I have spoken to several authorities about this, and apparently my high insulin levels (needed to control blood sugar given my TERRIBLE insulin resistant diabetes) keeps me from achieving ketosis.

so my point is, you can lose LOTS of weight without ketosis. at this point I would not fret about it, if I were you. people will give you tons of advice on it, but I agree that cutting the vegetables would be counterproductive for you!!!

Why don't you ask for an insulin level test while they do the others? doesn't hurt to know where you are there... they like doing some other test instead. I think it's C Peptide... but that's apparently not very accurate. ask for an actual insulin level test.

you have plenty of time to worry about ketosis and tweaking your woe after you lose a bunch more weight. when/if you stall, then you can worry about it. for now, I don't think it would make much difference one way or another for your weightloss.
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garlic View Post
and most days 25 gross carbs or less.... some days even 10 - 12...



Thank you. Well, the thing is, I'm a bit of an anarchist, LOL.... or at least I am an extremely free spirit who isn't likely to follow a plan very well, even if I tried.

I have read: Wheat Belly, The Diabetes Solution, Why We Get Fat, The Atkins Revolution, South Beach Diet, and a couple others, and even they can't all agree on what is correct, so who am I to know better than any of them? I also watch videos from the experts on Youtube.... I really like Dr. Attia ( forget his first name ). And I even follow some of the more famous folks on Twitter.

Again, the only commonality is basically the need to reduce carbs, some more drastically than others.

I'm also a guy who can be easily swayed with a solid argument. So I can float from believing one thing o Tuesday, and something else on Friday.....

So, you see, with my personality, being strict at anything in my life just doesn't work well. I am incredibly surprised that I have made it 6 weeks without giving up on low carb altogether. I think it is especially hard for me since I haven't lost a single pound.... but those other positive benefits I have had offset the dismay of not a single pound lost.

In fact, by watching Dr. Attia, I am actually EXCITED to take my next A1C test, and blood panel. I am expecting HUGE improvements. Last week while I was on vacation I was talking to the owner of the house we rented, and he was telling me that his mother went low carb and in 5 months she dropped her A1C level over 4 points, and was under 7 for the first time in many years. Well, my A1C was 10.1 in late May, and I am really hoping I get into the high 7's by late September, when my tests are scheduled. And then I have a goal of under 7 my sometime in the spring. Even without losing weight, I think / hope I can hit those goals.

Also, and this is JUST ME, but if I have to cut back carbs even more, I will, but at that point I just know I will hate this WOE. I don't love many vegetables, but the ones that I do love, I love a lot, and would have to almost give them up 100%.

I hope that kind of answers your question as to why I don't follow a specific plan.
Dang it I can't stay out of this, though I swore I would.

In my opinion you are doing yourself a terrible disservice by making up your own plan. Your weight loss results stink to date. You're either in ketosis or very close---all it would take is a couple days on a well-crafted low carb plan to see a reduction in hunger, making portion control (and calorie reduction) an effortless no-brainer.

You've put 100% effort into a 50% plan. Do the math.
I wish you well, but you drive me nuts.
Please consider doing a tried-and-true plan.
I suggest Atkins 2002 or the one Westman endorses, which allows Wendy's baconators and two pickles a day.

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Old 07-10-2013, 12:32 PM   #15
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Haha emel, imagine how my wife feels.

And contrary to what you think, I do appreciate your replies. It is just that I feel all defensive when folks - not you - tell me that I need to do this or that when I have already stated, many times, and frequently in the same thread, that I am already doing this and that.

Like how many times can I say that I log / weigh / measure everything I eat? The only times I don't might be if I eat out, but even then I try to get the info from their website. If that doesn't happen I just do the best I can.

Or people say post what you eat exactly when I already have done that, and they say post it again even though the consnsus was maybe too much dairy. I know not everybody reads what I write, nor should they, but if replying to a post, at least read the post.

Anyway, if I don't see weight loss by Monday I will try to pick a plan... But that goes against my personality. I live my life on a wing and a prayer, and always have.
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Old 07-10-2013, 02:30 PM   #16
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Well, I DO plan but I'm not ON a plan, per say, except for a carb and calorie daily goal. I find planning meals and snacks to be very important, hard to do that part on a "wing and a prayer" and always have the satisfying variety of LC foods on hand that are needed to avoid spontaneous carb slips. And I have tweaked and experimented quite a bit a long the way. But no specific plan other than that. I eat the LC foods I like, look for new ones and new combinations, and stay w/in my calorie and carb range.

My weight loss has been slow---I think in my first 6 weeks I only lost about 3 or 4 pounds, better than 0 pounds, I know. In all it's been 5 months, 18 pounds lost. Not as flashy of numbers as many, but it sure looks good on me. That weight came off in stops and starts, weeks went by, and still do, w/no real loss, just a lot of bouncing around.

But this WORKS FOR ME. It works for me because 5 months into this I'm still a happy camper. I rarely feel deprived or hungry, but I enjoy my meals. I can picture myself doing this for a long time, with some tweaks as I go. i.e., tweaked calories down w/my weight loss. That kind of thing.

I understand the thoughts behind those who believe in a "plan", but I totally understand where you're coming from, Garlic. For me, a plan just screams restriction and deprivation. Now maybe if you haven't tried it, you should, just to test her out. But for me, been there, done that, didn't work.

Some people love structure, others want to rebel against it. My experience tells me you can lose weight on your own plan, but helps not to be in a big hot hurry to do so. For me I'm ok being the tortoise, because it's what I can maintain and be happy with it.
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:16 PM   #17
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I'm not going to comment on the ketostix debacle as others have provided rehashed, detailed, and accurate information.

I apologize if I've missed it in the post or in previous postings by you, but do you measure your progress with anything other than a scale or whether or not you're in ketosis?

I also do not follow a "specific" plan per se because I know what I have to do to psychologically to keep myself motivated and dedicated to my way of eating so I wholeheartedly understand. And for me, not having a specific plan is what helps make this entirely sustainable. And even if I had a specific plan, what good is it if I know it's not sustainable (knowing myself) in the long run? I do have some guidelines I set for myself, such as very rarely going over 30 net carbs a day, as well as specific protein, fat, carb, and calorie in take that I try to adhere to as much as possible. But that's about it as far as any "specific" plan goes (so I guess it's all relative to how specific one means). When I first started following those macros, I had to work a little harder at meeting them more on point, but now it just happens naturally without much if any thought. I may not be the fastest loser, but I know what I'm doing is sustainable for me.

Now weaving the support for your lack of specificity back into the topic of measuring progress: My stats are currently not updated as I am about a week and a half from official weigh-ins. But about a week after my last weigh-in (so almost a month ago) I started incorporating exercise (strength training and cardio) into my routine. Since I was prepared for this to do some funky things with the scale, I decided to measure myself (hips, waist, thighs - as these are my problem areas and where almost all of my weight goes). Of course, I'm kicking myself for not having done this when I first started this way of eating, but I am thankful as ever that I did it before exercising.

Anyway, I gave myself a cheat peek at the scale a few days ago and my weight loss was stagnate. According to the scale, I haven't lost anything since my last weigh-in. I decided I'd ignore this and just continue on as quite frankly I have no desire to eat any other way anymore. But then I decided I'd check my measurements even though I told myself I'd wait until the month mark to do so. Well, I lost just a little over an inch in all those areas that I carefully measured a few weeks prior. So my advice to you would be don't worry about what the ketostixs say, as pointed out, they can be misleading. Don't worry about measuring your progress solely based on ketostix (if you are) because you can still lose and change body composition whether you're in ketosis or not. I used to utilize them more when I started, and while mine seemingly had reliable indications, I now have better measures for whether or not I am in ketosis. And don't completely rely on the scale as the end-all for measuring your progress, because, as many have stated on these boards, you can still be losing inches even if the scale isn't cooperating.

TLDR: I understand and support not having a specific plan, adhering to certain guidelines can work and it's all about sustainability. Not sure what methods you're using to measure your progress, but ketosis, especially as measured by ketostix, is not necessarily the best indicator of progress. And, just reinforcing what many have said here before, you can be losing inches even when the scale is stagnating.
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Old 07-11-2013, 05:25 AM   #18
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Toss the ketostix. I make sure to drink at least 64 fl oz of water per day and my ketostix never changed color at all. According to my nephrologist, this is as it should be. She said if the sticks are purple, then I'm not drinking enough water.

Even though you're under 36gm gross a day, that may not be low enough to put you in ketosis. Everybody is different. I couldn't eat over 20 to get that effect...and I had to count even the hidden carbs in eggs, cream cheese, etc.

I've only come back on the forum this past 3 weeks after an absence of a year so not sure what all the references are to you not sticking to one plan, but it sounds like you're on low carb and there are many ways to do that.

You may already know this but watch how much protein you eat as it has a ketogenic effect when eaten in excess. Dr. Bernstein (Diabetes Solution) says no more than 4-5 oz at a meal.
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Old 07-11-2013, 05:59 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Aomiel View Post
Toss the ketostix. I make sure to drink at least 64 fl oz of water per day and my ketostix never changed color at all. According to my nephrologist, this is as it should be. She said if the sticks are purple, then I'm not drinking enough water.

Even though you're under 36gm gross a day, that may not be low enough to put you in ketosis. Everybody is different. I couldn't eat over 20 to get that effect...and I had to count even the hidden carbs in eggs, cream cheese, etc.

I've only come back on the forum this past 3 weeks after an absence of a year so not sure what all the references are to you not sticking to one plan, but it sounds like you're on low carb and there are many ways to do that.

You may already know this but watch how much protein you eat as it has a ketogenic effect when eaten in excess. Dr. Bernstein (Diabetes Solution) says no more than 4-5 oz at a meal.
Agree, and Atkins says 4-6 oz, up to 8 oz per sitting for larger persons with higher needs.
Phinney, Volek--- say to figure out your protein needs based on ideal (reasonable goal) weight. The formula is available on the nutritional ketosis forum under other plans.
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:19 AM   #20
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Emel,
Thanks for the clarification on Atkins. I always followed Atkins '72 when I did low carb but it has been a *really* long time since I actually read the book cover to cover. It'd probably fall apart if I tried since I bought the book when it was first published in '72.

I knew he talked about limiting bacon (in the '72) book and to look at fats first if the carbs were in line...but I didn't realize (or had forgotten) that he also limited protein. I first became aware of that in the last few years with Dr. Bernstein's "Diabetes Solution".
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