Jenna’s N=1 and Accountability Thread

(Jenna Ericson) #21

Since it’s been 2 weeks since I officially started my n=1, I thought I would compare my data from then with today’s. I’ve lost a total of 3 lbs, which to some probably doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s pretty good for me. My lowest weight a few days ago was 128, but the next day it went up over a lb and then started going down again. Comparing today’s weight with my start weight I’ve seen a loss of 1.5 lbs a week. I’d like to make that 2 lbs per week going forward, but I’d be happy with 1.5.

Here are my numbers from my smart scale thingy:

weight: was 131.6 lbs (now 128.6)
BMI: was 21.4 (now 20.9)
Body Fat: was 22.2% (now 21.5%)
Fat-free Body Weight: was 102.4 lbs (now 101.0lbs)
Subcutaneous Fat: was 20.6% (now 20.0%)
Visceral Fat: was 4 (now 3)
Body Water: was 53.4% (now 53.9%)
Skeletal Muscle: was 45.3% (now 45.8)
Muscle Mass: was 96.2 lbs (now 94.8)
Bone Mass: was 6.2 lbs (now 6.0)
Protein: was 18.6% (now 18.8%)
BMR: was 1372 (now 1358)
Metabolic Age: was 27 (now 27)

One thing that is a little annoying, but doesn’t surprise me based on my previous experience (I’ve been losing weight since October and down almost 20 lbs) is the loss of muscle mass. It could be that my scale is wrong, but it’s probably not completely off. I really should be doing more exercise, but I’ve been working so much lately that it’s hard to fit in the workouts (excuses, excuses :slight_smile: ). I also think that my problem is that even though I’ve been eating a ketogenic diet for a long time, my body, especially in times of stress, wants to prioritize glucose as a fuel rather than fat, so my lean muscle ends up being used to create that glucose.

Something positive that continues to fascinate me is that supposedly by BMR is around 1360, but I calculated that the average amount of calories I’ve eaten per day has averaged 1434. At the beginning of this I was better about getting out and walking and I’ve tried to do some at-home body-weight exercises, but I haven’t really burned that many calories with exercise. Let’s say that on average I use an extra 150 calories on top of my BMI doing exercise. That would mean I would have a calorie deficit of only about 76 calories a day (based on a supposed BMI of 1360). This would mean my total deficit over 2 weeks would be 1064 calories or about 0.3 lbs of weight loss. So I’ve lost 10 times what my BMI says I should have. I think this is because keto and/or eating to reduce inflammation actually speeds up your metabolism. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that overexposure to glucose and inflammation leads to a slower metabolism. It will be interesting to see if I continue having this same experience.

While I didn’t really intend to talk so much about mental health here, I think one of my last posts about the topic left out some big issues because I don’t find it easy to talk about them. Mainly, I think I ignored that idea of an eating disorder contributing to my mental health status. This isn’t because I don’t think about it, I’ve actually thought about it a lot. I think I have struggled with eating disorder tendencies and I think it would be therapeutic for me to find a way to talk about that. Imma save that for another day though :slight_smile:

(Full Metal KETO AF) #22

Remember the high tech scales that create all that data just give you an estimate that may not be as accurate as you want to believe it is. Just take the data with a grain of salt Jenna. It sounds like you’re doing great. With as little as I imagine you have to drop 1.5lbs per week is great progress. Two pounds per week is more likely with a larger person with more to loose. Keep you head up and be proud of your progress. You’re putting in the work and it shows. It’s always slower loosing the last few pounds, especially for a woman. Don’t forget to make allowance for weight shifts due to your menstrual cycles. It won’t stay linear with weight loss because of that factor. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Jenna Ericson) #23

I definitely agree that the scale measurements should be taken with a grain of salt. I remember looking into it when I got the thing and I think how it works is it sends an electrical current up one leg across your pelvis and down the other leg. Because electricity passes through fat differently than muscle, the scale is supposed to be able to estimate how much of each you have. That seems like you’d be missing data for your whole upper body, but maybe I’m misunderstanding. I think a lot of what the app is doing is guessing based on my weight change, but again I’m not really sure. It would be cool to get a DEXA scan someday. #Goals :slight_smile:

(Central Florida Bob ) #24

Here’s a data point I can’t forget. I have one of those smart scales (Renpho) and some time last month, I hurt my back. It caused swelling - water weight. I say I’m sure it was water because I gained four pounds in the first 24 hours, then another pound, and when I stopped the pills I was taking (plain old Ibuprofen) in a few days, lost the five pounds in another 24 hours. I couldn’t have eaten enough to gain 4 pounds in one day if I wanted to and I’m not sure anyone could.

The scale showed it as pure body fat.

(Jenna Ericson) #25

That is really interesting! My weight will often go up by 2 or 3 lbs in a day in response to something I eat and my scale will say that I gained that in body fat, but I now suspect it’s actually inflammation. Thanks for sharing and I hope your back is doing better!

(Jenna Ericson) #26

Happy Easter everybody! I thought I’d give an update on my progress. My weight loss has stalled a bit so I’m going to start avoiding dairy (except butter) to see if that makes a difference. I just started listening to Dr. Saladino’s book “The Carnivore Code” on Audible thinking that it might help me decide what direction to go in as far as following a more strict carnivore diet until I reach my goal weight. I’m not too worried about the stall because I usually have a hard time getting below 128 lbs, which is where I’m stuck now.

Since I’ve discussed mental health as a factor in my experiment I thought I would talk about how I’ve been trying to address certain of my negative thought patterns separately from my dietary n=1. As I mentioned previously, for years I ate about 1200 calories a day to maintain my weight and that had a major effect on my relationship with food. I was always hungry, tired, and food-focused. About two years ago I was at a point where I would have done anything to just not want to eat. I basically wished I had the will power to be anorexic. When you spend so much of your time, as I did, thinking about avoiding food, you start to think, “well if I can’t do this one thing that I am focusing so hard on, I must just be a weak person.”

At that point I decided what I wanted was a medication that would make me not want food. I made an appointment with a psychiatrist with the intention of asking for a drug called Contrave which was a combination of naltrexone (which I believe is given to alcoholics to block the receptors in their brain that cause them to feel good when drinking) and bupropion/wellbutrin (which is an antidepressant that can suppress appetite). I knew that I would need to do some explaining because most candidates for this drug are overweight or obese and I was neither. I explained to the psychiatrist that I thought I had a messed-up relationship with food and that avoiding or punishing myself for not avoiding it, took up a lot of my mental time and energy. I think what he got out of my story was that I was generally a rational person, but that what I was asking for was maybe not the most rational solution. He asked if we could try other strategies first and then try the medication if needed down the road.

There were a lot of things that we worked on that helped me a lot. One major thing that I got better at was replacing the negative behaviors with positive ones. Instead of spending time obsessing over what I had or hadn’t eaten I decided to focus on the science of nutrition and metabolism, and biology in general. If I had a negative thought about myself I would redirect it to say, well what can I do to make things better. I tried taking Wellbutrin briefly, but it made me feel really numb. I wasn’t suicidal per se, but I felt as if it didn’t matter if I were alive or dead and, suffice it to say, that wasn’t the way I wanted to feel.

My biggest realization was that my inability to avoid eating was not due to a lack of motivation, but due to real hunger, which is an incredibly strong biological force. I’ve realized that with the right diet I’m not actually hungry all the time and can still maintain my weight. This has allowed me to start to gain confidence in all aspects of my life and has profoundly changed the way that I look at the world.

To extend this thought, I think that a lot of eating disorders are at least partly a product of the fact that the world we live in is one that seems bent on making us fat and sick. That is part of why I am trying so hard to find the root cause of why I gain weight so easily and why I have unexplained shifts in my mood. I spent a lot of time blaming myself for those things, and so do a lot of other people. A Ketogenic lifestyle can be part of the answer, but I think there are more answers out there :slight_smile:

(Susan) #27

I wish you the best in figuring it all out Jenna --let me say though that I would be really thrilled to weight 128 hehe =).

I am 55, 5 foot, 2 inches and weigh 226 – and my goal is 130 --I have lost 67 pounds since I started Keto in February 2019. I have done years of yo-yo dieting and anorexia/bulimic/diet pill and laxative abuse over the years -and Keto has really helped me be more stable.

I am losing very slowly but my body will only lose fast when I do big Fasts or restrict calories to like 300 a day and I am sick of doing that too… so I hope that you find your answers and can share them with us =). Good luck, I will be following along and reading all your posts, even if I don’t always reply to all.

(Full Metal KETO AF) #28

I had to go back through the whole thread to check first Jenna and you have a lot of personal data except one thing, how tall are you? You’re hovering at about 20% body fat and I think your body doesn’t want to lose more fat or weight at your age. These are prime childbearing years for you. 128 lbs is a pretty healthy weight even if you’re only 5’0” tall or a little more. You might be pushing for a scale number your biology doesn’t want. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Jenna Ericson) #29

I’m 5’5" so you’re right that if I get down to my goal of 120 lbs with about 19% body fat I will probably be pushing to the edge of where my body wants me to go. I’ve looked at BMI charts and the lowest healthy weight for me is usually listed as between 110 and 115. I’m removing berries and dairy from my diet for a while to try to get down to 120 as quickly as possible without restricting calories too much. I have a feeling my weight loss will pick up now that I’ve done those things as I already feel less hungry and like I’m in deeper ketosis. My plan is to keep losing weight for about the next month and after that I will probably start putting on weight whether or not I’ve gotten to my goal of 120 lbs.

I’m actually pretty excited to put weight on after this, which is definitely a first :slight_smile:

(Susan) #30

That is great, Jenna =).

(Jenna Ericson) #31

I had planned on posting about my progress more regularly, but I realized that what I’ve been doing is only posting if I can report some weight loss. I was doing that because I was basing my success with this n=1 on my ability to lose weight, which I don’t think is the right way to look at it. It is getting harder to continue losing weight so I don’t want to let that stand in the way of talking about my experience.

I had a bit of a honey mishap the other day which set me back a bit. So I get a jar of this raw and unfiltered honey thinking I’m just going to have maybe a teaspoon of it. I start eating it and it’s like the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted in my life. I had a tablespoon, then later in the day another tablespoon, then before I knew it I’d eaten half the f-ing jar. I gained about 2 lbs the next day and have been slowly working that off to get down to 128.6 lbs this morning. In addition to filling up my glycogen stores I probably had some huge insulin spikes because I’m not used to eating something that sweet. I felt really tired and mentally foggy by the end of the day too. I guess honey is a no-go for right now. In moderation maybe, but apparently honey is basically crack for me so better safe than sorry!

I’ve also been considering switching up my diet. I originally thought being as close to carnivore as possible was the way to go in terms of an elimination diet that might help me avoid inflammatory foods. It’s also generally (unless you add honey) very low carb, therefore low insulin, which is obviously good for losing weight. Plus, if you focus on eating grass fed ruminants it should be a diet very low in omega-6 fats, which is my biggest concern.

The reason that I’m thinking of switching things up is that I really don’t feel any better on a carnivore-ish diet than when I’m just eating Keto, and I could just as easily avoid omega-6 fats and incorporate omega-3 fats without doing a carnivore diet. One thing that I’ve been hoping to fix is my gut health. I think the topic is extremely important, but really complex and mysterious to me. Some of my insecurities about my body come from the fact that I’ve always had lower abdominal bloating. This is pretty much constant unless I’m at a really low weight and have been fasting for like 36 hours. This bloating has not gotten better since eliminating dairy, and aside from eating a bunch of cruciferous veggies it doesn’t seem to be made much worse by eating plants.

It’s my basic understanding that carnivore can be beneficial because meat is very nutrient rich, and plants have certain toxins that can be harmful to your system. I think there is evidence to back this up (about plants I mean), but my question is, shouldn’t our bodies be more resilient when dealing with plants? Plants have been a part of many diets around the world for a very long time and I think we should have mechanisms for dealing with them and even benefiting from them under the right circumstances. However, my theory is that because of our processed, omega-6 heavy diets, our immune systems are in overdrive and our guts are compromised, meaning our bodies overreact to otherwise benign inputs.

I think it’s all about balance. For example, there is the whole debate about whether fiber is good or bad. One thing that I don’t think we need to argue about is that ketones can be very helpful at healing the gut. Short chain fats are good for creating ketones in your gut, but also, if you have the right gut bacteria, fiber can be converted into butyric acid (I think?), which produces ketones. So under the right circumstances the fiber or other nutrients in a plant food can be beneficial enough to outweigh the toxicity of that food.

I’m going to see what happens as I continue what I’m doing, but I may come up with a plan for broadening my food choices while still meeting the goals of my n=1.

(Full Metal KETO AF) #32

If you’re going to eat KETO instead of carnivore I highly recommend fermented vegetables like sauerkraut or kimchi. I make my own and it’s easy and a good way to reduce the carb content of vegetables as well as the best source for probiotic bacteria. It might help your lower gut bloat. Introduce fermented foods a little bit at a time daily and increase as you feel comfortable. I think raw fermented vegetables are the best way to improve gut health while including plants. Also cooked vegetables are easier to digest than raw vegetables and salad greens.

I did pretty well on Carnivore and leaned out considerably. But I slept really poorly. My Carnivore trial ended when I was in the hospital. That’s when I realized how much it was having an effect on my sleep. I’m sleeping several hours more per night now. Overall I gained some weight but I’m feeling better with more sleep. I have some experimenting to do myself still to find a good balance. I’m trying to lower the carbs more again to see if I can maintain my sleep pattern. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Jenna Ericson) #33

I definitely agree I should include some fermented veggies. In the past I’ve had a hard time finding kimchi with really clean and limited ingredients, but I see that Thrive Market has some that is out of stock now, but hopefully they’ll get more in pretty soon. I might add back in some squash too. That is my favorite. Part of why I don’t do as well on Carnivore is that I don’t really love meat that much. I don’t dislike it, but I’ve never been really excited to eat meat, so Carnivore ends up not being very satisfying to me.

That’s interesting that you had a harder time sleeping on Carnivore. I’d be interested to know how your ketone and blood sugar numbers changed on Carnivore vs. a normal Keto diet. Last time I did a nearly Carnivore diet I had a lot more energy, but this time not so much.

(Full Metal KETO AF) #34

I’ve never tested. I felt good energy but at the time I already wasn’t sleeping enough and carnivore made me sleep even less. Could have been other factors though. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Full Metal KETO AF) #35

I make all my own fermented stuff, it’s way cheaper and better in my opinion. I also enjoy the process. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Bunny) #36

What is most striking to me is Dr. Eades does not differentiate what he is discussing in his lecture and the differences between hydrogenation and non-hydrogenated fats, animal or plant deeply enough?

He really does not get into that at all and makes me highly suspicious that he is withholding that information to blame all plant sterols for obesity and diabetes because he is biased? (carnivore tribe agenda, just as bad as vegans?)

For example when talking about bringing down polyunsaturated fat intake, it is also possible to run the risk of life-threatening blood clots (what a majority of the research indicates) and aneurysms. And even stranger I cannot count on my fingers how many people that I hear of just-in-passing maybe through a friend maybe somebody over-talking with another at restaurant etc. how so-and-so just died of some type of aneurysm related blood clot (heart, brain, lung etc.) at any age? This type of death is so sudden and so unexplained that it has an eerie type of strangeness to it.

If you were to cut too much plant sterols or plant/seed/polyunsaturated fats out of the diet (omega 6 and omega 3’s which the human body does not require a lot of to begin); as one type of fatty acid chain cannot work with out the other (one hand washes the other) in the human body besides other fatty acid chains like omega 7’s and 9’s which control whether or not the lower numbers will be used or utilized in the pathways or the usage of the lower numbers?

Stearic acid or saturated fats are also made inside the human body endogenously from carbohydrates; ever observed that soy/corn fed marbled steak at the meat market or grocery store (that’s how a diabetics liver looks without even using a microscope)? Your eating the polyunsaturated fats from that too? So trying to avoid eating the corn and soy is not really going to make a difference by eating only non-grass fed or caged livestock meats, your actually ingesting more polyunsaturated fats through the animal protein than if you just ate polyunsaturated fats straight out which you have more control over?

Monounsaturated fats on the other hand increase human longevity.

(Jenna Ericson) #37

You may be right that Dr. Eades doesn’t talk about the differences between hydrogenation and non-hydrogenation, but I don’t think that’s because of a carnivore agenda. My understanding is that Dr. Eades came onto the low carb scene in the 90s with his book “Protein Power”, which I believe was a plan that advocated something similar to protein modified fasting, but not necessarily with a focus on just animal protein. I think the ROS theory of obesity is pretty new and he probably didn’t talk about hydrogenation vs non-hydrogenation, not because it isn’t an important distinction, but rather because it may not be all that relevant to the ROS theory.

I’m not sure I see the connection between life-threatening blood clots and bringing down polyunsaturated fats. In any event, I’m not exactly bringing down all polyunsaturated fats, in fact I’m eating significantly more omega-3 fats than before, which I would think would make blood clots less likely not more likely. Maybe I’m misunderstanding and you’re not talking about this with regard to my experiment, but just making a general statement.

I see, I think you are advocating against a diet that completely eliminates plants. I don’t really advocate any specific diet, I’m kinda like “you do you and I’ll do me” as far as what other people should be eating, but I think there can be benefits to any diet that focuses on what foods our bodies are programed to respond well to. Since about the beginning of the 20th century the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats has gone from somewhere close to 1:1 to something like 20:1 and that is something that our bodies couldn’t have anticipated. Yeah, we can wait around until we evolve to be better at handling this new ratio, but that seems a little silly.

Even if you are on a carnivore diet, you will get enough polyunsaturated fats from the meat that you eat to not be deficient. I think what’s important to keep in mind too is the amount of omega-6 fat stored in our bodies. The podcast I linked to in a previous post referenced a study that showed that upping omega-3 fats was not effective at significantly treating metabolic disorders unless you were consuming at least 8 grams per day. What that could mean is that the average person is consuming or using body fat containing about that same amount of omega-6 fats. Through my experiment I’m realizing how easy it is to get omega-6 fats in food and how hard it is to get omega-3 fats. As an example, I think there are about 20 grams of omega-6 fats in an ounce of soybean oil. by comparison, salmon has maybe 1 gram of omega-6 fats per 3 oz. This means I would have to eat 3.75 lbs of salmon to cancel out one ounce of soybean oil. I don’t think people realize the magnitude of this difference because fatty acid compositions of food are not widely available (and probably aren’t known for most foods).

I think I agree with you there. I try to only eat grass fed ruminants and I avoid poultry and pork right now because it’s really hard to know their fatty acid content. I have no real evidence of this, but I think that skin tends to hold more polyunsaturated fats. I always feel the worst and have the most weight gain after eating pork or poultry with the skin on. I think different fats are stored differently depending on where they are on the body. I assume fat stored around the heart and belly is more likely saturated fat. I think around the ribs and shoulders it might be more polyunsaturated fats. I’d be interested to know if this is correct.

(Bunny) #38

After watching his lecture about Reverse Electron Transport (RET) many times in which he did some consulting with Hyperlipid, the ROS theory would make more sense because hydrogenation is an attempt to make any type of fat an artificial saturated fat?

Then this particular type of fat that Mother Nature does not understand gets trapped in the fat cell?

It is hard to believe something in nature would do that kind of damage to the point where macrophage infiltrating of fat cells is taking place and damaging them in the process so they don’t function correctly?

It is shocking to think just because some ratios of omega 3’s and 6’s are off by a certain degree or what ever your feeding your future food (livestock) would be so detrimentally effected by just that? (Mother Nature is not that stupid?)

The other problem is those plant or animal fat sterols that are advertised as being non-hydrogenated? Are still hydrogenated to a lesser degree or some degree. I think the big machines they use to do this with and all that metal becomes a nice useless over sized paper weight that was a waste of money (millions of dollars) to the people who do this thing to fats to try to utilize every last drop of fat they can squeeze out of something from animal or plant, using toxic if not lethal chemicals to do that also (to extract) in the process?

Granted there are hydrogenated fats in nature it is too insignificant to be a problem as our bodies have some hydrogenation taking place in it already as well as the animals we eat and eating the stuff that does not occur in nature may just be enough to tip the balance in our body and drive the obesity epidemic into that ROS theory?

If you trace the scientists that developed this technology (hydrogenation of dietary fats) and actual full scale use which goes way back into the mid 1800’s that is when you start to see problems in human health like more diabetes and obesity?

(Jenna Ericson) #39

I tried looking into the specifics of how hydrogenated fats are handled by the body, but didn’t get very far. It makes sense that hydrogenation would be part of the problem, but at this point I don’t know enough about it. In any case it’s probably best to avoid them!

(Jenna Ericson) #40

I hit a new low weight of 127.4 lbs. today. This isn’t a huge drop, but I was excited to be making progress either way. One thing I’m going to do going forward is to make sure I’m getting enough exercise. I want to try to speed things up and this seems like a good way to go while helping me better maintain my lean mass.

I’m realizing that usually when people do a cut they are pretty focused on working out to help maintain muscle and burn fat. The gym that I belong to, Boston Underground Strength Training (they’re amazing btw), has been great at providing at-home workouts during this whole quarantine situation and I’m going to be taking advantage of those more going forward. I’ll try to do two 1 hour workouts a week and shorter workouts or some kind of exercise everyday, even if it’s just a long walk.

My theory from the beginning has been that burning these polyunsaturated fats stored in the body is something that creates a lot of stress as it’s happening and slows weight loss because of the inflammation it causes. Exercise should help me speed up fat burning and should also help me stay fat adapted. Although my goal right now is not to gain muscle, I also don’t want to lose too much, so hopefully increasing strength training will help that. We’ll see how it goes!