Thursday, June 24, 2010

Week 5: Life in Kitosis: I Have To Do What With That Stick?

It has been two solid weeks of extreme low carb living. Add those two weeks to the previous three weeks of grain-free eating. So, yes, you've done the math correctly: I have abandoned every culinary treat imaginable for five. long. weeks.

Can I get a collective sigh of sympathy?

Thanks. Now, let me share the news of Week Five.

The first ten days of the "true" low carb plan were a nightmare; the last four have been much more do-able. I think my mind is finally embracing this new way of living; now if my body would only follow!

My doctor put me on such an absurd dose of thyroid medication that I stopped sleeping. I was wired for days. I'm not normally one to deviate from a doctor's orders but after seeing him a second and a third time this month - with the same instructions: "Keep the dose where it is," I took matters into my own hands and sliced all those speed pills in half.

Now I am trying to compensate for the loss of synthetic energy by taking my body into a state of ketosis. Of course, this is all under the careful guidance of my nutritionist, Sydney. Along with a list of "approved" foods (select vegetables, some protein and a whole lot of water), she gave me a testing kit for keytones. Which is kinda like a home pregnancy test. Same procedure, at least.


I never became much of an expert at pregnancy tests but I can say that the last time I peed on a stick and it promptly turned pink, I freaked out. For days. Weeks. For almost ten months. That was over seven years ago.

Now, I live to see a bright pink stick each morning. Because it tells me what I need to know: ketosis is working!

Or not working. If there is a vodka incident the night before! Not that I would know.

Sydney has me testing for keytones every day. Constant ketosis is the goal of this program. Kick start the thyroid and the adrenals by making the body think it's in starvation mode. Great for the 6-pack abs, not so great for the mood.

But all that changed about four days ago when I discovered that I wasn't hungry between meals. I could go from class to clients, back to class, then to clients again and not feel ravenous. I haven't had a headache in six weeks. I gave up my afternoon coffee. I stopped craving sweets. My nutritionist says that this is kitosis. So it's not so hellish after all. I might actually survive, and more importantly, so will those around me!

My body, meanwhile, still thinks it's in hell.

One week into the program and I had lost nearly six pounds. I won't lie; it felt great to slide back into the yoga pants that I had shoved into the depths of my closet in the middle of the winter. I started looking at two-piece swimsuits. My body was starting to resemble its "pre-endocrine blow up" shape. It was not so hard to pass on the pretzels, the crackers, the cake or the chocolate. It was easy to imagine dropping even lower.

Then, exactly one week later at my check-in with Sydney, the weight was all back. And then some.

"What happened?" she asked.

Nothing had happened. I was almost angelic, save for one teeny glass of wine at a party and three bites of a friend's french toast at breakfast. Definitely not enough deviation to warrant the weight gain. Plus, the sticks were still showing a rosy hue of pink every morning.

Determined to defend my good behavior, I told Sydney to measure me. And that's when we noticed that inches had dropped everywhere.

I've always been attached to a number on the scale. Like any other female, I've done my fair share of obsessing over the ups and downs of that damn number. And believe me, I more than freaked out when the scale kept creeping up, up, up this winter.

But a good lesson in all this is that you just can't believe the scale. It lies. It tells stories. It makes you temporarily feel good. It can make you feel really bad. It is not your loyal and consistent friend.

If I was in charge of the nutrition program, I'd toss the scale out for good. It's much easier for me to gauge my success by being honest with myself about how I feel, how my clothes are fitting and how pink those sticks are.

For now, I'll keep weighing in with the understanding that my thyroid is trying to sabotage my weight but also with the knowledge that measurements don't lie, and neither do clothes. Energy doesn't lie, either.

And those pink strips; they're the most honest indicators of all!

1 comment:

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