For a good 3 year stretch, I adhered almost religiously to the Ketogenic (KETO) diet. Every day I consumed fewer than 20 carbs, and attempted to consume more fat than protein. When I started, I was about 300lbs, when I quit a few months ago, I was about 240lbs.
Much of the loss occurred during year 1, first water weight, and than fat started to drop off faster than I could believe possible. I looked forward to a day when I would lose my favorite arm rest, my gut. In actuality, as I sit here today a solid 250lbs, that never happened.
When I began the diet, I was pre-diabetic with high cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and a “high functioning liver.” Within 6 months, all my numbers were vastly improved except for my cholesterol. As it turns out, all I needed to do to clear that up was quit vaping.
Nicotine drives up LDL, and vaping is a very good clean source of Nicotine, 6 months after I quit vaping – LDL dropped 60 points. Of course, what happens when you stop inhaling stimulants every 83 seconds? That’s right, your weight goes up.
Recall when I mentioned my blood pressure? I’d been taking 80mg of a drug called Edarbi for some time, when I started on it – I was much heavier, smoked and vaped heavily, and it required the full dose. After losing the weight and quitting the vape, my base BP had dropped to the point where the full dose of Edarbi dropped my BP to a point where I blacked out at a party after 2 beers.
Talk about terrifying. One second I’m fine, the next there is blackness crawling into my vision and my body feels like its 800lbs. I find the nearest chair, sit down, black out, and immediately start snoring. Say what you want about NDE’s, but I immediately began dreaming, I was on a beach at sunset, and this beautiful woman is beside me, telling me that something bad is happening to me right now but I’m going to be alright.
The next thing I remember, my buddy is shaking me awake, and asking people if they should call an ambulance. I groggily tell them not to… I’m hunched over, 800lbs weighing me down, and immediately sweat starts pouring out of my head like someone turned on a hose in my skull. That clears, and they want to get me inside. They try to pick me up but again – 800lbs (in reality about 240) but with my legs not working, thats dead weight and I can’t help them. Tack on that everything is still black. I can see out of my eyes, hear out of my ears, but I feel like I’m miles away from both senses.
I wait another couple minutes (no clue how long) and we try again. They get me inside, on a couch, with a cold cloth on my head. Within maybe 15 minutes I start to clear back up. Guessing my BP started to recover, I hung out for another hour or so to make sure I was back to normal and headed home. Afterwards, my BP med dosage was cut in half.
Now one other thing my doc drilled into me (which I pretty much ignored until a day or two before a visit) was his concern with my… enjoyment of alcohol. This past July, while on vacation, I became so dehydrated that any alcohol would trigger a massive migraine. After 3 days straight of this, I stopped.
It’s been a good 3 weeks now since I stopped drinking, my weight dropped from 260+ to about 250, and yesterday while doing chores outside, I collapsed again. I get inside, have a glass of water and sit in the A/C… I take my blood pressure… 70/40. I take it again… 80/45… again… 91/47. Ok, I need to drive up my BP. I eat some pickles for the sodium, grab another glass of water, watching some Bernie Sanders campaign footage on Youtube, and slowly begin to normalize.
I should have known better, a week earlier I had given blood for the first time, and while getting light-headed after is apparently a thing… My BP dropped so much it took much longer for me to get back on my feet than it should have.
So – what’s this all have to do with Keto? The thing that made me quit, was the stall. No matter how I tweaked my diet, no matter how hard I stuck to it – I couldn’t break past 240. The thing is, I was still drinking, heavily. An ounce of bourbon has 100 calories and over the course of a day I’d have 5 or six double bourbons… (read: ~1000-1200 calories extra per day, on average). Plus when consuming alcohol, my liver is doing its best to remove the poison from my blood, and isn’t processing fat.
So here I am – several months off keto, nearly a month sober, my BP bottoming out again to the point I may no longer need the meds… Time for round 2. Same deal, lazy Keto, no sugars, no grains, minimize carb intake… Starting point is 250lbs, lets see where I am a month from now.