Stepping Off the Wagon

It was glorious.

And I didn’t even share a bite.

Lisa had a thin-crust Herb Chicken Mediterranean, and she didn’t share either.

I don’t think that’s what they mean by The Mediterranean Diet.

We had started our #3DayCancerPreventionFast last Sunday afternoon, and since noon Tuesday had been in at least a moderate level of GKI ketosis (<6).

My ketones had been above 1.0 mmol/L since later that afternoon, and for most of the time since then I was in the high (<3) or highest (<1) GKI level for four straight days.

Mission accomplished.

Chapter 16 of The Case for Keto, an outstanding book by Gary Taubes which I highly recommend, is called “Lessons to Eat By.” One of these six lessons is from Katherine Kasha, a family medicine doctor from Edmonton, Canada.

If you do fall off the wagon, at least you know there’s a wagon to get back on.

Dr. Katherine Kasha

When Lisa and I first heard this in the audio book it really resonated with our experience.

The problem we had four years ago was we didn’t really know what would work for us to reliably lose weight.

Now we know what works – where the wagon is heading – and can easily get back on. And we step on the scale each morning to track out direction.

We do take issue to some extent, however, with the admonition from some that when you get on the low-carb path you need to come to grips with never eating some of those favorite carb-laden foods again.

But then they talk about “falling off the wagon,” and not letting it get you defeated, and that instead you need to “just get back on.”

I don’t think that’s the best way to think about it, and as I discussed it with Lisa, I developed what I think is a much better formulation:

You decide when you want to step off the wagon.

And then you step back on.

That makes it much less likely you will fall off it.

If I think I can never have pizza again, I’m much more likely to be tempted to indulge.

Or to sneak a few fries from the grandchildren at the fast food drive-through window.

But if I plan when I will be having it (or my favorite ice cream dessert), I don’t feel perpetually deprived.

You have to know yourself. You may have a carbohydrate addiction, and for you it might, at this point, be like someone with alcoholism taking a drink.

You may want to wait until you’ve reached your weight loss or health goals, when you feel confident enough that you won’t relapse.

And maybe at that point you’ll be so happy and well-adapted to low carb that you’re not even interested in pizza, pasta and cookies.

I really enjoy ketogenic eating, and combined with the daily weigh-ins I don’t have concerns that stepping off the wagon today will get me seriously off course.

These were my glucose and ketone readings before I stepped off at about 7 p.m. tonight.

So it’s bye-bye ketosis tonight, and I’ll update this post later with both my lowest ketone and highest GKI readings, and then with how long it takes me to get back into GKI ketosis.

What’s your experience? Does a planned excursion help you stay on the wagon most of the time? Or has it led to a significant setback?

Check out My Health Journey for the full story of our health improvements, and my #BodyBabySteps for an approach to how I would do it if I were starting today, based on what I’ve learned.

I post updates frequently you can follow on FacebookTwitter  and LinkedIn, or you can subscribe by email to make sure you get them.

Update (2/1/2021):

Well, I thought it was going to be bye-bye to ketosis.

First, I will confess that the gluten-free beer pictured above was not my only one Saturday evening.

I was pleasantly surprised – astonished even – that the next morning I was still in GKI ketosis, and that with my regular LCHF eating on Sunday I stayed there, although I was technically borderline last night.

And at right you see my readings just before work this morning.

Seems that’s a topic for another post.

Starting a #3DayCancerPreventionFast

Lisa and I have become convinced that a monthly three-day water-only fast is a prudent health maintenance strategy, based on the metabolic theory of cancer.

We know there are no guarantees it will prevent cancer, but the risk of doing any harm is essentially zero.

That doesn’t mean we necessarily look forward to it.

We had designated today as the start for our next #3DayCancerPreventionFast, and as we were getting ready to drive to church in Rochester, Lisa asked if we might listen to something on the way that would help with motivation.

This video from Prof. Thomas Seyfried from just a few months ago was a nearly perfect fit for our 45-minute commute, and it reminded us of the “Why?” behind our decision:

Once we arrived in Rochester, this morning’s service was a special blessing for us, as two of our grandchildren were baptized.

That illustrated the real “Why?” of our monthly 3-day fasts.

What you see above are half of our grandchildren: we have 13 on the outside, with another grandson due in March.

Lisa and I have decided we want to take what a friend calls, “The path of least regret.” We want to do whatever is reasonably in our power to stay healthy so we can be involved in the lives of our sons and daughters, their children and hopefully even their grandchildren.

We want to be there for as many more of these events as we can.

That makes the short-term sacrifice of an extended fast totally worth it if there’s a reasonable basis to think it might prevent cancer.

So on the way home, for just a little extra nudge, we listened to most of another video featuring Prof. Seyfried:

When we got back to Austin, we enjoyed a delightful celebration dinner with the baptized boy’s family, after which Lisa started her 72-hour timer at 1 p.m.

I decided to add one more highly ketogenic meal in the late afternoon, and started my timer at 4:30 p.m.

An hour after that meal my blood glucose was 85 mg/dL and ketones were 0.6 mmol/L, which put me just barely out of GKI ketosis with an index of 9.4.

But as I write this with just under 68 hours left in my fast, here are my latest glucose and ketone measures:

It’s good to be already in GKI ketosis, and I’m heading to bed so I can get up early tomorrow for a workout to jump start autophagy and hopefully accelerate progress toward the 1.0 GKI target.

As we continue our #3DayCancerPreventionFast I hope you’ll follow along as I share observations on FacebookTwitter  and LinkedIn.

I’ll also write a daily recap post here that you can receive if you subscribe by email.

Check out My Health Journey for the full story of our health improvements, and my #BodyBabySteps for an approach to how I would do it if I were starting today, based on what I’ve learned.