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Not Dead #keto

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This is a continuation of the keto journey. Previous articles:

Diet progress update:

Diet progress

Diet progress

Still not dead, success!

More seriously, things have generally been going well. As you can see from the graph, I've had better control over 'random' keto snack foods and generally managed to keep the calorie envelope closer to my goal.

It's difficult to exactly quantify, but I feel lighter - even if that is hard to see on the scales. A friend went away for three weeks or so and thought that I had lost some weight when they got back. A shirt that didn't fit correctly three weeks ago fits about right now (maybe still slightly too tight, but close enough).

I feel as if this has generally been quite a successful month for the diet itself.

Recap

Addressing the points raised previously:

Social

Something new I have been thinking about is discussing my dead social updates that I post between blog updates. I notice that I mostly post my updates to dead social and then try to recap them in the blog post, but it makes sense just to simply collect them all into one update and then discuss them. Open to feedback about the new formatting!

Keto exhaustion is very real, and it's a little concerning. I've been able to starve off the worst of the effects with the use of coffee, but this is a short term fix. To write this article for example, I have consumed 2 litres of coffee. The amount of coffee I will require to remain functional will only increase with time. I am also quite concerned about the negative effects the coffee itself may have on my heart.

I've looked up my symptoms online and they appear to match ketoacidosis, which is typically only suffered by diabetics. It can be experienced by people on ultra-low carbohydrate diets though, but it is extremely rare. Essentially ketoacidosis is when your body produces more ketone bodies than you are able to process, causing your blood to become acidic. As a result, this puts stress on your organs and can cause organ failure.

Prior to this diet I was well on my way to having type 2 diabetes left unchecked. I suspect I was already becoming insulin resistant at this point as I desperately yearned for sugar and drank a lot of water. It's entirely possible that my insulin process was already significantly compromised before starting this diet. Bare in mind I went from almost infinite daily carbohydrates down to 20g a day. I was ill for about a month. I wouldn't be surprised to learn there is some lingering effect from this transition.

The other hypothesis is that I could be deficient of some vitamin - muscle tiredness can often be related to such. Of course I want to check up with a doctor, but this is not a simple process so far. I will discuss this shortly.

I'm having the weirdest of random cravings for different foods - if you didn't know any better you might think that I'm pregnant. It just keeps happening. I believe when I come off this diet (in many months to come) I should be careful in exactly which foods I begin to reintroduce. I don't want to start off with bad habits, however tempting that may be. If I get the majority of my sugar from fruit and vegetables, I think this would set a more sustainable diet.

I have been mostly successful in swapping cheese for protein and I think the change is very good. Not that I have finished my chocolate-mint protein I get to consume the vanilla one - an infinitely better flavour. Complex protein shake flavours simply do not work.

I think increased protein will be massively beneficial to me. I suspect some of my weakness comes from a lack of protein, despite eating tonnes of meat during these days.

I have checked out the My Protein store and it seems as if they do not sell the one I'm on any more - just as I find one I actually like. It should be cheaper to order from New Zealand though in theory, so at least this is more sustainable.

As mentioned, I have now been putting creatine monohydrate into my protein shakes. It's difficult to separate the benefits of the creatine from the benefits of the additional protein as both variables were introduced at the same time. That said, the additional creatine is likely not actually required as I am already consuming a lot of meat during these days.

I was given the creatine for free though, so I will continue to add it - it can't hurt too much. I'm not aware of any short term or long term side effects from creatine consumption, other than increased water retention in the muscles.

Heart Rate

One thing that is now starting to concern me is my heart rate. About a month ago or so I got it down to about 55 beats per minute and this was fine. Now I am seeing lows as far down as 40, which if this was measured by a GP they will hospitalize people for. Bare in mind, whilst measuring this I was also drinking coffee whilst watching an action film. I'm not entirely sure what to make of it.

After raising my heart rate above 100 for a while, I get really tired. I believe this is where the increased protein may help the situation, but also it hints to me that I could be dehydrated or lacking in vitamins. This is why I have been working on seeing a doctor (which I will comment on shortly).

In any case, I think generally the lower-weight as a result of this low-carb keto diet has been more beneficial to my health than not being on it. Even if there was some complication as a result, this would still be a better life style to live I believe.

Doctor

For the last month I have been trying to see a doctor. During COVID times you might think this is understandable to have to wait, but actually out here in New Zealand we have not had such restrictions in quite some time. Seeing a doctor should be really easy. I have been putting it off for a while, but with the concern of possible ketoacidosis, I have started to seek out medical assistance.

I mentioned this situation to a friend and they stopped me booking this through a private GP, telling me instead to book through the University itself. I really don't care enough to argue, so I went with it. I walked into the University GP and essentially told I was not welcome, and should fill out the forms and email them. I did this and emailed the forms, and have not heard back since. Apparently once you are registered, the average wait time is about 1-2 weeks to see a GP.

So I've been paying this medical insurance for four bloody years now, and the one time I actually want to use it for a legitimate reason and I can't even utilize it. The GP has likely looked me up on their system and figured they can wait me out as my official enrolment ends soon - but that will also timeout any possibility of me goign through a private GP and claiming medical expenses back. In the meantime, you've got people visiting the GP for bullshit reasons, such as getting a free subscription for iron tablets.

These people make my blood boil. I guess at least this elevates my heart rate.

Next Steps

There are a few things I want to look into going forwards:

  1. Doctor -- I actually need to see one at some point. This is getting ridiculous. If something is wrong, the longer I wait the worse it will be.
  2. Running -- A few times now I have gone to run and it's actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. There was still the occasional 'lag' effect, but this is to be expected. Weighing this much and having so little available cardio muscle is going to be hard to work through, but must be done.
  3. Cost -- Finances in the future are uncertain and I need to figure out how to make them last as much as possible. Therefore I need to get this diet to be lower cost. One key area could be utilizing more frozen meats - which tend to be lower cost due to their longer shelf life.

Stay tuned for more future updates!