This officially marks the halfway point of my current n=1 experiment of “nutritional ketosis” (as shared in the MUST-READ book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek) now that I’m six months in with my one-year journey of a very high-fat, moderate-to-low protein, very low-carb experiment with the purpose of keeping my blood ketones at a high enough level to be fueled by them and not by glucose. You can get an idea about what kind of foods I am eating on this plan in this CarbSmart column and I’m working on providing a resource with even more guidance for those of you wanting to try this for yourself set to release sometime in the early part of 2013. Stay tuned!
I’ve been observing a lot of things during this entire process, including my phenomenal weight loss success, blood sugar changes, blood ketones in both the morning and at night (get a FREE Precision Xtra ketone meter from Abbott), exercise performance in a fasted and keto-adapted state, stellar lipid panel improvements, how I feel and other such markers of health. When I began this back in May 2012, I really didn’t have any idea what I would experience doing this other than the fact that something needed to be done with my low-carb lifestyle in rut. Reflecting back on these past six months, I’d say any doubts I may have had about doing NK have completely vanished as I’ve seen some pretty remarkable results to date (and all without the need for any “safe starches”). If you missed my “Ask The Low-Carb Experts” podcast talking about how I’ve done in the first six months of nutritional ketosis, then be sure to listen to it in Episode 32. And in case you haven’t been following my n=1 experiment updates, check ’em all out here: Day 1-30, Day 31-60, Day 61-90, Day 91-120 and Day 121-150.
Like the previous 30 days, I again went to the gym every few days in a fully fasted state of at least 20-24 hours now that my blood ketones are high enough to fuel such a workout. My 30-minute weight lifting sessions have continued to go remarkably well with no dizziness, hunger, weakness, blackouts or any of the other nasty negative hypoglycemic effects that used to plague me when I’d try visiting the gym on an empty stomach. I felt like Superman pumping all that iron while gazing in the mirror at that funny-looking Jimmy Moore who looks smaller than he did just a few months back! I used to scoff at those people who would talk about how incredible their lifting sessions went while fasting. It wasn’t until I was keto-adapted with blood ketone levels at the proper amount for me (around 1.5-2.0 millimolar in the morning) that this became something I actually LOVED doing. For the past week, I’ve been playing multiple daily rounds of disc golf with my buddy Tom Naughton (watch video of one of our rounds here) walking over 32 miles on his home-based course while mostly in a fasted state being fueled by ketones. Never in a million years did I realize what an efficient fuel source ketone bodies could be for the body to perform quite well with the constant drone out there from so-called health “experts” about how “the body needs carbs”–WHAT NONSENSE! Now I’m a believer and am looking forward to seeing how this continues in the next six months of my n=1 experiment.
I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails from readers who are attempting to do their own n=1 experiments of nutritional ketosis and several of you have expressed frustration about not seeing levels above .3 or .4 no matter when you test. Remember, your lowest readings of the day will almost always be in the morning and your highest readings will tend to be at night when you are eating high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb. When I’ve inquired about what people are eating when they are getting these low readings, I see one commonality–they tend to eat three meals plus snacks. That’s a lot of feedings that doesn’t give your body the chance to make ketones. Even if that means eating a little more at your “breakfast” meal and skipping lunch or even skipping breakfast altogether, it will make a difference. While there’s nothing inherently magical about getting your ketone levels raised above 1.0 millimolar, the difference in hunger, cravings, satiety and overall feeling is immense. If you’re frustrated by low blood ketone readings, try eating more at your first meal and seeing how long you can go until the next meal. You should easily make it for at least 10-12 hours or you need to be eating more in that earlier meal. I hope this helps those of you who are stuck trying this.
Now let’s look at my numbers for Day 151-180. Testing blood ketones and blood sugar levels in the morning and again at night has been my routine for several months and I’m thinking of expanding my blood sugar readings to include post-prandial readings to get a picture of what’s happening with my blood glucose curve following meals. I’m not worried about it because my numbers have been stellar when I’ve tested in the morning and at night. But this will have to wait until I return from my trip to Australia over this next month. But it would be interesting to see what happens to blood sugar at 1 hour and 2 hours after my meals. We’ll see what happens. Now let’s take a look at how my AM blood ketone levels were in Day 151-180:
For the first half of this 30-day cycle, they were rockin’ it averaging about 2.7 millimolar, but then precipitously dropped to an average morning reading of 1.3 millimolar for much of the second half. I was paying attention to see if there were any noticeable changes in satiety, cravings, etc. Surprisingly, there were none. Although these numbers are still considered to be in the level of nutritional ketosis you are aiming for (.5-3.0 according to Volek/Phinney), I’ve found that being right around 2.0 millimolar works well as my morning reading. So what about my PM blood ketone levels for Day 151-180? Here’s what happened:
Predictably, they were well above 3.5 millimolar average for the month with a high of 6.4 on 10-20-12. When my AM blood ketones dipped down in the second half of the month, there was a correlating drop of PM blood ketones averaging around 2.3 millimolar. In a perfect world, I’ve love to see 4.0 millimolar blood ketones at night and 2.0 millimolar blood ketones in the morning. But I’m not complaining. While I’m not obsessed what’s happening with my weight during this experiment, it does seem to be getting a lot of the attention from people. What about any weight loss that happened in Day 151-180?
Yes, it was a funky up and down rollercoaster ride this month and I was concerned about getting near the 250-pound mark because this has been a psychological barrier for me to get past. I haven’t been this low in my weight in five years and I’m wearing clothes that haven’t been on my body in many moons. But despite the down and up and down and up nature of what happened on the scale, I still saw a cumulative 2.6 POUNDS LOST this month for a total weight loss after six months of 53.6 pounds to date. I’m loving the weight loss and fully expect it to continue to happen as I continue this in the next six months. But even more interesting to me are the other changes happening to me. Check out what my 100-pound friend Neely Quinn has seen doing her own NK experiment for the past few days. Although she doesn’t need to lose any weight, she did anyway. It’s always fun to see others try this for themselves to see if it works for them. Maybe, maybe not. You can’t know unless you try.
By the way, I will be getting another DXA scan done on Monday, November 12, 2012. I had my first one done on September 13, 2012 at the Vitality Medical Wellness Institute in Concord, North Carolina when I visited former podcast guest Dr. Jeffrey Galvin to see what my muscle/fat make-up is like. I started doing lots of hot and heavy weight lifting following that previous DXA scan, so it will be interesting to see what changes have taken place. If I can squeeze in time to blog the results before I leave for Australia on Tuesday, then I will.
Although my weight loss was pretty paltry for Day 151-180, I have to keep in mind that this isn’t a race but a journey to get to the goals I want to reach. This overall weight loss graph for Day 0-180 helps keep things in the proper perspective:
Being out of my normal routine while in Australia over the next few weeks, it will be interesting to see what impact will have on my weight loss, blood ketones and blood sugar. Speaking of blood sugar, let’s see how my morning readings looked for Day 151-180:
I was amazed by the sustained number of days it was in the 70s upon waking up in the first half of the month, but then they suddenly went up in the second half of the month. Even still, my average AM blood glucose readings came in at around 83. I’ll take that every day of the week. So how about the PM levels in Day 151-180?
If 91 is the highest reading I’ll get, then I’m certainly not complaining. My average PM blood glucose readings was around 79–I’LL TAKE IT! It’s good to know that my NK plan along with the use of the berberine-based supplement Glycosolve is actually doing a stellar job of managing my blood sugar readings well. Like I said earlier, when I return from Australia I’ll likely add in some blood sugar testing after meals to see what’s happening there.
What do you think about my n=1 experiment of nutritional ketosis after the first six months? Tell us what’s on your mind about it in the comments section below. I’m curious to see what will happen with all the traveling I’ll be doing during Day 181-210 and look forward to reporting how it went when I update next month. THANKS for all of your encouragement as I’ve gone through this experience and I look forward to continuing to see success. Here’s a perfect example from one of my readers who e-mailed me recently about my n=1:
I took a few weeks off from listing to podcasts, so I only recently listened to your “Nutritional Ketosis 6-Month Update” podcast. I knew you were doing your own n=1 experimentation, based on your other podcasts over the past few months. However, I never checked your blog. I think it was “Relentless Roger and the Caveman Doctor” that mentioned the data on your site. To borrow your phrase, HOLY CRAP!
What wonderful information and RESULTS! It’s nothing short of remarkable! In fact, I would call your experiment n = won.
In addition to being very happy for you, I’m immensely proud of you. Not only for your determination, but for your willingness to be so transparent in sharing so much of your life and journey. It’s no wonder I continue to hear your name mentioned on so many other podcasts. The central theme—what a truly great person you are.
More than anything, I love your endless enthusiasm, your positive attitude, and your passionate desire to help others. These are what truly make you such a successful person.
THANK YOU so very much! I’m here to serve others and help them in any way that I can to be as optimally healthy as they can be. I am excited about sharing what I have learned through all of this and look forward to see what happens next.