As I write this it is the end of November. The Sunday after Thanksgiving to be exact. There’s been lots of eating and drinking. If you are like me you probably didn’t exactly follow a ketogenic diet last week. There’s nothing wrong with that, I’d be the last person to judge you for it. But at the same time I find that the holiday season can be a tough time to stick to any diet. My mom is always full of sayings. Those little words of wisdom that you are often told as you are growing up. One just popped into my head while thinking about a diet in December, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” It probably doesn’t matter how long you’ve been following a keto diet or how successful you’ve been. When you get a chance to eat Grandma’s fudge or when your family gets together at the beginning of December to frost 20 dozen sugar cookies it's hard to stick to the plan. (the 20 dozen number is correct. My mother-in-law spends countless hours baking a mountain of sugar cookies and all her kids and grandkids (12 at this point) head over and spend the day frosting ….and eating them).
So, I was thinking this weekend what is the solution to this problem? With Uber Eats, Postmates and DoorDash the best food is only a few clicks away on your phone, regardless of the time of year. What is the method of sticking to this and holding yourself accountable? For me it is testing. One of the comments and questions I often see on keto discussion groups is, “do I need to test my ketones?” Inevitably someone says that they can feel that they are in ketosis without testing, or that they’ve been keto for years so they don’t need to test. The problem with that is we aren’t lab rats. We don’t live in a little cage with measured pellets being dropped into our food dish on a predetermined schedule. We are out and about. Sometimes we make our own food, sometimes we are at restaurants and other times we find ourselves buying all the amazing looking keto foods on Etsy. (If you haven’t checked out the foods on Etsy check it out). We try to check to make sure the foods we order fit the guidelines but at times we are going to get it wrong. The server is going to get it wrong and maybe there is a reason the keto donuts tasted just like real donuts! Are you going to know when that happens? I don’t think you are. I have a good friend who has Type-2 diabetes. She used to think that she didn’t need to test. If he felt good than she knew that her blood sugar was where it needed to be. She ended up with some vision problems and at the doctor found that her blood sugar was 425 mg/dL! She discovered, by testing, that the times she felt good her blood sugar was incredibly high. It was only when her blood sugar was in the 250 or lower range that she felt sick. Lower blood sugar made her sick and she had no idea. She thought that she was doing good. Since then she has found that testing throughout the day was essential for her.
I think a keto diet is no different. Certain foods affect us differently. Some foods spike our blood sugar while others don’t and the only way to know is to test. Now, returning to the point of me writing this, to find out if testing for blood ketones helps you lose weight. My goal for the next year is to test twice daily. Fasted in the morning upon waking and after dinner. The goal will be to stay in ketosis each day and determine the right macro levels for me to stay in a fat burning mode. I’ll provide regular updates as to how it is going along with additional thoughts and insights. I am a data and research based person so I’ll do some research on those who test versus those who don’t and I’ll provide that next time. I’ll share my blood test results too, but I’ll need a few days to get into ketosis after that slice of pumpkin pie.