Biometric Test Results After Five Months on a Ketogenic Diet

I have to say I am very excited about this post. Before I started all of this I had tried to find somewhere locally that would test my blood, but I wasn’t able to find a place that would do it. It’s a shame because I would love to  know what kind of a mess I had got myself into. There’s no point in looking back though, eyes forward to the future! A future that is a little bit brighter after getting back my blood work!

I have to admit, even though I know the science and I have heard countless testimonials about how good a ketogenic diet can be for you, I was a little skeptical. Eating so much fat? I have been told my whole life how bad fat is for you. Was I killing myself? I know I’m young enough that it wouldn’t likely be irreparable, but what if I was actually hurting myself just to be a little thinner? Despite my concerns I decided to trust the experts and go for it head first.

Apparently I have a clinic in my office building that does these tests. I had no clue, but it’s been there the whole time. I felt a little silly, but as soon as I learned about the tests I signed up right away. I was nervous that I was going to get some really bad news; even if it wasn’t a result of the high fat diet I was worried that my years of indolence and poor eating habits had done some really bad damage. It turns out that all of my concerns were unfounded and I was pleasantly surprised by my results!

  • Blood Pressure: 106/78
    • Should be under 120/80
  • LDL Cholesterol: 68
    • Should be under 100
  • HDL Cholesterol: 26
    • Should be over 40, but ideally over 60
  • Total Cholesterol: 104
    • Should be under 200
  • Total/HDL Ratio: 4:1
    • Should be < 3.5:1
  • Triglycerides: 53
    • Should be under 150
  • Glucose: 94
    • Should be under 100

As you can see, everything is looking pretty good! My blood pressure was a real shocker. I took my blood pressure before I started all of this and it was a whopping 144/99.  Not only  did I have a dramatic drop in blood pressure, but it’s as good or better than I it has ever been. When I was a healthy body weight and was exercising regularly the best I saw it was 112/72. It’s pretty close, but I would say it’s definitely in the right area and I think I can make it even better.

The only spot of concern was my really low HDL cholesterol. I am a little confused as to why this number is so low and I need to do more research on why that might be. The nurse was slightly concerned about it and said that since I’ve been eating cleanly and losing weight that it was probably even lower than that to start with. Luckily, my LDL was low enough that it’s not an immediate concern. If I continue to do what I am doing it should continue to rise and I should be fine. Also, the total cholesterol/HDL ratio is a bit off, but that is simply a byproduct of the low HDL number. That will resolve itself as my HDL rises.

My glucose was a little disappointing too, even though it was in the healthy range. I think that I might know why it was as high as it was. I had the test on a Monday and the preceding  Saturday night, without thinking about the upcoming test, I had a carb-up cheat meal. I definitely had enough carbs to knock me out of Ketosis for at least a day if not two. The resulting circulating glucose was likely the remnants of that meal. It’s also possible that I am a lot more insulin resistant than I would like to believe. I am getting tested again in the fall; by then I expect both my HDL and blood glucose to be significantly better.

I think that it’s pretty clear I made the right decision. It’s pretty incredible how much you can improve your circumstances in such a short time. It’s also incredible how wrong the current health paradigm is. I think I’ve realized an important thing through this journey. I think it’s important to always do your due diligence before accepting anything as fact. You’re going to hear a lot of conflicting information from a lot of well qualified people. It can be dizzying trying to sort through it all. The best advice I could give is to do the research, see both sides of anything and then make your most informed decision. Ketosis has been amazing for me, but it might not be for everyone. I know that I am on the right track and I am thrilled about my progress. It’s seeing results like this that make it all worthwhile.

 

Update on Form, Cadence, Mile times, and all of that.

I haven’t posted anything in some time about my running progress. This is mainly because things have been a little sporadic and mundane training isn’t that exciting to talk about. I have been trying to get at least one or two good runs in per week in addition to my normal workout routine. While progress has been slow things have been steadily getting better. Even if my mile times weren’t improving the feeling of running being a chore is dwindling and the enjoyment of running is starting to take its place.

I have been sticking to my plan of only running for 20 minutes per run. While my weight loss has been wonderful, I am still a good amount heavier than I feel I should be to be endlessly pounding the pavement. This gives my body the time to adapt to running without overloading it and breaking down. I decided that I would run for 20 minutes, it didn’t matter how far I went in that time, I just wanted to run for 20 minutes. I figure as I get more fit the distance that I can cover in that time will gradually increase. This strategy has been working out really well! My first attempt at this resulted in a 1.78 mile run at a 11:17 minute average mile time. Gradually I made it to the point where I could run two miles in those 20 minutes. Once I got to that point I kind of started just running two miles. I would usually come in just under 20 minutes, but I would stop there. That went on for a few weeks. The past two weeks I decided to change things up.

I am getting more comfortable running so I figured it is time to spend a little more focus on my form. I don’t want to increase the milage and set in stone a bunch of bad running habits. So going forward my runs will be focused on form and less on trying to race the clock. I have been trying to pay attention to my form in my past runs, and I think it’s helped, but these are the first runs where the sole purpose is to focus on a specific aspect of my form. The first area I am choosing to work on is cadence. I really want to get my cadence up to that 90/180 steps per minute, or at least as close as my body is comfortable. I know some people use a metronome but I think that would be terribly boring so I have a playlist I made with songs that have that approximate BPM.

It’s a little awkward running with such a high turnover rate (for now!) and I felt a bit goofy at first, but it’s getting a little more natural. I also committed to, instead of just running the two miles, running for the full 20 minutes. This way I am sure I get my full workout but I could focus less on distance and just focus on my form.

The first run was about normal. I didn’t run it any faster or slower than I had been running, which was nice. It’s good to know that even though I wasn’t pushing myself and I was trying something new that I was still able to keep up the same pace as my other recent runs. I also do think that the higher cadence helped a lot with my perceived exertion. Maybe it’s just me getting more fit, but it definitely didn’t feel quite as strenuous as some of my previous runs. They say that running at a higher cadence helps with your energy efficiency and reduces some of the strain and impact of running. You aren’t fighting your own body mechanics as much, and running becomes a little more effortless at that rate. From my first attempt I definitely think I can agree with the science; it felt pretty good! That is until the next morning… Running at the higher cadence destroyed my calf muscles! They were amazingly sore for days following that run! They were so sore that it was the only run I was able to complete that week. I didn’t want to push the issue and get hurt.

This week my calf muscles were feeling 100% again and I decided to go out and give it another go! I felt like I was having a little more trouble keeping my cadence up on this run, but I know that I was still in the ballpark, so I just did my best to maintain that. I noticed that I had run between a quarter and half mile before I started to get the symptoms of running: the heavy breathing, higher heart rate, sweating. Which means the first part was pretty effortless!! So I kept it up and was amazed at my first mile when my app read out that I completed the first mile in 8 minutes and 48 seconds! I was super pumped! As you might recall my current best mile time is 8:44. So, running at a pretty comfortable pace I was only 4 seconds off my fastest mile time! Now, keep in mind this is my phone tracking distance so it might be a little off, but it is close enough that I’m still very happy with it.

After that I kept running until that 10 minute mark and then turned around and headed home. The goal of the 20 minutes is to make it back in the same time you ran the first half, so it requires a little more effort in the second half. There is a decently long incline on my way back and by the end of that I was pretty winded. I had to slow down a little and let my heart rate come back down. I didn’t stop though and kept on pushing through it. I was happy to finish my second mile in 8:57, still below 9 minutes.

The same run that I used to run in 11:17 I am now able to complete in under 9 minutes. Not only that, but I finish feeling less tired and out of breath than I did for the first runs. It’s so exciting and encouraging to look back and see that sort of progress. My calf muscles are still pretty sore after this run, but not as bad as last time. I have been pampering them to get them healed up so I can get back out there! I have finally got back to that point where I am really looking forward to my next run. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way.

I have plans to go back out to the track and see what my mile time is now, and I’m even more excited to do so after this most recent run. I think I am going to hold off until the end of the month to give myself a little more time and because I have determined a monthly mile time goal that I need to meet if I am going to get to my goal of breaking that 5 minute mile mark. That post is forth coming so stay tuned!

#2017ofEverything – January’s result and February’s challenge

Ok! So to get right to it, January’s challenge kicked my butt! I didn’t even come close. I didn’t even get halfway on most of the moves. The results are so bad that they aren’t even worth sharing. What is worth sharing is my experience. I found out that despite all of my improvements I still have a lot of weaknesses and I don’t have the strength or stamina that I should possess. Regardless of those facts I feel like I made a commitment. Since I couldn’t do it in January I’m going to try again in February. If I don’t make it in February, I’ll try again in March. I’m going to repeat this challenge every month for the rest of the year until I can conquer it!! Even though I failed miserably at the challenge I have experienced a great deal of improvement in several areas, specifically my quads, my abs and my chest and triceps. I have seen enough progress that I definitely think it’s worth pursuing!

Moving on from January’s challenge, it’s now February. It looks like the 100mileman isn’t playing around and has issued another challenge for this month. From the way it sounds it looks like he’s going to issue a new challenge each month for the rest of the year. Awesome! His challenge for February is as follows:

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The catch to this challenge is that you don’t have the whole month to do it, as you did last month. Either of these challenges must be completed within 5 consecutive days. I am going for the gold, but I think I am going to hold off and attempt it a little later in the month. I do think that this is doable though. I think the hardest part is going to be the 17 miles. I easily do 17 miles of walking every 5 days. But I think the spirit of the challenge is to do 17 more miles than you would on a normal day. As I’m only getting 4-6 miles a week, this will be tough to squeeze in.

Well, I am already super behind in trying to beat January’s challenge so I better get to work! As always I will post again with my progress and how I do with each of these successive challenges. Oh, and fun side note, I have finally started on my running program designed to eliminate all of the weakest links in my running. I can’t wait for race season to start!