KetoLife: Minding Your Ks and Cs to Track Your Progress

When you start doing the low-carb, Keto lifestyle, you need to keep track of your progress. The first time I did Atkins, I simply used the scale as my ‘judge.’ If I lost a pound, I was good. If I didn’t, I was bad.

Then I got older, and developed T2 diabetes, and my progress on Atkins/low-carb, as measured by the scale, slowed to a glacial pace. That’s what happens as your insulin resistance gets worse over time. I did start taking my blood sugars daily, and when I was doing my low-carb accurately, my blood sugar numbers went down. Even when I was on 2 different blood sugar medications, the low-carb diet lowered my sugars more reliably than the pills. When a doctor made me discontinue both meds, and threatened me with insulin shots, I got more strict with my low-carb and had just as good blood sugars as I had with both pills.

Some people keep food diaries, either on paper or using an app. If you count your carbs and your fat percentage and the like, this may discourage you from eating real food, since it doesn’t come in a box with nutrition facts written on the side. And real food— meat from the meat department or direct from a farmer, veggies from the produce department or the farmers’ market— is very helpful for us ‘ketonians.’

I could never keep a food diary— I’m too disorganized. But what I can do is mind my ‘Ks’ and my ‘Cs.’ I record them in the notebook where I record my blood sugars, blood pressures, ketosis readings (from my Ketonix breath ketone analyzer) and such.

A ‘K’ is a day in which, when evening comes around, I find that I have kept to my keto lifestyle very well. I don’t fuss about very minor potential transgressions, as when I put a bit of heavy whipping cream in my bulletproof cocoa/coffee without measuring it in a tablespoon so it might have been a bit more (or less) than I am allowed. Or eating an unmeasured serving of salad or cooked veggies which might have gone over slightly. (If I’m having a hard time staying in ketosis, I do measure everything.) I lose my ‘K’ for the day when I have really violated the ketogenic rules— like having a burger with a bun, a slice of toast or a serving of noodles— or a carb binge that includes a bag of chips and a couple of candy bars.

‘K’ days also get numbers— K1, K2, K3— depending on how many days in a row I have been doing keto correctly. It is a little ‘reward’ to see your K numbers go up, especially if you’ve been doing keto for two or three weeks without losing a pound or seeing an improved health marker. If you keep doing keto correctly, in time you will see those desired results. You just need to keep the faith and keep earning those daily ‘Ks.’

What about days when you don’t deserve a ‘K?’ Many of us have them. It may be that we gave in to pressure and drank a glass of milk or orange juice or ate a slice of home-made sugary cake. Or maybe we had an actual carb binge. I’ve been having trouble with that when I go to the grocery store. I buy a small bag of chips— and then another small bag of a different kind of chips— and then a candy bar. And of course I eat them all when I get home, which triggers my carb-appetite so I am tempted to do the same the next day…..

Those days are ‘C’ days, and, alas, they get their numbers, too. Having to write a ‘C1’ at the end of a day is bad, but having to write ‘C2, C3 and C4’ in the following days is even worse. ‘C’ days happen, but we should try to avoid them and certainly try to avoid having several in a row.

It helps to develop rules for yourself about carb excesses. I try never to eat carbs all day, but finish any carb food within one hour and keep the carb eating limited to that hour (as in the Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet ‘Reward Meal.’) And I try to get back in the groove of eating low-carb meals and drinking bulletproof beverages right away.

Always remember, keto isn’t a temporary diet that you go off and then eat carbs. If you want the health benefits of keto, you have to make it into your lifestyle. Day after day, week after week. After the ups and downs of the initial Induction phase into keto, it gets easier, and as you find foods you like that you can have on keto, it becomes easier still. The results are improved health, less prescription meds with side effects and high prices, more energy, and a better life.

Disclaimer: this blog is not to be taken as medical advice and should not replace consultation with a knowledgeable doctor.

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