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Hitting the Wall and Getting Back on the Horse

Updated on January 1, 2017

Hitting the Wall

In March 2016, I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and kidney failure. Prior to that I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and ridiculitis, which creates immense nerve pain in my left upper thigh. As if all of that wasn't enough, I was also diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which causes mind-numbing pain in my smaller joints...mostly in my hands, neck, ankles and elbows. Needless to say, this has made movement VERY difficult for me in the last six months. Having said all of that, here's the thing. Exercise for me is pretty much not happening, at least not in any major way. This means I have to depend completely on controlling my diet to regulate my weight. Now that I've arrived at this revelation, the next step is to choose the right vehicle for managing what I eat. Given my CHF and FSGS (a type of kidney failure), I would need to keep my foods low sodium and low potassium. This is BEYOND difficult since everything on the planet has salt and potassium. After researching a million different types of meal plans and diet plans, I've finally settled on a Ketogenic Diet.

Cutting the Carbs and Upping the Fat

The Ketogenic Diet, like the Atkins Diet, is made up of low-carb, high-fat foods, with what is called "adequate" protein. Carbs are ridiculously high in glucose, which among other things, leads to excess fat in the body. By reducing the amount of carbs in the body, the liver has no choice but to burn the fat rather than carbs. In other words, the liver then creates ketone bodies, which allow for a replacement energy source for your body. In simple terms, your body becomes a fat-burning machine and you have more energy.

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Sounds Good, But Does It Work?

Before you and I jump on the Keto Bandwagon, let's get a few things straight. First, this diet isn't for everyone. I have several very SERIOUS chronic illnesses, which means I will have to consult with all of my doctors before embarking on this journey. Second, my research has been purely anecdotal up until now, so I'll have to keep digging. Finally, any change to my diet can be detrimental to my health and have some scary side effects, so my research will continue. In the meantime, I'll be cautiously watching the people I know who are using the Keto Diet with varying levels of success.

What Do Think: Does Low Carb Work?

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Ketosis Explained in Less Than Five Minutes

Now What?

Here's the deal, cutting out that many carbs cold turkey is damn near impossible and there are some drawbacks associated with this diet. There's a little thing called the Ketone Flu, which makes high intensity workouts super hard. In other words, low intensity is the way to go. Additionally, muscles need glucose to function properly and so does your brain. Although your energy level increases, the ability to grow new muscle and concentrate will be diminished. So you have to ask yourself, "what's more important? Losing weight or functioning properly?" When you're almost 500 lbs and you're staring at the losing end of the battle of bulge, the answer seems simple, but it's really not. Like I said before, research and consultation with my doctors will be key to making this work.

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