Year in Review

As I mentioned in my first blog post, my success with keto in my first year is what motivated me to start this blog.  I feel a great sense of accomplishment with the progress I’ve made.  I also realize that the pursuit of health will be a lifelong journey, and I have much more progress to make.

Let’s start by recapping the progress I’ve made over the first year doing keto:

  • I lost 120 pounds of weight, going from 397 pounds to about 275 pounds.
  • I lost 12 inches around my waist, going from 68 inches to 56 inches in the widest part of my belly.
  • I was able to stop taking 120 units of Lantus, a long-acting insulin.
  • I was able to stop taking Bydureon, another drug for diabetes.
  • I reduced my HbA1c from a clearly diabetic 7.7% while treating my diabetes with insulin to a normal 5.0% without the need for any extra insulin.
  • I dramatically improved energy levels and no longer feel completely exhausted when arriving home from work.
  • I kicked my Diet Mountain Dew habit.  I went from drinking 6 or more cans a day to no dew.
  • I feel like moving and being active.
  • My mood has improved.
  • I’m back to my wedding weight of 15 years ago.
  • My wedding ring fits again.  For years I haven’t been able to wear it because it was too small.
  • I feel less pain and inflammation in my joints.  I’m able to move easier with less discomfort.
  • Met wonderful people at Ketofest.  There are thousands of people across the USA following the ketogenic diet and we can all help support each other.
  • I feel like I’m in control of my diet instead of my diet being in control of me.  I can’t emphasize enough how great this feels.

Of course we all learn things as we go.  If I had it to do over there are a few things I would have done differently.  Mostly I was afraid to anticipate success and think about what I would want when I looked back.  Of course sometimes you have to learn from your past and I would be where I am now if I wasn’t where I was then.

However here are a few things I’d do differently if I had it to do over again:

  • Track more data -  I didn’t get a scale that tracked weight until I’d been doing Keto for over 12 months.  While I don’t think weight is a very good gauge of success, I do wish I had a more complete dataset.
  • Photos -  I hate having my picture taken.  I hide whenever a camera is brought out.  As a result, I don’t have very many pictures to help document my journey.  I wish I had taken more so I could more easily see how far I’ve come, even if I do still have quite a way to go.
  • Scan – I wish I had gotten a DexaScan before I started keto.  I would have liked to have known my body composition then and see how it has changed.  I think it would be interesting to see if my muscle composition has changed at all.
  • Embrace the fat! -  It takes a bit to be comfortable increasing fat consumption to the necessary levels for a proper keto diet, especially in our culture which demonizes fat.  I wish I had embraced it sooner, but better late than never.
  • Start years earlier -  This one isn’t very fair, because many of the resources weren’t available years earlier.  And I needed a little more information to turn the moderate success I had experienced following the Atkins diet, to the tremendous success I’ve seen following a ketogenic diet.  However, I’m very glad I did start.  And remember, there is never a better time to start than now!

I don’t know what form progress will take in this next year.  It seems unlikely that I’ll be able to lose as much weight as I have this last year, but I never would have guessed I’d lose this much in my first year.  It also seems like my motivation is good, and I really want to help give back to the keto community.

In my next post I discuss the decision to add deliberate exercise as a part of my health routine.  You can also read my previous post which discusses the multiple tries it took to break the 300-pound barrier.

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