Shark Week!!

Ok guys, I’m sorry but this topic is going to be for the ladies…..

145889_max

We’re talking “shark week” aka PMS.

I’ve been in my shark week, not realizing it.¬† Things got started a bit sooner than usual.¬† Probably because my hormones have been “off” as I’ve lost a few pounds of body fat.¬†¬†Losing Body Fat, Releasing Estrogen

Anyways, I’ve been cranky.¬† Ok, that’s an understatement.¬† I’ve been beastly.¬† The mere sound of my children’s voices is like nails on a chalkboard.¬† I’ve been walking around with an angry ogre face that has hilariously prompted my 5 year old daughter to apologize (without having done anything!) multiple times.

As many of you ladies know, when that beast comes out of it’s slumber a certain time each month the only thing that will soothe it is¬†chocolate.¬†¬†giphyGood news is, chocolate is actually ok on keto, as long as you opt for very dark or chocolate with an alternative sweetener.¬† That way you can not¬†commit homicide and stay on track with your diet!! ūüėȬ†Dark chocolate is actually incredibly good for you as well (like we need any excuse!)…¬†¬†Dark Chocolate Benefits

So I ran out and got some 90% dark chocolate.¬† No, it isn’t as yummy as a lighter chocolate, but it only has 3 grams of carbs per large square.¬† I think I will melt it in a double boiler and add some peanut butter to make it a more palatable “fat bomb”.

And if you’re one that craves chocolate it could be because you are low on magnesium or even iron, both of which chocolate is a good source of. I’ve had blood work done in the past showing anemia so I take iron (and magnesium) every day and it’s been very helpful.¬† If you regularly get cravings you might want to get blood work done to rule out vitamin deficiencies.

If you’re craving fatty and salty foods like fries or potato chips, you can get some pork rinds.¬† I’ve found these parmesan crisps to be ah-mazing.¬† Zero carbs and you’ll get your “chip” fix.

114
delicious “croutons”

Be aware of your cycles so the beast doesn’t spring out and catch you totally unprepared.¬† I track them on my phone.¬† Eat dark chocolate, take bubble baths, get more than usual time alone (your family will thank you!), try deep breathing, put duct tape over your mouth….

If you’re losing weight your period can be worse than usual.¬† But those symptoms should pass with time.¬† Just take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone and it will pass.¬† Don’t sweat it if you eat more than usual.¬† You’re eating for two; you and your angry uterus.¬† I blew past my calorie goal, but it’s ok.¬† For heaven’s sake don’t weigh yourself either.

Being Insulin and Carb Smart

After going off sweeteners (except for a bit of stevia) I had a pretty rough couple days.¬† Then I woke up this morning feeling much better.¬† Feeling “keto-calm”- happy and positive.¬† I think the insulin spiking was too much for me, with the sugar alcohols.¬† I was turning into the wicked witch of the west.¬† I was craving carbs.¬† I was stressed out.¬† I felt awful.

hqdefault
I’ll get you, my carb-ys!!

I’ve read that some people can tolerate different sweeteners.¬† Some people can’t.¬† You just really have to pay attention to how your body reacts.

Trust that your taste buds will adapt.¬† If you cut out the sweet, you’ll stop craving it.¬† Really!!¬† Yesterday I noticed the sweetness in a diced tomato like I never have before.

I’m keeping a bit of stevia in my diet to make life a bit easier.¬† I use vitamin water zero to mix my chlorella and probiotics (now that juice isn’t an option).¬† Plus it doubles as a sweet treat for me.¬† The taste isn’t amazing¬†but it’s good enough.¬†¬†Most keto experts agree that stevia is generally pretty harmless for most people.¬†¬†Benefits of Stevia

Another thing I’ve learned is the importance of timing your carb intake.¬† The best time to take in carbs is right after a workout.¬† It won’t spike your insulin, it won’t take you out of ketosis- because your body will use it to replenish your store of glycogen in your muscles.¬†¬†How to Carb Cheat

I had about 15 grams of carbs after a 45 minute workout in the form of a designer whey protein shake with fairlife filtered milk and a scoop of natural peanut butter.

You don’t want to go nuts, but if you are an active person you have more wiggle room in your carb intake while you stay in ketosis.

One big positive side effect that I’ve noticed is for my family.¬† My husband is making positive changes too.¬† He is a slim guy, he doesn’t need to lose weight but he is cutting back on carbs too.¬† He quit drinking soda, which is huge.¬† There are benefits to cutting back on carbs, even if you don’t go full keto.¬† Benefits of Cutting Back on Carbs¬† My kids are also eating less sugar cause I’m not eating sugar.

I don’t know about you but my kids want to eat¬†my¬†food.¬† If I’m eating snickers, they want it too.¬† Being wary of looking like a hypocritical meanie I shared my candy with them many times in the past.¬† Now when I make a salad I make a huge one because my 5 and 8 year old want to eat salad too!¬† Last night they all ate big helpings of asparagus with butter and parmesan along with their kid-friendly chicken nuggets.

When you make positive life changes it doesn’t just affect you!¬† It has a domino effect.¬† That in itself is reason enough to make changes.

Sweet Sorrow

Guys, I’ve definitely hit a major hitch in my keto-ing.¬†n-CHOCOLATE-EATING-628x314

The trouble is, I wanted to have my cake and eat it too.¬† When I saw all the keto-deserts out there I got really excited.¬† I ordered xylitol and whipped up some keto fudge.¬† I’ve been snacking on my keto fudge the past few days.

I’ve also been checking in on the scale every day to track my progress.¬† First, it stalled and then I¬†gained back a couple pounds.¬†Picture-3

I went back to the drawing board.¬† Yesterday I abstained from my xylitol and was pretty surprised to realize I was starting over, again.¬† The xylitol had been “kicking” me right out of ketosis.¬† I had to go through a lot of those dreaded starting symptoms,¬†again.¬†

I wanted to “have my cake and eat it too” but really, one of the main reasons I’m doing this diet is to get free from a life long love affair with sweets.¬† I thought I could still get my sweet on and keto on but apparently¬†not.¬†

The problem (or advantageous adaptation, tomato-tumahto) is that digestion starts in your mouth.¬† As soon as you see, smell, anticipate the food your mouth is salivating and digestion is already happening, in a sense.¬† When you eat something that tastes sweet your body is most likely going to release insulin.¬† Sweet=quick energy.¬† Even if that sweet isn’t actually real sugar.¬† Your body just has to think that it is.¬† You release insulin but the sugar never comes so your blood sugar drops.¬† You get cranky, get carb cravings, get kicked out of ketosis…just not good.¬†¬†Artificial Sweeteners and Insulin¬†A lot of people (ahem, me included) try to replace sugar with a substitute and then are mystified when progress screeches to a grinding halt.

I just threw out the last of my keto fudge.

Because not only do I want to succeed (and get sweet-lady-abs) but I want to rewire my taste buds.¬† I’m letting go of “sweet”, at least for now.¬† Maybe the real sorrow is in not parting sooner.¬† Then I know I’ll get the real benefits of reduced cravings and more energy as my body actually¬†stays¬†in a state of ketosis.

Health, Hormones, and Keto…oh my!

I think it’s is arrogant to assume we know everything about the human body.¬† We don’t.¬† But there are some things that we¬†do¬†know and we should use them to our advantage.

I’ve spent (too many!) hours scouring articles and message boards on the keto diet.¬† And for as many people who try it, there are as many results.¬† Some women report their hormones go from dysfunctional to problem free, finding relief from PCOS or endometriosis. Some people are able to reverse diabetes and high blood pressure and go off of their medication.¬† Other people report that the diet caused hypothyroidism.

It’s important to give your body proper nutritional support, especially when embarking on a diet.¬† Any diet can stress your adrenal glands and possibly impact your thyroid function.

20180117_074314.jpg

Here are some natural supplements I am taking to support my adrenal and thyroid function.  The thyroid energy support has zinc, copper, iodine, B-vitamins, and a couple adaptive herbs.  Nothing too crazy.

Ideally you can improve your adrenal health as you are cutting out a major source of stress on your body- sugar.  Sugar and Adrenals

You also want to try to keep stress levels down.¬† If you’re into cardio, you may want to scale it back.¬† You don’t need to slog through hours of cardio to burn off carbs because you’re not eating them!¬† Stick with minimal cardio because too much can be a negative form of stress.¬†¬†Stress and Cardio ¬† ¬†Moderate activity throughout the day is actually really great for you.¬† Cleaning your house, playing with your kids, going for a walk- those are all ideal ways to aid your body in burning fat without increasing cortisol levels.

Another thing that (especially for women) you want to be aware if you are going keto; that you may experience funky side effects as you lose body fat.¬† ¬†I had three days of achiness in my legs, the same feeling I get when I’m really hormonal.¬† Why?¬† Your body stores estrogen and toxins in your body fat.¬† As you burn body fat those hormones and toxins get released into your blood steam.¬† Because we are exposed to a lot of environmental estrogen, a lot of us women have symptoms of estrogen dominance.¬† If you’ve seen women shaped like extreme pears; regular sized torso and¬†huge¬†bottom and thighs- that’s estrogen dominance.¬† Estrogen is very important for our health but too much, and the franken-estrogen we are exposed to, can cause major problems.¬† We want to decrease our body fat and flush out the extra estrogen, even if it means a bit of discomfort for the time being.¬† Xenoestrogens

You can aid the process along by staying hydrated (don’t forget your electrolytes!!) and sweating.¬† If you’re lucky enough to have access to a sauna, use it everyday.¬† Yes, you can sweat out toxins.¬†¬†Benefits of Sweating¬† You can get similar benefits from sweating during a workout.¬† You can also try hot detox baths with epsom salt, dry-brushing, and rebounding.

I know I’ve mainly addressed women but men can really benefit from detoxing as well because you guys suffer side effects from environmental estrogen exposure too!

Mental Zen, Day Ten

One topic that is incredibly important in successfully implementing change is having the right attitude towards your body.

I’m a member of some different health related groups on facebook and one all-too common theme I’ve seen is women hating their bodies.¬† Not just dislike, but¬†hate.¬† It is sad to see wonderful, beautiful (we’re all beautiful in some way) women hating themselves.

Not only that, but if we could beat ourselves up into making positive changes we’d all be perfect by now!¬† It doesn’t work.¬† But not only that, it causes us to sabotage our own progress.¬†¬†“I’ve blown my diet, might as well go get a huge DQ blizzard because I’m a loser and never going to change anyways.”¬†¬†Insidious!

I’ve come a long way in loving and accepting my body.¬† Even when I started this journey, it was from a mentally strong place.¬† I loved my strong body.¬† I was a bit bigger than I wanted to be, but I was¬†not¬†going to beat myself up.¬† Not even for a minute.¬† I lost weight because I didn’t feel comfortable with the extra wiggle and jiggle.¬† Plus I wanted to actually be able to see the muscles I work so hard on!

I definitely was not always this positive in my approach.

One thing that’s helped me is being very purposeful to exercise gratefulness.¬† Every day.¬† For big things and small.¬† I’m a christian so I offer up little prayers.¬† When I may be tempted to tell myself I’m a pig for eating way too much I instead close my eyes and say, “Lord, thank you that I have access to plentiful food and clean water.¬† Here I am lamenting my full tummy but there are people who are starving to death.¬† Thank you for the blessing of abundant food.”¬† Or instead of bemoaning my curvy backside it’s, “Lord, thank you that my body is strong, healthy and fearfully and wonderfully made.¬† I know there are people who aren’t able to use their bodies but here I am; able to run, jump, do what I need to do.¬† Thank you.”

I’m a christian so I focus on offering grateful prayers but even if you aren’t a person of faith you can completely change your life by focusing on being grateful.¬† You can actually physically change your brain by rewiring it.¬† You’ll be happier, more resilient, and better able to cope with stress.¬† ¬†Benefits of Gratitude

And for the love of sanity, people, instagram is such a mirage.¬† Almost no one posts pics that are “real”.¬† There’s filters and tricks to lend to the illusion that artificial standards of beauty are attainable.¬† I used to love snapchat (my kids too) but realized the lure of capturing pics of myself that weren’t true to reality wasn’t healthy.¬† I deleted it.¬† I only share photos of myself (occasionally, I’m not too obnoxious!) that are flattering but in no way altered.

I’m 31 and this past year I’ve gotten some silver strands in my hair.¬† I’m embracing that silver!¬† I have a big nose.¬† I’ve chosen to rebrand it as “regal”.¬† Because I love myself, and the way God chose to craft me.

My hair is on the thinner side.¬† Well, I style it to make it look as good as it reasonably can.¬† I wish it were long and thick like Ariana Grande’s super cute pony.¬† But you know what?¬† Not even Ariana Grande has that ponytail ūüėȬ† ¬†Ariana Grande Hair Extensions

It’s ok to notice the ways other people have it goin’ on.¬† It’s not ok to compare yourself.¬† You’re not them.¬† You’re you.¬† That’s not going to change.¬† All you can do is¬†be the best version of YOU.¬†¬†

Another trick to feel happy on a diet plan is to have grateful, positive feelings about what you are eating.¬† Again, I’m going to pray before I eat.¬† But you can take a moment to be grateful for the miracle of having healthy food at your fingertips year round.¬† When you eat your food put down the distractions and really taste and enjoy it.¬† If you are actively enjoying your food; your body, in turn, releases hormones triggering feelings of satiety and halts hunger hormones.

Focus on all the good stuff you¬†can¬†eat!¬† Don’t just obsess about the scale but consider how you are improving your health down to the cellular level and probably adding years and vitality to your lifespan.¬† You’re doing this because you love your body and want to take good care of it, bottom line.

life-is-10-what-happens-to-you-and-90-how-you-react-to-it-9

Eat Fat to Burn Fat

First, let me set up some of my weight/diet history for you.¬† I was always very skinny and active as a kid.¬† I loved sweets and chocolate with a passion.¬† I’d make myself cocoa or chocolate malt-o-meal every day before school.

When I got married I was pretty tiny.¬† But after having two more kids (I have three) my weight crept up and up.¬† I was eating healthier and working out more, so…what the ever-living heck?!?!¬†¬†You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.¬† Bad eating habits catch up even to naturally thin people.¬† I was eating too many damn carbs.

I set what I thought would be a realistic goal.¬† My “fighting weight” of the past couple years.¬† I zoomed down to it within¬†8 days.¬†¬†I was a believer in this diet but, wow!¬† I’ve been losing half a pound of body fat a day.¬† I know it is body fat because I have a blue tooth scale that measures hydration and muscle mass, along with weight.¬† My muscle mass and hydration have gone slightly up as the fat has been melting off.

I’ve been keeping my carbs under 50 grams, my fat well over 100 and protein between 60-90 grams.¬† I shoot for 70-80% of my calories from fat.

So your thinking, all right, that sounds good but SWEET MOTHER OF PEARL how am I going to eat that much fat?!? 

All right, calm down a sec, cause it’s not that hard.¬† Really.

It helps if you are a coffee person like me.¬† You can easily wave your keto wand over your coffee to turn it into a metabolic-stoking “fat bomb” delight.

While my coffee is brewing I add a tablespoon of butter from grass fed cows, a teaspoon of MCT oil, and a generous scoop of coconut oil to a blender cup along with a bit of xylitol.  When my coffee is done is dump it into the blender cup, blend it up, and dump it back into my mug.   Easy peasy!

This is known as “bulletproof” coffee.¬† It provides your body with 50-60 grams of fat.¬† It will keep you full for hours as you torch fat like a maniac.¬† All these healthy (you better believe it!) saturated fats are great for brain, skin, and hormonal health.

It’s really not as gross as it sounds.

One thing you should be aware of is that all this fat requires a bit of time to digest.¬† I normally down my coffee then launch into my workout before my kids wake up.¬† If you drink this and immediately work out the results won’t be great.¬† I promise.¬† Take a 10-15 minutes at least before any strenuous activity.

I realized on this journey that I am still “programmed” to buy leaner cuts of meat, like chicken breast.¬† That’s not helpful.¬† I’m switching to buying dark meat cuts like chicken thighs or drumsticks.¬† Most of the nutrients is found in the dark meat anyways.

Most of us who grew up in the 90’s were taught to avoid dietary fat (especially saturated!) as if it would instantly clog our arteries and make us fat.¬† It’s was a load of¬† poo propagated by big agriculture.¬† If I need proof, as a resident of the Upper Midwest, I just drive past some local fields.¬† Corn and Soy.¬† For miles.¬† Farmers get big subsidies to grow these franken-GMO crops that are destroying our health.¬† I could go on and on but trust me when I saw traditional fats are incredibly healthy.¬† Fats created in a lab are making us fat, sick and diabetic.¬† ¬†What is Healthy Fat? ¬† ¬†Well, that, and sugar and our 6-11 servings of grains a day.¬† Sorry to say, ya’ll, but if the American Heart Association poo-poos it, you know it’s good for you!!!¬† AMA Corrupt and Wrong

 

Keto Troubleshooting

Today I’m going to address two unpleasant side effects you can run into getting started with a ketogenic diet.

Ya’ll know health minded people¬†love¬†to talk about poop.¬† healthy poop.¬† regular poop.¬† abundant poop.¬† s-shaped poop.¬† Oprah poops.¬† Dr. Oz poops.¬† Ever’body poopin’.¬† Or at least, we want to be.¬† It isn’t a big deal until there’s an issue and then it’s a¬†big freakin’ deal.¬†¬†Am I right?!

Grains add a lot of fiber and bulk and trigger¬†peristalsis; the movement that keeps things moving through your waste elimination facility.¬† So when you cut out virtually all grains you’re going to lose a lot of that bulk that your insides are accustomed too.¬† Ya’ll know where I’m going with this….118

One easy enough fix is loading up on magnesium.¬† Magnesium is super, duper important for many functions in your body but especially proper elimination.¬† If you’re strict keto you’re probably going to need to supplement.¬† I like natural calm.¬†119 I just mix two teaspoons in with some water or vitamin water zero and it tastes pretty good.¬† It helps with good sleep and… you know, staying regular.¬† It’s good stuff.¬† It also (as stated, derp) helps with anxiety.¬† If you suffer from cramps it’ll probably help that too. ūüėČ

You want to be sure you are staying properly hydrated through the day.¬† Hydrating is¬†not¬†forcing down a gallon of water.¬† Hydration is being smart and taking in electrolytes along with your H20 so you actually hydrate (and not flush yourself and have to pee every 5 minutes).¬† I drink smart water or water with my handy liquid electrolytes added.¬† I add plenty of pink sea salt to my food.¬† This has helped me to almost completely avoid the dreaded “keto-flu”.

Another issue you can run into is problems sleeping.¬† Generally, I’ve been sleeping about an hour less at night.¬† I’m not sure if it’s because I just need less sleep or if my body is still adjusting.

One trick I read on another blog is to get a hit of carbs right before bed.¬† The carbs will trigger your brain to release serotonin and help you sleep.¬† I like drinking a glass of this milk.¬†120 I tolerate dairy pretty well so this is an easy “fix” for me.¬† The fairlife milk is great because it is lactose free and only has 6 grams of carbs per cup.¬† The fat and protein in the milk will slow the absorption of the carbs while still giving you that serotonin fix.¬† Plus it tastes great!!!

If you can’t do milk, you could easily do an avocado (about 10 grams carbs) or a handful of pistachios.

Happy sleeping and bathroom trips to you!