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!

 

 

 

 

Day Seven and a Caveat

One thing I have encountered in my researching into the ketogenic diet is a prevalent arrogance against people who report that the diet¬†didn’t¬†work for them.¬† They tracked their carbs, stuck it out, and saw no progress…or¬†worse,¬†gained weight!

Are these people lying, as some would suggest?¬† I don’t think so.¬† My mom tried the keto diet and she is one of the people who didn’t do well on it.¬† She gave it a month and didn’t lose any weight.

For many people, the diet works amazingly well.¬† The weight melts off, your thinking is clearer, you have more energy, etc. but that isn’t everybody.¬† There’s a million diets out there for a reason.¬† We all have different physiology.¬† There isn’t a one size fits all approach…despite what some blowhards may claim.

From what I knew of my body, I was fairly certain this diet would be a good fit.  And it is.  Eating a greasy cheeseburger (no bun!) with a big dollop of mayo makes me happy and makes me feel good.  A big hunk of bread would make me feel ill.  A cinabon would do me in for the day.  You have to pay attention to the way your body responds to different foods.  What gives you a sense of well-being?  Head in that direction.

A diet should be sustainable and should be nourishing.¬† If you can’t stay on it successfully, you’re almost certain to gain back the weight.¬† That’s why it’s so important to find a diet that enhances your well-being, a diet that you can *gasp* enjoy!¬†¬†117

Today I ventured to eat out for the first time since starting keto.¬† I got the steak salad bowl at chipotle.¬† I skipped obvious carbs like rice and beans and added extra veggies, cheese and guacamole.¬† It was so good!!¬† I didn’t feel deprived at all.

Scintillating Six

So here I am, day 6.  I stepped on the scale, guys, and I AM DOWN 3 POUNDS!!!

This is a mucho big deal because before I would have to kill myself in the gym and create a significant calorie deficit to get the scale to budge¬†at all.¬† I’m eating a healthy 1,500 calories a day and I’ve scaled back my exercise and the weight is still coming off.¬† WOOHOO!!!

 

Sorry for the toothpaste splattered mirror.¬† But you can see I’m looking a bit slimmer.¬† It’s more noticeable in real life.¬† My tummy is way flatter and I’m looking a bit slimmer all over.

Other than that, I’m just feeling really good.¬† There is a new “quietness” in my mind.¬† At night I used to feel like¬†I needed¬†a glass of wine or two to calm down.¬† I feel pretty calm and happy all day now.¬† My mind isn’t always going.¬† I feel a really wonderful “chill” feeling.¬† I can see this diet being a great alternative to medication in treating anxiety.

I made up a recipe.  This is keto-nog.  20180112_095432

 

If the thought of eggnog grosses you out then this recipe is not for you.¬† ūüėČ

Measure out 3/4 cup of half & half into a personal blender.¬† Add two eggs.¬† (Raw, yes raw.¬† I’m badass like Rocky so this doesn’t bother me at all.¬† If it bothers you, you can buy¬†pasteurized.)¬† Add in 1/4 tsp nutmeg and a couple shakes of pumpkin pie spice.¬† You’ll also want a packet of¬†erythritol and/or stevia and a splash (1/4 tsp) of vanilla extract.

Blend up that bad boy and chug it while simultaneously feeling some of the spirit of Christmas and Rocky.

This drinks comes in at 7 grams of carbs, 18 grams easily digestible protein, and 30 grams of fat.

It’s great for a post workout shake.¬† It tastes decently close to real eggnog.¬† Of course, minus the high fructose corn syrup and gut-busting carageenan.¬† The spices give it a lot of flavor and add antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

Keto on, my friends!

 

Feisty Day Five

I’ve realized that 20 grams of carbs a day is a bit unrealistic.¬† In fact, it’s crazy hard keeping the numbers that low.¬† I’ve decided to aim for it but not stress as long as I’m under 50 grams a day.

I’ve ordered a keto cookbook to help me keep going and not get bored with my food choices.¬† I also ordered some liquid electrolytes to add to water.¬† Keto makes you so thirsty and it is easy to get into¬†hyponatremia if you aren’t careful.¬† Hyponatremia occurs when your electrolytes get too low.¬† A lot of low-carbers can run into this, feel awful, then give up.

One unexpected benefit to cutting out sugar and carbs is improved oral health.¬† When you go to floss there is going to be nothing there!¬† Because plaque is caused by “sticky” carbs, and your aren’t eating any, you’re oral health is going to be on point.

Another unexpected change is the way I feel during a workout.¬† Now that I’m burning body fat (hells yeah) instead of glucose, a workout feels totally different.¬† I’m not getting as winded.¬† I feel a very calm and stable energy.¬† I know I’m still working hard and sweating up a storm but I’m not huffing and puffing.¬† It’s kind of strange but not unwelcome.

Here is more “fitspo” that I find incredibly inspiring.¬†¬†1116

Cautionary Tale

In my research I saw that a lot of people use MCT coconut oil because of it’s energizing properties.¬† Of course I had to buy some!

This morning I put about a tablespoon in my coffee (and blended it, because fat bubbles=gross).¬† It was actually really good and frothed up like a bulletproof latte.¬† I sucked most of it down then realized…uh-oh.¬† Not feeling good at all.¬†¬†So I sit here feeling light headed and nauseous.¬† Apparently it’s something you want to slowly ease into. ūü§¶115

From what I understand, this stuff is like coconut oil on crack.¬† It’s powerful so you have to proceed with caution (not a strong suit for me!) and start with a teaspoon, max.¬† Don’t throw caution to the wind and dump it into your coffee with a gusto like me.

It is good stuff though.¬†¬†https://draxe.com/mct-oil/¬† I’m guessing one reason why it can make people feel sick is the die-off result.¬† When ingested, especially on an empty stomach, it can have a very strong¬†natural¬†antibacterial and antifungal effect.¬† It kills off yucky stuff in our guts, basically.¬† When those nasty little buggers die, they release some toxin crap and don’t go down without a fight.¬† That’s why you want to make sure you are eating fiber and drinking lots of water to help your body target and then flush out candida and parasites.¬† While it can have a profoundly positive effect when those nasty hitchhikers are gone, the actual process of getting rid of them can be quite unpleasant.¬† But coconut oil and MCT are very effective even if not for the faint of heart.¬† https://coconutoil.com/study-candida-infections-can-be-controlled-with-coconut-oil/

Aside from accidentally over- doing it on the MCT, I’m doing pretty well!¬† I’m already down a couple pounds and looking less “puffy”.¬† While I know that is probably due to losing excess water, I’ll take it!

Aside from dealing with decreased energy and a slight headache that comes and goes, I’ve already noticed a lot of positive effects.¬† My mood has been much more stable.¬† Before my mood would go through fairly extreme high and lows, no doubt coinciding with my wildly fluctuating blood sugar levels.

This is really huge for me because I do struggle (and always have) with depression and anxiety.¬† I’d liken it to being bipolar but going through the entire cycle of elation to crash every.single.day.¬† If this diet can help regulate my emotions it will be more than worth it!!

Another thing I’ve noticed is generally less aches and pains.¬† I have a minor scoliosis which leads to daily back pain for me.¬† It’s hard to measure in any scientific way but my back pain seems to have been less these past few days.

Another great feature of the keto diet is that when you cut out sugar, you eliminate a huge source of inflammation in your body.  So if you struggle with chronic pain, it could potentially greatly improve your quality of life and reduce dependence on medication.  https://www.furtherfood.com/how-to-reduce-chronic-inflammation-by-limiting-sugar-intake/

When it comes to cutting out sugar you may (like me) want to find a worthy substitute.¬† I’ve been using xylitol, which I do really like…¬†but¬†it is not carb free and can impact blood sugar levels.¬† One sweetener (of course natural, artificial aint even an option, people!) that is popular in the keto community is erythritol.¬† You can get it by itself or mixed with stevia.¬† I’m going to track some down today and start experimenting.