Self-Love and Maintenance

Confession: I used to struggle big time with disordered eating habits and body image issues.¬† I know I’m not even close to being alone in that.¬† In fact, it’s so common it’s widespread.

I just got done reading a blog of a woman who is stick thin with a goal to lose 9 pounds.¬† I don’t want to judge anyone’s journey but sometimes we need a reality check.

A couple weeks ago I stopped losing weight.¬† I didn’t know if I should keep trying to lose or what… but today I realized the scale stopped moving because I am dang thin enough.¬† My body is happy.¬† No more weight needs to be lost.¬† It’d be easy for me to slip back into an obsessive mindset but I’m not going to go there.

At this point I am nourishing my body¬†well.¬†¬†I cut way back on the carbs and the extra I had melted right off.¬† The scale stopped when I got to a place that is good¬†for my body.¬† Now it’s maintenance from here on out because I am picking up on the cues my body is laying down.

I am daily incorporating fun stuff like dark chocolate, bigger portions of veggies (yes I do love my buttered and sauced up veggies!) and there will be cheat carb-tastic splurges.¬† None yet, but I’ll let you know when it happens!

Life is for living and a diet is merely a tool in your life to achieve your goals.¬† A diet should not¬†be¬†your life.¬† At the end of the day the most important thing is that you are enjoying life.¬† Each day that passes is another one you’ll never get back.¬† We don’t have time to obsess over the scale or beat ourselves up.¬† A diet is only useful as long as it is enhancing your physical well-being and confidence.¬†¬†15183735677832118189234.jpg

 

I’m sticking with the keto lifestyle because I genuinely enjoy it.¬† I’m reaping benefits far beyond less jiggle in my wiggle.¬† I look and feel better.¬† Oh, and I love me some fat bombs!

Mackin’ Macros

I’ve gone and forth a bit on this blog and there’s always temptation to go back and “fix” previous blogs to align with what I’ve learned along the way,¬†bbuuuttt since I want this blog to be on honest¬†chronicling of my keto “experiment” I’ll just let you all watch me make mistakes and change my mind on some things.

I’m a bit of a wino.¬† The 1-2 glasses a night kind, not the homeless with a shopping cart kind.¬† I tried to incorporate some wine here and there.¬† Just a 5 ounce glass of merlot (lowest carb wine) 4-5 times a week.¬† It made me gain back a bit of weight and stall out. ūüė•

I also was introducing more fibrous carbs, such as cauliflower, broccoli, etc.  Same noise there.  Progress flat-lined.

Xylitol messed up my insulin levels but I seem to do fine with my mix of ethyritol, stevia and monk fruit.  The three mixed together produces the best taste, IMO, while still having little to no impact on blood sugar or cravings.

So I scaled back my carbs again and cut out the wine and saw immediate progress.¬† I’m still eating just as much.¬† Yesterday I ate 1,900 calories.¬† My dinner was a hamburger topped with two slices cheese and a fried egg.¬† Not exactly what you’d think when you think “diet food”.¬† But it works.¬† I also ate a (delicious) ungodly amount of cream cheese and whipping cream.¬† I hit 81% calories from fat and only 18 grams of carbs.¬† Happy dance!

The “mabs” (mommy abs) are cutting up.¬† I still have some other trouble areas I’d like to shrink a bit more and then I’m going to slow my roll and figure out a healthy maintenance plan.

For anyone starting this plan I recommend weighing in every day to monitor your progress and find out what works the best for you.  Find the right balance in your macros and the weight should melt off effortlessly.  This is a great visual-Keto-Food-Pyramid-Ketogenic-Diet

Side benefits since I’ve been staying consistently in ketosis would be that I’m much calmer and patient with my kids.¬† I’m not getting snippy.¬† Every little thing isn’t bothering me.¬† Because I’m much more even-keel I’m feeling a greatly improved sense of confidence.¬† My skin also looks a lot better.

Funny side note, I’m facebook friends with a young lady who is a very vocal vegan.¬†tenor I saw a video she posted yesterday claiming that meat and dietary fat are the cause of diabetes and cancer.¬† It took a lot of willpower to refrain from commenting.

Live and let live!

 

Results!!

I’ve been at this keto lifestyle for 19 days and¬†drumroll…. I’ve lost five pounds of body fat!¬† Five pounds in under 20 days!¬† If you need a visual to process that, here ya go.

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I’m sorry if you are currently eating.¬† Shocking, isn’t it?

20180125_093402.jpgAll I did was track my food with the fitness pal app.¬† I didn’t even cut back on calories much.¬† I just kept my carbs low (under 50 grams) and my fat high (over 110 grams).

If anything, I’ve cut back on exercise.¬† I do about 30 minutes a day.¬† I stick mostly with strength training.¬† I’ve been going over my supposed calorie needs every day, sometimes by up to 400 calories.¬† And still, results!

I’m feeling good.¬† I feel strong.

Obviously, I really highly recommend the ketogenic diet.¬† For most people, you are going to get results, and quickly!¬† The honest downside is that you are very limited in what you can eat.¬† If you stroll down the aisles at your grocery store you’ll realize you can’t eat 90% of what is in the store.¬† I have celiacs disease, so I’m used to a limited diet.¬† It hasn’t been a huge deal to me, but I can see how it would be to someone who is used to eating whatever they want.

But the real benefits are that you lose stored body fat without having to deprive yourself.¬† You won’t lose muscle like you would on a low calorie diet.¬† You’re eating foods that are great for you.¬† Your thinking will get clearer and your cravings will greatly dissipate.¬† All that fat is great for skin and brain health.¬†Fat and Cholesterol Critical for Brain Health¬†Dietary fat for Healthy Skin

 

Fat of the Land

I’ve already addressed that you want to ignore the (big-agriculture funded) advice of the American Heart Association.¬† You want to avoid an oil that inexplicably comes from a grain or “vegetable”.¬† Corn, soy, canola, margarine….don’t even feed it to your dog.

So what oils are you supposed to eat?

About six years ago I was nursing my third baby.¬† I wasn’t producing enough milk and she was experiencing constipation.¬† Around that same time I was learning the truth about healthy and unhealthy fats.¬† I threw away our vegetable and canola oil, along with our “butter-esque” spread.¬† I replaced everything with virgin coconut oil and real butter.

I added tons of natural fats, especially coconut oil, to my diet.¬† My milk and my baby’s health improved dramatically.¬† My baby even took on a faint coconutty scent that others commented on.¬† She still loves coconut.

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My coconut baby!¬† She had such a glow ‚̧

The myth (still propagated to this day!) that saturated fats were unhealthy came from a study by Ancel Keys in the 1950’s.¬† He wanted to show that fat was the cause for all our health woes.¬† His results showed anything but, but he chose to cherry pick the data, dump what didn’t support his hypothesis, and presented his findings to the scientific community.¬† Here’s a funny, quick video that sums it up-¬†funny truth bomb video

We all switched to whole milk, organic when possible (we’re a family of five, six if you count the 90 lb. dog, on a single income!).¬† I cook with lots of butter.¬† We’ve consumed a lot of saturated fat for the past 6 years.

When I started a part time job last year people were shocked at my age.¬† They assumed I was a good 5-8 years younger than I am.¬† I’m 31.¬† I got asked where I go to school!¬† I assume this is because of the anti-aging properties of healthy saturated fat and avoiding the aging properties of vegetable oils.

It’s frustrating to me that people¬†still¬†think saturated fats are unhealthy.¬† What happened when everyone switched to skim milk, margarine, and 6-11 servings of grain a day?¬† Obesity, heart disease, diabetes…it all skyrocketed.¬† To make up for a lack of flavor food manufacturers added extra starch and sugar to low-fat products.¬† Snackwell cookie, anyone?

All of this was pushed on the public.¬† You’d only know the truth if you knew how to do your own research.¬† It makes my blood boil a bit.

The fact is, saturated fat is healthy.¬† It’s where the majority of our fat calories should be coming from.¬†¬†Saturated fat Vindicated¬† Saturated fat is going to be shelf-stable.¬† It doesn’t oxidize at the rate of fats from vegetable sources.¬† When you eat an oil that has been chemically squeezed from a grain it is going to cause a cascade of inflammation and oxidation in your body.¬† These oils aren’t shelf stable.¬† They degrade quickly.¬† Therefore they all undergo a process of hydrogenation to some extant.¬†¬†Vegetable Oils and Oxidation¬† Since oxidation is basically causing us all to age and eventually die, we all want to limit it as much as possible, capiche?¬†¬†420d9af0cc93caebd56b2f1bff54ca6cI implore you to do your own research.¬† Literally chuck your vegetable oils in the garbage.¬† Replace it with real butter (yum!), coconut oil (amazing for you!), olive oil, avocado oil, and natural animal fats.¬† Your food will taste better, you’ll feel better, I promise!

 

 

Shark Week!!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.