One Year Later- RESULTS!

My photos from a year ago popped up on my phone this morning.  I saw a pic of where I was at then and I had to of course compare it to now, 6 or so months into a ketogenic lifestyle.

The second picture was this morning.¬† Of course I had to make a dorky face.¬† Might as well if you’re taking bathroom selfies, and flexing no less.¬† I think I look leaner and more defined.¬† I’m probably only a couple pounds lighter.¬† I started lifting heavier and increased my lean muscle mass while cutting a bit of body fat.

In the “before” pic I was very fit, working out very hard but not getting the results I wanted.¬† I remember thinking I should be getting more out of the work I was putting in.¬† I wanted to be leaner but, as much as I knew about health and fitness, I wasn’t sure how to go about it.¬† I knew just cutting calories wasn’t a great plan because cutting calories is a sure fire way¬†to slow your metabolism¬†which is like shooting yourself in the foot.

I have to admit this all pure vanity stuff.¬† Of course I want to be healthy but when it’s five pounds plus or minus it’s pretty much aesthetics.¬† I’ve had three babies but I really wanted great abs.¬†¬†20180608_1309022006147604.jpg

Goal: accomplished.

I don’t do crunches or count calories.¬† I just keep my carbs low, eat plenty of healthy fat and protein, and lift challenging weights.¬† When I do cardio I keep it very short with HIIT style workouts.

My belly button looks wonky and I have plenty of stretch marks, but they’re badges of honor.¬† I just want to be the best version of me and honor what my body has accomplished.

 

Chilly Keto ColdBrew Mocha

Guys, I was doing a flex-keto approach and doing high and low carb days along with some intermittent fasting.  Which worked well for awhile until I found myself eating TWO big ole gluten free smores last weekend and then realizing I had gained, or was well on my way, to gaining back all the weight I had initially lost.  *sad face*

So I did what I usually do to atone for too many dietary sins.¬† I started tracking¬†every single gram of carb¬†with my fitness pal.¬† It’s still amazing to me that calories don’t really matter.¬† 1,500 calories with over 100 grams of carbs will have me gaining weight while 1,800 with less than 30 grams of carbs will have my body fat quickly dwindling away.¬† This may not hold true for all but I know it certainly is for me.

20180603_0941431091780791.jpgI’ve said it before but I’ll say it again- one of the best things about keto is the fact that you can still have creamy, delicious treats.¬† Like this cold brew based coffee drink I am sipping right now.¬†If you’ve read the blog for awhile you’ve probably figured out that I am a bit obsessed with both coffee and chocolate.¬† So I love finding new, low-carb ways to combine them.

I picked up some starbucks brand cold brew at target.¬† If you get some, make sure it is unsweetened.¬† Most kinds come pre-sweetened.¬† Definitely don’t want that!

I blended about a cup of cold brew with half and half (food of the gods!), cocoa powder and my monk fruit sweetener to get this delicious, frosty treat.¬† You can also add ice to make it more frappuccino-esque.¬† I think for future versions, I’ll have some coffee ice cubes on hand to add in.¬†¬†20180603_093440940081504.jpg

Keto ColdBrew Mocha

  • 1 Cup Cold Brew Coffee
  • 1/2 Cup Half and Half ( you can sub in filtered milk, almond milk, or heavy cream)
  • 1 tbs. Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tbs. Natural Sweetener (such as stevia, monk fruit, or¬†erythritol)

Combine ingredients in magic bullet style blender and enjoy!  This refreshing treat is sure to put some pep in your step at 182 calories, 8.7 grams of carb (about 6 net carbs), 14.5 grams of fat and 4.6 grams of protein.

 

Frozen and Cheating

It hasn’t been a great week.

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My oldest son, definitely sums up the week!

In the spirit of being transparent and real (keep it real!)- I’ve been cheating left and right.¬† Popcorn.¬† Easter candy.¬† Chocolate bunnies.¬† I’ve been on the cheating train and that train is a crazy one.¬† In my defense, it has been spring break week.¬† It has also been snowing, freezing, windy and nasty.¬† So I’ve been pent up with three kids with serious spring fever.

We’re not going to kill it 100% of the time.¬† I am working on viewing myself with a bit of compassion, honesty, and of course- humor.¬† I stepped on the scale yesterday to face the music and thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as I feared.

I got super strict with my carbs again and got that rush of ketone-energy that I’d been lacking.¬† The problem with the diet is that it only works as long as you follow it!!

I’ve found that the more I cheat, the more I¬†want¬†to cheat.¬† I just need to be super strict, and it is actually easier.¬† Because a “few” sips of my kids chocolate shake turns into a few chocolates turns into gummy bears turns into feeling awful… you get the idea.

It doesn’t help that my husband thought it’d be a good idea to stock up (and I do mean STOCK up) on clearance Easter chocolate and candy because it was 70% off! ūüėí

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I’m not kidding!!!!¬† This isn’t even all of it!

But honestly, as long as I’m being super strict, the cravings disappear and I can ignore the obnoxiously abundant supply of chocolate-covered peanut butter in my pantry.

It really boils down to getting back in touch with your goals.¬† Then you can decide, is it worth it?¬† Then you just do it.¬† Succeeding long term requires a mixture of being honest with yourself but also giving yourself grace… and believing that you are worth it.¬† That your health should be a priority.¬† Because junk food may taste good but it isn’t worth it.¬† Because feeling good is better than momentary indulgences.

Workin’ Girl

I haven’t written in a few days.

Honestly, I just haven’t been in the mood to write.¬† Plus, I started my new job and then today got hit with the stomach bug that’s been going around! ūü§Ęūüėę

I do want to expand a bit on my Valentine’s day cheat.¬† Ya’ll know it didn’t go super well.¬†12121 And in honesty, it threw me off so much that it took a good 3-4 days to feel like I was back on track.¬† I had a lot of cravings and generally feeling icky.¬† I suppose it’s just more reinforcement that my body really likes keto, and thrives on it.¬† Next time I cheat I’ll do it a lot smarter.¬† I’ll “re-feed” with complex carbs to replenish glycogen without unleashing insulin fury and setting off a week of sugar cravings!

But honestly, the stress of starting a new job has caused major cravings too.¬† Sometimes you just want some ^#*$ing carbs, right?!¬† I’ve been wanting to mow down on some popcorn or pizza.¬†2121 I’ve been really good though.¬† To get a bit of a comfort food fix I made some chocolate keto ice cream.¬† ¬†No pictures will be posted because the end result wasn’t pretty.¬† Pragmatist that I am I decided to not do all the separate mixing and (dirtying of bowls!) consolidate into less steps (and dirty bowls!).¬† The chocolate didn’t quite blend all the way in so there are bits of solid chocolate in the end result.¬† I do like it though, it makes it¬†almost¬†taste like a cookies and cream ice cream.¬† I also used regular baking chocolate for less carbs.¬† It was still pretty sweet.

I’ve also had to figure out some quick, easy and portable meals to take to work.¬† I’ve been eating ham and cheese egg muffins (I posted the recipe¬†here).¬† I’ve also been throwing together a very simple tuna salad.¬† I don’t like fish¬†except¬†for tuna.¬† I buy lower mercury, wild caught canned tuna and of course add in a generous amount of my avocado oil based mayo.¬† Plus a diced up dill pickle, because, pickles and tuna go together like p.b. and jelly!¬† I just mix it up and eat it straight.¬† You could also dress it up with celery or spinach leaves.

I’ve also been making a big travel mug of chai tea with coconut butter and ethyritol.¬† I sip on it all day for steady energy.¬† When lunch time rolls around, I am just starting to get hungry because the tea really tides me over.

When I do get hit hard with carb cravings I try to remember all the benefits I’ve gained.¬† Starting a new job and getting out of my comfort zone, I’ve had so much less anxiety than I would have otherwise.¬† I even dealt with a less than nice costumer who was giving me a hard time (for being new, and human) and it didn’t even faze me.¬† Like, at all.¬† Plus I do get to eat a lot of delicious food and my jeans have all un-shrunk! ūüėČ

Savory and Sweet

I happened upon this¬†recipe¬†for loaded cauliflower casserole (ahem, it’s hotdish, people) and thought, Woah!¬† Perfect keto extravaganza!¬† High fat, low carb- featuring bacon, sour cream, cream cheese, cheddar all tied together with the¬†low carb darling veggie; cauliflower.¬†20180206_183501.jpg¬†I went back to Whole Foods (the place is growing on me) and found uncured, nitrate free bacon and organic cream cheese.¬† I also realized that pre-shredded cheese has ishy ingredients that add up as unnecessary carbs. ūüė¶¬† So I bought a big ole brick of sharp cheddar cheese instead.

There were a lot of steps, some of which I consolidated a bit.  I mixed in the sour cream (because my kids have violent reactions against the sight of sour cream, but not the taste), I mixed in everything but a cup of the cheese, which I sprinkled on top.

We all had pretty small portions because this stuff is incredibly rich.  It was savory and delicious.  My oldest son who is a savory person wolfed his down.  My somewhat picky husband gave it two thumbs up.  My two youngest who have tragically unrefined palates acted like I was trying to feed them vomit.

Oh well, can’t win them all.

I also found another solid gold recipe at¬†the ketogenic queen.¬† This one is definitely sweet and mimics the taste of a frosty chocolate shake.¬† It’s only three ingredients; full fat coconut milk, stevia (or sweetener of your choice) and cocoa powder.¬† I bought coconut 20180207_075020.jpg

milk for the very first time to try this recipe.  I found it at Whole Foods for only $.99 a can.

I got home and opened it up to discover a thick putty like material that was a bit horrifying.  I poked around in it to discover the cream had just separated and gone to the top.  I threw the whole thing into the blender to reconstitute it.  I used a cup of coconut milk, two heaping tablespoons cocoa powder, and two teaspoons of my sweetener and put it back in the blender.  It equals out to 50 grams healthy fat, 500 calories of fuel, 9 grams fiber, 14 total carbs and only 5 net grams of carbs.

Guys, this stuff is Ah-MAZ-ing!  The taste has a delicate lightness even though the coconut milk is very rich.  It is like drinking a creamy and indulgent milkshake.  I also noticed a huge rush of energy after drinking mine.  The recipe is definitely a keeper!  It tastes naughty but it is full of fat-torching MCTs, antioxidants and fiber.  Solid gold.

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The Gun Show

This is actually going to be a legit post and not just an excuse to show off my¬†sweet lady “guns”…¬†I promise ūüėČ

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Wow, a lot of pasty whiteness going on up above.¬† *shrug*¬† It’s February in Minnesota and we too poor for a Hawaii getaway and too smart to tan in a booth.¬† But¬†anyhoos¬†I am a lady who lifts.¬† Ever since I saw Linda Hamilton kicking ass and taking names in Terminator 2, I’ve been inspired with a fitness warrior mindset.

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Beast Level: Expert

It’s an extreme look, definitely not everyone’s cup o’ tea.¬† Heck, even I don’t want to look quite that shredded.¬† But it is insanely inspiring.¬† You won’t look like this though unless you are training with commandos 2 hours a day and on an insanely strict diet.

You also won’t turn into a frightening female bodybuilder with quads like oak tress from hitting the weights room a few times a week.¬† I’ve been lifting weights for years and I still look like a girl.¬† The ladies who don’t¬†usually¬†are using questionable substances to alter their sex hormones.¬† Estrogen works to build¬†denser¬†muscles.¬† That’s why you can put on lean body mass (muscle) and gain weight but look smaller.¬† For instance, I’m ten pounds heavier than I was ten years ago but¬†roughly the same size.¬†¬†

Weight lifting causes your body to release a cascade of hormones that keep you young, healthy and more resilient.  If you want to avoid osteoporosis and frailty as you get older you need to go get a barbell, girl.

Another reason I lift is because of my role model who happens to be my mom.¬† She is 57 and is still hitting the weights and challenging herself.¬† We often swap workout videos!¬† She’s been lifting weights since the 80’s and she has a vitality and joy for life which is unusual for women even 20 years younger.¬† Plus she looks great!

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After a color run, can you tell which one is my mom and which one is my sister? ūüėõ

If you want to get started and don’t know how, don’t be afraid to get a trainer or pick up tips from a gym rat friend.¬† I’ve mostly stuck with videos because I can do them in the privacy of my basement.¬† I’ve assembled quite the collection of equipment and videos over the years.¬† I usually stick with Cathe Friedrich workouts because she is simply the best.

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Lady Beast

She’s 53 and as crazy fit as ever.

Start lifting now.  Do it for your body composition.  Do it for your bones.  Do it for your self-esteem and a vitalizing sense of empowerment.

Find your inner lady beast!¬† Or if you’re a dude and made it through till this point- your inner man beast!

Hacking Your Bodyfat

Saying someone still has their baby fat is usually an insult.¬† But I’m going to tell you why it is actually a very good thing…

There are three distinct types of fat that we store in our bodies-

bodyfat

The white fat is the most common.  We need some to cushion our organs and keep us warm and healthy.  But an excess leads to unsightly bulges and decreased health in just about every area.  We all know this, right?

There is another kind of fat that we actually want to increaseРbrown fat.  We are all born with high amounts of brown fat as an adaptation to help us regulate body temperatures until we are able to generate heat through shivering. 11111brown fat

I actually saw a show where young parents and their baby were caught out in the cold for about two weeks.  They all survived but the parents lost their toes to frostbite.  The baby was totally fine, other than some dehydration.  Possibly due to the much higher amount of brown fat that baby had access to.

We all start out with abundant levels of brown fat, but this is one instance were if you don’t use it, you lose it.¬† Adults have far less brown fat, especially if they aren’t having to work to keep themselves warm on a regular basis.

Simply having brown fat torches calories.¬† But activating brown fat through exposure to cold annihilates calories.¬† Brown fat has been shown to gobble up glucose in the blood stream and even burn white fat to generate warmth.¬† In one study 12 young men sat in a cool, 63 degree F room for two hours a day.¬† Initially they burned an extra 108 calories.¬† But by the end of the study, 6 weeks later, they were burning an extra 298 calories!¬† Their bodies had adapted by converting white fat to beige fat.¬† Brown fat consumes, or burns, 5 times more energy than white fat.¬† By increasing your brown fat levels, you will be able to burn far more calories at rest.¬† You’ll be leaner with a faster metabolism!¬†¬†Brown fat is also packed with mitchondria, which we want for¬†optimal health.¬† In fact, brown fat is brown due to the high levels of mitochondria!

Exposing yourself (not that kind, if you get arrested for streaking, don’t blame me) to cold is just one way to increase brown or beige fat.¬† You want to be cool enough to feel it without being cold enough to shiver.

In the winter we keep our thermostat between 63-65 degrees.¬† At first it feels chilly but we get used to it quickly.¬† I usually just wear a t-shirt.¬† People who visit often complain and ask me how I’m not freezing.¬† But it feels comfortable to us and we keep our heating bill down.¬† Cool temps at night also lead to deeper, more restorative¬†sleep.

There are other ways you can increase your brown fat as well.  Exercise turns on genes that lead white fat conversion.  Deep sleep is a factor as well.  Drinking green tea also seems to play a part.  Getting outdoors more helps as well as reducing stress in your life.  Basically healthy practices we should all be doing anyways.  

But it could be as simple as turning down your thermostat and taking cool showers.¬† It’s worth it, I promise!!!¬†Hot_Cold-Shower-Therapy_-How-to-Enjoy-it-Why-its-Important