A Sunday Summary

This week was a roller coaster for me.

I started out depressed about not seeing progress on the scale. Then I started a 60 hour workweek which was completed in 4 days. At work on Monday, one of my co-workers, a 70 year old health guru, mentioned that he thought I was losing weight. On the same day, I tightened another notch on my belt.

I didn’t get as many workouts this week as I would have liked. Even though I woke up one morning at 4:00 am to make sure I got my 1.5 mile run in. I ate lots of summer sausage, cheese, celery, and homemade peanut butter.

Later in the week, the scale did move downwards, two pounds. And then yesterday, I got my scale and found out that I’ve dropped 20 pounds of fat.

I did work out both Saturday and Sunday. I missed my workouts through the week, though. Just jogging a few miles was tough today. Glad I got back on the bandwagon now and not next week.

This has been a mentally and physically exhausting week. I can’t say that I’m ready to go back to work tomorrow, but I am looking forward to only working 40 hours. This should free up another 20 hours for rest and working out.

I’m super tired from my work-out today, and I’m heading to bed early, at 6:20 pm. It’s been a long week and I have work at 6:00 am.

It’s Not Just Water Weight

As I have said before, I have been perpetually doing low-carb diets for most of the last ten years. One thing I’ve always been frustrated with is the acceptance of my lifestyle choices by others. This probably stems from my incessant need to feel approved by others, and since I’ve worked through a lot of those issues, I believe I will be able to stick to this diet long after I’ve reached my goal weight. That being said, it’s still a pain to constantly be faced with adversity when you know what you are doing is right.

One of the things people have often said to me when I’ve told them how much weight I’ve lost on a low-carbohydrate diet is, “Oh, you’re just losing water weight, that isn’t real weight loss.” There are few things more discouraging that you could tell a person who is trying to make themself healthier.

Today I got my scale in that reads body fat percentage as well as muscle mass and water weight, and I was in for a shock! Now, I did’t have an exact starting percentage, but through some calculators based on my original height, weight and waist size, I was somewhere between 39 and 41% fat. YUCK! This meant that right at 70 pounds of my original body weight was fat.

Today, six weeks and two days later, I am down to 32% of body fat. This means, today, only 50 pounds of my body is fat!

By these calculations, I have lost 20 pounds of fat.

That isn’t water weight, people. It is likely that I have gained muscle and water weight because according to the scale, I’ve only lost 16 pounds. I’ve gained 4 pounds of something!

If you are doing Keto, I urge you to stop just checking your weight in pounds or kilograms, and start tracking what percent of fat you’ve lost as well.

And for all the Keto Haters, there is no denying the facts. I’m burning through fat, using it as energy instead of glucose. I’ve turned my body into a fat burning (probably muscle building) machine.

Keep Calm and Keto On!

Keto Broccoli Cheddar Soup

It’s getting cold in the Midwest, and there’s few things that warm your body and your soul like a warm cup of Broccoli Soup. I’m familiar with making many kinds of soup, but this was my first attempt at Broccoli Chedder soup. For this recipe, I looked at several non-keto recipes and made my own adaptations to make this delicious, high fat, low carb soup. This recipe makes a lot of soup, but doesn’t taste low-carb, so I’m sure if you have others in your house that aren’t doing low-carb, they will probably still help you eat it. I’m also confident you could half this recipe and still have a delicious soup without as many left overs.

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Ingredients:

  • 7 cups chicken stock (If you look you can find ones with 0-1 carb per cup).
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1/4 lb of carrots
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
  • 8 cups broccoli (4 medium sized heads), coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbs of butter
  • 24 oz cheddar cheese

Optional: Almond Flour (1-3 Tbs)

Directions:

  1. Mince the celery, carrots, onion and garlic. Sautee them in a large stockpot on a medium heat with the butter.
  2. Once the veggies have begun to brown, add the chicken stock and Italian seasoning.
  3. Bring this to a boil, while remaining on a medium heat, and while covered. Allow the chicken stock to boil for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the coarsely chopped broccoli. Allow the broccoli to become soft, which should take about 30-45 minutes.
  5. Once the broccoli becomes soft, turn down the heat to it’s lowest setting, and add the cream and cheese. I used block cheese and just chopped it into smaller blocks to help it melt quicker.
  6. Once the cheese melts, if you want, you can add some almond flour to help thicken it up. My soup was just a little thin, so I only added a tablespoon. You’ll want to make sure that you stir it in well and give it time to cook. Otherwise, you may get a bite of raw almond flour.
  7. Serve it up! This recipe makes about 16 medium sized bowls (10-12 oz) of soup. Depending on how you divide up your bowls, you may have a little more or little less. I garnished mine with a little shredded cheese to make it a little prettier. You can, too.

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Each bowl has about 360 calories, 5 carbs (2 are fiber, so 3 net carbs), 29 grams of fat, and 13 grams of protein. For me, it is a really good balance of my macros.

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Catching a Break

I know it seems like I’ve neglected my blog this week, but it was not exactly what I wanted to do. I just finished working almost 60 hours in four days, so there wasn’t much time for me to sleep, let alone blog. I did get several short work-outs in, though. I am pleased to say that I have three days off now, though.

I also hadn’t had that much time to even weigh myself, and with it being shark week, I thought it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for my morale anyway.

Much to my surprise, I work up this morning two pounds less than the last time I weight myself. My plateau broke, and I am at one of my lowest weights in five years. I honestly feel like I am losing more fat, but I might be gaining muscle. My scale that will tell me my body fat percentage is coming in, and I’m excited to start tracking that!

I know it would be impossible for me to be able to keep up this diet if I didn’t plan ahead. I work with some adolescent boys that had found themselves in trouble with the law in one way or another and are court ordered to complete a counseling program at a residential facility. One thing we teach these guys is that you must plan ahead to get ahead. Every week, before my week even starts, I plan out all of my meals for the week and prepare them.  It also takes just about as much effort to make all my meals up for the week at one time as it does for me to make one meal at a time. It only takes about 45 minutes each week for me to make up all my meals for the week.

This week, I made my own Lunchables with 1 oz of Colby Cheese, 1 oz of summer sausage, 1 celery stalk and 1 Tbs of homemade no-sugar added peanut butter. If I didn’t do this simple task each week, I believe I would likely eat the protein and veggie that the boys were eating in the cafeteria, and I would often not be able to eat Keto at all. I ate my homemade Lunchables for lunch and dinner every day this week and that was all I needed to eat to no long feel hungry. It feels great to be at a point where my insulin levels are in check, so I don’t feel the need to keep eating once I am full.

Anyway, I’m glad I finally getting a break, both from work and from my scale! I’ll keep you updated about how the weekend goes!

Playing the Waiting Game

I haven’t posted in nearly a week, and there is a very good reason for that.

I’m angry.

My scale has been stuck between 160.5 and 159.0 for 2 weeks now and I’ve been doing everything right. And even while it has been stuck, I continued to do everything right. And what is worse, my fears started to become my reality. The question that has lingered in the back of my head for years, “What if I can’t lose weight?” began to feel like it might be true.

It sounds ridiculous, but since I’ve already had that thought in my head, and I have been doing everything right, I started to think it was a possibility. I mean, I run at least two miles every day, I eat under 1200 calories and 20 carbs per day. Scientifically, it seems that there is no reason I shouldn’t have dropped at least two to three pounds in two weeks!

And that is when a second question started forming in my head. If it’s true that I can’t lose weight, then why am I even trying?

And I started to verbalize these thoughts with my husband. My husband loves me so much that he actually listens to me when I talk or ramble or complain. He remembered all of the things I was saying 6 weeks ago when I started Keto and he began to repeat them to me.

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He started talking about all the extra energy I have. He reminded me of how much better I feel about myself and how the long term goal was not weight loss, but a healthier body. He also pointed out with as much activity that I do, I may be putting on some muscle, which obviously weighs more than fat.

And this week, he decided to commit to the Keto life, too. (He’s cooking steaks and sauteed cauliflower for dinner, right now!)

Also, I was talking with my friend and co-worker, Jeremy who is also living a low-carb lifestyle, and he was explaining that in some people, when they are on a low carb diet, their fat cells will shrink, but will retain water.

So, I’ve decided to wait.

I’m waiting for my fat cells to decided to let go of the water they are holding. I’m also waiting for my new scale to get in from Amazon, which will not only tell me my weight, but my body fat percentage.

And while I wait, I’ll keep resisting carbs and keep on running. It’s not about how much I weigh by any certain date, it’s about living healthy every day.

Day 33: A Rant and a Recipe

I was just going to post a recipe today, but first, I need to vent.

I didn’t work out as much as I should have this weekend, and now I really regret it. I ate like I should have, but without exercising the amount I normally do on weekends, I gained a pound. Some of you may be like, “Oh, it’s just a pound, it’ll be ok.” But that is how any diet or exercise program gets tossed to the wayside. Like this weekend, “It’s just one extra day off this week, no big deal”. Then one day turns into two, and two days turns into a week. Much like one french fry can turn a whole day into a “cheat day” and then you’re putting on more weight than you lost.

Anyway, in the future, I need to keep sticking to the plan. And I will.

End Rant.

Ok, Now for the recipe of the week!

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Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake!

It’s a great fall food without sacrificing your diet! My husband loves it, and he hasn’t even started Keto yet!

What you’ll need:

  • A food processor is preferred, but a hand held mixer will get the job done
  • A spring form pan
  • An oven pre-heated to 350 degrees

Crust ingredients:

  • 1 stick of real unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup of artificial sweetener (I use the Kroger brand of Truvia)
  • 1/2 Tbs Cinnamon

Filling ingredients

  • 3 packages of full fat cream cheese
  • 1 12 oz can of pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups of artificial sweetener
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 Tbs of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 2/3 Tbs pure vanilla extract

Crust instructions:

  1. In a food processor, chop the pecans until they are super small. If you don’t have a food processor, just use something heavy to roll over them and smash them. A rolling pin, wine bottle, meat tenderizer or even that super expensive textbook you still have but can’t sell because the new edition came out the next semester will work.
  2. Melt the butter and mix in the pecans, sweetener and cinnamon into the butter.
  3. Pour the crust into the pan. Let this chill out in the freezer while you whip up the filling.

Filling instructions: (Super Easy!)

  1. Whip up the cream cheese with whatever devise you are using. Keep adding the ingredients as listed. But before you add the next ingredient, make sure the one you just added is completely mixed in!
  2. So after the cream cheese, add the pumpkin. Then the whipping cream. Next is the sweetener, then add the eggs. Next add the pumpkin pie spice. Finish up with the vanilla extract!
  3. Pour this onto the crust.
  4. Bake at 350… remember, you should have already pre-heated your oven.
  5. Bake for 1 hour. Then turn the oven off.
  6. Wait 30 minutes, then you can “crack” the oven door a smidge.
  7. Wait another hour. Pull out of the oven, and wrap it up.
  8. Chill and serve the next day. Or wait at least 6 hours.

Nutrition:

It’s not the lowest carb cheesecake, but I usually have NO problems being able to squeeze in 10 or so net carbs per day, especially since I work out almost daily. It is also very filling. Yesterday, I had a slice for a meal! Be careful, though. I cut most of this cheesecake into 16 slices. Each one of these slices has about 6 next carbs. Hope you enjoy!

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Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Our world is filled with carbohydrates. There is a whole aisle at my grocery store for bread, another for soda, and another for potato chips and crackers. Even with things you wouldn’t think have excess carbs, you’ll usually be suprised. A typical serving of BBQ sauce has as much carbs in it as I eat in one day. Many salad dressings are even filled with sugar.

And don’t even get me started on dining out. My usual low carb options are a burger without a bun (and my husband eating the fries) or a salad. And often, the salads are topped with croutons or candied fruit.

So, in a world where high fructose corn-syrup and 574 different ways to eat a potato, a daily plan is necessary to eat healthy.

Here’s how I do it.

First, I calculated how much of calories, fat, carbs, and protein I needed to lose weight. You can use this awesome calculator that I did not invent to help you determine what you need to be eating. Try to keep track of these numbers as close to you can as possible. Since we all know it’s virtually impossible to hit every number perfectly every day, remember that the number of carbs you should eat in a day is what matters most. These numbers are what we call “macros”.

FOOOOOOD

I know the kinds of foods I can eat and I keep track of when I eat them. I use myfitnesspal.com everyday. My fitness pal allows me to calculate the calories, carbs, protein, fat and fiber I eat on a daily basis. It also allows me to track my exercise goals and accomplishments. And it’s free!

Breakfast… is usually water. I chose to do Intermittent Fasting from dinner one evening (about 5:00) until Lunch the next day (around noon). I am not hungry during this time. My body has plenty of fuel from the fat I am burning. But drinking enough water on Keto is important, so I make sure I get 32 oz. early in the day. Intermittent Fasting allows my body to rely on the fat I already have stored instead of food I’d be eating.

Lunch lately has been lettuce wraps filled with low-carb guacamole, bacon, and blue cheese. It is a high fat meal, so it keeps me full for a while. I also make sure to chug down at least 32 more oz. of water.

I have a protein shake everyday in the afternoons. It’s just coffee, Body By Vi protein shake mix, and a little heavy cream.

On weekdays, I work through the evening and I have to eat whatever I bring. It is super easy to just make my meals up for this on Sunday, and have them ready to go throughout the week. This is usually just a romaine salad with bacon, ham, blue cheese and Ranch dressing. I leave the ranch off until right before I eat. Also… more water!

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This is what a typical day would look like for me before I add in any exercise. I am over on protein by quite a bit, but that is something I’m working on reducing. I was going over by quite a bit more than I am now. It also usually balances out because I excersie enough to get my “remaining” number down.

Exercise

Exercise is also something I plan. Monday and Wednesday are my days off from working out, due to my long hours I put in at work on these days. Currently, I am just walking/jogging/running enough to get my heart rate up. I do this outside, since we live conveniently on a Bike/walking path. I’m going to have to move indoors soon since the Midwest is not knows for its warm, sunny winters. I usually walk/jog/run around 3 miles per day, 5 days per week. However, I often do 4 to 5 miles on the weekend days instead of the 3 miles. Last week, I had roughly 20 miles spread out over 5 days.

My plan is to soon implement strength training into my daily routine. I’ll let you now when that happens. Maybe 2 more weeks?

So that is my average daily plan. I hope this helps you understand a little more about Keto. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions. You just might be the inspiration for my next post.

Keep Calm and Keto On!