Finding Real Comfort in Food

Up until just a few months ago, for most of my life, food has been my security blanket. Whenever I had a rough day, an interaction that left me feeling insecure, or my depression began to enclose on me again, I knew exactly how french fries and a cheeseburger would make me feel. I knew they wouldn’t reject me, they’d make me feel the same way they always did, and I could enjoy them for about ten minutes. Ten minutes of comfort. Ten minutes of easing the pain of being tormented by depression and insecurity. Ten minutes of feeling “happy”.

For a brief moment, I felt good.

But all of those brief moments of good tasting mac-n-cheese, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and pizza left me feeling empty inside. When my plate was clean and the dishes were done, I was still insecure. I was still depressed. I was still ashamed of my body.

And each time I ate a curly fry dipped in Arby’s sauce, I gained a little more on my waist, and lost a little more confidence in who I was.

Why couldn’t I control my weight? Why couldn’t I have controlled what I had ate three months ago, so I look different today? Why was the person in the mirror so much different than who I thought I was?

To be fair, I didn’t eat fast food or carbs all of the time. I did not seek comfort in every single meal. Primarily, I ate pretty good. I ate a standard “food pyramid” American diet with the occasional fast food.  But I did eat impulsively sometimes. And sometimes I’d stretch those ten minutes of feeling good into twenty minutes by getting a second helping of a meal. Part of this was biological; when we eat a few carbs, our body starts wanting more, so we eat more. The other part of this was psychological. We feel good when we eat carbs, so we want more.

So, week after week, I lost the food battle. The weeks turned into months, and the months turned into years. And after I had lost enough battles, I became overwhelmed with the feeling of defeat. That feeling of defeat controlled me. It became a part of who I was. Most of the time, I hung my head down in shame. I avoided pictures with my family. I avoided mirrors. I avoided people, because I didn’t want them to see me like this.And the extra weight that stuck to my body stood as a testament to my lack of self-control and my battles lost.

And so the cycle would continue. I’d eat to numb that pain. I’d eat to feel in control. As if I were telling myself, This isn’t something that is happening to you, it’s something we are choosing. It’s ok to be a little “thick”. I’d eat for that ten minutes of feeling “happy” again.

Then, I started Keto. For those of you that are already ketoers, you probably know the feeling of eating just for the sake of getting your body some nutrients. Eating keto usually means eating a lot of the same foods over and over. After about two months of keto, your body starts to stop craving carbs all the time. I thank God that I had the discipline to keep it together for those two months, to get those cravings out of my body!

It wasn’t until recently that I realized I’d been winning the battle, though. While at multiple Christmas dinners this year, I realized my plate was not as full as it was in previous Christmases. I did not make excessive trips back to the food to fill my plate again. I did not feel overly stuffed or uncomfortable with the foods I ate.

In fact, over Thanksgiving, I lost a pound. And over Christmas, I maintained my weight.

That is what real comfort food, my friends.

Food that makes you feel comfortable in your own body. Food that helps you exude confidence, rather than defeat.

Food that’s “good feeling” lasts longer than the ten minutes you are tasting it, you have that good feeling every time you look in a mirror. Food that gives you fuel to be the person that you know you are. Food that doesn’t make you feel guilty or fuel your depression.

Real comfort food isn’t about what makes you feel good for a fleeting ten minutes. Comfort food is about fueling your body so you can be confident in who you are.

And this is why I won’t go back to the other lifestyle. Its about more than what is on my plate. I don’t want to go back to hanging my head in shame. I want to continue to be happy with who I am. I want the food I eat to reflect who I want to become.

I broke the cycle. I’ve won the battle. It’s about keeping it that way now.

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Fiesta Chicken Casserole

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Ingredients:

1/8 cup of queso con salsa

2 pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenderloins

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup of shredded cheese (divided into 2 1/4 cups)

2 Tbs Taco Seasoning (about 1/2 packet)

2 cups of chopped cauliflower

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

4 Tbs Cream cheese

1/2 package of bacon

Directions:

  1. Cook your chicken and bacon. I baked both of mine for about 30 minutes at 350.
  2. Set aside you cauliflower and 1/4 cup of cheese. Mix all the other ingredients into a bowl until it looks like a chunky sauce.Image
  3. Add your cauliflower to this batter.Image
  4. Check on your chicken. Once it’s ready, shred it! You can use two forks to pull them apart or a salad chopper works, too.Image
  5. Mix your chicken in with the other ingredientsImage

Put this mixture in a casserole dish. Top with the other 1/4 cup of cheese and crumbled bacon. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.Image

Let it cool a bit before you serve it.ImageImage

Nutritional Information:

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A Week in the Life of a Keto Girl

I’ve been slacking at a few things. One of which is more consistent blogging. Another is working out. Last week I was sick and allowed myself to take way too many days off of working out.

I’ve also had a lot of questions about Keto life that I’m sure a lot of people have.

In an attempt to become more consistent in doing the things I feel I need to do, I’m going to track my week via my blog. Hopefully that will help me have some accountability to get my butt to the gym, to share about my journey on keto, and to answer a lot of your questions.

We shall see how this goes. I’ll also put this in it’s own category “One Week of Keto” and tag it as such, too.

New Lowest Weight (in this decade)

I’m not sure when the last time I was 152 was. When I started a low carb diet in high school I was at 155. I lost 20 pounds then, maybe a little more. Then my freshman year I stopped working out and started eating more pizza and before you knew it I was at 155 again. For most of the last 5 years, other than one year where I was “content” in the 170 range, I’ve lived at around 155-165. So when I stalled in that 155-158 range for the last month, I was disappointed.

This week I buckled down. Not that I wasn’t committed before, but I think I may have gotten a little too lax with artificial sweeteners. I made some FAT BOMBS  which are primarily coconut oil and natural peanut butter. (Side note: Coconut oil is excellent for you! Studies have shown that people that incorporate coconut oil in their diet lose more fat than people that ate similarly but without coconut oil in their diet.)

Apparently, my hard work paid off. I woke up at 152.0! My body fat percent went down a little, too. This means I’ve lost 21 pounds on the scale!!! I’ve lost 26 pounds of fat and put on 5 pounds of muscle). My plateau in the mid 150’s is over. Before I know it, I will be swimming in the 140’s and wearing my favorite size 8 Levi jeans.

This is a picture of how much FAT I’ve lost!

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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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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.