Stepping into the Keto Diet

My husband decided to join one of those weight loss contests that pop up at work after the New Year. They had set a pretty aggressive amount of weight to lose by 28 days. I had heard people were having great success on the Keto Diet and thought that this, along with the fasting we were already doing, might work best for him. So I suggested he give it try. Then I set off to learn as much about it as I could so I could help him. I was amazed by what I learned.

To start, I began looking for recipes. Keto friendly things I could make and have in the freezer, so he would have yummy, healthy food to eat while I am on the road. There are a tremendous amount of recipes available out there. The premise behind keto is high fat, moderate protein and very low carbs. It forces your body into a ketogenic state or ketosis, which causes it to use fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. According to Wikipedia; this diet was first developed in the 20s for treatment of childhood seizures.

This way of eating is in sharp contrast to the “Stop the Insanity” low fat diets from the 90s.

There is a documentary (which is available to watch on Netflix) called ‘The Magic Pill.’ Watching this documentary inspired me to also try the ketogenic diet as well. Sure I would love the weight loss but the health benefits demonstrated in the movie were my real motivation. This show follows several people for a few weeks as they switch to this way of eating. The results they had were miraculous. Cancer, Autism, Diabetes, and Asthma were all demonstrated life changing improvements because of it; not to mention weight management. One of the ‘ah ha’ moments for me was right at the start of the documentary. When they said; “Every animal controls its weight naturally, other than humans and animals fed by humans”. My goodness! I never stopped to think that there are no obese deer or even pump lazy sloths.

As a pescatarian (vegetarian who eats fish) the idea of going on a diet, without the American staple of carbs, seemed like a difficult choice. It takes away so many of the things I am able to eat on the road. I also have difficulty with my blood sugar, that can dip to low and cause me to not feel well, if I do not eat the right thing or go to long without eating. This has made me believe I need a high protein diet. I was about to learn that was not true! As I stepped off into the world of ketogenic eating, my first challenge came when I went to a German restaurant with friends. Their vegetarian dish was pasta and the fish/seafood dishes were with pasta or breaded. Hmmm… what to have? I elected for the green beans with almonds and a cucumber salad. I also ate a few pieces of cheese off a friend’s appetizer plate. I was full. Challenge accepted and completed. Next morning, eggs and veggies are a very normal breakfast for me, so that did not even require a change. Lunch was riced cauliflower made into fried rice with eggs and plenty of olive oil. Yummy!

Do you know what I discovered? My blood sugar has remained stable. I have not had the shaky or woozy feeling that I often get when I don’t eat enough protein. Here, all this time, my need for high protein was a result of a diet high in carbs. I am on my third day of this new way of eating and I feel great. I am also doing this in conjunction with the intermittent fasting I have been doing since June. The two seem to work well together.

With the combination of intermittent fasting and Keto Diet, my husband has lost 11 pounds in 6 days. Isn’t that amazing? One of his favorite treats on the Keto Diet is the Fat Bombs. They are a nice little treat but also help to keep the consumption of fat, good and high, as required for ketosis. There are lots of fat bomb recipes but the ones he likes are made with natural unsweetened peanut butter, cream cheese, a tiny bit of stevia, and rolled in semisweet or dark chocolate. They are rolled in balls about a quarter’s diameter and are delicious. You only need to eat one to feel like you had a treat and quite satisfied. After all, that is what eating fat does. It helps us feel satiated.

Whether you are curious about the ketogenic diet or planning to try it yourself, there seems to be potential benefit for amazing results. If you enjoy documentaries, I recommend you check out ‘The Magic Pill.’ It is very interesting.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find healthy eating that works for you, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Palermo, Sicily

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Taking Care of Me; Step By Step

I keep plodding along trying to get to a better version of me. What can I do to improve myself a little more each day? I recently wrote a blog inspired by a friend called; How Do You Eat an Elephant or (in this case) a Dinosaur? It was all about doing things step by step to improve yourself.

Well, I put that into practice and started working towards the best me I can be, step by step.

  • I have been a Pescatarian since April 2012 – This was the first major health improvement I made. (What is healthy for me may not be healthy for you.)
  • 5 plus years of avoiding processed sugar – It does not make me feel good when I eat processed sugar because of my gastric bypass. Even more than that though, I have realized it causes me joint pain as well.
  • 4 months of intermittent fasting – I have been doing intermittent fasting since the beginning of July. There have been some weeks when I have not been focused on this or even stayed the course, but I am back solidly in the seat of intermittent fasting now and learning so much more about my eating and emotions and how they are connected. I have lost 14 pounds in that time.
  • 2.5 months of decreasing complaining Wellness is about mind, body, and soul improvements. Working towards 21 days complaint free is a way to improve my mind and soul. I did make it to day #2 once and I believe that if today keeps going well, I will make day #2 for a second time.
  • 27 days without Alcohol – Originally I only wanted to go 28 days without alcohol. I can almost taste the success of accomplishing that. Do you know what it has taught me? I do not need it and look at all the money I am saving by not having my nightly glass or two of wine.
  • 2 weeks of increased activity – 10,000 steps a day is my goal. I have made it 8 of the last 14 days. My September step average was about 5,500 steps but the last 2 weeks the average has been over 9,000.
  • 11 days without diet soda – Oddly, this has been much harder for me to give up than wine. I am making it though. Sparkling water gives me the same bubbly sensation and tea helps make up for the caffeine.
  • 7 days since refocusing on awareness of finances – Financial health is also an important part of wellness. How can we have peace of mind if our finances are giving us stress. I read Dave Ramseys book, The Total Money Makeover. I found myself inspired to refocus on getting to a place of financial freedom. I do not want money worries to rule my life.
  • 4 days of daily meditation – I was making great headway on resuming a daily meditation practice. I did four consecutive days and then a missed the next 3 days. Today I started again!

These are 9 great initiatives I took towards being the best me, I can be. If I had added them all to my routine at one time it would have been to overwhelming. Step by step additions of each of the various initiatives seems reasonable and it gives me time to get one under control before the next one is added.

What are you doing to take care of you? How are you improving your wellness? What would you like to do to be the best version of you?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your wellness initiative(s) be successful, as if by magic.

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Moving Toward a Healthier Diet Through Understanding Myself

It seems like the up and down (often more up than down) of my weight has been a life long journey for me. I had gastric bypass surgery in 2008. It worked like a charm for me. I lost 113.5 lbs. I had a little initial rebound weight gain, which is normal but very scary when it is happening. After that initial rebound I maintained my weight loss effortlessly for 8 years. Then the weight started to slowly creep back on. I am now in the process of learning about myself, why I eat, what is causing the weight gain and how can I most naturally, once again, release the weight.

Those of you who follow the daily meditation adventure know that I started 90 days of daily meditation to see if reducing stress and cortisone, would help stop my insidious weight gain and hopefully even help me lose some weight. Last Friday I decided to try something that was recommended to me by a friend, intermittent fasting. I read some articles and saw that studies have been done on this concept. The idea is that you fast for a specific number of hours each day. Of course most of us do fast, for a specific number of hours each day, while we are sleeping. This stretches that out a bit longer. One study I read proposed a 16/8 split. People would eat only between 10am and 6pm and then fast the rest of the time. I have decided to try a 18/6 split.

I am eating only between noon and 6pm. I feel hungry but my “wanting to eat” is more instinct or habitual than an actual need. I am really liking the fasting. I feel I am making healthier choices about what I put in my body instead of mindless noshing. I feel that I am again appreciating food (like I used to do after my surgery). It was 8 years of my weight being maintained before I started gaining. When I look back at what changed, it occurred to me I started eating just because I needed to eat instead of making good choices for tasty food. I was just filling a hole instead of selecting something I would enjoy and nourish my body.

I used to be really good about being selective about what I would put in my body. I knew I could only eat so much and so I made really good tasting and healthy choices. That has changed over the past couple of years. I still am a vegetarian (truly pescatarian) and I avoid highly processed foods with lots of preservatives, as well as processed sugar.  I often eat just because it is meal time and I just need to fill myself with something. I eat, but not what I really want or need and then eat more later to compensate. Some of that is being a part of a family, I got married 2 years ago (the same time the weight started to reappear). When I was single it was easy to eat what I wanted when I wanted. Now as a part of a family, it not just about me. Compromises have to be made about when, where, and how meals occur. My boss told me once my weight gain was because I was married now. I could not at first understand how that would contribute to weight gain. This experiment in fasting has given me the opportunity to step back and study my eating and see what really did change. IMG_6045

The other thing that has affected my eating is being busier. It seems I am always on the run. Instead of making a good choice that will satisfy me, I just grab something quick to get by and then eat more later.  It has started a vicious cycle of eating second breakfast and snacking or grazing.

I enjoy a glass of wine in the evening, sometimes two. I know that my wine intake is also a part of my weight gain but not the whole story. I have had other times, when I was maintaining my weight, where my wine intake was about what it is now. One of the rules of post gastric bypass surgery is no fluids with calories. Wine should be off the menu. Beverages with calories are also a sneaky way for your body to slowly gain weight, because it is easy to intake more calories than you realize you are ingesting, without feeling full.

I have noticed, since starting the intermittent fasting, that I am chasing more and more veggies. I really crave them. I am limiting the amount of carbs I eat and when I do eat them, trying to choose complex carbs like sweet potatoes and brown rice. One of the side effects I have from my gastric bypass is if I eat to many carbs, my blood sugar drops and I feel horrible, so I focus on getting protein with my meals. With the decreased carbohydrates I have not had problems with the usual fluctuations in my blood sugar that I had prior to starting to eat in this way.

I have not even been doing the intermittent fasting for a week yet, but it has given me some very interesting insight into myself and my eating behavior. I hope to continue to learn about myself in order to make healthier and healthier choices.

Thank you for Reading my blog today. May you learn how to eat nutritious, healthy food, that makes you feel happy, healthy and nourished, as if by magic.

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