weight loss

My LCHF Lifestyle

LCHF = Low Carb, High Fat

I have gotten a couple of PMs about getting into LCHF and thought I would share with everyone.  Getting into the the LCHF lifestyle has been simultaneously extremely difficult and rewarding at the same time.  It took me at least half a dozen attempts to get into this way of eating before it actually “stuck.”  I would get to day 3 or 4, get a screaming headache +/- monster cravings and cave in…usually with either a snickers bar (or 3) or a slice of cake (or 2).  Finally, I decided I had to get through this when I stepped on a scale that read 146lbs, which is the heaviest I have been outside of pregnancy.  My BMI technically placed me in the overweight category.  And it was the final impetus I needed to kick off The OFF Project.  I want to hit 40 and be, well…fabulous.

I had to take away any chance of failure, so I ate the same thing everyday for the first 7 days, to kick in the process of ketosis. For breakfast, I drank a Venti Americano with Half & Half and no sugar.  Lunch was a romaine lettuce salad with grilled chicken, red cabbage, shredded cheddar cheese, one boiled egg, walnut pieces, cucumbers and ranch dressing.  Dinner was salmon (baked with a bit of olive oil drizzled over the top, and lemon pepper seasoning) along with broccoli or cauliflower and another salad.  Twice, I substituted seared tuna steak for salmon.  I got into ketosis around day 5 and was in deep ketosis (the dark, dark purple reading) by the end of the week.  My goal was to eat no more than 20g of net carbs per day (Total carbohydrates minus fiber).  Depending on the contents of my salad, staying below 20 wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

That being said, my energy level was crap in the beginning.  I didn’t understand why, so I researched, read and stalked just about every LCHF blog and forum out there.  The reason I always felt like I was getting run over by a truck everyday?  I wasn’t getting enough fat.  The key to weight loss on any ketogenic diet is making sure you are getting enough quality, healthy fat.  You have to eat fat to burn fat in the absence of carbohydrates and moderate protein.  Another key: moderate protein.  If you do low carb with high protein, you might as well be eating the very carbs you are trying to avoid.  And if you eat too little protein, the body will start to break down lean muscle which is far worse, in my opinion.  I currently keep my protein intake to around 75g per day.  I drink my own version of bulletproof coffee (made with grassed butter, coconut oil and a tad bit of vanilla extract) which has helped with my fat intake (along with some yummy bacon for breakfast from time-to-time).

I wasn’t going to do this, but I feel like transparency is a great tool to understanding.  So…here are my before and after stats.  Keep in mind that I am 5’4″ (64 inches) tall:

  • Weight: 146 –> 129
  • BMI: 25.1 (Overweight) –>22.1 (Normal)
  • Chest: 34.5 –> 32
  • Hips: 38 –> 35
  • Waist: 31 –> 28
  • Arm: 11.5 –> 10.8
  • Leg: 23 –> 21.5

I am at a point where I don’t necessarily want to lose any more weight – I just want to minimize my body fat % and build lean muscle which, in reality, will likely lead to weight gain.  I don’t have the courage (yet!) to post pictures, but I will…in my own time.  This journey has been just as much about building self-esteem and confidence as it has been about “hitting numbers”.  Let me know if you have any further questions!  I am happy to answer what I can, and point you in the direction of all the resources I have used to this point!

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The OFF Project

I will be 38 in September.  40 is ever so right-around-the-corner.

10 years ago (when I was approaching 30) I just knew I was leaving behind my good years…my years of fun, being carefree and independent.  I couldn’t imagine the joy that would come from this decade in my 30s.  And now, I am close to moving on to the next decade.  Even as recent as a year or two ago, this placed fear in my heart.  This was about the age that people started reporting health issues: high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, arthritis and chronic pain, osteoporosis, anxiety and depression, weight gain, hormonal shifts…sigh.  The list is frightening.  I have been healthy to this point.  But for a moment, I started wondering, “Should I just prepare myself for the worst?”  Absolutely not.

Rather than fear the big 4-0, I have made a commitment to myself to become the healthiest I have ever been in life…mentally, physically and spiritually.  It’s a large reason why I made the shift to a ketogenic lifestyle.  I was 145 lbs with a BMI of 24.9, and half a chocolate roll away from being overweight according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.  I had to do something.  The first thing I did was change my eating habits.  I have been in ketosis for 5 weeks, and I think I am close to being keto-adapted.  In 5 weeks, I have lost 14lbs and now have a BMI of 22.5, which is well within the normal range.  I just started working on my fitness level, and I shall outline that at another time.  Back to The OFF Project.

OFF stands for Operation Forty and Fit.

Like I said, I want to be in the best shape possible mentally, physically and spiritually when I hit 40.  What I have learned about true, long-standing change is that it does not happen overnight.  I am dedicating the next two years to improving my well-being in every way possible.  I want to be a better person, a better mother, a better wife.  I want to improve my social-consciousness.  I want to augment my spiritual relationship with God.

The acronym for Operation Forty and Fit (OFF) is apropos, as attaining these personal goals requires the removal of all negativity and obstacles that can block these achievements.  Over the next 2 years, I will share what I am doing to be the best me I have ever been.

Is there anyone else out there approaching 40 with some goals they would like to achieve?  What do you want to take OFF?  What do you want to remove from your life that will allow you to be a better (fill in the blank)?  Has 40 come and gone and you have some words of wisdom you would like to share?  Come take this journey with me…or at least leave a comment along the way!

Eradicating the Dieting Mindset

I was a fad dieter in a former life.  You name it, I’ve probably tried it.  Cabbage Soup, Lemonade, Fruit Fasting, Fat Flush, Paleo…Most of the time, I did lose weight, but it always came back like a boomerang with a vengeance.  And I would always end up weighing more than when I started, with lower self-esteem than a self-proclaimed “confident-in-my-skin” person should have.

And then I found the ketogenic lifestyle.  This is a lifestyle for sure.  This is not some fad diet or quick weight loss scheme.  It requires dedication, willpower and strength.  And, if done right, your body will thank you for it.

Q: So, why the switch?

A: I was a major sugar addict.  Plain and simple.  If sugar was in the first three ingredients, then it was more than likely mine to devour.  At the end of my 3rd year in pharmacy school, I found myself 12 lbs heavier than when I started, with a bloated mid-section, and a very boxy shape…neither of which are super sexy.

The first thing I did was work out.  And I got stronger.  And it was awesome.  But I was still heavier than I wanted to be.  And I couldn’t understand why…then something clicked.  It’s funny I’ve been in school for YEARS, but often only apply that knowledge to others.  And then my internal voice started screaming at me what we all know, “You workout to build muscle, to get stronger.  You eat to lose weight.”  But I was through with dieting, since it never worked permanently for me.  So, the only thing I could do was work on changing me…and that’s how I got to ketosis.  I needed something that was going to lend itself to a different way of life, break the cycle of sugar addiction and reliance on processed foods for false satisfaction.

I am not going to expand via diatribe about what ketosis actually is…I will leave that to these links: Ketogenic Diet Resource and The Paleo Guide to Ketosis.  I personally believe these do a great job of providing objective information about ketosis.  But in a nutshell, the focus is high (good) fat, moderate (not high) protein and very low carb.

I used this Ketogenic Calculator to get a customizable breakdown of my daily, targeted macronutrients.  For me, I set my attributes to lightly active, with 25% body fat.  I also set my target carb intake to less than 25g/day (net or minus fiber).  For most people, eating less than 50g/day seems to be enough to enter ketosis.  The calculator let’s you know the minimum and maximum amount of daily protein based on your individual parameters, and you can select within that range.  The calculator then lets you know your target fat intake.  For me, I am around 70% Fat, 20% protein, 10% carb.

It has only been a couple of weeks (I’ll have to put another post about those first few days), but it seems to be working.  My stomach is flatter than it’s been in the last 4 years.  I do not crave sweets like I did in the past.  I have increased my water in-take.  And the foods I chose to ingest have little to no processing.  I started this part of my “natural” journey looking for [yet another] weight loss alternative.  My goals and priorities have no changed…I want to hit 40 and be in the best shape of my life!  2 more years to get there!  Wish me luck 🙂

7 days and still counting…

Last week, I raved about my new winter regimen.  Well, I’m back this week to show how the same twist out is still alive and kickin’.  I love, Love, LOVE (can you hear me getting louder with each love?) my new regimen.  My hair is thanking me for the extra TLC, and repaying me by showing its radiance.  I’m still getting compliments on the style, even as the frizzies have crept in.

I DID re-twist my hair one night (this past Thursday I believe), which took all of about 10 minutes, and re-upped the twists and ends with my homemade cream.  I’ve been a little hit or miss with the scarf, but I still have my trusty satin pillowcase no matter what.  I do believe that a scarf every night would lessen the frizz.  But I think it’s manageable overall.

On another note, I am dealing with a bit of self-conflict.  The natural, holistic, “take me as I am” me is battling with the Southern, conservative, “a wife should try her best to look presentably flawless” self.  Okay, wait.  I did away with the latter, societal way of thinking a long time ago.  I don’t really believe that one should be made up to the nines every time one steps outside.  But there is something to be said about looking effortlessly flawless.  I used to be able to do it.  In a previous life, I could get up, go about my morning grooming routine, tussle the tresses, have my “beauty regimen” consist of slapping on some face lotion and roll out without a second glance.

What happened to that ease of existence?  Now, everything about my morning grooming routine is twice as long.  My shower has an added step of exfoliation.  The facial routine…oh, let’s not even go there.  My permanent bags have parked and taken up residence and no amount of concealer, eye cream or tea extract can hasten their departure.

Has time simply taken its toll?  Did I cross the threshold of 30 and leave behind the effortless splendor of 20?  I’ve come to the realization that I need a detox.  A detox that will cleanse me physically, spiritually, mentally and follicularly (because the hair is always the centerpiece…and is that even a word?).  But where do I start exactly?

Clearly, this *update* post has turned into pure stream of consciousness.

When I think of detox, I envision a complete diet and lifestyle overhaul.  I need it.  I really do.  I’ve gotten a little too cozy with Little Debbie’s Honey Buns and Loma Lindy’s Pecan Twirls, and I’m toting a tire to show for it.  I can blame it on the baby and pregnancy and “taking my time to lose the baby weight”.  But let’s be real.  It’s not her fault.  I need to own up to my actions.

So, I need to do it.  I need to get a backbone, find my willpower, use the gym membership (did I ever tell you I was a gym owner’s dream client?  Pay my dues faithfully yet step foot into the gym once a quarter – maybe?), back off the scale, and drop some of the lard that is my excuse for calling myself “fatty-fat-fat” when I look in the mirror.

I’m off to research, and will report back with the methods of my plan of action…and welcome your comments once I do!!