Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year! Here's to a great night and a wonderful year!!

Week Thirteen Low Carb - Thursday Check-In (Month Three)

Week Thirteen Weigh-In:
12/31/2015:         + 3.4 pound
Total lost:             23.2 pounds
Current Weight:   206.8 pounds

Wow... seeing this kind of number on the scale again was pretty depressing. I almost didn't weigh in today but my friends made some good points when I mentioned skipping the weigh in and, frankly, I made the choice to stuff myself full of calories and carbs and now I need to face the consequences and the consequences suck. I honestly did not expect to gain so much back but it is what it is. I've been on track since the 26th so I'm just going to keep going and hopefully watch the numbers drop again (and feel the jeans get looser).

So, like I asked myself in my last blog post on Tuesday, was it worth it? Well, it definitely wasn't worth gaining over three pounds! I expected a pound or two but not this much and I'm still not convinced that it's all "real" weight so I'm hoping a chunk of it is gone by next week but I don't regret allowing myself to relax and enjoy food that I only eat once or twice a year. It's just that next time I need to make the portions a whole lot smaller!

This week I plan to stick with my regular eating plan without exceptions and Monday I have a training session with my trainer so I'll finally add in some exercise (as long as the back holds out). I've definitely been doing much better on my protein amounts but want to keep upping them even more.

That about covers it for now.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Holiday Eating is Over...

...for me anyway. I have no plans for anything extra for New Year's Eve and maybe one small piece of tiramisu for my birthday which will fit into my carb count. Everything else is business as usual.

But now I get to deal with the holiday weight gain and, yes, it was my decision and my choice to eat all that food so I am fully prepared to face the consequences. The scale has gone up by a few pounds and I don't know how much it will go down by Thursday but I will weigh in then like I always do and just go with whatever it shows.

It's interesting to me that out of all the food I ate (way too much of it for future reference) I wasn't obsessed with any of it. It didn't feel like this huge thing, I didn't circle the fridge until I ate it all, I didn't think about it nonstop... it was like I was eating like a "normal" person. I think food may have, after so many years, lost its hold on me.

There's been cheesecake and ice cream and candy in the house since Christmas and I don't want any of it. I had the Christmas food that I gave myself permission to enjoy and now I'm done and I'm okay with it. It's not calling out to me. It's not this massive, obsessive thing. It's just food. And that is huge for me!

I do have to admit that there have been other consequences besides the weight gain. I've had an awful 5 day headache since the 25th. I don't feel well, I'm exhausted and kind of out of it. It's improving the further away I get from the "carb" day so it's interesting to see the difference in how I'm feeling based on what I eat.

So... was it worth it? Yes and no. I ate way too much to the point of being sick and I didn't feel good after doing it but I finally saw that it didn't have the same power over me that it once had. And, let's be honest here, it was freaking delicious! So am I going to do this again? No. No, I don't think so. I already have plans for what to do differently next time so my head is back in the game!

I've been back on track since the 26th and plan to stay that way. I've also been working really hard at upping my protein like I planned and that's going pretty well too. This will probably cost me a week or weight loss and I'm definitely not looking forward to my weigh-in day but it is what it is. I made the choices, I will deal with them and I'm okay with that but now its back to the daily routine and hopefully watching the numbers on the scale keep going down.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday in the Kitchen - Basic Mashed Potatoes

I threw this recipe together a few years ago and it's been a pretty standard one for making mashed potatoes around here the few, rare times it happens. It's not low carb but it's yummy.

Ingredients:
12 oz Large Russet Potato
4 tbsp Butter cut up
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Italian Spices

Peel potato and cut up into small pieces. Fill medium size pot with enough water to cover the potatoes and heat on high until boiling. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook covered for about 40 minutes checking on the potatoes toward the end by piercing them with a butter knife. When the knife goes through the pieces easily and the pieces come apart, the potatoes are done.

Drain the water and mash the potatoes with a masher. Add the butter, milk and spices and continue mashing/blending until you get it to the way you like it.

Eat and enjoy! This recipe makes 3 servings.

Nutritional Facts: 273 calories, 17 g fat, 29 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 5 g protein.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Week Twelve Low Carb - Thursday Check-In (Month Three)

Week Twelve Weigh-In:
12/24/2015:         -0.4 pound
Total lost:             26.6 pounds
Current Weight:   203.4 pounds

I was a little but upset to get on the scale this morning and see that I didn't even lose half a pound this week, especially as I did everything right and didn't even have as much as a cheat snack. But, I need to come to terms with the fact that I will not have a big loss every week (and will occasionally have a gain) and that's just how life works.

So then I started thinking about this past week and what I could have done differently and/or better and, honestly, I need to work on my protein intake again. I've done great with calories, carbs, fat and sugar but my protein has been dipping down a lot. It's still higher than my carb intake but not nearly as high as I used to have it so that's my big goal again for this week. Up the protein!

My back is still iffy so I'm not sure where I stand on exercise outside of my trainer coming for a session on Monday and doing the traction exercises she showed me.

Other than that I'm going to enjoy Christmas and put the scale away for a few days!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wednesday

This week has been a little crazy with working a different day due to Christmas and with Christmas coming in general but I did get some non-holiday things accomplished.

I saw my trainer on Monday and she showed me some traction things I can do to strengthen my back. I'll also be meeting with her for a full training session next Monday evening. I met her at a different gym that I don't currently belong to but might sign up for.

I checked it out and chatted with the owner (it's a franchise... Snap Fitness) and I really liked what I saw and heard. It's small, quiet and cozy, I could get in to workout 24/7 and I don't have to pay for a missed month due to injuries. I'm not sure I want to rejoin a gym but they're having an open house on January 9th so I'm going to go then and check it out more. Plus I need to go over the budget a few more times before I sign up for anything!

My scale has been a pain in the butt all week, giving me various numbers no matter when or where I step on it so today it gets new batteries and whatever it shows tomorrow morning at weigh-in time is whatever I'm going with. Then it's getting put away for a few days so I don't obsess over it over Christmas!

That's all I have until tomorrow!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday in the Kitchen - Oven Baked Perch Fillets With Parmesan Cheese

This is a brand new recipe that we just tried today found on Food.com. We used perch fillets because that's what we found on sale but you can use any type of fish for this and we also used a lot less bread crumbs than suggested to keep the carb count low. It's also supposed to have lemon rind but we didn't have any.

We also divided the servings by the amount of fillets in the package so your serving amounts (and therefore the nutrition) may vary.

Ingredients:
12.6 oz Raw Wild Caught Ocean Perch Fillets
1/2 Cup Toasted Plain Bread Crumbs
1/2 Cup) Dried Parsley
1 Garlic Clove - Minced
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan & Romano Cheese
2 Tbsp Butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and cover cookie sheet with tin foil

Mix together all the ingredients except for the fish and butter. Melt the butter. Rinse the fish fillets and pat them dry. Dip each fillet in butter and then dip into the bread crumb mixture. Place on the tin foil.

Bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes until fish flakes when pressed with a fork. Enjoy!

Nutritional Facts: 1 serving = 1 fillet and is 179 calories, 9 g fat, 853 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 19 g protein.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Dear Archbishop Job - Reposted and Updated As It Is Every Year

“A new commandment I give to you....” I can see you singing when I close my eyes, standing in your spot in the church, serene, strong, loving. You sang with us, played with us, listened to us, spoke with us, just like you were one of us. Not like someone above us, but one of us. We knew you loved us and we loved you back more than can be described.

“That you will love each other, even as I have loved you...” You brought together people from all walks of life. There was something about you; about your goodness, your spirituality, your unending love. You were there for all who needed you and for all who didn't even realize they needed you. No matter how far you had to go, we knew we would always be in your thoughts, your prayers and your heart.

“By this all men will know, that you are my disciples...” You taught us so much, through your words, your actions, your sermons...you led us deep into Orthodoxy, answering any questions we had, showing us glimpses of your soul. You were not just our Bishop. You were our teacher, our confidant, our surrogate father, our friend.

“If you have love for each other.” Through you our love grew and expanded. There was never an end to it. You opened your arms and accepted us all and we accepted you in return.

Six years. I can not believe it has been six years. I still remember picking up my phone and hearing my sister tell me the news. My mind didn't make sense of what she was saying until she repeated it. I didn't want to believe it then. I don't want to believe it now.

Even after six years I miss you as much as I did on the day I heard of your passing. It's still hard to believe you're gone. You were always there, maybe not in the same city or in the same state but if we needed you all we had to do is reach out. You were always there. I know you're still there, in another form, still looking over us, looking out for us, we can talk to you at any time. But you can no longer answer.

There are so many things I wish for. I wish you could have gotten to know my boys. I'm so thankful they had a chance to meet you, to speak with you, to learn what tuckies were. But I wish we had been given more time.

I wish for one more meeting.

I wish for one more phone call.

I wish for one more chance.

And I know none of that will ever happen.

And then I feel angry at myself for not reaching out the last few years. For not emailing, not calling... why did I throw that time away? Would I have made different choices had I know? Of course I would have. But there's no going back.

I no longer feel angry with you for the choices you made during your brief illness. That anger has disappeared over the last few years and only a sense of pain and loss remain.

And that same thought eats away at me, that one that breaks my heart...the idea that you may have died alone, with no one to hold your hand or to comfort you. I don't know the exact details, I don't think anyone really does but I pray that at the end you weren't alone. I know God was with you at every moment. I know He was there to guide you, enfold you in His arms and bring you home. But I also pray that there were others there too, to hold you, to help you, to keep you from being afraid.

I've started being able to talk about you without crying but an occasional tears still slips by. I watch the video of you singing the 15th Antiphon at Matins for Great and Holy Friday every Pascha week but I can't make it through that one without tears. The same goes for the Kerygma songs you always sang with us.

My boys tell me not to talk about you because I end up crying but how can I not talk about you? So I do my best to keep you alive in my stories, memories and photos. So that, in some small way, they can know you too. I tell them so many stories of who you were and how you were with us, of your songs and sermons, your exploits and your talks, everything I can remember. Everything they will never get to experience for themselves.

I have so many memories of you. Sometimes I gather them together like a stack of photos, sorting from one to the other: how you rode the roller coaster 35 times in one night, how you got all of us kicked off the paddle boats and out of the park, How calmly and wisely you spoke, how you prayed and took confession, how you played volleyball, how you roller-skated with us, the water gun battles you had with Father Stephan, how you went out of your way to come to my first wedding and sang "Eat the Hot Dog and the Pizza" with us at the reception. How you hugged us, how amazing you were with children, how you taught us, how you loved us, and so many, many more.

And one of my favorite memories...if I think back I can see it all before me, Kerygma on stage, you at the microphone, singing the one line of “On the Cross” that was always yours... “He is sitting on the throne, making each one His own.”

I miss you. I always will. And today I will remember the good, share my memories with my boys and the people around me, and, with my words, try to bring you to life.

Memory Eternal BJ. It always, always will be.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Week Eleven Low Carb - Thursday Check-In (Month Three)

Week Eleven Weigh-In:
12/17/2015:         -1.4 pound
Total lost:             26.2 pounds
Current Weight:   203.8 pounds

Yes! I hit my 25 pound loss goal and a little more! Only 3.8 more pounds to go until I hit 200 and then it's off to "onederland!"

And, yes, okay, it wasn't a plateau but just me freaking out for not good reason (which has been known to happen). In my defense, I am in the middle of med changes and tweaks so I can kind of blame some of my freaking out on that. I'm going to work on staying calmer in the future!

So my next short-term goal is to hit a 30 pound loss and to get to 200 lbs. I'm not going to make it by Christmas so now I'm shooting for New Years but, with Christmas dinner, I'm not sure what will happen there. I guess we'll find out!

My back is still burning and painful so my steps are still on hold and the rest of my joints have started acting up today as well so my focus will continue to be on carbs, protein and calories. It's what's been working for me for the last eleven weeks.

I think that's all I have for now :)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Ow, My Freaking Back

It all started with the exam at the spine clinic. They pushed on parts of my back that not just hurt but that are also some of my severe fibromyalgia tender points. Then, of course, I had to bend over, walk on toes and heels, bed side to side... etc.

It seemed okay at the time. It ached a little but that was it. That was Thursday.

Friday at work I had to spend some time looking for something which involved going up and down stairs and trying not to bend over. By Friday night it hurt more.

Saturday... that's when the real pain kicked in and it's only gotten worse. My lower back, along the entire waistline and down from there through my butt and now moving up in a line into my left shoulder blade, hurts horribly! Not just hurts but burns as well. It hurts to sit, to lay down, to stand, to walk, to freaking move. There are moments when the pain is reaching a 9 out of 10 and I'm ready to cry. It just really hurts and it seems to be getting worse.

I can't blame the spine clinic. I mean, they needed to do an exam but this just sucks!

Also, thanks to this my step challenge is going on hold. I'm still posting it in our Facebook group for others to follow but my steps are on hold for now.

So, I guess that's all I have going on here along with the scale barely moving at all. My mom mentioned (and I googled) than the new med I'm on is known to increase weight but I'm on a very low dose and I don't have to take it every day, only "as needed" so I'm giving it a break until weigh-in day and seeing what happens. Trust me, if I need it during this "break" I WILL take it.

And people around me are saying that dreaded word... plateau. Isn't it too soon for one of those? I haven't even hit a 25 pound loss yet!

I guess, all in all, I can say that I'm not having the greatest week. Hopefully it will get better as it goes.

Motivational Monday


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday in the Kitchen - Basic Homemade Meatballs

This is a recipe for basic homemade meatballs. I don't remember where it came from and now that I'm doing low carb I would probably change the oats in the meat mixture to something else but this is the original recipe :)

Ingredients:
1 Large Egg
1/4 Cup Milk
2 tbsp Ketchup
3/4 Cup Quick-Cooking Oats
1 tbsp Onion Powder
1 tbsp Garlic Powder
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp Salt
1 Pound 85/15 Ground Beef
2 tbsp Flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease shallow baking pan.

In a large bowl combine egg, milk, ketchup, oats, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning and salt. Crumble beef into the mixture and mix well. Shape the mixture into meatballs (this recipe should make about 22). Roll each meatball in the flour, shake off excess flour and place in baking pan.

Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, turning once if desired, until the mixture is no longer pink inside (baking times may vary due to different ovens). Drain meatballs on paper towels and enjoy!

Nutritional Facts: 1 serving = 1 meatball and is 59 calories, 3 g fat, 136 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 5 g protein.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Week Ten Low Carb - Thursday Check-In (Month Three) and Spine Clinic Stuff

Week Ten Weigh-In:
12/10/2015:         -1.2 pound
Total lost:             24.8 pounds
Current Weight:   205.2 pounds

Ugh... SOOOOO close to that 205 pounds but not quiet there! Of course, considering the kind of non-stop eating cheat day I had last week I should be thrilled to lose anything and I am, but, this puts my medium-term goal of hitting 200 lbs off by a good week so instead of hitting it by Christmas I'm shooting for the New Year.

The appointment at the spine clinic went well. I decided to go with physical therapy (one or two sessions at DHMC and the rest I'll be able to do at home) and I'm looking into the "Functional Restoration Program" (link goes to DHMC site) which should help me a lot because I want to be able to do all the things I can't due either because of having a painful back or being afraid of throwing out my back.

But, looking at it again, it seems the restoration program calls me for to be at DHMC for eight hours a day for two weeks and with one car, work, school, several kids and a life, that's just not going to happen. Luckily I have an amazing trainer who can probably create something for me here!

I turned down their offer of a steroid shot and the meds they could give me would not be compatible with my being on psych meds (plus I don't want to be on any new meds) so physical therapy it is and that's basically what I wanted anyway. Now we just have to make the days, times and appointments work with the rest of the schedules but so far so good.

And speaking of meds, my psych put me on a new med yesterday, Trazadone, to try and help me fall asleep and I can honestly say I had the best night's sleep last night that I've had in a very, very long time! This was what I needed!

Oh, and I spoke to my doctor's office and my sodium is moving into safe levels!! Finally! I guess it was because of this medication!

But, back to the plan. I'm going to keep doing what I have been doing, counting calories and macros, doing the step challenge, basically the same old thing except I really need to work on upping my protein again. I think that about covers it!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

"The Lights Go Out One by One..."

I posted this a few years ago in an old blog but since it covers how I feel I'm reposting it here. I probably need more time to adjust to my med change but it's not really good right now...

...I'm trying to keep my head above the water. The ocean surrounds me, the waves hard like fists, each one coming faster, harder, barely allowing me a chance to catch my breath.

I am pulled down into the dark, as if an anchor is tied to my feet; an anchor, a boulder, a mountain, pulling me under the frigid blackness, where the struggle barely shows.

The fight feels fruitless, as if I'm sinking faster than I can swim, and it's exhausting, fighting this hold on me. It wears me out, looking out unto the waves that just keep coming.

I know this feeling. I've been here before, in this dark, in this pit, fighting to claw my way out, knowing I have no choice but to keep clawing.

And I'm so tired of it.

I just want to sleep. I know I need to get through the days and deal with everything that goes on...schools, kids, problems, bills, money, house, doctors, psychiatrists, therapists...they just keep coming, eating up my energy, dimming my lights, throwing me from one problem to another as if I were caught in the eye of the storm as I hold on, trying to walk the one path that makes the most sense at the time.

Nothing is exciting me anymore... not the weight loss, not Christmas coming, not getting the dog portrait finished... nothing. I try and act like "normal" but it's getting harder and harder...

...And I'm so tired.

I don't want to deal with any of it right now.

I don't want to do anything.

I don't want to go anywhere.

I don't want to see anyone.

I just want to be left alone.

But I can't do that. I have to go to work. I have to go to appointments. I have to take care of the kids. I have to smile and nod and make small talk with the people around me. It's forced but they don't know that. They see the outer shell I'm still able to project. But what happens when that shell cracks?

I really don't know.

I'm tired.

I just want to go back to bed.

But here, at the end of this post, I will leave you with this quote that pretty much covers everything I've said and the things I may have forgotten to say...

"Joy, affection, desire, pride,

humor are all drained away.

What makes life worth living

Disappears slowly,

Relentlessly

Until nothing seems to be left.

Anhedonia creeps in and claims

The person who once

Laughed with you,

Who once hugged you,

Who once loved to be

First on the hill

To catch the new powder snow.

The lights go out one by one.

It is the death of the spirit."

-Maryellen Walsh

Monday, December 7, 2015

Motivational Monday


Yes!! And, for the most part, I don't miss any of the crap I used to eat!!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sunday in the Kitchen - Yogurt Breaded Chicken Tenders

I created this recipe by combining the information and most of the ingredients from the "baked parmesan chicken nuggets" and replacing the olive oil to dip them in with yogurt which makes them super moist and tasty! I used vanilla yogurt because it's what I had on hand but you can use plain yogurt to cut back on calories and sugar if you'd like.

Ingredients:
28 oz on raw, thin slice chicken tenders (makes about 11-12 tenders)
1 6 oz fat-free vanilla yogurt container
4 tbsp grated parmesan and romano cheese
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Pam olive oil spray - 4 second spray

Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray.

Put the yogurt in one bowl and the breadcrumbs, cheese and all three seasonings in another.

Dip each chicken tender into the yogurt, once at a time, then dip into the breadcrumb mixture until fully coated. Place on the baking sheet and continue until all the chicken is done.

Bake for about 20 minutes until cooked though (I cut through a piece to make sure it's done on the inside).

Serve with a dipping sauce or dressing (nutrition info not included)

Nutritional Facts: 1 serving is 123 calories, 2 g fat, 103 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 18 g protein.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Bad Food Choices

Some days I still make bad food choices. Thursday was one of those days. I bought some chips (I haven't had chips in forever). It wasn't a single serving bag but it also wasn't one of those big bags... more of an in between... maybe 3 servings?

Anyway, I ate the chips. They were okay. I won't be wasting calories and carbs on them in the future but I wanted to have them and so I had them.

Big, big mistake.

Within a half hour of eating them I was scrounging around the kitchen because I could not stop eating. All I wanted to do is keep stuffing food in my mouth and so I ate and ate and ate. It didn't turn into a full binge and I think my saving grace (since somehow I did not gain weight from this) was that the majority of what I ate was still low carb, so despite the massive amount of food, it sort of worked with my body.

And then the pain kicked in...headache, joint pain, back pain... was it from the extra carbs and crap I was eating? I don't know but I feel much better today after getting back on track yesterday.

So, what have I learned here?

1) Well, I'm not perfect sometimes I will mess up. Sometimes I will even plan the mess ups. But I will and can get right back on track.

2) I don't want to waste nutrients and calories on chips again, they're not worth it.

3) I feel like crap when I eat crap.

Being back on tracks feels great though and that's where I plan to stay (at least until our Chinese food dinner on Christmas... Christmas is a break day!!).

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Week Nine Low Carb - Thursday Check-In (Month Three)

Week Nine Weigh-In:
12/03/2015:         -2.2 pound
Total lost:             23.6 pounds
Current Weight:   206.4 pounds

Another 2.2 pounds down!! My short term goal is to hit 205 lbs and then my medium term goal is to hit 200 by Christmas and I'm right on track for that to happen!

I'm also (as I posted to Facebook and Instagram last night) now wearing my size 14 jeans. Not a 14 W from the "large" section but a regular 14 petite. I don't even know when I wore these jeans before or how long ago it was but I would say quiet a few years and they look and feel brand new so I'm guessing I bought them right before a gain and just put them away for sometime in the future. Well, the future is now!!

I'm doing really well with the step challenge and I wanted to add more exercise in but a spot right under my right shoulder blade is feeling iffy and there's a spot on the left side of my back as well that's kind of pulling so I may just do the steps for now, at least until I see the spine clinic people next week. Doing the step challenge is a great start anyway.

I'm also doing much better with the med change and the withdrawal symptoms are just about gone.

This week my plans remain as they have been; stick with low carb, walk and hold off on the other stuff unless it's with my trainer or if my back doing better.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December Goals!

It's that time again, the start of the new month and of new beginnings (for anyone who needs it!). I have a few specific goals for this coming up month and here they are in no particular order...

1) Do the 30 Day (31 in this case) Step Challenge and actually go all the way through with it! No quitting half way, the only exception to that being if anything gets sprained, pulled or broken or who even knows what.

2) Hit 200 pounds by December 31st. That put me at 8.6 pounds that I have to lose. Do I feel like I can do that? Yes, yes I actually do. And if I don't? Well, I don't know but it's a goal that I'm working my way toward.

3) Continue with the low carb although that's not really a goal anymore, it's just how I live my life.

Actually, those about cover the goals. I will get one free cheat day on Christmas day that I'm going to fully enjoy and not feel bad about.

Other than that I'm sticking with the same small goals I've been working on this whole time. Weight loss goals of 5 pound segments, low carb, high protein and basic exercise.

I'm definitely looking forward to the step challenge. I think that will be a great lead in to working out again!

I think that's about it for now... let's do this thing!!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday in the Kitchen - Tuna Fish Salad

I put together this basic recipe when I first started low carb and was trying to find something filing, healthy and high in protein to eat from ingredients I had laying around the house. It's quick, easy and pretty filling.

Ingredients:
1 4 oz container of chunk tuna in water drained
1 tsp lime juice (because there was no lemon juice in the house :/)
3 TBLS Mayonnaise
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used Italian 6-cheese style blend)
4 slices sweet bread and butter pickle chips

Drain the tuna and mix everything together in a bowl. Eat and enjoy. It doesn't get much easier than that lol.

Nutritional Facts: 1 serving equals 490 calories, 36 g fat, 945 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 30 g protein.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Week Eight Low Carb - Thursday Check-In (Month Two)

Week Eight Weigh-In:
11/26/2015:         -2.4 pound
Total lost:              21.4 pounds
Current Weight:   208.6 pounds

Wooohooo!! I broke the 20 pound loss and I worked really hard to break it! I posted new progress photos on their page and the difference in my face is amazing! My 16's are also getting nicely roomy.

I'm not expecting a big loss for this upcoming week due to Thanksgiving because I'm allowing myself a little bit of pie with ice cream but other than that I plan on staying on track with the low carb.

I did much better with my calorie range and my protein this week like I planned and I want to add in a little bit of cardio exercise. I'm going to start with the Walk Away the Pounds DVDs (I have like 14 to choose from lol) but to be careful with my body I'm starting with 1 mile an not just jumping into 3-5 like I would have in the past.

My next short-term goal is 205 and right now my hope is to hit 200 by Christmas which should be doable if I work hard and stay on track!

On another topic, I'm doing okay with the med change. Yesterday was a little hard with dizziness and slightly slurring my words, mind being a little slow and so on but today looks a little better!

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The "Fun" Never Ends Around Here

So yesterday I had a blood test so my doctor can take a look and see how much sodium is doing after 7 weeks on low carb and a lot of sodium intaking. They called me an hour ago. My sodium, after no fasting, is 126. Normal is 136 and over.

For those just tuning in, I've been dealing with chronic low sodium for a while now, years actually, but it all came to a head when I ended up in the ER because of it and because of an "altered mental state" about a year and a half ago. Since then we've tried lowering my liquid intake and upping my sodium intake and it's not working.

This probably explains why I felt so horrible Thursday while I was getting my hair done, almost passed out and had to keep putting my head between my knees to the point where the hairstyle ladies were asking if I needed an ambulance which I declined. Since all I had that morning was a protein bar... well, it all makes sense now.

In any case my doctor has a new plan which is to cut one of my antipsychotic med dosages in half. He's tracked down that this med can cause low sodium so it's on the chopping block. I have to cut it as of tonight. And since my doctor is not a psychiatrist he wanted me to make an appointment with my psych ASAP (have one for Tuesday morning) and my therapist ASAP (waiting for her to call me back).

So far, so good right? Sounds doable? Here's where my fears come in. It took years and years to find a cocktail of meds and dosages that keep me stable (Bipolar 2 Rapid Cycling and Anxiety) and I've been on this cocktail for quiet a few years with just a few tweaks here and there. But this isn't really a tweak, this is one med dose cut in half and I'm not sure what will happen.

I'm not sure what the withdrawal will be like on this one (I know how the others are but this med has been pretty regular for me). I don't know if I'll go into a depression or into a hypo-mania or go back and forth (when I say "rapid-cycling I seriously mean rapid as in up to several times a day). I'm not sure what to expect and that scares me a little.

I've given the boys and Charles a heads up and I think I have a good plan built up around me but I can't help but worry. I guess we'll see what happens.

Oh, and next time I feel sick enough that I can't stay upright and think I'm going to pass out I am supposed to go to the free clinic or the ER. Same goes for any other mental state issues. Which, you know, should go without saying.

I'll keep you all updated!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday in the Kitchen - Blueberry Streusel Muffins

I got this recipe from The Taste of Home magazine and made it for the family a couple of months ago. I don't really eat muffins anymore (until I find or make some low-carb versions which I haven't tried yet) but Charles and the boys enjoyed them and they smelled great! We used blueberries we had previously frozen but, of course, fresh is great too. Also, I think the 1/2 cup of sugar for the topping was too much so I would cut back on that because the family said the muffins ended up a little too sweet.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (if you're using pre-frozen blueberries, don't defrost them, just use them frozen)

Streusel:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup cold butter cut up into tiny pieces

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar, then beat in an egg and vanilla and mix well. In an another bowl mix the  the flour, baking powder and salt and add to creamed mixture alternating with milk. Once that is fully mixed you can add the blueberries.

Fill 12 greased cups about 2/3 full. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon, then add the pieces of in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over muffins. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until browned. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the muffin cups and serve warm. This recipe should make 12 muffins.

Nutritional Facts: 1 serving (1 muffin) equals 252 calories, 9 g fat, 325 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Friday, November 20, 2015

How I'm Doing Low Carb

Well, it's Friday and I don't have anything to review so I decided to write this post. I've had several people asking me about what I'm doing and how I'm doing it this week and what better place to put it than here. Keep in mind that everything I do is up for evaluation and reevaluation as time passes and my body changes but here is what I've been doing for the last seven or so weeks.

1) I track everything I eat on My Fitness Pal. I changed my settings when I started low carb to match the info I found online so I can keep an eye on the most important things. I track calories, carbs, protein, fat, fiber and sugar. I keep my calories at 1350 and under and my carbs under 49 grams a day. I try to get as much protein as possible and while I keep track of fiber, sugar and fat they aren't that important to me and pretty much work themselves out based on my protein and carbs.

2) I count whole carbs and not net carbs (carbs minus fiber) when doing all my planning. I pay attention to the net carbs at the end of the day and write them down and eventually I may switch over to just net carbs but this is working for me right now. So for example, today my carb total was 38 but my net total was 28.

3) I read nutrition labels on everything possible looking at calories, protein and carbs and figure out how many servings (or partial servings I can have). If it doesn't have a nutrition label I look it up. Nothing goes in my mouth without knowing its nutrition.

4) I weigh and /or measure all my food. I have a food scale and, of course, measuring cups and spoons. Even if something has a nutrition label I weigh it anyway (unless it's liquid where I measure it) because I've found that a lot of the time the serving size on the nutrition label is off and doesn't match what it's supposed to be.

5) I plan and plan and replan, adding, subtracting and planning some more. This may sound tedious and annoying to people but without this I make food mistakes and, frankly, I like the planning. I've found that if I don't preplan my meals and just grab something, I'm very likely to go over my allowed nutrition amount. I especially plan carefully if I'll be eating out (which doesn't happen very often) and before buying groceries. Once you get used to doing this it actually doesn't take up as much time as you'd think.

6) There are certain foods I haven't eaten since I started low carb ( bread, pizza, chips or snacky foods like chips, ice cream, pastries, pie, donuts) but I can always make an allowance. If there was some amazing bread or something I could have a small piece as long as I work it into my nutrients. The same goes for dessert.

7) I read a lot of articles, blogs and message boards about low carb and keto because I love to keep learning and like I said, I love researching things.

8) I weigh-in every day so I can see where I stand and if I need to tweak something that week but I only count the weight I am on Thursdays because that's my official weigh-in day. I'm also taking progress photos, well, I haven't fully decided on how often but my next set will be when I hit a 20 pound loss.

9) I like discovering little things that I can add or subtract to lower the carb amount. For example, I found out that half & half has less carbs than milk so that's what goes into my coffee now.

10) I found a protein bar that I love (Power Crunch bars) and I always make sure I have some around (they taste amazing frozen) because it's easier to stick a protein bar into my purse on my way to work than to stop by Dunkin Donuts and grabs something way more unhealthy.

11) I have my Instagram which keeps me motivated and I follow a lot of people on there who do low carb and keto and give me great ideas for recipes and meals.

12) I working on exercising again and I know that will help me lose weight but that will have to be another blog post.

13) I take the advice of of people who have done this before me and have succeed and I stay open minded to new ideas.

I think that basically covers it and this may look somewhat obsessive to some people but it's what works for me and after more than a year of nothing really working and doing nothing but gaining weight or losing the same 3 or 4 pounds, this is great. On top of that I feel much healthier and in less pain so I'm not about to stop this.

I hope this helps someone and keep in mind, you don't have to be as focused and detailed as I am to succeed. Everyone needs to find their own way!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Week Seven Low Carb - Thursday Check-In (Month Two)

Week Seven Weigh-In:
11/19/2015:         -1.8 pound
Total lost:              19 pounds
Current Weight:   211 pounds

Wow... so close to a 20 pound loss! As of this morning I am down 19 pounds in total and 11 since starting low carb. I'm very happy with the weight loss but I am also having some issues. I know I have not been getting enough calories over the last two weeks or so and my protein amount has really dropped in the last week. I need to regroup and plan my food better because relying on protein bars is not a good idea.

So my goal for this coming week is pretty simple. Up my calories into a reasonable amount and up my protein. Focus more on "real" foods and cooking homemade and less on easy things and prepare at least 2 recipes sometime during this week. The ones I want to make are my taco salad and that cauliflower bake I've been thinking about the last few weeks.

I can also feel that I'm not getting enough nutrients. I feel light headed and dizzy and my headaches are coming back so it's time to buckle down and plan better like I did when I started this thing!

Anyway, I wrote a pretty long post yesterday so I don't have much else for today. Hope you all have a great week!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thoughts on Food

So I've been thinking about this on and off all day and decided to finally write about it. I realized in the last few days that I've been doing low carb for 6.5 weeks and in that time I have not had any bread, pizza, chips or snacky foods like chips, ice cream, pastries, pie, donuts and all sorts of other things that fall into those categories and the most shocking part to me is that I don't crave them and I don't miss them.

I think what I miss is the idea of them though. I go past the bakery and pastry aisle in the store, I go down the ice cream aisle sometimes, I buy Gabriel mini bags of chips for his lunch, stuff like that and before low-carb I would eat those things and enjoy them. Actually I wouldn't just eat them, I'd probably binge on them. I couldn't have one ice cream cone out of a box of four, I would eat all four unless someone managed to eat the other ones before I got to them. I couldn't buy a pint of Ben and Jerry's without eating the whole thing (although the whole eating a pint thing stopped several weeks before the low carb). If there was a pie in the house it would be all the pie or none of it. Yes, I know I have issues.

Anyway, now, I don't binge. I think I binged once in the last 6.5 weeks and that was Halloween, it was planned and it made me horribly sick. I don't have weekly cheat days any more. I can still fit in an occasional cheat snack like I did with half a slice of cake for Gabriel's birthday but that was included into my calories and macros and planned for carefully.

Honestly though, I may not want those things while I'm in the store or something, but if they were in front of me I don't know if I could control myself. I'd like to think I can but... I don't think I'm there yet. So if it's something I KNOW is a binge food for me I don't get it at all. I did try to get one bar of hazelnut chocolate and eat one small piece a day and that lasted for 5 days before I went nuts and chowed down on what was left (which is why this week's weight loss will be a lower than last weeks'... I think anyway). Obviously I'm not ready for that kind of chocolate to be in the house and now I know it.

The other thing I miss is how easy things were. I didn't have to plan everything ahead of time. If we ran out of time and energy we could order some pizza... now I don't eat pizza. If I wanted a snack I would just grab whatever looked good. Now I go over the nutrition label and my macros before putting anything in my mouth. Sometimes I miss that but the positives I've seen outweigh the negatives by a huge amount.

The thing that really shocked me was the bread. For months and months (maybe even years) I refused to go low carb because I'd have to give up bread. As I've said, I've had no bread since I started this and I don't miss it. I don't even think about it and there's been various breads in the house.

Once again though, if I were to make a loaf of homemade bread I'd probably stuff a chunk into my mouth as soon as it cooled down (if I waited that long) so for now I'm not making any.

I have no worries about Thanksgiving since we don't really do it anyway but I do have a cheat day set aside for Christmas because that's our Chinese food day and I am NOT willing to give that up! But I do plan to eat less than normal, choose more carefully and, frankly, one day is not the end of the world.

And at the end of all these thoughts, it all comes down to how much better I feel, how I'm losing weight steadily and how good low carb has turned out to be for me so far. And that makes all the inconveniences worth it!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday in the Kitchen - Basic "Zoodles"

We tried out "zoodles" a while ago after we bought the spiralizer after seeing a lot of recipes for them and they came out really yummy! There's tons of recipes we haven't tried but these are the very basic ones we made the first time around. This recipe made two servings.

Ingredients:
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 medium zucchini
2 TBSP olive oil
Garlic and salt to taste

Get the spiralizer set up. We used the thinnest cutting option because I like the food sliced thin. Wash the vegetables and then cut the ends off the squash and zucchini, load them up on the spiralizer one by one and take them through the machine.

I chopped up the spirals because I didn't want to deal with long strands, then rinsed them and tried to squeeze as much liquid out of them as possible in the strainer. There's a lot of liquid and I'm still trying to find the best way to get rid of it.

Put the olive oil into a frying pan and heat on medium. Add the spirals along with the garlic and salt and fry for about 2-5 minutes depending on how soft you want the veggies. I think they get softer the longer you cook them.

I drained and squeezed more liquid out after they were done and then ate them plain but I think adding some sauce would help.

Those are the basics and I'm looking forward to trying out some actual recipes!

Nutritional Facts: 1 serving equals 218 calories, 21 g fat, 13 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Heart Goes Out to the People of Paris...

... the lost, the survivors, the ones mourning their losses and the ones still trapped in the unknown, praying, hoping and waiting to hear.

To the ones who lived through it and the ones who did not make it.

To the ones who were there and the ones watching it unfold from afar.

To the ones now mourning and the ones thankful for another chance.

To the ones who sit by the sides of the wounded, the ones hugging their families, the ones who made it home and the ones who will never be home again.

To all the families, friends and loved ones of those who will now be mourned and never forgotten, the ones who must now find a way to say goodbye, to move forward and to continue the lives that have been torn apart and will never be the same.

And to all the ones I may be forgetting...

...my prayers, my thoughts and my well wishes are with you. We stand beside you and may the memory of all those who were lost be eternal.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Week Six Low Carb - Thursday Check-In (Month Two)

Week Six Weigh-In:
11/12/2015:         -2.6 pound
Total lost:            17.2 pounds
Current Weight:   212.8 pounds    

Wow... you guys know I wanted to see 215 well I blew right past that to lose 2.6 pounds and hit 212.8!!! I haven't been at this weight since July of 2014!!

I also took my measurements (which I am posting the basics of here and all of the official numbers for the full inches lost timeline are on my weights and measurements page) and I am comfortably wearing my size 16 jeans!!

Also since July 26, 2015 I've lost the following in inches (total loss on other page)

Waist: -1.5 inches
Hips:   -0.5 inches
Bust:   - 2 inches
Right Arm: - 1 inch
Left Arm:   - 1 inch            
Right Thigh: -0.5 inch
Left Thigh:   -0.5 inch
Right Calf:  -0.4 inch
Left Calf:    -0.9 inch
Jeans:  1 size

I am beyond thrilled with these numbers especially as they involved a weekend away from home and half a slice of birthday cake!!

My next short term goal is 210 lbs at which point I'll take new progress photos. I have 2 sets of progress photos, I have the ones posted on my photo page but I also have a set in just my gym short and workout bra that are very painful to look at due to my size and just general, well, size. I currently have that set on Instagram but haven't shared it here yet. I'm not sure if I'll share before I hit my goal but we'll see.

So the plan for this coming week is simple. Keep doing what I'm doing and try to get some new recipes on there. That's about it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

General Stuff

This will not be long as it hurts to type...

The weekend was a lot of fun. I stuck with the low carb thing and was even able to work in half a slice of cake for Gabriel's birthday without an issue and, shockingly, half a slice was enough!

I also must have done something right over the weekend because the scale continues to go down... I'm not sharing numbers until my official weigh-in on Thursday though.

We had a lot of fun wandering the mall (had to make it shorter than normal thanks to the ankle) and decided that Sarah and I need to go back to do Christmas shopping without kids sometime in December lol.

Sarah and Dom's remodeled house is absolutely gorgeous and makes me wish we could do more with ours!

Their kids were funny and pleasant as always and so were mine.

The car did awesome on the highway (although some freaking idiot nearly ran us off the road because he decided to wanted my lane in a spot where there was NOWHERE for me to go!! Luckily it worked out but it wasn't fun in that moment!).

The car actually goes into the shop on Thursday to get a new windshield and we're working on a list to give them of anything else that might need to be repaired (still paid by the dealership since this is happening after we took it home but before they were done with the things they were supposed to pay for) so Thursday I'll be driving a loaner (please NOT that pickup!!).

The arm hurts worse every day and the pain has now moved along to the forearm, wrist and fingers with the fingers occasionally falling asleep as they please. Did I mention this is my dominant hand?

I had to cancel the pug commission I had going and can't do any art work at this time. I'm not even going to talk about how much that sucks.

This is all I have because the fingers are hurting more the more I type. Until later!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Pain Picked a New Body Part...

I have to get this out of my head before the pain gets so bad I can't type...we had a great weekend and I can write about that later but this is what matters right now. Last night I was wiping down the kitchen island because I got some water drops on it and I threw out my arm.

How do you throw out your arm? Apparently by spending 12 seconds wiping a counter top in a circular motion. The pain went from my shoulder to my elbow, focusing on my bicep. It came out of nowhere and it really, really hurt...a burning, spreading pain like my hip and back get. But in my arm which has never happened before.

I was heading to bed so I just tried to ignore it except when I would move it and then pain would flare up. When I got up this morning and it only ached and I was able to move it without major pain again so I figured, yay, it's done.

Why do I ever bother thinking it's done? It's never freaking done.

It started aching again as I was driving home but the major pain didn't kick in again until about an hour ago, pretty much for no reason. I went to the bathroom. I stopped by Gabriel's bedroom to say something to him, I moved my arm and that was it. The pain was back and I could barely lift the arm or move it around without a lot of hurt.

So I did some googling and yeah, this could totally be from the degenerative disc disease thing. Of course it could be. Of course f**king could be. Why not? Why not throw in the arm I need to use into the mix? Hell, let's throw in my fingers, my toes, my neck, my head... why not just throw in my whole stupid, f**king body! Why the hell not??? It's not like I need to not feel pain or anything. Let's just make it worse for the hell of it.

I might be somewhat upset right now.

I'm just so frustrated and so sick of this. I'm sick of being in pain but I've pretty much got used to the general pain by now. And I'm used to my back and hip going out. I'm getting used to the bad ankles and bad knees again. I can handle the headaches. I thought I had it under control, but my arm? The one I write with... the one I freaking draw with?? Why the arm????

I guess it doesn't matter why. I may as well stop asking because the answers don't really matter. I don't know what will affect my body part. It could be a fall. It could be a twisted ankle. It could be doing an exercise wrong. It could be sleeping the wrong way. It could be taking a tiny step back. It could be slipping on the snow or gravel or ice or nothing at all, it could be vacuuming and I guess it could be wiping a freaking counter.

I'm mad and upset and crying in frustration and pain.

When the hell is this going to get better? Or it it only going to get worse as I get older? I don't know. I don't know what to expect anymore. I don't know what will go next.

I've done the chiropractor, I've done physical therapy, I've done the therapy pool, I've done the gym. I've done all the exercises that were suggested to me. I've done yoga and weights and the pool and the treadmill and band and stretches and walking and whatever else has been suggested to me. I've done ice and heat and braces and the air cast and elevating. I've worked with a trainer. I've tried therapeutic massage, I've changed my diet (and that should help, right?). I've done research and reading and anything else I could find on the conditions I have. I don't know what else to do except acupuncture which I keep meaning to try. Why is my body still falling apart? Why is it getting worse instead of better?

I have an appointment with the DHMC spine clinic on December 10th. My regular doctor is past being able to help me so they're my next stop. I guess I can just hope they can help.

But today, right now, with ice on my arm and the pain spreading to my fingers as I type (which is why I'm stopping now) I don't feel very positive about this or anything else.

I just don't.

Sunday in the Kitchen - My Epic Salad REDONE to be Lower Carb

I reworked my Epic Salad once I went lower carb to be much lower carb and much higher protein :)

My New Epic Salad:
1.25 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
1 cup Sweet & Crunchy Salad Mix
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup Rainbow Slaw
4 cut up grape tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
1/2 cup Shredded White Italian Style 6 Cheese Blend
80 grams Perdue Shortcuts  Rotisserie Seasoned chicken breast
1 Tablespoon slivered almonds
3 Slices Oscar Mayer Fully Cooked Bacon - Original Cut (sliced up)

Mix everything together, pour the dressing of your choice over the salad and enjoy!'

Nutritional Facts:
1 salad equals 487 calories, 35 g fat, 1,104 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 51 g protein.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Week Five Low Carb - Thursday Check-In (Month Two)

Week Five Weigh-In:
11/05/2015:         -1 pound
Total lost:             14.6 pounds
Current Weight:   215.4 pounds

One more pound down and so close to a 15 pound loss! Definitely next week lol. Considering how Halloween went I'm thrilled to have lost a whole pound and my only "cheat" this week will be a small dessert (actually half of a small dessert) at Sarah's for Gabriel's birthday.

My plans for this week are simple. Keep following the low carb plan and counting calories. Keep blogging and Instagramming and just stick to what works. I also want to work on some new recipes which just didn't happen this week (like the cauliflower bake I had planned). Luckily all the ingredients will last until next week so I'm not wasting food.

I have been working on resting the ankle more but tomorrow will involved work, an hour and a half drive (sprained ankle is my driving one) plus walking around the mall so the plan is to super rest it on Saturday.

I also want to go through the workouts my trainer taught me and convert them for at-home workouts. For example, I need to find out what can replace the lat pull down and the leg press and extensions (plus other exercises) since I don't have machines at home. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out, I just need to spend some time focusing on it.

So basically, I am loving low carb and I'm very happy with the weight loss. I know a lot of people lose faster on low carb but this is steady weight loss and with the meds I'm on and various injuries I'm doing better than I ever expected!

So, to all of you who suggested low carb to me and pushed me to try it, thank you! Yes, you guys were right! I just had to find my own way to it but I couldn't/wouldn't have done it without your advice and help!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Happily Back on Track

So I've been back on track since Sunday and am finally feeling better. My regular food tastes normal again, the scale is slowly shifting down and, while I may be slightly craving chocolate, I haven't touched any despite the fact that there's still a big bowl in the kitchen (it helps that it's way, way on the top of the highest cupboard so I can't see it or reach it).

This coming weekend we're (excluding Andy who has to work and Charles who stays home) are going to Sarah's. As always we're meeting up at the Holyoke mall and having dinner at the 99 and I've already went over their menu and nutritional info and planned out my meal.

I am planning on dessert on Saturday for Gabriel's birthday but I don't want to go crazy with it. We're going to the specialty bakery I mentioned before but I'm not sure if I can split something with someone or get the smallest thing possible. I'll figure it out once I get there but I'm not throwing away all this work for one dessert!

On another topic my ankle has really been bothering me. I haven't been wearing the air cast enough because I can't get any shoes over it so half the time I just wear the Velcro brace which isn't letting the ankle heal like it should so the plan is work, driving, mall and grocery store for Friday and then resting the ankle on Saturday.

I'm also working on plans for working out at home but that's going slowly. I think I'll make it a bigger focus once this weekend away is done. I can at least do upper body and abs while the ankle heals.

In any case, it promises to be a fun weekend and I feel great being (and staying) back on track!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday in the Kitchen - Golden Honey Bread

This is a bread machine recipe for Golden Honey Bread. It's very easy and so very yummy. Serve it with a little butter or Nutella and enjoy! It isn't low carb but it's delicious so I'm sharing it!

Ingredients:
1 1/8 cups water (70 to 80 degrees F)
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

In bread machine pan, place all ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select basic bread setting. Choose crust color and loaf size if available. Bake according to bread machine directions (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed). Makes 16 slices.

Nutritional Facts:
1 slice equals 145 calories, 2 g fat, 195 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

So... Halloween...

As you guys know, I am very honest on this blog. I don't lie. I don't cover up gains. I admit my mistakes and my bad choices so here goes...

Halloween candy... please DON'T say "I told you so"... I already know!

After all my research and blogging and everything, I still decided that today would be a cheat day. I allowed myself a Big Mac (been craving one forever but NO fries), one of those small McDonald's soft serve ice creams and a few pieces of Halloween candy. With the McDonald's I specifically went with something that was a single serving each because then I couldn't binge on it. The candy, on the other hand, is bingeable, but I don't even want to see it right now.

Within 10-15 minutes I thought I was going to pass out. I can't remember the last time I felt that horribly sick. I became dizzy and lightheaded, my arms, legs and head felt like they weighed 50 pounds each. I thought I was going to throw up and pass out and I had to lay down before that happened. My heart rate was up like crazy, my head was starting to hurt and I realized that I had made a very, very big mistake.

I'm assuming all that was from the massive rush of carbs and sugar into a body that hasn't seen more than 20 grams of sugar and under 50 grams of carbs in at least nine days. I actually ended up falling asleep for a few hours and now I'm up again. I don't feel as sick as before but definitely not good either. There's also a large bowl of candy on top of the microwave and I don't want to even look at it at this point in time.

So have I learned my lesson? Maybe. I supposed if I really, really, really wanted a piece of candy I could have planned ahead and gotten something small and wonderful but I went a little crazy with it. Okay, a lot crazy with it.

Do I plan to do it again? NO!

I only have one time coming up when a really great dessert will be up for grabs and that's next weekend when we go to Sarah's for the weekend for Gabriel's birthday. Her grocery store has this amazing bakery and we always get one small, individual dessert each when we're there. I want part of that dessert but I don't want to get a lot and I don't want to get sick. Can I have a small part of it or will my body react this badly to any shot of sugar above what I'm used too?

I'm not sure right now and I do plan to do some serious research on it before next weekend. I also realize today knocked me out of ketosis and it will take me several days to get back there so I'm ready for the scale on Thursday. I made this decision knowing all this (except for the getting sick part) and I'm prepared for the consequences.

But I have no desire to do this again. Lesson learned.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Week Four Low Carb - Thursday Check-In (Month One)

Week Four Weigh-In:
10/22/2015:         -1.2 pound
Total lost:             13.6 pounds
Current Weight:   216.4 pounds

Yes! Down another 1.2 pounds! I only have 1.4 more pounds to lose to hit a 15 pound loss and I'm really hoping for (and working toward) that for next week!

This may be slow progress for low carb but considering my lack of progress before low carb I'm very happy with it!

I've noticed a few other things as well that I may have mentioned before, the most important being that I have way, way less headaches which is just huge for me! My stomach is also settling down nicely (I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and it's been  much more under control eating this way. I have more energy, I don't want to sleep all the time and I'm thinking about food a lot less. I'm sure there are other changes that I may not have noticed yet but in general I feel healthier.

The problem is that I've gotten really bored with meat, cheese and tuna but, once again, friends on Facebook came to the rescue and I have  a lot of ideas and plans for new recipes and foods now, especially seafood. I also have a Twice Baked Cauliflower recipe that I've been dying to try to I finally picked up the ingredients and will be making it this weekend!

After writing back and forth with my friends about various food last night I realized that if I'm going to stick with this and I AM going to stick with it, I need to start paying more attention to the quality and taste of my food. The first few weeks were more like an experiment but since it's obviously working for me in many different ways I need to plan better. There's not reason to limit myself to a small grouping of meat and tuna and suffer through eating it over and over again. It's time to play with the food a little and check out some other choices and ways of cooking it.

I also did a lot of reading on Keto (click here for more info) and low carb yesterday and learned a lot. The biggest thing that I learned (that, in all honesty, I already knew) was that high carb cheat days will really mess you up and can cost you several days of weight loss. Now, I already stopped with the massive cheat days but I was hoping to still be able to eat some extra carby things (or even 1 high carb thing) once a week but the way I'm looking at it now, I don't think I'm willing to give up days and days of weight loss (and fight weight gain) for some yummy carbs. I think it will all depend on the day and situation. But I have a lot more reading to do because I'm finding this whole Keto thing fascinating!

I'm also pretty sure that my carb count will go up a bit once I lose the weight I need to lose but I can really see myself doing the low/lower carb for life. To me it seems doable and the carbs I would add back in would be the healthy complex carbs and not pastries and stuff like that.

I realized yesterday that I've been on low carb for almost four weeks now and, outside of a couple days at the beginning, I haven't had any desire to quit. Yeah, I'm craving carbs now and again but I'm not going crazy over them, I'm not cheating with them and, most important of all to me, I'm not binging. That is just HUGE. I also know that if I were to take a bite of, I don't know, Ben and Jerry's ice cream or a cheesecake I would not be able to stop until I ate the whole thing (or so I think at this time) so why even take that bite?

Basically I can see myself doing this in the long run and I feel great about it. This is the first time in a very long time that I've actually stuck to something and been excited about it (Gabriel pointed that out last night).

So, what are my goals for this coming week? Well, I really need to rest the ankle more. It's been a really busy week and I've done way too much walking on it to the point where it's swelling again and hurting a lot more. My only workout goal right now is to organize all my home exercise stuff and to do abs so my biggest focus is on food. 

And, of course, to keep blogging!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

It's Been a Long Week...

...and it's only Wednesday.

Let's start with the biggest thing first. This is our new (to us) car...


She's a 2011 Chevy Impala and she drives beautifully, has front seats that warm up and is generally newer and nice than our Honda. We loved our Honda but after 3 appointments for repairs in four weeks, basically emptying out our savings account and looking at more repairs and costs piling up, it was time to move on. Hopefully this car will hold out a little longer before falling apart left and right.

But... and this is pretty big but (no jokes here people!!) she is more expensive so one of the things that had to go was my gym membership. Frankly, I'm okay with this. Between the back injury and the knee injury and the ankle injury I've barely been able to get to the gym anyway and I have tons of DVDs and equipment to use at home. I also have all the workouts my trainer built with me and for me and most can all be done at home (excluding weight machines obviously).

This isn't going to stop me from exercising at all, it'll just have to be done differently and I believe that the therapy pool will still be open to me for free as a resident of Springfield. Plus I like working out at home. I also have bike paths available to me and just at home I have: various resistance bands including the good ones with hand and ankle straps that  can attach to a door if I need too, my weights that range from 2lbs - 10lbs (I really want to get heavier ones with time), the reclining workout bench, the big ball, yoga mat, step bench, ankle and wrist weights as well as punching gloves, yoga straps and blocks, a recumbent bike (that has seen better days :/) and an elliptical as well as well over 25 workout DVDs plus all the free workouts you can find online. I definitely won't be hurting for equipment! I do have more I'd like to get eventually but right now I'm good to go, especially since I'm limited in what I can do while my back and ankle heals.

What else has been gong on? Well, I started a new pug portrait commission and I've done really well with the low carb thing. On the downside I'm pushed my ankle and back really hard because I had so much stuff to deal with so I'll be doing a lot of resting, elevating and icing the ankle through the rest of this week.

Tomorrow if my weigh-in day and I'm hoping for at least a 1 pound loss but right now I am SO sick of meat and cheese and tuna that I'm desperately seeking other foods to eat. One of the bloggers/Instagramers I have follow has an amazing recipe for a twice-baked cauliflower thing so I'll be making that this week and hopefully that should help. I'm just so tired of the stuff I've been eating (except the shrimp. I can always eat more shrimp lol) so I need to figure something out!

And in less than two weeks we'll be visiting Sarah for the weekend.... wooohoooo!!

That's all I have for today but tune in tomorrow to see how my weight loss went this week!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday in the Kitchen - Drink Your Produce Green Juice

We found this juice recipe online while looking for some better tasting juices and this is actually the best tasting one we've made so far.

We originally modified the recipe a little to suit our needs and the nutritional value is what I'm getting when I plug the recipe into My Fitness Pal but I'm not sure if it's exactly right because of all the pulp and parts of the fruits and veggies that don't end up in the juice.

Also, everything is measured in grams because it's easier for us to get the nutritional value that way.

I don't drink this anymore because it's way too much carbs vs. protein but Charles still enjoys it!

Ingredients:
13 grams Raw Ginger Root
575 grams Carrots
797 grams Peeled Cucumber (we found that peeling the cucumber makes the juice less bitter)
718 grams Apple
379 grams Pear

Follow your juicer instructions, juice and try to enjoy!

This recipes makes six 8 oz servings.

Nutritional Facts
1 8 oz glass: 168 calories, 1 g fat, 68 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 1 g protein.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Week Three Low Carb - Thursday Check-In (Month One)

Week Three Weigh-In:
10/22/2015:         +0.6 pound
Total lost:             12.4 pounds
Current Weight: 217.6 pounds

Okay, so I gained just over half a pound and I take responsibility for the majority of it. So what did I do wrong this past week?

1) I didn't preplan as much so my carbs were a little higher (still under 46 a day) and my protein was a little lower than the last 2 weeks. I also need way more fiber but I did great with sugar!

2) I barely got any vegetables, once again because of lack of planning.

3) I got hurt and the swelling in the ankle isn't helping the scale go down!

4) no gym or major walking, once again, due to getting hurt.

5) my "anniversary date" ended up turning into a cheat day because I wanted it to be and then I was in pain and feeling sorry for myself. Next time that we eat out I am preplanning and sticking with the low carb thing instead of letting myself go a little bit crazy since it's a going out day anyway. I did eat much smaller portions but the carb count was crazy!

6) I let a few too many Dunkin Donut coffees sneak their way in. Most of them were black with me adding my own tiny bit of sugar and half and half but at least two were ordered with stuff included and while I counted that as stuff I asked for, I have no way to be sure what really went into them.  I can honestly say I didn't have any donuts or food though, just the coffee.

So how am I going to deal with all this?

1) I'm not going to get mad at myself. I made some mistakes and I can go forward from here.

2) I'm already preplanning this weeks' meals, including reworking my "epic" salad to lower the carbs and shopping ahead of time to make the meals work. I will have at least 4 big salad meals this week which will help with health and fiber!

3) No Dunkin Donuts this week!!!

4) Focus on my abs and core this week for exercise. It's about all I can at this point in time.

5) Rest the stupid ankle so it can start healing.

Speaking of the ankle, I saw my doctor and am now in an air cast that I pretty much have to wear for at least six weeks. I also need to keep an eye on the swelling and if the sharp pain kicks in again they'll do x-rays. In another week or so I should be able to exercise in the pool at the gym and then work with my trainer again to build up my body and make the ankle stronger.

I also plan on blogging more this week. This past week was a little quiet around here!

Monday, October 19, 2015

It Was Quite a Weekend

As you guys probably know the weekend started out great and then went downhill fast (somewhat literally).

We started out by going to the Yankee Candle Factory and luckily got there before it got too busy. I'm only been there once before and Charles never had so we had it planned out for a while now. I made sure to take some photos since we don't have many of us doing stuff but the pictures that someone took of the two of us together didn't come out at all :(


                                                             Us in the car :)


In front of the pumpkins. I realized yesterday that my hair here is the same color as the pumpkins!

The whole Yankee Candle Place is gorgeous! There's tons of plants and pumpkins and little areas to sit outside and it was an absolutely beautiful day to begin with... like the perfect fall day!

The store was really nice inside as well but really crowded and it just got worse as time went on. I have to say that my favorite rooms were the medieval one with the gargoyles and Christmas trees ones with the waterfall. I was too short to get good pictures with any of the fun stuff but I did get one shot of a tree behind me!

             
                                                      Me with the trees.

I also really wanted to bring home this bear so I could freak out the cats but he was too expensive lol.


      The bear and I... also, I can totally see my jeans getting looser in this photo!

There were some absolutely gorgeous glass ornaments in one of the rooms but we decided to go with something less breakable. It's funny, but we picked out the same ornament to get at almost the same time! A really beautiful cello ornament that will look perfect on our tree!

After buying fudge and checking out every room we moved on because it was getting super crowded in there. We decided to grab lunch as Applebee's so no low carb was going on but it was pretty cool that I was full after eating half my meal. I keep seeing little bits of progress everywhere!

After that we went to take pictures of train stuff. Charles had found a small, off the beaten path place where there were railroad things and trains and all sorts of fun stuff so that's where we went and where it all went wrong. But first... photos...of course Charles got the good photos, mine were all taken by phone!



So what exactly happened? Well, we were walking past the main railroad area and chatting and then my ankle turned out under me and I went flying on to my left knee, lower leg, hip and left hand, flat down. The knee was scraped and bleeding, the hand hurt and the ankle killed. I was hoping it was just twisted but it's a sprain.

I didn't really step funny or trip on anything, my ankle just decided to give away like it sometimes does and, of course, since it's been a while since it happened I wasn't wearing any ankle braces.

So I limped to the car and we ended up going home which kind of sucked.

I'm now on day three of this injury. The ankle is definitely sprained and in a Velcro brace and walking/sling/air cast thing...


The knee is bruised, scraped and hurting. My lower back in aching, my hand, thumb and fingers ache and I'm mad and upset and in a lot of pain but the ankle is the worst. I had to do a lot of walking today and now it's way more swollen and painful.

I can't do my regular workouts, obviously, and the plank challenge thing isn't going to happen either. I emailed with my trainer and I guess I'll be using the pool once things start to heal up, especially pool exercise classes. Once the ankle is healed I'll be able to workout the way I was before but in the meantime I can't do anything but sit here and complain.

The scale has also creeped up by a few pounds so that's bugging me as well. I'll be happy to break even this week when I weigh in.

So that was the anniversary weekend. At least the first half of it was great!

Motivational Monday


I have to keep telling myself this!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday in the Kitchen - Bread Machine French Baguettes

These are super easy to make and go great with any meal or on their own with a little butter! They're not low carb but they're still really good!

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup water
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place 1 cup water, bread flour, sugar, salt and yeast into bread machine pan in the order recommended by manufacturer. Select Dough cycle, and press Start.
2. When the cycle has completed, place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
3. Punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 16x12 inch rectangle. Cut dough in half, creating two 8x12 inch rectangles. Roll up each half of dough tightly, beginning at 12 inch side, pounding out any air bubbles as you go. Roll gently back and forth to taper end. Place 3 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Make deep diagonal slashes across loaves every 2 inches, or make one lengthwise slash on each loaf. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Mix egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water; brush over tops of loaves.
5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Nutritional Facts: makes 12 serving
1 serving is 100 calories, 0 g fat, 195 mg sodium, 19 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Week Two Low Carb - Thursday Check-In (Month One)

Week Two Weigh-In:
10/15/2015:        -1.8 pound
Total lost:             13 pounds
Current Weight: 217 pounds

Yes! Down another 1.8 pounds! That's a total of 4.8 pounds since I started low-carb 13 days ago!

This week has gone much better with cravings. I actually only had one serious evening of cravings and I held out and talked myself through it (with a little help from my friends online and off). I also made it to the gym once this week and worked out at home once (planning more for today).

Unfortunately with the weather changes taking places my head has started hurting again and my joints have started acting up as well, with my right knee going out on Tuesday. The knee is okay now but the joints in my hands and fingers feel like they have needles going through them which makes working out somewhat difficult. I'm still working on the plank but it's slow going and only at 12-15 seconds right now.

I'm getting used to planning low carb meals and I feel like I'm pretty well prepared for this coming week. Charles and I are going on a late-ish anniversary trip this Saturday and will be eating out so we'll see what happens then but I'm definitely planning to go easy on the carbs, even when celebrating. I'm allowing myself to open that day up a bit in terms of macros but not go crazy with it at the same time.

I have been able to up my protein like I wanted but I definitely need to plan ahead for that. I've actually been doing a lot of planning and a lot of moving foods around in My Fitness Pal as well as adding and subtracting foods from meals to get the right ratio of macros before I eat. I'm not obsessing with it but if I want to see results and do this right I need to plan and plan and plan some more.

I definitely did not do 4 gym sessions like I wanted but I'm not about to give up on that goal and I'm working on the plank every day, whether or not I'm in the gym.

I'm putting off progress pics for now and will take new ones (except the stuff that goes on my Instagram) when I hit a 20 pound loss. Also, I'm sure Charles and I will take some pics on Saturday.

So the plan for this coming week is to continue what I'm doing and add in more exercise, more water and more veggies. And keep working on that plank!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Eight Years!!

Eight years married and many, many years of friendship and flirting before that!

Happy eight year anniversary Charles ❤ we've had some great times and some hard times but I couldn't ask for a better guy to spend those years with and to raise the boys with!

Here's to the last eight years, all the ones that came before them, and to many, many more yet to come ❤❤







Tuesday, October 13th Workout

I totally forgot to blog yesterday's workout. Because of a scratchy throat and generally feeling not so great I worked out at home. Since I'm working with bands and own a bench the only thing I wasn't able to do was the ropes.

Day two: 1 hour
Basic warm up
Plank - held for 12 seconds
Crunches hold for 2 seconds: 3 sets of 20
Face down band row on bench: 5 sets of 20
Band bicep curl: 5 sets of 20
Middle trap band pulls: 5 sets of 20
Lat pulls: 5 sets of 20
Stretch

Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday, October 12th Workout

Back at the gym! Still working under no weights, no lower body, and no treadmill restrictions but the rest felt great!

It really helps to go first thing in the morning!

Day one:
Warm up and cardio: heavy ropes 10 sets of 20 seconds
Crunches: hold for 2 seconds: 3 sets of 20
Plank: 15 held between 6 and 10 seconds
Band press: 5 sets of 20
Band fly: 5 sets of 20
Tricep band push down: 5 sets of 20
Stretch

Motivational Monday


Yes, yes and YES!!!