Health Progress, Keto Basics, Keto Beginner, Open Blog, Uncategorized

Back 2 Basics: Update Blog

Update: 9/8/18

I have been tracking for 2 1/2 days now and I’ve already lost 1.2 pounds (as of this morning).  I’m feeling great and doing well.  I did pay for the Premium version of the Carb Manager so I could add every single thing I consumed…it’s a lot of individual ingredients when I cook at home.

Also, as you read through, you may be interested in viewing my recent, Back to Basics, blog to help get a good grasp on some keto basics.  If you’re totally new to keto, you may want to check out Keto Basics and Getting Started.

Remember, you can always reach out to me.  I’d love to help!  I am not a medical professional, but I have experience, research, resources, recipes and common sense…all of which may assist you in meeting your health goals.

-Rebecca

_______________________________________________________________

It’s so easy to get comfortable.  It wasn’t very long into my time doing keto that I stopped tracking my consumption.  I has a pretty good handle on my macros, carbs and overall consumption.  Uh…I was wrong.  Yep, you read that correctly.  I was wrong.

It gets a bit tedious to track every single item you eat every day of your life, at least for me.  I was doing a great job of tracking for the first 3-4 months, then I stopped and just eyeballed thinking I would be fine.  I didn’t gain weight, but I didn’t lose.  My health continued to improve and I did continue to shrink a little.

Mostly I am glad I didn’t go backwards, but that simply isn’t good enough as I have quite a ways to go.  I started thinking about getting back to the basics and the one thing I was putting off the most was tracking in my app (BTW, I use the Carb Manager app, but there are so many great ones that will do the trick), mostly because it takes time and is kind of annoying.  Feeling convicted and knowing that I’ve been fairly status quo for the last several months made me bite the bullet and start tracking again.  I also started fasting more regularly and not eating when I wasn’t hungry (I’ll admit that sometimes I would go out to breakfast with my husband just because I wanted to spend more time with him).

Yesterday I began my new, strict regime of fasting in the morning and tracking everything I consumed, except water and my electrolyte drink.  The one big thing I noticed was that I was over consuming carbs, didn’t have quite enough protein and went slightly over on my fat.  It’s really no wonder why I haven’t lost.  I mean, I fasted, was more careful and I still ate 31g net carbs!!  I cannot even guess how far I was off these past months.

Going to bed with this all in mind confirmed that I need to be more careful and mindful of what I’m doing and how well I’m taking care of myself.  Realistically, I don’t see myself tracking every single thing the rest of my life.  But I can make a reasonable compromise that will still help keep me in check.  I’ll tell you what I decided below.

This morning I already saw a difference!  I lost 0.8lbs.  Crap, this means I was way off when I was eyeballing!!  I lost nearly an entire pound in one day.  Dang it.  That means I was stalling because of my diet and maybe not as much because of stress as I thought.

Taking all of this in has changed my perspective.  I need to pay more attention and focus on what’s important.  I need to check myself more often than I have been.  I still have a lot of weight left to lose, at least 65 but more than 100 if you ask the doctor.  I want to be healthy for myself, my husband and I want to have children so badly…and I want to be healthy enough to get pregnant and help them to grow to be healthy babies.

My solution is simple.  I will track myself until I cannot stand it anymore and need a break.  But, instead of waiting until my annual Keto-versary to assess, I think I need to make reassessment and tracking something I strictly follow at least every season (3 months).  I’m thinking it could look something like this:

  • September track consumption in app
  • Maybe in late October or early November I stop tracking and try to eyeball
  • December reassess and track again
  • repeat for March and June

I should be tracking all of the time, but it’s just not who I am.  So I will take the time to focus on myself and reassess, then strictly track for as long as I can and tallow myself a break for the rest of that season.  Does it have to be seasonal?  No.  But I thought it would be easier for me to remember.

Here are some questions to ask yourself (and feel free to share your answers in the Comments section):

  • How are you doing right now?
  • How have you been feeling mentally and physically?
  • How do you track your consumption?
    • What tools or apps do you use?
    • Are they effective and user-friendly?
    • Do you need a different solution?
  • What are your goals?  Do they need to be updated or modified?
  • What changes do you feel that you need to make to achieve your goal(s)?

If you’re enjoying this blog, please share with others and click the Follow button so you get notifications when I post anything new. 

If you have any suggestions, questions or comments, please add them to the comments section below or email me directly at beckdoes20@gmail.com.

I’m not a health professional, just a regular person who may have some experience and resources that can help.

Keto Basics, Keto Beginner, Open Blog, Recipes, Uncategorized

Back to Basics 2018

New to Keto?  You’ve come to the right post.
An old Keto pro?  You’ve also come to the right place.

Sometimes we find ourselves getting comfortable and lax with our health.  I know what Keto is and how to follow it.  But that doesn’t mean that after a year I’m still as strict as I used to be.  This blog is dedicated to the basics of Keto success, which you are either learning now or refreshing and reminding yourself of now.

What is Keto?

Your body needs fuel.  It can use either carbohydrates (carbs) or fat for what it needs.  Carbs and excess protein turn into glucose, which is what your body uses as fuel very easily (in most cases).  When your body has glucose to use it stores the fat for later.  When glucose is used up or is unavailable, your body switches to fat for the energy it needs.  The fat is turned into ketones naturally and is then used by your body.  When your body burns ketones for energy, you are now in a state of Ketosis, or Keto for short.  The fat can come from what you consume or what your body has stored, but it will take from the stored fat last, so that is important to keep in mind.

The Keto lifestyle is basically consuming a very small amount of carbs (20 grams or less daily) so that your body is forced to be in ketosis.  In the beginning you have to train your body to make this change and you will see and feel many changes, including rapid weight loss, which is mostly water weight in the beginning.  Keto’ers, or those in ketosis, do not retain water like they did before.  After the initial weight loss and you’re keto-adapted (used to fat for fuel), you will see real changes in fat loss and improved health.

That was a really long way of saying that your body is a machine that runs off of fat…either the fat you feed it or the fat it has stored around your body.  To do this, you should eat 20 grams or less of carbs daily.

There are a few more tidbits, such as foods to avoid and whatnot, like grains and sugar.  But you can learn about that another day.

black and grey casio scientific calculator showing formula
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Macros…What Are They & How Do I Figure Out Mine?

Every body is different.  What my body needs is much different than what your body needs.  A simple calculation of where the calories are coming from is a ratio of 60-75% fat, 15-30% protein and 5% carbs.  I did say simple though, right?  Using apps and macro calculators help a great deal in identifying your specific keto macros.  I particularly like the Keto Calculator on Ruled.me.  It’s easy to use and understand.

Example:

I’m a 38 year old woman who is 5’7″ weighing 266 pounds.  When I calculate using the Keto Calculator on Rules.me to reach my goals, my macros look like this: 1799 calories, 126g fat, 146g protein, and 20g net carbs.

(Carbs are total.  Net carbs are carbs minus fiber.  Some Keto’ers use carbs and some use net carbs.  I use net carbs and am happy.)

Try a macros calculator and see what you come up with for yourself.  This is super important information, so be sure to write it down or add it to your app.

Modifications:

You may find that the ratio is not good for you.  For instance, some body types are better with more protein, while others seem to do well with way more than 75% fat and zero carbs.  You will want to make adjustments based on your own body and how you feel.

You will want to keep carbs low.  Most people do well on 20g carbs daily, but if you’re pregnant or have other needs, perhaps aiming for 50g is better until you are well enough to drop down to 20g.

Intermittent Fasting:

There are a lot of great resources and medical professionals who support Keto as a healthy lifestyle.  One of which is Dr. Eric Berg.  While many of us believe intermittent fasting (IF) are helpful, Dr. Berg is a true believer who strongly believe Keto and IF got together to improve and maximize your health.

Fasting is when you go without eating for a long time and is usually seen as suffering.  IF is a small fast that can be done multiple times during the week and isn’t generally very much of a struggle at all.

When you eat anything your body has an insulin spike (just smaller when on keto) and stops or slows ketosis.  But when you’re IF and in ketosis your body has time to rest and heal…and the more time you have between meals, the longer your body has to heal itself.  The reason its easy with keto is because you don’t get very hungry when you eat a lot of fat…you feel full and satisfied.

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone until after they are fully keto-adapted.  And you should start off slowly, gradually increasing the length of each fast.  It doesn’t work well for everyone, but most people do quite well.  And remember, you aren’t starving because your body will consume the stored fat if it needs more.

Usually you will skip breakfast and have coffee, pushing your first meal of the day back a bit.  Then you will eat your second meal and that’s it for the day.  Go to sleep and wake up to do it again.  The most common fast is 18:6 IF, which means you fast for 18 hours and eat during a 6 hour window (1 or 2 meals).  Most of the time during a fast you’ll be sleeping anyway, so you will hardly notice you aren’t eating.

A typical day of IF:

  • 6 A.M. wake up and have a cup of coffee (some say butter is okay, some say it isn’t…I do butter and am very happy)
  • 1 P.M. eat a good lunch
  • 6 P.M. eat a good dinner
  • 9 P.M. go to bed
steak food
Photo by Malidate Van on Pexels.com

Great Keto Meals/Snacks: (I’ll work on updating all of these recipes so you can click on the links to find more information.)

  • Magic coffee
  • Taco salad with nuts and seeds for crunch, your favorite taco meat, shredded cheese
  • Bacon, cheesy scrambled eggs, zucchini and squash, and a side of avocado
  • Crack chicken over steamed broccoli
  • Porterhouse steak, creamed spinach and mashed cauliflower
  • Chicken wings and bacon with ranch
  • Kalua Pig (pulled pork) salad with ACV dressing, nuts, seeds, hemp hearts, cucumbers and fresh bacon crumbles
  • Bacon wrapped pork chops with roasted cauliflower and guacamole
  • Baked salmon with pesto butter over a pile of parmesan and herb cauliflower rice
  • Fathead pizza or cheesy bread
  • Chocolate peanut butter cups (fat bomb)
  • Blueberry cheesecake fat bombs
  • Chocolate chip protein cookies
  • Keto chocolate frosty
  • Blackberries and whipped cream

 

Best Advice:

  • Be kind & forgiving to yourself!
  • Get a Keto-Buddy!  You don’t want to go through this alone.  Having the support of family, friends or even a new Keto Facebook Friend will make all the difference in the world.
  • Salt everything!  You need to keep up your electrolytes and since you’re not retaining water, you lose electrolytes way faster than before.
  • Check labels, ingredients lists and nutritional information on all packages.
  • Stop and figure out why you’re hungry.  Are you upset or bored?  Or are you really hungry?  If you’re hungry too soon…did you eat enough fat?
  • Figure out your macros and keep track of what you’re eating and drinking.
  • Pay attention to how you feel!  There is a reason you feel a certain way.  Are you missing something nutritionally?  Maybe you need to change your diet a little or add a supplement.
  • Track your progress and successes in many ways, not just by the number on the scale.  I wish I took real before photos so I could see the difference (I just thought this would be like everything else I tried and failed.)…and I wish I took measurements too!  It’s also important to do your blood work before starting, so you can see how that improves as well.

Please comment below any questions or suggestions you may have.
Also, be sure to follow my blog to get notified as soon as I post a new recipe, update, or encouragement by clicking on the Follow button.

Health Progress, Open Blog, Supplements, Uncategorized

Basic Blog 08/10/18

Friday, August 10, 2018

I feel amazing!  So I had some pretty crummy days this week as I made yet another drop in anxiety meds going from 7.5mg to 5mg.  The first decrease from 10mg to 7.5mg had similar symptoms, so I knew what to expect.  The only real difference from the first decrease to this second was the fact that the detox symptoms came much quicker…like in 2 days from the decrease versus over a week before.

It kind of wrecked my weekend as I was planning on having more time before the crummy, flu-like symptoms hit.  Oh well.  I missed a birthday party and stayed in bed for a couple of days.  Who am I kidding, I’ve spent most of this week in bed, but gradually getting better and getting more done.

Yesterday (Thursday) was the first day I felt good enough to drive myself any kind of distance.  I got a bunch done in the morning, then drove up to my husband’s work to go run errands with him and have lunch.  After I got home (about 2pm) I was pretty wiped.  Fortunately, we had leftover lunch and ate that for dinner.  Then, we went for a swim and talked a lot and I was asleep by about 9pm.

Today is even better than yesterday.  It’s not quite 10am, but I woke up before 6am, hung out with my husband, made our morning Magic Coffees, watched some helpful YouTube videos that I was backlogged on, got going on the laundry and began packing more (we’re moving Monday morning).  The buyers we sold the home to will be here to check the state of the property this afternoon, so I have to be ready for that.  I also want to make steaks that I defrosted earlier this week so we can eat them as salads this weekend and then make dinner.  Today I’m planning to cook dinner, but not according to my Meal Plan as that was thrown out the window a few days ago.  I’m thinking a roasted chicken with roasted carrots and radishes and a sauteed greens mix with crispy pan-fried bacon ends.  Did I mention I had to pack more stuff today?  It’s going to be a full day.

I realize this was kind of a ramble.  I probably didn’t need my morning Magic Coffee with mushrooms, but it’s so yummy!  I really am feeling more like my normal, morning-person self right now.  I might get worn out later today, but I’m going to be forgiving of myself and aware of my actual abilities…and most importantly, enjoy the energy, focus and normal feelings I currently have while they last.

I hope you all are having a good day.  We all have lives.  Just thought I’d share mine because it’s a struggle getting off anxiety medication.  Oh, I almost forgot that I wanted to tell you about the comparison from last summer to this summer.  If you’re interested, read further.  If you’re not, I really hope you have a wonderful day!

Throwback Comparison

As an educator I do my best to plan changes for the Summer.  This gives me time to rest, relax and adjust.  When I was on Metformin, I would adjust my doses in the Summer so that I could suffer the brutal consequences in the Summer when I’m not restricted on restroom usage and I can feel crummy and it doesn’t impact anyone else.  More recently, I know that making changes to my anxiety medication, Lexapro, needs to be done in this off-season as well.  As a teacher, Summer is the off-season, btw.

Now, you should know, if you don’t already, changing medications like Lexapro should be done with the support and guidance of a medical professional, which I am not.  I’m just a lady trying to get my life straight and my anxiety under control.  I have a doctor who is supportive, guides me and is encouraging me to try to get off the medication.  That all being said, let’s get on with the comparison.

Summer 2017

My first try getting off this medication, but my doctor really wants me to try.  I really want to try as well, even though I wasn’t sure what to expect.  My husband and I have been wanting to get pregnant and grow our family for many years and I know I need to be off this medicine if I can be for the benefit of the baby.  It’s kind of a lot of pressure.  And I was scared that once I got off the meds I would find out that I really need them and stay on for the rest of my life.

I was dieting and exercising, looking for work and interviewing, preparing for the new school year, binging a lot of tv shows and just trying to be rested.    I ended up losing 17 pounds and gaining 16 pounds that summer (yep, a grand total of serious effort for a loss of 1 pound).  I got really sick from detoxing, but the worst part was that I was having a hard time focusing and getting weird brain zaps.  I remember it was hard to drive because I didn’t know if it would become dangerous or not.  So, my dad and husband drove me places and I had stuff delivered.

At one point my father and I drove (okay, he drove me) up to San Jose for an interview.  I was well qualified for the position and very excited to talk with them about the direction of their school and the impact they have on the community.  I had my digital portfolio and copies of brochures and lesson plans and all kinds of “impressive” documents to bring and share.  Just before the interview I started getting weird brain zaps.  Yes, the worst time possible.  I quickly Googled what to do and read in a few places that increasing fish oil and Vitamin B should help.  So before the interview dad drove me to Costco and bought me Krill Oil and Super Vit-B Complex.  Naturally, it wasn’t enough time for them to do their job, but it couldn’t hurt and I had time to waste.

The interview didn’t go well.  I had a difficult time recalling information that I know, discussing my experience, etc.  I must have looked like an idiot.  Did I forget to mention that I suddenly had issues with body temperature regulation that caused me to freeze and then sweat like crazy?  I’m not surprised I didn’t get the job offer.

It took a long time for things to calm down.  I may have decreased the medication too fast, but I should have given myself time to just rest and relax without having to go on long road trips or impress anyone.  Looking back, I see what was really going on.  I should have not accepted job interviews.  Live and learn, I guess.

After summer ended, I returned to work and learned that my friend had lost of ton of weight from doing Keto.  She had been telling me about it since she started at the beginning of summer and I thought it was another fad diet.  I chose to stick with traditional diet and exercise.  I forgot to mention that most of my coworkers and I were in a Weight Loss Challenge over the summer.  I lost and my friend won.  She won a big pot of money, but more importantly, her health was good and she lost weight.

From that point I realized I needed to learn more about what she was doing.  What is Keto?  Are you really never hungry?  Are you sure it’s healthy?  You know, questions any sane person would ask when something is completely against “conventional wisdom” and everything we have learned our entire lives.  September 1, 2017 I officially started Keto and my husband began the next day.

Life was looking up.  I was off my medications and was on this journey with my coworker and friend, as well as my husband to get healthy and lose weight.  It’s been a dream to get healthy, but it was always so darn hard before.  I was feeling really good.  Really good.

Anyway, the saddest part of this whole thing was that after being off Lexapro for months I started really struggling again.  I had to get back on the medication.  I was so stressed out from work that I just couldn’t cope.  I felt like a failure.  I didn’t want to quit my job.  It was such a mess that I didn’t realize for a while that my sources of stress and anxiety were mostly coming from work.

I thought this meant that I would have to be on anxiety medications for the rest of my life.  Not only is that a bummer that my brain can’t function like it should, it meant that if I did get pregnant my baby would be impacted by this drug.  But, I was doing what I had to do and feeling calm and happy again.

Late Spring 2018

I had my annual appointment with the doctor to talk about my progress and what all has been going on.  She and I were both pleased.  Keto had made a clear and obvious difference in my life and I was feeling mentally very well.

The doctor suggested that I try to get off the Lexapro again.  I told her that I thought since I failed before it meant I had to be on it for life.  To support my claim, I did learn this from one of the depression/anxiety classes I took at Kaiser.  But, the doc said it wasn’t true and she wanted me to try again.

I had an especially difficult time at work this school year, so not only did I know I would be trying to get off the meds in the Summer, but I also knew that I would be quitting my job.  It was time to focus on my mental health and well being.

I’ve never felt such a relief as the moment after I gave my notice.  It was planned and discussed with my husband, so financially we would be okay.  We talked about how I struggled when I wasn’t working because I didn’t have purpose and was bored.  Being a homemaker without children is not great for someone who doesn’t like to clean.  It was the right time.

Summer 2018

I started on 10mg of Lexapro with Ativan as needed for panic attacks.  I had been doing Keto for about 10 months.  I had the support and encouragement from my medical doctors and my family.  I had a plan because I remember how I felt last summer, for the most part.

The plan consists of stepping down 1/4 dose each month until I was off.  I also have backup plans for everything ranging from grocery shopping to cooking dinner, household chores (like laundry) to paying bills.  I boosted my supplements to support my adrenals, my brain and my sleep from the beginning.  And, I’m on Keto but give myself a few extra carbs on the days I want them.

The first month went okay.  After a week, I was sick for about 10 days.  I thought I had the flu and was losing my mind.  Then it occurred to me that it was this detox I was going through, emailed the doctor and she confirmed my suspicions…which actually made me feel less stressed because I wasn’t imagining things.  The last couple weeks of the month I felt good.  Quite normal.  I still did things to keep as calm as possible.  I mean, life goes on while I’m doing this.

I’m in the first half of month two right now.  I was expecting to have a week or two before feeling sick.  That didn’t work out at all!  I got sick pretty quickly after the change in doses.  But, I didn’t feel quite as terrible and not nearly as many days.  Unlike last month, I did have a little bit of an issue with shopping without much care…so now I am the proud owner of 2 new swim suits and my husband has 2 pairs of pants and 2 shorts.  He hates it all.  I usually am a bit more frugal with the money and feel a bit bad that I spent money on these types of things without talking about it with him.  All things considered though, I’ve done worse damage buying a new purse at the mall.  Apparently I’m frugal enough to shop at Poshmark while I’m losing touch with my brain.  So it’ll be okay.  We’ve eaten out a bit more than I would have liked because I don’t want to cook or can’t get to the grocery store to buy more food.

I am gradually getting out of this funk.  I am fully aware that it will all come back, or some version of yuckiness will happen when I drop my meds again next month.  But I feel amazing today.  I actually feel good, like I did well before I had anxiety and whatnot.

I really feel like it’s important to share my story with you.  Not because I need you to know me.  Not because I feel special.  But because when I was going through this I really couldn’t find much information or personal experiences.  You are not alone.  For those of you with family or friends going through this right now, please be extra kind and forgiving of them and their actions right now…it’s a crazy time with your brain does crazy things.

I’ll keep you updated as things progress in regards to my mental health.  I hope you all well.  If you have any questions or comments, please write them in the comments section below.  If you have a suggestion that you’d like to share, please do!

And of course, remember to press the Follow button to get updates of new postings, and feel free to check out the BeckDoes Keto support group on Facebook if you’re interested in learning more about Keto or need some support and encouragement from real life people who are also doing Keto.

Open Blog, Recipes, Uncategorized

When it doesn’t go according to plan

I’ve been talking about meal planning and prepping for weeks now.  But it doesn’t always go according to plan.  The good news is, a few bumps in the road don’t wreck everything!

You might know by now that I’m tapering off my anxiety medication.  It’s causing some problems, but I’m going slow and have the full support of my doctor.  I’m currently on half dose and surviving.  I feel like I have a sinus infection, the flu, body temperature issues and have weird body aches.  It’s normal and it helps me to feel better that what I’m feeling is just my body detoxing from the medication.  I know this will all pass, but I’m dropping the ball on the meal planning because I don’t always feel good enough to prep and cook the meals I planned.

I’m here to tell you that it’s okay if you mess up!  You might end up throwing some food away, eating out or modifying your meal plan, but it’s survivable and forgivable.  Tonight I planned to cook steaks and enjoy it with steamed veggies.  It sounds so nice to eat, but I am feeling my worst in the afternoons and evenings lately.  So instead, I am using the chicken I deboned yesterday to make this Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole today.  I already have all of the ingredients, all I have to do is put it together before I feel crummy…then put it in the oven to cook before dinner.  I can quickly microwave steam some broccoli and cauliflower to go with it.  Now everyone is happy because I feel like I accomplished something, we all get to eat dinner, and it doesn’t become a burden to ask my husband to bring home dinner on his way back from work.

I’m hoping this casserole will leave us with enough for lunch tomorrow because then we don’t have to do anything extra like eat out or cook another meal (which isn’t going to happen).  Unfortunately, I’ve made this before and there wasn’t anything left at all!  It’s a good sign that the meal was delicious, but not great for having leftovers.  What a problem to have!

Whatever your reason for not following the meal plan and preparations for yourself (and family), it’s going to be okay.  You can put the steaks in the freezer for another day.  You can cook two meals in one day so you have future meals ready.  You can eat out.  Don’t punish yourself.  Do your best.  Remember, any changes are improvements in the right direction.

Have a wonderful day!

PS-I know you’re wondering what that image has anything to do with this blog.  Get back on that horse when you’ve fallen off.  It’ll be okay.  You can still achieve greatness and success!