What Am I Doing?

Okay, so a month ago I posted that I was doing the ketogenic diet. I was really excited. I weighed myself for the first time in a few years. I had it going on.

And then I didn’t.

I was so excited about what I was doing and I did it well. I kept track of everything for a while. I ate fat like it was going out of style, which is hard for me because I don’t eat cheese, butter, or other high fat dairy things. Fat, yes. Dairy, no.

I went on vacation in the middle of October, and during that vacation I wondered what would happen if I started eating dairy. Vacation is a great time to find out, since I can sleep off any negative effects. I got some cream to put in my coffee (I was trying to do the bulletproof coffee but that stuff is so nasty) and cheese to eat. I basically OD’d on cheese while I was on vacation, which totally threw my ketosis off. I spent the next couple of weeks figuring out how to get back on track with dairy in my diet, since I didn’t seem to have any ill effects. It was nice to be able to eat cheese again.

After that, my fiance began to read a book about low-carb diets and what they ultimately do to your metabolism. The ketogenic diet is extremely low-carb, even more low-carb than most low-carb diets. There was a chapter just about the Paleo diet, so I read it. I had to at this point. Nothing I was doing was working out that well, and apparently I was doing something majorly wrong since I gained back pretty much all of the weight I had lost. I was pretty frustrated, but the chapter was enlightening. It reminded me of what this whole thing is about – eating real food. It isn’t about the fat that I eat or the carbs that I eat or any of that. It is about eating real food, period. I have been demonizing carbs this whole time, and it hasn’t helped anything. Weight hasn’t been falling off and I haven’t gotten any healthier because of it. Its all about real food.

So I started adding carbs back in, in the form of vegetables. I don’t care what this book about carbs says; I will not go back to eating grains. I already know how I would feel after I eat those, so I’m not even going there. I’ve upped my carb intake purely through adding a lot of vegetables into my diet. I’ve been doing this for about a week now.

On top of that, I decided that it was time to get serious about getting some more activity into my life. This sitting on the couch thing that I have been doing for so long isn’t cutting it. Yes, I’ve been doing yoga fairly regularly, but it isn’t enough to see any lasting change. What I need to do is get out of the house, move around more. I looked into a gym, one that seemed to have a pretty dedicated, supportive staff. I figured I could get some really good personal training and actually make some progress. And then I got an even better idea.

I got a dog.

I have been wanting a dog for quite a while, years even. But this is the first time that I’ve lived close enough to home to be able to take a dog out on my lunch break. This is the first time in a long time that I’ve had this low stress level in my life. This is the first time that I’ve thought that I could probably handle it.

I didn’t want just any dog, though. I wanted a beagle. I have wanted a beagle since I was young. I think they are the prettiest dogs. So I started looking at beagles, and I found the perfect one. When I was a kid I had a stuffed animal beagle that I named Roxy. I have always wanted to have a real beagle that I could name Roxy, ever since that stuffed animal. When I was searching for the perfect beagle, I came across one that was perfect in every way, including the name. Her name is already Roxy. She is completely house trained and has been a joy. She is an amazing dog. And the best part is, she is motivating me to get out of the house and walking around. She loves being outside. I have been motivated to track my steps ever since she came along, and she is definitely helping me be more active. We have gone for walks twice a day ever since I got her last weekend.

So two life-altering things: I added in a lot more vegetables to my diet (by the way, I’m not nearly as hungry all the time as I used to be, and that seems counter-intuitive), and I’m a lot more active since I have a really good reason to be. In the last seven days I’ve lost seven pounds. I don’t know what is up with that, but it is interesting. Probably water or something, but it is still awesome. I even had someone comment and ask if I had lost weight today.

I know, this whole journey has been more about health than weight, but when you lose fifty pounds in six months and then, without really changing how you eat, you gain it all back, it is frustrating and my tendency is to focus on that. But I’m gaining healthy habits from my quest to lose weight, so I’m not going to beat myself up too bad. I just hope that I remember what I’ve learned as far as the food stuff goes: Adding more vegetables is the way to go. More updates to come.

Going Ketogenic – Week One

Wow, it has been a year since I posted on this blog. I have had a busy year for sure, but I’m back for this post, mostly because I am going through some changes in my diet and I wanted to share them. I have been eating Paleo for four years now, I believe, and it is working very well for me. I still love it, and I wouldn’t change it. However, after my initial amazing weight loss of 50 pounds, the weight loss just stalled, never to get back on track again. And honestly I was too stressed and worried about so many things to even worry about it anyway. I even stopped going to the gym and canceled my gym membership because I was so stressed.

Since then I have started a new job at an amazing place, stopped working on my side business, and generally just tried to add some simplicity to my life. I feel much better and much less stressed. But I’m noticing a really bad trend. In the first two years that I was eating Paleo my weight stayed pretty constant. During the second two years my weight has been steadily creeping upward, until now I am almost at the same weight that I was when I started – but I’m still eating Paleo. That is troubling, but nothing that can’t be corrected. I was flipping through my Instagram feed one day this past week and I ran into an ad for an app called LifeSum, which can track food for you for several different types of diets. The ketogenic diet is one of the diets that it tracks. I have always wanted to try a ketogenic diet but I have never found a tool that can help me track my macros like that, so I decided to give it a try.

Well, I have to admit, I love this app. It lets me track my water and all of my food, tells me how many grams of each macro-nutrient I have left for the day, and even does calculations based on any exercise that I do for the day. It is amazing. I do have to say, too, that I am not getting paid to say this. They wouldn’t even pay me anyway, since my two readers wouldn’t amount to much to them! (But I love you guys for sticking around through the dry spells!)

So, my results so far: The only reason why I stepped on a scale when I found the app was to give me a baseline to work with. I don’t weigh myself as a general rule, especially with the eating issues and body insecurity that I have had in the past. I don’t want to do anything to go through that again. So I am going to weigh once a month. However, I have already noticed a difference in how my clothes are fitting, but that is probably just water weight dropping anyway. A lot of the websites that I looked at to research this said that water would be the first thing to go as your body gets used to processing fat instead of carbs for energy. I got some Ketostix to use to test and I was doing pretty good until this morning. I don’t know what happened with that, but I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough. I’m sleeping better already and waking up less during the night. I had a little bit of carb flu on day three, which surprised me since I don’t eat bread or anything. I guess you can eat too many carbs no matter what you eat. Anyway, I am in this for the long haul since I love the app so much, I need to not grow out of these jeans, and I paid for a three month subscription in order to be able to track this diet. Yes, you do have to pay in order to track the Keto diet on the app. You can track the standard diet for free, but who wants to go back to that? Not me! I will never stop eating Paleo, and I love the fact that I don’t have to track calories on this diet – I simply have to figure out how to eat enough fat.

I’ll try to keep you posted on the rest of my progress. I’m looking forward to this journey.

Yoga Challenge Revisited

Well, here I am. I got farther with the original yoga challenge than I thought I was going to, but I don’t remember what day I stopped at. I may have to check my Facebook to find out because I logged most of my workouts under #100dayyogachallenge. I didn’t make it to 100. I think that day 100 would have been sometime this week, but this week I simply started over. No hashtags, no counting. I’ve simply been trying to make an effort to get on the mat every day. Except tomorrow. That is my rest day unless I change my mind and just try to stretch out a little.

I’m trying to figure out how to tap into that motivation that I had when I started eating Paleo. I blogged about it a lot on here in order to see how far I had come, but I just did it. Every day I did it. I didn’t whine about how hard it was or about how I didn’t want to cook (ok, maybe I did that). I didn’t focus on how hard it was or how crappy I felt at first. I looked forward to the results. I looked forward to all of the positives that people said would happen and that helped push me beyond the initial icky carb flu and lack of energy so that I could get it done.

I guess I’m in icky carb flu stage with the yoga. And as out of shape as I am, I’m not sure how long that stage is going to last. I have made some changes in my life that might make it easier. I quit my stressful job three weeks ago and found a job that I love that is much less stressful. Still in childcare, so still very much a part of my passion. The lack of stress has made it that much easier to get on the mat in the mornings, because I am more confident that I can push through this tiredness to the end of the day. Before I had to bring my A-game every day to work, and I got no support. I still have to bring my A-game, but I have an amazing support system now that I didn’t have before. It helps a lot, and I can tell that it is helping a lot with my transition into this next phase of my lifestyle.

And maybe that is a difference, too. I always looked at Paleo as my lifestyle, especially after I experienced the benefits. Maybe instead of looking at yoga as a way to get back in shape or get stronger, I need to look at it as part of my lifestyle. Part of how I live my life, because I know that if I don’t do it my life isn’t the same. And it isn’t. When I don’t do my yoga I get cranky and stressed and my muscles feel tight and everyone around me knows that I haven’t done my yoga. When I do it I feel calmer and stronger. Tired, but relaxed. I can take on the world, because I had that little bit of time in the morning to connect with me. Or maybe I can connect with the world better because I have taken time to connect with myself. Maybe that is why I feel less stress and more connection. Either way, the benefits of getting on my mat are greater than what I get when I don’t. It is time for commitment to this next part of my lifestyle.

100 Day Yoga Challenge – Day 3

Who would have thought that the day after I publicly announce my personal challenge would be the hardest one so far for me? I almost talked myself into staying in bed for an extra 15 minutes. I didn’t, though, and I can honestly say that I am glad that I made myself get up. One of the things that I have always loved about yoga is its ability to make me feel great when I am done. Sometimes it is hard to see that when you are sore and tired and just want to sleep, but that is part of what this challenge is about – kicking myself in the butt so that I can get to this feeling. So here I am, day three done.

In the interest of being totally up-front, I should also mention that I am in the middle of a sugar detox of sorts. I usually steer clear of sugar on a daily basis because it tends to affect my energy and mood, but this time of year I let myself have a little leeway because berries are in season. Well, I found out that my ginger-in-a-tube that I was using in my eggs in the morning had dextrose and fructose in it, and I was using it every day! No wonder my sleep started getting messed up and I started getting crabby during the day. All if that is sorting itself out now as I go through this sugar detox. My sleep is starting to return to the wonderful Paleo sleep that I love, and my mood is starting to stabilize as well. Now that I have that sorted out, I figured it was the perfect time to get into this challenge. I seem to feel more motivated to move when all of my food-oriented stars are aligned.

I guess we will see what tomorrow brings!

Yes, I Have An Allergy

I went to Five Guys for dinner tonight. I love Five Guys. I am so ridiculously strict about what I eat that I won’t get a burger from anywhere, but I can tell that Five Guys doesn’t use fillers in their meat. But I always get my burger lettuce wrapped, and I always tell them that I have an allergy.

I went to a different burger place that was similar to Five Guys back in the winter and ordered a burger without a bun. I didn’t say that I had an allergy. They brought the burger to me with a bun on it, and I took it back. They said that they had gluten-free buns, but I am so strict that I am not going to do the gluten-free. I ordered it with no bun. After waiting forever, they gave me a new burger. After I ate it I was sick as a dog for a week.

Now I ALWAYS say that I have an allergy. And I don’t go back to that other burger place. I had been there several times previously and never had a problem.

On another note, I have decided to start a 100 day challenge. A yoga challenge. I know, I know, every time I post I say something about how I am going to move more and how I need to be more active. Well, I do. I haven’t figured out how to make it work yet. I bought that bike, rode it a couple of times, and it has been sitting on my patio since the weather got hot. I will probably take it out again in the fall, but for now it is holding up my patio railing quite nicely. I figured, though, that I need a goal. I need a measurable goal so that I can track how I am doing. What better goal than to commit do doing some yoga every day for 100 days? I am not specifying what I am doing for the yoga. Usually, even if I didn’t want to do the yoga to begin with, I always end up feeling better and glad that I did it in the middle. I have done two days so far. The interesting thing will be to see how I make it work when school gets back in. Right now my schedule is different so I have time to make it work. I may not have that in a month and a half, but I will work something out, because I want to get through the 100 days. Especially since I am not saying that I have to do any specific poses or anything – I just want to do something for 100 days. If I want to get more experimental or try new things, I can. My first step is to just do it. And that is what I have been doing for the past two days. Tomorrow will be three. Yay, me!

Grapeseed Oil Is Not Paleo

This has been an interesting week. I have made it my mission to do at least thirty minutes of activity a day so that I can get in better shape. Plus, I am hoping that doing this will get me out of the habit of hibernating during the summer. I used to not care if it was hot out, when I was a kid. Now, I can’t stand to be in the heat. But maybe if I try to be more active, try to get my kids outside more, that will help me get over that. There is a lot we can do outside, and perhaps I need to invest in some tank tops or something. That way I won’t feel as if I am dying every time I try to go outside and do something. Today I took the kids to the park. We played catch and the little one rode her bike. We went for a hike. I attempted to fly a kite but there really wasn’t enough wind. Plus I wasn’t feeling like running around trying to get the kite going. It was pretty warm out there. I don’t complain about the warm when I am taking my class outside to play, but when it is me outside on my time, I guess I’m complaining about it a lot. 

Earlier this week – Thursday, actually – I had a great yoga session. I was very proud of myself. Then on Friday on and off throughout the day my ankle was hurting. I didn’t connect the two until Saturday when I tried to do some more yoga. I tried to go into Upward Dog and I couldn’t do it because of my ankle. I’m not sure if I didn’t rotate my thighs right or if I just put too much pressure on my ankle, but I had to stop because I couldn’t put much pressure on my ankle like that. I tried to do a search about why my ankle would be hurting from doing that, but most of the posts I saw talked about back pain coming from doing Upward Dog wrong, not ankle pain. 

Saturday afternoon saw us at a gathering for my fiancé’s aunt’s 90th birthday party. I was a pretty cool gathering. I made sure that I ate before we went, but I didn’t eat a lot. There was NOTHING Paleo at the event, but since I had eaten I didn’t mind. I don’t get hung up on whether or not there is stuff for me to eat at events because not everyone eats how I do, especially here in the south. But when we left the event I was starving. We went to another the house of another aunt of his, and she had stuff for me to make a salad. She offered me grape seed oil and vinegar, and I gratefully took it. However, I found out pretty quickly that grape seed oil is not Paleo. That stuff was doing a number on my stomach. I looked it up yesterday, and grape seed oil is just as processed as canola and vegetable oil. It was good in a pinch, but I’m not sure I’ll ever try that again.

I don’t have any new recipes right now. I am still trying to get used to having time on my hands, since I’m not in school. It has been nice to be able to get out with the family and do things, and not be so stressed out that I don’t want to do anything. Taking some time out and re-evaluate where I am standing and what I want has been great, and I have come up with some new directions for myself. As far as this goes, Paleo is serving me well. Especially this past week when I have been increasing my vegetable intake and decreasing my protein intake. I have felt great! I think I feel a difference in how my clothes fit, too. 

Eureka! at the Farmer’s Market

So let me tell you how my week went. First, I bought a bike. I’m still super excited about it, but I haven’t really had many chances to ride it yet. Except for today. And the weather was gorgeous. But I didn’t ride. I have been pretty tired today, probably from all of the walking we did when we went to the Biltmore Estate for our vacation trip. It was pretty fun. That house is amazing! Oh, did I say house? I meant mansion! I couldn’t even imagine all of the work it would take to keep up that place if you were living in it.

So since we were out of town, my eating was a little shaky. Usually I stress and stress about it, but this time I didn’t. I have learned by now that I can usually find something to eat almost anywhere that won’t have grains in it – my one big rival. And while I am sensitive to sugar, I can tolerate it better than grains.

I did pretty good. I think the high amount of sugar I ate is probably a contributing factor to why I am so tired today, but in a few days that will be gone. I am planning on getting out and riding tomorrow, since it is my last vacation day, and enjoying some of this beautiful weather. Watch – now that I’ve said that, it will be hot and rainy tomorrow and I won’t be able to go anywhere on my bike. Yes, I know that bikes still work in the rain. I haven’t gotten that gung-ho about it yet.

I made my weekly trip to the farmer’s market today to get some vegetables and eggs. I have been searching for convenient place to get pasture eggs for a while now. What I mean by pasture eggs is that the owners let the chickens run around outside and eat bugs and worms and other things that are healthy for them, rather than keeping them in a building and feeding them grain all day. Now that we have been eating Paleo for some time, we are getting more concerned about the quality of the food that we are eating. I do a lot of shopping at the farmer’s market, and I can’t wait until more vegetables are in season. Right now strawberries are in season, and I have really been enjoying them with a spoonful of cashew butter.

My fiance (Clint) and I watched the documentary Food, Inc. about a month ago, and it was very eye opening. It talked about how different animals are treated when they are raised for food by corporations like Tyson. It also discussed how there really are only a handful of companies that control the vast amounts of brands that we have available to us in the store, and how they are shifting some of their products in order to sell them in the middle of the organic and all-natural food craze that we are finding ourselves in the middle of them. I personally don’t trust them to create anything all natural. Even if something says “all natural” on the label I still read the ingredients, and nine times out of ten there will be something in that item that doesn’t pass my strict standards. After watching the documentary I wasn’t happy with organic eggs or cage-free eggs, because when you think about it, those words could mean anything. The chickens that we saw in the documentary weren’t in cages, but they rarely – if ever – saw sunlight and were so crowded in the buildings that they were in that they couldn’t possibly get any exercise. They were fed grain from who knows where, most of the time treated with antibiotics to keep the chickens from getting sick in their cramped conditions. I know one thing – I don’t want my eggs to be from chickens that are raised like that.

So I was super-excited when I found this woman at the farmer’s market selling pasture-raised eggs, and she has pasture-raised beef and chicken too! And she’s local! Clint and I are very passionate about supporting local businesses, so I am sure that we are going to be doing more business with this woman in the future.

I joined a Paleo-themed group on Facebook this week. The people in this group like to post pictures of what they are eating. I don’t think I could make it posting pictures for this group. Each plate that I see has a little portion of meat, a little portion of vegetables, and a little portion of some sort of fat. I am looking at these pictures thinking “there is no way that I could survive eating that little amount of food!” Maybe that is why I haven’t lost any more weight than I have. I don’t know. I do know that when I took my health class for school we had to track our calories for a week and my calories were spot-on every day without me even trying or tweaking anything. But I look at those pictures and the small amounts of food, and then I look at what I am eating every day and I think, “Am I doing something wrong?” Apparently no one in the Paleo community eats quite as much food as I do. Or at least, the ones on that particular page don’t. And when I make an honest effort to get in the exercise that I should, I get hungrier, which means that I eat even more! I have thought about trying to cut the amount of protein that I am eating down and adding more fat and vegetables, because I am pretty sure that I am eating too much meat. But those pictures make me seriously wonder if I am missing something or if I am doing something wrong.

I want to get back into my yoga more seriously, too. I cut way back when school got hectic, so I haven’t really made any progress. I am looking forward to giving that more of my time this week. I’ll let you know how it goes! Right now I need to go check on the pulled pork that I put in the crock pot this morning!