Saturday, July 5, 2014

Losing the weight for the 3rd time!

Those of you who have ready my story know that I had been injured before and gained back 130 lbs after losing a little over 200 lbs when I was on bed rest for 6 months. It took a few years to recover and get the weight back off and then I lost even more and got to 249 lbs lost. I had maintained that and built some more muscle and was sitting in a comfortable range for a few years. Then I got injured again last year... well it was a combination of several injuries starting from the summer before that and each one made it progressively worse. 

I gained back 65 lbs within about 5 months time.  Aside from being injured I had some very stressful issues going on in my life at that time and I just couldn't get the weight back off. I wasn't sleeping well, wasn't drinking enough water and slowly let some less than desirable food choices sneak in. I was still on low carb, but not as low as I should have been. 

So the last 17 weeks I've now lost 52.6 lbs and I'm feeling a lot better. Still injured but the weight loss is helping. I'm in the process of moving, planning a yard sale, selling a house and job hunting. Luckily most of the moving is done... but there's about 80 boxes of stuff for my yard sale, or possibly a bon fire after the yard sale? Haha. I've found that for me it makes a big difference when I get enough sleep. That's something that's often hard to do. 

Here's my weight report chart from FitDay, it says 51.4 lost because I made it yesterday but didn't get time to take a new pic and post until today. As you can see I stalled twice along the way and that's ok, your body needs time to adjust. I had been losing 15 to 20 lbs over the winter time and then I would get sick and have to take medicine and the medicine and chicken soup would make me gain it back. This went on from October until the end of February. It was most annoying, so I was so glad to get over all of the colds that went around my workplace and get back to losing the weight!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

BBQ and Picnic Foods

How to survive BBQ's, Picnic's and other Summer Time Outings. 

Tips and Tricks:
  • Offer to Bring Something- "Thank you for inviting me, can I bring a veggie tray or deviled eggs?", "How about a green salad?", "Would you like me to bring some finger food like pinwheel sandwiches or roll ups?", "How about some unbreaded chicken wings?" if you bring something Low Carb then you at least know that you can eat something there.
  •  Be Prepared- Whenever I have to go to a gathering and I'm not sure what food people are bringing or what might be in something I always try to pack a small lunch bag and keep it in my car or have a protein bar or ziploc bag of bacon in my purse as a back up.
  • Food Allergies- If someone asks why you're eating something different you don't have to say that you're Low Carb or that you're trying to lose weight. You can just say that you have food allergies or you're allergic to sugar and carbs or  you can't eat it. I normally say "I'm allergic to Sugar, Flour and Soy" or "I can't have sugar or carbs".  Some people will ask if I have Celiac and I say no, but it's kind of similar. They usually don't ask more after that unless they also have problems with certain foods.
  • Don't Trust Gluten Free- Gluten Free does not equal Low Carb! A lot of times I've found that Gluten Free items actually have more carbs than the normal product does. If you can't check the label and see what's in it then don't trust that any Gluten Free item is Low Carb because it's probably not. 
  • Beverages- I always bring my own water bottle or a bottle of something that I can drink and no one ever acts put off by it. Lots of people carry water bottles and especially in the heat I doubt anyone would make a big deal about it. You could even offer to bring Crystal Light Lemonade or offer to bring soda and then make sure some of it is diet. It's certainly not the most healthy option and I don't recommend drinking soda all the time, but it's better than filling yourself full of sugar in my opinion. 

Food Suggestions (as shown above):
  1. Garden Salad
  2. Garden Salad with Tuna, Chicken, Steak, or any unbreaded meat.
  3. Hamburger patty without the bun.
  4. Low Carb Pinwheel Sandwiches.
  5. Cream Cheese and Lunch meat Roll-ups.
  6. Bacon Cream Cheese Squares.
  7. Celery with Cream Cheese and Bacon.
  8. Celery and Carrots with Ranch.
  9. Chicken Wings - Unbreaded with Buffalo or Garlic Parm sauce.*
  10. Deviled Eggs.
  11. Any kind of unbreaded meat that isn't covered in BBQ sauce.**
  12. If bringing a sandwich tray make yours with lettuce instead of bread. 
  13. Bell Pepper and Onion kabobs to add flavor to your bunless burger.
  14. Macaroni Salad with Dreamfields Low Carb Pasta***

* Most are kinds of Buffalo Sauce are fairly low sugar, but not all. Ken's is ok and the kind from Buffalo Wild Wings has 2 carbs for 5 wings in both the Buffalo and the Garlic Parm.

**Some sauces have 17 grams of sugar per tbsp. I look for pieces not drenched sauce or if possible ask for one with no sauce or rinse it off or at least scrape off the excess.

***It's very important to follow the cooking instructions on Dreamfields pasta and DO NOT overcook it. Drench it in cold water and keep rinsing it until it's cold. Don't reheat it either. I've never had any issues with it but I'm also OCD about the cooking process so that may be why. If it stalls you then don't eat it. I like it and use it sparingly and have no issues with it. 

Good Luck! Enjoy your time with friends and family and if you do eat something questionable don't beat yourself up too much, just make sure you get right back on track with the following meal.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Watch out for added Carbs/Calories in Frozen Drinks!

With summer sometimes comes more temptation with summer time parties and celebrations and everyone drinking slushies, milk shakes and frozen alcoholic beverages in various colors and flavors. It's important to remember how much sugar those drinks contain and avoid them.

Alcohol also has sugar in it and can lower your inhibitions and let your judgement slip on just how much food you should eat. It can also cause you to need more food to offset the effects of it as well. Also those who are Low Carb will get intoxicated a lot faster than someone that consumes more carbs due to not having anything to absorb the alcohol. If you feel that you must have some kind of drink then maybe opt for something mixed with Crystal Light instead of a sugary mixer.

Summer Time can also bring discouragement when it's time for an event that involves bathing suits... that's when you need to step back and take a look at your progress and be happy with how far you've come so far and with the fact that you're taking steps to improve your health. Then look for a style of bathing suit that covers your problem areas the best and opt for a cover up or swimming skirt or swimming shorts to go over it if you don't like your thighs etc.

Maxi dresses that gather under the chest are often good choices, knee length summer dresses are good if you like your legs, mesh tops help with those who don't like their arms and the swim skirts and shorts help with those who don't like their thighs. There's a lot of cute coverups out there.

Having a melt down or a panic attack or getting mad at people for inviting you to an event won't help the situation and will only take longer in the fitting room...

I've had a few friends experience this in the past few weeks so I thought a reminder would be helpful in case anyone else was also feeling that way. It also does not help to get frustrated and fall off the wagon either.

Hang in there and focus on the good parts and enjoy your summer. You can't go back and relive the summer and you could be missing out on some fun memories if you avoid pool side gatherings.

Friday, February 28, 2014

What's for lunch at work?

I often get asked what I eat for lunch at work. Normally it's bacon and eggs but today I got tuna and boiled eggs from the salad bar and put some bell pepper in it with some mayo. Yummy and simple! :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Atkins Bars...

I often get asked if I eat Atkins bars and if so how often... 

I occasionally eat them as a treat or when traveling or sometimes when I have to work late and my other options are not healthy. 

I can't have soy and most of their bars contain soy so I avoid them except for the "Caramel Chocolate Nut Roll" flavor that only has soy in the chocolate. I still use them sparingly and not as a staple. 

Now..... when I have Girl Scout Cookies sitting in my office, yeah... I'll eat the Atkins bar if I was craving something. But I'm actually not hungry so I'm fine.

I don't recommend eating the Atkins bar's if you can't eat just one. If they will trigger you to eat the whole box then leave them alone. If they stall you, then save them for maintenance. A BIG part of long term success on ANY kind of healthy eating plan is that you learn self control. For me, it's easier to stick to my bacon and eggs and not worry about other foods. If I don't have many carbs then I don't crave carb loaded foods. But once I eat something with carbs then I want EVERYTHING! A side effect of PCOS is actually that you crave carbs. So if you have PCOS, I highly recommend that you don't have "off days" very often because it's like an alcoholic trying to give up booze when you go back to low carb after being off plan. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Long Term Sucess/Life Time Maintenance and Rewarding Yourself!

This topic came up in my reply to Melody who's lost 45 lbs in her first 5 weeks on Low Carb and I decided it might be helpful to others as well so I'm going to share it. Congrats Melody! You're off to a great start!!!

As we all know this is a long process and a life time change to improve your health and way of life. To change the way you think about food and not to comfort or reward yourself with food. But it's also important to make sure to reward yourself along the way when you can.

Try get a new pair of workout pants, or a new flattering wrap top that helps you start to see your progress more. Maybe a new yoga mat for doing Palates if you need something low impact and you aren't up for the gym yet. Even go see a movie, but skip the snack counter... eat lunch or dinner before the movie. Get a mani/pedi, have a spa day at home with a friend. Maybe get some new pj's or new undies. Make sure that you at least have one properly fitting outfit so you feel good going places.

I went from a size 56 dress, 8x/9x men's shirt with a 91" waist to a size 18/20 dress, 1x/2x tops so I've had to replace my entire wardrobe several times along the way. It sucked spending the money on clothes, but it felt so good to wear an outfit that fit me correctly. It's also important to get rid of your clothes when they become way too big, or get out the sewing machine and alter them. Because if you keep the bigger baggy clothes around and you start gaining weight you won't realize it in your clothes if everything you have is baggy or stretchy.

I've been wearing nothing but dresses with leggings and boots to work all winter (stretchy clothes). My office was passing around germs and I was busy, never home, not sleeping enough, not drinking enough water and I got a sinus infection that was upsetting my tummy for 3 weeks and then I had the flu that lingered for 4 weeks and lots of extra stress from work. I've still been doing low carb, but not as low as I normally do and I started drinking more Sprite Zero and Fresca trying to settle my tummy and I think it made me feel worse and upset my tummy more from the added sweeteners in the long run.

The scale gradually went up a bit... but I wasn't too worried because I still looked the same and my clothes still fit me.  Then Friday night I went to go put on my "Skinny" jeans that used to fit comfortably and they wouldn't button out of the dryer. I realized that I had not worn them in two months. I sighed and put on my relaxed fit jeans and they fit me snugly... That's my sign that I have to go back to induction level carbs (20 or less per day) instead of having off days of 30-40 carbs per day like I have been doing a lot the past couple of months.

The gradual increases can sure add up in time if you gain 10 lbs one month and 10 lbs another month, you have to catch it before it gets out of hand. I know it's not added muscle weight because I haven't been training hard lately, it's from eating too many carbs for my system. With my PCOS I have to stay at 20 or less per day to maintain my weight and to feel my best. I haven't been working out because the numbness has gotten worse due to excess skin cutting off circulation and pinching my nerve. I'll post more about that later though.

I had increased portions because I was working over time and I would often be at work until 6:30 or 7pm so I started getting bigger salads for lunch to compensate for a later dinner. My salads had a lot of turkey, ham or chicken on them from the work salad bar so I know there was hidden carbs there even though I brought my own dressing. I'd eat half the salad at 1pm, the other half at 4/5pm and then dinner around 8/9pm. But it ended up adding an extra meal to my day instead of it just being a snack. Then some days I'd say screw it, my tummy was already upset so I'd grab a piece of pizza with my salad too. I normally avoided the carbs because they upset my tummy, but it was easier to give in to them when my tummy was already upset.

I'm sharing this with you guys to let you know that even someone like me who's maintained the loss for over 2 years still has to watch it and that we can all have little setbacks, we all have to be careful. We just have to get back on it and watch the carbs and portion sizes to keep yourself in check. Also make sure to drink enough water too and try to get enough sleep... I struggle with the sleep part because I'm always busy with something or my mind is wanting to go go go instead of resting.

Remember the important part is to never give up on yourself, ever! You can do it, because you are worth it!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Homemade Broccoli, Bacon and Cheese Soup with a BLT Wrap

It's cold and rainy and nothing sounded good the other night except for Broccoli Cheese Soup and I decided to add some Bacon!

I just used my standard go to combination for a sauce base.
1 stick of butter
16 ounces of Heavy Whipping Cream
2 cups of shredded cheese (I used Cheddar here)

For an Alfredo I use an Italian Blend of whatever I have on hand.
Just melt the butter, melt the cheese, add the cream and stir while bringing it to a boil. Keep stirring and let it simmer until it thickens.
Once the sauce is done cooking then I added the steamed broccoli and crumbled the bacon.

You could also pair this with a BLT made on a low carb tortilla or a lettuce wrap or a BLT salad. 
I decided that it was too much food for me for one meal so I just went with the soup and then ate the wrap later.

 I don't eat soy because of my PCOS so I will only use one brand of low carb Tortilla. All of the other ones that I have found are made with soy flour. I use the Mission Carb Balance tortillas, they do have a small amount of soybean oil but that doesn't bother me like the soy flour, soy lecithin or soy protein does.

Soy basically mimics estrogen and was causing problems for me so I stopped eating it altogether last summer. Most ladies with PCOS already have high estrogen levels and should not eat soy and should try to eat more broccoli because broccoli naturally helps to rid your body of excess estrogen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dreamfields Low Carb Rotini

 Dreamfields Rotini pasta with bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic and ground beef.
 Once again I want to stress the importance of following the cooking instructions exactly! I boil the water, set the timer (but don't hit start yet), measure out the portion size of pasta that I want to cook. Hit the start button and drop the pasta in the boiling water. As soon as the 8 minutes is up I immediately remove the pasta from the stove and drain it in the sink while rinsing with cold water to stop the cooking process. I always measure out the portions and don't over cook the pasta and I haven't had any problems with this pasta. It might not work for everyone and if you notice that it stalls you when you haven't had any other carbs then I would suggest not eating it until you're on maintenance.

I separated the dry pasta in to 6 servings and cooked 2 servings, 1 of those servings is in this bowl for dinner and the other one is in the fridge for tomorrow.  I store the sauce separate from the noodles so that I can reheat the sauce without reheating the noodles. I don't want the noodles to over cook because then your body will absorb more of the carbs that should not be digested and would increase the carb count. When cooked properly, one serving is 5 carbs plus whatever is in the sauce and veggies that you add.

I made a simple sauce with bell pepper, onions, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, black pepper, Italian seasoning and a little parmesan cheese. You could easily use frozen onions and peppers like shown above or fresh ones if you have them available. You can use canned or fresh tomatoes depending on their availability as well. Garlic powder can also be used instead of fresh garlic. You can also cook up the ground beef ahead of time and used it the next day. This is also great which grilled chicken or even an Italian sausage that's lower in carbs. You can also skip the low carb pasta and just layer meat, sauce cheese in a pan and bake it like a lasagna. I have pictures of that in other posts. If you have high carb eaters in your house you can easily cook them some normal pasta and serve them the same sauce.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mac 'n Cheese with Bacon, Broccoli and Grilled Chicken

Hello Everyone, 
It's been a while since I last posted so I thought that I would share what I cooked for dinner yesterday. I cooked homemade Mac 'n Cheese with Bacon, Broccoli and Grilled Chicken. And yes, it's Low Carb! :)
I've posted about Dreamfields pasta before and as always it's very important to follow the cooking directions and only boil it for 8 minutes and then immediately drain it and rinse it with cold water so that it stops cooking. I separate it into  portion sizes and keep the sauce separate from the pasta. I will reheat the sauce and meat but I won't reheat the pasta.
Now for the sauce! I just melted 1 stick of butter and melted 2 cups of shredded cheddar and then added 16 ounces of heavy whipping cream and stirred it while cooking until it came to a boil and then reduced the heat to simmer until it thickened and kept stirring. Then added the cooked chopped broccoli and some crumbled pieces of bacon.

I portioned the pasta into 6 servings and saved the other 5 servings for later. 
 This is 1 serving of pasta, 1 serving of broccoli and 4 ounces of grilled chicken. I should have added more bacon though.... LOL
I hope everyone is doing well!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

5k for Cancer Research

I really enjoy having my life back again and one of those activities I was unable to participate in before losing weight was 5k's for cancer research. Please join me in raising funds to help Dana-Farber Cancer Institute conquer all forms of cancer. I'm walking in honor of 21 people (16 of them family and 5 of them friends) sadly only 7 of them are still with us today.

Any donations are appreciated and also tax deductible, all amounts are welcome even $5 can help out.

When I signed up to participate they have a minimum requirement that I have to raise $250 in donations. I had to agree that if I didn't raise enough funds that the remainder would come out of my own pocket. I'm not rich but I agreed to do so because this is a worth while cause and one out of every three people will have to face cancer in their lifetime. If I was the one fighting I'd sure hope that people were willing to help me out too.

I've lost 249 lbs, lowered my body fat by 36% and lowered my resting heart rate from 110 to 65 beats per minute. I was told that I'd never be able to go to the gym again after an auto accident in 2005. I've been back at the gym since Sept. 2009 and completed my first official 5k on 9/25/10.

One of my favorite qoutes is:
"If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell." - Lance Armstrong

Please donate if you can,