Cupcakes, Coconut Oil, and Ketones

I made a nutrition paradigm shift a month ago… a shift away from the traditional low fat, high carb/protein diet to one with liberal healthy fats, extremely limited carbohydrates (less then 50 g a day), and adequate protein. I’m not selling any products nor am I primarily using pre-made shakes or meals or supplements (not that there is anything wrong with that!!). I’m eating food. Real food. I’m taking close inventory and keeping track of what I put into my body. It hasn’t been easy, necessarily. But I feel fantastic and I’m seeing results. 

Stats: down 10 1/2 lbs and 3% body fat. My clothes fit better. Do I see abs?!? 

The skinny on my first month. 

The good:

1. Weight loss

2. Fat burn

3. Energy: overall increased, steady energy. No sugar highs and lows  

4. Headaches: I haven’t taken Excedrin in over a week. I can’t say this…really ever in my adult life. I have suffered from chronic daily headaches and migraines. So far…better. 

5. The food: Coconut oil, avocado oil, bacon, grass fed butter, fat bombs. It tastes so good and oh so satisfying. 

6. Appetite and craving control…like I’ve never experienced. This coming from a professed food addict! 

7. Endurance: improved long, aerobic type work outs. 

8. Post work out recovery: faster, less fatigue, less soreness. 

9. Bulletproof coffee. Just yum!

The bad: 

1. The first 10 days. Ugh. Headache. Muscle aches. Fatigue. Sluggishness. Keto flu is real. 

2. Sleep: restless. No worse no better. 

3. High intensity exercise performance: this has definitely taken a hit. Shorter workouts of higher intensity are just plain painful. On the upside, I’m honing in my mind over matter skills. That which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. 

4. Discipline. I like carbs. I like doughnuts and cake and French bread. I miss it. I miss fruit. It takes a gut check sometimes to not give in and have a doughnut…or six!! 

5. At the end of a month I’m slightly cranky. 

I believe in the health benefits of the ketogenic lifestyle. I think there are pros and cons but for me, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. 
In the next month I will be experimenting with adding in carbs around workouts and cycling carb days into my week. I will continue to try new products before, during, and after exercise and reviewing them for their ability to help me fuel exercise while still staying in ketosis. 

Check out my new Facebook page I’m Losing It, where I’ll share nutrition, weight loss, fitness ideas as well as the ups and downs, laughs and cries of my nutrition and fitness journey. 

Don’t Blame the Butter For What the Bread Did

I’ve struggled with my weight pretty much my whole life after kids. I’ve tried every “diet” there is. I’ve lost weight. I’ve gained it back. I’ve taken meds and supplements only to find myself back where I started. 3 weeks ago I started doing some research on a low carb high fat (LCHF) lifestyle, and to be more specific, a ketogenic lifestyle. Not “diet”. Lifestyle. As a medical professional I was a naysayer of the Atkins diet years ago. I subscribed to the recommendation of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) to eat low fat, which translated to a high carb diet. I’ve been reading voraciously for 3 weeks on the medical and athletic implications of a LCHF/ketogenic diet. 3 weeks in. I’ve lost 8.5 lbs, 1% body fat. It hasn’t been easy and my high intensity exercise has been rough as my body transitions to burning my abundant fat stores as energy. I’m hopeful that this is the answer to my struggle to be my healthiest self. I believe. 

This review (link below) was recently published on a reputable site (Medscape) and originally published in a reputable journal (British Journal of Sports Medicine). 

Key points:
1. LCHF diets perform as well or better than the traditional low fat high carb (LFHC) diets. 

2. LCHF diets (not calorie restricted) performed better in many studies than a calorie restricted LFHC diet. 

3. LCHF diets make you feel fuller, subsequently you naturally eat less calories. 

4. KETOSIS IS NOT DANGEROUS and can be beneficial. It is not the equivalent of ketoacidosis found in type 1 diabetics. 

5. There is no evidence that increased intake of saturated fats=increased progression of coronary atherosclerosis or coronary heart disease. 

6. For type 2 diabetics, there is increased weight loss and decreased HbA1C showing better control of diabetes. 

7. LCHF diet reduces blood triglycerides and increases HDL, both improving cardiovascular (CV) risk factors

8. LDL has been shown to increase in some patients. The clinical relevance of this is unknown given the improvement of many other CV risk factors. 

9. LCHF diets can reverse non-alcoholic liver disease and associated atherosclerotic dyslipidemia in patients with metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. 

There are so many other benefits to eating a low carb, high healthy fat diet…effects on the brain, headaches, seizures, Alzheimers, energy, endurance, mental alertness. Stay tuned as I get further along in this journey. I’m not an expert on the low carb/high fat/ketogenic diet (yet) but I like the data I’m seeing in the sports and medical community and the results I’m seeing in my N=1 experiment….ME! 
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/874707_8

Out With The Old, In With The New

It seems that 2016 was the worst year in recent history…the death of multiple celebrities, natural disasters, manmade disasters, a debacle of a presidential election. These are certainly depressing and the makings of a terrible year, but they don’t define 2016 for me. I’m lucky. I’m thankful. 2016 was a net fabulous year: 

…I lost 25 pounds….and gained a level of fitness I’ve never had before 

…I lost a pervasive sense of unease and anxiety…and gained acceptance of the things I can’t control. 

…I lost 7 1/2 hours of my life…and gained an immense sense of accomplishment and a finisher medal for Ironman Atlantic City 70.3

…I lost my mind…and gained entry into Ironman Louisville 2017

…I lost a sweet, spunky girl named Precious…and gained a mischievous, energetic granddog named Doug

…I lost the need to compare myself and my life to other people….and gained the strength to work on making myself better than I was yesterday

…I lost zeros in my wallet…but made irreplaceable memories on a trip to Ireland with my mom and my oldest kid 

…I lost people who radiate negativity and judgement…and gained love and stronger relationships with people who make me better.

…I lost an amazing year…and gained a hopefully more fabulous 365.  

I’m ready to live boldly, love loudly, laugh endlessly. 2017…I’m coming for you!!! 

To Do List: 2017

Have you ever watched a movie that impacts you deeply? It reaches your core…moves your soul deep down in a way that motivates you to evaluate your life…assess where you are… where you’re going…where you want to be. I recently did. The movie was happy and sad and I cried pretty much through the whole thing…I’m afflicted with “lots of feels”. Superficially I cried because the movie was about death and love and the time surrounding it all. On a deeper level it made me think about how love and death affect my life…and how time frames them.

I don’t obsess about death. I don’t even think about it very often. But as I get older, and my parents get older, and I see people I know and don’t know affected by the death of a loved one, I think about death more often. I think about its finality. I think about how painfully I would miss every single person in my circle if they were gone from my life. I cry. Sometimes I get caught up in thoughts like “what would I do if one of my parents died tomorrow” or “what would I do if I lost one of my kids”. I panic. The tears flow freely. How easy it would be to become paralyzed by those thoughts. Death is powerful. It is a motivator. It is immobilizing. It is destructive and liberating.

I haven’t been affected directly by death…the death of someone who is an integral part of my day to day life. I’m thankful and I’m terrified. Being terrified and consumed by something that hasn’t happened, however, is a waste. It’s a waste of emotion…a waste of brain and heart space. I made a deal with myself at the beginning of 2016 that I would not waste any energy on things I couldn’t control…other people’s actions and emotions, events, death. I adopted the Serenity Prayer of sorts…serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. I agreed, to the best of my ability, to let things work out and to accept the outcome …even if it wasn’t how I wanted it to work out. It is what it is. Que sera sera.

While I can’t change other people or things that happen to me or even my situation sometimes, I can change how I participate. I am in charge of my actions, reactions, and attitude. I control how I spend my time and who I surround myself with. I control how, how much, and who I love. I control how much of myself I give to other people and how much I reserve in order to protect myself from hurt. All of this leads to the creation of my 2017 to do list…a list of one.

1. Relationships. Nurture the ones I have. Create new ones. Love the people around me. Love…the verb…the action that I participate in.

If nothing else I have two things…I have love and I have time. How I choose to intertwine the two is up to me. The privilege of being human is the ability to intimately connect with other people. We only have one lifetime…a finite number of minutes to nurture and grow and strengthen those relationships. I don’t want to be on death’s doorstep and wish I had loved more. That’s it. 2017. Time. Love. Relationships.

Christmas…

…it’s the most wonderful time of the year. A season filled with laughter, family gatherings, gift giving and receiving, and the contrast of cold weather and warm hearts and homes. This Christmas season is probably the most joyous I’ve felt in many years…maybe ever. I’m in a positive frame of mind. I’m emotionally and physically healthy. I have a variety of loving, gratifying personal relationships that keep me grounded and make me a better person. I’m emotional. I cry almost every day…from happiness, laughing, sadness, compassion… the tears flow freely. It’s hard to believe how far I’ve come…how much I’ve grown. It’s hard to believe how the days when I told myself it would get better, that things would work how they were supposed to…got better and worked out.

Christmas wasn’t always a wonderful time for me, and I know for so many it brings turmoil, stress, sadness…things that oppose the meaning of Christmas. The financial burden around Christmas is staggering. The commercialism…the pressure to buy and spend, with money we don’t have, is real and in our faces. Relationships are strained…a time when peace, love and joy is all around, many of us aren’t feeling it. Already tenuous relationships, with family or spouses, seem to have more friction when we’re forced to be together and look happy. I’m so lucky to have all my kids and family and friends close…and alive. Christmas, it seems, would intensify the sorrow of the loss of loved ones. When they’re supposed to be with us, laughing and hugging and opening gifts and drinking hot chocolate, instead there is a big, empty, painful hole. Christmas accentuates the hole. 

Then I hear stories and I see people who have way less than I’ve ever had…even at my lowest point. People who are living lives I can’t wrap my head around. Homelessness. Addiction. Abuse. No job. No food. No family. It really is unimaginable to me. Christmas isn’t warm and cheerful for them. 

I’m not a “religious” person. I believe in God. I believe in a personal responsibility to help others (even though I fall short here). I believe in the doctrine of many of the main religions…to be a good person and treat others with respect and dignity…the way I’d want to be treated. But at Christmas, CHRISTmas, reflecting on the real “reason for the season” pulls together the conflict between my joy and the pain and hurt so many are feeling. Jesus taught many things…a gentle, wise man of love. During this season of jingle bells, cheer, charity, and the celebration of the birth Jesus Christ: 

1. Love. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Love the poor. Just love each other. 

2. Live the Golden Rule. 

3. Forgive freely. 

4. Show compassion for everyone. 

5. Be sincere. Not a hypocrite.  

6. Be humble. 

7. Give your time, treasure, and talents to others. 

8. Be good. Do good. And when you fall short, it’s ok. Keep trying. 

My heart is full of Christmas cheer. I hope I can spread a little of that cheer by giving and living and loving…freely, completely, all out!

19 Things I Wish I’d Learned Before My Forties

1. Your happiness is yours. No one can give it to you and no one can take it away. Make your happiness. Every day!

2. You either accept another person’s faults and baggage or you don’t. You can’t change them into who you want them to be. You can’t make them want what you want nor can you make them feel how you want them to. Understanding this takes an enormous amount of stress off of relationships. 

3. Find something and be passionate about it.

4. Form great relationships. It’s about connecting with people.

5. Do what you love. Love what you do. Anything else is a waste. 

6. Don’t judge another person’s choices. You have no idea what their life is like. Be compassionate and kind. 

7. Don’t think that being strong means you can’t be vulnerable. To be strong and soft is a rare combination. 

8. People are going to hurt you…sometimes so bad you don’t think you can breathe. You can. And you’ll be ok. 

9. Never close your heart off to protect it from pain. 

10. Surround yourself with people who make you happy and better. 

11. Give a lot…but not so much that you have nothing left of yourself. 

12. Relationships aren’t easy but should create more joy than pain. The point at which you are crying more than laughing is the time to say goodbye. Being in no relationship is better than being in a bad one. 

13. You can not wholly love someone until you love yourself. Work on that. 

14. Have hobbies. Be interesting. Do things that make you uncomfortable. 

15. Forgive. Don’t hold grudges…it’s like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die. 

16. Own a dog. Many dogs. Never have a life without a dog. 

17. If you are happy and having fun and aren’t hurting anyone, carry on. What other people think about your life doesn’t matter. 

18. Never apologize for who you are or how you feel. Always and unreservedly apologize for hurting someone, either intentionally or unintentionally. 

19. Love…people…animals…nature. Love those who have more than you and those who have less. Love others. Love yourself. Love life!!

My Letter To Life

Dear Life, 

You’ve been good to me. For 45 years you’ve molded me for this moment. You’ve steered me through mountains and valleys…through moments of magnificence and times of deep, sorrowful darkness. I’ve cried and I’ve laughed…so hard it hurt. I haven’t always appreciated you. I’ve taken you for granted…often. Then you’re stolen prematurely from an undeserving soul…a young mom, a teenage boy, a newborn infant and I realize how fragile you are. I realize I need to handle you gently and lovingly. I see how one moment you are completely here and the next you’re in some other world.

As I look in the mirror, I see marks all over myself that tell our story. The lines etched around my eyes are the laughs I’ve accumulated over the years. I hated them at first…those wrinkly laugh lines. Now at 45, I see them as happiness and wisdom. They remind me how far I’ve come. They remind me that I’ve laughed often and that I need to keep my joy…deep down into my soul. The silvery marks tattooed on my belly represent four of the greatest gifts you’ve ever given me. Happiness and angst and worry rolled into four distinct, integral parts of me. You were so generous with these gifts and as I’m tempted to disavow the marks on my belly, I look at them and I’m thankful for those four precious lives that left them there. 

In spite of the craziness and hate and sadness in the world…I’m happy. Stable. Content. But am I where I’m supposed to be? Have I given enough back to you when you’ve given so much to me? I want to leave my handprint on the clay of this world. I want to make a difference in some minuscule way. I want us to grab hands, put our arms in the air and live loudly, with purpose and conviction. I don’t want to be a bystander and lazily watch you go by. When it’s time for us to part, I want to see you laid out before me and be able to say I lived. I lived and I loved and I participated with every cell of my being.

You haven’t been easy and you haven’t always been fair. Sometimes I’ve felt like a passenger on a train, watching out of the window as you fly by in a blur. I wanted to yell slow down…you’re going way too fast. But I see now, it’s me who needs to slow down. You will keep marching on. You will keep turning the pages of my book. It’s me who has to step in front of you, open my arms and my heart, and embrace you. I love you Life and I’m ready. I’m ready to live boldly and with purpose and to laugh freely and frequently. When I feel joy welling up inside me, I’m ready to pass it on. I’m ready to love intensely and completely. I hope we have many more years together but, if somehow our time is cut short, I want to know that I loved….with every centimeter of my being, I loved! 

With warmth and gratitude, 

Your Always Faithful Friend