Vacations, Holidays, and Re-Introductions

So, I didn’t update at all in August. To be honest, there wasn’t much to say – no huge differences in either direction in terms of weight/measurements. (Truth be told, I started an entry but only wrote two sentences, and when I went back later I had no idea what I was trying to say.) Then, in the last week of August, we took a family vacation. We knew we would be kicked out of ketosis – we didn’t want to sacrifice having a good time and trying good foods for this diet, especially knowing we could just get back into ketosis in a few days. We made a bunch of keto-friendly buns for sandwiches and brought nuts and a few other snacks with us, but other than that we winged it. It was worth it – I missed doughnuts (but not cookies, because I finally realized they’re empty calories/carbs and don’t fill me up AT ALL).

The day after we returned from vacation, we had a family barbeque, so re-introduction wasn’t going to happen then.

Three days after that was the start of Rosh Hashanah, which what I can gather from my in-laws is a two day long food-fest. It’s hard to say no to my mother-in-law’s noodle pudding or my aunt-in-law (is that even a phrase?)’s matzoh ball soup, or a giant helping of challah. Not eating these foods at Rosh Hashanah is akin to not eating turkey and mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving.

This weekend was better, for me anyway – I was home the entire time, and aside from the bagel I had for dinner on Friday (and another Saturday), I stayed pretty much on course. My husband, however, was at a bachelor party all weekend so he wasn’t so lucky.

So today is my day to get back on course 100%. No more bagels or beer, just protein and fat. (Well, not JUST protein and fat, but you know.) I have actually missed keto, in the sense that I actually got full eating high fat, high protein foods. I’m trying out something new with exercise as well, and playing around with a few things – I’ve been “training” (on and off, because I get lazy) for a half-marathon (I haven’t signed up for one but I want to be able to run one…I think the not-signing-up part is why I get lazy), so I want to pick running back up to an extent; no more than 3 days a week. I definitely want to get back into NROL4W, as I completed stage 1, but when I picked up stage 2 last week (after a few weeks off), I couldn’t walk for three days. I might have to ease back into that one and do some Blogilates to supplement the days I can’t move my legs (which is what I had to wind up doing last week).

Onward, to the inevitable keto-flu I’m going to get in a few days!

Progress Set Back And New Recipes

This weekend’s weigh-ins and measure-ins did not go well at all. We each gained a little less than a pound and went up or stayed the same in our measurements. After the initial period of frustration, we talked about why this would have happened – we’ve been sticking to keto-friendly foods the same way we have been all of the other weeks. After some discussion we figured out the one thing that was slightly different – we’d each had a cocktail the night before. I know from experience how bloated alcohol can make you, and while I still find it hard to believe that 1-2oz of Jack Daniels would cause these results overnight, I can’t completely rule it out since I’m still rather new to this. That said, I plan to avoid alcohol completely for the next few weeks (except at possible social gatherings, but even then alcohol tends to be rare). We have a beach vacation at the end of August and I’m anxious to see how fit I can get by then.

Speaking of fit, as I mentioned in my last post I started doing Blogilates last week. I initially planned on doing it on my off days from lifting, but I began following Cassey’s beginner’s workout calendar and have been doing it 6 days a week (you know…for the past week anyway). I’m really digging it, which surprised me – I hated Pilates only a few years ago. I think doing this in addition to my lifting will make my results that much more satisfying, with the added bonus of not feeling so lazy. My plan is to continue with the beginner calendar until the August calendar is released (she makes a new calendar of routines for each month, how cool is that? I finally won’t get bored!) and then do that calendar with the community. To get the month’s exercises you need to sign up for the newsletter because it’s a password protected area of the site; definitely do it if you’re considering it! (Don’t worry about nonstop emails – I got the password a week an a half ago and only got the email with the password.)

More exercise news – I did workout A7 of NROL4W yesterday, and upped everything to 12lb dumbbells. And I don’t feel like I want to die today! This is proof to me that it’s working; a few weeks ago I couldn’t DREAM of functioning the day after exercising with 12lb dumbbells, so I know my strength has increased since starting. (Also I can do 3 sets of 10 pushups. REAL pushups.) Next week is my last week of stage 1, then onto stage 2. I’m kind of excited!

I also wanted to link some of the recipes we’ve tried out lately, and my thoughts on them.

  • Pork Rind French Toast Cakes/Pancakes - These were AWESOME. The only negative about these was that they take a while to prepare & cook (due to the thicker consistency) but it was worth it!
  • Pork Rind Pizza Crust - My Italian grandparents wept in heaven when they saw me making this, but it is an EXCELLENT pizza crust substitute. We topped ours with mozzarella, ricotta, and broccoli. The only problem we found was that the cheese slides off really easily, but I don’t know how much that has to do with the fact that we might have needed to let our mozzarella melt a bit more, or if it was because the crust is baked first so it has a “finish” on top. Next time I try this I might do an egg wash on top to see if it helps…
  • Flaxmeal Cinnamon Muffins - Our new go-to breakfast, only because eating quiche every day for 4 weeks started to wear on us. Instead of the sugar free syrup, we subbed in some Walden Farms blueberry syrup; the fruitiness makes it almost taste like apple cinnamon bread.

On to another week of upped-exercise…and alcohol-free this time!

End Week 5, Progress & Carb Addiction

This progress update was meant for last week, but I forgot about the draft post I made. That’s fine, because now I can include a new set of measurements and make the progress more up-to-date.

Weight +\- Waist +\- Hips+\-
His -10.4lbs -4.5″ -2
Hers +1lbs -1.5″ -1.5″

This is over the last 5 weeks. As I’ve previously stated I’m not trying to lose weight, and I expect I’ll permanently put some on after a while. I’m still impatient of course, because while 3″ loss is great, the fact that it’s over 5 weeks has me kind of annoyed. I know it’s because I don’t weight a lot and am a girl, but it still kind of sucks. I’ve been sticking to my macros, but since I’m following the NROL4W lifting program, I’ve only been doing that 3 days a week and nothing on the off days. My lifting days are M/W/F, so this week on T/Th/Sa I’m going to try some Blogilates. It is well known to many people I know that I normally HATE Pilates, because I find it boring, but that was back when it first became and exercise trend, and there is so much more out there now. Also, my cousin mentioned it helped with her back problems (I was in a car accident a few years ago and can’t stand or walk around for long periods of time anymore), so if there’s a chance it will help that I’m all for trying it again!

It’s also worth mentioning I overcame a mini-hurdle this weekend. We were at a friend’s house for a barbeque (good thing about keto is eating all that delicious meat!) and there were cookies and S’mores brownie-cookie bite things for dessert. I had 2 cookies and a brownie…and that was it. Normally I’d keep going back for more until I complained I didn’t feel well, but I was able to stop. It was delicious but I was definitely disenchanted. A step in a healthier direction, I think!

Week 3 Complete

Yesterday marked the end of week 3 of eating keto (is that a commonly used phrase? I’m going to go ahead and continue to use it anyway) and it shouldn’t be, but is, surprising to realize how easy it is to adapt low carb to life. I’m not craving cereal and bread like I used to (though that doesn’t mean I don’t still miss it!) and it’s much easier to manage meals & snacks and get closer to our macros compared to three weeks ago, when we had to plan what we were eating days in advance.

In the last entry I mentioned measuring my body fat percentage as another way to track progress, since I’m not trying to lose weight. Well, that sort of went according to plan. Turns out it’s pretty difficult to use the calipers to measure the back of your upper arm, ESPECIALLY when you have almost no fat there (I’ve just always had lean toned arms, along with skinny shapeless legs and a doughy middle). So I’ve decided my main way to track body fat percentage will just be by measuring my suprailiac skinfold (the one above the hipbone). It’s where I have the most fat, and it’s easy to measure by myself.

As far as progress between last Saturday (6/29) and this past Saturday (7/6) I saw a very slight drop in BF% (so slight I might attribute it to user error), I went up about 1.5lbs (I’m still weighing myself, just not using it to track progress – I’m attributing the rise to water retention because I started exercising again), and no change in waist/hip measurements. I wasn’t really discouraged, just kind of confused, so I headed to the keto subreddit FAQ (for as much crap as reddit gets, /r/keto is full of amazing people) and read up on general progress, and somehow after almost three weeks, plus another week I had researched before starting, I completely missed the existence of PISS – post induction stall syndrome. It’s a 1-2 week period where your body is one of the various stages of adjustment it goes through on keto, and there is no change in anything. This made me feel a little better in that I wasn’t doing something completely wrong.

I had my first carb-up day on Saturday (really I just couldn’t resist some regular chocolate ice cream and some doughnut holes, and I’m sure it was enough to kick me out of ketosis). Everything I read said to wait 3-4 weeks for your first carb-up day, and then do it weekly, although after eating all the doughnuts I wondered if I should have waited until after my PISS stage had passed, but oh well. It was tasty and my cravings can subside for another 2-or-so weeks. Apparently having cheat days is more of a debate than I had thought – do you do cheat days, or even cheat meals? (Personally I think it will keep any sugary cravings at bay for me, because it’s easy to hop back into keto the following day, but not everyone operates the same way!)

Mid-Week Update

There’s hasn’t been much to say the past few days, since we’re basically eating the same recipes I posted last week (that chili made a lot of servings!). However I’ve gotten to thinking about my macros and charting my progress, which I think will be worth posting.

My macros are set to 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbs for now. I started off with carbs at 10% instead of the recommended 5% because I thought the transition was going to be really difficult (it wasn’t, as it turns out). I’ve been having a problem getting all my fat since day one (70% for me puts it at 123g) but I think I need to re-evaluate my snacks during the day and eat more cheese and nuts. I’ve inputted all the food I plan on eating today on MFP and I’m going to be about 14g short on fat, which isn’t too bad…but I’m 10g over on protein, so I’m sure if I tweak my diet a bit I can flip those numbers so they’re more even.

As I stated, I’ve been thinking about tracking my progress – moreso, how on earth am I going to track my progress?! I thought about it; I’m not trying to lose mass amounts of weight (or any weight at all really), just body fat. I remembered the calipers I ordered months ago, but they always said I had a very low BF%, which I know isn’t the case. That’s when I realized I’d never researched how to use the calipers properly. NICE.

A Google search lead me to this YouTube video, which is very informative…except I’m a lady so it’s completely invalid for me. Adding my gender to the search lead me to two links – this video that demonstrates how to use the calipers, and this article on how to use the results. (The calipers did come with a chart, so I’ll be using that as well and comparing the results.)

I’m thinking of measuring my BF% every Saturday morning, and changing my measuring day to Saturdays as well. Weekdays are hard because I’m not a morning person and it takes me 20 minutes just to get out of bed, so I wind up rushing to do the measurements and actually get ready for work. So, I’ll find out my starting point in two days. I’m excited to start tracking fitness progress for the first time in my life!

 

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Day 8 – Progress

After the awful energy crash last week, I started feeling better the next day, and as of now am only regular-sleepy (I will just never be a morning person!). We stuck to the same meals throughout the work week, made simple by the 5-day casseroles we prepared, and changed things up a bit over the weekend. I always have eggs & cheese for breakfast, but this time I included bacon and excluded toast. (Sidenote: I’m not missing bread nearly as much as I expected, but I do desperately miss cereal!) For lunch on Saturday I had egg salad, and for dinner my husband grilled burgers with a Babybel cheese in the middle – I LOVE BABYBEL CHEESE. The great thing about stuffed burgers + keto is that there is more meat than a regular burger, plus the cheese inside, that the burger is pretty filling with just a fork and knife – I didn’t miss the hamburger bun at all!

Sunday I noticed our blackberries & raspberries had gone bad, which I was sad about because that’s what I had been putting in my Greek yogurt. I had already put aside a serving of yogurt, so I got creative (well, creative for me) and put in half a scoop of chocolate-flavored whey powder and a tablespoon of peanut butter. It wasn’t bad, but it was definitely…interesting. We went to my in-laws house for dinner that day – they had barbequed so it wasn’t particularly difficult to stay low carb/high protein. However, I now notice the huge difference with meats with low fat content! The 99% fat free ground turkey burgers were SO DRY. And because of all the sugar in the sliced pineapple I normally have on it, it was noticeable! I think because I usually have it with pineapple, the juice masked how dry low-fat meat can get. I’ll never go back!

Today was measure day – the places I’m keeping track of measurements are my waist at the bend, my waist at the navel, and my hips (I’m not bothering anywhere else because I’m not aiming to lose weight, just fat, and I basically carry all of my fat in my midsection). I lost at least and inch from EACH area; all that bloating is down a lot! (I’m not weighing myself – like I said, I’m not aiming to lose weight, and once I start lifting, I will likely begin to put on weight slowly, so I know the scale is useless in my case.)

Today I’m going to start lifting again, now that I’m over all the keto flu symptoms. I’ve begun the NROL4W program before – I made it to week 5 before I had a crazy week-long period where I didn’t get the chance to workout (also I was probably lazy) and even in that amount of time my bicep size increased an inch, so I dig this program because I know it works for me. (The bicep increase isn’t a huge deal, because I have noodles for arms, but know my arms are LESS noodle-y.) The weight training combined with keto should show results – hopefully great ones! :)

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More Recipes, More Induction Consequences

Last night, as planned, we made the caveman chili using beef instead of pork. I love having food plans set and not having to worry about making breakfast and lunch at night. We’ll be having the chili for dinner tonight, I can’t wait to load it with cheese & sour cream.

The breakfast casserole I posted yesterday was SO GOOD. It looked good in the oven raw, after it was cooked, after we cut it up, everything. AND it was delicious. The chicken casserole did not fare as well in the looks department – because it was cubed chicken with a cheese layer on top, it’s kind of difficult to cut, and it looks extremely unappetizing before you microwave it. However, the melted cheese post-reheat improved it (this actually mattered to me because it looked SO unappetizing I was afraid to try it), and it turns out it tastes great. I like my food bland, generally speaking, so while this isn’t my favorite thing in the world, I’ll still definitely eat it. If you like spicy things, you’ll definitely like it! (Links to these recipes are in the previous blog post, FYI.)

Today, the keto flu symptoms continue. I don’t really have a headache, except for the fact I am so exhausted and constantly fatigued that it’s actually messing with my head. Luckily the work I have today it brainless and I can zone out (a lot of cut & paste in an Excel document – I’m still doing work!). However, I think I’ll be making more coffee in a bit; it helped this morning but the caffeine is starting to wear off.

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