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!

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!)

End of Day 2 – Shopping & Side Effects

My husband and I work in the same building, and that building is in a town with a Costco, so we headed over there after work to stock up on meat, cheese, eggs, and vegetables. We had a list of things we wanted for the Caveman Keto recipes we were trying out, and we picked up a few random things as well (like Babybel cheese, which I am SO EXCITED about). A big concern was going to be cost, but we spent about what we would normally spend doing a regular food shop, but got way more food for the price. Granted, we won’t be getting EVERYTHING at Costco (I don’t need five pounds of taco seasoning), but yesterday definitely made believers out of us, and our membership will be getting loads more use.

Thanks to bad weather and a road closure, we didn’t get home until about 6:30pm. So, when we got home, we started cooking immediately, starting with that night’s planned dinner of pounded chicken pizza. This is essentially chicken parmesan topped with pepperoni and bacon. We used chicken breasts instead of thighs, since we now have a 10-pound bag of frozen chicken breasts. The only problem we ran into was that since we had only bought it a few hours earlier, the chicken hadn’t defrosted so it was just inconvenient. After the first bite it was clear that the trouble had been worth it, though!

After dinner, we spent the next of the night preparing 5-day meals – the breakfast quiche for breakfast (duh) and the cheesy chicken casserole for lunch. This became an adventure when we realized we own only one 9×13 pan, so we couldn’t even make them at the same time (spoiler alert, we were cooking and cleaning until 9:30pm). Except for that inconvenience, everything was pretty simple. I’ll be eating them for breakfast & lunch later today, so I’ll be updating on my opinions of these tomorrow. (My husband already tried the breakfast quiche and said he could eat it every day forever, so I have high hopes.)

Now for the “side effects” part of the title. This morning I woke up with a pretty gnarly migraine. Obviously I can’t say this is related to keto for sure, but I do know that side effects during induction are common, and the only thing that has every triggered a migraine for me has been alcohol (of course never the same alcohol under the same circumstances…stupid migraines), and that wasn’t a factor at all, and my diet has been the only change. It’s nothing 2 Excedrin and coffee can’t fix, so I’ll be grateful if this is the only induction side effect I experience.

I am so excited to go home tonight and not have to worry about cooking for dinner tonight! We made 4 servings of the pounded chicken pizza last night so we can make the caveman chili tonight for lunch/dinner (it’s a crockpot recipe too, so it won’t be nearly as hectic/ridiculous as last night’s cook-a-palooza). I’ll be able to relax for most of the night, and my cat will be pleased as well, since we’ll actually be sitting down (she’s definitely a lap cat!).

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