Keto Reset Challenge Day 14 – Everyday Beauty Is Back With Abandon!!!

mud mask

My first mud facial in more than a year! It felt so great, it’s time to get back to doing these twice a week.

A mud facial here…eyeliner there…soon I’m back to exfoliating once a week. Yeah, baby! My beauty routine is back with abandon. What does this have to do with my Keto reset? Everything!

Most people think keto or low carb reset is all about the food. It’s not. There is so much more. There is a reason people talk about making a lifestyle change. Healthy living/dieting is 95% food and 100% mental. When I start focusing on how I look each day and I’m not thinking about weight that is a good thing.

Wednesday morning was when I finally felt like I was turning the corner with this blasted cold. After brushing my teeth, instead of heading downstairs for some coffee, I looked at myself in the mirror for a few seconds. Then I just naturally reached for my make up drawer and put on my tinted moisturizer.

Next up the eye primer. Eye shadow and liner followed in short order. Next thing I know I’m brushing on bronzer and slapping on lipstick.

Without thinking about it, my old 10-minute make up routine just kicked in.

Happiness ensued…until I noticed the bed head that I was wearing. Curlers plugged in and within 15 minutes, I’m sporting a quick and easy hairstyle.

I use to call this Everyday Beauty. Just taking a few minutes each morning to doll myself up for me and no one else. I started wearing make up when I went low carb. It wasn’t vanity. It was about showing myself a little TLC after years of beating myself up.

Thankfully this reset restored that sense of pride in oneself. I didn’t have to work on it.

It just happened.

That tells me I’ve turned an important corner in this reset. I was too focused on eating the right things (always important) that I forgot about the mental side of getting healthy.

Learn About Dot’s Weight Loss Make Up Make Over Here and learning about what to wear as I slimmed down.


Day 10: Keto Reset Day – Lowering Stress With Food Prepping

Feeling like I’m over the worst part of this blasted cold, yesterday I did something I haven’t done in a long time. Food prepping for the week. Granted, it happened on Hump Day, but that’s neither here nor there. Doing something so simple felt great. It’s an habit I started when I went low carb and it’s been MIA for too many months.

What To Do With All These Tomatoes?
I deviated from my grocery list slightly by picking 2 pounds of tomatoes – Campari, heirloom and San Marzanos. Why? Oven-dried tomatoes of course! Great for salads, pesto, quiches. Nice add-ons to the dishes I’m making this week.

Of course, they take 8 hours or so to dry out, but they do taste spectacular. Frankly the taste is even better when they sit in a delicious extra virgin olive oil (frankly, the amazing oil coming out of California is replacing Greek and Italian olive oils in my home).

Rinse, Chop, Make Ahead, Repeat
While the tomatoes took hours to make, the rest of my food prep took just 2. I quickly dispensed with the veggies: washing, chopping and storing – about 30 minutes total.

Next up, the cooking portion of my prep work: whipping up hard-boiled eggs, testing my Instapot (that poor spaghetti squash!), and preparing a make ahead meatloaf to pop in the oven for dinner.

The nice thing about all this prep work was how relaxing it is to work in the kitchen. Just turn on some music and focus on the simple task at hand. No worries. No melt downs. Heck, even when I knocked over my big tumbler of water, I just laughed as I cleaned up (and played a little ice cube soccer with the pup).

Food Prep Takes Stress Away…It Really Does
Two hours of my time to save me hours during the week. So simple. Yet it’s too easy to fall back into that bad habit of mine — sitting on the couch scrolling through a Twitter feed.

Not only is that bad habit a waste of time, but it added to my stress. How many times I felt rushed to try to cook meals for my family. A little bit of food prep yesterday and I saved 20 minutes this morning making a Swiss and mushroom omelet for my mom. My husband just reached in the fridge and quickly put his lunch together (my meatloaf the day after is awesome!).

No fuss, no muss…or stress eating!


Keto Challenge Day 9: Weight Loss!

keto week 2Whatever bug I have kept me up most of the night coughing and sneezing. Although my energy is very low this morning, I had enough to pull myself out of bed and stumble onto the scale.

Weight wise I’m down, despite a couple of missteps last week. At the start of my reset I weighed 232.3. Today I’m at 230.8. Not to shabby.

No doubt my low appetite over the weekend (thanks bug!) contributed to my loss. So I look at the numbers with a very skeptical eye. Despite the lack of sleep I am feeling a little better today as my fever broke earlier this morning.

Practicing Mindfulness
As far as getting back on track with keto, I need to correct the problems (stress induced eating & drinking) from last week.

While convalescing in bed this weekend I made an effort to use my meditation app. Of course, it was easy since I was sick in bed…I mean how much stress is involved with that! Still, it’s good practice. Any time I felt frustrated that I couldn’t do anything, I reached for my phone and listened to some calming sound or music.

That put me right to sleep…almost as good as NightTime NyQuil.


Keto Day 5 — Feeling Horrible

Yesterday I attributed my low energy level to purging the last bit of bad carbs out of my system (A.K.A. The Low Carb Flu). Well today I woke up with a sore throat. After drinking lots of hot tea, taking medicine and napping on and off today, my sinuses are a runny mess. Ugh!

Fingers are crossed that it’s just a mild head cold.  The silver lining in being sick? I have no appetite.  Well that’s one way to shed some re-gained pounds.

Off to bed again.


Keto Reset – Day 4: Finding Time For Myself

stress

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and David Castillo Dominici.

I’m 4 days into my keto reset and I’d love to tell you I’ve been perfect. But because I’m Dot, you’d know that’s a crock! Two days in…2 days!…and I have a meltdown. The husband’s solution: Go out for dinner.

I ate as keto as possible — steak and steamed broccoli with butter. But el vino did flow. And how it flowed.

Stress. That’s my nemesis right now. I need a solution that doesn’t involve a corkscrew.

I used to have 3 sure fire ways to contend with stress: 5-mile walks, 5k training, and my spin class. Well only the spin class is an option right now and it ain’t available when I need it.

So now I’m determined to find time for myself. Any time. A minute here … 3 minutes there.

Letting Chores Go For Now
As I type this, mom is upstairs getting dressed and I’m looking at a sink that has 6 dirty dishes in it (yes I counted them … and I am lame). It has taken everything not to go and just load the dishwasher. After all, it takes minutes. I can come back to writing this blog post after…

But the truth is I wouldn’t. I know that once I do the dishes, I’m wiping down the counters, cleaning the stove, sweeping the floor… Then it’s time to make my mom’s lunch.

The dishes are gateway chores. They just lead to more cleaning.

They will get done like everything else … sometime. But focusing on my needs has to come first for now. And that will free up time for me to do…

What?!?

I Found The Time. Now What?
As sad as this sounds, my first thought is to do absolutely nothing. And when I mean nothing, I mean NOTHING. Just sitting. No tablet. No social media. No thinking.

Oh, sure, thoughts come to mine. Random feelings. Or noticing my leg is falling asleep. I did “nothing” first-thing this morning, and that’s then it hit me: this is what “Mindfulness” is about. After months of reading about mindfulness – and not getting past the mumbo jumbo – I finally achieved it by doing jack squat.

Hurray!

Doing nothing definitely de-stresses you. But I need a little more than nothing in my life.

Sure enough, after about 10 minutes of nothingness, the old idea hamster started spinning the wheel again. That idea hamster was loaded with ideas for me to do in my spare time. But that idea hamster is also an “ideal” hamster. Lots of ideas on what to do, but nada on when to do it.

Then it dawned on me – create a morning ritual! Plan activities that de-stresses and energizes me to start my day right.

I’m up before anyone else, and that gives me a good 30 to 90 minutes before the house stirs. Instead of wasting that time on Twitter (a major time suck!) or chores (there’s always time later), I’ll use that time for my own mental and physical health.

First up, nothing … ummm … I mean mindfulness ... I’m going to sit in my recliner (feet up) with the day’s first cup of coffee and do nothing, think about nothing, for 10 glorious minutes.

After that, 20 minutes of stretching. That’s more than enough time for my calf exercises and to work on the rest of my body. Plus, it always puts me in the cheerful mood. I’m all about cheer right now!

Lastly, I’ll spend a whopping 2 minutes on gratitude. I’m moaning a lot lately, but there’s an awful lot in my life I take for granted. I think a little appreciation every morning can turn my inner Eeyore into the more optimistic (and cuddly) Pooh Bear.

Yes, it’s only 30 minutes out of the day, but it’s my 30 minutes.

If I do this right, it’ll jumpstart my day, and keep me from dreading it and all the tasks lying ahead of me.


Keto Reset Day 2: What Am I Eating?

For the challenge I decided to take another look at my macros. Normally I like to take a look at these numbers about every 6-8 months. Well with my weight gain, limited movement and doing this reset, it’s a perfect time to revisit my macros.

While I’m not focusing on calories, I want to stay within 1400-1600 kcal a day. For the reset, my macros break down as 68% fat, 27% protein and 5% carbs.

macros

I’m not going to fret about hitting my macros spot on every single meal. I’m using this as a guide. On days I am really hungry, then I’ll add more fat. Those days where I’m not as peckish, then I’ll cut back on fats and carbs.

However, I’m going to still go with eating my typical daily protein range of 12  – 14 ounces (84g – 98g).

If you want to calculate your macros, there are 2 keto sites I use that have easy calculators: Ruled.me and KetoDietApp.com.

Getting Strict With Food
I decided to follow Dr. Eric Westman’s guide for going very low carb. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m track all the carbs I eat. No more eliminating fiber from my carb count. I’ve made a few tweaks but that’s because I’ve discovered certain foods I’m snacking on way too often like cheese and nuts.

Which means I’m reducing the amount and variety of vegetables I’m eating. And berries are forbidden this month and maybe longer.

So what exactly am I eating and avoiding? Drum roll please….

Dot’s Food List

Animal Protein

  • Grass fed beef, lamb, veal, venison
  • Free range pork
  • Free range eggs, poultry
  • Wild caught seafood (nothing battered)
  • Uncured, sugar-free bacon, ham, and deli meat

Leafy Greens: Up to 2 Cups/day

  • Cabbage (all types)
  • Greens (all types)
  • Lettuce (all types)
  • If it is a leaf, I can eat it!

Non-Starchy Vegetables (1 Cup/Day)
Below isn’t a complete list but gives you an idea

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cucumber
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Eggplant
  • Fennel
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Peppers (bells & chilies)
  • Pumpkin
  • Radishes
  • Snow peas/Snap peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Fats & Oils: Cooking

  • Bacon fat
  • Butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Chicken fat
  • Duck fat
  • Ghee
  • Lard
  • Red palm oil
  • Tallow

Fats & Oils: Dressings, sauces, flavoring and eaten cold

  • Avocado oil
  • Butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Macadamia nut oil
  • Mayo
  • MCT oil
  • Sesame oil

Foods In Limited Quantities

Cheese

  • Allowed up to 2 ounces in a day; I’m only allowing this 2 times a week
  • Includes hard, aged cheeses like Swiss and Cheddar
  • Brie, Camembert blue, mozzarella, Gruyère
  • Cream cheese, goat cheese
  • Avoid processed cheeses like Velveeta
  • Check the label: carb count should be less than 1g per serving

Cream

  • Up to 2 tablespoons a day
  • Includes heavy, heavy whipping or sour creams
  • No Half and half or milk
  • No milk

Mayonnaise

  • Up to 3 tablespoons a day

Fatty Fruits & Other Foods

  • Avocado: ½ per day
  • Olives (black or green): up to 6 in a day
  • Nuts & Seeds — while allowed I’m actually giving them up for the reset
  • Condiments
    • Lemon/Lime Juice: up to 2 teaspoons in a day
    • Reduced sugar/sugar-free ketchup in very small amounts
    • Soy Sauce: up to 2 tablespoons in a day
    • Pickles (dill or sugar-free): Up to 2 servings in a day

Snacks

  • Packaged/deli snacks should be less than 1g of carbs per serving
  • Pepperoni slices
  • Pork rinds
  • Jerky
  • Ham
  • Deli meat roll-ups with cheese
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Salami

Sweeteners

  • Stevia drops
  • Monk Fruit
  • Erythritol
  • Xylitol

Do Not Eat List

Sugars

  • White sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Corn Syrup
  • Beer
  • Milk
  • Yogurts
  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit

Starches: “Complex” Carbohydrates

  • All grains
  • Rice
  • Cereals & oatmeal
  • Flour
  • Corn
  • Cornstarch
  • Breads
  • Pastas
  • Muffins
  • Bagels
  • Crackers
  • Beans and peas
  • Most root vegetables – carrots, parsnips, corn and potatoes (all types) as well as French fries and potato chips

Fats to avoid

  • Margarine & hydrogenated oils
  • Mayo made from soybean oil
  • Salad dressings with more than 1-2g of carbs per serving
  • Avoid “lite” or “low fat” or “Fat-free” foods because these are commonly higher in carbs and loaded with sugar.

While it is just day 2, I’m really feeling great. I’m already sleeping better and my energy level and mental focus are much better. Woo hoo!


Keto Reset Day 1: Dot By The Numbers

As promised, below are my metrics for the start of my 30-Day Keto Reset Challenge. These are my baseline numbers that I’ll use to measure my progress against. I should note that I plan to track everything.

  • Ketone Levels
  • Measurement & Weight
  • What I eat
  • Water Intake
  • Energy Level
  • Menopause symptoms (which ones, when they hit & triggers)
  • Stress/Emotional Level (stress eating got me into this mess)
  • Body Fat
  • Workout/Stretches
  • How I Look (before, during & after photos)

To me, this reset is one big science experiment.  I’m looking to re-break bad habits and re-enforce the good ones. I can’t do that unless I track, track and track some more.  With that, let’s see where I’m starting at.

This morning was a mixed bag of fun. I pricked my finger for my keto meter AND stepped on the scale for the first time in over 4 months. All before that first cup of Joe.

Sept 10 weight

My weight at the start of my 30-Day Keto Reset Challenge. As expected, I’m up after 4 months of stress and bad eating.

The Bad News
Four months of stressing out, eating bad and not taking care of myself took it’s toll on my waistline. I’m up 25+ pounds since May. Well I lost that weight before and I’ll do it again.

The Good News
First up, mentally, my head is in the game (finally!). No freaking out. The number is the number this morning. That’s it. Now the work begins.

Second, while today is Day 1 of the challenge, yesterday I cleaned up my act.

  • No snacking
  • No eating out
  • No drinking alcohol.

As a direct result, I was rewarded with being in very light nutritional ketosis.

As of this morning my ketone level was 0.5 mmol/L.

Granted I’m at the low-end of the scale, but I’ll take it. I’m shooting for optimal ketosis and it is going to take a while to get there. But that’s what this little reset is all about.

Nutritional Ketosis Range
KETOSIS

Measurements
My husband left for work early today so I’ll post my measurements tomorrow morning. Yes, it’s on Day 2, but I’m not expecting to drop inches overnight. I’ll just update this post with the numbers.

FitBit Data & Exercise
My workouts are zero! Nothing. Nada. So the only data I have right now comes from my Fitbit Ionic (and I don’t even wear that everyday). Right now I’m averaging 2500 steps a day.  That’s it. That’s my exercise. Sad!

Until my injury, I could easily do 15,000 – 20,000 steps a day. Well now I’m committed even more to following my physical therapist advice to the letter. Fingers crossed I can get to 5000 steps/day by the end of the month.

The good news is that I’m testing the leg this week with a spin class. PT thinks it shouldn’t be a problem. I certainly hope so. It is very frustrating when your movement is restricted.

Week 1 Menu is Live
I posted my Week 1 menu for the curious. The macros are off, but I tend to look at macros as more of a guide. I’d go nuts trying to hit everything spot on.

You’ll notice I didn’t include calories. At this point they just are not that important to me. Calories will come into play at a certain point. I just want to get back into the habit of eating right.

Tomorrow I will post my plan of attack when it comes to what I’m eating. Needless to say, there are lots of variations on the ketogenic diet. Rather than create my own thing, I’m following the guidelines of a doctor I respect and trust.

But like I said, that’s for tomorrow.


Dot’s 30-Day Keto Reset Challenge

It’s time to get back on track. Since mid-May, everything’s been on hold. That’s when Mom broke her hip and I got busy helping her get back on her feet. Those familiar with my blog know how easy it is for me to put everything else ahead of my own health, and that’s exactly what happened.

I was so focused on helping my mom that I never thought about how difficult it would be on me. While dealing with hospitalizations, doctor appointments, home modifications, managing finances (ours and hers), to the more personal tasks like cooking, dressing, bathing, managing meds … well, I ended up putting my own health (and life) on the back burner.

Thankfully, mom is much better now. Her hip is healing. She regularly does her exercises and goes to PT. She’s gained about 5 pounds (10 more to go!). Overall, I’d say she’s getting stronger.

That means it’s a perfect opportunity to re-focus my energies on Me. Ah, but what a crawl back it’s gonna be…

I haven’t taken care of myself these last few months. I’m frequently sluggish, not sleeping at night, and too quick to anger. My hot flashes rage unpredictably. Every little thing stresses me out. And you may have seen, I’m packing on the pounds again.

That said, I still cook healthy low carb meals. But I’m also cooking meals for my mother. Since 2012, what I cook, both me and my husband eat. But low carb eating isn’t necessarily the best thing for my mother. She’s way too thin and her doctor ordered that she gain weight – fast. That means that foods I stopped buying more than 6 years ago are back in my pantry and fridge. And let me tell you: when you’re a stress eater, that’s not a good thing.

To deal with all this, I’ve decided to do a complete reset – nutrition, mental and physical.

To succeed, I’ve come up 7 rules I’ll need to follow.

1. No Snacking!
I snack when I’m bored or stressed. Since mid-May, I’ve become a major snacker. It doesn’t matter if I’m hungry or not. Initially, my go-to snacks were nuts and cheese – both keto friendly foods. But other things started creeping in, like my mom’s potato chips, popcorn, ice cream. That stops today.

2. Counting Total Carbs
I’m sticking to 20g of carbs, or less, per day. And when I say 20g I mean total carbs, not net carbs. What’s the difference? Net carbs is total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols. A lot of low carbers count net carbs, and that’s just fine. But for me, I really need a swift kick in the you-know-what.

Truth is, since the end of May, I’ve essentially been carb cycling, but not in a good way. Some days I’d be more moderate, eating about 50g of carbs. Other days I’d eat +200g of carbs. Yikes!

Clearly, I need to go strict and enforce some serious discipline. Also, this change will be permanent, or at least until I hit my goal weight.

Recently, I heard a podcast with Dr. Eric Westman, one of the top low carb doctors and researchers around. He had the best definition of the difference between total carb and net carb counting:

“Total carbs is prescription strength. Net carbs is over the counter medicine.”

Nuff said!

3. Eat 1 or 2 Meals A Day.
Intermittent fasting helps, not just with weight loss, but with mental clarity and concentration, increased energy, sleep, lower blood sugar levels, and of course fat burning. Basically my eating window will be from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm (lunch and dinner). Which means 18 hours of fasting. Perfect!

4. Test My Blood Ketones Daily.
If I’m doing a keto reset, then I’ll have to know whether I’m in ketosis. I’m not expecting to be in ketosis overnight. It’s going to take awhile since I need to get all of the carb-loaded junk I’ve been eating out of my system.

I have 2 ways to test: urine strips, and a ketone/blood glucose meter. The urine strips are good, but not as reliable as the meter. Nonetheless, it isn’t as painful as pricking my finger. And it allows me to test more than once a day.

For more accuracy I’ll use my Keto Mojo. This requires blood samples from pricking my finger. I’ll do this in the morning before any coffee or water.

5. No Alcohol.
This was a goal I’d set for myself at the beginning of the year … and I failed miserably. The truth is, I really like wine. But I’ve been relying on it too much as a way to help me de-stress or wind-down from a busy day. I really can use a break, and so can my liver.

6. Take My Measurements (& Weigh Myself).
I need to know where I’m at. ‘Nuff said.

7. Daily Stretching & Flexibility Moves
This is a big one! In June, I put work with my trainer on hold. Unfortunately I didn’t have another stress-relieving outlet, thanks to my chronic calf injury.

I’m not allowed to go for walks, hikes, or train for a 10k. I can’t even do yoga because of the risk of rupturing my Achilles tendon. Standing and walking for more than 15 minutes can be downright painful. If I sit for too long, my ankle becomes stiff and painful.

My two main calf muscles are knotted up in a big tight ball and are pulling on my Achilles tendon, as well as causing plantar fasciitis in my foot.

Per my physical therapist, all I need to do is:

  • Calf stretches, at least 3 times a day
  • Ice my Achilles tendon and wrap a heat pad around my calf when inflamed
  • Wear a Strasburg sock at night while I sleep

The stretches won’t stop after 30 days. I’m using this reset to create a habit. I’m scheduling time to stretch 30 minutes a day, 3 times a day. I need to get it into my head that yes, I do have 90 minutes to spare a day. This is just too important. Not being able to walk around isn’t healthy when you’re 50.

Keto Challenge Updates
I plan to post regular updates on this blog about how my reset is going: my challenges, successes, and failures.

Today, I’m working on my first week’s menu, and I’ll post that tomorrow along with the starting data (measurements, weight, ketone levels, etc.).

I’m really excited about this. I know I’ll be successful because I’ve done it before.