I cannot stress enough why we need to make our own health a priority. Watch the video below and understand that 1/3 of all US adults are in the at-risk category. That’s 100+ MILLION US ADULTS. It’s everyone with type 2 diabetes (and pre-diabetes), hypertension, metabolic syndrome, obese, etc.
Being too heavy comes with lots of underlying health risks. That makes it easy for COVID-19 to push your body to the point of no recovery.
The one thing about eating low carb, both blessing and a curse, is that everyone has an opinion on how to do it. I love how you can go into any online community and get help with nearly every challenge or issue.
On the other hand, I hate when I hear, “you’re doing it wrong.” There is only one way to eat low carb, don’t cha know? And the people who believe that are the first ones who to let you know loudly and proudly.
Well. I hate to break it to the don’t-cha-know crowd: there is more than one-way to keto.
We’re not the same – someone with IBD is going to keto differently than someone eating for athletic performance.
Our diets change as we change. As we age, our bodies have different needs when it comes to nutrition.
I tried going back and doing my tried-and-true low carb style – the one that helped me shed all that weight. This time around, though, it didn’t work. I felt tired and hungry. My joints—already hurting—seemed to hurt a little more. Was I perfect? No, because I’m human. But something was different this time around, and I think that “something” is me.
Now, I love to do 30-day challenges. Why? I like to stretch myself and see what does and doesn’t work for me. It’s almost like test-driving a car to see if I really wanted to buy it. Also, frankly, it’s just fun to shake things up and experiment.
Today, the hubby and I are officially keto-carnivore for 30 days.
What is keto-carnivore?
We all grew up with the food pyramid, where grains, breads, and cereals made up the foundation of the “Standard American Diet” (SAD in deed). Then fruits (2-4 servings) and vegetables (3-5 servings), followed by low fat dairy and lean meats, and fats were used sparingly.
With the keto-carnivore food pyramid, red meat (beef, deer, bison, lamb) is the staple, followed by fish. Pork and poultry are limited. Dairy (cheese, creams, butter) and fats like avocado (oil and fruit) coconut oil, and olive oil are used sparingly. Eggs are also part of the pyramid and we group them with red meat.
There’s one big caveat to our keto-carnivore challenge:
Yep, that’s 1.5 pounds of heirloom tomato you’re looking at.
Other than avocadoes, I’m not buying fruit or veggies, but I am growing them. We don’t want to waste them. Most of the plants we’re growing are low carb, so yes, we will incorporate them into our diet. If we grow them, we’re eating them.
As luck would have it, yesterday we had a big harvest.
Peppers – green bell, chili and ghost
Tomatoes – Yellow pear, plum, and some big-ass heirloom yellow tomatoes including a 1-½ pounder.
We normally eat 2 meals a day. To handle our little bounty, I’m limiting our veg intake to the first meal of the day. Dinner is meat only.
Now, hot peppers are not what I would consider “low carb,” so I’m using them in dishes that spread the carb count across multiple servings. I’m talking beef chili and spicy pulled pork barbacoa – dishes that will last us days. They can also be used in marinades where not all of the carbs will be absorbed (but I still count them anyway).
The key is we’re staying below 20g of total carbs daily when we have any vegetable. I fully expect that by Wednesday of next week we’ll be strictly meat only…until the next little harvest.
The nice thing about this challenge is it pretty much ends around when I expect the first frost to hit. If we’re happy with the results, and I see a noticeable change in how I feel, we may decide to go full-time keto-carnivore.
What does it all mean? How do I get back on my feet again? Is training for a 10k completely out of the picture? Are any of these new problems related to my chronically tight calf muscles?
Physical Therapy Here I Come
The answer to the first two questions is up to me. I have to do the work, and a lot of it. Tomorrow I meet my physical therapist for a 90-minute evaluation that puts me through my paces. From there I’ll have PT twice a week for at least six weeks (maybe longer) and daily homework that tackles the hip and my supposed chronic calf problem (more on that later).
The osteoarthritis is very mild and my doctor assured me that with physical therapy and a year to a year and a half of work, the hip pain goes away AND I put off surgery until my golden years.
Diet will be a big part in minimizing osteoarthritis. I’ve put on way too many pounds after my cancer diagnosis in 2016. To me, that’s the trigger in this latest saga with my left leg.
As for the IT syndrome, it’s normally associated with knee pain. However it does cause a dull ache or a sharp, acute pain in the hip. The band runs along the outside of the leg. While there are lots of causes for the inflammation, my doctor things muscle tightness in my glutes and quads are leading culprits.
All I know is when he started bending my leg like a pretzel, I wanted to smack him upside the head.
Oh And About My Calf Problem
It turns out that my calf isn’t causing the pain in my Achilles tendon. Two years of stretching down the drain. Ugh!
When we discussed my chronic Achilles pain thanks to my overly tight calf muscles, the doctor quickly started stretching my foot and examining the calf, and announced “Your calf isn’t tight…it’s your hamstring.”
So I spent 2+ years not addressing the root cause of my pain. So say I’m a little annoyed is putting it mildly. But at least I’m on the right path.
Path Forward: Exercise, Nutrition & So Much More!
From what I surmised, my whole left leg is jacked up. My doctor assured me that with PT and strength building I’ll be moving around with ease soon enough. But it will take 12-18 months of hard work for me to feel 100% again.
I just need to exercise some caution. My inclination is to go full bore…and cause another injury. Maybe that dull, nagging pain in my hip can keep my natural tendencies in check.
As for diet, I’m reading a very interesting book, Wired to Eat by Robb Wolf (Mr. Paleo himself), and I love what I’m reading. Although I’m eating carnivore for the rest of this month, I’m actually more excited about next month. That’s when I’m doing Wolf’s 30-Day Reset.
I just finished the book and plans for my reset began this morning. Unlike my failed keto reset, I’m feeling confident that the 30-day reset be different. My head is back in the game after being benched for 2 and 1/2 years. It is a shame that it takes pain or a medical crisis for me to act, but hey, at least I have time to act.
I’ve had success with keto, but paleo seems to have more of the full picture — nutrition, sleep, gut biome, inflammation and movement (to name a few!).
Paleo really zeros in on overall health. Weight loss is a side benefit. I had that attitude when I started my little low carb journey in 2012. And it worked! Now it seems like everything I’m reading about LCHF/keto all about weight loss and the blasted macros!
That doesn’t mean keto is bad at all. In fact I’m thinking of doing a keto version of paleo after the 30-Day Reset.
It’s just that you need the right mindset when changing your way of eating. My greatest success happened when I viewed my journey as a science experiment with me as the scientist and guinea pig. I was on a journey to get healthy. No pressure from the scale.
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.
Whatever 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.
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.
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.
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.
Measurement & Weight
What I eat
Menopause symptoms (which ones, when they hit & triggers)
Stress/Emotional Level (stress eating got me into this mess)
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.
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 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
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.
After a week of awesomeness in the gym, my Achilles heel decided it’s had enough. But I’m not waving the white flag just yet when it comes to the Gold’s Gym Challenge.
This week is looking promising, no?
I started in earnest on my Gold’s Gym Challenge. My trainer upped the intensity of my sessions (i.e., heavier weights). I’ve enrolled in boot camp and yoga classes, each 3 times a week. And my idea of cooling down after each session is about 30-40 minutes on the elliptical (it’s just too cold to walk outside).
But Sunday is rest day…thank god!
Physical Therapy In My Immediate Future
I’ve hit the wall when it comes to my Achilles tendon.
I’ll have 4-5 really great days. No pain. Oh sure my ankle is very stiff mornings, but it loosens up with some stretching.
Yet one day a week I’m now in intense pain. All day. Eventually my ankle loosens up and the pain isn’t as intense. But that’s not good enough.
I’m now worried surgery is a possibility. Crap!
So this morning I’m putting in a call to the big dogs. My doctor and a physical therapist – someone with an emphasis on sports injuries.
There are just too many things I want to do. From running a Tough Mudder to ice skating, all require a healthy Achilles tendon.
Pain relief is my first goal. But I also want to make sure I’ve got good movement. I certainly don’t want any unnecessary strain on my Achilles.
Rethinking Gold’s Gym Challenge
It goes without saying that boot camp is out for now. So is walking. My trainer has work arounds when it comes to strength training that don’t aggravate my ankle. As for yoga, it seems like most poses require ankle power. I’ll probably have to talk with my instructor to see if there are alternative stretches I can do in class.
That means cycling classes are in my very near future. So tonight I’m digging out the cycling pants and shoes.
My before & after photos from the 2014 Gold’s Gym Challenge. So Yeah, I’m a believer in this challenge.
Once again I’ve sighed up for the 2018 Gold’s Challenge. This is my 3rd time and I do love challenges. In my effort to loose my post surgery pounds, I’m off to a slow start. I feel I’ve finally righted my diet (no more eating out and no alcohol).
When it comes to losing inches, I need to jump start my exercise routine. Right now I’m more turtle than hare.
To be fair, I wanted to see the results of my 3D body scan before coming up with a plan of attack. While I want to do full body workouts, there is a part of me that wants to target my abs and thighs.
My doctor told me it would take a year for my abs to fully recover from surgery. He wasn’t kidding. It’s been a year and a half and while my abs are stronger, there’s still a lot of exercises I either can’t do (like that damn Roman chair leg raise) or am limited in how many I can do (I’m looking at you sit ups). Read More
The next 30-Day Challenge: No eating out. Only home cooked meals for us. That includes running to the store to pick up a bottle of wine! Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net and Serge Bertasius Photography.
August marks the month where my husband and I are finally in sync about health and fitness goals. Over the last year, it came too easy for us to sabotage each other. Whether I’m feeling sorry for myself or he’s stressing out over the job, we always seem to end up in the same place – one of us suggests we go out for dinner and a few drinks to relax.
Sure we’d always eat low carb, but if I can’t control the food (how it’s prepared, the ingredients, etc.) it isn’t necessarily low carb! Also when you go out carb creep escalates – a dessert here, an extra glass of wine there. Read More