John’s Little Problem — Week 2


Cobbler: omg, so good…

Beginning weight: 305 pounds
Weight lost since last week: 5 pounds
Current Weight: 300 pounds

Today begins the second week of my big fat experiment. Last week had a lot of challenges, but I seem to have done all right. If I hadn’t, I would have posted anyway, because I said I would — and that looming embarrassment kept me more or less on track all week. Thanks anonymous Internet people!

Challenge 1: Catering To My Needs

Last Tuesday, my job had three meetings with an unholy amount of catering, and they stacked it all in the common area when they were through. Worst of all, they had my favorite thing in the world: cobbler, in two flavors — peach and apple. Who doesn’t love apple cobbler? Crazy people, that’s who. I avoided the cobbler and settled for a few pieces of chicken (breaded … ugh, I know).

Challenge 2: Dining And Whining

The wife and I went out a few too many times last week (see her Sunday blog post). The problem, I think, is we don’t have a lot of friends in the area. Ok, none, really. Our closest friends live about thirty miles away, and we only see them about once a month, tops. So the wife and I tend to go out. There’s background music, atmosphere, drinks-drinks-drinks (whiskey or wine, not beer), food we don’t have to make, cheerful waitstaff, etc. And way too many opportunities to over indulge.

Challenge 3: Revenge Of The Cobbler

On Saturday, I ended up breaking down and eating some blackberry cobbler on one of our little outings. I felt bad about that. Not the end of the world, and not in unlimited amounts (like those giant vats at the office…), but definitely the end of ketosis for about 24 hours. Sigh. Something to work on.

This Coming Week…

This week’s challenges are mostly unknown, except for Friday. The wife and I joined a meetup group that’ll be going to a bar for happy hour. “Are you out of your mind?!” you say. Not entirely. We’d probably go out anyway at some point. At least this way we can meet a few folks, make new friends. Also, it’s scheduled fun — for Friday. Not “I’m bored, let’s go mess up” fun three days in a row. And we do need more friends in the area. We’ve joined a few other meetup groups as well. Each will have its food challenges. One’s a bowling group. The other’s an eclectic group that does all kinds of odd things, from board games to happy hours to going to museums.

I’m feeling pretty good about where I am. Five pounds is an awful lot to lose in a week, and I’m sure next week will be more realistic. We always lose the most weight in the first week of a “diet,” whereas “lifestyles” produce less spectacular (though longer lasting) results.

See you next week!

Drink Vinegar To Lose Weight? Madness…Or Is It?


It’s looking more and more that drinking 2 teaspoons of diluted vinegar before meals lowers blood sugar and insulin spikes.

I’m not a big believer in “super foods,” cleanses, or other weight loss gimmicks. Most of it is either marketing hype by food companies or quacks peddling their latest book. However it looks like drinking 2 teaspoons of diluted vinegar before meals improves insulin sensitivity for the overweight, obese and type 2 diabetics.

As Dr. Jason Fung explains diluted vinegar is a traditional weight loss tonic. The ancients used vinegar for cleaning wounds. It was a tool healers used to cure many ills.

Thankfully researchers are now taking a hard look at vinegar and the recent miracle weight loss claims. Are they just old wives’ tales or is there something more to drinking “sour wine” diluted in water? Read More

Weekly Weigh-In: Down 1.3 Lbs.

Dec 12 weigh in

I’m down 1.3 lbs. this week and lost 7 lbs. since Thanksgiving. I’m optimistic I’ll finally break that 185 pound barrier by year’s end. Maybe by my birthday I’ll finally reach the 170s.

Well my march to the 170s continues. I’m down nearly 1.5 pounds this week and I’ve lost 7 lbs. since Thanksgiving. Woohoo!

I do have a holiday party later today. As I want to keep my momentum up, I came up with a pretty simple plan for tonight:

  1. Eating a late lunch. I’m currently on an 18-hour fast which ends at 2:00 pm. So I’m making myself a mushroom-onion omelette. That way I won’t be starving when I arrive at the party.
  2. Eat only when hungry. I’ll snack on the lowest carb food available. My goal is to eat only when hungry, keeping snacking to a minimum.
  3. Keeping alcohol to a minimum. I’m limiting myself to just a few glasses of wine.
  4. No desserts! When I eat sugary sweets now, I feel physically ill. I just need to remember that when I see anything yummy.
  5. Have fun!! Food and drink are not my focus tonight. Celebrating the holidays with old friends and making new ones is what’s special about tonight…not the food or booze!

The husband is doing the same so we can support each.

What’s your game plan for avoiding temptations during holiday parties?

Bacon & Turkey Soup

bacon turkey soup 1

My version of Bacon and Turkey soup. To lower the carb count I used an orange bell pepper instead of a sweet potato. Still got my splash of orange and comfort out of the soup on a very cold Virginia day.

My 15-pound bird yielded a lot of meat. I wanted to do something different with the leftovers than the standard turkey sandwiches (on oopsie bread of course!). So I thought of making a soup. I found a lovely recipe on I Breath. I’m HungrySmokey Bacon and Turkey Chowder.

I just made a few minor changes to the recipe, based on what I had in my house. My goal was not to run out to the grocery store for leftover soup.

My Changes
I used Applegate Naturals Uncured Sunday Bacon* rather than the cherry hardwood smoked bacon. While I love the idea of cherry hardwood smoked bacon, I can’t find any in my neck of the woods that is uncured with sugar. So I just remedied the lack of smoky flavor by adding a bit more liquid smoke. Read More

Weekly Weigh-In: Weight Loss, Wine & July 4th Food Musings

Seems as if avoiding wine this week got the scale moving again. I'm down a pound for a total loss of 141 lbs.

Seems as if avoiding wine this week got the scale moving again. I’m down a pound for a total loss of 141 lbs.

Saturday was a very happy Independence Day for me! The “No Wine!!!!” pledge got my weight moving again. I’m down a pound. I have no idea if I’m in ketosis yet, but it feels like the weight is starting to reflect the changes in my waistline again.

I thought about picking up some low carb beer for Saturday’s cookout before we set off our fireworks. But then I realized that my July 4th menu didn’t taking a holiday from how I normally eat, so why break my pledge with crappy light beer?

So my “No Alcohol” pledge continues. Until… Read More

Paleo Challenge Week 2: Rethinking Recipes To Avoid Triggers

Wisely, veggies and fruit make the base of the Paleo diet food pyramid. I just need to keep in check the high-carb produce that sends my sugar cravings into overdrive.

Wisely, veggies and fruit make the base of the Paleo diet food pyramid. I just need to keep in check the high-carb produce that sends my sugar cravings into overdrive.

Many of the Paleo recipes I used over the last two weeks called for vegetables I normally skip or use in small amounts, due to their high sugar/carb count. I think that’s what kicked my cravings into high gear this past week.  I never would have guessed onions, carrots and sweet potatoes are my new trigger foods.

Let me say up front that the issue is more my choice of recipes and not the Paleo diet. I chose recipes that sounded the most appealing. I made the mistake of not running the recipes through My Fitness Pal to get the carb counts before going to the grocery store.  It’s clearly a case of my eyes being bigger than my stomach. The meals sounded so appealing and healthy (which they are) I didn’t see any consequences to adding-in foods with higher carb counts than what I normally ate.

Read More

Slaying The Movie Popcorn Monster

My favorite snack is a low carb diet killer. I successfully passed the concession stand and went straight to my seat at the movies last night.  Image courtesy of  Kromkrathog and

My favorite snack is a low carb diet killer. I successfully passed the concession stand and went straight to my seat at the movies last night. Image courtesy of Kromkrathog and

While at the movies last night, I actually did not give in to my inner popcorn demon. Many times my husband asked if I wanted any popcorn. And every time I said “no.” Starting with the weight loss, my weekend was going great – no mishaps with the diet – so why mess it up with hot, crunchy, over-buttered theater popcorn (oh, I’m starting to drool).

Popcorn is my one great weakness. I love it so and I cannot stop at one portion. Nope, once it touches my lips I’m driven to keep going.  While going low carb, I’ve tried to avoid it. I purged my pantries of the stuff. It is not allowed in the house.

But going to the movies…ugh! It is the one monkey I can’t get off my back – until now.

I’ll admit, I did waver. I thought a small bag wouldn’t hurt. But when I opened my mouth to give in, I could only say “just water.”

Something in my brain kicked in right in time. Maybe it’s the jacked up prices, I’ve conditioned myself to only eat when hungry, or it’s my new dedication to getting the weight off…or it’s all of those things.

One of my weekly goals is to eat only 20g of carbs for 4 days this week. Why bust that goal at the start of the week with popcorn?

I’m much more focused with the weekly goals and I think about my food choices and not going on autopilot.

I made it through the film without popcorn. The world didn’t end and I didn’t crave the stuff.

Oh, I’m sure it helped that the film was amazingly awesome!


Low Carb Turkey Cauliflower Hash

Turkey Cauliflower Hash. Very tasty, especially topped with an egg. I'm adding a little spinach to add some color to this yummy dish!

Turkey Cauliflower Hash. Very tasty, especially topped with an egg. Next time I’m using spinach to add some color to this yummy dish!

I found this little recipe in my new Atkins cookbook. I whipped it up this weekend and loved it! Pretty easy to make, although I plan to add some chopped spinach to it on the next go round.

Cauliflower is key to this dish. It takes the place of potatoes. It is amazing how cauliflower has completely replaced potatoes in many of the meals I cook. I think it’s the buttery taste.

Turkey Cauliflower Hash
Makes 4 to 5 1-Cup servings, based on size of cauliflower used; I topped the dish off with an over-easy egg (or try a poached egg). Wow, what a difference!
Net Carbs: 4
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 6 (not including egg)

1/2 small head of cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
2 tbsp butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1 lbs. roast turkey breast, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/4 c heavy cream

1. Bring water to a boil in medium pot. You want enough water to cover the cauliflower. Add cauliflower and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and cool cauliflower under cold water, then drain again. Chop cauliflower coarsely.

2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook until onion is soft and lightly browned, roughly 6 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally.

3. Stir in cauliflower and cook for an extra 2 minutes.

4. Increase heat to high and add in turkey and cook. Stir occasionally, will dish is well browned, about another 6 minutes. Add cream and cook until the dish is almost dry, about 2 minutes. Serve warm. Top with poached or over-easy egg if desired (you’ll love it even more!).

Shrimp, Avocado And Tomato Salad

A simple, easy, light salad for a sunny day.  Took less than 10 minutes to put together - and 9 were for defrosting shrimp!

A simple, easy, light salad for a sunny day. Took less than 10 minutes to put together – and 8-1/2 were for defrosting shrimp!

It’s another beautiful day. The outdoors are calling to me. Time for a little light lunch on the deck followed by some knitting as I sit in the sun.

So what’s on tap for today’s lunch?  Something light yet tasty. Perfect for a perfect day. I picked up some frozen shrimp at the grocery store. With my husband’s highly allergic love of all things shellfish, I never buy the stuff. Don’t want to tempt him or fate. But I am trying to eat more seafood. And I miss it. I figured frozen is the safest. Why? Well my husband is a lazy man by nature. If it’s not ready to eat, he won’t bother with it.

The recipe is fairly simple – just 4 ingredients and a bowl and 5g net carbs. I doubled the shrimp and avocado increasing the Weight Watcher’s PointsPlus value from 7 to 11. You can keep it at 7 points and just add lettuce.

Shrimp, Avocado & Tomato Salad
Carb Count: 5g
Points Plus: 11

6 oz shrimp, cooked and chopped
1/2 avocado, diced
1/2 tomato, diced
1 Tbsp low carb dressing (I’m using my Ranch dressing today)

Place the shrimp, avocado and tomatoes in a bowl. Add salad dressing and mix. Eat up!