How You Get Fat In 12 Steps

This infographic from Massive Health does the best job at summing up my favorite nutrition science book, Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes. If  you want to lose weight, I suggest reading this book first.

Understand how your body processes the types of food you eat will help you make better choices.

I only have one issue with the graphic. With Atkins, you can’t eat all the protein and fat you want. That’s a myth.



Breaking Free Of Breakfast Box

low carb breakfast without eggs

I love eggs but need more variety for my low carb breakfast. Time to rethink what to eat in the morning. (Image: koko-tewan and

I’m trying to come up with low carb breakfast ideas that don’t include eggs. Don’t get me wrong I love eggs. It’s just they’re on the menu nearly every morning. It seems like the main ingredient for the most important meal of the day include eggs — Omelets, quiches, fritters.

I am eggless on my weight training days. I need to carb up for those workouts so a bowl of Kashi GoLean works. If not Kashi then I’m eating steel-cut oatmeal or Greek yogurt with fruit. Yummy and a nice break.

But for non-weight training days I need something low carb, high protein. So no grains.

I think I need to break free of the breakfast mindset. Who says you can’t eat a 3-bean chili in the morning? Or a grilled chicken salad?

I checked out a couple of paleo sites, but nearly all recipes called for eggs. However some ideas intrigued me, like soup or making a BLT sandwiched between slices of bell pepper instead of bread.

I did find a recipe for grain salad with blueberries and hazelnuts, thinking it would add more variety when I do my muscle workouts. But when I ran the numbers the net carb count, 46g, was too high. Heck, that’s nearly half my carbs on my weight training days.  I’m still adding the recipe in my database. It looks tasty.

How do you break free from eggs in the morning?

Salads – No Longer Your Healthy Option When Eating Out

This little gem had way more egg than expected and lots of hidden, unhealthy gems under the lettuce - candied walnuts and blue cheese even though I ordered no cheese. Joy.

This little gem had way more egg than expected, and croutons and candied walnuts hidden under the mound of lettuce. They also tossed in extra blue cheese even though I ordered no cheese. 

Before I became aware of what I shoved into my mouth, going out to eat was simple. I’d just order a salad if I wanted to eat healthy. How on earth can you screw up a bowl of veggies?

Well restaurants found a way.  Oily croutons, candied walnuts, tortilla strips, breaded chicken, gobs of cheese.

The word “salad” doesn’t mean what it use to any more. A salad use to mean chopped veggies and lettuce leaves. Now it’s just any food mixed together in a bowl served cold with a dressing (oh, don’t get me started on salad dressings).

So what’s a low-carb gal to do?

Before arriving at a restaurant, I always check out its menu online. That way, I know what low-carb and Weight Watcher friendly meals are available.

Well that won’t work for me over the next couple of weeks. I’m dining out for lunch with friends 5 times over the next 8 days. And all but one lunch date, we are deciding where to go at the last-minute.

Isn’t spontaneity grand!

Not a problem. My fallback meal works every time: Hamburger with no bun or toppings and a small garden salad, no dressing.

Why no dressing you ask? I bring my own. That way I control the carb and point count. I’m trying to drop pounds…no need to be shy.

If no healthy salad is available, I simply get a side veggie and ask that it be cooked without oil, butter or sugar. Again, it puts me in control.

Most restaurants get that people are trying to lose weight and will accommodate you. Just be polite about asking and they respond in kind.

And remember, just because it’s called a salad, doesn’t make it healthy.

Fighting Late Night Hunger Blues

I need to eat more protein to keep up with my yoga and walking activities. Image courtesy of amenic181 and

I need to eat more protein to keep up with my yoga and walking activities. Image courtesy of amenic181 and

For the last couple of evenings, I’m feel famished at about 10:00 pm.  Rather than eat, I start chugging water. Thirty minutes later I’m hungry again once my bladder bursts. Something is afoot.

This is the beauty of keeping a food journal. I thumbed through my FitBook this morning and I found a potential culprit – protein. I’m averaging 3.5 oz. of protein at lunch and 4.5 oz. at dinner. Since I go low carb, I try not to go over six ounces of protein during breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Clearly I’m not near the 6 oz. limit per meal. But with the yoga and walks, I need to up my amount. Phew! An easy fix. I’ll find out tonight if this does the trick.

Introducing Guest Blogger John Monk (aka My Hubby)

My hubby and Dot2Trot guest blogger to provide the male perspective on low carb eating and exercise.

My hubby and Dot2Trot guest blogger to offer the male perspective on low carb eating and exercise.

I wish to welcome John L. Monk (my hubby) as a guest blogger. He’ll give the male perspective and wonderful tidbits from someone three days into his weight loss journey.

He’s an IT pro by day and at night he’s an author. He lost 60+ lbs. last year going low carb. Unfortunately, he gained a lot back since April. He found it a challenge to eat right from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. as donuts, pastries, muffins and pizza are plentiful at his office.

For the last three days he renewed his commitment to going low carb and he’s got something to say about it.

Wanted: Weight Loss Buddy

Finding a weight-loss buddy is key to success. Image courtesy of mrpuen and

Finding a weight-loss buddy is key to success. Image courtesy of mrpuen and

I’m convinced. “Going it alone” to lose weight doesn’t work. At least not for me. My biggest success came when my husband followed the program. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he stopped eating low carb at about the same time my plateau started.

For whatever reason he stopped eating healthy and ended up unconsciously as my saboteur.  When doubts popped into my head, he didn’t realize that telling me I’m looking great one minute, then saying, “Hey let’s order pizza tonight” a minute later wasn’t the support I needed.

Yes, we’d discuss it. Yes, he said “I’m sorry. I’m an idiot. I’ll do better.”

No, he didn’t do better.

I tried getting my diet buddy back, encouraging him to eat right and start back up with the gym. He’d try, but then always fell apart at work. Apparently, all the office pizza, donuts, cookies, brownies and other delectable treats ended up next to his desk.  The more food that appeared in his office, the stickier his fingers became.

As for going to the gym, I think writing his first novel took precedence.

Clearly, he wasn’t ready to start losing the weight again.

Flash forward to our weekend early morning excursion to IHOP. After eating a lot of pancakes with a side of bacon and eggs, he pronounced, “This is ridiculous. I’m too fat.”

This morning, I caught my husband reading one of my low carb eating “how to” books and fixed himself a low carb breakfast (eggs, bacon and tomato).  He pulled the workout bag out of the closet. He asked if he can go to grocery shopping with me – he plans to drink coffee and read the low carb book while I shop.  All the things he did when he lost his 60+ lbs (much of which he gained back) last year.

I’m expecting him to drive me nuts in the next few weeks. Peppering me with a question every 10 seconds, talking nonstop about the office food he refused, how much he can bench press…on and on and on.

Will it get on my nerves. Yep, but that’s OK. My job?  Keep calm and cheer him on.

I stumbled across the 10 Ways to Help a Loved One Lose Weight. The advice is solid. I think I’ll share with the old ball and chain. I’m convinced the more we work on each step, the more pounds will fall off.

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Roasted Red Pepper Soup For Start of Fall

Fall's almost here? That means it's time for soup.

Fall’s almost here? That means it’s time for soup.

I’m seeing fall colors on our trees. The turning of the leaves signals the start of soup season for me.

I love making my own stews, soups and stocks. Mixing and matching my own ingredients…creating great flavors…how could you not love that?

The real beauty of home-made soups? Soup is hard to screw up. It’s very forgiving.

So what’s on tap for the weekend?  Roasted Red Pepper Soup. Yum.

Recipe Changes
Today, I’m working on converting my soup recipes from high to low carb. Most are easy to alter.  Just replacing one veggie with another.

For other recipes, I’m looking for ways to replace flour and cornstarch as thickeners. Slimy, bad tasting low carb thickeners are plentiful.  It looks like pureed vegetables and heavy cream will be my thickening staples.

But I might experiment with two options I’ve come across on the Paleo Diet forums – vegetable gum, and nut butters and meals.

  • Vegetable Gum – Gums like xanthan and guar suck out moisture and leave a gel. A little goes a long way. Too much gum and soups and sauces become gooey rather than creamy.
  • Nut Meal and Nut Butters – My friends following the Paleo Diet swear by their nuts. Nut meal doesn’t clump like flour (bonus).  However, both the meal and butters increase my carb count. So I’ll need to use caution.

I’m not sure if I’ll play with these two options just yet. Pureed veggies just seems fresher (they are!) and easier to control the carb count.


Protein Shakes: More Filling, Crappy Taste

Hot and sweaty...having my first protein shake after my 4 mile walk.

Hot and sweaty…having my first protein shake after my 4 mile walk.

After my walk today, I drank my first protein shake.  Easy to make, I drank it within 30 minutes of finishing my walk to get the full benefits.

It did the job as far as killing my hunger – I feel full, not bloated.  I certainly see how a protein shake can replace a meal.

I drank mine at 10:30 am as a substitute for my mid morning snack. I normally eat lunch at noon. Today, I’ll eat lunch closer to 1:30 pm.

As for the taste…horrible. I definitely need to mix the powder with ice-cold water.  So now I’m looking for ways to improve the taste.

Wow! What flavor. Not enjoying my first protein shake. Tomorrow, I add strawberries!

Filling, but doesn’t taste grrreat! Tomorrow, I add strawberries to this concoction.

I picked up some strawberries. A 1/4 cup equals 2 net carbs. The strawberries bump the shake’s net carb count to 3 – what my daily snacks average out to. Nice!

Hopefully tomorrow’s strawberry infused shake will taste significantly better.



Shake It Up! Protein Powder And Weight Loss

No longer sitting on top of my fridge, I'm cracking this puppy open after my next workout.

No longer sitting on top of my fridge, I’m cracking this puppy open after my next workout.

For some reason, I’ve felt hungry the last couple of days.  Seriously, I just want to eat non-stop.

Yesterday I decided to track not just what I’m eating, but when I felt hungry. Immediately after my walk, I was starving and a bit dizzy. I grabbed an apple, sliced it up and spread 1/2 tbsp of peanut butter on it. That did the trick…for 20 minutes. I got an early lunch – a hamburger patty and a small salad.  Hungry 45 minutes later.  I ended up eating a sausage link to keep the hunger at bay until time for my afternoon snack. Starving at snack time, I devoured my celery and cream cheese.  I then drank a ton of water to keep the stomach grumbling to a minimum until dinnertime.

My workout is the hunger-triggering culprit.  I’ve upped the intensity. A week ago, I averaged 2.5 miles on my walks. Now I walk 4 miles a day, but on the 3rd day I walk 2.5 miles as fast as possible.  Clearly I’m burning more energy and I’m not refueling my body accordingly.

My husband suggested a post-workout shake. I picked up a low carb shake powder back in mid-April. I left for Arizona and completely forgot about it. I found the powder on top of my fridge, unopened.

I opted for a low carb shake with whey protein. The high protein levels help with rebuilding my muscles and the low carb aspect won’t escalate insulin, which keeps my blood sugar level in check.  Nice!

Today is my recovery day, so no workout and no shake. I’m still tracking when I get hungry to see if something is going on other than just the exercise. So far so good.

Tomorrow I crack open that jar.

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Eating Healthy On The Road

I’m visiting family in a few weeks. My goal is to stay on program during the trip. No problem once I arrive. I can easily buy my own foods. My challenge is the actual road trip. I’m driving to Texas from Virginia – over 1,400 miles.

It’s about a 20-hour drive – 2 days.  I want to keep to my 36 daily points and stay under 25g of carbs/day.  I thought about picking up a few Atkins shakes and bars, but I think I’ll save those for the plane ride back home. Instead, I’ll do this the old fashion way – prepare food for the trip.

I plan to start each day with a large breakfast. That should tap down on any hunger attacks and keep my blood sugar level steady all day. Otherwise I’ll rely on a small cooler filled with:

  1. Water & Home Brewed Ice Tea
  2. Seeds & Nuts
  3. Boiled Eggs
  4. Cheese
  5. Chopped Veggies – Mixed Greens, Celery, Peppers, Cucumbers

I plan to take some home-made salad dressing too as anything off the shelf is too expensive point wise.

If I need some quick protein, I can always order a burger without the bun or find steak at truck stops.

Now I just need to figure out what I’m going to do for exercise.