Sidelined by Knee Pain, Turning Focus to Keto Diet

I did everything right. I eased into my new workout routine slowly to avoid injury. Yet, my knee decided that it does not like 15-minute daily walks. Technically, it isn’t my knee causing the pain. It’s the iliotibial band (IT band), a flexible fascia that runs from the hip to the knee. I’ve felt this pain before. The band is rubbing inside my knee and is starting to swell.

Shifting My Focus to Keto
As I nurse my leg back to health, I’m turning my full attention to getting into ketosis. I screwed up by not doing a menu plan this week. As a result, we ate out way too much. I let my busy schedule became an excuse to go out rather than stay home and cook.

If you want to get healthy, you must put in the work. This week, I didn’t.

My mistake was not planning. I knew how busy I was this week. All I needed to do was make a casserole and use the slow cooker a couple of times.  Leftovers are a busy gal’s friend when you are trying to eat healthy.

Lesson learned.  Last night, after another long day, I browned some ground beef while dicing an onion, garlic cloves, tomatoes and peppers. My keto chili will last a few days. Tonight, I’m whipping up a bacon cheeseburger casserole.

Time to Start Food Journaling Again
I have my target macros and am recommitting to a realistic menu plan for my schedule. What is missing is my food journal. I have no idea if I’m hitting my daily macros, eating too many carbs, or in ketosis.

I know a lot of people think keeping a food log is unnecessary. “Just eat real food until you are full!” I’ve heard this many times. Sound advice for someone whose hormones are in balance and metabolically sound.  But as someone who hasn’t been consistently keto for a few years, I need more discipline. By tracking what I eat, I’ll become more mindful of my choices. In addition to tracking my carb count, I’ll figure out how to course correct if my daily energy level starts flagging, or I’m stuck in a plateau.

For a tracking tool, I’m going old school: pen and paper. At least until I have a chance to research any new apps out there. As you may know, I haven’t been a fan of certain food log apps, like My Fitness Pal. Much of the data is incorrect, and I usually end up doing more work than the app had promised. Which is fine.

Tracking My Blood Ketone Levels
Finally, I’m going to start tracking my ketone levels. My new Keto Mojo arrived.

Although I’m starting today to track what I eat, I’m not going to start tracking my ketone levels until February 1st. I want a solid week of cooking at home, menu planning, and food tracking under my belt before I start pricking my finger with a needle.

I’m rebuilding my good habit routine. I won’t be perfect (I wasn’t this week!). But if I worry about perfection, I’ll never reach my goals.

Recovering From This Weekend’s Carbopalooza

tape measure fork

Six weeks since my surgery and I’m officially getting back into the healthy eating business. Image courtesy of and Mister GC.

This weekend the hubby and I visited some friends at a cabin in West Virginia. We haven’t seen them since my diagnosis and they thought it would be a great chance for me to rest, relax and heal. Before going I made the decision early to not sweat the food choices and it was a good decision.

The food was home cooked and tasted great. I ate low carb when I could but I didn’t beat myself up if I strayed. I mean, when a cute 12-year-old offers you (a fellow baker) a brownie she made herself, it’s hard to refuse.

Now that I’m back at home I decided to start the week with a two-day fast. What better way to kick this weekend’s carb monkey off my back and jump into ketosis?

Following the fast I’m doing a pretty simple ketogenic food plan that’s high fat, moderate protein and very low carb. This is a real test as I’m significantly lowering my carbs and limiting my protein and dairy. I’m still eating 20g of carbs daily, but I’m counting total carbs rather than net carbs.

Oh and of course no alcohol or coffee either.

You can check out my menu for this week. I’m still tweaking it…why not as I have 2 whole days to finalize it. I’m not thrilled with the total carb count for Friday’s lunch, but hey I really do want to work in an awesome ketogenic BLT! Maybe Friday night’s dinner becomes fat and protein only.

That might work.


Is Eating Low Carb On Simple Start Possible?

Simple Start

Good news! Simple Start is flexible enough even for a low carb gal like me. I’m giving it a spin for the next two weeks.

The plan was simple — test Weight Watchers’ new Simple Start program over Christmas.  Well a big old monkey wrench called emotional eating was tossed into the works and my plan fell by the wayside.

So what’s a girl to do? Get back on that weight loss horse with Simple Start!

My next Weight Watchers meeting is Saturday morning and right after Simple Start begins. Today I hit the grocery store so I’m working on my new weekly menu.

Breads and Grains and Pastas, Oh My!
At first glance Simple Start doesn’t seem very low carb friendly. In reviewing the meal choices, I noticed that except for 3 salads, every dish includes whole grains. Yikes!

On days without my muscle workouts, I only eat 50g of carbs — the bulk of which are veggies. For strength training days I up my carbs to 100g.

My menu for the 2 weeks I try Simple Start needs to closely follow my workout routine. I started plugging the menus into My Fitness Pal. Sure enough, it will be tough keeping me at 50g of carbs on non-weight training days.

Egads! It Is Low Carb Friendly
Feeling frustrated, I stopped looking at the food photos in my little Simple Start booklet and actually started reading it.

Turns out, it’s pretty low carb friendly after all.

I can make my own meals provided I stick to the Weight Watcher power food list. Power foods fill you up faster, help you stay full and prevent overeating.  As long as I stick to the list, I can stick to my daily carb count and easily do the program.

So What’s My Menu Looking Like?
Since my workouts are in the morning, I’ll need foods higher in carbs for fuel. So I’ll choose from the Weight Watchers suggested breakfast and lunch meals.

Dinner is another story.

I’ll need to come up with my own meals pulling only from the power food list. I’ll just skip the grains section and pick from the veggies (carbs), protein, dairy and healthy fats on the list.

Considering my workout schedule, my first week’s meal plan looks like this:


Workout Routine


Saturday (50g) Rest day Yogurt, Fruit & Cereal
Cobb Salad
Chicken Parmesan
Sunday(50g) Spin class (60 min) Breakfast pizza
Grilled Cheese & Vegetable Soup
Monday (100g) Weight training, interval run (35 min), walk (30 min) Oatmeal with Berries
Burger & Sweet Potato Fries
Pork Tenderloin, spinach & roasted vegetables
Tuesday (50g) Spin class (45 min), Yoga (60 min) Yogurt, Fruit & Cereal
Cobb Salad
Cheese Burger (no bun) with side salad
Wednesday (100g) Weight training, interval run (35 min), walk (30 min) Oatmeal with Berries
Burger & Sweet Potato Fries
Chicken breast,  asparagus & side salad
Thursday (50g) Spin class (45 min), Yoga (60 min) Breakfast pizza
Cobb Salad
Couscous with chicken & vegetables
Friday (100g) weight training, yoga (60 min) Oatmeal with Berries
Loaded baked potato & vegetable soup
Cobb Salad

Vegetables with hummus, vegetable soup and Greek yogurt with berries make up my snacks.

It may not look like a lot of variety, but I mix it up with the types of veggies and berries I use in dishes. Chicken breasts and ground beef are staples in our home and I tend to cook the meat on the weekend to save time during the week.

Plus my husband is kick starting his weight loss by going super low carb (20g/day). A limited menu makes it easier for me to change the meals to keep him on track.

Thankfully there is a lot of wiggle room with Simple Start that gives me the flexibility to keep up my low carb lifestyle. I’m looking forward to testing out the meal options and pairing the food choices with my workout routines.

Time to start making the grocery list.