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.

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.



Want To Lose Weight? Ignore Most Nutrition Advice

weight loss lies, weight loss myth busting, ignore nutirion advice to lose weight

Most nutrition recommendations are myths. Want to lose weight, you need to do your own research and talk to your doctor.

What you eat makes up 90% of the weight loss battle. Unfortunately, most of the nutrition recommendations are bunk! Check out this article a  friend sent me. It covers the 13 biggest myths that cause people to get fatter and sicker.

Up until last year, I believed every one of those myths. Once I tipped the scales at 325, I started to question things.

So how did I actually kick these myths to the curb? I did my research. That started with a great book I’ve mentioned before, Why We Get Fat. Not another diet book, it focuses on the science of what happens when we eat.  If you don’t know what 100 calories of pasta vs. 100 calories of protein does to your body, you’ll find it harder to lose weight.

After that, I actually talked to my doctor about a plan for losing weight — something that many of us don’t do.

After years of being part of Weight Watchers, I always ignored their advice about “consulting your doctor before starting a weight loss program.”  After all, I just needed to eat less and exercise more, right? If that was the case, why didn’t I lose the weight 5, 10, 20 years ago? Oh, I don’t have will power. What a crock!

For the last 50 years, we’ve let weight loss information be dominated by psychiatrists and nutritionists, and yet medical doctors are the ones who actually treat obese people. That just doesn’t seem right.

So last year I stopped listening to pop culture’s idea of weight loss and actually scheduled my very first physical. Boy what I shock. I was fatter and sicker than I thought.  It was like being in Bizzaro World – all my good numbers were way too low and all my bad numbers were way too high. But it was the eye-opener I needed.

The game plan I discussed with my doctor completely busted any nutrition myth I still believed.

A year later, the complete opposite happened at my physical – all my good numbers skyrocketed and the bad numbers dropped like stones.  We tweaked my weight loss plan and I’m continuing my march to good health.

OK, I’m off my soap box.


Weight Loss Shows Inspire And Frustrate Me

My new favorite weight loss show - Heavy. It takes an honest approach to losing weight. I just wish it spent a little more time on nutrition.

I’m done watching Heavy. Now I need a new show to help give me that little push to keep going. Will My 600-LB Life or The Biggest Loser give me my fix?

I just finished watching the first season of Heavy and now I’m looking for another show to get me pumped about eating right and working out. I’ve got two options – My 600-lb Life and The Biggest Loser.

Like Heavy, My 600-lb Life is shot documentary-style. It focuses on people who undergone bypass surgery to lose weight. The camera crew follows them around for 7 years.

I’m curious to see if this one gets more into the nutrition side of things. If you spend 7 years following a person dealing with obesity, you think what that person eats might be of significance.

While I enjoy the documentary format of a show like Heavy, I can’t help but think people who’ve never been fat make these shows.  They almost never focus on nutrition.

Note to these TV shows producers: What you eat is 80% of the battle.

If food or nutrition isn’t interesting visually, how the heck do you explain the success of The Food Network?  Not one show, but a whole frickin’ network dedicated to food. Hell, even Hungry Girl has a healthy eating show on The Food Network.

As for The Biggest Loser I’ve never seen it, but I do own the yoga DVD.

I’m a little skeptical about the show. I know it’s a contest with a huge marketing machine behind it (hence my DVD!). That’s about it. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a marketer, so I like the idea of a huge marketing machine.  But this topic hits close to home so I’m leery of a weight loss competition via reality TV.

I watch shows like Heavy not to see the train wreck that is people’s lives, but to feel inspired. Also, I actually want to learn something. I’m just not sure what I’ll get out of watching The Biggest Loser. But I think I need to watch it at least once before writing it off.

Weighing In On Heavy

My new favorite weight loss show - Heavy. It takes an honest approach to losing weight. I just wish it spent a little more time on nutrition.

My new favorite weight loss show – Heavy. It takes an honest approach to losing weight. I just wish it spent a little more time on nutrition.

Yesterday I stumbled across Heavy, a show weigh loss reality show. I’m a little late to the party – the show aired in 2011-12 and season 2 starts in 2014. But better late than never.

Each episode follows 2 people in a 6-month weight loss program. They work with trainers and dietitians to change their habits and lose weight. While considered a reality show, in fact, it feels more like a documentary. No one is voted off. It’s not scripted. You get to know these people, warts and all.

This show cuts close to the bone. At times it’s like someone is holding a mirror up to me, making the show difficult to watch. But that’s why I love it too.

Some weeks you lose weight and others you gain. Sometimes life kicks your butt and you binge. Heavy captures this in spades. You really feel for these people, even if you disagree with some of their choices.

Weight loss is awesome, but hard as hell.  Heavy takes an honest look at the journey.  Sure there’s help in the form of trainers, but the individuals’ success or failure is all their own. And the show pulls no punches with the health problems these people face  – diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, skin disorders.

I wish they’d explore the nutrition side more. Food and nutrition are way more important than exercise when it comes to weight loss. If you don’t get the nutrition right, no amount of exercising helps.

Also front and center is the “calories-in, calories-out” myth, which, if you read this blog, you know I think is BS.

If I owned a weight loss spa, I’d give all of my guests a copy of Why We Get Fat and hire only nutritionists who understand it’s not about how much we eat, but what we eat (in fact, what we eat can trigger us to overeat). But that doesn’t make good TV.

Criticisms aside, I really love the show. As a big bonus, after watching the first episode online, I ended my afternoon with 30 minutes of yoga followed by a 15-minute walk.

Yes, the show is a big motivator.

Thanks To My Dentist, I’m Losing Weight Today

Photo courtesy

Eating like this cutie will help you weight. Photo courtesy

Eating your food slow helps you eat less. How? Eat fast and you’ll over eat. Inhaling your meals messes with the release of hormones that indicates you are full and satisfied.

I tend to eat fast. Always have. It’s one of my last bad habits to break.

Well thanks to my dentist, I get to work on breaking that habit in a few minutes.

Thanks to his wonderful work in filling two cavities, my mouth is numb.  My lips feel like rubber and my shirt’s littered with water stains.

I plan to enjoy the salad I purchased yesterday. It’s pretty big, and I planned to only eat half. Normally, I would move half of the salad into a container for later. It’s a good way to make sure you don’t over eat  – out of sight, out of mind. Thanks to the anesthetic, perhaps I don’t have to split it in two before I start eating.

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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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Should I Up My Strength Training

lifting book coverI missed my Tuesday session with my trainer due to a nasty ear infection and stomach bug. Thankfully I bounced back for today’s session.

I’m tired as hell, but feel great. How does that work?

It really is amazing how I feel after each session. Yes I’m drenched in sweat. My legs feel wobbly. My arms are jello. Yet, I am very relaxed and have an overwhelming desire to go for a long walk. I’ve heard about a runner’s high, perhaps this is something similar.

Right now I’m strength training twice a week and speed walking the other days. But I’m starting to wonder if I should up my strength training. I came across an article in Women’s Health about the value of strength training over cardio. Two stats jumped out at me:

1. Just 21% of women strength train two or more times a week.
2. Two strength training sessions per week can reduce overall body fat by 3 percent in a 10 week span.

The article isn’t about choosing between one or the other. I don’t think I have a choice. I need to do both. It’s about the clear benefits of strength training and encouraging women to take advantage of it. I think women don’t strength train because they fear bulking up too much. Sorry ladies, but we just are not built that way. I promise, you won’t turn into her.

But I’m wondering if my strength training and cardio are out of whack. Right now I’m split 70-30 in favor of cardio. Yes, I do believe that as long as I continue to eat the right foods and exercise, I’ll lose weight. The difference is that with cardio I’ll lose weight, but that can mean fat and muscle. With strength training, I can target my problem areas and lose fat, not muscle.

For the time being, I’ll stick with what I’m currently doing. I’ll re-evaluate around June 1. By that time I should be working again and can see how realistic it is to add another session.

In the meantime, I’ve ordered The New Rules of Lifting for Women. Since I’ve added strength training, I noticed I need to make some adjustments to what I’m eating. I have noticed that my metabolism plunges a few hours after these sessions. Clearly I’m not fueling my body properly. My last couple of sessions, I came home an ate an apple and that seemed to help, but I need to really work in more protein. Problem is, protein is a high point item on Weight Watchers. So I really need to figure out the most bank for the buck without going over my daily points allowance. I’m hopeful that this book can shed some light on the nutrition front.

Why We Get Fat

This week has been a bit rough. I’ve had pizza, fries and lots o’ wine…not exactly healthy fare. Plus sleeping in beat out early morning yoga classes. Other than the bowling on Monday night, I’ve been a veg all week.

I eat bad, my sleep gets screwed up. My sleep gets screwed up, I eat bad.

Ugh, it is so hard to get back on track.

So to help motivate me, I dusted off my well worn copy of Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes – my catalyst for dropping 60 pounds and why I’m now a size 22 instead of a 28 (sweeeet!).

why we get fat

If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do. It demolishes nutrition dogma of the last 60 years using science and the chemistry of how our bodies actually work.  Want to loose weight? Then forget about calories-in/calories-out.

I think this book worked for me because it isn’t a diet book. It just takes a hard look at the science that many diet and nutrition ideas are based on and shows how the nutrition community ignore how our bodies actually work.  Taubes’ writing really hit home that it’s not a diet, but relearning what to eat (and chucking out that damn USDA food pyramid). All of those low-fat foods I was buying were in fact helping me gain weight – holy crap! Just thinking about it ticks me off.

Ahh…The rut is over.