I have been following, what I think is a flawless execution of a KETO lifestyle for nearly a month.
I never "cheat" ... I follow it to the letter. I'm always in Ketosis, it seems. Maybe I am missing something?
I don't think I'm under estimating my carb intake. A typical meal for me is a bunless burger & sautéed spinach. No sneaky carbs on this plate.
I test for Ketones and I'm always between the 4.0 and 8.0 range. I don't think I have ever been a 16.0 nor have I ever been lower than a 4.0.
But I have been reading a lot lately about the difference between Ketosis and being Fat Adapted ...
Fat Adapted? I've adapted to the fact that I should never wear a unitard ... I actually can't think of anyone more fat adapted than me.
Imagine my surprise - that's NOT what Fat Adapted means. Think of it as a transition period where you body truly makes the leap from using Glucose for Fuel (carbs) to it burning nothing but Fat. Your body has transitioned into a fat burning machine. YASSSSSSS ...
This can happen in as little as 3 weeks but can take 4-6 weeks in some cases. 4-6 weeks? That's a long time for someone like me who isn't a massive fan of delayed gratification.
I thought at 6 weeks I'd be near my goal weight. Kidding ... for the most part.
Now that I am educating myself and gobbling up as many resources on the topic as I can get my hands on, I'm able to connect a lot of dots in terms of what I have been experiencing over the last 4 weeks.
It's absolutely fascinating and I've enjoyed this period of time to incorporate being incredibly mindful of what I put into my body and recognizing how my body feels as a result.
With each passing day I feel better, I truly do and I have to say this is the absolute longest span of time I have stuck to a plan without binging or falling off track. It's effortless. I have never been able to say that before when "dieting", not ever.
A testament of my transition: today my flight to Boston was delayed several times over. What was supposed to be an easy 3.5 hour day became a 9 hour exercise in me not losing my mind with each passing delay.
MENU & MACROS
Breakfast: 2 Eggs cooked in Coconut Oil & 1/2 Avocado
Lunch: Cobb Salad with Roasted Chicken
Dinner: Bunless Burger with Bacon & Smoked Gouda
Carbs: 17 / Fat 100 / Protein 60 which is pretty dead on for my calculated macros.
I have also had a ton of water which isn't always easy when traveling. I'm fighting a cold and am convinced I can drown it out of my system by drinking lemon water with droppers full of goldenseal and echinacea (it's horrible).
My hotel room doesn't have a scale - will be interested in seeing where I am upon my return (5 days) as I really should be on the verge of being fat adapted.
I was having dinner with a girlfriend the other evening, one that I hadn't seen in many months. As we were catching up, it struck me how many "new" things I have incorporated into my life recently for no other reason than they sounded fun or interesting to me.
At 45, I have my blog, play drums, am figure skating again, working on my pilates practice and am becoming healthier and stronger than I was in my earlier years. It's a revolt of sorts and it's wildly fun.
By why now - why in my midlife all the changes? We talked about the midlife "crisis" being an incredibly real phase but that seems like such a negative place to be in one's life. Why a crisis? Why not just another step in our evolution? Why is it so often seen as a negative thing?
Being a relentless pursuer of useless information - I went to my Single Source of Truth - Google.
I googled the definition of a midlife crisis. For men it seems fairly exciting: New sports cars, younger friends, lovely younger woman on their arm, becoming hyper focused on their physique, reigniting hobbies and passions. Not so much as crisis, in my mind. Then I read the symptoms of a Female Midlife Crisis:
As I approached my mid-40's I found it to be something I was looking forward to. Something to embrace - a reflection of a certain amount of freedom that I didn't have in my earlier years. An abandoning of self consciousness, self doubt, apologizing for who I am, what I want, what I think or believe ...
I am (re)discovering things that I loved as a child (playing music, figure skating), focusing on my heath (loving KETO), finding a healthy work life balance, being fully present as a mother, improving myself in ways that are hard to properly articulate and am finding happiness and peace in my soul. But most importantly its the realization is that we don't have to live such a prescriptive life.
I think it's more of a midlife transformation unless you rely on Google ...
From a few ingredients to becoming to most popular human on Earth - let's talk about KETO Pizza Crust.
Before you question if this is something you'd like to make ... I'd like to reference my 13 year old - He's not one to tolerate people jacking around with Pizza. Pizza in this house is sacrosanct.
I actually had to make a second pizza in order to take photos. It's that good and it was gone that fast.
My amazing neighbor Jade came over today armed with her KETO Pizza Crust tips & tricks.
Here's what I love: The pizza was crisp, it held up to a massive amount of cheese, and it was GOOD. It wasn't just a crappy substitute for pizza. It was good pizza.
If I had made this for someone older than 13, I think it would be amazing with pesto and chicken or caramelized onions, blue cheese, prosciutto, & arugula which is actually a replica of my favorite pizza of all time.
KETO PIZZA ... another way for the Universe to show you some love.
Before discovering KETO - I spent a great deal of time on diets that were more focused on what I COULDN'T eat. As a result, socializing over a meal wasn't something I looked forward to as Low Calorie / Low Fat diets can be so incredibly high maintenance at times.
I'd like the grilled chicken (no oil)
Side of plain steamed broccoli no added butter or salt
Side salad; no cheese, croutons, bacon, olives, or dressing
Though could you bring me a lemon wedge and vinegar?
Unless it's balsamic, I can't have that. If you don't have Red Wine vinegar - Apple Cider is great unless it's in a pre-made vinaigrette then I'll just take a few lemon slices.
On and On and On
If I happened to get a waiter or waitress that relied on memory alone I could see the moment they realized how useful putting pen to paper would have been. I'd then apologize for existing and would throw in an advanced apology that I knew they were going to bring me broccoli slathered in butter & parmesan which I would then return.
KETO completely changes the dynamic of how I can navigate social situations & celebrations while making it incredibly easy to be mindful of what I put into my body.
With the rise in popularity of Wine & Cheese shops it's so easy to go out and order a cheese plate or charcuterie board and know you're staying on plan.
No other pairing works so seamlessly with KETO!
I love Bitto Bistro, which is really close to my house in Broomfield. I went to dinner tonight with a girlfriend and we split a plate of Blue Cheese, Cotswold, and Prosciutto . It was perfect for the two of us.
Meat, Cheese, Pickles, Olives and a single glass of Red Wine and an evening filled with great conversation. Easy and Enjoyable. Not to mention the waiter didn't want to slash my tires due to me being a massive pain in the ass.
The best part is that KETO adds such ease when going to dinner with friends. I didn't wonder about how something was prepared or portion size.
After dinner, I came home and tested my ketones - I was right around 40 mg/dL. That's the upper range of "moderate" and is a good range for me.
I'm in Ketosis, I'm losing weight, I feel great and have finally found a lifestyle that actually lets me live with fewer rules.
I don't think I realized how much time I spent thinking about food until I didn't have to think about food as much. I have a straight forward plan that gives me parameters to live within and that is so incredibly liberating.
Pilates - a love affair long in the making.
20 years ago I went to my first pilates class and absolutely fell in love - it was in a small studio in Tampa, FL - the instructor (I thought) asked me if I liked Pies & Lattes and how much experience I had. I thought what a strange question but I guess I did and had fairly significant experience with both.
I discovered I liked Pilates far more than Pies & Lattes. I loved the movements, the refinement of motion and the isolation of certain muscle groups that often go long neglected.
Pilates is a method of exercise that really focuses on strength, flexibility and toning your core in particular.
The practice really resonated with me but like most (all) things, it fell off my radar and become a non-existent priority when stacked ranked against work, work travel, work planning, project deadlines & demands. I had no time to invest in anything that wasn't work related so pilates just became something I loved but abandoned.
Growing up I was a competitive figure skater - I discovered martial arts in my early 20's - played hockey in my 30's ... went back to martial arts in my mid-30's - was working out / running non stop. Then I hit my 40's coming off of two back to back broken ankles. All physical activity came to an immediate halt.
For someone who spent most of their life being incredibly physical and insanely competitive - this was a hard time for me mentally. I don't think I really did anything physical until this past summer after having a wildly successful knee surgery. That surgery was actually life changing for me - I'm so thankful and filled with gratitude for my orthopedic surgeon.
6 weeks after surgery I was hiking through Iceland & Ireland - Upon my return, I made the decision to go to a free Pilates Mat Class at my gym.
Even after such an extended absence - I felt at home with the movements and extensions. My body, while battered, was still incredibly strong and in those movements I realized my body hasn't failed me. There wasn't anything my body couldn't do - it was often seamless and fluid.
Me ... the me that could barely move 6 months prior. The me that looks in the mirror and misses being 120 lbs and 20 years old. The me that was so far removed from my athletic background that I no longer knew what it was capable of when I walked into class ...
That Me ... but it turns out, this me is incredibly strong and has an amazing body that is able to do great things.
I started out on a journey, picked a path and my instructor Alisa just happened to be there. There are people on Earth who you're supposed to meet and she's one of them for me. I work with her 1x1 once a week (Cadillac), joined a weekly group class (reformer / chair) and go to the mat classes as often as possible.
She and I talked about me joining the Spring instructor training and for the first time in a very long time, I feel motivated by purpose. I have since bought a Cadillac for my basement which I couldn't love more if my life depended on it. It was always my favorite in terms of my practice so for me to have one is the most exciting thing ever.
I do practice on my own every single day when not in class. The difference I'm seeing is fairly remarkable - the difference in how I'm feeling is mind blowing.
Benefits of Pilates:
Note: Pilates, at times, can be used in addition to PT. If you think you may have an SI issue or sacral torsion or rotation, See a manual or physical therapist as you don't want to strengthen the area if your sacrum is misaligned or you could make things worse. I'm a master of making things worse so believe when I say - get some qualified peepers on your sacrum.
THEN kick some ass in a Pilates class.
Net / Net - Pilates is amazing. It feels good to be back home in my body's movement. I'm trying to end each day with what I'm grateful for and what fills my heart with gratitude (which isn't easy at times) but I'm most certainly thankful for my pilates practice.
I can't wait to kick off my certification in the Spring - what an exciting next step in this journey!
A few things I have noticed and wanted to share:
I kicked off KETO on November 4th
1. I didn't lose much weight the first week. It actually was surprising enough to give me pause and make me doubt the path I was on.
KETO to me was like the holy grail of lifestyles - some diet nirvana that once attained would make you look like a 6" ft tall / 120 lbs Pilates Instructor. Maybe that's more of a week 4 thing ... will report back.
I do think KETO comes with high expectations which are often justified but they should be tempered by realistic expectations as well. I have spent most every day of every month of every year of every decade dieting, to various extents. I have to think my metabolism would file charges against me if it were able. Thankfully it's not.
15 days in, I am consistently losing weight nearly every day. The loss can range from .5 to 1.5 which is amazing. My current run rate is about 5 lbs a week. Know that when I built my daily macros I wanted to be at a 25% deficit - with each loss milestone I'll adjust my macros. My goal is to realign my macros as I navigate this journey and find that perfect balance of maintaining where I'm most comfortable.
Right now, it made sense for me to be most restrictive as I'm at the start of the weight loss journey. By the time I hit my goal weigh my macros will look very different than they do today. I don't have a ton to lose so I'm not in a rush as I'm trying to make lifelong changes.
2. I'm also finding that Ketosis is often confused with ketoacidosis. Several people have shared that I'm doing "tremendous harm" by being KETO which is simply not the case.
Ketoacidosis is a dangerous condition for diabetics in particular. However what makes it so incredibly dangerous is ACID not the ketones per se. Ketones are produced by the liver and operate as a very efficient fuel for the body. They sort of take over when there isn't enough glucose. As I understand it, when your glucose levels become depleted / low enough your liver takes notice and converts oodles of stored fatty acids into Ketone bodies that become your primary source of fuel. Thanks Liver!!
3. All cravings are gone now ... what I want to eat has shifted. I think on low fat diets all I think about are the things I can't have. It was always about beating my cravings into submission until I'd go bananas one day and eat 2 cupcakes. Then I'd feel like shit, my stomach would hurt, I'd feel guilty, etc. KETO has broken that cycle for me because I'm eating such rich foods, my body doesn't feel deprived.
I'm in a FB group with some girlfriends of mine - who are all trying to lose weight and the cycle is the same for every single member: amazing week / horrible week / back on track / OMG I ate 2 bagels / sort of on track / I just ate a snickers dipped in peanut butter / off the rails / no hope left in humanity / the world is ending / **Start Over** / amazing week / horrible week / back on track / off the rails / shame silence / **Start Over** ....
Wildly supportive group of woman - amazing woman who are all strong and beautiful and perfect the way they are. But we're struggling. The thing is, it's not just me or you ... it's this cycle of trying to deprive ourselves into "healthly" which has proven to not work over and over again.
This was my life for the last 30 years. I actually once said "Oh no, I'm full - I just ate 6 grapes". Believe when Is say KETO is fairly life changing on so so many levels.
4. There is such a thing as too much protein. I think the first time I did what I thought was KETO was me just eating a shit ton of Protein and not enough fat and it didn't work. So I abandoned it after I gained nearly 5 lbs. What I didn't realize is, excessive protein actually converts to carbohydrates though a process called gluconeogensis ... who knew that? Well clearly a ton of people but I wasn't one of them.
5. I'm never hungry & I don't snack any longer. I eat 3 meals a day with one small snack usually between Lunch & Dinner and that's all I want. I eat less often and need smaller portions because I stay full & satisfied longer. It's really rather remarkable on so many levels as I'm someone who loves (loved) to snack - I celebrated with snacks ... I celebrated my snacks with snacks. I just don't have much desire to snack at all now. I celebrate in other ways.
That's what I know / have experienced thus far.
I went to the TwentyOne Pilots concert tonight with my son and I didn't even have a stadium snack. I just enjoyed being out with Finn having the most fun I have had in years. What an amazing evening. More on that ... and more on my KETO journey as it progresses!!
FAT BOMBS ... On any other plan you would think this was a mistake you made. It sounds more like a response to a friend asking how your diet is coming along, "Oh I fat bombed it completely today ... maybe tomorrow will be better"
But today was awesome because not only are Fat Bombs okay they are encouraged. Fat Bombs are easy to make, satisfying, so incredibly decadent and have about 2 net carbs per bomb.
Today I spent most of my time organizing my closet - it's something that I love to do. I think it makes me feel like an incredibly well adjusted adult. Especially if I can get all my laundry sorted and stored away 1. in the same day and 2. in an orderly fashion.
But it's also incredibly motivating - the back half of my closet is crammed full of items that I love but can't wear comfortably. If you bend over and feel as though your pencil skirt is sawing you in half - I'd like to emphasize how powerful a KETO meal plan can be in helping you make your way to the back half of your closet. Fat Bombs are just another tool to get you there.
A tasty tasty tool ...
After I mastered being an adult this afternoon I turned my attention to meal planning and wanted to incorporate a few sweet treats into this week's menu by way of making two kinds of Fat Bombs:
1. Hazelnut & Coconut (4 ingredients total)
2. Peanut Butter & Chocolate (3 ingredients total)
Of note: I meant to sprinkle sea salt on top of the hazelnut & coconut ones but spaced it entirely. That little salty bite would be fairly spectacular and it would also enhance the other flavors. Now that I think about it, I also spaced it the last time I made them as well. I'm not sure what's going on with me and my inability to add this ingredient but I seemingly refuse to do so.
HAZELNUT & COCONUT FAT BOMBS:
PEANUT BUTTER FAT BOMBS:
They are the easiest thing to make. I do think having a silicone candy mold is the key to having an easy go at making fat bombs as they just pop out perfectly each and every time.
I think they also lend a sort of luxury to the meal plan as they are so decadent. For those of you that like something sweet to end a meal, they are perfect and will satisfy that need.
I have always preferred savory over sweet but every so often I crave a bit of chocolate. For me these are a really easy way to feel like you're indulging while staying on track.
My goal is to be able to walk into my closet and wear absolutely anything - no treat is worth derailing that. With Fat Bombs you don't have to compromise and that's pretty awesome.
In my next batch I may add Bacon - a bit of crunchy savory in my sweet!!
I have had one of those weeks where you sort of look and feel like you were hit by a bus, then dragged through hell only to be launched back into your normal day to day life and land in a pile of dog crap.
I have placed myself in timeout.
I showed up to work today with my hair in a ponytail and a coworker was concerned that something happened to me.
Again, hit by bus, dragged through hell, & landed in a turd pile are on the highlights reel. I'll save those for another post entitled "Are you trying to get punched in the throat?"
With everything going on I only worked out twice because I missed every single pilates class at the gym due to getting stuck in parking garages (street level construction) each day this week and last minute meeting requests darkened my outlook (literally and figuratively).
But I'm feeling great 10 days into KETO. My stomach doesn't hurt, I don't feel bloated, someone said I was glowing and looked amazing today (despite my ponytail), and I'm losing weight.
That said, for the last 24 hours - all I can think about and all I want is something absolutely LOADED with carbs. This was a super stressful week - I think in my mind french fries or (and) a croissant would decrease my stress. I'm sure it would, like a little hug of support for my tummy.
I found myself standing in front of my pantry staring at a plate of chocolate croissants with more longing in my eyes than I have ever had for anything or anyone ... ever.
I can only imagine this is what Oliver Twist would feel like looking at an endless supply of porridge - mouth open & wide eyed
I think I blacked out at some point because I'm not even sure how long I stood there but I'm happy to report I didn't eat one. I did however eat a small plate of olives.
As yummy as they were it was a shitty substitute for a chocolate croissant. I was actually so put out by it all I ended up just escaping to my room where I cleaned my bathroom and settled into creating next week's menu!
A good friend of mine is doing KETO as well. She has lost a lot of weight and continues to do so faster than I am losing mine.
She suggested I look into Exogenous Ketones. I bought a starter bundle from PerfectKeto.com containing:
I actually have no idea what I bought entirely but I saw "Chocolate" and stopped reading. I don't even care at this point.
I religiously use MCT Oil in my coffee & when making fat bombs. I just love it. I'll get a powder version of that in my starter kit. I'm most excited about that.
Re: the ketone strips, I have been testing my blood a few times a week (in the am / evening) just to see where I have been hovering range wise. I'm staying in an optimal zone it seems, so all signs are pointing to me being on the right track.
I do wonder why my progress is soooooo slow. I am armed with oodles of books and am reading through them and will try to adjust next week's menu. I don't think I'm eating too many calories - I'm monitoring my macros and watching my caloric intake so I think once my metabolism resets I should start to see fairly significant results. Fingers Crossed.
But here's the thing - I feel better ... even though weight isn't melting off of me, I feel a rather remarkable improvement. I'm fairly blown away by that.
That's my update! A bit more reading and a bit more blogging and I'm calling this day / week over.
Oodles of sleep and my pilates classes tomorrow should reset my morale.
I'm looking forward to seeing how I progress next week while hopefully keeping my stress levels a bit lower.
There's just so much going on in my life / around me that it's hard to not become distracted or derailed.
I just think with how great I'm feeling it's not really a diet or something to suffer through - it's just a new approach to how I live my life.
This little chart now rules my life ... The Keto Food Pyramid otherwise known as "I think I may starve to death and hate my life" chart.
I actually think I love it but I'm still in my first week and am just getting over the "KETO Flu".
While adapting rather well I still have an incredibly strong urge to drop kick Finn's bagels through a window so it may not the best time for me to kick off this post. But buckle up - because it's happening!!
Why KETO? Especially since I have been an off and on vegetarian for most of my life. The primary components of KETO are Meat, Eggs, Nuts, Seeds & Healthy Fats.
When I say I was a vegetarian, I became one around 12 - I wasn't just a chill vegetarian, early on, I was a super snarky / confrontational / & way judgmental vegetarian. In High School I was fueled by two things: Hunger and Morrissey rage.
Anyone that was unlucky enough to cross my path, minding their own business, nom nomming a burger - I'd just like to apologize for my behavior. I actually slapped a burger out of someone's hand once. Which now thinking back, the visual is heeelarious. Best Ever!! That said, to that person, I'm especially sorry.
While I ate incredibly well, I never quite felt great and I never looked entirely great either (super pale, often anemic) but I kept trying and trying. Each failure or departure from a plant based diet came with a tremendous amount of guilt.
My issue is and was against factory farming and what most animal endure as they navigate a miserable life met with unspeakable horror, suffering and cruelty. I will never stop being a very vocal opponent against animal cruelty.
I do however support local farmers and locally sourced meat and dairy. It's expensive in comparison but it's worth it to me and that's how the transition to KETO is possible for ME.
So, why KETO?
It's hard for me to drop weight like I could in my 20's and 30's ... I watch every single calorie that crosses my lips. I count points, calories, weigh my food, deprive myself, beat myself up if I eat something I'm not supposed to and I'm still not where I'd like to be. Maybe it's hormonal, maybe the calories are the wrong calories for me, maybe I wasn't eating enough, etc. My "maybes" could go on forever ...
When my dad got sick, I started to gain weight. I had an insanely stressful job, I lived 2000 miles from home, and things weren't great in my own life. For 2 years I was splitting my time between a job that I hated and my father's home in Chesapeake Va where I watched Cancer bring a titan to his knees.
My stress levels remained at a constant 10 / 10 for an incredibly extended period of time which I can only imagine was creating a virtual endless supply of cortisol.
KETO is my path forward. More precisely, it's my path BACK to me.
The more I learn about it, the more it makes sense to me: low carb, moderate proteins, high fat. If you're not familiar with KETO you may think High Fat - that's the exact opposite of what we should do and it's not. Our brains NEED Fat.
Our brains thrive with the proper amount of fat. It's a critical component that we so often drastically cut back when trying to lose weight. If I were to sum up the approach: consume fat to burn fat.
I'm not talking about eating a stick of butter in preparation of bikini season - think more along the lines of eating steak with an smashed avocado, cooking your eggs in coconut oil, dressing your salad liberally with walnut oil - throw in some goat cheese, etc.
My breakfast today was two eggs cooked in coconut oil, and 2 slices of Morning Star "Bacon" otherwise known as "Faken" around here because it's fake bacon but it's super low in carb so it's perfect.
It's all comes down to your "macros" or macronutrients. My macros are as shown below:
This is my meal composition - With a higher fat diet, I'm satiated with small meals of really healthy food & the steady introduction / combination of healthy fats.
I don't pay strict attention to the k/cal - I leverage Myfitnesspal Pro which allows me to enter my personal macro ranges and as long as I stick to the 90/102/17 combination - I'm good.
Lately that's been running about 1500 k/cal a day. I happen to know my resting metabolic rate is 2000 k/cals a day so this places me in a healthy deficit.
I have lost 7 lbs this week - maybe a good bit of that is water weight but I drink about 80oz of water a day so I'm staying hydrated. I did however have to add electrolytes to my daily supplements as I had a ROUGH 36 or so hours starting Tuesday evening that lasted well into the early morning on Thursday.
One of my favorite people in the entire universe, LD and I were supposed to have a greatly anticipated lunch date this past Wednesday but I felt horrible and canceled. She told me to add electrolytes and I should feel better so I did and I do.
Week 1 is in the bag and AND I started a 60 day challenge at the gym this morning. My amazing pilates instructor Alisa is my 60 day coach - looking forward to seeing where I land at the end of December.
Watch out neglected back half of my closet where all my awesome clothes live - I'll see you soon!!
I have been here almost a year ...
Almost a year and I haven't been incredibly mindful or dedicated to my blog. Almost a year of me sitting here daily looking at the same desk each and every day and yet I barely put fingers to keys.
While the ideas have been nonstop - I hit a wall when my trademark application was rejected and I needed to jump through hoops to refile and defend the honor of "Deferring Zen". Staying true to form I deferred my response until it was almost too late.
But not TOO late as I'm back in business
What has changed: I had knee surgery and can move again (amazing), I changed jobs this summer, I traveled to Iceland and Ireland, I was able to move a good bit of my Dad's furniture to my home (heart full), and Frosty is now the size of a Fiat causing mass destruction and me to doubt the existence of God.
I just read that out loud to her and she either understood me or isn't feel well after eating my Bose headphones ...
What has NOT changed: ME ... I stopped meditating, I didn't really change my eating habits, I didn't go to yoga or pilates like I had promised myself, I didn't make myself a priority as I had hoped and I am still struggling to find time to do things for myself.
There is however great change in the air as of late! I feel amazing, my inner voice has become much kind(er), I have started to go to pilates and yoga, I am insanely focused on my eating habits and I'm finding balance to do the things that I know I need to do in order to personally thrive.
Maybe it's because I switched jobs - I went from Finance (happy) to IS (barf) back to Finance (sigh - so so happy). Maybe it's because I have the happiest kid on the planet who is healthy, happy and brings such joy to my life, as long as I don't look at his bathroom or his closet floor.
Overall, I think I finally feel that I'm where I belong. Not just at work but in my life and that feels pretty amazing.
More to come ...