January was an absolute crap month for me - I was dealing with deadlines, travel and being so overwhelmed with my daily life that I wasn't able to do my typical meal prep / planning. I didn't work out, I didn't spend anytime on my pilates practice and my morale was in the crapper.
It's no longer January - the month of bad decisions ... It's February which means I'm back to my normal routine. Thankfully.
Meal Planning & Prep is a huge component to my success but I don't have a ton of free time so I need easy and delicious go-to's that I enjoy and keep me on track.
Nothing is easier or yummier in terms of creating easily portable and Keto friendly meals than Egg Cups.
Most Sundays I make different versions of Egg Cups as I find if I have them at the ready, come Monday morning, I can just grab a portion and head out the door. This reduces the chance I'll grab a ketosis killing snack at the office.
Anyone that works for a software company is familiar with the typical start up company kitchen - they are always crammed full of pop, snacks, sweet treats, beer, etc. Combined with lunch being brought in many times a week - there's temptation at every turn.
With a bit of planning I can stay on track - these are one of my favorite items to have on hand.
Today I made Sausage & Ricotta Egg Cups:
Place in a preheated oven (375) and bake for about 30 mins.
You'll know they're ready when they have risen, are firm to the touch, and the cheese is a beautiful golden brown.
For those of you that have shared that I use too much cheese - I think you may need to take a step back and really evaluate your life through a critical lens. Something is wrong. I'm worried about you.
If anyone has ever seen me in public before 8:00 am on a weekend - my criteria for being publicly acceptable is really rather forgiving.
This weekend, I met a good friend for breakfast at 8:00 am.
I got out of bed at 7:25 which gave me plenty of time to wash my face, brush my teeth, throw on some chapstick, and finger comb my hair. I couldn't even brush it because my son stole my hairbrush the night before. A pair of jeans, hoodie and favorite sunnies later I was well on my way to breakfast.
As we sat there having coffee and chatting, a waitress walked up and with the biggest smile and said "I love your sparkles" (referring to my gray hair) and how she can't wait to see it progress over time.
Those few words absolutely made my day! To have someone I have never met compliment me with a giant smile is something I think we can all do with a bit more of.
It was unexpected and genuine.
Over the last few weeks I had been spending a good bit of time thinking about the importance of surrounding yourself with people who elevate you, people who make you feel pretty even in the moments where you finger comb your hair, people who support your ideas and vision, people who challenge your beliefs and make you a better person, people who will be by your side in the most amazing of moments and in the darkest of hours.
It's so easy to make someone's day - one kind sentiment shared with a stranger can linger in their thoughts and maybe even inspire them!
After breakfast, I had an appointment with my stylist and decided to go back to a heavy bang which I think emphasizes my gray in a lovely way.
I love my sparkles too!!
I think the more positivity and support for one another that we put out into the universe the better we become and the better we feel about others and ourselves. It certainly beats the alternative!
Last night I was reading DailyOM's facebook post on Overcoming Body Stiffness.
The image they posted with the article was inspiring - The woman was flexible, gorgeous, graceful, elegant, but most importantly healthy & active.
Her body was strong and clearly had an amazing range of motion.
I just loved it - I had a significant personal connection to that pose in particular so I was incredibly moved by it. I'll circle back on why after we take a slight detour on why people suck.
Here's my issue - I happened to glance at the comments and I immediately noticed the body-shamers were in full force being horrible humans as usual. Most disappointing was that most of the shamers were woman. Woman online shaming other woman instead of building one another up.
Comment after comment ...
With all the things woman face from society why can't our messaging to one another be supportive or uplifting?
The messaging is clear you will be found lacking no matter what you do, how hard your try, what you look like, where you live, what you do for a living, how much money you have (or don't have), etc ... and these attacks will come from mostly other women.
Shame on the women who shit on other women for no other reason than they feel empowered to do so behind the safety of their computer monitor. Shame on the women who work on breaking down other women as opposed to building them up. Shame on the women who feel threatened by other women or who feel better by shaming another (woman).
Woman are most amazing and we're even more so when we stand shoulder to shoulder.
Don't be assholes ladies.
Anyway, a year ago, I was barely able to walk and some days I couldn't at all. I was living with excruciating pain because of my knees. I was often on crutches, had leg braces, was in and out of walking casts, & could barely stand up some mornings. I was suffering greatly and had been for an extended period of time.
As a result, my back would seize up in spasms, my hips were out of alignment and my SI joint dysfunction was uncontrolled.
Stiffness set in on an holistic level because I wasn't very mobile. In March, I turned to yoga - Yin style yoga to help stretch and elongate my body. Yoga helped me gently transition areas of my body that had seized up to being more mobile and loose. I would hold static poses, despite the discomfort, until I found a release. I found, without exception, my muscles would eventually surrender to the poses.
The pose she's holding on the DailyOm post is actually the one that I held the most. It was the one that brought me the most relief and gave me the most hope as I knew when I could stay in that position my body was healing and becoming much stronger.
To be clear, this did nothing for my knees. BUT I found the most amazing orthopedic surgeon who was able to completely fix my right knee. He didn't just give me relief he gave me the opportunity to reclaim the things I love most about my life. Things I had long abandoned.
In July I spent a few weeks hiking through Iceland & Ireland - I zoomed through rocky canyons, down steep terrain to sit alongside waterfalls, I climb to the top of Slieve League and down a slippery stone path to the Giant's Causeway, I wandered through remote forests until I couldn't go any further without losing my way and I swam in lagoons as storms rolled over the Icelandic sky.
In the span of 6 months I went from barely being able to move to being able to explore the limits of what my body can do. I have found my way back to pilates and can be found in my basement most days working on my practice.
I'm also figure skating again! I was a competitive figure skater when I was young - it was something I absolutely loved. There's something about standing in the middle of an ice rink alone - just you on brand new ice where the only sounds are from your blades cutting through the ice, it's just magical.
We ended up leaving Pittsburgh to move to Newport News, Va - as a result I stopped skating. I didn't watch it on tv and I never wanted to skate again quite honestly. But here I am at 45 skating again! This time last year I was limping through life - literally.
As I was skating this afternoon I realized how comfortable I felt on my skates, my legs felt strong and sure, & my confidence growing exponentially. To think of where I'll be a year from now is really rather mind blowing.
I think it's sheer perfection - where I am is perfect albeit humbling, it's perfectly humbling.
I find myself with a great deal gratitude because it's easy to roll over and surrender or complain about how things suck but to find something inside of us that allows us to pull ourselves out of that darkness is really rather amazing.
Imagine what we could do if people were supportive and didn't take to social media to rip one another apart. If we navigated life elevating one another perhaps we'd go on more adventures or feel confident in trying new things ...
I'm going to do just that! I'm sort of a solo adventurer of life but when my path crosses with another I try to be kind ... I do no harm ... & I certainly don't break other woman down.
You do you and I'll be cheering you on!
I announced I was going gray 15 months ago. Woman have to announce such things as people will become concerned that we have abandoned all self care if our roots become too long.
So, this was me - 15 months ago on the day I announced I was going to just let my hair go gray.
By this time my home had been chemical free for years - I make most of my cleaning supplies yet I was still coloring my hair, religiously, every 3-5 weeks.
I didn't go in for just touch ups - I went in to go from black to gunmetal gray or to color the underneath layers a bright color such as pink / blue / green, etc.
I loved changing my looks, I loved how it made me feel, I loved people's compliments & reactions. I always loved how a new look could make me feel fresh and new when perhaps things weren't going so well and I didn't much like certain aspects of my life, at the time. Color is like the "Break Up Hair Cut" only not as hard to grow out.
That said, I was having a really hard time reconciling how uncomfortable I was using chemicals in my home but I was still slathering them all over my scalp / hair. It just seemed like I should be more concerned with what I put on and in my body than what I used to cleaned a toilet.
I made the decision after thinking about it for a bit so I texted my hair stylist Jenna and we came up with a plan!
Once we had a plan, I shared my plans on a few social sites and with people at work. I found people were very divided on the topic.
Here are some of my favorite comments / concerns:
Few concerns aside, I found most everyone to be super supportive. Strangers stop to tell me how much they love it. A few days ago a guy stopped me in a stairwell to tell me how great my hair looked - he thought I colored it! On the way to Boston a woman at Starbucks ask how long I had been growing it out and I could see her working those numbers in her mind so perhaps I'll bump into her in 15 months and we'll be twins!
I do get a good bit of "I'd love to do that, but ... " and I always ask why there's hesitation. If you love it - do it. Many just say that they can't ... maybe they are worried about not being found attractive or maybe they don't want their gross troll husbands to be repulsed?
Girl, Go Gray If YOU Want.
Anyways - here I am as of today - I was standing in a bathroom with the harshest light ever and I looked in the mirror and I had a moment where I realized just how much I love my hair.
I love it. I love the way I look, I love how gorgeous the silver and white bits are. I love how it all blends together and looks as though I have strands of Christmas tinsel woven into my hair.
Best Decision Ever ... AND ... I have saved nearly $4000.00(WHAT?)
Viral Gray or Light Blue
That's it! I hope if you're considering making the leap - this helped a bit. I'd love to hear of your progress!!
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!!