Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Black Bean Burger Burrito

black bean burger

Simply yummy...This dish is so fast and simple it's almost embarrassing to post.
Simply put it is low carb tortilla filled with a sliced black bean veggie burger, cheese and a little sour cream or plain yogurt..so quick so easy..super yummy..protein packed, and lots of fiber!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Dodging the Diabetes bullet

Bread Pudding
Bread Pudding...so hard to resist..
Diabetes type 2 is one of the most common diseases in the USA and also in Great Britain. What people need to understand is that diabetes has many ways it can sabotage your health and as such it should not be taken lightly. Do not think that all you need to do is take a pill or get a shot. These things alone will not be as effective if you don't do your part.

My father was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the age of 52. He started off on the pill and then ended up taking shots. My mother was diagnosed not long afterward.  My younger brother who is 48 has diabetes as well. As did my uncle,  so you could say it is in my family...a lot!
I don't have diabetes even though my weight has reached well over 300 lbs. at different times in my life. I do have low thyroid so weight gain is the battle I fight every day. That being said, I have managed to lose weight with low carb and portion control and I attribute my diabetes bullet dodging to these practices.
Diabetes is a killer that comes into your life like a thief in the night. If you get sick, are diagnosed with cancer, or other illnesses, diabetes can sabotage your treatment, and cut your ability to fight in half. My father has this happen. in January of 2004 he was diagnosed with throat cancer. By mid February he was gone. Did the cancer kill him? No. Diabetes did.  How? Well let's say the treatment used for fighting cancer- chemotherapy and diabetes do not mix. Chemotherapy has extreme side effects such as nausea.
Vomiting, loss of appetite, both cause a person with diabetes to become weak and dehydrated. Now for those not battling serious illness, dehydration can be treated rather easily. For those with diabetes it can cause your body to shut down and go into cardiac arrest, which happened to my father while he was in the hospital. Diabetes kept him from benefiting from the chemo, which is an odd way of putting it since chemo does a lot of harm, but its the common method of treatment and as such it was what was offered. There was precious time to mull over options. No insurance, and doctors that aren't not well versed in a variety of treatments make fighting for your life ever so hard.
That is just one way diabetes can kill you. Many think a pill or a shot will do the job, and many still have sugars, and high carb foods in spite of their diabetes and I can tell you, you're making a big mistake. You are playing Russian roulette with your health, I am sure if my dad could come back and do things differently today, he would have changed his diet, and possibly prolonged his life.

The next time  you think about  your diet, your pill or your insulin shot, remember those things only help you help yourself. You still must exercise, a 30 walk every other day, and follow a low carb diet to be able to allow your body to fight the disease, and all  the other caveats that can come with it, and if you have it in your family, following these practices can also help you dodge the diabetes bullet as well.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Healthy Snacks

Ok so I wanted to share this with my readers. Diets are challenging on so many levels and finding snacks that are healthy and that will not sabotage your weightloss and/or management is one of the biggest hurdles. I will tell you one that I enjoy that you may like. "Low carb" lifestyle isn't easy. I find myself craving salty, crunchy things often.

 One thing that we give up is potato chips when we low carb and finding a replacement for this is my next challenge. While I am working on that one dessert that I have grown fond of is my Maple Nut BranYogurt Parfait. This recipe calls for no added sugar, and I like it as much as ice cream because it provides me with the satisfying crunch, mild salty flavor and sweet maple.

In on ice cream glass or bowl add one cup of plain non fat unsweetened yogurt. Sprinkle on top 1/4 cup (or less) whole wheat bran flakes, two tablespoons of walnuts, and several good squeezes of sugar free Maple syrup.  It's absolutely yummy and while everyone is having their ice cream you can feel good about enjoying your healthy treat as well.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Weight loss update: Holding steady Plateau number 2

English: Old Weighing scale
English: Old Weighing scale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Is a plateau a bad thing?

Ok so I'm between 110 lbs down or 105 lbs down depending on what time of day I get on the scale, but one thing is for sure and that is this is my plateau battle for the second time. It's definitely been slowing down, but here's the good news and I hope you find it as a good way of looking at it too. Plateaus are frustrating yes, but they also have their place in the plate is half full world, and that is that it means, over a period of time that you are maintaining your weight loss. You may not be dropping them lbs like before, but alas you're not putting the weight back on and in the big scheme of things, this is by far more important.

Weight fluctuations: Don't Panic

A few pounds here and there, back and forth are just normal with the human body and I defy anyone to say it isn't. Especially for women, since we have lovely hormonal fluctuations that cause us to retain water, crave sweets or salty things and in my case the added "joy" of  Hypothyroidism, which doesn't lend itself well to any sufferers weigh loss endeavors. So if you find it fluctuates a little from time to time, do not have a melt down, do not let it feel like defeat, but let it be a reminder that things can go back to the way they were if you aren't careful. The fact that you catch a 3 lb difference in your weight suggests that you're doing the right thing. Many times abandoning weighing on the scale is the first step back on the road of weight gain, and its a fast trip on what can be a very short road.

Walking: Will it help you on your weight loss journey?

An example of walking in sandals.
An example of walking in sandals. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
While some would argue that as a weight loss strategy walking does little to burn significant calories, I'd have to say they may be overlooking the big picture. The big picture is that walking should not be just about weight. It also is about improving your stamina, building your metabolism and getting your heart pumping so that in time you'll be able to do more, and that includes extra exercises that burn more calories.

We've all got to start some where and for those that are morbidly obese, walking is a great first step-no pun intended. Most people even those 100 lbs overweight can manage a short walk every day or every other day. The idea is to get started.  Small brisk walks are easier on the joints, and wont cause the same level of pain jogging, or other strenuous exercises cause and this is key. No one will keep up a regime if it hurts. Period.

So remember, starting somewhere, even short walks to the end of your neighborhood street and back is better than sitting at home and looking out the window or spending all of your free time on the internet. The worst thing you can do is settle into  a sitting routine. Whether its in front of the television set or computer, it's a bad habit, and will let the weight pile on.  So, with that, I gotta get off this computer, and go find something that keeps me moving. You do the same.  Keep on moving, and don't give up! Remember weight loss should never just be about what a scale says, it should be about health..

Friday, April 8, 2016

Coconut Chicken Wings

I guess I'm going through a "nuts for coconut phase" but this recipe is yummy and is decidedly better for you than traditional fried chicken wings so please give them a try! I used equal parts flour and coconut flour so that they'd have all the flavor of fried wings but lower in carb count and higher in fiber.
fried coconut chicken wings
Fried Coconut Chicken Wings ©Dawn Gagnon Photography 2016

This recipe starts off being fried for color, but because coconut flour and shredded coconut has a tendency to burn easily, its better to brown these first in a skillet and then finish them off in the oven.

This recipe is for one dozen chicken wings and easily adjustable to whatever amount you cook.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups coconut flour
Shredded coconut (unsweetened)
12 chicken wings
2 tbs seasoned salt
1 tbs poultry seasoning
1-2 tbs rosemary
1/2 tbs ground sage
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
white ground pepper-optional and to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

I like to mix all of my seasonings together if at all possible and dust all of my chicken pieces first with the mixture before adding to the flour. To me it assures me that each piece got the right amount of seasoning, and you're not leaving it to chance once mixed and diluted in the flour.
Place your wings in a big bowl and dust all of them in seasonings. Stir them and try to coat all sides.

In a second large bowl, sift together your flours and begin adding in your seasoned chicken wings. I like to throw in about four at a time and just let them hang out in the bowl for a minute or two so that they absorb the flour. I pressed them into the flour with my hands as well. Remove pieces and add them to a large skillet and cook on medium heat in about 1/4 to 1/2 of a cup of your oil. I added some coconut oil to my canola oil for flavor.

While the first batch is cooking in fry pan, fry them only to brown both sides, while that is happening go ahead and have the other chicken sitting in the flour mixture and let them hang out while the first batch is frying.

As the batch is frying, get out your cookie sheet or baking pan and coat in cooking spray or line with tin foil. Sprinkle the pan with a thin layer of shredded coconut so that your chicken with be coated on the bottom. Set your pan near your chicken that is frying so you can easily transport them from frying pan to baking sheet.

Once you've browned all of your wings on both sides, and placed them on your baking sheet spray the tops of the wings with cooking spray and add shredded coconut to the top of the wings. You'll get a lot of over-spill but its great, believe me it will taste good and you'll be putting it over your side dish for garnish :D

Bake in 400 degree oven until juices in thickest part of the wing run clear. I just usually take one aside, and pull the flesh from the bone and take a look. If there's no red, or blood and it comes away easily...its done. Hey one chicken wing usually has to take one for the team and that one usually ends up being mine any way.
Bon Apetit~~~

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Coconut Crusted Chicken and Roasted Pepper Medley

Baked Coconut Chicken
©2016 Photograph by Dawn Gagnon

This recipe is healthy and tasty and a better alternative to frying chicken or using shake and bake. When you're on low carb diets, you tend to miss out on a lot of crispy and crunchy things that carb snacks offer, so trying to find things to make up for that is a key goal of mine. No diet will work long term if it is one you can't stick to. This I can't stress enough. This recipe is simple and so easy. There's some carb count with the sweet peppers but overall this is pretty darn healthy and can be  incorporated into any diet.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 Degrees
You will need some cooking spray
Make sure to use well thawed Chicken Breasts
Use a large enough casserole disk or platter for dredging your chicken
All seasonings are suggestions, use your own preferences

In a large casserole or baking dish, add around 4 cups of unsweetened, all natural coconut flakes. Do not use sweetened kinds used for desserts as they have sugar which is a no no for low carb dieting.
For each chicken breast- and bear in mind you can use thighs as well. Whatever you have on hand will do season before coating in the coconut mixture. If you wait until after the coconut is covered on the chicken the flavors don't make as good a contact with the meat and you may not be able to detect any flavors.

I like to use soul seasoning for spicy chicken, but all purpose seasoning and poultry seasoning works very well too. I also like to mix into my shredded coconut some dried Rosemary. Once you have seasoned your chicken pieces on both sides, simply place into your shredded coconut mixture and and press firmly, turn over and do on the other side of the chicken.

Place chicken on a pan that has been sprayed well with cooking spray. I like the Olive oil varieties.
Once all chicken is assembled on the pan, coat the tops of the chicken with additional cooking spray. This will give the crust a nice golden color. If your chicken browns a little too fast, you can simply loose lay a piece of tin foil over them for the remainder of the baking time.

Bake in the over until a pierced chicken's juices run clear. Usually around a half hour or so.
To keep things simple, make the side dish something that can also be baked like the roasted veggies in the photograph. Enjoy~

Thursday, March 3, 2016

To weigh every day or not to weigh every day, the final conclusion

One thing that I have been adamant about on this weight loss journey is NOT weighing yourself every day during your diet. However, there does come a point where I have to change sides on this issue and here's my reasoning. In the beginning of your journey to become healthier, weight loss can be touch and go. You're struggling with a new lifestyle and you're still learning about making better choices in food selection, preparation and so on. So during your initial diet phase 1 as I call it, you are just getting started and it may be two steps forward one step back with regards to weight loss. Even diet experts need time to assemble a game plan and a course of action best suited to their client. That being said, I'd have to say getting on your scale every day is probably not too advantageous. What I'd suggest is every few days, or perhaps, once a week. That way you wont torture yourself with temporary highs and lows we all go through while we're figuring out what is doable and what isn't.

 Now lets fast forward. Let's say you dug in and you're halfway to your goal weight loss total or even very close, do you still weigh once a week? How about if you've met your goal? I can't speak for everyone involved but personally I say I have lost so far 110 lbs. and my goal is as yet undetermined. One thing I am doing is weighing every day. Yes. Why? Because at this stage in my journey, the last thing I want to do is take my eye off the ball when I am close to reaching my goals. I know all too well that the minute you stop paying attention to your weight, the minute you stop wearing those snug pants and change them out for sweats..is most likely the minute you're going back to losing control over your body again. This is not where you want to be, not where you want to go.

So yes, when you get close to your goal in your lifestyle change it's time to not sabotage your efforts, but to keep a close eye. Let's face it, avoiding the scale, and buying stretchy pants is what gets us in trouble..that and all the lovely indulgences we tell ourselves we can have "just one of" and it won't hurt. So that is my thoughts based on my personal experiences. This is not my first rodeo at weight loss, the first low carb diet I followed, I lost 60 pounds and kept it off for over a year. Somewhere along that journey I stopped weighing, stopped wearing my skinny clothes and found myself eventually ballooning back up to over 300 lbs.

With all that being said, I'm going to stick with this philosophy. If someone differs in this opinion, that is fine, but one thing is for certain, the scale doesn't lie. My scale is my best friend now. I have conquered my fear, this friend tells me when I'm slipping before I get out of hand, and keeps me on the straight and narrow. For those struggling, it's not failing that makes us failures..its quitting that makes us failures. Keep on, fight the good fight..good luck!!

For more on why it is good to weigh yourself regularly check out this article as well which supports what I believe as well: http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/How-Lose-20-Pounds-6-Months-37240186

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

95 pounds and counting: My weight loss update

Ok so I figured it was time for an update.  As the title of this post indicates that is where I am at with my weight loss journey. As mentioned in previous posts, the weight is coming off a lot slower now but that is ok. 
Thanksgiving Turkey
©Dawn Gagnon Photography 2015

Let me be the first to say this has been hard. How does one stay on a diet when the whole family loves your cooking almost as much as you do and they all expect to have the favorites prepared with love and a few pounds in every spoonful?

Acorn Squash
©Dawn Gagnon Photography 2015
Sweet Potato Casserole, Gooey Pumpkin Butter Cake? Strawberry Cheesecake, Apple Cranberry Bread pudding, Cranberry raisin walnut Chutney, Gravy, stuffing...the list is long and boy is it gooooooooood. So this meant a lot of willpower, but I also did not deny myself the treats. I just denied how much of them I could have. So my tricks here are pretty simple, small bowls equal smaller portions.

Roasted Veggies
©Dawn Gagnon Photography 2015
Hard as it is to believe, most of the time a "taste" of something decadent is good enough to get us through the resistance. Do you need a whole serving of Cheesecake? Or will half a serving suffice? Maybe you have a bowl and you put in a tablespoon of each dessert you love, your bowl is filled, you got to try everything, and you're still eating less of it than you normally would from your life before the diet.  This actually works if you stick with the rule of it. Denial of all things good is not going to help you, limited portions will. No one likes feeling deprived.

 Another thing to be mindful of is filling up on healthy veggies. Make sure your hunger is satisfied by doubling up on the healthy stuff and reducing the less healthy foods. You'll find you're still getting the gist of the delights but you're limiting the total intake.

I rounded my Thanksgiving day off by taking a brisk walk that evening. I always feel better if I walk. I find that the walks I'm working in are helping, since the weight loss is much slower now..and I love the fact that I can do it in a shorter period of time and with less pain than before. I also recommend if you have stairs in your home to use them often, and try to go up them two at a time. This really gives your thighs a workout. Don't try going down the same way..just don't..take my word for it.

What are some of your tricks to get through the holiday meals? Please feel free to share them with me. Also if you have recipes, I'd love to post them on here.
Good luck with your dieting endeavors, and remember you're getting healthier every day and that should be the big motivator over all else! :)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Conquering weight loss with Hypothyroidism

Thyroid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So this is a challenge all by itself.  Since being diagnosed earlier this year with good ol' Hypothyroidism, and needing desperately to drop weight I have come to the understanding just how challenging this feat is when you have this glandular disease.

There are two types of Thyroid issues that are prevalent, one is Hypo and the other is Hyper. One makes weight gain difficult, the other makes it almost impossible. Guess which one I was lucky enough to get, yep the one that makes losing weight hard and gaining weight oh so very easy. Lets face it, I love food and love to cook so this made this battle a big uphill climb to begin with. 

So what makes this a bigger challenge for me than it was oh say, last year?  Well turns out all the great diet foods that are wonderful and healthy aren't necessarily good for a person with Thyroid problems.  Yeah, foods that are high in Goitrogens are not good for those suffering with a malfunctioning, under functioning Thyroid. Yay me...and the list is long. making coming up with low carb and healthy recipes for my particular condition a big, well I have to say this word a lot these days, even in this post, C-H-A-L-L-E-N-G-E. 

So what is a Goitrogen? According to Websters Dictionary, 

Definition of :GOITROGEN:  a substance (as thiourea or thiouracil) that induces goiter formation

Partial list of foods high in goitrogens:

Bok Choy
Brussel sprouts
Soy and that which contains Soy

That is a partial list..what makes this so hard is those are great foods for those on diets, especially a low carb lifestyle that depends on greens to keep the belly full and the weight off.
My next goal is to find and develop recipes that are mindful of the impact these vegetables have on those suffering with Hypothyriodism.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The great diet debate

Zdice, Beroun District, Central Bohemian Regio...
Zdice, Beroun District, Central Bohemian Region, the Czech Republic. A weight scale in the train station. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you've been reading the headliners on the home pages of Google, etc..you may have run across articles talking about diets and which ones are the best. Well, naturally I saw a lot of comments on the subject and one from someone who was advising everyone how to eat that had admittedly never even had a weight problem.

 Sigh..these commenters bother me the most because unless you've been overweight and have successfully kept the weight off for  a significant period of time I am not convinced that you aren't just genetically blessed with a good metabolism.

This commenter said no one in their family was overweight, and assumed it was their perfectly healthy eating habits that were the credit and so felt they could school everyone on how to lose weight. How do you tell others how to lose weight, when you've never ever had to lose any?

 If you've never been overweight, chances are you have inherited the right genes over dieting practices. We've all known skinny people that could eat everything and not gain a pound. So for those that have never had a weight problem to tackle, please, stop telling others how to lose weight. I'm sure you don't want a fat person telling you how to stay thin, right? Ok with that being said, I will say that most of the articles again pointed to low carb as being the most successful diet.
English: A pile of Wheat Thins crackers, made ...
English: A pile of Wheat Thins crackers, made by Nabisco. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I like doing low carb, but I follow a loose version of it, focusing primarily on portion control and limiting my overall in take of food. Is it easy? Not really. Some nights I just want to head down stairs and go raid my fridge. Other nights, I fall asleep and then wake up and do it.

Cross section of celery stalk, showing vascula...

Cross section of celery stalk, showing vascular bundles, which include both phloem and xylem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What helps is opting for something healthy when I get the munchies. I will eat a few pieces of cheese, a stalk or two of celery and some salad dressing for dipping. I make sure to have a few Wheat thins too..All in a tiny bowl. The crunch of the celery and wheat thins, and the decadent-feels like Im cheating of the cheese and salad dressing..somehow do the trick. I also always drink a bottle of water too. This helps with making me feel full.
whitneyinchicago.wordpress.com/2009/07/11/summery-salads-... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The bottom line is no diet works if you can't or wont follow it. Find one that you can stick to.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Diet Loss Update and What Im doing Now

Wii Fit
Add caption
Ok so its been alittle over a month and just as I stated in my last post the weight loss has slowed a lot. That being said, I still managed to lose ten more since then so total weight loss is 85 lbs. So I am happy with that. Now I did feel the weightloss slowing down, and so decided it was time to approach exercise. It is sad to say but when you're grossly over weight, exercise hurts so much that doing anything for longer than ten minutes at a time is grueling and the payback over the next week is a little slice of Hell.

Naturally thin people love to tell overweight people, "oh you don't exercise, you're lazy, if you just move more and exercise you'll lose weight..." I'd love to strap an extra 100 lbs. on their body and lets see how much exercise they do before they collapse and give in to the pain..it's always the ones too, that have never had a weight problem that seem to believe they know what they are talking about. I'd better stop right here, because that is a pet peeve of mine and so I will bite my tongue..I'm sure it's low carb..right? Yuk Yuk Yuk..

I have always believed when you're a 100 plus pounds overweight, you must first lose weight, then start the exercise. Reasons are : Less painful the lighter you are, thus chances of you sticking to the exercise are better, and since you are moving with less on your body you're likely to feel really excited and encouraged to discover you actually can move, and move much faster!! That makes for a great bit of incentive and so far for me, it has kept me going.

So now that I can finally move some, I try to walk 1 and 1/2 miles every evening and/or do 30 minutes of some aerobic exercises with my Wii Fit Plus.  If you don't have a Wii Fit, they are really inexpensive and the system is wonderful for keeping you on track. It weighs you, evaluates things like your balance, give you helpful hints and tips on how to improve your overall health and gives you different levels of exercise according to what your fitness level may be. It is a lot of fun too.

Wii Fit Plus offers up Yoga training, A variety of Aerobic exercises, strength training, etc. It's great especially when weather is bad. Its like having your own little gym at home and it keeps track of the minutes you spend exercising, your score on each activity, and the calories you burned. Its just awesome and I use mine every day.
Interested in doing Wii fit too? Check out the prices here on Amazon. I think they are well worth it!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Excuses, excuses...

Sanders remains the official face of Kentucky ...
Sanders remains the official face of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and appears on its logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 I get asked a lot by friends and readers about what my secret is for my weight loss and "what diet do you follow?" and when I tell them, I usually hear things like "Oh that type of diet doesn't work for me" or  "I don't like those sorts of foods.., I can't go without this or that.."

Well if that is how you feel good luck finding any diet that wont ask you to give something up. None of them are easy or carefree. If you expect to lose weight and still call all the shots about what you will and will not do, you're better off just going and having surgery, and even then eventually you'll gain it back because discipline and sacrifice is the name of the game.

What did they think I was going to say? I took a handful of magic pills? The truth is, no diet is "ideal" and no diet is easy, or without sacrifice. If you're not committed, no diet will work, and you'll find yourself failing time after time because the truth is, you just simply wasn't ready to put the work into it.
Make no mistake it is work. Especially if you 're a mom like me that has to cook food every night for a family that doesn't give a fig about dieting, low carb or weight loss. In fact my entire family considers it almost a punishment when I make a low carb meal for them. It makes it even harder, because when they feel that way, sometimes I feel that way too. Guilt for eating healthy. How messed up is that?

So my question to those that come up with all the excuses is, how bad do you want it?
Also I think it is key to have a good reason for your motivation. For myself, I'd love to be able to get off of high blood pressure medicine. If that isn't possible, I'd love to at least see my blood work show better results with regards to cholesterol. Lastly, it sure feels good to be able to run up a flight of stairs and not feel like collapsing at the top.

Here's the thing. I'm no expert. I can't guarantee a year from now I won't be back where I started from. Because the sad truth is, the big challenge is in keeping it off, and maintaining a healthy weight. That is something I am just hoping that I can figure out as I go. What I do know is that as I go through this process I will keep those that read these posts in the loop and maybe just maybe we can figure this out together.

I love sharing what I do learn and I know that if I, myself want it bad enough, I will find a way. So I guess that is the question I have to keep asking myself as well..
How bad do I want it? My answer right now? Almost as bad as I want a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Gallon of their gravy..the way they used to make it. :P
I guess that was the wrong answer. But hey, at least I'm being honest.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Dreaded diet Plateau

Exercising in a park in China
Exercising in a park in China (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Well just as I feared it seemed the dreaded plateau had hit. I'm down 75 lbs but the weight loss has slowed  a bit. I am always happy to lose 10 to 20 lbs in any given month so I am not going to complain. The best thing is not to obsess over it.

That means getting on the scale a few times a week not every day, because that can create a level of anxiety that will not speed the process up and make you feel like you're losing the battle on a daily basis.

This is in actuality far from the case and it is normal to hit a plateau. Reason? Well as your body drops the excess weight, it becomes lighter, and needs less food for fuel than it did so cutting back doesn't have the same effect anymore. Not to mention, your body isn't burning the same amount of calories any more to do the same activities. The heart doesn't have to work as hard, your muscles aren't being exerted as much and as such there's less metabolism taking place. Makes sense yes?..

Advice: Push through it, hold fast and increase your activities. This is probably the best time to increase, begin or enhance your exercise routine. The added activity should offset the slowed metabolism and get things moving again.. Remember with dieting, you do have to change up your routine..and your exercise should follow suit, keep your body guessing. Your body is smart it knows when you're suddenly depriving it of intake that it was used to and it will fight you, by storing the fat found in what foods you are consuming, especially if these foods have a high carbohydrate count. This is why low carb dieting works pretty well for many. Fat becomes the ready source of fuel for burning instead of the carbs, and the body does not get the chance to store it. Good to know. Good luck!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Down 70 lbs and counting...my weightloss journey

The ratio of calorific contributions from food...
The ratio of calorific contributions from food components of four diets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ok so I guess it was time for an update on the weight loss. For those that may just be reading this, I have been on a weight loss journey since March of this year. It's been a fantastic experience, but not an easy one but it could be a lot worse. I could have had a relapse and gain some back, or hit a dreadful plateau. Because I don't weigh every day and I don't recommend anyone do that while dieting, if I did hit a plateau, it may have been only a short lived one.
The way the diet has been is this, I might go two-three weeks with no change and then just when I think I'm making no progress...boom, 5-10 lbs. gone. Just like that. I have not indulged in any real sweets but I have broken down a few times and had a few handfuls--and I mean handfuls of raisins and a few scoops of peanut butter. It was delish! LOL..
Ok, so here's another thing, and it goes against what everyone in the diet field would say but I never eat breakfast, never have. I just don't have an appetite in the morning, (except for coffee) so I say if I am not hungry, don't eat. Part of the problem with getting overweight in the first place is eating, out of habit, at certain times, whether you're truly hungry or not. I don't see the advantage in that, because you're basically training your body to ignore your natural hunger signals. I am not recommending anyone follow my lead here, but just sharing with you what I have done and what has gotten 70 pounds off of my body. So instead of eating at breakfast I do make sure most days to have a snack a few hours before supper.
I know I say I do low carb and for the most part I do, but for my snack, I have a small bowl of celery stalks, cut into 4 inch sections, a few pieces of cheddar cheese, and maybe a little thin sliced ham, and some light ranch dressing with a few wheat thin crackers. I have a bowl I make myself use, and it can only hold up to a bout a cup or so of food but its an easy way for me to control the portions without thinking too much.  At supper, one piece of meat and some vegetables. Usually squash, zucchini, maybe roasted sweet potato.. I do not allow myself to go back for seconds except if it is soup.  I try to never ever eat past 6 pm either. If I have to have something late night I might have a cup or two of broth, or a few more stalks of celery.

Well that is the update for now. I will be returning to dr. for my regular check up October 13th? I am not sure at this moment..but I dread going to the Dr. but I do like getting weighed and seeing her face light up from the progress :D

Remember, it can be done, it's not going to be easy, but its not the hardest thing in the world to do, at least not from my perspective. I'd rather give up too much food than to give up not living enough of my life. Ya know?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Weight Loss Progress

Weight and height are used in computing body m...
Weight and height are used in computing body mass index, an indicator of risk for developing obesity-associated diseases. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Well Im down a total of 45 lbs. and it has not been easy, birthdays, Mothers Day, Fathers Day all call for cakes, and cookouts etc. It can be hard for the person trying to lose weight especially doing low carb.
I only take Phentermine when I can remember. I know that sounds crazy but remembering to take my thyroid meds and blood pressure meds is about all my mind seems to want to allow for. I know it is supposed to be considered "addictive" but this just hasn't been my experiment. My theory is, if it is addictive, I'm sure I'd remember to take it every day without fail. Perhaps for others it is addictive..I can only relate my own personal experiences.

I am still employing overall reduced portions, and following the low carb plan..which for me is a simplified version, more veggies, less carbs, but I know Im headed for a plateau so I have to prepare for that strategy. Two things I have learned is 1. I don't need as much food as I thought I did, 2. It doesn't necessarily get easier as time goes by.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Low Carb/Portion Control Project update: My progress

The face of dieting
I think you have to look grumpy a lot when you're dieting
Well this is the first week of the third month of my dieting experiment, which I'll call the Low carb/Portion control Project. Thus far total weight loss has been 33 lbs. My daily regimen thus far has been to increase my water intake. Diet Soda has been kicked to the curb. I still drink coffee and that will just have to be my vice, as I am not prepared to give that up too.

What jump started this new journey in my weight loss was my Dr. finally agreeing to give me something to help. The pill is called Phentermine. Now because my weight was at a crisis point, she decided that the benefits would outweigh the risks.

What was the risks? Well for some people with high blood pressure Phentermine can cause it to raise, and also additionally in some people heart palpitations. However I will say my Dr's strategy has proven correct and my personal case, my blood pressure has steadily gone down since losing some weight. The last reading was 129/76. I'll take it. At the beginning my bp was around 130/86 so it was going in the wrong direction. I currently take medicine for my blood pressure so the diet has been a good thing.

Side effects of Phentermine- Well in the first week, I did feel a little "wired" more energetic, but by the second week that subsided. I suspect though that my sleep patterns are still a little off, but I can't be sure since I have never been a great sleeper not since I hit my forties anyway.

Now I have only three months left on Phentermine, because my Dr. will not prescribe it for longer than six months because it is supposedly habit forming. I personally haven't found that  to be the case, since I often forget to take it. You are supposed to take it one hour before you eat in the morning and it is supposed to curb your appetite. Even though I've lost weight, I can't be sure that this pill is the reason, since I go to a lot of effort to eat low carb and smaller portions. Am I still hungry sometimes? Oh yes!
What do I do? I try my best to fight through it, I gulp down some bottled water and I find something productive to do. My weakness is wanting to eat at night so the sooner I can get to bed and fall asleep the better. Challenging for a chick that doesn't sleep well.

The other challenge is that I have a thyroid condition so this weight loss thing is even more tricky. Why? Because lots of foods I love that are low in carbs are also not necessarily ideal for thyroid, inasmuch as they can interfere with my thyroid medicine working properly. I will get blood work done probably the next Dr. visit at the end of this month and I will find out what the scoop is then.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Is a low carb diet enough?

food sources of magnesium: bran muffins, pumpk...
food sources of magnesium: bran muffins, pumpkin seeds, barley, buckwheat flour, low-fat vanilla yogurt, trail mix, halibut steaks, garbanzo beans, lima beans, soybeans, and spinach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Well from past experience, I'd have to say no, sticking to low carb may not be enough. There are other components and factors that must be considered when we think of what makes for a successful diet.
All diets eventually can hit a road block, where the dieter hits that dreaded "plateau" you hear about, where no weight is coming off and you're stuck in a rut of sacrifice with no reward in sight. This is one of the toughest places to be in when dieting.
It is important though, during this time not to give in, or give up. Push your way through as if you're losing weight every day anyway, even if the scale seems to be stuck on one number. Be more stubborn than the disappointment, and don't think of your quest in terms of failure, but that you're maintaining your edge. No weight loss, after all, is better than weight gain.
That being said there are a few additional strategies you can employ that may help get you past that weight loss rut. Some things that help are these following strategies that can be implemented into you low carb efforts.
1. Drink more water. I know you've probably heard this a lot but it is true, not only does keeping hydrated help your body when you diet, but the water helps aid us in feeling full. I drink at least two bottles of water before I eat my biggest meal and then I have a bottle or two afterward. It really does help when I am fighting the urge to go into the kitchen for seconds or late night snacks.
2. Go to sleep earlier. Funny as this sounds perhaps to some, the truth is you can't eat if you're sleeping. I found I cheated a lot more on my diets when I stayed up really late, say after everyone else went to bed and the refrigerator was just steps away, beckoning me to have peak inside for left over goodies. By going to bed earlier, you give your body not only the extra rest, but it does get your through one more day of not cheating.
3. Portion control. So you've been low carbing and you hit the brick wall. Your problem may be that your body is fighting back and managing a work around. The body is smarter than we think it is. It can find a way to get around your efforts and it adjusts to combat the dietary change. I believe it interprets any diet as starvation. In the beginning it doesn't know what hit it, and over time it seems like our systems figure it out.  So what then? Well could be your portions are still quite large. Larger than you need them to be. It's hard to cut back on portions, especially when you feel you're giving up so much already, but in time you'll realize, you really don't need as much as you think you do.
4. Give yourself a free pass. One day a month, you should really give yourself a treat. It seems like this throws the body off, because you've been following a predictable pattern for so long. The body doesn't always seem to know how to deal with the sudden influx of goodies and generally speaking your improved metabolism will deal with this little treat just fine. Just don't ever for one minute forget this is for life. Diets are not optional for the morbidly obese. There is no getting off of a diet, only modifications of the diet. itself. Lose sight of that one fact and you'll be bigger than ever in a few years. Keep the faith, push on through and good luck low carbing.

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