It’s Good to Be Back

I have neglected this blog. I decided to pursue other writing under an assumed name, because I felt I would not be completely myself if I was worried about what people may think of my deeper, more personal thoughts and feelings. However, I haven’t written much there, either. Writing for me comes and goes in terms of desire and inspiration, and it’s been a very eventful year. 2015 featured in its table of contents the death of my mother, the serious violation of my loved-one by a predator, a very difficult and stressful job that I left, and has culminated with my trip to the doctor. I left with a prescription for antidepressants, and also- a higher dose of Levothyroxine for my under-active thyroid. I feel better. I am grateful for the help, and I am slowing coming back into the light. 

So, if you struggle with your weight despite watching everything you eat, portion control, and regular exercise, it’s time to see your doctor, especially if you are a woman, to see if an underactive thyroid could be the culprit. Let me tell you that my weight has already dropped by 8 pounds since getting the right dose of thyroid medication. My appetite is greatly reduced, and sometimes I have to remind myself to eat more. 1,000 calories seems like a lot now! And really, I need a bit more than that. As to low-carb, I have been doing that for so long, that eating that way for the most part is just my normal routine. The problem comes in when I start engaging in a few deleterious behaviors. If you are struggling to stay on low-carb, or have stopped seeing success, watch out for the following  bad habits which may have crept in.

  1. Alcohol consumption. I had been creeping up on drinking. Usually I indulged in light beer, or that new water-based beverage with basically no carbs but still with alcohol. So your liver focuses on detoxing the alcohol, blood sugar actually drops, and you end up more hungry. If you are consuming very sweet drinks, however, that changes the dynamic a bit, and you are still taking in those extra calories in place of actually giving your body nutrition. Also, if you are addictive, as I am, it’s a very bad sugar substitute, alcohol. It leads to all sorts of evils. Keeping things in moderation is not what an addictive is good at. An addict is good at more and more all the time. I prefer the term ‘addictive’, because it means to me that I am prone to it, but am not necessarily committed to it. I believe the stress of the year contributed to my choice to drink more, but it’s certainly not a good self-medication therapy. Things were spinning out of control.
  2. Too many cheat days. A cheat meal is not the same thing as a cheat DAY. That one day of eating whatever I wanted was really hard to come back from. One meal is much easier to recover from, in terms of blood sugar levels. Besides, I always feel like crap after a big, nasty carb day. I don’t mean oatmeal and quinoa. I was loading up on cookies, donuts, and ice cream- like- all day long. Immediately I would retain fluids and be up about 1-4 pounds virtually overnight. No joke. Now, last night I made a tuna casserole, and I ate some for dinner. I won’t be surprised to find I am up a pound over yesterday, but I also recognize that will correct itself if I get back on track today. And I have no problem doing that, because I didn’t completely put my body out of whack by indulging all day long yesterday.
  3. No activity. I had a sit down job, and was mentally drained at the end of the day. I skipped too many workouts. It showed. At the age of 46-47, muscle loss happens more quickly almost yearly. It takes weight bearing exercise to keep muscle. Don’t neglect it, and don’t do overdo the cardio at the expense of weight bearing. it helps to  actually schedule my workouts on the calendar. I even set reminders on my phone with encouraging , tough love messages, like, “Work out today, you know you want to!” Or, “Get moving, you lazy slug!” Whatever works. There are many great sources for finding a good routine. Gyms have trainers, often for free, who will help you put a plan together and hold you accountable for progress.
  4. Not weighing in once a week. It was easier to ignore the scale altogether than to face the truth. Weighing first thing in the morning once or twice a week helps me see the immediate effects of my nutrition and exercise habits and to make adjustments. Just don’t get obsessive about it. For example, don’t be disappointed when you’re five pounds up during PMS week.
  5. Stress. It’s easy to get worked up about the election, the cat that just peed on the bed when you just washed the comforter the night before, or that your parent is in the hospital. Stress is deadly. It’s deadly to your diet, your mental health, and many other areas of your physical health. Try prayer, mediation, yoga, talking to a friend. Do what you need to do to get healthy. Sometimes a therapist may be helpful. Sometimes a trip to the doctor is in order. Some people are just very good at staying low-stress, because they have great coping mechanisms and understand that life is a beautiful thing that is just naturally ‘flawed’. That’s part of the beauty. We learn, we grow in faith, or we suffer. We do all the right things, and we still suffer. But in the midst of that, be sure to keep reaching out. Talk to someone. Work through the issues. Worry won’t solve it.
  6. Food is fuel. It should be tasty and enjoyed, but don’t make it the love of your life. Focus on family, friends, staying healthy. Develop hobbies that don’t involve running to the kitchen for a mindless snack simply out of boredom.
  7. Getting SO bored of oily meat and salads! Believe me, I know! Go to http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com , as one shining example, of GREAT LC/GF and other diet specialty recipes and ideas. Start a low-carb board on Pinterest and look for and try the huge variety of recipes and refresh your idea of what low-carb is. Everybody is busy, but not every meal needs to be roast beef wrapped around 1/2 stick of butter. Get your creative juices flowing. Set aside a time and a budget for some of the pricier ingredients that low-carb can include. For example- almond flour, xanthan gum, Swerve, etc. You need to find a good source for some of these ingredients, because not all are available, or available at a good price, at the local grocers. Meanwhile, investigate new recipes for old standbys. There’s more to do with broccoli than just steam it.
  8. Peer pressure. Your family wants mashed potatoes, corn bread, corn, and fried chicken. Fine. Let them have it. You don’t have to eat it. Have a grilled chicken salad with avocado, and colorful red bell pepper, and make them jealous!
  9. Trigger foods. Pizza? Hot rolls? Fresh cookies? Decide if it’s really worth it. Decide if you can act in moderation. Do your best to just ignore it. It’s not a temptation unless you BELIEVE it to be. Maybe this is the time for the cheat meal. But maybe you can wait for the birthday cake on Friday. You get the idea. Have some suitable, satisfying alternatives in your pantry or fridge to satisfy the immediate urges, and carry on.

Favorite low-carb emergency foods: (assuming you are ok with artificial sweeteners . I have alternatives for those, too. )

Light and Fit Greek yogurt at 80 calories and about 9 net carbs. YUM. Very satisfying. Atkin’s meal and treat bars. String cheese. Flavored almonds, Low carb tortillas are in my home at all times. I use them for everything. Even my own pizza. I use liquid stevia in my coffee. Cottage cheese with berries on top. I make mock cheesecakes in single serve sizes using ramekins. I sweeten with Splenda or Swerve or stevia. Berry-protein smoothies. I use vanilla whey or vanilla vegan protein powder and mix with almond milk and frozen blueberries or strawberries.  I mix in spinach as well, and can’t even taste it once blended. I have this regularly for breakfast.

Mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes. Light and Crisp crackers by Wasa. Peanut butter is a huge staple, as well as almond flour. I enjoy eggs, and use them in a variety of ways. The point here is, with a little investigation and strategy, you can build your own low-carb go-to stash that works for YOU. Notice that most of these have a protein component. Proteins and fats are your FRIENDS. Stop trying to avoid fat. The only time you want to avoid fat is when it’s the fake, hydrogenated kind found in things like Lil’ Debbie’s snack cakes, pre-packaged junk like Cheetos, bologna, etc. The more prepared it is, the worse it generally is for you.

So, I am back. The medication is certainly helping me get back to where I feel like me again, but God has been at work in my life big time. I am very grateful for all the support and love I have had from friends and family , and for all the prayers. If you see yourself in a similar struggle, don’t go it all alone. Talk to someone. Take your life back.

 

 

 

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New to Low-Carb Diets? Here’s What You Need to Know

After doing this ‘lifestyle’ for a while now, I forget that a lot of people have a completely erroneous belief system about what Atkin’s is, along with any of the other popular low-carb or moderated-carbohydrate eating plans out there making the rounds right now. I could whip out my Atkin’s book and fill your minds with all of the science behind carbs, sugars, glucose, glycogen, insulin resistance, the addicting properties of sugar, ad nauseum until your eyes roll back in your skulls and you reach for your usual evening snack of a Butterfinger and coke, but there are a lot of good books out there that explain the science. I  have a working knowledge of it, but I am no biologist, nutritionist, nor chemist.

So, let’s just start with dispelling some of the most common myths right away. These are things that I hear people chatting about in weight loss forums, and I roll my eyes at the ignorance.

“Yeah, my cousin just told me she’s doing Atkin’s. I mean, she’s living on mayo and bacon, OMG. She won’t eat bread, but bacon is ok?

“Yeah, my mom did that for awhile. She never ate fruit or veggies”.

” I can’t believe anyone who eats a diet primarily of meat fat can be healthy no matter how much weight they might lose. Imagine the clogged arteries. Just gross”. 20140108-193754.jpg

Ok ok. Enough of this crap. First of all, if the cousin is living on bacon and mayo, she might be trying to jump start ketosis. Ketosis? What’s that? A sign of kidney disease? NO. It’s not. That would be ketoacidosis, a very serious condition usually seen in uncontrolled diabetes where the body is burning too much fat. Ketones are a by-product of that fat-burn. You might notice ketone test strips for sale at the Rite Aid or see them in a diabetic friend’s bathroom. They let you know if you’re burning fat. For those of us who are healthy, a fat burn is a good thing. How do we burn fat? Well, first, it helps if you are not overeating the other fuel of your body- carbohydrate. The body prefers carbs simply because they are more easily burned, and the body does not give a flat damn how you look in jeans, it’s job is to efficiently turn your food intake into usable energy. The carbohydrate portion of what we eat is just easier to break down. It doesn’t mean it ‘s better for you. In a perfect world, all our carb sources would be vegetable and fruit, with a smattering of unrefined grains. The human body was not created with a need for , nor ability to properly assimilate the carbs known as candy bars, grocery store cakes , and those nasty little one dollar fried pies wrapped in wax paper wrappers. A little of anything will generally not hurt anyone.  So, pasta may not be brimming over with minerals, fiber, vitamins, protein- well, ok, anything of real value, really- but it’s a tasty holder for sauce and meat and veggies which do.  In low-carb diets, we just eliminate the useless, white filler foods which have no nutritional value and replace them with things that are good for you, such as more veggies, or meat or even cheese. All you’ve been hearing about fats like those in cheese turns out to not be so bad for you after all when eaten as part of a low-carb diet. Why is that?

Let’s back up to answer that. Remember the ketone strips, and burning fat rather than carbs, which convert into glucose/become glycogen.  That’s  right, either your body is running primarily on protein and fat, or it’s running primarily on some form of sugar. Most of us are in the middle. Tip the balance and we can gain or lose weight. You can also lose weight by simply consuming less, but most of us can’t seem to stay with that one long-term. Low carb makes this easier for those of us whose love of sweets and starches is more than simple oversight, more than a casual, occasional overeating phase. The bacon and mayo example above serves a great point for illustration here. As the body is being converted over from being a glucose/sugar burning machine primarily, to a fat burning one, the first two week ‘induction’ phase of most low-carb diets does consist of a lot of meat, cheese, and greens. Notice the greens. Some people swear by small fat/protein jaunts to speed up the process even faster, but I personally don’t feel it’s necessary for me.

So, which is superior nutrition? Bacon and eggs with strawberries, or cereal, pancakes, and fruit? Which has the most protein, by which your body fuels every muscle in your body? Which has more useless white  flour and sugar? Would you feed a racehorse straight sugar before a race? You see, spiking your blood sugar causes a rush of insulin to counteract. Once your blood sugar returns to pre-spike levels, you might often feel a crash, and get ravenously hungry and shaky and grouchy well before lunch. Not only does your body not have enough slower burning, necessary protein and fat to keep you going, but your blood sugar is now too low. So, in a misguided attempt to correct this, we might grab donuts, chips, candy  bars or the hallowed yet useless granola bars to quickly raise our blood sugar levels again,and it ‘s not even lunch time. I know that there are many normal weight people out there who have more stable reactions to sugars, who can eat cereal for breakfast and be fine until lunch, have their subs and chips and never be overweight, but I am not one of them, and neither are many of us. I am , like many of us in the world, strangely and profoundly addicted to the documented release in dopamine and seratonin from my brain which eating refined carbs and sugars causes. We are programmed from early childhood to capitalize on our natural enjoyment of sweetness by being rewarded with candies and cookies and cakes, for celebrations, good behavior, and are set up to think that these things are what we deserve for being ‘good’, when nothing could be further from the truth! Finally, good low carb diets like the one I follow is huge on veggies. In fact, the first two weeks meals consist of two salads per day, and after the first two weeks, the emphasis is always on veggies, low-glycemic fruits, and clean meats as much as possible, like salmon, other fish, meat, dairy and eggs/cheese. There is even a way to do low carb and still be vegan. Our carbs can come from moderate amounts of quinoa and couscous , too, but grains should NOT be the staple of the diet, veggies and protein should. I mean veggies that do not have a large carb/starch component, because the body converts that into sugar.

Help in Eating Right: Getting great nutrition without refined sugars and useless white flour: http://www.shakeology.com/leekirsten  I am a coach, and I stand behind this amazing superfood. Also, I am a health coach and soon-to-be personal trainer. I invite you to my challenge groups held online monthly. Lee MacKenzie at Facebook. Or just contact me at leekirsten.mack@gmail.com for more info. I run free or paid groups. You are welcome to find out more about either!

Please dive into the myriad of reasons that table sugar and refined carbs need to play a much more minimal role in our diets: For further reading:

http://www.sugarbusters.com

Sugar is as addictive as cocaine, and causes obesity ...

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/researcher-sugaraddictive

Science Behind Atkins

www.atkins.com/Science/ScienceBehindAtkins.aspx
If these links don’t click, just copy and paste to your browser bar/window,.

 

Low-Carb product Review For April, 2014

I’ve been a re-dedicated low-carber since January of 2011 now. It’s been three years of mostly staying on the straight and narrow. At times, I have to retool and retrain myself, because I fall off the wagon , usually through slow little slips in the wrong direction over time. I have learned that I cannot eat more than 30 grams of net carbohydrate per day , even with working out, and lose weight. And, I cannot exceed 50 for more than a couple of days a week without gaining, and quickly. I get bored on my low-carb diet, and I am always on the lookout for low-carb substitutes to make it all more tolerable. Thanks to Viva Low-carb for coming to my rescue. I ordered some new things this time, and a few old favorites. A few of my selections were quite deliciously surprising!

Always a dream of mine- a good low-carb cookie. Nutritious Creations of Bay Shore, NY makes a delicious, giant oatmeal cookie that’s worth the 2.49 I paid for it, because it is a real cookie. At only 1 net gram of carbs, plenty of fiber, a nice soft chew, and great flavor, this is the only and best low-carb cookie I have ever tasted. Apparently it’s available also at http://www.snacksforlife.com . I have not been paid or comped for any of these reviews. I don’t mind giving raves and business to companies who are succeeding in supplying a market that is perhaps small, but persistent and growing. We are having a hard time finding anything in our home towns other than Atkins’ bars and diabetic, limited items full of fructose. Well, yay that fructose is natural, but it’s not low-carb, really, and makes me a giant bag of agonized gas… Anyway, A+ on the cookies.
Next on the A-listers is the Lily’s stevia sweetened dark chocolate. Great taste, texture, and flavor. It tasted like the real thing, and I highly enjoy the stevia as opposed to sucralose, which I am trying to ditch. By the way, the cookies I mentioned are sweetened with sucralose (Splenda), and while really tasty, more evidence is coming in that sucralose is not safe for long-term use, and may be causing its current users problems now.
Both brands of the low carb bagels are good, but I think the Healthwise brand edges out Great Low-carb bread company for softness, chew, and size.
The Dixie mix carrot muffins…well, my past experience with Dixie has not been great, at all- but I am giving them one last chance. Typically, their products leave a strange bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

I bought some great bread. It’s California Lifestyle Soy and Flax bread. I like it. $6.99, but only 1 gram per slice?! Outrageously nice bite, full of fiber and good grains. Sometimes, though not often, I want bread.

Proto-toast. A strange chocolate crisp bread, slightly sweet, that would make a good holder for cream cheese or butter or peanut/almond butter.

Hi-Low Cereal with strawberries. A true low-carb cereal, with only 7.4 net carb grams per half cup. I had a cup at least. Portion sizes could be a problem, here. I really wanted cereal. I got this collection today, and have already deeply sampled a lot of it. I probably blew the 30 grams thing since I already had 15 grams of carbs at breakfast with my fruit smoothie (Shakeology).

And there you have it, the product review! Head over to http://www.vivalowcarb.com and see what catches your eye. They’re running a discount code that I used and shipping was fast! RMN20, and you can find more at retailmenot.com Also, Low-Carb U has some interesting looking goodies at their site as well. Enjoy!

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Commit and Succeed

You can’t actually click on this and get to my site, because I am not able, I guess, to place HTML code on my site, since it’s not actually my site. It’s a rental. And rentals don’t allow for repainting the walls, typically.

http://www.teambeachbody.com/leemackenzie  COACH ID FOR ALL ORDERS= 327883  Set up a free account and tell the system you have a coach, and this is my #. Thank you! 

My Clean Eating Is a Little Dirty…

Yeah, well. I wasn’t worried about the clean eating challenge the week before my T-25 Challenge. After all, I eat right. Lots of veggies, whole foods, very little packaged…at least, I tell myself that all the time.

However, it turns out that a few of my favorite things are not clean. In fact, they are downright smutty.  Let’s look at the Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage links yesterday. I stopped midway through the second link and stopped and said out loud, “Oh, no. What am I DOING?”.  I ate it anyway. I disappointed myself. At work, I drank my usual two Splenda sweetened energy drinks. Not horrible, I guess. I suppose I am not entirely convinced that Splenda is bad for me. I guess I made my own rules, there.

What about the two small spoons of marshmallow cream tonight I had after dinner? Tiny, but that was about 10 grams of carbs, and nothing but delightful, horrible sugar. It seemed to kill my cravings. I worked out tonight, and feel like I might have undone a bit of my progress. I should have held fast. I didn’t. I caved. It might be that I should up my carb count now, with the increasing work outs. Trying to keep it to 25 grams has been harder than ever lately. Today it was probably more like 45. Not a sin for the average eater. In fact, that would be low. But I feel like I won’t lose fat at that rate. I am not sure. So far, I tend to just stay steady at 134-136. Can’t seem to reach that 130 holy grail. Something has to give. I am seeing new definition in my upper abs, but the lower portion still looks like someone who is either 45, (me) had two kids, (again, me, but 19 years ago!) or is using that as an excuse. Flabby chicken skin is not attractive. But guess what? I am still getting stronger. As we age, the skin just doesn’t quite spring back into taut condition, even with fat loss and muscle toning. I won’t let that stop me from trying, though. After all, I really just got started on the ab routine not long ago. I found some great exercises to tone the lower abs on my Yoga Booty Ballet DVD. You use a small ball, and squeeze that tight between your knees as you do a half sit up. The kind that actually work the abs, not kill the back of the neck.  And as you’re squeezing, if you touch your lower abs, you can feel they are actually getting worked.

More to the point, I have found a great way to meet people, a community of low-carb and fitness experts and fans, and it’s all quite exciting. I love the feeling of making new acquaintances and friends along this journey to health.

I have a few more kryptonite food items/substances like nicotine gum to kick out of my life. I need to not need a Monster Lo-carb to feel energetic. There’s still a lot of hard work I need to learn to do. I have whole new levels I need to push myself to. I can do a run one day and feel strong, and push past my old limit, and the very next time I am struggling to get through 2/3 of it. I think the important thing is to never stop!

People like to philosophize that it doesn’t matter- we should just do whatever we want because we all die anyway. But that’s not the point. I know I am going to die anyway. It’s working toward a goal that matters! No matter what that goal may be. Not a goal to see how quickly I can ruin my health and treat my body and mind like they’re worthless. But rather, a goal to strive toward more excellence. In that endeavor, the reward IS the journey, and the life is made worth living. I spend the prime years of my youth wasting the potential I had, partying and not believing in anything, much less myself. Now I find a new strength and sense of purpose in testing my limits. The other argument is that I should not beat myself up for making a slip or mistake. I get that. I’m OK that I messed up, or I wouldn’t have messed up. I chose it. I just don’t want to PAY for it, you see…

Anything you want to add?

 

Would you like to join my challenge? You can use whatever of our DVD workouts you like, and you should get the challenge pack, because the Shakeology is fairly low carb and filling, and has so many vitamins and superfoods in it, it’s unheard of. Besides, it’s a lot cheaper to just get the challenge pack.

and if you’re looking to add income to your life while working in fitness, this is IT. Hit me up for info if you’re ready.

http://www.teambeachbody.com/leemackenzie

If you do want to order from my site, sign up for a free account and choose me as your coach. You gotta use these digits, though.

327883, that’s the number if you want to order from me! 

Low-Carb Product Reviews of the Month

I ordered some more products from Viva Low Carb, and am still enjoying most of them. I polished off the very tasty peanut butter cookies first!

Product Name SKU Price Qty Subtotal
Subtotal $38.95
Shipping & Handling $10.95
Grand Total $49.90
MiRico – Cinnamon Bagels – Pack of 6
643737201014
$7.99
Ordered: 1
Shipped: 1
$7.99
MiRico – Hot Dog Buns
643737201083
$7.99
Ordered: 1
Shipped: 1
$7.99
Health Express – S/F – Gluten Free- Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies
643737501343
$6.99
Ordered: 1
Shipped: 1
$6.99
Ed’s of Maine – Sour Cream and Onion Kale Chips
649164892368
$7.99
Ordered: 1
Shipped: 1
$7.99
Great Low Carb Bread Company – Everything Bagels
757901707193
$7.99
Ordered: 1
Shipped: 1
$7.99
So, here is the invoice sheet. You can clearly see the prices, and exact items I purchased.
First, the Cinnamon Bagels by MiRico. These come in at a net carb gram count of 8. This is probably due to their sweeter constitution than the Everything  bagel, but I don’t know why that should be so. Obviously, any sugars could have been replaced by any number of the usual sweeteners for these type things- malitol, mannitol, xylitol, Sucralose, brown beet sugar, etc. Even stevia. Speaking of stevia, it seems to not be in favor as a sweetener with any of the low-carb or sugar-free baked goods available. I am not sure why that is.
The bagels are soft, tasty, and satisfying. However, today I am attempting to get back into ketosis, and I am not eating the cinnamon type for the next few days. It’s a good deal, and I had a free shipping code for Viva Low Carb . I don’t always have free shipping, so  I really wish that local grocers would carry low-carb breads. There are enough diabetics to support the sales, and they already carry low-carb tortillas, one of my mainstays, and so it wouldn’t be such a big jump. Meanwhile, there are a lot of online vendors for these, and the prices are acceptable.
The Everything Bagels by Great American Bread Company are also chewy, delicious, and have a bite like a real bagel. They also only come in at a net of 2 grams of carbs. Slather one up with cream cheese or butter, and it’s a great snack, breakfast, or other light meal. Thoroughly enjoyable, with no silly manufacturer attempts to plump it up with added protein powder or some gritty flour substitute.
The Health Express Sugar and gluten free peanut butter cookies were really quite yummy. I  finished those off much faster than I should have. But that just speaks to their quality- Ok, and my sweet tooth! They have a crispy start that melts into a chewy finish, with no artificial sweetener aftertaste or bitter bite. I really need to get some more of those. I would have appreciated a larger ounce size on those for the money. All my attempts to make something like this at home have been dismal failures. On the other hand, I really should spend more time at the http://www.Ibreatheimhungy.com website, Mellissa has some wonderful recipes and great ideas!
The Mi Rico hot dog buns. Well, my batch was a bit over-browned. The bite is very chewy and screams “Hearty grains”, and would have made  a great recipe for a toasting or eating bread, but was too overpowering for a hot-dog bun. They are very fiber-rich and somewhat seedy and again- not the greatest for a hot dog bun. I would have liked a softer chew, and less hearty richness. How could that be done? Well, the Everything bagel dough would have been perfect, sans seeds, shaped into a bun. Let’s just say that. The one good quality of the buns though is that at least they don’t have that ‘full- of- cellulose- because -we- didn’t- know -what else- to- do- to -make- them- taste- like -bread” chew to them. So again, they DID taste a lot like real bread. Just too hearty for a hot dog bun.
The KALE chips. This was my first try of any kale chip, packaged or otherwise. I can only say that the ‘sour cream and onion’ concentrate powdered flavoring all over them was way too much. It gave the entire thing a fake, sour flavor that was NOT enjoyable. I think homemade kale chips with just a bit of salt and spice would have been preferable. I left the majority of them in the break room for the staff, and there seemed to be no takers.
So, there’s the review from Viva Low Carb. I am always looking to find not just reasonable substitutes, but preferable ones in my low-carb lifestyle.
One honorable mention: On a previous order, that I did not review here, I ordered several Desserts of Distinction mini-cheesecakes from Viva Low Carb. They are excellent. I’ve had them before, and they are always really good. They are a bit pricey, but small and freezer-ready, so you can always have them on hand. At 2 grams of of carbs per cake, they are satisfying and worth the  money for the occasional order. I am ready to try some new products, and am looking for companies who want to pay me in product to review those items on my blog.  I will be honest, and if I don’t like something, I will tell it like it is, as I have been doing.
Let me know what your favorite low-carb products are, and please share!

Let’s Get Real

I started this low-carb blog with several purposes in mind. First, I wanted to flex my typing fingers and actually write. I never intended to post strictly about low-carb eating, despite my blog’s title. Next, it’s good to be in a like-minded group of other low-carbers, to offer up strategies, recipes, and most importantly, support.  Finally, it feels good to write again. I would love to tell you how I am such a great writer, that I’ve been discovered and asked to write for magazines. That hasn’t happened. It’s a sobering ego-check to realize that you’re probably not that great. Then again, I usually just sit down and bang these blog posts out with very little planning or editing. You get back what you put out, to a large degree. I have not wanted to post anything here that might be good enough to plagiarize. That’s my excuse, and I like it.

As to low-carb weight loss! I am now maintaining my weight at about 132. That’s up from my all time low, as you may recall, of 122. I am certainly not depressed over being 132. I was at 147, even an all time high of 155 at one point, and I have no plans to return there. However, I would like to examine why it is that my weight has crept up.

1) I’m not holding myself to a strict 20-25 grams per day. I could not realistically continue to maintain that low carb count for two straight years. Maybe I could have, I take that back, but I didn’t.

2) In addition to playing fast and loose with the numbers, I have allowed more cheat days to creep in. There’s a bad habit our bakery department has at work of leaving mistakenly made or not-picked-up items in the break room for the employees to devour. After about the third or fourth time of walking by it, sitting next to it, and smelling it- after seeing so many other employees of all weights and sizes partake, I am only human. I cave. Incidents like these have happened more frequently as summer has come to a close. Is it just me, or does it get harder to eat right at this time of year? Every brother and their mother is bringing baked goods to work, and I even bought some canned pumpkin, which I have not opened yet. Then, my birthday is coming up, and I am already planning my splurge day.

3) Running.” You’ll get smaller,” they said. “It’s all muscle weight”, they said. I don’t know about all of that, but it seems the more I run, the more I gain. “Run more”, they said. “I’ve had enough this week!”, I said. Truth be told, I feel quite accomplished to run at ALL. I don’t know that I want to up the ante and get to 15-20 miles a week. I’ve been good at my 2-3k, 2-3 times per week. Sorry if that’s not good enough, all you hard-core runners. In fact, sometimes it’s even less. My neck and shoulders have been aching due to some sort of bone/muscle issue I’ve had off and on for years, and I haven’t run since 10-14. I did four miles that day.

4) I make the mistake of eating sugar free treats because I miss sweetness. I  have always had a huge sweet tooth, and sometimes it’s actually a fang. I eat the stuff, and I have lots of gas and frequent trips to the bathroom for hours or a day when I do. Sorry to be so graphic, but that’s why I called this post, “Let’s Get Real”. It’s not like it’s all sunshine and roses over here. I struggle to stay on low-carb, and sometimes I really run off the path and get lost in the Black Forest (cake).

So, what am I doing right? Why haven’t I gained all the weight back? Why haven’t I just given up completely?

What I am doing right: I exercise for health and heart strength, strong bones and muscles above weight loss concerns. Though I need to be more consistent, I have not given up. I keep getting back on that treadmill and doing those crunches and planks.

I still eat the majority of time in low-carb mode, including snacks. String cheese, nuts, raw veggies and ranch were yesterday’s snacks. Dinner was kielbasa and green beans with a light alfredo sauce. I was satisfied. I buy no-carb bagels online that are mostly soy protein. I drink almond milk. I enjoy eggs, bacon, and plenty of salad regularly.

I don’t throw in the towel and give up just because I splurged one day, or even on two occasions in a week, for example. I start all over the next day, attempting to balance things out.

I resign myself to the knowledge that if I really want to lose about eight pounds fairly rapidly, I will go back to eating only 20 grams of carbs per day, until I reach that goal. Turns out I am not feeling like I have to right now.

Finally, I remember that cravings for certain foods are not just physical. They are psychological and even spiritual for me. My natural desires can either be directed toward healthy habits and hobbies, or destructive ones. For example, if I am off of work, sitting here on the couch, contemplating what to do with my day, I have choices. I can involve myself in housework, work on my blog, chat with friends on Facebook, or go outside and play with my play-deprived dog. That would be constructive behavior.  OR, I can dump some food in her bowl, get in the car and do some mindless shopping for things I don’t need and can’t afford. I might throw beer or wine into my cart, with plans to enjoy it later. I might buy more sugar free foods, or another makeup item i don’t need. This is destructive behavior. Even worse, I might just never get off the sofa, watching TV all day- a huge creativity and productivity killer, with plans to work out on this gorgeous, sunny fall day, that never actually materialize.

I don’t always make the right choices. Do you? Are you the super-motivator? Are you so regularly spectacular that you are a motivational speaker now and have a couple of books published? Does Tony Robbins consult YOU? If so, congratulations. Enjoy every  moment of the fame, success, and all that life has to offer.  Wow, am I bitter?

🙂 Anyway, there’s more to life that feeding our faces or our desires. My mom is probably sitting on her sofa, wishing she could even leave her home and do anything other than suck on that oxygen tube. There are a lot of people not too far from us who could use something we have to give. I have to give. TIme, love, friendship.

Take care!