Weigh-in Wednesday: The Roller Coaster of Weight Loss

The strangest thing to me about working to get a hold of your health is how up and down the scale can be…even when you are working your hardest.

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In the last week, I have got back on track with diet (except for a few splurges for the long weekend) and even went to a Cardio Barre class last night. Work made me a little late, but I went in any way and still got in a 45 minute workout (which is well above my 20 minute requirement). Yet today when I weighed myself, I was up a pound from last week.

Even if my scale is going up and down, I am taking a moment to understand the fluctuation which will help me NOT ride the emotional roller coaster (and you shouldn’t either):

  1. Eating Late – I ate dinner much later than usual last night. There has been a big change in schedules and I am not able to do night time workouts. That being said, I am getting home and eating MUCH later than usual (around 9pm) which I know impacted my weigh-in. While I know it is not good to eat so late, the reality of my schedule is that I either eat late with a workout, or don’t workout at all. Sure, sure…I could do a morning workout and bypass this problem, but my class is not early enough in the morning. I have found that even if it isn’t perfect, as long as you are working to be healthy…well, then go YOU.
  2. Working Out – I started working out again. It is a well known fact that muscle weighs more than fat, so with the additional exercise…this could happen.
  3. Too Much Sodium – as I have been working to lower carbs, I have been overcompensating with salt and pepper to season. I absolutely love salt and pepper on veggies, but too much salt is always a bad idea. I remember thinking to myself this week if I should be concerned about how much salt I have had, then told myself with all the water I drink I should be fine. Guess not! All the salt caused more water retention. There is a hormone called aldosterone. More aldosterone = more water retention. When you keep sodium low, the body increases production of aldosterone. So, with already high levels of aldosterone coupled with a flood of sodium, the body holds water like crazy.

In a world where it is impossible to be perfect, I am going to give myself a pass for the pound increase this week and a high five for altering my lifestyle to accommodate exercise. Could I be doing better? Always. But am I doing pretty darn good from where I started? Heck yeah.

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References:

http://www.ontheregimen.com/2014/02/09/what-those-scale-weight-fluctuations-really-mean/

 

Weigh-in Wednesday: New Year, Back on track

So December was fun. Lots of fun.

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I literally got back with carbs in a way that pretty much evolved us from exes to being married. All the carbs. I mean, I didn’t discriminate. I was an equal opportunity carb monster. Between work gifts, holiday parties, holiday dinners, and overall feeling festive I really went for it. Maybe I was trying to be like Santa and be as jolly as possible for December. Let’s just say I was committed.

One thing I seemed to forget during this food fest was that I had an upcoming Endocrinologist appointment in January and that my blood work results do not come with caveats or forgiveness. Nothing brings cold, hard honesty to your life like blood work. Nothing.

After returning from another ridiculous amount of carbs on a vaca in Orlando, I had my appointment today. Here is how it went:

Pros –  Last visit 3 months ago, my levels showed the start of Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It is great the non-alcoholic is at the start of this diagnosis because I was about to REALLY regret decisions made in college. And my 20s. And my 30s. And last weekend.

While it is important to limit, alcohol, that is not the cause of this condition. What I did learn on Wikipedia is that this is the most common liver disorder in developed countries (around 30% of Americans) and is directly tied to my lovely Insulin Resistance (or pre-diabetes).

I was also down a couple pounds from the last visit. Down is always good…but when I am doing all I should be, I should be down a lot more.

Cons – My testosterone levels were higher than last visit. Luckily nothing close to what they were before, but definitely not as low as they should be. This brings me closer to needing insulin every day in full diabetes mode and also makes future plans for a family nearly impossible down the road.

PrintAs I work to be more positive this year I am going to take my cons and say the POSITIVE about them is that I have control over these results. These results are directly tied to the amount of carbs I am eating. I know FOR A FACT I have not been anywhere near my goal of 110g of carbs/day for the last 6-8 weeks. I wasn’t even keeping track.

I am happy to say that I also was NOT given more meds this visit. When I am not doing what I am supposed to, my endocrinologist finds additional meds to help make up for what I am not being responsible enough to do on my own. This visit, no more meds…just a pep talk on the reminder of why I need to stick to 110g carbs/day.

So here I am. Back at my desk. Eating a burrito bowl. Ignoring the Chick-fil-A my co-workers are eating. Ready to food journal. And under 30g of carbs for 2 meals and a snack so far today.

Resolutions are important…but this is more than that. This is to be well. This is to help my husband eat a healthier diet. This is for a future ability to have a child (ren). This is bigger than how good that carb dates.

3 months from now will be my next Endocrinologist appointment. Here’s to striving to beat my personal best and to being my healthiest self. We can all do it!

We_Can_Do_It!

References:

Wikipedia

 

Not as easy as I thought – struggling with fatigue and rapid heartbeat, but still staying on track

Going to bed last night I was planning to wake up early and exercise. I was planning to feel great and bounce into the week.

The alarm went off and I was exhausted and felt incredibly nauseated. There was no way I would be getting out of bed to exercise…if I could I wanted to stay in bed all day.

I got myself to work, but have been incredibly tired. To make the day more “fun,” my work computer has been having issues so this day has all around been pretty rough already.

Despite all of this, I am committed to feeling better, so I forced myself to get a low carb lunch:  Albacore tuna, pickles, veggies with ranch, and cheese – tasted pretty good, but I couldn’t finish the cheese. My appetite is significantly smaller with the meds, so this amount was pretty good for me.

Even though I hate taking pills, I forced myself to take my normal meds along with the B-complex vitamin I hate. My doctor told me this vitamin will help with energy and feelings of depression, so even though it is my least favorite medicine, I am working hard to do everything I can to do everything my doctor ordered.

Even though everything I am supposed to be doing is overwhelming, I am so focused on feeling better again. This is certainly not easy, but as one of my dearest friends told me, it will get better. 

I. Won’t. Give. Up.

Time to get back on track – starting with a delicious salad for dinner tonight!

 
The last couple months have been hard. Very hard.

Nausea, vomiting, weight fluctuations, mood swings, and overall frustration of fighting PCOS and Insulin Resistance have taken over my life. I have been feeling so sick all the time that I have not stuck to a low carb lifestyle at all. 

After finally feeling so much frustration, it is time to start over. It is time to get back on track to do absolutely everything I can to feel like myself again. I am so tired of feeling sick and having that be my identity. 

Starting tonight, I made a low carb dinner that tasted great: 

 Butter lettuce, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, avocado, and lemon olive oil dressing.

While I am still feeling some cravings for carbs, I think that I will feel significant progress and be so much healthier if I stay on this path. 

It is time to take control…and get back on track! Life is full of challenges, but I do believe it is how you handle them that makes you stronger. Time to eat healthy and be the best version of me I can be!

 
What are your goals this week?

Natural energy boosters

Whether you have PCOS, Insulin Resistance, or a human simply trying to get through all the daily demands…energy can be a hard thing to come by.

I don’t know about you, but energy drinks have never been my jam. Maybe it was too many vodka/red bull’s in college, but there is nothing appealing to me with all the chemicals and what not. I basically feel like this with energy drinks:

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Coffee has not been great since my stomach is more sensitive since I have had PCOS/IR…so there really haven’t been many energy boosting options.

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Lucky for me, my Endocrinologist is amazing and knows I do not want to be on more drugs than I need to be. He listened to my concerns that I felt tired all the time and a little depressed which are common side effects of what I am going through…and living in LA (am I right, Angelenos?!)

Here is what he recommended…this may not work for everyone, but it has been great for me and makes me feel like this:

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I introduce you to…

B-complex vitamin & L-Methylfolate

And now a little more info on both:

B-complex:

Referred to as vitamin B complex, the eight B vitamins — B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12 — play an important role in keeping our bodies running like well-oiled machines. These essential nutrients help convert our food into fuel, allowing us to stay energized throughout the day. While many of the following vitamins work in tandem, each has its own specific benefits — from promoting healthy skin and hair to preventing memory loss or migraines.

Here is a breakdown of what each vitamin does and what foods you can find it in if you don’t want to take the vitamins:

B1 (Thiamine)

B1 helps the body make healthy new cells. It’s often called an anti-stress vitamin because of its ability to protect the immune system. When carbo-loading (either to prepare for a big race or just because pizza tastes that good), studies say this vitamin is necessary to help break down those simple carbohydrates.

Get it from: Whole grains, peanuts, beans, spinach, kale, blackstrap molasses and wheat germ

B2 (Riboflavin)

This B vitamin works as an antioxidant to help fight free radicals (particles in the body that damage cells) and may prevent early aging and the development of heart disease. Riboflavin is also important for red blood cell production, which is necessary for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Several studies suggest B2 can help stave off migraines, but more research is needed to be sure. And be careful, while sunlight does the body good, ultraviolet light reduces the riboflavin content in food sources. Milk, for instance, is best purchased in opaque containers in order to keep this vitamin from breaking down.

Get it from: Almonds, wild rice, milk, yogurt, eggs, Brussels sprouts, spinach and soybeans

B3 (Niacin)

One of the primary uses for niacin is to boost HDL cholesterol (i.e. the good cholesterol). And the higher a person’s HDL, the less bad cholesterol he or she will have in their blood. Vitamin B3 deficiency is very rare in developed countries, though alcoholism has been shown to lower B3 levels in some individuals. Niacin, used topically and ingested, has also been found to treat acne.

Get it from: Yeast, red meat, milk, eggs, beans and green vegetables

B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Small amounts of vitamin B5 are found in just about every food group — its name even says so. Pantothenic comes from the Greek word pantothen, meaning “from everywhere.” In addition to breaking down fats and carbs for energy, it’s responsible for the production of sex and stress-related hormones including testosterone. Studies show B5 also promotes healthy skin with the ability to reduce signs of skin aging such as redness and skin spots.

Get it from: Avocados, yogurt, eggs, meat and legumes

B6 (Pyridoxine)

Along with fellow B vitamins 12 and 9, B6 helps regulate levels of the amino acid homocysteine acid (associated with heart disease). Pyridoxine is a major player in mood and sleep patterns because it helps the body produce serotonin, melatonin and norepinephrine, a stress hormone. Some studies suggest vitamin B6 can reduce inflammation for people with conditions like rheumatioid arthritis.

Get it from: Chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, lentils, sunflower seeds, cheese, brown rice and carrot

B7 (Biotin)

Because of its association with healthy hair, skin and nails, this B vitamin also goes by “the beauty vitamin.” It may help people with diabetes control high blood glucose levels, too. This B vitamin is especially important during pregnancy because it’s vital for normal growth of the baby.

Get it from: Barley, liver, yeast, pork, chicken, fish, potatoes, cauliflower, egg yolks and nuts

B9 (Folate)

This is what my doctor gave me an additional prescription for.

You may have heard another name for B9 — folic acid — which is the synthetic form used in supplements and fortified foods like cereal and bread. Studies suggest folate may help keep depression at bay and prevent memory loss. This vitamin is also especially important for women who are pregnant since it supports the growth of the baby and prevents neurological birth defects.

Get it from: Dark leafy greens, asparagus, beets, salmon, root vegetables, milk, bulgur wheat and beans

B12 (Cobalamin)

This B vitamin is a total team player. Cobalamin works with vitamin B9 to produce red blood cells and help iron do its job: create the oxygen carrying protein, hemogloblin. Since vitamin B12 is only found in animal products, studies show higher rates of non-meat eaters with a deficiency. “But unless you are a strict vegan or vegetarian,” Zuckerbrot says, “it’s not hard to get enough of this vitamin in your diet.” For those who are deficient, it may be necessary to supplement the diet with B12.

Get it from: Fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs, beef and pork

Now let’s get some energy going for the weekend!

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Thanks to this great article from Daily Burn that helped inform this post!

Easy low carb breakfast for busy people on-the-go

Eating breakfast every morning continues to be a major struggle for me, mostly because I am so not a morning person and often times choose sleep over anything else (especially with how Insulin Resistance and PCOS makes me so tired).

In a perfect world, I would wake-up, workout, and grab breakfast I made over the weekend to go for my morning commute. Next week, I am getting a new boss and have a speaking engagement on Monday…so it seems that Monday will be the best day to get started with this perfect world scenario.

As I try to mentally prepare to live the best possible way with this plan, I am trying to gather tools for success. I have heard from a good friend that mini omelettes in muffin tins with no carbs are yummy, easy, and great for on-the-go, so I think this will be my plan for the week.

Here is a recipe I found from Better With Wine that I will plan to try to make for the weekend:

Makes 6 muffins
6 eggs (1 per muffin cup; if you are making extra)
1/4 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1/4 cup chopped bell peppers
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup cooked turkey or pork sausage (I used the sausage patties and just broke them up into small bits)
Salt
Pepper
Cooking spray
12 Paper muffin/cupcake  cups

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place 2 paper muffin cups into each of the 6 holes in your muffin pan. Make sure you use 2 otherwise the egg will probably soak through. Spray the inside cups generously with cooking spray.

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Next, I cooked my sausage and set it aside.

In a separate pan, I added the onions, bell peppers and spinach and stirred over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Just long enough so the onions start to get soft.

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Divide the sausage and veggies between each cup. Top with a little cheese in each.

Whisk all of your eggs together with salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour egg into each of the cups so they are about 3/4 full.  Then, I used a fork to carefully stir all the ingredients in the cups together.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the muffins have risen and the tops just barely start to brown.

Keep these in the fridge and pop them in the microwave for 30-45 seconds and they are perfect! You can add pretty much any veggies or breakfast meat that you have in the house and they will taste great!

Make sure you make enough so you have leftovers!

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Low Carb Taco Tuesday Recipes

I don’t know about you, but tacos and tortilla chips are some of things I miss most for my low carb/LCHF lifestyle. There is something nostalgic about Taco Tuesday…perhaps it was the college memories where carbs and hangovers were not something I worries about. There is something about Taco Tuesday that makes you feel like you are on vacation…even if you have to be in the office the next morning.

With my clear love of Taco Tuesday in mind, I thought it would be fun to compile some low carb Taco Tuesday alternatives. I do not eat beef or pork, so you will see my recommendation to sub ground turkey in each recipe. Ole!

Mini Taco Stuffed Peppers

Makes about 32 servings
 Mini Taco Stuffed Peppers - mini bell peppers stuffed with taco meat and drizzled with a cilantro cream sauce. {The Girl Who Ate Everything} #oldelpaso
Ingredients:
  • 1 1b ground beef (or ground turkey for me!)
  • 1 package (1 oz) Old El Paso™ taco seasoning mix
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1-1/2 lbs mini bell peppers
  • 1 cup cheese
  • Cilantro Cream Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °.
  2. Slice 1/3 of the pepper off lengthwise, reserving for later use. Seed the peppers. Peppers naturally have one side that is straighter than the other. When slicing the top of your bell peppers, try to slice the side that is curvier off so that the flat side remaining is the side we are stuffing.
  3. Chop the reserved peppers finely and set aside 3/4 cup.
  4. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef and reserved 3/4 cup chopped peppers over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. Stir in taco seasoning mix and water. Cook over medium heat 5-10, stirring occasionally. Let mixture slightly cool.
  5. Fill each pepper as full as possible with the beef mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake peppers for 13-15 minutes.
  6. While peppers are baking, make the Cilantro Cream Sauce.
  7. For the Cilantro Cream Sauce: In a food processor, pulse the sour cream, cilantro, garlic, and lime juice until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  8. Remove peppers from oven and top with cheese. Return to the oven for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with a dollop of cilantro cream sauce.

Notes:

To dress up the peppers, place the Cilantro Cream Sauce in a small plastic bag. Snip the corner off with scissors and drizzle the peppers with the sauce in a zigzag design. The peppers can be assembled ahead of time and then popped in the oven when ready to bake. The Cilantro Cream Sauce is almost better when made a day ahead of time so the flavors can blend.

Taco Bake

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Makes 8-12 servings

Crust Indredients:
4 ounces softened cream cheese
3 eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Seasoning of choice (I use a little salt and pepper, and a couple of dashes of chili powder)

Beat the cream cheese and eggs until smooth with a mixer or hand whisk. Add the heavy cream and seasonings of choice. Grease a 9 x 13″ baking dish well, and spread the shredded cheddar cheese over the bottom. Pour the batter over the cheese, making sure to cover as evenly as possible. Bake at 375º for 25-30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before adding the topping.

Topping:
1 pound ground beef, ground turkey, or shredded pork
1 pack taco seasoning (or use chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and onion powder to make your own!)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
4 ounce can chopped green chiles or jalapenos
8 ounces shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese

Brown the hamburger; drain the fat. Stir in the seasoning, tomato sauce, tomato paste and chiles or jalapenos. Spread hot mixture over the crust. Top with the cheese. Reduce the oven to 350º and bake another 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with the toppings of your choice (may add additional carbs).

Cauliflower Tortillas

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Serves: 6-7

Ingredients:

¾ a head of cauliflower riced or 2 cups riced and packed       2 eggs                                                                           Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. For these I actually rice my cauliflower slightly more fine that cauliflower rice. Toss ¾ a head of cauliflower cut up and most of the stem removed and pulse until you get a texture slightly finer than rice. (Once it’s riced measure it to make sure you have 2 cups packed.)
  3. Place riced cauliflower in bowl and microwave for 2 minutes and stir, then another two minutes and stir again then place in a dish towel and squeeze excess water out as hard as you can. (You’re going to want to get out as much water as you can and be careful not to burn yourself because it’s going to be very hot.)
  4. Place drained cauliflower back in bowl and add two eggs, salt and pepper and mix until well combined.
  5. As a note it will be a little bit runny but shouldn’t be pure liquid either. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet into 6 small fairly flat circles.
  6. Place in the oven for 10 minutes then pull out of the oven and carefully peel them off the parchment and flip them and place back in the oven for 5-7 more minutes.
  7. Once they’re done place them on a wire rack to cool slightly.
  8. Heat a medium sized pan over medium heat and place the tortillas into the pan pressing down slightly and brown them to your liking. (Don’t skip this step because it gives them slightly crispy on the edges and gives them a wonderfully nutty taste)

Skinny Margarita

Taco Tuesday could not be complete without margaritas! Here is my favorite skinny margarita recipe. It doesn’t need to be Taco Tuesday for this one…this is one of my low carb drinks of choice!

Super Skinny Margarita - FamilyFreshMeals.com

Ingredients:

12 ounces Sparkling ICE Lemon Lime water (or any lemon lime flavored sparkling water)
6  ounces tequila
1/4 cup orange juice
2 TBSP fresh squeezed lime juice
1 lime, cut into 4 slices , for garnish             Optional: coarse salt for rimming glass

Directions:

1. Rub the lime wedges around the rims of 4 glasses. Place  salt on a small plate and turn each glass upside down, dipping the rims in the sugar to coat. Fill glasses with crushed ice.

2. Place sparkling water, tequila, orange juice and lime juice  into a pitcher and stir. Pour into 4 perpared glasses and garnish with lime slice.

Here are some of the great articles that helped inform this post:

http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2014/08/mini-taco-stuffed-peppers.html 

http://www.paperpotion.com/?p=686

http://slimpalate.com/cauliflower-tortillas-paleo-grain-free-gluten-free/

http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2013/04/the-best-skinny-margarita-recipes.html