Thursday, April 20, 2017

April Already?

Hey, my old friends! I've been low carb on and off for many years, back on calorie counting and weighing food, on the autoimmune protocol, then stop worrying about what I'm eating. Over and over again. I don't know why I'm having so much trouble sticking to one thing!

I started this journey December of 2014 at 265 pounds. I lost 29 pounds in 2015 and around 26 pounds in 2016. So far in 2017? Nada. I'm where I was in September 2016, just bouncing up and down with the same 5 pounds. I am thrilled I haven't regained more than a few pounds of the 55ish I've lost, but frustrated I haven't been successful in losing anything else for 7 months now. I'm 5'4", so the 209 pounds is still quite a bit over my goal. 

So here I am, starting over for the ten zillionth time, focused on low carb/high fat that I KNOW works for me. That and somewhat regular exercise. I need to get back on the only plan that works for me to lose weight and feel good. 

Dec 2014 - 265
Dec 2015 - 237
Dec 2016 - 206
4/20/17 - 209.4


I haven't seemed to find time to blog much - or I just don't have much to say lately. My life continues to be incredibly busy with work, homeschooling my kid, and managing the household while my husband works and goes to school. I'm just constantly GOING, and I know it's been reflected in my dietary choices. 

The good news is I have FINALLY gotten back into my habit of walking regularly. These past several weeks I have walked a minimum of 4 days each week - often more than that. I can tell a difference, too. I am sleeping better and haven't had as many body aches since I got back into that wonderful habit. Now to keep it up as Texas summer looms closer and closer. So far, we've only gotten a little above 80 degrees a few days, but we know it's coming. Walking's going to have to move to early morning or late evening when it's hotter.

Anyhow, I am here. I am fine. I need to catch up reading all my other friends' blogs this week! Hubby and my oldest daughter both start new jobs next week and will be done with their college semesters soon, so hopefully things will calm down around here just a bit. That, and my niece NO LONGER NEEDS ME FOR RIDES TO WORK! That's a huge burden off my shoulders. She finally got a job at a restaurant right in front of our neighborhood - it's less than a mile from the house. Next, she will start paying us rent and eventually move out of here. 

Overall, I am feeling much better about my hectic crazy life right now. Things seem to be settling and looking up. 






Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Autoimmune Protocol Revisited

I have decided to give the Autoimmune Protocol another try. I tried it several months ago, but it's very challenging to avoid so many foods. However, I have too many Hashimoto's symptoms that just make me feel crappy most of the time. Bad sleep, constant digestive issues, aches and pains, depressed mood...The list is incredibly long, and I know nutrition can go a very long way in improving how I feel. My latest round of blood work showed some elevated inflammation and higher levels of thyroid antibodies, which I know I can improve by eating the right things.

I have already been eating low carb all this month, so I'll just be eliminating a few more things and adding a few things back in. My goal is to give this a solid 2 weeks and then see how I am feeling.

I just realized that I started experimenting with elimination diets and a variety of eating plans toward the end of 2014. My goal back then was to feel better. Weight loss was not at all my primary goal. It still isn't, though it's been a nice side effect of eliminating so much junk from my diet for over 2 years. 60ish pounds lighter than I was back then certainly helps toward feeling physically better.

I also realized that I am more successful when I focus on my physical and mental well-being rather than a number on the scale.

AIP in a nutshell

EAT: meat, fish, chicken, vegetables, fruit, sweet potatoes, oils, maple syrup, honey

NO grains, legumes (including soy and peanuts), dairy, nuts, seeds, nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes), eggs, alcohol, NSAIDS, refined oils, seed- and nightshade-based spices (black pepper, coriander, cumin, dill, nutmeg, cayenne, chili powder, paprika, curry)

I am also supposed to eliminate coffee and non-nutritive sweeteners, but I'm holding onto my morning coffee with stevia for now. That will be the next thing to eliminate if removing everything else doesn't help much.

I've already been grain- and legume-free for the most part, but eliminating eggs, all dairy, and nightshades will be a bit more challenging.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Spring!

Happy Monday and happy Spring, everyone! I was up a little on the scale this morning, but still down for the month so far, including a week of vacation. I wasn't 100% on plan all week of vacation, but think I did pretty well. Did have a glass of wine with my daughter Wednesday night and a couple of low carb beers Saturday night with friends. Other than that, I ate and drank what I was supposed to all week. I'm sure that little bounce up is from the beer. 

I plan on at least 3 walks this week, but will try to get them done in the mornings - highs in the mid to upper 80s here this week already. UGH! Tom and I will walk today around 11 a.m. before it's too miserable out.

The week of vacation was wonderful. Tuesday, Brooks, my daughter, my niece, and I went to visit my parents and sister for a few hours. I went to Let it Be (Beatles Broadway touring production) with Chloe Wednesday night, which was amazing! It really felt like we were seeing the actual band live. Thursday, I took Chloe to lunch and then shopping for her first official business clothes. She has mock interviews in one of her classes this week, so we bought her a suit, top and nice heels. Then Friday, I took Thomas shopping for several hours. We both got haircuts, had lunch, and had a great time shopping. Saturday I spent a few hours cleaning up my flower beds and planting some seeds, and Brooks and I had a great time hanging out with our best friends Saturday night. My week of vacation was the perfect balance of spending time with each kid, my family, and our friends plus some good old fashioned relaxing. 

What a great end to my vacation week, too - I slept almost 10 hours last night. I've had on and off insomnia issues for many years, so that was a great way to finish up my rest and be ready to tackle the week. 

Good news is my niece got a full time job RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR NEIGHBORHOOD! It's maybe a half mile walk, and I'm happy to drive her if it's raining or super hot. She works at Pizza Hut just on Fridays and Saturdays for the next 3 weeks, so I can certainly manage those few rides. Her new job pays almost $2 an hour more, too! She will start paying us rent on May 1st. 

Overall, I am feeling great! Now off to work - I have dozens of emails to get through since I was out all last week. I'm sure work will keep me extra busy this week.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Back at it eating on plan, and I dropped a nice 3 1/2 pounds this week. I am back to what I know works - low carb. Meat, fats, vegetables. Simple, clean, and plenty of delicious options to choose from.

My 21-year old niece has been living with us for almost a year now. When she came to us, she didn't even have a Social Security card or state ID. BUT in that first few weeks, I took her to get a replacement SS card and ID, and she started a part time job at Pizza Hut. The only thing she has been paying us for so far is her cell phone bill. She buys her own food and personal items, but hasn't contributed anything to this point. For a while we had a big problem with her not picking up food trash and dishes in her room. I THINK she has finally gotten the message after we threatened to kick her out if she couldn't keep her room relatively clean. I don't care about clothes and junk, but food trash and dirty dishes are not acceptable and a magnet for bugs and rodents. She still can't drive. We told her if she would complete online driver's ed, she could learn to drive and get a license. So far, she has been working on driver's ed for many, many months and hasn't even asked about driving. She is supposed to be saving money to buy a car, but with only a part-time minimum wage job, there is no way she has much of anything saved. Interestingly, Tom started driver's ed this week and will certainly have a license before his cousin. He turns 16 in September. Anyhow, her current job is about a 20-minute drive each way, so one of us (usually me) has to drop her off and pick her up from work. When she first started this job, she was going to have a ride with a neighbor who also worked there. BUT she ended up working a different shift, so that never panned out. I am spending over an hour each day driving her back and forth and it's getting old. We have given her an ultimatum that she must a) start working full time like all the other adults in the family, b) get a job much closer to home and c) start paying rent May 1st. There are numerous restaurants and stores within a mile or 2 of the house, so there is no reason she can't work at least 40 hours a week and pay us some rent to help with electricity, water, and internet. After all this time, I will have no problem turning her out if she's not paying us rent by then.

ANYhow, that's been one of my major stressors for many months now, and I have to eliminate extra stress. And all the mileage on my poor, old car.

I am on a much-needed vacation next week, and cannot WAIT to be done with work Friday. Brooks and Chloe are on Spring Break, and since I'm homeschooling Tom, he is on break whenever I say he is. We don't have any big plans, just a few random things around town and some time at home relaxing. Sometimes staycations are the best! I look forward to 10 days of not-much-of-anything.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Quick Check-in

Thanks, Chrissie, for checking in on me. Yup, I am still here, but life has been a big ol' mess lately. Just lots of stress and change around here, and I have not been able to regain focus on myself. Translate that into gaining 5 pounds back in February. Not terrible to recover from, but it was a reality check that I have been feeling physically and mentally crappy, so I don't eat the right foods, so I feel worse physically and mentally. That's OK, though.

It's been spring-like here most of winter, and now the bugs and weeds are back with a vengeance. I think we only had 3 or 4 actual days below freezing this winter season. I am feeling optimistic and excited to settle into our family's new routine and get back to taking care of myself now.

3 weeks ago, we withdrew Thomas from the public high school and have begun homeschooling. There were a dozen reasons to do it and only one or two to keep him in school, so we are happy with the decision - it just takes some adjustment. He's very organized and self-motivated, so I don't have to do a whole lot with planning and reminding him to do school work - most days I'm in my office next to his bedroom working my own job while he works on various projects. He keeps his bedroom door open, so we often chat throughout the day while we both work.

My husband also changed jobs 2 weeks ago. This is also a good thing, as the pay is better, the commute is less than half, and he is home no later than 6 p.m. in the evenings. It's still an adjustment, though. I had gotten used to having my 'me time' the nights he worked late, and now he is there. I love spending time with him, but I haven't figured out how to carve time for myself with our new schedule. AND our 21-year old daughter stops by several nights a week - either to eat, just hang out, or whatever. Again, I love to see her, but sometimes it's overwhelming with everyone around all the time when I very much do my best to have time alone every day to focus on me.

For a few months, my sleep patterns have been awful, too. I fall asleep super early, then wake up at 11 or 12 for several hours, and go back to bed at 4 or 5 for an hour or two. I was very happy last night that I stayed up until after 11 and slept through until 7. That's more like it.

Change, even when it's positive change, is stressful for anyone. We just need to settle into our new routine I guess.

Phew. Yesterday I meal planned and had a big grocery shopping trip, so we have a week's worth of healthy low carb meals ready to go. I am ready to do a much better job of focusing on myself so I can do a much better job of focusing on my family and my job.

Thanks for being there, my virtual friends!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Weekly Weigh-in

I've stepped on the scale a couple of times, but still just counting my weekly weigh-ins. I like seeing a steadier drop than all of the ups and downs throughout the week. 1.2 pounds down this week!

I love bulletproof coffee, but have never tried bulletproof tea. It's a bit cool after my morning walk, so think I'll try some with chai, coconut oil, and butter. Mmmm, sounds good!

I only walked 2 days last week, but was back out there this morning for 2 1/2 miles. I have a lot of problems with my hips, but I think missing 5 days made them worse this week. I was definitely walking slower, but got it done!

B: chicken thigh, 1/4 cup blueberries, coffee with HWC
L: stuffed cabbage soup
S: almonds, roast beef
D: Spaghetti squash with bolognase

Jan 1: 209.8
Jan 8: 209
Jan 15: 208
Jan 22: 207
Jan 29: 205.8

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Spatchcock!

I just like to say spatchcock. 

Seriously, though, this morning was the first time I've tried cooking a whole chicken this way - you cut out the backbone and flatten the bird before cooking. It turns out really juicy because the breasts and thighs are more even in the oven. YUM! I didn't have avocado oil, so just used olive oil. And I used dried herbs in lesser amounts because I have no fresh ones. I also used a regular roasting pan because I don't have a cast iron skillet that large. Anyway - REALLY good! 

Since Brooks is working nights now, I often cook our big meal for brunch and just save leftovers for dinners and such.

I am trying, trying, trying to only step on the scale once a week for weigh-ins on Sundays. My weight jumps up and down sometimes 2 or 3 pounds in a single day, and it can be discouraging. When I went back and looked at just my weekly weigh-ins, though, I realized I lost 0.8 pounds the first week of the year, then 1 pound each of the next 3 weeks. That feels much better psychologically! 

I've also done a much better job getting exercise the past few weeks! The mild winter has certainly helped with walking outside. Last week I exercised 5 days out of 7, and so far this week I have walked Sunday and Monday. I have been having pretty persistent hip pain, though. I am hoping the six vials of blood plus the additional nine the doc took yesterday to run a full autoimmune panel might give me some more answers. My first batch of labs last week showed some additional autoimmune markers came up. Ugh, but hope to find answers to some additional symptoms I've been dealing with. 

Greek Spatchcock Chicken
4 cloves garlic, crushed1 lemon, zested and juiced2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary1 tsp salt2 Tbsp avocado oil, divided4-6-lb whole chicken Prepare the seasoning slurry. Mix crushed garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped oregano, chopped thyme, chopped rosemary, salt and 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.Rub 1 tablespoon of avocado oil over the bottom of a cast-iron or stainless steel skillet (10″ or bigger will fit most chickens).Preheat oven to 425F.Using poultry sheers, cut along the right side of the chicken’s backbone (so you’re cutting through the ribs and not the vertebrae) all the way down the spine. Repeat down the left side to entirely remove the backbone. Turn chicken over (back to breast-side up) and open up to begin to lie flat. You can more thoroughly flatten the chicken by pulling up on one side while pushing down on the other (this breaks the ribs so the chicken will like flat).Place chicken skin-side-up inside prepared skillet. Pat dry with paper towel. Rub seasoning slurry all over skin side of chicken.Roast for 45 minutes. Let rest 5-10 minutes in pan before serving.