Drinks and Food – Holiday Fun!

Just a short post for this Christmas week. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and that you spent it in the way you wanted too! We had one family gathering last week, and have one more this week. I always enjoy these get togethers, though with the drinks and food, it is sometimes hard to stay on track!

Christmas Morning Weigh In

Monday morning I was 165.5….so down 1.5 lbs from last week. Not too bad, considering all the things going on last week! I am not going to lie… I always hope for at least 2 lbs, but going down is a good thing, so I won’t complain!

I worked every day but Saturday last week, but I don’t seem to have a problem with food while I am at work. I take along avocados, dark chocolate, veggies and dip, salad, and sometimes pork rinds for fun.

If I go home for lunch or supper, I make myself a salad of lettuce, chicken or Italian sausage, feta cheese, cheddar cheese, other veggies, olives, and lots of olive oil and red wine vinegar for the dressing.

Small Cheat Meal

I mostly didn’t have a problem sticking to Keto foods last week, even for the family get togethers. There was guacamole, pork rinds, mini sausages, jalapeno poppers, veggies….all stuff that I can eat.

I had a small glass of wine and a vodka with diet root beer. Vodka has no sugar in it so is technically keto approved, though I have read that alcohol can stall ketosis. So something not to indulge in too often.

I worked Christmas afternoon, and there was a staff potluck. I really felt like I didn’t have to eat anything, but a co-worker brought her home made spring rolls. I have heard about these spring rolls for a couple of years, but have never tasted them!

So I decided that this was my chance to taste the spring rolls, and besides, it was Christmas Day. I had a few of them, and they did not disappoint! Very delicious!

I also had some trifle for desert, but other than that, I had a great week eating wise!

Two Workout Week

Monday and Tuesday I went to the gym at 5 am to workout. It was a good time for me to go, and it was so nice being done for the day!

Wednesday, I had planned to do a mid-morning bike ride, but got called in to work because some out-of-town people could not make it in due to the snow.

Thursday was the same thing…planned a run with Becky, but a co-worker was stuck in B.C. as his flight had been canceled because of the weather.

No excuses for Friday and Saturday…. I just didn’t make the time to go workout.

This Week…

I have not worked out this week so far, and most likely will not be. We are going away for a few days, and I will be taking my workout clothes with me, but experience tells me that a workout will probably not happen, despite my best intentions.

Also, we will be eating out, and though we can choose mostly foods that are keto friendly, there are bound to be a few meals that are not entirely keto, and that’s OK.

We will be eating at a friends house as well, and I refuse to not eat a meal someone has prepared, just because it doesn’t follow my eating plan.

So I am not sure that my New Years Day weigh in will show a loss at all, but hopefully not a gain either.

Next post in 2018!!

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Health Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet

When John first started looking into the Ketogenic Diet, it just seemed unbelievable that this was even a thing. How could someone lose weight and achieve great overall health while eating a diet consisting of 70% fat?? It goes against everything we have been taught about what is healthy, and definitely against the Canada Food Guide, where it is suggested fats should contribute to the smallest portion of our daily intake of calories. That got me looking into what the health benefits of a ketogenic diet are.

What is a Ketogenic diet?

I did talk about this a little in a previous post, but basically a ketogenic diet is a High Fat Low Carb diet.

When a person restricts the amounts of carbs/sugar he or she eats, and increases the amounts of fat eaten, the liver produces ketones from fat.

And when glucose (blood sugar) isn’t available, the body turns to ketones for fuel.

A ketogenic diet is moderate in protein as well. If we eat too much protein, it can also be turned into glucose.

The goal when choosing this way of eating is to get into ketosis quickly, and the fastest way to get into ketosis is by fasting. Many people continue intermittent fasting once they are in ketosis, eating most of their daily calories between the hours of noon and 8 pm.

Benefits of a Keto Lifestyle

There are many benefits to living the Keto lifestyle.

  • It speeds up fat loss
  • You end up having more energy and mental focus
  • Reduced hunger – I can testify to this as I was someone who was always eating something. Since I have started eating this way, I only eat when I am hungry and I am satisfied quickly.
  • It can reverse Type 2 diabetes
  • It can improve acne
  • It can improve physical endurance ( this is what I am hoping for…more on this later)
  • No blood sugar swings
  • Less heartburn
  • The keto way of eating can help treat or reduce cancers, particularly brain cancers.
  • It is being used experimentally in people with Parkinson disease and Alzheimers.
  • Keto is anti-inflammatory

Athletes on Keto

There really hasn’t been a lot of studies of professional athletes who follow a keto lifestyle. Maybe there aren’t a lot! LeBron James definitely improved the awareness of the Ketogenic Diet, and Ben Greenfield did studies on himself while in ketosis.

Zach Bitter, the 100-mile American record holder, eats bacon before his races.

When your body is fat adapted, and doesn’t rely on carbohydrates for fuel, bonking is a thing of the past. Carb stores only last a few hours when you are exercising.

Your fat stores last a lot longer, providing constant energy without any bonking! Some have reported going on a 6-hour bike ride and not consuming any calories, while their fellow bike riders were consuming gels and other sugar rich carb foods for energy, and having the same stamina as the carb consuming bunch.

When an athlete hits “the wall” during a race, and then gets past it and have energy again, this is a prime example of the body going into their fat stores for energy.

Side Effects on Keto

When starting on the Keto diet, don’t be surprised to experience headaches, lethargy, and irritability in the first few weeks. (Just kinda sounds like a certain time of the month to me 😉

You may also experience heart palpitations, which I did. This is due to dehydration and not eating enough salt. I definitely have not been drinking enough water and don’t make sure my sodium levels are good, so that is why I experienced heart palpitations.

In the past I have had this when I have too much caffeine as well.

This is just the body adjusting to the lack of glucose and realizing it needs to use the ketones for fuel now!

Another side effect and sign that you are entering ketosis is bad breath…. I have read that this will go away….that will be a happy day! Lol

My Experience on the Keto Diet

I have been on the Keto Diet 2 days short of 2 weeks. The first week I was literally sleep walking. I was so tired and could barely make it through the day.

I did not have much of an appetite and probably did not eat enough fat to encourage ketosis. I maybe would have been better doing a complete fast for 24 hours.

But I did lose 6 lbs and that encouraged me to keep going.

This week was a complete turn around. Monday I still had low energy but did a workout at 5 am. Tuesday I did another 5 am workout, but I had energy until 10 pm that night!

I have worked every day this week, 12 hours a day, and my energy has been steady. I am not getting super tired at work and not getting major cravings. There are tons of treats at work and so far I haven’t had trouble saying no to them.

Who Should Not do Keto Diet

A person who has Type 1 diabetes should not try the keto diet.

A person who is on medication for blood pressure should use caution with the Keto Diet. This is because this diet is known to bring a persons blood pressure down, and if it drops too fast, it can cause unsteadiness and dizziness.

A person who is breastfeeding should consult their doctor before starting a Keto Diet.

It is always a good idea to consult your doctor when considering a major diet change!

 

I am always checking out website on the Ketogenic Diet, but one that I rely on for a lot of my info is dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto. Check it out if you are interested!

Also, I would love to hear from others who are living the keto lifestyle or have tried it in the past…always curious what other people opinions are on it!

 

 

 

 

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Work and Exercise – New Challenges!

The first bunch of weeks in this triathlon journey were without a lot of challenges. I wasn’t working very much, and it was more or less easy to get my workouts in everyday. My diet was challenging me, but I was feeling great because of great workouts. But for right now, I am finding it really challenging balancing work and exercise!

I work 12 hour shifts and usually work night shifts, but for this month I am working several day shifts. Last week I worked 4 1/2 days out of 7 and struggled to get workouts in. The best time to do my workouts would be from 5-6 am. But this is usually the time my husband and son are getting up and ready for work.

I usually make their lunches and this takes up that time. But the truth is, I could make their lunches the night before, or….they could make their own lunches 😉

A Little News Flash to Myself…

I am NOT the first person to face work and exercise challenges!

Everyone has different schedules and priorities, but when something is important to us, we make time for it. I tend to make excuses and reasons why I really can’t exercise, but if it is more important to me, I will find a way!

So this morning I was on the bike at the gym just after 5 am and biked for 50 minutes. It felt so good to have it out of the way for the day!

Tomorrow morning will be a run, also at 5 am… Then I don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day! Also, I could try to fit in exercise during my lunch or supper break, but it isn’t really enough time to get a good workout in. And after work I am just too tired.

Going Downhill….in a Good Way

My weight has gone down this week and I am now 167 lbs. So I weigh less than I did when I did St. George last year! I found a journal entry I had written a month before St. George 70.3 last year, and I was 171 lbs. I know I didn’t lose much, if anything, before the race.

This past week on the Keto diet really hasn’t been hard at all. The weird part is making sure I eat enough. The fat keeps me very satisfied, so I don’t often feel hungry.

I was going to start tracking on My Fitness Pal today, but I totally forgot. So tomorrow is another day.

I have not had very much energy this past week, but I expected that. Most info I have read on the Keto Diet suggests that a person may feel sluggish and tired for the first two weeks while the body adjusts to using fat for fuel instead of carbs.

That is why I am trying this way of eating now, instead of when the more intense training starts.

I have not done a lot of research into any triathletes that follow the Keto eating plan, but I hope to do that this week, and more info in general, and I will let you know what I learn on Thursdays post.

And the Holidays…

Usually, I literally plan on pigging out at holiday dinners….there is so much good food!! I figure, why not? And I always plan on eating better starting January 2…..right?

I do love deep-fried food, but most of that will be carb loaded food, and at this moment, I am not craving carbs. So I am not planning to ruin my diet with these foods when there are so many other great options to choose from!

I want to try some recipes this week that are keto friendly. Keto Gingerbread Cake and Keto Eggnog from KetoConnect are definitely on the list!

Also, I am wanting to try stuffed mushroom caps, hot cheese dips, low carb crackers, cheese crackers and so many other things!

For one side of the family, Christmas Dinner is an appetizer buffet. We started this a few years ago and I love it! Its also easy to choose the foods that are low carb and leave the ones that aren’t.

The other side of the family, we do a traditional dinner. The plan is to have meat and vegetables and salad and forgo the stuffing and potatoes.

Shouldn’t be too hard….lol 😉

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Failed Challenge – I Quit the Run Streak

Just a quick mid(ish) week update:

I hate quitting. Quitting feels like failure, and that’s about right. But sometimes you need to know when to throw in the towel, suck up your pride, and be OK with it. Last night at about 9pm I made the decision not to keep running the minimum mile every day to continue with the Runners Soul Run Streak challenge. Failed Challenge.

I believe this is the third or fourth time I have participated in the run streak, and this is the first time I quit. I enjoyed the first 12 days, but life happened and I was exhausted.

I worked four 12 hour day shifts in 6 days, and was dragging myself in the door at the end of the day, I have worked only nights for the last 4 months, and day shifts are a lot busier. I should have continued to run on my lunch or supper breaks, and maybe I would have continued.

Anyways, I thought I would wake up mad at myself for not doing a quick 10-minute run last night and being able to continue the run streak, but I was at peace with it. So I will only look forward now and not worry about quitting this challenge. It is what it is.

What bothers me more is my lack of biking this week. I like to get a minimum of 2 good rides in a week, and this week I am at a big fat 0. And I have to decide whether to do a bike tomorrow, or a run, or both.

So far I am not working next week, so the plan is to get right back on track, with some great rides and runs!

On a positive note, I have been faithfully eating according to the Keto diet this week, and have lost 4 pounds. So I am finally back in the 160s!! 169 to be exact.

Maybe one of these days I will have a good eating week AND a good exercise week all in one!! 😀

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Food Addiction – Is It Real?

I try to do a mid week post just to keep myself in line, but last week just got away from me! It was a fun week, with Monday night going to me very first Flames game, which made for a tired Tuesday, worked Wednesday night, which made for a tired Thursday…..you get the idea 😉

Anyways, workouts have been good again this past week. I biked Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and ran every day as I am doing the December run streak challenge.

Saturday I ran after work at the gym, and was having a great run, and then accidently knocked the “key” out of the treadmill, so it stopped and I had to start from 0. Mentally it put a kink in my plans so my run was a little shorter than I was hoping, but got some good hills in anyways.

Weight?

This morning I weighed myself for the first time in over a week, because I was scared that it would be up, so I chose denial. I have been having so much trouble with trying to eat healthy.

It was 173, which is up a couple pounds from the last weigh in. The struggle is real!!

When I do my day of healthy carbs, I just can’t seem to quit eating, so I have decided to do the Keto diet with John and see if that works for me. I just wish I could be normal and eat good food without overeating.

I actually came across a website called eatlikeanormalperson.com. I haven’t read too far into it, but a couple of the articles I have read are pretty good! (Though there is some language that could be offensive).

After reading about my struggle to stay on the healthy eating track, one reader suggested I do a post about food addiction. That got me to thinking….is food addiction real? Or is it just something we use to excuse our unwillingness to use self-control?

Well, what is addiction?

Dictionary.com defines addiction as a physical or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, such as a drug or alcohol.

Merriam-webster.com : compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (such as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.

Wikipedia.org: Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences.

 

Most often, when we think of addiction, it is in regard to alcohol, drugs, or nicotine. The human body physically goes through withdrawals if it has become dependent on these things, and then no longer gets them.

But I am a coffee drinker….and if I quit cold turkey, my body definitely goes through withdrawals, because I have such a bad headache I can hardly see straight! So I believe caffeine is addictive and is in chocolate, coffee, some tea and so many things!!

I have heard the same from people who love sugar…if they quit feeding their body sugar, they have withdrawal symptoms!

But does that mean food in general can be addictive?

I really didn’t think so…..until I started looking into it more.

And its not food in general…it’s junk food that is addictive. Duh.

But really, while I was looking up food addiction, I came across this page called healthline.com. It has a great article on how junk food in some people works the same as a cocaine addiction…it releases the “feel good” dopamine in our brain.

When we constantly give in to our craving for junk food, our tolerance for sugar increases, and we need more sugar to release the dopamine.

When we don’t give ourselves that junk food, we get cranky because we are not getting that “feel good” feeling!

This really is a great article to read….it was a real eye-opener for me, and I could see that food addiction really is a real thing! https://www.healthline.com/nut…

I Need a Re-Start…

I have been trying to muscle through this eating thing. After all, it really is not complicated. It really does come down to taking in fewer calories than I am burning.

No matter if I do Low Carb High Fat, Low Fat, Vegetarian…..whatever diet I choose, I need to consume less than my body burns in a day or week.

I think no sugar is so important as sugar is addictive and provides the same feeling as cocaine would give a drug addict. Someone could totally abstain from using drugs, but a person cannot abstain from eating food.

But I CAN choose not to eat products with sugar in them and hopefully get rid of some cravings! It is so much easier said than done, but I won’t give up.

I had a few days of eating foods that are not getting to my goals. Though my main goal really is physically training consistently to get me prepared for the triathlon, as I said before, my secondary goal is to lose some weight to keep my body healthy on the way.

I am going to give the Low Carb High Fat way of eating a go. This seems like the easiest to get me through Christmas as I can eat cheeses and meats, but have to stay away from fried carbs such as spring rolls and breads of all sorts.

It won’t be easy…but since my husband is doing it as well (and looking GREAT!) it may be easier.

Keto

The idea with the keto diet, is that you are teaching your body to use fat for fuel, instead of carbohydrates. For many endurance athletes, this works well as you would burn through fat much slower than you would burn through carbohydrates, so your energy stores would last a lot longer!

Plus you don’t have the peaks and valleys of energy that you would if you are taking sugared energy gels and the quick sugars that we usually take in on a long distance course!

Fat is also very satisfying so you are not supposed to get those “want to eat” moments between meals. These are the reasons I want to try this way of eating!

The macros for keto are generally 60-75% calories from fat, 15-30% from protein, and about 5% from carbs.

If you are wondering what someone on a Keto diet eats, here is a short version:

Vegetables:

Leafy Greens, squash, cucumbers, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, artichoke, sauerkraut etc.

Fruit:

Most fruit is not allowed on a keto diet, but a small amount of berries, lemon, lime and such are OK.

Meat:

All cuts of animal are good to eat, but it is better to go for fatty cuts. With chicken, it is good to eat the skin and go for the darker meat. Organ meat is also really good and nutritious. Sausages, salami, bacon, deli meat are all OK on keto. When we went through Costco the other day, we had hot dogs, and John just ate the hot dog with mayo and mustard, but not the bun.

Fish:

Salmon is excellent because of its healthy fats. Also, sardines, crab, oysters, lobsters, etc are all good.

HERBS AND SPICES:

Most herbs and spices are OK, but always check ingredients on blends to make sure there is no added sugar or MSG
FATS:

Fats make up most of the calories on a ketogenic diet, so you need to eat plenty! Olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, butter are all excellent.

Almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, nut butters made without sugar, are good, but peanuts are actually a legume, so they aren’t allowed with keto.

Dairy:

Some keto sites recommend to stay away from dairy as not everyone can tolerate dairy. Full fat cheese, cream cheese, cream, etc are acceptable sources of fat, but shouldn’t make up a large portion of your fat intake.

Drinks:

Coffee, tea, almond milk, coconut milk, sparkling water, and most non sugar drinks are OK. Diet pops are OK, but not recommended as they are made with aspartame, which some studies show has a negative effect on the body. If you are looking for a sweet pop like drink, look for something made with stevia, as this is a healthy alternative sweetener.

Sweeteners:

Stevia, xylitol, erithrytol are some of the acceptable sweeteners.

 

For a full lists of foods, check out ketosummit.com, or ketodietapp.com, or just google Keto food list and check out some sites!

Well, I hope this week is much better than the last week. My motivation is renewed, and my goal is to be in the 160s within 2 weeks!!

If you want to give keto a try sometime, let me know and we can work through it together!

 

 

 

 

 

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Creating Smart Goals – And Achieving Them!

There are a few different ways to define S.M.A.R.T goals… but mostly they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Last week I made a point of creating a smart goal, because otherwise I lose track of why I am doing what I am doing!

I have been having a tough time staying on the right track with eating…some days being good and some days not so great.

I also hadn’t managed to meet my original goal of exercising six days a week….so my specific goal last week was to do every single workout I had planned for the week….and I NAILED it!!

I had six fantastic workouts last week that I feel great about. It’s a little boost, because when it feels like I am failing at following my food plan, I am at least succeeding at something else. I really do love having a good workout….puts me in a great mood!

On Friday a bunch of us started the Runners Soul December run streak. Every year for the last 6 years Runners Soul has put on a run streak challenge for the month of December to encourage people to keep active. The people who take this challenge will run/walk at least 1 mile every single day in December. It’s a great way to make sure you are doing something every day!

Speaking from experience, it does get tough as the month goes on. But I have challenged myself, that on the days I am only doing the minimum mile, I am going to see how fast I can do it. I am not a fast runner, but this will challenge me to try to push my comfort zone while running.

My first 1 mile run I did in 9:20….this is not fast for most people, but for me it was awesome!! And it was on a day that I was grumpy and feeling irritable, and it just turned my mood around. Bonus!

So now my goal for 1 mile is to beat 9:20.

Bras

When we were in Runners Soul, and coveting some really cute running clothes, we were also looking at the different bras they have. There are so many for women to choose from! Except if you’re a bigger woman, or just someone who is well-endowed in the chest area, the selection gets much smaller.

The other day I was doing a bike workout that involved some higher speed “spinning”. If you have ever pedaled really fast on a bike, you probably know that its hard not to bounce.

Well, since I only own a couple of good sports bras, I had decided to wear one of those tank tops with a “shelf” bra in it….not a good idea. Those were clearly designed for small either “a” or “b” cup women, or maybe women who haven’t breast fed babies…but definitely not for “c+” cup women!! WAY too much bouncing going on…

My favourite bra is the Moving Comfort Bra. I first tried them a few years ago after a friend had bought one and loved it.

MC Fiona Bra Women's Black

 

I had read about them, but mostly stuck to cheap sports bras from Costco or Walmart. After wearing a Moving Comfort bra, there was no going back! (except for when I am not caught up on laundry….then the cheap ones still work much better than the “shelf” ones!!)

These bras don’t chafe, or bunch up, and they are designed for maximum support. Brooks also makes a bra called the Rebound Racer Bra that looks promising, so I may try that sometime.

If you are just getting into fitness, or have been active for a while and don’t like the support you’re bra is giving you, head to you’re local running store and get someone to measure you for fit, or just try on a bunch until you find one that works for you.

And when you are trying them on, remember to jump up and down a bunch of times in the dressing room so you know how supportive they really are!

Once you know you’re size and what ones work for you, then you can check out websites online for deals!  MEC sometimes has good deals, and Running Free also has some great sales….but you might need to search a bit to find something in the right size.

What’s up for this week?

Well this week is going to look a lot like last week….and will probably be the same for the rest of this month. In January I will start adding swimming into the mix, but for now I will stick to this:

Monday – 1 mile run + 1 hour bike workout on Trainer Road

Tuesday – 3 mile run + 6x 30 second plank + 3x 20 bicycle crunches (my core is really weak, so I need to strengthen my ab and back muscles….when these muscles are strong, its easier to keep good form while running and biking!)

Wednesday – 1 mile run + 45 minute bike workout at the gym+ 3x 12 box jumps, 9 toes to kettle bell, 6 kettle bell swings

Thursday – 4 mile run with hill repeats + 3x 6 push ups

Friday – 1 mile run + 1 hour bike workout on Trainer Road

Saturday – 5 mile run

 

The Food….

I have been struggling to stick to my food plan. It’s frustrating, because my husband decided about a month ago that he needed to lose a little weight, so he did some research, and decided he would do the Keto diet (Low Carb High Fat). He has totally stuck to it and lost about 20 lbs in a MONTH!!

I am tempted to give up my carb days to see if it is easier to stick to just low carb. I worry about my workouts though. I don’t want them to suffer because of my diet.

With LCHF, the idea is that once you’re body is depleted of its carbs, the body starts using fat for energy. The problem is, it can take up to 2 weeks for you’re body to become fat adapted, and start using the fat in your body efficiently for energy.

During these two weeks, it is not uncommon to feel sluggish, and feel off, so if this is something I am going to do, I have to start now before my training gets more intense in January/February.

So this is my dilemma right now. If I decided to do this, I have to be 100% committed.

But if I figure out a way to make a Keto version of Advocaat, that could seal the deal for me!! 😀

I will make my decision by Thursday!

 

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