Thursday, September 14, 2017

I Could Never Give Up....

When I tell people I am on a ketogenic diet--and what that means, the first response I usually get is, "I  could never give up ______" (insert, bread, tortillas, sugar, etc).  It's funny how we can change over time.  Several years ago my sister-in-law was mis-diagnosed with celiac disease.  Since that time I have met many other people who eat a gluten free diet.  I knew there was no way I could ever give up gluten--it's in everything!  I heard about various "sugar buster" programs that would break a sugar addition. But I knew there was no way I could ever give up all sugar. When I was diagnosed with diabetes and my nutritionist told me to avoid potatoes because the starches turn to sugar. I knew there was no way I could give up french fries and potato chips.

And now I am following a ketogenic diet.

  • I don't eat gluten (or any breads or grains)
  • I don't eat sugar--of any sort
  • I don't eat potatoes
And I'm loving it. I'm satisfied. I'm full. And I'm losing weight.
I love cheese!

Some people can't losing weight on a ketogenic diet while eating dairy ad using artificial sweeteners. So far, it's working for me.  Honestly, cheese and Diet Coke are what make this way of eating work for me.  If I could not eat cheese, I probably would have given up a long time ago. Yes. I like cheese that much! 

Not sure that I would go this far!

I have tried to give up my Diet Coke--and I've been successful for 6-8 weeks. But so far, I have not successfully kicked that habit.  And I'm okay with that. At some point, I may have re-evaluate both cheese and Diet Coke and determine if they belong in my diet. But for now, I will continue to enjoy them.

If Mama ain't happy--bring her a Diet Coke!

I know that a ketogenic diet is not for everyone. But the key to health is to find the right plan for you. And ultimately, the right plan for you is the one you will stick with.  

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Some of you have been wondering and were too polite to ask....

John and I became grandparents just like we became parents the first time--with a phone call.  Almost 20 years ago, we got a phone call from a friend that started with, "How would you like a brand new baby boy?"  48 hours later we brought Cameron home from the hospital, and one year later the judge made it official. (If you haven't heard that story, hit me up some time and I'd be happy to tell you!!)

Last month, I got a Facebook message from an old friend. The friendship is old; we aren't! We were neighbors in marriage student housing at Central Bible College almost 30 years ago. Carol asked me to call her. When I did, she explained that their daughter and granddaughter were living in our town and she was looking for a church. Tim and Carol are pastors in a church about 3 hours away. Carol asked to meet up with me when she came to visit the next day. We met and I was able to give their daughter some resources for local community supports, and we arranged to pick them up on Sunday for church. Turns out they lived just around the corner from us. All through the songs, John held Sweet Pea. I got to hold her through the sermon. We invited Mom and Sweet Pea to come with us for lunch. John offered to watch Sweet Pea any time.
The first time John held Sweet Pea, she curled up in a ball just like Heather did. 

Cameron not only held Sweet Pea, but allowed me to take a picture. He holds her and feeds her, but he won't change diapers!

After they left, John looked and me and said, "Now I know how my parents felt waiting so long to be grandparents."  Then he kept waiting for Mom to call to ask him to babysit.  Soon, John became Sweet Pea's  regular babysitter. 

Cuddle time after a long day of work!

Happy baby!

After a few times of watching Sweet Pea, John started calling himself "Papaw" when talking to her.  He checked with Mom to see if she minded us calling ourselves grandparents.  She didn't.  We didn't think Tim and Carol would mind, and last week we got the green light from them. We figure every little girl needs lots of people who love her. And since her grandparents live so far away, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to love on her in their stead. 

Papaw and Sweet Pea have lots of conversations!

Papaw continues to hold Sweet Pea during worship, and I get her during the sermon. Today, she decided she wanted to look around.  But she fell asleep before Papaw handed her off.  Heather enjoys having Sweet Pea around, but she likes to make sure she is still Daddy's baby girl. 
Sweet Pea is holding Papaw's hand.
Heather likes to cuddle with Daddy while he holds Sweet Pea.
And with Momma!
Auntie likes to hold Sweet Pea, but only while she sleeps. 

I'm still not sure what to call myself. I've tried Mamaw, Grandma, Meme.  I'm not sure which one we'll settle on. 

Making time to run

I was a guest blogger over at Femme Fatale Fit Club last week. Swing by and comment on the post!

After a month of consistently running three times a week--even while out of town for training, I hit a brick wall. I have not run--or even been to the gym--in more than two weeks. The week after training was just very busy--and I covered on-call for a co-worker a couple of nights. The following week I was on call.

Habits take time to develop, and they take no time to fade away.  I have a half marathon to train for. I have got to make time to run.  I started thinking about why I run.

  • I run because I can. For most of my life I believed I was too fat or too slow to run. I now know I can run. And so many people cannot. So I run.

  • I run because it helped me lose a lot of weight. Running was one of the activities--along with walking and Zumba--that has helped me lose 120 pound.
  • I run because it gives me a sense of accomplishment. Crossing the finish line after a 5K or a 10K reminds me that I can whatever I put my mind to.
  • I run because it helps me clear my mind. When I run I don't worry about bills or work or my kids. I just run. I focus on the next step.

This morning I received an announcement about a new book from an author I had never heard of: Karianne Wood of Thistlewood Farms. It looked interesting, so I followed the link. WOW! Her words spoke to me. She was discussing how difficult it was to start writing her book.  But it resonated with my journey to lose half my body weight. It has not been easy, and, honestly, I often doubted I could do it. But now I look back and see how far I've come. It is especially poignant since I'm training to run the Yosemite Half Marathon--in the mountains.  Here is how Karianne explained it.

When I first started thinking about the book and planning for the book and hoping and dreaming about the book it was like standing at the bottom and looking up a giant mountain.  I looked up at the crevices and steep cliffs and layers of sedimentary rock and sharp jagged outcroppings….
….and thought I’ll never make it.
(total aside:  can you tell my father was a geologist?)
I can’t climb a mountain.
I can’t scale those heights.
I can’t find a foothold.
I wanted to dive back into bed and pull the covers over my head and go all ostrich on myself and my book dreams.

But instead?
I took a step—a tiny, tentative, minuscule step up the mountain.  I remember that first step.  It didn’t feel like much.  It felt like I was still standing on the ground.  It didn’t feel overwhelming.  It didn’t feel scary.
So I took another step.  And another.  And another.
Until I looked down.

That’s the thing about mountains.
That’s the thing about dreams.
That’s the thing about journeys….
….they all begin with one tiny step.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

My newest running accessory

I recently got $5000 BlueTooth ear buds.  Actually, I got new hearing aids, but they are BlueTooth.

I got my first hearing aid about 13 years ago. Then I got a pair of new hearing aids about 8 years ago. Almost 2 years ago I had surgery to correct otosclerosis in my left ear. The surgery was successful, but I still have loss in that ear. I started wearing my old hearing aid again a few months ago.

Two weeks ago I got a new pair of hearing aids.  They are Halo Starkey for iPhone. And they are pretty cool. Not only are they BlueTooth, but the app allows me to raise or lower the volume as needed. I can even save settings for a specific location (such as Planet Fitness) and set a geotag. So every time I go to that Planet Fitness, the settings adjust.  

I can listen to my iPhone's playlist, and it goes straight to my ear. When I answer my phone, the sound is only in my ear. My navigation directions go straight to my ear.  

I have needed new hearing aids for a couple of years, but my Medicaid did not cover hearing aids for people over 19 years old.  My state insurance covers $2500 per ear every 3 years. My husband got the same hearing aids I did. We are still getting use to them and figuring out exactly what they can do.  But the kids are grateful for the lower volume on the television!

Monday, August 7, 2017

How I Keto

I've had a lot of questions about how I've lost my weight. The first 65 pounds I lost by literally working my tail off. I worked out 2-3 hours a day, 3-4 days a week. I carefully monitored every bite I put in my mouth. I was obsessed with food. I thought about food all the time--what I was eating; when I could eat again; and what I couldn't eat. I was successful, but I knew I couldn't maintain that level of activity. Especially when my father-in-law got sick. Eventually he was diagnosed with non-treatable liver cancer. I had to adjust my priorities. I couldn't spend that much time at the gym because my family needed me. Over the next couple of years I started--and finished--graduate school. During this time I managed to maintain a 55 pound weight loss.

In January 2017, I began a ketogenic diet. I had heard about keto for months from several friends. But  I was just not interested. I liked my bread. But some friends (a medical doctor and his personal trainer wife) offered a class at church to "Kickstart to Health". My husband agreed to go with me.  We learned the science behind it, and the basics of how to do it.  I've been consistent since January. I have taken three detours. I don't call them cheats because they were conscious decisions. For our 30th anniversary (6 weeks into keto) I decided to splurge--and I got really sick. And twice I've had popcorn (also made me sick).

So, how do I keto?

I don't eat any added sugars.
I don't eat any grains.
I don't eat any beans or potatoes.
I don't eat any fruits.

I eat bacon, salami, pepperoni, and deli meat.
I eat eggs.
I eat beef, chicken, pork, and fish. (I love salmon!)
I eat cheese--a lot of cheese!
I look at net carbs not total carbs (that means I deduct dietary fiber from the carb count).
I drink Bulletproof tea.
I use pork rinds in place of flour as breading for chicken or fish.
I eat pork rinds by the bagful.

I eat "lazy keto" or "dirty" keto.

I don't count calories.
I don't measure anything.
I don't weight anything.
I don't log my macros.

I drink Diet Coke. (I know--it's bad for me.)
I use stevia, erythritol, and Sucralose.
I don't eat grass-fed, organic, or cage free--unless there is a really good sale.
I use Hidden Valley Ranch--even though I know there is some added sugar.
I don't have time to make my own mayonnaise or salad dressing.
I eat low carb veggie without worrying about the total carb count.
I eat lunch meats with nitrates in them.
I eat some bacon, but not as much as many keto followers.
I eat a lot of cheese. (Did I say that already?)

So, what does a normal day look like? 
Every time someone hears about my success, their first question is "What does a typical day look like?"

Tough question. I do have not typical day.

When I first started, I kept lots of snacks: black olives, sliced cheese, pepperoni, and fat bombs (that will be another post). I was always prepared and ate before I got hungry.  Now, I rarely eat. If I have breakfast, it's Bulletproof tea. (Basically hot tea with high fat ingredients added and blended until frothy. Many people make Bulletproof coffee--but I don't drink coffee.)

Whether I have Bulletproof tea or not, I rarely eat before noon. At work I keep a lunch bag in the fridge with lunch meats, cheese, olives, and other keto components. Sometime I bring leftovers from the night before.

For dinner, I keep it simple with meat and veggies.  We usually have a salad. Lately we've had zucchini almost every day (thanks to the Grace garden and generous co-workers!).

Desserts. I've made an incredible ice cream in a mason jar. (Ask me for the instructions or google it.  Maybe I'll post it soon). I love Lily's Chocolate.  These bars aren't cheap--I usually pay $4-5 per bar. But I break off one (of five) rows.  It is just enough to satisfy. (And this is the girl who used to eat a full sized candy bar almost every day!  They also make chocolate chips, but I haven't found them locally.

For snacks, I like pork rinds (sometimes--sometimes they just get stuck in my throat!)  I'm looking at some recipes to try with pork rinds. I've seen some that mimic churros and some that are like Muddy Buddies.  I eat a lot of cheese as a snack. My current favorite is panela.  It's a soft Mexican cheese. I eat way too much.

My brother recently joined me on the keto lifestyle has lost 60 + pounds since April! When asked about cravings, I thought his answer explained it well. He said:
It took me less than a week on keto to not be hungry. After going without carbs, I quit craving them. I miss pizza and pasta, because I like them, but have no cravings.
That is so true! I don't crave the things I used to eat.  But I do miss some of them. I miss grabbing a pack of Hostess donuts on my way to work. Or eating whatever is served at a luncheon. Sometimes I don't feel like prepping food.

But I ask me if I miss bread.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

What is Keto?

This is a two part post (possibly more!). 

As I've been losing weight, people keep asking me about keto. In this post I will discuss what keto is. In my next post, I will explain how I adapt keto to fit my life.

Note: There are some affiliate links. I set up an Amazon Affiliate program to help raise money for my trip to the Yosemite Half Marathon. If you buy from Amazon through my link, I will get a small commission.

Ketogenic diet summarized:

  1. Very low carb (5%)
  2. Moderate protein (25%)
  3. Very high healthy fats (70%)
"Ketogenic" diet means that the body changes its fuel source from carbs to fats, creating ketones.  The keto diet was originally created (over 100 years ago!) to fight off epilepsy (and it is still used for that). 

There are some rules for keto that seem counter-intuitive--especially for serial dieters:
  • No calorie counting
  • No measuring
  • Eat lots of bacon
  • Eat fat to lose fat
  • Fruits are high carbs and thus are off limits.

So, what can you eat on a keto diet?

Carbs should be limited to under 20 per day (no more than 7-10 per meal).  Some people say count all carbs. Others say count net carbs (after you've subtracted the dietary fiber).  One thing most people agree on is an avocado (17 total carbs--2 net carbs) are acceptable.
Foods to enjoy:
  • Meats--fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, etc.  If you can afford grass-fed or cage free, it's better. But buy what you can afford.
  • Leafy greens--kale, spinach, etc.
  • Above ground veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, etc)
  • High fat dairy--hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter (never low fat!!)
  • Nuts and seeds--macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc
  • Avacados, some berries
  • Sweeteners--stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, Swerve
  • Other fats: coconut oil, high fat salad dressings, saturated fats
Foods to avoid:
  • Refined carbohydrates:
    • Wheat (bread, pasta, cereals)
    • Starch (potatoes, beans, legumes)
    • Fruit
  • Grains
    • Wheat, corn, rice, cereal, etc.
  • Sugar
    • Honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
  • Tubers
    • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc
Here is a detailed list of what you can and cannot eat from

Just as there are many varieties of Christians, there are many varieties of keto followers.
  • Some count all carbs, and others count net carbs.
  • Some say IIFYM ("if it fits your macros") which means eat whatever you want as long as you don't go over your allowed carbs, and others say eat only "real" food.
  • Some say eat only organic, grass-fed, cage-free, non-GMO foods, and others say buy what you can afford.
  • Some enter everything into a macro calculator, and others estimate.
In my next post, I will share how I make keto work for me.  If you have specific questions, let me know and I'll try to find the answers.

Want more information?
The best sources of information I've found are:

The Ketovangelist (website, Facebook groups, and podcasts
Low Carb Journey, Cooking Keto with Kristie (Facebook group; cookbook, YouTube channel) has a getting started guide, recipes, and meal plans
Diet Doctor has a good information page and lots of recipes.

Here is a brand new keto ice cream recipe book. I haven't tried it yet, but I've heard amazing things about the recipes. I need to get an ice cream maker1  

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Help me get to Yosemite Half

I have my first corporate sponsor!

Fatman's Beef Jerky, a local (SE New Mexico) company, has offered to make a donation to my trip to the Yosemite Half Marathon for every order that uses the code:
Fatman's carries 14 flavors including: Green Chili (a New Mexico favorite!); Cowboy; Teriyaki; and Cajun.  The Salt and Pepper has no sugar added (just salt and pepper). Several of the flavors have no added sugar except what is in the soy sauce.