K*I*S*S- Keep it Simple, Sweetheart!

Happy Sunday!

It’s been a very busy week, and sadly, I was not successful being keto. But I graduated my middle child, cheered for him at the meet of champions and spent several evenings watching for and hiding from tornadoes.  One must love Oklahoma in the Spring!

But at least school is out for the summer and things are going to be much more relaxed for me.

After eating grain free for 5 days, the pain in my joints had begun to ease up quite a bit.  But once the week got away from me, and I gave in to the temptation of drive thru on the run just to make it through the week, the pain began to return.  Just a nice reminder that preperation is paramount! My goal for the week is to have my lunch and breakfast prepared the night before on days when I have to leave the house early.  My plan for breakfast is to prepare some keto waffles and keep them in the fridge to be thrown in the toaster paired with berry compote or almond butter… or maybe both, and some precooked bacon or sausage.

When I  eat healthy I seldom want a meal mid-day, but I will prepare a snack just in case.  I’d love to hear what your favorite ‘go to’ snacks that keep in a hot car.  Of course nuts and pork rinds will be at the top of the list.

Dinners are always my biggest challenge, since I tend to want to prepare tasty recipes with many indredients.  This is something I’m going to be working on.  But here is my plan for the week.

  • Sunday: Steak with herbed butter, twice baked cauliflower, salad
  • Monday: Pulled pork roast in the crock pot (a good opportunity to try some keto bread recipes to make pulled pork recipes) vegetables in butter
  • Tuesday- Leftover pulled pork, vegetables in butter
  • Wednesday – Left Over pulled pork, vegetables in butter. (Freeze any leftovers)
  • Thursday: Garlic Butter Shrimp over zoodles,
  • Friday: Pork Rind Nachos
  • Saturday: At the Renaissance Festival!  Smoked Turkey Leg… not sure there is much more available to me, so I would be wise to eat before going in.

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It feels good to have developed a meal plan for the week that is uncomplicated and I should be able to stick with. I can’t wait to get out and take some pictures and just enjoy the atmosphere of the festival this weekend.  And then it’s off to South Padre Island next weekend. Lots of opportunities to eat health down there, and lots of me time to relax and get centered.

Wishing you all a healthy and successful week.

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…

Wow. Just…wow!

Is it possible that, once again, I am right back where I started? Of course it is.  Making changes takes… well changing.  And I haven’t yet. At least not in a positive way.  But I’m still trying.

 

This year has brought a lot of realizations for me.  First, my handsome son, a state track placer and scholarship recipient, will be graduating in 9 days! Im still trying to let that soak in.  It still doesn’t seem real. And before I know it, he’ll be gone to college! And my daughter will be starting her senior year.  Unlike my son, she no longer needs my help. She’s chosen a path and will graduate as a certified welder, and her teachers say she is absolutely amazing! She has no problems managing money, she is confident and strong.  Truly, she is already raised. And she isn’t even quite 17 yet.

So here I sit, feeling like my whole life is leaving me and trying to make plans for the future… only the things I want, and the things I am reasonably able to do are not the same. Things like amusement parks, hiking trips, backpacking, kayaking, scuba diving, traveling by plane, ziplining, horseback riding.  I want to travel out of the county, but who wants to be seen as the obese American?  And I’d like to LIKE what I see in the mirror. I’d like to meet someone to share my adventures with. I’d like to be stronger, and happier, and just feel like my life isn’t completely out of control.

Those are all the things I’ll need to remind myself of as I start AGAIN… WHY I am doing this.   And what are my milestones.  When can life truly begin again.

Now I know some of you may be saying, ‘you don’t have to wait for life to begin’. But I beg to differ, and here is why.  One of my biggest challenges in my journey is avoiding distraction. It’s staying on plan, and that is REALLY hard to do when I can’t plan in advance,or don’t have the energy to prepare myself for success (by preparing foods in advance, having the house clean, laundry done, etc. )  All of these things are VITAL for me, and to be quite honest, I’m currently lucky to do ONE of those things each WEEK.  My endurance is terrible, my pain in unbearable, and I my mental clarity is sorely lacking… something that I know from experience is a direct result of eating processed foods and grains. For me, those things are equally as addicting as crack and heroin.

So now it’s time to figure out how to do this without getting overwhelmed and giving in.  The only way I’m going to do that is by taking it one step at a time.  One new habit at a time.  A lot of personal reflection. And plenty of forgiveness for my shortcomings.

I began the first step yesterday by cutting out grains.  This one is huge for me.  When I eat grains my joints become inflamed and painful, my mind becomes muddy, I have chronic severe headaches, and the pressure in my brain begins to worsen. (Literally. I have a condition called pseudotumor cerebri, or Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension)  When I cut wheat in particular, not only do my symptoms improve, but i quickly begin to drop water weight at a rapid pace.  I will hold myself to just this step until May 20th. And May 21st I will add a new habit. And will add a new one when the last has become manageable, until my life is back in control.  I won’t worry about my next step for now. Today it’s simply no grains.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

7 Down, and a little righteous anger to push me.

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The week has been fairly successful. Though I didn’t stick to my meal plan, I still managed to keep it almost exclusively paleo this week.  I weighed in yesterday to find I’ve lost 7 lbs this week!

Today I’ve added exercise. I actually got out and walked 3 miles, which took me 1 hour, 5 minutes to complete… AND I LIVED! (Doing a little dance here) But then I realize that even though I lived, tomorrow morning I may be wishing I didn’t. Ugh. Might be a good idea to find myself a yoga video to work on my flexibility!

But this week has been a very emotional one.  I’m not entirely sure if things are getting to me because of hormones ( since my partial hysterectomy, I have no measure of when “that time” would be. I still have my ovaries, therefore, I still have pms. I just don’t know if it’s pms anymore, or if I’m legitimately depressed or upset.)  What I do know is that I’m tired of being treated like someone who is disposable or invisible. Yes, I’m fat!  Yes, I know fat isn’t what most people find attractive. But I’m human, and I have feelings.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for freedom of speech. I don’t think people should have to modify their words or behaviour to avoid offending me.  I just wish they wouldn’t use me first, and THEN make me feel like discarded trash. And that is where the problem lies. Not with those that do it, but with me for allowing it. Most times, when it happens, I feel rejected, hurt, and miserable.Thankfully this time it just made me angry.  And that fueled day one of adding activity to my lifestyle.

Now if I can only hold onto the white hot anger for a while!

 

Day 1- Again (Again)

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I believe I have almost as many of these “Starting Again” posts as I do progress posts!  I mean, really. It’s almost embarrassing.

But it’s real.  And I know I’m not the only one on the merry-go-round.  So I’m going to own it, and not be ashamed… because if I don’t keep trying then I’ll never reach my goal!

Recap (Again)):  I began my journey nearly 2 years ago after being diagnosed with borderline diabetes and Idiopathic Intercranial Hypertension (also known as Pseudotumor Cerebri).  Between July 2014 and February 2015, I lost 60 lbs (from 330 lbs to 270 lbs) by eating a modified Paleo diet.  In March 2015 I had surgery, followed by  a year working way to much and a battle with severe depression.  I’m happy to say I’ve made some changes to my life, and am on the uphill swing.

Over the last year I’ve fluctuated between 270 Lbs and 300 lbs.  Today I start again. (I’ve adjusted the weight to my heaviest. I deserve credit for those pounds lost, don’t I? Starting measurements are from when I weighed 308)

                                   Starting                    Current                       (Lost)

Weight                      330                              301                                29

Neck                          17 .5″                         17.0″                              0.5″

Bust                            51″                              50″                                 1″

Waist                         52.5″                            53″                               -0.5″

Hip                             60″                               58″                                2″

Thigh                          30″                               30″                                0″

Calf                             21″                                20″                                 1″

 

I have learned from previous uses of paleo eating that I am less hungry and generally only eat 2 meals a day (about 10am and about 430pm) I like the paleo lifestyle because my life isn’t centered around eating 3 meals a day at scheduled times.  I only eat when I’m hungry, and occassionally I will even fast for short periods.  For this reason, when I do my meal planning (an absolute MUST if I am to be successful), I only plan two meals a day.  If I get hungry in between, I fall back on leftovers. The leftovers I don’t eat, go into the freezer for those days that I fail to plan, or plans change and I just don’t have time to make adjustments.

My general routine is to do my meal planning Saturday morning, when I’m relaxed and have time to browse for new recipes. I’ll be sharing that plan on Mondays..  And in the future weigh ins will be on Sunday.  Getting back in the swing of meal planning is a challenge. How could I forget all the meals I loved so well, and were so easy to make!  This will once again be a learning curve!

Breakfasts

  • Monday:  2 Hard Boiled Eggs, 3 Sausage Links, 1 peach
  • Tuesday:  Paleo Waffles, Sausage Links, Banana
  • Wednesday: Baked Egg in 1/2 Avocado, sweet potato hash, sausage links
  • Thursday:  2 Hard Boiled Eggs, 3 Sausage Links, 1 Clementine
  • Friday:  Fried Eggs, Sausage, 1 clementine
  • Saturday:Paleo Muffins, 2 hard boiled Eggs, banana
  • Sunday brunch: Omelette ‘muffins’ (with leftovers for next week), Paleo banana bread

Dinners

  • Monday: Crab Legs with Clarified Butter, mashed potatoes, asparagus
  • Tuesday: Crock Pot Pulled Pork, sweet potato fries, coleslaw
  • Wednesday: split pea soup, grilled cheese on paleo bread
  • Thursday: Meatballs in marinara, zuchinni fritters
  • Friday: Balsamic Chicken, Brocolli, Rice
  • Saturday: Leftovers
  • Sunday: BBQ burgers wrapped in lettuce with tomato/onion

 

I have found that when I completely cut most grains from my diet, I shed weight incredibly fast in the beginning, and enjoy greatly improved mental clarity and energy.  Occassionally I will eat rice, and sometimes corn, but those are rare.  I also allow myself potatos from time to time.  For me, just ditching the grains makes a HUGE difference.  From experience I can definately say cutting everything all at once is a surefire path to failure for me.  As my weight loss slows, I will have to make adjustments.  But for now, this works for me.

Finally Leaping

Leaping woman at sunset

I’ve finally done it!

Those who know me, know that making a decision (and sticking with it) is a huge thing for me.  I have always been indecisive, paralyzed by indecision.  A major life change sometimes takes years for me to commit to.  But this year is definately the year for big change.

Maybe it’s because my children are both officially upper-classmen in high school.  My son is officially a senior. My daughter is now a Junior.  And as I reflect on the time I’ve been blessed with them, I realize that most of that time has been focused on the day to day tasks of the taxi driver,  mom, and the employee.  Not unusual for most moms, single or not.  Over the last few years. time was spread even thinner as I tried to turn something I loved (sports photography) into a business.  I stayed stressed, slept very little (often only 2-3 hours/night), and lost much of the progress I’d made previously on my health (because let’s face it, who has time to prepare healthy meals when there isn’t even enough time to sleep).

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I’m not sure when it happened, whether it was overnight, or over the course of weeks, but I settled on a decision.  I FINALLY realized that I have very little time left with my kids at home, and a short life expectancy if I didn’t make a change.  (Well, in fairness, I ACKNOWLEDGED my health issues a long time ago, and succeeding in making strides to improve my lifestyle choices…. until life got too hectic and I slid back into my old routines and poor habits.)

May 15th was officially my last day at my old job.  I am now embarking on a new journey, and excited for an opportunity to try something new.

If you live in Oklahoma, you know that the future of Oklahoma Medicaid is seriously in question.  As a Medicaid waiver program (ADvantage) LPN/Case Manager, I have much insite into where our legislators have gone wrong. It was disheartening to watch as people go without needed medical and mental health resources, while experiencing the money and time draining drudgery of a heavily beaurocratic, labor intensive program.  I spent more time WRITING about helping people, than it took to actually do the HELPING. A request for a simple ADvantage service (like requesting incontinent supplies, a shower chair, or home delivered meals) required a minimum of 5 forms (as many as 60 and no less than 52 pages for a new yearly plan) to be submitted to DHS. Then I had to document all of the work done to justify payment to my company for the work done.

Stress, paperwork, business.

My life had become a whirlwind of paper.

I was recently encouraged to apply for a similar job as a Humana Care Manager.  And I got it!

I feel like I’ve stepped out of the stone ages. No more paper.And so much more time spent delivering needed resources, and much less writing about it!  No more working late into the evening, finishing stacks of paperwork.  And if that wasn’t enough, nearly doubling my income.  For the first time in … maybe ever… I am seeing a light at the end of the Single Mom Financial Tunnel!

Silhouette of a girl on bright background in a tunnel

I’ve also decided to step back from photography (except as a hobby)  I can no longer justify the long hours and the toll its taken on my health.  I gave it time, hoping it would be a viable career move.  It wasn’t. And my passion for photography suffered as well.  So, while I’ll still photograph what I love, photography will no longer be an income generator for me.  That decision alone lifted the weight of the world off my shoulders.

Now, if you know me, you know this is a HUGE step.  But I’ve jumped in with both feet, and the water is fine!  I’m optimistic for my future, and ready to take some new steps toward ensuring a long and happy life!

Monday: Menu planning

Ever hear the saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions?”  Yeah, well some weeks that about sums up my eating.  No matter how much you plan, unexpected things happen, and the food you PLANNED to cook just sits in the fridge waiting on you, while you are off living your life. Last week was one of those weeks.  Soccer games out of town that ran later than expected, among other things.  So this weeks menu may look very similar to last weeks! 😉

Here’s hoping everyone has a healthy and successful week!

Monday:  Pork Loin, homeade applesauce, roasted veggies

Tuesday: Smoked sausage with fried potatos, onions, corn

Wednesday: Meatloaf, Green Beans, Cauliflower “mac’ and cheese

Thursday: Crab legs, asparagus, Cheddar paleo biscuits

Friday: BBQ pulled pork, salad

Saturday: Chicken Fajita Salad with salsa/sourcream dressing

Sunday: Pan Seared Chicken with Balsamic Cream Sauce, Mushrooms, and Onions, Roased Veggies