Starting off right

Well, Happy New Year, y’all! Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and that you’re starting to get back into every-day reality. Did you make any resolutions for 2017?

I definitely had some plans, and tried to give myself a little leeway, since we didn’t have to go back to work until January 3rd. But then I got sick, and am now right in the middle of a really nasty wintertime cold. I don’t know about you, but when I get a cold, I am ravenous. And not for like oranges and chicken soup – nope, I want big, disgusting cheeseburgers and ALLLLL the Oreos.

My plan was to take the month of January off from:

  • Facebook
  • White carbs
  • Spending $$$
  • Drinking much on the weeknights

But that’s kind of already off the tracks. I’m doing OK with Facebook, other than reading some comments on pictures I posted over the weekend. White carbs, well, Jack made some chicken & veggie stew, and then proceeded to dump a box of bowtie pasta in it. GRRR. I’ve done a decent job eating around them, but a few made it onto my spoon. Plus he brought home Oreos, which was just plain evil. I’m proud to say I’ve only eaten two, and that was at night, when I was exhausted and feeling especially miserable. In terms of spending, I forgot we have 4 birthdays this month, so I did get some gifts from Amazon. We also keep having unexpected expenses for the kitchen reno. Good news is I’m not really drinking since I’m sick 🙂

I don’t want to feel like a failure just 5 days into the new year, but I also don’t want to start making excuses. We also have a ton of food in our pantry (like pasta) that I should use before I go out and buy low carb alternatives. Plus I’ve done some other good things, like re-start my 401(k) and start a new Instagram account (blog to follow) that I’ve been posting on daily.

With this in mind, below are my edited January goals:

  • No Facebook
  • No sugar (except for one small piece of dark chocolate allowed at night)
  • No buying any clothes, books, meals/drinks out
  • No more than 2 drinks on weeknights (and only wine then)

 

Did you make any resolutions? How are you going to stay on track? Are you a fan of baby steps or cold turkey?

Get You Some: Avgolemono Soup

I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes for a Greek version of chicken noodle soup: soupa avgolemono. Rather than noodles, it uses rice or orzo, and incorporates lemon and egg into the broth. I’ve been intrigued but hadn’t made it yet. After a crazy weekend of an overnight trip to Dallas to entertain clients, followed by a carb-a-thon (Oreo cheesecake!), football (go Falcons!), and tequila (shots are low carb, at least), I woke up feeling awful yesterday. I needed soup! But after my cheat weekend, I needed to get back on the low carb wagon.

I found this low carb version of avgolemono from one of my favorite low carb sites, I Breath I’m Hungry. It calls for spaghetti squash rather than rice, and sounded easy enough to make in my tiny hotel kitchen. I cooked the spaghetti squash in the microwave and used pre-made broth and a rotisserie chicken. I didn’t even have a whisk to froth the eggs and lemon, so I went old-school and used a fork.

Y’all, it was soooo good. It had all the yummy stuff of chicken noodle soup warm, hearty comfort) but the eggs made it so creamy, the lemon brightened it up, and the spaghetti squash was a damn fine substitute for noodles. And it really was easy to make! I think it could be adapted to various diets – keep it low-fat by using only white meat chicken; it’s already paleo; make it vegetarian by using veggie stock and adding other vegetables instead of the pulled chicken…

With fall here (officially now, so let’s stop it with these 90+ degree days – I’m looking at you, Texas!), I’m excited for soups and stews and chili (p.s. hands down best chili recipe ever here). This will be next up on the menu, and once we finally move into a real house, I can break out the slow cooker and experiment with my own recipes.

Do you have a favorite soup recipe? What are you craving now that the weather is starting to cool?

Low Carb Life

I’ve been trying to lose about 10 pounds over the past couple of months but not only did I not succeed at losing any weight, I actually ended up gaining a couple more pounds. This put me at my highest weight since the freshman 15 (ok, maybe it was 30 for me), back in the ’90s. No fun!

So I finally got fed up and took what I consider to be drastic step: a low carb diet. Jack and I have done this once before, last September actually, and found that it’s a good way to get back in control after a summer of too-much-fun and poolside drinking. When we did it last fall I had less weight to lose, and so while I only dropped about three pounds, I could see a difference in my face and how my clothes fit.

The idea behind a low carb diet is that your body will get into ketosis, and you’ll start burning fat for energy, instead of being fueled primarily by carbs. I’m definitely no scientist, but that’s my understanding of it 🙂 You do feel crappy for the first few days, while your body is getting used to the change. Last fall, when we did the diet in earnest, I did feel bad, but I was motivated. This time, I pretty much didn’t feel a change. I don’t know if this is because I was already feeling kind of lousy and tired from unhealthy habits, but I was convinced I wasn’t even in ketosis because I didn’t feel any different. But I got my ketostix and was happy to see that I was indeed in ketosis, after just a few days. I also lost about four pounds in the first few days. I know this is mostly water weight, but it’s motivating nonetheless. All my clothes fit SO much better after just a week!

The best part about this diet is it forces me to chill with all the sugar. I’ve always been a big fan of dessert, but training for my half-marathon last spring really cemented my sugar habit. We literally were eating Snickers before (and during) our long runs. I was at the point that I was craving sweets after every meal – even breakfast. Gross.

The worst part about this diet is, well, there are two things. One, it’s really easy to eat a ton of meat on this diet, which I don’t enjoy and do feel guilty about. Two, it really affects my energy level on my runs. I only ran twice in the last week and I felt exhausted throughout both of them.

Because this diet focuses heavily on eating a lot of fat, it’s important to eat healthier fats (avocado, grass-fed butter, coconut oil) rather than bacon all day, every day. I do have a heavy reliance on cheese, but that’s not necessarily a new thing for me 🙂 I’m eating shrimp, salmon, and chicken, and trying not to mow down on cheeseburgers. I’m also eating a ton of fresh veggies: big salads, stir-fries, roasted cauliflower. A couple of strawberries and a bite of dark chocolate when I do have a sweet tooth. All this fresh, yummy, mostly-healthy food, combined with good fats (heavy cream in coffee = true love), means I’m staying satisfied and not very interested in snacks. It also keeps me away from the booze, which is a good thing.

As for running, I have to accept I’m not going to be making any big gains right now. I’m spending more time in the gym, and we did two hikes this weekend. I absolutely feel less energetic when I’m working out, so it seems like a good time to do some weight training, rather than just aerobic activities. I’m also going to bed around 9:00 and getting a ton of rest, which is completely delicious.

I’m planning on keeping with this low carb diet for awhile. The more I do it, the less I crave. And I’m happy that I’m not really craving ice cream or bread. What I really want is a bowl of oatmeal, with honey and milk and walnuts and raisins. How wholesome 🙂

Have you ever tried a low carb/keto diet? What weight loss strategy works for you?