Friday, January 31, 2014

Myth busting Karen style- "Fruit did not make me fat"... well, maybe it did...

Asian pear with cinnamon, good, but a small slice will do!
One of the funny things (funny to me, anyway) I hear people say is "fruit did not make me fat" when they are discussing food. This discussion often takes place before, during, or after Weight Watchers meetings.

** special note for my Paleoish friends*** I still hop on a calibrated scale 1-2 times a month at WW. I DON'T count points, but I do want access to a scale that is going to weigh me clothed, calibrated, and what my doctor will see my weight.

Berries are my favorite fruit
Anyhoo, at the start of weight maintenance, I could eat 1-2 fruits a day and not gain weight. Somewhere at 6-8 months, there's just no way I could tolerate that many carbs. I could have 1 berry serving day or a couple of thin slices of orange or apple. I eat both berries AND small slices of in season fruit on long hiking days, post hike.  My carb window has changed a lot. That's okay with  me.
Orange slice after a 2 hour long hike in Torrey Pines

I sleep better, maintain my weight better and just have fewer binge urges when I keep my fruit levels on the lower side.

Here's what worked and is working for me:

1. Fruit played NO part of weight loss. I think high sugar fruit like bananas, pineapple, and other fruits probably stopped my weight loss progress in the past.

2. Fruit does play a part of weight maintenance. Berries and occasional in season fruit slices. I eat fruit usually only in the last meal of the day.

3. Fruit plays a part in fuel for long travel days. I can often have some pineapple slices in the mornings of travel days where I'll be walking and sight seeing all day  long for hours on end.

What did not work for me:

1. Eating loads of fruit for weight loss.  It didn't work! Bananas made me sick to my stomach and I ate them because WW told me they were a good source of potassium. I must have parked my brain at the door of the WW meeting. Glad I went back and picked up my backbone while I was at it. Not WW fault, by the way. But I did do some banana un-brain washing somewhere on one of my walks... Now I understand.... fruits are NOT Zero points, for me.

2. Eating dates and raisins in weight maintenance daily.  Too much sugar... just too much. I might have dates or raisins 1-2 times a year. Great for hiking for hours. Not so much for a desk job.

3. Binging on fruit: Yes! I probably did this.  I know because I averted a binge last week on pineapple. Sigh..... Onward.  I count myself lucky as I know there are people who cannot eat fruit at all due to binge urges. That's a tough one!

So, my take away lesson...... yes, fruit probably did "make me fat". But to know is the real gift. To bust that myth and do what I need to do for myself is pure gold. No longer checking my brain at the door. I'm tough, not moderate when it comes to fruit.
Fruit bear from an Alaskan cruise

Monday, January 27, 2014

Two years of making friends with dietary fat- in weight maintenance

I saute my eggs every morning in a little Coconut Oil!

One of the things I promised myself when I got to weight maintenance this time around was that I'd work out my own personal code for weight maintenance. I'd do what it takes. Yo-Yo dieting for 40 years and a high hs-CRP and blood work that was paving the way for joint pain, heart problems, and pre-diabetes. It wasn't fun and I didn't feel good. Finally, I was able  to prioritize all this as "life threatening... eventually, but do something NOW"

I knew this:

1. Weight maintenance IS (for me) much different than weight loss.
2. What worked in the past temporarily, wouldn't work in the future. 40 years of yo-yo dieting!
3. I needed to customize the new things that I tried due to my body size, age, menopause, post thyroid disease, history of emotional/binge eating, family history of MS and bone loss. Dang! Lots of history baggage, but others have overcome bigger things.
4. I would do this! Yeah! Huh-Huh...  Knew I would, knew I could. Everyone who told me I couldn't/wouldn't could talk to my hand! Heh, Heh, Heh... I never told anyone that, but I did tell a few people to "watch me!". Dang... my own inner voice was hard enough to overcome. I don't need doubters from the peanut gallery. Especially the low-fat crowd. I know, I was one of them before!

Luckily, for me, after reading Refuse to Regain by Barbara Berkeley, MD AND reading more about a "Primarian" style of diet (no grains, no starchy S foods), I had a clear plan to try. Take what I need, and move along.

 If I could wave a magic wand and do 3 things about my past attempts at weight maintenance they would be:

1. Remove wheat and grains sooner. Who needs a hs-CRP of 6.8  and joint pain so bad to stop that stuff ? Me, I guess. It happened. It hurt physically and emotionally. Glad that stuff is in the past. (normal is <3, less than 1 is where I am now!)

2. Remove processed sugar and processed foods. The moderation theory was no good for me. Major, major re-gains and self loathing and emotional eating. Ugh. More knocking into walls and falling over. Glad that stuff is in the past.

3. Add in good fats... I was so afraid of avocados, olive oil, grass-fed beef, bison, salmon, etc. I blogged about being afraid of avocados here.
Note: * I'm dairy free so butter and ghee is not on my list. Nuts weren't the right thing either. Boom, there you go! Customized temple. Probably has something to do with being post-auto immune thyroid. It's all good!

I feel so, so much better with some protein, fat, and carbohydrates (from non-starchy veggies).  PFC as Dietitian Cassie would say. Continued great health, muscle strength, absence of  joint pain, hs-CRP = 0.4, low triglyercides, lower HA1c, very few menopause symptoms. Feeling 27 instead of 47. Whoa!  I never would have guessed it.

Feeling full after eating full fat items no doubt helped me to stop the emotional/binge eating. I have NO DOUBT. It's not 100%. I still have to navigate binge brain. Cannot wave the magic wand and make that go away for my life. But I can choose remission between lapses as long as possible. I'll take that.

Swapping out grains and proceessed sugar carbs for veggie carbs,  fat avocados, olive oil, grass-fed beef, bison = a better way to maintain for me. Everyone is different. Customizing your food template is key- IMO.

Luckily for me weight maintenance = great health = no sugars +no grains (yo! #NSNG) = end of a whole lot of searching. Whew!  One more week and it will be 2 years in weight maintenance. Longest. Time. Ever.
Feb 2012
May 2012

Nov 2012
Feb 2012
April 2013
July 2013
Dec 2013

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Keeping my strength commitment- Jan 2014

I'm keeping my strength commitment in Jan 2014. Stickers on a calendar. Like a kid. It works, so I  go with it. :)

What's working
1. Gym, increasing weights consistently, 2x per week.
2. Taking Jr. Family member with me.  Fun!
3. Keeping my gym clothes downstairs and in plain sight
4. Putting stickers on my calendar.
5. Downloading some iTunes for reward.

What didn't work in the past
1. Stopped going to the gym when life got tough
2. Thinking I couldn't work out at home when my daughter was younger
3. Not organizing prior to my gym day with clothes
4. Not developing a "rewards" system for my 2nd grade brain!
5. Rewarding with FOOD. Ugh. Not so effective...

 I had a look at my gym attendance records over the last year and I can see that after about 2-3 months, I could notice the difference in muscle tone. 

Due to bone strength and family history, I'm super motivated to make this a life shifting habit in 2014. Next steps are to advance in weight and see out a gym for basic movements so that as I increase weight and free weights that I have movement down pat to avoid injury.

I'm going to try blogging shorter topics/length 2-3 times per week. The weather has been awesome in So. Cal. I've been knocking out house projects and and getting outside as soon as possible. Sadly the long term results for our environment won't be so awesome for the water emergency called in the state and the effects this summer. 

I caught this surfer, the dolphins surfacing, this sail boat and post sunset on my way home from work last night. Great way to get my last 3,000 steps in for the day. So fortunate!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

That US News report ranking the Paleo Diet- my response in photos and life details

 Ah, yes. US news and world reports ranks the Paleo Diet and it's near the bottom on of the list in 2014.

Here's my response, in photos: You make the call for yourself.  Thinking for yourself is key:

 The details: Dec 2008
Weight Watchers, counting points, counting calories, chronic cardio, eating "healthy whole grains",  a LOT of SELF BLAME- I must be so weak!, emotional eating, mini- binges on Skinny Cow Ice cream, huge containers of 100 calorie snack packs, Lab work: hs-CRP = 6.8, steadily rising Hemoglobin A1C, per-menopause, BMI was about 35, Weight = 180ish,  a lot of joint pain, migraines monthly, very tired all the time, sleep is short maybe 6 hrs night, hard to get up in the morning, self loathing through the roof.  The only reason I have this photo is that someone sent it to me because I hated myself so much that I deleted my copy.

The details: Dec 2013
Paleo-ish template, quality grass-fed meat, veggies, and plant based fats , some coffee and 85 % chocolate, occasionally counting carbs, long slower walks, twice a week strength training, abstaining from grains and most processed sugar, in long term remission from emotional/binge eating, Lab work: hs-CRP 0.4, Hemoglobin A1c no longer trending high,  post menopause, BMI = around 22,  weight around 117 ish, zero joint pain, zero migraines,  sleep is longer 7.5- 8 hours, wake up feeling great, love myself a lot- I am so strong and awesome!, I have lots of photos and delete none.

 I don't know.... what life should I choose for myself?  How bad can real, whole natural food be? Really. Just how hard can it be?   I can tell you Dec 2008 was hard. Dec 2013 is relatively easy.  Relatively, because long term weight maintenance does take effort.

Be sure to keep trying and working a looking for what works for you when you read these reports. We are stronger together. And, I wake up every morning giving thanks to my higher power that I survived the low-fat, high carbohydrate phase. Onward.  Share my story if you think someone in your life could benefit!

Stepping off the soap box now....

Friday, January 10, 2014

Introducing: No Grains, No Gains! Keeping weight off in a grain obsessed world- Jan 2014

Introducing: No Grains, No Gains! (... no weight gains)

A group a of Primal/Paleo/Grain free women who blog about their experiences/life/benefits without grains. It’s a great way for others (who may be wanting to lose weight, reverse an acute/chronic health trend, and/or transition from commercial weight loss programs) to read about real life women who are living the life and succeeding!

I find there is a lot of fear, misunderstanding, and a lot of general questions about eating grain free.  I'm telling my story along with 4 of my other blog friends from around the world. ( links at the end of this post).  Being grain free is just one part of weight maintenance. By sharing our stories, I hope that others may learn more about the benefits we have each found. We are stronger together.

1. Introductions: Hello: I'm Karen P. and I've been using a Paleo-ish food template to maintain 68-70 pounds over almost 2 years. I transitioned from commercial weight loss plan(s) where I lost my weight, to a Paleo-ish continued weight maintenance. My main goal was to maintain my weight loss, and I found many more health benefits from becoming grain free.

I'm 47 years old, 5'1", I weigh between 113-118 pounds since Feb 2012. During the first year of weight maintenance, I went completely through menopause! with few symptoms during my first year of weight maintenance.  I also had auto-immune thyroid disease in 1997, and struggled with emotional eating, and yo-yo dieting my whole life, about 40 years. I was overweight as a kid in the 1970's, then on and off again between the 1980's until now. I consider myself in long term remission from emotional/binge eating since June of 2013.

I'm a single parent, head of household. I work in health care. I earn my money, and buy my pastured bacon ,and fry it up in a pan....  for my daughter. LOL! I have a pork sensitivity so I don't eat much bacon. I do most of my cooking at home.

Read and listen to my story


2. Why I went Paleo/Primal/Grain free: I went grain free so I could finally find permanent weight loss. I had read in the book "Refuse to Regain" by Barbara Berkeley, MD. I was on a mission to make my 3rd weight maintenance try a success. When I read about a "Primarian" diet, it sounded great. I already knew I was lactose intolerant. When I checked around for more reading, I found Robb Wolf's "The Paleo Solution". The anti-inflammatory message really hit home for me. I went to an Everyday Paleo seminar in Feb 2012 with Sarah Fragoso and Jason Seib.

3. How long I've been eating this way:

1. July 2011: Gluten free
2. June 2012: Diet Soda free
3. Jan 2013: Dairy free and grain free (I stopped eating food supplement bars)
4. Feb 2013: Grain free 
4. May 2013: Nut free

4.  I removed different food items for health reasons, as a slow progression to the new normal.  Having thyroid disease in the past was a big factor for me removing gluten,dairy and nuts. Not only does it keep my weight stable, I'm in great health and I feel better emotionally. Normal weight, lower blood pressure, hs-CRP went from 6.8 to 0.4, better lipid panel, better sleep and very few menopause symptoms.  One stop shopping!

 Read Gwen, Jeanette, Leigh, and Lynda's introductions and their health benefits being grain free. We'll back once a month to blog on the same topic. We are stronger together! Feel free to share our stories with friends and family who may also benefit from the grain free life. Customizing the grain free life is one of the best advantages.

 Reading about real life people and real life health benefits is awesome! It's time we told our stories so that more people can learn and change their health.

Gwen S
Jeannette C
Leigh C
Lynda S
Karen P

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday 1/5/2014 links to some favorite posts this week and a few photos

My personal "take aways" from the articles are in bold

1. Photo: Holy "money shot".  A dolphin leaping out of the ocean at pre-sunset. I had a strong gut feeling to go to this beach for my daily walk on 1/4/2014. If you are not following me on Instagram for more Southern California photos, quick- do it. I'll be walking every day for as long as I'm able.  There WILL be more photo awesomeness...

2. I steer clear of product claims in my purchases. Too much hype.  I know canola oil helped contribute to my hs-CRP being 6.8 in the past, along with grain and sugar!  I feel much better without canola oil and it gives me a case of the sads when I see companies promoting it as "heart healthy". (thinking WW here)   I grew up eating popcorn in Indiana and I gave up eating popcorn for my food sobriety on May 3, 2011.

3. Tony  How a food addict says no to a cupcake video. Yes, Yes, Yes... I thank myself daily for abstaining from cakes with frosting. Total binge eating trigger for me. I've thrown out cake, cookies, frosting, candy and poured grease and/or coffee grounds on it. Because in the bad old days, I would dig in the trash can if the food was in a zip lock or other container. The stronger the urge, the more tough I have to be in recovery. Tony is not alone. You not alone.... by blogging about it, I gain freedom in life overall and not weight! I did not go into remission to learn how to eat a cupcake.

4. The rant near the end of the Abel James and Jonathan Bailor interview/podcast/video really struck a cord with me. I brought up the topic of "what kids eat in the school cafeteria" with my daughter. Great talking point on foods teens eat, choices, what is offered, what is eaten, and what the long term effects of all that soda and pizza will be on the general population. I suspect that supplying junk food to kids is going to cost a lot of money in health down the road. My 2 cents.  I value the teaching time now and my good buying habits in my own family.  I got myself well and now I can change this  outcome in my own family.

5. Great podcast interview over at Half Sized Me (Heather) who interviewed Go Kaleo. I liked this interview. Body acceptance, eating and not starving. Drinking water and chewing gum when you are really hungry. I used to try to stuff myself with baby carrots when I was hungry rather than eat some balanced protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Stuffing yourself with baby carrots will only make for funky elimination problems, just saying! I appreciated that when Heather and Amber talked about "eliminating whole food groups" that they qualified it with a medical need. I have a medical need to abstain from wheat and processed sugar.  Eating from a Paleo template, I can eat good sized meals of real food, get comfortably full, and maintain my weight and health.  I also have the best body image that I've had in my life. Eating real foods is real good for me.

That's it. I've been getting caught up on my podcasts while working around the house and walking on the beach at low tide. Wishing I could send you warmth and sunshine!

Crab in a tide pool
Seagulls on the beach at low tide

Saturday, January 4, 2014

23 months of Weight Maintenance - check in and dealing with a gain

23 months of Weight Maintenance - my check in this month

Highest weight: 187.4
Current weight: 117.0
Goal weight range: 113-118
Age: 47
Height 5’1”
Post- Menopause: Yes, since July 2013

What is working this month?

1.     Getting treated for an ear infection- see it on the second graph (below) from 12/4 to about 12/18 or so?  I could feel inflammation, but I didn’t feel ear pain until 12/17/13. Looking back on the weight graph, I could see it. 
2.     Dropping back down into a lower carb range 40-50 grams / day to reverse the gain trend.
3.     Getting back to 2X weekly strength training the last week of Dec 2013.
4.     Staying on my food template, as usual.
5.     Simplifying Christmas and the decorating and food craziness. I spent much more time beach walking and photography than ever. My new Christmas tradition.

The great news is that although the scale is up, I do have a 2-5% less body fat. I can tell my abdominal fat in my belly has decreased. This is great health wise, in my opinion. Supposedly the belly fat around the organs is related to metabolic disease. This hit home in the Refuse to Regain book (those MRI photos of visceral fat page 27 impacted me!!)

The so-so news is that I have more loose skin on my upper hips, on the sides. It’s either loose skin or a little bit of sub-cutaneous fat for the “winter” colder sleeping conditions.

I’m over it.  My body continues to change even 2 years from my weight maintenance date of Feb 3, 2012.  That’s okay. My health, sleep, emotional eating (in remission), and menopause symptoms are all in check. I feel most AWESOME!  Those are the main goals.

I wasn’t exactly thrilled to see my upper weight limit or my “scream weight”, but I did take swift action in getting back to a lower carb range.  This is why I chose my mid-BMI range for maintenance. Previous attempts at long-term maintenance were at 131, and I could not hold onto that for long. For a small boned, short person, it was too, high.

 I know our blogger friend; Vickie recommends 5 pounds lower than what you are aiming for maintenance range. My example is a good example of reversing within the 5-pound limit and still having good health, like lower abdominal fat. Let alone clothes that still fit. 

 I'd say my January Jeans 2014 challenge was a success, even though I did gain weight, I did not eat off the rails and my clothes still fit!

What did not work in the past:
1.     Waiting to go and get treated for bacterial infections, until the pain was so bad I could not sleep. I could not wish away the infection.
2.     Not weighing in and not catching weight gain trends early or fast enough until 10, 20, 30+ pounds were back on.
3.     Not strength training at all.
4.     Eating whatever the heck I wanted during Oct-Dec, hiding in huge sweaters and getting back to cutting calories in Jan-March, before the sweaters had to come off- (didn’t’ work!!!)
5.     Decorating, cookie baking, cookie eating, spending huge amounts of time doing Christmas cards and things other people wanted me to do or that I had learned was a “tradition”. Being on auto-pilot
Looser shirt side view

Different side view last week. Trying to get XS blouses..

1 month

2 months   

3 months

Moonlight Beach, Dec 2013

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 Major Shifts in my second year of long term weight maintenance

The sun has already set on 2013. Before moving on to 2014, I'll share a few shifts that I made in 2013.

Shifts (Dean Dwyer talks about shifts), process changes, priorities, and habit changes probably describe the change over time. I'll probably stay away from the word "resolution".

I kept building on what worked and went from there, as much as I could. 

****TOP Shift ***1. My emotional/ binge eating is solidly in remission. I consider it remission. I'll have this the rest of my life. My end goal is to keep it in remission for as long as possible, so I can live the life I was meant to live.

Years of emotional/binge eating: 40 years!!! 
Time it took to address and stop: May 2011 to May 2013. Almost 2 years
Methods: Abstaining from wheat and sugar, and most processed foods.
The key shift this year: abstaining from dairy, nuts, snack bars and eating 3X per day instead of 5 (no snacking unless it was for pure fuel)
Tools: Used Medifast (starting abstinence, weight loss) with a transfer to 95% Paleo  for long term  weight maintenance, a support group, a few support people, Whole30, and a low carb challenge and a walking challenge. (my blog shows my progression)
 Barriers to work around: I had one of the hardest years emotionally for the last 10 years. I didn't blog about it, but the death of friends and family members hit close to home.
 Best moves: Going dairy free in January (Whole30) and going nut free (Low-Carb challenge), then a walking challenge (June 2013) impacted me the most.  Food was most of it. Walking and support kept me functioning in a sane, food sober world the whole year.

Calm waters and riding those waves

2. Shifting Jr. Family member to a more Primal template:  This is her change, but it was my goal to align the family food purchasing, preparation, and meals this year, as much as possible. For our long term health as a family. Eating well and staying well will impact the family emotional, physical and financial health in many ways. It's part of me being a parent and teaching my daughter, also. Now that I have MY shift together, I can effect the family.

Methods: choosing family friendly recipes, having my daughter make her OWN choices.
Tools: Kitchen cooking equipment,  Sarah Fragoso's cookbooks, some beef recipes from George the Civilized Cave man
Barriers to work around: time management and changing habits
Best moves: Going to the farmer's market and Trader Joe's together, regularly. Having sandwiches "protein style"- AKA no bun = many more flavors

There may or may not be a guest post or two from my daughter this year.

New Cookbook and offer of "time" instead of money-empty coin purse!

 3. Sharing my photos:

Shift: I went from taking lots of photos on walks but never really doing anything with them. Walking and taking photos is a certain form of meditation for me. I'll stop, get into what I'm photographing and spend lots of time in what some call "flow".  It's part of de-stressing and relaxing. So it's part of weight maintenance.
 Methods: Instagram (my account is here),  great place to share and see other great photos from people living or visiting the same area. It's also a great way to see photos from all over the world. 
Tools: My beat up Cannon  Powershot SX500 IS, my iPhone, and my underwater point and shoot Fuji XP for tide pools, and my MacBook Air.  I'm not going to cure my Mac addition any time soon.
Barriers to work around: Really just prioritizing walking and time management
Best moves:  Bringing a camera with me everywhere I go, being on the look out for cool animals, plants, patterns and other things to photograph. Keeps me connected to the earth. Sounds woo-woo, but good for my emotional health. Making time to walk every day is also key.
 Best moves: Committing to the time required to walk and photograph. Wearing a pedometer so I can track movement vs standing still and shooting photos.

La Jolla Cove, Dec 2013

 Onward for 2014! I can't control or plan everything, but I can take good actions and make great choices. Here's to safe travels and smooth shifts and some clarity in 2014. We are worth it!