Friday, August 28, 2015

I was featured in a low carb weight maintenance article- cool!

I was honored to be featured in Franziska Spritzler's - AKA the Low Carb Dietitian's blog post about long term weight maintenance 

Low Carbohydrates from non-startchy vegetables and sometimes berries is the cornerstone of my long term weight maintenance food template.

Franziska is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator
who believes in a Low-Carbohydrate Lifestyle. My friends in real life who have seen her for glucose regulation and low carb diet recommendations have had excellent results.

Be sure to follow the Low Carb Dietitian's blog for more information.

When you  are in long term weight maintenance, using all the tools available to you to stay there is very, very valuable. Thanks again to Franziska for sharing my story. To my readers, please share with those who may benefit from good glucose control and a low carb lifestyle.

My current template is 40-50 grams of carbs day for maintenance. All from lots of veggetables and sometimes some berries.  My glucose 1-2 hours post meals is typically in the 80's. Maybe super low 90's if I've had berries. My fasting glucose is high 70's to low 80's. Fantastic!

I know from my 23nMe results that even though I have multiple risk factors for type 2 diabetes and I came close to being diagnosed in 2011, I never fully developed diabetes.  I have the geneotype, but via weight loss, a low carb, Paleo-ish approach, I can enjoy controlled glucose levels, weight maintenance, and good health and nutrition during menopause and a normal phenotype.

Wow, after 40 years of yo-yo dieting, binge eating , and morbid obesity, low carb sure does taste good. And  I get to spend my money traveling and taking photos instead of medical bills. Win-Win.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Inspiration from a local Trader Joe's Crew member- Paleo Food list

Post beach walk and Sunday Trader Joe's Paleo Shopping
Okay, so I was shopping at one of my local Trader Joe's (Encintias, CA) and a local crew member (Esther) struck up a conversation about Paleo and Trader Joe's.

Wearing my PaleoFx T-Shirt may have been an ice breaker. 

*Esther if I've remembered your name wrong, I'll update it! ;)

Esther had recently completed a Whole30.  Esther and I thought it might be informative to develop a Paleo Trader Joes list. (Hey, if Nom Nom Paleo can have a Whole Foods list, surely I can pin a list of my favorites staples from Trader Joe's to my blog).

Food Sobriety doesn't have to be a life of dull, boring meals. (My food template does have to be measured and I do have to be careful, I have full respect for recovery.)

 In fact, my food has never been tastier or more nutritious than now. We all have to eat, but I can choose foods that don't trigger over eating that keep me in a normal weight. 

Yeah, after 40 years of obesity and binge eating, I can have nutrient dense foods and recovery, too. Better late than never.  I do think grain free and processed sugar free Paleo/Primal approach is underused in long term weight management. It won't work for everyone, but it will work for many. 

Batch Cooking at home is also key

Of course, my Paleo favorite foods at Trader Joe's will be completely different from a person who

  • Is or is not maintaining a large weight loss
  • Is or is not a person with trigger foods for over eating. 
  • Is or is not insulin and glucose sensitive
  • Is or is not in menopause
  • Is or is not post auto-immune disease
  • Is or is not dairy sensitive (Primal/Paleo)
  • Is or is not cooking for a family
  • Is or is not working full time
 I'll be working a list of my favorites over the week. Will post a link on the blog. Just planting the seed on what works for me.  Adapting what works for you will be different. As it should. We all have different genotypes and phenotypes. Best to customize.

What are your Trader Joe's favorites? Is there a Trader Joe's in your area? If not, where do you shop for your basics.

What works for me right now:

1. Shopping and cooking foods that keep me fed but not triggered to overeating (Paleo-ish food template, lower carb, higher natural fat, moderate protein)
2. Batch cooking on the weekends or during the week, as needed.

What didn't work in the past:

1. Buying snack foods and trying to consume them in small amounts (examples: Popcorn & Pirates Booty & Peanuts) and getting triggered to overeat.

2. Eating out a lot because I felt stressed or overworked and deserved to eat fast, processed foods.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Even the veterinarian has better advice for weight managment- summer shorts 2015, #1

I'd rather play than eat-says the skinny cat
 Summer Shorts 2015, #1 Our  the veterinarian has better advice than the human medical community.

The advice is : Feed indoor cats the diet that is most closely like their natural diet. No grains, a good quality wet food most of the time, this fixes 80-90% of all cat problems and we are now recommending wet food to our clients"

Oh, real cat food for real cats. What if mainstream medical and the weight loss & weight maintenance community told humans to eat real foods, most closely like their natural diet?

I've got one cat that is normal weight, play focused and stops eating when she's full. She also gets hair balls easily. Used to throw up easily on dry (grain free) food.

I've got another cat that eats her own food, the skinny cat's food, and will beg for our food- Loves that the other cat gets sick easily. Pet obesity. It's a problem.Ugh! What a dynamic. I start my day by drinking coffee while I police the cats sticking to their own food dishes and to keep the skinny cat focused for 2 seconds.

The cats are sisters, from the same litter. The eating based cat is likely the runt of the litter, with small facial features, but doesn't stop eating easily.

Our Solution: 

Blue Buffalo- 100% grain free canned cat food. Grain free. Hairball cat keeps her food down, overweight cat stays leaner. Vet bills stay low. The obese cat is still overweight. We'll have to closely monitor the amount she eats over the next year. But we have a better chance now that the lean cat has fewer tummy troubles.

Our vet has better advice than many in the medical community and weight loss plans dole out to people. Seriously. If grains are used to fatten cattle, ducks are force fed grain to get fatty liver, why, why, why are grains recommend to people with already high inflammation and metabolic problems? 

Yes, I know some people can eat say a Mediterranean diet, whole grains and stay lean. Yippee for them. But why, for the rest of us people, do we continue with a substance that adds body mass? That increases hs-CRP and inflammation?

Why would that be a good idea? For me, it only lead to binge eating and high hs-CRP. The very thing I was told was "heart healthy" was the very thing that would have lead to a heart attack, for me, had I not thought for myself.

Vet's advice stands. Food like our natural diets for the win!

What's working for me: grain free diet, Paleo-ish food template. Meat, veg, spices, low inflammatory oils.

What didn't work in the past: Whole grain, "heart healthy" cereals, waffles, and breads.

If you have a natural cat food that works well for your cat, please share in the comments below.

The eating based cat . Look at that booty!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Chicken guacamole salad, in a bell pepper bowl (recipe)

I had a request for my chicken guacamole salad.

Because at my house, guacamole does not cost extra! Because recipes get lots of blog hits.

Serves 1

Roasted or cooked chicken, chopped

Wholly Guacamole 1-2 mini containers
OR 1-2 oz of mashed avocado

Celery stick- chopped

Bell Peppers- one half

Sea Salt

Green onions


1. Slice your bell pepper in half, remove seeds and set in a bowl
2. In another bowl, mix your chicken, guacamole or avocado, celery sticks, and any optional add-ins. Sprinkle with sea salt.
3. Spoon into the bell pepper
4. Take a photo of your real food lunch or dinner (optional)
5. Cut into 3-4 slices to eat
6. Enjoy

No calorie counting. If you need to run it through My Fitness Pal or Spark People for macros, calories, or points, you do that. Your ingredients will vary.

What works for me:
A. A big pat on the back for eating homemade food that costs less than an eat out without junky preservatives in the same time it takes to order fast food.
B. Cost savings over eating out all the time.
C. No hot kitchen in the summer.
D. Optional take a photo, share with your friends that you eat real food. #JERF (just eat real food) #NSNG (no sugars no grains), #Paleo hash tags.
E. No binge urges. I have far fewer binge urges eating real food.  A food template that has protein, fat, and carbs from veggies. Think 95% freedom from binge urges.

Let me know if this recipe works for you. Please share it, too.  :)  Karen P

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Cool things that have come out of meditation- in weight maintenance

I've been attempting to practice daily mediation. After listening to my favorite role models at PaleoFx (Jason Seib, Sarah Fragoso), podcasts (Evolved Recovery and Overeaters Anonymous), and Serena Scott Thomas' meditation at the NSNG meetup in LA (based on Sharon Salzberg), I've been practicing mediation more often.

Meditation  is a habit and skill I wanted to develop, both as a way to relax and to keep my slippery slope thinking from hijacking my thoughts and brain during weight maintenance.

The old me told me things that would keep my food addiction alive. My disease living depended on the  brain hijacking, or slippery slope thinking. So I had to address all these thoughts without acting on them in long term weight maintenance. Irrational belief's = return to obesity.

 So it made sense that I needed all the tools I could get my hands on to replace those repetitive thoughts. In addition to meditation, I 'll use distraction activities like house projects, playing with the cats, gardening, walking , iphone games, even an episode or two of the Real Housewives (OC or NYS or NJ)

Since I've been practicing meditation, I've discovered guided meditation works best. 
My favorite Meditation Tools:

Free and paid apps- Calm, Coach.Me,  Insight Timer
Books: 8 minute meditation, by Victor Davich

Some of the cool things that have happened for me as far as thought changes with meditation- what's working now:

  • Keeping a lid on the slippery slope thinking (it's still there, but doesn't arise easily)
  • Relaxing my body before heading to sleep.
  • More happiness when gardening, interacting with the cats
  • Fewer negative thoughts
Here's what didn't work in the past:
  • The eat, repeat, repent cycle
  • The "I've blown it, so I'll start tomorrow, Monday, after vacation, next year cycle
  • The "I've been good/walked a lot/trained for a half marathon walking so I deserve this muffin, biscotti, pizza, cinnamon roll, Skinnycow ice cream.
  • The moderator WW leader told me I would binge if I didn't moderate, so I must eat a few points of M&M's * *This one is my favorite to laugh about- putting other people in charge...**
  • No one will know if I eat this frosting on the left over cake in the break room. Won't matter one bit.
  • Even in the first year of weight , well Lara bars are Paleo, so I'll have half, oh, that was good, I'll have another half. Oh, I'm not counting points so, I'll have these raisins, too. I've been hiking a lot...

I'm still not at daily meditation, but up to at least 5 days a week. I've also learned that I need shorter (5 minutes or less) meditation sessions during the week and I can use longer meditation sessions on the weekends. I'd rather meditate for 5 minutes daily than longer sessions less frequently.

Anyway, who else meditates? It doesn't take the place of long walks, being "in the zone" while practicing photography, or praying to my higher power, or sleeping well. I still do those things. I am finding it a simple way to relax during the day.

A Paleo food template will only take me so far in weight maintenance. I owe it to myself to keep my meditation game strong.
Laguna Beach, Summer 2015

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

3.5 year celebration in long term weight maintenance-Paleo, LCHF, NSNG, and being tough as nails

Three and a half years of long term weight maintenance 2012-2015
 Hey! Three and a half years of long term weight maintenance. Yeah!

Let's celebrate:

Years in long term weight maintenance: 3.5
Starting weight: 187.4 lbs
Current weight: 119.2 lbs
Goal range: 113-119
Age: 49
Menopause: yes, 2 years
Hashimoto's Disease 1997
Levoxyl: 100 ug
Height: 5'1"
Food template: Paleo, Modified AIP, Low Carb
Strategy, NSNG, Abstainer from trigger foods

Hey! Paleo-ish, modified AIP, Low Carb/Higher natural fat, moderate protein, abstaining for the WIN.  I eat 90-100 grams of natural fat a day. 80 grams of protein and around 40-50 grams of carbs from veggies.  I stay lean.

May 2011 to August 2015
 Just so happy to have done the work and to still have my head in the game to do the work and have the excellent health benefits of long term weight maintenance.

Even though my weight has been in the higher end of my desired weight range, I've not once wavered- okay maybe a thought or two of frying up bacon, but never acted out. Just saying! Eating more food is not going to fix a high trend. Problem solving will help. Pie hole stuffing because I'm frustrated will compound the problem.

Laser sharp focus, experimenting with my food template and macros a bit. All great learning and doing the hard work that weight maintenance requires. Some months are easier than others. The last 3 months have been more work.That's life. Stop working at weight maintenance, lose that priority, lose those benefits.

Life happens. Tough as nails approach yields the long term results. Mental and physical.  Constant vigilance.

 The best stuff: The life at 70 pounds down, 68 pounds off. So worth it.  Less expensive, chronic and acute health problems gone. I can move & sleep better, wear my regular clothes, speak to groups and individuals with focus on the topic. I feel inside like I feel outside. So, so valuable.

The good stuff: Cheaper health insurance, vacation time is actually spent with my family instead of going to the doctor or suffering migraines.  Yes, I spend time grocery shopping, cooking, batch cooking, reading, and cleaning up, the effort is not without commitment. But the trade off from the chronic pain (migraines, cystic acne, joint pain is all gone)

The stuff I left behind: The mental pain of obesity comments from others, "You are not taking care of yourself",  "You let yourself go, why"fatso, whale, fat ass ,- insults, genuine concern- hey I was an obese kid in the 1970's. I've heard it all as a kid and an adult. , You'll get diabetes (truth, almost diagnosed, reversed via food template).  F- that life. I'm fighting a life long addiction to food. STILL.

The old stuff: Someone who knew me long ago said- yeah, I got called "whale" at a minimum of 5 times a day as a kid. I must have blocked it out and grown a thick skin. I've certainly mostly left that shiz in the past. No woulda, coulda, shoulda...  Those kids called me names because I was different and they had pain, too. It was the 1970's. Forgiven, so I can heal. Staying bitter would not help me or help share my gifts now. No reason to stay stuck. For sure. Let's problem solve with effective tools, shall we?  Sure!!  Better outcomes, for sure.

The problem I had was that the solutions offered did not solve my problems. The answers were inside me. Pushing aside others solutions was not an easy task. Moderate eating of cupcakes, frosting, "healthy whole grains" kept me stuck.  Moderate eating is just not the solution for many of us. If it works for you, high five. If an abstinence based approach (not eating grains, processed sugar, other trigger foods) is your success, too, please, blog, talk, and share about it.

Real solutions (for me): Paleo, modified Auto-Immune Protocol, lower carb, higher natural fat, No Sugars, No Grains, sprinting, walking, good sleep, lifting heavy things, getting out in nature, cooking real foods at home 98% of the time.

The magic fairy will not arrive and grant you long term weight maintenance- abstaining or moderating. Either way, it's a heck of a lot of work.  Here's to a tough as nails approach and letting us know what works for you. Please help share your tough approach. Share your health transformation. Share your Whole30 results, share how much pain and money you save.

Onward. Here's to the next meal, day, month, half year. Good Lord!  Glad I hopped off the "moderation of all foods" thought process.  Nice to leave the pain of 1000's of binges behind.  40 years of binge eating. Took long enough. Made me stronger. I'm still standing. And I still get called names, but, hey, I'm tough as nails.

3.5 years of long term weight maintenance

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The right kind of dietary fat = lean body for the WIN- for me, Needing to remind myself

Trader Joe's says the light coconut milk will be back Oct 2015

What's working for me right now. 

Vinnie Tortorich is right, we should change the word for dietary fat to ENERGY. Just saying.

1. FAT, dietary FAT. The right kinds of delicious, natural, dietary fat = lean body.

2. Eating 3 meals a day, maybe a little coconut cream in some coffee between meals.

3. Eating carbs somewhere in the 40+ gram range = as many veggies as sounds good at lunch dinner.  If I'm hungry, I eat within my  Paleo-ish food template.

 My root problems this month, and over the last few months:

1. Eating too much protein and not enough dietary fat (for me)
2. I stopped Intermittent fasting due to not being hungry signals,( but I do eat 3 meals a day.)
3. Going back too far in my success history. I need to keep it current. Sure lower fat higher protein worked a long time ago. Eyes on my own plan. :)

 Determining root causes:

1. I went back in my current history only about 6 months at My Fitness Pal and Fitbit and put pen to paper. I determined that
  • when I eat too much protein (for me > 90 grams a day) I don't do as well.
  • when I eat too little dietary fat (for me <90 grams a day) I don't do as well.
  • Remember, I'm super short and 49 years old, your results may vary. 
  • My dietary fat = guacamole, coconut milk and coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, avocado oil, grass fed beef, lamb, whole eggs, and sometimes salmon.  
  • My favorite coconut milk ( I choose it due to price - $0.99 and no emulsifiers) is out of stock until Oct 2015. Darn it. This effected one of my favorite ways to get some dietary fat- in soups, stews and my coffee. 
  • *NOTE* I would choose full fat coconut milk if I could find it easily, cheaply. I'm not paying $2.50 + per can at the local grocery for full fat. Xantham Gum and Guar Gum trigger binge eating for me. It's hard to find processed products without emulsifiers and stabilizers. Don't be fooled by marketing "all natural". No wonder I had binge urges in the past.
  • I can see how low fat works for many people, but not me, on a Paleo template.
Electronic data, paper notes. DATA is KING. Owning my own data and making changes = long term weight maintenance. Seriously. I would be 10, 20, 30, pounds higher right now if I didn't track  food, exercise, binge urges,  weight, etc.
Data on paper, from an electronic source

2. I stopped Intermittent fasting and I  ate 3 meals a day, within a 12-14 hour time window, this restored my normal hunger signals in 2 weeks.

  • I'm not naturally hungry enough when I Intermittent Fast (IF) also known as time restricted eating window , for me, 8-10 hours. 
  • Where was IF when I was 70 pounds overweight??!!! LOL. 
  •  I'm guessing that IF would have worked like a charm to stop binge urges.  Holy NO Hunger.
  • I will still IF once and awhile, when convenient, but not routinely
  • I can see how IF works for many people. 
3. I had some "Old" thinking- well high protein and lower fat worked well in 2011, when I was 70 pounds overweight.
  • That was too far back. I needed to look 6 months back, not 4 years back.
  • Eating high protein works great for some people
  • Eating too  high protein for me, today, gets me a fluffy mid section and weight gain. 
  • I can see how high protein works for many people, but not me in long term maintenance.

What didn't work in the past

1. Eating the wrong kinds of fat: Canola oil, corn oil (it was NOT heart healthy for me), fatty baked pastries, fat from chips ALSO: eating low fat and baked chips, low fat muffins (high sugar). Processed foods in general. Prior to 2012. High Omega 6 sources of fat and low fat processed foods are just so,so wrong for my body.

1.5 Being deathly afraid of natural fats. GASP!  If I eat avocado = high WW points. GASP!

2.  Intermittent Fasting too much ( for me 2 X per week was too much) at a normal weight. Recent past- Jan- June 2015.

3. Looking at my success within a recent time frame. Pre menopause is so much different than Post Menopause. Whole different world.  March-July 2015

The right kinds of FAT = ENERGY + Lean Body = Long term weight maintenance for me. 

 In just half a week, I can feel it.  Lean and energetic. It feels good.

Current Macros ( don't be afraid to dial in your own best macros, or to IF, it works very well for some).

What works well for you? Have you been afraid to go outside of mainstream low fat? What's your favorite natural source of fat?  I eat a low carb, higher fat Paleo-ish food template in long term weight maintenance. But what works for you?

PFC= Protein (24%) + Fat (66%) + Carbs (10%)= LCHF Paleo-ish