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04 April 2018

Keto follow-up: your questions answered

Whoa. Over 500 of you read Monday's post about my results with Keto. For someone who has kind of fallen off of the blogging bandwagon, that's a lot of people! I love that the post struck a chord with you, and that you had questions you wanted answered! I wanted to go over a few of those questions today - again based on the premise of what's worked for me. If you want even more in depth answers, you know what to do: order Simply Keto (it's available on Prime and can be at your door in 2 days)!

Q: Can I have cheat days on Keto? / Is it a lifestyle?

A: Nope. You really, truly cannot cheat. It will knock your body out of Ketosis (read more about that in Simply Keto). For example, we took Easter off and definitely noticed a change in our bodies/results. And that was just ONE day with a few pieces of candy and some potato salad! Honestly, a few sugary foods weren't worth all of the hard work I had put in over the previous four weeks. Bottom line: don't cheat. You won't get the results you want. In fact, you probably won't get any results.

While I hate the word "lifestyle," I think it's more along those lines than a traditional/typical diet.

Q: How is Keto different from Whole 30?

A: Keto is very different from Whole 30. I am a BIG supporter of doing what works for you. Whole 30 is an elimination diet that focuses on helping you identify the foods that do not work for your body. It's a total reset for your insides! It's also not for me, and that's okay. 

Keto might seem counterintuitive after years and years of being told fat is bad. And for transparency's sake, I'm not convinced putting ranch on anything that sits still is totally healthy (lol). But if that means I choose a salad and get excited about it AND lose a little weight, I'm all about it. 

Before you dive in, do your research and discover what might work for you. You might prefer dabbling with Whole 30! 

Q: Can you eat fruit on Keto?

A: Yes! You definitely can, but you have to be smart about it. Fruits (like bananas) tend to be carb heavy. Choose raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries for lower carb choices, but watch your portions. Again, read about this in Simply Keto. I also look at it like this: if the choice is a cookie or a banana, having a banana is the better choice. My ultimate goal is to be happy with my weight and body, so I can get back to noshing those healthy foods, no matter what they are, regularly.  

Q: Do you only eat chicken salad for lunch?

A: No, not necessarily. However, I do LOVE chicken salad, so I tend to gravitate towards it. It's also almost always available on menus for when I go out to lunch. Finally, it also is an easy way to hit protein and fat goals for macros. 

Other great options for lunch that I've found that I love are poke bowls (skip the base all together & double up on the veggies down the line - and the mayo-based dressing), Jimmy John's unwiches, pimento cheese, and burrito bowls (no rice, no beans, but all the cheese). 

At home, I'll make a quick Cesar salad or deli roll-ups (with Simply Keto honey mustard!). 

Q: How did you kick the coke habit?

A: This one was hard for me, but not as bad as I was expecting. I tried the sparkling water thing (gross), so what has worked for me is sticking with water with lemon during the week or water with some form of low-carb flavoring (I like fruit punch Mio). 

And at the end of the day, I look at it like this: if I have extra carbs, I can spend them on wine, and I'd MUCH rather have wine than a coke! 

Q: What are your must-have pantry staples for Keto? 

A: There are a few things that I make absolutely sure to have on hand every week, especially so if creativity strikes, I don't have to run to the store. Our pantry/fridge staples are:

- Lily's Sea Salt Chocolate Bar (Found on the candy aisle at Publix for those chocolate cravings that kick in at 3 PM - I have one square!)
- Wright's Bacon - it's the best and worth every $8.99 penny 
- Eggs
- Heavy Cream
- Cream Cheese
- O'Charley's Ranch (always and forever)
- Hothouse Cucumbers (to dip in the ranch, duh) 
- Head of Butter Lettuce (for making "sandwiches") 

Q: What are your favorite Simply Keto recipes? 

A: I love this question because I have so many favorite recipes from the cookbook! Out of respect for the author, I can't give you the recipes themselves, but you can visit her blog or this post for more specifics. Here are my favorite recipes according to each section:

- Honey Mustard
- Easy Alfredo

- Sausage Casserole 
- Waffles (these are a pinch dry, so add your favorite sugar-free nut butter & sugar-free syrup) 

- Chili 
- BLT wraps 
- Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops
- Bunless Burgers

- Chicken Parmesan
- Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad
- Chicken Cordon Bleu 
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Skewers
- Chicken Alfredo Bowls
- Parmesan Chicken Wings 

- Fauxtatoes
- Twice Baked Cauliflower
- Creamed Spinach 
- Zoodles (they sell these ready made at Publix!) 

- Lemon Cheesecakes
- Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
- Brownies (add homemade sugar free whipped cream)
- Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Let me know if you have any other questions! I am happy to keep answering them for you!


02 April 2018

I tried Keto for a's what happened

I debated long and hard about whether I was going to share my experience with Keto on the blog, but the reality is, it's been very much a part of my life for the past month, and that's what this blog is all about - my life!

Before I get started, let me reiterate: this is NOT for everyone, and I am absolutely NOT advising anyone to go down this path. I am NOT a doctor (obviously), and I am not an expert (even more obviously), I just wanted to share and document what has worked for me! 

As I've mentioned before, I got really motivated to lose weight immediately after Christmas (like most of the world). I started down a health(ier) path of recipes, incorporating better foods, and eliminating foods that I know send me spiraling. I also started taking a few barre classes each week to get back on a workout schedule.

Three months later, I had not seen any changes on the scale or in how my clothes fit. There's also a better than average chance that while I thought I was eating better, I really wasn't. I needed a fix, and I needed it fast. I kept hearing about people giving the Keto diet a try, and my ears perked-up. These people were talking drastic changes to their bodies and quickly, too. I decided pretty quickly I had nothing to lose other than weight, so why not?

I started by giving a few recipes a try because I know two things about myself:

1. If it doesn't taste good, I'm not going to eat it.
2. If it takes longer than half an hour, I'm not going to make it.

These are my rules for my meals. I want to start dinner at 7, and be watching Jeopardy at 7:30, so I have to find meals that fit within that window. The recipes I tried did.

Next, I ordered the Simply Keto cookbook, read it from cover to cover in a few hours, figured out my macros, bookmarked the recipes I wanted to try, got my husband on board, and planned to start the following Monday, March 5. I haven't looked back since.

Without getting into a ton of details, the Keto diet is a diet consisting of high fat, moderate protein, and low carbs. Like as low as possible. And yes, fruits and vegetables have carbs. A lot of carbs. My personal goal was to stay at 18 carbs, but more often than not, I hovered around 20-22 per day. I quickly discovered that was the amount that worked for me while satiating my appetite and my cravings.

A typical day looked like this:

Pre-Breakfast: Coffee (with half and half, sweetener, MCT oil, and vanilla) or English Breakfast tea with heavy cream

Breakfast: Egg Casserole, Keto Bagel w/cream cheese, or Frittata

Lunch: Chicken Salad (either homemade or from Chicken Salad Chick) with cucumbers and ranch

Dinner: Some recipe from Simply Keto!

Dessert: Keto approved chocolate, brownies, cheesecakes, or cupcakes (yep...)

Notice something? I don't have any snacks because most days, I was completely full sticking to these items alone. The full fat items like cheese, ranch, etc. keep you full!

Yes, I still drink - mostly clear alcohols like my favorite, gin, and soda with excessive amounts of limes. Also wine. Because wine is the elixir of life.

Yes, I still go out to eat. It's actually super easy to eat out on Keto! Any diet that let's me go to a dive and still order chicken wings or a burger is my kind of diet. Oh, and give me all the charcuterie, please.

Yes, I still eat vegetables.

Yes, I occasionally had higher carb food (like popcorn at a soccer game) because I had extra carbs to use...and I wanted the popcorn.

Yes, this diet fit into my lifestyle.

Note: If you're curious about how Keto works, I highly recommend purchasing Simply Keto. Not only does it have all of the science behind the diet in it (which is all about burning fat, not carbs), it also has 100 recipes! 

What did I miss the most?

Mexican. We eat a lot of Mexican food in our house. I'm talking multiple times a week. This is probably why I was spiraling out of control. I miss tortilla chips and queso. A lot.

Fries. I can definitely order a burger without a bun, but man oh man do I miss the fries that come with it.

So what were my results? 

Here are two pictures of Hunter and I for a side-by-side comparison. We've been doing the diet together which has been a HUGE motivator for both of us. The first photo was taken at a black tie wedding on February 24th. The second photo was taken yesterday at Easter (5 weeks in between photos, but just 4 weeks of dieting).

As of Tuesday, April 3, four weeks of being on the Keto diet, I have lost over 7 pounds. My clothes fit noticeably different, and I am noticeably thinner than I was. As a result, I'm going to keep going. I have a few milestones I want to hit (like losing those stubborn 3ish extra pounds), and a few vacations planned. My goal is not to "be keto" forever, but to get to a better place with my weight and slowly start to incorporate healthy carbs and starches (like brown rice and sweet potatoes) while allowing myself to have a hamburger WITH a bun every now and then.

Have you tried Keto or thought about trying it? I'd love to hear what recipes you like or your favorite resources!

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