That’s the Power of (Self) Love

Queue this being stuck in your head:

If you’re following me on Instagram, you’re probably more-than-aware that my journey in 2018 has truly been focused on self-love, whether it was intentional or not.

I’d heard it since I was a teenager: you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. You have to be true to you before you can be true to anyone else.

But I never GOT it before now. 

In January 2017, I went through a breakup that I refused to accept. I beat my head off the metaphorical wall of life until we were back together, even though that meant I sacrificed majorly important parts of who I was because I thought I HAD to be with this man (and I’m accepting full responsibility for that). Our relationship had so many issues it could’ve been NatGeo, but that didn’t deter me. I was convinced and emotionally train-wrecked and like I said, I refused to accept that our relationship was over. Fast forward to less-than-a-year later, and we’d bought a house together two hours away from where we were living, changed jobs, gotten engaged, and were planning to be married less than 1.5 years since our tumultuous breakup. My desire to be with him overruled everything, and I found myself constantly and consistently miserable. We’d have arguments over absolutely nothing that would turn into screaming matches and two days of uncomfortable miscommunication and lots and lots of me crying. It was SO unhealthy. When it finally came to an actual end (less than two months before our wedding date) the pain of the relationship ending didn’t last long (there was a lot of other bullshit, but when isn’t there in these situations?). It was over before it restarted, and accepting that made it easier to transition out of our relationship.

With the help of some really amazing people, I made the decision to really focus on weight loss and on goal-setting – what am I doing with my life? What do I want to be doing with my life? How do I get there? What things are holding me back and how do I eliminate those things? As SOON as I started to figure this shit out, my life began to improve. I did things I’d always wanted to do but never did because… why? I didn’t have a good reason. I could blame 100 things, but at the end of the day I wasn’t living for me and that was my own responsibility. I went country line dancing and recorded music with the band, I started a band and sang my heart out to people I love and people I’d never met before. I took a selfie and thought, for the first time that I can remember – holy shit, I’m beautiful.

As I started to make decisions for only myself (and to write about all the things somewhat incessantly), I subsequently started to realize what I had spent the last 14 years of my life doing: hoping that if I was whatever someone else wanted me to be, they’d love me. We can talk for days about where this stems from (being abused as a child, being raised in a religion in which a woman’s value was her ability to take care of a husband and children, societal pressure to be everything to everyone, a lot of defense mechanisms because I was scared of basically everything) but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. I needed to figure out how to move past all of that, past all of the reasons (excuses) and into a better place for myself. After all, you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. You have to be true to you before you can be true to anyone else. 

My dedication to my health and weight loss has been awesome – losing almost 50 lbs has really had a positive impact on my mental faculties. But what I’ve changed the most this year is how I treat myself. When the voice creeps into my head to tell me I’m [insert self-deprecation here, I don’t even want to cite an example because I don’t have time for that shit] I just shut it down. I literally say to myself, usually in my head, but whatevs if it’s out loud, “stop” or “that’s enough of that”. When I get dressed in the morning, I don’t pick apart every little thing about how I look in my outfit. I just smile at myself in the mirror and move on with my day. I’m working on not being obsessed with tight-fitting clothes – it’s okay for me to wear something loose or baggy, it doesn’t somehow take away from my weight loss progress. Instead of the normal golden rule of “treat others the way you want to be treated” I’m following the “golden rule of owning who you are and loving yourself”: treat yourself the way you want others to treat you. Be nice to YOU, be good to YOU. Learning to love yourself isn’t easy. It’s hard work and constant analysis of your thoughts and actions. It’s taking an intricately woven cloth that’s had so much outside influence (and that’s 31 years old, in this case) and unweaving it, strand by strand, until you can take all of your fibers and weave them back together with your own love and your own patience. It’s also big, big lessons in forgiveness. Because you’re going to fuck it up. And have regrets, and then spend time learning how to not regret a second because you appreciate where you’re at and where you’re going. It’s deep breathing and not taking a moment of your life for granted, because even though sometimes it feels like it’s dragging on, it can end at a moment’s notice.

If you’re still reading (sorry, so many words) and you’re feeling at ALL like you need to learn to love yourself, please please PLEASE start today. Start right now. Write down five things you like about yourself and read it 10 times before the day is over. Then read it again tomorrow. Read it every day for a week, then make a new list. It’s a simple start but it’ll change your life. That’s the power of (self) love.

Weight Loss Pro Tip: Use a Big F*cking Cup

In case you missed my IG post earlier this week, I had a miserable minute or twelve when I weighed myself and had gained a substantial amount of weight (substantial is in the eye of the substantiater – YMMV). House-buying, work-changing (eventually? Shoutout to my job for keeping me around <3), living-in-two-places, moving, (temporarily) losing our Maine Coon cat… the excuses are limitless. I was eating like shit and telling myself all the physical labor from moving would keep the balance.

WRONG. 

I weighed in at 230.2.

230.2. 

Fucking. Hell. Man.

I haven’t weighed 230 since after I put weight back on post car-accident. Granted, the lowest I’ve gotten since my car accident is 202. And my current weight pre-moving was 217.8. But, still. That number hit me like a ton of takeout containers. Normally I’d wallow in self-pity and give myself another five days of eating bullshit to get my ass in gear, but nope – straight on the calorie-counting train of goodness.

A big part of successful weight loss for me is drinking water – I know, I know. That’s a big part of successful weight loss for everyone. But listen – for me, it’s one of those things that if I don’t constantly have water near me, I’ll forget about it until I’m so dehydrated I can barely function. Enter my Weight Loss Pro Tip: A Big Fucking Cup (I edited in the title because not everyone knows me and my foul mouth :D).

Bird got me this for Christmas last year:

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It’s 24-oz and, most importantly, it has a STRAW. I drink out of it ALL THE TIME. Having it near me and it being so accessible – I just do. I’m on my fourth one today and it’s only 6PM. That means I’ve already had 9 cups of water. It also means I’ve peed about 10 times, but I digress. Bonus: it saves you some small change when you get it refilled at Starbucks – just tell them you have a “personal cup” and make sure to take the lid off/straw out for them.

PS – I have been faithfully planning/tracking my food for five days now (today included) and am already down 3.8 lbs. So, wahoo to me and eff you to my recent poor decisions. Time to kill it.

Recipe Review: I Breathe I’m Hungry’s General Tso’s Meatballs

One of my “To Do’s” in my planner yesterday was to pin new recipes, which I did during my lunch break at work (because at least then I’m not making myself ridiculously hungry by pinning delicious food!). One of the recipes I came upon was for I Breathe I’m Hungry’s General Tso’s Meatballs, which immediately intrigued me because I fucking LOVE Chinese Food. And it’s one of my go-to cheat meals, and since I’m trying to avoid cheat meals right meow, it seemed like a perfect substitute. I had other plans for dinner, but as I was still at the grocery store at 8 o’clock last night, these made a much more time-friendly (read: me not murdering someone out of hanger) option.

Let me just tell you–these meatballs are BANGIN’. 

They’re made with chicken and a lot other ingredients I had to purchase (rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, etc.), so I’ll definitely be making them again. Initially I was going to roast some broccoli to have with them, but then decided on cauli rice instead:

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IBIH’s General Tso’s Meatballs over Cauliflower Rice – YUM

I was a little hesitant from the get-go because when I mixed up the ground chicken, almond flour, ginger, egg, and scallions, it was, well…disgusting. Goopy chicken all over my hands, and I was just worried they weren’t going to hold consistency. But they did! I fried them in Filipio Berio Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil for about 8 minutes per side to make sure they got that crunch Melissa talks about in her recipe post.

For the sauce, I had to make two edits:

  1. Our grocery store (Redner’s) only had gigantic bags of dried chiles, which I just couldn’t reason buying because I knew I wouldn’t use them all. So I got a can of chipotle chiles in Adobo sauce from the “mexican foods” aisle. Then they were drained and seeded and replaced the dried ones in the recipe.
  2. Because of this^, the total of the xantham gum in the recipe was upped by 1/4 tablespoon to accommodate for the extra water from having those chiles instead of dried ones, which worked out perfectly in terms of the sauce and it’s marvelous consistency.

Guys–the sauce in this recipe is fantastic. It was aromatic, had a perfect flavor profile, and the perfect kick of that classic General Tso’s heat. I loved the sauce on these so much, I’m tempted to make a double batch of the sauce next time I make the meatballs, so I can have more of a coated cauli rice dish! As always, Melissa, I just adore everything you do!

Any other interesting meatball recipes out there I should try? Please do tell!

A Shift in the Blog Paradigm…

A few weeks ago, the lovely Lezlee (megastar and ultra-babe behind LazyKeto and Sriachoy) wrote a beautiful, loving, and heartfelt blog about some of her struggles. Struggles that really hit home for me, for a few reasons, one of which was that I’ve been feeling like expanding my blog to be more than just “keto”. Keto is a gigantic part of my life, but it isn’t everything. And it isn’t the driving factor in what makes me “me”—no, that’s my attitude. I’m who I am because of how I act, not how I eat.

With that said, I’m going to be implementing a little shift in my blog—instead of being primarily focused on keto, it’s going to be primarily focused on me (wow, that sounds so conceited!). Sometimes that means it’ll seem like nothing has changed (I’ll still do recipe reviews and post about my weight loss progress), but sometimes that means I’ll be getting a little deep up in here; you’ve been warned. And sometimes it means I’ll be raving about my new disc golf disc and how suddenly my left-hook isn’t the worst thing in the world anymore.

Here I am, feeling rather elated at the thought of making this change:

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I love and adore you all so much. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for following my life. Thank you for loving me back ❤

I Am a Runner.

I’ve always wanted to be a runner. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be able to move… Fast.

Third Time’s a Charm
When I first started actively trying to lose weight, I was over 300 lbs and was advised that running at that high of a weight wouldn’t be good for me. When I got down to 250-ish, I tried to run a few times but always got discouraged when I didn’t make it very far, and I quit trying.

Then when I went keto and lost 50 pounds rather quickly, my at-the-time-doctor said running was a great idea. So I did C25k at my marathon-running-cousin’s suggestion… And loved it. I got way-super-interested in the science of weight loss and fitness, and I got smarter about how to get better at running. That year I ran several races, including obstacle races. I loved the added challenge of obstacles and mud… I was in love with running and ready to start long-distance training.

Boom, crash, the sound of my car…
In January of 2014 I had a life-altering car accident, the result of which was losing a lot of mobility and use of my right hand (surgery the day of, surgery a week later ((got me a wrist screw!!)) casted to my shoulder for 8 weeks, half-casted for another six, several months of occupational therapy, and only now am I getting strong enough to turn my hand over). I put back on 50+ lbs and didn’t run again until March of 2015 (although against doctor’s orders at the time), which was when I started training for the First Annual Chesco Half and 5k. I did six weeks of C25k before the 5k, and definitely didn’t train for the hills. The race took me 43:29 to run/walk with my love Sara, pictured below.

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I also had a lot of self-loathing then. I hated how I looked and I was really struggling with losing weight.

This year, I was determined to do better.

I am down more than 30 lbs since then, I trained more, and I am much more disciplined than I was last year. Well, those things did the trick:  This year I finished the 5k 35:53 (without any walking), and placed 21st out of 34 in my age group.

Here are Bird and I after finishing the 5k (he finished in 28 mins!)

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This, friends, is only the beginning. We’ve both found a love in running, and in running/training together. We’re signed up for an obstacle course 5k on June 4th, another 5k on June 18, another 5k in August, and a 10k in September. Like I said, I’ve always wanted to be a runner, and now I am. It’s a fantastic feeling.

Also, look at those pants–who doesn’t want to run in purple/pink ombre pants?!

Review: LoseIt App

Hi, friends!

Since I’ve basically always been trying to lose weight (no, really… like, my entire life. I know there are probably some of you out there who know these feels.) I’ve gone through my fair share of methods of tracking my nutritional intake. While I really enjoy the meticulous nature of hand-writing my intake in a crisp, clean notebook, it just isn’t realistic from a time perspective. Enter the wide world web and the 89millionbajillion ways you can track your intake/exercise. When I first started actively trying to lose weight, Sparkpeople was my jam. Since then, I’ve gone through various other websites/apps: MFP, Fitbit, FatSecret… the list goes on. Only in February of this year did I finally find the one for me: LoseIt.

Rating (free version): 4/5

I started out using just the free version of LoseIt, but within a week moved to the paid version. The free version is a great, simple way to log calories and compare and contrast calorie goals, total weight loss, etc. It’s standard. For keto, though, it’s not ideal. You don’t get access to macro goals unless you have the paid version, and we all know just how important those goals are for our lifestyle.

Rating (paid version): 5/5

LoseIt Premium

LoseIt Premium is fantastic. As mentioned above, you get access to “nutrition goals” for all sorts of things… our primary macros (fat, carbs, protein, fiber), weight loss, body measurements, etc. You name it. There are also myriads of ways to look at that data–macro graphs, daily graphs, food graphs… oh, it’s just so glorious.

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Daily Summary Data from LoseIt Premium

There are also “patterns”, which are derived from all of that data (all of this data is available under “insights” in LoseIt) that help you to identify what may or may not be leading to increased chances of successful goals. LoseIt Premium also comes with a recently released feature, The How, which is a well-written, well-researched blog (not necessarily keto, just FYI) with tips and tricks for nutrition, fitness, mental clarity, etc. LoseIt Premium also has all of the benefits of the other apps of similar nature–friends, badges, recipe creation, sharing foods, etc. It also pairs with common apps like Fitbit to give you a “calorie bonus” should you choose to use, and to help calculate total calorie expenditure for the week. What more could you want?

At a price point of $39.99, it’s less than $3.50 a month to get access to a great app (and support a small business that definitely has it’s heart in the right place). To learn more about LoseIt Premium, visit their website.

Are you using a nutritional tracking app? If so, which one do you love the most? Let me know in the comments below!

*As a note, I didn’t receive any perks or compensation for writing this review; I wrote it because I really do love this program and because I like to share what works for me 🙂

 

It’s May: The Best Month of the Year

Hi, friends!

May is my favorite month for a few reasons, primarily that everything is finally turning 1000’s of shades of green and that the 15th is my birthday (and this year the 15th is also the ChesCo Half and 5k!). I set monthly goals each month, but I think it’d do me good to make them public, so here goes:

Monthly Goals – May Edition

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I have a tendency to overbook myself–I write in my paper planner at the beginning of every week and it’s always jam-packed. Instead of hoping for a chance to blog, I’m going to treat blogging like any other appointment: schedule it, do it, feel good.

Keto On

In case you haven’t been keeping up with my Instagram, I’m freaking KILLIN’ it right meow. I was down 8.6 lbs in April, which is so unreal for me. Since restarting my weight loss journey post-car accident, I rarely lose more than 4 lbs in a month. I know it’s a combination of things, so I’m going to keep on keepin’ on with adjusted keto (50-ish carbs a day), working out (lifting + running + volleyball + disc golf), getting in my steps on my Fitbit Blaze, and counting calories on weekdays (with my friends at LoseIt). I’m finally back to having lost 100 lbs, and it just feel so good.

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Work on my Scale Addiction

I’ve always had an issue weighing myself too much. In the last few years, I’ve gotten really good at weighing myself daily, but only “counting it” on weigh-in day, and even better at not losing my shit if the scale is way up (especially if I recently had a cheat meal or what have you). Since getting my Fitbit Aria scale, though, I’m struggling a bit. The scale logs your weight for you every single day, and that’s been making me struggle a bit with regular fluctuations. And by “struggle a bit”, I mean weighing myself like, 900 times in a row. Not healthy; must stop.

Run, Forrest, Run!

Yet another goal where I feel like I’m killin’ it is running. My first 5k of the year is on my birthday, May 15th. We joined the Slyfox Track Club, too, so that we could have access to some fun races at a discounted rate, all while supporting the local running community. It’s so nice having Bird (current nickname for boyfriend) to join me on all of these goals. He isn’t interested in weight loss (he doesn’t need to be, lol) but he’s on board anyways, and that support is so vital to my success. For this goal, I’d like to get three more races scheduled for the next three months.

In non-weight-loss-related-goals, I’m working on:

1. Reading more. I have 8983937058205 books that I have yet to read. I love reading, and I need to be better at making a time commitment to reading instead of Netflix.
2. Volunteering/Chartiable events. We’ve only volunteered once so far this year, and that’s silly. A lot of our volunteering events happen in summer, so it isn’t as though it’s unacceptable, but I’d like to make sure we don’t miss too many opportunities to affect change 🙂

That’s probably more than enough for one month 😉

What kind of goals are you working on this month? Let me know below, then let’s kick some butt together!

Oh, Fitbit, I Do Love You So! My Review of the New Blaze!

I got my first fitbit in March of 2013. It was a blue Zip, and for whatever reason it was on clearance at Target for $36. I had that fitbit until I forgot it was on when I dove (haha, like I dive) into the pool at LAF. They replaced it.

For Christmas of 2014, my big brother got me a used Fitbit One from one of our friends. I used my One for the next few months, until the Surge was released and Boyfriend got it for me for my birthday. Until now, when Boyfriend got me the Blaze when it released in March. Basically, I’ve had a lot of experience with Fitbit over the past three years.

I. Freaking. Love. Fitbit!
Here’s my Blaze:

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Yes, that’s color. And it scrolls through what is basically your app Dashboard on this screen. It also tracks workouts with GPS (like the Surge) but definitely has improved accuracy and is way prettier:

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During the workout, you can opt to control your music, and a simple swipe let’s you scroll through whatever stats you want to see (I’ve ran with this five times now, and check my pace, avg pace, time, heartrate, etc.). My Bluetooth headphones have a volume control on them, so I can control my music and complete a run without touching my phone. So. Lovely. There are also other features I haven’t even used yet, like FitStar (what seems to be a bodyweight portable workout routine? Awesome!).

The charger was not something I was expecting… It’s a little box that you shut the watch face into:

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Interesting, right?! The battery life is also significantly improved over the Surge–I get a solid four days (each with at least 20 minutes using the GPS functionality) out of a charge. All in all, 5 stars from me, Fitbit!

Do you use a Fitbit? Which one do you have? If you want to be Fitbit friends, I’m KetoDeb there, too! 😊

It’s the middle of March?!

Hi friends!

I’m really not sure how it is that time passes so quickly, but here it is: the middle of March already.

A few key points about the last two months:
1. We finished Whole30 without a trace of cheating! All in all, I enjoyed the program a lot, and I lost 11.2 lbs that month, in addition to 3 inches off my waist and hips, and an inch off my arms (I worked out five days a week, for the record).
2. I immediately went back to Keto (post a bingey-weekend celebrating my little brother’s 21st birthday) after Whole30. Whole30 was a good experience, but Keto has my heart.
3. I’m down almost 30 lbs since Christmas. Woohoo! Here’s a comparison photo from a few weeks ago:

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4. I’m in a size 14 pant again!
5. I promise I’m going to try to be better about actively blogging, buuuuut. Follow me on IG if you don’t want to miss pictures of cheeseburgers, cats, and Fitbit fitness logs 😁

How are you? How is 2016 going so far? Gimme the deets! 

Review: Fitbit Food Logging (And Oh Yeah, I’m Counting Calories Again)

Hi, friends!

As you may have seen on Instagram, I decided that I would starting counting calories/logging food again. It’s always an uphill battle for me because I have an unfortunate tendency to get obsessed with things of that nature… (read: I used to cut individual almonds in half when they were over-weight by a half-gram). This time, though, I’ve made a promise to myself (and to my wonderful boyfriend, who doesn’t deserve to live with a crazy person when he only signed up to live with a moderately crazy person) that I would keep my obsessive tendencies in check. That being said, I’m still super-huffy with MFP after their transition into the Under Armour connected fitness network (or whatever long-ass winded title it has), so I figured, what the hell! I’m already on Fitbit all the time, and love love love my Fitbit data, so why don’t I log my food there, too? Well, I’ve been logging for a few weeks and here are my thoughts:

The Good:

It’s freaking beautiful: The way the dashboard integrates with it’s tiles and how all of them work together is really awesome. You can drag and drop your tiles wherever you’d like them (this is a screenshot from today so far–I need to move my butt, obviously).
Fitbit Dashboard

Calories In vs. Calories Out: See that middle tile up there? It’s a comparison of your food intake (or planned intake, if you’ve logged the whole day) vs. the calories you’ve burnt. It’s updated constantly and let’s you know if you’re over, under, or in-the-zone to reach your weight loss goal (haven’t set up a weight loss goal through a food plan in Fitbit? Check out this tutorial to get started!). Because I log all of my food ahead of time, I don’t normally hit “in-the-zone” until right before I’m heading to sleep.

The Not-So-Good:

Lack of meal-based macros: You can only see macros for the day’s totals (see Daily Calorie Consumption below). It’s quite frustrating unless you plan the entire day ahead of time to make sure you’re on point (to be clear, I usually do this, but now I feel like I haven’t a choice in the matter). Fitbit Daily Totals

Nutrition preview: My biggest issue with logging food in Fitbit is that the the nutrition preview only shows calories. You can’t see fat, carbs, fiber… nada. You can see all of that if you log it, buuuut. That’s not efficient. I end up adding a lot of my own food, which again, after having been on MFP for so long, just feels like way too much work.

All-in-all I’m content using Fitbit to log my food. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives, especially where integration is concerned–it’s nice to use a system that includes my steps/activities, food, weight loss goals, and a great teamwork/competition option if you’re into those methods, too. If you have a Fitbit and want to be friends, I’m KetoDeb there, too! 🙂

Do you count calories? If so, how are you logging your food? Leave a comment below and let me know!