Slow and steady wins the (weight-loss) race

Monday, August 12, 2019

After losing 8 pounds in three weeks, I gained a pound back and it has taken me 10 days to re-lose it.

It's discouraging after being so faithful to this eating plan. But, of course, on any diet, there is the initial water weight loss. And, I have to remind myself, slow and steady wins the race.

Baked Parmesan cheese with herbs. Dipped in a little sour cream, these are delicious and filling!

I'm reminding myself of several things:

*** I'm older. Weight just isn't going to come off as quickly as it did when I was younger. My metabolism isn't the same as it was. As with many things in life, patience is key.

*** I have to remember that quick weight loss, especially in -- ahem -- more mature adults, can often lead to sagging skin and more pronounced wrinkles. The more slowly I lose the weight, the less likely (I hope!) I will have to deal with that gaunt, tired look that comes from rapid weight loss. I hope as I exercise and lose slowly, those negative effects will be mitigated.

*** If I lose 40 pounds quickly, and I'm "done" by November, say, then what? I've barely gotten used to a whole lifestyle change. I run the risk of saying, "Yay! I'm done," and gradually returning to old habits. If I lose a pound a week, which is what many experts recommend, I have more time to settle into this as a way of life. Almost a year. Hopefully, then it has had time to become more of a lifestyle change.

Love this sugar-free bacon!

*** I need to forget about the weight loss, and just focus on health. The weight will come off, but good health and energy should be the ultimate goal. Losing weight quickly and then returning to old habits is not going to benefit my health. When I eventually reach my weight-loss goal, I am still going to be sugar-free and white flour-free and processed food-free. For life. So what am I rushing for? These eating habits will be continuing long after the weight loss.


I am relying on prayer these days and trying to remember to turn to the Lord rather than turning to food when I'm feeling anxious or stressed, or in need of comfort. I'm remembering that He is the Bread of life. That we are to "feed on Him with thanksgiving." This is very different than my previous attempts at weight loss. Yes, I might have prayed for success, but I was really just relying on my own willpower to do this. We can't do these things alone, and I'm grateful I don't have to. 

xo, Deborah

13 ways to cope with sugar cravings

Monday, August 5, 2019

 Giving up sugar for life is such a radical step I still can't believe I've made this commitment. I get overwhelmed when I think of going the distance with this. Will I be able to do it? Is this crazy?

Yet, on the other hand, I feel such a sense of relief, as though a real burden has been set aside. It feels so freeing.

This whole new way of eating -- for life-- cannot be done by sheer willpower. Sure, I can lose the weight by sheer willpower alone. I've done that before. But maintaining? Really changing? That's going to need something more.

Feast on beauty (#12)
Here are some things I've been thinking about that will help me take care of myself over the long-term, so I'm not turning to food for comfort or security, or out of boredom, fatigue, or habit. These are things I'm trying to implement in my daily life to help keep me stronger and more resilient through temptation.

1. Dress well every day. Put on good foundation garments to tame that jiggle! You will feel pulled together (literally!) and have more respect for yourself than if you slop around in your "fat" clothes. Put on some makeup if that's something you like, or a spritz of perfume. Do your hair. The better you look, the less you will be tempted to indulge in mindless snacking.

2. Think about what you might be really craving besides sugar. Comfort? Security? Love? Are you sad, bored, lonely, frustrated? Call a friend. Hug a pet. Do something kind for someone. Ask God to show you what you really need, and then do it.

3. Don't give food more importance than it is due. This is a hard one when you are learning a new way to eat and researching healthy eating ideas and recipes. This can involve a lot of time and energy going into thinking about food. If you are preparing food for a family every day, you have to think about food. Try to prepare as simple a dish as possible that is still satisfying so you're not in the kitchen as much. Give food its necessary due, but then move on.

4. Consider online grocery shopping. You still will probably need to go to the store for vegetables and fruit, etc., but you can limit your time around all those temptations. Seriously, I think it's a conspiracy to keep us all fat and unhealthy!

5. Limit meals out. This can be a hard one if you're used to eating out as a special way to enjoy time with a spouse or friend, or when you're too busy to cook. But there are so many temptations! Yes, you can eat healthy out but it requires some discipline. Learn to cook quick, nourishing, fast meals at home and the scale will thank you. Look for other ways to spend a night out. Go to a movie, go to a park, have a game night with friends (with healthy snacks).

6. Enlist the power of prayer. A friend and I are working through a free online course which helps us to rely on the Lord rather than on food for our ultimate needs. So far it's been really helpful for keeping our eyes focused on the most important things and not on that doughnut down at the local bakery!

7. Think of other ways you might treat yourself than by having a piece of cake or pie. Put on a sheet (face) mask (they're just a few dollars at the drugstore) and put your feet up for 15 minutes. Give yourself a mani or pedi or go get one done. Go for a massage. Take a luxurious bath. Light a candle and read from a favorite book or devotional.

8. Drink a large glass of water, maybe with a lemon or lime wedge. Oftentimes, we are really just dehydrated rather than hungry.

9. Exercise. I just hate that word, I really do. It's been a struggle for me. But, wow, you just have to do it. I'm trying to find ways to make it a little more enjoyable, like watching a YouTube video when I'm on the treadmill or really working up a sweat cleaning my house (that counts!). (Not that cleaning a house is that enjoyable, but the end result is pretty nice.) 

10. Enlist the help of friends. Ask for prayer. Join forces. Encourage each other. 

11. Don't be a people pleaser when it comes to food. Preaching to myself here. In other words, don't feel guilty turning down a friend's homemade cookies or pie. Don't apologize for what you're trying to do. Don't let people guilt you into accepting "just a bite" because it's a "special occasion." You don't want to start down that road! Explain your diet and quietly do your thing. Don't be a nuisance either; bring your own food if you need to, but don't go on and on about your diet or your "special needs." It's boring and annoying to those who just want to enjoy their food. And don't judge others!

12. Feast on beauty, not food. Surround yourself with beautiful things that bring you joy. Declutter your home and add some flowers. There's so much to be said on this subject. But really look at, soak in, and be grateful for everyday beauty. Try to allow it to speak to you and feed your soul. 

13. Bad-mouth the sugar. I find it helpful now when I see sugar-laden treats to start up an inner rant right away. Look at that stuff. Poison! They're trying to kill us! This equals diabetes and wrinkles and constipation and cancer! Why would I put that in my body, the one and only body I have that works so hard for me? Why would I poison myself that way? Etc. Whatever works for you. Just don't say it out loud. Other people want to enjoy their sugar without feeling judged. (I know, I've been there!)


Thanks to you all who have left encouraging comments and who've sent helpful links. I was especially encouraged by a post Margie sent me by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, who has been sugar-free for 7 years! I loved her thoughts about "moderators" versus "abstainers," and how she just functions better as an abstainer. I think that's me, too.

Well, that's all I can think of for now. Anybody have any other ideas? Would love to hear them.

It's starting to look a lot like Keto

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

I really didn't intend to go Keto. It seemed so complicated. All those fat-to-protein-to-carb ratios. Getting into and maintaining ketosis, whatever that is. And what's with these little breathalyzer-type tests you can do to make sure you're in ketosis? (I still don't know.)

But, the more I eliminate from my diet, the more I realize that what I am eating looks a lot like Keto. Just need to amp up the fats and scale back more on the carbs.

So excited my local grocery store has started carrying sugar-free bacon. They had a sale and I stocked up!
I've been reading online voraciously. There's a lot of info out there, and I am slowly starting to feel I am finding my way with this. I don't know if I will stick with this particular way of eating forever. Maybe I'll do Paleo or Mediterranean long term. But this seems great for now for weight loss.

Keto does allow for stevia and sugar alcohols like erythritol and xylitol. I am not using any of these because I want to be totally sugar-free. Even alternative sugars-free. I think using these would just keep activating my sweet tooth.

One thing that bothers me about low-carb diets and plans is that there is a lot of emphasis of "Keto-friendly" cheesecakes and ice cream and cakes and breads. I just don't want to go there. To me, it's like a vegetarian who eats tofu hotdogs. Why? If you don't want to eat meat, why try and copy it? 

Similarly, if I am eliminating sugar, why would I "tease" myself with all these substitutes? Push the whole paradigm aside, and create new ways of thinking about what might constitute a dessert. And ask yourself if you even need a dessert. If so, how about --

  • A parfait glass filled with raspberries,  some homemade (without sweetener) whipped cream, and a pretty mint leaf garnish.
  • Baked apples with cinnamon, chopped toasted walnuts, and whipped cream.
  • A plate of artisanal cheeses with grain-free, sugar-free crackers, toasted pecans, and some fruit.

Right now, I'm not eating fruit, as I mentioned in a previous post. I will definitely add in some lower-sugar berries after I've lost some more weight.

So what am I eating on a typical day?

 For breakfast I have a cup of coffee with a scoop of MCT powder. MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides. It's extracted from coconut oil and has many health benefits. It's just like putting a little creamer in your coffee, no coconut taste and no "oil slick" on the top of your coffee!

For lunch I might have a green salad with some hard boiled eggs, toasted nuts (walnuts or pecans), and a dollop or two of avocado mayo or some no-sugar dressing.

{I have found some good subs for ketchup, steak sauce, salad dressing, and mayo at Thrive Market online. I also get bone broth and many other Keto- and Paleo-friendly items there. There is a fee to join, but then you get good discounts, free shipping (for orders over $49), and fast delivery.}

For dinner, it's usually meat or seafood cooked in butter, ghee, or coconut oil with some vegetables.

On the Keto diet, 75% of your calories should come from fat. To be honest, that makes me feel just a little sick thinking about all that fat!!, but I've noticed that I am not hungry. When I went off sugar and white flour a few years ago, I was hungry all the time!

Do not use vegetable oils at all -- canola, safflower, sunflower, corn, etc. Olive oil is okay.  I'm not going to go into all the science here, you'll have to look it up. They are just not good for you.

I'm still not sure I have all my ratios right. I'm looking at meal plans online and trying to gauge serving sizes from them. But I have lost 8 pounds in just three weeks. And no sugar at all.

The other night my husband and I went out for dinner. We ordered a bacon cheeseburger without the bun and without the mayo. (I'm thinking I might carry a jar of no-sugar avocado mayo in my purse, haha!) It will definitely be harder to eat out, but this is one option.

I add in nuts for a snack. Or a bit of cheese. Or a hard boiled egg. I'm already looking into adding some variety and have got some good ideas for pizza (with a cheese crust), roasted jicama fries, riced cauliflower, kale cooked in coconut cream, and more.
Thanks to several of you who shared your no-sugar successes. It really heartens me to know that it is really possible for the long term. Have any of you tried Keto or Paleo? Please share your advice/experiences.

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