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Back to Low Carb

So last Monday, The Hubs and I went back on low carb.  It was rather a spur of the moment decision that Friday night but it had been something I had been secretly thinking about for awhile. 

For whatever excuse I want to tell myself, I just can’t seem to get myself focused and stay on WW.  I have been gaining and losing the same five pounds for the better part of a year now and I can’t take it anymore.  That and my blood pressure has been elevated.  I know that is stress related.  I’ve got a lot of crap going on in my personal life right now but that is neither here nor there.  When I low carb and exercise my blood pressure goes down.

I know that you have to exercise on low carb which is where I pretty much failed the last few times I did it.  Well, what better time to get back on it than when I am training for a 1/2 marathon.  I HAVE to get my exercise in.

Now having made the decision to drastically change our eating habits two days before we actually did it may have been a little ambitious.  Given that we had committed to a late face making class that would tie up our Monday and Wednesday night, we would have to shopped and cooked very well for the week.  We didn’t so much.

On Saturday I got some bad news from back home that sort of floored me for the entire weekend.  I did manage to cook a bit, but we were not prepared for the week to start at all.

That being said, we did quite well. 

However, I learned from my mistake and when I grocery shopped this week I got tons of convenience stuff:

 

photo 1

These looked super handy to snack on when we are at work and tempted by donuts and bagels that get brought in.

photo 2

I don’t do well with sugar alcohols.  They spike my insulin.  It bums we out, but what can you do?  As far as the Atkins bars I like to chop them into teeny tiny pieces and put them in the freezer for when I am craving something sweet.  I can have a fraction of one and feel good.

photo 3(1)I LOVE Beef Jerky.  The problem with it is that it can be high in carbs and I have no portion control when it comes to eating it.  I found these at the grocery store today.  2 carbs per bag, five per box.  Works for me!

photo 5 photo 4Put these in your pocket and go!  I was super excited to see these because they will be perfect on the nights we have class and we are starving by the time we get out.  Bust these out on the ride home and it will keep us satisfied til we get home.

I also got off my ass and made some low carb buns and made some thin crust pizzas on low carb tortillas. 

Oh and did I fail to mention that I have already lost four pounds?

Alfredo Chicken “Noodle” Casserole

Alfredo Chicken "Noodle" Casserole

Alfredo Chicken

6 servings 7 net carbs per serving

Ingredients

  • 24 ounces canned chicken
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise with mandolin or vegetable peeler into noodles
  • 1 cup frozen bell pepper strips thawed
  • 1 cup Cut Green Beans
  • 15 ounces Bertolli Alfredo Sauce
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray 2 qt. casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Mix together chicken, zucchini noodles, pepper strips, and green beans.
  4. Stir in Alfredo sauce.
  5. Add shredded cheese and stir until mixed.
  6. Pour evenly into casserole dish.
  7. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
  8. Bake for 1 hour

Notes

While this is tasty, I hesitate to call it a casserole. It doesn't really solidify and makes more of a messy side dish. And I'm totally okay with that. I think if I were to make this again I would use real chicken(not canned) and have some egg or something more solidifying to see if it would hold together. It's still really yummy!

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Bacon Cheddar Ranch Chicken

Bacon Cheddar Ranch Chicken

Rating: 41

Bacon Cheddar Ranch Chicken

Made this last night and it was soooo good. Even reheated in the microwave at work today it was just as good. So yummy!

Ingredients

  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoons teriyaki marinade sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Ranch dressing
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, broken into small pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place chicken in 9×13 baking dish.
  3. Brush teriyaki sauce over top of chicken, then cover evenly with Ranch dressing.
  4. Sprinkle cheese and bacon on top.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.

Notes

Makes 3 servings Net Carbs per serving: 1.7

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Ham Breakfast Cups

Ham Breakfast Cups
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Ingredients
  1. 5 eggs
  2. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  3. 1/2 cup water
  4. 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  5. 1/4 cup bacon bits(real bacon)
  6. 12 slices of thinly sliced ham
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk eggs together in a bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, except for ham, and stir to combine.
  4. Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray.
  5. Fit one slice of ham in each muffin space.
  6. Spoon about 3 Tablespoons of egg mixture into each chamber so that it is 3/4 full.
  7. Use a fork to distribute cheese, if necessary.
  8. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes.
Notes
  1. 1.5 net carbs per cup
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2014 Wharf to Wharf

Me, after finishing and starting back up to meet my husband

Me, after finishing and starting back up to meet my husband

There were two things that I signed up for this year to keep me motivated and moving. The first was the Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon, and the second was the Santa Cruz Wharf to Wharf. Last year I didn’t sign up for any runs, and therefore, did no training and gained 30 pounds.

Well, it did nothing for the first half of the year to motivate me but as the race loomed closer, I realized I needed to suck it up and start something. The last time I did the Wharf to Wharf was two years ago, and I was so ill prepared that by the time I finished I was in tears and just broken. The same applies for the last 1/2 marathon as well. So three weeks ago I started training again. What I discovered is that the 30-pound gain and lack of general exercise for the last year and a half have made an impact in my timing. I can no longer punch out a two miler in a half an hour on my lunch break. In fact, I can barely get above a fast power walk at all anymore. That shouldn’t shock me. I’m not dumb enough to think that I could just pick up where I left off after all the time off, but it was a blow to my ego just the same.

So while I have kept at my training the last three weeks I was kind of discouraged. Especially since this last week was pretty painful for me in my lower back on my walks. I was pretty sure I was going to fail at this run miserably. I was picturing me stopping at the mile 4.5 mark where my husband was playing with his drummer friend for the race. Or worse, just giving up before that and sitting down, waiting for the bus to come get me in the end.

The back pain was specific to the left side of my lower back. That usually means my pelvis is tilted again, so I made an appt with my chiropractor on Friday night after work and got adjusted. Saturday I didn’t run because I had rehearsal and then went to bed super early because I had to get up so early the next morning. You see since my husband was playing the race, he had to get there really early before they blocked off the streets. That meant I had to be in the shower at four this morning so he could drop me off at the start line before heading out and setting up for the gig. Yeah, that kind of sucks because that meant that not only did I have to get there very early and sit around for hours, but I also had to run the race and then double back after getting my goodie bag, another 1.5 miles to get back to him so we could go home. It seems a bit extreme, but I’ve done the route where I finish and take the bus back to the car and believe it or not, it’s quicker and less painful just to walk back to the 4.5-mile mark.

Anyhoo cut to this morning. I woke up a bundle of anxiety. I really didn’t want to do the race because I had convinced myself it was going to be painful and horrible, and I would never finish it. I showered and got ready anyway. I vowed that even if I had to just walk it slowly, I would.

Rob dropped me off as it was just starting to get light out, and I walked about five more minutes to get to the boardwalk. I found a cafe that was open, so I grabbed a yogurt parfait and took a seat outside. That is where I stayed for the next two hours playing on my phone and people watching.

When we got closer to 8:30, I got into my corral but we didn’t start moving until at least 8:50 or so. The first two miles were really tough, which is kind of ironic since that is the most distance I had been getting in on my weekdays. You would think it would get harder AFTER two miles.

As I have found with most races I have done, once I hit the three-mile mark I was hitting my stride. Once I settle into my stride it just becomes a different mindset. The first two miles I just kept thinking: “Oh dear Lord, this is never going to work. I’m so tired already; there is no way I can make it another mile!” After mile three I think I relaxed a little bit, and I realized that I had made it that far, I could finish. It felt like it got easier.

Long story short, I finished and then made it back the 1.5 miles to find my husband already packed up and waiting in the van. I was in good spirits. I didn’t cry, even cracked a joke and shocked the heck out of my husband.

I’ve been back home for a couple hours now, and a sunburn has begun to redden my skin, but other than that, some minor chafing and a couple of popped blisters on my left foot/toes, I seem to be okay. Much better than the last time I did it.

Things I did differently this year: 

  • I didn’t push myself. 
    • I walked 90% of this race and was totally okay with that.  I managed an 18 minute mile average. 
  • I listened to an audio book on tape instead of music.
    • For the first time ever in my walk/run history, I didn’t listen to music. I downloaded the sequel that Stephen King wrote to The Shining and listened to that as I walked. It was a little weird at first, and I think that is why the first two miles were a little hard. Once I got into the meat of the story I was able to get my mind off how many more miles I had to go and let myself get lost in the tale.
    • I think the disadvantage to this is that since I normally walk to a certain BPM, I walked slower than I normally would have.
  • I had taken an Advil right before I got into my corral.
    • I have no idea if this helped or not but I DO know that my back didn’t hurt at all this race. Even going uphill, and it ALWAYS hurts going up hill. It could be because I got my adjustment right before the race. It could be because I had my hydration belt on, and it was tight, thus serving as some sort of support. All I know is that for the first time in a long time my back didn’t hurt during a walk, so I’m going to stick with the Advil from now on.

Overall, I’m happy to report that I did much better than I thought I was going to.  In endurance anyway, this race was not about a time for me to finish by, simply to finish at all.

 

My Love/Hate Relationship with Exercise.

I HATE EVERY LITTLE THING ABOUT IT EXERCISE

  • I hate knowing that I have to do it:
    • Just knowing that I have to run on my lunch hour makes me not want to do it.  Every minute that precedes said lunch hour is spent in an internal debate about why I should or shouldn’t go on the run.  It’s a toss up by lunch time whether I have talked myself out of it or not.
  • I hate getting sweaty for it:
    • I sweat…A LOT.  I always have and I always will.  I can sweat just sitting in a chair doing nothing, so it is so much worse when I actually get active.  I hate that I go through so many different articles of clothing because washing them no longer gets rid of the stink.  Yes, I sweat that much.  The number of tank tops and sweatshirts I have tossed because even I couldn’t stand the armpit stench anymore is pretty amazing. 
    • I also hate that once I have gotten active and sweaty, there is no real way to cool myself down short of a cold shower or maybe a nap.  It makes it really uncomfortable to carry go on about your day when I work out in the middle of the day and don’t have access to a shower/nap.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have apologized for profusely sweating for no reason to a cast member at rehearsal for a play.
  • I hate that it takes time out of my day:
    • In order to get in a work out that makes a difference in my day I have to go for at least a half an hour.  Given that I like to sleep a lot and usually have some sort of play rehearsal going on that limits my work out time to usually my lunch hours during the week.  That gives me a half hour to go for a run and then I have less than 30 minutes to prepare my lunch, eat and change to get back to work.  Just thinking about it makes me sweat – see above.
  • I hate that no matter how many times I run, I still hurt:
    • It’s not in what my husband would call a “bad hurt” like something is broken or torn, but in the sore muscle way.  I’ve been running for three weeks straight, shouldn’t my shins and calves be getting used to this by now??  It’s not that they hurt so much after as it is during.
    • What does hurt after is my knees and hips and ankles, and I know that is probably the sheer weight that is coming down on those joints but it doesn’t make me like it any less. 
  • I hate that I hate it:
    • I desperately want to be one of those women that look forward to every single workout and become addicted to it.  Sadly, that is not me.

UNTIL I WORK OUT

  • I love how I feel after a workout:
    • I love how it clears my mind and gets me back in control of my emotions.  I have fought depression all of my adult life and exercise seems to be the only way to combat it without chemicals.  I have managed to ween myself down to half the dosage on my anti-depressants this year but I still kind felt off, unless I work out.
    • After I work out I am at peace.  My thoughts are clear instead of jumbled and nothing really bothers me.  I have a pretty hot temper and so to say this really means a lot.
    • I have had pretty bad anxiety for most of my adult life as well.  At one time it was so intense that I was very afraid of large open spaces.  I couldn’t walk outside without having something to hold onto.  While that has gotten a lot easier over the years I still have a tendency to panic over nothing for no reason.  That dramatically decreases on the days I work out.
    • I love how I still feel pretty good even the next morning.  I love waking up in the morning, stretching and feeling like I gave my body a run for it’s money the day before.
  • I love how it motivates me:
    • On a day when I have no desire to be productive, after a work out I am on a mission to get sh*t done.  I cannot be idle so I have no option other than to get to work at whatever task is at hand.
  • I love how it lowers my blood pressure. 
    • When I was 26 years old and over 300 lbs I was put on blood pressure meds.  When I was TWENTY SIX!  As I lost the weight I was able to ween myself off them and haven’t taken them in many many years but my BP tends to run on the low end of high still.  When I work out consistently I notice that it drops a significant amount.

 As you can see, I have quite the love/hate relationship with working out.  In theory, the good should outweigh the bad every time, but it doesn’t always work that way.

What are your reasons to get out there and get a work out in?

What are the most common reasons that you bail on them?

Let’s talk about chafing shall we?

Okay, so it’s no secret that I am a big girl.  And being a big girl, I have big arms, funny how that works.  Something I discovered early on in my running training is that when I run for more than two days in a row I get a nasty chafing underneath my arms in my armpit area.  It was something I just came to accept.  I hated it and it hurt.  It made me not want to go for my runs, but it was just something I had to accept.  Years of running came at a price of not being able to rest my arms properly without pain.

Recently, my husband told that he switches out his deodorants every so often because he feels that after a while, his body gets used to one brand and it just stops working as well.  This isn’t something he hasn’t told me before, but I usually don’t pay much attention because I was raised on Secret deodorant that tells you it is PH balanced so your body doesn’t get used to it.

I don’t like the smell of most deodorants.  I think they smell like bathrooms and that doesn’t thrill me.  Secret came out with a vanilla scented one a few years back and I fell in love with it.  It appears that they are discontinuing it, so about two weeks ago I was at the grocery store and decided to look for something new.

41cw42JTlGLIt didn’t smell too bad and it promised to keep my underarms moisturized.  I threw it in my cart.

Well, I have to say I’m a total convert.  It not only keeps me from stinking better than my old favorite Secret, but I’ve been running consistently the past two weeks and I have not had ONE problem with the usual painful chafing.  This is a pretty huge deal for me since I used to put off going on a run because of the inability to put my arms down without pain after.  I LOVE this product!!! 

In other news, I’ve been running pretty regularly, whether I want to or not.  It has helped immensely with the work stress I’ve been having lately and it really calms me down after.  I don’t think I would have survived this week without it.  I have hated every step of the way some days, but I always feel amazing after.

The Wharf to Wharf is a week away and while I haven’t gotten a LOT of distance in, I’m more confident in myself than I was the last time I ran it.  It’s going to hurt, I have no doubt about that, but my only goal is just to finish before the truck comes by to clear the road.

My food intake has not been so good.  Yesterday, after rehearsal I hit the store and stocked up on a LOT of frozen diet dinners.  The Lean Cuisines and generics of that sort of brand to try and help.  I’m going to be going into rehearsals of my current play and I’m hoping it will make it easier on my husband for not having to cook every night and also easier on me for actually having some sort of portion control.  I know it’s a lot of sodium but I’m hoping I can just use this as a sort of jump start.

That’s pretty much all I have to report for right now.  

Oh, and I spruced up an old layout.  What’cha think?

 

Running is never bad…

7.13.14

I did not want to run today.

Last night the husband and I attended a lovely low-key BBQ with friends where there was much music, drinks and tasty, but bad for me food to be had. We didn’t get home until late(for us) and then I continued to snack on the bad for me (but seriously, these were some tasty sausages) food and go to bed really late.

I woke up at eight thirty because my eldest dog was feeling left out of whatever was going on in the living room and repeatedly barked at the bedroom door until I got up and let him out. After I peed I realized that my tummy wasn’t feeling super great. Not bad, but more like a tummy that had ingested three Pineapple Sausage Dogs in quick succession not too far in the past.

Since I had put off my run the day before in favor of sleeping in, I knew I had to get it in today or else it would be three whole days with no activity. As I’m sure most of you know, the larger the length of time in between workouts adds fuel to the procrastination fire. The less activity I do, the less I want to do an activity. It’s simple math really.

So I puttered around and played on my computer, trying to justify an excuse in my mind that would save me from running other than I had some bad gas. I found none.

Finally, I put on my running gear and headed out. My first stop was my usual track right at the end of Carmel Valley at the middle school. What I saw was a packed parking lot overflowing onto the lawn because of what I had forgotten was the dog show they were having this weekend. Okay fine, off to my second choice, Carmel High. When I got there, I found it was under construction. There was nothing but gravel where the track used to be.
My only other choice is in the valley at the park and as I drove by that on my way to my other two spots I was made aware that they were having a car show, so that wasn’t an option either.

Well, it looks like the universe was smiling down on me, telling me to take a break. But I still had to go to the store, so I stopped at the Safeway in mid-valley. I realized as I parked my car that this was a relatively flat neighborhood that surrounded Safeway and maybe I could at least get a mile in. I had, after all, slathered on the sunscreen already so I didn’t really want to waste it.

I pulled out my phone and headphones and started out on a journey around the Safeway. Less than two trips around the block I had done my mile, but I didn’t feel too bad so I decided to keep going. By the two-mile mark, I was done but I was super proud that I even got a run in at all. And all the reasons that had kept me from wanting to run in the first place were negated by the run itself. The fatigue, the tummy upset, the overall feeling of ick. All gone with a two-mile run that almost wasn’t.

Progress

7.10.14

Not my personal best by any stretch of the imagination, but what is important to note here is that I felt good. As in, I felt progress.

Ever since I’ve been trying to get my runs in on my lunch hours I have had mostly nothing but pain during them. The pain in my lower back from hauling around this big belly. The calves that were burning intensely the second I started up the first hill. The stitch in my side as soon as I started to attempt a jog.

I still had that this morning, but everything felt less. The back pain is always pretty consistent, but that didn’t start to nag at me until I was at least half way done and even then it wasn’t bad. The calves were feeling less of a burn and the stitch in my side was delayed and less persistent as well.

As I was partway through I noticed that I was jogging on the flat areas as well as the downward hills. I usually only jog on the downhills and speed walk the rest. At the same time I noticed that, I noticed a smile on my face and realized – GASP! – I was ENJOYING my run! I know! I can’t believe it either!

Of course, when I reached my mental goal of 1.5 miles I was ready for it to be over and only pushed myself slightly more, but it felt good. It felt like my body is finally starting to appreciate what I am trying to do for it and is starting to object less. That may not sound like much but holy cow is it huge to me!

Not to mention the euphoric feeling that lasted hours after the run. It felt amazing and helped get me through a rough day of transitioning a new phone system at work.

It may not be like this again tomorrow, but today…today is what I need to remind myself of when I don’t want to get out there.

Dysmenorrhea

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I was diagnosed with Dysmenorrhea when I was fifteen years old. After missing at least one day of school a month because I was at home throwing up due to the extreme pain of my menstrual cramps, my mother finally cracked and took me in to get checked. I was put on birth control pills shortly after even though I was not sexually active because we were told the hormones in the pills would make my periods easier and boy did they! After three years of knowing I would be down for the count on a monthly basis, I was able to get my life back.

When I had my gallbladder removed a few years later I was checked out for Endometriosis but was told that it was a negative. She said I had beautiful ovaries. That reaffirmed the diagnosis of Dysmenorrhea, but all was good because I was on the pill, and life was golden.

As I got older and developed a nasty smoking habit I was less likely to want to take the pill due to the warning notices, and I eventually stopped taking them.

The cramps and symptoms came back almost immediately, and I was back to square one. This time I was missing work instead of school. Not cool, as I never got paid for going to school, but I did for work.

I quit smoking over a year ago, but now that I’m much higher up there in age the risk of stroke is still there. And to be honest, I had a system down. At the first sign of cramps, I would take a couple Advil, and it would usually snuff them out pretty well, as long as I got them right at the first twinge. I’d have all the other symptoms, but as long as I wasn’t puking from the pain I was able to live my day to day life.

It was on the days when the cramps snuck up on me while I was sleeping that were bad. If I wasn’t able to get the Advil into my system right away then nothing short of vomiting for awhile and then falling asleep would help. And honestly, there were days when the Advil just didn’t work. Thankfully these days were few and far between.

I had another bad day today. I’d been spotting for the last couple of days with some minor cramps. We went to my in-laws for breakfast and had a good time, but the cramps were starting to manifest at the tail end of the visit.

In true Kelly fashion I just hoped it was nothing and tried my best to ignore it, having no Advil on me and not wanting to cause a fuss. I took some when we got home, but it was too late.

Thankfully, I only threw up once and was able to put myself to bed with more Advil and a heating pad for an hour and a half. I only dozed in and out for a little while, but it was enough. I woke feeling a bit queasy still but with no more pain.

I’m not really sure why I’m writing about this right now. This isn’t my main journal where I pour most of my crazies onto the interwebs. I think it started as an excuse to validate why I only got a two mile run in over a three day weekend. I think though, in the end, it’s more of a means to get the word Dysmenorrhea out in the public a little more.

I think a lot of women have it and don’t even realize it is a health condition.

When I was a kid, I had no idea what was wrong with me. I’m certain my teachers and peers all thought I was faking since I hated school anyway. Great excuse…no one can actually PROVE you have cramps right?

When I was finally diagnosed, I had a name, but had no idea what it meant other than I could get birth control pills approved by my mom’s insurance.

As an older adult when it started to effect me again there was this glorious thing called the internet. I was able to type in the word and pull up the exact description of what had plagued me my whole life, print it out and show people.

The thing is; I still felt like no one really believed me. “Yeah Kelly, you get bad cramps, join the club. Isn’t Mother Nature a bitch? Do you actually think it warrants missing work?”

It might just be my own little paranoid mind; most things are. Sometimes I just get very worked up about something, and having to explain myself month after month to people that don’t understand or “get it” starts to piss me off.

This entry has nothing to do with weight loss, but it has everything to do with me freeing myself from the guilt I feel on a somewhat monthly basis when I simply cannot function without a heating pad and a puke bucket.

At any rate, it made me feel a little better to write it.

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