Category Archives: Keto tricks

One month update – 16 1/2 pounds gone!

Well, it’s a month since I posted, and first, let me say a big thank you to all of you for the kind thoughts! I’m still going strong and I’m down 16 1/2 pounds. It’s the not quickest I’ve ever lost, but it’s steady and I’ve kept between 20-23 grams of carbs per day – with very few cravings. My clothes are looser, and I keep finding more in my closet that I can wear comfortably now. Bloat gone, more energy – what’s not to love!? (No exercise yet.)

My husband has type 2 diabetes and he decided to join me after a couple of weeks, which has made me really happy (who wants to get healthy only to lose a partner because of CARBS?!). He isn’t strictly keto, but is staying under 80g per day and his sugar went from 224 to an avg of 80-100! I foresee us living/eating this way for the rest of our lives. It’s so much easier doing this as a team than having junk in the house.

Reading reddit keto subgroups daily has been a huge inspiration. I’ve also been reading (listening to) The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person, and I highly recommend the book. She uses cognitive therapy to help people learn to stop the cycle of yoyo dieting and self-sabotaging behavior. She doesn’t endorse any special diet, and I figured at this ripe old age, I should learn to change my thinking as well as my food intake, so I’ve been staying strong and focused even when I would usually seek carby food for comfort!

With the support of my husband, and the delicious recipes (and advice) of fellow keto redditers and this book in my arsenal, I know I can do this!

Yummy new keto snack to add to my arsenal: salt & vinegar almonds

Rick and I went to the movies last night, and I knew enough to prepare by snacking on something before going in. Those concession stands are nothing but a big, expensive, and carb-filled enemy to the keto plan.


I love chili lime almonds and eat them daily as a snack at work. They have often saved me from pigging out on one of the fatty treats that my workplace always has on the snack table. I am a BIG lover of salt & vinegar potato chips, so when I discovered S&V almonds on Amazon a couple of months ago, I started looking for them on the local shelves. I always order in bulk from Amazon, and I didn’t want to take a chance by ordering a whole lot of something that I didn’t like very much. I needed a small taste test first.

Well, Rick found a 1.5 ounce pack at CVS, and they are as good as a handful of salt & vinegar chips. I loved them! I felt like I was indulging in some forbidden treat. Needless to say, I ordered a dozen cans from Amazon this morning. That amount should last me quite awhile, and I’ll always have a nice back-up treat when temptation calls.

 

Good info about ketogenic diet with food list, menus, and advice

Found an inspiring blog with some solid keto diet advice. I especially agree with this:

One of the most effective tricks during a diet is routine. Eat the same meals over and over or plan your meals ahead for the whole week. I’ve found it effective to pre-make dishes on Sunday and have them ready for the week. That makes it incredibly easy to stick to the diet because I avoid thinking which means I avoid creativity and creativity requires decision making which leads to hard choices. Just avoid the hard choices and have it all planned and some of it ready to grab and go.

The Basic Keto Diet, a page on Mike Maunder’s blog, has about everything you need to understand the ketogenic diet principle, plus a list of foods and menu plans. It’s thorough and inspiring.

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Day 307: Keto-friendly crustless spinach quiche

Total weight loss: 41 1/2 pounds

I know I need to plan ahead to be successful on the keto plan, and to avoid all those carb-laden “easy” foods. Sunday morning, I decided to make a quiche that would last me the week. I used this crustless quiche recipe, from the Budgetbytes blog, and adapted it a bit.

I made a spinach, feta cheese and onion quiche, and it turned out a little too “green” for me. Next time, I’ll try adding more eggs and cream. I like my quiche to be eggier. Rick liked it alot. I like having an “instant breakfast” to take to work during the week ahead.

That’s all I really have to report for Sunday.  I didn’t get time to blog all week, and I can’t remember what I had for dinner, but I was pretty strictly on keto since I know I’ll be having a few cheat days at the end of the week. My birthday is on Thanksgiving, so I’ll be having cake that day (plus whatever other carbs at dinner) and the evening before, my neice is taking me to dinner and a movie. I will have about 4 cheat meals in a row, so I’m eating as well as I can in anticipation.

Rick went shopping to get a variety of ingredients I need to create some keto-friendly Thanksgiving desserts. I’d like to try something with pumpkin and cream cheese. YUM.

 

 

Day 290: Successes and failures…and lessons learned

Total weight loss: 41 pounds

Breakfast – skipped

I took my breakfast bowl to work, but our morning meeting went so long that I wasn’t hungry for breakfast by the time we got out. My friend Wally called unexpectedly and invited me to lunch. I decided to wait to eat until then.

Lunch – Big Boy buffalo grilled chicken salad with bleu cheese dressing. It was delicious, as usual – and Wally treated. Thanks, friend. Good food, good conversation.

Snack – Rick and I decided to go to a 5:00 movie: Cloud Atlas. I knew I wouldn’t make it until after it was over to eat dinner, and I didn’t want to show up at the theater hungry and get tempted to buy something bad at the snack bar. (I am learning to plan ahead.) I was already getting hungry, since the salad for lunch was all I had eaten for the day. Around 4, I heated a leftover portion of lasagna and ate that as a preventative measure. It was really tasty. Most “pasta” dishes seem to taste better when reheated since all the flavors have time to blend.

Movie – 2 sips of Rick’s diet Coke. Very determined NOT to buy concession food

After movie dinner – We didn’t eat out. When I got home, I heated another portion of lasagna. I have no problem repeating meals when I like them.

I congratulated myself on my restraint. I had a perfect keto day.

Then, an hour before bed, I decided to read and have a choco/peanut butter low carb snack.

I went in to the kitchen to get some 70% chocolate and noticed that Rick had eaten one package of the Hostess cupcakes we had purchased for the grandkids. How are we supposed to give only ONE grandchild a pack of cupcakes? Boy, they sure looked good. They were orange frosted. I could just taste the tangy citrus flavor of the frosting and the creamy center. So I did. I ate two Hostess cupcakes.

BLECK. I was SOOOO close to going to bed. Why didn’t I just close my eyes and ignore them? They were a total of 60 grams of carbs. I know I was well under 80 carbs for the day, which is probably fine on a low-carb diet, but for keto, I’m sure I knocked myself out of ketogenesis, and for no good reason. They were just okay tasting, nothing to get excited about.

Lessons learned:

  1. I am not perfect.
  2. I should probably fill up more on water.
  3. Don’t skip breakfast.
  4. I probably did not eat enough during the day, and allowed myself to be too tempted.
  5. NEVER have junk food in the house.

Day 288: Oops, cheat lunch at Chinese restaurant / excellent keto-friendly lasagna

Total weight loss: 41 pounds

We finally decided not to go out to breakfast. Just too costly. Rick made my “breakfast bowl”: 2 eggs, 2 sausage patties, cheese, and Taco Bell hot sauce. He puts it in a bowl, and I reheat, chop up, and eat at my desk. MMMMMMMM. Thanks, honey.

I was going to eat 2 Beddar Cheddars for lunch, but I got a surprise lunch invite from my niece, Marsha. The AUCE Chinese restaurant that we both love is very near my workplace, so I agreed to lunch with her.

I debated if I could do a low carb lunch, or if it was too difficult with the few options that I should just do a cheat meal. I sort of did a blend of both options.

I went to the Mongolian section and made a bowl with chicken, onion, garlic, and a little crab. I asked the cook to use garlic oil – he offered spicy; I said sure. It turned out to be delicious. Unfortunately, the Mongolian counter was at the back of the store, past the crab rangoons and the tempura sushi. Sigh.

So, I sort of did a half and half cheat meal. I had a main course that was low carb, and side dishes that were coated with breading. I do think I’ll get some garlic oil and try to make my own “Mongolian” stir fry at home. It’d be pretty easy, and keto-friendly. Always looking for some fresh ideas for keto recipes.

While I was off galavanting with my niece, Rick was home slaving away over the stove – for me! He made marinara sauce with the low carb tomato sauce and diced tomatoes he found yesterday at Kroger. He also cooked a pound of ground up Italian sausage. He was preparing the ingredients for a new keto-friendly, low-carb lasagna recipe I wanted to try. I thought I’d make it pretty close to my Dad’s traditional recipe, only using spaghetti squash as the lasagna “noodles.”

I saw this idea on several low carb sites, but most of the recipes, although low carb, were too high in carbs for keto. Rick did some investigating while shopping and found that a 14 oz can of Del Monte diced tomatoes with zesty mild green chilis was 7g per can, and Kroger tomato sauce was ZERO net carbs per can. He used 2 cans of each in his recipe, with 2 tbsp of olive oil (og), and various ingredients like garlic, 1/2 cup onion (10g), and 1/2 cup of red wine (4g). The whole recipe is posted here.

After work, I cook a whole large spaghetti squash, gathered the rest of the cheeses and ingredients and assembled a lasagna. Approximately one hour later, we sat down to a delicious bubbly authentic-tasting lasagna meal. At approximately 7.4 grams of carbs per serving, it surpassed my wildest dreams. I am no cook, but Rick’s marinara sauce is really flavorful and added to cheese and pepperoni, this tasted almost like my dad’s traditional recipe!

Here’s a picture of the whole pan…

So, dinner was a hit, and I have lots of servings to warm up during the week. This will definitely be a staple of my keto diet, and I’ll be making it a couple of times a month. I have to recalculate and be sure I didn’t mistake any of the carb counts. For instance, the mozzarella cheese said less than one gram of carbs per serving. Well, if you have many servings, when does that become 1 or even 2?

We each had an Adkins coconut bar for dessert. It was kind of an up and down day in terms of the keto plan, but creating such a keto-friendly pan of lasagna was a real high point of the day.

Day 284: Two more pounds (yay!); working towards 50

This week’s weight loss: 2 pounds
Total weight loss: 41 pounds

Wow. I finally hit above the 40 pound mark. Nine more pounds to 50! Keto works.

Yesterday’s food journal:

I was happy it was Friday. We’ve been really busy this week, and I looked forward to the weekend. We went out to breakfast again. I know, it’s pretty extravagant to eat breakfast out each morning, but it’s also a nice, relaxing start to our day. I enjoy my NYT puzzle and Rick reads the paper. I get some “me time” before heading off to work. We also eat pretty cheaply.

Breakfast was the usual: cheese and grilled onion omelet with a side of bacon and topped with sour cream.

Lunch: I sort of skipped lunch. These breakfasts keep me full for a long time. I was working on a deadline project. It needed to be done by 2 pm, so the boss could take it with him on a trip. I had a snack around one o’clock – some chili lime almonds and some small pieces of cheese. By the time I left work at 6, I was famished.

That was something I forgot to blog about – I bought some individually wrapped cheddar cheese portions in a large bag at Costco. I put the whole bag in the fridge at work and always have a low carb snack on hand.

On the way home from work, I decided I’d like to have another of those buffalo grilled chicken salads like I had the day before. Here’s where I found out that I had eaten more carbs on Thursday than I originally thought. Rick wasn’t hungry, so I ordered the salad as a carryout from Big Boy. I ordered the “Buffalo grilled chicken salad” with blue cheese. The server asked, “do you want the grilled chicken or chicken tenders?” Hmm. I did say GRILLED, which is what I had ordered the day before for lunch. I did point out to Rick that the chicken looked like it had some kind of coating, but the menu said it was grilled, so oh well.

Turns out I must have been eating chicken with coating which would have had more carbs. Sigh. I think it would bother me more if I didn’t see the 2 pound weight loss.

Rick built a fire in the yard, and I joined him with a drink made of 3 shots of vodka and some raspberry Sparkling Ice. It was a nice end to a long work week. I also had 2 squares of 70% chocolate with peanut butter.

 

Day 283: A really good salad: Big Boy’s buffalo grilled chicken salad

Total weight loss: 39 pounds

Well, I really enjoyed that early morning breakfast Wednesday, so I made the effort to rise early and try it again. This time, we went to the Senate Coney Island, which is a bustling diner even at 7:30 am. I ordered a cheese omelet, asked them to add grilled onions, and skipped the toast. The side of bacon was enough for me to share with Rick. I topped the egg with sour cream (of course) and called it a meal. The service was fast, the omelet was delish, and the bacon was perfect. No extra hash browns to deal with and I just skipped the toast. We’ll be back.

Lunch was on the run, again. More paperwork and banking to do. This house closing is dragging on, and there are still details to cover and items to move from the house.

chicken-saladWe went to Big Boy. Since this blog is all about honesty, I had a really difficult time deciding NOT to eat carbs. I love BB fish and chips, so that was hurdle one. I was tired, stressed and hungry (too hungry), so my decision making processes were hampered by the need for some comfort food. I had tried the buffalo chicken salad a while back and decided to try that. The spiciness might make me feel like I was having some tasty treat, and the blue cheese dressing that comes with would be creamy and fill that need for comfort.

It was a hit! I was a little worried that I made a wrong choice when I saw that the chicken had some kind of coating on it, but at that point, I was eating it no matter what. The tangy buffalo sauce was subtle on the small slices of chicken and blended well with the blue cheese. It was filling and delicious.

Again, I forgot to take a picture, so here’s one that looks similar. I will definitely be ordering this again soon, so I’ll get an authentic one on my next visit.

I looked up the nutrition information when I got home and it passed muster. Without croutons (which I removed), it’s 10.2 grams of carbs minus 2.3 grams of fiber, for a net of 7.9. That’s not counting the blue cheese dressing, but after a really low carb breakfast, I knew I’d be able to stay under 19 for the day. It also looks like they have similar salads at Chili’s and other restaurants.

Bad afternoon – I worked until 6:30. At 5:30, that damned Halloween candy bowl at work called my name. I ate a peanut butter cup and 9 whoppers (actual circles of candy, not packages).  I have no defense. I do think a salad doesn’t stick with me long enough to ward off the temptations. Whatever. I guess I’ll just have to plan ahead in case I’m tempted again tomorrow – drink a lot of water and eat almonds in the late afternoon?

Dinner – home late again. Rick didn’t feel like cooking, so we stopped to pick up a rotisserie chicken. Again, I was tempted. I had already eaten candy, so how about some macaroni salad on the side? NO NO NO. Rick didn’t buy it, and I made cauliflower mashed potatoes instead. Wonder why this is so difficult lately.

Oh, here’s a tip I figured out in the past few months. I really like the cauliflower mashed potatoes, and I really don’t like cooking very much (in case you didn’t figure that out). I now buy small frozen packages of cauliflower and have about 4 on hand. I use the same recipe as I have posted here, but here are the amounts of the ingredients I use with this size package….

Easy peasy cauliflower mashed potatoes – open one bag of cauliflower, pour in bowl, microwave 5 minutes. Put the cauliflower, 3-4 tbsp of cream cheese (definitely less than half a package), and one tbsp of butter into a food processor. The cauliflower should be steaming hot to melt the cheese easily. Process and eat. One package makes a little more than 2 servings. If Rick doesn’t eat his, it warms up well the next day.

Well, that quick recipe was a life savor, and I avoided the carby macaroni salad. I ate about 6 ounces of chicken with the “caulitatoes.” Dessert was 2 squares of chocolate with natural peanut butter.

Day 282: Back in the saddle again

Total weight loss: 39 pounds

Well, I’m getting back in the swing of things. Here’s yesterday’s recap:

Breakfast – Rick and I went out to a diner! Yes, mid-week, which is highly unusual. We’ve been under a lot of pressure selling our rental house, money leaving our pockets faster than we can make it, working on a few client sites all at once, and then both of us got the flu. usually, I go to bed late, wake up late and shower and fly out the door. On Wednesday morning, I just wanted to relax a bit before rushing off to work.

We went to a diner we hadn’t tried before. The only omelet choices had hash browns and toast with them. They also only had cheese, and I wanted to add grilled onions. I am NOT a morning person, and I had a difficult time conveying what I wanted. The cheese omelet special, add grilled onions. Hash browns also with onions, but to-go (for Rick’s next breakfast). No toast.  Side of crispy bacon. This really perplexed the waitress.

My meal came: a huge plate of cheese and onion omelet, with a giant portion of hash browns and toast and a side of bacon (that was “middling” crispy). SIGH. I ignored the hash browns and toast, and enjoyed the omelet and bacon.

We probably won’t go back. There weren’t a lot of patrons, which is a sign that it isn’t a real popular breakfast spot. It seemed pricy and didn’t have a lot of options. However, my NYT crossword was completely finished in a half hour and I was relaxed and ready to greet the day.

We had some running around and paperwork to attend to on lunch, so I had lunch out, too. This time, we went to Bigg Burger. You know, I’m not a real meat eater, but when you order a burger and the bun is gone, there isn’t much left on the plate. I was really really hungry (breakfast was at 7:30, and by now it was 2:30!). I ordered a TRIPLE cheeseburger, no bun. They have lots of free toppings to choose from, so I chose mayo, grilled onions, and grilled mushrooms. They served up a great-looking presentation and I was really full when done. (where’s the picture? I AM out of the blogging habit – I forgot!). Here’s a simulated picture. LOL. Wait, you KNOW I didn’t eat that bun!

Since I took a long lunch, I didn’t get home from work until late. I was barely hungry after the “pounds” of meat I consumed at lunch, and also didn’t feel like cooking.  I grabbed 4 thin sliced pieces of ham, put about 1 tbsp of cream cheese in the center of each and rolled them up. I tossed some chili lime almonds on the plate and called it a meal.

For dessert, I had 2 squares of 70% chocolate with Smucker’s natural peanut butter on top.

Six months on Keto: thoughts and resolutions

Total weight loss: 35 pounds

For anything to be successful, one needs to look back over the successes and failures to plan for a better future.

Things I’ve learned:

Plan meals in advance

Always have keto-friendly snacks on hand

Always have keto-friendly cooking ingredients on hand

Remember which cheat meals didn’t satisfy

Keep a list of fast food keto-friendly foods in mind

Look at bread, rice, buns, tortillas, pasta, cakes, cookies, donuts, and other high carb food and think negative thoughts: “how pasty looking that is,” “it looks good, but it’ll make me feel lethargic and half-dead after I eat it,” “that rice under Chinese or Indian food, will make me gain, and really doesn’t have much flavor; cauliflower rice tastes just as good”

Even if you eat twice the amount of almonds you’ve planned, it’s still better than potato chips

Cheat meals/days must be thought out VERY carefully. Pick something that will really satisfy you and allow you to keep on the keto plan longer

Drink lots and lots and lots of water

Drinking no-carb alcohol may be okay, but keep it in limits. Over indulging makes me gain water weight and being drunk makes me really tempted to binge on whatever high carb party food is on the table.

There is ALMOST ALWAYS SOMETHING YOU CAN EAT in a fast food place or restaurant. For example, what about chicken marsala in an Italian place?

And there is usually some salad option anywhere you are. Burger joints, just remove the bun.

Mexican and Chinese restaurants give me the most difficulty, because any low carb option is not the reason I would go to the restaurant in the first place.

If you MUST go to a Chinese buffet (I attended a funeral dinner at one), you can find options, but they probably aren’t going to be your favorite General Tso’s. How about the salad bar choices? eggs? the insides of eggrolls, and I even ate the insides only of crab rangoons. Leaves quite a pile of discarded shells on the plate and look like you really waste food.

That’s all I can think of right now, but these ideas have helped me realize the first real weight loss I’ve achieved in more than 15 years! YAY KETO!