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Taking stock and starting over

In the beginning of 2016, I had successfully lost 59 pounds on the keto diet. Despite needing to lose at least another 50+ pounds, I was maintaining the loss doing lazy keto. I was a little more lax about my carbs, but I wasn’t gaining the weight back. That, in itself, was a huge change from my typical yoyo diet pattern!

In October 2016, my husband of 20 years was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. My life was turned upside down, and in the 10 months of chemo and radiation treatments, remission, and complications, until his ultimate death in August 2017, I tried to maintain the weight loss despite lots of emotional upheaval. Food had been my comfort of choice since my the first chocolate chip cookie I was handed for comfort as a small child. My entire family either ate or drank alcohol to cope with uncomfortable feelings. Coping with my husband’s cancer ordeal and death had me looking for that comfort in food, again. I maintained for awhile, and then I didn’t.

I knew I had gained back some of the weight, but was afraid to face the scale. After a year of grief counseling and coping with my new life as a widow, I was finally ready. In November of 2017, I finally decided enough was enough, and faced my fears. I discovered I had regained 30 of the pounds I’d lost in 2015.

Needless to say, I’m not happy about the regained weight, but if I look at it in terms of my typical yoyo diet pattern, I’m thrilled that in the nearly two years since I lost 59 pounds, I didn’t gain it all back. That was my typical “MO.”

So, here I am. I’m back in the saddle. I’m reclaiming my Keto Kate lifestyle. Let’s see how this goes.

Hoping for a medical miracle

It’s been a while since I “dropped out of the keto lifestyle” and gained back all the weight I originally lost (plus more, to be honest). It’s time to go back to the only way of eating that will help me lose weight and keep it off. For me, Keto is now a way of life, not just a temporary diet.

I’m really hoping that my story will alert (and inspire) other women about the medical dangers of ignoring too much body fat.

I’m not one for the whole “doctor scene.” The only reason I have a primary care physician is because about a year ago I couldn’t ignore the dizzy spells I kept having at the morning meetings at work. Turns out my blood pressure was 180 over 100 and I needed some medication to lower it, but otherwise I’m fit as a fiddle. Until this year.

I went for a check up in February and just happened to ask the doctor if it was okay that I had “spotted” recently. I’m mid-50’s and went through menopause a couple of years ago. The doctor lowered his clipboard and took on a serious look. “No, it’s not okay.” Turns out this is one of the primary symptoms of uterine cancer. EGAD.

So, I had a few tests. Each test was supposed to disprove the cancer, but each test led to the final diagnosis that I had “atypical adenomal hyperplasia” – or an enlarged endometrial lining with precancerous cells. The surgeon recommended a complete hysterectomy. This calls for 3 days in the hospital and 6 weeks recuperation – and everything goes.

After taking a vacation break (physician approved), I went back to the surgeon to discuss the whens, wheres, and hows of this upcoming surgery. He explained it would be a little more complicated because of my weight. There were dangers of blood clots in my legs, so he’d put me on blood thinners, I had more chance of infection, etc. etc. etc. OH MY GOD.

I asked if it made sense for me to hold off on the surgery and take a few months to lose weight, say 6 months and 50 pounds. I told him I’d been on the keto diet a couple years ago and lost nearly 40 pounds in a few months. The doctor got excited and said, “YES!” Turns out weighing less will make the surgery go a bit smoother.

It also turns out that I could avoid surgery completely and even correct the problem by losing weight.

As the doctor explained, “More women need to realize that being overweight can cause cancer.”

In my case, (and in layman’s terms) the body fat messed with my hormones, which produced excessive amounts of estrogen, which caused cells to form and thicken my endometrium. Excess cells mean more cells that can turn cancerous, and mine have about a 30 percent chance to do so. The excess cells were removed during the D&C/biopsy, but will grow back from the same process: fat > estrogen formation > thickened lining > atypical pre-cancerous cells, etc. etc. The doc said it’s safe to wait a bit because the cells were focused and not spread throughout the tissue. So he was whole-heartedly behind me losing weight before doing the procedure and even encouraged me that I could stop this excessive estrogen problem.

I asked how much I need to lose to stop the cycle. He said every pound counts. So think about it, this surgeon who would make money off the operation is rooting for me to not have it and to even lose enough to avoid having it in the future. I like this guy!

So here I am. I left the doctor feeling like I’d had my sentence commuted. Talk about motivated! This is seriously the most inspiration I could need or want to lose this weight once and for all. I need to lose more than 100 pounds, and the only hope I have is keto.

10483275_10205743275723021_5478352649102175283_nI know I can do this. My husband is backing me one hundred percent. My friends are cheering me on (despite the fact that they had gotten me a lovely “Farewell my friend” cake with a uterus drawn on it in icing).

I know I need to immerse myself back into all I learned on keto last time. I also know that keto subreddits inspired me alot with success stories, the really supportive people/comments, and the delicious recipes that kept me enthused. Last time I did keto, I lost the pounds quickly, started a “Healthy Keto” recipe blog, and felt more successful at losing the weight than I had in years. Then, (who knows why?) I just quit, and gained back the 40 plus another 10!

This time I know it’s forever. I don’t want cancer. I don’t want to be this fat. I don’t even want to take a blood pressure pill every day. I’m too old to keep up this yo-yo diet thing. I need to eliminate carbs from my life for good!

So, I’m back to cauliflower mashed potatoes, and lots of omelets, and squash “pasta” tricks. I wonder if there are other women out there who have stopped their estrogen-related medical problems by doing keto. I’m geeked, but Im back. I visit the keto subreddit several times every day as my “one day at a time” support group! Everyone there understands how hopeful, yet fearful, I am.

I need to be successful this time and for good! My life really does depend on it. It’s day 5 and I’m going strong. Wish me luck!

Day 318: Mongolian Barbecue inspires

Total weight loss: 41 1/2 pounds

After the usual breakfast at the diner, I headed off to work. I only needed to work until 1:30 because I worked late a couple of days this week. Rick called and offered to take me to Bonefish Grill for lunch to make up for a “bad vacation weekend” as he called it. It’s true, Thanksgiving Day/birthday was great fun, but driving up north and back in two days, followed by an upper respiratory ailment did make for a short and awful vacation.

But I digress. We stopped by the Apple store to pick up a new battery for my Macbook, then headed to Bonefish Grill. We were both very hungry since breakfast was at 7:30 am. I am not a fish lover, but I do really really like their shrimp tacos. Unfortunately, the sign on the door said they opened at 4!

What to do? Well, if you read the title of the blog, you know the answer. Brandon has been telling me that Mongolian Barbecue is a great place to eat on keto, since they now labeled all their sauces with nutritional content plus offer lettuce for wraps in place of tortillas. We decided to check it out.

I loaded up my bowl with chicken, shrimp, onion slices, and mushrooms. Brandon recommended the Asian black bean sauce. I know beans have carbs, but the label says 1 gram of carbs per ounce. Sounded good to me! I added a bit of garlic and waited for the griller to do his work.

It was very very very good. It was one of my favorite keto dinners to date! Rick liked his alot too. I went for seconds, and didn’t change a thing. It was spicy, nutritious, and delicious. We didn’t take the waiter up on the offer to take a full dish home in a carryout container for only $2.49. I was full and it didn’t appeal to me, but the next day, I rued that decision. It would have made a cheap and delicious leftover meal on Saturday at home. Oh well. Next time.

I do have to say, the only spoiler was trying to roll up a lettuce wrap around a portion of my meal. It was just too soggy to handle. I ate the meal with a fork and ignored the lettuce altogether. I also ignored the bowl of rice. I know it is deceivingly delicious looking. In reality, I didn’t need it as filler to detract from my flavorful dish.

All in all, I would say this is in my top five low carb keto meal choices when eating out. In fact, if I could find that Asian black bean sauce, I would cook this at home in our wok at least once a week. So far, I have scoured Amazon.com and other sites, but many of them have similar looking sauces without any nutritional info. I’ll keep searching.

Day 193: Weight loss success!

Today’s weight loss: 3 1/2 pounds

Today weight loss: 35 pounds

Wow! Today’s weigh in made me very very happy. It isn’t a record in terms of amount lost – I haven’t weighed in 3 weeks, so a pound a week average isn’t really exciting. However, this weight loss is significant in many other respects.

First, nine days ago was the 6th month “anniversary” of starting the keto plan. I haven’t weighed since then, so I didn’t know what my 6-month loss was. Now I know: 35 pounds. That averages to nearly 6 pounds a month, which means that in one year I could be down 70 pounds, a very significant life change – and change in my body, how I feel about myself, how my clothes fit, and how much more healthy I am.

I also had certain weight loss benchmarks in my head, and today I surpassed one. Being down 35 pounds means the plan works, and it works for me. This is the most weight I have lost in years. Low-fat diets, high-fiber diets, just cutting calories, exercising more…all great ideas, but NONE OF THESE worked for me! KETO WORKS!

Yesterday’s eating journal:

I worked at my desk at home all day on the new software going out.

  • Breakfast was yogurt
  • Lunch was leftover sloppy joe from the freezer, no bun, topped with onions, a little cheese, and mustard
  • Dinner was at the local diner – 1/2 flaming cheese appetizer, and  a gyro without the pita
  • Snack – half a hamburger patty from Rick’s leftover patty melt
  • Late night snack – 2 squares of choc/peanut butter

I’m beginning to wonder if the flaming cheese is keto-friendly. Maybe it depends on the restaurant, but yesterday’s cheese looked like it had a bit of breading on it. I’ll have to keep this little treat to a minimum.

Day 170: Summer: swimmin’ time and shawarma pizza

Total weight loss: 31 pounds

Breakfast was yogurt, lunch was 2 beddar cheddars.

It’s been really hot this week…in the 90’s. I have missed swimming due to work, our business, etc. etc. Yesterday, I finally got some swimming time. Because I wanted to head straight to the pool, I certainly didn’t want to take time to cook. We picked up a chicken shawarma pizza to go. I ATE THE CRUST. Oh, that was bad. I hope I don’t see the repercussions next weigh-in. I did, however, drink low-carb beer with it. Is this tantamount to people who eat a Whopper with a Diet Coke? LOL

Day 137: Nothing to report

Today was my dad’s burial, and I’m taking a break from blogging and weigh in. See you in a few days.

Day 117: Saturday – the usual

Total weight loss: 24.5 pounds

Saturday morning started at the diner. I had a cheese and onion omelet with sour cream and a side of bacon.

Afterwards, we picked up supplies at Home Depot, then worked on the house for a while.

Lunch was a burrito/no tortilla at Del Taco.

I’m writing this a week later, and I can’t remember what I had for dinner!

Dinner

Day 93: A day off keto

Total weight loss: 27.5 pounds   Next weigh-in: Saturday, April 14th

After being sick for 4 days, I decided to go easy on myself yesterday. I still didn’t have much of an appetite, so I skipped breakfast.

I spent the morning doing taxes, wrapping up and sending ebay items, and running errands. After that, I had a brunch of….a taco and an enchilada. Yes, I decided to have a real taco, with a real shell, and an enchilada to boot! I skipped on the rice and beans. I just felt like going rogue and forgetting about keto for one more day.

I know it’s playing with fire, but I feel that I’m in control of this plan enough to take a cheat meal a little more often. I plan to do the keto diet for one full year (or more) before being at my goal, and I think being ill and out of it for a few days on a not-so-vacation-like vacation awoke me to the fact that I don’t need to be so regimental about the whole plan.

We worked on installing molding in the rental house, then called it a day. For dinner, I ate the leftover taco from my lunch. I skipped dessert. All in all, it was a bad day in terms of nutrition–not because I went off keto, but because I ate way too little. I’ll get back on track tomorrow.

Day 58: Another successful dinner out

Weight loss: 17 pounds; next weigh-in: Saturday, Mar 10th

Typical morning at work. It was busy as all get out and every time I started back to the kitchen to heat my eggs, I was interrupted.  The result was I still hadn’t eaten by noon.

Rick was coming by work to drop off the truck and ride his bike back home. I asked him to pick me up something for brunch, because the eggs had lost their luster.

I check out Wendy’s online and lo and behold, they have some customization options. After selecting the item you want from the food menu, look for nutritional information. On that page, is a button that says “personalize it.” I was able to remove the bun and honey mustard sauce from the grilled chicken sandwich and see that the results made the meal only 3 grams of carbs. I personalized a side salad to go with it, and submitted my order to Rick, the carryout delivery guy.

Rick picked up and delivered, and the results were very satisfying. Although I rarely eat there, I’ve always thought Wendy’s chicken breasts were very big and moist, and it was just as good without the bun. I was just happy to outsmart the fast-food carb monster once again.

I had dinner plans with my friend Shelly. We met at Red Robin, where I had the guacamole cheeseburger again. This time, I didn’t ask for a lettuce bun. The concept was great, but the guac tends to smoosh around between the lettuce leaves. I opted for the side salad instead of bottomless fries again. As usual, they were tempting me from Shelly’s plate across the table. I ate about an inch off of the end of one. That was enough.

As I contemplate what to add to a potential cheat day menu, steak fries become a great possibility. Those, and perhaps pasta, are the only things I can’t successfully replicate in a low-carb option.

Dessert was chocolate mousse.

 

Day 57: I think I’ve got the hang of this

Weight loss: 17 pounds; next weigh-in: Sat., 3/10

Is it two or three weeks to make a habit? I’ve definitely gotten the hang of this by the beginning of the 8th week! I’m getting into the habit of always planning ahead. I have a few low carb snacks or meals made ahead, and Rick makes sure that there are all the vegetables and other ingredients I need on hand all the time. Restaurants are no problem, because most have either a burger option, a grilled chicken option, or a salad available on the menu.

Brandon and I were discussing having a keto cheat day, and it is honestly so ingrained in me to avoid carbs, that I don’t know if I can do it! What would I choose? What do I miss the most? Maybe a pasta meal? Some cake? I get a little tense thinking about it. I don’t want to waste 24 hours of weight loss. I’ll have to research this idea some more and mull it all over.

Yesterday started with the usual breakfast of eggs/cheese/sausage. Lunch was 2 Beddar Cheddar sausages with some almonds a couple of hours later.

I was really really hungry at the end of the day. I was supposed to meet my friend Shelly for dinner, so we opted for Five Guys Burgers and Fries. I had been there before and the bacon cheese burger with some grilled onions was really filling and satisfying.

I met her at 7pm, but she was called away due to a scheduling mix up at work. I took my bun-less burger home, and it was just as good as I remembered from a month ago. I seriously doubt the necessity for a bun with a burger at this point in my keto career.

Evening snack was chocolate mousse. I was about 5 grams under my carb goal for the day. Maybe because I was so low, I was hungry again in a couple of hours. I ate one leftover Carbquik cheesy biscuit and it worked like a charm on my hunger.