Setting the Macros on Carb Manager

Confused about your macros? You are SO not alone! If you’ve just started out on Carb Manager and have found your macros are just not right, resetting them is easy. In this walk through, I’ll show you how to re-set your macros. This is a follow-on for an earlier Carb Manager walkthrough for setting up a brand new account.

Confused about Macros? You’re Not Alone

I think the Dirty, Lazy Keto group has fielded about 100 requests for help with setting Macros, and about a dozen of them have been related to Carb Manager — at least! The confusion is about the formula for figuring out how much you should eat each day.

The confusion has to do with protein.

Most keto doctors advice that we eat enough protein to sustain your body mass. This means you take your weight in pounds, you multiply that by .36 and that’s your ABSOLUTE minimum for protein for the day. You can go beyond that, but don’t go below. At the high end, multiply your weight by .7 for the most protein you should have (the upper limit). Carb Manager should calculate this for you, but you can check that number to see if it’s right.

At the very least, you should know what that number is so that you meet your minimum grams of protein.

If you weigh, say, 225 lbs, that number would be: 81 grams
If you weigh 194 lbs, that number would be a little over 70 grams.

The maximum amount of protein is your body weight in pounds, multipled by .7:

So if you weigh 225 lbs, that number would be 157.7
If you weigh 194, that would be 135.8

Let’s say we (cough) weigh 225 pounds like someone-very-close-to me (ahem). But for some reason, my carb manager is giving me too much protein.

Re-Setting the Carb Manager Settings

I had my macros set for Low Carb. We’re going to fix them. First in Carb Manager you’ll see a sidebar with choices for what to access. We want to access Settings– at the bottom

The screen changes to something like this — with lots more below it but what interests us is the TOP of the screen. We are interested in two settings: the “My Profile” setting and the Macros setting.   These are found in the two “tabs” at the top of the screen, as shown below:

Changing Your Weight

Because ahem, SOMEONE didn’t put in their current weight, the macros calculated by Carb Manager are off. We first have to correct this. We click on the first tab, My Profile.

The current weight SHOULD be 225 in this case.

We simply edit the wrong number (Start Weight) and also (Current Weight). Then after we’ve entered this, we click on the next tab over, the Macros setting. Here I find my settings are not on Ketogenic, but on Low Carb High Fat. And all my macros are wrong. Sigh.

So first we fix the Carbs: Protein : Fat Ratio

But that’s a bit LOW. On everything. I can adjust the sliders from here to where I want it to be —JUST by changing the PROTEIN slider. But then we’ll see everything else change.

While I was at it, I also set the calculator to have me lose one pound a week. Now it gives me a calorie budget. However, I note that the protein is way too low.

I know that I need at least 81 grams of protein daily. A little more than that wouldn’t be a bad idea. So I just change the protein slider so that I get exactly what I want. Because we are set on ketogenic, the other sliders will move as I move the protein slider up or down to maintain those constant ratios.

I could leave that there and JUST ACCEPT that and go with it. But MOTHER OF MERCY, I am not ready for a ketogenic 20 grams a day MAX. At least not in my head.

Instead I want to set a CUSTOM setting. Instead of choosing Ketogenic, I choose Custom: Grams

Note that I entered 83 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbs (to give me a little room), and the same grams of fat (122) from the ketogenic settings. Because this is how I roll. Mentally, I will be able to work for to keep my carbs between 20 and 30 — which is what I can currently manage with some care. It’s not the perfect formula –but it’s what works FOR ME.

Hit the APPLY button and you’re ready to go.

More soon–Hope this is helpful.

~ Lola

Three Types of Intermittent Fasting

Many folks just pass right on by when the topic of IF (intermittent fasting) comes up. It sound hard, even punitive–when you’re already low-carbing for the first time, it sounds scary! Isn’t giving up potatoes enough? IF is a tool in the dietary toolkit. For some people, it is an essential tool. For Type 2 diabetic cancer survivors like me? There’s too much riding on good health to pass up on a potentially life-changing habit!

As I do with anything I want to learn, I write about it. I’m sure it won’t get the kind of traffic that the crispy pork with palmini noodles gets, but if the only person I help is myself, then “keto on.”

From the Hype to the Help

Intermittent fasting is concerned with constraining the time window in which we consume calories. This gives the body a needed break as I explain in the previous post on IF. Researchers (and many keto proponents) suggest that IF helps speed weight loss, breaks weight loss “stalls,” and helps us turn our bodies into “fat-adapted” calorie-burning machines! Booyah! Sounds amazing but we have to get beyond the hype to the health.

My first experience with IF was intermittent indeed! It seems like I would start, then life would get hectic, and I’d miss one of the appointed days, then a week then bam. I wasn’t doing it. It’s hard to remember, I lied to myself. (No, it was hard to give up my midnight snack habit. That’s what was hard). After about three months, I chucked it in. But I hadn’t had cancer and wasn’t diabetic back then (in 2012). I was losing weight regularly and I felt so much better, that I was happy without doing anything further.

There is much more research evidence that IF is good for T2 diabetes and for fighting cancer.

Now, older and having put back on the weight after REALLY falling off the wagon during the cancer surgeries, I know I’m going to need more tools in the tool kit. I am using CarbManager to track. I’m going from simple LCHF eating to full on dirty, lazy keto. I’m adding more exercise. I’m determined to get up to my best health ever.

The question is: What KIND Of IF is right for me?

There are short forms of IF and there are long forms. The longer forms are a 24 period or LONGER of abstaining from food. One would eat dinner and then skip breakfast and lunch the next day. But you’d get to eat dinner that day. I could do that maybe once a week but probably not twice or three times a week that’s often recommended. (This is how I failed my first go-round). Thirty-six hour fasts–where you eat dinner on day 1 and then skip breakfast, lunch AND DINNER on the second day, eating again at breakfast on day 3, seemed like too far a reach!

A second form (popularized by Dr. Michael Mosley in his book, The Fast Diet) allowed you to eat 500 calories a day on the fasting days. You had to fast two days a week. It’s called “5:2” in the hipster discussions of IF. 🙂 I failed at this one too–because 500 calories is simply not much food. I barely gave this one a shot before giving up in frustration. Figuring out satisfying 500 calorie meals was an overwhelming task. LCHF foods tends to be higher in calories. I never developed the knack for this one (though I must admit, I didn’t try real hard.)

Lots of different kinds of IF diets are referred to by the formula of X:Y with X being the fasting time (in days or hours for short-form IF) and Y being the size of the time window that you can eat.

Newer forms of short-term IF (less than 24 hours) are much more sustainable by most people. They are very popular. Research seems to indicate that all forms of IF can provide weight loss and health benefits. It’s a matter of choosing the right style.

Three Kinds of Short Term IF

The most helpful article on IF is this detailed guide to IF from the Diet Doctor blog. This blog post explains that we need to take a break from the “feasting” state to allow our bodies to fall into a “fasting state” — where our insulin levels are lower and we’re more likely to begin consuming our stored fat. There are three popular methods covered in this article (and I’m sure there are more beyond that!) But these three are certainly interesting!

Leangains or 16: 8

This is the most popular form of IF and is supposed to be done every day.  I am given to understand that people do take a day off of this regimen (probably on Saturday or Sundays, depending on what’s “party nights”). This diet (popularized by a body builder, Martin Berkand) involves skipping breakfast. Coffee, tea, water or other no-calorie beverage can be had for breakfast. The rest of one’s “feeding period” needs to be squeezed into an eight-hour time window. So if I skip breakfast (but have coffee with stevia) and don’t eat lunch til, say, 11.30, then I have 8 hours to eat the rest of my food (til 7.30).

This seems more or less do-able. SIX DAYS of this though? Every week. Hmmm. This would seriously change how I eat (which might be a very good thing).

The Warrior Diet or 20:4

This is an “alternate day” fasting for three days a week. It involves skipping breakfast AND LUNCH and collapsing all of one’s eating into a four hour period at the end of the day. Created by Ori Hofmekler, this schedule is said to result in “a deeper level of fat adaptation” and improvement of insulin sensitivity.

I might be able to manage this twice a week. It’s under consideration–but only if I find some way to deal with Lunch Hour at work –which is a social time at least once a week (and it’s spur of the moment so hard to plan). I also really treasure lunch, often my biggest meal of the day. This one would require more significant changes in my daily routine. But maybe — if only twice a week. 

Eat Stop Eat or, if there were a hipster shorthand, 24:24

This involves going entirely without calories for 24 hours, then eating whatever you want for dinner the next day. This is another fasting schedule from a body builder. (How this is going to work for a ‘mature,’ and pillowy woman like myself? Hmmm.) This is quite difficult and should only be done two (NON-CONSECUTIVE) days of the week. Like the Warrior diet, it’s supposed to provide deeper levels of fat adaptation.

The idea is you eat dinner at 8, then don’t eat again until the following day (at 8pm). This might be good for dealing with a company dinner but it’s hard to plan. Our Christmas dinner was supposed to be at 2pm — it didn’t really get started til nearly 5pm. (And there were all day long appetizers–what I think of as the Cavalcade of Calories!). Not do-able if you’re dealing with MY family! 😀

Some Tips on Fasting

The best advice is from the Diet Doctor blog post by Dr. Tom Naimon, MD. This post REALLY gave me the reassurance that I needed to even consider IF as part of my journey. He writes:

With all of these fasting methods, the goal is to skip breakfast, avoid snacking, and consolidate calories near the end of the day. All of these methods are quite effective, and you can in fact mix and match these as much as you would like. I would highly recommend keeping it flexible. Fast for as long as is convenient on any given day, and break your fast whenever you need to or want to. Anything beyond a 12 hour window is going to be at least somewhat beneficial towards anyone’s goals.

If you planned on fasting 16 hours but only make it 13, that’s ok and you are still much better off than if you had eaten all day long with early and late calories plus lots of snacking. I think a good goal would be 24 hours per week of additional fasting (additional to the standard 12:12 baseline). This could be 2 days of 24 hour fasting (Eat Stop Eat), 3 days of 8 hour fasting (Warrior Diet), or 6 days of 4 hour fasting (Leangains).

You could also mix and match as desired. Keep it flexible and go with whatever best suits your schedule and your lifestyle and your current level of fat adaptation.

Dr. Tom Naimon, MD, “Time-Restricted Eating: A Detailed Intermittent Fasting Guide. In Diet Doctor Blog. Updated 14 September 2018. Accessed 27 Dec 2018.

My Current Plan

I’m planning on starting with the 16:8 plan, FOUR days a week–and try to stretch it out to fit in at least 15-18 hours a week of additional fasting. It’s all about the babysteps for me. If I do this every other day for a whole month, then it will be easier to stretch out until it’s routine. My real problem remains the late-night snack. That is really going to need some adjustment on my part! But I know it’s a needed change.

Happy New Year! Here’s to our (improved) health!

An Introduction to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting or “IF” has been around for five or so years as a boost to weight loss and an overall improver of health. This is especially true when team up with LCHF (and keto) ways of eating. In a nutshell, intermittent fasting helps us become “fat-adapted” more quickly. It improves our body’s ability to shed excess weight, maintain an even blood sugar level, and makes us feel better in the long run.

Here is a very quick, non-technical explanation of why IF is a “thing” in low-carb ways of eating circles. There’s alot of good research that indicates that IF can speed weight loss and generally deliver excellent health benefits. In the next post, I’ll provide a synopsis on how to get started and choose the style of IF that’s right for you –if you decide this is what you’re looking for to supplement your journey to better health.

Constant Snacking Is Not Good

I like my snacks. I’ve avoided IF for years because of my fear of losing snacking privileges. One of the great advantages of going LCHF (or dirty keto) is the fact that one can just swap high carb snacks for low-carb ones and still lose weight. Lots of people do. Stephanie Nyland Laska of Dirty, Lazy Keto fame has gone on record as to not having done anything like IF — and she lost 140 lbs so she has that as her personal experience.

I tried IF in the “early days” — but couldn’t stick with it, though I knew it had real, scientifically founded benefits–and I lost 20 lbs myself on LCHF. But this go-round, since I’m dealing with a much bigger problem of T2 diabetes, I thought it was high time I looked into it again as a way to get back to greater health.

What is IF (Intermittent Fasting)?

Intermittent fasting is a going without food for a period of 12 hours or more, depending on the various “styles” (or “schemes”) to lose weight and advance our general fitness. This article by Diet Doctor explains what IF is and its benefits. 

This post is based on the Diet Doctor’s advice — which I find easiest to understand. It could probably be a little easier, though. When scientists talk in technical terms, I notice people’s eyes glaze over. They don’t get it. So here’s a very non-technical explanation. It’s a little shorter and not nearly as accurate as the Diet Doctor’s or other highly technical discussions on the Internet, but I find that many people do not want the “deep dive” explanation.

How we get fat

When we eat, the body takes the calories we consumes and converts them in to energy we use (in moving around, sitting in a chair, petting the dog, what have you). Carbohydrates get converted quickly and easily into energy for immediate use. Fat can also get converted into energy after the carbs run out. Energy that is not burnt off (either carb or fats) in daily activity gets stored in the liver.

The liver can only hold so much fat and no more. If the liver “tank” is full up, then excess calories are converted into body fat. Losing weight is about getting our bodies to process the body fat, readily and easily, into energy.

Insulin resistance and Diabetes

Science doesn’t fully understand the process of weight loss because individual health issues can get in the way, hampering our body’s ability to burn off body fat. Insulin levels in our blood rises when we eat. Insulin is kind of like a air traffic control tower. It directs the energy from the food we eat straight into the tissues of the body that need immediate energy. Some people develop insulin resistance so that the body doesn’t easily turn the food we eat straight into energy we use. Instead, more of the calories we eat get stored as body fat. Yes, you can eat the very same foods as someone else —and you’ll get fat and that other person won’t–because you have insulin resistance.

If I had known there was a lifetime limit on junk food, I would’ve paced myself.

(What I often think when I’m looking at a pastry counter’s lovely offerings. Sigh.)

If this goes on, the body will begin to produce less and less insulin, so that in time, we get diabetes Type 2. And we get fat –more easily and more quickly than before — because the body begins storing the energy from food (as fat) rather than making it available to our body tissues for energy. Eat too many calories from protein and the body may also begin changing the protein into “sugar” (glucose) and storing it as well. Yikes. This is why everyone is so obsessed with the “macros.”

It takes energy to convert the food we eat into fat. Protein takes the most energy to get converted into glucose (and then into fat). Carbohydrates take the least energy to convert into fat. A low-carb diet pushes the body to convert fat into energy in a preferred way. This is what we mean by being “fat adapted.” When we’re fat-adapted, we lose more weight.

How IF helps get us back our health

Human bodies need a break from constant processing calories.

We usually get that break at night–while we sleep. During the night, our bodies heal up from the stresses and physical issues of the day. That gives us about 8 hours or thereabouts for our bodies to repair themselves–and to BURN OFF FAT. Since we’re not taking in any food, the body turns to the liver and to our body’s stores of fat for the energy it needs to fight off microbes, repair our muscles, and do all the many maintenance tasks we need to stay alive. Put simply, when we fast, we burn body fat. When we eat, things get complicated for the body as it tries to trade off between burning the incoming calories — and burning the body’s stores of fat.

Intermittent fasting is simply extending that time period of going without calories to longer than 8 hours–stretching it to 12 hours or more. This gives our bodies more time to process and burn off our fat stores without throwing in the complication of “what to do” with incoming calories.

IF helps to reduce inflammation, improves our capability to burn fat, lowers cholesterol and increases mental clarity–to name just a few of its many benefits. It also can help to reverse Type 2 diabetes–for me, a great reason to work this into my weekly plan.

A Great Guide to Beginning IF

The Diet Doctor’s blogpost also provide a link to a detailed guide on IF that explains three different styles.

I’ll write and post a short beginning guide to these styles based on this article tomorrow. But here are some highlights to take away with you.

  1. You don’t have to do IF every day to be successful.

Even a few days a week can help. Even just ONE day a week can get you some of the benefits!

2. You can drink water, coffee with no-calorie sweeteners, tea or diet soda and not “break the fast.”

That simplifies matters and doesn’t leave me too hungry.

More soon. And Happy Holidays

Three Great Websites to Get Started on Low-Carb

A “Blogmas” Post

My favorite Facebook group swelled by over two THOUSAND members after Thanksgiving. That’s a lot of people starting keto, even if it’s dirty, lazy keto.   There’s a real need for guidance and support for newbies, so here’s my “blogmas” list for “how to get started.” 

The Diet Doctor

The Diet Doctor is probably the best all-around website on low-carb dieting of all kinds. Run by Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt and team of over forty, it provides some great advice and help for getting started and for maintaining a low-carb lifestyle.

If books are not your “thing” and you prefer getting your knowledge via video, there is an entirely optional “membership” plan, with a free one month trial, that will give you a sound education on keto from a physician.  It’s not a substitute for actually talking to your doctor. If you have serious medical issues such as insulin-dependent diabetes, talking to your actual doctor is a MUST–and this website explains who really needs to talk to their doctor (and who probably doesn’t need to do this). 

I have never tried the paid membership option. I DO turn to this site (as I have for many years) for its very large recipe file and clear, helpful  (and free) knowledge resources.  The entire site is also available in Spanish and Swedish. 

Even in its free version, this website is probably as good or better than any book out there on low-carb.   The membership version is less than $9 US a month–with the first month free. 

Mark’s Daily Apple

Mark’s Daily Apple is another well-known site, quite commercial but with customer-centered principles. Mark Sisson’s book, The Primal Blueprint came out around the time I first got seriously interested in low-carb –around 2011. He began with the “paleo hypothesis” — the notion that human beings were are not genetically programmed by evolution to consume the current junk food diet. A diet more like what we ate in our early evolutionary history would be “better” for us.

I’m a card-carrying anthropologist. Doctorate and everything. And I can tell you that humans have continued to evolve after the paleolithic.  This evolution is precisely why some people can eat dairy with no ill effects– and other people can’t.  The next problem? The food we eat — those species–have been changing all this time, too. (We’ve had an active hand in changing them.)   Our genes have changed–our food’s genes  have changed.  Still, the notion of “ancestral eating styles” has tremendous merit.   The manufactured diet that we’ve been eating since the 1970s has clearly caused this obesity and diabetes epidemic. 

Still, I am a paleo fan and at one point, went full-on paleo. Great food. Great health. But it is not necessarily a weight-lowering diet.  Even Sisson eventually altered his point of view, gradually embracing keto (and combining it with the paleo precepts.)  Sisson’s site has some great resources for starting keto.  He’s got yet-another-book out, The Keto Reset Diet, that I plan to review as part of my Blogmas postings.   

Dirty, Lazy Keto

Dirty, Lazy Keto totally deserves a plug. While Ms. Laska is not in the same league as Diet Doctor and Primal Blueprint, her emotionally supportive, permissive style of keto is bringing many people great results. I once wrote that I didn’t think her book was worth the price (I thought it should be cheaper, but a great resource). I hereby eat my words. Sitting in the Facebook group, chatting with the folks there and how that book changed their lives, I think it’s totally worth it. Here’s a link to the book on Amazon. You’re very welcome.  Laska is not going to provide you with the sound medical advice of the Diet Doctor or the full-on hoorah of Sisson’s rock-star writing style and in-depth research, but she speaks from the heart.

Laska’s approach is simple: just count carbs, don’t worry about the other “macros” (proteins, fats). Other approaches have specific metrics and people have apps that count their “macros” to get their diets tuned to whatever their approach deems to be “perfect” for weight loss.   She also doesn’t see anything wrong with artificial sweeteners, diet soda or other taboos, in moderation. Yes, people lose weight on this — many of them, lots of weight.  She doesn’t even make people count the carbs in leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables–making this by far the simplest (and most sane) approach to changing one’s way of eating.  She lost 140 lbs this way.  Others in the group report impressive results. 

If you’re tired of the harping of the religious nuts in the keto (and paleo) communities, if you want gentle encouragement and big yays for your victories, come hang with the dirty, lazy keto people on Facebook

More soon and happy Blogmas! ~Lola

Five Personal Guidelines for LCHF/Paleo

Imperatives are “things ya gotta do” –stuff you can’t get around not doing.  So if you’re going to be a ballerina, you have to learn all those foot positions. If we’re going to improve our daily fare, (a word much better than “diet,'” IMHO), we’ll be dealing with new requirements.  Specifically we’ll be dealing with planning, cooking, and shopping.  When re-starting this lifestyle, these are good issues to consider.

LCHF and paleo lifestyles involve cooking.  There’s no getting around that.  Oh, there’s the constant reading of labels-in-tiny-tiny-fonts (such fun on a Saturday morning–damn, still no sarcasm font), and there’s the eternal question, what am I going to eat today, tomorrow, right now? etc. Cooking and preparing one’s own food is, however, the key to making this work.

When we cook, we have better control over our fooding.  Okay, fooding isn’t a legitimate verb, but my late husband used it all the time, and it has fond memories for me.  In our family, fooding means having a meal as in, “So what’s the plan for today’s fooding?”   Would we be having lunch or brunch?  Eating in, ordering in or eating out?  Did we have to go to the store or were we all set?   (My husband died young of leukemia, and I miss him.  We keep our memories alive in small ways and large).

WHAT we cook is, of course the Key Problem.  If you stumble into the Beginner’s Roundups of “How to Paleo” and read the books, you will find tons of rules. In the early days of ardent conviction, one reads everything and tries everything and ends up with a list of “no-no’s” that make going to the grocery store arduous and even angry-making. Sugar is everywhere. Wheat is in everything. Starches are often large parts of our various cuisines (unless you’re a Native Alaskan. I’ve had muktuk. It’s an acquired taste and unlikely to be found at Harris Teeter or Whole Foods.)

Moving Toward Better Fooding

If one can’t cook, this is a real problem and many a would-be paleo enthusiast has stumbled on the path because of this. Paleo definitely made me have to up my game.  There are excellent food blogs and videos and resources out there for learning to cook, but oh, my, the amount of time!  The amount of energy!  Yes, it is an investment, a real investment of time, money and then there are the horrible cooking disasters.

Cooking involves recipes and there’s the rub. The “easy” recipes are often just plain terrible. And the tasty recipes?  Well, they may say they are paleo but you’ll see all kinds of ingredients to make your blood sugar go a bit whack-a-doodle (or worse, skyrocket like Fourth of July).  Probably fine if you’re twenty and your pancreas is in tip top shape, but oh, gads, if you’re trying to lose weight or control your blood sugar, then um. Not a good idea.  A brownie recipe that relies on gluten-free flour, for example, is simply a gluten-free brownie. It is not paleo, no matter what the chowderheaded blogger says.

My Own Personal Rules Guidelines

After folks have read and read and read, and come to their own informed opinions about how they will be approaching paleo/LCHF, people tend to start merrily off in a thousand directions.  Some people get very Puritanical and even cultic, which leads to magical thinking, endless agonizing, and becoming a complete and utter bore on the topic, especially at dinner parties. 🙂  On the Internet, people just love becoming smug gasbags of superiority.   Then there are those jump-on-the-bandwagon people who think gluten-free is the same as paleo and sugar is “natural” so it’s paleo too — and people get led down the garden path of tasty sugar-laden, blood-sugar busting fooding.  Even my beloved Simple Mills baking mixes contain coconut sugar, as if that’s somehow more allowed than cane.

Low Carb, High Fat is mostly about upping the healthy fat and lowering the carbohydrates.  Paleo is a compatible lifestyle and the recipes CAN be interchangeable so long as one as one has guidelines.  Some LCHF groups and eating styles are VERY quantitative about what is “low” in terms of carbs and what is “high” in terms of fat.  I’ll be going over some of that in later posts.

For now, I’m introducing my own personal guidelines for re-starting (and re-learning) LCHF and paleo lifestyles–as suited to a mild diabetic intent on getting better.

I’ve laid before that my new way is a kinder, gentler (and admittedly eclectic) LCHF/paleo lifestyle.  There are no absolute no’s.  There are guidelines.

  1. Try to have at LEAST one egg in the morning for breakfast. The better the breakfast, the better the rest of the day is likely to go, food-wise.  I can control breakfast, even if breakfast is a protein shake with a raw egg cracked in for the extra fat.
  2. Limit sweets.   I use stevia– and allow a little sucralose from time to time.  It’s far easier to get sucralose if I forget my little stevia packets, and a decaf coffee with a bit of sweet is my go-to cravings extinguisher.  I also allow myself at least some sugar for baking as it is a requirement for browning and other important chemical processes.  I look for work arounds all the time, as this means I really have to limit baked goods, which brings me to Guideline 3.
  3. Limit gluten-free products.   These can be just as bad as sugar for making blood sugar soar to the moon, but sometimes, well, they can help get me through a difficult day.  A gluten free tortilla that I have in the house (and debate about daily) has 24 g of carbohydrate.  There are low carb tortillas, made with wheat, that have a whole lot less than that!  I’m going to be trying those and other products out.
  4.  Limit wheat as much as possible. I began this journey as an ardent follower of Dr. Bill Davis and his Wheat Belly movement. He wants people to ERADICATE wheat from their diets and for several years I did.  My migraines?  Disappeared!  My general health and appearance?  REMARKABLY improved.   I highly recommend people who start this lifestyle to Wheat Belly it for at least six months.  Losing the wheat cravings is very helpful in many ways. How-some-ever, wheat is in EVERYTHING and it’s very hard to eradicate unless one establishes total control — and then we begin turning into those picky people who won’t try Grandma’s cake.  My charming daughter endured me all those years and tried to make foods without wheat — stunningly good dishes, mind you, but what a pain for her and her growing family.   And I hate the salads typically provided as the offerings to those with wheat allergies at business lunches.  My life is full of business lunches. I couldn’t seem to make myself create my own salads (that is going to change this time around).5. Limit carbs.  I am going to make some exceptions, such as low-carb tortillas, that will help me to make this way of eating more sustainable for me, personally–and keep my carbs down to no more than 35g per meal.

    These guidelines should make for a livable, sustainable way of life for me — and importantly, a path out of diabetes.  Diabetes can’t be cured, but it can be driven back into remission.  My goal is to see blood sugars around 112 (100 is normal) after  meals.  It’s a big goal as currently they are around 150, when I eat according to these guidelines — but I am JUST re-starting.

Off to figure out lunch. And this week’s fooding plan.  Namaste ~Lola

 

 

 

 

Creating A Kinder Relationship With Food

Everyone has a relationship with food.  The question is: Is it a GOOD relationship? 

As I ponder my missteps in developing a healthy relationship with food, like most people, I  take an inventory of  “what went wrong” –that’s normal.  We human beings tend to beat ourselves about how we fall short.  This usually doesn’t help anything.  We come up with a list of do’s and don’ts and shouldn’ts.  We listen to other people who JUST LOVE TO mouth off about how successful they are because they are such perfect keto saints.  (Give me a break, please).

There are lots of reasons out there, for falling off the wagon some of them damned good reasons, and some of them, are more, well, eh, who are you fooling, and then there’s the truly lame excuses, (tsk, tsk).  Looking at the reasons and excuses will only get me so far.  I have to understand food and my relationship to it.

The relationship with food is cultural, familial, and sensual (in that it involves the senses).  It is also personal.  We’re all familiar with the personal aspects — that’s where the keto saints preach to use about logging every bite that comes in our mouths,  slavishly struggling to attain ketogenesis (that holy state that seems forever outside our grasp—and always one breath mint away from slipping from our grasp, if ever attained).

This point of view inevitably frames our relationship with food in highly religious terms.  We talk about food sins. We praise ourselves for being perfect and abase ourselves for falling short.   This is the road to perdition, surely.

We have to get over this Puritanical tendency to see ourselves as “good” or “bad”– especially about our relationship with food.

Food and Sex

Back in the bad old days, we could only have ONE relationship with ONE member of the opposite sex, after marriage,  and sex was once or twice a week, at best, in the missionary position.  The survival of the species (and the patriarchy — do not get me started) depended on it.  Over time, things changed, gradually, then rapidly.  Divorce is common, sex before marriage is often a Good Idea, and in general, it’s a much happier place than it used to be for all the genders.

But our traditions remain. We want the white wedding (no matter what our gender or who we love).   We truly yearn for that one somebody to love (and to love us).  We’re socially and culturally built that way.  We often think we are failing (or our partner is failing or SOMETHING isn’t right) when we don’t have sex at least once a week with our spouse (if we are fortunate to have a spouse or significant other).

Sex is a basic drive, hard wired into our neural systems as a want, even a need. Food is actually even more basic than sex.  Just as sex has been wrapped around with all kinds of taboos and rules and mandates, dreams and wishes — eating is just as socially and culturally embellished.     So just as there is guilt about sex, there’s guilt about food.  But food guilt is relatively unexamined and still pretty much stuck in the 1950s America.

Food Guilt and Body Image

I went to look for some free images of big women.  Fat women. Women like me. I haven’t been thin since baby #2 (and my degree of thinness between baby #1 and baby #2 is, ahem, Highly Debatable). Suffice it to say, I didn’t find any.  Most of the images I did find were body-shaming images of one kind or another.  Some were images of big women in gyms, working hard to get rid of their Scarlet A.

Large women are stricken from the record of American images.  Big women pretty much have to be funny, clowns for the enjoyment (and secret derision) of others.  We are the horrible warning.   The fact that our obesity is also killing us is just our punishment for the sins of the flesh.  We are bad girls.  We don’t get the man.  We don’t get the corner office.  Those are for the pretty, thin, young women who will have to Botox to themselves, face horrendous surgeries and injections to stay embalmed to at least a comely forty-something appearance for as long as possible.

I do not want to look like Cher at 72.  Good thing as I will never be able to afford it. Carrie Fisher likely died because of the toll of all that dieting on her heart.  I would’ve preferred a Princess Leia with meat on her bones, lines on her face and grey in her hair–and had Carrie with us a bit longer.  But I digress. Let me start over.

Developing a Yoga Attitude Toward Self Care (and Food)

Concerned by my tingling feet, one of the many signs that diabetes is not under optimal control, I knew I had to get more active.  There are not many good exercise classes for a woman over fifty with thirty pounds to lose. I belong to a gym that I don’t want to go to.   There are mirrors everywhere reminding me I am no longer young, as well as no longer thin–and I won’t be getting any younger (and probably not any thinner, that little voice in my head snorts.)

I love yoga but I am as way out of practice there as I am with LCHF.  Finding a suitable class is hard.  I don’t live in California, no, no, it’s Northern Virginia, in the parochial town of Springfield (just like the Simpsons).  Recently, though, a new yoga studio opened up right next to Whole Foods.   There are no mirrors on the walls.  The instructor is probably ten pounds lighter than me.  It’s a body positive kind of studio. It’s caring.  It’s doing yoga the best one can, honoring one’s current limits and reaching for the next level.

  • If you can’t do a position the way everyone else does, adapt it.
  • Get blocks. Get supports.  Gradually you’ll be able to manage.
  • Rest a little if you need to but keep on going.

As I lay on my back, sweating copiously after an hour of the “gentle yoga” class, it came to me that I need to do LCHF in a kinder, gentler, more sustainable way.  This way of life is longterm.  It shouldn’t be punitive or approached with a brute force attitude.  I’ll still be doing yoga when I’m eighty– I’ll just be better at it.  And that should be my goal in my relationship with food.

And so once again, I’m going to be a heretic–this time in the LCHF world.  I’m going to talk about heretical things at times, controversies where Your Mileage May Vary.  I’m going to put together recipes and ideas out there that are definitely NOT part of the keto Puritan hymn book.   That way of seeing the world as good or bad, ourselves as good or bad, that way of punishing ourselves and others — that shit don’t work for me.

My quote of the day:

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”  (C.Joybell C.)

girl-doing-yoga-by-Vexels

Nameste – Lola.

 

 

Falling off the LCHF Wagon. Gah.

Seven years ago, I changed my life with LCHF (low carb, high fat).  I saved my health, lost weight, and felt better than I had in a decade.  Frequent migraines became very rare once I swore off wheat. I was doing so well, that, like many, I began to take my good health for granted.  And then. . . the slow roll tumble off the wagon began.  But I always managed to get back up –and back on. Until cancer.

Cancer Changes Everything

It started with what seemed like a menopause hiccup — that is, I didn’t seem to be HAVING any menopause–quite the reverse: my body was as full of estrogen as a teenager.  And that was the problem; this situation resulted in breast and uterine cancer. Surgery and treatments followed.  That was a year and a half ago — and recently, a new problem cropped up, mild diabetes.  That’s a huge wake-up call.

I know how to beat this. LCHF is going to be at least part of the answer. Exercise has to become part of my life again in a more organized way. But dammit, I’m older, and tireder and more stressed — and I look at the answer with, well, questions. How do I start over?

Looking around at the blogs and books, everything is geared for the newbie.  They’re all about telling you about the evils of artificial sweeteners, seed oils, etc., and spend lots of time defending their brand of LCHF Against All! Comers! with scientific reports and testimonials and so forth.  I do not need to be convinced. I need to figure out how to start over, get healthier AND BE HAPPY in my way of life.  For someone who loves potatoes, fruit and chocolate as much as I do?  This is a real challenge.

My Food Philosophy

My food philosophy involves developing a deeper understanding of how to make healthy food choices and set oneself up for success. I am not “religious” about LCHF, I am a pragmatist.  Many conversations about diet turn “religious” as people contend with each other about the “purity” of their practice and superiority of their choices.  It’s similar to yoga.   There are those yoga studios with mirrors all over, where people try to attain perfection — and perfection is defined by their particular yogini (teacher) or school.  Dogma on food (especially keto and paleo and other variants of LCHF) is everywhere and people love getting into fights about what practice or beliefs are “best.”  I’m not going there.

My yoga studio has no mirrors.  Its very supportive and allows for lots of leeway in how you do the poses and how you manage your body in classes.  At the end of every class, I feel infinitely better about myself and my journey — and I know I am the worst student in the class but that this is okay with everybody.   I used to be a passable yoga student, but a year, in and out of bed, with surgeries and treatments and, well, the upshot is– the old bod is a hot mess.  I am very fortunate to have a good yoga studio with great teachers.

I am going to apply that gentleness and kindness I get from my yoga studio to my practice of food. I am going to be disciplined with myself but if I need a little adjustment here and there, I’m going to make it.    But structure is very helpful– which is why I go to yoga class.  Sure, I could practice on my own, but the class is fun, energizing and inspiring.  For me, that’s also why I blog, so it’s natural that I start a new blog to help me (and perhaps others) on the way to better health and more abundant happiness.

So, how about you?

I’ve been blogging on other topics for about two years now. I know what I can deliver. Recipes, sure thing.  Tips and book reviews, you betcha. Gadgets and stuff, that’s always fun. I hope to have content here you can relate to, find interesting and engaging that will help you on your journey to better health and better eating without too much dogma and totally no judgement.  We all have our little heresies. (I use stevia. And…occasionally….if there are no other options…sucralose! horrors!)  We all have our moments of falling ass over teakettle for that certain something. The important point is to make good choices  most of the time. And to make sure we don’t sabotage ourselves (oh wow, we so totally can).   This is a blog about getting healthy and staying healthy with LCHF –even after we’ve totally dropped the ball.

We can do this!  And we can get better.

Warm regards, Lola 

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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