Living the Keto Lifestyle Long Term

January 23, 2016. That was the day I decided to introduce my husband to the Keto lifestyle. Let me tell you, we were very nervous to start. Me more than him, but that’s normal for our relationship! I do the freaking out on things and he calms me down and says “everything will be alright”. Even when he has no clue if it will be. Oddly enough, I know all this, yet it does calm me down…some! We’ve officially reached the year and a half mark. Can we do this Keto lifestyle long term? We’re planning on it!

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keto lifestyle

Image Via Pexels

Keto Lifestyle Long Term?

So you’ve heard about the Keto diet and the first thing you think (after you get over the shock of giving up sugar) is “can I do this long term?”. The answer is that you absolutely can! My husband and I have been following the Keto lifestyle for about a year and a half now and in that year and a half, we have had several holidays, many birthdays and a TON of family get togethers. We’ve always managed to stay on our plan 99% of the time. I say 99% of the time because I don’t want to lie AT ALL! I did taste the frosting on my sons cake at his birthday. I also ate a little bit of watermelon at a family BBQ.  Are those thing part of the Keto diet? Of course not. However, that one taste did not derail me. I didn’t go on a cake frosting bender. The Keto lifestyle is so ingrained in me that I will not allow myself to go back to my old lifestyle.

 

Keto Comfort FoodsKeto Comfort Foods

Starting the Keto Diet

When I started the Keto diet, I did a lot of reading up on the subject. Remember, I told you I freaked out at first! Everything I read stated that you need to follow a high fat/moderate protein/very low carb diet plan. As I’ve evolved through this diet, I have learned even more things and thanks to the Keto Facebook group I belong to now, I learned that we really only need to eat 50g of fat because the rest of the fat in our body (that we want to burn off) makes up the high fat macro! So using this nifty macro calculator, I recalculated my macros for My Fitness Pal and I am trying this “new” way to follow the Keto lifestyle. Was the way I started out with Keto wrong? No. Absolutely not. I believe that this, life everything else, is just another way to accomplish the same thing. I mean, I did lose 83 pounds…

keto lifestyle

Keto Tips

Like anything else, it’s always best to get started with a few tips. No one likes to go in blind. If I have to give you just five tips to get started, they would be:

  1. Go in all or nothing. This diet is not one of those diets where you have cheat days. You either plan on sticking to it or don’t bother doing it. Trust me. You don’t want to experience the “Keto flu” more than once.
  2. Read this post on the Top 10 Keto Diet Must Haves. Bacon Jerky is so delicious!
  3. Purchase the premium version of My Fitness Pal. It’s worth it. Especially if you are like me and you need everything to be exact!
  4. Don’t be afraid of fat bombs. Especially this Chocolate SunButter Fat Bomb recipe!
  5. You can have gummy bears!! Not the store bought ones, but these homemade Gummy Bears are just as good and no sugar!!

The biggest thing you need to know when embarking on the Keto lifestyle journey is that YOU CAN DO THIS! If my husband and I could, then you definitely could. Actually, I should say, “if I could”…I was a sugar addict. I’m not even joking. I ate a weeks worth of sugar in one day…every day. Giving up sugar was probably the best thing I have every done. When I reach my goal weight, I will probably add in a little more carbs in order to maintain, but I will always be low carb. There is no going back for me. To me, following a Keto lifestyle is no different than me eating gluten and tree nut free due to my allergies.

If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to click the Contact Me button at the top of the screen!!


Talking to Your Kids About Limiting Sugar

Ever since my husband and I started following the Keto lifestyle and completely eliminating sugar from our life, the one thing people always ask us is, “what about your kids?”. My answer has always been that they do not follow the Keto diet. I feel that for kids, it is way to hard for them to eliminate sugar, etc. I truly believe, and have seen, that when you try to tell your kids “no candy” or “no pop”, they will sneak it or overeat it any chance they get. That completely defeats what you are trying to do. Instead, we talked with our kids about the importance of limiting sugar.

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limiting sugar

The Talk – Limiting Sugar

When I made the decision to talk to my kids about limiting sugar, I wanted to really think about my words. The last thing I wanted was to create some unnecessary relationship with food for them. As a teen and young adult, I dealt with many eating disorder issues. That is something I hope neither of my kids ever have to deal with. Since my husband and I have spent the last year and a half really focusing on what we put in our bodies, and sharing with others about our new lifestyle, I knew that it would not come as a shock to my kids when we sat them down to have a discussion.

Pro tip…get your kids in the habit of drinking water and staying hydrated. We like this water bottle.

Nalgene On The Fly Water Bottle (Clear with Orange/White Cap),20-OunceNalgene On The Fly Water Bottle (Clear with Orange/White Cap),20-Ounce

Since I knew the idea of eliminating sugar altogether would be a bad one, I wanted to make sure they understood that as well. We talked about the things they saw us do over the course of the year. They paid a lot more attention than I thought they did! They knew that we do not eat any sugar or grains and that most of our daily carb intake comes from vegetables and fruit was our candy.

Don’t Drink Your Sugar

I was never a mom that bought fruit juices. My kids drank it at their grandparents house and that was basically it. When we were at a restaurant, I would let them get Sprite. Without evening thinking about it, they would sometimes drink several glasses. So we talked about how we would much rather eat something with sugar than drink it. They both agreed. A couple times since our conversation, we were out and they got Sprite to drink. When the waitress asked if they would like a refill, they responded, all on their own, “may I please have water?”! I call that a success!

Counting Carbs and Calories

No. No. No. No. This is not something I want my kids worrying about; thinking about; or doing. With that said, they aren’t stupid. They see what we eat and don’t eat. Bella knows that bread for sandwiches has a fair amount of carbs in it. She asked me if I would get her YUMBOX Bento Lunch Box. Rather than have a traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich, she would like to have meat and cheese roll ups, broccoli and ranch, and Goldfish crackers or a cookie. In her eyes, just like wasting sugar on Sprite, why waste it on bread when she doesn’t really care if she has it. She’d rather have crackers or a cookie.

Limiting Sugar Success!

Ladies and gentleman, this is what I wanted to happen. I wanted my kids to be able to make decisions on what to eat that are healthy and in moderation, without me saying “no don’t eat that” or “that has too many carbs”, etc. By doing it this way, they are making a choice based on the healthy choices in the house. Do I buy cookies? Not all the time. Do I have Goldfish crackers available as a snack option? Of course. Are they portioned out in little baggies for easy on the go snacks AND to prevent them sitting down with the box and eating it all? Yes.

When it comes to talking to your kids about limiting their sugar, it’s all about how you approach it. If you give them little bits of information and allow them to make the decisions for themselves, then you are setting them up to be able to make good choices without feeling like they are doing something wrong when they do drink a glass of Sprite or eat a cookie. And remember, YOU are the one that does the shopping. If you don’t bring the food in the house, they won’t have it to eat. Just remember though, you don’t want your kitchen to be so strict that the first chance they get, they go hog wild somewhere else.

Talking to Your Tween About Shaving

I remember, when I was approaching that tween age (they didn’t call us tweens in late 80’s/early 90’s), my mom didn’t really talk to me about what to expect when puberty hit. Instead she bought me the What’s Happening to My Body Book for Girls. It just so happened that I had a sleepover that same night so my friend and I read the book, cover to cover, and laughed at the pictures. Even though I was mortified at the thought of periods and everything else I read in that book, the one thing I remember being super excited about was shaving.

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shaving

Tweens and Shaving

If you have a not so girly girl like I do, then the topic of shaving could end up being rather awkward for both of you (mainly her). The first time I brought it up, mainly to let my daughter know that I was A-OK with her shaving whenever she wanted to, she looked at me with a horrified look on her face and then walked away. She wanted nothing to do with the conversation. Since I knew what it was like to shave in secret (and cut the heck out of my legs), and I knew how cruel kids can be nowadays, I decided to just pick something up for her and not make a big deal out of it.

Schick Intuition Plus Pomegranate Renewing Moisture Razor & Pomegranate Intuition Razor Refill Cartridge 6 Blade + Bonus 1 BladeSchick Intuition Plus Pomegranate Renewing Moisture Razor & Pomegranate Intuition Razor Refill Cartridge 6 Blade + Bonus 1 Blade

Best Razor Option

There are so many razor options the market. I did briefly ask her if she would like an electric razor and the idea of that horrified her so I decided that the Schick Intuition razor was a good option. With that thick moisturizing bar, not only does it make it super easy to use in the shower, but out of all the razors I’ve ever used, I find that with the Schick Intuition I have a very difficult time cutting myself, so I knew that would be a good starter razor for her.

Rather than embarrass her anymore than I already did about the whole topic of shaving, I simply purchased the razor and put it in the shower. When she was about to get in the shower, I let her know it was there and told her that she had to let me know when the moisturizing bar was getting low because she would need a new one. She knows that if she needs help or isn’t sure how to use it, to ask me. While me bringing up the subject was embarrassing to her, I know that she will (and she has) feel perfectly comfortable asking me for help if she needs it!

Talking to Your Tween

One thing I have learned many times over is that how you handle things with one kid, may not be how you handle it with the other. My son loves to talk about anything and everything having to do with puberty. Part of me thinks he likes to because of the reaction he gets when he brings the topic up in weird places like the frozen food aisle at Meijer, but nevertheless, the topic itself does not embarrass him. So with him I can say whatever and it’s fine. With a child like my daughter who doesn’t want to hear anything about the topic, I have to approach things very differently and do it in small doses. And get her things like the What’s Happening to My Body? Book for Girls: Revised Edition (the whole “revised edition” cracks me up. What in the world did they revise???).


How to Start the Keto Diet

So you’ve heard about the Keto diet, but you’re afraid to get started. I mean, eat fat to lose weight? How is this even possible? What if you end up gaining more weight? Doesn’t this go against everything you ever learned from, let’s say, the American Heart Association, for instance? Believe me, I had the exact same freak out. All I kept thinking was, “I am 250 lbs. I can’t afford to gain any more weight“. However, at the same time, I was 250 lbs. I couldn’t afford to NOT do whatever I could to try and change that. Right? Continue reading to learn more about how to start the Keto diet.

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start the keto diet

So as I was saying, at my highest weight, I was 250 lbs. My body hurt, I was always out of breath, I had no energy, etc. I could literally go on and on about how bad things were when I was that heavy. Besides the physical side of things, my health wasn’t all that great either. With a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis, high cholesterol, and a strong family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes, I definitely had one foot in the grave. My doctor had my on diabetes medication and cholesterol medication…both of which had horrible side effects that I was tired of dealing with.

After researching and researching more and more about how to start the keto diet, I decided that I had nothing to lose. Sure I could end up gaining more weight and failing miserably at the diet, but at that point, I was already 250 lbs, what was a few more pounds? If the diet actually worked for me, the results could end up being life changing. And life changing they were! Here is a picture of me at my absolute highest weight with a picture of me yesterday.start the keto diet

If you don’t know what the Keto diet is, it is a diet that focuses on a high fat intake, moderate protein and very low carbs (around 20 total carbs a day). Basically, it very simple terms, your body will start using the fat you are consuming, as well as your stored body fat, as it’s new energy source instead of carbs.

How to Start the Keto Diet

Once I decided to make the jump to do the Keto diet, I knew I had to be all in. I couldn’t go halfway. In knowing that, the first three things I did were:

  • Wrote down my measurements and starting weight
  • Figured out my Macros using this Keto calculator
  • Purchased the premium membership for My Fitness Pal

The first two items are paramount. You have to do these things to succeed with the Keto diet. A premium membership for My Fitness Pal is not required, but because I was “all in” I wanted to make sure my macro percentages were exact. With the free version of My Fitness Pal, you have to round your numbers. I wasn’t OK with that. You may be and that’s OK!

Pro Tip…Pick up this bullet journal and pens to create your Keto Diet Bullet Journal. You can design it how you would like, but what a great place to track your success, write out your goals, etc?!?

Leuchtturm1917 Medium Size Hardcover A5 Notebook - Dotted Pages - BerryLeuchtturm1917 Medium Size Hardcover A5 Notebook – Dotted Pages – BerryHuhuhero Fineliner Color Pen Set, 0.38 mm Fine Line Drawing Pen, Porous Fine Point Markers Perfect for Coloring Book and Bullet Journal Art Projects, Pack of 10Huhuhero Fineliner Color Pen Set, 0.38 mm Fine Line Drawing Pen, Porous Fine Point Markers Perfect for Coloring Book and Bullet Journal Art Projects, Pack of 10

What Do You Do Now?

If there was just one thing I could tell you is most important when you start the Keto diet, it would be to plan, plan, plan. You don’t want to eat and track all day long without planning. If you don’t plan, then you will get to dinner and be out of protein and have WAY too much fat left to eat and you’ll end up eating a stick of butter for dinner. So I eat breakfast and while I am entering my breakfast for the day, I immediately figure out what I am going to eat for dinner, enter than and whatever I have left I divide between lunch and snacks. If I know I am going to a particular restaurant for dinner, I always plan out what I want for dinner and work backwards. Besides being strict and consistent, planning has been my biggest success with this diet.

OK I have My Fitness Pal and My Macros, Now What?

Be sure to scroll through my Keto diet resources. I have a lot of delicious recipes for you to try. Especially recipes specific to summer! A few, must have items that I think you should consider picking up from Amazon are:

The Wicked Good Ketogenic Diet Cookbook: Easy, Whole Food Keto Recipes for Any BudgetThe Wicked Good Ketogenic Diet Cookbook: Easy, Whole Food Keto Recipes for Any BudgetBacon & Butter: The Ultimate Ketogenic Diet CookbookBacon & Butter: The Ultimate Ketogenic Diet CookbookSweet and Savory Fat Bombs: 100 Delicious Treats for Fat Fasts, Ketogenic, Paleo, and Low-Carb DietsSweet and Savory Fat Bombs: 100 Delicious Treats for Fat Fasts, Ketogenic, Paleo, and Low-Carb Diets

My favorite, of the three above, is the Sweet & Savory Fat Bombs cookbook. In the very beginning, I really struggled with getting enough fat in. I don’t know if it was more of a mental thing or what, but you won’t lose weight if you aren’t consuming enough fat. This cookbook has a lot of delicious ways to get your fat in! Two fat bomb recipes I really like are:

Things to Remember When You Start the Keto Diet

When you first start the Keto diet, you will need to remember a few things. First, once you deplete your carb stores and begin to switch over to using ketones to fuel your body, you may experience the “Keto Flu”. This is normal. Just power through out. Trust me. It will get better after a few days. Second, in the beginning, as your body is adjusting to its new fuel source, you will experience insane hunger. Power through. If you must go over your calories and whatnot in My Fitness Pal, do it…but make sure your macro percentages always stay where they need to be. That is the important part. Finally, stay hydrated. It’s important to be hydrated all the time, but even more so with the Keto diet. In order to prevent your body from retaining water, you need to drink more water. Sounds crazy, but just trust me. Also be sure to take a look at what supplements you are taking. I personally needed to cut out my multi-vitamin, but add in a magnesium vitamin. Discuss with your doctor exactly what vitamins you need.

Right now, I am currently down about 83 lbs. My husband, who started the Keto diet with me, is down 125 lbs! We no longer look at this as a diet, but more as our new lifestyle. I ate a little sugar and some potato chips the other weekend and I ended of knocking myself out of ketosis and had the lovely experience of the Keto flu all over again this week. So…for me…sugar and potato chips are not worth it to me!

Good luck on your Keto journey. If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below and I will do my best to answer it!

Parents That Travel for Work – Tips for Surviving

I’ve been married for 15 years. A couple years into our marriage, I had my son. Two and a half years later, I had my daughter. 13 of those 15 years, my husband traveled for work. A lot. In the beginning he was only gone a day or two, here and there. Now, the travel is much more substantial. It’s not abnormal for him to be gone every week day, every single week. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it sucked having parents that travel for work. Since I have been doing it for so long, and with kids the entire time, I put together this handy list of tips to help you survive the travel.

travel for work

Parents That Travel for Work – Tips for Surviving

Being a stay at home parents has its own set of challenges, as any job does. However, being a stay at home parent when the other parents is gone the majority of the week can and does have many challenges that not everyone thinks of or acknowledges. It’s not the same as being home with the kids between 9 am and 5 pm. If you only take one thing away from this article, take this. It is important…no it is VITAL that you set up a routine for yourself and the kids. It can be as loose or as strict as you want it to be, but have something in place. Whether it be a set meal schedule and sleep schedule or more rigid with the same things done on certain days of the week, it doesn’t matter. It just matters that your children know what to expect. And it helps you too! Trust me on that!

Thoughts on Mom or Dad Calling Nightly

You have to know your child. If they are the type of child that needs to check in with the parent each night or has the ability to talk with the parent and say goodbye when the conversation is done without getting upset, then by all means, set up a time each night for mom or dad to call. With my children, I was always very matter of fact with them.

“Daddy is gone because he is working to provide for our family so we can eat, have a house, do fun things, etc” 

Tip…Pick up this Cloud Pet. You can record messages on the stuffed animal using an iOS app or android app!

CloudPets Talking Dog - The Huggable Pet to Keep in Touch Through the Cloud, Recordable Stuffed Animal by CloudPetsCloudPets Talking Dog – The Huggable Pet to Keep in Touch Through the Cloud, Recordable Stuffed Animal by CloudPets

I never set up a time for my husband to call each night. His schedule was often unpredictable. So the one thing I did not want to have happen is for him to tell the kids that he will call every night at 6 pm and then something happen and he not be able to call until much later or not call at all. For me, it was better for the kids to randomly and periodically talk to him during the week. Thankfully that approach worked very well for them. As I said before, he’s been traveling for the last 13 years. My kids are 13 and 10. They are very used to it and while they wished he was home, they get it and sometimes don’t talk to him all week long. When he does get home, my daughter will talk his ear off and tell him EVERYTHING that went on all week!

Setting Up a Routine

I briefly touched on the importance of setting up a routine. In the beginning, I was very rigid. My kids woke up at the same time every day, they took a nap at the same time every day, and they went to bed at the same time every day. As a result, their mealtimes were also at the same time every single day. As they have gotten older and involved in more things, I’ve had to relax on certain things, but the general schedule shell is still there. They know what to expect and when to expect it. By setting up a routine, it allows for the week to go by smoothly and, in some cases, a bit quicker!

Bringing Gifts Home

Don’t do it! I mean it. Once in awhile is OK, especially when mom or dad travel to a unique place, but gifts every single time will make things VERY difficult on the parent at home. Trust me. I know from experience. My husband used to do this and not only did the kids start to expect it, but it always made me the bad guy. I could be disciplining them for something during the week (or even that day we pick dad up) and then dad gets in the car with a gift. Now…if you want to suggest that the spouse bring YOU a gift each time…that’s OK. I am all on board with that! Just kidding! Well…sort of!

Rustic Town Handmade Vintage Antique Looking Genuine Leather Journal Diary Notebook Gift for Men Women Him HerRustic Town Handmade Vintage Antique Looking Genuine Leather Journal Diary Notebook Gift for Men Women Him HerExpandable Inspirational Bracelets “Be Thankful, Brave, Happy, Kind, True, Strong” - Perfect Gift for HerExpandable Inspirational Bracelets “Be Thankful, Brave, Happy, Kind, True, Strong” – Perfect Gift for HerKindle Paperwhite E-reader - Black, 6Kindle Paperwhite E-reader – Black, 6

 Don’t Forget to Live

Early on I fell into the trap of not wanting to do certain things because I was worried my husband would be sad he missed out. We spent many years not doing much of anything because of that. Don’t do that! If you want to take the kids to the Science Museum or even a little two night trip to the beach. Do it! Yes your spouse may feel sad that he or she can’t be there, but it’s OK. You will have plenty of other opportunities to do fun things together at another time. Sometimes it just works out better to do these things during the week, rather than waiting until the weekend when it will be crazy busy.

Rely On Friends

This is something I just started to do, even though he has had to travel for work for the last 13 years. I am the type of person that does not like to inconvenience others. However, if someone ever needed help, I am the first person to help. Over the past year, I finally started to rely on friends and asking for help when I need it. It has definitely made things easier. While I still get a little uncomfortable to ask, it is something you MUST do. Unless we somehow figure out how to clone people, you can’t be in two places at once. No matter how hard you try!

While things are difficult for the parent that is home, it’s just as difficult for the parents that travel for work. They miss out on so many things. That’s where you come in. Take lots of pictures and videos. While it’s not the same, I know my husband has always enjoyed seeing the pictures and videos that I text him. And, while it’s easier said than done, try to be patient with the parent that has to travel for work and know that they wish they were home with the family too.

What tips for people that travel for work do you have?