Mr. Giant (aka my husband)

Mr. Giant and I got married in March 2008 so we’re quickly approaching our 10-year wedding anniversary in the spring. We are best friends, for real. Being with him is by far the easiest part of my day-to-day life. Trust me, there were broken roads for both of us that led us to each other….but maybe that’s why we appreciate each other and respect one another the way that we do.

Mr. Giant is my BIGGEST supporter when it comes to weight loss and getting fit. He has seen me at my very biggest, he has seen me finish half marathons, I have dragged him through a dozen different weight loss journeys, but he has never given up on me and he has loved me the same through it all. So how is he handling my newest journey where I’ve cut out carbs? He’s fine with it. He doesn’t eat toast anymore with his breakfast because he would be the only one eating any bread and most of every loaf would get wasted. He eats what I make for dinner, sometimes it’s low carb and sometimes I make a special carb meal that only he consumes. We eat dinner together most nights and it usually consists of smoking some sort of meat on the Big Green Egg and a vegetable we can both enjoy or a salad. If I tell him I’m skipping a meal, he doesn’t bat an eye….he simply takes it in stride. If I tell him I need to sit down and rest for a minute (because sometimes low carb can kick your ass physically), he’s patient.

He doesn’t do low carb and he doesn’t skip meals. We try to exercise together once in a while, but for the most part we do our own thing. He doesn’t try to sabotage me and I don’t try to talk him into doing what I’m doing. We simply move together through each day while staying in our own lanes. It’s kind of easy!

25# GONE!!!

25# LOST

It’s 6:04PM and I’m sitting at my computer when I start thinking about all the various milestones I want to celebrate as I hit them on the scale. My ultimate goal is to lose 100# so of course hitting the first 25# is a really big deal so I decided to pull out my trustworthy HappyScale app to start figuring out when that might occur and HOLY SHIT!!!! I hit 25.2# lost this AM and I’m just now realizing it. Of course I would have included this huge fact in an earlier post had I realized it, but I’m a real person and I didn’t realize it until just now…..so this is when I’ll write about it.

When I say celebrate, I use that term loosely. I don’t mean I’ll go buy dessert or order up a pizza, I just want to be reflective and present this time around. I LOVE thinking….as in I LOVE being inside my head and totally thinking things through until there’s absolutely nothing left to think about. I LOVE analyzing things and then overanalyzing them. Mr. Giant thinks I’m bizarre when I tell him I want to just go to a quiet place and think about something. It could be something that happened 9-months ago (true story) and I just want to think it all the way through again. My brain works in mysterious ways and it’s better just to go with it rather than try to fight/ignore it. So, I’m going to go take a really hot shower, get on some super comfy PJs, and think until I fall asleep. I CAN’T WAIT!!!

So, what do you eat?!?

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I get this question a lot. It’s hard for people to imagine a life without bread, pasta, starchy vegetables, most fruits, and of course dessert. No more candy from the grocery store checkout line. No more toast with your bacon and eggs in the morning. Beer during football games is a technical foul. Sweet coffee creamers and specialty drinks from Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts? So long! If you’re still eating carbs, pause here and mentally picture what you’ve eaten so far just today that would be banned from a low carb diet. It can be SUPER overwhelming, I get it. And, for a lot of people, their first reaction is, “I could never do that”. I’m here to tell you that you can and I am living proof that it’s 100% possible.

I’m here because I was unequivocally addicted to sugar…..and we’re not talking about the cute natural sugars found in fruits. It controlled me in a way others may be controlled by drugs or alcohol. Sugar was my drug of choice and I was completely out of control. I hit my “ah ha” moment when my mother-in-law made a TX sheet cake that was sitting on the kitchen counter for a couple days. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t stop eating it. Even though I wasn’t hungry, it seriously took over my brain and I was OBSESSED with it until it was gone. When I started sneaking pieces behind Mr. Giant’s (aka: my hubby) back, I knew things had to change. It took me a couple weeks past that point to actually start low carb, but that was the moment I realized I had a problem.

I’ll just tell you what I’ve consumed so far today so you can get an idea of a typical day:

-Since I didn’t eat yesterday, I ate breakfast which consisted of 2 eggs and 6 Jimmy Dean turkey sausage links. I normally fast through breakfast, so I guess today was special.

-I drank two cups of coffee which contained 2 packets of Truvia sweetener.

-I drank a 32oz bottle of teal blue (mixed berry) Powerade Zero.

-Lunch was chicken salad (chicken breast, mayo, salt & pepper) on scooped out Mt.Olive kosher dill pickles. (photo above). I’m new to blogging and I realize my pictures of food suck. It’s high on my priority list to figure out….just give me a minute.

That’s it so far and I’m seriously contemplating setting my 16-hour fast alarm now and just skipping dinner to eat breakfast again tomorrow. We’ll see, the day is young, but you get the idea. If you told me to stop eating right now for the rest of the day, I could easily do it comfortably. Before low carb, I would immediately start to panic. I don’t obsess about food the way I used to. If I skip a meal, it’s no big deal. In a future post I’ll talk about Mr. Giant and how he’s adapted to me and my new way of eating since he doesn’t do low carb and he certainly doesn’t skip meals.

 

Low Carb vs Keto

When I first embarked on this journey last month, I wanted to jump in headfirst so I researched the keto diet and gave it my very best shot. I was not good at keto hence why my name is LowCarbGiantess and not KetoGiantess. The keto diet is a very strict form of a low carb diet, allowing a maximum of 20 net carbs per day. If you have ever tried the Atkins diet, keto is basically the induction phase of Atkins…..but forever. Both a keto and a low carb diet will put you into a state of ketosis, which means your body becomes a fat burning machine versus a sugar burning machine. The best analogy I’ve read for this transition is to think of a gas burning vehicle converting itself into a diesel fuel burning vehicle. Both vehicles perform but they use a different fuel source. I have successfully become what is called “fat adapted” in the low carb world. My body uses its own stored fat for fuel since I don’t give it any new sugar to use. It had no choice but to adapt, and so it did! The body is truly fascinating.

I am also not necessarily a clean eater. I drink Powerade Zero to help balance my electrolytes and we all know that teal blue coloring is not a natural food source. The keto diet forums that I was following were very anti-chemicals and unnatural food, which again was not sustainable for me long term. I gave up Dunkin’ Donuts, there’s my chemical sacrifice for the year.

For a while, I was religiously tracking every morsel of my food into the free version of MyFitnessPal to get a feel for how many calories/carbs/fat/protein I was consuming each day. I never successfully stayed under 20 net carbs per day but I was really good at staying under 40 net carbs per day and sometimes in the 30 net carbs per day range so I decided low carb was a better lifestyle for me. I don’t have to track as religiously anymore because I let my body tell me when to eat after my 16+ hour daily fast ends of course. For me, not having to weigh and track EVERYTHING makes this a much more pleasant way of eating. I always got burned out in the past when I had to weigh/measure everything. I want a lifestyle and a way of eating I can do without a kitchen scale.

Which reminds me, I didn’t eat ALL DAY yesterday! It wasn’t planned and it wasn’t strategic, I just turned off my fasting alarm when it went off and continued on with my day. By the time I looked at the clock again, it was 3PM and I did a self assessment and decided that I felt really good. I wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t thirsty. So I continued on with my day again. I did Google to be sure a 24-hour fast wasn’t going to hurt me in any way and there are lots of cultures/religions who fast for 24+ hours for various reasons, so I knew I would be OK for one day. That was the first time that’s ever happened. I woke up today and ate a healthy breakfast. I survived my first 24+ hour fast and it was actually really easy.

But wait, isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day?!?!

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In conjunction with a low carb diet, I have also implemented Intermittent Fasting

Now, I understand that the video I just recommended is REALLY long, but it’s truly fascinating to hear the benefits of fasting PLUS it will give you lots of good talking points when the people in your life roll their eyes, or tell you that you’re crazy, or try telling you that skipping meals slows down your metabolism, etc. Trust me, someone in your life will do one (or more) of the above at some point…..so it’s kind of sweet to know what you’re talking about and WHY you’re doing it (if you so choose to try it)! So, put on your warm PJs, snuggle under a warm blankie, and invest a little over an hour into your health. I’m asking you to watch a video, not workout for an hour.

I personally fast for AT LEAST 16-hours every, single day. For me, I have an alarm on my phone labeled “16-hour fast ends” and after my last meal of the day, I figure out what time that alarm needs to be set for and I reset it. Then, I don’t allow myself any food until AT LEAST that alarm goes off. I know this might sound crazy, but there are lots of days that I turn off the alarm and continue to fast until I feel hungry. Before low carb, I couldn’t skip a snack time let alone a meal time (just ask my sweet husband). I was one of those REALLY hangry people if I didn’t eat every 3-hours. Now? There have been days I eat one meal a day! Who is this person and what did she do with the sugar obsessed maniac that existed just over a month ago?!?

I’m not an expert, but I think that guy is.

 

Well, here goes EVERYTHING!

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I turn 40-years-old in April 2018 and for whatever reason, that seems like a really big milestone in terms of my health. I’ve spent part of both my 20s and 30s being REALLY fat and unhealthy. What if I could do something now to change the way I enter my next decade on this planet? What if, for the first time in my life, I wasn’t either fat or white knuckling it as a “skinny” person who was just barely holding on and was only a few donuts away from a total landslide back into fatdom? What if I can really do this (i.e. lose weight) for the last time? I’m so sick and tired of going to sleep on NYE and waking up on Jan 1st promising myself that this year is going to be different and I’m going to get my weight under control once and for all. I am a pro at losing weight, I really am, but I ALWAYS end up putting it back on. Every. Single. Time. If I had kept track of all the pounds I’ve lost along the way, it would be in the thousands. I have had enough. I don’t want to live this way for the rest of my life.

I’ve never written a blog. I have never posted my weight publicly for the entire world to see. Both of these things terrify me but I believe it’s important for me to not only document my journey this time (because as I told you, this is the LAST time I’m losing the weight) but also for some built in accountability. I’m also learning how to navigate a low carb world during this journey so why not share my experiences, favorite tricks, products, etc. with others who are either interested in learning how low carb works OR just interested in weight loss in general? I’ll warn you, I’m not perfect. I anticipate I’ll mess up a whole bunch of times (which makes me real) so you will see the good, the bad, the ugly, and the REALLY ugly. Sometimes I curse. I hope you’ll stick around.

I joined a weight loss competition between some friends on June 12, 2017 with a starting weight of 280.7. It was a 90-day competition and so for the first 60-days I kept telling myself there was plenty of time left to “catch up”. On 8/8/2017 weighing in at 272.9, I realized there were only 30-days left and I was WAY behind. I should tell you now that I’m a competitive person. I played college basketball (I’m 6′ tall hence the “giantess” moniker) and I really hate coming in second place doing anything so I started doing some research about safe ways to lose weight quickly. Everything I read said to stop eating sugar and processed food (seemed easy enough), and so that’s exactly what I did. In one month, I dropped a staggering 14.9 pounds doing low carb and ended up winning the weight loss competition with an end weight of 258 on 9/9/2017. In all the times I’ve lost weight in the past, I have never lost that much weight in a single month. I am intrigued. And so with that, here I am entering Phase 2 of my weight loss journey. I’m calling the first 90-days Phase 1 and it led me to low carb, where I’m staying! You can also follow along with my journey on Facebook [lowcarbgiantess.com] & Instagram [@lowcarbgiantess]