Brain Fog….it’s a thing.

While doing low carb, I have noticed episodes of complete brain fog. I would define brain fog as a low laying haze within my brain that prevents me from seeing things clearly or completely forgetting what I was just about to do. Let me give you some real life examples I have personally experienced:

Brain Fog Episode Example #1: While I was driving home from the car dealership, I got lost. Now, if this was my first time in that area that would be one thing but I have driven this route home from that area hundreds if not THOUSANDS of times in the 10+ years I have lived around here. I was driving so I could obviously operate a motor vehicle going 65+mph, but for the life of me I could not visualize where I was nor how I was supposed to get home from there. It was actually a little scary. I had to put my home address into the GPS after about 5-minutes of having no idea where I was or how to get home. I didn’t tell Mr. Giant about this episode until much later because I was afraid he would actually be worried about me.

Brain Fog Episode Example #2: This just happened yesterday. I was at Office Depot and it was time to pay for my transaction. I took my wallet out of my bag, opened my wallet, closed my wallet and returned my wallet to my bag without actually taking out my credit card and swiping it. The lady at the register watched me and when I realized what I had done, I just started laughing out loud. She seriously must have thought I was absolutely insane but it was just the ol’ brain fog rearing it’s super fun head.

I pride myself on being completely on top of my shit. Stuff in my world doesn’t fall through the cracks, it just doesn’t. So this whole brain fog thing is seriously messing with me. I’m trying to be patient because I know what’s causing it, but I feel like my brain is performing at about 70% overall. I’ve read that it can take a couple months for one’s body to become completely “fat adapted” so I’m just hoping in mid-October this haze finally lifts once and for all because it can be downright scary.

Invisalign….what a pain in the ass!

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Today I got Invisalign and over the next 8-12 months I have to wear the clear tooth trays for AT LEAST 22-hours every, single day. Today was Day #1. Let me just tell you, the whole process to eat is a total pain in the ass so I see myself becoming a pro at intermittent fasting. I bet I get down to eating a single meal a day just because I don’t want to deal with it. There’s no more casually “taking a bite” of anything. I would have to remove the trays, take the stupid bite, get the food that got stuck out of my teeth, potentially brush my teeth if it’s bad enough and then pop those suckers back in as quickly as possible. For a single bite? Nah, ain’t worth it to me.

Mr. Giant and I went to an air show today and I started to get hungry again around 2PM so I opted to get a jumbo hot dog with no bun. A hot dog with some mustard, that was it. So, I had to take the trays out and store them safely, eat 3 bites of the stupid hot dog, swish with bottled water to rinse the food out of all the nooks and crannies before retrieving the trays and putting them back in. What. A. Total. Pain. In. The. Ass.

Another interesting tidbit is that drinking anything other than plain water can stain the trays. Oh awesome. So if I don’t want to have teal blue teeth from the fake ass chemicals in my Powerade Zero I should probably stick to plain water? And this is for the next 8-12 months? Now, it’s not completely lost on me that Invisalign is basically forcing me to do the right thing(s). AND, I plan on losing a shit ton of weight over the next 8-12 months so at the end of this ordeal I have the potential to be smoking hot PLUS have the perfect teeth I have always dreamed of. When you look at it that way, 8-12 months doesn’t seem so bad. I can do anything for 8-12 months, right? Thank God Day #1 is almost over.

The Skinny on Salads

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I love a great salad with lots of different ingredients, but I absolutely HATE cutting up everything and preparing it. It’s just way too time consuming if it includes more than 2 ingredients. I’ve made a new life rule to order AT LEAST a salad whenever I go out to eat so that someone else is doing all the work yet I still get to enjoy it. We don’t go out to eat often, but last night we actually went out with another couple to an area joint that has $5 wings and 1/2 off bottles of wine. I ordered an unsweet tea (I forgot my damn Truvia packets so I used the Splenda they had on the table), 10 old bay wings (all flats because I don’t like the drumsticks), with ranch dressing AND a chicken Caesar salad without the croutons. I had skipped lunch so I was ready to eat. I always order wings with a dry rub, there’s a whole lot less worry that there will be a sugary sauce on them.

I was craving a salad and when I stopped to think about the last time I consumed a vegetable, I couldn’t actually remember. That’s a problem and I’m not proud of that. I tend to eat simple foods, I’m not big into recipes or buying a million ingredients to try something new. I have got to start incorporating more vegetables into my diet, especially since I rarely eat fruit. Like I told you in the beginning, I’m new to this low carb world and I’m still working on finding a routine that is automatic.

I rarely drink alcohol. The older I get, the longer the effects last and I don’t wanna feel like total poo poo for two full days afterwards, so I tend to just skip it altogether. Now, that doesn’t mean I NEVER drink and I’m sure you’ll hear some stories along the way, but I’m not a casual drinker where I’m having one or two drinks with dinner. I go big if I’m going at all. I’m basically the permanent designated driver, which works out well.

I’m skipping breakfast today, I can still feel those wings churning in my stomach and I actually didn’t sleep well because I could feel them churning all night long. Skipping breakfast isn’t a big deal, I do it all the time. Just a couple cups of coffee with some Truvia packets and I’m good to go. I’m watching Baby E today from 8am-5pm, so we’ll be hitting the neighborhood for a stroller walk at some point. Baby E is a 4-month-old little girl that I watch a few days a week, it gives me something to do and I absolutely LOVE having a little baby in my life to obsess over…..part time 😉

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.