SIMONEKP's SparkPeople Blog SIMONEKP's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Losing a parent- It's harder than I could ever imagine. This post has nothing to do with weightloss. I've been away for a while and during the interim, my mother lost her battle with cancer and died on March 26th as I was on an airplane trying to get to her bedside. She was 74 years old and full of life. I've lost siblings before and was devastated by the loss. This is different, I am at the same time, completely devastated and completely numb. I just cannot see my future without my mother. <BR> <BR> Living in a different country, it is easy to f... Thu, 14 Apr 2016 12:46:54 EST Change is necessary for growth but it is scary nonetheless I've been thinking about making some changes and some of them scare the bejesus out of me. <BR> My gym is being taken over by another nearby independent gym which likely means that the monthly membership fee will increase by $50 per month, assuming they match the rates the new owners charge for their current facilities. My current gym allows you to buy training sessions without becoming a member, training sessions are more expensive at the new owners' other facility and you have to be a memb... Mon, 25 Jan 2016 12:12:22 EST Success or failure? I guess it depends on whether you're a glass half full or empty kind of person when it comes to weight loss. I'm still not sure which I am yet. I started 2015 at 193lbs with high hopes and intent of hitting my goal weight in 2015. I started 2016 at 187lbs, a mere 5lbs in a whole 12 months, 9 or 10 of them spent at the same weight no matter what I tried. It was extremely frustrating, it is extremely frustrating; but, I didn't give up and I'm going to keep plugging on and trying different thing... Sun, 17 Jan 2016 19:14:22 EST Vegas Baby! Totally has nothing to do with weight loss and everything to do with having a great time. Well, I guess there is some weight-loss aspect. I did a ton of walking, took over 20,000 steps each day. I skipped the gym for the 3 days I was there but I kept my eating in check and even stuck to low-carb until Sunday. I was back on the low-carb bandwagon as soon as I got home. Wed, 7 Oct 2015 09:47:35 EST Back to low-carb Giving it another go to try to break the deadlock on the scale. I just started on Monday so I'm still craving carbs and feeling crappy but surprisingly, the headaches only happened on day 1. I did beef up my sodium (no pun intended) so that helped. My workout was noticeably harder today but that is to be expected. I had taken Monday and Tuesday off. Getting back to working out will speed up the process of getting into keto, especially since I'm consuming really low carbs, no more than 25g per... Wed, 9 Sep 2015 12:51:59 EST Is it a good thing, a curse, progress or lack thereof? What IS IT? Hey all, <BR> <BR> I've been MIA for a while because my summer are crazy and I need all my little spare time to keep up with my workouts etc. Anyway, here I am at the end of another month almost and no movement on the scale. It's been 5 months. I've tried eating more, eating less, upping my workouts, mixing them up, adding more strength and amping up cardio, nothing seems to work! <BR> <BR> I know it's a type of success that I've maintained for 5 months and haven't lost focus or motivation ... Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:37:55 EST Another month draws close- the struggle is real Still fighting the same battle I've blogged about the few times, the dreaded plateau. I tried upping my calories, didn't work. Now I'm trying lower them to see that does anything for me. So frustrating argghhh! Mon, 29 Jun 2015 10:25:10 EST Not where I want to be but grateful for where I am I've made a mention or two of being at a plateau since March. I'm continuing to work on breaking it and I am confident that change will eventually come. While the wait to see change while putting in consistent effort is frustrating, I remind myself of how far I've come and that everything does not always go according to plan. I am grateful for what I have accomplished toward this goal thus far and all the things it allows me to do with greater ease that was previously possible. <BR> <BR> Ev... Wed, 10 Jun 2015 13:11:08 EST Plateau Hell That's my current situation. Scale hasn't moved since mid March. I gave up low carb, changed my workouts, varied my calories and still nothing! Any advice for me? Mon, 25 May 2015 13:44:15 EST Anyone can do anything for X minutes That is a trick I use to finish up or start things when I'm not motivated or when I find them particularly difficult. For example, in a particular tough workout with an exercise move I don't particularly enjoy, I often get through that part of my circuit by saying to myself "I can do anything for 5 minutes" or 3 minutes or whatever. It's not that I don't know it's coming back around, I do. However, I also know that it is absolutely true that I can so anything for a few minutes. <BR> <BR> So... Mon, 18 May 2015 13:35:06 EST It's over My experiment with low-carb is over for the moment. It last 7 months longer than initially planned. There was good benefits and I will continue to practice some of the things I learned. It certainly helped me reduce my sugar consumption and I'll keep that. I also learned to incorporate more fats and I'll keep that as well. I learned I don't need as many carbs and that will continue to be factor. On the other hand, I am tired of foregoing fruits and complex carbs such as whole grains and beans... Sat, 25 Apr 2015 19:28:06 EST I hate Spring and Fall too for that matter The sun is shining, the warmth on your skin feels great, the flowers are blooming, the grass is turning green and I'm sneezing my head off! I love the idea of Spring but hate my actual reality. Severe allergies make this an awful time of the year for me and makes Fall pretty miserable as well. It's an affront even to my weight loss efforts. I started my allergy meds which includes steroids and promptly saw the scale jump 9 pounds in 3 days. Yes, I know it's not a real gain but it is disturbin... Wed, 22 Apr 2015 13:04:45 EST Don't say this to someone who's lost weight Sometimes friends, family and even perfect strangers deliver backhanded compliments to a person who has lost weight and who's in the process. Here's a list of things I heard either because someone said it to me directly or to someone else who's lost weight. None of them are particularly well received. <BR> <BR> 1. "Wow, you look good now" or it's corollary, "wow, you look so young!" - This is said often and it is meant to be a compliment but think about it, are you saying I looked old and ... Wed, 8 Apr 2015 11:43:56 EST Hard action or hard choice? Sometimes we say a certain thing is hard to do but if we really think it through, it's not the doing that's hard, it's the choice to take or not take the action that is the hard part. For example, we may say it is hard to not eat sweets or carbs or whatever but it isn't really hard not to actually eat the food item, the choice to not consume it is what is really hard. We say it's hard to workout regularly but again that mostly in our heads, our bodies are capable of doing the work. Ok, ok, I ... Tue, 7 Apr 2015 10:46:03 EST Turning Fear into Motivation Yesterday I read Steph-knee's blog post about fear and conquering fear and it got me thinking. Although I've been on this weight loss journey now for over two years and have proven to myself that I can lose weight and not regain, I still fear the possibility of regaining all the weight I've lost. I question why and have come to the conclusion that it's because I am still in weight loss mode. I am vigilant about my caloric intake and almost never miss a workout. In over two years I may have mi... Mon, 9 Mar 2015 14:39:42 EST I eat whatever I want People sometimes asks the strangest questions. I like many of you, have found that people ask very silly questions in their quest to be helpful to your weightloss or just out of curiosity. One question I get a lot is "what are you allowed to eat?" or the variation, "are you allowed to eat that?". The answer is yes, I am "allowed" to eat that and I can eat whatever I want. <BR> <BR> Unless I am experimenting with a particular diet such as low-carb etc, I eat whatever I want, I just don't eat... Sun, 8 Mar 2015 14:28:24 EST Improvement and observations I've manage to wrangle my calorie intake under control, it is still a little hard to keep it under control, takes more work and willpower than I am used to exerting but nothing is impossible and a little hard work never killed anyone. <BR> <BR> I've been observing for the past few months that my weight loss pattern has changed to something that looks like this- one week per month, I have several drops on the scale then nothing for the next 3 weeks. In fact, sometimes I have a 1-2 pound fluc... Tue, 17 Feb 2015 05:55:02 EST The Struggle Is Real Been struggling this week with calories and keeping carbs low, it's not because of any cravings but I've just been very hungry this week. I'm not talking crazy calories, more like 1,800 or so per day but that's a lot more than my normal 1,400. I think I need to plan my snacks better because I've been having nuts but then I don't feel satisfied so I'm going to aim for something more bulky without the calorie hit. Sun, 8 Feb 2015 09:56:40 EST Decision Made So after pondering it a bit more, I've decided that I'm going to carb cycle so I'll eat very low carb for several days in a row- 5 or more- followed by a day incorporating some complex carbs but still keeping it in the 100-150 grams range. I'll continue to omit sugars. I've found that I don't really need to reincorporate breads, I don't like sandwiches and I can skip bread at dinner (although I love me some cornbread, I only started eating it a few years ago, where has this been all my life?)... Tue, 27 Jan 2015 10:00:01 EST Chugging Along, Reevaluating some things Hi All, <BR> <BR> Work is busy so I don't have time to blog lately but I am still chugging along with my nutrition and exercise goals. Over the last week I've been thinking about whether I want to continue doing low-carb. Initially, I was only committed to 30 days but it was relatively easy and gave me a jolt I was looking for so I extended it 5 months and went totally ketogenic. At that time I thought I would phase carbs back in starting this month. Now I'm think about whether I should carb... Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:15:06 EST Should I be offended? I'm back, I went to Jamaica, I ate everything in sight and I didn't gain a single pound! It was awesome!!!!!! <BR> So I got back on Sunday and didn't have time/energy to go to the grocery store to pick up stuff from the grocery store for lunch for the week. I had frozen chicken breast that I cooked before I left so I brought that and decided buy some salad greens each day from the café in my building. I haven't been in that café for a while, maybe 4 months or so but I walk by each day to get... Sat, 10 Jan 2015 19:53:06 EST I'm back! <img src=""> <img src=""> I'll write an update blog in the next day or so Thu, 8 Jan 2015 21:30:49 EST 2014 In Review (a couple weeks early) I started January 7, 2013 on this journey, a last attempt after getting to the brink. I even considered surgical intervention but I pulled myself together and acknowledged that I hadn't really given it my best effort. I had a fantastic year in 2013 and a great year in 2014. I continued to aim for 2lbs per week, aggressive but I like to attack things head-on and I can deal if the results aren't optimal. Here are my results: <BR> <BR> <em>192</em> <BR> Start: 228 <BR> End: 193 <BR> ... Wed, 24 Dec 2014 19:19:41 EST November Assessment Not using my regular format this month because I am short on time. Not too much to report, I only lost 1.2lbs last month and I didn't measure for inches. My December goals are a little different because I will be on vacation for a week in Jamaica, it's Christmas, and there's lots of holiday parties etc. My goal is to lose at least 3 lbs but at the very minimum, come back from my vacation without a gain. <BR> <BR> This vacation is also a little different, generally, when I travel I stay at a... Wed, 10 Dec 2014 12:50:59 EST It adds up I've been plodding along for a while now but lately it seems that I'm slowing losing control. Not in a spinning wildly, crash and burn kind of way, but a in a slow leak sort of way. I've been looking over my calories for the last few weeks and notice that I am routinely 100-200 calories over my goal on many days. Added up for a month that equals almost 5,000 calories, almost 1.5lbs that I could have lost but didn't. I need to pull it together. Fri, 5 Dec 2014 13:27:55 EST What happens when you eat carbs after Keto for 4 months Nothing good. I haven't eaten more than 50g of carbs in a day and usually not more than 25g since August. For thanksgiving, I made mostly low carb dishes including a low carb cheesecake but I also made my famous Mac and cheese and a rice dish. I ate about 1/2 cup of rice and was instantly full, could have nothing else for dinner. I had bloating and stomach pains that ended in multiple trips to the bathroom. I guess the lesson learned here is that carbs need to be slowly reintroduced. Sun, 30 Nov 2014 13:58:44 EST October's Evaluation, November Goals Here's a recap of October's goals: <BR> <BR> October's goals: <BR> <BR> Weight- 6-8 lbs. Looking to hit 180 by end of year <BR> Measurements- no exact goals- just smaller and reduce body fat by at least another 1% <BR> Nutrition- average of 1400-1500 calories per day on a low carb diet, keeping gross carb intake at 60g or less per day <BR> Fitness- workout 6x weekly (1hr per day), continue strength training. Get to 1,000 metres in 3 minutes on the rower. <BR> Mental Health: Start pic... Fri, 14 Nov 2014 20:22:18 EST Turn Down for what? .....100 lbs baby!!! Hit it this month (by the skin of my teeth but who cares?). 194.8 says the scale 3 days in a row now. I can't do my official monthly result blog that was due on Friday because I was late for the gym and had to skip measurements because I was busy doing this: <BR> <BR> <link> </link> <BR> <BR> followed by this: <link> </link> <BR> <BR> then I just had to do this: <link> </link> <BR> <BR> yeah, I was cel... Sun, 9 Nov 2014 15:51:02 EST Is this the month? For me to hit 100lbs down? I can't wait to do my official weigh-in tomorrow morning! Thu, 6 Nov 2014 13:45:22 EST Rededication As many of you know, I've been low-carbing since August. It has worked out well and I decided to continue eating a ketogenic diet until December when I travel to Jamaica. After that I plan to slowly reintroduce complex carbs, just not as much as I use to eat, maybe no more than 40% of my daily calories. <BR> <BR> That's still the plan but this weekend I took a break, on Friday night I went out to a Japanese place with my girlfriends to celebrate one of them passing her medical boards (yes, ... Wed, 29 Oct 2014 09:51:27 EST Recipe Sunday: high protein low carb pancake Stumbled on this awesomeness this morning! <BR> <BR> 3 tablespoons protein powder <BR> 1 egg <BR> 1/2 teaspoon baking powder <BR> water/almond milk to bring to pancake batter consistency <BR> <BR> Makes 2 pancakes, delish! Sun, 26 Oct 2014 21:08:13 EST Recipe Sunday and so close! Those following along for a while know that I batch cook meals for the week on the weekend. Today was a lovely trio: <BR> <BR> Spicy crusted pork loin- made a quick dry rub from smoked paprika, seasoned salt, salt, ground pimento, garlic powder, onion powder and dried thyme. For the crust I bought pork rinds, pulsed them into dust in a food processor and coated the loin. Baked at 450 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes then hit it with the broiler in high for 3-4 minutes. Let it rest, then slice an... Sun, 12 Oct 2014 18:45:58 EST September Evaluation, October Goals Last month was pretty good. Here's a recap of September's goals: <BR> <BR> September goals: <BR> <BR> Weight- 6-8 lbs. I want my weight to start with a 1 next month! I know I said that last month but it's still the goal. <BR> measurements- no exact goals- just smaller and reduce body fat by at least another 1% <BR> Nutrition- average of 1400-1500 calories per day on a low carb diet, keeping gross carb intake at 60g or less per day <BR> Fitness- workout 6x weekly (1hr per day), continue... Tue, 7 Oct 2014 21:26:53 EST OMG, no way you ever weighed that much! Said the Head of Nutrition at Yale University to me a few days ago at a talk I attended. So gratifying that I didn't even mind the fact that she felt the need to reach out and touch my upper arms and sort of poke them. You are so muscular and have a defined waist! It's extremely hard to achieve these results! she said. Of course she doesn't see the things I think are my problem areas, like the extra skin on my arms and on my thighs, however, I do know those are all things I am and can work to... Mon, 6 Oct 2014 14:06:08 EST Changing times I was so nervous about flying because of the whole water retention issue. I just didn't want anything interfering with my precious grasp on onderland. I don't know if I should credit this awesome bit of news to eating low carb or to getting under 200lbs. I had no water retention issues this time. I stayed at the Fairmont Millenium Park Hotel in Chicago, Fairmont promotes a healthy lifestyle and provides a lot of healthy options on their room service menu and they provide a scale in each room.... Sun, 21 Sep 2014 14:46:21 EST Low Carb, flying and water retention Sooo, I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch but so far it looks like water retention is a minimum. I don't know if that's a result of eating low-carb or a great side benefit of having lost so much weight. Maybe it's a combination of the two. My feet aren't swollen and 20-30 lbs ago they were swollen when I flew to the same city I'm in now. Those of you who have been following along since last year know that I used to retain water like a champ even if my flight lasted 10 minutes.... Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:45:37 EST Traveling low-carb I'm on the road this week. Well technically just flying to places but you know what I mean. So far I've done well by approximating my usual home meals at restuarants so no bread with meals, salads with protein for lunch and protein and veggie sides for dinner. I almost had a boo-boo tonight. Ordered a gin and tonic and found it to be sickenly sweet, went back to the bar and asked the bartender to see the tonic bottle, 33 grams of sugar per serving so I quickly ditched the drink and ordered a ... Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:49:18 EST Psssst, who am I kidding, hey peep ONEDERLAND BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 year and 8 months since I started, I've arrived at a major milestone, the coveted onderland! <BR> <em>67</em> <em>437</em> <em>338</em> <BR> <em>67</em> <em>437</em> <em>338</em> <BR> <em>67</em> <em>437</em> <em>338</em> <BR> <BR> Each sweat drenched workout <em>320</em> <em>328</em> <em>324</em> <em>402</em> <em>326</em> and each meal eaten in moderation has been totally worth it! <em>244</em> . <BR> <BR> I am excited but I'm not done, so n... Fri, 12 Sep 2014 12:46:38 EST August (and Low-carb) Evaluation, September Goals Last month was pretty good in terms of measurable results although the weight loss doesn't reflect that, more later. Here's a recap of July's goals: <BR> <BR> August goals: <BR> <BR> Weight- 6-8 lbs. I want my weight to start with a 1 next month! <BR> measurements- no exact goals- just smaller and reduce body fat by at least 1% <BR> Nutrition- average of 1400 calories per day on a low carb diet, keeping gross carb intake at 60g or less per day <BR> Fitness- workout 6x weekly (1hr per d... Tue, 9 Sep 2014 13:01:52 EST In, out and all about keto This whole ketosis thing is so finicky and counter intuitive. For the last month I've been in ketosis or at least I think I've been. I've been using the ketostix daily and I've had a positive result each day but there's some confusion on my part. I measure at night and always have at least a trace but more often the measurement is small or moderate. Here's the confusing part, I tried measuring in the morning but always had a negative result but it would seem that the morning would be when I s... Fri, 5 Sep 2014 20:15:13 EST Low carbing- do I continue? I've been low carbing for just over a month now. As to be expected, I started off with a big bang and I'm waiting for this weekend to see the results of my first full month. As I started to say in my last blog, I'm still feeling somewhat frustrated at the limitations that this eating style imposes. I don't miss the grains and breads but I do miss fruit, like a lot. I'll probably give it a while longer but think I will ultimately add back in a few more carbs. Interestingly, there was a study p... Thu, 4 Sep 2014 11:37:55 EST Just Plain Weird Last night we had a birthday party for a friend, lots of stuff on the grill, fish, chicken, burgers, hot dogs along with watermelon, curry chicken salad and various other stuff. Easy enough for me to eat low carb and ignore the rice and bread. I had a tiny piece of watermelon and drank a bunch of water. The party ran until about 2am, the dancing started about 9pm. Somewhere around 11pm I had 2 vodka shots and at midnight I had a sip of sparkling wine for the birthday toast. I was dancing but... Sun, 17 Aug 2014 19:14:05 EST Two Weeks In- Lessons Learned I've spent the last 2 weeks eating a ketogenic low carb diet. I've learned a few things so far and continue to make tweaks. <BR> <BR> The main thing I've learned is that this is probably not a lifetime change for me. My natural and cultural diet is more carb heavy that this type of eating allows. Generally, I ate about 40-50% of my calories in carbs, mostly whole grains, fruits and vegetables. I've attended a couple of family gatherings in the past two weeks and have stuck to this eating pl... Fri, 15 Aug 2014 13:39:00 EST July Evaluation, August Goals Last month was pretty good in terms of measurable results. I'm hoping this is only the beginning of a good run that gets me into the end zone. Here's a recap of July's goals: <BR> <BR> July goals: <BR> <BR> Weight- 5-8 lbs. <BR> measurements- no exact goals- just smaller and reduced body fat % <BR> Nutrition- average of 1400 calories per day; really watch my added sugar intake. <BR> Fitness- workout 6x weekly (1hr per day), continue strength training. Get to 1,000 metres in 3 minutes o... Mon, 11 Aug 2014 13:57:59 EST Temptation Conquered! Had a work-related social event last night that I knew would be my first test under the low carb regime. I have to say I aced the test! I drank no wine, only water. I ate a few small pieces of cheese, some churizo sausage, a few nuts and a few blueberries. I skipped all the wonderful desserts that were trotted out, the breaded chicken, the empanadas, mini quiches, crustinis, etc. etc. I was starving by the time I got home at 9 so I ate my planned dinner of chicken and steamed veggies. Fri, 8 Aug 2014 13:44:06 EST Ketostix, calories, fats and stuff So upon advice from Pomatojuice, I've been researching how exactly to interpret the ketostix readings. I agree that any reading is good news and no reading doesn't necessarily mean that you're not in keto. I'm less sure I agree with the arguments that deep purple is not wanted because it just means waste. If the ketones are a result of your body converting fats to energy and the excess energy isn't used and is therefore excreted, it would seem that one would want to see the extra excretion be... Wed, 6 Aug 2014 14:56:11 EST Learning experience with LCHF So after some experimenting during my taper week, beginning on Thursday, I dropped my carbs to 50 gross carbs with generally about 20 fiber carbs for a net carb count of 30. I don't really know how to track sugar alcohols which I know can also subtracted so I don't deduct those. I figured it would take a number of days to enter keto so I didn't plan to measure until the fifth day or so but a curious thing happened; on Saturday, I noticed that I wasn't hungry after breakfast for hours and hour... Sun, 3 Aug 2014 22:11:30 EST Calorie Count Differences Ever wondered how the same ingredient can have different calorie counts and especially across different manufacturers? For example chicken breast is a simple ingredient, an ounce has roughly 32 calories but I tried to pick up some frozen grilled chicken breast strips at the grocery store for the odd times when I'm too busy to make it at home and need a quick lunch to pack. I noticed that every company had different calories counts for 3oz. The range ran the gamut of 100 calories to 160 calori... Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:19:33 EST Ketosis when? Trying the whole low carb thing in August so I thought I would give it a test drive this week. I've been doing pretty well but still have a ton to learn. Mostly, I struggle with what to eat for snacks because my snacks are usually fruits. Any suggestions here are welcomed! Next I am wondering how long it should take to enter ketosis. I've been eating 60g or less of carbs since Saturday. I know that is higher than the recommended amounts during most of the induction periods on many low-carb pl... Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:04:26 EST August Experiment I've been reading "Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It?" It's pretty interesting and it advocates a low-carb eating style. I'm not sure I can handle low carb forever but I thought I would give it a whirl next month. I'm aiming for no more than 60g of carbs daily, he really advocates 20g max but I'm not sure I can swing that for a whole month. I know a number of you have done low-carb, what should I expect? I might need some sides ideas. <BR> <BR> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:50:59 EST