Keto and Mental Health

Happy Wednesday fellow readers! The week is half way over and I am so looking forward to the weekend. Just as a reminder it is Mother’s Day this Sunday, so call up your mother, mother-in-law, or even a friend that is a mother and thank them for all they do. Being a mom is one of my best accomplishments and I have loved the experience that being a mom has brought me. My children are like little pieces of me fluttering around the world sharing my wisdom and creating their own.

So I wanted to talk today about mental health and what Keto has done so far for my mental health struggles. Long before I even knew what Keto was I struggled with mental health. I have battled depression and anxiety since my teen years, and have been medicated for it since my younger twenties. I cannot even list what medications I have been on and off of trying to find what worked for me. Years and years of different meds, therapists, doctors, and trials I finally found a combination that worked for me and I have been living stuck in the combination for the last 5 years.

That combination has also landed me in the emergency room for severe withdrawal when a doctor mis-directed me on how to change my pills to a new regimen. So I spent the last three years trapped in the vicious lifecycle of Effexor. Effexor has been wonderful in the sense that it really did help my depression and anxiety, but it has been a death sentence in the essence that I don’t know if I will ever be able to get off of it. It is by far one of the most highly addictive medications I have ever taken and I am one year into weening off the medication. The withdrawal symptoms will put you on the floor in the fetal position after simply missing one dose by a few hours. My starting dosage was 225mg and I am just now down to 112.5mg. I am praying that when I go back to the doctor in a month we can go down another step. Every time I try to drop below 100mg though I end up rather ill and start having massive withdrawal symptoms. Still it is progress and I will take it. How I wish I knew what I know now then, and that a pill will never truly fix the problem.

Two things have lead me to the road of even beginning to reduce that medication. Number one is my doctor did some genetic testing and we discovered I have the MTHFR gene mutation, and have a major vitamin D deficiency. So I basically take 15mg of l-methylfolate and 5,000miu’s of Vitamin D daily. I noticed within a week of starting the supplement how much better I felt. So I continue to take it daily and continue to see positive results from it. Second I started keto and within a month I started to notice the mental changes. The amount of clarity was crazy and my energy was through the roof. For once in my life I was starting to see and find the real me buried below tons of years of abuse and sadness. I contribute both of these back to having a supportive healthcare provider who doesn’t think you just need to shove pills at problems. I thoroughly enjoy that she wants to get to the root of things and is always open to natural methods before medication.

The longer I progressed on the keto diet the more I noticed the changes. I actually started wanting to leave my bedroom and do things. Most days now I can’t stand the thought of just sitting around. It cleared my head enough to lead me back to my passion of writing and this blog. It made me want to reach out to others and inspire them on their journey. I constantly see improving in my mind and how it functions, and I believe that switching to predominantly carnivore has helped that even more. Whole feeds heal your body and it just takes time. I am almost 1 year into my journey and the differences between day 1 and now are amazing. My smiles are no longer fake, I no longer hide behind everyone else, I have a voice and I use it. I’m so close to being medication free and it feels absolutely amazingly wonderful. I find the positive in things again and don’t dwell on the negative. I could never lose another pound and it would all be worth it. Keto changed my life and it will never be the same and I am thankful for that.

If you suffer or know someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, know that there is hope out there. There are ways and methods to improve your mental health and you don’t have to be drugged to succeed. Do not be ashamed to get therapy! Do it person or online whatever you are comfortable with. It may be strange at first but it is so worth it to have someone who is biased to talk to. There is hope, and as one of my best friends used to tell me even the darkest hour only lasts 60 minutes. Take it a minute at a time if you have to. You can always reach out to me and I can put you in touch with mental health resources or teach you all about keto and how it can help. You don’t have to be alone! Until next time….Keep Ketoing On!!!!!!

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Binge Eating

Happy Tuesday fellow readers. I hope everyone is making the most of their week. I wanted to talk today about something that has effected me for many years of my life, and I still struggle with today, binge eating. Binge eating is something that can take a huge toll on the person suffering through it and there are also many levels of what binge eating can be, not all binging is the same.

First off I have to state in advance that any information shared in this blog is solely of my opinion. I am not a medical doctor and I am not offering any medical advice. I highly suggest that if you feel you are suffering from any type of binge disorder you speak with your medical doctor or a trained psychologist/therapist.

According to dictionary.com binge has the following definition:
(noun) a period or bout, usually brief, of excessive indulgence, as in eating, drinking alcoholic beverages,etc.; spree. In that definition alone you can see the variance of what a binge can be. It is often even used in common day slang as referring to watching an entire TV season in one sitting. Many forms of binging often are harmful to one’s mental and physical health. Often times individuals who partake in binge eating also become bulimic, and have to purge the food they binged. I am very blessed to not have that severe of a form of binge eating, and I will not be talking about that here in detail as I don’t have experience or knowledge in that.

My problem with binge eating is quite simple, yet very difficult to overcome. My binge eating consists of eating and eating, usually a specific food, until I am literally nausea’s from eating it. Then I feel horrible and spiral into a depressive cycle trying to correct my previous actions usually by sever dieting as a punishment. In the past my binges were solely junk food driven. If it was a cookie, a cake, a lunch treat, etc I would find a way to sneak it, and one was never enough. There are days that I can say I consumed around 5-6 little debbie’s (snack cakes) on top of all my other snacks and food. It was my guilty pleasure and I hid it from everyone. A trigger for me to set off on a binge is strictly emotionally stress driven. One bad thing could happen in my life and I would spiral into the darkness and in turn I would punish my body. Then after I punished it I would turn around and not eat for a day or maybe 2 or if I did eat I would limit my calories. It was a never ending cycle for me at least until I found proper support and keto.

Ironically enough keto saved me from the junk food binges, but not binges in their entirety. My husband stood by my side and I went through 7-10 days of pure hell. Sugar withdrawal is one of the worst things I have ever been through in my life. I was mentally drained, physically sick, migraines for days, and at one point I was sure I was going to fail. Then day after day it got easier to tolerate and within 2 weeks no more withdrawal, but cravings took months to kick. Keto forced me to be accountable and track what I was eating and because my husband was on my journey with me we shared that tracking. So I was less prone to binge, but I did have the urges. After about three months into my journey the urges became stronger and I found myself reverting to my old binge ways. The difference now was it wasn’t sugar it was whole foods but in a quantity that no human needs to consume in one day, let alone one who is trying to lose weight and better her health.

To this day even though my health has improved, I’ve lost 75 pounds, and my mental health is improving I still struggle. I just recently had to deal with some things with my ex-husband and the stress overload triggered past memories and events and led me to go onto a two day binge where all I did was eat anything and everything I could sneak. All of it was keto friendly and I am still sugar free, but the quantity that I ate was not healthy and I knew I was eating past the point of being full. Then I turned around and punished myself with an extended fast. I fast often but this fast was for all the wrong reasons.

As you can see it is a constant struggle for me and I know it more than likely always will be. The difference is I can admit that I have a problem, and I know what triggers that problem. I still need to work on how to prevent that trigger from taking control. Keto is leading me in all the right directions, but support is also key. Sometimes having that person that understands and can tell you no makes a huge difference.

I encourage those who have binging issues no matter how big they are to reach out and talk to someone. Find the support you need and don’t be afraid to share. Also reach out to the national eating disorder association they have great resources and helplines. The first step to getting any help is admitting you have a problem. Until next time….Keep Ketoing On!

Monday Madness (publication #12)

Welcome to another addition of Monday Madness! I hope everyone had a great weekend and your Monday isn’t too crazy. In typical fashion mine is crazy! I’m fairly certain if I ever had a Monday that wasn’t crazy I would think something was wrong. I did have a fairly nice weekend though so that was a plus to kick off this crazy day.

Exciting news for me from the weekend. I took a bold step and got a new summer hair cut and color. I feel like a new women ready to take on the world. I decided to go super short for the summer so things will be easy to manage and that southern Chattanooga heat won’t get to me as much. I also decided to finally buy some flowers for our house. I do not have a green thumb but I do like flowers. So we planted three rose bushes in front of our house. I can’t wait for them to start growing and blooming so I can share some photos with you. We also spent some time at our local market this weekend. I always enjoy seeing all the local vendors and it’s a great way to get in some steps for the day.

Not much has changed in my Keto world. I did sort of fall of the wagon the last couple days, but not like most people do when they say that. I did not consume anything that was carb loaded or a “cheat meal”, but I way over consumed my normal amount of protein and I definitely ate more than what my hunger was. So why did I do that? Stress eating has always been a struggle of mine, as well as binge eating. I let both of those things take a hold of me this week, and I am very disappointed that I let it happen. I let negativity and stress of my life completely take over my body and my routine. So how do I fix it? I simply have to re-focus and re-set. So today I am doing an extended fast to get myself back on track and show myself that food does not control me, I control me! I plan to go at least 24 but ultimately would like to make it to 40. I just want to really focus in on my body and listen to it so we shall see how far I make it. May be less or may be more. Check back later this week on my blog for topics about binge and stress eating.

I did have something quite phenomenal happen this week which reassured me that eating a more carnivore heavy lifestyle is the way for me to be eating. For the first time in 25 years I did not get a hormonal migraine during my monthly cycle. My last two cycles have also been shorter in duration and I have had to take no medication to assist with cramping. This is huge for me as I suffer from endometriosis and functioning during my cycles has always been a challenge. Other than a few chocolate cravings though they have been improved ten fold. As for the craving part most of the time I find it easier just to give in and allow myself some dark chocolate. This also excites me to have an opportunity to see what else eating meat heals in my body.

I hope that everyone has an amazing week. Take some time for yourself and reflect on all the positive vibes you can. Until next time…Keep Ketoing On!

I’ll Get To It Tomorrow

Happy Tuesday fellow readers! I hope everyone is having an amazing day. Today I want to talk about something I am super guilty of and need to change in my life. I’ve been working very hard this year on this specific item. I am notorious, as are many people, for putting off things until tomorrow or the weekend. We all need to stop doing that!

All too often I think we all find ourselves either living in the past or focusing on the future. The problem with that is we tend to overlook or miss what is right in front us. We miss opportunities to be great and do great things because all our energy and focus is elsewhere. We also put off so many things that we could do now for another day. Well news flash…..YOU ARE NOT PROMISED TOMORROW!

Ask yourself what are you doing in your life to better your chance of reaching all those future things you keep dreaming of, or things you want to do but keep hesitating? Start taking action, and stop saying I’ll do it tomorrow! Now I fully understand that there are things that you just can’t drop what your doing and do them, and they take some planning. The problem is your not planning and your not doing anything to get to that thing. A great example is you want to take a trip some place. So start saving a small amount of money each week, make a list of what you need for that trip, and start planning it. Don’t wait until you have more money or more time or you may never get there. Live in the moment and start doing things today to get there.

Think of smaller things in your life. How many times has a friend called and said let’s go to this concert, and you really wanted to go but you had to work the next day and would be home late so even though you wanted to go you said no. Why? You missed an opportunity for no good reason at all. You could have still went and had an amazing time, and recovered later. You put something you would have enjoyed on hold for something that you may only do as a means to live. We all really need to start balancing things in our lives better so that we enjoy the things we want and not make excuses to miss those things. Who says you can’t go out on a Tuesday night? If you want to then do it! You may not have another Tuesday night. We need to embrace our lives and and our opportunities and quit holding ourselves back.

Often I think we put off things in our lives because of the people that our in our lives. Well I’m here to say if someone is working against your goals or dreams in your life, or making you hesitate REMOVE them from your life. You do not need that negativity and it is effecting you more than it will ever effect them. It is your life, live it to your fullest in order to find the happiest path and don’t let anyone impede that.

I’ve said for years that I was going to start a blog, write a book, sell my artwork, and help others. The problem was I never acted on that I just kept saying it. Well that changed this year for me because I asked myself one question…what am I waiting for? It doesn’t matter if I have one reader or a thousand readers. What matters to me is I am doing something I love, something I have dreamed of doing, and something most importantly that make me happy. I want to take this approach with so many more things in my life. I want to live for me and live for today! When I find peace within that I feel that true happiness and greatness will follow and come into my life when they are ready to join my party.

So stop telling yourself that you will get to it tomorrow, ask yourself why you can’t just do it today? Embrace your dreams and take them with you and quit looking back, just focus on today and what you can do with today….and until next time Just Keep Ketoing On!

To Macro or Not

Hello fellow readers! I wanted to talk today about a topic that I constantly have struggled with from day one. When I started researching what keto was and how you do it I started seeing this one word everywhere I turned MACRO. What was this and why was it so important?

Macro is a short way to say macronutrients. Macronutrients are by definition foods that are required in large amounts in our diet. The main macro nutrients are fat, protein, and carbohydrates. These three main items are the items when following keto you need to become aware of and possibly track.

Now why do I say possibly? Not everyone who follows a ketogenic way of eating tracks their macros. I personally recommend for people who are just starting to definitely track everything you are consuming. You need to learn what you are putting in your body so you can adjust to what fits into a keto diet.

So how do you know what fits into the macros. For a ketogenic diet macros are generally as follows: 70-75% fat, 20-25% protein and 10-5% carbohydrates. That basically means that 70-75% of your calories are coming from fat. That will seem like a lot to someone who is just starting out, but you need the fat to fuel your body in place of the sugar you are eliminating. Protein is the next essential item you need. Keto emphasizes moderate amount of proteins in your diet, and has so many useful vitamins and nutrients in it. The combination of fat and protein will optimize your body function and your energy levels. Carbohydrates are the smallest portion of your diet and with keto you need to learn that those carbohydrates are best if they come from dark leafy greens or other keto approved vegetables.

When I first started keto and started my tracking it took a couple weeks (more like a month) to figure out what I was doing and how to eat within my macro’s. First off let me assure you that my issue wasn’t overeating, the issue for me was not eating enough to meet my macros or eating too much of one and not another. One lesson I learned was that while cheese is allowed, too much of it will quickly make your protein macro go through the roof. As time goes and you track and see what the macros do you learn how to refine and make it work for you. The longer you do keto the easier it get’s because once your body is fueled correctly you will start to notice you don’t need snacks and many people over time start to automatically fast and only eat 1-2 meals a day.

Now that I have been keto for almost a year, I don’t really track much anymore. I do track occasionally just as a sanity check, but 90% of the time I know what I am putting in my body and I know when I am full. Also, if you ever reach a time that you stall or plateau I think tracking is a great tool to see what you may be doing wrong or what may need adjusted. For example I noticed that I benefited from a little higher fat % and was doing around 80% at one point. You have to learn what your body wants and what works best for you.

A golden rule for carbohydrates is don’t go over 20 grams in a day. Now that can be doing total carbs or net carbs. For those starting out I think it’s fine to focus on net carbs. Net carbs are basically total carbs minus any dietary fiber and any sugar alcohols. I started with net carbs and as my journey progressed I started thinking if I am eating it how is it that I can subtract it out. Does it just magically disappear? So in my opinion total carbs is the way to go. I ate it so I need to count it. In my opinion this also makes deciphering labels easier and not as much of a mathematical headache.

So macro as intimidating as it seems really are a necessary evil I think for many. I know for me it made me be able to know I was following the rules and being successful. It also helped me be able to to see if certain foods that are even keto approved were stalling me or affecting how I was feeling. It is a great resource for eliminating certain foods from your diet to see optimal benefits. I know it can be confusing as well. So if you want more information or to discuss more about macro’s feel free to reach out to me with all your questions, and until next time….Keep Ketoing On!

Monday Madness (publication #11)

Hello fellow readers and welcome to another publication of Monday Madness. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! I had a very productive weekend and yes my Monday has already been crazy! Nothing like an 8AM work meeting to get your butt in gear for the week! Let’s recap last week and look ahead at what may be to come.

I have taken a few days off from my arm weights and decided that I will more than likely continue on with another 21 day challenge starting on May 1. I did give it a go a few days ago with heavier weights and I was quite shocked in the difference. I did do some lifting this weekend, in the form of transporting 152 bricks by hand three times to build a fire pit. So my arms were definitely feeling the burn. I am also starting to see a little muscle definition in my arms, but I have a long road ahead of me for them to be where they need to be. I’m not in a hurry to get there and I am working so that the muscles get adequate rest and healing between workouts. So far this method has kept me pain free. We ended up with a pretty awesome fire pit as well from the weekend. We designed it so that one end is the fire pit and then there is a grated run for charcoal outdoor cooking. I can’t wait until my custom grate comes and we can give it a good test run. I also learned I have no desire to ever become a mason!

I had another discouraging week in the weight department. I somehow managed to gain three pounds. So I am hoping this was muscle gains from increased workouts and not fat gains. It discourages me, but at the same time it makes me realize I just need to get my head deeper in the game. I have struggled since switching to keto carnivore and I need to find my niche within that area. I think the answer for me may be going back to tracking my macros for a few weeks and seeing what I am lacking to get the progress that I want. I am currently working on a blog about tracking and macros, I will be releasing it this week.

I got brave this week and tried a new snack. I made bacon chips and piped a small amount of cream cheese onto each one and then added some Redmond’s seasoning salt. They were absolutely amazing! It was the first cream cheese I had tried since December 2018. Guess what I learned? No more cream cheese for this girl! Within two hours of eating it I was ready to hug a toilet bowl and it took a good 24 hours to even begin to feel better, and I was bloated up like a dead whale on a beach. It was not a pleasant experience and disappointing to know that cream cheese is just out for me now. So for now my diet is pretty much consistently meat, eggs and salt. That is what seems to make me feel the best. I also can get away with a small amount of heavy whipping cream.

Our local market had it’s opening weekend here in Chattanooga so me and my husband had a date day and checked it all out. I was pleasantly surprised to see the addition of a couple grass fed meat farmers, fresh eggs, and a few other items at the market. I also always enjoy checking out the local arts and crafts. I highly recommend you take the time to look up local markets in your area and check them out as often as you ca. Not only is the food better for you, you get to meet some really nice local farmers as well. My prized score this week wasn’t food though it was a hand made ceramic mug from 3 Generations Art Studios out of Sweet Water, TN. Crazy coffee lady needed a new coffee mug and she loves it!

Just a couple quick reminders before I wrap up today’s madness. I am now offering coaching options on my page, if you have questions feel free to contact me before purchasing. I am always open to questions and suggested topics free of charge! I will never turn anyone away who wants to better themselves in some way. Always and mean always love yourself and surround yourself with positivity, and until next time…..Keep Ketoing On!

Goal Setting

Happy Thursday fellow readers! I hope everyone is having a great day. The week is almost over and I can smell the weekend coming up, which I am super excited for as out local market is opening this weekend! Today I wanted to discuss goals and why it is important to set them and at the same time keep them realistic.

We all have goals in our lives. Those goals may be professional or personal, but both categories are equally important. For me having goals gives me purpose and purpose drives me. I need that to be a part of my life and tend to not understand people who don’t want purpose.

When you set out to make a goal you really need to make sure your not setting yourself up for failure out the gates. You need be setting realistic and attainable goals. It can even be a series of of smaller goals that will lead to a long term goal. It or can be one large goal. It all depends on the person and how easily you can handle approaching the goal. Myself I prefer having many small goals that lead me to a larger goal in the end. This is pretty much how approach any of my goals.

Professionally I currently have a goal to re-gain my project manager status. I lost that status when I had to switch companies. I am fully aware that it will take time to do this so I have several small goals to lead me to that. The first one of which is get my project manager certification. Once I complete that small goal I will take on the next goal which is more on job training. You see I know what the small goals are and I know where they lead but I prefer to focus on them one at a time and not all at once.

Personally one goal I have to keep in my sights and definitely keep on a smaller scale is my weight loss goals. I have to look at my weight loss in 10 pound increments. If I look at it any bigger of a range I get easily discouraged. I want to encourage myself and my journey not the opposite. So I think small and somewhere in the back of my head I have a magic number. I will know when I find it but until then it’s just floating around waiting to be recognized.

You also have to take into consideration if a goal is realistic. If my goal is to lose 100 pounds setting a date for that goal weight in two months is obviously not going to happen. You really need to think through what a goal involves and what is realistic about it. Realistically I know I can more than likely lose at least 1 pound a week so it will take me 100 weeks which is almost two years. Now you can also see back to why it think the bigger picture can be discouraging. It goes the same with professional goals. To think I will start med school tomorrow and own my own practice in 4 years is very unrealistic.

Look at goals as opportunities to better yourself. Don’t make goals items that will deter you from making progress and getting you down on yourself. Goals can be simple too, they don’t have to always be about something major. Maybe your goal is as simple as by the end of the month I want to clean out the refrigerator. Easy to accomplish, you gave yourself plenty of time, and its very realistic.

You also can tie rewards to goals. For example every time I lose 10 pounds I give myself $10. That isn’t much but $10 saved over time can buy me something I want or need. If you choose to do a reward system with a goal do NOT use food as a reward. Food is not a reward it is a required nutrient. It’s kind of like here I lost ten pounds now I can have a cheat day! WRONG!!! You worked hard to lose that ten pounds why would you jeopardize it with a food reward.

So take some time and even write out what your goals may be. Decide if they are short term, long term and if they can be grouped together. If it helps make a chart of them. Do whatever you can do to make your goals happen. Until next time…Keep Ketoing On!