I haven't been doing super awesome in this quarantine when it comes to my health and fitness goals. To try to get back on track with my goals I decided to embark on another fast, this time extending it to five days. Similar to my last fast, which was three days, I chose to continue to include some diet sodas and water enhancers but the majority of my intake was water. I made sure to add in electrolytes so that I wouldn't have muscle cramps and other side effects as well as limited my exercise significantly and added in some extra sleep each night.
My results were actually really good on the weight loss front but I wouldn't recommend this as a purely weight loss tactic as it can be quite difficult and has a potential to cause issues with your mental view on food if you have issues in that realm. So, results:
I lost 10.3 pounds (but I gained 2 pounds back over the next two days so I would say just over 8 pounds in 5 days).
As for measurements, see below for the amounts I lost during the five days.
Chest: -1.5 inches
Bust: -1.2 inches
Thigh: -2.0 inches
Hips: -0.5 inches
Belly Button: -1.5 inches
Waist: -1.5 inches
Arm: 0.00 inches
Neck: -0.3 inches
Calf: -1.0 inches
Total Inches: -9.5 inches
All in all, I would say it was a good experience but there were definite down sides. For instance, my energy levels were noticeably lower during the week. Watch the above video on my channel (subscribe for new content 3-5 times per week!) about the results and experience.
Until next time,
Fasting is not a new thing in general and it’s not a new thing for me personally either. I’ve fasted for surgery, for blood work, and I’ve done intermittent fasting on and off for the past year. I’ve never been a breakfast person so it wasn’t a difficult switch for me to do once I got into ketosis. This time was a little different though as I went for three full days. The longest I had ever gone in the past was 24 hours or so.
I hadn’t intended to fast for 72 hours when I woke up on Friday morning but nothing seemed good to me, and I certainly wasn’t interested in my packed lunch. In the past I would have likely just thought about what could fit my macros and then gone out and purchased something but as I am trying to save money I decided to just wait until I got home to eat. After all, I wasn’t hungry and I had food in my lunchbox if that changed. Once I got home I got busy with odds and ends… cleaning the house, teaching classes, writing up student feedback and etc. and completely forgot to eat. When I realized I’d gone well over 36 hours the next afternoon I figured I may as well push it and see if I could do a 72 hour fast. I had heard of really good results when it came to autophagy and general wellness for a 72 hour fast and I still wasn’t particularly hungry so figured now was the time to try it.
Most of the time during this fast I wasn’t hungry. There were the occasional urges to eat but they were from boredom or that it was the right time with two exceptions so were easy to ignore and go about my day. The first exception was when I was teaching a class all about food. Talking about food and being hungry for 25 minutes made me think hard about going and making something to eat in my kitchen but, as it was the first of 5 classes that night, I was back to being not hungry by the time I was finished teaching for the night and just went to bed without dinner. The second exception was right at the tail end of the fast. I had been cooking hamburgers for meal prep so the house had smelled like burgers for hours and, I’ll admit, I started watching that timer count down to 72 hours during that last hour or so.
The experience was actually really good overall. I felt very relaxed all weekend, got in a simple workout routine, cleaned my house and slept really well. I will definitely try to incorporate at least one of these per quarter if not more often as I hope to see some results with tightening skin (from the autophagy) as I continue to lose weight. I would not suggest going from a carb heavy diet directly into a fast though, it would likely be miserable, at least from my experiences with intermittent fasting and OMAD I can imagine that I would not have made it to the end.
Results of the fast? I started Thursday at 231.4 and ended Sunday at 226.4. That’s a five pound loss, which is amazing. Not all of that stayed gone after eating my first meal, as expected. The next day I weighed in two pounds heavier and the day after one pound down from that weight. So I would say that it leveled out at four pounds lost for the fast after taking into account that first day’s fluctuation. From the autophagy side of things I didn’t notice much of a difference but hope to as I have more loose skin to get rid of. Fingers crossed!
Until next time,
It’s difficult to explain how important it is to lower my monthly expenses by paying off my student loans- as well as other debt- without explaining where a huge chunk of my annual income goes without any real choices… my medical expenses.
For someone like me who has chronic illnesses, maintaining health insurance coverage can literally be the difference between a fairly normal life and absolute destruction. I make the joke that I work for health insurance but to be honest it’s not much of a joke. According to BCBSTX the billed amount for my medical expenses in 2018, a really good year for me with only one chronic illness really causing problems rather than all three, was $46,823. That’s a full time salary for many in the US and it doesn’t even take into account costs that I incur outside of the insurance plan for uncovered medications and services. In order for me to ever be fully financially independent I need to eliminate as many of my monthly debt payments as possible while also building a large emergency savings so that in the event of a job loss I could afford to maintain my healthcare costs without going bankrupt.
For this reason, I thought taking you through a summary of my anticipated costs for 2019 would be helpful. So here we go. First, some important terms then a summary of this year’s insurance plan and then a quick run through of additional costs.
This post is part of a series that will look at ways to save money on medication, questions to ask your HR representative during Open Enrollment season so that you can make an informed decision and more. Insurance and healthcare are, understandably, a huge passion of mine which I have only dug deeper into since beginning to work in Human Resources four years ago. I hope that this series can be beneficial to you.
My Insurance Plan
I currently have a fairly good plan but it is a High Deductible Health Plan which can get very costly if not budgeted for and fully understood. Being an informed consumer is of utmost importance with this kind of plan as 100% of the cost for services is on you from day 1 until you meet the deductible. Here are the details for my exact plan:
My insurance plan does not cover two of my currently prescribed medications (up from one in 2017) or any of the over-the-counter medications that my doctor utilizes as part of my treatment plan. This part is standard though, no prescription drug plan will cover OTC medications as a rule and have exclusions for covered prescription medications. Since this particular medication is purchased at a compounding pharmacy is was pretty much known up front to be an uncovered expense.
It also doesn’t cover some of the testing I have to do at my allergist/immunologist’s office when I am in a flare, vitamins and minerals that I supplement with when symptomatic, or any of the alternative treatments that I have found helpful to maintaining my health. While it is true that most of these costs boil down to personal choices that I have made to seek these treatments the quality of my life has increased drastically since introducing them so keeping them in my treatment plan if possible is ideal.
Not Covered Costs Breakdown
Without any of the ‘not covered treatments’ category we’re looking at:
One thing that isn’t accounted for in any of these numbers is the fact that I have to be careful about the foods that I eat and products that I use. I am allergic to a lot of things- most artificial scents, gluten, celery (random I know), bananas, and a slew of other things. This translates to needing to use more expensive personal hygiene and cleaning products in many cases as well as having a more heavily padded food budget than your average single person. I wish I could discount this but its part of my life and relates directly to my health issues so it likely should be mentioned. In my house you will find no scented candles, plug-ins, or etc. as they trigger migraines for instance and just this past Christmas I borrowed some basic laundry detergent while on vacation and was covered in hives for three days… so you can imagine a lot of shampoos, detergents and etc. can ruin my week pretty easily.
Ways I Lower My Costs
I write all this out not to convince you to feel sorry for me or what have you, because I think that I am extremely lucky to be able to work at all as I have many friends who are not able to do so. And not only that but I have a job I love, that pays me enough to afford the life I have- including insurance and salary that can encompass these expenses, a life that’s amazing with hobbies that bring me joy and friends that bring light and happiness to it, and a family that is just without words wonderful. It’s more than I deserve and I will always be grateful for it all. I write this to show you a window into my life for better understanding of one of my largest “why’s” when it comes to becoming financially independent and debt free. Having a “why” for your goals is important as without one you will be more likely to convince yourself out of the hard but necessary tasks along the way towards reaching your goal.
Until next time,
If you're anything like me there are foods that you subconsciously associate with good memories and feelings... and these are foods that you turn to in times of stress or emotional turmoil even though we know it isn't the best choice. Maybe its cookies, or pizza or chips but everyone I know I would say they've done it at some point or another so I would say this is a common enough human issue. We comfort eat, and its often foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar when you think back on it. Today was one of the time for me. I regret allowing myself to do so but I'm not going to beat myself up about it either. I'm acknowledging the emotions that caused it so that next time I can find a healthier way to cope with those emotions should they come up again which I think is a much more effective use of my energy personally.
So, what happened? It's a bit of a long story that involved days of letting myself get emotionally run down to the point that my decision making ability wasn't up to where it needed to be essentially and I gave into the temptation of easy carbs. What did I learn? Take breaks when I need them instead of forcing myself to push through... I've done this my whole life and its time that I stop and acknowledge that I have limits and need to respect them. So, if you want to read the long version, here it goes:
I've been spending a lot of time going through boxes over the last few weeks as I unpack items that have been in storage for years while I didn't have my own place. This weekend it was time to go through the boxes I had stored in my guest and office closets as well as the garage as I had most of the weekend free of obligations. Thursday evening was lovely- I went through boxes from my childhood, discovered photos of my family from years ago, sorted through stuffed animals and trinkets I had collected over my younger years. There were moments of intermittent pain as memories surfaced of my mother's parents who both passed over the last year or so but the painful moments were brief and were far outweighed by the happy memories of summers and Christmases with family and friends.
And then came Friday night. I started out by putting together my brand new whiteboard for my office so that I could begin teaching again online. It was fun and even the dogs were having fun playing in the packaging. I figured that I'd finish up the guest room closet and then still have time to get through most of the office as well since I'm a night owl. The first boxes I opened were wedding memories and the next were boxes of our time in Korea. I had avoided those boxes like the plague for the first year after I came back to Texas and they had been in storage after that while I house-hunted for the next few years so opening them back to back wasn't a great choice but I thought it would be easier after all this time. I wasn't expecting the rush of memories and pain that those memories would elicit. Always logically minded I decided it needed to get done so I may as well finish the job and pushed though sorting the items: photos of our courtship, letters received from a beau in boot camp, a Valentine's Day gift card, photos with mutual friends and ones with family members, even some of his things that had been mixed in with my own because that's what happens when you're married... mostly good memories (I had taken care of the more negatively charged items in a previous purge) that dredged up pain that literally gave me palpations and drained. I should have stopped and waited to go through those boxes another day when the emotion hit me like a brick wall rather than go it alone and all at once but instead I finished as much of the task as I could. I ended up with a pile of items that will go to his parents to do with as they please, a pile for the trash and a few things that I simply wasn't ready to part with. Memories of happy times before the pain that I couldn't yet let go of despite the years that had passed and the hurt he caused me. Once everything was sorted, I did reach out to a friend but not the ones that would have been able to help me sort through the emotions in my head and heart the best and I ended up caught up in my own head for most of the night reliving a life long gone. I ended up watching a movie to try to move away from those memories with thoughts of finishing everything else today and fell asleep on the couch before waking around dawn to move to bed.
Today came, as it always does, and due to the late night movie session I had a really late start to my day but I finished up the little there was to do in the garage and went baby shower shopping- always a fun adventure. I didn't realize that I was avoiding the last of the boxes until I literally had done everything else but sort through them for most of the day. Wrapped presents for my nieces, two baby shower gifts, reorganized the guest bathroom, did the laundry, vacuumed, you name it. It was time to finish the office eventually though so I did, that's just who I am... if there is a job that needs doing I'll wrap myself in as much strength as I can muster and get it done. It needs doing after all and who else will do it? It was easier than I expected as most of it ended up just being paperwork- taxes, business documentation from when I was a dance teacher, lesson plans for my Kindergarten classroom, simple things with either little emotional attachement or good memories. Then there were high school photos which were fun sorting through- graduation, homecoming, choir parties, all kinds of fun. Occasionally a photo with my ex would crop up as we had dated in high school but we attended different schools so they were fewer than I would have anticipated... until wedding photos and family trips post marriage started coming up in the stack. Everyone was so happy and there were dear faces that I will likely never see again amongst the photos. To be honest it sucked, bad, and I had to lay aside the photos for a while but I finished the sorting and thought I had put the issue to bed. Not so much.
Refusing to just deal with the emotions and pushing them away caused me to make poor choices when it came to a very belated dinner where I was both hungry and hurting. I understood the why as I made the decision but didn't really care at the moment. Eating bad food didn't help the issue of course so I still had to deal with the emotional aftermath of three days of walking down memory lane afterwards. I have started that process already and will likely be continuing to do so for a while yet. But I'm doing it, I'm not tucking it away again to deal with at another time that never comes.
Why share this failure? Why show the world the cracks in the facade that is the me I've rebuilt the last few years? Because failure happens and that's ok. It isn't the end of the world to make a poor choice and you can come back from it 99.9% of the time without lasting harm. It may take me an extra couple of days to get to my goal weight now but in the scheme of things its not a big deal. I'll still make it there in the end and I'll be a happier person in the end due to the self-care of working on the emotional why's rather than self-torment over failure to stick to an eating plan.
We need to stop pretending that they're perfect 100% of the time and show our imperfections. We can help each other and build each other up rather than forcing everyone to feel a need to hide what is really happening inside themselves. Its the imperfections that make us the beautiful creatures that we are. They show where we've grown, strengthened weaknesses, where people have touched our lives- for good or bad... they show beauty and strength and trust in the person that you are sharing those imperfections with. Share your lives, be bravely imperfect rather than showing the world perfection... perfect is a lie.
Until next time, be amazingly imperfect,
2018 was an interesting year, full of major positive moments as well as some huge downturns as well. I struggled to stick with my "One Word" more than any other year to date... balance was difficult to achieve consistently. With that said, it was overall a good year. I thrived in my career, had amazing experiences with my friends and met a lot of my goals, including the giant one of buying a house!
So, let's jump into goals and wrap ups for each section of my life in 2018.
My career goals (which don't go online... sorry!) were almost 100% accomplished this year which was great. I love what I do and the people I work for and with and am continuing to learn and grow which is my #1 priority in this category right now. Unfortunately I didn't accomplish all of my side-hustle goals though. This was for several reasons but it essentially boils down to time commitments and my mental health. My Oma (grandmother) passed in November and my health had taken several hits in the previous few months which both affected my mental well-being. I needed to take a break to get back into a healthy place mentally and that need superseded the rather aggressive timelines I had set for my side-hustle goals in this situation. Its important to realize that sometimes your goals change or need to be put on a temporary hold for something more important- and that's ok. Just don't give up on something that you really want, rework the plan and keep going!
Social & Recreation
I didn't put any goals online in this category but I did have a few things that occurred here. With my "One Word" being 'Balance' this year I knew there would have to be some changes but, as I stated before, it was a battle. I hate saying no. Like, really hate it. I love my friends and my hobbies and would love to participate in everything that is out there... but I can't. The end of this year saw me cutting back on chorus activities to take care of myself and find a bit more balance in my life. Long term this is a transition to, unfortunately, resigning from one of my choruses and the board member position that I hold there. This was a difficult decision as I love all of the women there but with the move it just isn't possible to keep driving there weekly. This decision was announced in the last quarter of 2018 and will take effect in April. I'm working to find a way to keep these wonderful people in my life though, I love them!
Well, this one's simple... still single. Haha! I'm online and making sure to remain open minded about people that I meet but so far I haven't begun a relationship with anyone. We'll see what 2019 holds though. I'm content with my life but I am also hopeful that I will find the person God has in mind for me eventually. Fingers crossed for 2019!
Health & Wellness
Here's another place where I didn't quite make it to my goals. I did great for the first 3 quarters of the year but depression and stress derailed me. I'm back on track though and didn't let the partial failure get me down. Giving some grace and moving forward! I ended up losing about 20 pounds (I had gotten up to 40 pounds lost before things went crazy in my life) which means I've got a ways to go. I reset the under 200 pounds goal to June 2019 but I am hoping that I make it there a little sooner, we'll see! I love keto though, its definitely that best option for my body and its where I've decided to focus going forward.
Health wise... well its been more difficult for me the past 4-5 months than I have had to deal with in the past few years. This caused additional stress and pain which I'm sure didn't help with the weight loss journey. One day I'll talk about my medical conditions but I don't really have enough time to get into all of it today. I'll leave it at I've been in a lot of pain intermittently, my heart rate has been elevated significantly more often than usual and I've been dealing with some major allergy issues. No fun.
Education & Personal Development
I did meet the goals I put here with the exception of SEO classes. No time, its been rescheduled to later in 2019 and I'm a-ok with that. I read several really great books and have developed a love for audio-books during my drive time. Give it a try, I definitely recommend audio-books!
I'm still in progress on this goal as I added it towards the end of the year. I'm using the YouVersion app to work towards it. :)
Household & Home Life
I bought my house! Ahh! This is a new category since I'm officially back on my own (well, with the pups) so you'll see some goals developed here over the next few months. For now its mostly been: unpacking everything, getting the Master bed and bath linens purchased, sorting through clothing and trying to decide on curtains. The last one is still in the air... I'm not great with curtains.
OK, the big one that I talk about a lot here: financial goals. My main goals for 2018 here were: save up for a down payment for a house (check), pay off $5,000 in debt (the payment didn't clear till January, but soooo close!) and lower my monthly expenses. I managed to stick to my goals until I got the house when the last one- lowering monthly expenses- got a little more difficult. Between having some unexpected home bills, unexpected travel and depression it was difficult to keep steam rolling at the pace I was going before and I back slid a bit. Not an astronomical amount but I had hoped to blow the $5,000 goal out of the water rather than missing it by a paycheck. I'm not deterred though and next year will be easier to plan now that I've been in the house a bit longer and have a better idea on my monthly costs. I'm excited for where this one is going. One thing to note... though I didn't pay off as much debt as I wanted my net worth rose by over $15,000! This is from investments and growth in my 401k and 403b, debt payoff and the house purchase. Here's to next year being amazing!
I've updated the home page with my current set of goals for the coming year. Have you set your goals? Next week I plan to be back with another app review. See you then!
Check out the Keto in Canada series of blog posts to catch up on what happened during the Keto Reset then watch my first vlog (ever, eek!) detailing the final results of two weeks completely keto while traveling on business.
Would you like to see monthly updates on my weight loss, and specifically keto, journey? Let me know!
Until next time!
I'm sorry this is so late. It's been a little bit crazy since I got back home. I'll keep this update short and sweet and make up for it with a vlog next week about the final results after the full two weeks which included the second half of the week once I returned home.
Simply put, this Keto Reset was a success. I had the energy to do as much as I needed most of the days I was traveling- without dips in energy or crankiness. And I am not a morning person, ask anyone. Haha, a little caffeine first thing in the morning to wake up and I was good to go all day. That alone would have been enough of a reason to do this reset but I also lost a nice chunk of weight!
To recap, I started this reset at 233.2 lbs. Here's what the scale said the morning after I came home...
That's 7.6 pounds in 12 days, including traveling which is notorious for causing a bit of gain. Two days later it looked like this... a total of 9 pounds in two weeks. I did my official "two week keto reset weigh in" the next day and fluxuated down a tiny bit more.
As a side note... my scale's biometric numbers (fat, bone, muscle, etc.) are not accurate. It's a known issue with these scales. The weights are right but I ignore the other stats as they can vary minute to minute pretty drastically if I re-weigh.
I left my tape measure at home accidentally (I'll get this blogging on the road thing down for next time guys) so I don't have exact measurements but I did go down essentially a whole pants size. I took two kinds of jeans with me and the first didn't return. They were ruined by pigment but even if they hadn't been they were falling off by my last day there! The other type of jeans I took with me were able to go on and off without unbuttoning but didn't actually fall off my hips so they were my mainstay those last few days and the ones I have in my closet now.
I'll be talking about the pro's and con's of traveling keto in the vlog so check it out next week!
Until next time,
Its been a long but productive weekend on this Quebec trip and, to be honest, I'm pretty exhausted. I did want to pop online to give you a quick update on how the Keto Challenge has gone so far though. Basically... it's going really well. Both myself and my coworker have been making smart choices when it comes to meal time and are feeling pretty great and confident that we're both back in ketosis again based on our past experience.
Any Keto Flu?
Not this time, thankfully. I think I've got it figured out for my body this time around and with the added water and electrolytes I didn't have any headaches or muscle cramps in the first few days. I'll have to stay diligent though as I'm spending a good amount of time in non air conditioned areas and/or outside right now so losing both water and electrolytes quicker than I would normally back home.
What Has Mealtime Looked Like?
Breakfasts have been at the hotel every day I've been here and have consisted of eggs, cheese, a small amount of meat (usually ham but one day I had a slice of bacon), and possibly a small amount of something with a couple of carbs as I knew that the first few days would have a nice calorie burn before lunch hit- some nuts or 1-2 ounces of fruit.
There hasn't been a lot of snacking really, some nuts or fresh veggies and ranch occasionally here at the hotel here or there but that's about it.
Lunches and dinners have been a little all over the place depending on the schedule and what my coworkers wanted. I can usually find something anywhere and am happy to let them choose so long as there is a gluten free option that I can manage with my eating style (its rare that you can't make that happen here which is pretty great). I'll just write out a list below to make it easy.
Have I Lost Weight?
I don't know as I don't have a scale with me here at the hotel but my pants feel a little loser which is always a good thing and I am feeling great so I'm content to stick with it.
I'm really hoping for a nice amount to have come off by the time I get back home though. The first several pounds will just be water weight, I know that... they came back on within a couple days and will go back off in the same time frame but I'd really like to lose at least 7-8 pounds in the two week period (including the water weight). 10 would be amazing but pushing it I think, even with the addition of all the stairs I'm climbing here and the change of work environment adding more movement and calorie expenditure to my day. I'm not counting calories, at all, on this trip, by the way. We'll see but I'm hopeful. Even if I lose very little I will be ok with it though as I'm feeling great and my mind is working at full capacity with all the extra fats I'm throwing at it so I'm getting a ton done. Keto's worth it for those two alone in my opinion- weight loss is just the bonus that makes me do a happy dance at the end of the week.
Until next update!
I wanted to jump on to do a quick blog post as the next couple of weeks will probably be a little crazy for me as I'm in Montreal on a business trip. I'm looking forward to the crazy as always but it means I'll be changing up my blog post plan to accommodate the trip just a bit.
Another coworker (who is on this trip as well) suggested that we do a keto challenge for two weeks as we've both "fallen off the wagon" and will be out of our normal routines together so can hold each other accountable. I, of course. said "let's do it"... then our first evening here we went out for Italian food with a coworker from this office. We didn't make a great start of it *sad trombone* but we're going to start fresh tomorrow and get this challenge knocked out. I'll be making periodic updates about how its going. I'm hoping this reset sets me up for success again once I return back home.
My starting weight before I left:
Not my best weight, obviously I gained a few pounds through the last few months of being lackadaisical with my habits but I'm determined to hit my under 200 goal this year so this keto reset is exactly what I need. Let's do this!