Category Archives: low carb

First training session 

OMG.

Today I learned how to do a squat. The trainer, Shane, told me I’d be doing this, and I laughed at him. Yeah right.

If you know me you understand.

But no, really, today I did squats. 

And I learned how to bend and sit.

If you’re someone who knows this stuff, it looks pretty easy.

If you’re me…OMG.

I didn’t actually realize how hard I was working until it was time to leave and I had to walk again. Lol.

My knees are jelly now. 

I’m proud of me, and I’m thankful for the trainer who says “You’re not broken” while he helps me start down this road to strength and real mobility.

*cool thing about the trainer: he did his master’s at MSU. Yay Midwestern!

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Gym Time

When I was nine we moved to Texas.

What I remember from that time: every girl could do a cartwheel and most wanted to be  cheerleaders. I could not do a cartwheel, but I did want to be a cheerleader.

In junior high we started gym classes. Nothing in my junior high world was worse than gym. 1. I was overweight. 2. I couldn’t run, shoot baskets, serve volleyballs, hit softballs, do cartwheels, climb ropes or any of that awfulness. I did love that parachute thing we bounced a ball around on, and scooter races were always fun. 

Today I went to the gym I joined before leaving on vacation. I’ve been one other time. That was to meet with the trainer last week.

The trainer told me I have a mental block where athletics is concerned. He thought it might have been because of a bad coach. But it isn’t that. I LOVED one of my junior high PE teachers. She absolutely believed in me. She believed in all of us. 

I don’t really know what the problem is. 

But I know the trainer is right about my mental block.

I know because I have to psych myself up to drive up the road to go, and then I have to psych myself up to get out of the car and go inside.

Today I sat in the parking lot and told myself to stop being so ridiculous.

And then I took this selfie.


I told myself one day I’d look back at the photo and laugh.

But I don’t know. I look at it now and don’t really feel very funny.

A million moons ago I started this blog because it was January, I’d started a diet and I wanted to develop my writing voice.

Going to the gym is just part of the story.

Oh Sugar

My name is Mary Beth Lee, and I’m addicted to sugar.

I THOUGHT I could handle it. Just a little, what would it hurt?

Processed sugar doesn’t work like that for me. (If you’re one of those people who can eat anything without consequence, I hate you. Okay, not really, but seriously, that is so not fair!!!!)

If I smell processed sugar, I gain ten pounds. If I eat a bite, well, that’s a joke. No way am I eating a bite. I don’t even understand how people do that! DH can keep a pound of M&Ms by his chair and not even blink. If a pound of M&Ms is by my chair, they’re gone in a day…or two…maybe three ( hahahahahaha! a pound M&Ms for three days. That’s a good one!) No way are they sticking around for weeks. It’s like this voice in my brain clicks on and says, “Hey, if you go ahead and eat them all they’ll be gone and you can get started on your low-carb lifestyle again.” AND even though that voice has been lying to me for years, I DO IT. I actually believe that’s the answer. At least in the moment. Afterwards I wonder why I didn’t take the junk and dump it. And then I usually eat something else carby because hey, I’ve already blown the diet to hell, so why not?!

Story of my life: Me VS processed sugar. And if I’m not vigilant, sugar wins every time.

I know I’m not the only one who faces this issue. Every time I post about it on Facebook a ton of people comment. If you face this issue, too, I highly recommend The Atkins Diet book. I’ve added fruit to the mix right now. We’ll see how that works. I’m hoping it helps kick the processed sugar cravings.

The Girls in the FamilyIn the meantime, I’m going to think about my family. We took this photo one night while DD was visiting (from 1300 miles away! BOOO!!!). My mom, sister and niece were here, too. I was sooooo good at eating right and drinking water while she visited. Water is key, too.

Do you have to stay away from processed sugars? What are your tricks to staying healthy? Any foods you recommend? Feel free to share in the comments!

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Angel Eyes, The Guardian Book 3, OUT July 20!!!

THANKFUL #mywana

The British Museum always makes me think of Harrison Ford. Another thing to be thankful for.

The British Museum always makes me think of Harrison Ford. Another thing to be thankful for.

Things I’m excited about September edition: Survivor, cooler temperatures, the Colonial Marriage Ministry Sacred Marriage class, teaching InDesign to kids after school, watching the freshmen become Raiders, first amendment memorization, watching new editors learn to make lists, revising Sharlene book 3, more dominoes with Mom and Dad, kisses, decorating the living room of the new house, watching DD transform from a kid into a woman ready to take on the world, seeing Pam B on Wednesdays if only for a minute, remembering the freedom of an empty nest during deadlines but also remembering the newsroom is not life, orange, learning new low carb recipes that rock, CS6, gearing up for NaNo, high school football, hockey, halftime shows. Funny, when I started this, I thought the list would be small enough for a Facebook status update. Goal this year: start every day thankful.

Low Carb: How It Works For Me #MyWANA

Several people have asked how I’ve stuck to low carb for so long.

This is what’s worked for me.

imgres-1First, I purchased the new Dr. Atkins book. I read the entire thing before I committed. I wanted to know what the steps were. The book changed my thoughts completely. When I got it, I thought this was a diet. It’s not. If it’s a diet, you get the same results as every other diet. You’ll lose a ton and then gain it back. This is not a diet. It’s a lifestyle change.

If you’re like me you’ve spent years gaining weight at the scent of cookies while friends and loved ones could eat what they wanted in moderation. From reading the book, I learned the idea that weight loss isn’t exactly one size fits all. I finally understood why it took me hours in the gym to lose weight on the traditional low fat diets, and I understood part of why I suffered with cravings for years. There’s a reason we’re the most obese nation in the world even though we’re inundated with lowfat options everywhere.

Second, I followed the induction phase one plan religiously. This is the only way to break your body from its addiction to sugars. Read every label carefully. Fillers are everywhere, especially in meat. LABELS are important! Plan on lots of fresh food, but no sweets. Not even fruit.

Phase one is HARD at first. But it’s so worth it. You’ll feel better, and you learn to  really listen to your body about food. It’s easy to binge on a bag of potato chips. Not so much a block of cheddar. 🙂 Speaking of binging, a lot of my weight issues are mental. I have serious food problems. Anyone who can gain and lose 60 pounds in one year more than once in a decade has something other than food problems going on. I’ve starved myself so often over the years that the binge mentality became my norm. Some of you will relate. For instance, before my low carb lifestyle I’d buy a bag of M&Ms for the family to share (HA!). Those M&Ms would call my name until they were gone. No one else in the house cared about those M&Ms, but I DID. And after I ate them all in less than 24 hours, I HATED them and myself.  I’d swear to “be good” the next day only to binge again. It might be a month later, but the binge would happen. Guaranteed.

Since March 2012 I’ve binged twice: once on green beans and once on spinach. That’s makes me laugh when I write it, but it shows how ingrained my issue with food is. I remember exactly what happened with those binges and how crappy I felt afterwards and how I realized my food issues were bigger than food. I’m careful with both veggies now because I know they can trigger a binge, and even though that kind of binge won’t result in weight gain, it’s still an unhealthy behavior.  The good part of this is two problems in over a year. Pre-low carb, it was two a week.

After phase two, I quit following the Atkins plan word-for-word, but I’ve maintained my weight loss for several months by continuing low carb. My keys to success were and still are bacon, eggs, heavy cream, butter, coconut oil, almonds, almond milk, olives, pepperoni, cheese, cream cheese, cauliflower, spinach, flax, Atkins bars and protein mix. If I’m hungry, I can always make a protein smoothie, but be careful. A lot of those mixes are FULL of carbs.

Be super careful about eating sugar-free candy. A lot of it is made with sugar-alcohols, and while they don’t count as carbs, your body can process them like carbs. I found that other than Atkins bars, sugar-free candy made me crave sugar. I do use Splenda. I know the research says to get rid of it, but I haven’t found anything else that tastes right in my coffee.

I’ve added berries to my diet and I’ve started doing Pilates. My next goal is to add a cardio workout because I know that’s important for heart health.

Since dumping sugar, starch and flour from my diet, I’ve felt better, looked better and had more energy. I no longer crave carb-laden foods.

One more bit of advice: Pinterest and Google are your friends when it comes to great low carb recipes.

This is what worked for me.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.#

Title plate

 

 

Weight Loss, Writing and Commitment

my weight lossIt’s been a while since I talked about my weight loss journey. And it really is a journey. There’s nothing fast about it. Nothing miraculous. It’s what’s worked for me.

I don’t eat sugar or flour or bread. At all. And I haven’t since the middle of March 2012 (other than my 11-day trip to Ireland and the UK).

Some people say that strict of an eating plan will fail. For me the opposite has proven true. Cutting it out completely makes it easy to follow.

If you want to know more about low carb, check out the Atkins book. It’s what I used. I promised myself I’d add cardio to the mix this week, because that’s what makes the heart healthy.

Here’s the deal, though.

I LOVE Zumba and the elliptical. I mean, I LOVE them. I love working so hard my shirt is covered in sweat. I love the way my heart kicks into overdrive and my breathing grows deeper and I can feel my lungs. I LOVE it.

BUT getting to the Y, even though it’s two minutes from the house…UGH. I wake up with the best intentions ever and then before I know it, it’s 10 p.m. and I’ve watched a million episodes of Criminal Minds or cleaned house or spent five bajillion hours on Facebook. My best intentions are not cutting it. If I’m going to work in the cardio, I’m going to have to commit, just like I’ve committed to the low carb lifestyle.

That commitment is what’s necessary for my writing, too. I can’t start the day with the best intentions and then waste the day on projects other than my books. My poor office gets used for blog posts and critiquing others’ work, but it’s not seeing a lot of new words making it onto the pages of my current manuscripts.

So I’m committing. Because just like with low carb, when you commit, when you say this is how it’s going to be and there aren’t any excuses, the results happen. #

 

 

Low Carb in Ireland? Hah!

Packing for Ireland, I was prepared. I had my handy dandy almonds and beef jerky. I planned on keeping up the low carb lifestyle.

Hah.

From the minute we landed it became quite clear that the potato is still very much part of the Irish culture. And whisky…it’s everywhere.

So after 1 day I gave in and let low carb living fall to the wayside for this trip.

Totally worth it.

Irish Coffee

This was my only Irish coffee while there. It was amazing. We’d walked down to the beach and got caught in the rain on the way home. 58 in Ireland is like 32 here. We were so freaking cold. So I indulged. And it warmed me right up. 🙂 I told the bartender to make it like she would for herself. She added Powers instead of Jameson. It was yummy. And warm. And it made me happy.

The Best Coffee Ever

This was the coffee in our hotel rooms in Ireland. Instant coffee is the norm, and it’s not all that bad. We had an interesting group with us on the trip. One of the ladies told us she never drank coffee but the little man at the station across the road from us in Killarney made the best cup of coffee she’d ever tasted, way better than what was in our rooms. She said he made the coffee individually in his office and it was handcrafted. I cajoled my friend Susan into going with me to get that cup of the best. coffee. ever.

She ended up in front of me in line and ordered her coffee first. The sweet little old man took her order then promptly grabbed a cup from the back of the store and added steamed water to the instant coffee, stirred and served it up hot. Just like the free coffee in our rooms. Hand crafted. I didn’t order one. But we got a big laugh over that best coffee ever the rest of the trip.

An aside here: ON really wanted to go to drug store in Ireland because she read online that she could get Irish makeup in a drug store. So she and her roommate asked the sweet little old man where the closest drug store was. He leaned in close to them both and whispered, “What are you looking for? Hash?” They about died! When they told him they were just looking for some Irish makeup, he probably about died, too.

Back to low carb and giving it up for Ireland.

Sandwich

This was my first sandwich on bread since March 2012. I don’t know why I didn’t take photos of the potato soup, potato puree, fried potatoes, friend mashed potatoes, potato pancakes and other potato yumminess on the trip, but I didn’t. No. I took a picture of this beautiful work of art. It said it had mayo on it. It had mustard. And not mustard like we have here. I have no idea WHAT that mustard was, but DANG it was hot. I still ate it. And the bread. Everything in Ireland tasted super fresh, super delicious, super amazing. Well everything other than this strange carrot and potato curry some people ended up with in Dublin. I don’t think anyone liked it, and we all like curry. Very odd dish.

Even though we hiked a few miles every day, the decision to eat carbs resulted in a 7 pound weight gain over the course of the trip. I lost all 7 pounds within a week of being back on low carb. I thought it would be hard to get back to the no sugar lifestyle I’ve embraced. Nope. Easy Peasy. #

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If you like my blog, check out my books, exclusively on Amazon. I write inspirational women’s fiction (Grace is Enough and Letting Go) as Mary Beth Lee and young adult (Honor and Lies and Dead Girl Walking) as Elizabeth Lee.

Fat Girl Hell and Getting Over It

IMG_2768My name is Mary Beth Lee, and I was born fat.

I’ve talked about my struggle with weight and food in the past. In fact, this blog started with several posts about my weight and weight loss and Weight Watchers back in 2005. Since then I’ve lost and gained hundreds of the same pounds. A little over a year ago I discovered low carb living, and life has changed a lot. My struggle with food addiction isn’t gone, but it’s not so ever present. I’m not skinny, and I never will be, but I’m healthy and I’m happy.

I love that I can shop in regular sizes…but I don’t have to. If I want the extra length, I can grab a loose 1X.

What I mourn now is how much I HATED, LOATHED and DESPISED my body for years. I remember going on the cabbage diet in high school because I’d crossed the line to a size 14. I lost weight and gained it right back plus 10 pounds. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “you’d be so gorgeous if you lost a little weight.”

My stretch marks showed up about the same time my cycle started. I was far more mortified by those pink marks on my legs and breasts than I ever was at my period. I remember trying to eat one meal a day because my thighs were fat.

I started down the road to Fat Girl Hell early on, and it led me to a lot of self destruction, physically and emotionally.

I used my fat to hide. I used it for comfort. It was my identity even though I hated, despised and loathed it.

Today two things happened that brought this all back. One of my former students posted about a shirt  carried only in “fat girl” sizes and how much a person said they hated fat girls and fat girl only sizes and Huff Po carried a great story on plus sized models.

The fat girl comment hurt my former student’s feelings. I totally understand.

I can’t tell you how many “moos” or “can’t she just exercise?” or “with a little effort, you could do it” I heard over the years. If you’ve never struggled with weight, you have no clue how far from true all that is. There’s a reason the weight loss industry is booming, and it’s not because those of us who struggle need to exercise a little more.

The model story gave me hope that people are starting to see beauty in something more than weight.

Today I realized I don’t hate my body any more. I don’t despise it or loathe it. (Okay, I’m still really unhappy with my fat arms! If one more person tells me I inherited them from my Grandma Hagberg, I’m going to scream!) I’m not in the best shape ever, and I definitely need to get back into Zumba but NOT to lose weight. I need to get some cardio going for my health. Hearts need cardio. But I don’t have to be a 14 or 12 or 10 or 5.

I’m not going swimsuit shopping with a camera any time soon, but I’m cool with my curves. And all those people who told me I’d be beautiful if…well, I know they meant well. They weren’t being jerks on purpose. But they were being jerks, and they were feeding my self-loathing.

I’m going to end this with my words on Facebook today: Girls, love your bodies. It’s about health not inches. But I’m going to add one more thing: If you hate your bodies, it’s deeper than that. Don’t go there. Embrace who you are right now. In this moment. Regardless of the scale. Look in the mirror and say I am beautiful. And don’t let anyone tell you differently. Be cool with your curves.

*****

Current Liz Lee (steamy romance with heart) book Close to Home available on kindle!

Countdown

I’ve loved this year at school, but this break has been amazing. I’ve slept in, cleaned closets, found photos that made me laugh (on my Facebook if you want to see). I’ve spent time with family, lost Phase 10, eaten too much low carb food and created a “lowish” carb almond butter mousse to die for that’s now reserved for holidays only (recipe at end of post). I’ve spent hours with Emmie on my lap, survived another blizzard, and I’ve shared a million and twelve funny memes on Facebook, the best of which remains Grumpy Cat Star Wars. I’ve written (not enough) and read and read and read. I caught up to the end of the GRR Martin Game of Thrones series (SOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!), I finished Peggy Browning’s Fifty Odd book (SOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!), read Ally Carter’s Uncommon Criminals (Sooooooooooo Good!!!!!!!) and started the latest Dresden, which so far is….Soooooo good!!!

See a theme? That’s been this break. Sooooo Good.

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Recipe for Deadly “Lowish Carb” Almond Mousse

1.5 cups heavy whipping cream, splenda (I used four packets), a little vanilla: Whip it up

In a separate bowl combine 1 box cream cheese, 1/4 C almond butter (or more), sugar free chocolate syrup..just a little–maybe 2 TBSP, half that amount of sugar free carmel syrup.

TASTE that mix and see if it’s yummy. If it needs a little more sweet, add some splenda, one packet at a time. It doesn’t need to be super sweet because it’s rich, rich, rich.

 

Once it’s perfect, fold in the whipping cream you’ve already whipped up.

Top with dollop of whipped cream and a tiny bit of sugar free chocolate syrup.

OMG soooooooo good and sooooooooo bad.

Emmie Afghan

Size 14 is Not Fat

Woo hoo!

Woo hoo!

I started Atkins the last weekend of Spring Break 2012. Several friends had been talking about their health success cutting sugar from their diets and how their doctors were absolute in their advice that it was the only way to control diabetes. I’m not diabetic, but I was obese and miserable.

Losing weight is no new thing for me. This blog is testimony to that fact. (I think I started it almost a decade ago to help keep track of my weight loss.) I can’t remember a time I wasn’t on a diet. One of my earliest pictures is me at 4. I’m holding a ball and dressed in red, white and blue. My brother is a year younger than me. Our pictures stood side by side for years. When people saw my brother they always said “What an angel. Look at that curly hair and those eyelashes!” When they saw me they said “Look at that chubby baby. You’re so cute.”

I think I was on a diet then.

Yo-yo weight has been a part of my life. My closet used to have from size 10-20 in it. When I started Atkins and committed to a low carb lifestyle, I was a TIGHT size 22. I was probably a size 26, but I refused to buy over 22. I’d gotten down to a 16-18 the year before with Weight Watchers and Zumba, and I’d gained every bit of that weight loss back plus some.

To lose weight without a special diet, I have to work out 2-3 hours a day. No joke. The last time I got to a 10, I went to the Y and worked out on the elliptical for 2 hours then walked and ran for another hour or spent the last hour in the weight room. I was in amazing shape. I’d been there before. And just like before I gained the weight back because that level of workout is miserable for me. I lose life outside of work.

With Weight Watchers, I gain weight back when I stop counting points, and I crave foods. By cutting sugar, I’ve lost the cravings. I don’t have to worry about 32 Cheez-Its and how much they count because they just aren’t part of my life.

This month, I added berries to my diet. At the next size, I’ll add whole grains. But I won’t add sugar.

I used to say I could look at cookies and gain five pounds. Atkins helped me see that’s not exactly wrong.

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If you like my blog, check out my books on Amazon! I write Christian romance as Mary Beth Lee and Young Adult as Elizabeth Lee.