Tag Archives: atkins

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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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.#

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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. #

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

40 Pounds Gone!

First, Happy Independence Day. A few weeks ago friends started asking how much weight I’d lost on Atkins. I didn’t really know. I’ve lost a couple sizes, feel better, look better, enjoy the tastes of the food I eat and don’t miss sugar except every once in a great while like when we go to small group and Teresa (one of the amazing cooks in the group) makes cake balls. 🙂

I haven’t kept up with the actual number on the scale as much because when I started Atkins, I thought the weight would fall off fast, but that hasn’t been the case at all. In fact, this has been about the same as Weight Watchers. The only difference is I don’t crave food and I’m never hungry.  Or if I am hungry I increase my protein intake and problem solved.

A couple weeks ago I checked my weight and saw I’d hit the 40 pounds lost mark. I love that. 🙂

Recently someone asked me if I’ll ever be able to eat sugar again. I think the answer is no.  I know trainers say everything is fine in moderation.  But for me sugar and flour are like tequila and vodka for alcoholics. I eat  little and the next thing I know I’ve gained 100 pounds. Of course, it’s easy to say this when I’ve only been on Atkins for four months.

I also write inspirational romance and young adult novels as Elizabeth Lee. Current Book: Dead Girl Walking by Elizabeth Lee (YA). Coming soon: Letting Go by Mary Beth Lee (Inspi. Romance). 

Low Carb and Lovin’ It

Smoothie:

1 TBSP Almond Butter (3 carbs)

1 C unsweetened Almond Milk (1)

Splenda

Ice

1/4 tsp cocoa powder

Vanilla flavoring

Yum!

Wish I would’ve added some Arbonne powdered fiber, but I didn’t think about it until I was done. 🙂