Tag Archives: low carb

Process Not Outcome

At the beginning of Atomic Habits the author James Clear explains why goal setting is not the best place for our focus. Goals end when you make them and it’s easy to go back to previous behaviors once the goal is achieved. Instead he says to focus on the habits of process.

I love that. When I first read the words I saw how true they were for me.

My LCHF way of eating is a process to focus on not the weight loss goal. I’ve hit the goal twice and gained weight again after because I didn’t focus on process. With writing I’d finish a book and quit writing for long stretches of time. I had a goal, but I didn’t really have a process. This is especially true since moving to Fort Worth. I see now I had a finish goal with no real process habit built.

I’m looking forward to developing my processes.

What I’m loving: The Dallas Stars, Within Temptation’s new album Resist, the novel Dumplin‘, DoTERRA’s On Guard mouthwash, Torani sugar-free peppermint syrup, LCHF

What I’m writing: So Much for Happily Ever After


Low Carb Helps

I’m a week and half in to my LCHF eating, back on track after months of not worrying about my diet.

10 days.

My acid reflux is gone.

My mood is significantly better.

My menopause symptoms are gone.

I’m thankful for all of that. But the biggest change is in my ankle.

It could just be time after cortisone a month ago, but I think it’s more than that.

My ankle was impinged. Doc said he couldn’t say exactly why, but we were going to try cortisone and if that didn’t work we’d move to exploratory surgery. My ankle is filled with hardware so MRIs can’t tell us anything.

The cortisone made a HUGE difference, but I still had to wear compression socks and boots.

Last Saturday I noticed the pain was gone. Yesterday I had full ankle mobility for the first time in months.

I’m not a doctor, but it’s pretty great that I feel better across the board AND the inflammation in my ankle is gone.

I have an ugly relationship with food. Low Carb helps with that. Hopefully this helps even more!

My Name is Mary Beth Lee, and I’m a Sugar Addict





“I don’t care. I’m eating creme brûlée.”

That’s how it started last December.

Who am I kidding? It started when I was four. I still remember seeing my picture and thinking man, I’m fat.

But this iteration of my addiction started last December 17.

Two and half years into a low carb lifestyle, solid size 10 and holding I went to Vegas with hubby for our anniversary.

On the flight there I told him I was eating creme brûlée. By the time we landed I’d decided to put my eating plan on hold.


Even though low carb loving me has a ton more energy, can maintain my weight, has the best blood work, has no arthritis pain, breathes better and rarely gets sick.

But, I told myself, it’s no big deal. It’s four days in Vegas. I can handle it.

And, I sort of did.

The thing is, after that, those “breaks” happened a little more often. A piece of chocolate here, mashed potatoes there, chips and hot sauce and queso. Tamales. Margaritas.

You know. Little celebrations where food became my go-to instead of my fuel.

And I mostly maintained. I gained 10 pounds over six months, but I could drop that in a month with dedication and exercise.

That’s what I told myself as I took out the size 13s and 14s.

And then my father-in-law’s terminal cancer turned into a dark, dreaded awfulness. The every two week trips became weekly back and forth from Ft. Worth to Lawton. DH stayed there mostly. Life was a waiting game and fast food and family and stories and shared desserts and visiting and mourning and trying to stay positive and knowing the inevitable end was here.

When my father-in-law passed away,) I vowed to get it together, get back on plan, take care of myself.

The 10 pounds had become 20. The 14s, 16s.

I banned sugar from my existence. I got my flu shot.

My voice disappeared for three weeks. The first week was a weird laryngitis. The next two weeks were filled with the kind of sickness where chicken noodle soup seems like the perfect answer. Adding a piece of carrot cake to that McCallister’s order was just medicine.

The 20 pounds became 30.

And of course, that weight destroyed my body. Arthritis reared its ugly head. My ankle impinged. I had to use a scooter to get around.

You’d think THAT would be my wake up call. It took about three weeks more for me to get my head straight.

My relationship with food is all kinds of messed up. It has been my entire life. I know that. My body chemistry is different from the norm. As my doctor says, I need to steer clear of white foods. 😊

It’s not “fair,” it’s a pain in the neck to eat with friends, it’s life without ice cream–and don’t even get me started on devil’s spawn Halo Top, that slippery slope to sugar hell.

I can wish all day that working out was the answer. It’s not enough for me. Neither is simple calorie reduction.

One thing works in a way that is healthy for me. No short cuts. No “time off.” No sushi.

I started this blog a bajillion years ago with the plan to focus on weight loss, writing and family. I have no idea how many pounds I’ve lost and gained, but let me tell you, I am expert level at both.

That’s got to stop.

I know it.

So here’s to me losing weight while getting healthy, again. If we’re friends in real life, I hope you won’t be offended when I turn down the M&Ms or your homemade cupcakes or those Christmas tamales. My body needs me to say no.

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!!!

Thinking About Low Carb?

Dear low-carb dabbler,

Welcome. I don’t blog a lot about this now, but trust me, I’m a good source. I lost 70 pounds over the course of two years using Atkins first and then changing over to a general low-carb lifestyle.

And then six weeks ago I fell off the wagon big time. The first fall was Valentine’s Day this year. I thought I could handle it. And maybe I could if I hadn’t continued “cheating” every once in a while. For the last six weeks it hasn’t been every once in a while, it’s been almost all the time. The only thing I kept up was NO bread–thank GOD.

Because I’m telling you if I had eaten bread, I’m not sure I could be on day four of induction…again

I keep telling myself it’ll be okay. And it will be. But…ohmigod DAY 4 SUCKSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

I tried to take a nap and saw visions of ice cream.

I realize suddenly I am really screwing this up this time. There is a secret to success when you start low carb living. The secret: find the induction food you love and stock up.

I didn’t do that this time and it’s killing me.

I’m definitely buying pepperoni when we go to the store. It’s a great snack. And cheddar cheese. Cheddar is your friend…usually.

I’m not going to eat the potato chips DH has stashed on the top shelf of the pantry even though they’re taunting me, turning my kitchen into something akin to Dante’s fifth circle of hell. I’m going to hand tough because I know in a week or two I’ll be able to sit with my friends while they eat whatever they want and I won’t crave it all.

So, know this. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. For some people the weight comes off fast. For me it was relatively slow, but it DID come off.

If you’re looking for recipes, check out Linda’s Low Carb site.

AND get the Atkins book. It’s worth it.

And if you need a cheerleader in your corner, feel free to comment here or over on twitter @marybethleeybnp.

Big shout out to my cousin Karleta for reminding me I can do this and to author Susan Gable who invited me to get back on the low carb wagon this week on Facebook.





AND then….

So I fell off the low-carb wagon again. And I’m a mess. UGH.

Tomorrow is going to be the new day 1, or I’ll blink and be a size 24 again.

We have five days left this year. The psychology of school in June for the first time is pretty surprising. I didn’t expect it. I mean it’s five days. Big deal, right? Turns out that answer is YES!

Tomorrow the new staff meets after school in the newsroom. I’m looking forward to that. And we start finals. And the seniors start signing the wall. And we’re one day closer to the end of the year. And I work for a great boss. And I have awesome students. And I work with some amazing people. And Donna didn’t die on The West Wing…which has NOTHING to do with school except The West Wing Season 5 was my escape this weekend and for three episodes, I thought my favorite character was going to die, which I think is probably directly related to the whole falling off the low-carb wagon thing. Anyway, Donna didn’t die and neither did Leo…which, I’m just saying, I’d need a gallon of Chunky Monkey if Leo died….I figure with all these almost die moments, someone is going to die and I’m going to hate The West Wing Writers for life.

So yeah, it’s been a weird year. And these last five days are going to be hot, hot, hot, but we do have a chance for rain Friday.

I need summer. Somehow, I bet I’m not alone.

The Pay Off

Yesterday’s words were hard fought. I mean I had to tell my brain to shut up and force every sentence. But I did it. I didn’t stop and check out the Olympics. I didn’t go to cnn.com or timesrecordnews.com or huffingtonpost.com. I forced myself to write.

Today I was at school until late and had to go grocery shopping. I hate grocery shopping alone, but it’s lots of fun with hubby. We made steaks, and I tried a new recipe: roasted cauliflower (recipe at bottom of post). We watched the Olympics while we were eating. Quarterfinals for some cool looking skiing event with lots of jumps and skids and all sorts of fun. It would have been easy to skip the writing tonight, especially when yesterday’s words were so hard to come by.

But I didn’t. I started at 8:30 and finished at 10:30 and right now, I like the words. I kind of love them. I have no idea how I’ll feel about them when I get to revisions, but I’m not going to worry about that right now. This is the draft stage, and I gave myself permission to write crap because I can’t fix a blank page. It’s way easier to teach it than to do it. 🙂



Roasted Cauliflower:

I head of cauliflower. (The fresh stuff, not frozen.)

4 TBSP butter. (I’ll use 2 next time and add some coconut or olive oil)

Minced onion, garlic salt, pepper.

Stick it in the oven at 350 for an hour stirring every once in a while.

AMAZING, Easy, low-carboliciousness ❤

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.


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.


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. #


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.