Where did I go? Diet, Divorce, Lipedema and Liposuction!

I started my ketogenic journey on Memorial Day, and have continued with it since then. I was somewhere around 180+ lbs when I started. Today I am around 145 lbs. Most of that is because of eating keto, and intermittent fasting. But I can’t attribute it all to the diet.

In mid-June, my husband and I separated after 20+ years. It was very painful and I could not eat more than a few bites of food for several weeks. I lost at least 10-15 lbs during this time.

The separation prompted a lot of self-reflection, especially about body image, self confidence, and general health/fitness. I realized my whole life I’ve been on a diet. I am religious about exercising, including several years where I was running 5 miles a day – but the weight never went below a certain point (150 ish) and never stayed off.

No matter how many boot camps, miles ran or weights lifted, I could never seem to lose my “thick” legs. It was time to accept a truth I had been denying for many years: I have lipedema, a progressive hereditary fat disorder that causes all sorts of pain and health problems. Once you have lipedema fat in your body, there is no “natural” way to lose it. You can be anorexic and still have huge legs. I have had it since I was a teenager but I didn’t know. All these years I’ve been beating myself up about not being able to control my weight even though I didn’t know it wasn’t my fault.

Photo Credit: http://lipedemaproject.org/ebook/

Here is where you can learn more about lipedema: https://www.lipedema.org

A couple years ago I had accidentally stumbled on information about lipedema while researching liposuction. At the time I didn’t want to accept that my weight wasn’t fully within my control. But the trauma of my separation prompted me to finally face it. I found a specialist in Beverly Hills, and booked lipo on my arms, calves, and thighs.

So how did it all go? It has been a rough road, and I’ve had to be extremely disciplined to stick to keto all this time. But my weight is lower than its been in nearly 20 years and my lipo results are turning out great. I’m still not a supermodel but I’m so much more comfortable with my shape and size.

Over the next few posts I will be sharing the details of this journey. There is so much to share about lipedema, the benefits of lipo for lipedema patients, what lipo was like, how intermittent fasting and keto has impacted my weight and lipo results…..

Obviously I’ve been busy but my life is finally calming down a bit and I look forward to sharing this all with you!

Eggs in purgatory and grilled romaine 

Yesterday I tried a recipe for Eggs in Purgatory. I’ve been wanting to try it for ages. It was fine but probably not worthy of a repeat. This particular recipe had way too much paprika. 

I also had a “south of the border ” taco salad on Friday night that included an amazing spicy salad dressing. The dressing was so good I wanted to try it again last night but kick it up a notch with grilled romaine. I have never grilled lettuce before but have had it in restaurants. It was everything I wanted and more! 

Since Tuesday, when I started this keto experiment, I have lost a couple pounds which I am super happy about. I am diligently tracking macros — and my calories as well but not really restricting myself there.  I tested my ketones yesterday and I am not in the ideal zone yet. I am not going to be too hard on myself about that. Getting to 20 carbs or net carbs isn’t always necessary for everyone and I’m not sure it’s totally sustainable for someone like me who loves her fruits and veggies! 

Breakfast Tuesday 5/30/2017

Today’s breakfast. 2 eggs, 2 egg whites, 2 oz ranchero sauce, 1 oz greek yogurt and 4 oz blueberries. Plus vitamins and espresso. 

So….  I need to change things up to see some results. I have been doing some light reading on paleo, keto and intermittent fasting diets and like what I am reading. 

This week I am going to start “counting” calories and macros. I will try to limit calories to a realistic amount, such as 1700 calories per day. I will be trying to stick to a carb-protein- fat ratio of something like 20%-30%-50% (or less on carb). And I am going to try to limit the hours of the day that I eat to about a 7-8 hour window with a fast of 16-17 hours (generally midweek) with a possible longer fast on weekends. 

And I am still very concerned with nutrient density and overall food quality so I am reading this book to get started. I will also be researching more on the set point theory and how others overcome it. Any pointers are appreciated! 

Considering a change 

There is still confusion I have about the AH diet, and all other low carb, high fat diets. 

Let us assume:

  • Eating in the right macro proportions (fat, protein and carbs) promotes the body to burn fat for energy instead of sugar/carbs
  • Eliminating most sugars and carbs from ones diet eliminates cravings and promotes satiety on fewer calories 
  • Calories in – calories out doesn’t work because the body rebels by lowering metabolism and increasing hunger to maintain the set point.

Does weight loss come due to a net reduction of calories? Or because eating in this way promotes fat burning? Or both? I am confused. I have lost zero weight and think I am eating the right food, but too much.

Chicken Salad Modifications 

One of my very favorite recipes in Always Hungry book is the chicken salad. I have made it a few times and have experimented with minor modifications each time (mostly to save time) and I will share my dos and don’ts here.

DO:  make your chicken in the slow cooker the day before. It reduces the need for chopping, the meat taste and texture are better for chicken salad, and it’s just so dang easy.

DON’T:  skip toasting the walnuts. Not sure why but the depth of flavor is lacking without toasting.

DO: make the mayo from the recipe in the book. Most mayo has sugar. I recently got my hands on some sugar free mayo (after a ton of research) but the flavor in the chicken salad just isn’t right. I thought the jar mayo would help me save time but now I am spoiled with home made. 

DON’T: use strongly flavored or bitter green lettuce like kale as the base. It’s much better with mild flavors like romaine or butter lettuce. 

DO: use purple or red rather than green grapes. The flavor is slightly better and they bring a little color to the salad. 

Friday’s breakfast – smoked salmon makeover 

My first try at having the smoked salmon plate for breakfast from the week one meal plan was just ok. Cold smoked salmon is awesome but sometimes it’s a little much for me in both taste and texture. I had a very tough time finding hot smoked salmon without sugar in the ingredients, but I found some at Whole Foods, along with a nut-based cream cheese substitute. 

The meal plan called for an ounce of cheddar cheese but I decided I needed some dairy-free cream cheese instead. These little changes made for a much better and frankly fantastic breakfast! 

Overall rating 5 stars

  • Deliciousness 5 stars- light, fresh, savory
  • Hunger Satisfaction 4 stars- light, good for mid morning 
  • Prep time 5 stars- almost none – just slicing vegetables and cutting open packages 
  • Cleanup time 5 stars- almost none – just a knife and cutting board

Where have I been and how did I do in Phase 1?

I lost only a couple pounds in my 14 days in phase 1. Dr. L. Says you can stay in Phase 1 as long as you want, so I’ve decided to keep at it a while longer.

After the 14 days was up I went on a business trip for 5 days. I ate only Phase 1 foods but didn’t keep an eye on the 25-25-50 carb-protein-fat ratio. E.g., Caesar salad, eggs with avocado, nuts, grilled chicken salad with oil&vinegar dressing, etc. I didn’t gain or lose any weight. 

I then jumped right back into Phase 1 (per the books meal plan) when I got back. I am at the end of week 1 and my weight is holding steady. 

Some thoughts on why I didn’t lose more weight:

I ate too much: this diet does not calorie or portion control what you eat. Some dishes I found so irresistible that I ate large portions and/or multiple portions in one sitting. I know Dr. L. says that calories don’t count on this diet, but, let’s be honest, overeating is ultimately what got me here (here = 40 lbs overweight). I don’t buy it that you can’t overeat on this or any diet.

I didn’t eat enough or enough at the right times of day: some days the prospect of cooking caused me to put off eating altogether. I frequently skipped the snacks and ended up eating almost no food in the first half of the day and a lot of food in the second half. If I think about the effect this can have on metabolism, it’s not good.

Too much dairy: the premise of this book is based on the evils of sugar. Sugar causes more cravings and causes a physiological reaction that prompts the body to store calories as fat. Dairy has a lot of natural sugar in lactose. And there is a LOT of dairy in this meal plan. 
You may recall I did this diet “on my own” (aka, didn’t follow the meal plan at all) last year. Overall I lost 15 lbs in about 5 months that I immediately gained back over the next 5 months. 

Heres what I remember about what I did right during the losing weeks:

  • I was eating about 1600-1800 calories a day with lots of fruit and vegetables.
  • I weighed and measured and documented everything I ate. 
  • After my weight loss stalled I stopped eating dairy except for yogurt. 
  • I found a lot of dairy substitutes that are also low carb.
  • I end up eating dinner & dessert too late at night.

What I still really love about following the plan is that the cooking is teaching me about new cooking methods, ingredients and recipes I would never normally try. 

So for now, my focus will shift to troubleshooting why I am not losing weight, starting with cutting down on dairy. My next step is going to be to try to make sure I don’t eat late and/or skip breakfast (this is super tough for me- I am not very hungry until I’ve been awake 2-4 hours). If those don’t work I will start to cut back on portions. If that doesn’t work I’m going to look into intermittent fasting and kept diets. 

I also find that my schedule really can’t handle so much cooking and cleaning so I’m looking for shortcuts. (Just last night I ate at 9pm because preparing dinner took ages!)

My detailed blog posts were the first to go but I still plan to keep posting. I will give status updates, alternative meal plan ideas, travel meal suggestions, reviews on recipes, ideas to adapt recipes to eliminate or cut down on dairy, etc.