Friday, June 15, 2012

Carb Cycling for Weight Loss

One of my current projects is to drop the last 20 lbs of baby weight that I have stacked on over the last 5 years and 3 children.  Last year, my parents both went on the Atkins diet, lost a ton of weight, and looked great.  I have to say, I have always been a little leery of the Atkins diet as I thought it mainly consisted of eating eggs and bacon all the time.  I suppose that it could be done that way but after reading the book adn seeing what the diet truly consisted of, I became a believer and started induction on the 15th of May 2012 and have lost 10 lbs since then.  I know that most of the weight is water weight as it is with most diets but a pound is a pound regardless of what it is made out of when you are first starting out and every little bit motivates me to continue.  I did pretty well sticking to the Atkins induction plan and once my body went into ketosis, I had to remind myself to eat during the day.  It was great and my cravings really did disappear.  I have to admit that after awhile, I did probably consume too much bacon as it was a good substitute for the sugary foods that I craved before the diet.  At first, I was totally appalled at the amount of dietary fat and cholesterol that I was consuming but eventually got used to it.  I figured that any negative effects on my cholesterol levels would eventually be taken care of as I ramped up exercise and started adding in more fiber.  Since starting induction, I have been adding in more carbs at strategic points during the day and have continued to lose.  At first, I was doing one big carb binge day per week.  This kicked my body out of ketosis and I immediately would gain about 3 lbs of water weight almost overnight.  Then, I would go back on induction and lose that weight plus about 2 more pounds pretty quickly the following week until the next carb day.  I have since tried some other modifications and what I am currently doing is eating my fruit or oatmeal in the morning for breakfast after I have completed a weight lifting work out.  While I was on induction, I was not working out at all and felt like my muscles were pretty weak and I would tire out quickly.  On the other hand, I had great mental clarity and energy for the long term (ie. getting through the day without that big carb crash in the afternoon.)  I absolutely loved that aspect of ultra low carb dieting.  With the current way of eating, I am trying to keep my body in a glycogen-depleted state for most of the day and hoping to reclaim that low carb-mental clarity and preserve muscular strength in order to have some energy to complete a good workout and build lean body mass in order to get rid of my current flabbiness.

I have to mention that I was also breastfeeding my 7 month old when I was doing Atkins so I had to really work at ensuring I was consuming 1800 to 2000 calories during the day and drinking enough water.  I found that the milk supply didn't really seem to drop when I was in ketosis and I feel like I was getting enough calories to fuel the breastfeeding process.  My baby continued to gain weight and be satisfied with her nursing sessions.  I have to say that I think my body went into ketosis pretty quickly when I first started and I wonder if breastfeeding may have had something to do with it.

Many people report that doing Atkins induction does not negatively affect their muscular strength.  I found that it lowered mine and I believe that could have been due to breastfeeding as breastmilk has a pretty high carbohydrate content.  I know our bodies adapt to the particular fuel that we feed them and as my body has gotten used to ketosis, energy levels have definitely improved and muscular strength has improved somewhat.

Getting into the carb cycling portion of my diet as I added back in some carbs was fun and tasty!  I still have not eaten much bread as that seems to put me to sleep pretty easily.  Most of my carbs have come from fruit and beans.  I started the carb cycling by getting into a good deep ketosis and eating my portion of carbohydrate earlier in the day and immediately after a workout.  It should take about 45 to 60 seconds of lifting to deplete glycogen stores in a particular muscle group.  When we wake up, our livers are naturally depleted of glycogen as our brains use it up during the night when we sleep.  Upon waking, we are in a more ketogenic state.  If I deplete my muscles of glycogen by working out, my muscles are primed to refuel and the hormone glucagon is activated to shuttle that carbohydrate (sugar) into the depleted muscle groups (and the liver) and thus, fat storage is not apt to happen as readily.  So far, I have tried strategic carb cycling for a day and did not gain the usual 3 lbs of water weight that I would normally gain when eating carbs.  I also notice that if I try to remain in a glycogen depleted state for most of the day by going low carb for the rest of the day after lunch, I don't get that dopey tired feeling in the afternoon and can still maintain a clear head and plenty of energy throughout the day.  This helps a great deal when chasing after little kids and keeping up with all of their shenanigans all day long.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Burning the candle at both ends

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like you are running the entire day through with hardly an opportunity to come up for air?  Today was the kids' birthday party.  We had 30 party guests over to the local gymnasium for a gymnastics party.  Everyone had a blast and I like an off site party for the sheer ease I have in the clean up afterward.  This one was short and sweet and ended up being much less expensive than holding the same party at my house.  We were also able to invite more guests because the gym is obviously larger than my house so nobody was left off the guest list. 
Following that, we visited our friends' house for an impromptu pool party get together.  Where the kiddos had fun with their new "floaty" swim gear.  I have to admit that I am one of those paranoid mothers and neither of my children know how to swim.  I tend to avoid swimming pools because the thought of keeping track of two non swimmers plus baby K is even worse than actually squeezing myself into a bathing suit.  This called for an emergency trip to our local Wally World to find the necessary gear that would put this momma's mind at ease about letting my little ducklings into the water.  We purchased these Sterns puddle jumper life vests in lieu of inflatable water wings and they worked out beautifully.  Unlike water wings, they have an additional floaty part that crosses the front of the child's chest and I think it provides a bit more support and security for the young non swimmer.  Additionally, it helps them float on their backs easier, preventing water from getting up their little noses.  Our friend's little 2-year old boy also tried them out and was able to swim like a little minnow; whereas before, he disliked using those inflatable water wings that are worn on the upper arms.

After the pool party, we met our other friends to drop off keys to their house as they just pulled in from their 6 day cross country move out to our neck of the woods…Whew!  On the drive back to our house, the three kiddos in the back still had enough energy left to ask me to play with their birthday gifts that we were still toting around in the back from the birthday party this afternoon.  Since the sun was almost completely set and I knew that breaking out the toys at this point in the evening would invite more whining later, we ended up finishing our day about an hour past bedtime throwing those little TNT pop its in our driveway.  A great end to a very busy day!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

All aboard the potty train - the joys of potty training a boy!

Well, we are at that time of life once again.  It's time to board the potty train and we hope to stay on for the ride until the end of the line.  My son, A, just had his third birthday this past April and we are finally getting into potty training.  I know, you may think that I am pretty late in starting this with the little guy; however, we had a lot on our plate during this past year and I just felt that I needed to wait until preschool was over for my daughter before embarking on this little journey with A.  So, yes, he is three but I feel that waiting until the child is old enough to dress themselves, open the door, and hoist themselves up onto the big toilet without help are the criteria that sets Mommy and little one up for a great trip on the potty train.

With my daughter, she decided at age two (one day after my husband's departure to Iraq and one day after I arrived home from the hospital with then newborn baby A) that she wanted to start potty training.  I purchased one of those combo sets that had a potty which transformed into a step stool.  We set up shop in the kitchen and I did the whole remind-every-20-minutes thing while trying to breastfeed my newborn at the same time.  It ended up being frustrating for both myself and my daughter, C.  After about a month of this business, I finally told her that we were quitting.  I know, I probably give up too soon but my tolerance for frustration is pretty low and I tend to be impatient by nature (God is working on that one though!)   We started and stopped several times over the next few months until she hit that point of self-sufficiency that I described earlier and pretty much took the helm in training herself.  She was good to go by 2 and a half.

My son is doing well also but boys seem to be much messier to train than girls.  I am at a loss on how to prevent the over spray that happens and have pretty much resigned myself to a nightly dousing of the bathroom with bleach cleaner in order to make it presentable for the next day.  Currently, we are shooting cheerios and that is what we call going to the potty.  We say, "A, do you want to shoot the cheerios?" and that seems to work with him.  The only problem, once the cheerios are sprinkled into the bowl, he tends to spray the back of the toilet.  Other than that, he is doing great at not having accidents and I am hoping his aim will improve in the near future!  How have you potty trained your kids?  Any great tips or ideas?


Hello and welcome to my comfy little home on the web where we will talk about all sorts of things related to the domestic life, child rearing, and more!  I am the mother of 3 wonderful children whom I'll refer to as C, A, and K.  C is my oldest and is going to turn 6 this Spring.  A is my second oldest and he is 3.  K is the baby and she is well into her 2nd year and is already trying to rule the roost.  I love projects, organization, finances, and anything to do with the home.  Come on and discuss what is important to us in this wild and wonderful world of homemaking and raising a family.

God bless you,