Picture The Holidays - Day 21
Today you're encouraged to show a little (or a lot) of "sassitude." Get creative and show off your wild side, whatever that looks like to you.
Here's a fact about me that you would not know unless you know me in real life. That is, I used to weigh dangerously close to 300 pounds - my highest recorded weight being 283.
I don't weigh any more for reasons I'll reserve for another discussion at another time, but I've posted recent pictures of me and I think its pretty easy to tell that I've lost a little. The photo you see here is my official "before" picture as it was taken my first day on the Atkins diet.
This was taken in 2002 and to say it was the first day of the rest of my life would not be an overstatement. This diet, and all the attitude adjustments required to stick with it and take control of my health, literally gave me my life back. In 2004 I walked across the stage to accept my college diploma at 39 years old and 100 pounds lighter. I was feeling pretty darn sassy I must say. (See, there is a tie in to today's theme, I just had to work for it a little).
The reason I chose a carbohydrate restricted diet was simple. Nothing else I had tried worked, and I was seriously considering gastric bypass surgery. One of the health care providers who was treating me at the time suggested that I may have a condition known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and referred me to an endocrinologist. Unfortunately, endocrinologists are in short supply where I live and I couldn't get in to see one right away. So, I did what I usually do when faced with a problem, I bought a lot of books. The stack of books you see in today's image are just a small sampling of my weight loss library - these are just the low-carb oriented diets and I'm not even sure its all of them.
I eventually peaked at a 120 pound weight loss and I'm happy to say I didn't regain the weight. However, I won't lie and say I kept it all off. Over the past six years, I've regained and lost significant portions of it and always, ALWAYS, the gain has to do with backsliding and playing fast and loose with the carbs.
With PCOS and a family history of diabetes on my mom's side, I knew back then (and my doctors loved to lecture me about it) that it wasn't a question of "if" but "when" I would develop diabetes if I could not get my weight back in control. Nevertheless, two things happened this past year which brought the point home: My fasting blood sugar and cholesterol (which had suprisingly always been normal) were creeping up too high. I was pre-diabetic, and then my dad was diagnosed with diabetes this past summer. Ok, how many risk factors do we have here? PCOS, gestational diabetes, maternal AND paternal family history. All I can say is that I'm darn lucky not to diabetic right now.
When my dad was diagnosed, I hauled all my books down to his house, and he's done a fantastic job in managing his disease. He's been able to reduce his medicine due to his great (low carb) eating habits. He and mom have both lost weight and look happy and healthy. See?
Dad had already lost quite a bit of weight in the picture on the left because that's what happens when your pancreas crap out. But, he's continued to lose weight and he runs three or so miles every day, and 6-10 on the weekends. Not too shabby for a 69 year old dude, eh?
May I hear your excuses for not exercising now? No? I didn't think so. :)
My online low-carb buddy, Viv, is an excellent cook and makes a killer low-carb cheesecake. I asked her for the recipe so my dad could enjoy a real sweet treat this holiday. To make sure my version of it was holiday worthy, I did a trial run and we enjoyed a slice together last night. It was great! So, much so that dad was convinced it was going to spike his sugar.
So, it occurred to me that there may be a connection between all this feeling crappy, tired, etc... with the fact that my eating habits have been awful of late. There's so much junk in the office delivered to us by vendors, and I've not stayed out of it like I should. There was a time when it would not have been a temptation. It is time for an attitude adjustment. Time to get back to that place where the foundation of my self care plan was eating right.
Several years ago, when I was heavily involved in the low-carb online community I briefly wrote for a little online low-carb oriented magazine. I wrote on this very topic and it was quite a wake up call to read my own words written when my head was on straight about food. I'll share it here with you and hope it encourages YOU to take good care of yourself first through this holiday season. Click here to read. I hesitated to write anything about diet this close to New Year resolution making time.
Because losing weight as a resolution is generally not that successful. I don't want to encourage anyone to set themselves up for feelings of failure and self loathing that is likely to hit right about the time that the heart shaped boxes of chocolate hits the stores.
What I would encourage you to do (talking to myself here, too) is to make good eating a way of life. I got back on track yesterday and I'm not saying I'm going to abstain completely from sugar through the holidays, I am going to get back to the basics of the day to day choices that helped me get my weight down and feel good again. You can do something to feel better today and you don't have to wait until January 1st.
Edited to add: With Viv's permission here is the recipe. Note: Some ingredients might be hard to find in your area, and I'm not one to hunt for them either. I've found Amazon to be a great source for stuff like this and its so easy! I'm an Amazon prime member, so the shipping was free and it came here quick. I've included product links where applicable and the product/pricing below.
1 cup Almond Flour
½ cup Vanilla Protein Powder
1 tsp liquid Splenda or vanilla
4 TBS butter, melted
32 ounces cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup Sugar Free Vanilla Coffee Syrup
¼ cup Erythritol
¼ cup Splenda
1 tsp lemon juice
4 eggs plus one yolk
3 TBS sour cream
1 cup sour cream
½-1 tsp vanilla
stevia & eyrithritol, (to taste)
Mix ingredients for crust and press into a springform pan. Bake 8-10 minutes on 350 degrees then remove crust and turn oven to 300.
Mix cream cheese with sweetners, and add rest of ingredients except eggs. Mix well with mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating just until blended. Pour into crust. Bake 1 hour at 300 then turn oven down to 200 and bake another hour. Remove and let sit by the stove while mixing up topping. (Using a water bath will prevent cracking, and I also put a layer of foil on the top oven rack to keep the cheesecake nice and pale.)
Mix sour cream, vanilla and sweetner (usually two pkgs stevia and a small amount of erithritol). Spread onto top of cake and bake 15 minutes at 200 degrees.
Chill in refrigerator and when cold remove pan. Chill uncovered for 24 hours before serving to "cure". Serve with strawberries, blueberries, etc.
Here are a few