Archive | February 2013

OH dear god what’s wrong with me??!

There’s one thing people don’t tell you about Atkins, and that is the effect it can have on your hormones. I’ve been on the pill for 10 years now, for medical reasons. I can count the amount of times on one hand, wherein something went wrong with timing. When you’re on Atkins, you put your body into ketosis, so you burn off the reserve fat you have. Estrogen (oestrogen) and body fat are linked directly. This hormone is also linked to the menstrual cycle. The Atkins farce can massively interfere with your cycle (EVEN ON THE PILL).

So the dilema I now face? After talking with my doctor, who gave out to me for going on this diet, I have to come off from it. What if I pile on the pounds again? Have I damaged myself in the long run? What will the long term effects be?

My plan: speed up the phase 3 (i.e. introduction of carbs back into the diet). I’ve managed to loose some inches at this stage, and I hope it hasn’t been in vain.

December 2012

Waist: 32″            Hips: 42.5″               Bust: 38″                     Thigh: 24″

Febuary 20th 2013

Waist: 28.5″        Hips: 40″                  Bust: 36″                     Thigh: 22″

That’s an average loss of 2″ off each place!

Today, I made a pizza, from scratch. The base was made first, and then the toppings were added and it was cooked again. I have to say even though it was small, it was super filling.

For the Base:

Poppy seeds

Ground almond

2 Ryvita crackers

1 egg

2 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

Crush the ryvita crackers. Mix all the base ingredients together and mix until a stiff, tacky mixture is formed. Place the mixture into a mould, or, spread out on a piece of tin foil. Bake for 10 minutes (200 C), until the top begins to brown. Remove from oven, flip the base over, and add your favourite toppings. Bake for 10 minutes, and enjoy.

Home made base, home made passata, goats cheese, mozarella, onion, peppers, spinach, and salami, nom nom nom!

Home made base, home made passata, goats cheese, mozzarella  onion, peppers, spinach, and salami, nom nom nom!

I bought lots of nuts, berries, and baking ingredients such as coconut milk (dessicated coconut and fruit bar thingy??), poppy seeds, and almond flour. It should be interesting. To offset the change in diet, I’m skipping every night, and doing some muscle work outs. I’m also drinking 1.5 L of water every evening too.

Every project has to start somewhere, right? There are some really good websites out there where women are talking about the effects of Atkins on their body, I would highly recommend a read if you’re thinking about trying this diet. A good alternative is the paleolithic one, to forcefully put yourself into ketosis, you’re putting yourself at risk. IT is something that should be discussed with someone like your GP.

Atkins Pancake Tuesday

Well Pancake Tuesday has come and gone, with many people feeling the self loathing of an indulgence session. Not me, for once! Desperate not to miss one of my favourite days, I scoured the internet for Atkins friendly recipes. A lot of them have been written by those living in USA, and for the poor souls like me, who live in Eastern Europe, finding some of those highly engineered/modified foods is extremely difficult. So here’s my alternative pancakes for those of us who are counting the carbs. This recipe made about 12 pancakes. The net carb count is about, per pancake, 1.2 g (amounts used here, ground almond 12 g, sour cream 0.35 g, regular cream 1.6 g, total in batter 13.95 g).

Ingredients:

2 eggs

200 g ground almonds

1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon sour cream

1/2 tablespoon whipping cream

1/4 cup of sparkling water (puffs them up)

Method:

Mix everything together in a bowl to prepare the batter.

Pancake mix, and my feet!

Pancake mix, and my feet!

Prepare you pan with a little butter, add a dollop of batter into the centre of the pan, and spread it out by swirling the pan.

It's simmering away nicely!

It’s simmering away nicely!

Two minutes later, tada! It’s a pancake.

Nom nom nom nom, whipped unsweetened cream, fresh raspberries and melted diabetic chocolate.

Nom nom nom nom, whipped unsweetened cream, fresh raspberries and melted diabetic chocolate.

As with all sugar alcohols (like those in the diabetic chocolate)  I will be feeling this in the morning. For those unaware, these compounds cause severe cramping and can give you the runs. The upside? Short-lived taste of chocolate, smothering some tangy raspberries with the smoothness of freshly whipped cream. The sparkling water makes them lacy, just like the pancakes at home. Most people recommended that a sweetener be added to the batter. I would definitely agree, maybe use vanilla essence, or stevia; try to stay away from aspartame. Alternatively you could add ginger and cinnamon. The texture is a little dry, so adding some lemon juice or fruit and cream makes it  more moist.

So the Atkins is going well. Still losing weight, with just under a month to my friends wedding, I’m looking forward to trying on my old red pencil dress (ala 1940’s). I need to get my ass moving on the required exercise though as I am falling behind there.

With the diet going well, the next avenue of my transformation is changing the inside.

Phase 2, finally!

I have had my 2 week induction on Atkins. All I can say is thank you to those people who have posted ingenious recipes online (as per my last post). Phase 1 is the scariest thing I think I have ever read. It was so challenging especially in the first few days, where the change to fat burning happens. But I did it! And celebrated with some new clothes at the weekend. So, now I am ready for you phase 2!

What delights await me? Yogurts, berries, and nuts. I had my first yogurt yesterday, boy oh boy, did it taste good. It was just a plain one, but, wow, delightful. For dinner then I had a delicious steak in a beer house, like Porterhouse bars at home. The restaurant from last night had the most delicious flap steak, and most importantly, had an egg with it- no sides of potatoes of fries offered, it was mouth watering!

One challenge most Atkins participants endure, is the sheer lack of Atkins friendly menu’s, especially in obscure parts of Eastern Europe. The local Indian was a great choice last week, with lamb kebab, and cheesed spinach. I would love to explore more Czech restaurants, but the diet consists mostly of meat and bread.

On Atkins the upcoming Shrove Tuesday (pancake Tuesday) will be difficult. I don’t think I’ve ever missed a pancake Tuesday! Browsing through the Atkins carb counter, I spotted I can have nuts and meals (flours), which opens the possibility of pancakes made from almond flour! I have never made them before (jump in if you have, would love some advice), but I am looking forward to it. Just in time phase 2, as I can also have lemon juice! I may even attempt to make cocoa cream (cream and un-sweetened cocoa powder) for my almond pancakes, or melted diabetic chocolate! I’m salivating already!

So phase 2 continues for about 5 weeks. So far (in just 2 weeks) my skinny jeans are baggy, and my t-shirts aren’t clingy! In figures, -2″ from waist, -2″ from thighs. These are my weight loss indicators, I haven’t measured the rest just yet. Nonetheless, this is a great start for me! Sometimes what’s on the outside affects us on the inside, now I know that shouldn’t happen in an ideal world, but in a world where body image is something that can make or break you (as pounded into our faces daily, by the media) it happens. We as humans can be very silly.

Oh carbs, how I miss thee…

So it’s been a grueling start to the week. I was knocked for six by a stupid head cold over the weekend. The last thing I wanted to eat was more friggin lettuce!! I got a bit frustrated with the lack of variety in my diet, which for the past week had been cheese, meat, salad (sleep, repeat). For a foodie such as myself, this is a nightmare. But nonetheless, I can see the results already, the upside.

So I looked into the allowed food for the induction phase, and the internet saved me. I found amazing recipes online from other Atkins suffragettes, such as pizza (dough made from ground pork rinds and eggs) and mashed fauxtatoes (awesome recipes). I also discovered such a thing as spaghetti squash, which I am really looking forward to, once I can get my hands onto it!

spag squash

 

Spaghetti squash (this is not my image)

I took a trip to the local giant supermarket with the hopes of finding some awesome new things. They don’t sell pork rinds, this made me sad. However, I did find diabetic sweets which are made with sugar alcohols rather than suger, and so have lower net carb counts (carbs-fibre). I have also tasted diabetic dark chocolate, and my faith has been renewed!

So what’s next? Phase 2. In this phase I can increase my daily carb intake by 5g per week. So I will be working from 25 g of net carbs, to 45 g of net carbs. I see a long and arduous ladder but, I have lost blubber, so I can’t really complain. I look forward to nuts, berries and yogurts, especially since I can make atkins friendly cheesecake (nom nom). Maybe toasted nuts could be a healthier alternative for the pork rinds in the pizza base. We shall see. I can say now, this week will be the hardest, although the though of potato like sides to food is just mouth watering! Happy eating folks 🙂

Step 3: Change the outside

So we have settled into our new home. During my PhD I gained about 20 lbs (~10 kg). Two things made this possible; diet and exercise, which seems pretty obvious. I tried weightwatchers, I tried the gym, with limited success. I accepted that for now this was how I was, I was too busy writing all day every day for 3 months, eating 700 cal/day. Until the other day, I walked by a mirror and caught a glimpse of myself. I stopped, and with disgrace in my heart I saw what I had become. When I was a teen I had a bit of an eating disorder, nothing major like anorexia nervosa or bulimia, but I was definately conscious about my weight. I was happy with my weight when I was 21 or 22, but it got out of hand not long after that. 

Blah blah blah, weh weh weh, ok. Done. So what now? I said “F*ck it, it’s now or never”. If I didn’t commit to something now, how could I ever be sure I would do it in the future. So now, the carb addict has started Atkins, why not. I’m now on day 6. I have actually lost some of the blubber! It’s actually working! 

The one thing I like about the programme, is the allowances you can have in the induction period. For example, I can eat cheese, vegetables, and as much meat as I want! (As long as its within the daily calorie allowance). The first few days were rough, and I suspected I went through withdrawals. Nasty mood swings. Now though, my appetite has changed, and I feel much healthier. All I am eating is breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with the odd snack before dinner. Not much different to before, but its not carb heavy. My aim is to get from a 31 inch waist back down to 28, or 26″.

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Thursday’s lunch special, prepared by my amazing boyfriend 🙂

I have one more week left in induction, then I start to reintroduce carbs to my diet, in a controlled way. Eventually I will be able to eat my normal diet again, but being more conscious about the foods I’ve been eating. The diet doesn’t endorse starving, and the intake of vegetables is just so good for you. I have to say so far, I am delighted to have started this challenge, and hopefully it will increase my own happiness (yes I know how shallow that is). I’ll be like my old self again 🙂  

An open letter to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter

You should be ashamed of yourself. In what universe does closing Garda stations, and pushing the protectors of the peace to the edge count as fighting crime? There is a reason people like An Garda Síochána have they pay they do, it’s for travel expenses, boots that are cheap and wear through after 3 months on the beat, replace the shoddy equipment that your Department keep purchasing, and to raise their own families. People like you, Minister, do not deserve your salary. If each politician took a substantial pay cut, those 95 Garda stations may not need to be closed. Have you considered that? Oh what hardship for your family if you reduced your pay to a “meager” € 40,000 per anum. If you are a representative of the people, surely should you not set the example of civilised living, and refuse to take the ridiculous pay you receive for sitting on your arse, making the lives of hundreds and thousands of Gardaí miserable. The law in Ireland is an absolute joke, let me show some examples:

1. A criminal rammed into a Garda car and hit some Gardaí, causing the loss of an unborn child, community service sentence.

2. Convicted repeat rapist released for Christmas following a 4 month sentence. Well that’ll stop him for repeating his offence.

3. A man placed the wrong windows in his house, as they differed from his planning permission, 6 months in prison.

4. A man continuously raping his daughter over 10 years, walks free? The only reason that was changed was due to public uproar.

How thick do you have to be to let convicted fellons walk free, to the horror of their victims who are generally at the hearings? Is it not obvious that by closing rural Garda stations you are leaving people vulnerable in their own homes, which is evident from the spate of burglaries on elderly people deep in the rural countryside.

You have obviously sold your soul to the euro, no-one respects you or your authority. Your department is an absolute joke. Your logic in making these decisions is unfounded. Enjoy your massive unnecessary pension you fool, while others are out on the street starving, and being victimised by brutal criminals. The problem with Ireland is no change is brought in to law unless there is a tragic occurance, like Mrs. Halapanavar’s death in hospital following the refusal of a termination of her non viable child. This is a horrible example of how politiciains in Ireland are not working together for a better country, they are caught up in the petty arguments between rival parties. For god sake, cop on you bunch of twats, stop ruining our country.

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