Monthly Archives: April 2011

Reflections after three months

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I passed the 3-month mark on this diet last week.  I actually didn’t think too much about it just then, but today I realized something.  When I stepped on the scale this morning, I had a nice loss, and it occurred to me that I’m rapidly closing in on 40 lbs lost.  (36.6 lbs to be exact.  Sorry I haven’t been posting my weigh ins lately; it’s been a wonky few weeks, but I promise to get back to it on Monday!)

And that made me think of my most successful previous diet, which has been 12 years ago now.  I lost 40 lbs then, but that was the point when I burned out and threw in the towel.  I gained that 40 lbs and much, much more back over the intervening decade.

So for me, 40 lbs is a marker or milestone of sorts.  It’s the most I’ve ever lost.  And given that I didn’t lose more, it’s also obviously the point at which I stopped trying.  So how about now?  Am I feeling close to that burn out point?  I am happy to report that the answer is:

NO!!!

There has been the occasional thought where I’ve wanted to just devour a whole cake and stop torturing myself.  Notably, those have been very high stress days.  On regular days, I’m actually feeling pretty good and stable and even optimistic.  I feel like I’m going to make it through this year without too much difficulty.  Not that I don’t struggle with cravings, but not in a way that makes me want to just quit.

Ironically, I have realized that it’s my very “failures” that are actually allowing me to succeed this time.  Nate and I have allowed ourselves several more “splurges” than we ever had in the past, and I think it’s actually working to our advantage.  It helps to avoid feeling burned out.  If there is something I’m really craving (lately, that’s a mini bagel with onion and chive cream cheese), it’s not too hard to put it off when I know I’ll be able to have it in a few days.  And at this point, I’m allowing myself to have a little extra carb about one to two times per week, so the wait is never long.

We’re also being fairly strategic with our splurges.  We look for the difficult schedule days and use those as a time to go off plan.  We don’t just say, “Low carb doesn’t sound good tonight.  Let’s go have a hamburger and fries.”  Instead, it’s more things like, “Maggie has a long competition day on Saturday that starts very early, so when it’s time for a break at 9:30, let’s go have a quick breakfast at Panera.”  Or, “Easter is this Sunday, and there’s no way I’m not eating a couple of those awesome biscuits that Becky makes!”

I think another factor in my success is that I’ve also stayed completely off of sugar, even on Easter.  (Nate has indulged once or twice.)  I think it’s absolutely essential for my success that I avoid sugar, even when splurging.  Whether it’s physiological, psychological, or both, I know that sugar is a big trigger for me, and I think if I allowed myself that particular splurge that it would be the beginning of the end.

Would I have lost more if I’d been 100% strictly on plan for the last 3 months?  Certainly.  Heck, a couple of times, the scale has barely moved for 2 weeks because I’d been off plan a few times too many.  But in the long run, would that be helpful if I burned out and gave up this month, rather than actually being able to stick it out until next January?  Absolutely not.

Maybe some people see that as a cop out.  But I see it as realism.  By the end of this month, I will have reached a weight loss goal I’ve never reached before, and I don’t care if the journey getting there is a little messy: the point is that I’m getting there.  I haven’t turned around and gone back yet.  And that right there is a huge victory.

Low carb oven fried chicken

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You will not miss the taste of traditional fried chicken (or the mess it makes when you cook it!) after trying this recipe!  This is a slightly adapted recipe from a friend.  The brilliant thing is that it uses NO flour, so it’s totally carb free, but you still get the most amazingly delectable crunchy skin.  And although there is a lot of butter in this recipe, most of it is still left in the pan when you’re done, so don’t worry that you will be consuming all of it.  In fact, I plan on experimenting with amounts so I don’t waste so much, but I’d rather have too much than not enough.

And the best part of this recipe?  It could not be easier!  There is no dipping or dredging or anything like that.  Just shake on some light seasonings, and pop it into the pan with the butter already melted in it.  The temp gets bumped up once, and the chicken gets flipped once near the end, but that’s all the tending it takes.  Like most of my recipes, it’s perfect for busy week nights.

Low Carb Oven Fried Chicken
(net carbs: 0g)

  • 1 whole fryer chicken (discard any pieces you don’t want to eat, like the liver or neck)
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 Tbsp peanut oil
  • garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste (or use whatever seasonings you prefer)

Preheat oven to 375.  While seasoning the chicken, melt butter and oil in ovenproof pans or baking dishes over very low heat, about a 2.  (When I do a whole fryer, I use one ovenproof pan and one glass dish.)  Meanwhile, arrange the chicken on a plate or platter with skins up and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Once butter is melted, place the chicken pieces in the pans with skin/seasoning side down.  Quickly season the non-skin side that is now facing up.  Bake for 40 min.  Turn oven up to 400 and bake for 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven, flip chicken, and bake for 10 more minutes.   Serve on a platter lined with paper towel to absorb some of the excess butter and oil.

You can of course adapt this recipe to as much or as little chicken as you like.  I did a small package of wings last week in a single pan, but this is so easy that it’s a great way to make a bunch at once and have yummy cold leftover fried chicken!

Weekly weigh in, Apr. 4

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Last week was not a great week.  I was sick for most of it, and…well, there’s a reason they are called comfort foods.  I found myself craving all kinds of things that were clearly NOT a part of a low-carb eating plan.  So on 3 different days, I ended up having something a bit carby (chicken fingers with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce a couple of times, a burrito bowl at Chipotle with rice in it another time).  Because of all that, my weight loss was definitely not on par with last week’s.

Weight Lost, Current Week: 1.2 lbs
Weight Lost, Total: 28.4 lbs
Weeks on Diet: 10

However, all things considered, I was pretty proud of myself for a) not giving in to the peppermint ice cream that I realized was still in the freezer, even though it sounded like bliss for my sore throat, and b) not just throwing in the towel for the entire time I was sick.  Both of those were major temptations.  Given how sick I was for about 3 days, I consider it quite a victory that I didn’t eat whatever I felt like.  That’s what I wanted to do, but I managed to stay mostly on track and the scale still moved down a bit.  To quote Adam Sandler, “Not too shabby!”