Keto-friendly muffins

A craving to bake and for muffins sent me on a web search for a recipe that fits my diet (and at-home ingredient availability). I found this recipe from SavoryTooth and the results were excellent.

It’s an almond flour base with just a few other simple ingredients.

The muffins were tasty, had a traditional moist crumb, and were gobbled up in no time. This particular recipe only makes a few muffins so I doubled it.

The other alteration I made was to add dark chocolate instead of blueberries.

I’m going to try this one out again soon. Baking can be relaxing and therapeutic for me, and especially so when I’m using a familiar recipe with expected good results.

Old clothes/new clothes

As I’ve lost weight and my body changed I have gotten rid of a few pieces of clothing. Mostly an item or two that I didn’t really wear anyway. And they were just to throw on a donation pile filled with other household stuff of my kids’ outgrown clothes.

I haven’t done a big purge. But this is it. Today I halved the clothes in my closet. This pile contains my favs, my go-to outfits, my best clothes. It also contains some items I optimistically bought when they didn’t fit me yet but now are too big! Hopefully they’ll help somebody else via my donation to the local charity second-hand store.

Why didn’t I do this sooner? I had fantasies of losing weight and going on a shopping spree for fashionable, smaller clothing. But I think it takes time to come to terms with a new reality. Losing 40lbs and being in the smallest size since high school (or before!) is quite the new reality. Plus our family isn’t flush with funds at the moment and new clothes cost serious cash. I’ll definitely be browsing that thrift store for myself after I make my donation.

I encountered a bigger mental block about clothes. Probably should have been expected but I didn’t prepare – not do I think I really could have prepared. I was set in my ways for years and had lots of deep-rooted behaviors around clothes and style due to my size. Instead of automatically going for the largest size, I now have to try items to find the right fit. Instead of assuming nothing in certain stores fit me I can shop pretty much anywhere. Heck, I would get undergarments from plus-size specialty stores. I didn’t recognize how big I’d gotten. And it took me a while to recognize how far I’ve come with my changes. To be honest it’s an ongoing process, isn’t it.

But purging these clothes will be a giant step in the right direction. As will getting some new duds that actually fit and make me feel fabulous. Listen, I know size and clothes aren’t everything. But they make up who we are, show our style, and they can help especially after a long (and ongoing) journey.

Weight update

It’s rewarding to check in and acknowledge accomplishments. Losing weight has been a great side affect of getting healthier by following a ketogenic lifestyle. I’ve been living this way for just over a year. And I’ve lost 40lbs.

But my insecurities and deep-rooted body issues often prevent me from seeing this as a ‘win’. I think, others have lost more in a shorter period of time. Or, I’m stalled so maybe this is where I’ll stay. My lifestyle is not about the weight but that is a huge part of our identities, isn’t it? Being overweight shaped my reality for as long as I can remember. And now I’m technically not overweight anymore. I had to buy new clothes. I got rid of all my underwear for new ones. Heck, I even had to get new glasses because my regular ones were falling off my face. I’ve not just lost weight; my body shape changed and is changing. In my head on most days though I’m still overweight.

Then this happened: my 4yo daughter jokingly stepped on my scale and asked what’s her number. Now I’m careful about scale talk, weight watching, or body comments around my kids. I know the seeds of unhealthy eating and self-imagine are often planted early. My daughter was Ted to know though and she has no concept of those numbers yet.

I looked down and said 42. She is 42lbs. I can barely lift her up for hugs anymore. She’s growing like a weed! Then it hit me…she weighs approximately as much as the amount of weight I lost. I was carrying around that weight. The equivalent to a four year old kid.

I think of that moment when I’m not feeling confident or am discouraged. I know keto has many other benefits but the weight loss is a big one. And I need to recognize that and celebrate it.

The toughest time

TW; This post focuses on mental illness. It is personal but I’ve wanted to write it forever.

My brain makes me feel sad, apathetic, and numb when there is no external cause for those feelings. Then, at other times, I’m jubilant and racing with energy. Often been called moody and those difficult-to-control moods negatively affect my life.

It’s something I can’t quite explain though I’ve tried many times. I’ve tried to explain the way my brain works to myself, to friends and family, to doctors, to counselors, and it feels like I’ve never been able to get it right. The closest I’ve come to explaining myself is when I say I have depression and anxiety. But even then I’m not sure that captures it. My symptoms don’t present as typical depression symptoms like crying or feeling worthless. I’ve been tested for mood disorders but came up clean. Maybe cyclothymic disorder or maybe I’m just melodramatic and whiney (at least that’s what the unwanted negative voice in my head sometimes says).

So far I haven’t taken this laying down even though I’ve had plenty of days when I don’t want to get out of bed. This sickness is something that’s part of me and I try to deal with it head on. And I’m learning to have more patience wit myself and others.

The message to reach out for help has come across loud and clear. End the stigma and everyone has mental health, and all that. But there hasn’t been much education or discussion about what the receivers or listeners can do to help. I’ve reached out countless times only to be told everyone has ups and downs, that lots are fighting battles behind closed doors, it’s normal to feel anxious, etc. Conflicting messages around mental health are confusing at the best of times. When I’m in a dark place they’re too much to handle. All I can think is if everyone feels like I do then the world is seriously screwed up. We shouldn’t be indignant or competitive. Shouldn’t we be searching for answers to why we’re all fighting with our own minds?

There are theories about modern society and stress affecting mental health. There’s also a growing concern that sugar negatively impacts our brains. I believe that!

My reality is that I look like a ‘normal’ well-functioning adult. I have a full-time office job, I’m a mother and a partner, I have interests, and I feel OK half the time. But the rest of the time knocks me down and leaves me feeling helpless and weak. My mind relapses to unwanted negativity and feeling inadequate. I grab supports like my CBT training, family, movement, and slowly try to haul myself out of the hole. Even when I’m feeling good, I know there’s a part of me that’s uneasy with expectation that I’ll trip or fall down again. It truly feels like I’m taking one step forward and two back with everything.

It’s a recognition that that there are a million ideas running around my head but I feel paralyzed to act on them. Or I’m discouraged by the false starts and lack of confidence. I swing from wanting to take over the world to hardly having the confidence to function. I have missed opportunities because my brain tells me I’m not good enough. I’ve not applied for jobs (even ones I’ve been sought out for), cancelled interviews, and given up on endless good ideas. My depression and anxiety rob me of confidence and energy, and trying to help myself with all sorts of interventions is so tiring. My mental health is my main hobby.

This is a post about how a difficult time in your life can be called the toughest time – not because of how hard it is but because of how tough you are. Or how tough you have to be. This may seem idealist or trite but I’m going to put it out there anyway because I think it’s true: we are all more capable and have more endurance than we think. Find the strength to change the narrative in your head and spin your situation into a positive light. It’s easier said than done but so worth it. And each time your flip your perspective is practice for the next time. So each time gets a tiny bit easier, faster, you retain that muscle memory, and that’s how habits are formed.

It all starts with recognition of a negative thought process or bad feeling. Identifying it is the key to turning it around. I have found mindfulness meditation and CBT beneficial but, like most good things, they took time to develop and grow to something intuitive and useful for me. I’m still learning and adjusting.

Following a ketogenic lifestyle has also helped tremendously. There are clear links between keto, fasting, and improved cognitive function. I also struggle with disordered eating so keto has been a powerful tool to help with that, too.

After the struggle and work, it’s far too easy for me to get complacent when things are okay, or give up when they’re bad. Rerouting thought pathways can work wonders but it’s a constant battle. I know when I let my guard down during a good streak, or find myself suffering in a dark time, I need to put in the work. You too may need to work harder or differently to not fall into that hole, or to pull yourself out. It’s in the dark times that I need to stay the course with my ketogenic lifestyle, self care, and health practices. When it feels easy to give up is exactly when I (and you) need to keep going.

If you’re struggling, I encourage you to check out a group that’s helped me: Sick Not Weak or find your own support to get through the toughest times.