Calculate Your Macros for Keto

Getting started with keto and understanding your macros

macros for keto

Credit: jetalone/Flickr

How much do I eat?

One important part of eating a keto lifestyle is to know what macros you’re aiming for. There are many different ways that people calculate their macros. Below is my favorite way to calculate protein. I find that some of the online macro calculators allow for too much protein. Too much protein can stall your progress (more on this in a future article).

This protein calculation is based on an estimation of your ideal body weight and so it is based on your height. 

Calculating protein macros for keto

For females:

45.5 grams for 5 foot tall

Add 2.3 grams for each inch over 5 foot

(subtract 2.3 grams for each inch under 5 foot)

For males:

50 grams for 5 foot tall

Add 2.3 grams for each inch over 5 foot

(subtract 2.3 grams for each inch under 5 foot)

Example – For a 5’2” female

45.5 + (2.3 x 2) = 45.5 + 4.6 = 50.1 grams of protein per day

Carbohydrates

You will aim for 20 grams or less of carbohydrates. Especially starting out. Later you can experiment with how many carbs you can handle without getting kicked out of ketosis. Most of your carbohydrates will come from low carbohydrate vegetables. These contain so many important nutrients so yes, eat your veggies. There are two ways to count carbs. The first is total carbs and the second way is net carbs. Net carbs are calculated from subtracting fiber and sugar alcohols from total carbs. To start out with I recommend that you just stick with total carbs until you get the hang of this.

Fat

Now comes the easy part. You will eat fat to satiety. Aim for eating at least as much fat as protein but on most days aim for twice the amount of fat.

I am 5’7”. My macros are 20g carbs, 64g protein and 152g fat.  I am pretty good bout keeping my total carbs under 20 and I usually get close to my protein goal. My fat usually comes in around 100 grams because I’m just not hungry after that point.

You don’t need to stress over calories. I’m not going to go into detail here – that will be the subject of another post. Just trust me. Stay under 20 grams of carbohydrates, get close to your protein goal, and eat fat to satiety. If you’re not hungry, don’t eat. You won’t go into “starvation mode.” Your body will begin to use your stored body fat for energy as it was designed to do. That’s the beauty of this whole way of eating.

Need help?

Need help with your macros? Comment below and I can help.

Decide – The Most Important Step to Meeting Your Goals

When Intention Meets Action

Decide“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”

 
Decide. I posted the above quote on my Facebook earlier this week. It struck a chord with me. I’ve struggled with my weight and my unhealthy relationship with food  for so long it became my comfort zone. My food behaviors started in childhood. I know that change was a long time coming and the turning point didn’t just happen in an instant, but it felt like it. One day I just got fed up and disgusted with the way things were and I decided. I decided to make the change that would allow me to move towards my goal and break the chains that have held me back from my purpose. At this point I can’t tell you what took me so long to get to this place. I am just glad that I did.
 
Within an hour or so of posting this quote on Facebook I was helping out at a health fair for work. We had a table with diabetes information and some models of what 5 lbs of fat looks like compared with 5 lbs of muscle. That sparked some conversation with people. Some people would pick it up and talk about the fat they needed to lose. Others would pick it up and talk about their success story. One woman had lost 100 lbs. Another woman had lost about 20 lbs and spoke so confidently about how she intended to lose the rest. She talked about how she used to live and the changes that she had made in her eating and activity. I asked her, “What changed for you?” and she said, “I decided that I didn’t want to live this way any more.” She decided. The words echoed in my head. Could it really be that easy? 

Are you ready to decide that you’re not going to stay where you are any longer?

Focus

Once you decide it’s time to focus. Focus on actions that move you forward towards your goals. Focusing on the past does not move you forward. It’s OK to learn from the past but don’t hang out there. Focus on what you can control. What you focus on drives you. 

Knowledge

There is value in gaining knowledge but don’t get stuck acquiring enough knowledge until the time is perfect. The time will never be perfect. Take what you know and take a step forward. Build momentum.

Action

Continuing to build knowledge and applying that knowledge with action. Each day start out stating to yourself what your goals are and the steps you will take today to move towards them.

And now as William Wordsworth said, 

“To begin, begin.”

Intermittent Fasting & Keto Diet

What have I learned this week combining intermittent fasting & keto:

I don’t need breakfast. What, what?

Since my body is burning fat for fuel now I can go longer periods of time without needing to eat. I am doing intermittent fasting. We all fast at night when we sleep. Extending that fast until later in the day has all sorts of benefits. I do what’s called a fat fast meaning I have some fat in the morning in my coffee but no other food. I eased into this gradually I started by keeping my feeding times down to 8 hours (fasting for 16 hours).  So I was eating for the first time at 10 a.m. and stopping eating by 6 p.m.  This past week I worked on lengthening the fasting window to 11 or 12. I actually went until 1:30 one day when I was busy at work. 

You can do intermittent fasting along with any nutrition plan. I am doing it along with a ketogenic diet (keto).  Keto helps my body prefer fat as fuel and doesn’t stimulate insulin spikes. Since insulin is a fat storage hormone this helps me stop the continual gain and begin to lose fat.

I also love the flexibility of intermittent fasting. I don’t have to follow a strict schedule. It’s all about finding what works for me. As for right now I’m fasting 16+ hours a day during the weekdays. On the weekend I’m planning to eat breakfast with my family so my fasting window will be shorter. One thing that challenged me at first was wanting to snack near bedtime. I used to do this every night. In the hour before bed I used to have cheese or nuts or some other snack. I wasn’t hungry. I just did it because I wanted to. Purely out of habit. Now I’m mindful of my behavior and I distract myself when I feel the need to snack at night. Or I just go to bed.

What about breakfast being the most important meal of the day?

Well, I used to think this too.  I taught it to others for years. I thought that my body would go into starvation mode and I would do more harm than good. The funny thing is I believed that this was true while carrying around 35,000 extra calories stored right on my own body. Now I am allowing my body to burn those extra calories for fuel. And the result of that is that I’m losing weight and I feel great doing it. I’m enjoying delicious food along the way.

Learn more about intermittent fasting:

If you’re interested in learning more about intermittent fasting I recommend you watch Dr. Jason Fung on YouTube. This is a good one to start with:

He also has a great book called The Obesity Code that goes into detail about this concept.

Making Keto Easy

Don't Complicate It

keto bacon

Source: Flickr cookbookman17

I see so many people making keto complicated and it doesn’t have to be that way. I thought I’d write about some of the ways I make it easier for myself. This is week 6 of keto for me. I’ve lost 9.5 pounds so far and best of all I feel great.

Since I work full time I take about an hour out of my weekend and do food prep. One hour of food prep saves me much more than that throughout my work week. This weekend I prepped bacon, baked cheese, hard boiled eggs and cut up veggies.
 
To make the bacon I lay out as many strips as I can fit on a baking sheet. I bake it at 400 for 11-14 minutes (for thick bacon). It doesn’t splatter and the pieces come out nice and flat and not all curled up. For the baked cheese I cut up sliced cheese. This week I used Tillamook pre-sliced cheddar. I cut each slice into 4 squares and place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper. I baked it at 400 for about 6 or 7 minutes. I sprinkled them with Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s. So yummy! I usually eat these plain but you could also use them to dip into guacamole or something similar. I peeled and cut up some carrots (I limit these because of carb count), celery (for filling with almond butter or cheese) and radishes. 

Sample daily keto menu for workdays:

On waking: I start my day with a cup (or two) of fatty coffee. I use 1 cup of coffee, 1 teaspoon grass-fed butter, and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or MCT oil. I put this in the blender so the oils blend in and don’t float on top. It gets nice and frothy like a fancy coffee house drink. It’s delicious and keeps me satisfied until mid-morning.
 
Breakfast: I usually take 2 hard boiled eggs and 2 pieces of bacon to work. This is where the food prep really pays off. If I am eating at home I will also saute some greens (kale or spinach) in butter.
 
Lunch: I usually bring 3 ounces of meat for my lunch. Most often it will be whatever leftovers we had from the night before. Otherwise I will bring a hamburger patty (I prep these ahead of time and keep them in the freezer for just this purpose). Another option is to prep some chicken salad or tuna salad and divide it up into daily servings. I also bring veggies or a green salad. For fat I will usually bring an avocado that I enjoy with just salt and pepper.
 
Snack: many days I’m not hungry in between meals so I don’t need a snack. If I do need something there are lots of choices: pickles, cheese, almond butter or other nut butters, veggie sticks, bacon, etc. 
 

Dinner: My family is not eating keto so dinner is more variable. The easiest is when we have meat and veggies. (i.e. steak and asparagus, pork chops and greens or other combinations). I will add some sort of healthy fat to that like grass-fed butter, avocado, or coconut oil. If they are having something that is not on my eating plan I will modify. For example if they are having spaghetti I will have some meat sauce over zucchini noodles. If they have burgers I will eat mine without the bun. There’s always a way to modify. If all else fails I’ll scramble up some eggs with cheese. 

Keep it simple!

Eating this way doesn’t have to be hard. I track my foods as an opportunity to learn. I find that I naturally eat way less calories by eating this way and I’m not hungry. It’s very refreshing!

Restart

I haven’t touched the blog in a long time. I debated whether to just let it go or to start it up again. I have finally decided that it’s time for a restart. I went back through some of my old writings and decided that I’m not ready to let the blog go.

I’m going to re-establish a goal of daily writing. It has always been a skill that I want to improve and the way to do that is to write. I’ve grown so much over the last two years since focusing on intentional growth and I am looking forward to sharing some of that. More to come…

Source:Flickr Acid Pix

Source:Flickr Acid Pix

To Get Back in the Game You Need to Make a Game Plan

Source: Flickr:Jim Larrison

Source: Flickr:Jim Larrison

“Do you want to get together and make a game plan?”

These words, spoken to me last week have had a big impact on me. I have been stuck in so many areas of my life without really knowing why. The friend that said those words was speaking in terms of needing to make game plan for my business, but the result of meeting for the game plan was so much more. I’m still not sure why I had drifted from my good habits and started coasting into the lane of mediocrity. But that’s where I found myself. Coasting. Settling for less.
 
It started a couple of months ago.The first “symptom” was wimping out on my workouts. I dressed out and showed up, but my heart wasn’t in it. My effort faded, then the amount of time I spent in my workout room decreased. And finally I just didn’t bother at all most days.
My food choices suffered. I would be focused for about 3 weeks and then I would blow it (and keep on blowing it). Then I would get on track for a bit…and blow it again. I was letting bad habits sneak back in that had been banished long ago. And I suffered the effects of it all. I’m still feeling the effects of it all. I stopped being so focused on my Bible reading and prayer time in the morning as well as my personal development reading. And finally I stopped working so diligently on my businesses. One pitfall of being an entrepreneur is that you have to motivate yourself – there’s no one to answer to. Thankfully I have some accountability set in motion and that led to the question, “Do you want to get together and make a game plan.”
 
We got together. We made a game plan. And it wasn’t all about business. It was about getting back on track with my basic good habits. It was about deciding that I didn’t want to coast. I don’t want to live a mediocre life. I want to live an abundant life and that’s not going to happen by sitting on the couch. It was about knowing that there are people around me that care and that are cheering me on. It was about realizing that I truly do want to be the best me I can be. 2016 is going to be a great year because I’m back in the game!

A New Routine for Better Mornings

better morning

Source: Flick/Broo_am (Andy B)

Are mornings a struggle for you? They are for me. I’m a recovering night owl and I’ve worked hard over the last year or so to make my mornings better. I implemented something new this week that I think will be really good for me. It’s an evening routine that I adapted from the Stone Soup for Five blog. It is a nice way of wrapping up the day and setting myself up for a successful morning. I try to pack so much in my mornings that often times I get overwhelmed when I can’t get it all done. I’ve made a list that I have been doing for the last week and I will make adjustments to the routine as necessary. Most of the items are for me but the first item is for the whole family.

For step one, the family gets involved in a 10 minute clean up. We have been doing this for several of days and it has worked out so well. We are doing it right after dinner before anyone gets involved in anything else and before the teenager goes and hides in her room. I set the time for 10 minutes and we all go around the house picking up things we have left out throughout the day. If we get done before the time is up, each person can work on other chores like cleaning their rooms, sweeping, dishes, etc. I’ve been amazed at how much work gets done in those few minutes. The kids have complained a bit, but at the same time they get a lot done. It’s been a pretty satisfying new habit and my husband likes it since he gets tired of nagging the kids to pick up their belongings.

Below is the list of the other tasks I’m completing in the evening. When school starts, I will get the kids on a similar routine so they can have easier mornings as well.

Set out Bible study materials. It’s easy to get distracted early in the morning and this helps to ensure that I start with what’s most important before moving on to my business related tasks.

Wash face, brush teeth, floss. My husband has trouble sleeping and sometimes goes to bed before I do. If I don’t get in the bedroom early enough, I’m reluctant to wake him up to do these tasks. Doing it as part of an earlier routine ensures it gets done. 

Fill Keurig with water and fill reusable dispenser with ground coffee. This makes my first mission of the day simple. Just push start when I wake up.

Sweep if not done during 10 minute clean up. We have hardwood floors and a dog that sheds like crazy. Using the Swiffer a couple of times a day is a necessity. So far the kids have done this during the 10 minute clean up time because it’s easy.

Laundry – the main purpose of putting this on my list is to make sure clothes don’t sit in the washer and get stinky in this heat. 

Prep lunch for morning. This a key piece of not only making morning easier, but ensuring that I take healthy foods to work.

Personal development. I usually do this in the morning, but if I didn’t get it done in the morning then it will be part of my evening routine. Personal development can be reading a book, listening to a podcast, doing a business training, or anything that adds to my personal and professional growth.

Do you have an evening routine that works for you?

 

 

 

 

Quinoa for Breakfast?

A great quinoa recipe to start your day.

quinoa recipe

Source: Flickr/Jennifer

Our family has been enjoying quinoa for a couple of years as a side dish or a dinner recipe like Quinoa Stuffed Peppers. I only recently started eating it as a breakfast as well. It sounded a little weird to me at first but I tried it when I bought Quinoa and Steel Cut Oatmeal from Trader Joe’s. I really liked the nutty flavor it added to the oatmeal. You can eat it without the oatmeal as well as in this recipe. I like the fact that I can change up the add-ins to add variety to my breakfast. Here is one of my favorite quinoa recipes.

Quinoa for Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups unsweetened nut or rice
  • milk
  • 1 tsp stevia
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • flakes
  • 1/2 cup raw slivered almonds
  • 3 Tbsp dried cranberries or other dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 tsp chia seeds

Instructions

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat combine the unsweetened nut milk (or your favorite unsweetened dairy-free milk), and quinoa.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in the stevia.
  4. Top with coconut, cranberries, and nuts and chia seeds.
  5. Enjoy warm. Add non-dairy milk as desired.
http://cravingfitness.org/nutrition/quinoa-recipes/

The Power of Gratitude

Gripes Be Gone

gratitude

Source: Flickr/Jamie Henderson

“Attitude of Gratitude” seems to be a popular catchphrase lately. It truly is a powerful way to shift your mindset. My latest adventure with improving my mindset started with a Bible study I was attending. We were all given bracelets that said “Gripes be gone” and were challenged to wear it for 3 weeks. We were told to switch the bracelet from one wrist to another each time we complained. The whole point was to make us aware of not only how much we complain, but also to be aware of the things we complain about. We were also to start a gratitude journal to help us change our thinking from a negative, griping thought life to one of thankfulness.

Week one really had me thinking. The complaining rolled off my tongue naturally. As the basket of bracelets were still being passed around I felt the need to comment that purple was not my color. We were told to place the bracelet on our right wrists and I stated quietly that I wanted it on my left wrist. I was off to a great start! Over the next couple of days I found myself justifying my complaints. “I was just stating a fact!” There’s a fine line between stating facts and complaining and it was interesting to hear myself teeter on that line. I also learned how many times I had conversations with others where I “just needed to vent.” What a great way to disguise a whine-fest! I also found that I complain most at my kids’ sporting events. I fussed about things that were unfair to my child, or how other kids played, or how the umpires were calling the game. Because of the bracelet I caught myself most of the time. I worked on rephrasing what I wanted to say. Instead of saying that it was unfair that my son was sitting on the bench for more innings than other kids, I reflected on the positive life lessons we could teach him through this.

In weeks two and three I got better at rephrasing things and finding things to be grateful for. I started my prayer time with gratitude and verbalized gratitude more often throughout the days. Towards the very end of the challenge I was so used to how the bracelet felt on my wrist that I kind of forgot about it. The gratitude habit stayed but I’d like to find ways to catch myself complaining and re-frame it more often.

I’d love to hear about ways that you work on being more thankful and complaining less. 

Philippians 4:8-9

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

The Struggle with Sugar – Are you Addicted to Sugar?

addicted to sugar

Source: Flicker/Moyan Brenn

Hello, My name is Tammy and I’m Addicted to Sugar

Lately I’ve been battling sugar again. Sometimes I can kick it to the curb. Other times its insidious whisper calls me to it and I don’t resist. On one hand I wish I could have a treat now and then but on the other hand I know what it births in my life. When I choose to eat sugar it wakes up ALL my cravings that have been hibernating. Suddenly I not only want more sugar but I also want chips and bread and any other junk food I can get my hands on. It’s never enough. I can’t just have a small treat and be happy with it. The one exception is dark chocolate. When I have dark chocolate I can be happy with one or two squares and I don’t suffer cravings afterwards. So why don’t I choose dark chocolate more often and avoid the other sweets? If I knew the answer to that I think I would get somewhere with this sugar addiction. 

My biggest challenge comes at work. Candy on coworkers desks, gifts people give me (hello, Starbucks gift card), and treats left on the break room table. Everyone means well. But I see it and it makes something click in my mind. So even though I walk away initially, as the day wears on my willpower wears out like a muscle that gets fatigued with use. At home I keep most of the things that tempt me out of the house. Every once in a while my kids will have something that challenges me, but we try to keep most of it out of the house.

Do you struggle with sugar? I would love your tips in the comments about how you overcome temptation!