Back in skinny jeans & my food diary!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A while back - say 4 months ago I didn't feel like the inspiration so many of you think of me as, a few of you might know about my recent weight gain - I actually ended up gaining 9 kgs (not 6 like I initially thought).  I had taken a break from the scale and thought it would all iron out,  when my pants no longer fit I needed to get real with myself.  When I finally weighed again on the 3rd July 2013, I ended up weighing 78kgs which freaked the crap out of me, I had not been this weight for over 4 years when I first lost my weight.   This was a result of my safe starch experiment which did not agree with me and left me feeling sick and fat.  It wasn't just the starches that did it, I believe that for me the starches were a slippery slope that lead me to eating a bunch of unhealthy foods and my appetite was out of control!  Now I think for many people adding safe starches works wonderfully, I am just not one of them.

I have hovered in the 65-69kg range for 4 years and feel pretty awesome there, I have followed a Primal diet, mostly in ketosis with my carbs ranging from 20-70 a day, some weekends I would break this and have a few treats but I have spent the majority of the last 5 years (including the 1 year it took me to lose the weight) in a keto-adapted state - primal food of course.

Now a 9kg weight gain is a big deal for me, I knew if I didn't get this off pronto then it could turn into a much bigger problem and I just wasn't prepared to go down that road after all the hard work and determination I've put into my health over the years. I'm writing this to show you guys that I'm just a normal person with the same insecurities and imperfections that you all have.  I'm not perfect and I have to make daily choices with my food just like everyone else.  I get comments like "it must be easy when you work from home", well my answer to that is yes it can be easier in terms of cooking what I want to when I want but it also means I have such easy access to my fridge and pantry and I have to be super mindful that I don't just graze on food willy nilly.

I had the most amazing email from Mark Sisson when I asked him for some guidance as I was feeling very deflated.  Part of what he wrote me:

Sorry you have experienced a minor setback, but I'm glad you are experimenting and trying new things.  In no way would you ever disappoint me.  Throughout your journey as detailed in your photos you have looked beautiful and healthy (and radiant) at the 69-70 kg weight.  That is a great, healthy, long-life weight for you.  There is no reason to struggle to get down much below that.  Just pick up where you left off and you will get there again.  No apologies.  No disappointments.  No beating yourself up for having tried something new.  Just gratitude for what you have done to get here and for all the knowledge and confidence you now have to be healthy for the rest of your life.

Hearing that really helped me to stop beating myself up about what I had done and to just move on, when you know better you do better.  I knew what to do so I just got right back to basics remembering that slow weight loss works best and thinking long term about a healthy long-life weight as Mark so eloquently pointed out to me.

So I have been back to following a ketogenic version of Primal for 18 weeks now (with 2 weeks of a Whole30 - well it was a Whole14 for me) and I have managed to get those 9kgs off! I am so thrilled and I feel back to my normal self weight wise, the health issues are improving, I do think my body took a real hit after my starch experiment. 

I have also had a nasty inner ear virus a few months back which has made my Meniere's Disease much worse and it really has thrown me a curve ball, the way I choose to respond to it is what matters.  I choose my health first because without that I have nothing.  I find that sticking to a ketogenic diet and watching my sodium intake seems to be the thing that helps me manage my menieres's disease, along with a myriad of symptoms like depression, anxiety, PCOS, migraines and daily headaches that all flare up when I'm not in ketosis.

As explained in my Ketosis post I am monitoring my blood ketone levels, just to see how deep in ketosis I am, I won't do this forever (the strips are really expensive $1.70 each!), it's because I'm a data nerd and I am seeing what foods will throw me out of ketosis - too much protein is certainly something that will do that.  I tend to feel better when I am in ketosis, I have more energy, no crazy sweet cravings, I'm sleeping 8-9hours a night and only waking up once, if that.  If I eat a higher carb diet (anything above 70) I wake 4-5 times a night so the quality isn't as good. As mentioned above all the health issues I've struggled with for years are improved beyond what any medication has been able to achieve, food really is that powerful.

It's always a bit of a catch 22, because you need energy to put into cooking decent food for yourself, yet you don't have the energy until the processed carbs are out.  If you can just get through that initial carb flu then the boundless energy you get means that continuing to cook amazing food isn't in the hard basket you might think it is.  At least this is the case for me.

So I've detailed the last 7 days of my food diary to give you an idea of what I have been eating to lose the weight.  Weight loss isn't linear, some weeks you will lose more, some weeks you will lose less, some weeks you will gain and some weeks you won't lose at all, this is why I don't recommend weighing all the time otherwise you will likely drive yourself crazy.  If you can weigh and take it for what it is then by all means go for it.  If you are weight training then don't even bother as you will be changing your body composition and the scale won't tell you much, take photos and body measurements, it's much more accurate than the scale.  

For weight loss I try to keep my calories around about 1500-1600 a day, for you it might be different depending on your size and activity level.  I'm not currently active due to a back injury and the inner ear issues, I've only been doing gentle walks.  If you are active then please increase your calories.  The more you cut your calories the more you will damage your metabolism and then it will be difficult to keep the weight off in the long term.  It is better to do a slow deficit, for example my maintenance calories are around about 2000 a day so therefore I only drop about 400 a day.  It means a slower weight loss of about 1 pound or 0.5kg a week, not too much too fast but enough to keep momentum.

Now please don't think you have to run out and purchase a ketone meter and test for ketones, nor do you have to even be in ketosis like I am, I do it because I feel better health wise and I like the feeling of ketosis - not everyone does.  

At the end of the day if you drop the processed carbs, grains, processed seed oils, sugary products and keep an eye on your calories for a couple of weeks to figure out if it's working then that should be enough.  Exercise is also a great idea, there is so many health benefits to exercise, too many to write down here.  When it comes to weight loss the majority of your results will come from from you eat, it's about 80% of the equation.  Keeping a written diary is vital, pay attention to your mood, sleep, appetite etc.. Your body is really good at letting you know if you need to change something.  If that isn't enough then going down the route of a Ketogoenic diet is always an option.

Wednesday 30th October 2013 
Blood Ketone level: 0.8
8am: Duck egg omelet (2 eggs), with cream, cherry tomatoes, coriander and cheese
3pm: 2 slices of Haloumi cheese, 4 walnuts
6pm: Steak with mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, green beans, sesame oil and coconut aminos, 2 squares of 85% Lindt

59gms Carb - 17gms Fiber = 42gms Net Carbs, 83gms Protein, 130gms Fat 1630 Calories

Thursday 31st October

Blood Ketone level: 0.9

7am: 2 eggs mashed in butter, Decaf nespresso with cream and 1 tsp sugar, 2 squares of  85% Lindt
2pm: 4 Flax and Almond Crackers from Little Bird, topped with Mashed tuna mixed with homemade mayo. 3 slices of Haloumi cheese, 1 square of 85% Lindt 
8pm: Chilli Prawns with a large salad of greens, cherry tomatoes, avocado. 1 square of 85% Lindt.

39gms Carb - 8gms Fiber = 31gms Net Carbs, 70gms Protein, 124gms Fat, 1580 Calories

Friday 1st November

Blood Ketone level: 1.7
10am: 2 eggs mashed in butter, Decaf nespresso with cream and 1 tsp sugar, 2 squares of  85% Lindt, 1 piece of frozen macadamia and cashew fudge
6pm: Scallops with zucchini noodles and browned butter and cream topped with parmesan cheese, 1 square 85% Lindt

39gms Carb - 11gms Fiber = 28gms Net Carbs, 65gms Protein, 121gms Fat, 1486 Calories

Saturday 2nd November

Blood Ketone level: 1.7
9am: Hot Coconut Chocolate - 60mls Coconut cream, 20gms Unsalted Butter, 2 tsps sugar, 2 tsps Cocoa powder, boiling hot water (all blended together - makes a creamy hot chocolate), 1 square 85% Lindt
1pm: 4 Flax and Almond Crackers from Little Bird, topped with Mashed tuna mixed with homemade mayo. 1 square 85% Lindt.  
3pm: Decaf Long black with 1 sugar and a side of runny cream (cafe)
6.30pm: Takeaways from Mexican Restaurant: Barbacoa Shredded Beef Salad with cheese, lettuce, guacamole, chipotle, sour cream. 1 square Lindt 85%

*This is a really large mug, the size of two standard cups! I really like drinking out of my Pooh bear mug that my brother bought me for my 16th birthday! This drink fills me up for a few hours :)

62gms Carb - 16gms Fiber = 45gms Net Carbs, 83gms Protein, 124gms Fat, 1605 Calories

Sunday 3rd November
Blood Ketone level: 0.9
8am: Scrambled eggs (2 made with cream and butter), 
Decaf nespresso with cream and 1 tsp sugar, 2 squares of  85% Lindt

10.30am: Decaf Long black with 1 sugar and a side of runny cream (cafe)
2pm: Hot Coconut Chocolate - 60mls Coconut cream, 20gms Unsalted Butter, 2 tsps sugar, 2 tsps Cocoa powder, boiling hot water (all blended together - makes a creamy hot chocolate), handful of fresh strawberries
7pm: Pork and Chicken from the weber BBQ, roasted pumpkin and radishes, large salad with avocado, red peppers and homemade aioli

41gms Carb - 15gms Fiber = 26gms Net Carbs, 59gms Protein, 127gms Fat, 1586 Calories

Monday 4th November

Blood Ketone level: 1.1
8am: 2 eggs mashed with homemade aioli, Hot Coconut Chocolate - 60mls Coconut cream, 20gms Unsalted Butter, 2 tsps sugar, 2 tsps Cocoa powder, boiling hot water (all blended together - makes a creamy hot chocolate)
2pm: Decaf nespresso with cream and 1 tsp sugar, slice of leftover pork
6pm: Thai Green Chicken Curry Soup (recipe link is for the curry, for the soup I just make it basically the same but use half the amount of coconut cream and a couple of cups of Chicken Bone Broth). 2 pieces 85% Lindt

31gms Carb - 7gms Fiber = 24gms Net Carbs, 60gms Protein, 104gms Fat, 1380 Calories

Tuesday 5th November

Blood Ketone level: 1.8
12pm: Leftover pork, roast pumpkin with spinach greens and homemade aioli and lemon olive oil, 2 squares 85% Lindt
6pm: Chicken, Cashew and Coconut Curry (leftover chicken with onion and carrot, mix in Tikka masala curry paste from Pataks and Coconut cream). Served with Coriander and Ginger Cauliflower Rice cooked in butter. 1 square 85% Lindt

52gms Carb - 13gms Fiber = 39gms Net Carbs, 59gms Protein, 127gms Fat, 1621 Calories

Wednesday 6th November

Blood Ketone level: 1.1

1pm: A bed of spinach and asparagus, topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. 1 square Lindt 85%
7.30pm: Takeaways from Burgerfuel: Fordfreakout burger wrapped in lettuce - 1/3 pound 100% pure NZ grass fed beef, bacon, avocado, salad, relish and fresh natural aioli. 
1 square Lindt 85%

37gms Carb - 15gms Fiber = 22gms Net Carbs, 56gms Protein, 129gms Fat, 1670 Calories

My jeans feel looser and I totally did a happy dance to be back down to 69kgs! The entire time I've been losing weight I haven't felt deprived, hungry or like I was dieting - does it look like I've been on some restrictive diet? I think not!

I choose not to make many primal or paleo "substitutes" as I find it gives me cravings for the real thing and artificial sweeteners (even stevia) trigger vertigo attacks and I cannot stand the bitter taste.   My compromise Macadamia & Cashew Fudge every now and then and 85% Lindt Dark Chocolate everyday, it keeps me sane and satisfied (mostly fat with a little sugar) and I eat many squares a day - don't judge me, it's something that I enjoy ;)  I do think it is important to find a little treat that you can have otherwise you will likely start to feel like you are missing out and that's no fun for anyone!

Like I've said so many times before I can eat this way for the rest of my life therefore I don't feel like I'm dieting. I hope some of you out there find this helpful and encouraging. 

Also I'm finally up to date with all social media networks now!!! Facebook, InstagramYouTube, Pinterest and Twitter 

I now have videos on YouTube as some of you may learn better from videos vs blogging (this is still in the early stages so apologies for a bit of amateur videoing).  You can also view them through Pinterest, plus on Pinterest I have books I've read, recipe links, food I eat on a daily basis and primal resources etc...
Instagram I upload a few more pictures that I do on Facebook as the rules of Facebook are changing and you have to pay for everyone to see your posts which annoys me!  Twitter... well updates of all my geeky links that I read and whatever else I find amusing or helpful.  

I think that about covers this gigantic post, please share this around to help spread the word about Primal, I believe one person at a time change will happen.  Thank you all so much for following me and keeping me on my toes, without your support I'm not sure I would have been so motivated to do all this so I have a lot of gratitude to you all! Michelle x


  1. Thanks for the blog post, this is fabulous! You certainly can see how you can maintain eating like this with the meals you make, they look delicious!! Also LOVE the fact you treat yourself each day! Thanks again and keep em coming if you are able to :)

    1. You are welcome Kimberly! Yeah it's a pretty awesome way to eat and I do love to treat myself, I think it's really important to long term maintenance :)

  2. My mouth is watering. I just came back from Europe where there were a huge amount of carbs - unable to avoid. I only gained 4kg but before I went I was gaining and didn't understand why. I'm going to try going into a Keto diet as it doesn't seem restrictive and all that fat is so satiating!

    1. LOL Olivia! I think I eat pretty well ;) I hope you enjoy keto, it's the only thing that I find keeps me sane!

  3. I do love this and everything you post. It's inspiring and VERY helpful! However, I could never go that long between breakfast and lunch. My body gets weird over long stretches without food. My fingers and lips go numb but if I eat something, ANYTHING, it goes away. I usually have a nice omelet with lots of veggies and cheese in the morning but I workout for about hour and half around 10am and I have to have some protein when I'm done. Then I eat lunch about an hour after that. So my question to you is, do you workout? If so, how often, how long, what type (cardio only, weight training only or both). Just curious. I want to add your recipes to my daily routine for sure but need to make sure I'm eating enough but not to much so I can see some weight loss.

  4. Great post, love all the personal details and comments too. Darn, I wish I could work from home and just eat when I felt like it!

    If you couldn't eat eggs or avocado, what would you be eating for brunch/healthy fats?

    1. Thanks Sue, trust me working from home is actually more challenging in some respects because I'm way to convenient to my fridge and pantry and I can just willy nilly graze if I wanted to so I need to keep an eye on mindless eating! I would eat both eggs and avocado, eggs by themselves aren't enough fat to keep me satiated and avocado by itself doesn't have protein that helps keep you sustained but together they are perfect as the eggs have tons of protein and the avocado has tons of fat, it's the perfect combo :)

  5. Hi,
    I found that some days you don't even eat lunch.. how do you not eat lunch? Don't you feel hungry/unwell?

    Just a question not criticising

    1. Hi Hanim, If I have a sustaining breakfast or brunch with tons of protein and fat I simply just don't feel hungry so I only eat when I'm ready to. This one of the best things about primal but it takes about 3 weeks before you start feeling like that, if your carbs are still too high then you will probably keep riding the blood sugar roller coaster and never experience what it's like to sustain yourself with fat and protein and only minimal carbs.

  6. I'm curious about the Burger Fuel you get - do you ask them to remove the bun and put the content into lettuce leaves? Or do you do that yourself at home?

  7. I'm curious about the Burger Fuel you get - do you ask them to remove the bun and put the content into lettuce leaves? Or do you do that yourself at home?

    1. I just ask them to wrap it in lettuce instead but you could do it yourself at home if you don't like asking ;)

  8. The sugar that you use in your hot cocoa and coffee, is it just real plain sugar? I'm SO appreciative of all of the info that you are sharing here. SO SO SO helpful!

    1. It sure is just plain ol white sugar :) you are so so welcome! Glad you enjoy my blog :)

  9. Love your stuff, Michelle. Can you please tell me (again, I'm sure I read it somewhere) where in NZ (or if from overseas, which site), you get your blood ketone test strips? Thanks so much.

    1. Hey Josie, I get them from here: P.S Sorry for the late reply, only just saw your comment now!

  10. Do you know about how much water you use in the coconut hot chocolate? I put it in a big mug and it's not very sweet, so I think I put too much water. Thanks!

    1. I don't really measure the water, I just use a big mug and fill it up about 2/3rds with water. HTH


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