Etekcity Smart Body Fat Scale: A Blind User’s Perspective

A few months ago, I ran across the Etekcity Bluetooth Smart Body Fat Scale and I was intrigued.  Although I have a scale that is accessible to me as a blind person, I really liked the idea of a device that could sync with my phone and provide me with more than just my body weight.  The Etekcity scale seemed to be the right tool for the job, although I was reluctant because I wasn’t sure if the app would be accessible to me. Of course, the only way to find out was to purchase it, so after Christmas, I took the plunge and ordered it.  After all, I couldn’t argue with the price. (I paid less than $20 for the scale.)

I was so excited when the scale arrived, but since I’d never used it before, I had to wait for some sighted assistance to get started.  Luckily, my husband was happy to provide that over his lunch break.

My first impressions were good.  The scale has a simple design and it’s incredibly durable.  (Ask me how I know.) I did end up needing someone to orient me to the front of the scale since it wasn’t immediately recognizable by touch, but that wasn’t a big deal.

When it came time to set up the app though, things didn’t go as smoothly.  The scale requires the use of an app called VeSyncFit.  Ideally, you’re supposed to use the app to set up an account, pair it with the scale, and use it to start collecting data.  The app gives you access to biometrics like body fat percentage, bone mass, muscle mass, percentage of body water, and more.

Setup was far from ideal for me though.  Parts of the app are accessible on my Android phone running Google Talkback and Explore by Touch.  There are buttons that I can’t access at all though, and what’s more, there is detailed information available to sighted users that isn’t being read to me.  And lastly, if I want my scale connected to my Google Fit app, I’ll apparently have to turn off my accessibility so that a sighted user can do it because I can’t enable that feature at all while my accessibility setting are enabled.

I’m still thrilled to have the scale.  The hardware is great, but the app that’s required to get access to the biometric data is NOT a good fit for blind users.  Yes, I got a profile set up, and yes, I’m using the app to collect biometrics, but I suspect I’m missing 50% of the app’s features due to lack of accessibility.

Since the price point of the scale was amazing, I suppose I shouldn’t complain.  After all, the app does add some functionality to the scale that I couldn’t get with my old talking scale.  My hope is that the app developers will improve the app though because tools like this are amazing assets to those of us who’re blind and visually impaired, and I doubt it’d take much from a development perspective to fix the current issues present in the app.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue to use my new scale to collect data about my body composition as I continue on my path to better health.

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Blind Lady Anecdotes: Growling Guide Dog

In 2017, I went to Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester, Michigan to train with my third guide dog, Denver.  I was so excited because I hadn’t had a guide dog since 2007, and it was a hard road to get me approved for training that third time around.

The school had changed so much since I was last there in 2002.  The building was different, and the training was entirely different.  Those first few days before I met Denver seemed to fly by, and before I knew it, our trainer was headed into my room with My amazing new partner.

Like people, dogs are all different, so it didn’t surprise me at all when I met Denver and started to get ot know his personality.  He was a little shy at first, but it wasn’t long before he warmed right up to me. Immediately, he reminded me of an old man who’d been stuck in a young dog’s body.  There was just something about him that said that he was wise beyond his years.

That afternoon, I think we took our first walk together, and we spent some more time bonding.  Before I knew it though, it was time for dinner. Unlike others in my class, I’d been through this before.  I knew that the first meal with all those people and all those dogs in the dining room was going to be interesting for sure.  While I’d never seen anything crazy happen with those well trained dogs, I knew it was bound to be noisy at the very least.

Finding our place at the table went without incident, and we all started to eat our supper.  I don’t remember what we were talking about, but I stopped dead in my tracks because I heard a sound.  I thought it sounded like growling, so I kept listening. There it was again! It was definitely growling.  And the second time, I actually recognized that it was Denver because he had his chin resting on my foot and I felt it through my shoe.

“My dog is growling,”, I said to the group.  Everyone else seemed confused. They were trying to figure out if I had lost my mind.  “There! Did you hear that? He’s GROWLING!”

Immediately, our trainer jumped up and went around to the side of the table where nobody was seated.  She picked up the table cloth so she could see Denver, and then she started laughing.

I was so confused because I didn’t think a growling guide dog was anything to laugh about.  Maybe he was giving another dog stink eye under the table or maybe he felt threatened. I didn’t know what had triggered the behavior, but I was certain he was growling and now my trainer was laughing.

“Sarah, he’s snoring,”, she told me as she continued to laugh.

“Snoring?”

“Yep.  He’s sound asleep on your foot and he’s snoring.” Boy did I feel like a dummy, but I’m certain I’ll always laugh about that day because it really was pretty funny!

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Keto French Toast Chaffle Sandwich

chaffle sandwich on a plate sitting in front of a waffle makerMy family loves breakfast sandwiches, so I developed this recipe to approximate the same flavors that you get with fast food breakfast sandwiches.  These chaffle sandwiches are much more filling than their counterparts made with grain and sugar, and they’re easy to eat with one hand if you need breakfast on the go.

Here’s how you make the chaffles.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • ½ c almond flour
  • ½ c powdered erythritol
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 3 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer instructions.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat eggs.  Then add almond flour, erythritol, cinnamon, vanilla, and baking powder.  Stir until combined. Add the mozzarella cheese and stir until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Spray waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray (if desired).  Use a measuring cup to place a scant ¼ cup of batter into each section of a 4-slice waffle maker and cook to desired doneness.

Notes: This recipe makes approximately 12 mini waffles in my Bella four-slice waffle maker.  I make them in batches and then refrigerate them to use for sandwich building throughout the week.  Rumor has it that they can be frozen as well, but they don’t last that long at my house.

To make the breakfast sandwiches, I cook eggs in silicone egg rings.  I add shredded cheese to the eggs as they cook so I don’t have to fuss with cheese slices, although that’s a matter of personal preference.

While the eggs are cooking, I heat pre-cooked sausage patties in the microwave.

To build the sandwiches, I put a chaffle on a microwave-safe plate, and I drizzle it with sugar free Davinci Gourmet pancake syrup.  Then I add the cheesy egg, a sausage patty, and a second chaffle.  I pop the sandwich in the microwave for about 30 seconds to heat everything through, and that’s all there is to it!

This coming week, I’m going to try batch-cooking the eggs as well so I can assemble sandwiches ahead of time.  That way, I can heat a batch of sandwiches in the air fryer and I’ll be a little more efficient at getting folks out the door.  I don’t mind cooking for them, but I could definitely be more efficient on school mornings.

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Keto Recipe Review: Carlshead Pizza Crust

pizza slices on a plateIn an effort to keep my family on track with low-carb/keto, I decided to try a pizza dough recipe that I’d never made before.  A girl can only hear so many rave reviews about a pizza crust before trying it, so that’s what I did. I made “Carlshead pizza”, and it was a hit!

As most of you know, I’ve been following a ketogenic way of eating off and on for over 20 years.  In that time, I’ve made pizza toppings on a plate, I’ve made pizza on a zucchini crust, I’ve made pizza on a cream cheese crust, and I’ve purchased pizza on a cauliflower crust (made by Real Good Foods.) Some of these attempts worked better than others.  Some of these options tasted better than others. Some of these options were more like real pizza than others. In the end though, I never found something that called “pizza” to me, and since some of these options were a real pain in the butt to make, I had almost given up on finding something that would behave like real pizza.

Fast forward to December of 2019 when I was binge-listening to all the episodes of the 2 Keto Dudes podcast.  I heard one of the gentlemen mention “fathead pizza”, and it occurred to me that I’d never made that before.  I had just assumed that it would be more of the same disappointing stuff that I’d experienced in the past.  After listening to more episodes though, I was intrigued, and I decided to try Carl’s version that’s egg-free.

My entire family was stunned the first time I made the pizza.  We made something that I had missed from my childhood — a barbecue pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms — and of course it had LOTS of cheese!

Our first attempt made a pretty small pizza.  The “dudes” had claimed that it would make a 12” pizza, but between my son and me, we were struggling to get it up to 10”.  It was still delicious though.

After a couple more attempts where I sturggled to form the crust, I decided to go back to the original recipe that calls for an egg.  I figured that it probably wouldn’t add anything in the way of flavor but I hoped it would make the crust easier to shape. Sure enough, the egg did the trick! I was able to easily shape the dough with my hands (which is important for someone who can’t see), and I ended up with a pizza that fed four of us and allowed for “cold pizza” leftovers the next day.  Winner, winner, pizza dinner!

I’m still really grateful to Carl Franklin for his invention.  Had it not been for him, I never would have discovered a pizza crust that tastes and performs more like pizza than any other keto option I’ve ever had.  And now that I can shape the crust without cussing and hating life, I feel like it’s a huge win for our entire family. While eating pizza toppings is good, having a piece of pizza that you can actually pick up and eat with your hands is something that I haven’t experienced too much.  I mean, I can pick up the Real Good Foods pizzas, but the crust tastes gritty and “off” to me.

I’m sure we’ll experiment with a myriad of topping options.  It’s been a while since I’ve made a fajita pizza, so I’m thinking one of those is in order.  For now though, the BBQ pepperoni pizzas are pretty special, and I can make them quicker than I can make pizzas with a bread dough, so there’s something to be said for that too.  I’m a happy girl for sure!

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Blind Lady Anecdotes: Driver’s Ed

When it comes to being legally blind, I’ve never taken myself too seriously.  I’ve found that humor is a great way to help folks through their discomfort when it comes to interacting with me.  There was one time in my life though where someone was all too eager to support me, and a situation that I thought would have been utterly hilarious turned out to be a major let-down.

When I was a junior in high school, I attended the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities.  Since only juniors and seniors attend, this was my first time working with a lot of folks who’d never worked with a blind person before, so I thought I was going to be funny.  I planned an elaborate joke that was supposed to make everyone laugh. It didn’t quite turn out that way though.

Step one in the prank involved my academic advisor.  I went to him and asked to add driver’s ed to my schedule.  He seemed pretty confused, but I explained my plan to him. “I want to take this drop/add slip to Dr. Lambert and ask him to order books for me.  First, I’ll ask him if he can get the books in Braille, and then I’ll change my mind and ask for books on tape so I can listen to them while I drive.”

My advisor got a good chuckle out of the whole thing and he sent me on my way with a drop/add slip for driver’s ed.

I went over the plan in my head as I walked to office of the gentleman who helped me with accessibility issues.  I was going to walk into his office, hand him the slip from my advisor, and say, “I was hoping you could order some books for me.  I’d like them in Braille.” Then, after pausing dramatically, I was going to say, “Or wait a minute! I’d rather have them on tape so I can listen to them while I drive.” And then we were all supposed to get a good laugh.  But sadly, that isn’t what happened.

I walked into Dr. Lambert’s office and asked to speak with him.  Fortunately, he was there and came right out to talk with me. I handed him the slip, and executed the first part of my plan, asking him to order the books in Braille.  Before I could add the part about getting the books on tape, he eagerly agreed to order the books for me.

Wait a minute! This wasn’t how this was supposed to go.  He was supposed to understand that I wasn’t serious, and we were all supposed to laugh.  His willingness to help ruined my prank! Determined to get a laugh though, I asked about books on tape.  God bless him, he still didn’t understand that I was just joking.

After an awkward pause, I finally explained my plan — that I was trying to play a prank — and then he finally laughed.  Rarely had I felt as defeated as I felt just then, but fortunately for me, I’m pretty sure that all the folks who were involved in said prank still remember it all these years later.  In fact, one of the staff member’s dreamed up an idea to get Purdue to help develop a self-driving car to help in the endeavor. Oddly enough, something that was science fiction back in the early ‘90s is science reality less than 30 years later.

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Baked Chicken Tenders (Low-Carb/Keto)

keto chicken tenders on a plateThis recipe is based on other folks’ suggestions to “bread” chicken with crushed pork rinds.  My family absolutely loves them, and they’re even good cold.

Ingredients:

  • 4lb (approx.) chicken breast tenderloin pieces
  • 3oz spicy pork rinds
  • 1oz parmesan cheese (in the green can)
  • 2T ranch seasoning powder

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degress Fahrenheit.  Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Place pork rinds, parmesan cheese, and ranch powder in a food processor.  Process into a fine powder and place in a shallow dish.
  3. Roll chicken tenders in “breading” and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake chicken tenders in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Carefully turn tenders and bake for another 15 minutes.

Notes: The first time I made these, I made the mistake of seasoning the chicken before rolling it in the “breading” mixture.  It was entirely too salty. I’ve also made these by dipping the chicken in beaten egg before tossing it in the “breading”, and it didn’t make a difference in the taste.  It was, however, a lot messier.

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The Power of Restorative Sleep

clip art image of a bedI have struggled with sleep quality for years.  In 2006, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and I started using a CPAP machine.  Unfortunately, the CPAP was more disruptive to my sleep than the sleep apnea had been, and by 2009, I ditched it.

Sometime in 2011, I was still plagued by terrible sleep, and I thought going back to the CPAP might help.  The problem was, the machine that I’d been using had a recall on it and it had been misplaced in our move, so I never followed through with more sleep testing and a new CPAP.

I continued to suffer from non-restorative sleep for years.  Chronic pain was affecting my sleep, so we got a new mattress.  My health was affecting my sleep quality, so I focused on improving that.  Still, I struggled with overwhelming fatigue. Sometimes, I was needing 12 hours of sleep per day.

There did come a point in all this where I made one observation.  I slept better during the day when my husband wasn’t in the bed with me.  I thought it had something to do with the part of the bed that I was able to lay on while he wasn’t in the bed with me, but until this month, I had no idea how close I actually was to cracking my code for restorative sleep.

In mid December, Fred had an at-home sleep study done.  Then, he had sinus surgery. It was no surprise that the sleep study revealed apnea, but it was a huge surprise when sleep changed dramatically for the both of us.

After Fred’s surgery, he started sleeping on a large wedge pillow.  The pillow is twelve inches thick at one end, and it’s wide enough to support his entire upper body including his shoulders and mid back.  We got the pillow because he was going to need to sleep elevated for the first few days after the surgery, but I don’t think that either of us realized how much that pillow would change things for both of us.

The night after his surgery wasn’t very good for either of us.  He had some bleeding that woke us up in the middle of the night that required our attention.  One of the things that I noticed almost immediately though was the fact that he wasn’t snoring anymore despite the fact that he wasn’t able to breathe effectively through his nose at first.  I’m a really light sleeper, and sounds disturb my sleep, so realizing that I wasn’t being awakened by snoring was pretty powerful.

As Fred continued to sleep on the wedge pillow, we started to notice other improvements.  Fred was actually waking up feeling rested. He wasn’t groggy and cranky when it was time to get up.  That’s something that I haven’t seen from him for probably ten years at least, so it was a little shocking.

I also noticed that on days where we didn’t have to set an alarm, he was waking up earlier naturally.  Regardless of how much I’ve struggled with fatigue and poor sleep, I’ve always gotten out of bed before him.  Now though, he’s waking up naturally after seven to eight hours of sleep instead of ten to eleven hours.

Along with his improved sleep came some pretty dramatic improvements for me as well.  At first, I thought I was just sleeping better because Fred wasn’t snoring anymore, but after about a week of better sleep, it occurred to me.  Not only was I not waking up in the night because of snoring, but I wasn’t waking up in the morning in the pain that had become an everyday part of my life.  It took me a bit of thinking to figure it out, but eventually, I solved the puzzle. I thought back to the time when I felt like I slept better without Fred in the bed.  How was it that I was getting better sleep now while we were both in the bed? It was Fred’s wedge pillow to the rescue again!

Remember how I said earlier that I’m a really light sleeper? Well, Fred is a really heavy sleeper, and the only thing that wakes him up is his alarm, his pager, or a light.  Being too hot or too cold doesn’t wake him up. Being shoved off the bed by the dog doesn’t wake him up. And of course, nearly shoving me out of the bed doesn’t wake him up either.  When he sleeps on the wedge pillow though, he stays put in one spot, and he doesn’t unintentionally push me out of the bed. As a result, I’m not hurting anymore by trying to cling to the edge of the bed.

Now, I completely understand why folks are so protective of their restorative sleep.  I haven’t experienced anything like this since I was in my early 20s, and I know that there’s nothing but good things to come for the both of us because of this near discovery.  Words can’t express how my life has changed already by the fact that I’m not waking up with terrible pain that I thought was being caused by my mattress. I’m sleeping through the night now which is something I haven’t done in years, and while I still really need eight solid hours of sleep, I’m not dragging through my day just trying to get to the next time when I can lay down and catch some Zs.

The surgeon that performed Fred’s sinus surgery said that we might want to do another sleep study after he has healed from the surgery, but honestly, I don’t know if that’s necessary.  A combination of that surgery and the wedge pillow seem to have been life-changing for the both of us, and I’m not certain that we’ll need to spend more money to diagnose an issue that doesn’t seem to be there anymore.

And every day that I wake up feeling rested rather than painful and angry at the world, I am even more in awe at the power life restorative sleep.

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Keto on the Cheap: Wrapping up 2019

After several social media posts, it occurred to me that I should share some thoughts and inspiration here on the blog.  Initially, I hadn’t intended to play on the whole “new year, new you” mentality, but an experience yesterday ended up there organically, and I decided it was worth sharing.

On January 1, 2020, I stepped on the scale like I always do, and I gasped as my scale read the weight.  It was 229.8 pounds! My sons were worried when they heard me gasp, and I made things worse uninentionally by taking a second to respond to them.  I was so shocked though. I hadn’t been in the 220s since 2014, and that was when I was regaining all the weight that I’d lost from 2011-2013. I just couldn’t believe it!

After recovering a little, I decided to have one of my kids take another progress photo.  You see, I don’t typically like having my picture taken. I’m sure a lot of fat people can identify with that sentiment.  At some point in one of my attempts to lose weight though, I realized that if I avoided the camera, I wouldn’t have proof of how far I’d come.  So dispite my discomfort, I have a series of “during” photos that I can put into a slideshow or blog post someday.

After my son took my progress picture, I thought to myself, “I wonder if I can see a difference between this picture and and my biggest ‘before’ picture.” I couldn’t believe what I saw when I put the two pictures side by side.  There it was — objective proof that was hard to ignore. And because I have all my progress photos taken in the same spot in my home, it was easy to compare the differences in relation to things like the door that’s behind me.

front view of Sarahfront view of Sarah standing in front of a door

When I was at my highest weight back in 2017, my size 26 “relaxed fit” jeans were getting tight.  I remember thinking to myself, “I found those pants at Walmart, but if I have to get bigger pants, I’m going to have to start laying out real money, and I just can’t go there.” These days though, I’m wearing size 20 jeans and they’re getting roomy.

With those objective data points — reversing my diabetes, losing 60 pounds, dropping clothing sizes — you’d think it’d be easy for me to recognize my progress.  It isn’t though. Even though I’m putting my body into smaller clothes, I still feel like “that fat lady”. I still feel like that same person whose hips were as big as my measuring tape was long.  Something changed in my head when I saw my progress pictures though, and it really surprised me.

We’ve all heard it, right? If we want to stay motivated, we’re supposed to put visual reminders that are supposed to help keep us on track.  The thing was, I always thought that was irrelevant for me because I’m blind. Well, guess what? I was wrong! Seeing the difference had a profound effect on me that I’m still trying to absorb.  Even though I’m only halfway to where I want to be, it’s hard to ignore the fact that I’ve worked hard and I’ve made changes that are sticking.

People like to say that a ketogenic “diet” isn’t sustainable.  Actually, I agree. Any “diet” isn’t sustainable because the psychology tells us that there’s a beginning and an end to it.  I’ve eaten off plan. I’ve failed to follow the proper human diet. As is evidenced by my progress though, I haven’t given up.  How many people can say that about other “diets”? How many people can say, “I want to eat this way for the rest of my life,”, when they’re following a calorie-restricted, low-fat, high-carb “diet”? That way of eating certainly wasn’t sustainable for me, but eating delicious meat and seafood to satiety with a little veg thrown in here and there DOES work for me.  I’ve never felt so satisfied on a “diet”, and I really can eat like this forever, assuming that I continue to manage my addiction.

What we do matters! I’m proof.  Don’t give up! You’re worth it!

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89.5-Hour Fast — After Action Review

I decided to add an extended fast to my “keto on the cheap” strategy, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the way that things turned out.  In fact, it was such an amazing experience that I thought it was worth sharing here on the blog.

On December 5, 2019, I started an extended fast after my evening meal.  I had my last bite of food around 7:30pm. I had originally intended to break my fast on Sunday evening, but by the time I had been fasted for about 40 hours, I decided to keep going as long as I felt great.

In March of 2018, I completed an extended fast that lasted about 93 hours.  Looking back at my notes, it seems that I lost 6.4lb during that fast, but over the course of the next week, I gained most of that weight back.  And since I’ve slept a time or two since March of 2018, I had to look back at some blog posts to see how I felt during that fast. Silly me only documented the first two days of the fast, and I didn’t do any sort of after action review, so I wanted to do better this time.

This most recent extended fast was my fourth according to my notes.  While I only fasted for 89.5 hours this time, it seems that I did a lot better this time around and there are some great lessons to learn from this experience.

Before I talk about the nitty-gritty of the fast, I’ll share some stats.  My starting weight on the first full day of fasting was 240.6. My weight on the morning after I ended the fast was 236.2.  My lowest weight during the fast happened on the last day of the fast. It was 236 on the nose.

Some people set up all sorts of rules and restrictions for fasting, but my goal was to fast with zero-calorie beverages, coffee, tea, and possibly broth along with copious amounts of salt and the occasional teaspoon of butter if I thought I needed it.  I get that “they” say that broth breaks fasts and non-caloric sweeteners break fasts, but I didn’t really care. I wanted to fast in a way that was sustainable for me, and it turns out that what I did worked amazingly well.

I’ve been listening to the 2 Keto Dudes podcast from the beginning, and I happened across an episode with Megan Ramos where she talked about “switching it up”.  That’s actually what inspired the idea of the fast and the strategy that I was going to use afterward. Words can’t express my gratitude to the dudes for affecting my life without even knowing me.

So let’s talk specifics.  I knew that day one was going to be relatively easy.  When you eat a ketogenic diet, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of intermittent fasting because your blood sugar and insulin are controlled.  You’re just not hungry. I knew it’d probably be challenging on day two though, and in fact, it was. There were some times when I dealt with hunger, but it wasn’t that kind of hunger that I used to experience while sugar-fueled.  It was, however, persistent several times that day, so I dealt with it by drinking some water with some salt. It’s amazing how much salt helps with hunger!

When I wasn’t hungry that second day, I felt pretty darned great.  I didn’t have a fresh battery for my Keto Mojo meter, so I couldn’t get blood ketone numbers, but I was able to track my blood sugar.  On Saturday, what I’m called day two, my blood sugars were running in the mid 70s and there were a couple times that I felt a little low, but I knew I was just waiting for the ketones to ramp up so I could get that amazing euphoria and energy that usually comes around day three.  And guess what. That’s exactly what happened for me.

On day three, my blood sugars were sitting in the mid 60s and I felt amazing! I wish I could have tracked ketones because I’m betting they would have looked amazing too, but honestly, I didn’t need numbers to tell me how I was doing.  I felt so good.

Day three also turned out to be the day that I had 24 ounces of broth over the course of several hours in the evening.  I was craving salt something fierce, and hot, organic chicken broth seemed to be the perfect vehicle for that salt. I remember fixing my first cup of broth and stirring ¼ treaspoon of lite salt into my cup.  I tasted it, and it didn’t taste salty to me. I added ¼ teaspoon of pink salt, and I tasted it again. I could taste the salt, but it still didn’t taste salty enough. I added another ¼ teaspoon of pink salt, and finally, that was enough.  I was shocked that I’d put that much salt in eight ounces of broth and it tasted “just right”.

By Monday morning, I’d already fasted 12 hours longer than I had intended to fast.  People were asking me when I was going to break my fast, and I just kept telling them, “When my body tells me I need to.” I know that seems like a strange answer, especially coming from a fat person who clearly had issues with food in her past, but that’s how I felt.  It was relatively easy, and I was determined to listen to my body.

When my husband came home for lunch around 11:45, I was starting to feel hungry, but I dismissed it as my body’s way of telling me, “It’s lunch time, Sarah.  You’re supposed to eat now.” By the time Fred went back to work though, my hunger was more gnawing, and after trying to let it pass for an hour, I decided to break my fast.

So how did I break my fast? Well, I’ve heard stories about folks who had some uncomfortable side effects from breaking a fast quickly with lots of food, so at 1:00pm, I had about two ounces of summer sausage and an ounce or so of cheese.  Then I put my lunch into the air fryer (three chicken thighs), and I ate that at 1:45pm. I had no intestinal distress whatsoever, so my body must have liked the way I did things.

Here’s the best part of my whole fasting experience though.  When I did the 93-hour fast last year, it took me a week to gain back most of the weight I’d lost.  This time though, the highest weight I saw on the scale after breaking my fast was 236.4. And today, five days after breaking my fast, I’m sitting at 235.2.  That means that not only have I kept the weight off that I lost during the fast, but I’ve lost another .8lb this week! I’m thrilled!

So what did I do differently this time? Well, I credit my success to that podcast I mentioned earlier where Megan Ramos encouraged people to switch things up.  In the first 96 days of my journey, I had pretty much fallen into the same pattern of eating where my calories were restricted, my eating window was restricted, and I was trying to meet macro targets rather than eating intuitively.  After listening to Megan, I decided that once I broke my fast, I was going to feast like I meant it, and the only macro I was going to worry about was carbohydrates. As a result, eating intuitively, my near-carnivore diet managed to bump up my metabolic rate so that eating MORE calories resulted in more weight loss.  You could have knocked me over with a feather! I was so shocked!

So to summarize, here’s the most amazing part about my extended fast and the week following it.  In the first 97 days of my journey, I lost 18.8lb. From day 97 to day 105, I lost another 5.4lb.  That means that means that 22.3% of my weight loss happened in those 9 days. I’ve never had results like that other than those weeks when I’m first recommitting to keto where I’m dropping water weight.  It just blew my mind!

So what’s next? Well, I’ve been dealing with a cold this past week.  I had originally planned to do another fast for 24 or 36 hours to keep things mixed up, but since I’m recovering from this cold, I’m just going to listen to my body.  I’d like to be able to fast through my husband’s surgery next week because that’ll just make logistics easier for me, but if I can’t do it, that’s OK. Feasting is working, so I’m not interested in messing that up right now.

Today is cycle day 24, so I expect to see some water weight gain soon.  I’ll do a follow-up post in a week or two though to keep folks posted on how things are progressing.  As I’ve said before, the thought of losing fat and getting healthier during the holiday season is pretty darned encouraging.  It seems like a pretty great way to start 2020!

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Keto on the Cheap: 100 Days In

Today is day 100 of my keto on the cheap challenge with no relapses! I’m feeling fantastic, and I have so much great news to share.

First, I’ll share my stats.

  • High Weight: 290.2lb
  • Start Weight: 259.4lb
  • Current Weight: 236lb

And then, of course, there are some non-scale victories (NSVs).  I had a phone visit with my keto-friendly doctor during the last week of November, and we decided to cut my blood pressure meds in half.  I’m down to the tiniest dose — 2.5mg of lisinopril — and I’ll bet that when a little more weight comes off, I’ll be able to ditch it altogether.  I’m not quite there yet though, because I tried ditching my previous dose of 5mg because I was having blood pressure drops, but after a few days without the meds, my blood pressure wasn’t where I’d like to see it and I had some pretty uncomfortable edema (sweeling) in my feet and legs.  I know I’ll get to the point where I’m only taking thyroid meds, but that time isn’t now, apparently.

Yet another NSV is my ability to steer clear of whatever viruses my family has been growing in this house.  I’ve definitely had periods of time where I’ve felt like I was trying to fight something, but I haven’t gotten full-on sick yet, and this is usually the bad time of year for that.  We’ll see if my luck holds out through my birthday in mid December, and if it does, I’ll consider that a MAJOR NSV!

I also took some measurements today since day 100 seemed like a great time to do that.  It still amazes me to see how my body is changing even though it doesn’t always feel like the scale is cooperating.

Here’s my progress with the measuring tape.

  • Hips: 51” (down 5” from day 14)
  • Waist: 41” (down 3” from day 14)
  • Body Fat %: 54% (down 6% from day 14)
  • % of Starting Weight Lost: 9.02%

Now that we’ve gotten the “keto” part of the update out of the way, let’s get to the “cheap” part.  We’re doing well there too. We’ve fallen into a decent pattern of grocery buying, and as long as I can keep my youngest from becoming a ribeye addict, we should be OK.

It’ll be interesting to see where our final pattern of grocery spending lands because I was talking with my 14-year-old son about switching him to low-carb.  Right now, he eats low-carb at home because I don’t buy poison that the rest of us don’t eat. He eats carbs at school though, and while that’s keeping my food costs lower, I really think he’d feel better if he switched to low-carb.  (I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that he’s on the autism spectrum and he has ADHD.)

If my son switches too, I’m imagining that we’ll be back at spending around $200 per week on groceries.  I’ll definitely be implementing strategies to keep costs down, but it’ll be worth it. My son gets to choose though.  I’m not forcing it on him because that sort of thing doesn’t go well. My kids are old enough to choose how they eat, and they’re old enough to understand the consequences of said choices.

I’ve also managed a little bit of savings recently by doing an extended fast.  I hadn’t done one since March of 2018, so I was a little apprehensive, but so far, it’s going beautifully.  I’ve been fasting for three-and-a-half days now, and I don’t intend to end the fast until I stop feeling fantastic.  Right now, I have so much brain clarity, and my blood sugars are AMAZING! So far, it’s really working for me, and it has only cost us the occasional cup of coffee or chicken broth.  Oh yes, and we can’t forget salt — lots of salt.

I can’t think of a better way to thrive through the holidays, and I’m loving almost every minute of it!

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