low carbs

Pandemic 10

How’s everyone doing?

Pandemic update: Oregon has been slowly opening. My county is in Phase 1. The county I work in, recently applied for phase 1 but we’ve been seeing upticks in coronavirus cases as things open up, as predicted. Less and less people are wearing masks. I still wear my mask when I go to stores and stuff. {shrug}

I am still working from home. We are not sure yet how it will look returning to work, or when it will happen. As I said, we aren’t in Phase 1 yet for work. My employer is talking about plans: staggered schedules, still working from home, doing shifts, 25-50% of staff in the office only, etc etc. Time will tell.

As for me, this year has been hard. Even pre-pandemic. There was some life drama (that I don’t really want to get into here) right after we got back from Hawaii. Which SUCKED and was super stressful. It was about a month and a half of major life stress. It’s been resolved but it screwed up a lot of our life plans going forward. Then covid-19. Then Michael lost his job. Then then then…it feels like it’s been one thing after another.

Last fall I tried to go off my medication to lose some weight. Prozac works well for me, but it’s very much dose dependent. I gained about 15 or so pounds on it at 20mg. It was really frustrating. I went back down to 10mg and tried and struggled and slowly lost some weight. But I was still struggling. Going off the meds turned out to be a bad idea. I went back. My doctor suggested we try 15mg. It worked well for me mentally. In the middle of the pandemic, Michael asked me why I wasn’t freaking out. I said “I’m medicated.” And it was the truth. It was really helping my anxiety a lot. BUT…you guessed it. The weight started ticking up.

So my doctor suggested a try a new drug. He suggested two, the one I ended up trying was Viibryd. I’d never heard of it before. I gave it a try and immediately started having negative side effects. First was the insomnia. I was taking I think 10mg to start. It was like I had shots of espresso. I was amped up during the day–which was NICE because I wasn’t feeling fatigued. But at night? I couldn’t physically close my eyes. I laid in bed like I did shots of coffee right before I laid down. It was brutal. I was also having some mania/hyper focus.

So we cut the dose to 5mg for a few days and I felt better and then went back up to 10mg and the insomnia issues went away. Good, right? Yes. But…then I started having insane hunger. My doctor told me that weight gain was not a side effect of Viibryd. So why was I suddenly so famished?! And it was CARBS and SUGAR. That’s all I wanted. And I felt like the thing in my brain that says YOU ARE FULL was broken.

I started doing googling and found some chat groups talking about it and a lot of people seemed to have a similar side effect: hunger, weight gain. Huh. Ok. I wonder why the claim is no weight gain but so many people are having hunger issues?

So since the beginning of February (I did not gain any weight in Hawaii! MIRACULOUS!) I’ve gained about 10 pounds.

I can’t necessarily blame that all on pandemic. Some was stress eating and drinking at the beginning of the pandemic. But that was just 2 weeks and I then I pulled my shit together. Some of it is not going to the gym. BUT I am still working out 5 days a week the best I can. It’s not the same workout I can do at the gym, but I am doing my best.

It sucks when medication causes your body to just go haywire.

What am I doing?

Doing Low Carb/Keto (not strict keto, but low carb for sure)

Stopped Drinking completely (it’s something I can control calorie wise)

Trying to drink more water (not very good at this yet)

Drinking tea on a regular basis (every night I have some chamomile tea, which is nice)

Working out 5 days a week (it’s a lot of cardio right now, but doing the best I can)

Switched my medication

Not having sweets in the house (Other than atkins brand)

I’ve lost about 3 or 4 pounds in two weeks so far. The new medication I’m trying is Lamictal. A friend took it for years and liked it a lot and said it was “weight neutral” so that is promising. We will see.

My new favorite drink: fake mojito! The previous owner of our house planted mint in the garden and it’s gone nuts (in case you didn’t know, mint is better in a pot or it will take over!). So I am trying to use it up! I do 1 packet of stevia, fresh lime juice, sparkling lime water, mint and ice.

I will do another post in a week or two about the weight and stuff but I wanted to give a quick update on all of this stuff to start out.

Keto, Low Carb & Quarantine

I want to start by saying that Keto is not for everyone. It’s a diet that takes a LOT of planning. It takes a LOT of tracking. You have to be on top of things or you are not doing the keto diet.

I was doing keto and basically maintaining at this point, not losing, which was frustrating in a lot of ways.

Then this covid-19 thing happened and things changed. Suddenly, the grocery store felt like a battle ground. You had to wear a mask, wipe everything down, try to avoid touching things as much as you can, avoid people…we were working from home and I was only going to the grocery store about every 9-12 days instead of weekly (or twice a week).

So my buying habits had to change. We were pretty stocked up on proteins because of Costco (in our freezer we have: frozen chicken thighs, burger patties, pork chops, salmon, shrimp, scallops, bratwursts). I had frozen veggies (cauliflower rice, green beans, cauliflower mash, etc). But fresh produce does not last long so I had to be creative.

For awhile there eggs were hard to find in my grocery store. We were never OUT of them but had to ration (now stores have them fully stocked).

So for breakfasts I rotate: one day I do my plain greek yogurt with blueberries (frozen, from Costco, defrosted) with almonds, chia seeds and keto granola. Another day I will do keto toast with cream cheese or avocado and two fried or scrambled eggs. Sometimes Michael will make a hash (sauteed sweet potatoes topped with smoked salmon, arugula and fried eggs). Logan has frozen waffles, eggs, toast with applesauce or fruit or oatmeal. He’s also on a rotation. πŸ™‚

Dinners are largely the same when we were doing keto but once a week we are doing a pasta or rice dish to help stretch the pantry items and make it so I don’t need to go to the grocery store as often. One night I wanted an easy dinner and made rice, beans, avocado, salsa, with sour cream and jalapenos. Basically a vegetarian bowl. Another night we had pasta with cajun shrimp.

It’s definitely harder to stick to a keto or low carb diet during the quarantine because we can’t have fresh items as often. And we have to be creative with meals sometimes. I do see a lot of keto people sticking to it, and I commend them.

So far in the 6 or so weeks that I’ve been home I’ve been working out 5 days a week still and I gained 2-3 pounds. I guess from eating carbs. There are days here and there where I am a little “snacky” and eat junk (like crackers or chips) but I try not to buy junk food at all to not have the temptation in the house!

I have started up doing sourdough bread again.

Which is fun. It’s something to do as a family, too. Logan helped!

And Michael even tried his hand at doing his very own loaf!

It’s been a struggle with the weight and exercise thing (more mentally than anything). But right now is not the time to focus on that–now is the time to give ourselves grace and be patient with ourselves while the world is a scary place.

QUESTION: How has your diet/exercise mentality changed during the covid-19 pandemic?