Friday, December 22, 2006

Changes Ahead

For the past few months, I have worked full-time, had some vague semblance of a life, and managed three blogs. It's all gotten a bit much!

As of Jan. 2, I will be combining two of my blogs. My New Orleans blog will remain as-is, but I will be combining The Low-Carb Lab with this blog, at this address. This blog will expand beyond my own diet experiences to include some commentary on research, dining and other food issues. Or at least that's the plan!

Stay tuned, and check back on January 2!

M.D. Lite

Went to my doctor today--I call her M.D. Lite--and was all prepared to be praised for losing 41 pounds since my last visit in July.


She didn't even catch it. I finally couldn't stand it any longer and pointed it out to her. But then again, she did refer me for a baseline bone-density scan following my abnormal heel density reading recently, which indicated I'm at risk for osteoporosis. So she gets points for that.

And she did introduce herself when she came in--very polite, since I've only been seeing her for 16 months since my real doctor fled town for Hurricane Katrina and never came back. Oh well.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Fat Jeans

Over a year ago, while wandering through the mall, I found jeans on sale and bought a pair without trying them on.

Big mistake. I couldn't even pull them up over my big fat butt, so they went into the bottom of the wardrobe to be returned later. Then, of course, I never did that, either.
And THEN, to add insult to injury, I gained 40 pounds or so and they gathered dust and were forgotten.

Till yesterday, when I was cleaning out the wardrobe in search of a long-lost Christmas sweater and there they were, tags still on.

Not only do they fit but I don't even have to lie in a prone position, knees bent, to get them buttoned and zipped. You know, the fat girl pants routine.

Yee-hah. Wonder what else is in that wardrobe? I see a holiday project coming on.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Holiday Strategies

On the LC Train since Aug 6, 2006
Lost to date 46 lbs

I'm stocking up on some favorite low-carb snacks to take with me on my upcoming holiday trip to Hot'Lanta and Alabama, figuring that having an alternative to high-carb snacks will at least keep me from going overboard.

Here's the assortment:
--Just the Cheese Popped Cheese, butter flavor. I can't possibly overeat these because they are ridiculously salty and since I've been low-carbing I seem very sensitive to too much salt. They have a nice crunch and flavor, though.

--Oh Yeah! Protein Wafers, peanut butter/chocolate flavor. These are great Twix-like snack bars that are high in protein (15g per serving), low in carbs (3g per serving) and NO SUGAR ALCOHOLS. Thank you, thank you.

--Big Train Brownies, from the mix. These aren't really LOW carb at 8g per tiny square, but they're a heckuva lot lower than regular sugar brownies. And, again, no sugar alcohols.

--ChocoPerfection Bars. I try to keep these around at all times. The chocolate tastes great, they're high fiber and extremely filling, and...can you see the pattern sugar alcohols.

--Last, but not least, the gross-sounding-but-heavenly-tasting Cinnamunch Pork Puffs, made by the Flax-Z-Snax folks whose Sweet Nut'ns I cannot have in my house because I can't stop eating them. But the Pork Puffs are terrific, sweetened with Splenda, and only 5g carbs for the whole bag. I buy 'em by the case.

So, there you have it. My holiday strategy. My goal isn't to be "perfect" but to be "reasonable."

The Awesome Blossom

For any of you familiar with the restaurant chain, Chili's, you know the Awesome Blossom. In other restaurants it's called a "Blooming Onion" or an "Onion Blossom." Big, fried, and greasy, with a dipping sauce to dip your grease in.

So here I am on Sunday. It's 1 p.m., breakfast was at 6:45, and I'm hungry and on the road. So I head to Chili's, where I figure I can find something relatively harmless for lunch. Not in the mood for a bunless burger, so I hone in on the "Guiltless Grill" selections. Hey! They list carb counts! Let's see....95g, 80g, and here's a bland slab of salmon for 31g. Yuck.

So I pick out the fajitas instead, which I figure I'll eat without the tortilla. Seems a good selection. I check out the appetizers and then I spy it: the Awesome Blossom. How bad can it be, I ask myself rhetorically. After all, onions are a vegetable albeit high in naural sugars. It's not THAT heavily breaded, after all. I could scrape off some breading. And, besides, I'm not eating my tortillas.

So that's what I do. It was so greasy it made me swoon and the salt must have sent my blood pressure into the ozone. Pretty tasty, in other words. And then the fajitas came along and I was stuffed and happy.

Till I got home and went on the amazing website, which has a large selection of brand-name and restaurant nutritional info. First, I look up the fajitas, listed in the calorieking database with or without tortillas. 20 grams of carbs. Not bad, not bad, and I didn't even eat the guacamole, which I think looks and tastes like it must have come out of someone's nose. Gross but true.

Then I looked up the Awesome Blossom, and I learned why they call it awesome, and it has nothing to do with the taste. That would be: 2710 calories, 203 grams ft (36g saturated), 6360 mg sodium, 194 carbs (15g fiber) and 24g protein.

YIKES!!!!!!! And I ate half of the darned thing.

Okay, scratch yesterday. Start over today. Note to self: please check calorieking for your restaurant menu BEFORE you go, not after.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The World's Healthiest Pizza

That would be what I'm supposedly having for lunch today, as my office prepares for an untraditional holiday party. We're giving up the fried turkey and casseroles and mounds of dessert

The World's Healthiest Pizza is a local company here in the world's unhealthiest city, New Orleans, that touts the healtfulness of their pizzas but is less-than-open about how they got that way--no nutritional info is available on their website. But two slices of their large pizza, they say, have almost a day's worth of fiber, so about 9 grams of fiber per slice. The fiber they use, inulin, is "prebiotic," which they claim helps the absorption of the calcium in the cheese on the pizza, and helps boost the immune system. And it's lower in calories--one slice of a large cheese pizza has 188 calories. They use low-fat cheeses and organic toppings--including alligator sausage. How does that work, I wonder?

I work in an office full of tree-huggers, so they're all into the prebiotic, organic, vegetarian stuff. So that's what we're doing for the holiday party.

I'll report back later--should be interesting!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Greed is not Good

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006
Lost to date: 48 lbs

I'm reading Linda Moran's little book, How to Survive Your Diet, and am finding it interesting. At first, I thought her characterization of overeating as being the result of either stress or greed too simplistic. Stress, I get. As I spent my two-month evacuation from Hurricane Katrina glued to the TV watching my city die, I practically mainlined chocolate. But...Greed?

Then a funny thing happened. As I finished my lunch yesterday, I thought about getting "just a little more." But I stopped and thought about why I wanted it. I wasn't still hungry. It's just that I wanted more.

Uh-oh. Greed. And the fact that I like chewing.

Thinking of oneself as a greedy, chomping, overeating slob isn't a very pretty picture, is it? The word "Greed" is loaded. We don't like it. We don't want to be it. Yet, actually, that is a big part of it. I hate to admit it, but I think Linda Moran is right.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


This isn't really about low carb or diet today, so consider yourself warned before you read further. Sometimes a girl just needs to vent, okay?

About a month ago, my church played host to one of those mobile medical labs--you know the ones. You pay a hundred bucks or so, and they do some basic screening tests, mostly with ultrasound, to see if you have blocked carotid arteries, any signs of aortal weakness, or any life-threatening blood clots in your legs. For an extra $20 they throw in a test for osteoporosis.

Now, I should say here that I refer to my regular doctor as "MD Lite." It's not that she's young, but let's just say I think she'd be really good at diagnosing, say, a head cold. So this seemed to me to be a good chance for an overweight, middle-aged woman (jeez, how lovely I sound) to get some tests done that normally wouldn't be possible without overt symptoms. Heart disease runs in my family so I thought this was a wise thing; I threw in the osteoporosis test just for the heck of it even though I know it's thin, willowy, fragile little ladies who have that disease.

Well, the results are in.
I do not have any carotid artery blockage.
I do not have any vascular blockages.
I do not have any aortal weakness.

See where this is going?

I'm at high risk for bone breakage due to osteopenia--not a disease itself, but often a precursor to osteoporosis.

So here I am, the first fat lady in the history of the world to be heading down the road to broken hip land.

I'll be taking the results to MD Lite next week. I figure her response will be: "That's interesting."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Holy Toledo, Batman, It's a New Addiction

Program start: Aug 6, 2006
Lost to date: 46 lbs

Well, actually, it's not a new addiction. It's just an addiction I never realized I had till very recently. Talk about a light bulb going on over your head!

I have had a weight problem since approximately age 7, when in the space of two years I went from looking like a slightly malnourished skinny preschooler to a pleasantly pudgy first grader to an out of control 7-year-old. So after all those decades of struggling with weight, what did I think my food issues were? Well, during the many wasted years of low-fat dieting, I would have told you I couldn't stay away from fats. Turns out I didn't need to, Wilbur.

Then I realized, during a massive Blue Bell Ice Cream binge, that I was addicted to sugar. I would start something sweet -- or bready or both -- and couldn't stop.

So, in August, when I started my Last Diet Ever--because low carb is not really a diet but a changed way of eating, I thought--I started trying to listen to my body, to discern physical hunger from "head hunger."

Then I rediscovered low-carb snacks. There are some really fine ones. And as I calculated which ones I could eat the most of without overdoing it on carbs, the light bulb went off.

I am addicted to overeating--not food, not carbs (though they are the major triggers) but overeating. The sensation of being full.

I realize that, even as I have a ways to go with the weight loss, this is a food issue I absolutely MUST address if I'm to take it off and keep it off. Yes, you can binge on low-carb just as you can binge on high-carb (though, theoretically, it wouldn't be as harmful as all that sugar--ick! Yum! Ick! Yum!

Oh well. All that to say that I've picked up a copy of Linda Moran's book, How to Survive Your Diet and Conquer Your Food Issues Forever. You'll be hearing more about it as I work through the book on this blog. Cognitive therapy techniques, here I come.

I promise not to post anything too Freudian, though!

Talking to Myself

Low Carb "birthdate" Aug 6, 2006
Lost so far: 47 lbs

Okay, so I've started reading Linda Moran's interesting little book, Surviving Your Diet. There's a lot of food for thought there (pun intended). So far, there's a lot of talk about, well, talk. Specifically, self talk. The voice inside your head that screams "Outta My Way--Sugar Ahead" when you approach the food table at a party. The one that whines "Everybody else gets to eat what they want, and why do I have to do without, wah-wah-wah" when everyone else is eating birthday cake and you're sitting there stoically with a cup of diet soda.

Well, okay, now you've heard some of the voices in my head. If I had to boil them down to one emotional stereotype, it would be the petulant child.

"But I WANT it."
"I deserve it--it's been a hard day."
"My home is floating in three feet of water from Hurricane Katrina and I need chocolate."

Well, you get the picture. I'm the spoiled 3-year-old who wants what she wants.

Now, how do I get from there to the adult who can shut down the pity party once it begins, give myself permission to eat, and then eat like a self-controlled adult? Well, heck, if I knew the answer to that I wouldn't be in this shape to begin with.

Baby steps, baby steps. Coming up tomorrow: Chapter two, and maybe some answers.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Stuck on Stupid

Start date: Aug 6, 2006
Lost to date: 48 lbs.

Sometimes, as U.S. Gen. Russell Honore said when he landed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to set things straight and get things in order, we just get "stuck on stupid."

I got stuck on stupid yesterday. I know I can't eat anything with maltitol in it. I know this from hard-won experience. I know that even in small quantities--like in a single cookie--it can result in a bad case of rumble-gut at best or nuclear gastric meltdown at worst.

Yesterday, one cookie, one nuclear maltitol meltdown. Minus 3-1/2 pounds in a day.

Hey, I think I've found a new diet aid! Forget Milk of Magnesia! Forget eating loads of fiber! Just eat a cookie!


Note to self: You cannot eat the "Outrageous Oatmeal Cookie" from Nutritious Creations. Don't ever order it again.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

An Ounce of Cure

Starting date: Aug. 6, 2006
Lost to date: 45 pounds

How much is enough? One of the lures of the low-carb WOL is the promise of life without portion control. No calorie counting. Keep the carbs low and you can't help but lose. Of course, even the esteemed Dr. A recognized that there are limits, and that calories count. But the much-touted "metabolic advantage" meant they don't count quite as much as they would seem to on the surface.

The real metabolic advantage, of course, is that you aren't as hungry on LC, and it's easier to feel satisfied. But there are some of us, and I, unfortunately, am one of them, who just can't lose on 1,500 calories or more a day--regardless of our weight, and regardless of how low our carb count. Might it come off eventually? The mathematics of the situation would say yes. But so slowly that few of us--or at least me--would have the patience to stick with it.

So I cut back. I try to listen to body cues--eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm not. It's not an easy thing to do after years of binge eating.

I realized as I woke up at 2 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep that it wasn't insomnia keeping me awake--it was hunger. I ate very little yesterday because I wasn't hungry; at 2 a.m., I'm suddenly starving.

I think I've got the signal thing down; now, I need to work on my timing.

Monday, December 4, 2006

A Pound of Pleasure

Start date: Aug. 6, 2006
Lost to date: 43 lbs

It was a perfect meal, and I refuse to feel guilty about it. Saturday brunch at Commander's Palace, a jazz combo strolling through the dining room, providing the soundtrack of "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans," "Bye, Bye Blackbird," and other tunes. The bustle of black-clad waiters and the clink of fine china. Even a photographer from Southern Living magazine wending his way through the tables, taking shots for an upcoming feature to run around Mardi Gras time.

First course was the soup-sampler trio, a triad of white china cups filled with today's selection--corn and crab bisque; turtle soup with a generous dollop of sherry; and the piece de resistance, a sublime duck and oyster stew. The main course: tournedos of beef lying atop a bed of seasoned mashed potatoes and covered with caramelized onions, drizzed with sherry. And the finale of all finales, piping hot bread pudding souffle topped with a delicately rich whiskey sauce.

Carbs be damned for one day--it doesn't get much better than this.

Speaking of carbs, how did I do? Well, I ate no-carb breakfast and dinner, and I only ate half of the potatoes. I still figure I had about 2,000 calories and 162 carbs for the day. Then it was right back to low carb business as usual.

Happy birthday, mom.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Head Hunger

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006 Lost to date: 43 lbs.

One of the hardest things about any weight-loss program, even a low-carb program, is figuring out how to cope with what I call head hunger.

Physically, I am not hungry. But my head is STARVING. It wants salty, crunchy, sweet, sour. It wants to chew mindlessly. It wants to--dare I say it--BINGE.

Here's how the ever-helpful Wikipedia defines Compulsive Eating:

"Compulsive overeating is characterised by an addiction to food. An individual suffering from compulsive overeating disorder engages in frequent episodes of uncontrolled eating, or binging, during which they may feel frenzied or out of control. They will eat much more quickly than is normal, and continue to eat even past the point of being uncomfortably full. Binging in this way is generally followed by a period of intense guilt feelings and depression. Unlike individuals with bulimia, compulsive overeaters do not attempt to compensate for their binging with purging behaviours such as fasting, laxative use or vomiting. Compulsive overeaters will typically eat when they are not hungry, spend excessive amounts of time and thought devoted to food, and secretly plan or fantasize about eating alone. Compulsive overeating almost always leads to weight gain and obesity, but not everyone who is obese is also a compulsive overeater."

Yep, that's the problem. Unlike a drug addict, a food addict can't quit cold turkey. We gotta keep eating.

This Head Hunger, which I guess is just the manifestation of a food addiction, is not like a craving really. I don't crave pizza or chips or bread or anything in particular. I crave quantity. How do you get past that?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Master and Commander's

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006 Lost to date: 42 lbs.

As I struggle to whittle off my overnight six-pound Thanksgiving gain, which isn't happening overnight, by the way, I look toward the next social challenge. I figure I'll have recovered from the turkey-day binge by the end of the week, when I have to face brunch at Commander's Palace.

I love Commander's, its antebellum charm, its history, its innovative cuisine, its bread pudding souffle with whiskey sauce--extra sauce on the side, please. The old building on Washington Ave. in New Orleans' Garden District was badly damaged by the winds and rains of Hurricane Katrina. It didn't flood but might as well have, for all the damage it incurred. It took just over a year for it to be renovated and reopened, and this Saturday for the famous jazz brunch will be my first time back since the levees broke and life as we know it changed.

I'm working on my strategy. Turtle soup, thick with cream and a touch of sherry, should be fairly low carb. Salad should be fine. Pick whichever entree has the lowest-carb side dishes attached to it--pork medallions, perhaps, or a blackened fish. Then go ahead and have the bread pudding souffle and be done with it.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Turkey Trot II

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006 Lost to date: 40 lbs.

There once was a girl with a pretty little curl right in the middle of her forehead/And when she was good, she was very very good, and when she was bad she was....

Stuffing herself full on Thanksgiving Day, to the tune of a six-pound overnight weight gain. Making herself absolutely sick as a dog. Eating cornbread dressing till it came out her ears. Single-handedly representing the deadly sins of gluttony followed by sloth.

And then came Friday. Yep, six pounds up, two of which dropped after the ensuing three days. I know that, logically, I could not have gained six pounds eating my 4,200 calories that I diligently entered into Fitday on Thanksgiving. Yet there it is.

Ironically, also on Friday, I went clothes-shopping for the first time since starting this program in August and realized that I had dropped two sizes.

I do wish the next month and its attendant social obligations was over, though.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Snack Traps

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006 Lost to date: 44 lbs.

So, here I am, three and one-half months into my new way of life, and I haven't set any weight-loss records or anything but I'm doing okay by really counting both carbs and calories, counting total carbs instead of net carbs, and sticking with "real" food.

And then, lo and behold, through a contest at Livin La Vida Low Carb, I win a shopping spree at the fine low-carb superstore at Viva Low Carband I discovered that there are lots more low-carb snack foods than when I did Atkins many moons ago. Yesterday, my big box of snacks arrived, and as I looked at my haul I realized I was trying to replicate the binge-snacking of my high-carb days with low-carb binge foods. Let's see, I had some Just the Cheese snack rounds, which thankfully now come in a low-sodium version, and I found myself checking to see what the carb cost of eating the whole bag would be (that answer would be: 4). The whole bag of Texas Cinnamon-flavored pork rinds: 5. I found myself thinking: maybe I CAN count net carbs and not total carbs.

In other words, I found myself on a slippery slope. Having low-carb treats does not mean a carte-blanche pass into low-carb binging. It's time to see if the iron-will self-control I've managed to muster when faced with mountains of high-carb treats can hold over to learning to enjoy low-carb treats in moderation.

I've never been good at moderation, otherwise I wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. But guess there's no time like the present to learn.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Turkey Trot

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006 Lost to date: 44 lbs.

Thanksgiving approaches, and there's a cajun-spice-injected turkey with my name on it about to be slipped into a vat of peanut oil and fried within an inch of its life. I don't know who invented fried turkey, or under what circumstances, but it's a great way to avoid the tasteless, dry bird on national Turkey Day.

I have to confess here that I'm going to set a bad example of low-carbers everywhere on Thanksgiving. I'm not even attempting to stay legal. I'm eating what the family eats, and sending the leftovers packing. On Friday, it's back to the grindstone and hopefully I'll feel gross and bloated enough to make getting back on track easier.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Armies on the Move

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006 Lost to date: 44 lbs.

So, I'm getting my lunch ready to bring with me to work this morning, already dressed and ready to head out the door, when my 81-year-old mom, who lives with me and usually talks first and considers the ramifications later, remarks: "you looked like you moved an army out of those pants."

Huh? Until that moment, I didn't realize that these khakis were all of a sudden seriously too big. I realized they were barely hanging on. When did that happen, and how did I miss it?

I think people who are significantly overweight, either subconsciously or out of habit, stop paying attention to how their clothes fit. If it buttons, it's great. A little baggy? Even better. We defiantly value comfort over style and fit--not because we don't like the way we look, of course, but because we're practical, down-to-earth people and we're above such shallow concerns as style and fit.

Yeah, right. Yet I find myself almost paralyzed at the thought of buying new clothes. I don't know what size to buy. Egads. I might have to actually go to a store and try something on. Oh well, I won't think about that today. I'll just schlep around in my army-moving pants a little while longer.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Drinkin' Man Blues

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006 Lost to date: 40.8 lbs. Still to go: Triple digits

Okay, I'll just admit it right up front--I don't like water. The idea of sitting down to a big old glass of the clear stuff rates right up there with vacuuming and dish washing. It's a chore. While in the past I have told myself beautiful lies about how diet soda counts as water, deep inside I knew it didn't, and besides how much pickling of my innards is all that aspartame doing anyway?

So now we have a new generation of waters, with flavors in them and sweetened with Splenda. I don't really know if they should count as "real" water but they are clear and they aren't carbonated and they don't have formaldehyde-inducing aspartame in them, so I'm counting them.

And counting them, and counting them.

How much water are we really supposed to drink? I heard an ounce for every pound you weight. Well, that ain't happening. I'd float out to sea. So, let's go for an ounce of water for every pound of what I want to weigh. That's still a lot of water, 130 ounces, let's say. That's 8.125 of my 16-ounce bottles of Fruit20. My record so far is three bottles. If I try to drink eight a day, I'll go broke.

That is, if I don't float away first.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New Milestones, Old Mentality

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006
Lost to date: 40.4 lbs.
Still to go: Triple digits

Finally hit the 40+ mark--yea!! It's funny how, when you have a lot of weight to lose, it takes a long time for people to really notice. No one has, so far, but I can see subtle changes in the shape of an arm, the watchband that's suddenly too loose, and I'm wearing clothes that four months ago I couldn't get into at all. I remember my buddy Jimmy Moore, in chronicling his amazing 180-pound loss in "Living La Vida Low-Carb" (the book), talking about it taking a while for people to notice that he was losing weight.

In a strange way, it's almost easier when no one is paying attention, I think. You're wearing the same clothes--they just fit better. Once people start noticing, then the pressure's on to keep it up. I guess it's that "as long as no one notices I'm losing weight, I could fail without it being so public" mentality that accompanies you when you've failed at diet after diet, year after year.

How do you get past that?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Testing 1-2-3, Testing

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006
Lost to date: 37 lbs.
Still to go: Triple digits

I did one of those "Lifeline" screenings yesterday--you know the ones. You pay $125 or so, and they do ultrasound scans to tell you if you have blocked carotid arteries or osteoporosis or peripheral vascular disease or an aortal aneurysm. I have never had any of those tests before, so I figured, why not? I toyed with the idea of telling them I'd been eating low carb for more than three months but why ruin the day of these robotic techs who make their living traveling from church to school to meeting hall, running ultrasounds on hypochondriacs?

It's actually a good thing to do, though, especially for someone who is overweight and has marginal medical care. Often, I'm afraid, these things go hand in hand. I have only to get within 20 yards of my doctor, who I call "M.D. Lite" behind her back, before she's pulling out the 1,200-calorie low-fat diet sheet. I could wallpaper every room in my house with them. Got a sniffle? Go on a diet! Have an earache? Reduce those calories and cut out that fat! Sheesh.

Anyway, the screeners didn't find anything worth rushing me to a hospital for yesterday so in three weeks I'll get my results in the mail.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Tale of Two Pralines

Start Date: Aug 6, 2006
Lost to date: 37 lbs.
Still to go: Triple digits

Went to a festival this weekend and it was my undoing. I have survived old lady lunches of salad, pot-luck dinners with nothing but a little slab of turkey on my plate, at least five instances of junk food in the office, and more--but here I am, walking around for hours at this craft show, and there's nothing I can eat. They usually at least have alligator on a stick, but not this year. There was shrimp on a stick--battered and fried--and I guess I could have bought it and thrown away the batter. But I didn't. I got a teriyaki chicken shish-kebab, which tasted sweet, sweet, sweet, and ate half of one of those onion blossoms. Later, when I entered it all into Fitday as best I could, I realized it wasn't all that devastating--maybe 40 carbs in all.

Unfortunately, by that time, it was 9 p.m. and I'd also added Popeye's chicken, a biscuit (egads) and two, yes two, pralines to the stack and it was more like 150 carbs.

Which brings me to "all or nothing" thinking. I know this. I know that if you fall off the wagon you minimize the damage and get back on track. I know that you don't say "what the heck, I've eaten x so why not add y and z?"

But there you have it. And I felt yucky and bloated and the pralines weren't even good. So a two -lb. gain, probably a stall, and we shall see. I was extraordinarily good yesterday and am back on track. We'll see how long the fallout from Saturday lasts.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Start Date: Aug 6, 2006
Lost to date: 39 lbs.
Still to go: Triple digits

Okay, so I need a place to rant! So I'm back.

Not exactly burning up the scales, but I've been staying on my low-carb plan despite way too many social obligations--I swear I never had any social obligations before starting this way of eating. Tomorrow is a festival out at the Destrehan Plantation, and I'll be waltzing among such local delicacies as crawfish bread, beignets, onion blossoms and alligator sausage on a stick. Hey, wait! I can eat alligator sausage on a stick.

Sunday will be a Thanksgiving banquet at my church--the dreaded pot luck. I should take my standard low-carb broccoli salad so I'd have something to eat besides a lonely slab of turkey on a plate, but my 81-year-old mom, who lives with me, wants to make a CHOCOLATE CAKE, so who am I to tell her no. I hope everyone scarfs it up so it doesn't come back home with us and I have to look at it all week.

But here's my broccoli salad recipe--it's too yummy!

1 bag shredded broccoli, raw
2-ounce bag of slivered almonds
6 thin slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup cidar vinegar
1/8-1/4 cup Splenda, to taste

Friday, September 1, 2006

Bread Moguls Strike Back

GOAL: 80 LBS. between Aug. 16, 2006, and March 28, 2007
STATUS: 17.8 lost; 62.2 to go

An interesting story from the New York Times acknowledges, in a backhanded way, the effect that the Low Carb movement has had on bread sales--and Bread is fighting back.

In the article, it says the Grain Foods Foundation is in the midst of a $3.5 million ad campaign urging people to celebrate the sandwich and eat not one, but two, slices of bread at a time. Even though the low carb "craze," as the Times calls it, has cooled a little, the per capita consumption of wheat flour in the US is down to 133 pounds a year. Wait a minute here. Good grief! That's saying every person in the USA eats 133 pounds of wheat flour a year. Take away children, who eat less, and us low-carbers, who eat little or none, and the rest of the folks are probably eating more like 200 pounds of flour a year. That's a lot of flour. And we wonder why obesity is on the rise?

Anyway, "the effects of the anticarb crusade linger, much to the dismay of the members of the foundation, which include marketers from the milling and baking industries, trade organizations and suppliers," the article says.

The first year of the campaign was spent "telling people it's okay to eat bread again." The second will focus on "telling people bread is back." Did it leave? Did I miss something? What was that in the basket they slapped in front of my face at Texas Roadhouse last week?

The new message from bread: it's good for you, and healthy. And profitable for everyone. The foundation's website, GRAINPOWER, is sponsoring a contest to find the best sandwich recipe. The winner gets--you gotta admit it's clever--a trip to Sandwich, in County Kent, England. Where the thing was allegedly invented by the Earl of Sandwich back in the olden days.

Maybe some industrious low-carbers should enter some breadless sandwich recipes and see how they do!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Sugar Bandit

I'm kind of discouraged today, as I slog through my stall. But I know I'm staying at below 20 carbs so it will catch up on the scales eventually.

I have been fascinated by a story in our LOCAL PAPER today about the Sugar Bandit. Now, if this is not the power of sugar, I don't know what is. Some yahoo broke into a Danny & Clyde's (sort of convenience/grocery/gas place) overnight and was arrested fleeing the scene laden with doughnuts and danishes. Asked why he broke into the store, his response was simple: "I wanted some pastries."

Now, we could go on a while about whether convenience store doughnuts and danishes could ever in this world or any other be considered real "pastries," but the bottom line is the same. The man was driven by the evil forces of Sugar to commit a felonious act.

I think someone should send the poor slob a copy of the Atkins book. Deliver it to his jail cell--just don't hide a file or a Little Debbie Swiss Roll inside.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Forget Diets--Bring on the Airbrush

Was anyone besides me (and, allegedly Katie Couric) really irritated by the story circulating today? ("Today," get it?) Anyway, apparently, the new CBS News anchor appears in the September issue of a magazine distributed to about 400,000 CBS affiliates and on American Airlines flights but she appeared a little chunky in the official photo so the magazine decided to trim off 20 or 30 pounds.

Now, I use Photoshop software and I know how easy that is to do. But good grief, folks, can we give it a rest on the Anorexic Ideal already?

I've decided I don't really need to lose a zillion pounds. I'll just doctor all the photos of myself and stay inside, live a virtual life, and no one will know the difference. Well, until I keel over from a heart attack and the firemen have to break out a wall of my house in order to extricate my huge self. THEN the photos won't be doctored.

Oh well. Still in my alternating-week stall. I lose lots of weight on odd-numbered weeks and stall on evens. This is week four, and I am hanging in there.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

To Whoosh or Not to Whoosh-- the Low Carb Ride

One of the most frustrating (or exhilarating) things about low carb eating is the "whoosh" phenomenon--frustrating or exhilarating depending on which part of the cycle you're currently on. I seem to be on a weekly cycle. I'm in week four and losing nothing. Week one: 9.5 pounds; week two, nothing; week three, 8 pounds; week four....well, you get the picture. I have to resist the temptation to rely too much on what the scale says and remember that it will all even out in the long run. Still, it's a tough thing for an impatient person like me.

Lunch continues to be my biggest challenge, meal-wise. This week, I'm eating an amazingly easy Chicken Chili made from a Dana Carpender crockpot recipe. Throw boneless chicken in the crockpot, dump a 16-ounce jar of salsa on it (I chose Chipotle pepper blend), a tablespoon of chili powder and a crushed chicken bouillon cube. Cook it for 8 hours on low or 4 on high and, voila, really delicious lunch for a week! Of course the "dollop of Daisy" sour cream on top doesn't hurt : )

Monday, August 28, 2006

Farewell to Katrina, and her Unwanted Pounds

GOAL: 80 LBS. between Aug. 16, 2006, and March 28, 2007
STATUS: 17.8 lost; 62.2 to go

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the hellish nightmare that Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levee failures began in New Orleans, and I have a separate Life in Post-Apocalyptic New Orleans blog so I won't talk much about that here except in terms of diet. Anyone interested in that blog should go here and take a look.

Anyway, my Katrina experience in a nutshell was: a week in a hotel in Shreveport, La., with an 80-year-old mom and two freaked-out dogs watching my life fall apart on national TV; a traumatic drive during power outages and gas shortages to Alabama to seek refuge with a friend in Montgomery, Ala.; a two-month evacuation during which I did not know if my home survived and part of which was unsure about my job; coming home to find my beloved city in ruins beyond what even the TV coverage could convey. I had about $40,000 worth of wind damage to my house, thankfully mostly covered by insurance. My garage was flooded and everything in it ruined, not covered by insurance but who cares, really, in the big scheme of things. About 70% of my repairs have been completed and I have applied for federal grant money to fix the rotting garage. The "hurry up and wait" for life to return to normal continues and is likely to continue for a long, long time.

During the two-month evacuation, I learned a lot about myself and food. Before Katrina, I had leisurely been following the South Beach Diet off and on, and had lost about 40 pounds and gained back about 20 over the course of a year. The first week of Katrina, when I was literally in shock, I had no appetite. I was nauseous and couldn't even think about eating, as witnessed by my willingness to eat at Luby's Cafeteria multiple times without protest.

Once I got to my friend's house in comfortable and safe surroundings, with WAY too much time on my hands and all the financial and life uncertainties swirling around me, I began to eat. And eat. Hunger had nothing to do with it. Pre-K (local-speak for before the hurricane), I would have sworn I was not really a stress eater. I was wrong. I CRAVED chocolate. I am normally not a big chocolate fan--I like it with other things mixed in. But, suddenly, I was glued to the sofa watching CNN 24/7 eating Hershey's chocolate kisses--bags and bag of them--and Snicker's bars. And Publix Key Lime Pie. And on and on and on. If it had sugar, I wanted it.

The upshot of all this was a two-month evacuation and 22 pounds. And today, the day before the first anniversary of the time all of our lives here changed so drastically, I can finally announce that my Katrina weight is gone. It's time to move on.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Starting Again

I started this blog a few weeks ago, found it got "infiltrated" by hostile forces and now am trying to start it again. Welcome to my Low Carb Blog!

I'm a middle-aged (egads) woman living in America's Fattest City--that would be New Orleans, where we not only have our regular bad eating habits to contend with these days, but also our "stress eating" from coping with the lingering aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

I was inspired to begin low-carbing (again) about a month ago after lurking on Jimmy Moore's Living La Vida Low Carb blog for a long time, then finding the Kimkins site. If anyone doesn't know about these, let me know. I'll link to them as soon as I figure out how to do that!

Anyway, I have lost 14 pounds in the last three weeks doing "Suzikins," which is basically Atkins Induction. I'm not counting net carbs, but only total carbs because I found, in my last stab at this, that I would abuse the "net carb" rule and stuff myself with high-fiber foods that caused problems, i swear you don't want to hear the details, that I won't go into here.

I'm also trying to avoid most of the low-carb foods, the exception being the Chocoperfection bars, which I eat in small quantities (one square of a five-square bar) as a snack.

Anyway, I hope to post daily now that I'm back up and running. My goal is to lose another 66 pounds before a big conference I have scheduled for the end of March 2007. FitDay tells me that's 2.3 pounds per week. I can do this!!