Category Archives: Weight Issues

Why I Broke-Up With Stevia

***DISCLAIMER – I am sharing my story in the hopes of helping anyone else who may be in the same situation.  We are all bio individuals and our bodies react differently to different foods.  In NO WAY am I saying you need to avoid stevia because we are all responsible for ourselves and should never blindly follow anyone’s advice.  Do your research and make the best decision for you.***

On Monday, November 6th, I took a leap by making an announcement on my Instagram account (great for accountability) that I decided to cut stevia out for a week, which I knew wouldn’t be easy.  It was meant to be an experiment of sorts to see if I felt any different without it.  When it came to stevia I noticed a few things, the first of which was that as time went by I needed to use more and more stevia to satisfy my sweet craving and then about 6 months ago I noticed that I would feel a big blood sugar drop about 30 minutes to an hour after my morning smoothie which consisted of:

  • 2c spinach
  • 1 1/2c diced zucchini
  • 1 scoop Paleo grassfed beef protein powder
  • 2Tbs Valrhona cacoa powder
  • 1/2tsp vanilla bean powder
  • 1 overflowing scoop Pure Encapsulations L-Glutamine Powder
  • 3 dropperfuls of Sweetleaf liquid stevia (yes, that’s a lot)

My blood sugar would drop, I would feel light-headed, and ravenous hunger would set in.  I would have some nuts to try and quell the hunger (logically knowing that I had already consumed enough food), and would keep myself busy in order to keep my mind off the hunger.

For lunch I would make a giant salad and that would keep me full for quite a while.  When I made my salad dressing I would add about 1/4 dropperful of liquid stevia to cut the bite out of the apple cider vinegar.  My salads have always been epically big, so all of the fiber from the veggies would do a good job of keeping my belly full.

Dinnertime would roll around and I would eat a nutritious, well-balanced meal with my family which would satisfy me and then I would follow the meal with some sort of stevia-sweetened treat such as Plain Coyo yogurt (with some stevia, nuts, and wild blueberries) or a tea latte with stevia and coconut milk.  Sure enough 30-60 minutes later I would be ravenous.  Thinking back on my day I would know I had eaten enough, yet those hormonal urges were hard to suppress.  Sometimes I could get through it by making myself busy and other times I couldn’t help it and would go grab a snack.

Coincidentally for the past 3-6 months my hormones have been all over the place.  I can just “tell” when that is the case because I know my body really well.  Having experienced these sorts of issues for 20+ years I know what I feel like when everything is running along smoothly and I know when something is off.  I have been working with my Integrative PA ,Karen Callagy (she’s awesome), to try and figure out what is wrong.  The symptoms I went to her with were:

  • Intense hunger
  • Hypoglycemic symptoms
  • Light-headed / dizzy
  • Exhaustion
  • Sugar cravings – especially strong at night
  • Sleep disturbances
    • light sleep…get up in the middle of the night to use restroom 1-2x
  • High fasting glucose
    • between 95-105 while eating a ketogenic diet
  • Numbness in arms and fingers – occasional
  • Weight gain while eating same
    • I track macros, so I know my intake hadn’t increased
      • I even cut macros significantly to try and lose the weight and it just wouldn’t budge (12 weeks of dieting and lost 2 pounds)
  • Body composition changes
    • higher fat percentage
    • cellulite increase (even around knees)
  • Puffiness / water retention
    • I felt like my body was wearing an extra layer everywhere
    • i.e. the skin around my legs hurt when I would kneel down…they felt like overinflated balloons
    • puffy face
  • Super painful breasts during premenstral time
    • I actually thought I could be pregnant they hurt so bad the last two months (NOTE – I had a tubal ligation 14 years ago)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pulse would randomly race
  • Hard time getting into deep ketosis
    • blood sugar all over the place

Karen ran a slew of blood tests and nothing came back of note, which was good news and bad because we hadn’t found a reason/solution.  We decided to run another stool test (it’s been a while) as well as a full Dutch hormone panel (I will get both results at the beginning of December).

In the meantime my husband and I went to visit some friends out of town and I didn’t bring much with me in the way of food since we would be in Austin and I knew I would have access to a lot of great options.  That also meant that I did not use stevia while I was gone.  While we stayed up WAY too late most nights talking and catching-up, etc., overall I felt a ton more balanced and my appetite was totally normal (no ravenous episodes).  A little birdie in the back of my head started chirping that maybe I should trial life without stevia.

We came home and the next day I was right back into stevia mode, starting with a smoothie….and the symptoms began returning.  I went about my normal stevia-filled life for another week and then decided the following Monday I would do an experiment and forgo stevia for one week.  Normally I would ask myself to try something for a month, but when you have an addiction of sorts to sweets, the idea of 7 days seemed more manageable for me to tackle.

The first few days were hard, but within two days something interesting started to happen; I was losing weight eating the same exact macros.  In addition, I wasn’t experiencing the light-headed episodes, and wasn’t having episodes of intense hunger.  Hmmmmm.  By day 5 I checked my fasting glucose and it was 70!!!  It went from 95-105 to 70 in 5 days.  By the end of the week I had slept through 2 nights without waking.  Now that’s thought provoking.

These changes led me to doing some more research and got me thinking about the digestive process which we have been studying in depth in my NTP program.  I want to give you a quick run-down on carbohydrate metabolism to help you understand some possible reasons why I was experiencing some of those symptoms as a result of stevia consumption.  If you are not into science, feel free to skip forward, however I find that understanding the “whys” can sometimes help us push forward with behavioral changes (If that is what you decide to do):

When we consume something sweet, as soon as the sweet taste touches our tongue our body begins responding hormonally and releases insulin.  Normally, when we taste sweet that means that we will be ingesting carbs that will eventually turn into glucose.  Once the glucose enters our bloodstream insulin is there to shuttle it into our cells.

What do you think happens when our tongue tastes sweet, releases insulin, and then no glucose appears due to the ingestion of zero-calorie sweeteners?  We are in a situation where our body has been flooded with insulin, but insulin can’t do it’s job because there is no glucose there to shuttle into our cells.  When this happens our body has two choices; one, induce hunger (thus the increase in appetite) to encourage the consumption of calories resulting in glucose in the bloodstream or, if we are in a fasted state, the body realizes that it needs to correct this insulin imbalance, so the adrenal glands fire (stress in the body) and tells the body to form glucose by converting lean muscle tissue into glucose.  LIGHTBULB…perhaps this is why I have been experiencing body composition changes and muscle wasting despite continuing my healthy diet and exercise routine.  According to an article Naturopath Dr. Bruce Fife wrote on the subject,

Sugar stimulates metabolism immediately after eating, non-caloric sweeteners do not. So after eating a meal containing non-caloric sweeteners, more of the calories are converted into fat and packed away in storage.

Apparently our body cannot produce glycogen and ketones at the same time.  When you consume a zero calorie sweetener and the cascade of events follows necessitating the conversion of muscle to glucose, you cannot make ketones.  LIGHTBULB…perhaps this is why my ketones were all over the place.

While doing my research I happened upon a podcast (which I have really been enjoying) called the Ketovangelist and on episode 114 Dr. Bruce Fife makes the case against stevia.  Dr. Fife found that his patients who were using stevia had a very difficult time losing weight and also struggled to get into ketosis despite following the ketogenic diet parameters he gave them.  He began to research stevia heavily and ultimately wrote the book, “The Stevia Deception,” (which I have on order).  The episode really made me think about the possible links between zero calorie sweeteners and the symptoms I have been struggling with. Within the podcast they discuss how stevia extract is produced, the addictive nature of stevia, stevia and weight loss, stevia and digestive health, and stevia as it pertains to reproductive / hormone health.

I appreciate the fact that a few episodes later  (episode 118) the host, Brian Williamson, has Thom King (the founder of the company Steviva) on to make the case for stevia.  I always want to hear both sides of a story and both episodes made some compelling arguments.  Perhaps the strongest argument made during this episode was for the fact that quality matters.  For example, while Dr. Fife sites some influential studies on rodents, this episode mentioned the fact that we do not know whether or not the studies used pure stevia or stevia mixed with malodextrin and other fillers, etc.

I think we can all agree that the stevia we are able to purchase in the store is not the same as the unrefined stevia leaves that the Indians in South America use. That being said, Thom’s company produces their stevia sweetener using a natural water extraction process whereas many companies that produce stevia do so with the use of petrochemicals and bleach agents and then add a slew of fillers resulting in a substance that our body does not recognize.  In the episode Thom mentions a study published on the National Institute of Health website (click HERE for the study) that supports his claim that stevia does not have the same effect on the body that aspartame and sucrose do.  He also mentions experiments he has done on himself (he follows a ketogenic diet and tracks his ketones and insulin) where he has tested his ketones and consumed a diet soda and that kicked him out of ketosis whereas consumption of stevia had no effect on his ketones.

I want to update you on how the last two stevia-free weeks have gone for me.  The following symptoms have either disappeared for me or have been greatly reduced:

  • Intense hunger – GONE
  • Hypoglycemic symptoms – NEARLY TOTALLY GONE
  • Light-headed – ONLY A FEW EPISODES (was usually multiple times per day)
  • Exhaustion – GONE
  • Sugar cravings – GONE
  • Sleep disturbances – SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT most nights
  • High fasting glucose – GONE
  • Numbness in arms and fingers – HAVEN’T HAD IT IN TWO WEEKS
  • Weight gain while eating same – LOSING WEIGHT
  • Body composition changes – CAN SEE CHANGES ALREADY
  • Puffiness / water retention – GONE
  • Super painful breasts during premenstral time – TBD
    • I have had my period yet since beginning this experiment
  • Shortness of breath – GONE
  • Pulse would race – GONE
  • Hard time getting into deep ketosis – HAVE BEEN CONSISTENTLY IN KETOSIS and a much deeper ketosis than before

Ultimately it is up to you to do your own research and decide for yourself whether or not you want stevia to be part of your diet.  Personally, I plan on eliminating the use of any zero-calorie sweeteners since it has become clear to me that my body does not respond well to them and because I understand the hormonal reactions that occur when we taste sweet and insulin is released.  If I do have something sweet it will most likely be sweetened it with dates or raw honey since they are whole food sources…some coconut sugar may make its way in there too.

I want to reiterate that we are all individuals and how valuable it is for you to learn your body and what works for you.  Be honest with yourself and if you have been experiencing similar symptoms there is no harm in trying a week without zero-calorie sweeteners.

Have any of you had any bad experiences with zero-calorie sweeteners or stevia in particular?  I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

If you are interested in reading Dr. Fife’s article title, “The Stevia Myth” click HERE.

________________

Dr. Fife article source: 6. Yang, Q. Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings. Yale J Biol Med 2010;83:101-108.

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6 Comments

Filed under Diabetes, Digestion, Education, ketogenic diet, Metabolic Syndrome, Sugar, Weight Issues

REVERSE DIET – WEEKS 18-20 & OVERALL RECAP

Wk1 vs Wk20 Reverse Diet FitQuestmom with Stats BAbove you will see a picture comparison as well as stats comparing week 1 (November 2, 2015) versus week 20 (March 14, 2016) of my Reverse Diet.  As promised, I have documented this entire experience with the intention of demystifying the process as well as showing that it IS possible to significantly increase your daily caloric intake while maintaining virtually the same body composition.

I am eating on average over 400 calories more per day now than I was when I began this journey and I can assure you that this is a very maintainable lifestyle, whereas eating 1555 calories was much more difficult for me to get by on…I have no earthly clue how people are able to eat 1000 calories a day.

If nothing else I hope this encourages other women (and men) to EAT.

Date:  3/14/16

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 136.3 this morning (135.1lb the first week of my Reverse Diet).

I am not bothering to include my latest weight chart in this post because in all honesty I rarely weigh myself anymore, so it wouldn’t be a very good graphic.  My clothes fit, I feel good, and I just don’t think about the scale that often at all.

Last Week of CUT Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

Week 18 Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1951 calories 220C / 135P / 59F

Friday 2161 calories 290C / 140P / 49F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1925 calories 200C / 135P / 65F (Rest day)

Week 20 Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1991 calories 230C / 135P / 59F

Friday 2161 calories 290C / 140P / 49F (Refeed day) *I somehow forgot to increase 10C

Sunday 1965 calories 210C / 135P / 65F (Rest day)

TOTAL MACRO INCREASES TO DATE:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday +436 calories +105C / -5P / +4F

Friday +369 calories +100C / -10P / +1F (Refeed day.  Heaviest Lifting Day)

Sunday +403 calories +116C / -10P / +3F (Rest Day)

Wk 20 Reverse Diet Fitquestmom (ab2)

Workout Plan:

I am now on week 12 of Jessie Hilgenberg’s Muscle Building program and the focus the past few weeks has been on lighter weight / higher rep.

I’m on the lookout for my next program and am considering Amber Dodzweit’s The Total Transformation PackageKayla Itsine’s Bikini Body Guide, or I may just go back to planning my own workouts again with either the help of the Muscle and Strength Pyramids spearheaded by Eric Helms or Mind Pump’s MAPS Anabolic Program.  I plan on taking some time off at the end of this week and will figure out my next fitness move.  

I enjoy mixing it up and setting new goals for myself.  My FitQuest Team and I have a pull-up challenge going on right now thanks to one of my clients and I am joining in on the goal of working toward 5 unassisted pull-ups.  I am happy to report that last week was the first week since my bout with Rhabdo that I have not had ANY Rhabdo symptoms in my arms!!!  I am convinced that the hyperthermic conditioning (using my far infrared sauna) 3 times a week is helping, so I will be continuing that.

Comments:

Bottom line is that I am thrilled I Reverse Dieted for the past 5 months.  It isn’t an easy process because there are times when you get really hungry as your metabolism increases and have to restrain yourself from going over your macros, but the restraint is so very worth it in the end.

I am going to continue my Reverse Diet, but will no longer be documenting it on the blog.  I plan to focus on increasing my fats a bit more because I really enjoy good healthy fats and would like to see mine higher than they are right now.  I do not have a timeline as to how much longer I will Reverse Diet, rather I plan on continuing until I am completely satisfied with my macros.

This is an on-going process and could change depending upon the type of training I do (I may get into some racing or I may not….time will tell) or if my physique goals change.

Thanks for coming along on the journey.

If you are interested in my help with Reverse Dieting or any of your nutrition needs, click HERE for more information on my programs.

 

 

Click HERE to see the weekly logs of my 8 Weeks to 40 Cut

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 1 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 2 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 3 & 4 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 5 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 6 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 7 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 8 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Weeks 9 & 10 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Weeks 11 & 12 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Weeks 13 & 14 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Weeks 15-17 of my Reverse Diet

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Filed under Education, Exercise, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Reverse Dieting, Weight Issues, Weight Lifting

REVERSE DIET – WEEKS 15-17 RECAP & RHABDO UPDATE

Week 17 Reverse Diet FitQuest FitQuestMom (1)Week 1 11.2.15 FitQuestAt the very top you will see my Week 17 Reverse Diet progress pictures as compared to Week 1 (directly below that set of pictures).

Date:  2/22/16

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 132.1 this morning (134.5 at my week 14 recap / 134.8lb at end of cut 10/26/15).

My weight has been a bit all over the place for the last three weeks.  It was as high as 137.6 and as low as 127.8.  One week I was experiencing some Rhabdo symptoms and could feel myself retaining water (137.6) and by the end of the week with rest and a ton of fluids my weight went down to 127.8.  In the midst of this I caught the flu and was out of commission for 3 full days, but I made myself eat the vast majority of my macros despite not having an appetite and I think that proved helpful in the end.

Week 15 through 17 weight chartLast Week of CUT Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

Week 14-16 Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1875 calories 200C / 145P / 55F

Friday 2085 calories 270C / 150P / 45F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1849 calories 180C / 145P / 61F (Rest day)

*I was traveling for work during week 16 and don’t generally like to do macro increases when I travel because I am not always completely in control of what I eat while out of town.  

Week 17 Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1913 calories 215C / 135P / 57F

Friday 2123 calories 285C / 140P / 47F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1887 calories 195C / 135P / 63F (Rest day)

*I reduced my protein by 10g per day to help my kidneys since I was experiencing some Rhabdo symptoms.

Week 18 Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1951 calories 220C / 135P / 59F

Friday 2161 calories 290C / 140P / 49F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1925 calories 200C / 135P / 65F (Rest day)

*UPDATE – I forgot to mention that I was pretty HANGRY last night before my increase today.  Please know that I am not always able to follow the plan I lay out.  My son got his driver’s permit this past Thursday evening and Friday we decided to drive to a fun candy store where I allowed my refeed for the day to get a bit out of hand! By last night I was warning my husband that I was hungry-grumpy and finally just decided to go to bed to spare everyone my mood.  In general I have been great sticking to the plan this past 17 weeks, but not always.  Overall I have been very consistent and that allows for a few slip-ups here and there. I was definitely ready for the macro increase this morning.

TOTAL MACRO INCREASES TO DATE:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday +396 calories +95C / -5P / +4F

Friday +369 calories +100C / -10P / +1F (Refeed day.  Heaviest Lifting Day)

Sunday +363 calories +106C / -10P / +3F (Rest Day)

NobleAndrews_Gretchen_Tseng_FitQuestMom1Workout Plan:

While out of town I purchased a Groupon to the pilates studio I used to go to 5x per week when I lived in Orange County.  It was fun to take classes from some of my old instructors as well as instructors that were new to me.  I highly encourage you to check out fitness Groupons in any area where you will be traveling…for $50 I was able to take 5 classes!

Prior to going out of town I completed week 7 of Jessie Hilgenberg’s Muscle Building program.  Now that I am back home and over that terrible flu I am back on track with week 8.

NobleAndrews_Gretchen_178_9625 (1)Comments:

As I mentioned, I went out of town for both business (a photoshoot) and pleasure (my cousin’s baby shower).

While out of town I was not on top of my water consumption (especially during the shoot) and that is the first time that has happened since my bout with Rhabdo.  I didn’t realize just how much that would affect me.  By the time I got back home and began workouts again I was really feeling the tightness in my forearms, overall exhaustion, and unexplained weight gain in the form of water retention.  I have learned to recognize those symptoms and take it easy.  Once I realized what was going on I began drinking 1.5 gallons of water a day and did not do any upper body weight workouts.  As I mentioned, I also reduced my protein macros to give my kidney’s some extra rest and I plan to keep my protein macros where they are.

I also did some research and found that there is some compelling evidence stating that use of the far infrared sauna for hyperthermic conditioning can be helpful to Rhabdo patients.  I am lucky enough to own a far infrared sauna plan on using it as often as I can.  This morning I did a 30 minute session in it after my workout and got in a good sweat.  If you are interested in reading how the sauna can be helpful for Rhabdo patients, click HERE.

NobleAndrews_Gretchen_Tseng_fitquestmom2

I hope all of you have a great week.  Stay healthy…this flu is a nasty one!!!

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Click HERE to see the weekly logs of my 8 Weeks to 40 Cut

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 1 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 2 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 3 & 4 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 5 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 6 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 7 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 8 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 9 & 10 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 11 & 12 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 13 & 14 of my Reverse Diet

Professional photographs by Noble Andrews

10 Comments

Filed under Education, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Reverse Dieting, Rhabdomyolysis, Weight Issues

REVERSE DIET – WEEK 9 & 10 RECAP

FitQuest Reverse Diet Wk 10

Week 1 11.2.15 FitQuest

At the very top you will see my Week 10 Reverse Diet progress pictures as compared to Week 1 (directly below that set of pictures).

Date:  1/04/16

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 133.1 this morning (131.4 at my week 8 recap / 134.8lb at end of cut).

As you can see I was 131.1 yesterday morning and I know I didn’t gain 2 pounds overnight.  I usually have my weekly refeed on Fridays, but since I was at the mountains I wasn’t able to do my heavy leg day until Saturday, so I had my refeed then.  Generally my weight goes up two days after my refeed and that is what you see with my weight this morning.

I kept my macros fairly stable throughout the holidays and had a few extra indulgences, so I did not increase them for the last two weeks.  I am now feeling like it is time for another increase since the holidays are over and I will have more control over my meals in general.  Lately I have been craving more protein and that is why I chose to focus on protein for my increases this week.

FitQuest wk 10 Reverse Weight Chart 1

FitQuest wk 10 Reverse Weight Chart 2Last Week of CUT Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

Week 9 Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1885 calories 195C / 130P / 65F

Friday 2095 calories 265C / 135P / 55F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1859 calories 175C / 130P / 71F (Rest day)

Week 10 Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1925 calories 195C / 140P / 65F

Friday 2135 calories 265C / 145P / 55F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1899 calories 175C / 140P / 71F (Rest day)

TOTAL MACRO INCREASES TO DATE:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday +370 calories +70C / 0P / +10F

Friday +343 calories +75C / -5P / +7F (Refeed day.  Not lifting now, but keeping this higher cal day.)

Sunday +337 calories +69C / -5P / +9F (rest day)

IMG_5084

Workout Plan:

I feel like I am finally back to a normal lifting routine where I can challenge myself.  I still have to be careful with my arms and can tell when I need to dial it back, but my strength is definitely coming back and that is so much fun.  I am on week 4 of Jessie Hilgenberg’s Muscle Building program and am really enjoying it.

Comments:

 

My family and I had a really fun Winter Break and it was sad to see the kiddos go back to school this morning.

FitQuest Skiing

We were able to find some time to ski and sled and then my husband and I got to take a little friends get-away while my kids spent some time with family.  I had never really been snowmobiling or snowshoeing before and had a lot of fun.  I managed to snowshoe for 2 hours by myself on New Years Day and really got a lot out of it…I was able to spend some time alone thinking about my goals for 2016.

FitQuest Snowmobile

Happy New Year to all of you and may 2016 be an amazing year for you filled with growth and happiness!

______________________________

Click HERE to see the weekly logs of my 8 Weeks to 40 Cut

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 1 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 2 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 3 & 4 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 5 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 6 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 7 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 8 of my Reverse Diet

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Filed under Education, Exercise, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Reverse Dieting, Weight Issues, Weight Lifting

REVERSE DIET – WEEK 8 RECAP

Reverse Diet Week 8 FitQuest (2)Week 1 11.2.15 FitQuestAt the very top you will see my Week 8 Reverse Diet progress pictures as compared to Week 1 (directly below that set of pictures).

Date:  12/21/15

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 131.4 this morning (130.6 at my week 7 recap / 134.8lb at end of cut).

My weight went up a little this week.  I attribute the gain to some water retention from saltier than normal foods, the fact that I am working out again which means I have more water in my muscle cells, and the fact that I am constipated (TMI, but keeping it real!).

On Friday I probably went over on my refeed macros because I had some of the sugar cookies we baked and decorated as a family and I enjoyed EVERY single bite.  No guilt whatsoever.

This past week I felt like I had plenty of food and did not experience the upswing in hunger that usually comes at the end of the week when Reverse Dieting, which is why I am not going to increase my macros this week.  I feel like my body needs another week to get used to the current macros before my next increase.

Week 8 Reverse Diet Weight Chart FitQuestLast Week of CUT Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

Week 8’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1885 calories 195C / 130P / 65F

Friday 2095 calories 265C / 135P / 55F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1859 calories 175C / 130P / 71F (Rest day)

Week 9’s Macros (KEEPING THEM THE SAME):

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1885 calories 195C / 130P / 65F

Friday 2095 calories 265C / 135P / 55F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1859 calories 175C / 130P / 71F (Rest day)

TOTAL MACRO INCREASES TO DATE:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday +347 calories +70C / -10P / +1F

Friday +303 calories +75C / -15P / +7F (Refeed day.  Not lifting now, but keeping this higher cal day.)

Sunday +297 calories +61C / -15P / +9F (rest day)

Reverse Diet Week 8 FitQuest (1)Workout Plan:

I lifted weights 5 days last week and it felt great!  I made sure I took it slow and kept the weights much lighter than usual and only did 3 sets of each exercise.

I re-started Jessie Hilgenberg’s Muscle Building program and am excited to be in a routine again workout-wise.

Comments:

 

Like I said it feels really good to be back in my gym.  I am being really conscious of how my body feels and not pushing it too hard.

I have really been enjoying the holidays and am excited to have my kiddos out of school for the next two weeks.

______________________________

Click HERE to see the weekly logs of my 8 Weeks to 40 Cut

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 1 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 2 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 3 & 4 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 5 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 6 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 7 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 9 & 10 of my Reverse Diet

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Filed under Education, Exercise, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Reverse Dieting, Weight Issues, Weight Lifting

REVERSE DIET – WEEK 7 RECAP

Week 7 12.14.15 Reverse Diet FitquestmomWeek 1 11.2.15 FitQuestAt the very top you will see my Week 7 Reverse Diet progress pictures as compared to Week 1 (directly below that set of pictures).

Date:  12/14/15

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 130.6 this morning (127.4 at my week 6 recap / 134.8lb at end of cut).

My weight has normalized more this week.  We had Thai food last night, so I don;t feel like 130.6 isn’t my true weight…there is a bit of water retention going on from the meal.  I am definitely lacking the muscle tone I had before, but that will come back now that I am working out again.  I explain below that I finally had my hunger return and I discuss how I added in some extra food as my body felt it needed it.

This week I will be back to following the plan with increased macros and my refeed on my normally specified day (Friday).

Week 7Last Week of CUT Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

Week 7’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1836 calories 185C / 130P / 64F

Friday 2046 calories 255C / 135P / 54F (Refeed day)

  • Ended-up eating a bunch on Tuesday because I was FINALLY hungry.  Used that as my refeed day and skipped the scheduled Friday refeed.
  • Also was very hungry Saturday night and ate my normal macros + 1 homemade protein bar which put me 219cal/16C/14P/11F over.

Sunday 1810 calories 165C / 130P / 70F (Rest day)

Week 8’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1885 calories 195C / 130P / 65F

Friday 2095 calories 265C / 135P / 55F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1859 calories 175C / 130P / 71F (Rest day)

TOTAL MACRO INCREASES TO DATE:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday +347 calories +70C / -10P / +1F

Friday +303 calories +75C / -15P / +7F (Refeed day.  Not lifting now, but keeping this higher cal day.)

Sunday +297 calories +61C / -15P / +9F (rest day)

Week 7 12.14.15 Reverse Diet Fitquestmom (1)Workout Plan:

I finished all of my antibiotics and am hoping for a return to normalcy this week.

I am RE-STARTING Jessie Hilgenberg’s Muscle Building program and will adjust my weights to my current level.  I lost A LOT of muscle throughout all of this (my booty is so much smaller now and my abs are less defined) and am excited to work on putting it back.  It is always fun to have new goals.

It has been a month since I have done regular workouts, so it is totally normal that I would lose some definition.

The increased food from my Reverse Diet should do a great job fueling awesome workouts.

Comments:

We had a great week as a family.  The kids and I worked on holiday baking in our PJs while my husband got the decorations down (I am so behind) and my daughter performed in the nutcracker.

fitquestmom holiday bakingWe also went to the MythBusters show and that was a lot of fun!  Jaime H. came and sat right behind us during the show which was exciting for the kids.

Week 7 Mythbusters FitQuestmomHere’s to a great week!

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Click HERE to see the weekly logs of my 8 Weeks to 40 Cut

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 1 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 2 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 3 & 4 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 5 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 6 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 8 of my Reverse Diet

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Filed under Education, Exercise, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Reverse Dieting, Weight Issues, Weight Lifting

REVERSE DIET – WEEK 6 RECAP

Week 6 Collage Reverse Diet FitquestmomWeek 1 11.2.15 FitQuestAt the very top you will see my Week 6 Reverse Diet progress pictures (nice tan, huh?) as compared to Week 1 (directly below that set of pictures).

Date:  12/7/15

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 127.4 this morning (129.4 at my week 5 recap / 134.8lb at end of cut).

Gosh darn-it, my weight is down.  When I got back from Mexico I was 129.6 and then…I was back in the ER on Saturday for an IV and another slew of tests.  The good news is that my Serum CK is now 68 and totally normal, so I am over the Rhabdo, but I now have a kidney infection and another infection (It’s a girl thing…awesome).  I hate taking antibiotics and try to do everything I can to stay off of them, but I am sure glad they exist when I truly NEED them and this is one of those times.

I definitely do not want to lose any more weight, which is why I have increased my calories at a faster rate than I usually do…again.

Week 6Last Week of CUT Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

Week 6’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1778 calories 175C / 130P / 62F

Friday 1986 calories 240C / 135P / 54F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1752 calories 155C / 130P / 68F (Rest day)

Week 7’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1836 calories 185C / 130P / 64F

Friday 2046 calories 255C / 135P / 54F (Refeed day)

Sunday 1810 calories 165C / 130P / 70F (Rest day)

TOTAL MACRO INCREASES TO DATE:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday +281 calories +60C / -10P / +9F

Friday +254 calories +65C / -15P / +6F (Refeed day.  Not lifting now, but keeping this higher cal day.)

Sunday +248 calories +61C / -15P / +8F (rest day)

Week 6 12.7.15 reverse Diet Fitquestmom (1)Workout Plan:

I was able to workout at our resort gym 4 of the days when we were in Mexico.  I took it REALLY easy and did about 30 minutes of walking at an incline and followed that by 30 minutes of light weights or band work.  Nothing strenuous.

I will not be working out until I am well.

Comments:

We had a great time in Cabo, Mexico.  It was fun for my husband and I to go on vacation with just the two of us (though I LOVE going on vacation with our kiddos).  He had some great rounds of golf and I was able to relax.

Mexico Cabo Reverse Diet Fitquestmom (2)I even managed to win a jump rope contest!  I won a round of margaritas for our table, so that was fun.  The man pictured with me won the push-up contest.  You’ve gotta love the fact that the oldest woman (me) and the oldest man (him) won both competitions!!!

The day before we left I went on a long walk on the beach and that was just what I needed.  You can’t take the California out of the girl…the beach will always have a huge place in my heart.

Mexico Cabo Reverse Diet Fitquestmom (1)

Now we are home and I am ready to let these two antibiotics keep doing their thing.  I think I am about DONE being sick.  Hopefully I just got it all out of the way for a very long time.

______________________________

Click HERE to see the weekly logs of my 8 Weeks to 40 Cut

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 1 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 2 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 3 & 4 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 5 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 7 of my Reverse Diet

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Filed under Education, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Reverse Dieting, Vacation, Weight Issues

REVERSE DIET – WEEK 5 RECAP

Reverse Diet Week 5 FitQuestMomWeek 1 11.2.15 FitQuestAt the very top you will see my Week 5 Reverse Diet progress pictures as compared to Week 1 (directly below that set of pictures).

My weekly update is coming to you a bit early because my schedule next week may not permit my normal Monday check-in.

Date:  11/28/15

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 129.4 this morning (130.7 at my week 4 recap / 134.8lb at end of cut).

Below is my weight log for the past week and a half.  Despite adding calories in on Monday I continued to lose weight each and every day, so I added in MORE calories on Thursday…that’s two increases this past week (Monday and Thursday).  Thankfully my increase on Thursday and my refeed yesterday resulted in me not losing any more weight this morning.

I definitely do not want to lose any more weight, which is why I keep increasing my calories.

Week 5 weight Reverse Diet

Last Week of CUT Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

Week 4’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1682 calories 165C / 125P / 58F

Friday 1919 calories 230C / 135P / 51F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1665 calories 145C / 125P / 65F (rest day)

Week 5’s Macros (Monday’s Increase):

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1740 calories 170C / 130P / 60F

Friday 1948 calories 235C / 135P / 52F (Refeed day.  Not lifting now, but keeping this higher cal day.)

Sunday 1714 calories 150C / 130P / 66F (rest day)

Week 5’s Macros (Thursday’s Increase):

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1778 calories 175C / 130P / 62F

Friday 1986 calories 240C / 135P / 54F (Refeed day.  Not lifting now, but keeping this higher cal day.)

Sunday 1752 calories 155C / 130P / 68F (rest day)

NEXT Week’s Macros:

If I continue to lose weight this coming week I will do ANOTHER increase on Monday.  I may not have access to a scale for the next week, so I will have to go by how I feel and how my clothes are fitting.

TOTAL MACRO INCREASES TO DATE:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday +223 calories +50C / -10P / +7F

Friday +194 calories +50C / -15P / +6F (Refeed day.  Not lifting now, but keeping this higher cal day.)

Sunday +190 calories +51C / -15P / +6F (rest day)

Week 5 Abs Reverse Diet FitQuest Balanced Grettie (1)Workout Plan:

I have been staying active by doing a lot of cooking and having people in town, but haven’t technically exercised since my walk last weekend.  This coming week I MAY do some light weight training depending upon how I feel, but I do plan on doing at least 5 days of some easy cardio.

My body has been getting very stiff from the lack of exercise.

Comments:

This was a wonderful holiday week for me.  ALL of my immediate family came and stayed at my house (15 of us) and it was so nice to be together.  My kiddos and their cousins have so much fun together.  Earlier in the week I cooked a Chinese meal for everyone and it was so yummy.  When it is just the four of us I usually only cook 1 dish, so it is nice to be able to do a banquet and get a taste of many different dishes when there are a lot of people around.

Chinese Food Prep (2) Chinese Food Prep (1)

Our Thanksgiving was another great feast with ham, and two different turkeys.  One turkey was brined and smoked and the other was brined, cooked sous vide, and then fried (OMG!!!).

Thanksgiving FitQuestMomI am feeling better each day and look forward to another week of healing.

______________________________

Click HERE to see the weekly logs of my 8 Weeks to 40 Cut

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 1 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 2 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 3 & 4 of my Reverse Diet

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 6 of my Reverse Diet

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Filed under Education, Exercise, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Reverse Dieting, Rhabdomyolysis, Weight Issues, Weight Lifting

REVERSE DIET – WEEK 1 RECAP & How to Log Restaurant Meals

Week 1 11.2.15 FitQuest

FitQuestMom Day 50 Collage Blog 10.26.15At the very top you will see my Week 1 Reverse Diet progress pictures (I thought I’d change-up my swimsuit for the Reverse Diet series) as compared to the end of my 7 week cut (directly below that set of pictures).

Date:  11/02/15

Height: 5’8 3/4″

Weight: 135.1 (134.8lb at end of cut;  This is not really a true indicator of my current weight…it’s water retention).  I had lunch at my favorite Mediterranean restaurant (gyro salad) yesterday and that salad is much saltier than what I typically eat on a daily basis.  I also had a salty dinner.  Below is my weight log for the past week.

Reverse Week 1 Weight Log

Last Week of CUT Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1555 calories 125C / 140P / 55F

Friday 1792 calories 190C / 150P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1562 calories 106C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

Last Week’s Macros:

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1595 calories 130C / 145P / 55F

Friday 1832 calories 195C / 155P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1578 calories 110C / 145P / 62F (rest day)

This Week’s Macros:

Time to increase again...

Monday -Thursday & Saturday 1624 calories 135C / 145P / 56F

Friday 1861 calories 200C / 155P / 48F (heaviest weight lifting day)

Sunday 1607 calories 115C / 145P / 63F (rest day)

Workout Plan:

This week is not going to be my typical kind of week when it comes to workouts.  Today I did the Ashley Kaltwasser Glute & Ab Program workout I have done for the last 4 weeks, but lighter and higher rep.  I have been a bit exhausted for the past few days, so I am taking it a little easier and doing a de-load of sorts.

I also have a colonoscopy scheduled for Wednesday and have to do the prep for that all day tomorrow which basically means I can’t eat anything solid and have to give myself diarrhea for the day (awesome, right?).  I have a family history of diverticulitis and my mom has had polyps removed, so my doctor wants to take precautionary measures and start screening me.  WELCOME TO 40!!!

Having never gone through the procedure before, I plan on waking up tomorrow and working out before my prep begins, but I am guessing I won’t have much energy for my typical workout the next day so I am just going to play it by ear this week and do what I feel like in the gym each day.

NEXT week I will begin the 14 week program I purchased which is Jessie Hilgenberg’s Muscle Building e-book.  I always get excited to begin a new program.

Comments:

As you can see I maintained the leanness from my cut this week and if anything I think my physique may be a little bit leaner which makes sense because when accounting for water retention I actually lost weight this week.  I considered adding in MORE macros than typical this week because of the weight loss, but ultimately decided not to since my workouts will not be nearly as intense this week and I plan on taking it easier than I normally would do to the colonoscopy and my level of fatigue.

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I had a great week last week.  It’s always fun to begin a Reverse Diet and shift your focus from fat loss to maintenance and increasing calories.  Friday we went out with my my Boise besties and our husbands for a nice night at the gorgeous new Chateau de Fleurs to celebrate my 4oth a little early (great excuse to buy a new dress! Goldendoodle photobomb by Russell).

Gretchen Tseng FitQuest FitQuestMom

When I looked at the menu ahead of time (I always do that to plan my macros) I was so excited to see that they had monkfish on the menu.  As a child I would always ask my mom to make either monkfish or flank steak (which I made last night) for my birthday dinner.  I hadn’t had it in YEARS and it was just as good as I remembered it.

Gretchen Tseng FitQuest and friends

I know a lot of people struggle with eating out and how to track macros for a meal, so I thought I’d let you know how I tracked this particular meal.  I decided to start with the Garden Greens Salad.  The description read, “Mixed green salad with Château dressing.”  I looked up a garden salad w/o dressing or croutons in MFP and found one from the Dominos chain for 70cals/3.5F/5C/4P.  I then looked-up Balsamic Dressing and logged 2Tbs of Panera’s Balsamin Vinaigrette at 90cal/8F/6C/0P.

The monkfish dish description read, “Monkfish Provençal –  Monkfish sautéed with seasonal ratatouille and finished with a white wine and tomato reduction. Served with a turmeric and ginger basmati rice.”  I always assume that restaurant proteins range between 4-5oz and decided to log 5oz. of monkfish (cooked dry heat) at 137cal/2.8F/0C/26.3P.  I assumed the ratatouille would be about 1cup and chose a homemade version from MFP at 40cal/1F/6C/1P.  I also assumed the basmati rice would be around 1cup and looked up “ginger basmati rice” in MFP and found an entry titled “cooked basmati rice w. ginger” so I decided to log that 205cal/0.4F/44.5C/4.2P.  Lastly, restaurant meals tend to be higher in fat than what I cook at home, so I decided to add 3 tsp of olive oil to my dinner macros at 119cal/1.35F/0C/0P for a grand total meal macro count of 662cal/29F/62C/35P.

The dessert menu looked great, but I have been waiting 8 weeks for frozen yogurt so we all loaded up in our nice clothes and hit Aspen Leaf at 10:15pm for 13oz of frozen yogurt with chocolate sprinkles.  Those of you who have been following me for a while know how CrAzY my froyos used to be LOADED with candy and piled crazy high.  Abstaining for 8 weeks brought me back to a place where I truly didn’t even want to do that.  I really really enjoyed my froyo with just chocolate sprinkles (my husband was shocked!).

All macros accounted for and all thoroughly enjoyed.  I really want to do this Reverse Diet right and feel like I am finally in such a good place when it comes to my relationship with food…the best gift I could give myself at 40 years old.

Have a great week everyone!

______________________________

Click HERE to see the weekly logs of my 8 Weeks to 40 Cut

Click HERE to see the recap of Week 2 of my Reverse Diet

 

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Filed under Education, Exercise, IIFYM and Macros, Nutrition, Reverse Dieting, Weight Issues, Weight Lifting

HOW TO LOG ALCOHOL FOR IIFYM

Alcohol tends to confuse so many people when it comes to IIFYM.  How the heck do you log it?  When you look-up alcoholic beverages in My Fitness Pal or My Macros+ it will pull-up an entry with calories, but no fat, very few (if any) carbs, and no protein…awesome…we can have virtually unlimited amounts, right?  Wrong.

You all know better than to think alcohol washes through our bodies like water.  While it would be MUCH easier to reach your goals without drinking, that just isn’t realistic for most people.  A big part of IIFYM and what I teach my clients is how to live a normal life while at the same time reaching / maintaining their goal body and most people like to drink from time to time.

There are a few different options when it comes to logging alcohol and fitting it into your day.  You have the choice to either log it as carbohydrate, fat, or a mixture of the two.  I recommend you take a few minutes and sit down with your food app so you can manually add in the alcohol you typically like to drink.  Once you have done that you will already have it available to you to just pull-up and log when making plans for your night out.  Yes, I do recommend you PRE-PLAN how many drinks you will be having because we all know that once you start drinking your judgement can go out the window and having a plan ahead of time is a much better way to ensure you successfully stick to your macros.

The macros you have available to you will determine whether you log your drinks as carbs, fats, or a mixture of the two and in order to be ready for that I recommend you manually add all three options for each alcohol you typically drink…that way each time you go out you can easily select drinks and fit them in based upon the macros you have available to you that particular day.  For example, if you plan on having a steak that night you probably will not want to log your drink as fats (the steak will be using those), but if you plan on eating fish you will probably have extra room in your fats and can log your alcohol as fats.

Now for the actual calculations:

Your body treats alcohol like fats (9 cals) and carbs (4 cals).  To reiterate, when recording alcohol in MFP or My Macros+you have the choice of recording it as fats, carbs, or a mixture of both.  Here are some examples:

Red Wine – 5 oz.

  • 5oz. red wine = 129 calories
  • 129 / 4 = 32g carb
  • 129 / 9 = 14g fat
  • You could decide to record it ½ and ½ as 16g carb and 7g fat

White Wine – 5 oz.

  • 5oz. white wine = 121 calories
  • 121 / 4 = 30g carb
  • 121 / 9 = 13g fat
  • You could decide to record it ½ and ½ as 15g carb and 6.5g fat

Champagne – 5oz.

  • 5oz. champagne – 98cal
  • 98 / 4 = 24.5g carb
  • 98 / 9 = 11g fat
  • You could decide to record it ½ and ½ as 12g carb and 5.5g fat

Vodka – 90 proof 1.5 oz.

  • 1 shot = 110 cals
  • 110 / 4 = 28g carb
  • 110 / 9 = 12g fat
  • You could decide to record it ½ and ½ as 14g carb and 6g fat

Tequila – Petron 1.5 oz.

  • 1 shot = 105 cals
  • 105 / 4 = 26g carb
  • 105 / 9 = 11.7g fat
  • You could decide to record it ½ and ½ as 13g carb and 5.8g fat

Bud Light – 12 oz.

  • 1 beer = 110 cals
  • 110 / 4 = 28g carb
  • 110 / 9 = 12g fat
  • You could decide to record it ½ and ½ as 14g carb and 6g fat

Hopefully that helps clear-up the “how” when it comes to logging alcohol.  Now that you know the formula you can apply it to all different types of alcoholic drinks.  You will quickly figure out your go-tos as there are some drinks that are clearly a lot more macro friendly than others.

I’ll leave you with a link to a macro friendly margarita that the Ledbetter Team has made popular and may become your go-to…click HERE for that recipe (It’s the second recipe).

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Filed under Alcohol, Education, IIFYM and Macros, My Fitness Pal, Nutrition, Weight Issues