Even Cleaner Than A Cleanse

I gained 2 pounds back over the weekend – this is beyond frustrating considering I fasted 16:8 and ate clean keto (less than 20 net carbs), which used to be all it took to drop the weight. I went over 3 years in the right direction, except for being pregnant of course, but even then I only gained 8 pounds. Then December 2022 came, I gained 5 pounds, and now I’m in the dreaded keto stall. I’m afraid the time has come for drastic measures.


I know, I know, it’s water. It’s so healthy and clean and refreshing. I love nothing more than to sit with my husband by some water, to swim with the kids in the pool, to take a beach trip and spend all day in the salty surf. I know water is a friend to skin, hair, weight loss and many other things health, and I know that you’re supposed to drink a shit ton of water on keto. Yes, I’m losing the swearing and water resolutions this year, thanks.

I just don’t like drinking so (so so so) much water. I like it when I’m in the mood for it – a great big glass when I wake up in the morning (after weighing myself), when I come in from working or playing outside, but mostly I find it kind of boring. Drinking a lot of water makes me feel bloated, and full – part of the point, I guess – but also makes my stretched-out-from-too-many-babies stomach muscles feel every bit as pregnant as I do after too much dairy, or holding hands with my husband (IYKYK) Yikes.

But maybe water is the magic bullet to breaking this mother$^&*ing stall. So I’m doing it. Right now. No other cleanse this week, other than 80-100 ounces per day of clean, fresh, delicious, boring as hell water.

Today I fasted until 1:00pm. At that point I had consumed three 8 oz glasses of water, six if you count coffee. I had a very low carb lunch of pork rinds dipped in creamy queso flameado with spicy shredded pork and felt grossly full, probably because of the water. I went back to another cup of coffee and then contemplated if I could count all of the coffee toward my goal, or if I was actually stuck at 24 ounces of water. When my hubby pulled in from work, I was at 24 ounces of water and ashamed. So I put a little Mio sweet tea flavoring into a big glass of water and chugged it – 16 more ounces down the hatch. That was much better, so I filled another 16 ounces and put the Mio, and a straw in. Added a few ice cubes and suddenly I was a shot of vodka away from a real drink!

It’s nearly dinner time and I’m at 60 ounces of water and 32 ounces of coffee – depending on how much of a water purist you are I’ve technically made it and the night’s not even over!

Important thoughts for Day 1 of my Water Cleanse: flavored water goes down easier, a straw is essential to continuous sipping, does coffee count towards my intake?

The difference between this “cleanse” and the others I’ve been rambling about is that 1) it’s not an actual cleanse, and 2) if I do it right I will drink this much water for the rest of my life. Let’s see how badly I want to lose these last 17 pounds, shall we?


The only thing mixed effort gets you is mixed results (and a delicious blue cheese dressing)

Over the 3 days of my second egg fast cleanse I lost a total of 3.6 after a slow start. Not bad, but not nearly as good as last week’s results, especially since I gained a pound of it back yesterday. The difference? I was incredibly strict and clean last week, this week, I did a good job – the same kind of good job my kids do when they follow their chore list and put their laundry away, but instead of folding it they just cram it all into one drawer. Why they each even have 3 drawers is beyond me.

For example, I ate way less cheese after day 1 but I was getting a little bored so I made myself a mushroom/spinach/havarti frittata Tuesday night and added a small garden salad with homemade blue cheese dressing. The salad, sour cream and heavy cream were not on my egg fast list, and I still lost 3 pounds the next morning. Wednesday I lived off of crepes and cheese but we went out that night and I got a bunless burger bowl – another salad, cheese, meat patties and a less good blue cheese. Thursday morning I had only lost 1/2 a pound. I blame the beef, the late night dinner, but not the vodka soda. Never that.

Speaking of homemade blue cheese, which I recognize as a Texan might offend some of you ranch-diehards, we sell it at our restaurant. Something you may not know about ABC Kitchen is that very few of our recipes are top secret, the rest I am happy to share with you. If you want to buy the ingredients and spend the time making delicious keto recipes, I am fully supportive of that! It also helps clients realize why keto recipes are so darn expensive when they want to save the time and just get it from us.

Blue Cheese Dressing – easy peasy and only a little $$

  • 2 big spoonfuls of sour cream (guessing about 3/4 cup here)
  • 1 big spoonful of mayo (maybe 1/3 cup)
  • 4-6 oz of blue cheese crumbles (type is totally up to you here but we like the Amish or Danish Bleu creamy style)
  • cracked pepper and sea salt to taste
  • a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice
  • heavy whipping cream, added until consistency of dip or dressing is achieved

Mix all of the ingredients, adding the cream last as desired. The longer it sits in the fridge the more flavorful it will be, but I recommend at least an hour (my kids eat it right away with no complaints though). What I do not recommend, however, is incorporating this delicious dressing into your egg fast.

It’s time to reevaluate, see how much I can lose with regular strict keto and back to intermittent fasting this weekend, and have a new plan in place for Monday. I’m leaning toward a beef and butter cleanse, which I will of course share with you in excruciating detail next week. Have a great fat-filled weekend!

A Little Too Cheesy

It’s just as important to recognize the things that don’t work as the things that do. No loss on the scale this morning, which was stupidly disappointing. But in reflecting back, I definitely ate too much cheese yesterday. Having given up dairy for the last 14 months while nursing, I can only say in my defense that I missed cheese. So much.

The egg fast ratio of 1 egg – 1 TBSP fat – 1 oz cheese is apparently real, and if I’m being totally honest I may have eaten 3-4 oz. per egg. Okay, maybe like 10 oz. Havarti, brie, gruyere. Cheese is right there, folks. In a busy crazy day, grabbing a slice or cube of cheese is so easy, and cooking up a batch of eggs takes at least 3-4 extra minutes that with work, the baby and a baseball team of children sometimes I just can’t spare.

So for today, I’m going to list, for you and myself, all of the wonderful things I can do with eggs and butter. Even a touch of cream cheese. But no cheese.

Fried, scrambled, poached, hardboiled, soft boiled, hollandaise sauce, custard, crepes, even ice cream (if you can’t tell, I love this lady’s recipes).

Okay, I’ve got choices – let’s see what tomorrow’s results bring. What’s your go to egg recipe?

More eggs, more results? (Keto Crepe recipe inside)

I lost 7.5 pounds last week and gained 2 going back onto strict keto this weekend, which for me is enough progress to see how many eggs I can choke down again starting this morning. I’m curious to see if my results can be repeated two weeks in a row – can I possibly lose a net 10 pounds in just two weeks? Because that’s my goal.

The scrambled eggs with havarti and Kerrygold butter were delicious this morning, though I do have to say I’m getting a little sick of that quick meal so I’ll have to be more creative over the next 3 days this time. Up next on the menu, mascarpone filled egg fast crepes, a creamy egg custard, and a grilled cheese sandwich on cloud bread. Now that doesn’t sound too bad, right?

Recipe: For the crepes, I mix 5 eggs, half a block of cream cheese, a squeeze of lemon juice, a dash of vanilla, 1/8 cup Swerve and a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon with my immersion blender. Sorry, my measurements aren’t precise – I’m a devoted eyeballer when it comes to cooking. Once the mixture is creamy and smooth, I melt butter into a frying pan and pour the batter one crepe at a time. It only takes 1-2 minutes on a preheated pan before I need to flip them, then another minute before they are golden brown and solid enough to move to the plate. Once cooled slightly I put a mascarpone/Swerve confectioners blend inside each one, fold the crepe around the filling and drizzle with low carb syrup – I like the Cary’s brand but I’m not particular. I made them Sunday for the end of my daughter’s egg fast and everybody kept picking at them so I know they must be better than “diet food.”

Tonight for some texture variety I’ll be making cloud bread and grilling it up with some smoked gouda, fresh dill and sauteed asparagus – just a few stalks for flavor. There are tons of recipes out there, but here is my favorite cloud bread adaptation. It’s worth actually measuring for this recipe, the cream of tartar is essential to making a soft fluffy bread that holds together when baked.

The thing I miss most when on a severely restrictive fast such as this is texture – especially crunchy – so in a pinch I’ll go to Whisps or Parm Crisps but if you have the time it’s really easy to make your own cheese “crackers” by melting your favorite cheese on parchment at 375 until brown and bubbly then letting cool. You can sprinkle the cheese with a little garlic, sea salt or red pepper flakes for additional flavor, but I like to dip them into fried egg yolks or homemade hollandaise sauce.

I’ll keep you posted on what happens during round 2 of the egg fast chronicles – stay tuned for even more egg recipes!

Creamy Keto Custard for the win: Egg Fast Days 2-3

We went out to dinner last night and I had chicken wings. Came from a chicken, but not exactly an egg. I was a little anxious to break my otherwise very strict eggs, butter, cheese regimen but Buffalo Wild Wings still doesn’t serve breakfast. So I was even more thrilled to get on the scale this morning and find it 2 pounds less, again. My grand total for the 3 day egg fast is 7.2 pounds, which has only motivated me to make it a 5-day egg fast instead, to see how long I can ride this weight loss wave. After stalling out for months, losing this much weight in so short a time has been just what I needed to strengthen my resolve and renew my motivation. And I’m still not out of egg recipes, or even sick of cheesy scrambled eggs quite yet.

Day 2:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with cheese

Snack: Two slices of creamy havarti

Lunch: Mozzarella cheese wrap with fried eggs, lettuce and mayo

Dinner: Mozzarella wrap with a small amount of low carb marinara, spinach, eggs and mushroom.

Day 3:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with cheese

Snack: Two slices of gruyere blanc

Lunch: Mozzarella wrap with scrambled eggs and shredded cheddar

Dinner: Chicken wings, 6 with blue cheese

Dessert – Egg fast custard:

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
¼ cup salted butter
5 large eggs separated
3 squirts of liquid stevia
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
dusting of xanthan gum

Melt together mascarpone cheese and butter.
Whisk in egg yolks over low heat until custard thickens.
Remove from heat and stir in stevia.
Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
Fold egg whites into custard, then dust with xantham gum, mix thoroughly (I used my stand mixer on slow)

Chill and enjoy!

I’ll keep you posted on how Days 4 and 5 go once I emerge from my cooking cocoon (restaurant busiest days are Thursday-Saturday) and will be posting the Cloud Bread and Egg Fast Shake I use between now and then. Afterward, hopefully I’ll be able to transition back to strict keto over the weekend without putting too much of the weight back on, though a couple of pounds is to be expected.

For me, this fast has been easier than the keto soup cleanse, but I really like eggs and cheese. How about you? Am I missing any fabulous egg recipes out there?

Weight loss too slow? Try an egg fast

I’ve lost 83 pounds doing keto over the last 4 years, which includes dieting through a pandemic and pregnancy, so it’s safe to say that I know what I’m doing as far as carb restriction, intermittent fasting and keeping the weight off go. However, there have been several times when my weight loss has slowed or even stopped for a period of weeks and months – the infamous keto stall.

And here I find myself again, losing and gaining the same 2-3 pounds week after week without cheating until I find myself stepping on the scale for the third time in a morning, hoping that if I pee enough I’ll see the number decrease by 0.2 lb. Sigh.

So yesterday I started my 3-day egg fast, drastic but absolutely necessary. I got on the scale this morning and was thrilled to find that I had already lost 2.7 pounds, just the motivation I needed to continue this very restrictive but effective diet in which you consume very little outside of eggs, cheeses, and good fats (mayo, grassfed butter, olive oil). Sound boring? It can be. But not if you have a few quick and easy recipes to get you by.

Day 1 (Yesterday)

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs in butter with a slice of Havarti cheese melted on top. Bulletproof coffee

Lunch: Cheese wrap with mayo, egg salad and shredded lettuce

Dinner: Omelette with mushroom, spinach, green pepper and garlic wrapped in a mozzarella cheese wrap

Snacks – fried hardboiled eggs with a slice of cheese and yellow mustard

1-ingredient cheese wrap recipe – preheat oven to 375, sprinkle a couple of handfuls of shredded mozzarella or colby jack into a rectangular shape over parchment paper and bake for 7-8 minutes or until the edges are browned all the way around. Let cool, cheese will still be flexible to wrap around your eggs. I also use this wrap for other kinds of sandwiches when I’m not egg fasting and they are easy, extremely low carb, delicious and very filling.

Day 2’s recipes include an egg yolk custard and cloud bread, stay tuned for my progress report!

Keeping it real (recipe included)

Warning: Some photos may not be suitable for the weak or easily offended.

Look, it’s not like some magic switch gets flipped in January and all of my resolutions come to fruition at once. We’re mid-month now, so it’s about that time to see how things are going. Let’s assess.

I lost 3 of the 5 pounds I gained last month, and I realize this is a positive but it’s going slower than I had hoped, still have 17-18 pounds to go this year. As we all know, pounds are easier gained than lost. I did do a cleanse the first week of January, but it was rough getting back on the intermittent fasting schedule after a month of bad habits. I thought about doing a cleanse again this past week, but if I’m being totally honest I just wasn’t willing to give up the alcohol two weeks in a row (you’ll see why shortly). I have stuck with the fasting and am aiming for 22 net carbs or less each day – thank goodness vodka is carb free.

Water – I drank so much water the first 3 days of January I practically lived in the bathroom. Yesterday I drank 1 plastic red cup of water and woke up overnight parched. But I didn’t waste 30 minutes of my day peeing, so still maybe a net positive. Yeah, I’ll have to try harder on this one.

Saying I love you to the kids has been a conscious and easier-than-expected addition to my day. Win.

Money. Ugh. Eggs are like $192843.00 per dozen now and we go through about 250 a week with the restaurant and another 6 dozen a week with the kids. You do the math. Barely enough left for the much-needed vodka, let alone savings.

I called and spoke with my sister for the first time in a while and we had a great catch up. The google “free time to talk” calendar is working (at least for one family member).

I said the holidays were over and I was so relieved, for like a minute. Then I looked around my house and decided I wasn’t so relieved after all, because there’s still all of this holiday crap EVERYWHERE.

Sometimes I compare the holidays to the same trauma level as moving – they take up months before and after to plan and then recover from, and when we’re finally, finally settled back into normalcy, they’re just around the corner again. The more kids we have and the busier work gets, the less Christmas books get neatly stored into my stupid tupperware stacked so high you can’t even see the paintings on the wall. Baby Pat alone can dismantle an entire room in 0.73 seconds, so even when I get my chores done and decide today is the day the holiday stuff is getting put up, I turn around to this.

Or this.

Or this.

And if you think that’s scary…

This is one weekend of laundry for 11, folks. In his free time, Pat enjoys unfolding while I’m sorting clothes out of the dryer.

Just like everybody else, we’ve got the Facebook friendly Christmas shot right up top for you, but I always make sure to take some photos of our actual reality. I may be miserable, but I’m not embarrassed about the mess. And I haven’t even shown you pictures of the bookshelves, butler’s pantry or mail sorting station because those are just too darn upsetting.

I haven’t cursed once in this entire post, I’m saying I love you to our kids more, I’m down a few holiday pounds, and I’m even going to share a short easy keto recipe at the end of this post. Resolutions don’t have to be an all-or-nothing thing, and progress is progress.

I’ll close with a quote I read from time to time, probably said by some very wise person who had 12 kids (or maybe just an overwhelmed mom of 2 who just finished a pint of ice cream). I’ll probably have it engraved on my tombstone.

“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting “Holy shit, what a ride!””

And for those of you keeping track, that is not me swearing.

Now for the recipe:

Bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed jalapenos

Ingredients: 1 lb jumbo Shrimp (raw, peeled and deveined), cream cheese 8 oz, 1 cup shredded colby jack cheese, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, bacon (half strip per shrimp), jalapeno peppers (deseeded and sliced in half, 1 half per shrimp)


  1. Mix the cream cheese, cheese and seasonings in a bowl. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Put a large spoonful of the cheese mixture into each jalapeno half.
  3. Press a shrimp into each spoonful of cheese mix.
  4. Wrap a half slice of bacon around the entire thing, you can use a whole slice if you love bacon, it’ll just take a little longer to cook.
  5. Put all of the peppers onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Then turn the temp up to 425 for another 3-4 minutes, or until the bacon is done how you like it.

Macros for each stuffed pepper: CALORIES: 105, FAT: 9g, CARBS: 2g, FIBER: 0g, PROTEIN: 5g

Another New Year’s post: it’s never too late until it is…

I always start each new year thinking I’m finally going to start regularly writing to y’all about the joys of keto, diet tips, recipe secrets, and funny life anecdotes of 9 kids, chickens and a falling apart house, and then the year just happens and before I know it it’s time for another New Year’s post. So here we are. How was your year? Did you keep your resolutions? Achieve all of your goals? Yeah, me neither.

I’ve finally given up on my annual “no swearing” goal – I’m sick of handing out quarters to my kids and then having them gather around every Bills game waiting for me to start cursing after a bad call. I’m embracing that I can still be a great mother and not be perfectly wholesome – or even anything close to perfect. My kids are lucky to have parents who provide (so much) food, clothing, shelter, who work way past the point of exhaustion to make sure that their billion activities are paid for, and who still find time to play silly games at dinner, lose gracefully at Mario Kart, and talk freely and often about the mundane, hard and awkward stuff that comes with 7 boys and 2 teenage girls (the 7 boys are way easier).

This year, my goals revolve around health, wealth and happiness. I want all three – no, I need all three – of these areas to improve, so if my resolutions lead me in that direction why wouldn’t I keep them this time around? In the same way that I’ve successfully given up even a single Dorito for 4 years in order to shed 80 pounds, I should be able to add 64 ounces of water, a phone call to my siblings, or $100 to my savings account, right? It boils down to making a decision and sticking with it, plain and simple. When I was 250 pounds, no amount of concern, pep talks or even shame could make me lose the weight. I had to reach the point of wanting it, needing it, for my own personal health and happiness to make it happen.

So here I am, announcing my 2023 goals publicly to thousands of family members, friends, acquaintances and clients so that you know I’m ready to be called out, asked about my water intake, reminded that I haven’t made time to talk on the phone in a month. And if you know me at all, you know that I work well from a list and that I HATE to fall short of any goal, especially in public.

  1. Lose 20 pounds. I know, I know, everybody has some kind of weight loss goal in January. I’ve gotten so close to where I want to be and at the end of each year I go into such holiday survival mode that I always end up drinking another 5 pounds onto the scale. How can I reverse 11 months of effort with 30 days of extra tape and wrapping paper? 20 pounds would allow me to enter keto maintenance, fit into that last pair of jeans, and look and feel more confident out in the world, not to mention set a good example for my daughter, who has been working her tail off to reach her own weight loss goals and looks to me as the example. My very specific plan is to: 1) Drink no less than 80 oz of water per day, 2) fast between 9pm-1pm every day, and 3) designate 5 days each month to a cleanse to make sure I’m not developing any bad habits and to keep me disciplined. 20 pounds is less than 2 pounds a month. I can do this, and I will do this.
  2. Say I love you to each of my children every day. Does it sound awful that I don’t? They know I love them, imperfectly but fiercely. Some of them say I love you multiple times every day, and get an “I love you have a great day at school,” or “I love you good night” on the regular. My husband and I say I love you to each other dozens of times each day without any effort. It’s our kids who are busy playing and screeching and wrestling and whining who get shortchanged. They don’t take the time to stop and say it, think it, or even grab a quick hug before climbing onto the bus, and I’m usually so busy working, packing lunches, doing laundry, emptying the f%&$ing dishwasher, that I forget too. It’s on my list now, kids. Get ready to hear it until you’re sick of it.
  3. Call my family every month. Even though part of my heart will always be in New York, I have married a full-blooded Texan, I have birthed Texan babies, and we are here for the long haul. My siblings and parents, however, are scattered through the Northeast and Midwest. Phone calls sound simple enough, but when you add in 9 kids, 2 jobs, 3 loads of laundry, the neverending motherf%&*ing dishwasher, and 4 hours of sleep, a phone call honestly seems like a chore, or a luxury I can’t afford. But what I really can’t afford, especially as we all get older, is to fall out of touch with my family, to be more separated than we already are, or to have our last conversation ever be six months ago. One day it will be too late to make that phone call, and you never know what that day will be. I’m making a Google calendar with my free spots and sharing it with all of them – a scheduled call might be less romantic or spontaneous, but the calls will happen. You heard it here first.
  4. Put money back into the bank. Let me first start by saying that our little business is still thriving, in fact we’re doing great, and I am so grateful for the continued and growing support month after month during pandemics, inflation and economic upheaval. However, as a small business peddling very expensive healthy lifestyle products, the money is sometimes flowing out almost as fast as it’s coming in. Cream in 2021 was $1.79 per quart, we pay over $5 for the same exact quart today. Eggs, $7.99 per case, now over $15. Butter was $2 per pound, now over $4 per pound. And don’t even get me started on cheese… If you eat keto you know these are basic cooking staples to many recipes, and while we have raised our prices a dollar here and there we have tried to shoulder a lot of the price increases, which is hurting our already slim profit margins. Add to that the ever increasing cost of groceries for an 11 person household, rising employee costs, unexpected home repairs and a very large monthly gymnastics and violin tab and you might wonder how we have any money at all. My general goal is to cut costs and right the ship so that there is more money coming in than going out. Simple but not specific enough – do I cut down on help and work overnight? Do I cut back on going out to dinner twice a month and put that money away? Do I switch brands, stores and suppliers to save a few dollars? By the end of the year I would like to have doubled my savings account without canceling any kids’ activities and without sacrificing the quality on any of my ingredients.
  5. Post once a month. What would this post be without a business goal? If you are one of our valued clients, here’s the part you can nag me about freely and often. The whole website is in desperate need of updating but we are (luckily) so busy that there never seems to be the time. Our regular customers know that I have so many ideas, recipe hacks, and product recommendations after years and years of keto trial and error (but overall success) and I want to document it, share it, and ultimately connect better with my customers, who, like phone calls to my family, will only benefit from the extra effort.

That’s the short list. I want to spend more time with my kids, start working out again, go on a trip with my husband, clean, empty out and organize the house, fix the leaky roof (another one) and maybe even replace the pool heater. I also want to swear less and win the lottery.

Get ready guys. The holidays are over. I’m relieved, I’m grateful to have survived and I’m motivated to do it all bigger and better this year. How about you?

Keto and kids? Here’s our take on it…

It’s been quite a long while since I’ve posted, though God knows how many drafts I have going at this point. We are blessed and grateful to be busier than ever with clients, events and restaurants, plus the whole 9 kids thing. Honestly, we are unpleasantly busy – but not unhappy, if that makes sense. Have you ever loved everything you are doing, but just can’t seem to find the time to actually do it all?

My 13 year old daughter is also insanely busy – roller derby, orchestra, violin, softball, musical theater, plus school, but somehow found time to write me a post about her keto journey, which she started this past Fall. My husband and I have been doing keto for years now, and have never pressured any of our kids to follow this lifestyle, though they’re certainly welcome to eat what we eat. Maggie decided to try it out for a month this past Fall after gaining quite a bit of Covid weight, with her pediatrician on board.

It wasn’t until she started keto and wrote this post for me that I realized what the diet was actually doing for her, not just physically but emotionally and mentally. I have always thought my daughter is beautiful, both inside and out, but I don’t think I realized she wasn’t feeling that way herself. I knew she was secretly sneaking food at night and hiding in her room during the first months of Covid, but I don’t think I recognized just how seriously low she was feeling. Reading what she shared was a little hard the first time, because I didn’t realize how bad things were getting for her.

Luckily, her story has a happy “ending.” I can honestly say that keto has transformed her eating habits, confidence and self esteem every bit as much as her physical appearance. Here’s her take on things, maybe the inspiration you need or just interesting to hear about it from a kid’s perspective:

I started the keto diet on August 16, 2021. I decided to try keto so that I would be able to feel more comfortable with myself. A lot of my activities had been canceled, so I had gained weight over quarantine, I had no motivation to do anything, and I sat home eating and laying in bed looking at my phone all day. I didn’t have a speck of confidence in myself. I was always worried about what others thought of me, and I couldn’t make myself talk to new people. I was also being fat shamed and teased about how I wasn’t skinny. I wished I was pretty like some of the other girls in school.

In the first week or two, it was hard. I still had a sweet tooth, and I tried to not cheat as much as I could. I didn’t cheat, and a week later, I stepped on the scale. I had already lost seven pounds! I was motivated to keep going, and I was so excited to be losing weight. Two weeks after I started keto, I had more energy to do things and I had stopped binge eating. After the first few weeks, I would lose two or three pounds a week. I was much more confident in myself, and I was so glad that I had started keto. At first, I was doing keto because of others. My dad and kids at school made me feel that I wasn’t pretty unless I was skinny, but I realized that they were all wrong.

These days, I am on a healthy diet, and my family supports me. I am much happier than I used to be, am back to doing several sports, and have not been in my room as much. I have to admit, the first week or two was definitely hard, but if I can give you any advice it would be to give it a try for a few weeks before you make up your mind. When you get going, you’ll lose your sweet tooth, and won’t really miss eating non-keto food. I have taken two cheat days over the last few months but it was easy to get right back on track the next day. I have now lost thirty-seven pounds, and I plan to keep losing weight. I hope that reading this inspires you to start your own keto story. If I can do it, anyone can!

Same Resolutions, New Resolve?

I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted. Partly, because business has been good, for which I am extremely grateful (and busy). Partly because I haven’t had anything funny, motivational, or even remotely positive to write. Somehow, I didn’t think it was great advertising for my health-related food business to say, “hey guys, I gained 5 pounds this month eating my own food, wiping out a fifth of my progress this year, how about you?”

I’ve always prided myself on not cheating over the holidays, and this year was no exception. I brought low-carb sides and desserts to every holiday party, even bringing a bunch keto tamales to our Christmas taco party so that I wouldn’t be tempted. I have a knack for gaining weight during times of extreme stress over past years – when I moved from NYC to Texas, when my son nearly drowned in our swimming pool, and during my ugly, drawn-out divorce. So when Covid happened, knowing my habits, I vowed to learn from history and stick strictly to my diet. And by November, I had lost another 25+ pounds! With everything else falling apart, it felt really good to have control over something, and in addition to losing weight I had also gained this new business – an unexpected blessing!

Then, the holidays came. With 8 kids, Christmas is always more military operation than celebration, but this year things were especially challenging for me. My mother-in-law passed away this summer, so it was my husband’s first holiday season without his mom, and instead of making things better for him, I wallowed in the fact that I hadn’t been able to see my own family all year, thanks to the pandemic. I felt guilty about wallowing. I complained about how much money we were spending and how over the top we were doing presents. I felt guilty for being the family Scrooge. Instead of feeling lucky to find two awesome home-based jobs after stepping back from my job as a teacher, I whined about how exhausted I was to be working two jobs while trying to plan family holiday trips, parties and gifts. It was our first Christmas morning with all 8 of our Santa-believing kids here at the same time, and instead of excited I felt completely overwhelmed by the prospect of getting truckloads of presents under the tree, filling stockings, and writing notes from elves and Santa while keeping everyone asleep.

I still didn’t cheat. I didn’t eat any non-keto food, but I taste-tested every last dessert I made for customers – and there were A LOT. I didn’t go over my carb limit for one day, but I drank every 0 carb alcohol there was, from homemade keto eggnog to sugar-free grinch punch (a wonderful invention by my sister-in-law). I didn’t relax or sit around the house, but I gave up my daily workouts to make time for extra shopping, cooking, and wrapping.

And, as one might expect, the weight crept back.

So now I am ending this holiday season five pounds heavier, many dollars poorer, and much less content than I entered it. And it’s really my own fault, because looking back there is nothing I ate, said or did that was worth feeling like this after 11 months of Herculean effort to get myself into better physical, financial, and mental shape, despite a pandemic and all of the life changes that came with it.

I know from talking to many of my customers that I am not the only one struggling with falling off the motivational wagon this Christmas, and can only hope they know how much it means to have met so many like-minded people this year, some whom I am now fortunate to call customers and friends.

My resolutions for 2021 are the same as they often are. Lose weight – it was supposed to be 21 pounds for 2021, which I thought was really catchy, but now it’s more like 26 or 27. Swear less, drink less, complain less. More workouts, more gratitude, more patience, more savings. And, as always, the ketogenic diet is my driving force. When I’m in ketosis, I am accomplishing many of the above goals at once – losing weight, more energy, less anxiety, less drinking.

I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to in 2020, but I didn’t fail. Finding the right food is only part of the equation, so it can only be part of my success. And just like all of my amazing customers who have already planned for their fresh keto start (and chicken soup cleanse) next week, so have I.

So for 2021, it’s the same resolutions, new resolve. New year, new hope.