Karen Sorenson Keeps it Low Carb, One Day at a Time

As a low carb mom, there has been one blog that’s been an inspiration to me for over a year now.  Living Low Carb…One Day At A Time is a blog written by Karen Sorenson. She shares the most delicious and drool-worthy recipes, and occasionally talks about events and giveaways that would be of interest to other low carbers.

About Me Picture

What you might not know about Karen, though, is that she began this lifestyle and her blog in order to stay on track and maintain weight loss.  She had been experiencing some health problems and was determined to make a change for the better!

Low Carb Inspiration

I love that she gives her readers the confidence to stick to their convictions in what they eat, while inspiring us with beautiful, practical meal and dessert ideas.  It is a labor of love and much appreciated within the low carb community.

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Since she seems to be eating in a way that is very similar to how my family eats, I just had to reach out to her!  I had the pleasure of interviewing Karen, and couldn’t wait to share her answers with you.

What advice do you have for a mom on the go?

While I’m not a mom myself, yet, I am always on the go. My biggest advice would be to plan ahead. I know that is easier said than done, but I save so much time by prepping and making meals ahead of time.

Every weekend I make my breakfasts and lunches for the week so all I have to do is portion everything out the night before and throw it in my lunch bag. I take my breakfast and lunch with me to work every day so I usually make breakfast skillets with meat and veggies for breakfast and for lunches I usually add some protein to a slow cooker and roast some veggies on Sunday and I can eat off of it all week for lunch.

Both of those options have a lot of variety and I’m able to change the protein and veggies I’m using every week. Also, if I get bored with the same thing everyday then I make small adjustments like turning it into a salad, adding some broth for a soup, etc.

What are some good low carb choices while out and about?

Some good low carb choices when you are on the go are smoothies, almonds (what portion size), canned wild salmon, canned wild tuna, cumbers, celery, almond butter, avocados, coconut chips, and homemade nut/seed bars, just to name a few. These are the things I use all the time for snacks and meals on the go.

How do you get your family on-board with the low carb lifestyle?

The easiest thing to do to get a picky family on board is to slowly make changes. For example, start switching to a potato substitute by using 75% potatoes and 25% cauliflower. Over time slowly start reducing the percentage of potatoes until you are using all cauliflower. By this time, your family will be used to it and it won’t be such a shock.

Also, in the beginning it may be easier to get your family on board by making substitutes for your favorite high carb items. If your family loves pasta, make zucchini noodles and try replacing some of the pasta with zucchini until eventually it is all zucchini.

At my house we went cold turkey into low carb, but I like to experiment and try new things. Not everything you try will be a success,but you will learn what works for your family. Remember this is a journey, going cold turkey doesn’t work for everyone, so take it one day at a time and each day strive to do better than the last.

How do you respond to people that try and get you off track?

You are always going to have people around you that try to tempt you into going off track. I always think about why I made changes to my diet in the first place and all of the weight I have lost. I don’t ever want to go back to where I was so it’s important to me.

You have to be strong and be able to tell people why this “one slice of cake” will derail your progress and your health goals. I try not to put myself in situations where I don’t have food that I know I can eat. I always bring food with me to parties and events so I don’t get tempted to reach for something I shouldn’t eat. The mindset of “just one slice of cake isn’t going to kill me” usually ends up derailing your progress and you end up right back where you started.

On the other hand, don’t beat yourself up if you get off track. Strive to do better the next day and not let the carbs control you.

Thank you so much for allowing me to pick your brain, Karen!  Congratulations on your weight loss through a healthy, low carb way of life.

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Karen Makes It Easy to Live Low Carb

To find out more about Karen, and to see her delicious recipes, visit Living Low Carb…One Day At A Time.  While you’re there, you may want to check out one of her favorite recipes, low carb Moose Tracks Ice Cream.

What is your favorite recipe of Karen’s?

Counting Steps with FitBit

fitbitI’ve just ordered myself a Fitbit!  I’ve wanted one for awhile now and the time has come.

This is the version I ordered, it cost less than $60: Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker

Do you use a Fitbit or similar gadget to monitor your physical activity?

I plan to compete with friends on the number of steps I take each day in an effort to step it up!

A Look Back At A Mostly Low Carb Year

It was February when my pal Lynn inspired me to give Low Carb a try.  I weighed in at 315 on February 16th and four months later I was down to 278.

My thyroid bounced around quite a bit during that period of time, I’m sure I would have lost even more if I hadn’t ended up going hypo for a while.

Between early July and early August, I went off the rails and on August 8th I got back to Low Carb weighing 293.  I had mixed levels of commitment and not so great results until October when we embarked on our 90 Day Low Carb Challenge.  I went into the challenge weighing 295.

With the highest hopes and most sincere commitment, I set a goal of losing 35 pounds before the end of the challenge.

I didn’t know then that I’d be going through a thyroid ablation on November 1st.  I did really well up to then, losing down to 280, then down to 274.

Then the scale stopped cooperating.  I’ve been bouncing up and down around the same five pounds ever since.

I tackled the problem by going back to induction, very carefully counting every carb, getting lots of water every day and making the gym a priority.  In two weeks time I lost a pound and gained a couple.

Yes, this is more than a little frustrating.

If I only focus on the scale, I’m going to be in big trouble.  It’s disheartening to see gains when you’ve been playing by all the rules. It would be easy to throw in the towel and say ‘This isn’t working!’.

But is it? 

Keeping in mind my thyroid is in the throes of death and my metabolism is certainly suffering – the scale can’t be given the power to decide what is or isn’t working.

My body feels fantastic.  My endurance and strength is returning back to normal since the ablation.  I have wonderful energy levels and the brain fog of being hyperthyroid has drifted away, leaving me clear headed and more productive than ever.

Instead of looking at this past six week’s lack of progress, I am going to look back over the year and celebrate that even with the recent gains I have lost 38 pounds!

So it’s going to be tough for awhile, but I can hack it!

I’m not thrilled that I have to eat at induction levels consistently – I much preferred my menu when I could enjoy 30-35 net carbs a day.  But rather than stew in my sadness, I’m choosing to focus on the delicious foods that fit quite nicely in an induction menu.  I love eggs, beef, chicken and salads!

I don’t know how soon we’ll get my thyroid levels sorted out with replacement hormones and while I hope it will be soon, I have to keep my eyes on the big picture.

When the scales are stuck, we tend to imagine that they’ll be stuck forever.  Of course they won’t be – even with a stubborn metabolism, eating clean will eventually win the day.  That’s the truth I’ll hold onto.

Have you ever faced a tough metabolism issue?  What did you do to get through it?

Managing Your Moods While Adjusting To The Low Carb Lifestyle

I’ve officially low carbed more this year than not.  Despite long periods of time spent off the wagon, I’m glad to look back and see nearly six months of successful low carbing in my history.

We’re over the hump in the 90 Day Low Carb Challenge.  As of today we have 38 days left.  Two big ‘eating’ holidays are behind us (Halloween and Thanksgiving) and two are get to come (Christmas and New Years). 38 days actually feels like a breeze in my mind… yet it isn’t always easy.

I’m doing well – I’m solidly into ketosis and my hunger is starting to drop again.  I like that!  At the same time, I have to report that I’m having some tough moods.

Take today for instance.  I woke up feeling great.  I woke up ahead of my alarm and ran to the store for a couple things.  Not at all hungry, I had some coffee with HWC andworked for awhile. All was well and good,  I had some eggs and bacon for lunch and didn’t feel like finishing it so I didn’t. I worked some more – all is good.

Then The “Mood” Struck.

I’m bored.  I’m antsy.  I’m wishing I could have a whole can Pringles to distract myself from my own thoughts.

I’m sad.  I’m lonely.  I wish I were married.  I hate my body.

There’s nothing to look forward to menu wise for over week – blah, blah and blah.

I decided to take a nap to refresh my head.  I lay down and actually start to cry.  Sheesh.

This has to be partly thyroid, partly female stuff, partly ‘letting go of old crap habits’… all normal things – but dang, it sucks.

So after a few minutes it occurs to me that I’m not tired.  I actually feel a little hungry.

I decide it’s totally dumb to lay here feeling sorry for myself.  I get up, get dressed and go have an early dinner at KFC.

Then I’m like ‘Man, I love chicken.  I love green beans.  I love this cole slaw!’ 

For someone who’s awfully deprived and apparently depressed -  I sure am enjoying this food.

And there – the mood is gone.

I come back home full of energy and enthusiasm and get back to work :)

Now I encourage myself, ‘Hey Kelly – you did good.  You felt bad.  You cried a little.  You got up and did your thing.  You can do this as many times as you have to.’

Here’s hoping ;)

The 90 Day Low Carb Challenge Is The New Hangout

The 90 Day Low Carb Challenge that began October 8 has been a welcomed home for low carb lovers to hang out. There are over 1,200 current members with new faces joining daily as the word continues to spread. It doesn’t matter if you are a low carb novice or a low carb connoisseur – everyone is welcome.

The inspiration behind this idea came from its creators Kelly McCausey of Low Carb Mom and Lynn Terry of Low Carb Traveler. They simply wanted to share their successes and love for the low carb lifestyle with others in a format that was both informative and motivating. Their focus and goal was to have a community of like-minded guys and gals to support each other through the upcoming holidays when temptations are at their peak.

When you join this group you are met with members sharing recipes, recommendations for swapping food choices, weigh-in successes (and occasional stalls), links to useful resources, and a positive atmosphere. You’ll be inspired to test out unfamiliar recipes and expand your knowledge of what it truly means to eat low carb daily.

As with any successful program though, there do come points of frustration from some members who need encouragement to hang in there. Sometimes setbacks will occur brought on by social events, office food, cooking for members of a family who don’t follow a low carb lifestyle, or failure to plan. Life simply gets in the way sometimes. This community understands that when a member’s weight loss slows or even stalls briefly, they are there to offer up advice and support to help a struggling member get over the hump. The key ingredient for the success of the group is not letting members dwell on personal setbacks.

Kelly and Lynn also do podcasts about low carb lifestyle challenges and benefits for members, sometimes interviewing other experts in the field. These podcasts are well received and appreciated by the members. You can subscribe to their podcasts in iTunes – just search for the 90 Day Low Carb Challenge under podcasts. You can also hear their podcasts on the 90 Day Low Carb Challenge website.

If you haven’t joined yet, there’s still plenty of time to do so. With the holiday season and all the bountiful food choices upon us, just having a support system backing you up will encourage you to make better, healthier decisions that you can take with you into 2013 with confidence.

For more information visit 90 Day Low Carb Challenge.

Join the 90 Day Low Carb Challenge

Lynn Terry of Low Carb Traveler and I are hosting a 90 Day Low Carb Challenge.  It starts today and runs all the way through the holidays, ending on January 5th.

If you’ve been looking for some extra support and encouragement to make Low Carb really work for you, this is your chance.

There is a FB group to interact with others, a weekly podcast for extra encouragement and a mailing list if you want to make sure you don’t miss anything.

I’m excited.  Low carb works for me and I feel great when I stick to it.  Knowing that I’ve made a serious commitment to myself and others is going to help me hold on through all of the tantalizingly tempting holidays and lost a lot of weight!

My personal goal is to lose 35 pounds.  My last weigh in was 295 so if I hit my goal I’ll be 260.  I haven’t seen that number in a very, very long time.

Here are my carb goals:

  • 20 net carbs per day or less for two weeks. (I’ve got one week left since I started last Saturday.)
  • 20-30 net carbs per day after that. (Previous experience tells me I still lose nicely at this rate.)
  • 60 net carbs for Special Treat days. (Birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years)

Having a ‘double up’ day every great now and again is not going to interrupt my weight loss, not like going crazy and eating whatever I like. When you do that it takes at least two days to get back into the zone.  It’s my goal to not take any days ‘off’ and stay in weight loss mode the entire 90 days.

Join us here!

 

 

Starting Again. How Embarassing, Right?

Here I have this low carb blog and I keep falling off the wagon.

It’s embarrassing to fail so much.

I want to low carb! But oh – how the carbs call me.

I’ve been eating crap, gained a bunch of weight and feel pretty crappy again.

So thirty lashes to me.

Now, let’s move on.

I’m back on the wagon today – but it’s so hard!

I’m working today and my projects are very exciting.  When I’m excited, I want to munch and crunch. As I sit here blogging, my hands want to reach for some chips or Oreos.  I’d love to look up and see a full far of M&Ms on the shelf.  But no.

Today I poured some soda into a box of leftover Fig Newtons.  Throwing them out wouldn’t be enough – I had to make them inedible. If I didn’t, they’d probably be in my belly by now ;)

There’s nothing to do but keep on keeping on.  I’ve ate my fill of eggs, salad, string cheese and chicken today.  It’s all delicious but it’s not what I really want. It’s always tough at first.  I mourn the carbs and obsess about the sweets I’d be eating if I weren’t ‘being good’.

Thankfully it get’s easier.  Soon I’ll be craving my low carb foods and not giving cookies or subs a second thought.

Hurry, hurry, taste buds.  Godspeed to your attitude adjustment.

The Low Carb Decision I Made

Looking for a weight loss strategy?  Consider going low carb as an alternative to the more well-known popular diets advertised on TV and throughout the Internet.  You may be surprised at not only the weight you lose but also by how good you’ll look and feel.  But, you have to want to change what you are doing now that isn’t working for you.  Sometimes that isn’t easy.

It’s easy to over-indulge with carbs.  They’re practically in all food products we consume - and they are addicting. 

Just the smell of bread and taste of ice cream fills my brain with thoughts of comfort.  For me, that’s the problem.  I associate carbs, mostly sweet and starchy carbs, with rewarding myself or just feeling good in general.  Nearly every memorable event in my life is tied to food, and in some form or fashion carbs are my go-to favorites to eat. [Read more...]

Wheat Belly Scared Me Straight

I read Wheat Belly this past week – mostly.  There’s a lot of dry stuff in there that I skipped over.


I was looking for something to scare me straight.  I only stuck with low carb for a week before falling off again and I stayed off for several weeks.

Last week I was feeling so terrible.  I was tired, feeling a bit down, blah.  My brain felt mushy most of the time.  I was constantly hungry and always craving something sweet – preferably a donut- ok, four donuts.

When I’m on low carb I feel so good, so why am I so easily sucked into a carb crazy state?  Well, Wheat Belly suggests that it’s because wheat is addictive – no news for me there – but he had a lot of scientific/medical mumbo jumbo information to drive it home.

It’s not a ‘low carb’ book.  It’s a pretty deep dive into the world of wheat and gluten intolerance and his ideas about the long reaching consequences.  It had some fascinating information about how the wheat we eat today is so different from the wheat of 100 years ago and explains why.

The book reminds me that eating a lot of carbs is the surest way to add fat to my body.  (And give me diabetes – which I don’t have thank God.)

It did the trick, I was sufficiently motivated to get back on low carb – it’s the end of day three.  I’m finally over the ‘gimme my crack’ phase again.

After the first day I get a quick boost of energy – I don’t get the ‘low carb flu’ that some people talk about.  I wake up and stay awake – actually have some trouble going to sleep for a few days because I have so much energy.  (Not a problem, my schedule is flexible.)

I’m glad to see the mushiness go away.  Maybe if I read Wheat Belly again now it wouldn’t seem so overwhelming? LOL!

You can find Wheat Belly on Amazon.

Back to Low Carb After a Break

Well, a weekend off from Low Carb turned into several false starts and a loooong break from Low Carb.  It has been almost two months since my last post here and over a month since I’ve been actively low carbing in a consistent way.  Even as the days dragged on, I knew I’d eventually get back to it – and here I am!

I’ve just come home from a terrific online marketing event where I gave in to every craving – from fresh Belgian waffles to chocolate to sushi – yes, I had sushi three times in four days LOL!  It was really fun eating whatever I wanted without thought for carb counts – but it led to massive sugar cravings.  I could not get enough chocolate and my ‘munchy habit’ came back with a vengeance.

One of the things I like about low carbing is how my cravings even out and I feel more in control – so now it’s back to business.  I gained about 15 pounds since I first started to cheat.  I know half of that is probably water that will fall of pretty fast – I look forward to reporting back in a week or so :)

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