Morning Mantra

Last night I had more time than usual to meditate, and I made an unexpected breakthrough. I was going along as usual, striving to stay focused, concentrating on feeling each line of my mantra, and then suddenly, everything changed. My entire conscious self was suddenly condensed into a ball at just about eye level, partly inside my head, partly in front of my eyes. I felt that all of me was contained in that space, alive, aware, and deeply serene. It only lasted for a short while, and then I was working on my mantra again, but it felt easier and more true. … It’s difficult to explain in a way that makes any kind of sense.

Afterward, I opened my eyes and communed with my cat for a while. She comes to sit in my lap whenever I meditate, as though it’s a valuable thing for her as well. I looked at her fuzzy little face and rubbed between her ears and stroked her fur, and was more content than I’ve been in weeks.

This morning, also for the first time in weeks, I woke upĀ  gently, without the headache that’s been plaguing me upon waking, held the Handsome Hubby’s hand and drifted for a bit, and eventually got out of bed truly peaceful and at ease, ready for the day, and to my surprise, early. I thought we’d overslept.

So with all this goodness happening in this moment, today I want to try something I’ve been putting off for over a month. I was inspired by my friend John Halcyon Styn when he made a post on his Facebook page drafting out his personal “Daily Mission”. Halcyon is often inspiring, a truly generous and loving human, in touch with both his own divinity and his own flaws. This post in particular inspired me to attempt to write a similar mission for myself, a Morning Mantra, if you will, to help start my day off on a positive note, focusing on the good in myself and the ways in which I might spread goodness into the world. For me, it’s as much about what I seek to be as it is about what I already am.

Writing it has been tougher than I’d expected. Today feels like the day I can do it, though, the day when, if I use it to it’s best advantage, I can step away from pushing myself down and begin to lift myself up. So here it is:

  • I step forward with love
  • I tread softly on the earth
  • I am strong, and I lend my strength to others when needed
  • I lift others up with kind words
  • I strive daily to make the lives of those around me easier and more pleasant
  • I am generous with my time and affection
  • I strive daily to learn, grow, and become a more valuable person
  • I am a being of light (thank you, Louise Scott, for these, the kindest words ever used to describe me)

If Halcyon and I have inspired you to write a Morning Mission/Mantra for yourself, please let me know in the comments. And if you’re willing to share your Mission/Mantra with me, I’d love to read it.

For more about Halcyon, check out his YouTube channel, Hug Nation, and prepare to be uplifted.

Wishing love, health, and abundance to you all.

Three Week Status Update

Happy Sunday! It’s status update day. I’ve made good progress on some things, and have more work to do on others.

Food is where I need work. I made some adjustments to make sure I was getting enough protein, and to try not to keep my calories so low that I started losing noticeable amounts of strength. I went too far, though, and didn’t lose any weight at all in the past two weeks. This is where recomposition is hard. It’s possible that I’m losing fat and gaining muscle, and so not losing weight. Without taking measurements and photos, though, it just leaves me feeling that I’m making no progress. I think I might have to bite the bullet and deal with not making any strength gains, or maybe even losing a bit. The good news is that I kept my carbs low and protein higher, and didn’t snack on protein bars, and I kept it keto when we went out to dinner with a friend Thursday night.

Workouts, on the other hand, were great! Previously, I’d been trying to let myself come back easy from losing strength while I was sick, but this week I pushed myself harder, really put in the effort to make gains. I ended up adding weight, reps, and/or sets to every lift, and adding back a couple more accessory lifts. I also added an extra workout, for a total of three upper body and three lower body! I did more yoga at the end of my workouts, as well. It’s been very cold and even snowing a bit, so we only got in one hike, but I did some walking to the shops to run errands and to a doctor’s appointment. I only meditated on four occasions, but am looking forward to fitting in more of that in the coming week.

Next week is measurements and photos week. I don’t expect much, but maybe I’ll surprise myself! I do have a good, solid plan in place for the coming week, and for March.

I also got a tripod, so I hope to start adding more workout posts to the blog, and maybe ever trying out some videos. Stay tuned!

Two Week Status Update

It’s Status Update Sunday again already! Actually, the week felt long and luxurious and lovely to me. The Handsome Hubby took the whole week as vacation as a Valentine’s surprise for me, and we had a great time! We spent the first half of the week at home stay-cationing, then spontaneously set off on adventures for the second half of the week.

Despite the chocolate-centric holiday on Wednesday and traveling Thursday through Saturday, I did well with my diet. I’m sure I got more calories than I strictly needed on a few days, especially the two when we did some wine tasting, but I kept my carbs low and my protein on track.

While we were away, we stayed in a sweet cozy yurt on a sheep farm. It had a full kitchen, so I was able to cook some of our meals there. It snowed unexpectedly the day we were leaving and we got stuck on the pass for a few hours on our return home, but protein bars saved the day. Manufactured food, but good in a pinch!

 

I got in three weight workouts, one upper body, one lower body, and one full body, and we went for three hikes. One of the hikes was away from home, in a very different, much drier climate, with less manicured trails. It included lots of bush-whacking and some stream fording, and actually ended when we got to a place where the brambles were so thick that there was no indication of whether there had ever been a trail there. It was challenging and fun, and I’m excited to go back there in spring when the desert is blooming, and take on the ridge trail.

I hope you all thoroughly enjoyed your week and are looking forward to the next. I sure am! I have several new recipes waiting in the wings, plus other good subjects to share. Onward!

 

One Week Status Update

It’s Sunday; time for a body fat reduction journey status update. And the news is good!

The theory behind this body fat reduction method is that you keep carbs very low to force the body to burn fat rather than glucose (ketosis), then lower dietary fat somewhat to force it to burn existing body fat, while keeping protein fairly high to preserve existing muscle mass. Any weight loss will be comprised of both fat and muscle. Basically, I’m trying to maximize one and minimize the other. So, I’m down two pounds this week. If you’ve ever been overweight, any weight loss feels like a victory, even when it’s not a specific goal. I did a good job keeping my calories low, but had to remind myself a few times that my goal is recomposition, not simple weight loss. Eating too little will be counter-productive. The actual reduction in body fat will be fairly slow, though, so right now, that weight loss feels pretty darned good.

My food intake stayed really good. I focused more on keeping my carbs lower than I had the week before, because when I looked back, I think I’d gotten a little cavalier about them. I continued eating 100% whole, minimally processed foods. No protein bars, but this week, I didn’t miss them. Success!

I was right, too, that my measurements being high last week was a fluke. They’re down to what I’d expect them to be at this weight today. Hopefully, when I measure again in three weeks, we’ll see some real progress.

I got in five excellent workouts this week, three lower-body and two upper-body. I increased the weight on all of my heavy lifts except my nemesis, squats, and on some of my accessory lifts as well. I also added a few accessory lifts back in. The Handsome Hubby and I did fewer evening yoga sessions, but I did a few post-workout ones, so it mostly evened out. I also started meditating before bed again, which I haven’t done in a while. It’s such a great way to relax and reset before the new day.

Speaking of the Handsome Hubby, he surprised me for Valentine’s Day by taking the whole week as vacation! Hopefully, we’ll get in some great hikes and adventures.

I wish you all a glorious week ahead!

Starting Point Stats Day

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you’re feeling fantastic today!

I’m feeling much better at this moment than I expected to. Measure-and-weigh days are often down days for me even when the results are better than I’d hoped. I even warned the Handsome Hubby last night that today might be sort of surly for me.

Surprisingly, it’s not. At this moment, I’m cheerful and optimistic for the future, as well as content with the state of me now. This is very strange because, while my weight is normal when I expected it to be higher, my measurements are about an inch bigger all over than they usually are at this weight. I find this curious and confusing, but oddly not upsetting. I’ll probably measure again next weekend to see if there’s any change that might require dietary adjustment. We’ll have to see how I feel at that point. I’m unusually happy with my photos, as well. My butt is flat and dimply as usual, but the rest of me looks surprisingly lean and fit. I’m good with that!

Overview of the week:

I did well with my diet. I’m doing a ketogenic diet with emphasis on protein rather than fat, and eating at a caloric deficit. I wake up a little bit hungrier every morning, and by today I could have eaten a whole cow and 47 pounds of spinach! My plan is to eat at maintenance level for a day every now and then, maybe occasionally for two or three days in a row, to keep myself from going nuts and possibly binging … on nuts! Ha!

I did well with exercise. Got in 5 solid lifting days, 3 upper body and 2 low body. I’m regaining the strength I lost during the end of December and beginning of January, but it’s taking time. Regaining muscle while in a caloric deficit is a bit of a neat trick. Handsome Hubby and I only got in one hike this week, a really beautiful rainy day hike yesterday, but we started doing a bit of yoga every evening, which I’m really loving. It’s helping me wind down at night, which I hope will help me sleep better.

I wish you all a happy, healthy, and productive week ahead!

New Month New Plan

I just finished today’s weight lifting workout. I tend to think or meditate while I lift, and today I was thinking – about why I’ve posted so rarely, about why I’ve been pretty down since Christmas, and most importantly, about how I can change that moving forward. Now, I’m happily exhausted and brimming with excitement about my new plan, and getting back to some of my old plan. I started this blog intending to post often on a variety of healthy lifestyle topics, and I still want to do that, hence this post!

So, what’s the new part of the plan? More posts, and a greater variety of posts, mostly. I’m feeling pretty great about how well I’ve stuck to my fat-loss dietary protocol so far this week, and although I’m disappointed about the strength I lost during a week of vacation and two weeks of illness, I’m making progress in gaining it back. I’m struggling with body image issues, too, but trying my best to make progress on that as well. I’d intended to share this journey with you, and that’s much of the new plan.

This Sunday, I’ll be weighing and measuring myself and taking reference photos. I’ll do the same again every fourth Sunday, and on those Sundays, I’ll post progress updates including the original and new photos and stats. The Sundays in between progress posts, I’ll be posting about how I feel I did during the preceding week, any hurdles I came across, etc.

During the week, I’ll still post recipes, and also meditation and mindfulness ideas, skin care tips, workout info and inspiration, articles about nutritional science or fitness research that I find particularly interesting, and posts about what inspires me.

February first, everyone! It’s a new month. Let’s make it a great one!

At Home, Working Out

I used to work out at a gym. It was in a basement and catered to lifters, but accommodated all fitness types. It was great! Now I work out at home. I live in an upper floor apartment with limited space and limited capacity for heavy equipment. It’s also great! Behold, my arsenal.

I work out in a space about 6 feet by 4 feet, in my bedroom. There’s no room for a squat rack, but I’m OK with that right now. I lost a lot of strength a while back due to illness, but happily, I’m at the point now where I’m going to need more plates very soon.

People often ask how I find the will power to work out at home, how I get motivated. Many people find motivation in going to the gym, being surrounded by equipment and people all dedicated, in that moment, to working out. For me, no external motivation is necessary. I do it because, after 35 years of lifting, it’s part of me. I love lifting. I love lifting heavy, pushing myself, testing my physical limits. I find it meditative, especially when I’m alone in the room. The cacophony in my brain quiets down and I exist in the workings of my muscles and joints and bones and breath, one with my body, one with the iron.

I work out at home, and I’m most at home working out.

Festively Delicious

Oh my goodness, you guys, look what I found!

So, the honest truth is, I live and breathe for ice cream. Since I first went low-carb seven years ago, ice cream has been my one reliable go-to splurge (more on “splurge” vs. “cheat” later), the treat I default to on those rare, magical times that I decide a genuine sweetie is in order.

Happily, right around the time I started the very-restrictive fat loss protocol I followed all summer and am starting back on now, I found Halo Top. Unlike other high-protein low-carb frozen desserts I’ve tried, Halo Top tastes and feels just like ice cream. If you’re an ice cream lover, I highly recommend trying it. My favorites are the chocolate, chocolate mocha chip (chocolate with tiny coffee-flavored chips), sea-salt caramel, and my number one – the peanut butter cup, although I have yet to taste a flavor I didn’t like. I still eat it only rarely, but I’m content just knowing it’s out there.

So, when I saw this seasonal flavor on sale, I absolutely had to try it and review it for you all.

As you can see on the label, the flavor is pumpkin pie, not pumpkin pie spice. It’s on the high side of calories and carbs per pint for Halo Top, but for me, I’m overjoyed to say it was definitely worth it! It tastes just like a slice of cold, creamy pumpkin pie, complete with little bits of flakey pie crust mixed in. 10/10 – would absolutely indulge again!

Change is Good!

And change has come to Bacon Cookie in the form of a somewhat sudden change of venue. I knew the Handsome Husband and I would be moving house, but we’d planned to do it at the end of October. Then the stars aligned and suddenly we were moving mid-month and everything else got put on temporary hold.

So here I sit this morning eating my spinach, pepper jack, and avocado omelet with a side of bacon, sipping my coffee, writing these words surrounded by boxes (happily mostly empty now) in my sunny new home office. I’ve carried hundreds of pounds up and down flights and flights of stairs, but I haven’t done a proper workout in a week and am looking forward to my lower body workout later today.

I hope all has been peaceful and healthy in your lives. Here’s to embracing change!

Welcome to Bacon Cookie!

I decided to start blogging about diet and fitness after friends and family members started asking me about my workout regimen, or for advice on eating low-carb. I’m not a professional in the field in any way, just a self-educated layman who loves cooking, eating, and lifting weights. Especially eating! Food is seriously my favorite. I probably spend way too much time thinking about and preparing food, but because I do, I have tons of delicious recipes to share!

I’ve worked out and tried to eat healthy all my life, but for the past seven years, I’ve been lifting heavy and eating low carb. It’s a great combination for me. I feel more fit, strong, and confident than I ever have. Would it also suit you? I don’t know, but if you want to try it, I hope my experiences can help you. I’m a firm believer that each of us get to choose for ourselves what works for our own bodies, minds, and hearts.

My current goal is to lower my body fat percentage while maintaining as much of my hard-earned muscle as possible. No reason; I just want to try, something of a personal challenge. My hope is that putting my fitness journey in the public eye will help me reach my goals, as well as inspire you to reach yours.