Portabella Turkey Burger. YUM!

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Tonight I made the best dinner I’ve had since starting IP!

First, I made a 6 oz turkey burger using Jenny-O 93/7 ground turkey, using some new McCormick seasoning called Bacon Molasses. This is really good, and you only need 1 tsp of it for a whole pound of meat. Good smoky bacon flavor!

Then I used two big portabella mushroom caps (total 5 oz for both) and laid them fuzzy side up on a baking sheet. Drizzled them with olive oil, then sprinkled on granulated garlic and the tiniest amount of sea salt. I baked them for about 10 min at 350 degrees until they were “wilted” and the moisture had shrunk them down.Portabella Turkey Burger

Then I built my burger with one mushroom base, a slice of Go Veggie! vegan cheese, a slice of onion, low carb ketchup, mustard, meat pattie, then about ½ tsp fat free mayo on the meat, a few dill pickle slices, and the top “bun”

Yes, you need to eat it with a knife and fork, but it was AWESOME! So yummy. I will definitely do this again.

Aprox: 400 calories, 20 fat, 7 carbs.

You can cut 5g out of the fat/40 calories, if you don’t put the oil on the mushrooms. On the IP diet, it’s needed.

4 Week Weigh-in

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13 lbs total so far.

Starvation Mode – Don’t go there!

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I never thought MY body would go into starvation mode. How is this possible? I mean, I’m obese! I should be able to live a month off my fat stores.

Well, it happened.

On Ideal Protein, you are instructed to consume 2 tsp of oil (olive or grapeseed) a day, along with your 3 meal packets, 4 cups veggies, green salad and meat dinner.

Well, I started out the first couple of weeks just great. I would fast fry my meat in a teaspoon for dinner, and have another teaspoon in my salad dressing on my green salad.

As my previous posts point out, I was losing lots of weight fast (especially for me). Then came that post about water retention. Turns out not only was I retaining water, I wasn’t losing any weight. With normal water retention, I can still lose weight, and when the water comes off, the scale shows a nice little whoosh down a pound or more.

Well, I’m taking my diuretics, I drinking my water, and I’m eating exactly what I’m supposed to! I was sure I’d done something to fall out of ketosis, because I felt SOOOO hungry. Since day 4 on the diet, I hadn’t suffered from real hunger pains. Or pangs or whatever you call them. Rumbly “feed me now” feelings of real hunger. The water isn’t coming off, and I feel horrible.

This started on a Friday morning. So all day Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday, I’m just miserable. I even go for a walk, because sometimes exercise will help get the water off. No such luck.

I text my coach, and ask if I fell out of ketosis, if when going back into it you go through the hunger again. He says no. Just stop losing weight.

Well, crap. I have no idea at this point if I’m losing weight, because I’m retaining 3+ lbs of water that I absolutely cannot get off.

Sunday, I make a pork roast for dinner. This is the fattiest meat I’ve eaten since starting the diet, and I’m feeling guilty as all hell for eating it, but it tasted so good, and it was the first time in three days I felt FULL after a meal.

Monday morning, I wake up and I’m not hungry. The light bulb goes on! My body needed the fat! Most of my evening meals consisted of chicken breast, chicken vegetable soup (with chicken breast meat), haddock (totally fat-free fish), and I don’t put any oil on my steamed veggies.

I go to the fridge and pull out my bottle of homemade Italian vinaigrette dressing and really look at it. There’s no oil in it. OMG! (using my daughter’s term) I’m feeling so stupid! I forgot to put the oil in when I made the dressing last week.

So, I get my oil in me on Mon and Tues, and by Wed morning the water is off, and I’ve lost a pound. Now this kind of sucks, because I was losing 3lb a week for 3 weeks up to this point, and now I’ve only lost 1 lb in a week.

At least I know now what was wrong with me, and I will NOT make that mistake again.

I had thought the only way my body would go into starvation mode was if I got below the 800 calories a day. (I average about 900). I now know better. Even at 900-1000 cal, my body NEEDS, and I understand why the diet instructions tells you to use, the 2 tsp of oil a day.

Sweet & Sour Sauce (Low carb of course)

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This is one of my favorites. Great for dipping grilled/roasted chicken. Drizzle a little over your steamed veggies. Or to use as a dipping sauce for IP chicken soy patties.

1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1 cup Splenda

½ cup 1 carb Heinz ketchup (or other low/no carb ketchup of choice)

¼ tsp Thick It Up (optional)

Place in small sauce pan on low heat. Whisk all ingredients until smooth. Bring to a very low boil.

Ready to serve.

The Down Days

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So, I have that water retention issue I mentioned before. The bad thing is when I do my morning weigh in, and I’ve had too much salt the day before (I ate the IP chicken noodle soup, which I love mixed up with some home made chicken stock – salt-free – and some veggies.) and then get on the scale and it’s UP.

I know logically that it’s the water. I can feel it in my puffy fingers and I have some edema on my legs. But even though I know it’s the water, it’s so disheartening to see the scale up 3lb from yesterday morning. I get obessessive about going over every single thing I ate the day before. I had tomatoes yesterday, did that do it? No, I’m allowed tomatoes twice a week. But maybe…

Basically, these are the days that I feel a little down and wonder if it’s worth it, even though I know I didn’t REALLY gain real weight. And when the water comes off, I’ll probably be lower than I was before. These are the days I need a little extra self encouragement. I have such a long way to go…

Spanish Rice on IP!

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I LOVE LOVE LOVE Mexican food, and I’m in the process of changing over my recipes to fit IP protocol. This is high in tomato product, but for a once every couple of week treat, it’s well worth it.


2 pkg rice shaped Miracle Noodle

Rinse and blanch in boiling water 1 min. Drain. Spread on non-stick fry pan on low-med heat to dry out a little, stirring. Set aside.


1 can (14 oz) stewed tomatoes (in juice) (Mexican style works well)

½ c chopped green onions

½ c chopped yellow pepper

½ c chopped celery

1 tsp cumin

1 Tblsp chili powder

1 Tblsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion powder (more if you skipped the green onions)

dash cayenne powder or a few hot pepper flakes (if you like a little heat)

Make sure your tomatoes are chopped into small bits. Throw everything together in a saucepan and simmer for about 20 min to blend flavor. Add in the Miracle Noodle rice and let stand about an hour. The noodles will soak up some of the juice, and a lot of flavor.


3 week weigh-in

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12 lbs lost! Yeaaaa!!!

A few changes to the IP Plan for my health issues

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So a few things I have had to change/do differently than the “normal” person on IP.

Because of the heart issue, I have a pretty serious water retention issue. Until starting IP, I was on basically a zero salt diet. If I eat anything pre-packaged (a can of soup or a restaurant meal) I puff up. My water retention can go up to…well, the worst I’ve seen it is 12 lbs of fluid on my legs, belly and hands. This is extremely uncomfortable, and it makes my breathing difficult. I take 2 different daily prescription diuretics.

A big component of IP is the balance of salt and potassium. The pre-packaged foods are all high in sodium, plus you’re told to use 2 tsp MORE a day of the sea salt. I don’t normally have the 2 tsp alone, let alone the 1500-3000 mg salt a day with the packaged foods. This was a concern for me, and for only the first day on IP, I did not take a diuretic to see how bad it would get. I was up 6 lbs the following morning. Even after going back to the diuretic, I would retain the fluids if I ate the higher sodium meals (most of the soups, which I happen to love). I also do NOT use the extra sea salt. I now only consume the lower sodium packets. I love the plain omelet (when adding seasoning and veggies and some ham) and I have yet to find any of the drinks I don’t like. Only the dark chocolate pudding, in my opinion, is edible.

Another issue is that I take Spironolactone, which is another slight diuretic with a whole lot of other goodness for a person with PCOS such as myself. (It’s cleared up my acne, and I don’t get the skin cysts as much since taking it.) BUT, this pill causes my body to hoard potassium. Therefore, taking the big dose supplement daily is not a good thing. Luckily, I’ve had to deal with fluctuating potassium levels for the last few years because of the diuretics, so I know when to take a supplement or not. I take one about every 3 days.

The last thing is, on IP they are very strict about 2 low carb packets a day, 1 of the higher carb packets. Because of my diabetes, and the fact that I have morning (fasting) high glucose readings, I cannot eat the higher carb packet. (I was doing low carb for years before I started IP just to keep from needing to go on insulin.)

To make up for the 50-60 calories less I’m getting than the “average” IPer, I’m supplementing with about 2 ounces of extra meat protein a day, usually with my breakfast. I really like Ostrim meat sticks or a little fat free ham or turkey or chicken thrown in my plain omelet pack for breakfast.

All of these things I’ve discussed with my coach, and he said as long as I’m losing weight and not hungry, it’s all good. He even suggested having a 4th low carb packet a day, if I don’t feel I’m getting enough protein. The thing is, it’s not the protein that high carb pack contains, it’s all carb. And bad carb at that, for a diabetic. It’s all sugars. Now, if they’d come out with some bars that were higher in fiber, I’d be one happy camper!

Low Carb BBQ Sauce Recipe

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Through trial and error, mixing and matching recipes I found online, I have come up with a 1 carb BBQ sauce that is better tasting (in my family’s opinion) to anything store bought. The whole family eats this now, not just the dieter!

1 c tomato sauce

1 c low carb ketchup

½ c white vinegar

½ c splenda

¼ c brown sugar substitute (or extra Splenda)

Put above ingredients in small sauce pan and bring to very slow bubble


½ tsp black pepper

2 tsp liquid smoke

½ tsp paprika (smoked paprika is best)

1 tsp garlic pwder

1 tsp onion pwder

½ tsp chili pwder

dash cayenne pwder (to your preference)

dash cinnamon (just a tiny bit!)

Simmer about 20 min on very low heat to blend all the spices.

Makes about 3 cups. 1 carb/Tblsp

A little about myself

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I wrote that first post to go on my Facebook wall for my family and friends that know my struggles. If there are others out there who might read this, I thought I should tell you a bit about my medical history.

Currently, as of today, I’m 38.5 years old and weigh 274.6lbs having been on Ideal Protein for almost 3 weeks.

I was overweight my whole life, a little chunky as a kid, steadily gaining weight through high school. I was about 230 lbs when I graduated in 1992. I’m 5’7” with big bone structure, so I could “get away” with being heavier. I never looked as much as I was. Very soon after graduation, I started packing on the weight.

4 years later at 280 lbs I went on the infamous fen-phen diet that was all the rage. I lost 20lbs in about a month and WHAM! Wound up pregnant. After giving birth, it was all downhill from there. By 2000, I was up to 326 lbs. It was a picture of myself and my daughter that sent me on a weight loss journey.

Using ephedra, the go-to diet drug of the 2000’s and working out like a fiend, I got down to 232lbs in a little less than a year, and managed to maintain it for about 2 years…until I got pregnant again.

After miscarrying, my body did some very strange things. It didn’t matter what I ate (or didn’t eat) or how much I exercised (I walked a minimum of 3 miles a day then, along with some light weights) I was putting on weight. I went to see a doctor, and he told me I was obviously not exercising enough. A few months and 20lbs later, I go to a different doctor, and she tells me that I obviously don’t know how to count calories. And I go into a depression and just kind of give up for a while.

A small step backward…that doc that said I didn’t exercise also diagnosed me with an ASD (a hole in the wall of my heart). I was on a waiting list to see a specialist.

So, by the time I get to the cardiologist at a major heart center, I’m up to 310 lbs. Cardiologist says I’ll need open heart surgery to fix the hole “sometime” in the future. (I was 30 now.) But I need to get my weight down to around 260, for safety reasons.

All this time with all the doctors, they kept checking my A1C and fasting glucose, and it always came back that I was not diabetic. Another year or so goes by, and I stop having a period. I go in search of another doctor.

This woman was a Godsend! She took one look at me and said, “We need to run some tests.” I roll my eyes, and think, “Yeah, here we go again…” But a week later when I’m back in her office, she asks me if I’ve ever heard of PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). I tell her yes, I was diagnosed with it shortly after I gave birth to my daughter, but a second doctor said I didn’t have it. She tells me I definitely DO have it, and because it went undiagnosed so long, and my body was overproducing insulin (one of the major factors in PCOS) I am now diabetic.

So, I’m put on Metformin right away, along with meds for my “fatty liver” and my slightly higher than normal cholesterol. I drop 20 lbs (I was up to 330 btw) in a blink of an eye, because Metformin and stomachs do not get along! But alas, the weight loss didn’t continue. I hovered between 310 and 320 for 6 years. I put my health matters to the back of my mind while I started my home-based business and kept a growing child in line and my husband’s meals cooked. I tried not to think about it too much, because that just stressed me out.

In 2009 I had to see my cardiologist (as I do about every 18 months) for my heart tests, to see if there’s any change in the size of the hole. I start asking about surgurey and stuff. I’ve been dealing with this for 5 years at that point, and there is a level of stress that hangs over a person when they know there is a HOLE in their HEART and they need OPEN HEART SURGERY “someday”. She couldn’t answer all my questions and said she’d refer me for a consult with a surgeon.

As things go with the medical system here (in Canada) my file got ‘mislaid’ or something to that effect, and it was almost 18 months later in Nov 2010 when I get an appointment to see the surgeon. He wants to know why I wasn’t fixed as soon as it was diagnosed. Well, I was told it was no rush. He doesn’t agree. BUT!!! I have to get down to 250 lbs before he’ll even touch me because of the concern about complications due to my weight and my diabetes.

*sigh* Seriously?

Another thing, until 2 months before that appointment with the surgeon, I’d been a smoker. I quit Sept 15th, 2010. I’d been smoking for around 20 years. Here’s the funny thing about that, though…. By January, I’m having breathing problems. That’s right, AFTER I quit smoking, I develop breathing problems. So, between the surgeon and the cardiologist, they are trying to find out why I’m having breathing problems, and I join a gym and start working out. I loose about 25lbs in a couple of months, I’m doing great! I can’t breathe when I work out, but I’m doing great with the weight. I should have surgery by fall!

I tear a tendon in my right rotator cuff.

*lots of bad words*

I am not supposed to lift anything more than my hand with that arm until it heals. Here starts 2 years of being useless because I’m VERY right-handed. The breathing issue gets worse, and the only exercise I can do is walking…strolling, as my hubby refers to it. I can’t walk fast, and I can’t walk uphill. And I can’t lift weights. And I’m supposed to lose another 35lbs before I can have surgery.

Weight loss stops at 285. Depression sets in. I’m in a LOT of pain and seeing doctors about the shoulder. Cortisone shots, then when the tear starts to heal, another pain sets in, which the shoulder surgeon thinks is bicep tendonitis. This is when I really start thinking that getting old SUCKS!

I see the surgeon 8 months after initial consult, and I get a very blunt “not good enough” at the 285 that I’ve managed to maintain. I have to get down to 250. But now there is concern about the breathing issue. I have stress tests, lung function tests, and the big one, a catheterization of the heart (no plaque buildup there). So, basically, the cardiologist tells me “you’re fine” but I’m not. I’m not fine at all. I don’t care if they can’t diagnose it, there’s something very wrong with me! Even at 330 lbs I could walk and not get winded, and that was when I smoked!

I go about life as best I can, and I come spring 2012, I decide to try the Atkins diet. My friend lost 50lbs on it without much effort. I lost 10lbs fairly quickly, but then slowly gained it back, even though I kept to the low carb diet.

Then I get a call from the cardiologist’s office that I need to go back in for another catheterization because they missed a major measurement the first time. (Color me very not thrilled!) But something good came out of it. I found out why I can’t breathe! There is blood flowing backwards through the hole from the left to the right side of the heart. (It’s only supposed to go right to left.) So when I exert myself, my heart beats faster, more blood is thrown backwards, and my heart beats faster, and the blood goes backwards, etc…until my blood pressure is high and I feel like I’m going to pass out. The surgeon who did the catheterization told me to keep doing what I can with exercising, just don’t push real hard and get to the pass-out feeling.

So, at least I know why that happens now. I feel better. It doesn’t fix anything, but I feel better about knowing that I’m not going to die, unless I try to run a marathon or something.

But I HAVE to get the weight off! I’m desperate.

The summer before while visiting family, my niece was on the Ideal Protein diet. She was doing very well on it. After I told my sister (who happens to be a cardiac rehab nurse) about the latest catheter results, she suggested I try IP. She’d had some patients who’d done the IP diet with good results.

So, I went in search of someplace that did IP here, and found a health center less than a mile from my house.

And the rest, I hope, will be history!

My first goal is to get to 250 (surgery weight). My next goal is 232, the lowest I got doing it “on my own” a decade ago. My ultimate goal, and I’m not sure if my body could handle it, is to see the scale dip below 200. 199 lbs is where I’d love to be.

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