Happy Birthday Hubby!

March is hubby's birth month, and my favorite month after December. His birthday and the Persian New Year just make it the best. 

We celebrated hubby's birthday all month. Well, nearly all month. In the middle of it I got sick with food poisoning or something and for a week I was completely knocked out. It wasn't the worst thing in the world though, because we got to break our diets and eat carbs as I wasn't well enough to cook. So of course we over did it and ate birthday cake every night and every morning for breakfast. It was the best thing ever. 

Here are some pics of the festivities:

celebrating daddy birthday party

happy birthday daddy

daddy birthday celebration

Happy Birthday Salar! Thanks for being such a fantastic hubby and dad!!!!!! Love you <3 

How I lost my pregnancy weight: One year of following the Ketogenic Diet, before and after

It has been one year since I started the ketogenic diet. A lot of people have been asking me about how I lost so much weight. This post is for all of you. 

Me and hubby started the Ketogenic diet in March of last year, after I had gained nearly 100 pounds from back to back pregnancies. I did not look like myself, was depressed, and morbidly obese. It was horrific. It was disgusting. It didn't help either that I was completely addicted to sugar. I didn't have any clue back then about how that was a major contributing factor to my 100 pound weight gain. 

I really had a problem, and it was getting out of hand. In my twenties I was trying to lose weight and for a while went vegetarian. I went to the doctor for a standard thyroid check, and got a long lecture from my endocronologist who told me I had lost about a pound, but had pre diabetes, how it was uncommon for people my age, and if I didn't get my act together I would definitely become diabetic. He also told me I was deficient in like every vitamin you can imagine. Apparently the whole vegetarian thing wasn't working out for me. I left that appointment crying. For a few days after that I didn't eat any carbs or sugar, and then the following week I binged on cupcakes and went back to my old ways. 

What didn't help me is that I have the "addict gene".....no really though, that's actually a thing. You know, people who are prone to becoming addicted to things? Ya, that's 100% me. I come from a line of relatives with various addiction problems: cigarettes, food, gambling, alcohol and yeah even heroin. Damn you, genetics. I am going to kick you in the butt.   

How I didn't manage to turn obese long ago is beyond me. 

And then it finally happened, after having two consecutive pregnancies, I become obese. It didn't fully hit me until I went to the doctors for my second pregnancy and saw the nurse circle the option for OBESE on some paperwork. Holy $h!t I thought, I'm officially considered obese. I'm OBESE! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! That was definitely a low point. 

Then I had our second baby (Caspian) last year, and then this was what I looked like last January (2015):

Weight was around 230 pounds

before and after ketogenic diet ketosis keto one year

I don't have any full body standing pictures from that time. I mean, who likes taking pictures of themselves fat?? NOT ME! 

But to put that in perspective, here is a picture of me just three years before:

leila rahmanian

That's a hundred pound difference right there. FML big time. 

So last March, hubby and I decided to just do the ketogenic diet for ten days to see how we like it. We both lost a ridiculous amount of weight during those ten days, then got so excited about it that we decided to just keep going. The first few days weren't bad, but then we got hit with this thing called "keto flu" and that sucked. We would get brain fog, palpatations, neausa, headaches and upset stomach. Apparently it's normal, you just kind of have to ride it out. Drinking broth and lots and lots of water helps. 

At the one month mark we had each lost around 20 pounds, and had started to feel a little better from the keto flu. It is normal to feel complete $h!t during the first month. After all, you are completely rewiring your body to burn ketones (fat) instead of glucose. If you don't feel like death during the transition then you're not doing it right. We felt much better during the second month, but I still had carb cravings. It was hard. I would have strange dreams about a fat man stealing my brownie, eating it in front of me and then running away from me and laughing at me while I cried. Going out I would get insanely jealous of that skinny person at Panera sitting across from us eating a croissant and drinking that sweetened green tea. DAMN YOU! I HOPE YOU CHOKE ON THAT CROISSANT! (I would think to myself). And I am not even a jealous person! The cravings were making me crazy. The only thing that would help them was eating sugar free jello topped with heavy sugar free whipped cream and chewing gum. I would also give myself pep talks in my head. I would tell myself that these cravings are the result of the sugar withdrawals, and I needed to be stronger and rise above it, just like those recovering addicts I used to work with when I was a social work intern. Their withdrawals were actually deadly, and they would have to take methadone. They are the ones who had it hard. Who am I to fuss about not eating a croissant? SHAME ON ME!

Then by the third month of no carbs, all the cravings had completely gone, and I was feeling GREAT! I had mental clarity, felt so much more energetic, and would never get hungry. I would eat as much as I wanted to and although I hit a plateau, my clothes continued to get bigger and bigger while my stomach continued to shrink. Every three months I would have to buy a new pair of jeans as they would keep falling off. I loved that feeling- the wonderful sensation that consumes you when your pants start to fall off your waist and your clothes become loose. PURE BLISS! 

Seven months had passed, and by the time October rolled around I had lost around 40/50 pounds and was looking and feeling great. I also went to the doctor to do some blood work to have everything checked out (as some say this diet can raise cholesterol and blood pressure). Everything was normal. My cholesterol was great, blood pressure great, sugar was normal, and I was no longer pre diabetic. On a side note, I also completely stopped getting pimples and yeast infections (tmi sorry). 

March 2015. Weighed about 200. 

before and after ketosis diet pictures

 

October 2015. Weight was in the 160's. 

ketosis ketogenic diet before and after pictures

December 2015. Weight in the 150's. 

before and after pictures ketogenic ketosis diet

I still have about ten more pounds to go before I'll be comfortable with myself, but I'm not stressing about it as I don't plan on ever permanently stopping this diet. Yea I will have days where I eat carbs, but we have a system and rules in place about that. We are only allowed to eat carbs during the month of December (so we can treat ourselves for our babies' birthdays along with the holidays) and also whenever we get sick. When we get sick it's hard to constantly cook and much easier to sleep and order a pizza. Also maybe Halloween, but we are kind of undecided on that at the moment. Regarding fruit, occasionally we will split an apple and put peanut butter on it. We may also eat 2 strawberries each and dip them in heavy whipped cream, but we only introduce small amounts of fruit once we have been in ketosis for a long time, and definitely not when we just start. On a side note, how hot is hubby? He lost a TON of weight too and fits into all his stylish ted baker clothes from back when he was single. 

Anyways, if you aren't familiar with the Ketogenic diet here are some pointers for you if you're thinking about starting it:

  • CARBS ARE ENEMY #1. You want to stay far away from them. Don't eat them. Don't buy them. Don't look at them. Don't even think about them. By carbs I mean anything that has more than 5g of carbs on the nutrition label. You can't eat anything with sugar in it (doesn't matter if it's honey or brown sugar or cane sugar or organic sugar) ALL types of sugar are bad. You can't eat bread, pasta, rice, fruit, starchy vegetables, beans, lentils, or even red or orange vegetables (like carrots or tomatoes). 
  • FAT IS YOUR BEST FRIEND: The more fat you eat on this diet, the more fat you burn. If you stop eating carbs then your body goes into fat burning mode, and starts to burn all the fat in your body. Don't go overboard on the protein though, as that can turn into glucose. If you're going to have eggs, fry them in butter or add a bunch of full fat mayo. Fried bacon is your friend. Just add butter or coconut oil (my fav) to everything! The heavier the better. Full fat heavy whipping cream is great! Add it to your coffee along with your favorite sugar free syrup and you are good to go! Beware of milk though, it has lots of sugar (called lactose). 
  • PLAN AND BE PREPARED: Make weekly meal plans. Constantly have keto friendly food available to you. This is not the type of diet where you can pop a pop tart in the toaster and eat it on your way to work. What helps me? Boiling eggs every day. If I'm in a rush or don't have time to cook I'll just grab a boiled egg, smear some mayo on it, and eat it with 2 cheese strings and some macedamia nuts dipped in cream cheese. Quick and easy. If I have a bit more time I'll scramble some eggs, fry them and sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Do weekly grocery shopping so that your veggies remain fresh. Put one day a week aside for food prep. Make a ton of salad, chop up your veggies and store for the rest of the week. Cook a bunch of meat and then freeze and pop into the microwave before dinner time. If you don't plan and are not prepared then this will not work for you. 
  • FIND A BUDDY: Find someone to accompany you on this journey. It's nice to have someone go through the withdrawals with, and you can complain to each other about how hard it is and how much your life sucks. Then after you weigh yourselves you will high five each other and say "THIS WAS SO WORTH IT!"
  • HAVE WEEKLY WEIGH INs: Weigh yourself weekly and keep a chart documenting your progress. The number of pounds lost adds up fast and you will love it and it will further motivate you.
  • FIND WAYS TO STAY MOTIVATED: People have different ways of keeping up motivation. Some people are all about staying positive and the whole body positivity thing, others not so much. I am in the latter group. I like to watch fat shaming videos on youtube, like the one's by Nicole Arbour. Is that weird? Ok it's a little weird. I also like to print pictures of myself when I was at my best weight and put them everywhere. Maybe I'm a little narcissistic. Don't judge me. Find what works for you. 
  • DON'T CHEAT!!!!!! Especially during the first three months. This is the most critical time where you will be doing the most fat burning and losing the most weight. This isn't the kind of diet where you can have a cheat day once a week, or even a cheat meal. That is because once you eat carbs your body immediately goes back into glucose burning mode. Then it takes your body around 4 days to get back into Ketosis, during which you won't be able to lose weight. 
  • ALWAYS KEEP SNACKS IN SIGHT: The thing is, you don't want to let yourself get hungry. Constantly stuff your face and eat as much as you want, just not carbs. If you get hungry in between meals, munch on some broccoli and full fat ranch dressing. Avoid anything low fat. Have some macedamia nuts, cheese, sugar free jello with heavy whipped cream. Or make keto friendly cupcakes. You can find my recipe here.
  • THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS MODERATION: You cannot moderately have sugar or carbs if you are on this diet. It's an all or nothing kind of thing. I have had people suggest that instead of completely cutting out carbs I should instead eat them sparingly. You cannot do that on this diet. I cannot do that and have never been able to do that. It just doesn't work for me. It would be like telling an alcoholic to only have a few sips of alcohol every once in a while. Yea, doesn't work. 
  • DON'T COUNT CALORIES. COUNT CARBS: Eat as much as you want until you are full. If you are full, stop eating. Don't feel like you have to finish everything on your plate because that's how your parents raised you. Regarding the carbs, you are supposed to eat under 25g of carbs per day. To put that in perspective, an apple is about 20g carbs. So instead of eating one apple per day or a slice of bread, it's better to have vegetables instead (as veggies have some carbs as well). I like to have a cup or two of salad with full fat dressing at the end of the night to go with my meat dish. To get your net carbs read the nutrition labels and subtract the amount of fiber from the grams of carbs and that will give you your total carb #. 
  • DRINK LOTS OF WATER: You want to drink around 100 oz per day. I sometimes add lemon juice to my water to help prevent kidney stones. You should also in the beginning eat lots of salt to replenish electrolytes. 

Hope those tips will help guide you in the right direction if your thinking about starting this diet. I also recommend buying Ketostix. It is a thin strip of paper that you pee on to see if you're in ketosis. Being in ketosis means that your body has switched over to burning fat. The darker purple it becomes the more ketones you are expelling in your urine. Yes, it literally means you are peeing out your fat. This will keep you on track as it provides you with a way to find out if you're doing it right. You can find them at any pharmacy. 

ketostix keto sticks pee purple

This Keto thing started as a diet and then it turned into a lifestyle. It's the best diet I've ever been on because I don't experience hunger, and I keep losing weight. I don't need to work out either, although if I did work out I would have probably lost a lot more weight than I did. When my body switches over to burning glucose after I eat carbs, it makes me literally feel sick, like something is rotting in my stomach. I now only feel good when I'm in Ketosis and not eating carbs. 

I'd love to know if you decide to try it out or have tried it, and what your experiences were.

Caspian's Nursery Makeover

Here is a look at Caspian's nursery. I'm about 8 months late on this entry, but better late than never right? I wanted it to have a soothing serene feel to it, and for him I liked shades of aqua and light blue. In the beginning I wanted a mickey mouse theme, but then I changed my mind as the room started looking tacky. 

Here are some before pics:

 mickey mouse nursery boy 

mickey mouse nursery before and after

To spruce up the room I just moved some furniture around, added some floating shelves, a rug and valances.  

Here are some after pics:

light blue serene nursery baby boy

baby boy blue nursery soothing

baby boy aqua nursery

rain clouds baby boy nursery blue

before and after light blue nursery

It's amazing what a difference adding just a few pieces can make. I felt like the whole room was transformed by adding a rug, valances, and a few pieces on the wall. Simple as that. AND i did it all on a budget. I didn't want to break the bank because I was simultaneously decorating Valentino's room. Click here to see how his room turned out.  

I used a lot of stuff that we already had, and I switched their huge stuffed animals. I put Caspian's huge mickey mouse stuffed animal in Valentino's room as he had a lot of reds, and I moved Valentino's big white bears to Caspian's room as it seemed to be a better fit. I also spray painted the big wooden letters hung above Caspian's crib. I made the pom pom garland hanging from the valances and sewed the little rain clouds hanging from the floating shelves. Yes, I actually sewed something! CLAP FOR ME!! You wouldn't appreciate my excitement about sewing something unless you knew the old me, who was so undomesticated that my cooking skills only went as far as boiling water. 

The valances, rug and little baby chair were purchased from Pottery Barn. The crib and furniture are all from Amazon, and the floating shelves are from Target. The baby lamp is from Babies R Us, and the wall prints are from Etsy. The glider was from Walmart and cost less than the baby blue chair from Pottery Barn. Crazy huh? 

Originally I wanted to find a big ancient map of the Caspian Sea and surrounding areas, frame it, and put it above Caspian's crib. However, that was impossible to find, so his name in wooden letters availed. 

And here is Caspian, just hanging out doing some yoga, enjoying his room.....

Happy Valentine's Day!

I had a ton of grand plans for Valentine's Day. I was going to do something fun and special for each day leading up to the 14th, but then we all got sick with the flu, and all my plans came to a halt. Me and the babies were miserable for pretty much the first half of February. 

But thankfully, we were all recovered by Valentines weekend. 

So we did some fun stuff,

like have a cupcake party.......

valentines day decoration cupcakes

valentine's day cupcakes party

And eat cake

valentines cake decorations party

And more cake.....

valentines cake ideas

Hubby surprised me with lots of flowers. Is there anything in the world prettier than flowers? I think not. 

valentines flowers ideas

With all these flowers I made pretty tablecapes. I love Valentine's Day because it's an excuse to go overboard on my favorite color: pink! 

valentines tablescape

valentines tablescapes

Valentino helped me make these little teddy bear favors for his classmates for their Valentine gram exchange party. 

valentine's favors school grams

In school, Valentino made a surprise for me and daddy for Valentine's Day. We absolutely loved it! Our little artist! 

toddler valentine's day craft

The kids had fun playing with a Valentine's sensory bin (they love this kind of stuff) and making Valentines cards for the special people in their lives. 

valentine's sensory bin toddler activities

valentine's day decorations toddler

Me and hubby had date night at home after the kids went to bed. Doing it this way is SO much better and less stressful than getting a sitter, rushing to get ready, then watching your alcohol intake because you have to drive, and then rushing back home to get back to the babies. All on the busiest weekend of the year for restaurants. 

toddler valentine's day craft valentine's date night ideas

So this year hubby was BAD and surprised me with a new purse, after me telling him a million times that I don't need anything and that we need to be more frugal. He's so bad. But it's just so pretty....... so I didn't complain too much. 

leila rahmanian

I love this purse because it's big enough to be used as a diaper bag, and has three compartments, which is perfect! One for me and one for each kid. It will soon be filled up with diapers, wipes, change of clothes, tissues, bottles and snacks. 

So that was a glimpse of this year's Valentine's weekend. Even though we didn't get to do all the things I was planning on doing with the family, it was still special. The kids loved it, hubby loved it, and that was enough to make me the happiest. I love them all so much. 

Our bug scare

I cannot stand my babies being sick. There's nothing more I hate in this world, than a bug that has chosen MY KIDS to make miserable. It leaves me with this feeling of helplessness and despair. I get anxiety. I lay awake at nights constantly checking them. Yes, as soon as they have a little sniffle and at the first signs of a cough I FREAK OUT! 

So naturally, when Valentino started school, we got a TON of bugs. It seems like since November he's been having a chronic case of runny nose and cough, which in itself isn't alarming, but when progressed into fever and fatigue I go into panic mode. I become even more panicky when Caspian catches whatever bug Valentino has. He's just so little and it's so unfair. I wish all their illnesses would just magically leave their bodies and transfer into mine instead. 

Towards the end of January through just a few days ago, both babies suffered from a bad case of the flu. Valentino's started out with just the sniffles and runny nose, and then progressed into full on fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and bronchitis.....along with a GI bug...(we call them GI JO bugs :). Then Caspian caught all this from Valentino and also developed an ear infection simultaneously. Then I caught the flu from the both of them. We were all just miserable. It was bad. VERY bad. We all went to the doctors, and the babies had to take this antibiotic called Cefdinir for their infections. The doctors told us the kids had Haemophilus influenzae, and not to hesitate to take them to the hospital if they show any signs of dehydration. 

So that night, naturally, me and hubby stayed up late googling "haemophilus influenzae." Big mistake. We became alarmed after learning that complications from this strain of flu can include pneumonia, hearing loss, meningitis, brain damage and even death. Talk about some serious anxiety! That night me and hubby checked on the kids multiple times through the night to make sure they were still breathing. Later on we asked their doctor how it's possible for them to catch this flu virus as they both got flu shots and are up to date on their vaccines. The doctor said it is because this was a different strain of that type of flu virus (as the kids are both vaccinated against the Haemophilus Influenzae type b, or Hib). So the flu virus they had was still Haemophilus, but it was a different type of strain that wasn't as dangerous. Or something like that. That made us feel a little bit better. 

The next few days were a nightmare and Valentino's condition deteriorated. He would constantly just fall asleep anywhere- in my arms, in his high chair, on his bedroom floor, on his toys. It was really scary. He would also constantly throw up and have diarrhea after he ate or drank anything. We would have to change his and Caspian's diapers every ten minutes. If Valentino would drink an ounce of water, a minute later it would all come back up. We would have to change his crib sheets and his clothes at least three times a day. I would constantly have to scrub poop and throw up off sheets. We even had to roll up his rug and take it out of his room as there would be excrement everywhere. Caspian's symptoms weren't as bad because he wouldn't throw up and he would at least drink a reasonable amount of liquids, however, his diarrhea from his GI bug lasted about two weeks and so he was constantly leaking poop everywhere. Hubby was doing laundry round the clock. I couldn't even help him much as I was sick with the flu myself and attempting to nurse the babies back to health. I had to keep a spread sheet of medication dosages and times to keep track of each kid and their medicine, as it would be very easy to forget or mix them up. To say it was exhausting would be an understatement.

toddler flu

At one point, me and hubby started contemplating taking Valentino to the hospital. We thought, lets give it another day and see what happens. We were afraid he was becoming dehydrated. He would constantly refuse to eat or drink. HIs lips were cracked and he had lost so much weight that his ribs stuck out. I was constantly offering him liquids and food. He wouldn't touch any food, but would sometimes eat popsicles. Hubby would go to the grocery store and come back with different kinds of popsicles, various flavored ice creams, sugary fruit juices and yummy sugar packed snacks that we would normally never ever have in the house. 

Then one morning I woke up to find Caspian's diaper filled with bloody poop. 

Because I don't want to completely gross you out, I cropped a bit of the photo I took of his diaper to show the doctors. This was the color:

cefdinir bloody poop

I screamed "SALAR WE NEED TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL NOW!" I didn't even google "bloody poop" for fear of what I might discover. A few months ago I came across this one mom's blog who had discovered her 5 month old daughter having bloody poop one day, then a few months later she died. The story is http://www.raisingarrows.net/2009/07/emilys-story/

WARNING!!!! if you are a parent of an infant I suggest you DO NOT READ IT. So naturally, after I saw Caspian's poop, I immediately thought of that story and I FREAKED out. So I threw his diaper in a ziplock, we packed a few bags and rushed off to the hospital. When the kids were seen (we had checked both of them in) the doctors had told us that the red poop was not blood, but was a side effect of the antibiotic Cefdinir. Apparently some kids's poop turns red as a kind of reaction to the drug. We were SO relieved. I felt the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders. I went in expecting the worst, as last time we took Caspian to the hospital he had pyloric stenosis and had to be hospitalized for days. My worst nightmare was for something like that to have happened again and for him having to undergo surgery again. I cannot tell you how happy I felt that he was perfectly fine, sans flu bug and his GI JO bug and ear infection. But all that is no big deal compared to bloody poop scare. No biggie at all! 

Valentino was hooked up to iv fluids because he was dehydrated. Within an hour he was feeling much better. His face got some color, his lips were no longer cracked, and he was even smiling. He also drank half a cup of juice and then ate an entire chicken sandwich! I about fell off my chair! What a difference the liquids made for the better. He did, however, afterwards poo all over his hospital bed. It was a mess. But so long as there's no bloody poop, I can totally handle it. I GOT THIS!!! We left the hospital after seven hours feeling relieved and confident that they were on the road to recovery. 

Since the hospital scare, Valentino slowly improved, as did Caspian. Big shout out to hubby who had to juggle work while taking care of all of us, doing laundry, letting me sleep in, and bringing me tea and medicine in bed. Great excuse for room service. 

And here is Caspian just coding with dad......not bothered about his mutliple bugs, or his red poo :)

baby developing software

It was all just so exhausting. I kept Valentino home from school for a week extra to what the doctor said was safe. I wanted ZERO chances of any of his classmates catching it, especially as one of his classmates has a newborn sibling. To have a newborn go through what Valentino went through could be life threatening. It is nothing to take lightly. Call me crazy for being paranoid about my kids health, but I know of a 20 something year old healthy person who caught the flu and died shortly after. It happens and it's scary. So yes, I will go to great lengths to keep germs away from my kids. Please don't look at me like I'm crazy when I ask you to wash your hands before touching my kid. I will never hesitate to take them to the doctors or hospital to get them help asap if I feel like something is off. Always trust your instincts. It is just better to be safe than sorry.