Viewing posts tagged reflections

Mother's Day 2017

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there! This year was just so special to me because as my boys are getting older they are making me presents. How cute is that? Valentino made me a necklace with his thumbprints on it in the shape of a heart and both boys handed me roses and other presents. It was SO cute I died! 

We couldn't go anywhere this year as the baby is still too little. Going anywhere with all three kids (who are three and under) is literally impossible. The boys have a tendency of running away at opposite directions leaving me in the middle torn between which kid to chase first. It's all chaos! 

Instead we stayed at home and decorated cookies together and cuddled and read books. 

Hubby said I was in charge of planning the weekend and we could do whatever I wanted and he would buy me whatever I wanted too. I told him that I wanted a nice big house with a white kitchen smothered in calacatta marble with dark hardwood floors and a farmhouse dining table from Restoration Hardware. He said ABSOLUTELY! Just maybe not this year...... :) 

So what I planned for the weekend was for us to organize our lives and get on top of finances so we can figure out how to make the future financially work while having three kids. There is so much that I want for my kids that are oh SO expensive (mandarin classes, kung fu classes, music lessons, computer science classes, swimming lessons) I need them to be well cultured, speak no less than three languages, become black belts and first chair musicians, excellent swimmers AND they all need to be able to build a computer by the age of 7. All that for 3 kids will cost a fortune each month. Forget about saving up for college, just the boys monthly school tuition costs MORE than my college tuition was!

So for all of mother's day weekend we had budgeting realted meetings and got on top of our $h!t. We purchased filing cabinets and organized our life. This was honestly the BEST mother's day for me because it gave me what I wanted most, a way to plan for eventually getting everything I want (which is really for the kids, but it's what I WANT for them, so in that way it's for me too :) 

Postpartum life with a family of 5

These past two months have been challenging but not as bad as expected. They flew by so fast, and now that Persephone is close to two months old she's starting to sleep for longer spells during the night time, and that makes mommy VERY happy. During these past two months:

Persephone 

has been as sweet and lovable as can be! Compared to the boys she has by far been the easiest. During the first two weeks of her life she was constantly sleeping, so much so that I had to set an alarm for every two hours through the night to wake her up and feed her. She cries so rarely that I am constantly checking on her breathing to make sure she's ok, and her lucky brothers are getting a full nights sleep every night since she was born, uninterrupted! 

Persephone's eating schedule for the first two weeks of her life were 2 ounces of formula every two hours, right on the dot. Then for the remainder of the first month we increased it to 3 ounces of formula every 2 1/2 to 3 hours, and throughout her second month we increased it to 4 ounces every 3 hours and we let her sleep as much as she wants to overnight. 

Persephone has also recently started turning over onto her tummy by herself, and is attempting to crawl. I put her on one side of the crib and I'll come back an hour later to find her on the far end of the other side of the crib. She does not co-sleep with us, from day 1 she has slept in her own crib. I want her to get used to it so that she will grow up to find sleeping in her own space as the norm. I've done this with all my children and it has worked out very well for us, could you imagine if all 3 kids wanted to sleep in our bed every night? That would be a disaster!! 

Because Persephone is still so tiny and vulnerable, we keep her away from people, especially her brothers. She is so little and still needs more vaccines, so we are VERY careful to keep germs away from her. The boys are constantly coming home with all sorts of illnesses caught from school, and we are constantly wiping their noses, cleaning throw up and dealing with all sorts of colds and viruses. We prevent little Persephone from catching anything by keeping her away from the boys and literally washing our hands every 2 minutes. I remember Valentino's old pediatrician would firmly tell us NOT to take a newborn out anywhere, especially to restaurants- where the guy in the back making your salad could be from a south american country where they don't vaccinate and next thing you know your newborn could catch TB. How funny is he? Like, who says that? THANKS for making us paranoid doc :)

Valentino

does understand that he has a "baby sister." Whenever she cries he looks concerned and tells me that she is hungry and that I should give her some pizza :) He has been adjusting to having a baby sister incredibly well. He sleeps, eats and goes about his normal daily routine really well. Because I have been recovering and preoccupied with everything baby related, hubby has really stepped up to the plate and has handled all things toddler related, therefore Valentino has really developed a special bond with daddy during these past few months. He has also matured a lot during these past few months and takes his daddy very seriously. If daddy asks Valentino to clean his room, he will instantly clean it with no questions asked. With me, on the other hand, he will play and ignore me and not take me seriously. How unfair! 

Caspian

also understands that he has a baby sister, but that's about all he understands. The first day Caspian met Persephone he patted her head and then just went about his business. He's not bothered by having a baby sister, and carries about his day normally. He ocassionally will say "bye bye baby!" His room is adjacent to Persephone's, and initially I thought that would be a problem and interrupt his sleep, but so far so good! Caspian is known as the family parrot because he will repeat everything he hears, and sometimes I even catch him imitating the baby crying! 

Sir Edward

Does realize that another human has joined the house, and seems to be curious and concerned about it. So the rule of the house is that he cannot come upstairs to the bedrooms. Sir Edward knows this and has never set foot upstairs. However after Persephone joined us, sometimes when she cries and isn't immediately soothed, Sir Edward will become very concerned and will run up the stairs and sit behind her gate, as if he is protecting her from some unknown predator who could be the cause of her distress :) 

french bulldog top of stairs

We haven't introduced him properly to Persephone yet, because she's still too little, but he has seen us walking around the house holding her. The nurses at the hospital gave us a worn hat of Persephone's and put it in a ziplock for us to take home so that he can sniff it. I thought that was really sweet of them to think of the family dog :) 

Salar

has just been ecstatic and at the same time exhausted! He continues to work hard at his job and for the family, being responsible for most things toddler related and helping me also with the baby. Literally everything has fallen on his shoulders while I'm on this what we call "medical leave" that will last until May 1st, and then I'll take over all household and children responsibilities so that he can focus on his work more. He has been really enjoying spending more time with the toddlers though, and has developed new and fun routines with them that they all seem to enjoy. Amongst all this craziness he has even managed to get a promotion at work. He very nonchalantly told me this, like it was no big deal......I then started screaming hysterically whilst jumping up and down and just making a ruckus!  He is just awesome! 

Me

I feel a million times better than I felt throughout my entire pregnancy! There is nothing more I hate than being pregnant, and there's nothing more I love than having a newborn. Every time I get pregnant I tell my husband, THIS IS IT! I AM NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN!!!!!! Then after the baby is born I completely forget those nine months of absolute torture and I'm like "hmmmm, well maybeee." 

I have gained a ton of weight as expected. On June 1st me and hubby will start the Ketogenic way of life again to lose all this pregnancy weight. By this time next year I WILL have lost about 50 pounds and I will look amazing. Right now I just look like a fat mom. It is what it is! 

On the mental health front I also feel a million times better than I did throghout the entire pregnancy. This happens to me every time, and every time while I'm pregnant I get paranoid that I'll get postpartum depression....and then it never happens. The only thing that gets me hysterical is the day after the c section where they draw my blood and can't find the vein on the first try. With all three pregnancies I sobbed like a lunatic the day after the surgery while they were trying to draw my blood. The nurses looked at my husband completely shocked and tried to reason with me. All I wanted to do was to scream "B!tCH STOP POKING ME!!" I attribute that craziness to postpartum hormone fluctuations. 

Regarding breastfeeding, that pretty much hasn't been an option for me. I produce 50% less milk than the average person, and my breasts never feel full or hurt. It's like they are the same as before pregnancy. WEIRD huh? The lactation consultants just tell me to pump whatever I can get and to just formula feed. During the first few weeks of pumping this was how much milk I pumped after an entire day of non-stop pumping:

1 oz breast milk breastfeeding problems not producing milk

I really wish I could just breastfeed as constantly pumping and sanitizing bottles is just irritating. Don't even get me started on the cost of formula! And the kids bathroom is overflowing with bottles and baby related stuff. I need a bigger house! 

newborn necessities bathroom

I am very excited to wrap up the 4th trimester and resume my normal daily routines and life. We are still figuring out how to make this work (with three kids and all) but if there's one thing I've learned it's that the seasons will continue to change and everything will eventually fall into place. 

My main goal over the next few months is to figure out how to take care of three kids and a dog at the same time, kick the carbs and enter ketosis to get my body back.

Hold me accountable, ok? Thanks!  

Happy New Year! Hello 2017!

Happy New Year everyone! I don't know about you, but I am so relieved to say goodbye to 2016. It was such an unbelievable year! Everything after June (when I found out I was expecting) has been a blur!

Here's a recap of my crazy year..... 

January 2016 through May 2016 was fantastic! I felt great, the kids were doing great, hubby was doing great. We both looked thin and fantastic due to our miracle Keto diet, and so we took out our old boxes of clothes from our pre-baby days and tried everything on, and were so surprised to fit into everything!!!! We then stored all our old L and XL clothes into the buckets and sent them to the basement thinking we would never see them again.

Then on Father's Day we found out we were expecting! That was a REALLY big and wonderful surprise!!! We knew we always wanted a third child, but the timing of this completely caught us off guard. We were overjoyed and super excited about this miracle baby, who was determined to make its way into the world! 

Shortly after finding out, I was struck down with intense bouts of morning sickness that lasted a good 4 months. The entire summer of 2016 was a complete blur. I cannot even explain to you how bad it was. It was like going through 4 months of feeling like you have food poisoning, or having the worst hangover of your life. Multiple times a week I would have to pull the car over and vomit on the side of the road. It was super embarrasing. We had a live in nanny for about a month to help out, but that was short lived. To say my pregnancies are difficult is putting it very lightly. 

Also during late summer we moved house. That was right when Caspian started school, and right when I caught a bug that left me with a cough that lasted two months and I was constantly gagging and vomiting during our entire move. I was utterly miserable. 

Then around October and November 2016, something crazy happened to me! My pharmacy gave me the wrong pills in the correct prescription bottle. The wrong pills were mixed in with some of the correct pills, and they all looked the same, so I took them for the entire month until I had a few left and realized I was taking something that I wasn't supposed to. Then I discovered that the pills I was taking should not be taken by pregnant women as they CAUSE BIRTH DEFECTS. I immediately went to the doctors who informed me that due to that mistake my thyroid levels were dangerously off. Thanks a lot pharmacy! 

Because of that whole pill fiasco, during the months of November and December 2016, I had to constantly go see different doctors, write letters to multiple healthcare professionals, be tested a million times and it seemed like every few days I had a medical appointment. 

And while all this was happening, everyone was fliiping their $h!t about the presidential elections and all these celebrities dying. Because I was going through something so traumatic and irritating, I couldn't empathize with anyone who was badly effcted by the outcome of the elections and the dying celebrities. I really couldn't understand why people were making out to be the end of the world. To cry because your favorite singer died or because your favorite candidate didn't win seemed absurd to me. Is it insensitive of me to want to yell out to the world: "GET OVER IT?" Ok, maybe that's a tad bit insensitive. I will attempt to exercise more empathy. 

On a more positive note, Caspian started school in September 2016 and has really taken to it. He's in Valentino's class, and big brother looks after him :) The kids have been doing so great. Valentino has turned 3 and Caspian has turned 2 in December. They play so well together and I couldn't have asked for better kids. They eat well, sleep well, and are just overall well adjusted happy kids. Hubby takes them to school in the mornings so that I can sleep in, as the pelvic and sciatic pains keep me up all night. 

There have also been a few other things that happened this year that I am not at liberty to discuss yet, and that have impacted our lives, in the not-so-greatest of ways. We are still dealing with those things and maybe one day I'll divulge, but for now I just can't. 

We ended 2016 with the whole family being sick and a trip to the emergency room for me. I wasn't able to breathe through my nose at all for four days and then on the fifth day I couldn't even breathe from my mouth as it would cause me to gag and vomit. At nights I wouldn't be able to sleep, and would sit in a hot shower multiple times in the middle of the night so that I could breathe (I didn't sleep for 5 nights in a row!). Then when I did manage to sleep for a few minutes I would wake up suddenly gasping for air due to choking on heartburn. Oh the joys of pregnancy! 

So here's to 2017. You better have something REALLY good in store for me. I'll just be here, waiting patiently :-) 

On 31

Last weekend I turned 31. I've only just started to wrap my head around turning 30! How does time fly by so fast? I don't understand!?!?!!

What I want for my birthday is more TIME. Time is a luxury. Time is money. I'm constantly running short of it. 

One thing I've learned about time, is that it doesn't wait for you. It doesn't wait for you to get your $h!t together. it doesn't care if you're ready or not. It just soldiers on.  

So while I cannot make a day 26 hours, I can work on prioritizing my time. That is my birthday gift to me.

leila rahmanian

We celebrated at Flemings, Morton's, and Cafe Renaissance. They all did special things for my birthday. Flemings gave a box of truffles with a $25 gift card and a picture of us. Morton's gave a picture of us and a free dessert (which we just gave to the kids), and Cafe Renaissance / my parents, gave a bouquet of flowers, balloons and a Ketogenic friendly sugar free jello birthday cake. Hubby took me on a shopping spree and splurged on nice clothes. Hubby also watched the kids so that I could shower for as long as I wanted (one whole hour!!!!) Overall, it was a great birthday and I was definitely spoiled. 

cafe renaissance vienna va

cafe renaissance vienna va

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.