Keto, Writing and House Plants

Keto

Why are carbs so delicious? I’m back on keto, kind of. I’m experimenting with how many carbs I can eat a day and still remain in ketosis and lose weight. The keto gurus say to eat less than twenty carbs a day. I’m going to try doing fifty carbs a day and increase my exercising. Well, actually do some exercise.

I want to lose the next ten kilo’s and I’m struggling with that because I’m struggling with staying on strict keto, which is what helped me lose the first ten kilo’s. Staying off gluten has been a good start because gluten makes me so sick and bloated and causes me to crave carbs like a crazy woman.

Writing

Being off keto and on gluten has messed with my health so badly that I haven’t been writing. It’s a vicious cycle; eating what hurts me physically and mentally, not losing weight, can’t write, I feel sad and guilty and stupid, so I eat more food and put some of the kilo’s I lost back on. It sucks. Yes, I’m feeling sorry for myself, but I’m not throwing a full-blown pity-party just yet.

On a positive note, I’ve been doing some writing related stuff like journaling and note-taking about my book, characters and story.

I need to take myself to a coffee shop and write for an hour one day this week. Writing in a coffee shop is something I really enjoy, as long as I don’t do it too often. Strangers in a coffee shop can give me ideas for my book, the way they look, the way they speak to each other and the way they behave.

House Plants

I’ve jumped on the house plant trend. We needed a new whipper snipper so we headed for Bunnings, grabbed a trolley and found the whipper snipper. Then I hit the house plant section. I bought five plants in ceramic planters; three for the bathroom, one for the loungeroom and one for my desk. They look so good and straight away I knew I would need to go back for more. But I’m also going to try propagating more plants using the ones I bought.

My great grandfather grew carnations to sell at the big markets in Sydney, and I’ve always felt connected to that. In the past I’ve had a veggie garden in every place I’ve lived. The last time I tried to grow veggies here, though, we had a very hot spell, five days over 42 degrees Celsius, and it killed every plant and I had a lot of veggies almost ready to pick that died horribly. I haven’t grown veggies since that.

It would be fun to own a greenhouse and also to grow plants in the ground all year round, which is possible where I live if I use green mesh netting to cover some of the plants during the hottest weeks in summer.

On Instagram, everyone seems to have a green thumb. I think I need to read up on what to grow easily at my place. Of course, first I’ll need to hack back the wilderness that is my backyard. That sounds like a whole lot of useful exercise!

Back to Keto

Photo by Chan Walrus on Pexels.com

Now that my birthday month is behind me, I’m ready to get back to intermittent fasting and keto and lose the next ten kilo’s. Do I sound confident? If I do, it’s all a front for my anxiety-riddled feelings about failing this time. There’s a little voice that keeps telling me I’m kidding myself if I think I can be one of the many people who lose all of their excess weight on keto, by sticking to it long term.

I didn’t fail from September 2020 to February 2021, when I ate a low carb diet, fasted for sixteen out of every twenty-four hours and lost those ten kilo’s. But is it guaranteed I’ll achieve the same result if I do the same thing? I hope it does. If you do the same thing, you get the same result, yes? In life, I have found that this isn’t always true, but maybe I didn’t actually repeat the behaviour exactly? It’s possible.

I’ve been saying for six months that I should add some exercise to my weekly routine, but apart from a few walks each week, I haven’t done it yet. COVID19 messed with our gym memberships, and when the gym reopened I didn’t fancy wearing a mask on the treadmill. I’m such a baby, I know. Maybe now Autumn is here I’ll feel more like moving?

I’ve eaten a low carb, keto diet for two days now, and it’s so easy; a chicken or tuna salad for lunch, then meat and one veg for dinner. I don’t get tired of the food at all. In fact, eating like this is a dream come true for me. Simple, easy and yummy, and as soon as I’m back in ketosis, my appetite will disappear again and I’ll care even less. I do love that about keto.

On my way back to ketosis of course I’m probably due for some keto flu symptoms, but until that happens I’ll enjoy this simple keto life.

Be kind to yourself,

Rachel

Check out my writing blog at www.RachelGraceWrites.com

Find me on Instagram as RachelGraceWrites

New Desk, New Computer

I finally did it; I went shopping for a new computer and actually bought one. I did all the research, as you do, and ended up choosing a desktop instead of a laptop. I have my iPad, which I use a lot, and so it seemed better to buy a nice big screen, well big for me, with a nice white keyboard.

The stand hardly takes up any room on my – also new – desk, and the keyboard sits nicely under the monitor when not in use.

One thing I’ve had to get used to again after a long time without one is the mouse. My new desk is white and the mouse needs to sit on something with some colour on it, to work. I am keeping a notebook open beside me, with a pen, and the mouse works nicely on the page I’m not making notes on.

The corner in our room where I’ve set up my new little writing space is a bit dark, but I’ve found that the glow of the big screen sheds enough light to make it easy for my eyes to see everything I need to.

I’m writing my novel The Naked Ladies Writing Group over on my writer blog www.RachelGraceWrites.com (you can click on that to take a look if you like) and now I have a new computer I’ll be pounding the keys with even more enthusiasm. I can’t wait to write the next chapter. This week I might put a taster chapter up here in my personal blog, to see if anyone might like to check out the story.

Tomorrow, I’m off on an adventure with some great family members. But as soon as I get home, you’d better believe I’ll be playing on my new word maker – I mean computer.

Now it’s time to read then go to bed. I’m reading The Goodbye Man by Jeffery Deaver and I like it but it’s definitely not my favourite of his books, so far. What are you reading?

I’m a Secret Bullet Journal Keeper

I’ve been known to watch the odd 18 bullet journal videos on YouTube before falling asleep at 3am.

It’s an addiction that started about eighteen months ago when I learned about keeping a bujo, as they call them.

2020 was my first attempt, and it failed as the pandemic succeeded. I’m using the rest of that journal to write blogging notes and ideas.

This year I’m doing a better job of keeping up with my bujo, which doesn’t mean I’m filling it in every single day.

I’m having some tough days, so the gratitude page has a lot of missing lines. The ‘how I was kind to myself today’ is pretty empty as well. I’m keeping good records on blogging and sharing my blogs on social media, so there’s that.

I’ve done no house or garden renovations yet, so that page is pretty thin, but as the weather cools I’ll probably be more enthusiastic about getting things done. I hate the heat.

Next month I’m doing a red hearts theme in my bujo, along with my usual plant doodles. I’m looking forward to the brighter colours.

February will probably be even hotter, so I’d better plan to finish the renovations to my nice, air conditioned bedroom, to have something to record on that page. Mind you, all my journaling things are in my room as well, so I’m sure I’ll find a way to be distracted.

Leaving The House Can Be Terrifying When You Have a Mental Illness

Today, I have plans with family I love who live about an hour away. I’ve been looking forward to seeing them ever since I made the plans.

Now the day is here and I’m dizzy, taking short breaths and I have to keep reminding myself not to grind my teeth.

My brain doesn’t let me access the positive emotions I’ve experienced in the past while visiting this part of my family. That’s a horrible part of my own personal mental illness circus.

Why am I so anxious? Is it the thought of seeing them? Nope. Is it the car trip? Yes, somewhat. Is it the thought of being away from my home, my nest, for hours at a a time? Yes it is.

Leaving the house is one of the hardest things in the world for me. It doesn’t matter how much I know I’ll love time with family or friends, it doesn’t matter that I love my car, it doesn’t matter that my fiancé will be with me the whole time. I am very anxious.

What does it feel like? Imagine standing at the edge of a very high cliff and leaning as far forward as you can until you’re on your toes. Unless you’re a lover of high places, you can imagine this would conjure feelings of sheer panic, terror and a sickness in your stomach.

That’s what it’s like to have a serious mental illness where part of it is social phobia, anxiety and a panic disorder.

I’ll put on make-up, a nice dress, get in my car and we’ll be there in no time. I’ll enjoy catching up with everyone, I’m almost sure. Later, on our way home, I’ll berate my stupid self for being anxious about the visit. I’ll beat up on myself and tell myself that next time I’ll be better. Next time I’ll be fine.

That’s part of the circus, the pretending that it’s all a choice.

Keto Diet, Better Health and Writing

Keto Diet

My low carb, keto diet is still helping me to lose weight. It’s a slow process, but I hope that by Christmas 2021 I’ll be an entirely different shape and loving it.

Since I started keto I’ve lost all of the inflammation I’d suffered with for a long time. I’m still overweight and I have a lot to lose, but the excess weight isn’t choking me, bloating me, making me feel exhausted every minute. Which is wonderful.

I have more energy than before, my head is clearer, and I’m able to write again. I’ve been writing every single day for weeks now. That hasn’t happened for years and I’ve tried many times to get my writing mojo back. It turned out I needed the keto lifestyle to clear my head.

I know that sounds unlikely, and I wouldn’t have believed it if it hadn’t happened to me. I started keto for health reasons, but I didn’t know just how much it would change in me.

Novel Writing

My novel, The Naked Ladies Writing Group, is growing every week on my website www.thenakedladieswritinggroup.com. I now have thousands of words there, some of it story, some of it about writing and some character development.

It’s so exciting, writing this book at last. The title came to me years ago and finally creating the world of those women makes me happy every day.

Some of the characters are nice and some not as nice, and I love writing about all of them. I find it a little bit tougher to write nasty characters and I want to explain their lives, why they act the way they do. Sometimes I write that in my journal, so I can avoid diluting the real nature of my character in the story itself.

We writers like to include life experiences in our work, adding details that are familiar and heart felt. It is fun to write a character who is just as lovely as an old best friend, or as wicked as a person from your childhood.

Instagram

I discovered Instagram in 2020. Well, of course I’ve known about it for a long time but I’m finally having a good go at it using my writer name RachelGraceWrites.

As I write my book, I take breaks to play on PicCollage making visuals for Instagram posts and stories to hopefully bring people to my websites.

Getting Married

We would have been married last year, but the pandemic messed up our plans. We are hoping that this year will be the year we get to have our wedding.

Now that I’m losing weight, it’s really tempting to wait until late 2021 when I’ll be smaller so I can feel even better in a nice dress. This sounds great, except we want a winter wedding. Maybe we’ll wait until winter 2022 instead? Or maybe by winter 2021 I’ll be happy enough with my shape.

Do I Change The Name Of My Blog?

After I get married, I plan to change my surname, so I guess I’ll want to change the name of my blog. I might just add a domain with my married name and keep this Rachel Keerie one as well, so people can find me by searching either one.

I hope your 2021 is better than your 2020.

Keto, Writing, Reading and Renovations

The house is completely silent. A currawong is singing in the trees behind my house. Everyone has gone back to work for the year and I’m ready to write.

There are chicken breasts in the fridge and the makings of a low carb, keto, Mexican dinner in the pantry. So I don’t have to think about what’s for tea.

Last night, as I was reading in bed, an idea came to me that solves a big problem in my story. (The Naked Ladies Writing Group and you can read it here)

It’s so great when ideas come out of the blue like that, when you’re not even thinking about the problem. When I’m folding laundry or showering, doing some mindless task, my unconscious is free to work on those nagging thoughts that hound a writer.

This will be a year of writing, reading, yoga, low carb and keto, house renovations, gardening and magic.

Right now, it’s time to write; fix the problem in my story. The rest will have to wait for another day.

Keto Coffee, Yoga and Vacuum Cleaner Servicing

My first keto coffee of the day is taken in bed, like a grand lady from an old English movie. I don’t eat breakfast because I do Intermittent Fasting, so coffee is my friend.

When I wake up I’m almost always drowsy for the first hour at least. Most people wake up like this, and I find that it’s the perfect time to check up on social media, see who has contacted me, and who liked my posts on Instagram and Facebook.

A lot of people say you shouldn’t check your social media when you wake up, and instead spend time offline at the start of the day. This doesn’t work for me.

You really don’t need to be clear-headed to check your accounts, which means that first thing in the morning is a great time to get that out of the way. Later in the day I go back to any questions or messages and reply or comment.

I make my bed and take a shower and I’m ready for the day. I’ve already checked my socials, so I can now get started with what I want to achieve that day.

This morning I did yoga, which is a new thing I’ve added to every day in 2021.

I climbed down onto the floor to do yoga and noticed that the rug was really dirty, even though I vacuumed yesterday. Yuck.

My vacuum cleaner needs its yearly service, obviously. I looked up how to pull a Dyson vacuum cleaner apart a few years ago, when something got stuck inside it.

It was a great find, that instructional video. My husband, who passed away, used to call these kinds of videos the university of YouTube.

So, servicing the vacuum cleaner is something I’ll add to my task list today. Nobody likes a dirty rug. But first, it’s time for another keto coffee, because nobody likes a dopey Rachel either.

Keto Coffee and Emptying My Head

My head is buzzing and I can’t write until I empty it.

My house needs a clean and tidy, I don’t know what’s for dinner tonight, I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping and I haven’t posted the few Christmas cards I want to send.

I’ll do these things and then I’ll get writing:

  • Vacuum the lounge-room floor
  • Tidy the dining table
  • Wash the ensuite bathroom floor
  • Decide what to make for dinner
  • Make and write the few cards I want to send

I feel lighter already. Bring on the writing!

Is Halloween Scary if You Have a Mental Illness?

Halloween 2020

What could be scarier than mental illness paired with a whole day and night of people trying to frighten the life out of each other?

What is scary about Halloween if you have a Mental Illness?

For some people with a mental illness, Halloween will be an opportunity to hide behind a costume and a mask and maybe feel a sense of relief at being able to be completely anonymous.

Some will enjoy the irony of other people getting their anxiety tested as the most adventurous ones celebrate the holiday by giving and receiving a real fright.

For some though, even being surprised and frightened in fun can raise anxiety levels so high it becomes difficult to function.

It’s not that the act of frightening these people that is the truly scary thing, it’s that when you have an anxiety disorder, one that treatment, therapy and medication does not lessen, you become one big human shock button.

That shock, the horror of a big fright, is so much fun for so many people. If you have an anxiety disorder or some other mental illnesses, and someone shocks you, it can trigger an anxiety attack/panic attack that will write off Halloween and possibly a few days that follow.

Halloween Ideas

If you know someone with a mental illness and you want to celebrate Halloween while being sensitive to ways your friend might struggle this month, do one simple thing and reach out and ask them. Here are some questions to ask your friend or family member with mental illness, at Halloween:

– How are you with Halloween?

– How can we celebrate Halloween 2020 in a way that you’ll have as much fun as everyone else?

– Are there Halloween decorations, Halloween treats and Halloween ideas you love and find easy to enjoy?

– If we hold a Halloween party, what can we do so that everyone feels comfortable?

– Would you mind being in charge of the scare-factor of our family and friends Halloween celebrations? Can you keep it to a level where everyone will be happy?

– Is Halloween something you’d like to skip this year? We can do lunch another day and catch up without all the chaos if you prefer?

A Better Halloween This Year

I guarantee your friend or family member with a mental illness will be grateful that you caring enough to include them in the planning of Halloween. If you love to get the bejeezus scared out of you, there are plenty of places to go and things you can do. Maybe stop a moment the next time your heart is in your throat with shock, and remember that some people with mental illness feel this sensation on a regular basis, and it isn’t much fun.

Be a good friend, have fun, and enjoy Halloween!