Most diets — or “lifestyle changes” — are steeped in anxiety.
The idea of reducing your carb, sugar, fat, whatever intake only highlights the things you shouldn’t be eating. Like I said in my previous article about keto, when someone tells me not eat something, it’s all I want to eat!
As simple as keto sounds, it removed a lot of foods I really enjoy eating: chips, donuts, cookies, chocolate, you name it! As I tried to replace those things with their healthier, low-carb alternatives, I got more and more anxious in the face of never getting to eat what I love again. I became so overwhelmed that I would end up cheating again and again and again. Eventually my “diet” became worse than how I would normally eat.
It turns out all of that anxiety was for nothing! Go figure!
When I slowed down and really thought about what a keto diet entails, I found it to be easier than I thought. I didn’t have to make fancy, low-carb meals to stick to this diet. I could simply eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and have it be the easiest combination of meat and vegetables I could throw into an oven. Meal prep became a cake walk as I simply threw mixed vegetables, meatballs and salmon in the oven and split it all up into daily portions.
Every day I would have eggs, bacon and sausage for breakfast and a rotation of low-carb snacks between each meal — a stick of cheese and almonds, low-carb meringue cookies, a to-go cup of peanut butter. I would consistently order the same salad from work at the end of each shift, and, through that consistency, I was able to basically train my stomach to actually want what would help with the diet.
Despite how popular the keto diet has been over the past year or so, there is still some question as to how a high fat diet could result in actual weight loss. It helps to have facts to back up my decision to keep returning to this diet.
According to Angela Mavridis, a holistic nutritionist based in Los Angeles, the Ketogenic diet is all about eating less carbs and more fats. The goal is to get the body to metabolize fat, not sugar.
Sylvie Tremblay, Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology, explained that fat takes longer to convert into energy than carbs, which is what makes it a more concentrated source of energy. As you work out, you tend to burn both carbs and fat. Because carbs are so quick to burn, as you continue to exercise, you’ll start to burn fat, causing weight loss.
The facts make sense, and in essence it is easy enough to follow. Even without counting calories obsessively or weighing your food, you can achieve a level of success in keto that would rival that of a generally conscientious diet, one in which you eat what you think is good for you without considering the science behind what makes certain things work. You wouldn’t think removing whole grains like brown rice from your diet and replacing them with butter and oil would be good for weight loss, but here we are!
Keto isn’t good for everyone, though, and it can even be dangerous for some. Georgia Ede, MD in psychiatry, listed a number of health situations ketosis could exacerbate: people with gallbladder disease or without a gallbladder, those who have had weight loss surgery and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, to name a few. If you have any medical conditions that may be of concern, it’s important to educate yourself on the effects of the keto diet before pursuing ketosis.
Through consistent low-carb consumption, I was able to lose three pounds in a week, a weight loss I hadn’t even experienced when I was exercising a minimum of three times a week. I have been incredibly tired and have had a mild headache — symptoms of initiating ketosis that tend to only last the first four days — but my cravings have slowly decreased.
I have been able to find delicious, low-carb alternatives that actually excite me, and I don’t feel nearly as hopeless in the face of never eating a donut again. I have cheat days, because without them I would lose my mind and certainly my body goals. But as I continue on this journey, I find myself not needing as many.
The cheat days also don’t set me back as much as I thought they would. One of my biggest fears with this diet was that if some day I broke down and had a piece of toast or a cookie, I would balloon and gain every pound I had lost doing keto, but that isn’t the case. So far I have yet to even gain any weight, no matter how much or often I cheated.
Through intermittent fasting and immediately returning to keto, I have been able to continue to lose weight. I still have a long way to go as far as my weight loss and contentment goals go, but keeping in line with keto has taught me a discipline that will surely take me far — not just in weight loss, but in life.
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