Why is the KETO diet hard to stick to? Why do I fall off the wagon? What is a KETO lifestyle? Why did I get the KETO flu? These are probably the most common questions people ask me when they realize I am a KETO Lifer thrilled pink over my enormous permanent weight loss, new energy, strength, focus, and self confidence as opposed to me 119 pounds ago!
I know exactly why it is so hard for people to lose weight when they try to apply KETO principles in a very short time frame as if it was a CRASH diet. Let’s face it folks, so many of us have tried to crash diet our way to some desirable weight for some reason, thinking that a week or two, or even a month or two would somehow balance a lifetime of crappy eating, no exercise, and generally poor self care habits. I get it and it made sense when I was like 14, fairly naive about most things, especially the way my body worked. But really, when you are an adult, isn't it time to wake up and smell the coffee (the Bullet Coffee, I say- yeah!) and realize that the more you abuse your body the less cooperative it is going to be and the crappier you are going to feel in the short term and the long term?
KETO is not a CRASH DIET (okay everybody repeat this!) - it's not even a DIET if you want to use KETO principles as they were intended. KETO was designed by physicians for the long term management of a person’s health and well being, used at first for seizure patients, then diabetics, and then, lastly people with too much extra fat on their bodies. So many people thoughtlessly go from eating 3 carb rich meals a day plus snacks one day to strict KETO the next and somehow expect no repercussions. Their poor bodies, reeled from the abuse, and then they suffered the “keto flu” (which is just self abuse and totally avoidable), then lost weight briefly, gained it back and more, and then blamed “KETO”. Bodies are living, dynamic environments that survive based on complex chemical gradients and osmotic balance, that get shocked and pretty stubborn when mistreated. So I NEVER advise people to jump onto KETO feet first, drastically changing everything at once, but instead to view the process of transformation as a journey, an investment in a completely new better life! A physical and emotional reinvention!
Ok so here are answers to ponder about the most common questions about KETO:
Why is the KETO diet hard to stick to?
Answer - If you push your body roughly, quickly, drastically into ketosis (that is, take in no more than 20 net carbs per day, push your fat to 70 0r 80% of what you eat, and consume 10-20% of protein) you will lose some poundage certainly (mostly water at first), some fat (GREAT!) and maybe some muscle (NOT GOOD). If you suddenly take on full gym workouts when your biggest exercise the day before was typing on a keyboard, if you suddenly start drinking your weight in ounces of water, you will lose weight all right, and you will probably feel pretty crappy and maybe even have some sleep issues or a rash. If you don't know anything about electrolytes you will probably get achy and fatigued, keto fluish, and really - what would you expect? Your body is running to try to keep up with your pivot. You will either adapt like some or not, lose some weight, but since your mindset is short term you, you will not sustain what you are currently doing, and then the pounds will creep back on when you stop. Its funny when people are bewildered by how their body reacts to different decisions they make - we all get heavy living a certain way, in our comfort zone, based on unhealthy habits, we lose weight when we change them, we gain it back when we go back to our old ways...what do we expect? Somehow we believe we have built some kind of loyalty or equity in our bodies that will carry over even when we no longer take care of ourselves? NOPE! Just like houses, cars, and relationships - any abuse, neglect and lack of care soon shows for all to see, and only care, concern, and appreciation can reverse the situation. It's funny/revealing how we who chronically diet, never think of our bodies as something at least as valuable as an object like a car, an investment like a house, or an important contributor to our own lives.
Why do I fall off the wagon?
Because you think of KETO as a wagon you are riding temporarily to some destination. KETO, if it is to support your health and fitness goals forever, and not drop you on your head in a few weeks when you quit it for a binge at the bakery, has to be thought of as a philosophy of life, a really good one of self care, forever.
Put the whole concept of a wagon out of your mind - it's the symbol of failed diets, miserable dieting, and the hallmark of temporary self care projects - frankly you deserve better.
What is a KETO lifestyle?
First of all let's start with lifestyle. When you stop living by the seat of your pants, when you become important enough in your own mind, you will actually think about, plan for, and make decisions to take care of your needs and your body's needs. That is the core of a happy healthy lifestyle. No, that does not make you selfish, it makes you smart and responsible. So many Mom’s and Dad’s out there (and I was guilty of this too) use the very existence of their children, plus their love and devotion, not to mention constant kid activities based on being a parent as the primary excuse for very poor health, overweight, obesity, and lack of self care. SHAME on us all! How dare we victimize children, and exploit them as a reason not to take care of ourselves - when deep down we know that poor self care is entirely our decision and not theirs? Besides, I suddenly realized one day that my obesity and lack of self care were feigned as unselfishness. I was actually putting my children at terrible risk. Losing me to a stroke, heart attack ,diabetes, cancer or any number of horrible illnesses and deaths based on my overweight would have had a far worse impact on them than my taking 15 or 30 mins every day to take care of me. And, yes, that is what it took when I converted from a chronic self sabotager to someone who learned to notice my own value. We all eventually need to make this transition to be well and happy. You must too, the sooner the better.
Why did I get the KETO flu?
Because you too drastically, quickly converted from carb burner to fat burner, and you did not address electrolyte issues just to name a few. Would you go scuba diving without any training or prep? It's just about the same thing - you are completely changing your environment at a snap of a finger - and bodies don’t like drastic changes. So your keto flu was the punishment for poor planning - let’s learn from this and become experts on self care and planning for feeling GREAT - we deserve it.
So, what is the secret sauce for success in a KETO Lifestyle?
YOU have to take care of YOU, be committed to it, regardless of what else happens around you, YOU will be building health, fitness, and your well being on BODY EQUITY you create every day. Like bricks in a wall or dollars of investment in a home through a mortgage every month. Every day of the right foods, best physical activity for you, proper hydration and sleep, and a deliberate handling and managing of your stress, you will build the best version of you that will last for the rest of your life. You will be creating an emotional and physical fort against chronic dieting and yoyo weight gain that can never return to your life. You will easily answer questions about your lifestyle, exercise choices, menus, and all the rest with a truthful “because I am worth it” and you will mean it. KETO as a lifestyle is SELF LOVE. One shining outcome that seems to be pervasive among those of us who have eliminated the stress and bleakness of constant dieting from our lives, is exuberant energy and a positive attitude. We now can focus on other things that need our attention with confidence and gusto. Try it -overcome the thing you have battled all your life, and see if that doesn’t make you ready to take on the next challenge without hesitation!