At the close of 2016, I was miserable. I didn’t feel good and I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. I was the heaviest I’d been in my entire life. I have struggled, fought with, and cried about my weight for what feels like my entire life. it’s a story so common. Many of us try so hard to lose the weight but it either happens so slowly we give up, or we’re absolutely miserable between the starving and the exercising required to hit our daily numbers. I was at my wit’s end and ready to resign myself to being a “fat girl” for the rest of my life. really folks, I was so discouraged.
Somewhere toward the end of the year, I stumbled upon a video about intermittent fasting which also mentioned the Keto Diet. At first, I dove into intermittent fasting. A shock to me – it was really easy to just not eat every other day. But is wasn’t enough. It wasn’t like I was seeing any major changes in my body composition. I was desperate to fix myself and so I went back to that video again, and listened closely. I figured I was doing something wrong. I mean – if I followed the rules, it should work, right? Well, that video mentioned the Keto Diet, which I’d really never heard of before and I started questioning the Oracle. (aka Google.) I started watching videos and visiting websites. I looked at Pinterest for recipes. I calculated my numbers. I looked at meal plans. I absorbed the info. I researched. For about two months before I did a thing. I wondered if I could do it. No potatoes? No bread? I wondered how long I’d have to be on this to get myself into a more comfortable state.
One of the most important things I did was take this newfangled diet idea to my husband. After watching a few videos and listening to me talk, he was all in. (I don’t think he felt too good about his current weight either, at the time.) I remember very clearly how scared I was. How frustrated at the status quo. I was terrified it wouldn’t work for me. But early the next year, mid January, we took the plunge and went full Keto.
And little by little, changes happened.
We avoided the “Keto Flu” with plenty of salt, magnesium, and potassium, and dropped a good 10 pounds each, very quickly.
Then my joints stopped hurting. This was a major improvement in how I felt. Going up stairs didn’t bother me. My feet didn’t hurt.
Then I noticed I had a ton of extra energy. I wanted to go out and walk – it didn’t sound like torture.
Vegetables began to taste sweet – like they were “sugared” instead of “salted”. This one was really a suprise.
We didn’t really miss the bread or desserts, because I started experimenting with low-carb baking – and was blown away with the results. (But that’s another post for some other time.)
For two solid months we stayed strictly on the Keto regimine. We felt fantastic. We didn’t really miss any of the food we were being deprived of. We were touting our discovery to everyone who would listen. We really were experiencing a life-altering change. And then Easter happened.
Now, I come from a family who not only loves to cook, but cooks well. We’re all a bit above average and it’s probably turned me into a bit of a food snob on some level. But Easter – we decided to break our diet and …well… pig out. We were ready to see if the carbs and sugar really did make a major difference. And I was dying for potatoes. (Cauliflower will NEVER be a potato, no matter what you do to it.)
You name it, we ate it. Over the course of the two day weekend, we gobbled up everything we hadn’t had in the last two months. Within an hour of breakfast (Dunkin’ Donuts) we were in a carb coma. I personally felt as if I’d overdosed on cold medicine and was slow and foggy-brained. We walked our son down to the park across the street from us – and almost fell asleep in the bench watching him play. It was like night and day, this carb, vs no carb, feeling. By the end of the weekend we were both 100% ready to run back to Keto. And we did – without a hiccup or a glance over our shoulder.
Today, we follow more of a low-carb lifestyle than keto. Keto requires all kinds of number tracking and fussing with macros. Who has time for that? Not me! So, here’s how we do it now:
- We avoid sugar like the plague. (It’s the biggest problem in the American diet.)
- We generally avoid wheat, corn, soy, barley, oats and any other high-carb flours. There is an occasional low-carb tortilla, which does have wheat in it, but make fajitas so much better.
- We eat whole, real vegetables drenched in butter and salted
- We eat a variety of red meat, poultry, fish and eggs.
- Every once in a blue moon, we’ll eat a banana, potato, corn, or other whole and natural starchy fruit or veggie.
- We eat strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
- Nuts, avocados, and natural peanut butter are lovely and show up regularly in our meals.
- We keep it clean and our dinners generally consist of meat-veggie-veggie and are pretty easy to prepare.
- There are low carb recipes for almost everything. We eat ice cream and cheesecake on a regular basis. We Eat bread, biscuits, and pancakes too.
- And here’s the key for us: We abandon our lifestyle and enjoy the food on holidays and special occasions. Afterwards, we hop right back on our bandwagon and carry on.
At the end of 2017, my husband and I took a month-long break from eating low carb. We felt so terrible, we decided it was the birds and committed to low-carb for the foreseeable future. We have zero regrets about that decision!
Am I at my goal weight and everything in my life is perfect now? Nope. But I’ve lost a significant amount and am down multiple sizes (still dropping) and I feel soooo much better in so many ways; mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I didn’t realize how much food controlled me before going on this journey. I was hungry ALL. THE. TIME. I had absolutely zero self control around anything sweet. Pan of brownies? Gone. Bags of candy? All in one sitting. Dessert? Every night. Ice cream? Oh man – that’s my biggest weakness. I could not go more than four hours without sustenance of some sort. I’d get all shaky and feel like I was going to pass out. Then I’d binge eat and crash into a sugar coma, exhausted. I am about 99% sure I was on the verge of diabetes, if not there already. My blood sugar was out of control – and controlling me. Now, I don’t bat an eye at not having eaten anything till well past lunch. Sure, I get hungry – but it’s not the same kind of hunger. Coffee with heavy whipping cream is often all I have for breakfast. I’ve learned fat is not an enemy and is not dangerous – it’s what keeps insulin low and keeps hunger away. (Again, I think that’s another post.)
Probably the biggest drawback to this way of eating, is that it’s very difficult to eat out. Doable, but not easy. (And expensive.) So, there’s a LOT of meal planning and preparation going on in this home. And, although I honestly don’t miss many of the carby foods we used to eat (rice, pasta, beans, bread, sweets of all kinds) because there are substitutions out there for almost everything, I do miss potatoes. Both sweet and white. I LOVE potatoes and I don’t care how you prepare it, cauliflower is never, ever going to be a potato. I have no problem with cauliflower just don’t call it potato.
Aside from those two things, even with a growing little boy, this lifestyle has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s 100% worth the effort.
If you have any questions or want me to expand on any topics, tell me in the comments below.
Here are some good places to start your own research into a low carb lifestyle:
12 Weeks of Meal Plans:
I Breathe I’m Hungry (Everything you need to get started)