The other day, while scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a post that, quite frankly, irritated me.
It started by listing some diets, starting with “Keto” and ending with “starving” and mentioning “low-fat” and “no-fat” in the middle.
The post went on to talk about how women should be good to their bodies and stop jumping on the next get-skinny-quick bandwagon.
It also mentioned how this particular woman posting this was going to be just fine in her size 4 jeans and would not be attempting to make herself skinnier, like those “other” women she’s been seeing post about weight loss on Facebook.
I guess what really bothered me was that I felt like Keto was being greatly misrepresented. It is not low-fat, nor no-fat, and has nothing to do with starvation! In fact, it’s about making sure you don’t restrict caloric intake, as that will only damage your metabolism long-term.
Now, I will not attribute malice to this person making this post; but I will attribute ignorance, which is, I believe, pretty common when it comes to healthy eating and the Ketogenic diet. I also will attribute an attempt to shame and downplay others’ (myself included) happy posts about weight loss. Seriously, must we rain on others’ parades? But maybe it was just plain old ignorance.
I mean, until early April, I myself was pretty ignorant; that is, until my husband came home and informed us we would be doing Keto for health.
Since then, I have listened to information almost non-stop on Keto and health, and I have learned quite a lot along the way, all while losing about 17 pounds, gaining a lot more energy, and greatly improving my overall mood. (And, yes, I will post on Facebook if I want to, because it’s something that is both surprising to me and exciting for me. I shouldn’t have someone attempt to shame me for posting about the quick, positive results I’ve gotten from eating Keto!)
To somewhat agree with this woman’s point about not focusing solely on weight, I will point out that, for my husband and myself, we looked at Keto not as a way to lose weight but as a way to stop putting poisons in our bodies, as a way to look out for our long-term health.
We want to do whatever we can to help us ward off future disease and live as well as possible. So, when we went Keto, we didn’t do so in what some might believe is a zealous fashion. We don’t count macros, and we don’t really allow the diet to stress us out. We just try to eat a moderate amount of protein, a lot of healthy saturated fat, and a low number of carbs that come from vegetables and dairy.
We eat whole food, real food. Lots of veggies and good meats. We cook with coconut oil and butter. We get lots of healthy fats to fuel us, and we stopped eating sugar, breads, and processed foods.
I know for some this only yells “DEPRIVATION”, but, honestly, after doing it for a week or two, it stopped feeling like I was being deprived. Instead, I found recipes I liked and stevia-sweetened treats so that now I feel like I get everything I want to eat; and more importantly, I feel good after eating.
I don’t experience any of the bloating or the drowsiness I used to experience after eating those carb-loaded meals I used to eat.
It’s really been a life-style change that has greatly enriched my life.
But, going back to the Facebook post, while it greatly irritated me, I do, rather reluctantly to be honest, see where this person is coming from.
You see, I’ve never put myself on a diet. I’ve never had a real problem with food. When I was in college I did find myself at my heaviest, 145 lbs (a size 12), and after college, I did gradually drop about 20 lbs by cutting back on sweets and sodas and getting more activity.
Unlike this woman posting, I have no sad stories of being bullied for being overweight. I did not have severe self-esteem issues from it. No one ever said anything that I remember.
After college, I just simply kept the weight off for eight years, really without trying.
I would say, I’ve always had a pretty nontoxic approach to eating and never pushed myself into calorie deprivation.
However, I have to remember that that is not the experience of every individual. Instead, for women and men who have had issues with eating disorders or who have tried all the diets out there, their approach and/or perspective on Keto may and will probably be different than mine.
In fact, while sweeping the floors this afternoon, I listened to a YouTube video about a woman who is quitting Keto, and it really gave me some perspective. For this woman who went Keto to lose weight, she found that she stopped losing weight after the initial 30-pound loss and that she was not able to work out anymore. By her own admission, she allowed the diet to consume her. She counted macros fanatically, checked ketones in her urine, and stressed herself out.
I would venture forth that approaching the Keto diet in this fashion is going to work against you. All the research I’ve seen on stress seems to say that you will not lose weight when stressed; it, instead, will only wreak havoc on your body.
And approaching a diet in such a fashion will inevitably lead to binges and an inability to continue the way-of-eating long-term.
For me, the key to Keto is that it is not a “diet” in the way the word has been perverted by recent culture. It is not a way for me to lose weight quick to get into a bikini. It started as a way for my husband and I to get healthier, and the weight loss has just been an added bonus. But it really is a “diet” in the sense of it’s what we eat, it’s our general diet. We eat whole foods, good foods, and avoid putting poison in our bodies as much as possible.
However, especially now that we’ve become fat adapted, we will have cheat items on occasion without worrying ourselves about it. I will eat that piece of pizza when I go out to eat with my dad and stepmom and their kids. My husband did get himself a sugary treat for Father’s Day, although he regretted it later.
But most importantly, we adjust the diet based on how we feel. The only Keto cookbook we have as of now is The Keto Diet by Leanne Vogel, and I like what she stresses, which is find what is right for you. There is no one-size-fits-all model.
For example, my husband started running lately. Consequently, he’s decided to add some more carbs in the form of carrots and sweet potatoes. I, for the first time in eight years, tried jogging yesterday. It was hard! Today, I ate a banana beforehand and was able to jog for close to a mile without stopping. The banana helped. Now, will we continue to add these carbs to our diet? I’m not sure. He and I are still figuring it all out. But the main point is we don’t overstress about it. We remain flexible. We make sure we cook good, delicious meals. We are examining how our bodies react to various foods.
After that milkshake treat on Father’s Day, my husband is finally admitting that diary does not particularly agree with him. Now, we’ll start using dairy less in our recipes.
If we find we need to make adjustments, he and I will. There’s not a rulebook we must religiously follow. We just know how the results we have seen have been beyond remarkable and that we must continue fueling our bodies with healthy things.
So, while I initially started this blog out of defensiveness and anger, I must say, maybe that person had a point. We really don’t need to jump on something because it’s en vogue at the moment. And maybe some people started Keto for that reason, but my husband and I did not. We just happened to find ourselves exposed to new information that motivated us to change our previous habits.
And for those of you on Keto, I would just encourage you to not let it consume you or stress you. Be flexible, find what works for you, and allow it to bring out a healthier, more vibrant you.
And, furthermore, don’t let someone try to tell you Keto is some weight-loss trend. Let them go home and do the research about why this diet works best for everyone. You have no reason to feel shamed for treating your body well.