The Keto Diet: How I Really Feel 4 Months In
In December, Nick and I decided to try this “keto diet” we had heard so much about and see how we would feel by switching our body’s fuel source. Since then, I’ve had an on and off positive relationship with it. It’s been a healthy way for me to better understand how highly processed carbs and sugars negatively affect my body while giving me the chance to see how efficient my body can really be, but it’s taken time to really love it.
In the beginning, I saw and felt the benefits, but I was still emotionally attached to the foods I loved. Mostly my love of cake, chocolate, and feel good foods like fries. Nothing made me happier than a trip to Whataburger. That was a comfort meal to me based, I’m sure, on all the happy memories I’ve had with Nick from our college days and the overall yumminess of an avocado bacon burger.
There was also nothing better than a black bottom cupcake from one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants. There’s no major story here, short and simple: I love chocolate and I love cake.
So, you can bet that it was a trying first couple of months.
Yes, once you get passed the keto flu and start making healthier habits it gets easier, but there’s a longer adjustment when it comes to your mentality. At least this was the case for me and I’m sure is the case for anyone trying to change their relationship with food.
It wasn’t that I didn’t feel great and that I didn’t understand the benefits, it was just that I missed those meals. It made me actually sad to have them out of my normal diet.
And then I got stubborn. Why should I make myself sad over a meal that I have only every once in a while? I’ll get back into ketosis easily enough within the next day or so. I’m healthier now and doing so good, there’s nothing wrong with having a little cheat here and there to reward myself. But that was the problem. I still viewed those little cheat moments as a reward when really, I needed to see that the reward was my health and my happiness.
Those cheats also had a way of leading to more cheats. One little sneak of half a cookie from the break room turned into a Whataburger meal that evening. If I’d already been knocked out of ketosis that day I might as well make the most of it. Then I was 2 weeks into everyday non-keto friendly foods and feeling worse than I had since before I’d started. Not to mention that I was bloated and inflamed, I had brain fog, and my face was breaking out like it used to in high school!
It took a good amount of determination to get back on track and it was only when I had a real heart to heart with myself that my mindset changed for good. It helped to sit back and really look at the pros and cons of my different choices.
Eating a ketogenic diet makes me feel so much more energized consistently throughout the day, I hardly ever get brain fog (if I do it’s probably from going to bed later than normal the night before), I don’t feel bloated, I don’t overeat, and my face is the clearest it’s ever been when it comes to my acne. Physically the rewards are amazing. Not to mention that cutting out inflammation causing foods and allowing your body to be in ketosis a few months out of the year severely reduces the chances of cancer and degenerative diseases. Who can’t see enough of a benefit in that?
But emotionally the benefits are almost more important. I’m less anxious, I have fewer overall bad days, I can have laser focus when need be and I’m usually just overall feeling happy and able to see the positive sides of things. This doesn’t just help me; I can honestly say that my relationship with Nick is so much happier and healthier because we’re both making an effort to be the best versions of ourselves. That spreads across all aspects of our lives. We realize what’s best for us and what’s not and how to move forward in the healthiest way possible.
I care so deeply about my body and my overall wellbeing, but it was a journey to get here. Yes, I’ve always cared about it but now it means something different. I’m taking care of myself for myself, for my husband, for my personal goals, and for a long, happy and healthy life. I also don’t look at my food choices as a negative anymore when I choose healthy over junk. It really does feel better to choose healthy when I know I’m giving my body the best it can get. And let’s be honest, keto foods are super rich and delicious so it’s not much of a sacrifice once you get the hang of what you can eat.
The switch in my mind of going from just wanting to try a new diet to really committing to a healthier lifestyle was a decision that I truly believe will have changed my life for the better. But it took work and it took time. It also took forgiving myself when I didn’t stay on track and pushing myself to learn more about nutrition and how foods can affect our bodies.
A keto diet isn’t for everyone, but it can definitely benefit everyone. It just comes down to a personal choice as to whether or not you’re ready to put in the effort to understand your health and make a few initial sacrifices and adjustments to get you headed in a better direction.
Will I ever have Whataburger and chocolate cake again, eh probably, but it won’t be because of an emotional need, it’ll be just because. And I won’t beat myself up for it because I know my relationship with food is in a healthy place and that I don’t have to be 100% strict about my choices 100% of the time. No one ever wants to feel boxed in by a lifestyle choice nor do you want to make yourself feel guilty when you have a non-keto meal.
Because when it comes down to it: a healthier lifestyle isn’t about restrictions, it’s about healthy resolutions.