Low-Carb Isn't a Fad - It's a Lifestyle
I think one of the misconceptions about a keto/low-carb eating plan is that it’s a fad diet - something you do for awhile to lose weight and then go back to “normal” eating.
I think one of the misconceptions about a keto/low-carb eating plan is that it’s a fad diet - something you do for awhile to lose weight and then go back to “normal” eating. Eating keto/low-carb is not a fad diet - it’s a lifestyle change. “Normal” eating is what’s caused so many health issues in our country today. There is no nutritional value in eating a high-carb diet and filling your belly with bread, crackers, pasta, sweets, etc. That isn’t going to create a healthy body. On the contrary; it will create all kinds of problems for you that will do nothing but make your health deteriorate faster.
We have lived a keto/low-carb life for almost four years and it’s not something I’ll ever stop. I have maintained weight loss, which was my goal when I first started, but I’ve found so much more than that and I feel great and I’m so healthy now. Food is not just something that tastes good - it’s nourishment for our bodies. Food is the fuel we need to be healthy and to live happy, productive lives. When you’re choosing the right types of food there is such a huge difference in how you feel. You can literally heal your body with food.
One of the biggest challenges for people as they start a low-carb lifestyle is cravings. When you’ve been eating a diet that’s high in sugar and simple carbs, your body is addicted. Did you know that sugar triggers the same receptors in your brain that heroin does? Yikes! That really shows how powerful the sugar addiction can be. It can be hard to give up. But once you do, those cravings go away. I used to LOVE sweets. I wanted dessert at the end of each meal, I loved baking goodies and enjoying those with my family, and always enjoyed a sweet treat if we were out and about. So when I first thought about eating this way and giving up all those desserts, I didn’t think I could do it. But a powerful thing happens - when you put it down and replace it with other high quality foods, you lose the taste for it. The cravings literally vanish and you don’t even want it anymore. Now if I taste something that’s sugary and sweet it’s actually gross to me. I don’t like the taste of sugary foods. I never in a million years thought I’d be able to say that!
Another challenge for people when starting a keto/low-carb lifestyle is the keto flu. I think the severity of this probably depends on how much carbs/sugar your body is used to and how much detoxing it has to do. Yes, detoxing. Because sugar is basically a drug. It activates the body’s endocannabinoid system and it’s a toxin that has to be cleansed from your body. The good news is that there are things you can do to combat the keto flu. The biggest things you need to do are drink lots of water, make sure you maintain good salt levels, and get enough magnesium and potassium. Eating spinach, avocados, almonds, and broccoli will be helpful for this as well as adding Himalayan salt to your food to get those minerals your body needs. Even if you do start feeling bad when you start, it typically only lasts a couple of days and at most a week usually. After that you’ll feel great. I remember thinking, “Wow! Is this what I was supposed to feel like all the time? I feel fantastic!” I had no idea that I hadn’t been feeling 100% before.
As you begin this lifestyle, or even just to stay true to it after doing it awhile, you’ll want to do some things that will help you stay on track. Making a menu will go a long way to help you be successful with this journey. If you have to make decisions on the fly about what to eat you’re much more likely to make bad choices. Plan out a weekly menu, make a grocery list, and have quality meal ingredients (and snacks if you need them) at the ready so you always have good things to choose from. Another thing you can do is plan to eat at home as much as possible. If you go out to eat you lose control of how your food is prepared plus there are lots of temptations placed in front of you that can be hard to abstain from. Another thing you can do is use a food tracker or even just a food journal to record your meals and see how you feel and how your body changes based on what you’re eating. Being able to go back and look at what you’ve done can be helpful for you. And most of all, record those non-scale victories. Don’t just worry about the number on the scale but pay attention to how your clothes fit, pay attention to how you feel during the day, notice things that are improving that aren’t tied to your weight. When you see things like that change and you notice your health improving, it makes it so much easier to stick with it and continue on your healthy journey.
If you need help knowing what foods to have on hand and what foods to clear out of your house and out of your life, check out my lists to get you on the right track.