This blog post will likely have some people rolling their eyes at me. But, guess what?! I am super used to it – so bring it.
Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser fame has come under fire for discouraging people from practicing the Keto Diet. People are seriously losing their shit. You can read about it HERE.
I gotta tell ya, I agree with her. That being said, almost every single contestant on The Biggest Loser has had a really rough go of it since the show and that was CLEARLY not the healthiest way either. Sooooo….
Just in case you are not aware – Keto is a very low carb diet with high amounts of fat. Some argue about the exact fat and protein intake, but carbs are typically 25 grams or less per day. To give an example, one apple has 25 grams. 1 cup of green beans has 7g. Everything has carbs unless it is straight fat or meat. Even eggs have a minimal amount. So, a large salad could account for a decent percentage of your daily carbs.
Those of you who know me know that I have struggled with weight issues since the birth of my daughter in 2004. I gained over 50 lbs with my pregnancy and being 30 – it was NOT easy to lose. In fact, I never did technically lose it all as far as I can recall. What also didn’t help was a variety of medications, surgeries, and complications throughout the years. So, yea, during the past 14 years, I have been very outspoken about my extra pounds and attempts to lose them.
I am a little obsessive when it comes to research. When I was a kid, my mother actually had to confiscate medical reference materials because she thought they were feeding my neurosis. Whatever. They made me a much better Jeopardy player. As far as dieting is concerned, I have read and watched it all over the years. I’ve tried nearly everything – some more successful than others.
I have done Keto for a considerable length of time. It was a few years ago and most people had no idea what it was. They knew I didn’t eat sugar and thought it was super weird that I could eat ribeye and butter. But that was about it. I actually found the diet easy to a degree. I was never hungry. There was quite the learning curve because I had to learn new ways of cooking and substitutions. Instead of breadcrumbs, I would coat pork chops with pork rinds. I couldn’t use cocktail sauce with my shrimp, but I could drown it in butter. My deserts usually contained cream cheese. All of this and I would still lose weight (up to a point which I will explain in a moment). Yea, it was hard to go out to eat or to say no to cake, tortilla chips, etc. And since Keto was virtually unknown in the real world of Racine, WI – there certainly weren’t many menu options. I would say I lost about 25 lbs in a couple of months.
During this time, I joined a couple of Keto Facebook groups. That is when I realized that I wasn’t just participating in a diet, I had joined a cult! I have never in my life been “around” so many obsessed people. And not only were they obsessed with their way of eating (WOE – because everything needs an acronym), they were obsessed with judging the way other people were eating. It was fascinating but also creepy as fuck. These people regularly admitted to looking inside the carts of other shoppers at the grocery store and then they’d come to the group to talk shit about the food choices of strangers (as well as people they actually knew) and the way they looked. I swear to sweet baby jebus…this was a regular occurrence. And god forbid someone posted a meal photo that contained a single carrot or a couple of grapes! Holy hell!! These people would circle and attack like a bunch of hangry ass sharks. And if I had to hear one more time that an apple was just as “poisonous” as a Snickers bar…I would have been kicked out for going off. Which, actually, I was. Even before quitting Keto, I had to quit the groups from which I hadn’t already been booted.
PLEASE HEAR ME – I am not saying all Keto people are like this. I am saying that these groups were like this. And I do SOMETIMES recognize similar behaviors in people who are obsessed with their diets. Okay? Got it? NOT EVERYONE. I am saying NOT EVERYONE.
Okay. So how did Keto make me feel? Well, I was okay at first. Never had the “keto flu”. I am guessing because I had been cutting carbs for years prior – just not to that extent. I also didn’t have these huge losses in the beginning that a lot of other people have because I was already eating fairly healthy. But yea, I was okay for a minute.
Not long into the diet, I began to feel like shit. I was very crabby and irritable. I felt run down and just cruddy. Well, more so than was usual anyway. My heart also began to act up with palpitations (PVCs and PACs) and SVT. It took a long time to put two and two together. I actually ended up in the ER and cardiologist’s office a couple of times before realizing that it was the lack of potassium and magnesium (mostly potassium) that was triggering my already sensitive ticker. And this was WITH (very good) supplements. MY body just couldn’t hold onto the little amount of minerals I was consuming. After the last ER visit, I added healthy carbs back in and my heart has been well behaved since. I am knocking on wood because I could wake up tomorrow with an SVT attack triggered by something else. Who knows.
Towards the end of my Keto life, I was ready to be done anyway. I had completely stalled for months. I just could NOT lose the last 10-15. It absolutely wouldn’t budge and it wasn’t like I was trying to get to an uber skinny weight. Not even close. I don’t have unrealistic expectations when it comes to a goal weight. I know I am 44 and will never look 24 again. But no matter what, it would not come off. What I learned later was that my metabolism was dead and my body was holding onto every pound and calorie for dear life.
I went back to eating fruit, squash, sweet potatoes – stuff like that. And I gained the weight right back. Like, almost immediately. I think that is what many people mean when they say that this diet isn’t sustainable. The second you put an apple into your mouth – that weight comes on faster than it left. Clearly this and nothing I say here is true for everyone. Not at all. This is my shit and some shit I have gathered from others. I have not spoken to everyone because that would be horrible – considering I hate most people and all.
Since that time, I have gone thru some difficult health shit and I am back to needing to lose 20 or so pounds. Sigh. Yea, it sucks. And at 44 – it is wayyyy less easy than it was at 30 when I thought it was impossible. But, I am going to do this the way I know my body and mind can handle it. It may take a long time. I may not lose it all. And yes, measuring and logging is a pain in the ass. But – this is the way I need to do it. It worked for me once before – lost 30 in one summer and I know it won’t be the same…but I know it is healthiest for me.
I do think Keto can be good for some, however. I think that much of the time, being very overweight is significantly more unhealthy than any side effect of Keto. And if Keto is the way someone can begin their weight loss journey, so be it. Losing a lot of weight can be very mentally challenging especially if you don’t see results quickly. The quick results from Keto can keep some people on the path on which they ultimately want to be. I just think it is super important to pay attention to one’s body and signals. Your body WILL tell you if you are pissing it off. So listen!! Being skinny does not always equate to being healthy. And do try to consider the long term.
I’m not gonna lie…when I see people losing all this weight on Keto, I really wish that could be me. I am genuinely jealous. I want to eat steak and lose weight. I mean, duh. But I know I just can’t. And yea, that makes me kinda mad goddamnit. But that is the stupid body I have been given.
What it really comes down to is this – eat what you want to eat. Don’t be a jerk about it. Don’t judge what other people put into their mouths. Don’t get so defensive if someone doesn’t agree with your choices. The things you eat don’t determine who or what you are – meaning: you are not any more worthy of a human for being vegan or low carb or whatever. You are a blob of cells that consumes other blobs of cells and then poops them out before you die. So, eat the steak or the cake. Because it is all just shit in the end.