So last month, I did the Keto diet for 30 days, planning on potentially having 4 cheat days to get me through. In the end I lost 7.3 kilos (about 16 lbs.) with only two cheat days and a few concessions along the way. I’m not saying this is the best diet in the world. I am not saying that this will be a sustainable dietary choice for me. I chose this diet because I knew that it had the highest chance of helping me to overcome my sugar addiction and reduce my cravings. The weight loss was truly a bonus compared to taming the raging white sugar stallion bucking and kicking at the cheap wood pallet stall of my will power.
- Fill the fridge with good foods, get rid of all the bad foods. I knew that I needed to have plenty of options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so my refrigerator was stocked with the vegetables and meats that were on my list so that I could access them at all times. It’s always easier to add more veggies to a meal if they look like they are starting to go bad and the extra meat I threw in the freezer as a back up for the following weeks. My flatmate was gone so I didn’t need to worry about any of her cooking to tempt me (she doesn’t keep secret stashes of chocolate or sugar so that really isn’t a problem most of the time).
- Support is key. I posted on Facebook everyday the first couple of days because it was tough and my people came through. When people questioned the efficacy of the diet and if it really was right for me I told them bluntly, I don’t need your opinions, I just need your support. If you can give that, great. If not STFU. (Ok, those of you who know me, know I would never say it that way, but I sure did express myself clearly albeit more tactfully). When things got really tough on a physical and emotional level, I said as much and asked for specific things to make me happy and to distract me. Once again, my people came through. People also took the time to let me know that they love me and are always glad that I express myself honestly. Do that.
- Cheating on this specific diet really sucks. Really, really SUCKS! There’s always some excuse for not doing a diet – special occasions or holidays, friends or family visiting, mandatory business functions, Taco Tuesday. Knowing this before I started the diet, I planned four “cheat days” so that I could focus on the diet and not feel guilty for breaking from the path. I also had to deal with emotional triggers because three days after I started the diet I went through a break up. This ended up being a good thing because 2 of the “cheat days” were specifically built in to handle a holiday birthday weekend. With those crossed off, it was just 2 cheat days to reward myself for staying focused. DO NOT DO THIS! I was mentally prepared for the setbacks on the scale and the cravings. I knew that it would force my body to restart the process of switching to Ketosis. I was not prepared for what they call the “Ketosis Flu” that hit the day after my cheat days. I had an abrupt drain of all energy and headaches that imitated migraines that have been described to me. Joints and ligaments were sore and felt over-stretched. There was also a slight depression. The next time I do this I will be shooting for 60 days with no cheat days.
- Overeaters Anonymous (OA) doesn’t use the Keto Diet. I have a correction to make. I have been saying that Overeaters Anonymous uses the Keto Diet. Wrong. Sorry about that. OA doesn’t recommend one specific diet because they are very aware that they have people coming to them with a variety of problems and a variety of body issues. They recommend working with your doctor and a dietitian and they offer 6 samples of different dietitian approved plans. The three ladies I know from Maine who are in recovery with OA lost over 300 lbs combined using Keto dietary plans.
- Plan your Exit Strategy as well as your Initial Strategy. My intial plan was to do the 30 days, take off the weekend and then hop back on for another 30 days. Life plans changed and I ended the 30 days in another country, with somebody who has different food needs. Then I had a crazy week of work and travel where other people were in control of my menu. I then came home late in the day to an empty refrigerator where it was easier to go out and eat comfort food and a lot of it. I should have had a 4 day break which turned into a 10 day break, losing some of the gains I made in the past month. Spend as much time planning your menu for the week after your diet as your very first week so that you are arble to maintain a consistency of good choices.
I’m starting a new dietary plan, going 60 days on the Keto plan without any breaks. Along the way I have a marathon and a bunch of small trips, so I am planning like crazy. I hope these hard won lessons help if you are starting a challenge of your own. Already done your 30 day challenge? Leave a note with your best tips!
I did not take pictures at the beginning of the process but here are my photos from the end. We will see how they compare after the next 30 days.