Is the Ketogenic Diet sustainable long-term?
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Keeping Keto simple helps makes it sustainable.
When my husband and I decided to get on the Ketogenic Diet, we had no idea it would belong-term. Our goal was to try it for a month, hopefully lose weight as well as improve ouroverall health. We did extensive research and decided to implement the Keto Zone Diet by Dr. Colbert. Following the guidelines in his book, “The Keto Zone Diet”, we were determined to make the lifestyle changes.
What is the Ketogenic (Keto) diet?
The Ketogenic Diet is a low carb, moderate protein and high fat diet. On the Ketogenic Diet, the body uses fat as an energy source instead of glucose. When that happens the body is said to be in ketosis. The goal is to get into ketosis as fast as possible and stay in it as long as possible. When in ketosis, most people no longer experience food cravings,hence making it easy to maintain the ketogenic lifestyle. A couple of indicators of being in ketosis is having no carb cravings and not wanting to snack frequently.
Month one went very well! We both lost some weight, experienced the benefits of being in ketosis, plus a few surprises. My seasonal allergies went away and my husband’s high blood pressure went down to normal. For details on how we did it, please see my previous post on the first month on Keto . The first month results motivated us to keep going!As I write this post, it’s been almost a year and a half since I got on the keto diet. Never in my dreams would I have imagined being on the Keto Diet for a month let alone a year. Before I got on keto, my biggest challenge was eating thewrong foods, working out like a crazy woman and not achieving my health and weight loss goals. I was addicted to sugar and craved sweets and anything made from wheat. Keto helped me take control of what I ate. Food no longer controlled me. With the cravings gone, I have been able to keep my carb intake low.
How do I keep Keto sustainable?
I keep my Keto lifestyle sustainable by,
With all the conflicting information on the internet, it is easy to get carried away and make the Ketogenic Diet very complicated. I decided to keep it simple and focus on the macro nutrients; healthy fats, protein and carbs. I took the great habits I learned on my first month on Keto and duplicated them over and over again. My goal was and still is, to eat the most nutrition dense meals, staying within the macros to keep me in ketosis.
With the low amount of carbs required to lose weight and stay in ketosis, I choose to get most of my carbs from low carb/high fiber fruits and veggies. Initially, I was consuming less than 20 grams of carbs per day. Having reached my weight goal after losing 21 pounds on keto and 69 pounds overall, since the beginning of my weight loss journey, I needed to add mydaily carb macros to stop further weight loss. The trick was finding out how much more carbs my body could handle without gaining weight . This is called finding the Keto Carb Limit. My Keto carb limit is between 60-80 grams depending on my physical activities.
With the sugar and bread cravings gone, I am not tempted to eat huge amounts of starchy foods. Of course on occasion I will eat a birthday cake or take a bite of my daughters cookie but not enough to get me out of my Keto lifestyle. My body is now keto adapted making it easy to get back to fat burning mode.
Having made up my mind to be on Keto long-term, also changed the way I shopped. I went from buying what was on sale, to buying quality food at a reasonable price. Currently, I buy grass-fed meats, wild caught fish and free range poultry and eggs. When buying packaged foods, I look for products with the least amount of ingredients added. My post on Are food product labels misleading explains my mindset when it comes to shopping for packaged foods.
The Ketogenic Diet being a high fat diet, maks it very important to eat high quality healthy fats. When I was researching the Keto Diet, I was concerned about meeting the 70% daily fat macronutrients. I was not in the habit of consuming high amounts of fats on a daily basis. It did not seem practical, healthy or sustainable long-term. My concerns were put to rest when I found out about the important and essential role fats play in our overall health. Some of the benefits of omega 3 are reducing inflammation and balancing hormones. Equipped with this knowledge, I’m no longer scared of consuming healthy fats. My favorite fats are olive oil, avocado oil and MCT oil. Occasionally, I use grass-fed ghee and grass-fed butter to cook fish or sauté vegetables.
Meal planning helps ensure that I have Keto friendly meals on a consistent basis. Meal prep has become part of my weekly routine.At times it is not convenient to eat at home, and it can be challenging to stay on keto while travelling. I like to plan ahead and find Keto friendly restaurants before I travel or go out to eat. One of the down sides of eating at restaurants is not being in control of the quality
of the food. It may be challenging to find foods cooked in quality fats or that are nutrition dense. This however does not keep me from eating out from time to time. Lettuce bacon and cheese burgers with avocado have become some of my go to restaurant food.On my travels away from home, I bring along keto friendly snacks like nuts and travel size MCT oil.
Maintaining good healthy habits like staying hydrated and taking all natural food supplements too helps sustain my Keto lifestyle. These all natural supplements help provide micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, that may not be sufficiently found in the food.
All in all, Keto has become second nature and part of my lifestyle. What started as a one month goal has turned into a long-term sustainable lifestyle for me. My husband has always been very supportive on my Keto journey despite his not staying on a strict Keto Diet after he achieved his weight goals.
Why have I stayed on keto after weight loss and losing belly fat?
I started Keto for weight loss but I have stayed in it for a better, flourishing, healthy life. Having traded my allergy medicine for Keto, I got the better deal and I am forever grateful. Seasonal allergies and food cravings no longer control my eating habits. Brain fog is gone and I’m more mentally focused.
If you are looking for a healthy lifestyle change, do your research and I hope that you choose your carbs wisely, eat healthy fats, choose nutritious foods over what’s on sale, plan your meals, and keep it simple.