• startingmydietonmonday

current foodventure - keto

I am a chronic fad dieter. I've done the skinny teas, Whole 30, the maple syrup diet (thanks a lot, Beyonce). I've fasted, tried eating every other day, and even just *gasp* tried to eat well-balanced meals! Nothing ever worked. I will give Whole 30 a bit of credit for the instant de-bloat that the diet offers, but do you think I've made it all the way to Day 30 on my four attempts? And even then, you know my next bite of mac + cheese throws those ten pounds I lost, right back on!

I read a post on Thought Catalog that says "Nothing kills a dieter's spirit more than waking up to the smell of cooking bacon and knowing you can't have any." Well Blogger, you may want to look into keto, or, the "eat fat lose fat" diet.

Did I ever think I'd be doing a meat-based diet? Not in my wildest nightmares. I think I may be under a spell from dating/living with a meat-loving lad... and working with a coworker who makes his own jerky (organic!). But after four years of being vegan and two years of having no idea who I was, I have started a somewhat-ok attempt of the ketogenic diet.

There are times when I really miss the vegan community. I want to swear off animal-based products everyday, and yes, this makes me the biggest hypocrite in the world, but I do have a place in my heart for animals and I would like to see a world that better utilizes our grains and beans. Or just one that gives a damn about our carbon emissions, but that's for another day.

This is the world I live in and I've given into taste/temptation. Moving on.

My first mistake with trying keto was starting the week before a trip to Miami. Things got a little out of hand at a drag brunch with some mimosas and mac + cheese, but I started clean the very next day on December 3rd. After two weeks of headaches, I am in ketosis!

The morning of the 3rd I weighed myself which quickly became a daily morning ritual. I lost 11 pounds almost immediately. Water weight, yes, but I really can't take the non-bloated stomach for granted. The good feeling got me to push through the headaches and lose another 3 pounds in the last 5 days.

To be clear, my daily habits do not feel healthy. I work out twice a week for a half hour. I sit at my desk and stare at a computer 9 hours a day. As you can see, the math is not in my favor. While I hope that the diet alone will help me lose the 25 pounds I am ready to say goodbye to, I fear that a diet based on foods complete with the "bad kind" of cholesterol will not benefit me in the long run unless I add in cardio and kale.

If you aren't completely familiar with the keto diet, well, same here. But I do know that I need to stay under 20g of net carbs a day which means carbs from fiber are safe (hello, avocados). I need to base an entire day of food around fat and protein, but to actually lose weight, I still need to maintain somewhat of a calorie deficit. My staples are fish, shrimp, chicken, turkey, farm-raised eggs, and way too much cheese (yes, you can eat cheese! Lots and lots of low-calorie, zero-carb cheese!).

My problems seem to occur on the days that I crave for more options. I haven't had steak since before I was a vegetarian. I am talking like 2010. Things have changed. Something about being on this keto plan has caused me to not only want meat, but enjoy it. Maybe it is because meat feels like the only thing I am allowed to eat without my Carb Manager app having a hissy fit. Yes, my first full steak was soaked in butter and cajun seasoning, as is most of my food these days, but I didn't just want it. I requested it!

Ok, full disclosure my first steak was last night and I am clearly still processing. I felt three things. 1. That I am the sole cause of global warming. 2. That I was going to have a heart attack. & 3. Yum.

Of course, the calories in that zero-carb steak pushed me up a pound this morning. I am told that your weight will still fluctuate on this diet. You can't start anything for three weeks and expect it to be a miracle cure, but I can still get a little down on myself when this happens. Today, I took a refresh. I am paying attention to every bite that I consume and just trying to drink water and keep breathing. A hot yoga class also seems necessary this weekend as I've paused my workouts with my trainer through the Christmas/New Year holidays.

Truth be told, I have absolutely zero credible advice to give to anyone looking to try keto. I am just beginning and I text my cousin who is on it every single day for mentor-ship. If there wasn't a significant weight loss involved, I would not have started keto. Having to count the carbs of fruits and vegetables just confuses every single thing I have ever been taught about health and wellness. It's a big change to make for someone who lived on ramen and tabouli (I love my Lebanese food, but really, salad with grains in it? carb city!!), but I have promised myself six months of strict keto and the fact that I am already seeing changes in my body keeps me going. Also, I got through Christmas!

I am just about at my one month mark, but I am curious to see how my next month will go as I try to better adapt to a meal plan that suits me. More fish. More water. And low-carb salads!

- T

P.S. This is shrimp breaded with seasonings/crushed pork rinds and honestly I am a chef now because it was mind-blowing.

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