How You Make Keto Sustainable
The keto diet is just the beginning; the keto lifestyle is the rest of the journey. But can you really keep it up for a lifetime? YES! Well, that was easy. Let’s pack it up and go home. We’ll just pass this bar, this pizza place, this bakery, this Taco Bell, and OH SO MUCH TEMPTATION! And that’s where the struggle appears to be: in choosing to be low carb over and over again. But appearances can be deceiving. What it takes to make keto sustainable is a change in perspective. The lifestyle is not about saying no to carbs; it’s about saying yes to eating well!
To incorporate the principles of the ketogenic diet successfully requires self knowledge. As it said above the Greek Temple of Apollo at Delphi, "Know thyself." Or, to get full blown Socratic about it, "The unexamined life is not worth living." Why? Because if you don’t think about your own life and what you want you might be living a life that’s actually damaging to yourself and others. Being healthy is an end in and of itself, and with the principals of keto in mind it’s possible to live a be healthy over a lifetime. Here’s how.
The ketogenic diet is the first step in a virtuous cycle.
Avoid sneaky foods with added sugar, don’t drink diet soda, and follow tips to eating smaller portions. That’s enough to last a lifetime! Not one study says that processed foods are good for you. In fact, most research says that eating a diet rich in whole foods is the best way to avoid disease.
It’ll be even easier for you to eat well because you’ll be eating keto friendly foods that can help reduce anxiety, making stress factor less into your eating decisions. Stress makes everything worse! Reducing stress is actually one of the reasons why you need sleep, why you should do cardio on the keto diet, and why you should strength train.
Much of life is mitigating stress, and life can be really stressful. It’s in these moments of stress that people often turn to vices as a form of escape, which too often means eating poorly or drinking too much That’s how unhealthy habits are born. We gain weight because the stress of life just makes it look like it’s easier to eat unhealthy rather than to eat well.
This is why the maxim, “Know thyself is so important.” You need to take inventory of your life so that you can prioritize taking care of yourself as much as possible. And that means making healthy eating decisions. What people crave in unhealthy food can just as easily be found in a keto-friendly alternatives.
When you cut out processed foods your pallet eventually becomes sensitive to the natural flavor of whole foods. Diet soda, for example, activates the same taste buds that regular sugars activate, and, as a result, your senses adapt to something that’s sweet in a way that’s different from berries, which are an excellent keto friendly alternative to candy. It’s just as easy to eat a serving of berries as it is to eat a serving of M&Ms. Similarly, low to medium carbohydrate diet plans will keep you from experiencing afternoon crashes, mood swings, and lethargy, all of which can lead to poor eating decisions.
Bottom line, what you’re actually doing when you incorporate the principles of the ketogenic diet into your life is creating a virtuous cycle (as opposed to the vicious cycle that’s created when you rely on high-carb, processed foods for energy). Having an inconsistent source of energy is a huge stressor! So when you eat low carb enough that you’re in ketosis (or at the very least not experiencing huge fluctuations in blood sugar), you’re removing a huge source of stress in your life (and with each stressor you remove you’re better equipped to handle what may come your way).
The ketogenic lifestyle is for everybody.Some versions of the ketogenic lifestyle presuppose significant privilege. You need money and time to get supplements, work out, cook yourself meals, etc. Luckily, making smart eating decisions is one of the most affordable investments you can make in yourself and the one that’ll deliver the most returns. Eating well helps you stave off disease in the future, and makes you less likely to be ill in the present. For those who are struggling financially, illness takes a significant toll. Even calling in sick is a luxury! And avoiding injury can mean the difference between shelter and homelessness. That’s why eating healthy should be prioritized above all else. Good thing it’s possible to lose weight just going keto on a 9 to 5 (hours that themselves are, unfortunately, a privilege).
The ketogenic diet is about eating well and not about cutting out carbs.
What makes many diets unsustainable is when they require too much sacrifice to work. Too much exercise, too many supplements, or unreasonable a very restricted diet. But when you frame your dietary endeavour as the first step in achieving a healthy lifestyle you end up focusing on cultivating good habits rather than just cutting out bad ones. And it’s easier for people to commit to change when they’re offered a positive alternative (good eating choices) as opposed to only focusing on what not to do (like only avoiding carbs). That way it’s not about getting a quick fix or short term rapid weight loss; it’s about the long term.
But then we’re back to the question that kicked this all off: is the ketogenic diet sustainable for life. Well, yes, you can keep up good eating habits for life. Plenty of people do! What’s not sustainable is doing a diet for years. That’s an attitude that sets you up for failure rather than for success. The real question is why do you think you can’t avoid particular foods? And that’s where we discover that the food or drink is a means to an end. You were trying to feel good or were forced to make a decision in the face of stress. But the stressors of life are a lot more manageable when you’ve got a low to medium carb diet as your foundation. That’s because when you’ve got a strong foundation you’re less likely to topple. And, hey, you can still indulge (and it doesn’t even have to be one of the keto friendly almond flour recipes). And if you need a drink to relax sometimes after work, you can do that too. Just make a keto friendly choice.