This is me with no lighting, no makeup and no editing.
Right now, I’m a little over 30 lbs down by using the Keto diet.
It’s interesting. Most of the time, people ask me if I’ve done something different with my hair. I sort of take it as a compliment because I think it means that people who I come in contact with in my everyday life just see me as me. It sort of means to me that the weight, whatever it is, is incidental to the overall package that is PJ.
Which reminds me of that quote from the movie, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, which goes: “On the phone, the radio, the violin, it doesn’t come in a perfect package…it comes in this one.”
Most of the time, I don’t give it much thought, but when the quote occurred to me, I did wonder briefly, what exactly is it that other people do like about me? As soon as the thought entered my mind, I pushed it away. I’m not really all that interested in why they do (or don’t), just that I have great people in my life who are genuinely friends.
Those that are close to me and know about my diet do comment and give me a heck of a lot of support! I don’t know if they know it or not, but their support means the world to me. They do all sorts of things from making sure to tell me to keep it up to huddling together to figure out where we should go for lunch that’s more “low carb” friendly. One other interesting thing is that I don’t have anyone trying to help me sabotage my diet. No one brings in donuts anymore and almost everyone is drinking more water. A couple of my friends have even decided to join me on this journey. And my sister has been a great support in making sure she tells me she’s noticing the loss and checking out carbs in all sorts of ways for me. I feel very, truly blessed.
Best of all, The Dane went to his semi-annual doctor’s visit and received a clean bill of health. He tells me that the doctor told him, “You should frame these lab numbers. I just don’t see them this good that often.”
I’ll admit, I was a little nervous when a week later, I had to make that same trip. The results? My numbers have greatly improved, though not quite frame-worthy yet.
A few days ago, a friend asked me if I had some tips to give her on this diet. Most of my advice had to do with the “first week” stuff to expect and how to stay hydrated and increase salt. After our conversation, I got to thinking about it a little more in-depth. What came to me were a whole host of things that I’ve been asked that stumped me and I thought might be interesting to share a few.
- How much weight do you want to lose?
When I first started this journey, I did not think about a certain number of pounds to lose. It might be a mistake, but I don’t have an “end goal” weight that I’m targeting for.
2. Why don’t you have a target goal?
In order to explain this, I need to give a little back story. What started me on this journey was a few things that happened around about the same time. First, my doctor asked to me “think” about it. Second, was seeing myself in pictures and realizing…this is what you think you look like vs. what you really look like. Third, my hairdresser had a baby and started losing weight pretty quickly after delivery. When I asked her how, she told me that she was on a low carb diet. Finally, I had been having some pretty severe heartburn (which the doctor told me would be much better on low carb). I woke up one night with heartburn so far up that it threw me into a panic attack because I couldn’t catch my breath. I felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest. I got out of bed and made a plan that night (because I was afraid to go back to sleep). My main goal on going on this diet was to stop the heartburn before it did major damage that could lead to cancer. This diet controls my heartburn so well that I rarely think about it anymore.
3. Heartburn is what made you do this?
Yes. That and the doctor told me that there would be other benefits that included weight loss, less joint pain and decreasing need for medication.
4. What are the cons?
The cons are easy to spot – no bread, no corn, no beans, no potatoes, no sweets. When you think about how much food that affects, it’s enough to make you really wonder if you can do it or not. And there are definitely critics that are fully against low carb. The big three most talked about issues are high cholesterol, kidney problems, and osteoporosis. Lots of people also complain about constipation. I think it’s fair to say that anyone contemplating this diet should consider how they will handle this most effectively (that means talk to your doctor about it).
I would add to the con list that you have to do a little thinking about the foods you eat. It’s tempting to put bad carbs in your mouth for the few that you do get and it takes an effort to be sure that instead of doing that, you’re adding good carbs instead. So, not only do you have to think about food choices a little more, you also have to cook a lot more.
Lots of diets talk about being a “lifestyle change,” but low carb really has been a lifestyle change. So I think reasonableness needs to be added. I’m putting it in the con column because it’s sometimes missing.
I have talked to a lot of people doing keto and there is an issue that usually comes up. Bread. Lots of people on Keto want to figure out how to get at least a little bread back without the carbs. There are tons of recipes out there and some of them are even pretty good. Some really suck and use things that I’m pretty sure I don’t want to start depending on in my diet. So, I avoid them. But like lots of others, there are times when I really do want a tomato sandwich. Here’s a common statement I hear from others on keto, “You can’t have bread, you might as well go ahead and make that a firm rule, so you can get over wanting it.”
I get it. Really, I do. I just think that’s a little unreasonable for MY lifestyle. I usually don’t argue the point. When someone digs in their heels and gets (as an old friend would say) ‘all bowed up in the back,’ I usually understand that this is more an issue for them that it is about me.
When I started this diet, I wanted to modify it for The Dane as he does not need to restrict his diet as much as I do. At first, we agreed, no bread.
Then I read a few articles touting this bread or that, but I just didn’t go for any of it. (One thing I do like about this diet is eating real food). About a half a dozen times or so, I have made keto bread.
Another article that I read said that there were a few real breads that were less carbs. (This one is the one I hear about most and folks, I just can’t see paying $8 for bread).
5. What are the pros?
For me that’s a very big answer and probably more than I could talk about in one blog. But here’s a simple little list.
- significantly reduced to almost gone heartburn
- significantly reduced joint pain
- weight loss
- sleep better (seriously better! I get sleepy and drift right off to sleep and wake up ready to go in the morning. Rarely use the snooze button anymore).
- increased energy
- reduced appetite (actually never get that ravenous feeling anymore. At first, I had a hard time recognizing hunger at all).
- improved sustained mood, even during stressful times
- can be maintained easily (you can eat out, but avoid bread, put everything on a salad instead).
- no physical cravings (and very diminished emotional cravings)
6. What’s the thing you’ve noticed the most on this diet?
There are all sorts of things that I notice that are different on this diet. But mainly, I notice changes in my face. For a while, I worried that if I lost weight that I’d have a sagging chin. That doesn’t seem to be happening, though my face has changed.
I don’t notice the little day-to-day changes much as I just still feel like me, which isn’t really any different from I felt being a bigger me. But movement is easier and the energy goes a long way when I want to get things done.
I have no regrets about going on this diet. Just wished I’d done it sooner.
Until next week, have a great weekend!