08 Jan Trying Keto
For a long time, I huffed, sighed, rolled my eyes and ranted at just the whisper of a diet and if I am being honest, I was hesitant to share when I made the decision to try keto.
For a long time, I was in a bad mental place which I put down to several factors that included stress, work, motherhood, and how I felt on a day-to-day basis.
In September I started to spiral which eventually lead to emotional outbursts almost daily. At one stage, I remember Darren standing at the door of our bedroom pleading with me, trying to figure out what was wrong but truthfully, I didn’t have an answer. Everything made me feel so sad; the news, a story I would stumble upon, someone’s social media post, the tone someone used, a thought from my childhood – anything would trigger me and within seconds, I’d be a bundle of tears. Navigating life with anxiety and depression has never been easy but add to it all the external factors and well, it is a recipe for disaster.
At the time, my eating habits were horrible. I would usually start my day with a Red Bull or 500ml Coke and would drink Coke throughout the day (usually a 2 litre because I hate flat Coke and nobody else in my house drinks the full sugar, “original” Coke, so I would need to finish the bottle before it went flat.) I lived on junk food including a daily slab of chocolate, which needed to be followed up with something salty, and then of course, needed to be balanced by something sweet – it was never-ending.
I don’t know what made me think to give it all up, but I did. I went cold-turkey and gave up soda, carbs, candy, and chocolate. A week later, I also gave up coffee (mainly because I would take my coffee with 3 sugars and wondered if the caffeine triggered my anxiety.) At the time of making these changes, my goal was to make healthier choices and to monitor whether the change in diet affected my mental health.
Spoiler, it did!
Not only did cutting back on sugar, carbs and caffeine help me cope better mentally, but it boosted my energy levels and cleared my skin too.
THEN, Darren suggested we try keto and I figured that since I had already given up the main food groups that are excluded on keto, it wouldn’t hurt to try. Don’t get me wrong, I was scared that I’d fall into the same cycle that I have been caught up in so many times before; the one where I try an impossible diet, fail at it and eat my way through the disappointment, leaving me with no confidence or belief in myself.
My first two weeks of keto were rough. My body went through dramatic withdrawals which resulted in feeling lethargic, cramping joints, migraines, the constant need to urinate, bad breath – flip, you name it, and I had it. I was very unprepared and had no knowledge of what to expect and how to navigate what I now know as, “Keto Flu” but what kept me going were the little ways I could check in with my body to see that it was on track to reaching and maintaining ketosis like ketone strips, and stepping on the dreaded scale which very quickly started showing change.
I realize now, that for a long time, I needed to block out the noise of diets so that I could do some of my own healing. I was raised to believe that my body wasn’t good enough, strong enough, small enough, tall enough, thin enough, fast enough… or just, enough. Every promo, advert and punt felt like a personal attack on my body, a body that I KNEW I was meant to be proud of, but it didn’t fit into the mould of a “good body,” so I constantly felt ashamed and insecure about my body. It took time and to learn to respect my body through all its seasons by surrounding myself in empowering content about women, who would bear it all despite having racing stripes, curves, lumps, and bumps, just like my own. I read books, I wised up on diet culture and learnt to recognize how companies benefited from my insecurities.
There was no ah-ha moment that I knew I was in a better space with my body, in fact, I still have bad body days where I am harsh on myself, but having changed the narrative that my eating habits aren’t solely about my weight or body, I find that I am more positive.
I didn’t want this to be a post encouraging anyone to try keto which is why I haven’t gone into detail about WHAT is keto. There’s a lot of resources and tools available for free online and if you’re interested in any of it, then Google and Pinterest are your best friends, but I did want to share about my keto journey to document it for me. I love looking back on life and seeing key moments that impact the present, and I feel this is one of them. I am approaching 2-months of full keto, have lost 11 kilograms but have also gained back all my energy, stamina and for the first time, in a very long time, I feel like I am in control of my emotions.
For anyone who is considering keto, please consult with your doctor before starting and make sure to check your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar regularly.