I didn’t really plan any of it. I had a whole life full of problems about a year and a half ago, but the problem I noticed the most was the one that put me in the emergency room.
Five days later I left the hospital terrified and determined to make a radical change in my eating habits. I ended up making several, along with a mountain of mistakes along the way, but what I’ve landed on is the ketogenic approach.
I wouldn’t say keto is for everyone, but my personal experience has been defined by suddenly being able to exercise without feeling like I’ll die from exhaustion. That’s the first time in my entire life – including very young childhood – that I’ve felt that way. After a lifetime of self-destructive food habits and zero exercise, when I finally hit my breaking point, I was in such poor health that I could hardly walk around my own home.
Since January of 2016, I’ve lost about 75 pounds. 45 of that has been just in the last three months, when I made the switch to keto. My weight started at a truly scary number, so I have a lot more work ahead of me, but I remind myself of those numbers every time I feel discouraged.
For me, the hardest part about the ketogenic lifestyle has been the social aspect of doing something so different from most of the people who are part of my daily life. You can only explain so many times that yes, bacon and pork rinds are ‘legal’ on my ‘diet’, and no, that isn’t a joke – nor do I consider this to be a ‘diet’. This way of eating feels so natural to me, but every day I’m facing with well-intentioned, polite incredulity from someone calmly stuffing bread and potatoes into their own face.
Most people are also disinterested in the difference between a diet and a permanent lifestyle change. If you commit to ketogenic habits, expect to get questions like, “Are you still doing that?” and, “Are you allowed to eat at restaurants?” on a daily basis. Mealtimes in public and office birthdays are tough. It’s incredible how many baked goods there are in the world.
I struggle with avoidant personality disorder, and its annoying little sisters, anxiety and depression. Because of that, all these little awkward social moments caused by my eating choices are extremely tiring for me. Those moments of mental exhaustion are the hardest, especially since I used to deal with those feelings by using sugar as medication. Without that drug to lean on, there are a lot of emotions and thoughts that I’m facing on my own for the first time.
At the end of the day, though, I know it’s worth it. I can park in the farthest corner of the grocery store lot and do all my shopping without getting tired. I walk up and down flights of stairs all day, without really thinking about it. Most importantly – for the first time that I can remember – I feel like my life is my own to enjoy.
However you eat, and whatever you do, enjoy it.