I’ve been a yo-yo dieter for over a decade. I have been active all of my life starting with soccer, ballet, and tap as a child to track and volleyball as a teen to weightlifting and an array of exercise classes as an adult. Exercise has never been my problem, but my infatuation with food has been a love/hate relationship. By that I mean that I love food, but it doesn’t seem to love me back. I have always had a sweet tooth with Krispy Kreme doughnuts being one of my favorite treats, but as much as I like sweets, I don’t like the way they make me (and my waistline) look. To counter the battle against the bulge I would go on a diet to lose what most would consider vanity pounds; sometimes as little as 5 to no more than 15 pounds. I’ve tried everything but vegan and vegetarian. After watching the documentary “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” I tried juicing. Did I lose weight? Yes. Could I stick with such a restrictive diet? No. I also saw the documentary “What the Health” and began to question the healthy eating advice Americans have been and are being prescribed but had no desire to give up meat. Instead I tried “clean eating” consuming home cooked meals with little to no processing from farm to fork. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains would do the trick, or so I thought, but the scale didn’t move much. I gave it a go multiple times throughout my adult life but never made any lasting or significant changes. In fact, I got a little heavier going from a size 12 to a size 14 all while consistently exercising via running, lifting, and HIIT training. I want to say that there was a final straw, but I stumbled coincidentally across what I believe is the best resolution for MY body.
I don’t remember how I found out about keto exactly. It was likely online via Facebook, Instagram, or a Yahoo article, but I began my keto journey around July of 2018. I gave myself 6 weeks to give it a try. I continued after falling in love with the results. Two months into it my weight had dropped from 192 to 176 pounds. Keto like any diet takes work. The key to sticking to it was proper planning. I had to meal prep and have keto friendly foods and snacks on hand to prevent myself from indulging at restaurants. While I loved the results of not only losing weight but having much of it be fat loss, I tried reintroducing foods from my old eating habits back into my diet. Reece’s cups, pizza, burgers, Cook Out milkshakes (how can I not when they have 40+ flavors?!?), and of course Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I felt awful. Eating carbs, or at least simple carbs, would result in pimples on my face, back pain, headaches, knee pain, bloating, and gassiness. Although I have no desire to lose any more weight, I felt it was best to resume a low-carb lifestyle. That’s not to say that I’ll never have a doughnut again but treats like that would only be on occasion.
So, what is keto? Unlike Atkins which is a similar low carb diet, keto emphasizes the benefits of eating healthy fats. All foods fall into 3 macronutrient categories: carbohydrate, protein, and fat. The macros of a keto diet call for about 5% of calories (or 20 grams per day) to come from net carbs, about 20-25% of calories from protein, and the rest (70-75%) from fats. Counting net carbs is important because it doesn’t include fiber which means most vegetables are okay, but many fruits except berries contain too much sugar to be keto friendly. There are tons of resources available to help you learn about the keto diet if you’re interested. Everything I list at the conclusion of this post is a FREE resource.
The main reason I’m writing this post is because I’m mad. In 2009, I was in a motorcycle accident which left me with chronic back pain. I tried everything to alleviate what I thought were muscle spasms, muscle knots, aches and pains. I went to chiropractors, I tried physical therapy, acupuncture, dry needling, massages, electro therapy, muscle relaxants, heating pads, you name it. I even fasted and prayed for healing. I was literally mad at God left wondering why I continued to experience this never-ending back pain. Lo and behold, the pain did not go away until I went on Keto. The realization that my diet, not my God, had failed me for so many years was infuriating because I thought I was doing everything I was supposed to do.
Sugar causes inflammation, and flour (wheat) metabolizes in the body the same way sugar does. I think a lot of people are suffering from issues within their body that could be improved or rectified with a change in their diet. I follow Dr. Ken Berry on YouTube. He has great videos about keto and the carnivore diet. In a nut shell, everything we’ve been told about food and dieting is a lie. Think about it. Do you remember the old milk commercials? The slogan was, “Milk does a body good”. The food pyramid had us believing that we needed milk otherwise we’d be deficient of calcium and wouldn’t have strong bones. We now know that isn’t true. There are other food sources from which to obtain calcium, and the many lactose intolerant consumers have made way for alternative products like almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, Lactaid milk, etc. The food pyramid (aka My Plate) also recommends 6-11 servings of grains per day! Who makes these recommendations? The USDA: United States Department of Agriculture. Why would they tell us this if it’s not right/healthy? MONEY. If farmers have a surplus of corn and wheat, they’ve got to get rid of it somehow. The government does not run the country; corporations do. How? The companies (food and drug alike) have lobbyists who push their own agenda. Elected officials and their campaigns get much of their funding from a lot of these big companies. To say that the system is corrupt is an understatement. It doesn’t help that bad science is repeated and regurgitated as gospel. For example, Ancel Keys performed biased studies prompting an attack on fatty foods. Marketers fed into the hype, thus grocery stores are filled with low-fat and fat-free foods. If “What the Health” showed us nothing else, we should have learned that when the fat content is removed from food, it doesn’t taste good and thereby must be replaced with sugar.
This post is already longer than I intended it to be, so I’ll leave you with some free resources where you can do some further research for yourself. I follow Dr. Ken Berry on YouTube. There’s a great support group on Facebook called Modified Macros for info on the keto diet. Gary Taubes has a couple of books on my reading list which target sugar as the main culprit of obesity and other health ills. He’s also on YouTube. I follow @BlackKetoGirl, @KeilaKeto, and @House.Of.Keto on Instagram for recipes, info, and inspiration. I don’t track my calories or macros manually but have heard great things about the Carb Manager app.