I’ve written many times about my battles with disordered eating (see here and here) and my sugar addiction (see here and here). And though I truly believe that disordered eating is a problem of the mind and spirit, it appears that I have finally found some peace from mine through changing my diet. (While, also doing a lot of work on my mind and spirit – meditation, writing, therapy, recovery, etc..)
As part of this whole disordered eating thing, I have played around with many different diets trying to find a release from my sugar obsession. In November 2016, I decided to try an ultra low carb way of eating. I began just by eliminating carbs – removing bread, pasta, crackers, etc., and even drastically cutting my fruit intake (I now only eat berries as they are low on the glycemic index). After getting through a difficult first week of cravings (see this article on the “keto flu”), I found myself not interested in sugary treats. and could even skip meals without hunger. I then decided to take it even further and limit my carbohydrates to under 20 grams per day and increase my fat intake, while leaving my protein about the same. This plan of eating under 20 grams of carbs (and increased fat intake) is also known as the Ketogenic Diet. Between November and the new year, I lost 15 pounds this way. Although I have not lost any more weight since then, I have gained freedom from my constant hunger and sugar obsession. In fact, I made it through the holiday season without being tempted by one cookie, candy, or other sugar laden treat. Just typing that right now, I am totally overwhelmed by what a miracle that is.
I first became aware of the Ketogenic Diet (also known as “LCHF – low carb high fat) while I was revamping my diet by eating Paleo. I started this journey by eliminating processed foods and by increasing my time in the kitchen preparing my own food. And while this helped me feel healthier, I continued to struggle with my sugar addiction and compulsive eating. I found myself overeating fruit and other sugary “all natural” treats. I would have episodes of chocolate bingeing, followed by remorse and regret. It seemed that any time I would eat anything that was even remotely sweet, I would be triggered to eat more and more. And while my weight stayed steady, I was unhappy when I would binge. Bingeing made me feel out of control and depressed, and I wanted relief. I had dabbled with the Ketogenic Diet in years prior, but was never consistent with it. Tired of the constant cycle of binge and remorse, I finally decided to make a committment to it. There is a lot of scientific research and explanations for why and how the Keto diet works, and if you are interested in it, I suggest you check out my links below. I am not suggesting that this way of eating is for everyone. In fact, I’m still not entirely sure it is for me. I am thrilled that it has helped me overcome my sugar obsession, but I will continue to monitor other health markers to make sure this is a healthy way of eating for me.
If you are interested in the Ketogenic diet, I suggest you check out the links below and do the research yourself. As I said above, it might not be for everyone, but if you suffer from sugar addiction as I do, you might find some relief as well through eating low carb / high fat. The appetite control that comes with the Keto diet is accomplished by eating a high fat content diet. If you have cholesterol or other health issues where eating a lot of fat might be a problem, please check with your doctor before experimenting with this.
So, what do I eat? Well, as I said above, I eat under 20 grams of carbohydrates per day. In place of carbs, I eat more healthy fats and a moderate amount of protein. It is recommended when going Keto, to use a macro calculator to calculate your macros to get the exact amounts of carbs/protein/fats to eat per day. Here is one that a lot of people use: Ruled Me Keto Calculator. I track my food through My Fitness Pal and just pay attention to my carb count. For simplicity sake, I eat a lot of the same things per day. I start my day off with a very high fat coffee, also known as Bulletproof Coffee. If I don’t have time or feel like a Bulletproof Coffee, I drink coffee with heavy whipping cream (high fat/low carb).
That coffee keeps me satiated until about 2 or 3 PM, sometimes even longer. Besides the coffee, I eat only one meal per day, and that meal varies, but always includes a fatty meat and some kind of leafy vegetable (spinach, broccoli, etc.). I occasionally snack on cheese, bacon, olives, salami, or pepperoni, but find myself so satisfied because of the amount of fat I eat, that I don’t look for snacks often. I have moved into a realm where I no longer think about food much at all. That is absolutely amazing to me. And even if I don’t lose another pound, I will continue to eat this way as it has provided me with something I never thought I would have: freedom from my constant obsession with food and my destructive bingeing.
As I suggested, if you are interested in trying the Keto diet, please do the research yourself and if you have health issues, talk to your doctor first. Here are some of my favorite Keto resources and recipes:
Podcast: 2 Keto Dudes
Keep calm and KETO on, my friends!