Six Months on Keto: An Update



I’ve officially reached the six-month marker on my Keto journey and thought I would update you all on my progress. In my last post on Keto I had been on the diet for two months and had originally only planned to stay on it until my thirtieth birthday at the end of March. I started the diet because, with that milestone approaching, I wanted to finally get serious about accomplishing one of my biggest goals – to get healthier and lose weight. Though I had been dubious about my ability to stick to a low-carb diet, Keto ended up not only being something I could be consistent with but something that never made me feel restricted.

Somewhere along the way I just fell in love with the lifestyle and a few months ago I decided to stick with it until at least the summer before deciding if I wanted to transition onto the Paleo Diet or something slightly more flexible. As of today, I’ve lost a total of forty pounds and I couldn’t be happier. I feel a great sense of pride in what I’ve accomplished and thought I’d share with you some of the ups and downs I’ve had in the past few months.


INTUITIVE EATING & TRACKING
Through repetition and eating similar things every day, you start to become intuitive about eating and knowing how to keep your carb count under control on Keto. About a month ago or so I stopped using MyFitnessPal to actually track my intake because tracking in my head became second nature. Whenever I would go out or eat something out of the ordinary I would use the app as a reference tool to see how many carbs there were in what I was consuming but I wasn’t really using it to track. I actually think that I want to get back into using the app again, despite having done fine with tracking intuitively, because I like the sense of accountability and control that it gives me. There’s something kind of nice about seeing everything you ate laid out for you and seeing your numbers at the end of the day. I would recommend tracking if you’re starting out and at least for a few months until you get into the swing of things. If you love making lists or are looking for a greater sense of control with your diet like I was, I think continuing to use an app to track your eating will make you feel stronger and more confident throughout your weight loss journey. 


THE DOWNSIDE OF WEIGHT LOSS
One thing that you kind of forget to consider when losing weight is that none of your clothes will fit you once you do. That seems like kind of a stupid thing to be annoyed about considering you’re healthier and more confident in your new body but it’s still problematic when you have to go out into the real world and actually look presentable and realize that nothing in your closet fits anymore. I have a few pairs of jeans that were way too small for me originally or that I recently purchased and a handful of recently purchased tops, but otherwise everything is just too big. I even had some smaller dresses set aside for when I lost a bit of weight and even those are too loose and unwearable now.

Again, I know this is something that’s kind of ridiculous to be annoyed about and several people have told me that “it’s a good problem to have”. But it can be a bit stressful when everything in your closet looks wrong on you. I feel like every couple of weeks I’m clearing more and more things out of my closet. Despite this, I find that I’m not really in a huge rush to fill my wardrobe just for the sake of filling it. I’m trying to be particular about the pieces I buy and make sure that I actually enjoy the way they look on me and can think of an actual occasion for them. I used to buy things just because they fit and were inexpensive which left me with a packed closet and nothing I really loved. Since I’m still working on losing more weight it doesn’t make sense to really invest in pieces that might not fit me in a few weeks. So, I think I’m going to be the owner of a minimalist closet for a while longer. On the upside, at least it won’t take me so long to decide what to wear.


MY FIRST CHEAT DAY
I decided to have my first official cheat day on my birthday at the end of March and although I had planned to do it for a while as a reward for my hard work, the closer I got to the date the more reluctant I became to actually cheat. The reason for this was that I feared losing the sense of control that I had gained over my impulsive eating throughout my months on Keto. I didn’t want to lose control and was worried that by allowing myself things I know I shouldn’t have I’d get back into a negative pattern by making excuses for myself and allowing myself more and more bad food. To combat this, I tried to choose specific cheats that I would have during the day so that I wouldn’t just go crazy and binge on whatever I wanted. It was like I had pre-approved cheats and could only have what was already on that list. On my birthday I allowed myself to have a slice of carrot cake and pasteis de nata from a Portuguese cafĂ©.

The problem occurred on Easter, a few days after my birthday when my mother bought a cake to celebrate my birthday with my family. I hadn’t expected the cake and in fact had made Keto brownies so that there would be a Keto-friendly dessert. I felt a bit guilty about not having a slice of my own birthday cake, knowing that my mom had gone out of her way to buy my favorite cake and I allowed myself to have a small piece. Then two days later we still had half a cake sitting in our fridge and I convinced myself that I should feel bad that the cake was going to go to waste and that I should have another small piece.

I know plenty of people can enjoy cheats occasionally and it doesn’t affect them at all, but because of my history with dieting in the past and my relationship with food, I think avoiding cheats completely is probably the best way for me to go. I snapped myself out of that pattern of bargaining with myself and making excuses and am happy to be back on track with my Keto journey. In the long run I know that those little cheats probably didn’t actually affect my progress much, but I think a lot of dieting has to do with what works for you mentally and what keeps you feeling strong. And for me, I think my sense of strength comes from maintaining control and blocking out any guilt or excuses. It’s so easy for me to fall into a pattern of bargaining with myself. I know some people thrive with more flexibility but for my own needs and history, that just doesn’t work.

The reason I wanted to talk about all of this is because I think it’s important for people to know that everyone has the right to decide whether or not they want to cheat and what works for them. And I think it’s important to know that just because you cheated, it’s not the end of the world. What matters most is that you pick yourself back up and get back on track. Don’t just allow yourself to do more damage by making excuses for yourself and saying “well, I already messed up so I might as well binge on pizza and ice cream and whatever the hell I want”. And don’t make yourself feel worthless or punish yourself with negative self-talk because you cheated. Harness your strength again by taking back control and pulling yourself back up.  You’ll feel all the better for knowing you did it for yourself.


WHEN THE SCALE DOESN’T MOVE
For a few weeks there my weight stayed pretty much the same. I’d step on the scale every week or so hoping to have lost a pound or two and it wouldn’t have moved. Luckily, I’d read a lot of blog posts on Keto and watched plenty of vloggers on Youtube talk about how you shouldn’t get scared or upset if you don’t see the scale moving. Many people get discouraged and give up, falling right back into their old eating habits. So, I just told myself “Hey, you feel great and you can see changes happening to your body, even if the number isn’t actually changing”. Which is true. Your weight can continue to stay the same while you see visible shrinking in your waist or other places. It’s important to focus on those positive changes and have faith that your body knows what it’s doing. Keep with it, stay consistent and you’ll continue to see results.


WHAT COMES NEXT
Now that I’ve gone through my whole post-cheat struggle, I’m more committed to being strict with myself and shutting down any of my attempts at bargaining. As of tomorrow, I’m going to go back to tracking on My Fitness Pal for the sense of control and structure that it gives me. I also plan to start working out using my elliptical machine and some floor exercises.
I said in my last post about my Keto journey that I’ve been focused on not comparing my progress to that of other people, as everybody is different, and I’ve been staying true to that. I know that there are people who have lost more in six months than I have and if I had been incorporating a workout plan into my routine these last few months I’m sure my losses would have been greater. But the whole point is that I did it my way. The way that made it feel easiest and conquerable to me. I wanted to ease into the process and was also curious to see what I could accomplish with diet alone.

Now I feel ready to take on more and that’s wonderful. But whether you’re thinking of starting Keto or doing some other kind of diet, I just want you to remember that it’s important to gauge what works for you and what you feel you can actually be consistent with. Going hard but only being able to keep up with it for a week or so before giving up won’t do you any favors.

As of right now I have plans to stay on Keto at least through the summer. In case anyone is wondering, my mother, who started Keto with me in October is also still sticking with the diet and has dropped almost thirty-five pounds as well. We’ve both lost approximately two dress sizes each. I never took any before photos but am considering eventually posting a photo of my progress. When you look at yourself every day it becomes harder to really notice the changes. Funny enough, the changes that tend to stick out to me the most are how much more prominent my cheek bones and collarbone have started to look.  

If you have any questions about my Keto journey or about Keto in general, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m actually thinking of putting together a post with commonly asked questions for beginners based on my experience. I’ve also discovered some wonderful recipes that I’d love to share if anyone is looking for low-carb desserts. So, if there’s anything you’re curious about, leave me a comment down below.

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