I had another blog post planned for this week, and it’s a good one too, but my recent experience has given me inspiration to talk about something else. On moments like the one I had a week ago, following the two weeks I had prior, I think to myself, “how could I possibly write a blog post about healthy living, when I am still THIS person?” Full confession, previous to last week, I had two very rough Keto weeks that included two fairly large binge episodes. It wasn’t as bad as in the past, but I absolutely made some food and beverage choices that left my body feeling less then optimal and my mind in a state of regret. The truth is that I have both figured it out, and haven’t at the same time. I have kept the weight off for over two years, changing my habits and my relationship with food and my body, but I am not perfect. These moments happen. I was a bit stressed with some anxiety and was put in some situations where I felt insecure and without control. I was away from my husband for most of that time, and being alone blended with the above feelings created a storm like situation for me. Honestly, I needed comfort, and sometimes you just do, and that is okay. I let my insecure feelings cloud my judgement and let go of any control I had over my eating. But, unlike in the past, I am not dwelling on those choices. They were made and there is nothing I can do about it now. Instead, I am focusing on bouncing back quickly, so I thought this week’s post would be about starting fresh. Maybe you are brand new to Keto and are looking for some steps and tips to get you through this first few weeks, maybe you are like me and had a moment, or two, and need a restart to get back on track quickly or, maybe you have been doing this for a while but are noticing a bit of complacency creep up (it happens to everyone) and need some tips to get excited and motivated again. This is my guide for all of those situations. Twelve simple steps or items to be aware of that will help get you on the track to success, or back on it, if you are me. Of course everyone is different so above all else, listen to your body, be kind to you and your body, and give it what it needs. You are amazing as is…don’t ever forget it.
1.) Go through your house and get rid of everything processed, even the stuff that is “low-carb.”
For me, I am my happiest, most efficient self when I am eating a whole food diet that consists of clean fats, pasture raised protein and farm fresh veggies. Not only is this the tastiest food around, but it’s the cleanest fuel and most nutrient rich food on the planet. On the Keto diet, if you aren’t getting these nutrient dense foods, you are missing out on how good you can feel. The easiest way to do this is if you don’t know an ingredient on a label, get rid of it. Also, if it seems like it has a lot of ingredients, more then it should, get rid of it. For instance, think about how the item would be made in your kitchen, and if the ingredients don’t match, get rid of it. I know this may seem drastic, but I swear it’s not so scary. I find it’s best to do as little as possible in terms of “faking out” our body. What I mean by this is giving it something that tastes like one thing, but has something else in it. This is why you will notice many of my Keto desserts aren’t that sweet. I don’t want my tastebuds to get used to sweet items any more, so I try to reduce the amount of zero calorie sweeteners I have. This means I don’t use splenda or stevia in my coffee and I try to keep to water with lemon and electrolytes. I find that doing this helps control my carb cravings and makes sure I don’t overdo it when I have a treat. Of course, this is all in moderation. If you are stuck and starving and the choice is a Quest bar vs a donut, have the Quest bar and feel good about it. Just do the best you can to keep to real foods as often as possible.
2.) Stock your kitchen with plenty of whole food items.
It is a matter of stocking your pantry and your refrigerator with REAL FOOD, the original food, the stuff our bodies were created to eat and enjoy. Below are a list of items I tend to have in my house for quick breakfast, lunches and dinners. Yes, you will need to cook, but I promise you it doesn’t have to be complex. Simple meals are often the most delicious. I tend to grab one or two out of each section, cook it up, or toss it in a salad, and enjoy.
- Organic Coconut Oil
- Grass Fed Beef Tallow (talk to your local butcher or render yourself)
- Pasture and humanly raised Leaf Lard (Pork Lard -talk to your local butcher or render yourself)
- Cage Free, Schmaltz (Clarified Chicken or Goose Fat – talk to your local butcher or render yourself)
- Bacon Fat (Just save it from your breakfast and use it throughout the week. It’s delicious in salad dressings as well as to sauté up your veggies.)
- Olive Oil (Extra Virgin/ Organic for Salads, Organic for cooking)
- Avocados and Avocado Oil
- Nut and Nut Butters (be careful here, they can be dangerous)
- Grass Fed Butter (if not dairy intolerant)
- Organic Ghee (if not dairy intolerant)
As much as possible, splurge and get the pasture raised, cage free, and grass fed/grass finished meat, and if you can get it locally, that is even better. I know it is more expensive, trust me. We are trying to save for a house right now and every penny is being counted, but spending a little extra on properly raised proteins now is worth it for your future. Because you are eating more fat with it, you will naturally eat less, so it does end up being cheaper then it seems. Also, remember the old saying “you are what you eat?” Well that also goes for animals and what the animals you eat, eat as well. If they are eating a primarily corn fed diet, with who knows what else mixed in, while being jacked up on antibiotics, that will pass along to you. I promise you, if you spend a few weeks primarily enjoying grass fed/ grass finished meats, you will see a difference in not only the flavor and enjoyment, but also how your body reacts to it. Below are the proteins you should keep to and remember not only is fat now your fuel, but it is also super tasty, so don’t be afraid of the fattier cuts of meat. Not only can you render them down to use the fat later, but these cuts of meat tend to be cheaper and frankly more delicious.
- Pasture raised/ Cage Free Chicken and Eggs (stop being afraid of the dark meat, it’s delicious, cheaper, and doesn’t get dry.)
- Grass fed, grass finished Beef (all the cuts!!)
- Humanly Raised Pork
- Wild, sustainably sourced fish (Salmon should become a staple. It’s delicious and has tons of good fat and protein)
- Nuts/ Seeds (be careful here, they can be dangerous).
- Bone Broths
STOP BEING AFRAID OF VEGETABLES! Yes, they have carbs, but if you stick to primarily eating fats, proteins and veggies, I can assure you the few extra carbs you are getting from Kale aren’t going to do anything negative to you. The idea here is to give your body all it’s necessary nutrients by fueling it the very best possible. There are TONS of vegetables available to you, below are the vegetables I always make sure to have in my house. Basically, if it’s green, it’s good.
- Zucchini and Summer Squash
- Green Bell Pepper
- All the Kale
- All the lettuces (romaine, mixed greens, butter etc)
These are items to mix with the above to add flavor and round out any meal.
- Pickled and Fermented Vegetables (learn to love them, they are delicious and ULTRA good for you)
- Mayonnaise (organic, using cage free eggs, Avocado Oil or Olive Oil – try to avoid the use of vegetable oils)
- Mustard (make sure there isn’t any added sugars)
- Hot sauce (again, make sure there isn’t any added sugars)
- Fresh Herbs
- Dried Herbs and Spices (make sure there isn’t any added sugars)
- Fresh Lemon and Lime Juice (there is a small about of carbs, but you don’t need much to get the flavor you want and it’s packed with a ton of nutrients)
3.) Decrease the quantity of nuts and nut butters.
This is really a personal item, but it’s important for me and my success. I LOVE nuts and nut butters, like really love them. I don’t know if it’s because of years of restricting them and now they are “allowed,” but what I do know is I have a hard time controlling the amount I eat of them…especially after 8pm. Night snacking Tedi is the worst! Maybe you don’t have an issue with this at all, and that is great. I am just sharing how I personally feel. Nut and Nut butters seem to trigger a sugar type response and I find it difficult to just eat a serving. Sometimes this is what is available as a quick snack when I don’t have access to a meal, and that is fine, but generally, I try to keep these items either out of my house, or individually packaged so that I can only have one serving at a time.
4.) Get moving and make sure you are enjoying it.
Some of you are reading this and rolling your eyes. “Workout? How can I possibly find something I actually enjoy?!” Trust me, it’s possible. Three years ago when I started down the exercise trail, I hated it. I resented the idea of having to do something, I was obviously bad at (being that I was overweight) and be uncomfortable in the process. What did that mean for me? The first year of working out had me solely doing Zumba. I always loved to dance and it was generally a dark room, little to no interaction with people. It wasn’t until I gained some general fitness that I started to experiment with other activities. Now, as most of your know, I love to run, but I also do some other fun things like Kickboxing, rollerblading (seriously, it’s pretty hilarious and so crazy fun) hiking, and of course, playing and walking our Goldendoodle, Rosemary. I am also planning on adding some more biking and swimming. This is all to say, I change it constantly and keep myself excited and enjoying each week. No two week’s are a like anymore and I find that exercise is no longer a chore I felt like I had to do or something that added stress. Now it’s a natural part of what makes my happiest life, the best it can be. So, don’t get too worked up over your workout. I have been there and it’s not a good place to be (see this blog post all about my propensity to over train, and just generally overdo). Find something you enjoy and do it. That doesn’t mean you have to do that same thing every single week. Feel flexible to change it up and try making some of your social, general life stuff more active. Like, maybe you need to call your sister or your mom, do it while taking the dog for a walk, or maybe your friends want to get together this weekend, suggest a hike and bring lunch. My point with all of this is that you have to find what works for you. Do what you enjoy and you will see the benefits of a little more activity, not just in your body composition, but in mood and general mental and spiritual health.
5.) Try something new.
Maybe you are trying Keto for the first time and that is your something new, and that is great! Welcome! I find that if I don’t make some kind of change when kickstarting a new lifestyle, or maybe you are like me and you need a bit of a restart, doing something new, changes it mentally for me. Just doing the same thing over and over again, ends me in the same result. For this kickstart, I am trying a pretty drastic workout shift. Instead of focusing on pushing myself day in and day out for certain times when running, or weights when training, I am focusing on keeping my heart rate low and building my cardiac base. This means no more dreaded sprint workouts for at least a time and minimizing weight training from the three times a week, at least one hour per session, to one to two times a week with only some body weight exercises. I am increasing the amount of yoga I do and generally just trying to relax a bit more. I am hopeful that this will ease the stress training was giving me and allow me to enjoy my workouts a bit more. Maybe for you it’s trying a Zumba class for the first time, cooking a new recipe, or enlisting a friend to go on the journey. Just changing it up a bit can give your mind a little something exciting to look forward to.
6.) Start tracking your water intake.
I know I talk about this a lot but it is such an important part of our daily health, and when doing Keto, it is even more important. I find that tracking my hydration really helps me stay on top of it and makes it a bit of a game. You can use your Fitbit app to track water, or most of the nutrition calculators (I use carb-manager). Make sure to get yourself some Himalayan Salt and Nu-Salt, or other potassium powder, and add to your water. Making sure your electrolytes are balanced is super important. Check out this post all about hydration and my experience when I made this a main focus.
7.) If you are new, track your macros (and if not, have an app so you can easily check food items you don’t know).
This isn’t because I think tracking is the way to go long term, but I know that at the beginning, it is really important to know the carb content plus the nutritional breakdown of what you are eating. There were a few times where I didn’t really know the carb content and it turned out what I was eating was fairly high in carbs (garlic scapes come to mind). I don’t want you to obsess over this. Have an app on your phone and look up items you aren’t sure about. This should be used purely for information sake. Try to focus on eating when you are hungry, finishing when you are full, and not eating when you aren’t hungry. I know…so simple and yet not so easy. Just do your best. Be as honest as you can with yourself and never forget to give yourself a bit of grace.
Take five minutes out of your day and think about what your day was like. You can use mine, or write one of your own. The idea is to get a overview of what you are eating and exerting so that you can track how your body and mind feels. This will allow you to tailor your Keto diet to what your body needs. Also, check out my post about learning to intuitively eat and what journal I use.
9.) Think about supplementing.
I know that taking vitamin and mineral supplements may not be everyone’s thing, but I have found it to be super helpful. I take the below regimen at night. I used to take them in the morning, but since I also workout in the morning, often with no breakfast, I ended up having some GI issues. Not to mention, the Magnesium will help you sleep. There is definitely a correlation to my following days success, whether it be feeling snacky, sleeping well, or headaches and body cramps, with whether or not I took my vitamins the night before. Take the time to do some research and consult your doctor to find out what works best for you.
My Nightly Regimen:
- Magnesium 500 mg
- Women’s Multi-Vitamin
- Biotin 1,000 mcg
- B12 – 500 mcg
- Probiotic- soil based for women
- Calcium Citrate 500 mg with Vitamin D3 300 IU
10.) Spend less time on the scale.
First of all, this is a lifestyle, which means looking for a quick loss of weight isn’t the focus here. Try to separate yourself from the number on the scale. It is far too volatile to put all of your eggs in that basket. You are far more likely to lose inches faster then you will see weight loss, especially at the beginning. Of course, it’s different for everyone, but this is my experience and I have heard it is the same for many others. Personally, I weigh myself about every week, sometimes less. I try to primarily use my journal and being mindful of changes to see physical and mental progress and let that be my guide.
Make this a priority. Trust me, if you don’t get enough sleep, your body can’t work optimally. This means how ever hard you work during the day, getting your workouts in, eating the right foods, you wont see the results. It may work for a period of time, but if you go long stretches of not enough sleep, your efforts will be lost. I get it, life can be crazy, sometimes I really struggle with getting to sleep and mostly staying asleep. Below are some tricks to think about when trying to get those seven to nine hours. I know not all of them are possible. For me, my husband can only fall asleep with the TV, so that is what it is for my life, but, I make sure to stay off my phone or computer before we go to bed, we try to eat before 7, and we keep the room dark and cool. Do what works for you, but make getting enough sleep a focus. It will make your life, and those around you, much happier.
- Listen to white noise.
- Listen to a podcast like Sleep With Me.
- Make sure your room is as dark as possible or use an eye mask.
- Make your room as cool as possible.
- Eat two hours before you go to bed (this may mean skipping dessert).
- Take magnesium before you go to bed.
- Don’t watch TV while falling asleep.
- Do not check your phone before going to bed. Stay away from electronic devises as much as possible.
- Have a writing pad next to your bed, and if you wake up with a thought, write it down, and then fall back asleep.
12.) Remember, this is about your health and happiness…and nothing else.
This list may seem like a lot, but really it’s about finding what works best to make you and your body happy so that it, and you, are working as efficiently as possible so that you can truly enjoy all that life has to offer. This isn’t about stressing you out and adding more to your plate. It’s about taking some time to make you a priority. You deserve it! So remember, yes it’s about the exercise and fueling your body properly, but it’s just as important to fuel your mind. Below are some ideas for self care. Try to find time at least once a week to do one of these activities. It doesn’t have to take a whole afternoon, and it doesn’t have to be something that costs money. This is purely an exercise in reminding yourself, that you love you and deserve a little self care.
- Meditate: Whether it’s five minutes a day or 15 minutes a few times a week, this can be such a meaningful practice to ease your mind and your body.
- Get your nails done
- Go shopping for an hour…alone.
- Sleep in
- Take a bubble bath
- Take your dog for a walk.
- Close the door in your bedroom and have 30 minutes of watching your favorite show alone.
- Play SuperBetter: This is an app that has shown to help with anxiety, stress, and weight loss among other things. You gain points by doing simple things like Giving yourself a hug, walking around the block, or interacting with a stranger. I have found it super helpful in reminding me that each moment in my life has meaning and importance, plus seeing that I get points makes my competitive spirit sing.
- Jump on the treadmill for a walk, put in your earbuds and blare your favorite album. Feel free to break out in dance.
- Go to your favorite coffee joint and enjoy your favorite keto beverage.
- Go on a date with your husband and enjoy some time with no phones and no internet, just each other.
I am eleven days from my last binge and those rough two weeks of being off program and honestly, I feel better then ever. One side note is that I gained quite a bit of weight during those two weeks of being pseudo Keto. It was shocking, BUT once I got back on track, I lost almost all of it within these past eleven days and I am reminded of just how good I feel on Keto and how awful I felt not doing it. Instead of using this time and thinking of it as going backwards, I see it as moment to learn and better prepare for the future. I feel strong and ready to conquer whatever comes next.
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The Everyday Feast website and blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Content from The Everyday Feast website, blog, and social media accounts is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this website and through social media or any other means is intended for entertainment and to share my personal keto journey. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. As health and nutrition research continuously evolves, we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of any information presented on this website.