I Tried The Keto Diet to Lose Weight Quickly, I Ended Up Loving It
After months of bad stress eating habits, the keto diet made me feel alive again, just in time for my wedding.
Like everyone, I’ve been hearing a lot of things about adopting a keto diet. I’ve heard good things, bad things, concerns, gurus… I had no idea what to think about this diet. After all, it was like any other diet, it got trendy until someone proves that it was doing crazy stuff to your body.
I got married on the 21st of June. So naturally, in early June, I tried on my fancy button-down shirt and navy blue wool jacket that I only wear for special occasions. But here is what happened: all these months of stress eating, heavy drinking, traveling, staying in the United States (while I’m from France) had significant consequences on my body. I wasn’t like crazy fat or anything. I was unhealthy, I didn’t fit properly in my clothes, and I could not close my jacket. Trust me, that was a shock.
The problem was, I had less than three weeks to either: lose weight and get healthy, or to buy another expensive suit so my body, that I was profoundly disliking, could fit into it. The latter option did not seem ideal. I didn’t want my new body to become my new norm. And if I were to lose weight eventually, I didn’t want to invest money in a suit that would fit me once.
But how can you lose weight and be slimmer in less than three weeks? I was reading everywhere that even by eating less and by exercising heavily (and I am not an active person, I hate exercising), I wouldn’t see any significant transformation.
So I was feeling down, I felt like a failure, I was trapped in that body that I didn’t like. I felt unattractive, I felt guilty for not having better control of my eating in the past, I felt awful for having to marry the love of my life in that body that was just a representation of my negligence.
That might seem harsh, and that may seem like I was overthinking. But I honestly felt stuck. I felt horrible, I wanted to drink my feelings away so bad, but I knew that it would just make the situation worse. I was overwhelmed: I was feeling bad, I couldn’t get better, and my instinctive coping mechanism couldn’t work.
But then, while scrolling on Medium, I found a story about someone documenting all the good things that happened to them when they adopted the keto diet. That’s when I started to feel hope again. That person seemed to feel better, she seemed to regain control over her eating habits, and most importantly, she was losing weight fast! It all seemed way too good to be true. I got suspicious. Was that person trying to sell me a diet program or a coaching session? It didn’t seem like so, and it did seem like a true story.
So I started to read more stories about the keto diet. They were all describing the same crazy benefits! People were reporting losing up to 6 pounds in the first two weeks! I was convinced. Everything seemed to make sense: the addiction to sugar and carbs, the fact that the high carb diet was a disaster for your health and weight, the fact that the brain needs fat to function correctly. I was excited to give it a try, and I was highly motivated to take actions!
So after a little research on recipes and on basic principles of the keto diet, I went grocery shopping and bought the essentials: avocados, bacon, good oil and fats and so on, and I started cooking.
5 Things I Noticed on Keto
- I am spending way less money. Buying good produce and organic food is sure expensive, but because I was going out less often and because I was spending less money on unnecessarily sweet drinks and other costly and unnecessary coffees, I ended up spending a lot of money. Small amounts of money add up more quickly than we might think.
- I lost a lot of weight quickly. I don’t know how to feel about it. I don’t know if it was fat, water weight, if I lost muscles or not. But I did lose a lot of weight and a lot of volume very quickly. After a couple of days, I needed to wear a belt again. Overall, I was feeling more like myself. I was feeling a lot lighter and less like my body was slowing me down. I don’t know if the weight loss is sustainable on keto, but I needed to lose these extra 5 pounds to fit in my suit.
- I wasn’t crashing in the afternoon. My energy was just a lot more evenly throughout the day. I wasn’t feeling lousy and tired after eating. I wasn’t feeling terrible until I was stuffing my face with food again, I didn’t need to nap in the afternoon nor to go back to sleep as soon as my alarm was going off. I was just feeling a lot more present and functional.
- I had more control over my food intake. Hear me out here: I had cravings. But they were manageable. I could still think straight and figure out that I didn’t need that food to make me feel better. I wasn’t feeling hungry an hour and a half after a meal. I was feeling more balanced and more reasonable. I was feeling moderately hungry when it was time for a meal. My cravings for non-keto foods were still there, but they were getting less intense over time.
- My mind was clearer. I was not expecting this one at all. But my thoughts were way more manageable. My anxiety was still there, of course, but I could take myself out of it way more quickly than I ever could. My mind seemed to go a lot slower, but it was more focused at the same time. Having one thought at a time was becoming my norm. As a result, my focus and general concentration improved by a lot. My productivity went up, so did my will to work and get things done. I was procrastinating a lot less. Which puts you into a virtuous circle: you feel better about yourself, so you improve, but because of that you feel even better about yourself, so you grow even more, and so on.
After adopting the keto diet for two weeks, after feeling all these improvements, I decided to have my first cheat meal. At that point, I had lost all the weight I wanted to lose. I fitted in my suit. I could treat myself with some carbs. Right after that dinner, I started having a crash of energy. My thoughts weren’t as slow and clear as before. I was feeling full, but I felt like I wanted to eat more and more. Exactly like I was previously. I was back at stress eating.
It was incredible to notice how quickly my body went from that good healthy state to those good old habits. While I’m sure a lot of people would have regretted cheating on their diet at that exact moment, it made me feel great. It made me feel like the behavior I had with food until then wasn’t my fault but was a real consequence of the high carb diet I had adopted for more than 20 years. This time it was clear: I have been eating poison for my entire life, and that poison was making me feel sick both on a physical and on a mental level.
While it was hard sticking to the diet, especially as a French guy, as bread and carbs are such an essential element of my culture, reminding me that eating carbs will just make me feel bad and that it will just break all the efforts I’ve made so far, helped me stick to that diet.
In case of cravings, I’ve discovered something: alternatives do exist! I’ve learned how to make keto bagels or a keto pizza. These familiar dishes help me feel less frustrated when I want to give up and eat a bunch of carbs. Same for desserts, there are options available that are very low in carbs (but high in protein, so you still have to be careful) and they really help you get rid of the frustration you might feel sometimes, or they can fulfill that crippling craving that you are having because of a hard day or because of a stressful life event.
Sugar seems to be the hardest thing to stop for most people; bread, and carbs, in general, were the hardest for me. I am still learning on how to replace that sort of food and how to get that filling sensation that eating these carbs make me feel. So far, I’ve found that eating a ridiculous amount of leafy greens help me achieve that, but I am not entirely satisfied by that solution.
Exploring a new diet is very exciting. It pushes me to try new recipes. It drives me to research what is the best food to eat, and what is the best way to cook it. I feel like, even if you are not on keto and even if you don’t believe anything that I said before, it could be worth the try, just to expand your cooking knowledge, just to get used to new tastes, or to get used to new feelings (yes, carb crashes are definitely real), and to learn about good and bad fats.
While I don’t think that a diet can cure everything and change your life, it does make sense that food is your fuel. If you give your body food that is making it sick, you will not be able to function at your full potential, and that is basic wisdom.
I am putting myself through tests, so you don’t have to.
I share what works and what doesn’t, so you don’t waste time.
Sometimes I succeed and improve, sometimes I fail and learn, just like you.
Let’s keep each other inspired