At first, this blog started out as a Facebook post to my friends and then I realized it was way too long, so here is what I was going to say:
Maybe you are thinking “Okay, okay, okay…enough already about the Ketogenic (or Keto) Way of Eating” Tim and Cindy. Well, I want to explain to you why we are so passionate about this way of eating and share this video titled “What is the Ketogenic Diet? (Basic Concepts Simply Discussed)” by Dr. Ken Berry.
First of all, I want to tell you my story, as abbreviated as I can.
When I was a child I was one of the pickiest eaters, possibly THE pickiest on this planet (probably not, but I am sure my parents thought so). I certainly did not like veggies but my parents kept on trying to get me to eat them. Our family really didn’t have sweets around, except at the holidays, and those were limited. I didn’t really have an overweight issue until my early 20’s – then my weight started to blow up. Mind you I still wasn’t eating veggies but I had started eating some fast food, drinking alcohol, eating the delicious treats that were sold at the hospital I worked at plus I was baking sweet treats. Let’s face it – I was a “sweet eater”.
When Tim and I got married I was definitely overweight but I thought I could lick it. So I found this weight loss group in my hometown and thought I would give it a try. It was a lot of willpower and turkey. I can’t remember if I lost much weight or how long I stayed with it.
I think my next weight loss attempt was Weight Watchers and that didn’t last very long. I kept ballooning – up, up, up. You could start humming or singing the song “Up, Up and Away in my Beautiful Balloon” right about now, but the “Balloon” would be ME and I certainly wasn’t “Beautiful” I was just BIG!
The one five letter word that anyone who struggles with their weight dreads to hear or see on their medical chart is the word “obese”. It IS indeed a dreaded word! I didn’t mind being called “overweight” or “heavy” (“fat” not so much) but “obese” – that is an awful word! It was on my medical chart, and I did not like it.
My next attempt, if I remember correctly, was Jenny Craig….and yes, I did lose weight – quite a bit of weight. I even acquired a job at the center I went to. I worked there for a few years but guess what? My weight started coming back. One thing I learned was that the counselors who worked there did not practice – at all – what they preached. In fact, it was more about selling products and marketing than really anything else. There were some counselors there that cared but they weren’t “living it”. I tried (many failed attempts) to get it back on track but I always had a craving for carbohydrates – especially the simple ones like grains and sugary sweets.
Guess what? You can start singing the song “Up, Up and Away in my Beautiful Balloon” again because that is what happened to my body.
In my next attempt, I went back to Weight Watchers. I had a terrific leader, named Betty Bennett, and she was inspiring. She had lost over 70 lbs and had kept it off for years. She was a good example for sure. She would say “Good, Better, Best – never let it rest till your Good gets Better and your Better gets Best!” and “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels”. For me, it was all about the numbers on the scale. Sure, I heard things like “getting your body healthier” and such but, in my mind, I was always thinking “get the weight off and then you can go back to the way you have always eaten”. I lost quite a lot of weight on WW and I even considered becoming a group leader. One thing I learned is a lot of ways to still get in all those sweet treats and salty treats. Still, I faked it with all the veggies I should have been eating, I found ways around it and I still lost weight so I thought “no harm, no foul,” Right? WRONG!!!!!!
Time to sing that song again…..I went up, up, up and away from my weight loss and to new heights (weights). This time I ballooned up to 320 pounds. I was desperate!!!!!!!! So I decided that one way I could fix my weight problem was to have LapBand surgery, which I did. Before I could have the surgery I needed to go on a liquid diet for two weeks, not to lose weight but so my liver would shrink so the surgeon could easily maneuver around the liver. I lost close to 20 pounds, just being on the liquid diet, and that was just pure willpower and desperation that I was able to be on the liquid diet for those two weeks, which was around Thanksgiving (I even made myself a special Thanksgiving soup – liquefied – that had all the flavorings of the holiday I enjoyed). I am not even getting into the great expense it costs to have a LapBand surgery done. After my surgery, I lost a considerable amount of weight until things with my band started going haywire. I started having issues of throwing up, which you are not supposed to do, and it ended up being that my band was too tight. So I would have to have fluid removed from my port and it still was too tight. I ended up having all the fluid removed. I still have my band, which one day I want to have removed because it can still cause me much grief and causes me to throw up from time to time – it is not pretty and it is very painful – I won’t go into the details of it. I would not recommend the LapBand for anyone. It works for some but it did not work for me. For one thing, I still couldn’t wait to eat the way I wanted to: carbs, salty treats, and sugary sweets. I still didn’t eat veggies like I should have been doing – I was still lying to myself and faking it! I hadn’t learned a thing. Guess what? The weight started packing back on and going up, up, up and away. Although I have never gotten back up to the pre-LapBand weight…I was getting closer and closer.
My body had become inflamed…my was weight going up…I was on blood pressure medicine…I was pre-diabetic…I had high triglycerides…and my doctor(s) were not happy with my overall cholesterol. I had become a walking, talking and breathing, health risk to myself. The doctors would give me “diets” to go on but I thought they were crazy because I had failed so many times.
But again, I tried, another attempt to lose weight by just eating Weight Watchers frozen meals and counting points. I did lose a little weight but that weight loss attempt went by the wayside when we became full-time caregivers to our cancer-ridden daughter. Life became no longer about taking care of my health and no longer about taking care of Tim’s health, it was all about taking care of her (which neither Tim nor I regret AT ALL). During this weight loss attempt, I still got around eating or even trying to like vegetables. My palate was still sweets orientated and so I worked in as many as I could using Weight Watchers sweet treats and Skinny Cow treats. I still liked all the higher carb foods like pasta, bread, corn, and rice not to mention all the salty snacks like bags of popcorn or pretzels. If it was a simple carb I liked it – no, I loved it – no, I just craved it. I thought it was my genetic makeup since my Mom likes her sweets. I thought “hey, I can’t help it”.
I don’t know how a person can go into their 60’s and still think they can lose weight and get healthier by doing the same things over and over again. The saying is true “the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result”. I guess I have been insane – LOL – for years then.
One thing I knew and feared was that I did not want to end up being diabetic like my Dad had been. I did not want to have a heart attack, which my Dad had had. But I still…still had no idea what to do. I know I needed to try to help myself but I had no clue. First off – how to get healthier and how to get off the extra weight safely and, secondly, how to change my palate. The doctors would throw “diets” at me but they really did not instruct me or educate me. They just gave me the standard American Heart Association or the American Diabetic Association Diets which are high carb, low-fat diets. There was no education about how foods affect your body.
Then something amazing happened. My sister starting talking to me about her husband being on the Ketogenic Diet for his diabetes and how it was having a positive effect on his health. Well, that piqued my interest because I was once again desperate. I knew for the first time in all my overweight and unhealthy years that I had to do something different. I felt poisoned by what I was putting in my body. I knew I was unhealthy and I felt unhealthy. So I started researching the Ketogenic Diet. I spent considerable time reading articles, watching videos by health professionals, learning how food affects my body and how it either negatively impacts it or positively impacts it. I learned how just one doctor’s hypothesis (definition of hypothesis -“something which may or may not prove to be true but is assumed to be true for the sake of argument) changed the way Americans ate in the early 60’s. That is when good saturated fats (butter, fatty meats, cheeses, etc) became the #1 enemy of the American diet. A diet of higher Carbohydrates (grains, fruits, and vegetables) became the little darling of the food pyramid and was encouraged. Oh, yes there is meat in the food pyramid, and there are fats BUT the meats are low-fat and the fats that are recommended are not healthy and satisfying fats.
Side note: I know I am getting off track but I just needed to add this. Does anyone remember “Olestra” or maybe you recognize “Olean” from back in the mid-1990’s? It was to help eliminate fat from our diets. This was a product that the FDA approved in 1996 but later it was banned because it not only removed excess fat from food it also restricted the body of taking in vital and much-needed vitamins plus it caused some pretty nasty side effects. Now that certainly was the government looking out for America’s health. NOT! I just had to mention it. Tim and I were just talking about his unhealthy little item last night.
Well back on to my Keto journey: I decided that I had read enough and heard enough that I was going to give the Ketogenic “Diet” a go. So I set the date of August 6, 2017, to begin my adventure into the land “Ketodom”. Tim thought I was nuts! Really, I didn’t blame him. He was going to try to lose weight again by eating Weight Watchers frozen dinners. I was fine with that – that was his choice, and I had made mine. The very first day I started on the Keto “Diet” friends of our asked us out for lunch after church. I really didn’t panic because they wanted to go to “Fuddruckers” and I knew they had meat and cheese there and I could have some lettuce, tomatoes, pickles (not sweet) and mayo all without the bun and no french fries. Was it hard? You, bet it was! All I wanted to do was say “forget about it, I’ll start tomorrow”. I couldn’t do that – I needed to make a fresh start. I am so glad that I didn’t hold off on starting my journey and adventure.
I continued my research, learning, and education into Keto. The more I read, the more excited I became. A real learning came with the new way of eating and thinking. It was difficult at first, figuring out what to eat and not falling back into my old way of behaving (that makes me think of our girls when they were small. We’d say “behave” to them and they would respond “we are being haved”). I digress again 🙁
I did struggle a bit with what they call the “keto flu” – like being extra tired, and leg cramps were definitely a problem, but I kept on the journey. After a few days of Tim seeing me eat eggs cooked in butter and bacon (and all the other good fats I got to enjoy) he joined me on the Keto journey. One thing I can tell you is that it is more fun and exciting when your spouse is eating the same way. We have enjoyed planning meals together and preparing them together.
Since I was not a veggie eater I thought it all could be a problem for me. I started out adding spinach to my salads which I had done on and off before I started eating Keto. I have a long way to go but I now enjoy cauliflower and broccoli. I started out with cauliflower with Keto Cheese Sauce and I sort of kind of tolerated the taste and texture but after a while, I really learned to like it. I moved on to broccoli and added Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce to it. Wow, I really like that now, too. I have a lot more exploring to do when it comes to Keto friendly veggies but I am determined to put my taste buds under submission…… 🙂
My new way of eating is an ongoing process of learning about the Keto way to health, trying new vegetables and foods, incorporating different fats, such as MCT Oil, trying new recipes, and enjoying this new lifestyle each and every day.
You might ask, “So what makes you think this way of living is going to be sustainable for the rest of your life? Well, all I can say is I am finally satisfied with the foods I am eating and that has never happened before in my entire adult life. I am enjoying the way I feel, and nothing tastes as sweet as that!