The Keto Diet at 50
I have never been a successful dieter. Scratch that. I SUCK at diets, having never followed through successfully on any diet in 50 years. A self-proclaimed foodie with ADHD, a need for instant gratification, and body image issues, I had never lost a pound on a diet in my life. When my best friend lost 70 pounds on the keto diet, I was happy for her but convinced myself that there was no way I would be able to do the same. On top of the excuses listed above, I was in menopause, and everyone knows it is impossible to lose weight after menopause. Who starts The Keto Diet at 50?
I was standing in Torrid with my Stepdaughter, Gracie. Who doesn’t love this store? I love that I wear a size 1 in a world that otherwise labels me a 12…and let’s face it, I shouldn’t be trying to squeeze all this lovin’ into a size 12 just because I don’t like the idea of size 14. I was complaining about being fat. She turned to me and said, “Well, if you don’t like it, then do something about it.” Out of the mouths of babes, or sassy teenagers. But she was right. I had always been a woman of action, but my weight was one area that I had refused to address for one reason: fear of failure. I went home and weighed myself for the first time in years, and was horrified by the number on the scale. It was indeed time for action.
What is Keto?
The Ketogenic, or Keto Diet is a high fat very low carb diet. Eggs, high fat meat like bacon, nuts, avocados and cheese are staples. Non-root vegetables such as zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli and leafy greens are also approved. Fruit is very limited, grains and sugar are a hard NO. If you faithfully follow the food pyramid, you may be concerned (as was I initially) that this way of eating essentially inverts the food pyramid. Is it healthy? I am not a doctor, but here is what I know. Being 50 pounds overweight was not healthy. I was shortening my lifespan, I was pre-diabetic, I hurt all over. And I was miserable.
We Used to Be Healthier
Last year, I was looking at some old home movies from the 70’s. “My gosh, everyone is so skinny!” Even my “fat” grandma was actually pretty slim by today’s standards. Back in the 70’s we ate bacon and eggs for breakfast, peanut butter and celery for snacks, ate lots of cheese and drank full fat milk. Processed foods full of grains, sugar and chemicals were not frequently purchased, they were treats. It was then that I started thinking about how our western diets were impacting our bodies. Taking on The Keto Diet at 50 was a leap of faith that the way that we used to eat was healthier. But would it work for me?
Hiding From A Cherry Pie
My husband didn’t get the memo. I started the keto diet 2 days before he brought home a cherry pie. In his defense, he probably thought that based on my track record the diet would be over. I am not going to lie, the first week of this diet was so hard. I was addicted to sugar, and the withdrawal was not pretty. This is how I came to be in my bed with my covers over my head, hiding from a cherry pie. If I went downstairs, I was going to eat it. Hide in your bed if you have to, friends, because after the first week it gets much, much easier. In addition to sugar cravings, some people experience the “Keto flu” which is a response to low electrolyte consumption. Symptoms include lethargy, headaches and nausea. I did not experience the Keto Flu, and I don’t want you to either! Be aware of consuming enough magnesium, potassium and sodium. I highly recommend magnesium citrate and potassium supplements, and start them a few days before you change your diet. Salt your food to taste.
Six Pounds in One Week!
Though I craved sugar, I was not hungry on this diet. This is huge for me, because I have a very low tolerance for a grumbly tummy. If you are hungry, you are probably not eating enough fat. Without being hungry I lost 6 pounds in the first week! For somebody who needs instant results, this way of eating delivers big time. No pills, shakes, heavy duty exercise, flashy things to buy etc. I have been eating this way for 10 weeks and I have lost a total of 30 pounds! My body aches are gone, as is persistent stomach pain. I have more energy and less anxiety. As I look at the list of health benefits I am reaping, I realize that my body was in a constant state of inflammation before I cut out sugar and grains. I promise you that I was skeptical of Keto and very skeptical of my own ability to stick to it. Almost immediate weight loss, consistent weight loss, AND my overall health has dramatically improved. Why wouldn’t I stick with it?? If I can do it, YOU can do it.
My Tips for Success
- Download an App to help you track your Macros (carbs, protein and fat). This keeps you accountable. Accountability for any kind of addict, including food addicts, is crucial. I used Carb Manager, and only used to the free part of the features.
- Eat enough fat to keep yourself full. You will eat less in the long run.
- Measure your food and track in in your app. If you are like me, denial and lying to yourself about portion size is part of how you got here.
- Drink lots of water and cut out the soda
- Make sure you have Keto approved snacks ready before you begin the diet. Set yourself up to win.
- There are a lot of great Keto recipes available on happyhealthybeautiful.com. However, if you don’t feel like making one meal for yourself and one for your kids, modify the food to meet your needs. IE: If you are having spaghetti with meat sauce, but the high fat content hamburger, and serve your portion over zucchini noodles. You will become adept at making these switches.
- Cheating on Keto is not like cheating on other diets. You will set yourself back several days for every day you cheat. Just don’t. If you do, chalk it up to being human and press on. Nobody is perfect.
- Buy single serving snacks. They are more expensive, but again, they hold you accountable to serving sizes. Plus, they are easy to carry in your purse or car, and can save you from impulse snacking on the go.
Success at Any Age
Starting The Keto Diet at 50 was intimidating, but my only regret is that I didn’t do it years ago. I have control for the first time in, well, FOREVER and I understand what my body needs to be healthy. This is way more than I ever expected and I. Feel. Amazing!