- The keto diet can be an effective weight loss tool, but it can also provide other important health benefits.
- Here, author Jennifer Still details how she not only lost 125 pounds on the keto diet but also became "much happier and healthier" in life as a result of it.
I've followed the ketogenic diet on and off for over four years but decided about a year ago to recommit fully as I tried to shed a significant amount of weight and get down to a healthy size.
Now, roughly nine months later, I weigh 125 pounds less than when I started, and I'm much happier and healthier than I was ever before.
This change is largely due to adhering strictly to keto , but it's helped more than just the number on the scale.
Here are five ways the keto diet has changed not just my weight but my overall health.
1. It curbed my addiction to sugar.
Christopher Michel/Wikimedia Commons
It's safe to say I was addicted to sugar. In fact, I still am I don't think you ever get over an addiction, you just learn behaviors to help you conquer the harmful behaviors it encourages.
Before I started losing weight and fully committed to keto, I'd find myself bingeing on candy and loads of other sugary sweets pastries and cakes, cookies, etc. several times a week, which always made me feel worse, put my health further in danger, and packed on the pounds.
Since keto is an extremely low carbohydrate diet , in which you're supposed to eat no more than 20 grams of net carbs per day, that means sugar is out the window.
Cutting myself off cold turkey was incredibly difficult at first, but the longer I went without all the unhealthy junk I was eating before, the less I found myself wanting it. I did find some great keto-friendly dessert recipes once I felt more in control of my cravings, and those have more than made up for the lack of actual sugar in my diet.
It feels great not to be controlled by sugar anymore.
2. It helped me develop a healthy relationship with food.
Bartosz Luczak/ iStock
While many would consider keto a fad diet or feel it's not sustainable long-term, I can truly say that low carb eating will be a long-term thing for me. Not only has it worked wonders for helping me shed the pounds, it's also diversified my food intake and therefore my palette by encouraging me to get in the kitchen and try out new recipes using ingredients I'd never tried before.
Sure, I always liked vegetables and was no stranger to chicken thighs and steaks, but eating a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet meant I had to plan my meals a little more strategically and creatively, especially if I didn't want to get bored.
This gave me a true love of cooking, and in spending so much time preparing my daily food intake, I learned to think about and appreciate what I was putting into my body on a daily basis and the ways it was nourishing me. These days, it's less about shoveling it in mindlessly and more about making meals that will keep me full, strong, and healthy.
3. It helped me get fit.
There are plenty of people who successfully follow a keto diet without working out, but I knew that if I wanted to truly increase my health (and boost my weight loss), I needed to get my body moving. Since I work from home as a writer and editor, I spend a lot of my time sitting at a desk. Sure, I walk the dog twice a day, but the word exercise hadn't been part of my vocabulary for a while.
As I began eating better, I also started using the gym membership I'd been paying for and not using for months and soon fell in love with it.
While initially I couldn't do more than 10 minutes on the indoor bicycle and felt like my legs were turning to jelly after five minutes on the elliptical, the more weight I lost eating keto and the more I used my diet to fuel my body, the more energy I had and the stronger I got. These days, I regularly run on the treadmill for an hour and even do weekly spin classes. It feels great.
4. It extremely reduced my risk for obesity-related illness.
The old-school idea that fat makes you fat has been debunked numerous times by now, but many people still believe it. I'm not one of them; I know that sugar is toxic and is behind many of the health issues faced by millions people around the world, from high blood pressure and diabetes to obesity and heart disease.
By cutting sugar pretty much out of my diet completely and losing enough weight to take me out of the obese BMI, I've slashed my chances of developing many of these health issues considerably.
5. It boosted my confidence.
This is perhaps the most noticeable change of all. While losing weight via the keto diet has made me feel less self-conscious about wearing certain styles of clothing, the real confidence boost has come from sticking to my goal and working hard towards achieving it.
With every milestone I hit, I feel more and more confident in my ability to make big things happen, and while I know there are a million and one ways to achieve what I have so far (and what I want to in future), I'm truly glad I've had keto to help me on my journey.