Before I started my keto journey, I imagined myself sailing easily through the fat fueled lifestyle. I imagined myself glowing serenely as I nibbled on some fat bombs and sipped my MCT laden teas while touting the ease of it all and the enormous amount of energy I envisioned myself gaining from going keto.
The reality was a starker contrast. Numerous times I have felt tired and hungry, only to become enraged when I realize that the only thing I can eat in my fridge was another fat bomb or a vegetable with a glob of homemade mayonnaise. My cravings for starchy, carb rich foods such as warm rice with butter, or charred sweet potato with a salty-sweet ketchup have made it almost impossible for me to browse Instagram or ready a nonketo cookbook. Avoiding the Instagram landmine of carb-holic feeds that never seem to end, I have been sticking to safer mediums, such as listening to keto podcasts and reading keto blogs. But even there, in the touted safe space of fat loving keto people, I get frustrated. It is hard to read about other people’s experiences and not compare it to your own. The keto blogs and podcasts are filled with all the same mantras: “Since going keto I never feel hungry!” or “I never have any cravings!” or the worst “I feel so energized on keto!”. I find myself feeling like a failure for having sweet potato cravings, or wanting to nap.
I know I am not a failure. I am doing keto to be healthier for the long term, and I know that it is ok to have cravings, be tired and just in general not have a perfect storybook fairy tale of going keto. I just didn’t expect to struggle this much.
The first two weeks were the worst, and I began to feel that maybe I was doing everything wrong, or worse, that perhaps my diet previous to keto was worse than I had realized. Then this week things began to change slowly. I found myself feeling more energized in the mornings. My old morning routine was to pull myself out of bed an hour later than my husband, only to immediately flop down on the couch clutching a cup of tea. This week I actually had enough energy to hit the gym before work. No kidding.
I noticed that my clothes began to fit better, and I lost a few pounds of water weight. Things seemed to be going alright, but then I attended a health foods conference for work where I tried about a hundred different food samples. Most were either popped or puffed something, some sort of bar, or a sauce. Also, lots(!) of chocolate, which I never once said no to (it’s my job!). I was at the trade show for five hours tasting and sampling all the new foods and having a riot. I biked home, dumped out my bag of free swag and immediately felt like I was drunk. My head swam and my heart raced, my words muddled into giggles. I felt light and heavy at the same time, even though there was not a single cannabis product at the tradeshow. I was out of ketosis and drunk of sugar.
That night I got a headache, felt overly tired, and ended up convincing my husband to make popcorn on the stove while watching a movie with me. I was shocked by how I felt feelings of being hungover from only consuming carbs.
The next morning I felt back to normal, and went back to eating keto. I plan to start eating cheese and high fat dairy products this week, hoping that it makes it easier for me to find food more delicious and appetizing. I also plan to start doing weekly carb ups with roasted sweet potatoes and fruit soon. But I don’t plan to stop doing keto, even though it can be a struggle some days.