I’ve done this. I’ve seen this with a number of persons I’ve had the privilege of coaching. I’ve seen the stories members of our Caribbean Keto Tribe have shared in our Facebook Group. You start off with a fervent desire to lose weight and improve health and your energy matches this desire. Meal prep is done with gusto. You press through the initial uncomfortable days of the “keto flu” and you celebrate with joy & relief with the first 8 pound loss.
Woo-hoo! Your clothes are fitting better and your energy is through the roof, you feel positive and you just KNOW that you’ve found your key to losing weight and feeling good. Then after a few weeks, sometimes it is even a few months, you come off plan for any variety of reasons.
…And then that one cheat meal becomes a cheat weekend, which becomes a cheat week, which becomes a cheat month and before you know it, despite your most fervent desire to return to the heady glory days of your first experience with keto, you remain stuck. You remain unable to consistently eat low-carb even though the weight is creeping back on, even though your energy has dipped, even though you KNOW eating low-carb really and truly worked for you.
First of all, you are not alone!
Off the keto wagon & can’t get up? You’re not alone!
Listen: this is NOT a low-carb world! You can’t just walk into a convenience store and grab a great keto snack from a wide range of options to go if you’re on the road and busy. Your choices are confined to small packs of nuts and maybe cheese. Or you’re out socializing with friends, and the temptation (and sometimes pressure) overwhelms you and you yield and enjoy carb-laden appetizers which inevitably lead to a carb-laden entre and perhaps even dessert, made all the more easy by your lowered inhibitions courtesy that cocktail you’re enjoying, to be sociable and to- darn it!– enjoy yourself! After all, you’re worth it, right? And let’s face it: carbs taste good. They make us feel good in the moment. And they’re accessible. And yes, having fallen-off, sometimes getting back on is the hardest thing to do. I know.
Which of these reasons for falling off & staying of the keto wagon is your reason?
If you’re still reading, congratulations! It means that you haven’t given up totally and that means you have hope. I really want you to understand that you’re not alone. This is life, YOUR life, YOUR story.
You stay on keto for a few days, but then you slip back into old habits, throwing in the towel for a few days, then a few weeks which turns into months and even years. But remember this:
Life is a JOURNEY. Some parts are smooth sailing, some are rocky, some are uphill, ALL are a part of YOUR story.
Falling off doesn’t condemn you to stay off. Remember the peaks and valleys are all part of YOUR story. Embrace it.
Here are some of the reasons for falling off and why getting back on is difficult for some:
- STRESS EATING
- Disruptive life events: career change, illness, divorce, miscarriage…
- Comparing your progress to others and allowing discouragement to derail you
- Not quite sure what to prepare for meals after a while on keto
- Failure to plan ahead, leaving you at the mercy of the ever-present high-carb food options that abound
Yes, you CAN get back on the keto wagon!
You know keto worked for you in the past. Why wouldn’t it work again? Consider this: you drop your cell phone and the screen cracks. Do you then take a hammer to the phone to finish the job, or do you replace the screen and keep it moving? Falling off is no reason to stay off.
So having made that decision NOT to remain off the wagon, let’s get practical as to how to climb back onto the wagon and stay there.
I STRESS EAT. How can I remain keto?
Ever wonder why when we are stressed we crave ice cream or pasta or cake or potatoes and why we don’t crave broccoli or shrimp? Simple: carbs make us feel good. Seriously. They light up that portion of the brain associated with pleasure and have us going in search again and again and again for that dopamine hit (addiction?). So the food is doing a very important job for you: it is soothing and comforting you. Ditching the high-carb food without finding another way to soothe and comfort is a recipe for disaster. That won’t work. It’s like me taking away a blanket that you’re using to keep warm just because it is dirty. If I don’t replace that dirty blanket with a clean one you’ll freeze to death!
Only YOU can clearly articulate the role that food, specifically carbs, is playing for you right now: relieving boredom? Soothing you? Comforting you? Calming you? Once you define the role that food is playing for you, then you can move to exploring and then deciding on what you’ll use INSTEAD OF food.
Why aren’t you calm? What are you anxious about? Write those reasons down. BE VERY SPECIFIC.
Challenge those fears: are they legitimate? What can you do to mitigate the risks/issues you face?
Pray about them. Pray about what you think you can do to mitigate.
Talk with someone if you can. Or write a letter to yourself about them. Putting our fears out into the open strips them of their power. All of a sudden, they don’t look so big and scary.
Find other ways to self-soothe & get that dopamine hit: light exercise, a walk in the fresh air, writing, escaping in light fiction, a drive out, a new hobby where you’re using your hands like gardening, crocheting, sewing, baking low-carb goodies :). Yoga is very good for centering your mind and calming racing thoughts and heart rates. There are lots of good beginner videos on YouTube if this interests you. Two or three times per week is a great start.
As you start to deal with the drivers of your desire for those foods, it becomes easier to drop them, because you know what’s bugging you and you have decided on dealing with them head-on and in healthier ways. If you’ve gotten to here, that’s a huge victory.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy.
We are all different. Our bodies are different. STOP comparing your progress to that of others. Seriously. Celebrate YOUR progress. Stay consistent and simply trust the process. There are many reasons people progress at different rates: age, hormones, stress levels, etc. So what if she lost 40 lbs in 3 months and all you’ve lost is 12 lbs… Read that again: “…all you’ve lost is 12 lbs…” Suppose you had gained that 12 lbs instead of losing it? How would you feel? Also, the time will pass ANYWAY. Why not lose 12 lbs instead of remaining where you are? Run your race. Stay consistent. Trust the process.
My then 14 year old son and I started our keto journey at the same time. After 30 days he showed tremendous progress? Me though…if I lost 5 lbs I had lost a lot. But I couldn’t stop. I needed to stay consistent for him. So I did. After a few months of plodding along, I added intermittent fasting and that was a game changer for me. Over 4 years since we started I still have another 10 lbs to lose but my now 19 year old son is now Mr. Body Beautiful! Am I going to stop because he has done better than I have? HELL NO! I’m very happy with how far I’ve come.
“I’m sick of meal prep & I’m bored with the food.”
Is this you? Don’t apologise if it is. I’ve found these 2 things to be true: you can get by on meal prep twice per week only and if you build in a weekly low-carb treat, it really makes staying compliant easier.
Use your supermarket deli to supplement your meal prep effort. Here’s a great guide I put together for you.
There are several low-carb treats that I’ve added to my repertoire over the years that are easy to make and scratch my “I feel for something nice” itch. I enjoy them at most, weekly. Yes, I have to make them, but it’s worth it to me. Just Google “keto cheesecake recipe” or “keto butter cookie recipe” and so on, and give it a whirl!
I suggest you find people who make keto desserts and try them out. Here in Jamaica, I believe @lemacaron77 on Instagram does this (always ask for carb count and ingredients to make sure that what you’re getting is legit!).
And lastly, you know you get bored on your regular high-carb fare from time to time! What do you do when this happens? You try something new! So do that with low-carb too! Tired of rotisserie chicken and salad? Go for fish at Hellshire! Tired of baked chicken with steamed veggies? Go get some jerked pork and feel alright!
Oh…and when you meal prep, FREEZE the extra portions. You really don’t have to be eating the same thing 3 days in a row. I could never do that. FREEZE them in single serve containers and use them up whenever you feel like over the next few weeks.
Tools of the Trade to Win with Keto
Gather the necessary hardware to win at this:
1. Freezer & microwave safe food containers that you both can carry with you.
2. Lunch bags with freezer packs
3. Water bottles that keep water COLD. I use a brand from Amazon called Simple Modern. It is excellent. Keeps water cold for hours.
4. Non-stick frying pan for easy prep and clean up of eggs. Cooking is no fun if clean up entails soaking and scrubbing
INSTEAD OF THAT, EAT THIS!
By way of stoking that fire and getting you going again, here are some basics that you can revisit, and some meal ideas to help you ease back into the game:
|Instead of this…||EAT THIS!|
|Bread||Mug bread or low carb wrap|
|Rice||Crunchy stir fried cabbage or cauliflower fried rice|
|Potato||Cauliflower mash or roasted pumpkin (peel, cut, rub with oil, salt, garlic powder & bake for 30 or so min)|
|Ground Provision||Roasted vegetables or roasted pumpkin (peel, cut, rub with oil, salt, garlic powder & bake for 30 or so min)|
|Mac n cheese||Cheesy veg casserole|
|Pasta||Zoodles (zucchini cut with a little gadget like this to resemble pasta)|
|Sweet treats||Cookies, coconut macaroons, cheese cake, scones, ice cream|
What difficult situation have you overcome in the past?
I’m sure you’ve been through some challenging situations and survived. How did you do it then? Why can’t you do it now? Your framework for surviving and triumphing may have looked like this:
- You prayed about the challenge
- You used daily affirmations to ground you and keep you going
- You took it one step at a time once you decided that you had no other choice but to keep going.
Now do the same in your fight for wellness and well-being. Why not? If this is important to you, then it is important enough to strategize around and use your winning template.
Plan to Win (again) with Keto
Yes, you’ll have to plan ahead. But you can do it. And it is all worth it. You’re worth it. Take it meal by meal. You’ve done it before. Remind yourself of your WHY. Combine meal prep with supermarket deli shopping. Plan your weekly low-carb treat. And then just do it.
Some people find that having a coach such as myself can help. Contact me here if you think I can assist.