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The keto diet recommends foods high in fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrates. Having struggled with weight and weight-related health problems the majority of her life, author Jennifer Still was looking to shed some pounds and restore her health with the keto diet. After four years, the keto diet has not only helped Still lose weight, but it also changed her life in a variety of ways — here's how.
I've struggled with my weight for the majority of my life. About four years ago, I was looking to make a permanent change that would not only help me shed pounds but also restore my health without being unsustainable, harmful, or faddish. That's when I first discovered the ketogenic — or “keto” — diet, which prescribes a diet of high fat, moderate protein, and extremely low carbohydrate foods.
While it comes with its fair share of challenges — and I've definitely fallen off the wagon many times since that fateful day— the ketogenic diet is one of the healthiest and sustainable ways of eating I’ve ever tried. As an added bonus, I’ve shed over 50 pounds.
While it won't be right for everyone, I truly feel that the keto diet is a great choice not only for those who are significantly overweight, but also for anyone who’s looking to simplify and streamline their diet with real, tasty foods.
After four years strong on the keto diet, here’s how it changed my life.
1. I finally broke my addiction to sugar qoppi / Shutterstock
I used to eat a ridiculous amount of sugar on a daily basis. From obvious sources like candy and pastries to less overt but still harmful ones like sauces and savory snacks, I was on a constant sugar-high, always chasing my next “fix.”
The keto diet allows little to no sugar at all, and going cold turkey turned out to be the only thing that could break my addiction and restore my sanity.
2. I started eating really, really good food realfoodforlife/Instagram
I've always loved vegetables and conventionally “healthy” things, but admittedly, the majority of my diet was made up of quick, easy foods that came from boxes or were heavy on carbs but low on the nutritional scale.
With keto — while there are no real restrictions on what you can and can't eat as long as it falls within your macros (the amount of calories, carbs, protein, fat, etc. you should be eating per day) — the general idea is to start eating foods that are what they say they are instead of options that are made up of a long list of ingredients you can't pronounce.
That means lots of fresh veggies, lean and fatty meats, eggs, cheese, and even butter. Fruit has also become part of my diet in moderation, though I stick with low-sugar varieties like raspberries and blueberries over higher carb options, such as pineapples and bananas.
3. I actually found a diet I could stick to for the first time in my life Elena Veselova / Shutterstock
As I mentioned previously, the ketogenic diet definitely isn’t for everyone, and there have been times that it wasn't even for me. Given that it’s somewhat restrictive, it can be difficult to maintain while eating out, on vacation, with small children, and/or a full-time job.
While I’ve spent stints doing the Whole30, the paleo diet, and more general “clean eating,” I always come back to keto to reset my body and mind and get back on track when my nutrition seems like it’s veering out of control.
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