health

Another blog about the Keto diet

Chances are that you’ve heard of the Keto diet.  And if you’re at all interested in health and wellness, you’ve probably Googled it.  And you were probably bombarded with Pinterest boards, books, podcasts, and catchy headlines that promise quick results.  As a health coach, my job is to filter through all of the information so that 1) you don’t have to and 2) you can get an unbiased opinion that’s not motivated by a sale.  So let’s get to it.

Keto is short for Ketosis, which is the term used when the body is fueled by fat rather than carbohydrates.  The typical person eats enough carbohydrates (grains, fruits, starchy vegetables, beans, etc), that they don’t need to tap into their fat stores for energy.  So in order to use that stored fat as fuel, the amount of carbohydrates consumed needs to be significantly reduced, while increasing fat and protein. This equates to something around 75% of calories from fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates.  

What people love about Keto

  • People rave about the mental clarity that they experience once going Keto.

  • Because fats are more filling than carbohydrates, people stay full for longer.  It’s simply harder to over eat.

  • Fat is a more efficient source of energy.  Just like quality wood burns longer than pine needles, the body can run on fat a lot longer than it can on carbohydrates.

What can be tricky about Keto

  • It takes the average person 2-7 days to get into a state of Ketosis.  And this requires that you follow the plan perfectly.

  • You won’t actually know if your body is in a state of ketosis unless you do a blood test or a urine test.  Both kinds of tests are available at a typical drug store.  

  • You can knock yourself out of ketosis by eating too much protein.

  • The Keto diet paired with intermittent fasting is the most impactful approach, but also requires the largest lifestyle shift.

  • Your body has probably been running off of glucose for a majority of your life.  So when you create a drastic shift in the type of calories that you consume, you may experience something called the keto flu.  Symptoms range from feeling lightheaded or dizzy, brain fog, or muscle cramping.  

  • There is a large margin for error between the foods that you are allowed to eat and the change in lifestyle that it would require.

So here is where I’m supposed to say whether or not you should try the Keto diet, right?  The truth is that the answer is different for everyone. Lifestyle, age, health history, commitment level, goals and a whole slew of other factors are all part of the equation.  Ultimately, I believe that small changes over time lead to the most sustainable health improvements. If you want to learn more about how to start making changes to your lifestyle, let’s talk.


Labeled healthy

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Growing up, I was considered one of the athletic kids .  I spent 20+ hours at gymnastics each week, I was always picked to be Sporty Spice (even though I desperately wanted to be Posh), and while I outwardly complained about running the pacer test in gym, I secretly loved it.  And like most kids, I really didn’t care what I put into my body when it came to nutrition.  I would have happily traded my Lisa Frank trapper keeper had it meant that I could get five extra servings of those glorious cafeteria french toast sticks.  

Fast forward to college where I started to understand the value in nutrition.  Did I follow a nutrition plan?  No.  But I knew that going to bed earlier, skipping the shot at the bar, and eating a somewhat regular dinner could only help my athletic performance.  This is when I started to notice that while being an athlete was still cool, being healthy was not.  I was given a hard time for leaving the bar early or for skipping out on the trip to Dairy Queen.  Rather than defending my choices, I gave excuses.  “You guys go without me, I’m too tired” or “I really wish I could but I have to study” or “I am totally broke.  Go without me.”  I mean, all of those excuses were valid, but they weren’t the main reasons why I was opting out. 

The “health nut” comments and my excuses continued once I entered the working world. When I was given a hard time for ordering salad, I would brush it off by saying that I was still full from breakfast, even though a salad would probably have filled me up more than any other option on the menu.   When I got made fun of for carrying around my obnoxiously large water bottle, I justified it by saying that I was getting over a cold and needed to stay hydrated.  But at some point, I asked myself why I was going through all this trouble to “cover up” the fact that I was consciously making these choices simply because they made me feel good.  The simple answer?  Because to most people, being healthy is synonymous with being boring, rigid, and uptight.  And even if those are untrue stereotypes, nobody wants to be mistakenly categorized as “the health nut”.  At least I didn’t want to be.

It’s taken a long time, but I can finally say that I’ve learned to embrace the “healthy girl” label. And it hasn’t hurt that health is an “in thing” right now. Rather than giving excuses, I try to explain my choices, while totally recognizing that there is a fine line between being informative and being preachy or arrogant.  And if people are still taking digs, I have to remind myself that they are probably coming from a place of insecurity and probably some displaced curiosity.  

  

So what’s the point in sharing all of this, Liz?  Simply put, be proud of the decisions that you make regarding your health.  Your body is truly the only thing that is one-hundred percent yours in this life, so care for it.  Nourish it.  Be kind to it.  And who knows!  Maybe once you embrace your healthy quirks, whatever they may be, you’ll inspire someone close to you to make a healthy change in their own life.  Here’s to the health nerds.