It’s been a couple of weeks since you last checked your weight…
You wake up early in the morning and step into your bathroom to take your bath. Stepping out of the shower, you see your bathroom scale in a corner and decide to track your weight loss progress. “This can’t be. I’ve gone past my goal weight?!” Surprised by the reading of the scale, you step down and on again to confirm the scale isn’t broken. The same numbers are still staring at you…
You’ve actually gone past your weight loss goal. Your keto efforts finally paid off. What a surprise!
The scenario above was exactly Nicole’s experience. Well, without the part where she climbed a scale.
Nicole’s scale was at her friend’s for months, so she couldn’t consistently track her weight when she started working with me. She realized she had lost more weight than she set out to do when the clothes she couldn’t fit into initially became too large on her. She had to give out most of those clothes and go shopping.
Nicole is a 33-year-old divorced mom who fought really hard to lose weight.
On her journey to lose weight, Nicole followed people like Dave Asprey. She also tried keto on her own. Nicole took Pruvit, keto drinks, and other weight loss supplements without much to show for it.
While she succeeded in losing over 50 lbs, she ended up gained way more back.
She was confused and worried about why she wasn’t getting weight loss results like others were.
Nicole came to me because she wanted to take her keto to the next level, get to her weight loss goal and live it as a long-term lifestyle. She knew she was missing something and needed the guidance of an expert.
When Nicole came to me, in addition to her weight, she was consumed by painful periods. During her monthly period, the world literally ends for Nicole and those around her because of the excruciating pain.
It was emotionally traumatic for her and everyone around.
Nicole also had constipation issues, struggled to let go of her nightly glass of wine and what she called, “poor eating habits”.
During the nine weeks of working with me, Nicole experienced massive transformation in several areas of her life.
She said her biggest win from working with me was her transformed eating habits.
Nicole said the rule of “5 minutes meal” I have in the program changed everything for her. She went from consuming boxed food and keto products to making her food at home because she learned the secrets of my fast & easy meal formula so that she could make meals in no time.
She said the nine weeks program helped her remove all the blind spots… All the things that were holding her back from getting the weight loss results she desired… The biggest of which was her eating habits.
Nicole was also able to give up her nightly wine habit.
She said the program caused her to pause and question the role of alcohol in her life. It was really transformative and an eye-opener.
Nicole said, typically, during a super stressful month, she’d give up on her efforts to lose weight and go back to her high-carb lifestyle… But the support and structure within the program gave her a different outlook.
It helped her stay on course.
By the second month of working with me, Nicole noticed that her period pain dramatically subsided. She experienced less cramping. It was regular and smooth sailing for her!
Nicole said the painful period relief alone was worth her entire investment in working with me!
Nicole also stated that the issues she had with constipation were gone. Her movements are now regular.
Nicole says that working with me leveled-up her keto game, shifted her perspective, and removed all the blind spots that held her back.
She has also given away all her Pruvit drinks, and other weight loss supplements, as she realized they don’t have a place in her life anymore.
Do you feel inspired by Nicole’s story?
Would you like to experience a similar transformation in your life?
If yes, I have good news for you.
Right now, I am taking in a new set of people through the same program that Nicole completed.
Click here to read more about who is the right fit to work with me and find out if this might be right for you, too.
9 months on a ketogenic diet. Wow. In some ways, it feels like just yesterday I started this way of eating. In other ways, it seems like forever ago that I was in that old body with all those debilitating symptoms. In the beginning, I mentally committed to at least 90 days because I knew it takes at least that long to become very well adapted to a ketogenic diet. The results have been so dramatic that I’ve gone three times as long as my original commitment with no plans of stopping.
A lot is new: weight lifting, podcast interview, thoughts on cravings, hair regrowth, and more. And a lot is the same: weight loss maintained, normalized blood pressure and blood sugar, all the other health improvements, and my 90 Day keto challenge programs.
Ongoing Health and Symptom Improvements
Here is a recap of the health improvements I’ve experienced over the last 9 months:
Normalized blood pressure
No more metabolic syndrome
Normalized liver function
Normal fasting blood glucose (went from 96 to 70)
70% drop in inflammation (C-reactive protein)
Only one migraine headache in the last 9 months (before keto I was having multiple migraines each month that lasted 6 days each)
Chronic leg pain is almost completely gone
Leg swelling almost complete gone
Memory and mental acuity are at pre-accident level
Energy is fantastic (one year ago I was bedridden from extreme fatigue)
Sleep has dramatically improved, both in quality and circadian rhythm
Urinary incontinence is gone
Athlete’s foot is nearly gone
Toe nail fungus is dying
Sugar, carb, and fast food cravings are gone
Depression and mood is greatly improved
Skin appearance and texture is so soft and smooth
Cardiovascular exercise endurance is unbelievable
Resting heart rate has dropped from high 80s to 60s
Heat intolerance is gone
Physical clumsiness and dropping things is almost gone
Motivation is through the roof
Light and noise intolerance is gone
Sense of ease, calm, peace (lack of anxiety)
Obesity is gone
Central abdominal obesity gone
Ability to return to work full-time
My diet remains pretty much the same and you can see what I eat by following me on Instagram here. For the most part, I don’t weigh or measure my food at this point because I’ve learned what foods and portions fit my keto macros. I did decide to do a dairy-free month, however.
Dairy-free month. Personally, I started to notice my consumption of heavy whipping cream was increasing over time and that each time I had some, it never felt like it was enough. I started having obsessive thoughts about how I could get more, so I decided it was time to take a break from it. This coincided with my 20 year old son (he’s keto, too) expressing his desire to do a dairy-free month, as well. He tends toward cystic acne that he has identifed in the past was triggered by dairy, so prior to keto he mostly avoided it. He decided to try dairy again when he went keto about 7 months ago, to see if the tendency for keto to dramatically reduce inflammation would mediate or prevent his normal reaction to dairy. At first, he did not seem to have his normal cystic acne breakouts, and he still doesn’t. However he wants to take his keto diet to the next level and cut out dairy to see if it will completely eliminate all acne (and my guess is that it likely will).
Keto without dairy is a challenge, however it is not impossible. I’m exploring dairy-free keto friendly foods, like Kite Hill cheese, Go Veggie cream cheese, and Epic Bars, plus some homemade recipes, so stay tuned for updates, new recipes, and product reviews.
Hiking and Lifting Weights
A few weeks ago, I was able to go hiking for the first time since the car accident. It had been 2.5 years since I’d gone hiking. It was a milestone, for sure. What was most impressive for me was my level of cardiovascular endurance. Previously, any time I’d go hiking, I would experience pretty significant hypoglycemia symptoms (like feeling delirious and lightheaded at the end) if I didn’t have a high carb snack along the way. This time I not only didn’t need a snack at all, but I also hadn’t even eaten breakfast. And we hiking for over 2 hours. I felt strong and energetic. And after the hike was over, I had thoughts of going for another walk. It was the feeling of tapping into my body’s ample supply of fat energy. It was glorious!
I also decided to start lifting weights and settled on the 5×5 stronglifts program. I joined my local no-frills gym and really enjoyed the feeling of challenging my muscles. Soon I noticed though that lifting weights three times per week suddenly brought my appetite roaring back. This freaked me out a bit, so I took a break from the gym to do a little investigation. After all I could from /ketogains on Reddit and Facebook, I came to the conclusion that I was dramatically under-eating calories (even when following my appetite) for the workouts I was doing and would actually need to go back to monitoring my intake to ensure I was getting enough calories on workout days. Since I have a trip to Phoenix planned a couple of weeks, I decided to hold off on my 5X5 workouts until I return and can adequately monitor my food intake.
Guest on Ketovangelist Podcast
A few weeks ago I had the honor of being a guest on The Ketovangelist podcast. It was really fun talking to Brian and sharing the story of my health transformation, plus some insight into what it is like working as a nutritionist while following a diet that goes against what mainstream nutrition says is health. Take a listen if you haven’t yet.
On the Ketovangelist Podcast!
Over the last 3 months, my weight has been fairly stable, as well as my body fat percentage and measurements. There is a theory that your body remembers past weights that it was at for any significant period of time and tries to maintain that weight, which can result in plateaus. My body may just really like this weight (mid to low 160s). Or I might be consuming too much dairy, which equates to too many calories and/or extra inflammation. I shall continue to watch and see what happens. This does show that this way of eating is sustainable, however, since I don’t really track or measure my food any more.
September to February. Comparing measurements from September (pictured top right) to February (bottom right) I’ve lost nearly 1 inch on some measurements (chest, calf, bicep), almost nothing on my hips, but almost 2 inches on my waist.
December to February. My body’s measurements were pretty much the same when comparing December (middle picture on bottom; last time I took measurements) to February (picture on bottom right), which confirms that my body is in a holding pattern of weight maintenance.
Health Issues Improving
No more TMJ?!? So I hadn’t even reported on this in the past, but I just noticed two days ago that the former popping in my jaw is gone. I can open and close my jaw with ease, without any popping or locking. While this wasn’t something that I experienced any pain with, it was a sign of something not working correctly in my body. Another keto surprise benefit.
Hair regrowth. During the time that I was losing weight, my head shed a lot of hair. After researching this, I found that it is quite common on ANY diet where a person losing a significant amount of weight. I also found that there weren’t any supplements that counteracted this (research showed biotin supplementation, for example, was no more effective than waiting it out). It seems that weight loss is a significant stressor on the body in what ever form it takes. So it seems that as my weight loss has stopped, my hair has begun to regrow. I have about 1.5 – 2 inches of regrowth everywhere on my head. It makes for interesting extra fluff to style, but I’m happy to report that keto doesn’t make your hair fall out long term.
Athlete’s foot and nail fungus update. At one point I reported that my athlete’s foot of 10 years had gone away, but it seems to be dying a slow death. It is no longer occupying the bottom of my foot (no scaly, peeling skin there at all), but I have a small patch that has moved up onto the top of my foot and my little toes. It’s quite odd, as it seems to be moving in a wave, trying to run away from the ketone bodies, but it can’t escape. Athlete’s foot fungus is notoriously hard to kill, even with the strongest pharmaceuticals, so it is interesting to see how it is dying off with keto. And my nail fungus (which I think I also erroneously declared gone after a month) has grown out about one quarter of the length of my nail, so it too is dying a very slow death. I hope it’s painful, too. Well, not painful for me (which it’s not), but a slow, painful death for fungus just sounds like the stuff of a B horror movie.
No gas. This may be TMI, but I never fart. OK, almost never: when I add a lot of high-fiber seeds like chia, that can cause a little gas the next day, but a very small amount. And when I tried out Quest’s powdered MCT oil for travel last month, it caused a little gas and bloating initially, which I’m attributing to the small amount of corn fiber it contains. All of this “no gas” stuff is actually old news, but something I just realized that I hadn’t mentioned here. Keto is really great for getting rid of bacterial overgrowth (the wrong kinds in the wrong place, and too much of the wrong kind) in intestines.
Normal resting heart rate. A year ago, and for a very long time before that, my resting heart rate had always been in the high 80s. I’ve never been a super fit person aerobically, but even when I was in “better shape” my heart rate always remained in the mid- to high-80s. While at my endocrinologists office, I discovered that my resting heart rate is now about 68 – 70 beats per minute. Wow! It dropped about 20 points over last year. Now some might jump on this and say, “Well, you lost all that weight. Of course your heart rate dropped.” And to that I would say, no, I’ve been this weight in the past and even then my heart rate was in the 80s.
And others may say, “Oh, well you’re working out now, so you’re in better cardiovascular shape.” No, no, I’m not doing much “cardio” at all, so the drop in heart rate has nothing to do with being in better cardiovascular shape. At least by the standard idea of training hard, doing lots of exercises that make you breath hard so your body gets more efficient at carrying oxygen to your tissues idea of cardiovascular shape.
And still others may say, “Aha! That keto diet slowed down your metabolism!” Which may be partially true. However, since I’m not constantly freezing (in fact I still run warmer than most people around me), I would disagree that my drop in heart rate is due primarily to slowed metabolism. I would argue that since my body is using fuel more efficiently, as evidenced by the anecdote I shared above about hiking and treadmill walking, my heart does not need to pump as furiously to get oxygen and nutrients to my tissues.
Chronic Leg Pain
The chronic leg pain (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS) that I was suffering from after my car accident of 2014 did lift pretty quickly after I started keto. However, most recently as I’ve become more physically active with hiking and weight training, I am being reminded that there is still damage and scar tissue in my legs. Whereas before keto, if I would do ANY increased activity, like even sitting without my legs elevated, I would have extreme swelling and pain to the point that it would interfere with my sleep. Now as I resume hiking and begin lifting weights, I notice after that my legs feel tight (instead of swollen) and tender to the touch (allodynia, which means pain upon non-painful stimulus to the skin, which is a remnant of CRPS and sign of nerve damage). And when my massage therapist has worked my leg muscles, there is considerable pain with deeper work. But knowing where I was almost 2 years ago, I am very grateful I’m not back there!
I continue to have issues with sleep (central apnea) as I reported a few months ago. I’ve been working with a wonderful chiropractor as well as a massage therapist to properly align my neck and spine, and it has been helping. My sleep is improving, but I still continue to have issues with hypnoapnea early in the morning, which prevents me from getting optimal sleep. All of my doctors have said that central apnea is hard to treat, which is similar to what I was told about my neuro and endocrine symptoms after my car accident. And since I found a solutions for that (yay, keto!), I’m not giving up hope on resolving my central apnea. I’ve added chlorophyll with the idea that increasing my blood’s oxygen carrying capacity may help. And I continue to work with my primary Naturopathic Doctor as well as my Naturopathic Endocrinologist as we delve into the genetic medicine and nutrition of methylation defects.
How about you?
What health improvements have you noticed after following a ketogenic diet?
So you’re thinking about starting a ketogenic diet, but feeling a little overwhelmed?
Or perhaps you’ve tried a keto diet, but have struggled to stay on track or lose weight?
Or maybe you just can’t seem to figure out all the math?
And maybe you keep tweaking your approach because all the info out there has you confused?!?
I have been following a ketogenic diet since May 2015 and have had tremendous success. Healing chronic pain, reversing metabolic syndrome, normalizing blood glucose, normalizing blood pressure, healing adrenal fatigue, massive weight loss, and more. (You can read all about it here.)
How did I do it? What are the secrets to my success? Well, I’ve discovered that there are actually 5 secrets to making a keto diet as easy as possible. And this works for starting, rebooting, and maintaining.
My goals when starting:
Make it easy to follow a keto diet
Get into ketosis as fast as possible
Minimize cravings short- and long-term
So without further ado…
My Top 5 Tips for Starting a Keto Diet:
Keep it Simple
Follow My Meal Formula
Minimize Craving Triggers
Fully Stock Fridge and Pantry
Have the Right Mindset
Those are my top 5 tips put very simply. Let me tell you a little more about each one.
Tip #1: Keep it Simple
My first tip and key to success is to keep your keto diet simple. This tip covers all 3 goals: makes it easy, gets you into ketosis as fast as possible, and minimizes cravings. Keeping it simple means several things: no recipes, eat real food, and keep meal prep short and sweet (well, not sweet; that’s just a phrase!). You may be freaking out, thinking, “No recipes!?! But I need those fancy keto buns and keto desserts!” My no recipe rule is really, really, REALLY important for at least the first 30 days (and go longer if you can). There will be plenty of time to play with recipes down the road, but in the beginning, this really helps people learn keto basics and keeps them from eating off plan when they are too tired and hungry to spend 45 minutes cooking. When you are starting out, being able to pull together a meal in 5 minutes or less can really make or break your keto diet. Plus a lot of recipes online don’t have the macros calculated correctly. There are a lot of recipes labeled low-carb or even “Zero Carb” that actually contain lots of carbs, and they will keep you out of ketosis, which increases cravings. See also Tip #4 which goes hand in hand with keeping it simple.
As far as eating real food, this means avoiding processed shakes, protein bars, and other low-carb packaged grain products, like bread and tortillas. Most of these products will spike blood sugar and insulin, which are the opposite of ketosis. These product perpetuate cravings (see Tip #3) as well as delay or prevent you getting to ketosis. For success on your keto diet, eat real food.
And keeping meal prep short and easy means following Tip #2, My Meal Formula.
Tip #2: Follow My Meal Formula
My foolproof Meal Formula makes keto easy and gets you into ketosis as fast as possible. This formula seems like common sense to me, but then again I really like math, so I understand it’s not intuitive for many. I see so many people in keto support groups struggling with “hitting their macros” each day and wondering what can they eat for dinner when they only have 2 grams carbs, 50 grams fat, and 5 g protein. My Meal Formula guarantees that all my clients easily hit their macros every day because they are simply dividing their daily macros by the number of meals they eat in a day. If you eat 3 meals per day, you eat 1/3 of your carbs, 1/3 of your protein, and 1/3 of your fat at each meal. To make it even simpler, instead of “1/3 of your fat” I have my clients focus on adding 1 to 3 tablespoons of fat per meal (like mayo, olive oil, butter, coconut oil, etc.). This is much easier for them than trying to look up and calculate grams of fat.
Tip #3: Minimize Craving Triggers
You want to do keto long-term, right? You don’t want this to be another diet you go on, lose weight, then go off and gain it all back, right? Then this may be the most important tip I have for you: be aware of, and minimize any craving triggers. You can’t be successful on keto long-term if you are fighting cravings on a daily basis. Learning what causes them and how to inoculate yourself against them is a key to long-term success.
Craving triggers are going to be different for everyone and have biological and psychological bases. To address the biological bases, getting your blood sugar stable is key, which is what you’ll be doing by going keto anyway (following Tips #1, 2, 4, and 5). The other part, the psychology, is a little trickier, but with a little awareness and patience, you can master this, too. Some of the common things that trigger cravings, especially in the beginning, is looking at recipes online (sorry, Pinterest!), walking through the bakery at your grocery store, seeing other people eating non-keto foods, etc. Make a list and avoid these situations until you have some keto experience under your belt, and have developed a tolerance to craving triggers.
Another big tip to minimizing cravings is avoiding any sweeteners (even keto-friendly ones) and keto-desserts, at least in the beginning. This addresses the brain chemistry part of carbohydrate cravings. You need to train your taste buds and brain chemicals to not crave carbs and this takes abstinence for a period of time. Aim for at least 30 days, but if you can go a full 90 days (or longer!), you’ll be even better off. I know this sounds really hard, and you were likely looking forward to all those low carb desserts you’ve seen online, but I promise you, it will be worth it! Think about this: which would be easier, not having any cravings, or feeding your cravings on a daily basis? Abstinence really does make the cravings go away, or at least come up so infrequently, that you can easily flick them away like a small ant. And if you’re not ready to give up sweets, it may mean that you’re not quite ready to for a ketogenic diet. In that case, you might want to start with Tip #5.
Tip#4: Fully Stock Your Fridge and Pantry
Does this tip seem too obvious? You can’t build a house without the proper supplies. And you can’t run out to the store and pick up supplies every time you’re hungry. You need a well-stocked fridge and pantry to succeed on a keto diet. This tip is essential because it makes Tips #1, 2, and 3 possible to follow. You need to have multiple options available that you can grab and go, or grab and prep in 5 minutes or less. You need to think and feel like you have plenty of foods around that you really like and look forward to eating.
Along with having your kitchen stocked, you need to consider what your kitchen is NOT stocked with. If at all possible, get rid of all non-keto foods in your home before you start your keto diet. You will have cravings in the beginning, you will have times of stress, you will have times of heightened emotions, and all of these will increase the likelihood of you giving in to temptation if these foods are in your house. Additionally, simply seeing these foods are craving triggers (see Tip #3) and will make your life much harder and jeopardize your chances of success on keto.
“But there are other people in my house that aren’t following keto,” you may be thinking. How willing are they to help you succeed? If you were an alcoholic, would they insist on drinking in front of you? How dedicated to your success are you? If you were trying to get off heroin, would you support people using it in front of you?
Of course your household and family dynamics are unique and you have to figure out what works for you. My tip here is about minimizing mental anguish (seeing carby foods) as best you can to ensure your short- and long-term success. Do the best you can! Perhaps Tip #5 below will be helpful for your family or housemates. Would they be willing to do keto along with you for only 90 days?
Tip #5: Have the Right Mindset
Many people report that the psychology part of “going keto” is the hardest part. I have a lot to offer in support of this. There are psychological tricks you can play on your own mind. A place to start is realizing the difference in your mind between “doing something forever” and “doing something for now”. You can live without carbs for 90 days, right? But if you think about never EVER eating them again?? That feels impossible. So I recommend simply committing to 90 days of keto. That is about how long it really takes for your body to adapt to running on fat for fuel. After 90 days, you can decide if you want to go back to your former carby lifestyle. Now, I know that after 90 days, you’ll be feeling so great you likely won’t want to go back to the way you were eating before. And if you’ve followed my other tips here, you’ll be in ketosis, your cravings will be minimal, and you’ll be feeling happy and satisfied with what you are eating.
Another psychological trick is in overcoming cravings. Notice if you begin ruminating over a certain food and “turn the channel” to a new topic in your mind. Tell yourself that you’ll “feel better tomorrow” if you resist the craving now. That if you give in to a craving now, it will only come back stronger and harder the next day. Then engage in some self-care like calling a friend, going for a walk, listening to your favorite music, or watching funny cat videos on YouTube. Giving in to and feeding a craving, only reinforces it, making them stronger and more frequent in the future.
I wish you the best of keto success!
Let me know in the comments: which of these tips was the most useful to you?
I received word yesterday that a friend from long ago had committed suicide. The news hit me hard.
This time of year (February) in the Pacific Northwest can be particularly hard for anyone who experiences depression. We’ve just spent the last 3 months going through the darkest, wettest, and coldest part of the year, and for many it can bring out or intensify depression. So much so, that some people feel like their feelings of despair are beyond their ability to handle them.
I feel sorrowful to know that my friend was one of those people. I feel despondent knowing that another human felt that level of emotional pain.
I can actually identify with what my friend was feeling though, since depression runs in my family. Most winters, my family and I notice a marked increase in depressive feelings around this time of year. In the past, I managed my depression by ensuring I ate adequate protein for blood sugar balance, adding in some targeted amino acids, plus B vitamins, which worked well, but this time of year was still always a struggle.
This year is my first winter since going on a ketogenic diet and I can tell a HUGE difference in my mood. In the past, I often used food to comfort, numb, and dissociate from my winter depressive feelings. While I still feel that familiar depression nipping at my heels right now, it is nothing like I’ve felt in the past. I feel hopeful, happy, calm and peaceful most of the time, whereas in the past I always felt quite despondent this time of year. The change in my mood since going keto also makes it much easier to follow through with the things I know are healthy ways to experience and regulate emotions.
At first I did everything “right” last night as far as healthy ways of handling my dismal mood. I noticed and named my feelings (sad, unhappy, sorrowful, despondent, and so on) and I sought out consolation in friends and family (love you guys), I attempted a mood state change and emotional regulation (watched a comedy movie), and even had a visceral release of my emotions (yay for crying!). And even though all of that felt healthy and appropriate, I still fell into an old habit of seeking out comfort and numbness in food.
Now, I did not “cheat” and go off keto and overeat carbohydrates. But I did overeat some keto-friendly foods when I wasn’t biologically hungry. I knew in the moment that I wasn’t hungry and I was eating because I wanted some comfort, to feel better, to numb the emotional pain.
Turning to food for comfort is not right nor wrong. I mindfully accept what I did without judgment. The issue for me comes down to reducing long-term suffering and being authentic in my keto life. When I turn to food for comfort, in the long run, it increases my suffering because it increases cravings and the likelihood that I will do the same again. It reinforces the habit that I want to let go of. Plus it jeopardizes my ability to remain in ketosis, which is key to maintaining my health right now.
Habits are hard to unlearn. It takes awareness, commitment, and determination. I’ve made a lot of progress in my emotional regulation skills, but I’m not perfect. I’m human.
And Northwest winters are a bitch. And Depression is an asshole.
Please ask for help if you need it.
If you or someone you know is feeling depressed, suicidal, anxious, lonely, having issues with drugs or alcohol, or just needs someone to talk to, call the Crisis Line 24 hours a day:
Many people starting a new dietary approach that is radically different from how they’ve eaten in the past struggle with staying on track with their eating plan due to cravings. They could be following a ketogenic diet to treat epilepsy or diabetes, an elimination diet for food allergies, a gluten-free diet for Celiac, a Specific Carbohydreate Diet for SIBO, or any number of other restrictive eating plans. For some, cravings are merely minor annoyances, but for many, cravings cause considerable distress and lead to overeating and perhaps even binge eating.
My goal with this blog series is to help you understand where cravings come from and then learn some healthy and effective strategies for minimizing cravings, all the while reducing suffering in your life and instilling a sense of calm and peace around food.
What is a Craving?
People have many ways of describing or naming cravings. Some people identify strongly with the word “craving” and describe it as a very strong desire to eat some food, typically “off plan”. Cravings can build over time, or seemingly come out of no where.
Other people may describe themselves as “stress eaters” or “emotional eaters”, being aware of specific triggers for cravings.
And even some deny that they have cravings, despite “needing” desserts or other sweet or pseudo-carby foods. They may use the terms: desire, want, need, like, or think about.
However you describe your cravings, they typically have little to do with true biological hunger (need for energy and nutrients) and have more to do with psychological and biochemical reasons. They have multiple origins and usually require a bit of work on your part to unravel and learn new skills.
Having studied psychology for many years as part of attaining my master of science degree from Bastyr University in both Clinical Health Psychology and Nutrition, I understand both the biological basis for hunger and the psychological basis for “hunger”, AKA, cravings.
Additionally, following a ketogenic diet myself since May 2015, I have experienced what you are going through, including intense cravings! I have learned a lot and will share all my tips and tricks for overcoming cravings and not just the “book learning” side of cravings.
Overcoming Cravings Series
Here are topics that I will cover as part of this series:
Where do cravings come from? (5 senses, habit, situation association, addiction, thoughts, to numb/avoid/dissociate from feelings)
What are “highly palatable foods” and why do they make it nearly impossible to resist overeating them?
How does the addiction/reward center of our brain work and how can we use this knowledge to WIN over cravings?
Don’t feed the raccoon! How fat bombs and keto-friendly desserts only reinforce cravings and make them come back with a vengeance.
Finding a WHY that is bigger than your cravings.
Mindfulness Skills: how labels and judgments cause cravings, how tuning into our physical and emotional feelings can minimize cravings, and how being in this moment (rather than worried about what we’re going to eat next, or guilt about what we just ate) reduces hunger and cravings.
Emotional Regulation Skills: learning how to identify and feel emotions and feelings without turning to food.
Effective Communication Skills: learning to talk to others in ways that we are more likely to be heard and understood. Often people who are ineffective communicators turn to food to “stuff their feelings” as a way of not having to confront others.
Distress Tolerance Skills: how not giving in to every craving whim makes you happier in the long run. (This skill makes me think of Pink’s song “Try” with the lyrics “But just because is burns, Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die”)
Transitioning to using food as fuel instead of entertainment or excitement. Here is where we explore feelings of being “bored” with food choices and what that means in our lives and begin to redefine our identity around our eating habits.
A cool flowchart about Mood Dependent vs. Goal Directed Behavior that helps us understand why we keep using food to soothe, comfort, numb, or dissociate from our feeling and how we can learn to do something different.
And a lot more!
Where and when do you struggle with cravings? Which of these topics are you most looking forward to?
Be sure to subscribe so you get all these updates.
Carole FreemanMS, CN, CHt, is a certified Nutritionist, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, and Ketogenic Diet Implementation Expert. LEARN MORE.
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