I made a public affirmation June 18, 2018 that I would lose 40 lbs by my 48th birthday which was some 128 days away. I was driven to make the commitment publicly so that I would have a level of accountability. So I did what many people before me have done and I posted on my Facebook page the personal challenge to myself. My game plan was set, well thought out and even written in my calendar. It was simple yet complex. I was switching what and how I eat, my exercise regime and focusing on becoming healthier. I opted for the Keto-Zone plan which is a very low-carb diet, which turns the body into a fat-burning machine.
There were absolutely no real obstacles once I got past purchasing all of the basics to replace the carbs and sugars in my kitchen. With two kids at home who had no desire to lose weight much less food consumption, I didn’t want this journey to negatively impact them, so I opted to purchase what I needed and maintain their food stock without interruption. Some of my favorite foods were totally off the list; no popcorn, grapes, bananas, carrots, green beans, apples, potatoes, rice, bread, pasta or sugar. It was overwhelming but I was determined to not be controlled by the foods that I knew had made a permanent home around my waistline.
I jumped in with both feet, hands, ears and eyes, and even threw my mind in for good measure. MCT-Oil, ghee, butter, coconut oil and avocado oils became the basis for every beverage I drank outside of water. I prepared my cooked foods with it as well. Fat bombs were my substitute for snacks and sugar cravings while Stevia Liquid Drops were crowned my “King”. Green leafy vegetables replaced every ear of corn, eye of potato and stalk of green beans. I created alternatives with almond flour and coconut flour although the taste just never seemed to measure up with pancake mix and all-purpose flour. Philadelphia cream cheese became the main ingredient in some of my popular pasta recipes and desert replacements. I love fried foods and what I learned very quickly is that almost everything I enjoyed is deep-fried and not applicable for my eating plan. Dining out was often a challenge and could become depressing if I didn’t think through which restaurants could potentially have what I needed. Think about this, it is almost impossible to find a side dish that is free from carbohydrates or sugar on any restaurant menu.
It took about 60 days for my body to adjust to the starvation of sugars and carbs and I soon developed the Keto-Zone Flu. Never regurgitating or feeling the need to take medications but definitely exhausted with frequent headaches. It was in those moments that I thought “I think I like the way I feel with sugar much better than this”. However, I stood my ground and popped a 85% Cocoa Chocolate square in my mouth without so much as a shiver.
My workout routine was at least 4 times per week but no set regiment. I used an AB Workout App to help discipline my ab muscles and I loved that it was easily accomplished with no equipment. I could do it at home or at the gym. The Jefit App became my lifeline. First off it was free, which is a huge plus in my life. Secondly, I could create various workouts based off what I wanted to accomplish and the amount of time I had set aside. Finally, it gave me the option to add workouts that were more important to me rather than being confined to what was recorded on the app.
I attempted to use the Ketone test strips to regulate if my body was in the “keto-zone” to burn off the fat. After going through an entire container I soon realized that the colored strips really had not changed but maybe 4 or 5 times in 45 days. I called a friend who had been very successful with the diet and shared my results. She was surprised and suggested that somewhere along my process I was still getting some refined sugar into my diet unaware. Since I was recording my foods I knew that wasn’t the case so eventually I just tossed it up to maybe a bad batch of test stripes and figured I would forego measuring when I sensed it would discourage me.
I stepped on the scale every morning on my first wake up bathroom call. Every day I saw a pound disappear. It was exciting, but I felt fatigued on an unimaginable level. I had to force myself into the gym, dance class or with at home floor exercises, but I kept going. My pants were beginning to feel much looser in the waist and the bulge that normally protruded from underneath my tops was fading. My face began to take on a new contour that was lighter, slimmer and younger. I hadn’t seen my oldest son in well over a year when he came down to introduce me to his new love. The first thing he said when he saw me “Wow mom, you’ve lost a lot of weight, and it looks great!”. That was my turning point. When your children can see the difference then its evident that something is working.
As I approached month 3, I came to the conclusion that this eating plan was restricting something well beyond what my body desired to give up. The Keto Flu symptoms lasted more than just a few days or a week, I was exhausted for weeks and I hated feeling like I was sick. By the end of month 3 I slowly moved back into some of my regular food items. A piece of bread here or there, a pasta dish or slice of pizza. It didn’t take long to realize that although I felt better my stomach didn’t want to maintain its elasticity as these foods were re-introduced. By the time month 4 rolled around and between birthday freebies, which were all desert related, and Halloween candies at work, it was a defeated effort.
I had declined back far enough to see the weight creep back onto the scales, but not so much that it wasn’t still evident that I had the ability to maintain the overall success of my diet plan. At my final numbers check I had lost 3 inches off my waist and dropped from 225 lbs to 195. I wasn’t at the goal but I was closer than I had ever been.
The reality with any weight loss or lifestyle eating changes is that the likelihood that one will get it all right the first time is slim. We will make mistakes, fall off the wagon, shift back into old habits and even have to hit the restart button. However, if we start with an intent to finish well, do the work, follow a plan, shift our thoughts and move, we can still attain a much greater level of success than if we had never done anything at all.
Failure is a state of mind. I choose to use it to determine what thoughts prevented my actions from lining up with my desired goal. In the case of my Keto-Zone Eating Lifestyle coupled with weight loss these are the top 15 things I learned:
- You have to be knowledgeable about any Eating, Weight Loss or Lifestyle Change you are pursuing. I probably should have read my “Keto-Zone Diet” book in its entirety before ever making a decision to participate.
- Figure out what the recipes are that you want to try to stick with some main ingredients that will apply to most of them. Eating on Keto Zone is not cheap!
- Write out a plan for your goal and have an accountability partner or do like I did and make it public.
- Schedule your workout time and determine what time of day will allow you to be most productive. I learned that working out in the evenings after my workday is too challenging. I had to do it by 7 am or it didn’t get done.
- Incorporate “fun” exercises that have nothing to do with going to the gym. Bowling, hiking, skating, bike riding, dancing were all very helpful to me in keeping a nice balance.
- Remove the temptations from your kitchen and if you have family tell them to hold you accountable. I used a separate cabinet for all my foods and never touched the others.
- Think about your menu for meals before going to the store and stick to the outer aisles. Nothing in the middle will serve your nutritional needs….EVER!
- Research the best buys for those critical ingredients like MCT-Oil, Ghee & Liquid Stevia. Sometimes you may have to order online. MCT Oil is carried in Wal-Mart in two different sections, different packaging but by the same manufacturer and has a $2.00 increase if you purchase it in the health and supplement section versus the coffee section.
- Take before and after measurements and pictures so you can see your progress. Don’t depend on the scale use the measurements as a better guide. As you workout you will develop muscle mass.
- Have fun with the process and as you fall off, laugh about it, share your demise with a person who knows how to laugh with you then remind you to get back on tasks.
- Discipline yourself to hold all the bread when eating out. Those hushpuppies and yeast rolls are the devil’s first cousins.
- Cauliflower taste just like potatoes and works great as supplements for rice and pasta. My 12-year-old loves the mashed “potato” cauliflower and cauliflower “mac” & cheese.
- Eat out Less and at home MORE. You can control the preparation of your foods. Many restaurants use sugars in almost every dish.
- Take a multi-vitamin that has an 85% solubility rate. I found some supplements that served no purpose because it was remaining whole instead of breaking down and giving my body actual nutrition.
- Finally, celebrate your success, not with bad food, but with something that has value for you. I haven’t done a full celebration of mine yet because I really want to get to my 180 goal by the end of the year. When I do, it will be a tangible reward so I will always be reminded of the achievement.
The moral of this story is that its okay to Fail, as long as you gain some valuable insight on how to repeat the goal better and more effective. I can now return to this eating concept and not be overwhelmed or defeated. I still have the major ingredients. I know that I can win my fight against sugar graving and I’m certain of the workout schedule that will allow me to be most productive. Now all I have to do, when I’m ready, is hit the RESTART button and get it again! What goal did you last fail and what did you learn?