Thirteen Benefits of Keto that I've Had So Far
Next week I’m going to KetoCon in Austin, TX. It’s a conference about, you guessed it, keto!
Yes, I love this way of eating so much, that I’m going to attend three full days of speeches on it.
And I’m bringing my mom along, who just turned 82 years young today. And yes, she’s on keto too.
So, in honor of the conference, I’ve decided to give you a little list here of 13 of the benefits I’ve noticed in myself since starting on the ketogenic diet.
So number one is weight loss. That’s the reason I started this diet in the first place. It was pure vanity.
Everyone around me had these super cute crop tops, and I wanted in on the action.
I lost exactly 50 pounds in just over three months on the diet.
Sometimes it almost seemed too fast, and I had to keep updating my jeans collection because my clothing was falling off me. For someone who struggled with her weight her whole life though, I ain’t complaining.
Pep in my Step
Benefit number two is more energy. Now, I have ADHD, so I’ve been known to be a bit hyper on occasion, but that said, I did spend most of my pre-keto life just kind of tired. Like, if at any moment I let myself lie down, that was it, I would fall asleep, no matter what time of day it was.
So, now I have more let’s say good energy. I’m not this weird combo of tired and wired like I used to be.
Hitting the Hay in Style
Number three is better sleep. I actually sleep about an hour less than I used to before starting the ketogenic diet. I just don’t need as much sleep.
So I get this like bonus hour every day, which is pretty cool. And, this is huge, I wake up refreshed for the first time in my life.
I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but I didn’t know that people actually woke up in the morning without feeling freaking exhausted. I used to think that that was just normal, that everyone woke up completely tired every morning, because, frankly, that’s how I woke up pretty much every day before going on keto, and this is something I remember as far back as early childhood.
I was a mega pain in the *ss to wake up as a child. My parents would sometimes have to drag me out of bed. I would sleep through loud alarms. It wasn’t a good scene.
Now, I go to bed and I wake up and, you know, unless I have something that really throws my sleep schedule off like a late-night party or an early-morning flight, I feel pretty darn good when I open my eyes in the morning. What is this sorcery?
Never Ask a Lady Her Age
Let’s see, I’m going to skip around a bit here and do these in no particular order, so let’s do a vanity one, hehe. Number four - I feel like I look younger than before. I’m 42 and I think I look like I’m in my early 30s. Before, I think I pretty much looked my age. Part of it might be the weight loss, but I do really feel like the skin on my face is juicy, and looks hydrated even though I don’t do the typical American thing and lug a bucket of water around with me wherever I go. I drink when I’m thirsty. My face should be pretty saggy because of the weight loss but it isn’t.
Keeping it Tight
In fact, number five, while we’re on the subject, I really don’t have any loose skin to speak of. I know there are people who lose a lot more than fifty pounds, so maybe it wasn’t that dramatic of a loss, but I don’t have any loose skin. My arms were, let’s say, a little bit soft while I was in the process of losing weight, but now they’re not.
Where'd You Get Those Peepers?
Okay number six, this one is a weird one and I have no idea if this is an actual benefit of keto, but, my eyesight has improved just a bit. I’m nearsighted and wear glasses and contacts. I’d had the same prescription since I was 14, but the last time I went to the eye doctor, he told me that my eyes were improving.
Now, there is another possible cause of this, which is that, because of the pandemic, I spent a lot of time at home and wasn’t wearing my glasses or contacts all the time while in the house, so who knows maybe that was the reason. Therefore, I am not going to claim that keto can fix your eyes, and the improvement has not been dramatic. I still need my glasses if I want to drive or recognize anyone from more than a few feet away, but the number on my prescription is smaller. I would love to hear if anyone has had a similar experience.
Focused and Fabulous
Let’s talk about a big one. Lucky number seven. My ADHD is, let’s not say cured, but about 95% less intense than it used to be.
This one is everything for me.
Yeah, I love my crop tops and that’s why I started this whole keto diet thing, but the fact that I can sit down and start work when I want to now, the fact that I don’t have this uncontrollable procrastination that just makes me do everything except what I need to until it’s an absolute emergency anymore, the fact that I can have conversations with people without feeling my mind bouncing all over the place and feeling kind of unnecessarily self-conscious not in this low self-esteem way but just in this kind of paying attention to myself and the other person and the lighting and the people walking by and the conversation at the other table and the way my socks feel and that song that’s also playing in the restaurant which does not line up with the song that’s playing in my head at the same time - you know what I mean - the fact that that doesn’t happen all time anymore is fantastic, and also the fact that I don’t feel overwhelmed by my dysregulated emotions anymore which is also an ADHD thing even though not everyone knows about it since we tend to just hear about the attention stuff.
Happy All Month Long
Speaking of dysregulated emotions, cool thing number eight that has happened to me since beginning the ketogenic diet, is . . . while my ADHD is about 95% gone, my PMDD is 100% absolutely no trace of that motherf*cker gone gone gone daddy gone.
If you don’t know what PMDD is, it’s basically PMS on steroids.
If you have it, usually about a week before you get your period, you just are an absolute mess. In my case I was sad, frankly suicidal although that’s how my dad died so I would never make my mom go through that twice no matter how bad it got but I thought about it a lot.
Also I was bloated like, puffed out pregnant-looking, even more tired than usual, with bad cramps and just not a nice person to be around.
I would get in huge fights with my husband usually for the absolute dumbest reasons imaginable and would be screaming and crying and, ugh, it was just a bad scene and I knew in the back of my head that it was just my f*cking hormones, but the feelings were real, and they were so intense.
But now, I swear to God, I don’t have any of that. I don’t even have cramps. In fact, if I don’t look at my period tracker app, I basically have no idea when I’m going to get my period now, which has led to the untimely demise of some very beautiful new underwear. TMI, I know.
Meanwhile, I have noticed that according to my cycles I have like good moods and then like really good moods when I’m most fertile, which makes sense, but the difference is small, it’s no longer like being two different people depending on the time of the month, you know what I mean?
All right so let’s do a less serious one next. Number nine is I no longer worry all the f*cking time about if I’m getting enough fiber.
How often do we hear that? You need your fiber! Fiber, fiber, fiber! Well, I used to believe this wholeheartedly. Guess what. I no longer believe it. I think the whole fiber thing is a farce, frankly.
If you want to know more about this, I recommend Dr. Ken Berry’s book, Lies My Doctor Told Me. It has an excellent explanation in there of why fiber is overrated and can even be damaging to some people.
If you’re eating lots of carbs, yeah, probably a good idea to get some fiber in there so you’re not blasting yourself with insane blood sugar spikes, I doubt anyone will disagree with me on that one, but if you’re doing keto, your carbs will be very limited by definition and the carbs you do have should be coming along with their naturally-occurring fiber so you don’t have to worry it. If you’re on carnivore which is just keto without the plants basically you won’t have any fiber at all in your diet, and that’s fine too. Awesome benefit number nine point five of keto is that I fart so much less than I used to. This is because I’m not trying to consume enough fiber to build a straw hut out of and also because of number ten . . .
Vegetables are Optional
Number ten is that I don’t worry about getting a ton of vegetables anymore like I used to. I grew up in a house with a Lebanese father, from Lebanon, and so we ate something very similar to the Mediterranean diet almost every day, but there was also a lot of the standard American diet stuff added in there too.
By the way, people who tell you that the Mediterranean diet doesn’t have a lot of meat in it are idiots, to use the technical term. It has lots of meat in it, including plenty of red meat.
If you don’t believe me, go to the f*cking Mediterranean and send me postcard. Thank you.
That said, we did eat a lot of vegetables at dinner time, usually raw ones, as is very popular in Lebanese cuisine. My dad and I would scarf down radishes and cucumbers as fast as my mom could cut them up, and there was always salad on the table, and there was never any leftover at the end of the meal.
So I love vegetables, especially raw ones, but after going on keto and hearing more about vegetables and how they’re not necessary in the way we’ve been led to believe, I no longer worry about getting tons and tons of them every day. I eat them when I feel like it, and when I have time to make them. When I don’t, I don’t bother. This saves me a bunch of time and many a fart.
Crop Tops for Days
Benefit number eleven is my flat-ass stomach. Oh my goodness. I never thought it was possible. Call me vain. It’s fine. I can handle it over here in my crop top. Here’s the thing. I’d been thin, I’d been fat, I’d been everything in between, but never in my life had I had a flat stomach.
Something in my diet was not agreeing with me. I still don’t know exactly what it was, but my best guess at the moment is that it had something to do with wheat and also maybe sometimes broccoli. I just always had this puffed out belly, and after every meal, my stomach hurt. Not a lot, but it hurt. And, I thought that was normal. I thought that after you ate, your stomach was supposed to hurt. Guess what. It’s not!
Since going on keto, I’ve only had that sensation twice. Once after I cheated and had a little bit of toasted pita bread on a fattoush salad at a Lebanese place, and once after I made a huge thing of broccoli and Brussels sprouts for my mom and husband that they didn’t want so I ate the whole thing myself and wow it did hurt afterwards, just like in the old days.
So, my abdomen is now flat as a pancake, not just because I’m thin but because I no longer eat pancakes.
Calm, Cool, and Collected
Okay two more and I’m already nervous about the last one because it might make me cry. Number twelve: I’m just, in general, calmer, and in a better mood overall. I’m not permanently happy. That’s impossible and unhealthy. But I just don’t feel so freaked out about every little thing, and when I do feel sad or angry, it feels manageable. Like, I can take that little pause, that little step back and say, “Okay, I’m not in the best mood at this moment, but it’ll pass,” whereas before it just felt like, “Oh my God. The world is coming to an end,” like, all the time.
Food is Fun
And last but certainly not least . . . benefit number thirteen of the ketogenic diet for me has been: I no longer stress about food. I spent my entire life . . . starting in kindergarten . . . wondering and worrying about what I ate.
I was always told that you had to eat less and more more to be a desirable weight. If you were not a desirable weight, it was because you were lazy. This is the biggest pile of steaming bullsh*t.
The whole calorie thing is a sham.
Exercise is good for you but it doesn’t help with weight loss, at least not in the way you think.
Starving yourself and feeling hungry will only backfire. You know it.
Now, I don’t have to measure how much I eat. I used to read labels and counted macros when I started the diet, but now I can pretty much eyeball it and I’m still getting all the benefits without being as strict as I was in the beginning.
Note this is my personal experience. Some people need to be strict for a long time and some don’t.
I eat as much as I want to.
If I’m busy, or somewhere annoying like at an airport, I can skip a meal and it’s no big deal.
I eat until I’m properly full and it feels f*cking great.
But the thing I also feel, is anger.
I feel angry that I basically had to figure this out on my own.
No doctor, nutritionist, psychiatrist, psychologist . . . no one ever told me about the ketogenic diet.
I found out about it randomly on the internet, after hearing information my whole life that was incorrect and not based in anything scientific but rather in several hypotheses that were never proven.
And I’m lucky. Yeah I was fat and I struggled a lot with ADHD, PMDD, stress around what to eat, and my moods in general. But how many people have had to deal with things like type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and all-out cognitive impairment unnecessarily all because of sh*tty f*cking information?
This is my life’s mission. I will continue spreading the word about this until I die and they pry the bacon out of my cold dead hands. And if I die before I feel like I’ve made a difference in this world. I will come back as a ghost and haunt the earth until the message gets to at least a few people.
So I know I got a little emotional there, but this is my passion and my calling now. So, thanks so much for being here, and have a happy and healthy day.