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My journey to better health with Keto, and how to start yours.

By Artturo Rico.

 

I spent most of my late teens drinking a daily 6 pack of Fanta and a bunch of chocolate milk, so safe to say I was not in a good state of health. With the ever nearing threat of becoming diabetic, as well as my family history with the disease, it was time forchange. So, at about 260 pounds, 5’9” and 19 years old, I removed sweets and soda from my diet, then went on the classic “broccoli and chicken” meal plan. Within a week I began to feel much better physically; waking up happier and overall feeling far more energized. And with a sudden rise in energy levels also came a sudden rise of motivation to shift away from a sedentary lifestyle. For me, being bored and not tired made me want to go for a walk of fresh air, and trust me something as simple as “going around the block to catch some Pokémon” one or twice a day adds up swiftly for achieving visible results, the same way a spoon of sugar in morning coffee adds up for visible failure and setback. Overtime, simply going around the block became lackluster, leaving me with desire to do more. Thus, my father and I both signed up for a gym membership.

 

About a month after we signed up, my father felt unsatisfied with his results and began asking about what else he could possibly do. My mother, having heard from Dr. Regina Oyarce of the benefits of the Keto diet, convinced my father to start it with her, and I decided to tag along with them. I went to a consultation, talk to Dr. Regina Oyarce and started the Keto diet program. The first two days were, as expected from the sudden rise of fat intake, very sluggish and tiresome. But on the third day, I woke up absurdly energetic, similar to that of a child. I had officially entered ketosis. In the following days, maintaining keto I was losing almost a pound a day, progress at which speed I had never achieved before. It felt amazing, but challenges would soon follow.

 

Something I had not experienced prior to Keto was the sudden and strong sweet cravings. The way I personally kept beating temptation was strictly reminding myself of the progress I’ve already made, as well as setting a goal and reward. I would keep mumbling under my breath, “no sweets until my birthday cake”. And, as dumb as it might sound, it actually worked. I successfully went from August to January (my birthdayis the 13th) without eating any candy. But, I did still sometimes break keto, which goes tothe other challenge of following a strict diet plan.

 

Maintaining keto is almost impossible when you go out to eat with friends or family, since carbs are so abundant in both fast foods and quality restaurants. Even unsuspecting things like a plain steak or chicken can knock you out of keto because of the sauce it was cooked with having an absurd amount of sugar, and drinks are even worse. One little beer or a mixed drink can knock you out of ketosis, to which it can takeup to a week to go back into, thus that one little beer can take away a week’s worth of work. So, what can you do? Some people go as far as to never going out to eat, but I oppose that idea since realistically speaking all you accomplish with that is destroying your social life. So, what I personally do is accept the cheat meal, but limit it to the max. Let me explain. If you’re going out for drinks with friends, rather than just accepting that
you’ll leave ketosis and overindulge, limit the damage you do by drinking clear, plain liquor (vodka/gin) instead of mixed/dark drinks, like a Coke and Rum. If you’re going outto eat to a pizza place, order chicken wings. I personally am a fan of Asian food and love sushi, which obviously isn’t keto-friendly due to the rice, so whenever my friends and I go to this wonderful Korean BBQ place by my house, I permit myself only 4 piecesof sushi and don’t eat any carbs for the rest of the day as my personal means of restricting myself. Also, without fail, the day after any cheat meal I go to the gym as my own means of “working it off”.

 

My final piece of advice for doing the Keto diet is actually, to not immediately start with keto. The sudden jump of not being able to eat any of your normal foods will undoubtedly lead to frustration, which is why most people fail to maintain the diet. My recommendation would be setting weekly goals. First week of dieting, cut off sugar. Even if you opt to not do keto, I still recommend you cut sugar from your life, since it offers no nutrition and only harms you. But if you choose to continue my weekly challenge, then on the second week, cut off rice, third week bread and so forth until you eventually feel ready to start keto. Aside from that the gradual progress will be far more forgiving on cravings, during those weeks you can begin to try some keto friendly foods and snacks to discover which you like. I personally adore macadamia nuts and substituted the chocolate milk I liked so much with almond milk and unsweetened cacaopowder. Now 6 months into a, for the most part, successful dieting plan I’m weighing 175 pounds and have never felt better.

 

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