Why I’m done with Keto
Quite simply, it didn’t feel good anymore.
I started Keto because I was struggling with excess sugar in my diet (long story involving double rounds of antibiotics and candida overgrowth). I had already been eating paleo for several years so Keto seemed like a no brainer. I had just finished my nutrition training and was looking for a specialization so I dove into medical keto studies, took a bunch of extra courses and even attended the biggest keto conference in the world. I was hooked!
To be honest, I enjoyed Keto for a long time. It was interesting to learn about how my body reacted/didn’t react to hunger, glucose, carbs, fat, etc. I found that it really encouraged my curiosity about food and how my body reacts to it. I was so happy with it that I started and ran a very successful Keto baking company for two years. I met hundreds of keto keeners and, for the most part, it was great.
Until it wasn’t.
For me, things started to get weird when I introduced fasting. It was incredibly easy for me, perhaps a bit too easy to essentially stop eating. I become a little too eager to test my ability to not eat. Pretty quickly, I lost my period and my interest in exercise; I then started having panic attacks in the middle of the night (I had never had panic attacks before in my life and thought they were heart attacks). And yet, I continued to fast and severely limit my foods allowances.
The turning point came when I turned to exercise to combat my increasing anxiety (exercise has always been my go-to for mental health) and realized that I had lost my strength and fitness. Now, if you know me at all, you know that being strong is my favourite. It’s even in the name of my business! I not only lost my ability to lift heavy shit but I was TIRED! I tried a few workouts fasted and realized there was no way I could sustain my energy. I had to decide what was more important to me, my weird relationship with keto and fasting or my passion for movement.
I obviously chose movement and it was 100% the right decision. I am still really careful about the amount of sugar I eat (hyperglycaemia is an issue for me) and grains are still iffy (they make my guts sad) but I am no longer restricting carbs, I am no longer fasting, I am getting strong AF and I am perfectly happy with my food choices!
Looking back on my two year plus keto journey, I have to admit that what started off as a curious nutritional experiment ended up as disordered eating and a devotion to diet culture. Being a nutritionist, this was really hard for me to admit (or even recognize). I think it’s incredibly important to acknowledge because if someone like me, who’s whole life revolves around studying food and nutrition, and I have the training to recognize disordered food relationships, can fall into disordered eating, then anyone can.
We all want to do what’s best for our body and if for you, right now, that’s trying out Keto or veganism or paleo or whatever, that’s okay. But, I want to encourage you to pay close attention to how it feels and if it stops feeling good or if you realize you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, it’s okay to stop. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it only means you’ve shifted.
We are allowed to shift.