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After my terrible experience with the keto diet, counting macros to lose weight and rebuild my relationship with food

  • When I first tried keto I quickly lost 130 pounds but found the diet unsustainable for me.
  • Now I count macros to lose weight and rebuild my relationship with different foods.
  • I want to eat meals that make me feel good about myself without attaching morality to certain foods.

Many people sing the praises of the keto diet, and I was one of them. I lost 130 pounds in 14 months while filling my face with bacon. While the diet was restrictive, it felt enduring — until it wasn’t.

I don’t follow the keto diet anymore because I finally felt it didn’t suit me. For example, following it raised my cholesterol and gave me food fatigue. I have also gained a lot of weight since I stopped keto.

Instead, I now count macros – add up the total grams of proteins, carbohydrates and fats I consume per meal. By counting macros, I focus on getting enough protein to maintain muscle mass while eating a calorie deficit.

I’ve been following this method for a few months and I already feel happier and less obsessed with my diet.

I’m trying to develop a really healthy relationship with food

Plastic bowl of chicken tikka bowl next to a box of

I focus on eating meals that make me feel good.

Jennifer Still

While keto helped me lose weight fast, I’m one of those people who didn’t find the diet helpful in every way.

Keto did me no favors when it came to healing my relationship with food and it promoted my disordered diet by attributing a certain level of morality to what I ate.

When I went out to dinner with my partner and ate some fries, I would feel an overwhelming sense of guilt and the feeling that I had somehow failed.

This time I’m trying to find a real middle ground and learn the meaning of moderation, which is easier said than done.

I focus on how food makes me feel rather than how I look

I’d be lying if I said I don’t want to lose the weight I gained back after going off keto, but it’s not my primary focus this time around.

As I begin my macro journey, I have an incredible level of fitness under my belt, which is very different from when I started my keto experience. I also approach food as a means to make me feel stronger and give me more stamina for workouts.

This is a real mindset shift, and I’m more attracted to foods that make me feel good rather than things that I feel like I have to eat because they fit a particular diet.

I eat less processed and ‘keto-spiced’ treats

Full plate with pumpkin, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, stuffing, turkey, leafy greens and a sandwich

I try to refrain from attaching morality to the food on my plate.

Jennifer Still

Not everyone on keto falls into this trap, but some of us end up eating a lot of processed foods to make up for what is lacking in our diets.

For example, when I was on keto, I ate sausage, bacon, and other processed meats on a daily basis. It wrecked my cholesterol levels. Since I couldn’t enjoy regular ice cream or cookies, I also loaded up on protein bars or other keto-friendly versions of treats that are typically high in calories and fat, but not very nutritious.

Now that I’m counting macros, I’m making lean protein my priority and filling my plate with plant-based foods like sweet potatoes, beans, leafy greens, and pumpkin. If I want a cookie, I’ll eat a real cookie. I still occasionally eat sausage and bacon.

I’m learning to practice patience

When I went on the keto diet, it felt great to lose weight quickly, but I also discovered how unsustainable it was once I got it back.

My method of counting macros will probably mean it will take much longer for me to lose a few pounds. But this time I don’t want to lose so much and I want to do it right.

Most of all, I treat macro counting as a lifestyle change, not a diet with an end date and end goal.

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