Back when I was a practicing carbaholic, shoveling sugar, bread, and other sundry horribles into my mouth, I didn’t know there was a better way. But once I made the switch to keto, I was all in. And I’ve never looked back.
However, there are some things that I didn’t know would happen, things that nobody told me about, things I probably never would have guessed. What kind of things? Well, I’m glad you asked.
- Serious fat loss is easy
- Your mental focus will improve
- Your habits will change
- Your willpower will increase
- You will recover faster
- You will have more stamina
- You will experience happiness
Okay, so maybe someone might have mentioned that keto is good for fat loss. Maybe. But what nobody told me was that it was possible to lose a ton of fat without having to worry about tracking calories, macros, or anything else. Prior to keto, any time I tried to lose body fat, it involved tortuous bouts of aerobic exercise and consisted of eating very bland, very boring food. And the results were hardly noticeable. Of course, the massive amount of exercise led to increased appetite; and the minimal diet contributed to regular bouts of binging on all the sugar I could find. Take one step forward and two steps back.
But keto required absolutely no effort. I lost close to 50 pounds without doing any aerobic exercise, and I was NOT hungry at all. Eating lots of good fat will keep you satiated. So, while someone might have mentioned that you can lose weight on keto, they never told me it would be as easy as that. (Oh…and I don’t have to do anything different to keep the fat off…so, maybe, that’s what nobody really told me.)
If I was a kid a few years ago, I’d have been diagnosed with ADHD or ADD. I had absolutely no attention span. It made things particularly difficult in many aspects of life. I couldn’t really sit still and focus long enough to read for more than a few minutes at a time. I was always distracted. In my head, it looked like someone was constantly, rapidly changing the channels with a television remote. I was unable to stay on any one thought for more than a few minutes. It took me a very long time to get anything done, as you might imagine.
I figured that was normal.
But it wasn’t until I became keto that I realized there was another way. I now have significant mental focus, so much that I am amazed at the amount of stuff I am able to get done now. I actually feel like I’m in control of the stuff in my mindspace now. It’s kinda cool.
Let’s face it, I had horrible habits when I was fat, sad, and feeling gross all the time. I can remember one morning when I had a lot of trouble tying my shoes, because my stomach fat made bending down to my shoes very uncomfortable. I finished tying my second shoe, after several attempts and lots of breath holding, and I had two thoughts in succession: First, I thought, “I cannot believe I’ve let myself get to this point.” And, immediately, second, I thought, “I’ll grab a couple of donuts.”
That’s not the habit of a healthy person.
But when I went keto, that all changed. I realized what was making me fat, sick, and sad. Of course, it was the carbs. Now, keep in mind, I’m a sugar addict. For almost 40 years, I had to have sugar in every meal, every snack, every thing I ate. But the day I decided I was done with sugar, the day I decided that I was going to make the right choices, to create the healthy habits of success, something changed. Sugar no longer had a control over me. I didn’t view it as a luxurious food. I viewed it as poison. Another powerful memory I have, after I decided to go keto, was standing in my pantry, staring at all the horrible carbs and not being tempted by any of them. They no longer had control over me. I was all fat, all the time. And every time I made a good, healthy decision, the next one was easier. I don’t do any kind of sugar now. If you would have told me that I would scour nutrition labels WANTING to find stuff that I couldn’t eat, so I could make good choices, I would have called you crazy. But that’s how it is now.
In a similar vein, I am able to withstand all sorts of temptations. Okay, so ice cream is probably my biggest weakness. When it comes to food, there is really nothing I love more than ice cream…except, maybe Chinese food. However, if someone offered me a gallon of my favorite ice cream (or a single spoonful), I wouldn gladly pass. In fact, I have done so many times. Ice cream holds no power over me, because I no longer allow it to.
If someone were to ask me to go to a Chinese buffet to eat, I would probably go. And I wouldn’t eat anything. I would sit there and enjoy the conversation. And I wouldn’t be sad. Chinese food holds no power over me, because I no longer allow it to. It’s really that simple.
Willpower, I’ve learned, is really just allowing yourself to say, “no.” And that gets easier when you’re keto.
I’ve always been active, so I’ve always been sore. Through years of doing different sports and activities, I know how long it takes to recover from different kinds of things. Of course, that knowledge was gleaned through years of being severely inflamed, because of all the sugar I was eating. When I started working out, again, after I went keto, I was really surprised at the amount of time it took to recover. I didn’t stay sore for a week. I started feeling better after a few days. It was kinda nice.
I recently got diagnosed with two herniated discs in my neck. Jiu-jitsu can do that. Several visits to different docs, an MRI, and three weeks of chiropractor visits and I’m all good. No surgery needed. Each doc I visited said something similar, though. They all said that if I was inflamed, the herniation wouldn’t resolve easily or quickly. Because I’m keto, and because I don’t have constant, systemic inflammation, I was able to get back on the mats and I feel great.
(SIDENOTE: To piggyback on that, I’ve also discovered that drinking salt water before, during, and after high intensive exercises will help a WHOLE bunch in recovery. #protip)
Related to recovery, I also experience way more cardio stamina than I ever had. I can go without food for over 12 hours, and because I’m burning fat, I can roll for an hour of jiu-jitsu and not get tired. But it’s not just cardio stamina that has improved. Muscular stamina is also improved. And I don’t need to eat any carbs to keep it going. Win-win.
This is the biggest one. And this is the most personal. I’ve written before, and spoken before, about the fact that keto got me out of a deep depression. But one thing that I haven’t written or talked much about is the happiness I feel because of keto. For most of my life, I was angry and sad. That’s not to say that I don’t experience anger or sadness now. Sure, I do. But I’m not in a constant state of anger and sadness. I’ve said before that I regularly experience euphoria now that I’m keto.
But it’s more than that. I’m actually happy. I actually find myself enjoying life. For a very long time, I was practically agoraphobic. I didn’t ever want to leave the house. I just wanted to stay in bed and never talk to anyone. It was very unhealthy. But I didn’t care. I was just sad.
But not anymore. In fact, a few days ago, I found myself singing “Happy,” the song by Pharrell Williams. I can assure you, that would never have happened before keto.
This is it, if you don’t know it:
These are just a few things that I didn’t expect when I started keto. Of course, I’m pleasantly surprised, and I won’t have it any other way.