I understand, I really do. All my life I have eaten sweets – every day. I am, after all a sugar addict. The thing about addiction is that it is very powerful – it will hold you physically and mentally hostage.
As a member of many Keto/LCHF groups online, everyday I see people posting requests for dessert recipes. I am guilty, I have done it. I have asked for and I have shared low carb dessert recipes. Honestly, there really isn’t anything wrong with making stuff from scratch, in my opinion. I think the healthy, low-carb alternatives out there that use almond flour, coconut flour and Splenda or other no carb sweetener can be a nice treat now and then or on holidays. That said, I am at a point in my journey that I no longer believe I need these treats on a regular basis.
It has taken a year to arrive at this place, and I will be honest, mentally I still struggle some times.
Old habits die hard, but they do die if we don’t indulge them. I used to walk through the bakery section of the grocery store, see something, immediately think, “Yummy!” and I would toss it in my cart. Sometimes the goodie wouldn’t even make it home, as I would eat it in the car. Now I walk through the grocery store and don’t even give the treats a first glance, let alone a second thought.
I think the mental part of the ketogenic lifestyle is the hardest to get straight. When we regularly engage in food fantasies, or tell ourselves we are somehow missing out, it will wear on us and eventually cause a cave in or binge. I can’t indulge those thoughts anymore, and if I find myself having “dirty thoughts” about cheesecake as I pass it in the grocery store, I immediately tell myself that it is the devil and it will hurt me. That said, I plan on having the low carb cheesecake again next time I go to the Cheesecake Factory. Why? Because I go there less than once a year, it is only 11 net carbs and I had it before and it didn’t trigger me. It isn’t a regular indulgence.
I say I plan on it, but the truth is, when I get there if I don’t want it, I won’t eat it.
The posts I see that concern me are the posts containing things like sugar-free pudding/mousse, protein shakes or smoothies, sugar-free candies, and the admission that they eat these things every day. I ate Atkins treat bars and shakes every day for the first 8 months, they were a crutch because I believed I couldn’t live life with out dessert. I told myself that eating them would keep me on the plan and keep me from bingeing. I no longer believe that lie.
[NOTE FROM BRIAN: Dr. Atkins was an intelligent, compassionate man. Contemporary Atkins food, however, is atrocious and has no place in any ketogenic lifestyle.]
My new rule is, if it is packaged and/or processed and has ingredients listed that aren’t natural or I can’t pronounce, I don’t eat it. If you want long-term success and really want to be free from the bondage of sweets, then I would suggest to you to let the regular treat eating go. Yes, you might go through withdrawal. Yes, you will, likely, mentally battle it for a while, but I promise you the desire will go away eventually.
I have to work on my mental focus everyday. I understand the lure of dessert. I do indulge once in a while these days, but not every day, sometimes not even once a month. The first 8 months of my journey, I indulged EVERY DAY and I think it is why I didn’t lose as fast. It has been over a year and I still haven’t reached 100 pounds lost. I firmly believe that had I let go of treats from the beginning I would have reached that by now. It is okay though, I have learned some things I needed to learn and now I know and can share with others.
You can go my way and learn on your own, or you can believe me and take my advice and not have to suffer longer or be frustrated.
It’s your choice.