My Doctor Said The Ketogenic Diet Isn’t Safe.  What Do I Do?

Our continuing series on Ketogenic FAQs.

I vividly recall the day I told my doctor I was eating LCHF.  I had been weighed and measured by the nurse and was sitting on the little table waiting for the doc to come in.  She had in a previous visit told me that I had metabolic syndrome and at 400 lbs and blood pressure that was astronomical, it was only a matter of time before I had a heart attack or stroked out. 

Her helpful advice at the time was to lose weight but her method was the same tired ole Eat Less, Move More model that has never worked for anyone.

She came in the room and noted how I had lost about 50 lbs since our previous visit and was seeing some improvement in my BP numbers so she asked how I was doing it.  I told her I cut out all the sugar and grains and started eating more meat. 

Oh my, the look on her face became much darker as she frowned and told me that not eating the sugar was probably a good idea but you need those “heart-healthy grains” for optimal health and meat consumption has been linked to CVD and heart attacks. 

Fortunately even though I was very new to this way of eating, I knew enough to be able to stand my ground and tell the doc this was how I was going to eat for the foreseeable future. 

Of course now I’m 200 lbs lighter and my diet is probably 80% meat, if she was still my doc I would love to know her thoughts on that but I fired her not too much after this visit.

So now you are in the same position I was in.  Your doctor has you feeling uneasy about this way of eating and you want to make sure you are doing the right thing and you want the fact you need to back up your stance. 

What now?  Here are some helpful tips to make sure you are well-informed on your next visit to the Dr’s office.

#1  This is the way we always ate.

This simple fact is enough to at least stop a doctor and give them something to think about,  If they have gone through medical school, they know that the human body works the way it does because it has been shaped by thousands of years of evolution. 

So the evolutionary forces that optimized the body over time should be the same forces that will lead to optimal health today.  What did our ancestors do?  The hunted and fished. 

Sure they gathered a bit but mostly they ate meat. Fruits and veggies were only available when ripe and that was for only 2 or 3 months a year.  The rest of the year you better have a sharp spear or wide net to get your calories.

#2  Agriculture is the new addition to our diet

This is similar to the first point but it is worth pointing out.  If you condensed all of human history to a year, we only just invented agriculture yesterday and started eating vegetable oils a few minutes ago. 

A grain or carbohydrate based diet is a new innovation in human history and always leads to poor human health.  Here is one of my favorite articles on the most famous agrarian society in history.

#3  Take a book with you the the office

It might be helpful to take a book with you that can explain what you are doing and ask the Dr to read it so they are informed about what is going on with you. 

This can be a little tricky because you don’t want the doctor to fee like you are smarter than them or that you trust some author more than your doc so you will have to come at it from the direction of you guys being a team and you think this will work and you want your doctor’s support and guidance. 

You might also want to tailor the book to your specific problem so if you just have obesity, try Why We Get Fat, or if you have T2D, try The Diabetes Code, or Tripping over the Truth if you have cancer and so on.  That way you and your doc can at least be on the same page.

#4  Show results

If you are going to do this, do it right so you have results to show your doc.  If you cheat or are real haphazard about this way of eating and show no progress in your weight, cholesterol, HBA1c, or other health markers, you aren’t going to impress your doc. 

Be faithful and let this way of eating heal your body.  Who knows that you may be able to influence all your doctor’s patients with your progress through a newly open minded doctor.

How did you handle the situation with your doctor?  Have any helpful tips you would like to share?  Please leave them in the comments below!

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My Doctor Said The Ketogenic Diet Isn't Safe.  What Do I Do?

None of My Friends/Family/Spouse are Supportive of Me Eating Keto.  What Should I Do?

We are continuing our Ketogenic FAQ’s with a question that comes up a lot, “What do I do if I have no support for this way of eating?”  I’m not going to lie, it’s a hard situation for anyone to be in because we are by nature communal people that want to fit in. 

Being part of a tribe is something that was ingrained in us from our earliest days as a species so when we don’t feel like we are fitting in to our social group or don’t have the support of a tribe, it bothers us on a very deep level.

When we feel like our friends and family aren’t “with us” on our journey, the temptation to quit can be very strong.  In fact having talked to probably hundreds of people about this way of eating, I can say lack of spousal support is probably the #1 reason people quit, especially women. 

If I’m talking to a woman who’s husband is actively resistant to this new way of eating, she will almost always quit after the initial enthusiasm wears off.

So what do you do?  Here’s a few tips to help you out when you don’t feel you are getting the support you need from the ones you love.

Get a New Tribe

I’m certainly not saying to get a new family but you need a place with other like-minded individuals.  You need somewhere you can go to ask for advice, get recipes, vent, cry, laugh, whatever. 

This is something new and there is no reason to feel like you are reinventing the wheel every day.  There are people out there who have done this for a long time and had great success, you need to tap into that reservoir of experience and wisdom.

Of course, I recommend my Facebook support group because we have great admins and a ton of videos explaining pretty much every aspect of this way of life.  But if it isn’t your cup of tea, you can just do a search for ketogenic support groups and probably find hundreds if not thousands of places you can join. 

The only other ones I spend time on besides my own are the Keto Reddit Forum and the Ketogenic Forums from the guys over at 2 Keto Dudes.  (The Keto Science subreddit is pretty good also if you like the science part of it.)

Discipline is Always Better than Motivation

The problem with motivation is that motivation fades.  Once that initial rush goes away, you find yourself back in the same ruts that got you fat and sick in the first place.  The key here is discipline because where motivation fades, discipline remains.

Discipline is the fine art of separating feelings from action.  If you are relying on emotion to keep you faithful to this way of eating, your commitment fades as soon as your passion does and let me tell you, the first few weeks on keto can be difficult so keeping your level of commitment up is just as difficult. 

It’s important to be disciplined and part of that is making daily commitments, removing temptations, and rewarding yourself when you do well.  Having an accountability partner or someone you can check in with is important also, there is a reason why organizations like AA require you to have a sponsor. 

Change is hard but change with help is easier.  (Looking for help?  Join one of the support groups mentioned in the first point!)

Attach a Bigger “Why” to Your Health Journey

Why are you making this change?  This is the most important question you need to answer and it needs to be crystal clear.  The “Why” is the bedrock of your change and what keeps you faithful when you feel like the ones you love the most are against you. 

Your “Why” is the lighthouse that guides you when you feel like you are in a storm and about to be dashed on the rocks of your old eating habits.  This needs to be written down and said out loud clearly and often.

Some examples of good Whys:  “I need to get rid of this diabetes.”  “My family has a strong history of (fill in metabolic disease here) and I don’t want to get that.” 

“I’m too fat and need to lose 50 lbs”  “I don’t feel comfortable with my body and need to be happier with who I am.”  “I have done what feels good in the moment for too long, I need to prove I have the discipline to make this change.”

Whatever your why is, make sure it is big enough and important enough to give you the discipline to finish this race strong.

Convert Your Existing Tribe

This one may take a while but as you continue doing this and start seeing the changes that can happen when you fix your diet, there is the possibility that your friends and family will want to do what you are doing. 

It took years but now I’m seeing my son in law lose weight, my granddaughter lose weight, my daughter, my son, so many people that I love that are making important changes to their diet based on what Dian and I have done over the last 4 years or so.

It’s exciting when it happens but takes lots of time and it might not ever happen.  You can’t control other people but you can be a good example they can look to when they realize they need to make a change. 

You just keep being the best you you can be and let the chips fall where they may.

Do you have any other tips or stories of how you succeeded with little support?  I’d love to hear them!  Leave them in the comments below.

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None of My Friends/Family/Spouse are Supportive of Me Eating Keto.  What Should I Do?

How Do I Stay Keto When Traveling?

As we continue our look at Ketogenic FAQs, I thought it was time to discuss one of the most common ones.  If I had a dime every time someone asked me about how to stay keto when traveling,

I would be a very wealthy man.  Fortunately, this is not a very difficult question because there are a lot of way to stay success even when you aren’t at home.  So let’s look at easy ways to stay keto when traveling!

Pick a Hotel Room with a Kitchenette

It makes life a lot easier if you can cook your own food so try to get a little kitchenette or at the very least a microwave and minifridge.  If you get one with a stove, you can cook eggs, bacon, steak or even steam a few veggies.  If only a microwave, you can still make eggs and bacon, but you will need a way to discard the bacon grease.  Probably the easiest thing to do is just to buy a couple rotisserie chickens and bagged salads and eat that.

Drink Lots of Water

Getting your body’s natural thirst craving confused with a hunger pang is a common problem with keto-ers.    Be sure you are staying hydrated, especially when you start to feel hungry.  here are some additional reasons to drink water on keto.

Take Time to Destress

I know, the whole point of a vacation is supposed to be an opportunity to destress be sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.  You spend so much time running around that you constantly pumping out Cortisol which drives higher levels of blood sugar and hunger signals.  Do some deep breathing and possibly some stretching every day to keep your stress in check.  Here’s more info on Stress and the Ketogenic Diet.

Consider Fasting

Want to increase ketone levels and reduce calories?  There’s no better way to do that than fasting.  the easiest way to do that is to skip breakfast.  Or maybe you go a full day?  Just do what feels right for you.  Here is some more info on Intermittent Fasting.

Use Fat Coffee or Tea to Skip a Meal

Don’t want to skip breakfast?  Throw some heavy whipping cream in your coffee and it will act as a meal replacement.  It’s lowish in calories and will keep you satisfied until lunch.  Here is more info on Fat Coffee.

Research what Restaurants are in the Area

Don’t go in blind.  Know what’s around where you are going to be and what they serve.  I have found steak restaurants are best but burger places are good also.  Just know what’s in the area or in the hotel and decide before hand what you will do.  Your hotel might offer a shuttle service as well so ask what restaurants are in the radius of the shuttle.  Here are some tips on what to look for in restaurants.

Research Local Grocery Stores

This works best if you got a hotel room with a kitchenette but if you did, figure out what you will need to do to get to a grocery store or meat market.  Again, rotisserie chickens work great for this or you can get cold cuts and cheese or even pre-boiled eggs.

Meal Prep

If you have some tupperware, fill them with food from home and take it with you,  Making up some hamburger patties or grilled chicken works great for this.  Here’s how to Meal Plan and Prep.

Commit to the Win

Perhaps the best tip is to absolutely committed to sticking to this way of eating.  Nothing is worse than getting home and discovering you gained 10 lbs so commit yourself to sticking with it.  Here’s more info on the mindset you need to win.

Do you have any other tips?  Let me know in the comments below!

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What Do I Do After Reaching My Goal Weight With the Ketogenic Diet?

We are continuing our look at FAQ’s for the Ketogenic Diet.

By far most of the questions I get are how to lose weight with the Ketogenic diet but what about after you lose the weight?  It’s difficult because it’s a whole new world.  Instead of marching toward a goal, (Like my goal of a 200 lb weight loss) you are instead hovering around the same weight all the time so it can be easy to lose focus.

Here are some tricks and tips I have used to maintain my weight so far.

Set New Goals

It was incredibly important to figure out a new goal to shoot for to replace my old weight loss goal.  For me this became a series of experiments to see how I would react to different things.  January was a No Caffeine experiment that absolutely sucked and I am currently in the middle of a carnivore experiment that is going pretty well.

Think about something that you want to accomplish and start working toward it.  It can be an exercise goal like running a 5K or bench pressing 250 lbs, a body shape goal like a thinner waist or a broader chest, or maybe something more esoteric like meditating for a month.  Whatever it is, I really believe that continuing to set and meet goals is an important factor in ongoing maintenance success.

Dance With the One Who Brung Ya

This is an old Southern saying that basically means continue doing what got you here.  If a ketogenic diet helped you lose the weight, keep eating a ketogenic diet.  Going back to doughnuts and Oreos now will only undo the hard work you’ve already done.

I haven’t seen any hard science on this but my own personal experience tells me that it is much easier to pack on weight if you have already been obese.  I don’t think I’ll ever be the kind of person that can just eat whatever whenever and not put on weight.  This is going to be an ongoing fight so I can’t give up now.

Get Used to the New You

This is such a tough one.  You are so used to seeing yourself as obese that it can be difficult to see yourself as someone at a healthy weight.  I still tend to shop for clothes that are way too big for me.  I can still walk by a mirror and not recognize myself immediately.  It’s weird I know but you spend a lifetime seeing yourself as the fat guy, it can be a little odd to not see all those extra pounds on you.

I have found that some of this will change in time as you continue to get used to the new you but in the mean time, enjoy and celebrate the changes.  I will tap my collar bones that I could never see but are now prominent or rub my hip bones and remember the days when I had no idea they existed.  These are the results of years of hard work so I try to see them as trophies earned.

Learn What Triggers You

This was a very surprising lesson for me to learn.  Once I met my goal weight I figured I had conquered my demons and I could take my foot off the accelerator a bit and just kind of coast.  Nope!  Turns out the exact same things I struggled with before keto were all still there.  I learned that I still can’t have one donut or cookie, I can have none or all of them and then go buy a second box.  Moderation just seems to be beyond me.

I had to learn exactly what my triggers were and how to avoid them.  For me, I knew that any time I got less than 8 hours sleep or things were stressful at work that I needed to be careful about being around any sugary snack.  I learned that free food in the breakroom would call out to me throughout my shift.  I learned that I still had the same addictive, binge-prone personality I had at 400 lbs.  Once I learned my triggers, I could take steps to handle them.  If I went to work tired, I would buy a tin of sardines to eat halfway through my shift instead of fasting throughout.  If there were free donuts in the breakroom, I would just throw them away.  (I work nights so they had been there all day by the time I got there so it wasn’t like I was depriving anyone of anything.)  In short, I learned my triggers and developed strategies for defusing them.

What about you?  Have you developed any tricks for maintainning a healthy weight?  If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

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