Living the Keto Lifestyle Long Term

January 23, 2016. That was the day I decided to introduce my husband to the Keto lifestyle. Let me tell you, we were very nervous to start. Me more than him, but that’s normal for our relationship! I do the freaking out on things and he calms me down and says “everything will be alright”. Even when he has no clue if it will be. Oddly enough, I know all this, yet it does calm me down…some! We’ve officially reached the year and a half mark. Can we do this Keto lifestyle long term? We’re planning on it!

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keto lifestyle

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Keto Lifestyle Long Term?

So you’ve heard about the Keto diet and the first thing you think (after you get over the shock of giving up sugar) is “can I do this long term?”. The answer is that you absolutely can! My husband and I have been following the Keto lifestyle for about a year and a half now and in that year and a half, we have had several holidays, many birthdays and a TON of family get togethers. We’ve always managed to stay on our plan 99% of the time. I say 99% of the time because I don’t want to lie AT ALL! I did taste the frosting on my sons cake at his birthday. I also ate a little bit of watermelon at a family BBQ.  Are those thing part of the Keto diet? Of course not. However, that one taste did not derail me. I didn’t go on a cake frosting bender. The Keto lifestyle is so ingrained in me that I will not allow myself to go back to my old lifestyle.

 

Keto Comfort FoodsKeto Comfort Foods

Starting the Keto Diet

When I started the Keto diet, I did a lot of reading up on the subject. Remember, I told you I freaked out at first! Everything I read stated that you need to follow a high fat/moderate protein/very low carb diet plan. As I’ve evolved through this diet, I have learned even more things and thanks to the Keto Facebook group I belong to now, I learned that we really only need to eat 50g of fat because the rest of the fat in our body (that we want to burn off) makes up the high fat macro! So using this nifty macro calculator, I recalculated my macros for My Fitness Pal and I am trying this “new” way to follow the Keto lifestyle. Was the way I started out with Keto wrong? No. Absolutely not. I believe that this, life everything else, is just another way to accomplish the same thing. I mean, I did lose 83 pounds…

keto lifestyle

Keto Tips

Like anything else, it’s always best to get started with a few tips. No one likes to go in blind. If I have to give you just five tips to get started, they would be:

  1. Go in all or nothing. This diet is not one of those diets where you have cheat days. You either plan on sticking to it or don’t bother doing it. Trust me. You don’t want to experience the “Keto flu” more than once.
  2. Read this post on the Top 10 Keto Diet Must Haves. Bacon Jerky is so delicious!
  3. Purchase the premium version of My Fitness Pal. It’s worth it. Especially if you are like me and you need everything to be exact!
  4. Don’t be afraid of fat bombs. Especially this Chocolate SunButter Fat Bomb recipe!
  5. You can have gummy bears!! Not the store bought ones, but these homemade Gummy Bears are just as good and no sugar!!

The biggest thing you need to know when embarking on the Keto lifestyle journey is that YOU CAN DO THIS! If my husband and I could, then you definitely could. Actually, I should say, “if I could”…I was a sugar addict. I’m not even joking. I ate a weeks worth of sugar in one day…every day. Giving up sugar was probably the best thing I have every done. When I reach my goal weight, I will probably add in a little more carbs in order to maintain, but I will always be low carb. There is no going back for me. To me, following a Keto lifestyle is no different than me eating gluten and tree nut free due to my allergies.

If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to click the Contact Me button at the top of the screen!!


Talking to Your Kids About Limiting Sugar

Ever since my husband and I started following the Keto lifestyle and completely eliminating sugar from our life, the one thing people always ask us is, “what about your kids?”. My answer has always been that they do not follow the Keto diet. I feel that for kids, it is way to hard for them to eliminate sugar, etc. I truly believe, and have seen, that when you try to tell your kids “no candy” or “no pop”, they will sneak it or overeat it any chance they get. That completely defeats what you are trying to do. Instead, we talked with our kids about the importance of limiting sugar.

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limiting sugar

The Talk – Limiting Sugar

When I made the decision to talk to my kids about limiting sugar, I wanted to really think about my words. The last thing I wanted was to create some unnecessary relationship with food for them. As a teen and young adult, I dealt with many eating disorder issues. That is something I hope neither of my kids ever have to deal with. Since my husband and I have spent the last year and a half really focusing on what we put in our bodies, and sharing with others about our new lifestyle, I knew that it would not come as a shock to my kids when we sat them down to have a discussion.

Pro tip…get your kids in the habit of drinking water and staying hydrated. We like this water bottle.

Nalgene On The Fly Water Bottle (Clear with Orange/White Cap),20-OunceNalgene On The Fly Water Bottle (Clear with Orange/White Cap),20-Ounce

Since I knew the idea of eliminating sugar altogether would be a bad one, I wanted to make sure they understood that as well. We talked about the things they saw us do over the course of the year. They paid a lot more attention than I thought they did! They knew that we do not eat any sugar or grains and that most of our daily carb intake comes from vegetables and fruit was our candy.

Don’t Drink Your Sugar

I was never a mom that bought fruit juices. My kids drank it at their grandparents house and that was basically it. When we were at a restaurant, I would let them get Sprite. Without evening thinking about it, they would sometimes drink several glasses. So we talked about how we would much rather eat something with sugar than drink it. They both agreed. A couple times since our conversation, we were out and they got Sprite to drink. When the waitress asked if they would like a refill, they responded, all on their own, “may I please have water?”! I call that a success!

Counting Carbs and Calories

No. No. No. No. This is not something I want my kids worrying about; thinking about; or doing. With that said, they aren’t stupid. They see what we eat and don’t eat. Bella knows that bread for sandwiches has a fair amount of carbs in it. She asked me if I would get her YUMBOX Bento Lunch Box. Rather than have a traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich, she would like to have meat and cheese roll ups, broccoli and ranch, and Goldfish crackers or a cookie. In her eyes, just like wasting sugar on Sprite, why waste it on bread when she doesn’t really care if she has it. She’d rather have crackers or a cookie.

Limiting Sugar Success!

Ladies and gentleman, this is what I wanted to happen. I wanted my kids to be able to make decisions on what to eat that are healthy and in moderation, without me saying “no don’t eat that” or “that has too many carbs”, etc. By doing it this way, they are making a choice based on the healthy choices in the house. Do I buy cookies? Not all the time. Do I have Goldfish crackers available as a snack option? Of course. Are they portioned out in little baggies for easy on the go snacks AND to prevent them sitting down with the box and eating it all? Yes.

When it comes to talking to your kids about limiting their sugar, it’s all about how you approach it. If you give them little bits of information and allow them to make the decisions for themselves, then you are setting them up to be able to make good choices without feeling like they are doing something wrong when they do drink a glass of Sprite or eat a cookie. And remember, YOU are the one that does the shopping. If you don’t bring the food in the house, they won’t have it to eat. Just remember though, you don’t want your kitchen to be so strict that the first chance they get, they go hog wild somewhere else.

4th of July Keto Menu

The most stressful thing about starting a new diet or being on a diet are those social settings, like holidays or get togethers where you don’t know what to serve or what to eat. You don’t want the host to feel uncomfortable because you aren’t eating what they are serving because you don’t know if you can, and you don’t want to make others feel like that are eating some crazy diet food. Well good news, with this 4th of July Keto menu, you don’t have to worry about those social settings!

4th of july

Image via Pexels

Being on the Keto diet for over a year and a half now, I am, in no way, an expert, but I do feel comfortable going anywhere and knowing I will have something to eat. Well, unless it is an Italian pasta themed party…then I may have a little trouble! Thankfully, pasta themed 4th of July parties are not typically a thing! The nice thing about 4th of July parties is that they are typically BBQ’s and meat is A-OK on the Keto diet! Just skip the bun!

 

Bacon & Butter: The Ultimate Ketogenic Diet CookbookBacon & Butter: The Ultimate Ketogenic Diet CookbookSimple Girl Carolina Style BBQ Sauce - 12oz - Low Calorie - Sugar-Free Diabetic/Vegan Friendly - Gluten/Fat/MSG Free - Compatible with Most Diet PlansSimple Girl Carolina Style BBQ Sauce – 12oz – Low Calorie – Sugar-Free Diabetic/Vegan Friendly – Gluten/Fat/MSG Free – Compatible with Most Diet PlansLynchburg Tennessee Whiskey Sweet & Mild SUGAR FREE Gourmet Deli & Grillin' Sauce 16ozLynchburg Tennessee Whiskey Sweet & Mild SUGAR FREE Gourmet Deli & Grillin’ Sauce 16oz

4th of July Keto Menu

Like I mentioned above, traditional BBQ foods like hamburgers, hotdogs, sausages, etc. are really good for the Keto diet. Typically a BBQ will have lettuce for the burgers. Grab a couple and wrap your food in the lettuce or just eat it on a plate with a fork and knife like I do! If you are hosting the 4th of July celebration, your Keto Menu (which your guests will never realize is full of “diet” foods) should look like this:

Appetizers

Main Course

  • 80/20 Burgers with all the fixings
  • Hot dogs
  • Sausages (I like the Koegel brand)
  • Spicy Chicken Thighs

Side Dishes

Now you may be thinking that this is a great menu, but what about dessert. The nice thing about the Keto diet is that there are many options that you can make/modify that are Keto friendly and just as good! This Strawberry “Pretzel” salad is one of them. I am willing to bet your guests will not know that this is not the traditional strawberry pretzel salad that they are used to!

When it comes to 4th of July parties, you do not have to fear going! As you can see, there are many options for you to eat. If you are worried about what to drink or are afraid you won’t be able to enjoy a drink with your friends and family, fear not! Grab a diet drink, add some alcohol and have at it! I guarantee you will have a great time and be plenty full. Your guests will even ask you for some of your recipes!

What Keto recipe are you having at your 4th of July party?


How to Start the Keto Diet

So you’ve heard about the Keto diet, but you’re afraid to get started. I mean, eat fat to lose weight? How is this even possible? What if you end up gaining more weight? Doesn’t this go against everything you ever learned from, let’s say, the American Heart Association, for instance? Believe me, I had the exact same freak out. All I kept thinking was, “I am 250 lbs. I can’t afford to gain any more weight“. However, at the same time, I was 250 lbs. I couldn’t afford to NOT do whatever I could to try and change that. Right? Continue reading to learn more about how to start the Keto diet.

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start the keto diet

So as I was saying, at my highest weight, I was 250 lbs. My body hurt, I was always out of breath, I had no energy, etc. I could literally go on and on about how bad things were when I was that heavy. Besides the physical side of things, my health wasn’t all that great either. With a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis, high cholesterol, and a strong family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes, I definitely had one foot in the grave. My doctor had my on diabetes medication and cholesterol medication…both of which had horrible side effects that I was tired of dealing with.

After researching and researching more and more about how to start the keto diet, I decided that I had nothing to lose. Sure I could end up gaining more weight and failing miserably at the diet, but at that point, I was already 250 lbs, what was a few more pounds? If the diet actually worked for me, the results could end up being life changing. And life changing they were! Here is a picture of me at my absolute highest weight with a picture of me yesterday.start the keto diet

If you don’t know what the Keto diet is, it is a diet that focuses on a high fat intake, moderate protein and very low carbs (around 20 total carbs a day). Basically, it very simple terms, your body will start using the fat you are consuming, as well as your stored body fat, as it’s new energy source instead of carbs.

How to Start the Keto Diet

Once I decided to make the jump to do the Keto diet, I knew I had to be all in. I couldn’t go halfway. In knowing that, the first three things I did were:

  • Wrote down my measurements and starting weight
  • Figured out my Macros using this Keto calculator
  • Purchased the premium membership for My Fitness Pal

The first two items are paramount. You have to do these things to succeed with the Keto diet. A premium membership for My Fitness Pal is not required, but because I was “all in” I wanted to make sure my macro percentages were exact. With the free version of My Fitness Pal, you have to round your numbers. I wasn’t OK with that. You may be and that’s OK!

Pro Tip…Pick up this bullet journal and pens to create your Keto Diet Bullet Journal. You can design it how you would like, but what a great place to track your success, write out your goals, etc?!?

Leuchtturm1917 Medium Size Hardcover A5 Notebook - Dotted Pages - BerryLeuchtturm1917 Medium Size Hardcover A5 Notebook – Dotted Pages – BerryHuhuhero Fineliner Color Pen Set, 0.38 mm Fine Line Drawing Pen, Porous Fine Point Markers Perfect for Coloring Book and Bullet Journal Art Projects, Pack of 10Huhuhero Fineliner Color Pen Set, 0.38 mm Fine Line Drawing Pen, Porous Fine Point Markers Perfect for Coloring Book and Bullet Journal Art Projects, Pack of 10

What Do You Do Now?

If there was just one thing I could tell you is most important when you start the Keto diet, it would be to plan, plan, plan. You don’t want to eat and track all day long without planning. If you don’t plan, then you will get to dinner and be out of protein and have WAY too much fat left to eat and you’ll end up eating a stick of butter for dinner. So I eat breakfast and while I am entering my breakfast for the day, I immediately figure out what I am going to eat for dinner, enter than and whatever I have left I divide between lunch and snacks. If I know I am going to a particular restaurant for dinner, I always plan out what I want for dinner and work backwards. Besides being strict and consistent, planning has been my biggest success with this diet.

OK I have My Fitness Pal and My Macros, Now What?

Be sure to scroll through my Keto diet resources. I have a lot of delicious recipes for you to try. Especially recipes specific to summer! A few, must have items that I think you should consider picking up from Amazon are:

The Wicked Good Ketogenic Diet Cookbook: Easy, Whole Food Keto Recipes for Any BudgetThe Wicked Good Ketogenic Diet Cookbook: Easy, Whole Food Keto Recipes for Any BudgetBacon & Butter: The Ultimate Ketogenic Diet CookbookBacon & Butter: The Ultimate Ketogenic Diet CookbookSweet and Savory Fat Bombs: 100 Delicious Treats for Fat Fasts, Ketogenic, Paleo, and Low-Carb DietsSweet and Savory Fat Bombs: 100 Delicious Treats for Fat Fasts, Ketogenic, Paleo, and Low-Carb Diets

My favorite, of the three above, is the Sweet & Savory Fat Bombs cookbook. In the very beginning, I really struggled with getting enough fat in. I don’t know if it was more of a mental thing or what, but you won’t lose weight if you aren’t consuming enough fat. This cookbook has a lot of delicious ways to get your fat in! Two fat bomb recipes I really like are:

Things to Remember When You Start the Keto Diet

When you first start the Keto diet, you will need to remember a few things. First, once you deplete your carb stores and begin to switch over to using ketones to fuel your body, you may experience the “Keto Flu”. This is normal. Just power through out. Trust me. It will get better after a few days. Second, in the beginning, as your body is adjusting to its new fuel source, you will experience insane hunger. Power through. If you must go over your calories and whatnot in My Fitness Pal, do it…but make sure your macro percentages always stay where they need to be. That is the important part. Finally, stay hydrated. It’s important to be hydrated all the time, but even more so with the Keto diet. In order to prevent your body from retaining water, you need to drink more water. Sounds crazy, but just trust me. Also be sure to take a look at what supplements you are taking. I personally needed to cut out my multi-vitamin, but add in a magnesium vitamin. Discuss with your doctor exactly what vitamins you need.

Right now, I am currently down about 83 lbs. My husband, who started the Keto diet with me, is down 125 lbs! We no longer look at this as a diet, but more as our new lifestyle. I ate a little sugar and some potato chips the other weekend and I ended of knocking myself out of ketosis and had the lovely experience of the Keto flu all over again this week. So…for me…sugar and potato chips are not worth it to me!

Good luck on your Keto journey. If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below and I will do my best to answer it!

Top 10 Keto Diet Must Haves

Thinking about doing the Keto diet, but don’t know where to start? No worries! I have been doing the diet for over a year now, have successfully kept 82 pounds off AND I just so happen to have a lot of resources to get your started! You can get started by checking out this post, this post and this post. Once you have an idea of where to start with the Keto diet, you will want to move on to the list below of the top 10 Keto diet must haves!

Top 10 Keto Diet Must Haves

Getting started with a diet like this, you are probably a little freaked out. I mean, it goes against everything that has been drilled into our head about what we should be eating. If this sounds like you, then you are probably thinking, “I need books to tell me what to eat” and “I need to know if I am in Ketosis or not”. If this sounds like you, then these products should be in your Amazon cart right now!

Once you have your ketone strips to see if you are in ketosis and your necessary cookbooks, you will want to have quick and easy snacks that you can grab for those on the go moments. Since you’re already adding stuff to your Amazon cart, you might as well add these items too!

Getting your fat in on the Keto diet can be rough at first. Making fat bombs, like these chocolate sunbutter fat bombs, do help (be sure to pick up the cookbook above for more fat bomb ideas). Another thing you will want to make are Keto approved Gummy Bears! To make either of the things mentioned above, you will need the following silicone molds.

The last item you MUST add to your shopping cart are these amazing, portion control baggies! If you like nuts, but don’t want to over eat them (the carbs will add up quickly), then pre-fill these bags for quick and easy, grab and go snacks!

There you have it! The top 10 Keto diet must haves!