The final tally for my keto experiment, BTW: I lost 10 pounds over two months.
I’m not sure why I expected to lose more — 10 pounds is a healthy amount, considering all I changed was my diet — but I did feel a little cheated in that regard. The eating plan was so strict! I can see how people who are trying to lose a lot of weight could fall victim to malaise, when the degree of results isn’t mirroring your perceived effort.
While I was in Barcelona, I ate lightly and wisely … most of the time. (I posted video of busting up the brûlée layer of crema catalana, so I can’t claim complete discipline.) In the week since my return, though, I’ve gone nuts mowing through foods and dishes I’d been forced to put aside for months. You wouldn’t think a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole-grain wheat bread would be so rewarding, but man it was. Same for the first salad that I didn’t have to pick out the grapes, walnuts, cranberries or apple chunks from, and the accompanying cup of vegetable soup that I didn’t have to worry about carrots or potatoes. One day I got to eat a breakfast burrito inside a tortilla, instead of asking for the contents to be assembled without (so, basically, an omelet, but try telling the Mexican restaurant your office orders breakfast from to please cook an omelet). I’ve savored pizza. Licorice. I’m not proud, but I had Milk Duds for breakfast on Wednesday.
I’m back up 5 pounds, but someone who’s 5’11” and 170 is not unhealthy — in fact, the Smart BMI calculator says that I’m already in my optimal weight zone, and that losing 5 pounds “would add no benefit to your health.”
My noble keto experiment has likely come to its inevitable conclusion. The sense of deprivation was so oppressive, and the payoff so disproportionate, that I can’t imagine continuing it with any sense of happiness. No more peeing on a stick to see if I’m “in the right zone.” No more denying myself an icy can of Fresca soda because it has a single gram of carbohydrates.
There are takeaways that I’ll continue to put into practice, though.
Keeping a closer eye on calories. Before, I was eating healthy food most of the time — but I couldn’t tell you how many calories they added up to at the end of the day. For example: My breakfast was usually a boiled egg, some Greek yogurt with berries and some lemon curd and a nonfat latté. Sometimes an English muffin. That totals more than 600 calories, which is good to know — if you’re trying to stay under 2,000 calories a day, in an effort to lose weight, that breakfast constitutes about one-third of your day’s food. Which means that isn’t a “light” breakfast in the grand scheme of things — your lunch and dinner are going to be about the same size.
Upping the “calories out” component. A large part of my reason for trying the keto experiment was because I hate exercising. I have a trainer 4x a week specifically because I know that I otherwise I wouldn’t work out — and even then, it’s a half-hour of weight training in the morning before I hit the showers and get ready for work. I’ll hit a yoga class two or three nights a week when my schedule syncs up well, and while that’s great for flexibility and balance, it’s not a big calorie-burner, either. So I’m going to have to find a way to increase my cardio component so I burn more calories. I’ve half-embraced it already and begun to gather the necessary accountrements so I can’t beg off: wireless headphones so I can listen to music; good shorts and moisture-wicking shirts so I can sweat in style.
It’s a never-ending journey, I guess. Might as well learn to enjoy being on the road, rather than thinking only about reaching any specific destination.