Since 25th April, I’ve been back on a strict low carb eating plan. It’s clearly working as I’m having no cravings at all for chocolate or baked goods; this is the only surefire way to manage my sugar addiction. I’ve also done a huge check-in with myself about my approach to food, as I know I’m in this for the long-term; it’s more of a lifestyle overhaul than a diet, if I’m honest. These are my tips for things that I’ve found to work for me.
A change of vocabulary
What’s that got to do with eating, I hear you ask? Everything. In the previous couple of years since I first started keto to manage my weight gain and sugar addiction, I used to beat myself up if I had a ‘cheat day’. Recently I’ve decided that I don’t like the term ‘cheat day’ as it implies something naughty and only served to make me feel guilty for not staying on my strict diet. Nowadays I prefer to say that I’m ‘carb cycling’, which is the same thing, but framed in a more positive way. Lately I’ve been very strict on weekdays then will have moderate amounts of carbs with meals on weekends, when I’m also more active playing with my child too. It agrees with me and makes sure I don’t feel too hard done by about my restrictive eating habits during the week. These days I try hard not to use negative language about myself either. I try not to call myself ‘fat’. It’s hateful, not helpful to do so.
Increasing my portions of fruit
Small amounts of berries are fine for a strict keto diet, but high GI fruits are out. Since my goal is to control my addiction to refined sugar, I haven’t been too worried about eating moderate amounts of high GI fruit with my yogurt for breakfast. Mangos, grapes and bananas are back on my menu. Not only do they give me a nice dopamine boost, but they serve as a satisfying dessert after a savoury meal. I’m very much a person who likes something sweet after a meal; fruit is far better than chocolate or cake. If it stops my cravings for unhealthy junk, then it’s fine for me.
Whole foods are best
The general rule in my family is, if it has more than five ingredients, it should be an occasional treat and not a staple. Generally I prefer to eat things that have one ingredient: in other words, whole foods. My waist line has thanked me for this, not to mention my teeth, which have fared better during my last few dental appointments.
Sixteen eight eating schedule
Most of the time I eat my two, or three meals in an eight hour window between 11am to 7pm. I fast for the other sixteen hours. It’s easy as most of those hours are overnight, so I simply delay my breakfast until 11am the next morning. Of course, on days when I feel under the weather I make sure to eat breakfast with my hubby and child. The body definitely needs more nutrition when it’s unwell, so I never skip meals when I’m feeling sick.
Being realistic is the first step to having a positive mindset. I’ve accepted that my sugar addiction is a lifelong battle that I’m going to have to manage. I’ve accepted that refined sugar is going to be hard to abstain from completely as it’s in many foodstuffs and even medicines, so I’ll have to find a balance that works for me. I’ve accepted that my weight gain – and loss – has changed how I look. But you know what? It’s better to be honest than in denial about things.