The thing that motivates you beyond all other motivators to do a keto diet is your keto why. Finding my keto why started before I’d ever heard of the ketogenic diet. My life experience, living in my body, getting to know my own priorities all helped in the formation of my keto why. My why was sitting in front of my face for years, but I was distracted by too many other things in life to realize it.
In the Past
For years I’ve struggled with allergies and arthritis. The allergies are mostly my own fault. I’m allergic to cats, but I’m not happy without my cats by my side, so I keep them, snuggled up next to me for the majority of the day.
When you love something, sometimes you just deal with the downfalls. My downfalls were daily medications and living in a constant head fog from my bodies reaction to the allergens.
Arthritis pain has been around for years. Doctors have confirmed osteoarthritis, but blood test say I don’t have rheumatoid, which I’m happy I don’t have.
Joining a gym
Several years ago when my husband was deployed to Afghanistan, I quit my job to stay home alone caring for our daughters, who were both under the age of three at the time, and I had the bright idea to use this time to get my masters degree.
I joined a gym for a mixed bag of reasons. I would get in shape like society says I should. There would be time away from the kids since the gym had a kids area. Exercise is supposed to relieve stress. It gets me out of the house.
The thing is, it didn’t exactly work as I planned.
The staff was constantly coming to find me because a diaper needed changed or one of the girls was upset and they needed my help. Working with a personal trainer was great, but I found much of my session was interrupted. I didn’t get the stress relief, time away from the kids, or even a quality workout.
I kept at it because I knew it was good for me to be getting at least some exercise and to get myself out of the house.
Then my knee started clicking. A lot.
A trip to the doctor was when I first confirmed osteoarthritis and he told me to keep exercising if it didn’t hurt.
It didn’t hurt much at the time, just the clicking sound in my knee with every bend. That shouldn’t be happening. Over the next few weeks my knees got so stiff it hurt to walk. I had to quit the gym.
A few years went by before the arthritis toned down enough that I could walk longer distances without pain. During that time the pain graduated to my hips and lower back, affecting my piriformis muscle and sciatic nerve at time due to the way I walked while favoring my knees in an attempt to reduce pain. My ankles also had trouble supporting the altered gait I’d adopted, and that in turn caused foot pain. It was a domino effect.
I tried many things, but ultimately was told if you want to get better you have to lose weight. Being unable to exercise efficiently made weight loss difficult. Even when I ate healthy, as dictated by society, low fat, lots of veggies, moderate lean meats, etc, I wasn’t losing. I tried different meal plans and diets. I was gaining weight; around 50 pounds more than I was before. My personal opinion is I was gaining weight when I was eating healthy because of cortisol. The rest of the weight was because I felt defeated and stopped trying. Lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet became my norm.
Something has always been wrong with me my entire life, but I didn’t realize it was disorder status. I’d always lived my life with high anxiety and always thought it was normal because I didn’t have anything for comparison.
When I was finally prescribed sertraline, in my mid thirties, my entire world changed. Life without anxiety looked and felt amazing. It was crystal clear to me at that point that I had a disorder and how I felt my entire life wasn’t normal at all. I was happier, less angry all the time, my mind wasn’t constantly racing with thoughts of worry or ruminating about every detail of my life and what might have beens.
My weight gain stopped after I started on anxiety medication. I wasn’t losing weight, but I wasn’t gaining either. Maintenance was a welcome position.
It was during this time I found self acceptance. All this time I was letting society dictate what I should be and I was letting my mind take over my head giving me no space to figure out what I wanted and what made me happy.
Identifying my keto why
After all of this time it was clear to me; I didn’t want to lose weight, I wanted to get rid of the pain.
At first I wasn’t sure it would work, but after a ton of research on how keto works, potential side effects of keto, research on sugar, etc I decided it was worth a try. If things didn’t work out for me I could always try something else. With my doctors permission (yes, I really did check with my doctor, and you should too before changing up your diet this drastically) I started keto. She wanted me to lose weight. I wanted to drop inflammation. So we had different goals. If all goes well we’ll both be happy with the results in the end.
My Keto Success So Far
I’ve reduced the number of allergy medications and painkillers for arthritis since starting keto. My energy levels are up, I’m more focused and motivated, and I’m losing weight, so my doctor should be happy.
All of this put together means I’m more productive and I can spend more quality time exploring and going on adventures with my family, or even just enjoying a family game night at home. That’s a lot more enjoyable now, too.
That’s my story on how I found my keto why. It’s easier to find success when you know what you want to accomplish and why you want to do it. Continued success is on my agenda; with experience, time, support and more research, I know I can get my health where I want it and beyond.