My keto struggles - introduction post

(Pennie Malone) #1

Long time listener but only a follower on Facebook up to now but really needing to reach out to the community

I’ve been on keto since 2018 but not consistently: 7 months in 2018, 2 months in 2019 and I’m on week 3 now in 2020

I’m on keto to manage my migraine, ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS)) and weight loss is an added benefit. I’ve had such amazing success with all my conditions when on keto yet fallen off the wagon because of the reasons I want to discuss and reach out for help with

1: I’m quite a picky eater. I am adventurous and do try things but there are things I just don’t like and make me miserable if I’m made to eat. Annoyingly the things I really don’t enjoy are the things that are considered treats one keto - cheese, mayo, cream, butter, avocado. I don’t have a go to favourite keto food. Even treats like keto shortbread, pancakes or fudgy chocolate cake I’m forcing myself to eat just for the calories and substance in my belly

2: Cost. Where I live dairy, dairy alternatives, bacon and many keto essentials are very expensive. A pack of butter for example is €4 ($4.75). Well at least I have endless olive oil. I get so bored with just half a plate of keto veg drizzled in olive oil or pork fat, and a piece of meat; salads; and eggs and veggie bits for breakfast

3: Appetite. My biggest issue is lack of appetite. Great for weight loss of course but I’m just not eating enough (600 calories a day unless I force myself to eat). The hunger doesn’t kick in despite this reduced energy intake. Eventually, despite not feeling hunger, I think it’s this that causes cravings to creep in and all it takes is one stressful event for me to fall into old habits and grab that bag of crisps or a pastry

4: Obsession. As I’m buying what is cheap, or what I fancy, each time I shop, I’ve found meal planning doesn’t suit my needs. But because of lack of meal planning and eating when I feel I need to, I’m always thinking about food: When am I next eating? What am I eating next? Have I eaten enough I fancy X, how can I make it keto? What must I buy when I’m next shopping? Obsession is creeping in and taking over my waking and even sleeping hours in my dreams

I want to make keto work, it really has turned my life around from being nearly totally bedbound to managing to potter about and even shop for myself the first time round. Second time round I just lost a bit of weight. This time I want to master it and get my health to a place where maybe I can work again

But already 3 weeks in, I can feel hairline cracks appearing in my resolve. The idea of eating makes me miserable but I know I have to eat. I’m trying to believe in the “food is just fuel” mantra to eat whatever I have that is allowed to keep my body going but it sure is grinding me down

In an ideal world I’d skip the mouth altogether and have a tube directly into my stomach that I can put a perfectly macro and micro balanced slop and not have to worry about taste or texture

Sorry for the long post but I’m really needing some assistance to keep me going

(I admin it, that’s a terrible pun.) #2

Maybe the third time will be your charm. :wink:

Welcome to the forum Pennie Malone, I’m glad you finally decided to reach out. Trying to live a healthy life is easier when you can share it with someone. We have plenty of help being unhealthy, so why try the alternative alone?

I’m not sure I can offer much advice regarding food. While I was reading your post, I kept thinking this or that, then you’d address that thought later down, so you seem to have already thought of what I would have said.

Boy, I know this feeling! I am amazed how much food seems to control my life. When, what, where am I going to eat. And I only eat one meal a day, I can’t think about how crazy I’d be if I ate more than that. I wish it were this simple, then I could just plug in my “food” tube and go about my business with nary a care.

I suppose all I can offer you is a bit of encouragement. I would like to try and not focus too much on food, and just know I eat what I eat to live a healthier life. If only it were that simple. Like you, when a stressful moment hits, I reach for the easy, “comfort” foods to try and temper the stress. Unfortunately, I usually find out these foods provide little comfort, and I always regret those choices.

The other day, I had a plate of scrambled eggs for supper, and the next day I felt great! I had lots of energy, my stomach wasn’t nauseous a bit, and I thought to myself, “Why don’t I eat like this every day?” I was almost tempted to eat eggs the rest of the week. (I guess this would have been my poor man’s attempt at at “food tube” since I don’t have a port to plug the line in. :slight_smile:)

But I didn’t and I ended up eating some stuff by the end of the week, that’s making me regret those decisions now. Well, I know this is a lifestyle that I’m living for the rest of my life. I don’t feel like I “feel off the wagon” or gave up and went back to my old eating lifestyle. I’ll just wake up and make better decisions today.

Wow, I’m probably not the best one to offer advice for your eating habits. I guess if I can offer anything, with sharing my neurotic eating patterns, is to let you know you’re not alone. No body’s perfect at eating keto. It’s not like we started slathering butter on everything, and never touched another carb, no matter how tempting. It can be a struggle, but in my experience it’s less of a struggle than other “diets” I’ve tried, and it’s rewarding both mentally and physically knowing I’m living healthier now.

So, I wish for you to find the support you need, on this forum, or anywhere you can find it. Maybe looking through our “What did you keto today?” threads might inspire you to some ideas of things you can eat, that will be easy and satisfying.

What did you Keto today?

What did you Keto today? Part Deux!

What Did You Keto Today? The Trilogy!

What Did You Keto Today? Part IV

I wish you (and everyone here) the best, Pennie Malone.

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #3

How do you feel about meat and vegetables? In particular leafy greens and such things as broccoli and Brussels sprouts? Can you cook with bacon grease or lard instead of butter?

Many people find that, once they’ve been eating a ketogenic diet long enough for their appetite hormones to start working properly again, they actually end up saving money, because they are eating less frequently. Also, I find that the fattier cuts of meat are often quite a bit cheaper than the more-desirable lean cuts.

Six hundred calories a day is starvation-level. You may need to eat more than you want for a while, to stimulate your appetite.

Always thinking about food and obsessing about it means you are not eating enough. Most people find on a ketogenic diet that they don’t even think about food between meals.

The essential of a well-formulated ketogenic diet is to lower carbohydrate intake to the point where insulin is allowed to drop, because we are not loading our system with glucose all the time. Carbohydrate has the most effect on insulin secretion. Protein is next, but its effect on insulin is determined by what else is in our diet. Fat has a minimal effect on insulin, which makes it a good source of energy to replace what is no longer coming from carbohydrate.

Two things to avoid especially are sugar and seed oils (soy, safflower, canola, sunflower, etc.). The former contains not only glucose but fructose, which causes liver damage in any sort of quantity. Fructose also has an addictive effect on many people, similar to ethanol.

The reason for avoiding the seed oils is their excessive percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which cause systemic inflammation when over-consumed. Too much of them also tends to make people queasy. Stick to fat sources that are mostly saturated or monounsaturated, such as butter, bacon grease, lard, and tallow. The fruit oils (avocado, coconut, and olive) are much better in this regard, if you can’t do without oil.

(Pennie Malone) #4

Meat and veg with pork fat over the top is my usual meal at least every other day

I’m doing my best to just swallow the cost of buying stuff at least to begin with but it feels frustrating at the time

I do usually buy the fatter cuts of meat, I just don’t have much of it. I try to go for sardines when I can as they’re much cheaper than meat although preparing them is a chore.

Usually I eat around 1100 calories a day but this is really when I push myself or have a spoonful or two of olive oil before bed if I notice I’m low. 600 is what I’d likely consume if I was just leaving it to how I felt.

I’ve had a go at making a keto cake to see if I can tempt myself to eat more. Before keto I also struggled to eat enough, but what I did eat was just all the wrong stuff

I’m hoping that trawling through the internet, I’ll find some more recipes that appeal to me that are also mostly affordable and have ingredients that are available.

(Pennie Malone) #5

Thank you for letting me have a bit of a vent and for your responses

(Laurie) #6

Hi Pennie, and welcome. I’ve yo-yo’d on keto and other low carb diets for 20 years. I’m doing well now. Perhaps I can offer some insights.

  1. Just forget about the things that don’t interest you. Concentrate on the basics: the meats, poultry, fish, and eggs that you can afford and are willing to eat. If you need treats, look more toward meaty ones.

  2. I’m on a low budget. I find that concentrating on the basics keeps my costs low. The “keto essentials” are meat, eggs, etc. Anything else is just a condiment or side dish. It looks like you’re trying to build your meals around vegetables rather than around protein and fat.

  3. If you don’t have an appetite, that’s all the more reason to concentrate on the basics. Your body needs meats and so on–not “keto pancakes” and the like.

  4. You’ve probably learned a lot from your shopping trips, exploring stores, checking prices, and trying whatever looks interesting. Could you now try to make a top-down meal plan? In my case, I eat twice a day. I know I eat eggs for breakfast every day, so that’s easy. But eggs aren’t enough, so I also buy sausage or bacon to round it out (I know you don’t like bacon, but you get the idea). Then I have 30 other meals throughout the month. I know a large package of ground beef is enough for 6 meals, a chicken lasts for 4 meals, etc. If you want treats, snacks, or side dishes, or are afraid of running out of food, go ahead and buy other things.

15 years ago I had success with Atkins. Complicated recipes and “alternatives” such as keto desserts were a big part of my life. After 11 months I had a non-keto dessert at Christmas time, and that was the end of that.

Now I’m extremely strict with myself, and I keep things very simple. It might sound boring or even hellish, but it’s actually much better for me. I enjoy my simple meals, and I’m not hungry between meals. I save so much money by not buying nuts, keto snacks, low-carb baking ingredients, etc. I hope something I’ve written will be helpful.

Good luck.

(Pennie Malone) #7

It’s a very helpful comment

I need to just jazz up my egg meal for breakfast, salad meal for lunch and meat and veg for tea. It’ll give me a routine too.

No more questing to find low carb versions of normal foods which I should like but half the time I don’t enjoy anyway. Seriously keto pancakes were awful, never again.

(I admin it, that’s a terrible pun.) #8

What? I just eat them right out of the tin.
They’re like the epitome of lazy keto. :slight_smile:

(Laurie) #9

I was wondering the same thing!

(Pennie Malone) #10

Tinned sardines are super expensive here, all tinned goods are. Fresh is cheap as chips but have to be gutted and filleted first before cooking

(I admin it, that’s a terrible pun.) #11

Oh, sorry to hear.

Tinned ones, here are cheaper. :slightly_frowning_face:

(Pennie Malone) #12

Yeah. When I was in the UK they were staple cheap food I always had in. On the Greek Islands tinned stuff is at a premium. Tinned sardines are 4x the price in Lidl here as in the UK

At least I know the fresh fish was caught that day and probably from within a few miles of home. And I get the best olive oil

(Hagen) #13

That’s profound. I have had great results too, and it’s still always a struggle to some extent. I get bored, lazy, just don’t care sometimes…

Once I had been eating ketogenically for some weeks, I too felt less hunger, sometimes none at all. I think I was getting enough energy from my own stored fat, and didn’t worry about it. Time went by fast, and I definitely did lose fat. And of course things change - pretty soon I was thinking that I had made such good progress that I could “cheat” and get away with it. Who knows? I go up and down about this stuff.

I do always feel better when extremely low-carb, and almost always worse when my diet runs off the rails - that much I’m sure of. It’s good to talk about this stuff.

It’s a good post, Pennie. Our minds do all sorts of things, good and bad, I would say. For me, it’s day-by-day, really. I know that I’m not going to be 100% perfect in the future. Definitely have had ups and downs. When I look back, though, I’m very glad for all that I have managed to do, and definitely want to keep things going.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #14

PS: You might like herring more than sardines. I personally can’t stomach sardines.


The advice you’ve had so far is really sound.

Pre-keto, I felt super hungry and was also preoccupied with food - I ate 3 meals and I snacked between.

On keto, I almost immediately dropped to 2 meals and I do not snack at all. I follow the mantra of ‘eat until you’re full’ - and if I miscalculate the size of my meal, it can mean eating nuts / cheese / double cream after until I am full. As I’ve progressed through keto, I find that I don’t miscalculate.

I find what Paul says to be really true; once you’re full, you don’t obsess over the next meal. Your calories sound really low, which may explain why you’re not experiencing this satiety.

I appreciate this may feel difficult to do if food prices - particularly of protein and fat - are exorbitant.

(Mutain) #16

:clap: True for me too and it is very freeing, not to be preoccupied with food! It is a world of difference. My younger self = I feel sorry for him, he just did not know.

(Pennie Malone) #17

Problem I’m finding is I do feel satisfied hunger wise. Putting more in me feels like overkill. I’m only thinking about food because I’ve got to plan for the next meal. I don’t want food. Often the idea of eating makes me feel sick

(Laurie) #18

Could you cut back on vegetables, to make more room for animal products?

(KCKO, KCFO) #19

Can you find a fishmonger that will clean and fillet them? I would love to have easy access to fresh sardines.

Welcome to the forums. Hope you get it all sorted out and working smoothly.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #20


Time to get specific. Please post your weight, height, body comp, not necessarily exactly, but close enough for us to determine at least a ball park figure for how much you should be eating to avoid slowing your metabolism, which you may have already accomplished if you’ve been eating as little as you say for more than a month or two. Unless you’re a midget, 600-1100 total cals per day is a recipe for disaster. Tell us what and how much of it you’re eating daily, how one day might be different from another.

You say you’re not hungry. Aside from the items you list in your OP, do you have any other medical or health conditions you have to deal with?