Tough Love for Newbies and really anyone else


(Jennibc) #1

Now that I have been hanging out on this forum regularly for quite some time, I am detecting some trends.

Many new adherents post in frustration because they have started this way of eating and they are a week, a month, 3 months in and they are not seeing the dramatic results they had expected in a short amount of time.

Here’s some tough love, that you didn’t ask for - you might have to wait, you might have to become more patient. You are going to have to change your mindset with regard to anything being a quick fix. This way of eating is a lifestyle change and involves changing life long eating habits. You may have to adjust your tastes. This is not an easy fix. It will take some dedication and time to adjust. Yes, there are people that come on here who have lost 20 - 30 pounds their first month, but many of those people tend to be obese and are carrying a lot of water. It’s not possible for the body to process that amount of fat in such a short amount of time. If your body isn’t hanging on to that much water, you are not going to lose that much starting out but that doesn’t mean this isn’t worth pursuing.

I have been eating this way for close to a year now and have ‘only’ taken off 40 pounds. In some months, my loss has been less than a pound, in others I have taken off 7-10 so my average is something like 3.8/month. The weight loss is NOT linear. Prior to that I’d taken off 67 over a much longer period of time so this way of eating, despite feeling so ‘slow’ at times has been superior in several ways.

The reason it has been superior is because after the initial agony of getting over sugar, I have never felt so in control of my appetite and I haven’t had this kind of physical energy since my 20s (I’m in my early 50s) and I’ve never had the mental clarity that I have now. I have no fear about gaining this weight back. Before I’d work hard doing something, and it never got any easier, I felt hungry a lot, I’d lose like 30 pounds and then the loss would stop for several months then suddenly I’d start to gain back again. I couldn’t sustain long term what I was doing - which was trying to operate at a calorie deficit.

I see a lot of binary thinking in some of these posts. If someone falls off the wagon one meal, they throw in the towel and stop this way of eating for several days. A slip isn’t a catastrophe. Perfection is often the enemy of ‘good enough.’ If you have a single slip up, learn from it and try not to make the same mistake again. One thing I’ve learned, eat before going to potlucks or bring exactly what you can eat and only eat that. We are all human beings, we all make mistakes. Don’t feel guilty or shame yourself because that makes it harder for you to get back on the wagon.

A lot of this mental. It’s important to be introspective and to get to know yourself. If you are a stress eater, recognize that and substitute another habit when you start to feel stressed out. I drink unsweetened herbal tea now or I stretch and breathe. There are a lot of ‘comforting’ activities that don’t involve ingesting carbohydrates. Another thing I realized about me is that if I told myself I would NEVER eat certain foods again, I wouldn’t be able to stick with this. Consequently, every several months I allow myself to eat something that I don’t normally eat. But it’s one meal and it’s every 3 to 4 months so although I’ll see a temporary gain - which I am willing to take, it’s gone the next week and I’ve only set myself back about two weeks, which in the whole scheme of things is nothing. Now, if I did this every month, that would be a problem but every several months, I don’t habituate back to eating that way and I still show reasonable loss for the period of time.

Sometimes we have to accept that we are not going to get everything we want. There might not be a keto substitution. I used to love the taste of ‘sweet’ I had to get over that to be successful with this. Some of us cannot do artificial sweetener even if it’s ‘keto approved’ - I don’t know if it’s a Pavlovian thing where our body shoots up insulin expecting for sugar to hit the blood stream or it does something to liver that makes it difficult to process fat but some of us gain using it. It is possible to change your taste preferences. We switched from diet soda to sparkling water years ago. We don’t miss it anymore. We now find it refreshing. I used to love margaritas - I have replaced them with high quality sipping tequila with a lime wedge.

People have a hard time giving up the foods they love and I think it is because they are focusing on what they are giving up rather than what they are gaining. Instead of thinking, “Oh no, giving up my daily chai latte with pumpkin bread, I could never do that” better to think of what we are gaining - better health and overall well being in the long run. Change that mental habit, and this will be much easier to accomplish.

Yes, I know nobody asked me and this is long, but but I wish I’d known all of this years ago - it would have been so much nicer to learn all of this in my 30s rather than in my 50s so I am putting out there for anyone who might be struggling and getting ready to throw in the towel. After taking off almost 110 pounds total, it feels so good to shop in the regular section of the store, it feels so good to not turn to ice cream or cookies during times of emotional distress, it feels so good to have mental and physical energy all day. I went to an event the other night where I saw several old acquaintances that I haven’t seen in the past year or two and not going to lie, it felt great to see the looks on their faces and to hear “you look fabulous!” multiple times that evening. All those things have been worth every bit of hassle that I undertook to convert to this way of eating and they will be for you too! Stay the course!

So much harder than I thought it would be!
(Sharing the Bacon Love since 2018) #2

Well said @Jennibc! :clap:

I couldn’t agree more!

(Jessica) #3

This needs to be stickied in the newbie section! Great insights.

(Becca) #4

Beautifully said :clap:t4: and all perfectly true.

Sadly, I’m sure we’ll still be getting the same questions and gripes over and over again but at least we can respond with a link to this post :raised_hands:t4:

Random question for those who have been on the forum for a while: is there always a spike in new members around the new year? (Assuming people make New Years resolutions to diet)

(Sharon) #5

I am 73 and have lost 30# on Keto have another 10# or so to go. This is so easy compared to everything I tried in the past. I do not feel deprived. I do think there are those folks that really do not want to change their way of eating who moan and groan until they finally give up and say they “can’t do Keto” when in actuallity they “won’t do Keto” …that is the Mental part. It is all a chioce. I am healthier and in better shape than I was 20 yrs ago. So glad Keto found me (;


what a great post…thank you!!!

(Kristy Graham) #7

This is fanfreakingtastic!!! The things you mentioned are one of the reasons i spend little time in these forums. My thoughts? It’s about discipline… not motivation. Have it… or get it. Those are the only 2 options.

(Charlotte) #8

Well said!

(Janelle) #9

This is a positive way to say this - thank you!

I see an interesting difference in the forum these days. For one, yes - more newbies struggling. 5 months ago, I was that person (still am but more at peace now with slow loss). I even gave up sweeteners this week because it’s one more fine tuning things I can try. I’ll likely not be doing a 27 day fast any time soon though.

Honestly though, 5 months ago, people were on here every day posting (and to me it seemed, bragging) about losing 40lbs in 2 months and all the amazing and immediate NSVs. Then there were the numerous pieces of advice not to track (bad advice for some) and stories of chugging bacon grease (bad advice for anyone). The “Keto Complaints” thread annoys me so much that I’ve unfollowed it. In case you don’t know, it’s a tongue in cheek thread about people losing so much weight, their underwear is falling off. Gee, when will that happen for me? In a couple of years at this rate - and that’s ok.

Between the news stories and unrealistic expectations (for all but metabolically healthy men and some few women), I’m surprised more don’t drop off. I have a brain. I know that pumping sugar through carbs into my body on the regular will get me nowhere.

(squirrel-kissing paper tamer) #10

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with folks talking about their successes (my underwear was falling off and I posted about it). I spend a lot of time helping people who are getting started and being supportive in other ways. I’m also not dropping weight at the speed of light so when something as minor as undies being too big happens, it’s a big deal for me. Sometimes it’s the little things that keep us motivated, plus, we get to buy shiny new underpants!

I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned here is that everyone is vastly different, from how they do keto to how keto treats them. I’m focused on my own journey and not comparing myself to anyone else. I think this is a great lesson for newbies. I understand what a flip-flop this way of eating can be for them so helping to point out the many reasons a person can benefit from keto (not just weight loss) or the little successes (underwear falling off) is informative and encouraging.

(Janelle) #11

You were not the first, I don’t think. There is nothing wrong with being happy about your success. It’s just hard to see it in the context of my own experience - and so to avoid the stress, I hid the thread. I’m admitting a personal foible here - one that may or may not ring true for others.

(squirrel-kissing paper tamer) #12

I hear you Janelle. There are many days I look in the mirror and can see some progress and many times I walk past one and see the same old me who has a long way to go. Honestly, being able to get out of bed without the pain and summoning up all of my strength to face another crappy day (how I used to feel and required pep talks) makes it worth it. I hope, in light of the slow losses, you’re feeling better overall and that’s worth it to you. Do you feel better since starting?

(Janelle) #13

In 5 months of pretty strict 20 grams of carb/whole food keto, I’ve lost a little over an inch off my waist and 19lbs. That’s a victory - no doubt. It’s not enough for new underwear or clothes but it’s a good thing and I’m not gaining.

I took myself off of daily Prilosec - after 2 months and slow weaning, the heartburn was so bad, it was horrible. After 5 months, I’ve taken myself off again with more (but not total) success. I CAN attribute that to keto.

However, I have psoriatic arthritis. My feet still ache when I get out of bed, I still have flares with the same regularity.

Still have high blood pressure.

The things that keto education have given me are the things that have helped. I took myself off of a statin - not because weight loss or diet had somehow lowered my cholesterol - it’s actually the opposite - but I stopped caring and maybe, eventually, I’ll have enough loss or body change to make a difference. Some aches and pains and poorer memory recall stopped when I removed the statin.

I’m sleeping more soundly - because I’m supplementing with Magnesium - not keto but I came to it by way of keto.

I seem less achy this week without sweeteners. Not keto but related because of education.

So - does this 50-year-old feel like 20 (or even 40)? Nope. It’s ok though. There’s no decline - which was happening.

(Pete A) #14

Amen! Take your time and you will wind up enjoying it ALL! (18 months in).

(Kayla Hunt) #15

Thanks @Jennibc!
I’ve been working through the reality that losing weight and optimizing my health isn’t all about keto and intermittent fasting. I need to deal with why I want to eat carbs at all when I know their effect on my body. “Poison” might be overstating the facts a bit, but not by much, given the amount of sugar I eat when I’m mindlessly eating.
I lost 30lbs last year, after years of trying to stick to LCHF and yo-yoing, I discovered The Obesity Code and started IF. Felt in control of my eating, but then summer happened, and instead of coming up with alternatives, I just ate ice cream, often. Fasting started to go down in frequency and duration, and now, 6 months later, I’m up 7lbs and it feels like 15. Keeping even 23lbs off for 6 months is almost miraculous for me, and the thing is, I know exactly what I need to do to lose the last 30- 40 and stay healthy.
I’m realizing the need to really deal with emotional and stress eating - what and when I eat matters, but I won’t be able to change my eating patterns for good without digging in and working on the non-physiological aspects of my eating.
I’m 47, and training to be a wellness coach - hoping to be a good example of caring for my holistic self. So no lack of motivation, just need to “face my stuff, so I don’t stuff my face.”
Thanks again Jennibc!

(Eric - I am a onelander!) #16


Bravo. This whole post is perfect. This needed to be said. I hope the members here that are frustrated read this and internalize it. :+1::smile:

(Lori) #17

Thank you for this! I’m into my second week (again) and this is EXACTLY what I needed to see. Perfectly put and at the same time motivating.

(Tamela Robinette) #18

The real take away is that each and everyone of us are different. Some are 5’2, some are over 6 feet tall, some have 100 plus pounds to lose, some have only 10 left, some have developed numerous health issues and others haven’t reached that level of sickness (yet) from ingesting copious amounts of carbs their entire life. I’ll admit I get a little annoyed every time I open the app and there is another post titled “3 weeks keto, and no weight loss.” Then I remember what it was like when I started and I try to be more empathetic. The thing is there are many variables and tools one can use to “dial in” their keto lifestyle and break through a stall or start the true loss of fat but it is a learning process and what works for one may not work for another. I see this advice over and over from the old timers and I think it’s excellent, “focus on keeping your carbs under 20 g for awhile and be patient and the weight will start to come off.” I think every newbie should read your post and hopefully some of them will get it, the light bulb will come on. Not everyone will lose 30 pounds in a month, we can’t compare ourselves, which I think is what a lot of people do. I cheer each and every victory, even new underpants, which I’ve had to buy twice but hadn’t posted about it, but it is a really cool problem to have lol. We are each at different point in our journey and I’m going to start replying to folks “I hope your undies fall off sooner than later!” :grin:

(Jennibc) #19

I don’t know. It’s hard to be disciplined without motivation. I do think that it’s tough for people if they show up thinking this will be an easy fix because of reading other people’s miraculous results and then they don’t see the same. Because they have been duped in the past by so many other weight loss regimens (that are not based on science) it would be easy to go down the path of ‘I have been doing this a month and I have only lost 4 pounds! This clearly isn’t working either!’ because they have been there before. That’s why I think it really takes a ‘mind set’ shift. I don’t feel any more ‘disciplined’ than I was 108 pounds ago. I just learned to be more patient and how to not go down a negative mental pathway.

(Janelle) #20

A few weeks ago, I went to the Adapt conference here in Atlanta (Dr. Westman and others). Amy Berger (who I respect) had slides about how the SAD diet keeps insulin high literally all day. I wish everyone could see her presentation. I know that I am “insulin resistant” now (she doesn’t like that term - if your body doesn’t deal with insulin well, you are some form of diabetic.) That’s scary to hear. So how do you fix that? Drugs or diet. Drugs introduce all kinds of other issues. I choose diet. People who put no research or interest into this WOE are doing themselves a disservice. There was just a post on the forum about someone saying they had reached their goal weight how do they gradually ease back into the standard American diet? Why on earth would you? It’s no less harmful to the body now that you’re healthier.