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Going Ketogenic: It’s a Lifestyle, Not a Diet

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome on top of insulin resistance, which in English terms means that my body doesn’t process food the way it should. Instead of using it as energy, it just stores it directly as fat. My freshmen year of college I gained thirty pounds while eating regularly and exercising.

When I was diagnosed, I asked the doctor what I needed to do, and she responded with the blanket statement: “Diet and exercise.” No, really? Thank you for that wise piece of advice. I’d never thought of that! So I was on my own to figure out what I had to do before I pushed myself into diabetes. That’s when a family friend showed me the Ketogenic diet.

            Here are the basics of Keto:

  • It’s for people like me whose bodies don’t act the way they’re supposed to in terms of using food.
  • It’s low carb, high fat. So starting out, you eat 50 grams of net carbs a day, net carbs being carbs – fiber.
  • It puts your body into nutritional ketosis, which means it’s burning the fat that’s already in your body on top of the food you’re eating.
  • Meat, veggies, and cheese are your best friends.
  • Exercise is important but not key (you’re exercising for overall health and tone, not to lose weight)
  • You don’t have to count calories. You’re just counting net carbs. If you’re really intense about it, you’ll pay attention to your fiber and protein intake (but I didn’t worry about that too much).

But here’s the important take-away to think about. Keto is not a quick fix to your weight loss/ health problems. This is a lifestyle change. You are committing to a healthier self. Over the past year and a half, I’ve lost seventy pounds not eating the food that the school’s meal plan provides or that my friends eat. But I’m also healthier, stronger, have more energy, and feel better than I ever have in my life.

You don’t always have to be strict on Keto. Treat yourself moderately so that you don’t crack and completely binge out on pizza, Asian food, bread, and sweets and then regret everything the next day.

Before moving forward in anyway, consult a doctor. Ketogenic is not for everyone. But once you’re sure that Keto is the right health path for you, there are so many resources to get started! I, of course, started on Pinterest where there is a plethora of recipes that lead to websites with even more recipes!!

If you decide this is the path for you, always remember that the most important part of this lifestyle change is loving yourself and wanting to be the healthiest you that you can be. This is not about being model-pretty or comparing yourself to others. This is about making the best choices for you. So now go off, eat lots of eggs and bacon, go for a jog, and love yourself!

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Hannah Rials

UT Chattanooga

Hannah Rials, originally from Maryville, TN is a senior creative writing student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Her first young adult novel Ascension was published August of 2016 by Aletha Press and is the first installment in the Cheyenne Lane Trilogy. Ascensionw has won two awards and is featured in Kirkus Review's magazine. Apart from writing and reading as much as she can, Hannah is obsessed with her Corgi Buddy, loves spending time with her family and friends, gardens, knits, and watches way too many movies.
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