When asked “is keto just a fad?” my answer is always, “It depends on the person.”
Many people have been successfully eating a low-carb, high-fat diet like keto for several years, while many others give up after just a few days to weeks.
So, what’s the difference between these two types of people? The difference between a fad diet and any other diet is the ability to sustain it long-term while maintaining the proposed benefits, such as weight loss.
Did you know that on average, it takes about 2 months just to form a simple habit like drinking a glass of water with every lunch?
Eating a healthy ketogenic (keto) diet can be more effective when certain healthy habits are in place. When learning new habits, remember that even though they may take time, once the habits are formed, they will make the keto diet even easier and beneficial to your well-being.
Through years of review and research on the science of ketosis and studying those who have maintained a successful keto diet long-term, I have observed several common traits and habits among them:
1. Successful keto dieters take time to plan and prep.
A willingness to prioritize your health and make time to plan, shop, cook, and prep healthy food/snacks for the week is the key to maintaining a healthy keto lifestyle. If you find you’re often reacting to the day, you’re more likely to slip up.
2. They stay educated.
If you want to be successful at something, you need to study and educate yourself regularly on that “something”. Hip2Keto is here to help! There are also plenty of keto books available to help you understand the science behind keto and why the diet is so effective for so many.
3. They allow for flexibility.
Once you’re over the keto-flu and have become fat-adapted, you can allow for some flexibility when the occasion calls for it, such as during holidays, social events, traveling etc.
4. Successful keto dieters are willing to make diet adjustments and troubleshoot for success.
Understand that your diet will evolve because you will evolve. Over time you will likely need to troubleshoot and adjust your diet to change and adapt with you.
5. They realize the diet is not a one-size-fits-all.
Some people need a bit more carbs, while others need less. We’re all very different, so just because something works great for one person doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll necessarily work for you. Don’t get stuck in someone else’s keto, and learn to personalize it for yourself!
6. They’re all in.
Be committed, motivated, and fully ready to make a change. Success is hard to find sitting on a fence… be all in! And if you need motivation, take a cue from the success of others who’ve found happiness on the keto diet.
7. They practice patience.
Some people find success right away, while others struggle a bit. More often than not, with patience, success will find you. Don’t give up!
8. They’re self-aware.
I’ve noticed successful people, in any aspect of life, are generally very self-aware and able to recognize and manage their response to change and the environment. Know your strengths, recognize your weaknesses, and own it all!
9. They assess other aspects of health like sleep, stress, and physical activity.
Health is so, so much more than nutrition. Successful keto people seem to recognize this. Not only are they very much aware of the types of foods they allow in their body, but they value and understand the importance of sleep, minimizing stress, and maintaining an active lifestyle. All of these factors play a significant role in maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy life.
10. Successful keto dieters limit processed foods.
Keto or not, processed foods make us feel lousy in the long-term. Processed foods wreak havoc on our body, resulting in chronic inflammation, poor absorption of nutrients, and, in the end, sabotaging your success with keto. Aim for whole, fresh food often.
11. They don’t get hung up on numbers.
This goes for the scale, ketones, and macros. It may be helpful to track in the beginning, but over time, you need to let this go and listen to your body. Remember, self-awareness… you don’t need a number to tell you how you feel.
12. They keep it simple.
A lunch can be a handful of macadamia nuts, slices of salami, a piece of brie, and a few berries. Meals do not need to be extravagant. Nutrition can be simple.
13. They don’t use the word “cheat”.
This is a real one. People who have been living a keto lifestyle successfully for years do not have “cheat” as part of their vocabulary. Eating isn’t a test! Remember, flexibility is important.
14. They live a life without macros.
Again, tracking macros can be helpful in the beginning to know where you’re at and if you’re on the right path. However, over time, eating keto should become natural, and listening to your body should take priority over a tracker.
15. Successful keto dieters don’t make excuses to eat off plan.
Eating unhealthy food should not be used as a reward or consolation prize. I often hear statements like, “I had a bad day, so I deserve this”, or “I have been really good, so I earned this”. The problem is, this turns into every day. If you want to eat something off plan, then make a conscious decision to do it, but don’t make excuses!
As a dietitian, my mission is to help people find their own personal way of eating that will work for them and to help coach it into an actual life-long habit. If you want to be healthy long-term, you need to let-up, adapt, mold, and manipulate your diet into what your body needs… not necessarily what others are doing, or not doing.
There are general guidelines, how-tos, tips & tricks, and suggestions to help you get started, but that’s exactly what they are – suggestions to help you troubleshoot eating healthfully into a life-long habit. Remember, keto is not a diet, but a way of eating. Be patient and take it a step at a time. You got this!
Tara Finnerty RDN, CSP, CD — is a ketogenic specialist and fat-fueled enthusiast. Tara is a registered dietitian in Utah and owner of Sugar House Nutrition LLC. Her aim is to provide nutrition support for people wanting to reap the many health benefits of the ketogenic (keto) diet. Her expertise in the keto diet was initially working with children who have uncontrolled epilepsy. Tara supports nutrition diversity and works toward helping people find an individualized approach to make healthy eating sustainable.