How to Ditch the Keto Fad Diet Mentality
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There’s more to life than stressing the macros.
Do you find you bounce between being “on keto” and “off keto”? Are you finding it difficult to achieve and maintain results like weight loss, increased energy, and optimal health?
If so, you might just be stuck in a “dieting” mindset where the focus is solely on weight instead of on health as a long-term goal. Here’s how to kick the fad-keto mentality and how to be successful with intuitive keto.
What is Fad-Keto?
Fad-keto is a short-term, quick-fix, restrictive diet with a tunnel vision for weight-loss. The common language of fad-keto includes terms like “cheat” and “accountability” and phrases like “that’s not keto!” and “I can’t have that!”.
A person on fad-keto is stuck in the typical “dieting” mindset, which focuses solely on tracking numbers (weight, macros, ketones). They often spend little time planning, preparing, and cooking real, whole food. Little thought is spent on the quality of the food itself, but instead entails a diet consisting mainly of processed ingredients, such as refined vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners, processed meats, with little-to-no fresh vegetables or keto-friendly fruits.
People following fad-keto often seek out and depend on “ready-to-eat”, “on-the-go”, pre-packaged foods like protein-shakes and bars, in addition to making frequent trips to fast-food “keto-friendly” restaurants.
Fad-keto tends to be very black-and-white, with an all-or-nothing approach to eating, often using food as a reward or punishment, rather than understanding and embracing it as vital nourishment and fuel for the body.
How does it differ from an Intuitive-Keto lifestyle?
Intuitive-keto is quite the opposite of fad-keto. Intuitive keto is practiced as a lifestyle choice with a sole focus on increasing health-span, longevity, and quality of life.
One chooses to adopt this way-of-eating with a desire to live healthier and mindset to provide optimal nourishment and fuel for the body. It involves consuming whole, fresh ingredients as much as possible with a strong motivation to do away with overly processed foods, refined sugars, starches, and oils.
People following Intuitive-keto typically prioritize extra time to plan menus and cook food in order to maintain healthy eating habits throughout the busy week. Someone following this lifestyle is in it for the long haul, with little focus on tracking numbers and macros. Instead, they’re patiently allowing time to develop good habits, rid old pesky ones, and troubleshoot through expected learning curves.
Intuitive-keto is a path to wellness and viewed as a journey to health rather than a quick detour to losing weight. Although many people who follow this lifestyle have a desire to lose weight, they have come to recognize that a healthy weight is a side-effect of a healthy body.
So which version of keto are you following?
If you’ve discovered you’re mainly following a fad-keto diet, or somewhere in between the two versions, then congratulations! You’ve gotten through the first step, which is recognizing the issue. But where do you go from here?
Changing one’s mindset doesn’t happen overnight and will require a bit of dedication, prioritization, and patience as you slowly redirect your focus from weight loss to living a healthier, better quality of life.
Some best practices to shift to Intuitive-Keto:
- Change your bad habits into healthy, sustainable good keto habits.
- Gain a better understanding of the keto food pyramid to be cognizant of your food choices.
- Stop stressing the scale and give your weight checking a break.
- Make time to meal plan and grocery shop so you aren’t stuck reaching for processed foods.
- Check out success stories of other keto dieters to find motivation and encouragement.
It’s time to acknowledge that food is nourishment and fuel for your body, rather than simply viewed as calories which results in a burden of weight gain. We need food like we need air to breathe—it’s vital for life, and the type of fuel we choose to provide for our body can result in either a positive or negative outcome of health.
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.