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Do You Eat to Live Or Live to Eat? Kick Cravings to the Curb with Keto

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kicking cravings with keto – Happiness is a piece of cake knife cutter

The struggle is real.

Personally, the biggest hurdle for me when I first began eating a ketogenic diet was definitely those oh so powerful sugar and carb cravings. They sure got intense, and I often daydreamed about devouring a Costco sheet cake. Yes, I am a complete sugar addict.

I feel like this is a common complaint for many new keto eaters, and the reason so many people spend the first few weeks of this new lifestyle googling keto desserts.

It took me awhile to realize that for me, eating Keto isn’t about substitutions, it’s about a totally different way of thinking about food.

My relationship with food wasn’t always the healthiest. Through most of my 20s, I struggled with bulimia. It makes me sad to think of myself during those years. I was an addict – cake, doughnuts, ice cream, binges, purges, numb – that was me. It was a vicious cycle. I did end up going to rehab and learning other ways to cope with the stresses of life. To be honest and open, I struggled after rehab, but thankfully due to the support of loved ones and learning to be kind to myself, I slowly broke free from my addiction.

As a recovering bulimic, I really try to focus on eating to live, not living to eat. What about you, do you eat to live or live to eat? It’s a good question to ask yourself and think on.

It took me a while, but now I live AND thrive without sweeteners in my coffee, without dessert after meals, without chewing a pack of sugar-free gum in hours, and without consuming loads of sugar-free JELL-O! Yes, at one time, those JELL-O containers were my best friend.

While I love a good keto dessert (check out this 3-minute mug cake I made), I try to eat pretty clean most of the time and focus on whole foods. What likely helps is that I personally don’t need a lot of variety in my diet and could literally eat bun-less bacon cheeseburgers daily and not get sick of them.

There are numerous options for keto approved sweeteners and they are so popular right now with so many people trying to kick the sugar habit, but I’ve found that continuing to eat artificial sweeteners just makes me continue to crave sweets. With that said, I try to steer away from them as much as possible.

In addition, there are other negative side effects from those sweeteners too that definitely affect me BIG time (and this could be because I have major portion distortion issues when it comes to sweets and tend to OVER-consume! Oops!), like bloating, gas, and diarrhea. And of course, there’s the legendary Sugar-Free Gummy Bears reviews on Amazon (if you haven’t, you should for sure read this for a good laugh).

Instead of focusing on the list of things I couldn’t have, I focused on the delicious foods I could enjoy. I feel like so much of a person’s diet is based on lifelong habits, like eating something sweet after dinner, consuming a bowl of popcorn while watching a movie, having dessert to celebrate something etc. Once you get over that initial hump and create new habits, it’s so much easier to resist.

So when a newbie asks how to kick those cravings to the curb, the short answer is – try and change up the way you eat first rather than replacing those cravings with a keto version.

A ribeye steak (if you like steak) can be an entire meal – and a pretty filling and a delicious one at that. And coffee with heavy cream and no sweetener is so good as is! Keep your belly full with whole foods that are ketogenic and your cravings will start to diminish.

I’ve been in the keto groove for a few years now, and most of the time it’s easy for me to resist. I don’t get sick of eating the same types of meals over and over and over again (maybe I’m weird?) and I find that the high-fat portion of this diet keeps me totally satisfied. In fact, when I do treat myself to a sugar-alternative in my coffee or indulge in something I shouldn’t, the sweet flavor often tastes a bit weird to me.

If you need a cheerleader in your keto journey, I’m here for ya!

If you’re just starting out and find yourself dreaming of sheet cake, know that it does get easier. First, start lovin’ that body of yours and taking good care of it.

Join The Discussion

Comments 12

  1. Jenny

    I can’t love this enough! I haven’t been following a keto diet quite as long as you, but it’s definitely a lifestyle change for me and not just a temporary diet change. I also have tried to eliminate using artificial sweeteners (which was hard at first – I have a HUGE sweet tooth!) But I was noticing that many of them gave me terrible headaches and upset my digestive tract. Instead, I’m just focusing on eating whole, real foods (heck yes to cheeseburgers everyday!) Every so often if I need something sweet, I keep some super dark chocolate on hand (Choc Zero is a fantastic brand, for anyone wondering!) but other than that, I find that meat, cheese, veggies, nuts, and plenty of healthy fats like avocados keep me more than satisfied. Anyway, I’m not quite sure where I was going with this other than to say thanks for all you do, I love the new website, and it’s so nice to be able to have a place to connect with other like minded people 🙂

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You are SO welcome! Thanks so much for your sweet comment Jenny! Super happy you are enjoying the new site!

  2. Tanya

    I’ve been wanting to start moving towards a Keto diet but it hasn’t been easy. I have no idea what I’m doing, my family is not necessarily on board, and I feel hungry all the time. I should purchase a book on it to help guide me, but there are so many out there! When I try Keto, I feel better (aside from hunger) and my headaches are way less than they usually are. I will figure it out eventually!

  3. Tana

    There is a facebook group called Ketogenic Success that has been a major support to many doing the keto way of eating. It is a closed group in that anyone who wants to join has their email submitted. You get asked several easy to answer questions about why you want to join. I put to lower my cholesterol, improve my health, and weight loss. They have many youtube videos called ketovangeslist. Another good youtube site is keto connect. Dr. Berg on youtube has many educational segments about eating keto.

  4. Laura

    I love your post! The part about the Costco sheet came makes me laugh bc that is the exact item that I panicked about (& Costco cookies). After a week in, I had one night where I mourned those 2 things that I thought I would never ever see again. I cried over it. ? It only lasted one night, because I decided to look at all the things I CAN have. And believe me, I am relishing keto food. I feel like the fat in this diet makes me not just full but SATISFIED & intrigued. I love avacado & blue cheese on my salad–something I didn’t do before. Also, because I have to omit Rice, pasta, & bread, I find myself substituting with delicious vegetables I didn’t eat before! I eat more vegetables now because I can’t eat the grains. Sautéed cabbage, where have you been all my life?! Long story short, I would not have been able to get through this stressful year (2017-2018) without this natural energy and reduced anxiety. And losing weight is such a nice bonus! I save money on having to by bigger clothes ?

  5. Molly

    Thank you for sharing yourself Collin! Truly, I can relate to each of your struggles with food and starting Keto. The hardest part for me is having the extended family understand why we don’t want to eat “one little piece of cake”, limit sweet treats for the kids and always get harassed that you “shouldn’t cut out entire food groups”. Sorry, not sorry, but I feel amazing on Keto. It works not only for my body type (I’m insulin resistant) but also keeps my food demons in check. It truly is changing the way to view food. Once I was able to control food and not let it control me, I have more energy, no headaches, lower blood pressure, sleep better at night, no longer binge/purge and I truly believe it has helped my depression. Bonus has been loosing almost 30lbs and 11 inches from my waist.

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Awwww… your comment means SO much to me. Thank you so much for being honest and open about your own personal struggles with food. I can very much relate. I am so happy you are feeling amazing on Keto!

  6. Dee

    Sweets and carbs was the majority of my life before. I have been gluten free, sugar free, low carb and now ket (that journey over 4 years). Just recently I started making more keto desserts but have recently realized that those keto desserts just awakened that carb/sugar demo… those are going to be out for a while. Love this article.

  7. deb

    I have not started but i envy all of you who are. I have been slowing cutting out the sugars and cutting back on carbs. I love bread… that’s my downfall. Sweets are a treat and i do not eat them anywhere near as i used to. I’m working on it, i’ll get there eventually. But as a cost conscious mom on a very tight budget with 4 boys, i also need to use what foods i have at home, i cannot justify throwing out hundreds of dollars of food. but i’m transitioning, lower portion sizes, drinking more water, cutting back the pasta, making more healthier options. I now stand at the vending machine at work and think to myself this all looks yuck. i can’t even fathom the idea of wanting to eat a bag of chips anymore! and when i snag a chip out of a bag at home out of habit, i’m like eww i can’t eat this. I have a garden also and can’t wait for that. i freeze a lot of the veggies to use through the year. I am going to now start sorting through these recipe ideas! Thanks Colin for the inspiration!

  8. Jami

    Why did you have to mention Costco sheet cake? LOL, I love that stuff! I feel so good being keto. I have to say I only started in mid-January, fell off during spring break, but now I’m back and feeling good again. Even when I was “off” I didn’t crave sweets, like I normally would, I just had more alcohol than normal since we were on vacation.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      LOL! It sure is yummy! Glad to hear how much better you feel on Keto! Thanks for sharing with us, Jami!

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