Are you feeling deprived?
Being on a “diet” long term can leave us feeling real dieting fatigue at the thought of being “stuck” or “restricted”. If you have trouble sticking to keto for more than a week or two at once you may have dieting fatigue but what is it and what can you do about it?
Beat the statistics!
I’m 3 years, 4 months and 20 days on keto as of today. This makes me a statistical anomaly in that I’ve lost more than 10% of my starting body weight and I’ve kept it off for more than a year.
The numbers for the successful maintenance of weight loss are bleak at best. However the longer you keep it off the easier it’s supposed to get. Supposedly!
Just a small piece please
About a year and a half into my journey I had lost 105lbs/46kg and I was feeling great physically. Thoughts were starting to creep in though. I started to feel a pain point that I couldn’t have popcorn at the cinema, ice-cream on holiday (Italy has the best ice cream in the world) or enjoy my mother-in-law’s incredible home-made ravioli. Surely by now I’ve wrangled my food demons and can enjoy just a little here and there? I convinced myself that I was strong enough. Oh how wrong was I?!
I was feeling dietary fatigue and I was frankly so tired of having a whole section of “food I can’t eat” in the supermarket, at restaurants, on holidays, at parties etc. Being surrounded by people much slimmer than me having just a piece of cake or a small popcorn at the cinema. I wanted a piece of that. How nice would it be to just have a handful of chips with my steak on a Saturday night or enjoy a coffee and a croissant on a Sunday morning at the local boulangerie with all of the other effortlessly slim French women.
Just getting started on keto and finding it hard? See my top tips for newbies.
Turning it around
Alas though, as you’ve probably predicted, it was a disaster. It ramped up alarmingly quickly so that I was having “just a little of this” every single day. Throw in a rogue thyroid and a 6 week period eating low fat, high carb due to gallbladder surgery and I was 20lbs heavier and struggling to get back to strict keto.
I started to track everything I was eating and went back to basics including adding back intermittent fasting. I realised that in the months before my dieting fatigue kicked in I was eating quite low calorie for extended periods thinking I was great to be able to fast so much. Hindsight is priceless eh?! I know now that fasting has to be well managed. You can easily fast too much and break your metabolism. It has to be done carefully. I believe this triggered my period of overeating even keto food. It’s a well documented side effect of prolonged calorie restriction. Fasting can cause binge eating even if it increases metabolism and growth factor. Everything in moderation except carbs!!
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It’s never just one
Eventually I broke through and climbed off the plateau train and put the dietary fatigue behind me. Through a process of elimination over the last year I found that I was doing 3 or 4 things just a little wrong enough to make me stall. Add in the thyroid and gallbladder and it was inevitable that I would gain weight.
Finding what causes the plateau can be hard to identify and it really is a process of eliminating all of the potential causes until you can identify the right one and adjust it. Dieting fatigue is probably a cause of a lot of plateaus as we fight with feeling deprived and want to be able to have “just one”. It’s never just one though is it?!