KETO: My Story

The first time I heard anything about the Ketogenic diet was in the late ’90’s. Well…I thought it was the Ketogenic diet. It was Atkins and it was all the rage {more about this later}. I was just on the brink of turning 20. I had bounced around with my weight a lot since my first “diet” {no coincidence it’s a four letter word} in the 7th grade. I had lost 20 pounds on my first diet following a very strict plan resembling something like: dry toast & plain tea for breakfast, salad with cottage cheese and 6 walnuts for lunch and chicken and veggies for dinner. It was tough but I managed to stick to it and lose my adolescent chub. However, I am sure anyone reading this knows that the plan I was on was not in any way sustainable. Nor was it likely good for long-term metabolism vitality. The calories had to have been ridiculously low, which it’s no wonder my body adapted and then struggled later. I was a stereo-typical yo-yo dieter for a long time after that {Atkins was one of many diets I tried}. Lucky for me, I was into sports and that led me to seek other activities that helped keep me active after high school {step aerobics anyone?!}. I still struggled with being super over the top with my exercise regime…but I did find a healthier balance…eventually. 

Fast forward to September 6, 2016. I turned 40 on this day {cue scary music}. In all seriousness, 40 doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is what happened when I turned 40. Aside from the fact that I swear to you that very day I suddenly needed reading glasses for the first time {funny but so true} hormone issues became something real to me rather than something “other people” deal with that I somehow believed I would always be immune to. 

In between my 20th birthday and 40th birthday quite a lot happened. I took on the title “runner” more seriously than I had as a high school athlete and it became a huge part of who I was. I went through treatment for an eating disorder and learned how much food was a drug for me and that I needed to deal with the underlying issues in a healthier way. I got married, had a baby, got divorced, finished my bachelors degree, then my masters degree sometimes working 5 different jobs to support myself an my kiddo. I was always engrossed in science and research having to do with health and fitness as I pursued my degree, made friends with food and became a fitness instructor. 

One day, though…things just hit me in the face. I was pretty convinced I was balancing my life very well. Yes, I had a lot of stress if you looked at my life on paper…but to me I managed well. After all, health and well-being was my field of study. I worked hard, but I was deeply connected with my friends, church family and I even had a moms group that I ran. I felt like that all balanced out rather nicely. Why, when I was one of the healthier people I knew, did I have ZERO energy? Was I lacking in vitamins & essential nutrients? Was something seriously wrong that I needed to figure out? It really didn’t make sense. So, I went to a holistic practitioner for the first time {as I was not interested in someone listening to me for 5  minutes and then handing me a prescription}. I had learned enough to connect the dots with how EVERYTHING in our lives, physically, biologically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, are very strongly connected. I was not interested in a band-aid. Well the doctor came in, sat down and started asking me about EVERYTHING, including my childhood, sleep, stress… I was impressed. He also really opened my eyes to what I was unknowingly doing to my body. 

Even though I felt I had great balance even in my busy, stressful life… I rarely asked for help. Sleep was not something I felt I needed much of. When I was exhausted or not feeling well, I would exercise anyway. Too much sugar for sure. Likely too many environmental toxins….and the list goes on.

So what did this all mean? I was dealing with adrenal fatigue. This is a whole big issues that I have covered before and will cover some more in another upcoming post. The point is, I was running myself into the ground in ways I didn’t give enough value to. As time went on I am sorry to say that I did not take enough steps to get myself back on track. 

This brings us to present day. I got remarried last summer, started and then closed a business. We moved out to the country and have started building a {tiny} house. My husband totally changed up his job situation. We are now both working from home. Is it any surprise that in the midst of all this and turning 40…last summer this “runner girl” couldn’t run? Literally my body would not allow it. I had adrenal fatigue worse than EVER. My immune system tanked. I actually had bronchitis when we got married {had it for a month}. I ended up coughing so hard I tore a rib muscle and was prescribed an inhaler for the bronchitis induced asthma I suddenly had. *whew*

SO. I dove deeper than ever into research with all of this. 

{I have to share that during this time my mom was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. That lit a fire under me even more.}

I’ve learned so much more about listening to your body… What inflammation means… What causes inflammation… How this plays into hormones… How stress is related to all of this… How critically important sleep is… How I thought I was avoiding crap food, but really not nearly enough… How toxins in your environment can affect you mentally & physically {all our artificially scented stuff we use for example!}… what a lie the whole FAT FREE era was…and on and on…

My hubby an I decided to go Paleo after doing a lot of research and really being encouraged by how healing it can be. We LOVED it! We had so much fun trying new recipes and cooking together. We both felt pretty good. But then after a time it seemed perhaps it wasn’t enough. Not for us. I for sure was still really struggling and my sleep was just crap. 

This is when I started taking a closer look at the Ketogenic diet. I admit, I had been super turned off by it back in the day when Atkins was all the rage. Seriously, it lasted like 2 days for me. I thought it was so lame. I gained weight and really didn’t understand it. Now, I realize that it was not what I needed at all. I wouldn’t characterize it as ketogenic. It was higher in protein and honestly, the foods that company markets I would NEVER eat! FULL of chemicals and preservatives! Not at all what our bodies need to operate at their optimum level of health! I finally decided to give the Keto concept another glance after hearing so many health professionals that I respect and admire and who are science and research based in their perspectives advocate for it. 

The more I learned, the more intrigued I was.

So, my hubby and I dove in. Honestly, after living Paleo for a time, it wasn’t a hard adjustment. Some  things we have LOVED: more energy, my sleep went back to normal {hallelujah!}, better mental clarity {people talk about it…but it’s really a thing!}, WAY less cravings {this is the sugar princess talking…and I am telling you I NEVER crave sweets like I did! Give me one of my hubbies homemade jalapeno poppers ANYTIME over something sweet!}. We even went on vacation and lost weight which was pretty amazing to us. Our appetites are way down as well. That’s just what happens as your body adapts …and it’s pretty great! Oh, and you may have seen one of my social media posts recently: my nails are amazing! They have been a mess for so long and I couldn’t figure out why. Healthy fats for the win!

I have also integrated essential oils into my life. I love that not only are they amazingly beneficial: the simple act of removing harmful chemicals, cleaners, artificial scents and other junk from your home and body and using theses natural products is quite the gift to your overall health and that of your loved ones. 

If you are interested in trying the Keto approach yourself and/or if you have any questions {same goes for essential oils}, please shoot me an email: jessica@healthwithjess.com I would love to help! 

PiYo on the Beach

XOXO,
JESS

 



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