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Four Reasons You Feel Like You're Dieting

Learn about the mindset that keeps you tied to “dieting” and the truths that will set you free.

Article by Mary Roberts | 29 Nov, 2020

Article originally published on Ketovangelist.com on 9/1/16. It has been heavily edited for re-publication.

Stop dieting. Train and listen to your body. This should be what you want to do.

Yet, when people begin Keto (which is still greatly misunderstood), they insist on dragging along plenty of unnecessary diet dogma. Here are four common reasons you probably still feel like you're on a diet:

Calorie and Macro Obsession

While calculators, trackers, and macros all have their place in the beginning of a ketogenic protocol, they are tools meant to be used temporarily. We don't expect you to live the rest of your life attached to a food tracker, and you shouldn't expect that of yourself, either. That's simply not a sustainable way to live! The truth is that, while there are some general principles you should follow, there is no magic formula to losing fat while living ketogenically. Once you have a good handle on how to eat on the protocol, the focus should shift to learning to recognize when you are truly hungry and how to eat clean, nutrient-dense foods to satisfaction. 

Calorie Counting

For the past half-century or longer, we have been bombarded by the idea that weight loss and gain is governed absolutely by a simple intake-versus-expenditure formula. Do calories matter? Probably. Are they the only or primary factor? Not even remotely.

The human metabolism is an incredibly complex interplay between multiple organ systems, hormone signaling, and the bacterial flora that is flourishing (or not) in the gut. Getting that balance right after years (or decades) of poor eating and/or yo-yo dieting can take some work. It is, however, fallacious in the extreme to reduce fat loss and gain to a simple mathematical equation of energy-in to energy-out. Further, there is a lot of good evidence (see the various studies on the Biggest Loser contestants, for example) that spending prolonged periods in caloric deficits damages and down-regulates the metabolism, which can be very hard to correct. Therefore, spending a lot of time obsessing about caloric intake is not only focusing on a relatively minor part of the problem, it can also be counterproductive to your metabolic health.

For further research that puts to bed the calories-in-calories-out dogma, we recommend reading The Obesity Code By Dr. Jason Fung.

Food Fantasy

Ketogenic foods are some of the richest, most decadent foods in the world. Yet, we frequently encounter people in our Facebook groups that want to discuss the non-ketogenic foods they miss. The reality is that this is counterproductive. When you fantasize about carbage or obsess about things you "can't" have you are operating in mental deprivation mode. In other words, spending a lot of time thinking about off-plan foods only serves to make you feel like you're depriving yourself of something good.

Let's be real: If those non-keto foods were good for us, keto would be unnecessary. Consumption of carb-heavy and inflammatory foods is a major underlying factor in bloat, obesity, fatigue, diabetes, infertility, pain, depression, and a myriad of other health conditions and diseases. Instead, we should focus on what we can have and enjoying the health and well-being that comes with ketogenic eating.

Excessive Exercise

Many people continue to believe that if they just exercised more they would lose weight faster. The truth is that, overall, exercise contributes fairly little to fat loss. Don't misunderstand: Exercise is great, but it is not the thing that is going to make or break your ketogenic success. Don't do it because you think it will fix a mistake or counter something you ate off-plan. Don't do it because you think you can eat more keto food (there is no "banking" extra carbs for later). Do it because you enjoy it, because it makes you feel good. Do it because it helps you build muscle or increase physical fitness and mobility levels. Do it because you love it or because you love the results you get. 

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