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Down with Magical Thinking

Stop thinking of keto as a magic diet trick and start living a lifestyle.

Article by Mandy Pagano | 24 Jan, 2021

Article originally published on Ketovangelist.com on 4/11/17. It has been lightly edited for re-publication.

One thing that forever annoys me about the health and wellness community in general is the deluge of magical thinking that goes on. It can be especially bad in the alternative health community. It seems like once someone is willing to seriously consider theories on health that differ from mainstream medicine and nutrition, they soon begin believing any alternate theories on the subject. That, my friends, leads to quackery, and it's a big part of what gives alternative dietary lifestyles a bad name.

Even many of the terms thrown around in the community- "bio hack" and "superfood" are the pop terms at the moment- are highly suggestive (at best) of dietary magic, and subsequently drive me absolutely batty. The use of these terms perpetuates what I call the Underpants Gnome strategy of health that is forever popular (and forever wrong). 

Step 1: Follow this tip, trick, or "bio hack" and/or eat this "superfood"

Step 2: ???? Magic happens ????

Step 3: You will wake up tomorrow as healthy and as thin as you've always dreamed of being

It's these promises of diet mysticism that prompt a whole lot of people into eating things that are gross and unnecessary (wheatgrass, anyone?), potentially seriously harmful (royal jelly), and/or following weird and "off the wall" eating routines (like a cabbage soup diet or an egg "fast"), all of which lead to adopting some seriously unhealthy attitudes towards and relationships with food in general.

I- and the other authors here- have used this platform many, many times to explain some of the scientific background behind keto; what it is, why it works, etc. and so on. Keto is a healthy way to eat. It is a way to leverage completely natural processes to lose weight. It is a way to help eliminate foods that are known to stimulate allergies, insulin resistance, metabolic disorders, autoimmune conditions, and cause inflammation flare ups. It is all of those things.

It is not magic.

Which is why it really bothers me when people- experts, gurus, or laypersons- begin insisting on special formulas, the "need" to add in special foods, shakes, and/or supplements, or magical "fasts" that are basically just eating one or two things for a certain period of time.

The reality here is that zero of these tips, tricks, or "bio hacks" are going to see you waking up tomorrow to find Captain America or Wonder Woman staring back at you in the mirror. The truth is, there is nothing you are going to do that will magically transform your physique and clear up your health problems overnight.

Is there anything that will help you fix those things?

Yes.

Time. Patience. Effort.

The ketogenic lifestyle is a wonderful tool that can help you to reach your physical goals, but as I said, it is not magic. You're not going to start keto today and be at goal effortlessly and in no time at all. If you think that's what keto is, you need to reevaluate why you're doing it.

If your reason for living low-carb is health, wellness, and yes, even beneficial weight loss, and you're ready and willing to put in the time and the work that it takes to permanently change your life then you're in the right place and off to a good start. The Ketogenic Success team is here to help you through all of that. But that means you have to dump the magical thinking and stop following fads. As long as you treat keto like a "diet" (aka, that magical formula that will solve all your physical ails) you aren't going to achieve ketogenic success.

If, on the other hand, you're just looking for a quick fix or a magic pill, you are going to be sorely disappointed no matter what you try, because diet magic does not exist.

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