I’m not going to lie to you. Switching to a new diet can be very challenging. It definitely will take quite a bit of effort. It definitely requires a lot of focus and willpower.
And if you want to stick to a diet and keep the pounds off indefinitely, you’re going to have to focus on consistency.
Thankfully, there are certain tweaks that would enable you to convert your keto diet into a keto lifestyle. This really is the secret to any kind of weight loss program.
If you look at diet just as a means for you to lose a few pounds here and there, then chances are, you’re going to regain those pounds. It’s only a matter of time.
On the other hand, if you look at your weight loss system as a gateway or a transition point to a different lifestyle, then the weight is probably going to stay off. That’s how it works.
Keep the following tweaks in mind. I don’t expect you to master all of these the first time you try them. Usually, it takes a while to get used to them, but eventually, they will become second nature to you as long as you give them enough focus and importance.
Eat Only When You’re Hungry
I can’t even begin to tell you how many people eat out of obligation. I know that sounds crazy. It definitely sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.
I know it because it happened to me. This was my standard practice. I would look at my watch or my mobile phone and notice that it’s a certain time. That’s when I know it’s time to eat.
So, regardless of whether I’m hungry, or regardless of how busy I am, I just sit down and enjoy my meal. That’s a serious problem.
Because if you’re not hungry, you don’t have to take in those calories. You can just lose yourself in your work or you can just focus on what you’re doing regardless of the time.
It doesn’t matter what your schedule is, if you’re not hungry, you don’t have to eat.
This is a hard habit to break. A lot of this has to do with our upbringing. Our parents, bless them, would sit us down at certain fixed times.
In my household, we were expected to eat from 6 to 7:30 a.m., and then from 11 to 12:30 p.m. Our final meal together would be from 6 to 8:00 p.m., depending on people’s schedules. But those are the time ranges.
When you’ve been doing that for many years, it’s hard to break free. It’s hard to try something new. It’s as if your body clock has essentially evolved around those schedules.
But there’s really no rule written on granite stone that dictates that you should eat out of obligation because of time.
If you want to convert your keto diet into a lifestyle that you can stick to for life, eat only when you’re hungry. This is the most empowering thing you can do.
You’re eating to live. You’re not living to eat. I know that sounds like a cliché (and it is), but it’s also true.
You’re not eating out of obligation. You’re not eating out of custom or tradition. You’re not eating because “that’s just what I do.”
No. You’re eating because you want to. And you should only want to eat because you’re feeling hungry.
Drink First When You Get Hunger Pangs
It’s very easy to just go to a drive-thru or to the nearest restaurant or even a corner grocery store and buy some ready meal when you feel hunger pangs. After all, you are hungry. You’re doing something to take care of the hunger as soon as possible.
I get that. That’s what most people do.
The problem is, the hunger that you’re feeling may not linger for long. Those hunger pangs may be temporary.
This is why I suggest that you drink first when you get hunger pangs. You’d be surprised as to how quickly your hunger dissipates.
The secret here is to drink first. Now, don’t go crazy. There’s no need to go overboard. You don’t have to whip out a liter of water or a gallon jug and start pounding away.
No. Just a small cup would do. See if it does the trick. And then have another glass.
Another trick that I use is to first drink warm water. If you can get it, drink a little bit of hot water. You’d be surprised as to how much of your hunger pangs is actually just your body looking to rehydrate itself.
Stick to this plan: drink first when you get hunger pangs, drink warm water first, then drink more cold water. If that doesn’t do the trick, then decide to eat.
Once you have decided to eat, don’t rush through the process. I know, this is easier said than done.
If you’re like most Americans, you feel that you really don’t have much time. In fact, if you’re like most people, you’d think that time is a luxury. Believe me, I understand where you’re coming from and I totally get you.
But here’s the thing. If you just blow through your meal, your mind is not going to register satiety fully. It will still be partly hungry.
So, what do you think happens next? That’s right. You eat even more calories until you’re finally sated. Usually, in that context, your body only feels full when your stomach has expanded enough.
As you can well imagine, this is not a recipe for weight loss. You end up eating too much. This is why it’s a good idea to eat slowly.
You’re eating your keto meals. That’s awesome. But eat slowly.
This means that you get to enjoy your food more. It also gives your brain time to synchronize and line up with your body.
Because when you eat, you’re actually releasing chemical compounds through your body. It’s sending all sorts of signals. There’s this interplay between your brain and the rest of your body, particularly your digestive tract.
If you rush through your meals, this delicate balance of signals cascading into each other and reacting to each other doesn’t play out fully. So, you end up overloading your system with calories.
Eat slowly. There’s no rush. Enjoy each mouthful. Celebrate your food. Again, eat to live. Don’t live to eat.
Look at Each of Your Meals as Some Sort of Event
When you have chosen to eat slowly, your mind has opened itself to the possibility of looking at food as some sort of celebration. It is not just empty generic fuel that you just load up on so you can do more important things throughout the day.
Unfortunately, this is how most people view food.
Food is an end in and of itself. It is something to be celebrated. It is part of what makes life special. You need to slow down and eat more deliberately for you to really savor your food.
Once you’ve started to do that, then eventually, you will be able to look at your meals as some sort of event. It’s something to look forward to. It’s kind of like your feast for the day.
Eat More Mindfully
Not only should you eat slowly, but you should also be as conscious of the eating process as possible.
Savor each mouthful. Be aware of the flavors going through your mouth. Understand yourself more fully by experiencing your food preferences in a more direct way.
Different people have different tastes. Different people have different preferences. When you eat more mindfully, the meals say something about you.
They say something about your preference. They say something about the textures that you like. They are part of an event. You’re connected to the whole eating process.
When you eat, choose to eat. In other words, focus your attention on what you’re doing.
It is no surprise that a lot of people who are multitasking while they’re eating tend to eat too much. They also tend to eat more frequently.
How come? They’re not there. Their attention is somewhere else.
Maybe it’s in the email that they’re monitoring or maybe it’s in the social media updates that are obsessed about, or maybe it’s work. Maybe they’re talking to other people. Whatever the case may be, they are not letting the eating process unwind itself.
You have to understand that, just like sleep, eating is a big part of you. All people have to eat. It doesn’t matter what corner of the globe you come from, it doesn’t matter what your specific background is, you have to eat if you are a member of the human species.
It really is a tragedy that you go through your meals like it’s an afterthought. You have to pack as much meaning into it like you would with sleep.
One third of your life is spent sleeping. Well, a significant portion is also spent eating. Wouldn’t it be great if you’re more aware and appreciative of that percentage of your precious time you spend eating?
The good news is that this will pay off handsomely when it comes to weight loss. You’ll be able to keep the weight off because you don’t have to eat as much. And also, when you’re eating keto foods, you enjoy them better and they make you feel fuller for a longer period of time.