It’s not a diet, dammit

It’s just, like, a certain way of eating, okay?

So, I don’t do diets–and especially not fad diets. Because the simple fact is that most diets, especially fad diets, are crap. There’s no magic key to losing weight or being healthy overall other than simply eating less in general, eating less processed crap specifically, and moving your body more. That’s it. And every “diet,” regardless of the specifics, essentially operates on the exact same principle–calorie reduction. And every “diet” is basically flawed for the exact same reason–they’re not realistic or sustainable.

Now. Having said all that…

I’ve decided to go on a diet, which we will refer to as a certain way of eating, or CWOE. And not just any diet CWOE–it’s what I until recently considered a super trendy fad diet CWOE.

Fucking keto.

I know, I know, I KNOW.

But hear me out.

I’ve already been experimenting with intermittent fasting, which also works to put your body into “ketogenesis,” a state where it’s essentially burning fat for energy instead of storing it for later use or, you know, extra, decorative chub. I felt great and was definitely losing weight when I was being strict about the IF a little while back, and because I’m someone who doesn’t normally eat till the afternoon anyway (breakfast is just coffee, coffee, and more coffee), IF isn’t prohibitively challenging for me. I did struggle a bit cutting off the food faucet in the evenings, but now that I’m not getting high (25 days sober today!), that’s much less of a problem, and I’ve been sort of lazily IF recently–not eating till after noon and trying not to eat after 6/7pm. Emphasis on “trying,” though, full disclosure.

Then, a few days ago, I posted on r/leaves, a subreddit for people contemplating or accomplishing at various levels quitting pot entirely, and while describing my journey, I, of course, mentioned my struggles with depression and anxiety. Now, come to find out, a lot of people stop smoking specifically because it induces or exacerbates depression and/or anxiety, something I had totally never considered before. I just thought it was shitting on my productivity and causing me to mindlessly binge-eat. But because of this never-before-considered-by-me factor, there are plenty of people on that sub that absolutely get that aspect of my life, and someone whose experience with pot sounds very similar to my own recommended trying a keto CWOE, saying he’s had a really positive experience with it over the past few months. And not just for weight-loss, although he said that’s definitely been an effect, but specifically for mental health.

So naturally I was intrigued–after briefly scoffing to myself, of course. I mean, just to give you an idea of where I was starting from, my brother contacted me a couple months ago asking my thoughts on keto (because I’m a super nerd for science in general and evidence-based medicine/health/nutrition in particular) and I was all, uhhhhhhh, it’s probably bullshit and I’m super skeptical, but I guess it can’t hurt…? Because generally any CWOE severely limiting or cutting out entire food groups is suspect in my book. But this one seeks to severely limit or cut out sugar and foods (carbs in general) our body essentially treats as sugar, and I do believe sugar is pretty shitty for us, so…

So I decided to do some research specifically on the link between keto and mental health, and while the basic fact is that the evidence one way or another just isn’t really, totally, sufficiently there, there has been some promising early research. Not gold standard randomized double-blind placebo control studies on large groups of people, of course, but some glimmers of potential positive benefits here and there. And considering keto has been used since the 1920s as an effective way to treat seizures in patients with epilepsy, it obviously has some effect on the brain. And, of course, there’s the usual boatload of what I call “anecdata,” personal stories of positive outcomes, which we all know don’t prove anything because placebo and bias and ignored contributing factors and all that. But as the psychiatrist author of the above linked article puts it, lacking super solid evidence, the best way to know whether a keto diet might positively affect your mental health is simply to try it.

So Imma do it, bitches. I feel totally ridiculous about it, but whatever. As I was reminded by someone on r/leaves, recovery is the most badass thing a person can do, so, like, I can handle keto, right? I mean, it’ll undoubtedly suck in some respects at least for a little while, and if it’s ultimately not for me, then it’s ultimately not for me. But if it helps, I mean…win-win, right?

I start tomorrow so more details for those interested then. And as a last hurrah, after writing most of this at Starbucks this evening, I stopped and bought myself a pint of Haagen-Dazs on the way home.

And yes, it was fucking delightful.

But so is bacon, so, you know.

At least there’s that to look forward to.


3 thoughts on “It’s not a diet, dammit

  1. When MDs write a prescription, they pretty much always say “Try this, if it doesn’t work, we’ll try something else”. So it is with many things. Some things work for some people, different things work for others. That’s why we have aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc.
    Give this CWOE your best shot, if it doesn’t work for you, keep experimenting and you should eventually find what does.

    Liked by 1 person

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