Confession time. I haven’t been too active on social media (which will change). In large part, this is due to me not eating that well… which at times makes me feel like a fraud or failure.
In fact, it’s been about 9 months of not paying close attention to the keto diet. During that period, there were several weeks of eating 80% crap and 20% healthy.
Thankfully, I wrote down plenty of thoughts as to why it happened, and want to share with my fellow over-eaters who struggle every day with bad eating habits.
Why Did the Weight Gain Happen?
A life philosophy of mine is that you should focus every year on getting better at ONE thing. I wasn’t able to articulate this until I looked back on my past decade. With the benefit of hindsight, I can classify my #1 focus by year:
- 2019 – Scheduling
- 2018 – Finances
- 2017 – Exercise
- 2016 – Diet
- 2015 – Gardening
- 2014 – Sleep
- 2013 – Homebrewing
- 2012 – Freelancing
- 2011 – Learning Web Skills
I dabbled with low-carb in 2014 and then the keto diet became an obsession in 2016. That’s a part of my personality. When I start digging on a subject, I can spend hours learning all the nuances that will help me achieve success faster. But it usually comes at the exclusion of many other priorities.
As my focus shifted to business-oriented goals, diet went on the back-burner.
The truth is I thought I had become immune to the threat of tasty treats. Negative. They are persistent, and you must constantly battle them.
With winter fast approaching and my weight slowly increasing, the time is now to put an end to this regression before a full relapse into obesity occurs.
The Negative Cycle of Empty Carbohydrates
I definitely have a sugar addiction.
I don’t think it’s so much mental as physical – I simply don’t get the full feeling until my face is stuffed and my stomach is actually on the verge of exploding.
I go through the exact same thought process every time (below)… do you relate?
- I’ll just cheat this once
- Ya know, I owe myself this
- Mmm, this is fucking awesome
- I already ate this, I’ll have that too
- OK, the last one
- Let me freeze for next week
- ::remove from freezer 1-hour later::
- Seriously, THIS is the last one
- Fuck, there’s like 10% left
- I’d rather finish it than leave for tomorrow
- Self-talk after eating: “You are a certifiable asshole”
- NEXT DAY: Repeat
If only we could feel the state from Step #11 all the time. The only problem is, our body digests the bullshit and we physically feel ready to take on the battle tomorrow.
It’s a horrendous cycle and one that is absurdly hard to break if you’ve lived this way for years.
This Common Quote About Habits is DEAD WRONG!
I know you’ve heard this before – it takes 3 weeks to create a new habit. Or maybe it’s 30 days.
Either number is way off. In my experience, forming new habits takes 12-18 MONTHS of hard work. This also goes with breaking bad habits.
It may take 5-7 days of going back to old habits before that becomes the default again. If this happens, it’s MUCH easier to return to healthy habits when they’ve been developed for a year or more. If you’ve only been eating better for 3 weeks and have a cheating binge, you’re far less likely to stay on the correct path.
After a lengthy departure from that path, I feel like it takes me about 3 days to get back on track with eating healthy. The first day is always the toughest.
Understanding your daily rhythm and “course correcting” after the worst days is the only way to achieve your weight loss goals. It’s never going to be a perfect journey.
How it Affects Your Whole Life
Putting together the components to a great life is such hard work. It’s like the holy grail of existence – health, wealth and relationships.
I went out of balance for years attempting to fix my dietary issues. Because of this, I wasn’t 100% focused on finances. Plus as a natural introvert, I’m OK with a lot less human interaction than the average person.
As time goes by, I absolutely feel the need to shift my priorities into the other areas. It wasn’t all that surprising that my health took a dip compared to when I was hardcore following the keto diet. I took a step back in several areas – diet, exercise, and sleep.
The silver lining is that because I spent so much time developing good habits, my baseline for all these areas is higher than it was 5 years ago. Even though I gained back 20 lbs, I’m still 20 lbs lighter than where I was pre-keto. And even though I don’t exercise daily anymore, I’m still making time every week or so to stay active.
At some point in 2019, I absolutely plan to get back into boot camp mode with diet and exercise.
Morning Routine to Start Your Day
There is zero doubt that shifting from a night owl to a morning person changed my perspective of getting up early.
I love the mornings since they are my most productive period, and my best days look something like:
- 5 AM: Get up and exercise
- 6 AM: Coffee and creative work
- 10 AM: Break and light snack
- 11 AM: Low-priority business
- 2 PM: Go outside
- 4 PM: Early dinner
- Evening: Family & friend time
Make no mistake, it’s a challenge to operate this way daily. When I was eating super clean, though, it started to become clockwork. I felt like I needed less sleep (one benefit of keto). That’s not the case right now for me.
The main benefits of a morning routine are: being proactive vs. reactive, creating positive habits, starting your day with purpose, never feel like you “lost” time rushing around, and many more.
When you have a hectic start to the day, you’re at risk of adopting the “fuck it” mentality for the rest of the day. Those turn into your worst self-destructive days.
The Ultimate Answer to Self-Improvement
It really comes down to one thing – discipline. And to me, habits are only formed through discipline. You have to persevere through difficult emotions to establish the habits of a successful life. Doing so can literally take 20+ years.
I consider myself intellectually capable and the puzzle of living the best life is one that will continue to capture my attention. It’s complex and messy, but the rewards are obvious – inner-peace with your thoughts.
Right now, I don’t feel that way with my diet, so I’m going to do something about it NOW!