" I lost 120 lbs on the Keto diet." That was the headline of the story.
Here's my response.
First, fair warning. I am not going to advise you, unless you happen to be an epileptic child for whom this diet was created, to go on the Keto diet. Not in a million years. For despite its popularity, largely because people do have some short-term successes, not only are you highly likely to gain it all back rapidly, the worst is that you could well be doing your body serious damage the longer you stay on it.
First of all, I applaud the woman who really did dump 120 lbs. She did it, and now she's leaving the diet because of a series of very bad side effects. Those range from high cholesterol, constipation and much more, all of which, if you will forgive me for making this very important point, are all CLEARLY outlined on two websites:
Folks. Please. In our eagerness to dump the donuts around our middles, we focus far too much on losing the fat and nowhere near enough on what is happening to our bodies inside the skin we're in. You and I, and I've done it myself, can make the mistake of figuring that IF ONLY I can lose the weight, then the body can take care of itself.
That's a very foolish assumption.
The young woman in question who dumped the weight suddenly found herself dealing with precisely the illnesses and problems that the websites warned about. She may well have damaged her kidneys, set herself up for kidney stones (been there, no fun) and seriously undermined her bone health. She could well have compromised her body's second brain, the gut, whose microbiome is essential to mental, emotional and overall health.
Food can be medicine or it can be toxic. Keto is toxic for too many of us, especially over an extended time.
Marco Campos, MD, writing for Harvard Medical School notes that while some studies indicate that the diet may have some positive outcomes for Parkinson's, the fundamental issue is that it is, like my sainted mother's all-lettuce diet, a fad. While I am well aware this piece will get me gaslit, folks, you can be as much of a fan of Keto as you like but talk to us in ten years. Thirty years. Talk to us about sustainability.
We lose sight of the simple reality that weight loss or relative thinness is not the point here, although it most certainly is for anyone with a dollar to make on our wholesale need to look like fitness trainers. The point is vibrant health. That you and I can have at any age, when we exercise, eat well for the body we have, and stop obsessing about obesity or jelly rolls or whatever it is that gives us heartbreak.
We are likely to be far worse off if said heart ends up diseased and crippled because of fad diets, and Keto could well get us to that point for this reason alone: Hippocrates said, and he was right then as now, that food is medicine.
What works for you DOES NOT WORK for the woman next door or someone in China or an Inuit in Alaska. There is NO one size fit all diet. NONE. Nor should there be, for the rich diversity of who we are as humans is part of the joy of being alive. The journey to health is not necessarily getting thin. In fact, the effort to get and stay thin for many is in fact a recipe for disaster.
The overly-hyped world of fitness trainers, models and body-beautifuls is largely populated by freakishly attractive people who, in many cases, have to commit to hugely difficult regimes to maintain. Models drink scotch and smoke to stay stick thin, and eating disorders are rife among everyone from elite climbers to gymnasts. There is a cost to getting a look even to those who were born with it. Not only that, nearly every photo of every one of these people is photo-shopped to elongage a leg, thin a thigh, or sculpt a waist. If you honestly think you are seeing what these folks look like in person, I have swamp land in Florida for ya.
I suffered that disordered eating path for four decades. I wouldn't wish that on you or anyone else. However I healed myself ten years ago in a tiny Thai town on the Southeastern coast. I chose life, food, health. I never looked back.
Obesity is a very real issue for us. However, in our insane attempts to slim down, that doesn't argue for draconian measures which can cripple our organs and disable us for life.
Because kindly, what on earth is the point of being thin if we can barely walk across a room? If our kidneys have failed, our hearts are damaged, and our bodies in terrible shape?
But hey. That's just me. Call me crazy, but don't call me a Keto or any other fad fan. Keto most certainly shows promise for those who have specific medical conditions, and whose bodies respond well to the specific outcomes of such a diet. Not, kindly, as solely a weight loss effort. We are far better off finding ways to be fit, eating for fuel, and leaving the body beautifuls to the genetically-gifted. It's far more beautiful, at least to this writer, to be happy, healthy, hearty and able hike up the side of a mountain, even with a little jiggle.
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