Learn how to implement intuitive keto for long term health and success and be able to identify fad traits to stay away from.
I really want to discuss Intuitive Keto. Doesn’t that sound fun – intuitive keto? Here I thought I coined a cool new phrase and then I google it to see if others had used it, and alas, it has been used before. Oh well, it is still a good phrase.
Last week I wrote an article about how to break free from the toxic keto diet culture (episode 47 on The Keto Living Podcast) and this week I want to talk about how to intuitively eat keto for your specific body.
What is Intuitive Keto?
To me, Intuitive Keto is about eating in a long term, sustainable healthy way for your body. It is not a quick fix kind of thing. It is not looked at through a narrow lens (i.e. to only lose weight).
Intuitive keto is listening to your body and knowing how to eat where you feel your best, regardless of what everyone around you is doing.
When you eat keto intuitively, you feel balanced. You feel healthy. You feel happy with your choices and that they are sustainable.
With intuitive keto, you create a lifestyle that is not only a healthier way to eat but it is also something you can see yourself sticking with in some capacity.
What Intuitive Keto is NOT
Intuitive keto is not about short term weight loss goals.
It is not about achieving those goals at all costs, specifically at the cost of your health.
Mainstream Keto vs Intuitive Keto
Mainstream keto would fall into the category of a fad diet. This is often the category where people jump in quickly because it is the latest and greatest thing and then say “I started keto today can someone explain to me what it is?”.
I cringe every time I come across one of these posts in the Facebook Groups that I moderate. My heart goes out to them because they are not setting themselves up for success.
And these are the people who will often inevitably fall into the toxic keto culture who follows mainstream keto. If nothing else because they didn’t take the time research on their own.
Mainstream keto often involves packaged “keto” foods and I use the term keto loosely in that regard.
These foods might be the zero carb breads or keto slim fast bars or atkins bars, etc… And the mentality is one of jumping on the latest quick fix.
Now, let me be clear that I am not suggesting that one is better than the other. If you are informed and then choose mainstream or fad keto, then great – that is your choice to make and you won’t hear a peep out of me. As that is YOUR choice to make.
The problem is that many people simply don’t understand keto and enter mainstream/fad keto by default and without knowing there is another way that might provide more long term health benefits for their body outside of losing weight fast.
Choose what works for you in the end, this is not about what the right choice is. This is more about how to eat keto in away that is based on your body vs the creations that have come out of the mainstream version of keto.
How to Eat Keto Intuitively
When determining how to eat keto intuitively, I want you to think about these 7 things:
- Long term health goals
- Short term health goals
- What are you eating
- Why are you eating it
- Is it what you want to be eating
- How does your body feel
- How does your mind feel
Let’s briefly go through them so you can see how they all fit together.
#1 Long Term Health Goals
I want you to think beyond only weight. Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years? What do you want your body to look like? What do you want your body to feel like? What activities do you want to be doing? How active do you see yourself?
Visualize the version of you that you’d love to see 5-10 years down the road. Every decision you make right now will impact how you get to that vision. Every small decision.
#2 Short Term Health Goals
This is where you can give yourself grace and focus on those short terms goals like weight loss. How much weight do you want to lose in the next 3-6 months? Do you have blood work you are trying to improve? Health issues you are battling?
Think about the “right now”.
#3 What Are You Eating
Now take a look at what you are eating. Whether you have already started keto or not yet. Either is fine.
What are you eating? Will this food nurture your body? Are there non food chemicals in your food? Are you eating it because you are craving it?
This last one we will need to dive a bit further on. Do you want to be eating it? Answer this honestly. If it is junk food and you answered yes. Great. If it is healthy and your answer is no. Great. If it is healthy and your answer is yes. Great.
If you are wanting to eat sweets or don’t want to be eating healthy food, then I want to send you back to #1. Remember the vision of your future self, this has to be so important to you that it reframes what you WANT. Wanting something and needing something are two different things.
If you can shift the foods you WANT to be the foods that will nourish your body instead of destroying it, then you are setting yourself up for success.
This isn’t always an overnight thing because we also have to consider addiction to foods and other incredibly strong forces.
#4 Why Are You Eating It
Now, I want you to think about why you are eating what you are eating. Is it because it tastes good? Are you addicted to it? Are you eating it because you know it will nurture your body? Are you not taking the time to shop and cook?
#5 Is It What You Want To Be Eating
We touched on this one partially in #3, but it deserves its own place in this list. Consider why you eat what you eat and is it what you want to be eating. Write it down. Ponder it.
#6 How Does Your Body Feel
How does your body feel when you are eating? Does it feel energized? Is there guilt? Do you feel sluggish?
Ultimately you want to be in a place where your relationship with your food is a positive one.
#7 How Does Your Mind Feel
Lastly, how does your mind feel? Are you happy? Do you feel at peace? And most importantly, do you feel balanced?
If it helps, write all these things out in a journal. Talk to a friend about it.
All of these things are meant to frame not only where you are at right now but also where you want to be and it should start shining a light on the path that can connect the two.
Why Intuitive Keto?
Given that keto works so well, it has become this fast paced superhighway that people jump on and jump off and repeat continually.
Or they jump on, lose weight, jump off, gain it back and blame keto for not working.
Or they jump on, feel horrible, jump off, and say keto doesn’t work.
Or they jump on, stay on, have no idea what they are doing, accomplish their short term goals and pay the price in other areas of health.
To me, intuitive keto is a path and a lifestyle. Not a destination. Not a quick fix. This path and lifestyle is one where the focus is on health. Not weight loss, but health.
Here is the thing that many people don’t understand and that is this – if you want to lose (or release) weight, that will occur when you start bringing your body back to a state of health. The weight will be released over time.
While it may not be as fast as the mainstream route – here is the main difference:
Weight loss with intuitive keto will stay off so long as you continue on a healthy path. The reason is that you’ve created a whole new way of eating that is long term and sustainable. That’s it!
Intuitive Keto Roadmap
Here are the steps to follow to begin implementing intuitive keto today.
- Stop doing what everyone else is going and stop listening to anyone that says “That’s not keto”.
- Understand that ketosis does not mean weight loss. And truth be told, you don’t NEED to be in ketosis.
- Get rid of the idea that you can have unlimited bacon and butter.
- Include a variety of foods in your diet. Lots of color. Don’t be overly heavy in one bucket if you can help it. Now, if you are vegan, for example, your plant based portion will be quite heavy and that is fine as vegan is a lifestyle choice as well.
- When removing foods, try to stick with the inflammatory inducing foods rather than foods that you previously felt were too high in carbs. An example of an inflammatory food is wheat.
- Include root vegetables in moderation. This can be small amounts each day or introducing cyclical keto where you include 1-2 higher carbs per week.
- Don’t overdo the fruit. This has nothing to do with keto but has to do with fructose.
- Listen to your body. Does it feel good after you ate?
- Meal prep and take time to shop and find healthy recipes.
- Sit down and relax when you eat.
- Be thankful that the food you are eating is nourishing your body.
- Eat whole foods.
I saved the best one for last. Simply eat whole foods. Work your way away from convenience and towards healthy foods. Limit the packages if you can.
Now, you don’t have to do extremes here. I keep a box of Perfect Keto’s Keto Bars on hand and enjoy them as a snack on occasion. More than on occasion, more like several times a week. I feel just fine with this decision. I feel happy with it. It doesn’t make my body feel bad and it doesn’t pull me off course.
Allow yourself to be in the flow with your choices. And don’t shame yourself over a slip or a blip.
Eventually, the goal is to simply be in a place where you look at food as energy for the body vs a reward to your tastebuds or as something you can’t wait to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Lastly, I want to repeat that intuitive keto doesn’t mean constant ketosis. Going in an out of ketosis is normal and natural and actually quite healthy. Learn the incredible health benefits of cyclical keto for women and the benefits of carb up days and how it can further help your journey!