Yeah But What If I Don't Want to Do Keto?
So maybe you want to lose weight but you don't want to do keto. That's fair. Keto isn't for everyone and it certainly takes a large commitment. And perhaps your family isn't on board with changing things.
But there are a number of things you can do to clean up your diet and get healthy. To start, I would encourage you to eat a whole food diet, eating carbs with the fiber in tact and avoiding grains and sugar.
Note: Whole grain bread, pasta etc are still an ultra processed industrialized food. Rice, even brown rice, is a carb bomb which your body metabolizes as sugar.
This means eating apples not apple juice, and avoiding ultra refined processed carbs. Or say it another way -- try eating for a week using fresh whole ingredients not out of a bag or a box. It's going to be difficult because the base of the Western / Standard American Diet (the SAD diet) is bread, pasta, rice and baked goods. Seriously watch this video on the history of the modern diet as told by Stephen Gueyent and you'll be shocked. It's an old video but worth the watch.
I will tell you, it's almost impossible to get or stay obese by eating whole foods and refusing to eat flour+sugar in combination. Similarly, the folklore of bodybuilders says to avoid the combination of fat and starch together.
Gary Taubes tells in Good Calories Bad Calories, about how missionaries diaries described the diseases (diabetes, heart disease, appendicitis) that would decimate an indigenous population when flour and sugar were introduced. His storytelling hurts to read and personally I think he is on to something. Also there are many who think Alzheimer's is Diabetes 3, and there's compelling evidence to support their claims.
There are some interesting food programs out there to try such as Paleo, Whole 30, 4 Hour Body, Real Meal Revolution that cut down on processed and highly addictive food in favor of whole natural food. Typically they offer a list of green foods to eat and red foods to avoid. Some are with/out dairy or legumes so check out those programs and see if they appeal to you. But if you've lived a while on the diet treadmill, it might be challenging so feel free to make it your own as this is your life after all.
We try to have a rule in our house that for dinner, we offer the following:
1 Green Vegetable
1 Starchy Vegetable
1 Plate of Cut Fruit
Drinks are whole milk or water (or Crystal Light if we have it)
What does that look like? How about baked salmon with green beans, corn on the cob and some sliced strawberries? Or BBQ chicken, sugar snap peas, roasted garlic potatoes, and grapes. You get the idea.
And dinner is "food on plate, butt in chair" not in front of the TV or with phones. And for most people that's probably enough to avoid obesity.
Did I mention not drinking calories? That's another big thing and or habit you can try to change, is eat your calories not drink them. I do love my wine, but I find drinking full sugar soda, light and sweet coffee just a calorie bomb I'd rather avoid.
So many times I hear people say, "well I could never give up bread" or insert whatever food item is their tradition. But so many times as an obese person I would have given absolutely anything to be a normal body weight. What would I trade to make sure my children grow up with a fully engaged mom, one who will live to see them graduate. Or simply a mom who has the energy to wakeup in the morning, braid their hair at 6 am, work a full day, exercise for myself, and help them with math word problems after school?
Look, I love cake, I miss bread and there are some foods that are sublime. But life is life. Food is NOT life. And while I miss the tradition of some foods, I honestly am so meh over eating my old staples, especially if I know it beings me pain, discomfort and an early death.
I've learned that I can have any food in moderation, but my idea of moderation and yours are probably really different. For example, I might have real deal cake on my birthday and similar treats a few times a year. But that's not an everyday thing. My health is more important than the food.
Lyle McDonald says, you should ask yourself "do I want to eat that, or do I want to lose weight?" It's a powerful question. Sometimes you just want the quick pleasure and crunch of the Doritos. (Ok not having them in the house is a great way to avoid that problem). But assuming you discover someone's stash, I'm certainly not perfect. I have squirrel eaten half sleeves of lemon Ritz before I knew what I was even doing. But recovering from being overweight also means you've got to talk yourself down (kindly) and just put yourself to bed, or find a healthier distraction.
Keep working to improve yourself because you are worth it. In the end, weight loss is math/science and behavior modification. You've got this, and you can do it. If I lose weight and keep it off, so can you.