Keto The Mindful Way: 3 Key Success Factors!
A keto lifestyle is all about consuming nutritious real foods that are naturally high in healthy fats whereas low in carbs. The most important reason for following a specific lifestyle such as keto is that it gives you the desired joy, satisfaction and the health results. However, transitioning into keto can also be quite overwhelming since there is so much information out there. Therefore, a mindful approach to a keto way of eating is a key factor to your success!
What is a mindful approach exactly and how can you stay mindful along your keto journey? Let’s make this topic a bit more practical in this article.
Before we share any tips, it is important to firstly understand the concept of practicing mindfulness into your eating habits. Simply put, mindful eating means: eating with full awareness, feeding all your senses. A mindful approach is all about making decisions that are best for your body and health. After all, the goal is to nourish your body with healthy foods and products to feel at your best.
Now, let’s share 3 practical tips to do keto the mindful way so you can enjoy the health benefits of this lifestyle to the fullest.
1. Track macros without being obsessive about it
Yes, tracking macronutrients and eating according to your individual needs is important on keto. Especially when you are new to keto, tracking macros can be very helpful to determine the amounts of carbohydrates you eat and the carb-content of food products. However, when you find yourself getting too obsessed about these numbers, it can actually stand in the way of your success. Getting obsessed with tracking your macros has a negative impact on your relationship with foods, can affect your ability to listen to your body’s hunger signals, and can increase levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. As you may know, higher levels of cortisol have been linked to increases in abdominal fat storage (1). Quite counterproductive right?
Remember that a keto lifestyle is all about the bigger picture: it matters more what kind of foods you consume and how satisfied and energetic you are feeling, than simply trying to hit your macros when actually you are feeling stuffed. It is completely normal to feel more hungry on certain days compared to others, so always listen to your natural body’s signals over an app that doesn’t know anything about your feelings.
2. Be conscious of the foods you eat, but skip overanalyzing
A keto lifestyle focuses on eating wholesome fatty foods that are nutrient-dense and therefore contain a broad range of different vitamins and minerals. Quality matters and it is always best to pick products that are the least processed such as leafy vegetables, nuts, grass fed butter, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed meats, wild caught fatty fish and organic eggs. These decisions should not only focus on maintaining a healthy body but also on a healthy mind and on a healthy planet.
That being said, try to skip overanalyzing and spending hours and hours in the supermarket or at your local food market. Comparing products and overanalyzing different ingredients won’t make your supermarket trip more enjoyable, easier or shorter. Keep it simple: pick as many fresh ingredients as possible that have the shortest ingredient list. However, using a pre-packaged product so now in small amounts, won’t instantly affect your health. Just to illustrate, I am talking about condiments here such as pesto, mayonnaise and tomato sauce and not about ultra processed foods.
3. Be kind to yourself
We are all human and all humans make mistakes so now and then. People who follow a keto lifestyle are no exception to this. So, if a situation occurs where you slip up or fall of the keto wagon, show compassion to yourself. Understand that your worth is unconditional and that it doesn’t depend on how great you are doing on keto. Learn from the situation, evaluate the trigger, acknowledge and accept your feelings, forgive yourself and move on! Stressing about something that has already happened won’t change the situation. It only affects your current mood in a negative way and self-sabotaging is the last thing we want! Be grateful for your slip and turn your ‘failure’ into a transformational teaching moment and commit to grow. Hello motivation boost!
The take home message
In short, a mindful approach to keto is about being fully present and aware of what, and how (much) you are eating without becoming too caught up in it. This may still sound a bit vague and counterintuitive. However, the bottom line of being more mindful about your keto journey is simple: if a certain approach doesn’t bring you joy (anymore), change your approach or skip it! If someone else practices it, this doesn’t mean you have to do it the same way. Everyone’s body is different and has different needs and preferences.
Does One Meal a Day makes you feel happy and relaxed? Go for it! Are you already experiencing feelings of stress and restlessness when you read the word fasting? Then this might not be your thing and this is totally okay. Enjoy your keto journey, reflect on what works and what doesn’t work and create your own ideal keto approach. But most importantly: appreciate how far you’ve already come and feel excited and optimistic about where you are headed! Because in the end, it is all about planting positive seeds to harvest success.
1: Donoho CJ, Weigensberg MJ, Emken BA. Stress and abdominal Fat: Preliminary Evidence of Moderation by the Cortisol awakening Response in Hispanic Peripubertal Girls. Obesity (Silver Spring), 2011.
Are you interested in learning more about mindful eating while using fat for optimal fuel? Keep an eye on our blog! Or check out our services to find out how we can help you to succeed on your low-carb health journey.