The Keto Diet, Explained

Let Me Explain The Keto Diet, Because Chances Are You Have No Clue What It Is

Everything you need to know about this new and trending diet.

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Fad diets come in and out of style so quickly these days that it can be tough to keep track, not to mention tough to determine which are genuinely good for you and which are total and utter BS — and you'd be surprised how many of them are. In the past year alone we've seen the frenzy over paleo, Atkins, Whole 30, Dukan, DASH, intermittent fasting, juice cleanses, alkaline, and I could literally go on for dozens more all the way down until I reached, believe it or not, "the cabbage soup diet."

Our health and our bodies are very valuable things, and it is so important to be well informed on a diet before mindlessly jumping into a new regimen that could actually do us more damage than good, just because it's popular. Different things work for different people. That being said, the ketogenic diet has caused quite the frenzy lately, so I decided to look deeper into exactly what it entails and what science is behind to prove it.

What is the Ketogenic diet?

Essentially, the ketogenic, or keto for short, diet is an extremely high fat, low carb diet with moderate amounts of protein included.

While on the basic keto diet, your macronutrient intake is broken up as follows: 75% healthy fats, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.

For comparison purposes, the standard recommended macronutrient break down is as follows: 50% carbohydrates, 35% protein, and only 15% healthy fats.

As you can see, the keto diet is a huge contrast from the typical diet we are used to following day to day. It seems odd that in order to lose weight, it is recommended that we make our primary caloric intake day to day be fats.

Let's take a closer look at why this works.

How does the Ketogenic diet work?

Essentially, in the keto diet, we are replacing carbohydrate intake with fat intake. In doing this, the goal is to put the body into a state of ketosis.

Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body burns fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates (glucose) like usual.

While in a state of ketosis, the body displays rapid levels of weight loss as well as many other surprising health benefits.

What are the other benefits of the Ketogenic diet?

Another huge benefit of the keto diet is lowered insulin levels.

Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the body when it is breaking down carbohydrates for energy. This is why diabetic people have to limit their sugar (carbohydrate) intake.

The keto diet also drastically reduces risk factors for metabolic syndrome which can lead to many common conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

What are common foods eaten while on the ketogenic diet?

Avocados

Eggs

Nuts and seeds

Cheese

Seafood and shellfish

Coconut and olive oil

Plain Greek yogurt

Butter and cream

Dark chocolate

Low carb vegetables like spinach, Brussel sprouts, and zucchini

Unsweetened coffee and tea

Olives

Should I try the ketogenic diet?

The bottom line is that everybody's body is different. What works for one person won't always be realistic or sustainable for another. It is also important to remember that the keto diet drastically limits food options which isn't always a healthy choice for everyone, especially if you suffer from any type of disordered eating.

There is nothing wrong with carbs, and many dietitians will tell you that carbs are your friends, that they are necessary for your body. All that being said, there has been significant research done on the keto diet and studies have seen great rates of success and improved health in many peoples lives. The keto diet is about more than just weight loss, it also helps many diseased people to take control of their health.

If this diet sounds like a good choice for you, then try it! But, as with any diet, be careful and listen to your body when it tells you what it needs.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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3 Signs You're Overdoing It For A 'Bikini Bod' And Risking Your Actual Body In The Process

Eventually, the repercussions of inadequate self-care catch up with us, and we will always be the underdog on the battlefield for self-love.

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Looking in the mirror, a surge of reality overtook her petite body, and her eyes opened for the first time in years to the protrusive bones at all angles of her body. Her relationships were dwindling by a thread, and the hourglass of her life was almost up, yet she continued fighting an impossible battle for an impossible body. How did she allow a seemingly harmless diet escalate into something so drastic? Why was she putting her health on the line for a body that was only seen on billboards and magazine covers?

It's that inevitable time of year when the weather's getting warmer, the birds are chirping, yet your mind has been roaring ever since Target released their bathing suit line in January. Especially during the warmer seasons, everyone wants to look and feel their best, mostly because we can no longer hide that extra "damage" done by Aunt Judy's peanut butter pie in 100-degree weather on the beach.

Having weight loss goals, or any body-related goals for that matter, are true tests of discipline and are certainly rewarding, for both our health and for our self-esteem. However, progress can become addictive, and you could very much start performing a disappearing act if you're not careful and strategic in pursuing your goals.

Particularly to my fellow extremists out there, learn to mend your battle stations wisely if you plan on preparing for the summer season, and don't sacrifice your sanity and your health for a war you'll never win. Here are some signs that you may be overdoing it, or essentially causing more harm than good.

1. You're eating numbers

Not that you literally ate the quadratic formula for breakfast, but you're seeing your food for its numerical value instead of for its sometimes soul-satiating and always body-nourishing means; knowledge is power and counting calories to lose weight is undoubtedly an effective way to track your progress. But not for us extremists. If you have obsessive tendencies, there are more precautions to consider when using this weight loss tool. When the moderate indulgence of a succulent brownie suddenly warps into an off-limits red flag, ringing in your mind: "410 calories, 24 grams of fat and 46 grams of carbs, oh my!" then it's time to step back and reevaluate your plan. Don't let numbers run your life. Food is not the enemy, and you will start becoming your own with this mindset.

2. You've been staying in on the weekends

Your goals for the perfect beach body (as seen, literally, only on TV) just don't involve a night out at the bars, drinking empty calories of alcohol, and, unavoidably, eating pizza. Getting off track for one night makes you anxious. But this will soon start to eat away at you. We are social beings and thrive in social settings. However, no one wants to be around a hangry grouch who's in dire need of many snicker bars.

3. You workout to "earn" and "burn off" your meals

Let's say you did go out one weekend and had more pizza or "off-limit foods" than you would have liked. The next day, your initial thought is to go work everything off, and you begin to form this love-hate relationship with the treadmill, simultaneously with yourself. Instead of allowing fitness to enhance your life, it dangerously starts to consume you. You're not a dog, and do not need to "earn" anything!


So why does self-love always feel like a battlefield?

We forget that long-lasting, high self-esteem stems from the invisible qualities we all have that define us, such as compassion, intelligence, humor, and resilience. Today's media has ingrained an idealistic, nonexistent (except maybe for those who eat cotton balls for breakfast and ice cubes for dinner, no judgments here though!) image in our minds, where women feel pressured to obtain a body seen only on billboards and magazine covers. We fight our bodies past their warning signs of exhaustion, making self-love feel like a battlefield.

I once overdid it.

I viewed food as numbers and for only their effects on my appearance. I had to effortfully rewire my brain to stop associating certain foods as "bad" or detrimental to my physique that I prioritized over every other aspect in my life.

I stayed in every weekend, watching my relationships crumble in a domino effect, while only having enough energy to exercise. There's nothing more mentally consuming, and addictive than looking in the mirror and wanting to become smaller and smaller every day, but this was my reality for a long time, and it started with simple diet intentions for the upcoming summer season.

Be careful with your body goals, because as humans, we always tend to take things too far, and we are not indestructible. Eventually, the repercussions of inadequate self-care catch up with us, and we will always be the underdog on the battlefield for self-love.

If you're still worried about your bikini bod, let's also not forget: One-pieces and high-waisted bottoms are always an option!

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