Dieting can provoke extreme hunger and weight loss can be almost impossible. This is a vicious circle. The ketogenic diet is hope of a workable solution.
What is hunger?
To understand this better, it is important to understand the history of our bodies and how they work.
Until relatively recently, our ancestor’s bodies survived from the animals they hunted, as well as eating anything else that they could gather. As man had no refrigerators and typically didn’t cultivate or store grains, he’d hunt, eat and then do without until the next time he successfully killed an animal
In order to survive until the next kill, he’d live off his body fat.
When it was time to eat again, he’d feel hunger and that would prompt him to go out and eat. This was a mechanism to keep him alive. So far, so good.
Is body fat good or bad?
In a life with no way to store his food, the more body fat one had, the longer he could survive without eating. This explains why pregnant women gain extra body fat and probably why in the past, a curvaceous woman was considered to be more beautiful. She’d have a much better chance of surviving during pregnancy and beyond and also a higher chance of staying alive to bring up the children. To early man, this was probably quite sexy.
What went wrong?
Fast forward to the present.
Did it ever strike you as odd that one can have a body with lots of extra fat and yet feel hungry, even feel starving, within a short time of eating?
Hold that thought for a moment and let’s get back to our ancestral man, say 10,000 years ago.
How our ancestors ate
Let’s imagine that he had been hunting and eating throughout spring and early summer. The fuel for his body would have been the fat of the meat he had recently eaten and when that ran out, he would have accessed the fat on his own body. Because of this ability to use his own stored fat, he wouldn’t have experienced high levels of hunger. He probably didn’t experience the sensation of extreme hunger until he was actually dangerously near starvation.
So, he went along, hunting, eating and doing the other things that man did during that time (probably avoiding being hunted himself, having wars, babies and hopefully innovating and developing a civilization, which is what man does best).
Ancient man encountering a rare find of fruit
Then, suddenly during late summer, he really lucks out. He finds a huge tree full of fruit! Wow!! No hunting would be needed until all that fruit had been eaten or rotted.
After eating his first fruit, his adaptable body would have switched gears to being able to use carbohydrates as its main fuel source.
Here’s the oddity: As long as man is using carbohydrates as his fuel source, he won’t be able to access the fat on his body as fuel. This was probably a good thing, as it meant that he could store the excessive fuel as fat. I’m guessing that as the fruit was sweet, it would stimulate his appetite (more on that later) and he’d be happily eating every couple of hours and gaining needed weight to help him survive the following winter.
Now to answer the question as to what went wrong:
Civilized man, in his innovative brilliance, learned to farm and also to transport and preserve incredible quantities and varieties of food. He also created transportation and along with automation, eliminated many of the jobs that required physical labor. In this way, not only did he create endless food but he also eliminated the need for most people to exercise.
In other words, Man became too smart for his own health.
That crazy feeling of starvation
There is no denying that we overweight and overfed humans can experience very real feelings of starvation. These sensations can prompt us to break every resolution to eat well. That crazy starving feeling urges one to grab anything that will take away the hunger and other possible side effects, like headaches and dizziness.
This is not some craziness that is in the mind, but a very real condition that is called low blood sugar.
The only thing that will give instant relief is to eat some carbs, like sweets or bread, particularly if followed by fats and protein. Then relief. However, in as little as two hours, the cycle can repeat, with that insane and illogical, “I gotta eat” sensation.
With a body full of fat, why should this happen to an otherwise sensible individual?
Why that crazy feeling of starvation?
No, one isn’t crazy and isn’t necessarily what would be medically diagnosed as sick. It is just that one’s body isn’t dealing well with the carbohydrates one is eating and this is causing mood swings and that insane feeling of starvation and other symptoms. Anyone who has experienced this knows that it is very real and very unpleasant.
What’s the solution to extreme hunger?
Other than following the body’s unhealthy cravings and eating heavy carbs every 2-3 hours to keep away the hunger, one can return to that healthy way of eating of our ancestors, to handle this type of hunger.
There is a lifestyle/dietary change that is incredibly popular right now. Its extreme popularity is for one simple reason, that it works – makes one feel so much better, brings up ones general health and energy and get this, when doing it, the weight and inches go down quite naturally, while extreme hunger sensations become a thing of the past.
This is called the Ketogenic Diet, also known as “Keto”. I can’t tell you how many random people I run into who tell me how much weight they have lost with keto, just going through my daily life. It is amazing. So many people have either successfully done the diet, or know someone who has and its reputation is excellent. Many doctors are also recommending this for their patients, as they are seeing conditions like Type 2 diabetes going into remission, weight loss without extreme hunger, heart conditions improving as well as aches and pains disappearing. (Note anyone with such medically diagnosed conditions, particularly Type 2 diabetes or are on medications, should work with their doctors while on the ketogenic diet, so they don’t create problems when doing it, as their medication will need to be carefully adjusted [lowered] as their overall health increases.)
Traditionally, the ketogenic diet is mostly made up of proteins and fats and very low in carbohydrates. Keto has been around for quite a while, the Dr. Atkins diet being the best known. There is a newer form of this diet that I greatly prefer and it is called Healthy Keto.
What is Healthy keto?
This diet emphasizes lots of non-starchy vegetables, along with moderate proteins and good fats. it is a lot healthier, as the vegetables provide a much more nutritious and balanced diet and protects the body against any problems that can come with eating mostly proteins and fats, like kidney damage. It is also a much more satisfying diet and just feels right.
How to transition into the ketogenic diet
The first step is to get educated on this amazing diet. My favorite source of information on keto is Dr. Berg. Here is a video that I thoroughly recommend.
The next step is to start with three meals a day that are high in fats, moderate in protein and contain lots of healthily non-starchy vegetables that are delicious enough to tempt. (You should start with higher fats to keep the hunger away between meals and then you can use less fats, when no longer very hungry between meals.)
Least expensive way to start keto
The least expensive way to start is to continue with Dr. Berg’s free keto course, which you can have access to via the link above and to make your meals yourself. Also, get the highest quality organic vegetables you can find. (For those that live in the Clearwater area, the Saturday Morning Saint Petersburg Farmer’s Market has two fantastic and affordable large stalls, where you can buy organics directly from the farmers.)
For meats, the very best are from animals that have been 100% grass fed (without having been fed grains to fatten them up). If you can’t afford these more expensive foods, any non-starchy vegetables and meats are better than nothing, as long as your diet is low in carbohydrates. Also, as you get more into the diet, you’ll be eating less each day and will be able to save money that way and hopefully be able to afford the healthier foods; but the important thing to do is start.
The deluxe way to do keto
A more luxurious option, is to use a meal service, that specializes in the ketogenic diet. Many meals services pretend to do so but if you carefully look at the ingredients they use, you’ll see that often, their their meals are not really keto but just lower in carbs than their other options. I’d advise using a meal service that is exclusively keto, as they generally truly understand this diet and will provide the best meals for your needs. A good meal service will keep your meals extremely varied to keep the diet exciting and its nutrition varied. If they are also known for their gourmet foods, so much the better, as that will keep you interested in the diet, as meats and non-starchy vegetables can become boring, unless you are pouring an enormous amount of creation into your food preparation each week. If you value your time, using a ketogenic meal service also makes sense.
Important tip for doing keto successfully
It is extremely important that one doesn’t let oneself get too hungry while starting on the ketogenic diet, as this messes up the hormones and makes it harder for the diet to work, as well as being unnecessarily uncomfortable. Letting oneself become too hungry between meals, often prompts one to eat the wrong things out of desperation. It would be best to do three meals a day without snacks. However, for people who still feel that hunger, then snacking on rich nutritious foods like crustless quiches, almonds, pecans or avocados is a great option. Then soon, after as little as a couple of days, that insane hunger is over and one can move to three meals a day with no snacking. Whatever you do, don’t let hunger derail you by making sure you never get too hungry while on keto, particularly at the beginning. That way, weight loss becomes doable. For me personally, this has been the easiest and most pleasant diet I have every experienced. The weight loss is sustainable and fairly constant.
Now that we have explored the subjects of hunger and weight loss, try the ketogenic diet yourself! There is hope that you could experience health benefits of eating well, and lose weight at at the same time.