I’ve been strict keto for 1046 days without cheating. Even longer, I’ve been keto on and off for 5 years. And low carb for 10 years. My goal with keto is long term optimal health.
Over the years, I became comfortable with strict keto. But, certain life events and health concerns have me reexamining my choice to be keto.
So I took some time to investigate long term keto. My journey was a mix of googling, podcasts, video, and reaching out for help. I posted my question in a keto group. Then, I contacted a health professional friend who is paleo like me, but critical of long term keto.
I found little information on long term keto. To complicate things further, few people are in my position asking this question. Unless they have serious health issues, most people don’t have the will power to get to 3 years of strict keto.
Inevitably, I’m amongst a very small group of people who have to question whether they should continue long term keto.
Keto proponents can be dogmatic: Never go off keto! Simplicity is comforting. I take comfort in “knowing” I’ve picked the most optimal diet. On the other hand, questioning keto is extremely uncomfortable.
Questioning means I’m uncertain, and uncertainty is uncomfortable. However, as with many discomforts, uncertainty is also extremely beneficial. A state of uncertainty means I’m open to improvement.
What Did I Decide About My Diet?
If I add carbs I would still stay paleo, organic, and nutrivore. That means my carbs would come from high nutrient fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Not grains nor even paleo sugars like maple syrup. I’d probably still stay relatively low carb.
I found that there might be benefits to cyclical keto or moderate carbs. But I’m still figuring things out.
Streaks are powerful. My publicly displayed 1046 day keto streak is a great motivator to continue keto. However, streaks have an equally powerful unintended consequence.
Changing my diet would break my streak. And that feels really uncomfortable. It feels like failing!
But continuing a streak just for the sake of the streak is irrational. If the most optimal decision goes against the streak, then the streak must be broken.
I have to remember streaks are a tool. They are the means to the end. Not the end.
The most important streak is that I continue committing day in and out to my own improvement.
Hacking Streak Anxiety
Some ideas to get around streak anxiety:
- publicly archive my streak
- redefine the streak from “not cheating on keto” to “not cheating on my diet”
I wonder if these hacks keep me from confronting my discomfort? Should I delete the streak forever and forget about it?
However, in the long term these streak hacks could be a good motivational tactic to break streaks when necessary. Plus, it’s beneficial for me to credit myself for my discipline. Credit and reputation are important- and long as I’m not overly obsessed with what people think.