I quit the keto diet after losing over 120 pounds because it wasn't sustainable for me.
Finding keto-friendly options when eating out or celebrating with friends was always a hassle.
My cholesterol got dangerously high, and I was tired of eating the same foods.
Although I was thrilled to have lost over 120 pounds on the ketogenic diet - a high-fat, low-carb way of eating - about two years ago, I realized that I needed to find a more sustainable option for the long term.
Following keto for a year taught me a lot about my body, nutrition, and health as a whole, but here's why I couldn't move forward with it:
I couldn't enjoy special occasions with loved ones
When a friend had a birthday cake or a family member celebrated a new promotion by going out for ice cream, I couldn't partake because these foods weren't keto-friendly.
I could've made an entirely separate sugar-free cake or whipped out a tub of Halo Top, but the constant separation and special requirements made me a bit of a nightmare to enjoy a spontaneous meal or snack with.
Going out to eat was nearly impossible
Most restaurants have bunless hamburgers, steaks, or omelets on the menu, but those options got old pretty quickly.
While everyone else was digging into delicious dishes that included rice, potatoes, pasta, and other carb-y ingredients, I was stuck with sad, sauceless plates that were high in fat and low in satisfaction. It was pretty miserable.
I got sick of eating so many high-fat foods
Although keto doesn't specifically prescribe anything besides less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, you need to eat high-fat foods to feel full and get enough calories.
So I gravitated toward tasty options like bacon, sausage, butter, and cheese, among others.
Although I still ate plenty of vegetables, I eventually felt like everything was greasy and craved more wholesome foods.
I missed a lot of nutritious foods that I couldn't eat
Although sweet potatoes, whole-grain bread, quinoa, brown rice, and oatmeal all have nutritional value, I couldn't eat them because they had too many carbs for keto.
But low-carb switches like riced cauliflower and "noatmeal" - oatmeal made with nuts instead of oats - simply weren't as satisfying.
Cutting my consumption of animal products was tough
Although it's possible to follow the keto diet as a vegetarian or vegan, it's a lot more difficult.
Since you can't eat beans, lentils, or many other forms of plant-based protein (save for tofu), you tend to rely on meat, and the fattier the better.
My daily diet was full of beef, chicken, eggs, cheese, and pork, and though I still enjoy all of those foods in moderation, I wanted to decrease my consumption of animal products.
I got tired of eating the same things
Many keto advocates insist that the diet allows for plenty of variety, but I found that there were far more limitations than opportunities for new and delicious meals.
For months on end, I ate scrambled or fried eggs, chicken thighs, ground beef, and vegetables.
All of the foods I really loved when I first started quickly got old, and by the time I left keto behind, I was over them.
My cholesterol got dangerously high
I got a routine blood test and discovered that my cholesterol wasn't just high, it was dangerously in the red.
I felt I was led to believe that keto would improve all of my health metrics. Although my blood sugar was definitely in the safe zone, my blood pressure and cholesterol levels were high enough to convince me to try something more moderate.
I'm not suggesting that keto doesn't work for anyone or that my experience is universal, but I feel much better having left this way of eating behind in the search for a more sustainable one.
Read the original article on Insider