The Great Mood Experiment

Feeling great!

So I have now been on keto for a month. I have seen great results when it came to my weight loss. From Dec 27th to January 29th I lost 14 lbs!! I feel so much better and I fit better in my clothes. Biggest non-scale victory has been going from a size 3X in scrubs to a size 2X bottom, XL top. I actually had to order new pants because I had no size 2Xs in my closet.

Work in progress

I have decided to add a psychological goal to my year long challenge. I have bipolar disorder which is somewhat well managed on Latuda and Viibryd. I experience depression when I PMS. Symptoms of PMS including binging are usually worse than normal.

I have seen good results eating keto and balancing my moods and improving my hormones. I am for the most part consistently happy every day. So I would like to take the next year to taper off my already low doses of meds and see if I can control my condition with diet alone. The last time I was off medication was during the 3rd trimester of my pregnancy. My mood was being supported by hornones alone.. We have plans to get pregnant again next year and it would be great if I could be med free for the whole pregnancy.

This is just an experiment and it will be well supervised by my doctors. But I have to see if being med free on a keto diet is possible. There have been only a few studies done on using a keto diet to control bipolar disorder and the results are mixed. But anecdotally there is strong support in the keto community that this way of eating does wonders for mood stabilization.

Bipolar disorder and epilepsy have some connection. Very often antiepileptics are given to increase mood stabilization for people with bipolar disorder. And the keto diet is prescribed to treat certain kinds of epilepsy. So it stands to reason that they share some kind of similar disease pathway in the brain. When you regulate brain function either through meds or diet then these conditions improve.

Clothes are fitting better

I am hoping to that my mood will continue to be stable without my meds if I stay strictly keto. I understand that deviating from this and eating carbs will jeopardize all of this. But it would continue the huge progress I have made with my disorder. Years ago, in my twenties, I was effectively disabled. I couldn’t work or go to school because I was so chronically depressed. I ate and ate and ate to control and suppress my feelings. I ballooned up to over 320 lbs. I was miserable and had no control over my life.

Overweight, unhappy and out of control

But I slowly got control of my life through the proper meds, therapy and a solid effort at controlling my eating back in 2015. I got down to 235 lbs, got a stable job and a boyfriend who would become my husband.

Since then it’s just been a matter of fine tuning to achieve the results I want. I honestly believe that a ketogenic lifestyle will give me that. Happiness, stability and sustained weight loss. Is it a magic pill. No but it’s pretty damn close.

Happy with keto

I’m back and it’s a new year!

So it’s 2021. Mid January in fact. Just before this month started I committed myself to changing my unhealthy habits. This was primarily binge eating to cope with emotional stuff. I would just eat junk when I felt depressed, anxious, bored or overwhelmed. I did this frequently enough that it was sabotaging any progress I made with my weight loss. Diet and exercise had nothing on the amount of calories and carbs I would eat in a binge.

To solve this problem I sought professional help from a therapist. I realized I was binge eating to fill the hole that emotional neglect from my parents left. My parents are good people and good parents but they never related to me on an emotional level. I was never encouraged to talk about my feelings. There was just no place for them in our family. That’s mostly because they grew up in similar environments. They didn’t know any better.

After that realization and the healing that followed I was better able to stick with a healthy way of eating. After doing a lot of research I committed to following the ketogenic diet. And I have been eating that way every day for almost a month now. Besides losing weight (13 lbs so far) I feel so much better emotionally, mentally and physically. I am less tired all the time. I don’t feel a crash after I eat. I sleep well at night. My moods are more even and I have been less prone to depression. I’m glad I switched to keto. I think it is the best lifestyle for me.

My face after losing 13 lbs. Almost one month on keto.

So the diet has now come easily for me. I created a rule that I only eat when I’m hungry. If I’m not physically hungry but I’m craving something really bad then I acknowledge that I am experiencing emotional hunger. It’s not real and for my health I cannot indulge it. So I walk away and distract myself until the feeling passes. This was very hard at first because giving in to my cravings was automatic. If I had a craving I ate it. I didn’t pause to think about it. Now I am giving my brain time to process what im eating.

Not much difference visually but I feel thinner in the 2nd picture

The hardest part now is getting myself to exercise. I do not like feeling uncomfortable. I don’t like moving my body. But my goal is not just to approach a healthy weight it’s to be fit. I want to be active so I can keep up with my husband and daughter. So tomorrow I have vowed to wake up early before work and lift weights. I have already incorporated walking into my routine but I need to build strength as well. I will check back in when I have accomplished that.