Keto and Stress. Finding Healthy Ways to Bring Comfort

In times of stress, it can be tempting to go to our old comfort standbys. However, indulging in those standbys are a sure road to keto-flu and feeling bloated.There comes a time when you realise that Keto is not a ‘diet’ it’s a lifestyle. I am currently in an incredibly stressful season involving circumstances far beyond my control. This season will eventually pass, but as a result of the stress, I’ve gained two or three pounds. Those pounds are not a result of overeating or cheating. I am in a stall. My body is ‘protect’ mode. I am still eating Keto, keeping carbs down and carrying on. This way of life has to fit into my life, during times of calm and times of stress, or it isn’t going to work. Keto living is my new normal. I am thankful for the natural appetite control that is built into Keto. I’ve not been seriously tempted to cave into old comfort food patterns.

Here are a few articles and videos I found that discusses what our bodies do in times of stress and why weight loss is temporarily stalled at such times.

A simple explanation: What stress does to Ketosis
Stress may add bite to appetite in women: a laboratory study of stress-induced cortisol and eating behaviour
Understanding how grief affects the body
Youtube Video – How stress affects Keto-adaption.
Youtube video -Adrenal Gland Fatigue – Stress and Keto

So how to manage stress?

I am no expert. Therefore, I am sharing what has been helpful to me. It may not be helpful to you.

    1. Rest: If you are experiencing difficulty in sleeping, try melatonin. It either works for you or it doesn’t. There is no middle ground. An hour before you go to bed, have an Epsom Salt bath in warm but not overly hot water. Two cups of Epsom salt will help relax your body, as your skin absorbs the magnesium in the salts. Take a magnesium supplement, if you are not already doing so.
    2. Download a blue light filter for your smartphone/tablet if you use it to read from at night. The blue light from the screen will keep you awake and will disturb REM sleep. Also consider purchasing blue-light blocking computer glasses, if you use your computer after 5 P.M.

Going through a personal crisis or an season of high stress? Keto on! Here are some tips to help you through.

  1. Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. Reduce caffeine. For every ounce of coffee that you drink, drink double that amount in noncaffeinated liquids.
  2. Make playlists of your favourite comfort songs and listen to them often
  3. Avoid violence-ridden or stress-filled movies, television, and games.
  4. Watch silly comedies
  5. If you can exercise, do so. However, now is not the time to begin a serious weight training regiment. Now is the time for moderate exercise. Go easy.
  6. Talk to a friend about what is going on. Yes, guys, I know that’s hard to do, but do it anyhow.
  7. I am a Christian, and I find prayer to be extremely helpful. However, don’t make your prayer time a time of begging God to do something. Relax and remind yourself that God is good and He is there for you.
  8. Rid your kitchen of temptations even the healthy ones if you are prone to binging. If chocolate bars were your go-to comfort food in the past, protein bars might try to take their place. Bingeing on anything to the point of excess is not a good plan.
    Look for keto-friendly snack items that are super simple to prepare. Pepperoni sticks, cheese sticks, pork rinds. Grape tomatoes, non-sweetened pickles, cucumber slices with ranch dressing.
    Portion out nuts into individual servings and place them in snack-sized ziplock bags.
    If you are in the US, Biglow Girl Guide Thin Mint Herbal tea has zero calories and tastes fantastic.
    85% dark chocolate. One square should satisfy a serious craving for sweets.
  9. Stick to your keto diet plan. High fat, moderate protein, low carbs. This is your life now, and life does not stop just because of stress.
  10. Search google for just about any childhood comfort food you love, and you should find a keto-friendly adaptation. Macaroni and Cheese, Meatloaf, grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, chili, spaghetti; they all have keto or low carb versions all over the ‘net. You can find a recipe for just about any cake, cookie or sweet that has been adapted for low-carb diets as well.
  11. Remember, it’s not a good idea to have alternative sweetener treats every day, even if they are completely natural. These should be occasional treats and not daily rewards. You turned to Keto because sugary carbs were killing you. You need to find new healthy ways to comfort yourself that do not surround carbs or carb alternative foods.
  12. Be kind to yourself! Ditch the scale until your crisis is over. If you cheat on your eating plan, figure out what triggered the cheat and find an alternative way to have that need met. Don’t beat yourself up!

©2016 Katherine Walden