That keto romance

Valentine’s day breakfast – eggs, bacon, ketchup

“Would you like to join me.” Those words always made my heart skip a quick beat. When we were dating, my husband, Mr. Keto, nearly always asked me on a date with a sentence or with an email that began, “Would you like to join me…” YES!! My response was almost always an enthusiastic ‘yes’. When I wanted to spend time with him, I often asked, “Do you want to play?” “Play” for me was time together. It could mean dinner, a day at the lake, or watching a movie, but it nearly always involved flirting. Those days were fun.

Days in advance of one our dates I planned my ensemble. In fact, a local salesclerk at a clothing store got to know me so well, that as soon as I walked in the shop, she would ask, “Where y’all going now?” She helped me shop for lake outfits, holiday frocks, and an outfit for engagement photos. When Mr. Keto and I were dating, I got ready early and waited by the window in the guest bedroom because it gave me the best view of the driveway. I watched for that blue Ford Explorer to turn the street corner and then to turn up the drive. Watching from the window gave me a sneak peek at what he was wearing as he sauntered up to the front door, and then I’d take a deep breath and walk casually to the front door.

When we dated, we talked for hours on the phone each evening. We shared the details of our days, including the annoying coworker who was once again being difficult. I knew what he had for lunch, and dinner, and whether he had done his laundry yet. We spent time daydreaming about our individual futures and then our collective future. We often told each other what we liked or admired about the other. He held my hand in the car and always opened the door for me.

Not a date went by that I didn’t do something kind for him. I always had my fridge stocked with his favorite beverage, or I went out of my way to make or buy a surprise for him. If he liked classical music, that’s where I had the radio tuned. I switched from my local affiliate news station to his new favorite. He noticed my favorites too. He knew when I had a hair cut or was wearing a new outfit.

Mr. Keto and I intend to celebrate 16 years of marriage this year. That’s a lot of socks. A lot of dirty socks. I still love that man, but I swear his taste in music makes me manic some days! We stay so busy that our conversations are mainly about schedules and transportation for the kids. Instead of my generously stocking his favorite beverage, I sometimes wonder why he can’t stop at the store and buy it himself!

Unlike his attentiveness when we were dating, there are times when I’m not sure he would notice if I was entirely bald because he only notices a hair cut if he sees the charge on the bank statement. Our lives are busy. He no longer asks me to join him. I’m just there. We no longer date every weekend. He has a half dozen annoying habits; I have two dozen annoying habits. Yet, when we both encountered one of our darkest, scariest, hardest days, we stayed right beside of each other. I looked at him, and through tears said, “There’s no one else I’d rather have by my side right now.”

The dating vs. married phases

In this new year, many of you are dating. You’re dating keto or low carb. It’s so sexy in the beginning! You feel great with amazing energy! You’re not hungry! The inches and weight are steadily falling off. You’re in love. You’re all shook up! Yeah, I’ve been there too. My romance with keto was hot and heavy. I was fully committed after the first month and married for life within 6 months. I don’t regret my whirlwind keto romance, but, just like real life, dating can be far easier than marriage.

“Dating” this new lifestyle is fun. You’re discovering delicious foods and enjoying tremendous health improvements. You’re cautious and nurturing with keto because it is this precious new lifestyle that works. You’ve picked keto out of a crowd of “diets”, but this is THE ONE! You commit right away, but how do you stay committed when the daily drudgery strikes? The meals must be prepped, and the dishes want washing. The carbs must be counted even when your fatigued brain craves an easy, comforting, and convenient meal at the drive-thru. Like marriage, you have to do the work to make keto work.

Just as hundreds of resources are available to help you plan a wedding; few help you plan a marriage. Lots of resources talk about how to start keto; few talk about how to stay keto. Even fewer help you to stay happily married to keto. You stay happily committed to keto when you do the work. You do the work to create low-carb, high-fat meals in the beginning when it’s fun and the health benefits are obvious. Then, as the shiny, new, rapid progress slows and becomes less shiny, you continue to do the work. You have to embrace that keto isn’t perfect. Eating low carb, high fat makes social settings challenging and restaurants a set of landmines to navigate. Eating keto can be hard. It is delicious, but it isn’t always easy. When some hit stalls or challenges eating keto, some folks call it quits. Some break up, then reconcile, and then break up again. Their dietary status becomes, “It’s complicated.”

Staying happily committed to this new lifestyle also includes keeping the fun alive. Surprising yourself with fantastic new recipes that keep carbs low, fats high, and flavor at a premium. You keep that love alive by remembering the magic of those first weeks with keto like the day you adjusted your car seat because your belly between the seat and the steering wheel wasn’t so big. The not-so-sweet-talking keto plan that turned around your medical labs around is the same plan that makes you meal prep each weekend, and that is a good thing.

Doing the work keeps you healthy and happy in the long run. You remember the times when you didn’t have keto. All you had were lonely, calorie-counting, low-fat microwave meals that left you starving every time you tried to lose weight. You shudder at what might have been if you had stayed with that ‘diet’. You realize that the sacrifices are worth it because there’s no other way you would rather eat. No other way of eating leaves you feeling so good. Life with keto (and Mr. Keto) may be annoying at times, but there’s no place else I’d rather be.


Kristie Sullivan

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More with Kristie

Do you want to read more by Kristie Sullivan? Here are her three most popular posts:
 
  • Low-carb and keto stuffing guide with recipes
  • Mastering the waves of ketosis
  • Cooking keto with Dr. Jeffry Gerber

Kristie’s story

"I'll do this or I'm going to die trying"

Cooking keto with Kristie

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4 comments

  1. Karen Jefferson
    Fun read! Thanks.
  2. Karen
    LOVE it -- yet another great piece of writing, fun and meaningful. I really look forward to these <3
  3. Annette
    Great comparison!
  4. Donna
    Kristie, great analogy - I love it!! Just like a successful marriage, you have to work at keto to have those wonderful results! Both are sooooo
    worth the effort!

    Thank you so much for your inspiration and great recipes!!

    Donna

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