One month after my keto breakup, I decided to check in with myself. It has been an incredible month. I have been amazed by how much I have been able to change in such a short time. I was anxious and excited to discover what life after keto had to offer.
The first days after saying I had quit the ketogenic diet, I was cautious; not believing I could do it. I was saving my carbs for night time, starting with small servings of rice. I was still scared of more than a bit of sugar and nervous about when the narcolepsy symptoms would come roaring back to say, “Told you so!” But each day I got a little bit braver.
Conquering my fear of fruit
I added fruit. I didn’t realize how much I had been missing sweet fruit like bananas and oranges. Because I believed I lacked self-control, I didn’t allow myself to touch bananas when I was keto, even though they are my favorite food.
Since I live in Myanmar right now, there are a lot of fruits that I don’t have much experience from back home. I have been enjoying guavas, dragon fruit, pomelos, jackfruit, and even some things I don’t know the names of since I don’t need to look up their carb content to fit in my macros! Life after keto doesn’t involve any tracking or counting, although I do think I eat fewer carbs than before.
Traveling helped me break down the walls I had put up to protect myself from food. In December, I went to Japan. Who could resist sushi, soba, udon, tempura, and all things matcha? (Well I did the last time I was there in 2016, but I made up for it this time!)
Each day I was in awe of how much my body could handle. I went as far as eating Kit-Kats (even in the morning), cream puffs, sweet bean desserts, and matcha cakes, cookies, and ice creams.
Nothing was off limits. I quickly tossed out the concept of moderation with the excuse, “I’m on vacation! It’s all for the experience.” Also I wanted to experience what life after keto would really be like if I ditched it for good. I kept waiting for the fatal thrum of a gluten-induced migraine, or a sleep attack to appear. But the fact is, the times I felt fatigued, I deserved it.
Poorly planned travel
As a person with narcolepsy, I know that I need time to rest when I travel. I have lots of travel hacks I use to make the most of my trip. Usually, I try to stay near the tourist area so that I can pop back to the room for a refreshing nap and then go back out for the evening. In Tokyo, we were staying at a friend’s place, so that wasn’t an option.
I stayed in downtown Tokyo until midnight, knowing I still had to ride the train an hour before I would reach my bed. That journey was tough, but I think anyone with or without a chronic illness would have felt tired after as much site seeing as I crammed into one day. Energy is a limited resource, after all.
The other day I suffered was New Year’s Day. After staying up the entire night to see the countdown at Shibuya for New Year’s Eve, I was not my best. My flight was at 11 AM on New Year’s Day, and I didn’t bother booking a hotel (dummy).
I caught a bus to the airport around 3 AM and only dozed a few hours at the airport before the full day of flights back home. I was miserable and kicking myself in the ass; but not for what I ate, for how I planned the trip. Enjoying life after keto shouldn’t mean tossing all common sense aside! (This thinking is completely contrary to my New Year’s Resolution, so I need to work on that….)
Back to healthy eating after keto
Now that I am back in my routine at home, there is a lot less sugar on my menu, but I am still incorporating carbs daily. I have been eating sweet potatoes, brown rice, chickpeas, lentils, and tons of fresh fruit along with my usual vegetables.
While I am enjoying life after keto, there are some things I don’t think I will ever go back to. I can’t imagine drinking a full sugar coke or soda of any kind. Nor do I plan to stock my freezer with goodies like ice cream or keep chocolate around.
I never thought it would be so easy to get over my keto breakup! Overall being on the ketogenic diet was a great experience for me. Maybe it was a necessary step in preparing me to see what is possible. Now I am ready to discover more about what is possible using my mind.
If you want to learn more about narcolepsy and my experience, check out my articles:
If you are looking for new ways to treat your narcolepsy, you may find something in one of these posts: