Americans often seem obsessed with diets, and Keto – the Ketogenic diet –a is rated as the most popular diet in the world, and certainly in the United States.
Villager and Keto advocate Barbara Miller says, “I view Keto as a lifestyle. It means limited or no sugar. You probably won’t skip the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but it doesn’t mean you have to eat the whole pie.”
For the (few) people who might not know it, Ketogenic is a diet strategy that is low in carbohydrates and high in protein. In simple terms, the objective is to reach a state of ketosis when the human body burns its fats instead of blood sugar, thus promoting weight loss.
The trend started with the Atkins Diet, developed by Robert Atkins, an American physician and cardiologist who died in 2003. Barbara has been a follower for more than 20 years.
“So here I was eating carbs and developing irritable bowel syndrome. I suffered and suffered,” she says. “I was like the woman in the TV ad, scoping out the nearest bathroom wherever I went.,”
A barium X-ray changed everything.
“Without my permission, they brought in a class of students during the procedure,” she says, adding that she sobbed through it all. “I came out of it saying, ‘I am not going to live like this! I’m never going to be humiliated like this again.’”
A former partner in a day spa in Grand Rapids, Mich., Barbara is an inveterate researcher and studied health and wellness at Ashford University. She took to her books and credible resources for more information. What she found was both enlightening and frightening.
“Some 50 years ago a scientist and a researcher from Harvard were paid $35,000 – a lot of money in those days – to make sugar look healthy,” she says. “They said that they didn’t see any issues with sugar and it was
a good nutrient to have in your diet.”
Barbara’s own research indicated otherwise.
“Sugar is very toxic to the brain and the body,” she says. “Some people still won’t believe that.”
As she changed her lifestyle to Keto, her IBS disappeared, her weight stabilized – and she felt more alive than ever before.
Barbara grew up in farming country and says that we can’t eat like farmers. “They ate a lot of calories, but they worked them off,” she says.
Barbara also believes that food was different then.
“The food wasn’t genetically modified and was just healthier,” she says.
After much more research, Barbara decided she needed to spread the word and developed a Keto lifestyle that she rolled out in her book, “Keto for Life: 28 Day Fat-Fueled Approach to Weight Loss.” The book is available on Amazon.com and soon will be at Barnes & Noble.
Barbara will be participating in the Central Florida Book Expo at the Eisenhower Recreation Center on Jan. 26, 2020.
“Many people can see results in the first 10 days of a Keto lifestyle,” she says. “They might say, ‘Oh, that’s just water weight,’ but you’re starting to flush out some of the fat as well. In 28 days, most people can easily lose 10 pounds, depending on your metabolism. I know people who have lost 30 to 40 pounds over four months.”
Eating out often is sometimes difficult in a Keto lifestyle. You’re never sure what the ingredients are. Eating at home is usually less expensive and you can control the menu more carefully.
Two caveats: Talk to your doctor before starting any weight loss program and follow his or her advice. And start an exercise regime.
Barbara’s personal exercise program includes going to the gym three days a week for an hour of self-managed yoga, a mile at moderate speed on the treadmill and weights on various exercise machines.
“I use a technique called ‘Pushed to Exhaustion,’ where the exertion needed is high enough that after a 15-minute circuit of five machines, I’m exhausted,” she says. “You can build a lot of muscle this way.”
The Villages is an ideal place for exercise, she says.
“There are commercial gyms and all of the free, or nearly free, activities at the rec centers, parks and pools,” she says.
For people outside The Villages, she recommends the YMCA or low-cost community programs.
Of all of her exercise options, yoga is her favorite.
“It helps me relax, keeps my weight stable, and my body strong,” she says. “And it helps keep good oxygen in my body. That’s especially important as people age – it keeps your brain healthy.”
Dieting gives eating top-of-mind awareness. Barbara’s Keto book has 28 days of breakfast-lunch-dinner menus, with shopping lists and complete instructions for preparation. Each recipe has been tested in her own kitchen at her home in the Village of Charlotte.
“These are the simple and delicious meals that we love and eat at home every day,” she says.
Some people may find the recipes take too much time or they just plain don’t like cooking.
“Many people say that the recipes make the difference because everything is laid out for them, but you can style your own menus by following the Keto guidelines,” she says.
Barbara has two pieces of advice for wholesome grocery shopping.
“Don’t buy stuff that’s in a box. And steer clear of the center aisles in grocery stores,” she says. “Go to the periphery where you’re going to find your healthy choices.”
Barbara’s latest endeavor is a five-week online weight loss coaching clinic. Email her at [email protected] for information and times.
While many people adopt and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, others wait until they are ill to make the necessary changes.
“I really hate to think that people aren’t going to make that decision until they’re sick,” she says. “If people know they need to lose weight or get more exercise – or both – the time to start is now. It might not be easy and there may be setbacks, but it can make for a longer, healthier and happier life.
“It’s difficult for us to give up our treats and snacks,” Barbara laughs. “So, if we want cookies or snacks in the house, make sure they are Keto cookies and snacks.”