Keto on the Cheap: 11 Weeks DONE

In this “keto on the cheap” update, I have several encouraging bits of news to share, and as always, I have some insights as well.  Finally, it seems like I’m falling into a pattern that makes things easy and sustainable for my family, but I’m not letting my guard down.  The holidays can be a stressful time for some, but we’re determined to thrive right through the trifecta of temptation events — Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.

First though, I’ll share my stats from the 11-week mark.

  • High Weight: 290.2lb (May 2017)
  • Start Weight: 259.4lb (9/1/19)
  • Current Weight: 237.2lb

Yep! That’s right! I finally made it back into the 230s! I haven’t seen numbers in the 230s for 14 months.  Hitting these new, old milestones keeps me encouraged, and I’m building confidence about my ability to make my way of eating a true lifestyle.

On the financial side of things, we’ve done a lot better about minding our budget, probably because over-spent for a couple pay periods and added extra food to the freezer.  We came in about 10% under budget past period and we’re on track to do the same thing this pay period. Granted, that won’t immediately off-set the two pay periods where we were 60-70% over budget, but as I discussed last time, hitting a certain number on a grocery budget isn’t the only marker of success for keto on the cheap.

A day or two ago, I was thinking about another aspect of this journey that affects the bottom line.  My husband woke up and in pretty short order, he was ready for breakfast. He doesn’t typically follow a ketogenic diet, but he eats low-carb — I’d guess 50 to 70 grams of carbohydrates per day.  It struck me how quickly he’s ready for breakfast when he gets up each day. He’s usually having a “meal” after having been awake for 45 minutes or so. This pattern is very different from my pattern or my keto teens’ patterns, and it got me thinking.

“People” like to say that keto costs less because you fall into a pattern of time-restricted eating.  Also, folks who follow a ketogenic diet tend not to snack. It seems logical that if you’re eating when you’re hungry and you’re stopping when you’re full, you wouldn’t consume extra food that costs more money, right? The problem with that logic though is that when we DO eat, we’re eating nutrient-dense foods that frankly cost more money than grain-based food stuffs.  I often like to joke that there is no “broccoli subsidy” nor is there a “ribeye subsidy” sadly.

After a little more thought, I came to a conclusion about how keto can actually cut food costs.  I’ll call this idea “how to avoid ribeye creep”. When I first recommitted to keto in September, I didn’t restrict my calories.  As long as the food was on my “yes list” and as long as I didn’t eat more than 20 grams of total carbs in a day, I didn’t really care if I needed a pound of bacon, six eggs, or a pound of ground beef to feel satiated.  As I got fat-adapted though, I started eating less frequently, so I got it in my head, albeit unintentionally, that I could afford the foods I enjoyed because I wasn’t eating as much food now. While that’s completely reasonable and understandable, it doesn’t really help your financial bottom line.

Yes, I love ribeye.  I feel really great on ribeye.  I could live on ribeye! But there are other foods that I can eat that afford me the same success, and they cost a lot less than a pound of ribeye every day.  And as I started to turn to these foods when I was hungry, the grocery bill started going down because I wasn’t as hungry AND I was intentionally choosing less expensive foods.

For example, my son and I LOVE roasted chicken thighs with crispy skin.  He and I have been eating them every day for several weeks now. Sometimes we eat other things alongside the chicken thighs and sometimes we don’t.  The fact that fatty meat that costs as little as $.77/lb fits into our food plan really helps the bottom line. Yes, I get it. Beef is probably a better choice than chicken, and we do eat inexpensive beef too, but by adding something that’s cheap that we love ALMOST as much as ribeye, we can get a handle on the “ribeye creep” that a lot of folks justify by saying, “Keto saves money here, here, or here so I can afford to spend more money on food.”

I’m not suggesting that folks shouldn’t spend their money on quality food.  Please don’t hear that. What I am suggesting is that you can succeed on keto without the lack of a “ribeye subsidy” as your excuse.  Is it better to buy quality meats and organic vegetables and dairy? Probably so. Should an all or nothing attitude prevent you from taking charge of your life and your health? I don’t think so, because I strongly believe that a diet or CAFO beef and big poultry chicken will help folks get to their goals much faster than doing nothing.  I’ve seen it too many times to think otherwise.

I just ask folks to consider some of these things when thinking about how keto can become a lifestyle instead of a “diet”.

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