Discipline is freedom.

One week ago, I started a Ketogenic Diet. People use this diet to lose weight, gain mental clarity, and increase their daily energy.

I’m generally healthy, and I’m not trying to lose weight. This is strictly an experiment to see how my body reacts to a calculated change in diet. Plus, I’m interested in the mental clarity and increased energy.

Our bodies are truly fascinating. They are bio-machines. Much like a car performs based on the fuel it is given, our bodies perform based on what we eat, adjusting as necessary.

I’ve never seriously experimented with my diet before, other than short-lived vague resolutions like “eat more vegetables” or “eat less candy”, so this whole thing is new to me.

I did some research online, asked a few friends, and came up with a grocery list. This article by Chase Paisley was helpful when choosing what to buy.

Really, it’s quite simple. Stick to 30% protein and 70% fat (saturated and monounsaturated), and avoid carbs and sugar altogether. This means foods like fish, chicken, green veggies, butter, and coconut oil.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist. I oversimplified this to make it easy for me to digest. Pun intended. Do your own research before trying for yourself.

A couple friends had recently discussed the diet around me, and the idea of manipulating my mood and energy through selective eating intrigued me, especially since it was minor routine and diet changes – nothing drastic. I still had to cut out things like beer and fruit, but it was only 30 days – I knew I could last, and I was excited about what I might learn.

From the moment I bought the groceries, I was committed. This was partly because I had just invested $100 in food, but also because I was genuinely interested in the experiment.

The first few days were tough. My body was not used to running off of fat instead of sugar. I craved sweets, and my meals were unsatisfying. Alas, I pushed on. My body began to adjust within about 5 days.

I was presented with plenty of opportunities to eat sugar that I normally would have taken without thinking about it. Instead of switching to autopilot and submitting to my impulsive desire, I took a step back and reminded myself that I had committed to something bigger, something more important. One cookie pales in comparison to an opportunity to test and learn something new about my body.

I always imagined that limiting myself in this way would make me weak. I thought dieting would hinder my freedom and make me a slave to healthy foods.

Now I realize it makes me strong. It makes me more free. It puts me in charge of my actions based on my chosen values.

It was surprisingly easy to demonstrate my self control and pass up impulses for sugar after I had decided to do the diet. I was choosing to pass up sugar, because I had already taken stock of my values and decided that my diet experiment was more valuable.

After a few days, this revolutionary thought process became automatic.

I had been blogging and documenting a lot, so I decided to do a short video entry every day to capture my meals and how I felt during the shift.

I stuck with it. It was easy, since I was already practicing daily discipline. This built up small wins, and gave me some confidence in my own self control. So I slowly, naturally, started adding things.

I would meditate most days and exercise a few times a week. Now I am committed to doing both of these daily.

I wrote blogs and thank-you cards every once in a while, when I felt inspired. Now, it’s a daily habit that I am committed to.

I started small.

My goal is to meditate every day. Not meditate for 20 minutes. Some days I meditate for 2 minutes. Some days I meditate for 10 minutes.

My goal is to exercise every day. Not to exercise for 2 hours. Sometimes I do 10 pushups. Sometimes I run 6 miles.

The important thing is that you stick to it, and commit to daily growth. Setting low benchmarks makes it easier to start, and once you start, it’s easier to continue.

Before I knew it, I was on a streak. On top of avoiding sugar and sticking to the Ketogenic diet, I’ve done each of the following every day for 7 days:

  • Keto Diet vlog entry
  • Blog post
  • Meditate
  • Write a thank you card to somebody
  • Exercise

Previously, I’ve tried to turn these into daily habits. I tried to start all 5 things at once, but it was too daunting so I gave up.

Starting small is the key.

Find a way to get some small wins under your belt. Commit to one small thing. Show yourself that you can be disciplined on a small level first, then you’ll naturally start adding other things you care about and it won’t even seem like a big deal.


Discipline is freedom.