Diet & Nutrition

Eating With Joy, How Watching Marie Kondo Convinced Me To Quit Keto

13 days ago, inspired by Summer’s amazing transformation, I started on the keto diet. 9 days later, after watching Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, I quit keto for good and couldn’t be happier. Now I am eating with joy and I want to show you how I did it. Confused? Let me explain.

Who Is Marie Kondo

If you haven’t watched Tidying Up With Marie Kondo or you’re not familiar with her philosophy let me give you a quick primer. Marie Kondo is a tidying expert who helps people declutter their lives. Her method involves going through your belongings by category and discarding anything that doesn’t give you joy. There is more to it but that should give you enough to understand what I want to say.

What a tidying consultant has to do with quitting keto

When I started keto it was because I have been carrying around 10 pounds that I just haven’t been able to get rid of. I have also been needing to break my terrible Dr. Pepper addiction. Our new gym opens in early February and I wanted to be ready. Keto seemed like the perfect solution.

By the 9th day, everything was going along pretty well on keto. I had survived (with Summer’s help) some seriously monster sugar cravings. The 24 hours of keto flu hell on day 4 was over. I was even doing fine without drinking Dr. Pepper. All in all, I was feeling pretty happy with myself but I wasn’t happy with my diet.

I have never believed in short term diets just for the sake of losing weight. It isn’t just that they don’t work. I disagree with the way that kind of thinking changes your relationship with food. If anyone knows me they know how much I love food. I don’t eat hardly any “junk” food but I LOVE eating good food. Keto was just too restrictive for me to be happy with it long-term.

I kind of knew that about myself but I was more concerned with my short term goal and hadn’t really thought it through. This was probably also because while I’m at home my meals are mostly keto friendly since Summer has to be able to eat too.

By day 9 the carb cravings were mostly gone. I could walk past the big table of candy and snacks at work without any problem. I could drink tea or water instead of Dr. Pepper without feeling bad. My body was feeling good and I think I might have been sleeping better. Though that could have been because of the nasal dilators I’ve been wearing.

Still, I wasn’t happy with how I was eating and instead of craving candy and soda I had a new, stronger craving. Fruits and vegetables. I have always eaten a lot of fruits and vegetables and that day I wanted nothing more in life. I was still committed to sticking with the diet though until I started watching Netflix with Summer.

That weekend Summer was binge-watching Marie Kondo which is not at all my kind of show. Still, I watched a bit, and some of the things she was saying struck me. Her philosophy of discarding the things you do not need and keeping only what gives you joy made sense when I applied them to my life in general.

After thinking about it for a while I talked it over with Summer. We agreed that keto was not for me but with some changes we could figure out a diet that would be perfect for the long term. None of my goals needed to change, just the way I had chosen to achieve them. So just like that, I quit keto.

Marie Kondo’s Six Basic Rules of Tidying Eating

When brainstorming what a perfect diet would be for me we referred to Marie Kondos methodology. She has 6 basic rules of tidying that with some tweaks also work very well for anything else in life. Bear with me here as I try to make this make sense.

1. Commit Yourself To Tidying Up Eating Well

In order for any meaningful change to take place, it is important to understand why you want it and then really commit to it. A lot of times you will hear people saying “find your why” and that is what this step is all about for me.

The reason I wanted to be on keto was to lose weight. I had weight to lose because my diet has been unhealthy. I had been focusing on resolving the symptom instead of the cause. Now I am committed to being more mindful of what I eat.

2. Imagine Your Ideal Lifestyle Diet

Summer and I talked for a while about what my ideal diet would look like. As I said before, I love good food but I don’t each much “junk” food. The foods that bring me joy are all pretty healthy already so it wouldn’t be much of a change to switch to my ideal diet. A low carb, high fat, high protein diet with fruit and green leafy vegetables feels perfect for me.

Since this is an ideal diet and not a crash diet I am accepting that there will be times when I eat foods that are less healthy. I am working on building a mindset that this is ok when it brings me joy. The important thing I need to remember is to be mindful of everything I eat.

3. Finish Discarding First

A big part of her method is to discard everything you don’t need before you begin tidying up. This way you are not splitting up your effort and making more work for yourself. When looking at her method as it relates to my diet this makes perfect sense. I have a couple of bad eating habits (drinking Dr. Pepper and snacking at my desk while working) that I need to discard before I can really start tidying my diet.

I had already gone through the worst part of cutting out Dr. Pepper while I was on keto and I haven’t had much trouble staying away since. I have replaced it with an extra cup of coffee after lunch and a LOT more water and tea. I don’t know why but I can drink half a gallon of tea in a couple of hours.

The other bad habit has been a bit harder to change. Luckily I just did some research on changing bad habits so I was able to find an acceptable replacement behavior. Now instead of grabbing candy off the table, I keep mints at my desk to suck on. This has the double benefit of satisfying my urge to snack and making my breath smell better. That’s a win for everyone.

4. Tidy By Category, Not By Location

In the KonMari method instead of tidying room by room, you tackle a category of items (clothes, books, etc) at once. For me, I interpreted this as reinforcement that my ideal diet would be a whole life diet. A lot of people on diets have cheat days where they reward themselves for good behavior.

I don’t see how I eat as being on a diet and there is no good or bad behavior. There is only eating mindfully and caring about what I put into my body. Some days will be better than others but that is ok because my diet doesn’t change based on the day or my location.

Another take away from this point is to focus on a single aspect of your overall diet instead of making big sweeping changes all at once. As I wrote about in my post on changing bad habits it is easier to make small incremental changes than big ones. In addition you will be more likely to stick with the changes this way.

5. Follow The Right Order

Marie’s method provides these 6 steps and following them in order is important. That is just as true when thinking about your perfect diet as it is when tidying your entire home. I think that looking at the 6 steps and reading how they resonated with me it is obvious how right that is. If you feel like following these 6 steps for anything in your life I think that this is critical for success.

6. Ask Yourself If It Sparks Joy

Finally, we reach the last step and it is the one step that everyone associates with Marie. Even though this process can be difficult it is ultimately about finding joy. That joy can be found in items around your home or it can be found in allowing yourself to eat an apple.

This was the step that made me know that I was making the right decision for myself. I know I’ve said it before but I really love eating good food. It is one of the things that bring me joy in my life. All I had to do was discard the things in my diet that I never use and keep the ones that bring me joy. Now I have a healthy diet that I am very happy to be on.

Some Great Books On Joyful Eating

How Am I Doing Now?

It has only been a few days but I feel wonderful. My diet hasn’t changed much except for some apples and grapes but I am much happier. I still have more energy than I had before the keto diet. I’m working on being mindful of everything I eat and that has made eating a better experience. I’m even happy to announce that I am still slowly losing weight. It isn’t as fast as keto but that’s fine.

I Recommend This Exercise

No matter what your diet is now I strongly recommend that everyone goes through this exercise. It only takes a few moments to stop and really think about how your diet makes you feel. You may or may not want to make changes and either way is perfectly fine. Summer has been on keto for a while now and she went through it and felt like keto was still the right answer for her.

Remember that the point is less about finding the perfect diet and more about finding the joy in healthy eating.

**Update – Summer here! I just wanted to take a moment and provide some insight into how this process worked for me. First of all, I completely supported Bill’s decision to leave keto and move on to something that worked better for him. Something that is fundamental to my belief about nutrition is that it should be about what works best for you as an individual.

I don’t mean what works to keep you thin or help you lose weight the fastest, I mean what nourishes your body, mind, and spirit so you can be the best version of yourself.

That is why I chose to continue keto, I love how I feel now, the energy I have, the fact that my chronic pain has decreased so much, that I can play with my son. It truly brings me joy and it has little to do with weight loss, although that was a nice bonus.

I also did not approach keto as Bill did. He was doing it as a short-term solution to lose 10 pounds. For me, it was a lifestyle change that I intend to continue forever. I have health conditions that he does not that require a different way of eating. While he can enjoy the sweet sugar-laden fruit without metabolic consequences, I don’t have that luxury.

I think keto is wonderful for some people, especially those of us women who have PCOS, people with Type 2 diabetes, or anyone with metabolic syndrome but I definitely am not one to push it onto everyone. Bill is absolutely right. You need to find joy and balance.

Did You Try and Quit Keto? Why?

The keto diet is very popular so I know a lot of people who have tried keto and had a lot of success. After writing this I got to thinking about all the people who tried and then quit keto. Most of the stories you hear are the so called “success” stories but I think there is a different kind of success in learning more about yourself and finding joy in a mindful diet. If this is you I would be very interested in hearing your story in the comments below.

Also, just on a personal note. We try and provide healthy options for special holidays such as a keto-friendly Thanksgiving. I provided a joyful St. Patrick’s Day menu that was much more about the memories from my childhood than the health benefits. :)Please enjoy it and may it spark joy!

Thanks For Reading

Thank you so much, I know this was a little long so I really appreciate that you took the time to read it. If this post has helped you I would really appreciate it if you could take the time to comment and/or share. Have a wonderful day!

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Marie Kondo was my inspiration to quit keto and start eating with joy. Healthy and nutritious foods can be a part of a variety of diet types. Keto works for many people, it was not the right solution for me.

I am the technical person behind I write a little bit but most of my work is behind the scenes. I am working to get back in shape and reclaim some of the agility and strength I've lost to age and injury.


  • Baby Boomer Super Saver

    This post resonates with me because I strive to eat healthy, real food. However, many of the diets I’ve read about (and even tried) leave out important healthy foods that I love. It’s easy for me to give up bread & pasta, but sweet potatoes, beans, and fruit? Not easy to give up. And why should I? They are healthy foods!

    Being mindful of what we put into our bodies, and mindful while eating increases health and enjoyment.

  • Loren

    Interesting, I hadn’t thought about eating in relation to Marie Kondo. It makes sense, simple and easy to achieve.
    Thanks for sharing this concept.
    Loren |

  • Cyn

    This is such a unique post and I’m truly in awe how you took something that resonated with you and applied it to something else that was important to you! I really love this take on quitting keto and overall changing your diet!


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