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My noise-canceling Bose headphones flicker in and out because the AAA battery I put in two weeks ago is on its last legs. It’s a crackle; an annoying crackle. I simply want to sit at my desk and grind out some mid-morning work with the sweet sounds of Stan Getz, but the piercing fuzz from my dying headphones is refusing to allow me to do so. With the flick of a thumb, I turn off the noise-canceling ability of the headphones and sit with just the music playing. No longer in silence, but with the conversations of those around me infiltrating my eardrums.
The game the night before, what everyone’s doing for lunch that day, the weather. These are normal topics of conversation that most coworkers have in an effort to avoid the drone of an office, but as of late there has been an uptick in one certain topic that seems to have no end. Fucking ketosis.
Up until about a year ago, I had never heard the word. Had someone put a gun to my head and forced me to define it, I would’ve thought it was a disease one contracts that deteriorates their body from the inside out. Apparently it’s the opposite and it’s actually good for you — “a metabolic state characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in the body tissues, which is typically pathological in conditions such as diabetes, or may be the consequence of a diet that is very low in carbohydrates” — whatever the fuck that means.
I’m told you burn fat or something because of the lack of carbs. I don’t know, I don’t care. All I know is that I seem to be the only person I know who isn’t constantly going in and out of ketosis.
It all begins with someone explaining that “they’re trying this new keto diet.” Days later, they get a look in their eye — the keto look. It’s a cocky squint that says, “Yeah, I’m not sure but I think I’m in ketosis. No biggie but I’m about to tell you all about it.” That look soon becomes a badge of honor when you pitch grabbing a beer and they damn near interrupt you to just say, “I CAN’T, I’m in KETOSIS” before throwing their arms out to the entire world like Marcus Aurelius asking for more.
Apparently those in ketosis get a metallic taste in their mouths, and obviously they’ll be the first to tell you about it. With a subtle point to their mouth and a smirk, they’ll explain that “they’re starting to taste it.” They smack their lips together and move their tongue around as if you know what the fuck they’re talking about, not realizing in the slightest that you’re convinced that it’s just the placebo effect kicking in.
But no, ketosis banter isn’t simply limited to the office. At a restaurant? “Do you have any KETO-friendly options? Can I get this burger lettuce-wrapped, because I’m in KETOSIS.” At a bar? “Don’t mind me, I’ll just be drinking VODKA-WATERS because I’m in FUCKING KETOSIS. Yeah, I can drink Merlot because it’s KETO-friendly, but honestly, I’m probably not going to drink that much because I’m IN KETOSIS and don’t want to get OUT OF KETOSIS.”
The only redemption you get from keto getting shoved down your throat is when they derail. Maybe it’s a wedding they attend where the plated dinner is breadcrumb-crusted fish. Maybe they went on a bachelor party and were forced to drink beer. Or maybe they just couldn’t stand limiting their body to meat and vegetables so they broke down in the comfort of their apartment. With their head down, they try to avoid making eye contact. They know what they’ve done, and they’re not mad at themselves, they’re just disappointed.
“I broke,” they whisper while slumped over at their desks. “I’m no longer in… ketosis.” You can just tell how much even saying the word when they’re not in ketosis kills them a little bit inside. They can feel the blubber beginning to form around their waistline; a new chin forming underneath their previously chiseled chin. “How could I do this to myself?” they wonder. “I was doing so well.”
But as Semisonic taught us, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. It’s at that moment that they get back onboard and spend the next three days just hammering their bodies with zoodles and lean protein. Three days and one huge grocery store run later, they re-enter the office with the confidence of a college kid on adderall.
“Guess what — I’m in… ketosis.” .