To get things rolling I would like to tell you a little about my Keto journey. You see, I have been overweight for pretty much my whole life. I don’t really remember any stigma associated with it in my formative years. As a matter of fact, I remember that one of the greatest praises I got from my dad when I was a kid was that I was a good eater and never wasted anything on the plate. However, I do remember my parents always being on some sort of diet and a subtle love/hate relationship with food that we had in the house. I distinctly remember the taste of the “candy” that I used to sneak from my mom’s purse – which I found out later was Ayds – an appetite suppressant that I’m sure my mom used to give her an edge in her search of weight loss.
In my junior high years, I was probably in the best shape of my life as my brother turned me on to tennis. I began to play religiously through the summer and eventually earned second place in a small community tournament. But when the opportunity came to play on the high school team I realized that the discipline that it would take to get in competitive shape was not for me, so I dropped out and kept my focus on academics.
My first job in high school was McDonalds. That was the beginning of my carb addiction. Back then, you could have unlimited drinks and a free meal for each shift. I loved a Big Mac, fries, and a Coke on my breaks. After graduation I moved to the breakfast shift. Now it was pancakes and sausage every day. After 5 years at the Golden Arches, I began my thirty-three-year career in retail. Now I do realize that there are retail employees who are healthy and in good shape, but for me, after working 10 hour days most days, any running I did was through a drive through to get dinner.
Over the years I would have periods where I would “get determined” to get healthy and lose the excess weight I was carrying, especially as my knees began to hurt more, and I found myself struggling to get through my open to close shifts. Like many of you I tried lots of different diet philosophies and bought the latest books and exercise videos: Eat less/Move more; Meal Replacement Drinks, Protein Shakes, Richard Simmons (ok, so probably not a whole lot of you tried that!). Then there was The Carbohydrate Addict Diet, and Atkins. I did have the most success on Atkins and the Carbohydrate Addicts Diet which gave me a clue that reducing carbs was the answer. What I didn’t know was how to enjoy that way of eating to the point that I could continue for more than a few months at a time. I was clueless as to how I could sustain any weight loss I did achieve, so for many years it was 5-10 pounds down, 10-15 pounds back up. Net result was that my weight continued to creep up to my heaviest of 235 pounds in 2016. I was 53 and miserable.
In the Spring of 2017 my long career with a great company ended when they closed their doors. I was determined to view this change as a good thing and an opportunity to spend some time on my health. I was motivated to lose weight primarily to prepare for a multi-day backpacking trip on the Colorado Trail. As I did research on how to lower carbs in my diet, I kept coming across this term Keto but I didn’t really understand what it meant. “Coincidentally” a lady I sought out to talk with about her trail experience mentioned that she had lost a bunch of weight and had come off of her diabetic meds by following a ketogenic diet. I sensed that it was something that I needed to look into and I spent the next few weeks binge watching Keto and Colorado Trail videos on YouTube.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and my trip on the trail was complete. I now had time between posting resumes to begin my Keto diet in earnest. Research and recipes became my passion. I look back and laugh at how little I knew – another testimony to the fact that you don’t have to buy anything but food to do Keto! I just focused on lowering the carbs and eating fat to satiety. I no longer worried about calories, but just ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full. And while I ate, I watched YouTube videos – hours of them! KetoConnect was my favorite, they gave me the tools I needed to understand the basics and their recipes were easy to prepare and very satisfying Dr. Berg was my go-to on all things health related and his simple explanations helped me understand the science of what was happening in my body. There were so many others and I hope to introduce you to all my favorites!
Like many who begin this Keto journey, I lost the first 15 pounds very quickly. Then gradually it tapered down to 5-10 pounds each month. Now that I only have about twenty more pounds to lose, I see around a 2-3-pound weight loss each month; sometimes more, sometimes less. Overall, I have lost 50 pounds eating a Ketogenic diet and another 20 before Keto that I would also attribute to a low carb way of eating. My energy level throughout the day is high and I no longer suffer from the fatigue and hypoglycemia that used to plague me. My inflammation markers continue to improve which in turn reduces the aches and pains that can sometimes affect those of us with Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto Thyroiditis. My focus these days is on continuing to adapt Keto to help me achieve my health goals. Yes, losing those last few inches of excess fat is important to me, but the highest priority is supporting my body as it heals from the damage I have inflicted on it through the last fifty years of eating the Standard American Diet (SAD).
The change this Ketogenic way of eating has brought to my life is truly amazing to me. So much deeper than the weight loss. It has brought a fundamental change in my relationship with food. By leveraging the proper fat/protein/carb ratios, I have been freed from my addiction to sugar and junk food. My mind is clear as I give it the healthy fat it craves and my quality of life continues to improve as I have the energy to pursue my passions.
So, that’s my story. I am inviting you to start a Keto journey of your own. My heart is that this site will give you the tools to get started and then to provide resources that will help you make Keto your own. If there is one thing I have learned over the past year or so – everyone on a health journey is different. You have different needs and different health challenges. There is a general framework to Keto that probably needs to be the “trailhead” for everyone. After that, Keto can be adapted to support your specific challenges where you will find the path that is most enjoyable for you.
Check it out. Start the journey!
Here are some pictures of my journey…some are really hard to see now, but I share them as an encouragement to you of the effectiveness of a ketogenic lifestyle.
Love this and proud to be your friend. Thanks for the encouragement and your example!