After watching my weight creep and jump up over the years, I finally hit 217 lbs in July 2017. I had tried many forms of dieting and had brief experiments with multiple kinds of exercise, but nothing ever seemed to fit. A friend who had some success with Paleo/Whole 30 recommended I look into Ketogenic diets, and that day I decided, once again, to experiment with another lifestyle change.
I committed to Keto eating for one month, researched some information on how to get started and downloaded Ruled.me’s 30 Day Ketogenic Diet Plan. I felt ready to jump in, and on day 4 of my Keto lifestyle, it was like the lightbulb went on over my head! My body felt great, I felt like I had gained energy and enthusiasm back, and I knew I was on the right track.
A few weeks in, I began seeing a new doctor, and I was hesitant to talk about my switch to Keto. Luckily, the medical practice I now go-to is a Functional Medicine practice, and the doctors and staff there have all been wholly supportive of my Keto journey. In fact, within the first three weeks of my Keto lifestyle, my triglycerides dropped from a dangerous 475 to 67, well within the normal range, for the first time in my adult life. Within weeks, I had permanently resolved my insulin resistance that had plagued me for years.
In one year, I lost over 60 pounds and reversed all of the health issues related to insulin resistance and PCOS that had been a constant presence in my adult life.
After one year of focusing on diet alone, I decided I needed to focus on strength building to further build up my health and personal resiliency. I began training at a locally owned barbell gym in small group strength classes, which progressed after 6 months to an interest in Olympic Lifting! At 34 years old, I picked up the first sport I’ve ever participated in, and at 11 months into my training, I competed for the first time.
I’ve been a Ketogenic athlete in the world of fitness that favors carbs as a primary energy source, so the nutrition discussions (and good-natured joking) at my gym are always entertaining! Through my whole experience, I’ve stuck with what I know is right for me and my body, and I am now committed to finding and creating happiness for myself every day.
There’s no shortcut or overnight solution to achieving the life you want, but I’m a big believer in love your life, or change it! I chose to change mine and I’m so thankful every day that I am making healthy positive decisions for myself now, and long into the future.
1. What tactics did you employ to help you get to your goal? What did you find helped you get to your goals best?
I researched a lot about Ketogenic Diets and used many online resources such as Ruled.me for recipes and tips on creating a well-formulated Ketogenic diet that would fit my lifestyle. I also tracked my food intake carefully for the first year of my Keto diet, which I found helped me tremendously. I transitioned to a looser style of eating without tracking after my first year and I found that my year of monitoring things helped me to know what works for me and what doesn’t.
One of the other tactics I used to help me get to my goals was resetting/revisiting my diet and goals every 10 lbs or so that I lost. I found that reviewing what I was doing and keeping things fresh by trying out new recipes was super helpful. I also was flexible with myself, I looked at the diet as a lifestyle change and felt it important to be forgiving to myself when I messed up a bit (which absolutely happens to everyone-you can’t beat yourself up!)
2. What is the most impactful change you’ve made to your diet and why do you feel it’s been the most important?
I think a lot more now about the quality of my food. I pay attention to what I’m fueling my body with more on the Ketogenic diet than I ever did before! Overall, I really think that the Ketogenic diet is one that doesn’t require huge changes — there are options almost everywhere, and that’s really one of the best things about it. I think the biggest thing is finding ways to Keto-fy foods, there’s a huge range of ways to substitute and swap out things so that you don’t ‘miss out’ on high-carb or high-sugar things.
3. What is the best single piece of advice you can give to someone that is just starting out?
Take it one step at a time, there’s a lot to learn in the Keto world and it can feel overwhelming when first starting out. Be flexible and forgiving with yourself, everyone has a different take on things and you have to find the way to Keto that works for you and for your lifestyle. It is a very adaptable lifestyle change, and you can absolutely do it!
4. How do you feel your life is now that you’re at your goal?
My life has never been better! Hitting a goal taught me not only that I’m more capable and stronger than I ever thought possible, but that I really get enjoyment from setting personal goals and working towards them. Losing weight actually had very little to do with it but taking control over my life and my health spread to all other areas of my life, I feel empowered and that I’m the one in charge of my own happiness, every day.
5. What do you consider the biggest change in your day-to-day life?
I feel a sense of control over my life and that I’m taking charge of my choices. It has had a huge impact on me, not only in my diet but in my personal and professional life as well.
6. What did you do to find support throughout your journey?
There are amazing communities of support online in the Ketogenic community. I found that Instagram in particular has a wonderful community of Keto folks and that’s where I turn for recipe inspiration, as well as great inspirational stories of success. I am lucky that my family, friends, colleagues, and health community have been very supportive of my journey.
I have been working with an amazing Functional Medicine doctor throughout my journey, and her support combined with rigorous and regular lab testing has proven to me over and over again that the Ketogenic lifestyle is the correct choice for my health and long-term success.
7. What do you currently do to manage your day-to-day diet?
I eat according to what I learned during my first year of Keto when I tracked my food meticulously. I eat intuitively now, so I’ll go through phases of really liking or preferring certain foods, and try to incorporate them into a lot of recipes (mushrooms, avocado, and zucchini are on the top of my list at the moment!)
I find that prepping my food on the weekend in larger batches works best for me, since I work full time, volunteer, and have a hectic schedule of personal and professional commitments. Since I am an Olympic weightlifter, I train 4-6 times a week at my gym with traditional barbell lifting and accessory work, so on my training days I try to consume most of my food before going to the gym so that I have ample energy.
8. What is your favorite keto recipe from www.ruled.me that’s become a staple?
I LOVE the Chicken Enchilada Soup so much so that I make it over and over again all year round, but especially in the winter! It freezes very well and is something I absolutely never get tired of! I’ve sent so many people the recipe over the years.
9. If there is one thing that you could do differently during your journey, what would it be and why?
I only wish I had started my journey earlier in my life. I had Insulin Resistance, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, dangerously high triglycerides, skin problems, and a host of other problems and issues from my late teenage years into my early thirties (when I finally found success with Keto). The Ketogenic lifestyle has drastically changed my life for the better, and I wish I could have found the same benefits as a younger person without having to endure years of struggles and challenges.