My fiance and I met 7 years ago. We had both brought our childhood obesity into adulthood but had done work separately before we met to be healthier. We were pretty fitness focused and the smallest we ever were in our adult lives at the point when we met. We vowed to continue being healthy, but many years of good food, back injuries for each of us and pizza nights saw us tipping the scales at double our “normal” body weight. We got engaged at the heaviest we would ever be.
My fiance suffered some devastating losses during the course of our relationship that left him lost, emotionally, mentally, and physically. I wanted to do something to help us because all you had to do was look at us to tell we needed help. My fiance was extremely reluctant to try any type of diet.
Me being a chef, I would try to customize meals with more vegetables and “healthier carbs” for us, but nothing worked and we felt terrible. Fast forward to August 2017 when my two best friends started keto. They were on and off the keto wagon over the next few months, but I spent that time doing heavy research into what exactly it was. I used Ruled.me a lot, and it helped me to make a week-long keto plan.
I showed it to my fiance who brushed it off. In fact, he kept brushing it off for almost 2 months until one day I took our lives into my own hands.
I went to several stores to get as much keto prep food as I could, read up on keto flu and felt prepared. I cooked our first keto meals (Buffalo chicken, his favorite) and told him that after today, we are doing keto. No argument, no questions, and no turning back now. I was POSITIVE it would change our lives.
Fast forward 100+ days.
My fiance smiles like crazy now. He’s happy to wake up in the morning and dress up in all kinds of clothes. He has lost 50lbs in the past 6 months. He loves what he sees in the mirror, and is actually wanting to take pictures of us together again. He looks like he melted away, and moreover, so has the sadness and depression.
While the physical is great, the mental clarity, sharpness, and stamina are unbelievable. People who know Anthony and see him now can’t help but say “wow you’re a different person, what happened?!” He tells them all about how his fiance forced him to change his lifestyle, and how it was the best decision he’s ever made.
I have lost 70lbs in total and I feel amazing. I can’t believe that for the almost 20 years in my career, everything I believed about food and nutrition was backward. I will never stop living this lifestyle, and I will never stop preaching it’s benefits to anyone that will listen. I am so happy, we are so happy.
Thank you keto for giving us our lives back.
1. What tactics did you employ to help you get to your goal? What did you find helped you get to your goals best?
Katie: I found that doing A LOT of research first, before I asked questions of others on Keto was the best method. Because I am a chef by trade, it may have been easier for me than most to make and follow a dietary plan. But now, I plan, shop and put our meals together every day and almost perfectly hit our macros without trying.
Honestly, SNACKS (the delicious kind) and PREPARATION was what ultimately has kept us on track so well at this point. We stockpile things like Whisps, Lilys Chocolate Bars, Macadamia Nuts, Cashews, Bone Broth, and make sure we ALWAYS (super emphasis on this) are prepared wherever you go food wise. We pack our snacks and lunches the night before every day. I always force my fiance out of the house with at least 1 snack in his pocket, even if he is only leaving for a few hours. If we are going out to eat with family, I scan the menu, plan ahead what we’ll eat, and bring our own dressing/condiments.
If we’re going to family functions, we supplement what food we can eat. We consistently track macros, and that’s another really crucial thing. I don’t care if it’s two bites of something while I’m cooking, I make sure I track everything. My calories are not always perfect, sometimes I’m over or under, and that’s OK. It’s important to listen to my body, and sometimes, I just want that extra handful of berries, or piece of Lily’s Chocolate, or all the bacon, and all the cheese.
Anthony: Weighing myself every day to keep myself accountable, and to motivate my continued journey. Monitoring my meals and inputting everything into my fitness pal. It’s really easy to see where you’re going off track when you can look at the day at a glance. Having someone live with you and do it with you, for me it’s been a lifesaver. I find that having somebody else hold me accountable, and holding someone else accountable, has resulted in the greatest success for us both.
2. What is the most impactful change you’ve made to your diet and why do you feel it’s been the most important?
Katie: We have tried to get down to near zero sugar in our diets, and zero starch/carb (not from green veg) which is amazing for us. The only exception we really make is for condiments. I have scanned everywhere and tasted everything. I haven’t found anything as good and almost clean as Sir Kensington’s to use as a substitute. But we make sure we use pre-weighed packets, or carefully weigh what we use when we use it.
Also, snacks. Pre-packaged nuts and whisps and snacks to take is so crucial and I can’t believe we never did it so much before. Mindlessly reaching into a bag of chips, pretzels, anything is destructive. Stopping to grab ANYTHING because you’re starving right then is destructive. So glad we broke that.
We also really never had an idea of what kind of portions we were eating before. Even the noticeable lack of satiation when we used to pack ourselves full of carby/sugary things is astounding to me now. Because now, I can be ravenous and eat a serving of macadamia nuts and I am good to go for a little bit. I never would’ve thought that was possible before. Our bodies are truly amazing.
Also, for me, the most impactful change was that I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease about 4 years ago, and have had horrible issues with my digestion system as a result. Literally horrible pain, I can’t even describe. I would have to drink tons of probiotics and kombucha to try and subside the pain, it didn’t really work. Fast forward to me on keto, I rarely get flare ups now (maybe 2 a month as opposed to 3/4 a week). This is the most impactful change I have made on myself. My body loves me for it. I have a better sense of what triggers my flare-ups now and can monitor my diet to try and minimize the pain.
Anthony: For me, cutting out all the bad food. I find that cutting it all out has made a very significant impact for me. I used to be able to eat half a pizza or double orders of Chinese food with multiple sodas to wash them down in my younger years. I never fully understood what I was doing to my body in the process. Eating whole foods and cutting out all sugar and carbs has been the best thing I ever did.
3. What is the best single piece of advice you can give to someone that is just starting out?
Katie: Research, ask questions, read forums.
Make sure you are healthy enough to change your way of eating without serious medical complications. Understand that even though you change your way of eating you still need to be mindful and healthy about what you’re putting in your body. One can not live on bunless McDonalds alone (please don’t keto this way, you’re still just putting chemicals and crap into your body).
Try doing whole food keto, diversify your ingredients, find new nutrients to balance out your macros. Step out of your comfort zone, it will really change your life. Also, find friends who support your journey, not who encourage your slip-ups. I have friends that will go out of their way to make sure I have what I need to be comfortable at their house, no matter what I eat.
Anthony: Stick with it. Don’t get discouraged. When they say there is a +/- 4 lb variance, it’s very true. If you just stick with your goals you’ll meet them.
4. How do you feel your life is now that you’re at your goal?
Katie: I am certainly not at my goal yet, but my life has taken such a huge leap forward, I can say that I finally feel alive. Carb and sugar fog is a real thing. What I can say is that how I cook for myself, my family, and others is forever changed.
Anthony: I feel amazing. Although I have pretty much met my goal, I don’t have any desire to stop living this lifestyle. Again, I feel incredible.
5. What do you consider the biggest change in your day-to-day life?
Katie: I make every meal for my fiance and myself. Including packing snacks and making beverages. The constant upkeep of it all is pretty tiring. It’s definitely a departure from “oh you’re hungry, ok, I’m gonna throw together these boxes of mac and cheese or order pizza because I’m too tired to cook”. MEAL PREP IS EVERYTHING. I can’t tell you how easy it is to reach in the fridge and heat up poblano poppers, or keto zuppa toscana soup. Or throw together a Ceasar salad when you’re hungry but don’t want to cook. It’s a day or two of monotony cooking, but once everything’s ready in the fridge it makes life so much easier.
Anthony: You know, when people eat all this bad food around me, it doesn’t really interest me. I view food as fuel now, rather than flavor. I don’t eat large portions of things just because they are there, and available. I can eat 4oz of meat and enjoy it without having to eat a 12 oz steak and still be hungry. It’s amazing.
6. What did you do to find support throughout your journey?
Katie: My two best friends started keto just before I did (shout out to Kara and Frankie for also being true friends and inspiring us to go keto). I used them as resources, as well as read all the comments in the keto forums I joined to see what others were asking. A lot of the time I found that the questions I had, many others did too, and just by scanning or searching I could easily find the answers. Since we’ve been keto, I have absolutely used my fiance for support. We keep each other accountable, and if I’m too tired to cook one night, he’ll step up and make something easy for us. He’s also become the resident keto dessert master in our house.
Anthony: I am not going to lie, I wouldn’t be able to do this without my fiance. A lot of the time it’s very hard and you feel alone, especially in social situations or work environments. Food plays such a large part that when you can’t eat what everyone else is eating it makes an impression on you. I am so lucky to have a fiance who is on the same journey and has the same life goals as I do. I think having that one rock while you’re on your journey is going be a key factor in success. Don’t surround yourself with people who don’t care about you.
It is also a huge benefit for my fiance to be a professional chef because it allows me to have healthy choices that are exceptional in terms of flavor. I would rather eat my fiances’ cooking than eat out, ever (much to her dismay).
7. What do you currently do to manage your day-to-day diet?
Katie: We go based on how delicious an item I made was, what the carb content of it is, and then base our other meals around it. We’ve gotten to the point where we’re pretty good at figuring out what meals we need to eat to fill in our macros when we need it. For example, two of Anthony’s favorite meals are chicken broccoli poblano poppers and keto zuppa toscana. Both are delicious, but both are higher carb. So on weeks where we meal prep both of those items, we each choose one for lunch, and then have a salad with protein when we get home to balance out the macros. We also figure out what “cheats” we really want and try to make keto versions of them. Ruled.me has helped with that so much.
Anthony: Prepare your food ahead, and track everything you eat. Know what you’re allowed to have. Bring snacks everywhere, and always bring an electrolyte water.
8. What is your favorite keto recipe from www.ruled.me that’s become a staple?
Katie: Keto pigs in a blanket! Oh my goodness. I can’t tell you how hard the holidays were seeing those delicious treats and not being able to eat them. About 2 months ago, Anthony and I were discussing cheats, and I said that’s what I really wanted. He looked up the recipe on ruled.me and made them. We try to make them at least every week and a half now. I have a list of Ruled.me recipes that Anthony wants to try. I am also adding my own amazing recipes to our rotation.
Anthony: The keto pigs in a blanket. This is one of the only recipes I actually make for my fiance. She loves them, and I do too.
9. If there is one thing that you could do differently during your journey, what would it be and why?
Katie: We would have started sooner. My fiance fought me for months on end about changing to this way of eating. He threw every excuse in the book at me. Ultimately, he thanks me every single day for forcing him now.
Anthony: To be honest with you, there’s not really a whole bunch I would change. I am really pretty happy with how it’s gone. I would have started lifting weights a little sooner though. The weight loss flies and I didn’t start strength training sooner.