You’re so freaking heavy you outweigh my Chevy!” were daily chants as I boarded the school bus. I’d become subject of the majority of the boys’ fat jokes.
“You have such a pretty face…you would be so beautiful if you just lost a few pounds,” was repeated by so many of my well meaning family members.
Three times per week I climbed on the scale in the nurse’s office at my elementary school. I listened to all the benefits I could have if I just started making better food choices. The words insulin resistant, pre-diabetic, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and obese, were heard at each doctor’s visit throughout my adult life. I had to take two blood pressure medications per day, as well as medications for high cholesterol, and depression. In my early 30’s I finally refused to step on the scale all while knowing that the size tag on my jeans continued to rise. Then I decided that since I had been heavy all my life I would start embracing plus-sized fashion.
I resigned myself to just being the way I was. I stopped caring and I stopped trying. When I wasn’t working on my computer I was either asleep or making yet another excuse as to why I couldn’t join my husband and children on some new adventure like going for a walk or taking a swim at the local pond.
I was also building my blog and posted recipes and did product reviews. It was fun and I found a way to share my love for food with my audience. One day, I received an email from a company asking me to review their digital scale. I loved doing product reviews but I made a mental note that I’d have to have my husband or my kids do the weighing and just observe from afar.
Around this same time I watched a promotional video on social media about a man using crutches who had found a way to start working out and quickly began dropping weight. For a moment I thought that maybe if he could do it then so could I. So, I ordered the workout DVD’s. I glanced at them when they arrived and then quietly placed them out of sight and out of mind.
I can clearly remember the day that review scale arrived. What can I say, curiosity had gotten the best of me. I carefully unpacked the scale, installed the batteries, and stepped on. It was March 29, 2014 and I was at the heaviest weight I had ever been. I was just over 300 pounds. Had the weight come off with the tears I cried I’d have lost it all that day.
I decided right then to pop in one of those DVD’s and reread the diet plan for that particular program. High on protein, low in fat, and mostly clean eating with a heavy focus on organic foods. While I quickly adopted the workout plan, I found the diet to be too restrictive and frankly much more expensive to maintain than my family could afford. A package of organic chicken spoiled overnight and I knew I needed something different. I decided to give the low carb “fad diet” a try.
The weight began to drop off. Each day I was getting more and more creative in the kitchen and refusing to cheat on myself with any slips of sugar. I was working out and my body was changing.
By January, 2015 I had entered the 100 pound club but still struggled to see the new me that everyone was starting to notice. The mirror reflected that depressed 300 pound woman while my jean tags told a different story. I was able to stop both high blood pressure medications as well as my antidepressants and cholesterol medications. I proudly stepped on the scale at any doctor’s appointment anxious for them to record my progress. And that little review scale in my bedroom received daily attention. To this day I weigh each morning and log the numbers as well as a record my exercise and any special occasions in the Notes app on my phone. I’ve recently hit the 150 pounds lost club and have seen my tags go from a 24/26 to a 7/8.
My friends are always asking for advice and lots of them have jumped on board with the low carb lifestyle. And yes, it is a lifestyle from which I will never return to my old ways! Everyone loves the photos of the meals that I make, and I certainly enjoy the food! I’m so grateful that so many bloggers like Craig over at Ruled.Me have taken the time to create and share their amazing recipes. My best bit of advice has always been to find ways to enjoy the foods you have always loved – love carb style. One of my absolute favorite examples of this is Ruled.me’s Sweet and Sour chicken over cauliflower rice.
I’m getting better at converting my old favorites to their healthier, and often tastier, low carb versions on my own. I don’t think I could have lasted through the past 18 months without the help of these low carb bloggers’ insights, recipes, and fantastic advice! I’ve got 10 pounds left until my goal weight now, and I still continue to struggle with seeing a true glimpse of me in the almost unrecognizable reflection that stares back at me. I’m smaller, but I’m healthier, and just last weekend I completed my first 5k!
What is your favorite recipe from Ruled.me?
As I mentioned in my initial entry, my favorite recipe from Ruled.me is the Low Carb Sweet & Sour Chicken. It has become a regular on my menu with a homemade cauli-fried rice. I’m also a big fan of your Bacon Cheddar Meatloaf and Bacon Wrapped Chicken Cordon Bleu (notice a little bacon love here?). I’ve also had great success with the Buffalo Chicken Jalapeno Popper Casserole for myself and my regular, high carb eaters as well. I love that while Ruled.me offers plenty of dessert recipes there is a huge focus on hearty comfort meals that I enjoyed before my keto lifestyle, but made over to be acceptable in my new lifestyle.
What is your favorite ingredient to use when making ketogenic recipes?
Oh, this is a tough question. I assume bacon is just a given, right? I have a variety of must have staples like almond and coconut flours, cream cheese, and erythitol. If I had to choose just one thing it would probably be pork rinds. Can I just say that pork rinds smell disgusting and their taste isn’t much better. But grind them up and you’ve got a filler for meatloaf, a crumb for breading, and so much more!
What is/was your motivation to keep on track?
I started this lifestyle for vanity – I wanted to look better, weigh less, etc. Then, the numbers started to drop – not just the numbers on the scale but my blood pressure, my cholesterol and I soon realized that I was making the conscious decision to improve my health each and every day. As I continued to see my weight go down, my energy soared and I began to truly feel good for the first time in my entire adult life. I was so unhealthy in so many ways before getting on board with a keto lifestyle, and I’m proud of how far I have come and how my family now sees a positive healthy role model.
Did you ever encounter a stall? If so, how did you get over it?
I’ve had a few small stalls where I would see the scale creep up a pound or two or stay stagnant for up to three or even four weeks. Whenever this has happened I take a good look at what I’m eating and start backtracking. I once found that my dairy consumption had crept up with my heavy whipping cream in that extra cup or two of coffee. I eliminated those and started seeing the numbers move again. Sometimes, it’s as simple as needing to increase my water consumption. I tried an egg fast once and lost three pounds in four days and immediately gained it all back – I’m not a fan!
How did you hear about keto, and why did you start?
I think an uncle had talked about how he lost some weight doing a low carb diet. When I finally decided to loose the weight I started with the meal pan that accompanied my workout program and it was far too expensive and restrictive for me to follow. I started researching alternatives and because I already had heard of Atkins, the low carb or keto lifestyle kept popping up and I knew it was worth a try. I lost 11 pounds in my first week and with every pound dropped it became easier and easier to continue on.
In what aspects have your life changed since going keto?
Of course, I’ve lost a ton of weight. I cut my body in half and went from a 24/26 to a 6/8 in clothes. But, that’s not all. I am much more active and overall, I’m a happier person. I no longer need to take medication for depression, blood pressure, or polycystic ovarian syndrome. My skin has even improved as I had previously always struggled with acne even as an adult. I hike and walk and just recently completed my first 5k with a 14 minute mile. I”m not fast but I’m really excited about it! I’ve also got a bit more confidence though I do still struggle some with self-esteem – especially when it comes to a positive body image and acceptance.
What piece of advice would you offer to people that are just starting out on keto?
Educate yourself! Read books, blogs, join support groups online and ask questions. No one knows all of the answers and it is so easy to get swept into false confidences. Like, who knew that onions were on the carby side? I sure didn’t! I also keep a log of my weight and activity each day and watch the overall trends. This helps to hold me accountable. Oh, and cheat days? No, no, no. Just, don’t. I promise those cravings go away when you’re body starts to understand what you’re doing. You can live without sugar and flour! One cheat day and the cravings can come right back. For me its just not worth it! You’ll find that you not only eat cleaner, but your cooking skills will continue to improve. You might even grow to really love time spent in the kitchen if you don’t already!
What did you personally do in your first two weeks of keto?
Besides crying? Yes, I cried. A lot. I gave up soda, sugar, ans pasta all at once and started working out and drinking water. I used to claim I was allergic to water and felt so grouchy. Soon I learned that I could put all of the negative energy into walking or working out. Planning, researching, and just jumping all in consumed those first two weeks. My tears quickly dried up! I also found it helpful to tell people what I was doing because I felt that they would hold me accountable. They would never dare tell me to not eat something, but knowing they might get disappointed in my choices was almost as bad as the thought of disappointing myself.