Jacqueline Barrett Lost 62 lbs

Success Stories > Health & Fitness

I wanted to share my story with keto, and using Ruled.Me as a resource. I’ve found Ruled.Me to be invaluable! It’s one of my go to’s for recipes because they’re always solid. I don’t have to worry that I’ll get a questionable result. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking and wasn’t sure which end was up when transitioning to a ketogenic diet.  There were so many unfamiliar ingredients and I found it overwhelming. I’ve watched hours, and hours, of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country.  Just to give you a frame of reference for my cooking obsession, I own just about every cook book they’ve published. I love cooking as much as I love eating. While searching for a keto friendly dessert I found your website.  I ended up making the strawberry shortcake– which was delicious!   It’s been a favorite ever since.

My weight has always been an issue for me.  When I was a young kid I turned to food for comfort after my dad passed away when I was 9. I thinned out in high school because I played sports, and walked to get anywhere. After high school ended the weight came on. It wasn’t an avalanche, but 5 lbs here and there which greatly increased after I met my husband. Talk about fat and happy!

Shortly after our wedding I was up to 284 lbs. I had joined Weight Watchers about 14 times leading up to my highest weight and couldn’t understand why I’d lose 3-4 lbs at first, and then gain weight. I chose carbs instead of fat/protein and was always hungry.  Previously I was diagnosed at 16 with PCOS and didn’t understand what that meant for my body and how it processed carbs.  This is probably how I packed on over 100 pounds between 18 and 30. Every time I’d go to the doctor she’d want to check my thyroid.  Clearly something must be wrong to keep gaining all of this weight! Nope, the thing that was wrong was my carb heavy diet that was wreaking havoc on my endocrine system. Yet, no doctor ever talked to me about what I was eating. They just suggested reducing my calories.

I tried South Beach in 2012 and lost about 30 lbs but I couldn’t sustain it. I was so hungry. Low carb, and low fat, just wasn’t working for me.  The recipes sucked. I may never eat shrimp in soup again. I gained back everything I had lost. In the meantime, I was dealing with infertility and the emotional toll of that caused me to eat crap and gain more weight. My husband and I decided to lose weight together in September of 2014.  At first with we tried a reduced calorie diet and exercise. He had a lot of success but I gained and lost the same 8 lbs for 2 months and was so frustrated.

I decided that I would try keto before considering weight loss surgery. I looked at keto for almost a year but even though I spent a lot of time researching I was still hesitant. Keto was my last ditch effort, the idea of it honestly scared me. I had the mantra of “fat is bad” so ingrained in my thought process that I thought surely I’d drop dead from a heart attack one week into it. Needless to say that did not happen!

Jacqueline Barrett

I started keto at 264 lbs and am happy to say that this morning I weighed in at 202! Ruled.Me has been an amazing resource.  I use it to calculate my macros so that I’m sure to keep moving in the right direction. I have a fridge covered in recipes I’ve printed out from the website of my go to’s- Almond Flour and Flax Meal Pancakes (my favorite low carb pancakes!), the Beanless Chili con Carne which I enjoy with the Bacon Cheddar and Chive mugcake...just to name a few. I like having recipes that are easy, versatile, and consistently good to help keep me on track. I’m pretty sure I’ve entered creepy stalker status since I follow the website, Pinterest, and Instagram!

I’ve also signed up for Keto Delivered and was really excited to get my first box in the mail, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. It’s nice getting a monthly prize full of things I can actually eat! I also love that it included a recipe card, and a follow up email with additional recipes/ideas for the items. It’s great getting mail that isn’t a bill, or junk.

Thank you for maintaining Ruled.Me and being so active in the keto community!

What is your favorite recipe from Ruled.me?
My favorite recipe from Ruled.me is the Low Carb Strawberry Shortcake.  It was one of the very first recipes I tried when I was just starting keto and I was amazed at the taste and texture. I have always loved baking and assumed that I was going to have to give baking up. I hadn’t attempted any low carb baking before trying this recipe because I was overwhelmed by the idea of types of sweeteners and alternative flours. It was definitely a game changer.

I realized that following a ketogenic diet was really going to be sustainable. Cake isn’t an every day food on any diet, but I remember being so happy that I was able to enjoy a treat that fit into my macros that really tasted like something I wanted to eat.

What is your favorite ingredient to use when making ketogenic recipes?
Surprisingly I was not a sour cream/mayo/cream cheese fan before starting a ketogenic diet. I was leery of most recipes because a lot of them seemed to have the same three ingredients that cause me to make the same face as a 3 year old who doesn’t like vegetables. I’ve learned through the power of seasonings that these three items are your friends on this diet- and they really help boost fat content while adding a lot of great flavor.

What is/was your motivation to keep on track?
When I started keto last November I had been having a lot of trouble with an ankle injury. My husband and I started walking a few miles a day in September when we started our lifestyle change and it wreaked havoc on an old injury. I remember sitting at the dining room table one night thinking about how I just couldn’t go through another ankle surgery being 100 lbs overweight. That was a huge deciding factor in starting keto.

I ended up having to have a double tendon repair just this past July and truly credit a quicker recovery and increased mobility to losing weight before the surgery. Healing a foot/ankle is a lot easier when you’re not stressing out your joints with extra weight. My incision also healed a lot quicker this time than the surgery I had for a similar injury in 2009. Aside from health for me, vanity plays a part too. I feel so much better about my appearance and find that I want to take the time to look my best when I’m going somewhere. I really think that once you feel better on the inside it shows on the outside.

Did you ever encounter a stall? If so, how did you get over it?
Learning and accepting the fact that weight loss isn’t linear was a huge help. Our bodies do weird things, sometimes we overdo it on food. Life happens and sometimes the scale stops moving, or starts moving in a direction you’re not happy about. The best thing I’ve done for myself is stop weighing myself every day. It just wasn’t helpful for me- I found that I let it take a lot of happiness from my life. Even if I stall I try to focus on how much better I feel overall- and thankfully that’s enough to keep me going.

Not having a timeline, or a hard “I need to be at X weight by X date” makes it easier.  The time is going to pass either way. You might as well enjoy your life and your diet and keep making the best decisions for yourself.

How did you hear about keto, and why did you start?
My husband told me about keto a few years ago because of some posts he saw on reddit. I looked into it out of curiosity. I thought it seemed insane and that clearly you’d gain back everything you lost the second you stopped eating low carb.  If you didn’t drop dead from a heart attack from eating all of that bacon. I continued on a low fat/calorie counting diet of misery off and on while researching keto for myself. My weight got higher, I became severely insulin resistant, and was taking 1000mg of Glucophage nightly. I felt like total garbage and didn’t even recognize myself in pictures anymore.

This was when I started to read books, blogs, medical journals, and forums to research this for myself.  I felt like I really just wanted to know the science behind it, and why it works.  After I started to think it was a safe dietary change I was still afraid of trying it for myself. I’m not sure what I was scared of. I think I was mostly afraid of being successful. One night I just stopped thinking about trying it and did it. I remember the first meal I cooked. I tried chicken breast wrapped in bacon with cheddar and jalapeno peppers with a side of spinach.

In what aspects have your life changed since going keto?
So many aspects of my life have changed! I feel more like “me.” I have a much more positive outlook on life. Physically I look better, but the biggest boost has been mentally.  I feel like I lost who I was in all of the years of overeating and dieting. I let so much of my happiness depend on a size, or a number, on the scale. My constant disappointment with myself was exhausting. Keto has really helped me to treat food as fuel. Sometimes delicious fuel, but not every meal for me has to be the best thing I’ve ever had. Sometimes it just has to do the job and be quick.

I’ve also started to enjoy exercise. When my ankle actually works I enjoy bike riding and walking.  I’ve also paid more attention to online support systems- in particular Instagram. Instagram has connected me with a community of low carb/keto’ers that are surprisingly friendly. I made a keto specific account that I follow other keto accounts on and the feedback has been great. It’s awesome seeing what people are cooking, their successes and struggles, and if they find any delicious looking treats.

What piece of advice would you offer to people that are just starting out on keto?
STOP FREAKING OUT! No, seriously. Calm down. The world is not going to end if you eat 24g of carbs instead of the ideal 20g. You will not gain 400 lbs. You will not explode. Calm down. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You are making a big lifestyle change. You are probably eating in a way that you never have before. You’re going to have questions.  Can I eat these sugar free cough drops? What exactly is almond flour? I accidentally ate 40g of carbs because math is hard what do I do now?

You will be fine because you are a smart person who is handling your stuff. You are going to make mistakes, sometimes you are going to make a poor decision and sometimes even on purpose. It’s all going to be alright. Make life easy for yourself by keeping a fridge and pantry full of things you can eat, and ingredients you can prepare your own food with. Learn to try new things. You are going to see recipes for things you’re not sure where you’d even find them. Try them anyway. You really can do this. Really.

What did you personally do in your first 2 weeks of keto? (i.e. Drink broth, go for a walk, throw food out, etc.)
I cleaned out the cabinets and fridge completely.  I gave every last bit of carbs to my marathon running sister. She left my house with 2 giant Ikea bags full of food. From there I went grocery shopping and stocked up on staple items I found from food lists online- specifically yours! I picked out a few recipes to make for the week ahead so I could be prepared, and I also made sure that I kept my electrolytes up and to tracked my food intake on LoseIt.

I tried to be easy on myself while transitioning into ketosis. Some days I ate more calories than were recommended, but it kept me from going off the rails on carbs. After I adjusted my hunger really changed. I went from a person who was demanding to be fed every hour or two to someone who someone who genuinely isn’t hungry very often. I felt like I was pretty focused on food for the first two weeks- I was nervous about making a mistake. In retrospect this was silly and one day you’ll look back at how far you’ve come and think about all of the goofy things you worried about and realize that you just have to keep moving forward. You always have another chance to make a better decision.