About me: my name is Michelle. I’m 30 years old and have struggled with my weight my entire life. Growing up heavy was really hard on me. I was constantly picked on in school for my weight starting at an early age, which had a huge impact on my self esteem. By the time I was in middle school, I had to wear women’s clothing and was miserable. I quickly fell into a cycle of eating my sorrows for being picked on, as well as stress eating for comfort when I faced any difficult situation. I will never forget being in 6th grade, and a boy I had a crush on passed me a note in class. I remember shaking with excitement opening up the folded piece of paper – a cute boy wanted to pass ME a note! I unfolded it and my eyes focused in on a crude drawing of me in comparison of a semi truck. I was drawn twice as big as the truck and was holding a sign that said “wide load.” I turned red in embarrassment and began to cry as the boy sat next to me laughed hysterically. I don’t think there was ever a time I felt more humiliated and embarrassed of who I was. Naturally, I went home that day and ate for comfort – a cycle that continued on through high school.
Despite being overweight, I played every sport in high school – I was on the soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, and swim teams. Had it not been for my constant activity, I certainly would have been much larger. By the time I reached my senior year, I was so fed up with being picked on that I started starving myself. I skipped, breakfast, lunch, didn’t snack, and only ate dinner because my family always ate together every night, no matter what. I quickly lost 70 pounds, and though excited to be “skinny,” I was still always miserable because I had no energy from starving myself and was hungry all the time. I graduated and went off to college and started eating whatever I wanted again, had stopped exercising completely, and quickly fell into my old habits of comfort/stress eating as I dealt with being away from home for the first time. By my third year of college, my eating habits had become so poor, that not only did I gain back the 70 pounds I had lost, but I kept gaining and was at the heaviest I had ever been in my life.
The next decade of my life went by and I continued to gain weight. I met my husband in that 3rd year of college and despite being at my heaviest and feeling extremely uncomfortable in my own skin, he asked me out on a date and always loved me for who I was. Although that was one of the most amazing feelings in the world – it also led me to feel complacent in my eating habits because he always told me that my being overweight was not a concern to him – he would love me no matter what. So time passed on, I kept up my unhealthy habits, and by the time we got married 2 years ago, I had reached a new all time high in my weight – I had officially surpassed the 300lb mark. I was in denial about how large I had gotten, but when our wedding pictures came back from the photographer, I was in shock of how big I had actually gotten. I was absolutely disgusted with myself and began avoiding going out with friends and family – I became so subconscious about my weight, that I constantly thought everyone in the room was picking on me when I would be out in public.
I wanted to change, but didn’t know where to start.
For the past 2 years since our marriage, I would yo-yo diet on and off, never really making any progress. I would constantly gain back what I had lost and then gain an additional 5-10 pounds on top of that. Wanting to lose weight and change became a constant conversation I had with myself, my husband, and my friends. I continued trying different diets, and was repeatedly unsuccessful, only lasting on them for a week or so at time and giving up…. that is, until about 4 months ago.
Everyday, I was unhappy with myself andwouldn’t even look at myself in the mirror when I got ready for work in the morning. I wanted to make a permanent change, but didn’t know where to start. Then one day my husband and I ran into a friend who we hadn’t seen in a while and were shocked to see him 60 pounds lighter. He told us he had lost all the weight on the keto diet and through exercise. He went on to tell us all of the health benefits he was experiencing and how he had never felt so good in his life. He had found something that made him rethink the way he ate and took care of his body.
My husband and I were both intrigued. We went home that night and began googling keto. That’s where ruled.me comes in! The site was constantly the top hit in everything I searched for about the diet. After a few days of browsing through the site and reading up on how ketosis worked, we knew we wanted to make a change together. We spent almost an entire month preparing – we bought Craig’s beginner 4 week plan, ordered all of our special ingredients, and read up on what to expect in our new journey. The day after our second wedding anniversary, we began our weight loss journey together and we haven’t looked back.
After a few days of experiencing the keto flu, we remained strong. We had spent our time reading up on this on ruled.me and prepared ourselves for serious withdrawal and fought the urge to grab a slice of pizza to put us out of our perceived misery. On the 4th day of the diet, I woke up realizing I had slept through the entire night without waking up once. Throughout my life, being overweight, each year, I slept less and less, and had more disturbed sleep cycles. Leading up to the diet, I was lucky if I was sleeping 3-4 hours per night. I was constantly tired and barely had the energy to complete daily tasks. When I woke up on that 4th day, I had so much energy, I didn’t know what to do with myself! For the first time in my life, I felt fabulous and knew that I never wanted to go back to the old me.
I quickly began an exercise routine and found myself no longer daydreaming about food all day. I was always full and satisfied thanks to the awesome recipes in the ruled cookbook. Each and every day, my body felt greater, and I was so psyched about taking care of myself. Nearly 4 months have passed and I have lost 50 pounds, 10 inches off my bust, 12 inches off my waist, and 9 inches off my hips and my husband has lost 40 pounds! I certainly couldn’t have made such progress on my own. It’s because of the detailed information I found at ruled.me and the cookbook that helped me along each day, that I learned how to have structure in my life when it came to my eating habits and putting natural, healthy foods in my body became a priority. The snacks page on the site is my new best friend! When hanging out with friends at home, going out to movies, or attending a party, recipes like the low carb pepperoni pizza, the bacon and roasted garlic spinach dip, and the flax crackers, keep us on track and truly satiated in situations where before the diet, we would have been pigging out on high carb, fried foods.
I’ve had so many firsts since I began my diet – such as the first time I turned down a donut at work that was offered to me shortly after I started the diet. In every other diet I had tried, I never turned down sweets when they were offered to me. I remember the day that donut was placed in my face, and for the first time in my life, I had no desire for sweets and I turned a piece of food down for the first time ever.
The lifestyle change that ruled.me helped me make, also led to successful firsts in exercising. Throughout my life, I’ve always despised exercising. I never had the energy to make it through more than about 20 minutes of walking. I am now into a steady routine of exercising for an hour each day, 5-6 times per week and actually look forward to each workout. I mix it up with running on the treadmill, attending an aqua aerobics course, and participating in Cize (a beachbody workout).
I have finally formed good habits, a sensational feeling as all my previous habits had always been unhealthy. I frequently find myself looking at the success stories on ruled.me and following others keto successes on Instagram and reddit. These stories are my daily motivation to continue to make a happier, healthier me. Some mornings, I wake up and cannot believe the progress I have made – I am a completely new person! I cannot wait to see how I progress in the coming months. I want to be an inspiration for others as those have been for me as I’ve followed their keto success stories.
What is your favorite recipe from Ruled.me?
I have a lot of favorites for different reasons! The low carb pepperoni pizza has been a lifesaver for my husband and I when we have guests over for entertaining, where we would be tempted to stray from our diet! We love the crust to this recipe and it’s just as good as regular pizza! I’m also a huge fan of the Thai style peanut chicken from the 30 day ketogenic plan. Peanut chicken was one of my favorite take out meals and I was really missing it when we started keto, so I was psyched when I saw that I would get to make it in week 4 of the plan. This recipe is soooo amazing and I thank you for it – you rock! I love this peanut chicken WAY more than any takeout I’ve ever had, and it really helps satisfy my cravings!
I know, I need to just pick one recipe though – so when thinking about my busy schedule and the amount of time I have to cook, money/economical cooking, and my favorite non-keto food, I would have to say my favorite recipe from ruled.me is the buffalo chicken strips/ chicken strip slider combo. The food I had the most problems with before keto, was deep fried buffalo chicken tender sandwiches and wings. I was eating them all the time and to excess! So, when I saw there were buffalo chicken tenders on the 30 day plan, like with the peanut chicken, I was so psyched I could still have one of my favorite meals and my god, your tenders blow restaurant ones out of the water. I love how crispy these come out without frying and the almond flour breading is great cause it has so much flavor. The first time I made these – both my husband I were smacking our lips and letting out huge mmmmmm’s the through the entire meal and they were even better the next day when we had the sliders with the almond buns! These buns are my favorite go to bread replacement on keto – they have a lot of flavor and really satisfy my bread cravings! Sooooo good! This is also a go to recipe for me because it’s very filling and has a lot of leftovers! My husband and I both work 2 jobs each and get to spend very little time together at home, so quick, fulfilling meals with lots of leftovers are really important to us do that we can spend time together!
What is your favorite ingredient to use when making ketogenic recipes?
Definitely coconut flour! I love that I can use this for both savory and sweet recipes! I don’t think I’ve run into anything I haven’t liked with coconut flour and it really helps curb my desire for bread – I would be lying if I didn’t say I missed eat bread!
What is/was your motivation to keep on track?
My longevity and future child are my motivation. Both sides of my family have high cholesterol and blood pressure, and I have sadly lost many relatives to heart attacks at very young ages. With the way I was eating and my lack of exercise, my weight and blood pressure were climbing with every doctors appt I went to, so I knew I had to get it under control. My biggest motivation though has been planning with my husband for our future child. This past year, we were ready to start trying to have children and were having a lot of trouble. My dr. stressed to me the importance of losing weight and eating healthy to not only help increase my chances of getting pregnant, but doing so to help maintain a healthy pregnancy and baby. I have now lost over 50 pounds on keto and have my first appt with my obygyn today since I’ve started the plan and am excited for him to see my results in both weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure loss.
Did you ever encounter a stall? If so, how did you get over it?
I ran into my first stall about a month and a half ago – I was on track with eating and was increasing my exercise routines, but found that my weight loss had slowed down, which was a bit discouraging as I watched my husband continue losing! I saw a lot of people on the keto reddits talking about doing egg fasts, so I found a 5 day plan for one and tried it out! It helped tremendously and got my metabolism going again.
How did you hear about keto, and why did you start?
My husband had a friend who started keto.. We saw him a couple months into his plan and were shocked with how much weight he had lost. He talked to us about keto and all the positive changes he had had in his health since he started. His story was very inspiring and gave us that boost we needed to start thinking about our own health. We immediately went home that night and started reading up on the ketogenic diet. Ruled.me consistently kept popping up in all of our searches. We bought your 30 day plan and spent a couple of weeks researching the diet and making sure we understood it instead of just diving in. We loved all the success stories we came across and were especially inspired about how it has so drastically improved many peoples medical conditions!
In what aspects have your life changed since going keto?
I have SO much more energy, which just impacts your overall life so much! Before keto, I had mild sleep apnea, and was lucky if I slept 3-4 hours per night. I snored terribly and never felt rested. I constantly woke up coughing and choking for air in the middle of the night. I believe it was on my 4th day into keto, that one afternoon, I suddenly had thus HUGE burst of energy out of nowhere, and it hasn’t gone away since then. That day, I felt like I was supercharged and could accomplish anything. That night I went to bed, and for the first time in years, I woke up the next day feeling very well rested and realized I had slept through the whole night without waking once! Getting restful sleep and gaining energy has changed my life so much. I feel myself actually craving exercise, have a much more positive attitude and find myself smiling so much more, and have motivation to do so many things that I was just too lazy to do before I started the diet. I have seen the same changes in my husbands mood and it has just been so great for us with having the energy and positive attitudes with the busy schedules we have!
What piece of advice would you offer to people that are just starting out on keto?
Stay strong! The keto flu is real and it sucks those first few days, which is why it is really important that you educate yourself before you get started so that you know to expect! My advice is to push yourself more than you ever have to make it through those first few days because once you do, there’s no going back! Keto helps you make a lifestyle change, not just partake in a fad diet like so many people do! If you stick with it, you are going to find that you’re always full, satisfied, and will feel the best, physically, than you ever had in your whole life!
What did you personally do in your first 2 weeks of keto? (i.e. Drink broth, go for a walk, throw food out, etc.)
My first 2 weeks I threw out food, reorganized my kitchen with all my new keto products, and made a cooking schedule. I would spend my day off cooking most of our meals for the week, which was key to me those first few weeks of the diet because my food was packaged and ready for me when I headed out the door for a 12 hour work day. I also bought some liter bottles, filled them up with water, and placed them in the fridge, so that I made sure I was drinking plenty of water everyday! Lastly, I slowly worked in an exercise routine my first couple of weeks, instead of just throwing myself into trying to work out everyday. As I gained more energy everyday with my diet changes, working out became easier and more fun to do!
Thank you again for the awesome contest, Craig, but an even bigger thank you to you for the amazing work that you do. You are changing people’s lives everyday and are an incredible resource to all of us!