Hi there and welcome to my site.
Here’s my story on how I ended up finding and falling in love with a ketogenic lifestyle. Specifically that’s high fat, very low carb, and moderate protein.
I didn’t always eat this way. For years I followed the dogmatic low-fat advice. This led to years of yoyo dieting. I would lose 20 here, gain 30 back, lose 20 again, gain 30 back. Even with increasing my exercise, doing personal training 2x a week and conditioning classes 3 more times a week, I still kept gaining weight back. This was a typical pattern which led to a max weight of 213 (which at 5’3″ is not pleasant looking) at the end of 2012. I was really getting frustrated by following the standard advice of the “experts.” Why could I not stick with a lifestyle that kept my weight off? Anytime I lost weight it was usually temporary (3 months max) before I ended up higher than I was before I started.
In the first half of 2013, I changed my diet by avoiding most carbs but I still ate fruit and a very occasional subway sandwich and also things like pearled barley and quinoa but typically no processed carbs; and while I increased my fat I still feared saturated fat since I had been brainwashed to think that all my life. I went from 213 down to 180. In mid 2013 I went back to 190, and then by end of 2013 I was 170. Even though I took a slight detour that year, my overall progress was down by 43 pounds so I knew something was working right, although I still didn’t feel this was sustainable. I still felt hungry all the time.
In 2014, I got down to 162 by the end of March, but for the rest of the year I sat mostly around the 170’s. I spent the year losing and gaining the same 10 pounds. I was avoiding carbs “most of the time” but I’d still go on vacations and eat what I wanted because I worked out so much I felt like “I earned it.” By the end of the holiday season I was once again sitting at 190, which unfortunately for me was also my wedding. And I still feared saturated fat in large quantities.
In 2015, I did a Paleo-like diet for the first 3 months (so low carb but I had fruit and still things like quinoa), and I got down to 167 from 190. This is also when I started drinking bulletproof coffee and slowly started to accept saturated fats (since bulletproof coffee is, after all, almost 100% saturated fat). After March I switched back to “mostly low carb”, but limiting fats to my coffee. Still eating dry gross skinless boneless chicken breast and sustaining around 170. My food was not satiating but I accepted it “for my health.” But then comes my birthday and my delayed honeymoon, where I again went for a free-for-all with my diet since I was craving carbs. By the end of May I was about 188, again. Sigh. I was able to get back into the low 170’s a couple months later, but the rest of the year was just like 2014. I would gain and lose the same 10 pounds over and over, averaging around 173 for the last half of the year. And this is with increased exercise (CrossFit 6 times a week, up to 9 hours a week). Then right before Christmas, a stupid cat bites me on the foot which led to an infection causing me to be couch-ridden for a couple weeks. During this time, I was brought carbs and junk, and by the end of the year I was sitting at 191, AGAIN. >:0
In 2016, my life changed for the better. I had known for years now that low carb was better than low fat, but I still didn’t have my macros right. I was introduced to “Keto” by my husband who had used it for a few months a couple years ago to lose 40 pounds himself. At this point I was so frustrated with the last few years of yoyo (even though I thankfully had never gotten back up to my pre-lowcarb years weight of 213), that when he mentioned that we should do it I was like “why not.”
Keto, I learned, was similar to what I’ve been doing, except carbs are restricted a lot more (about 20g net [carbs-fiber]), and 75-80% of calories should come from fat, mostly saturated. Protein would be moderate. As any normal American who has been fed the lies of “Saturated fat is bad” my first reaction was “I’m going to clog my arteries so this has to be a temporary diet.” The first couple weeks I ate whatever I wanted within the Keto rules (keep macros in check and don’t eat any grains, sugar, or “low fat” food at all). I was happy to see I lost 13 pounds in a month, but more importantly (and this is KEY) I did NOT feel deprived because the food is so satiating and delicious. I actually stopped craving carbs. My energy was so improved… no more afternoon sleepiness. My memory seemed better. I was sleeping better. My skin cleared up. And despite what most athletic coaches will think, my strength and endurance actually improved. I even recovered faster from muscle soreness. What was going on? Why is it that eating all this “artery clogging fat” and limiting carbs to veggies made so much of a difference vs. previous attempts at low carb?
To ensure my health was not being compromised by the food I’ve been eating, I started reading. And reading. And reading. And reading! It became an obsession actually which I still do today. I was quick to find out that there is no such thing as artery clogging fat as that was based on a poorly executed study with manipulated results. I won’t get in to that here in my Bio though. As I started learning more and more I kept adjusting my keto food choices. I learned about how bad processed oils are for you like soybean oil and how they affect your Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio. I learned the importance of grass fed beef, or free range eggs. I learned about how fructose is processed in the body and not ideal for those with excess pounds. I learned about insulin resistance, and intermittent fasting. I learned that it’s okay not to force feed yourself in the morning if not hungry because there is nothing magical about breakfast time. I learned about how carbs and gluten can affect not only your waistline, but also your neurological health. There is so much information out there.
I joined a Keto group on Facebook to connect with other people like me who are discovering Keto or have been Keto for years. Post after post shows success stories of thousands of people who went Keto. Success stories even included those with improved insulin sensitivity, improvement of Type 2 diabetes and coronary disease, improvement of fertility, improvement of depression or ADHD, and even some success stories with keeping cancer at bay. I slowly start putting the pieces together of everything I’ve been reading and it all started to connect holistically. Eating this way, for me at least, makes sense. Carbs, even “healthy unprocessed complex carbs” had kept me fat and unhealthy long enough. Some may tolerate carbs, but not me.
Throughout 2016, I had dropped over 40 pounds of fat and I have kept my weight off and continued to lose fat (and retain/gain muscle!). I am now sitting around the 150’s border with visible muscle mass. This is the longest streak of not gaining any weight back. I did experiment with cyclical keto for about a month to see if it would affect me positively and give me more gains in the gym, but I quickly learned that was not for me so I went straight back to full keto. I can’t say that I’ve never cheated. I have (but rare). I am human. But it’s just not the same as when I would cheat in prior years. It was EASY to get back into Keto. I wanted to get back to feeling good. Food was delicious. I felt awesome. Life is good. For the first time in my 30 years on this planet, I felt I was in control of what I put into my mouth at all times, even during parties or vacation. I’ve broken my addiction to carbs and sugar and I owe that all to Keto.
Throughout 2017 my focus has been to continue to lose fat but gain and retain muscle. It’s a slow process as I approach my target physique, but my muscle mass is continuing the be more defined, and my clothes are fitting much differently. Each month I see a difference. I fit in a size 8 now (my goal is a size 6 so getting close!). I have more energy than ever, and I’ve podium’ed in several CrossFit competitions, including first place in June 2017.
Keto is sustainable, if done right. The hardest part is breaking the addiction to carbs. If I can do it, you can too! My childhood was filled with oreos, poptarts, cheeze-its, popcorn, frozen pizza, and just all-around junk. I grew up addicted to carbs. I would crave more and more quantities of it as I got older, which led to my high weight of 213 (see pics below). But now that is all a thing of the past. I don’t crave carbs. I have no desire to put that crap in my mouth ever again. I feel free.
My favorite books for more information are listed in the FAQs page on this site. I would encourage anyone interested in trying Keto to go off on their own and read first and really understand what Keto is before choosing it for yourself. If done wrong (mixing Keto food with Carbs), you can cause damage to your body. This is an “all in, or all out” lifestyle. From my experience, it’s pretty easy to stay all in 🙂
My current athletic stats:
This info is placed here to show athletes that you can in fact gain muscle and lose fat, and increase your PRs, all while eating lots of fat and moderate protein, and very low carb. Since going keto, all of my PRs have increased.
- Lean body mass: 115 pounds now vs. 102 pounds before keto (remember an increase in LEAN body mass means you are gaining muscle)
- Back Squat: 200 pounds now vs. 135 pounds before keto
- Deadlift: 245 pounds now vs. 205 before keto
- Front Squat: 155 pounds now vs. 110 before keto
- Clean: 140 pounds now vs. 105 before keto
- Snatch: 105 pounds now vs. 55 before keto
- Jerk: 135 pounds now vs. 100 before keto
- Push Press: 120 pounds now vs. 95 before keto
- Strict Press: 80 pounds now vs. 65 before keto
- 5th place (team) June 2016
- 3rd place August 2016
- 2nd place December 2016
- 1st place (team) June 2017
- 3rd place August 2017
Why I created this blog:
- To document my keto meals and help inspire my future plates. All food on my site is Keto friendly, low-carb, grain-free, and gluten-free.
- To inspire others looking to be ketogenic that food can be fun, satiating, and delicious
- To show that keto is not a deprivation lifestyle
- To show how recipes made by a non-trained home cook can turn out. There is nothing fancy about what I do. This blog shows an average home-cook trying out recipes and realistic pictures of how they turn out. All pictured food is from my own average kitchen.
Some of my favorite Keto Sites:
“Nature made sugar hard to get; Man made it easy.” -Dr. Robert Lustig
“Change is never led by consensus.”
“Personal transformation can and does have global effects. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one.” -Marianne Williamson
“If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice.”
“The idea that we an treat, and in some cases, totally eliminate, common neurological ailments through diet alone is empowering. Most people immediately turn to drugs when seeking a solution, oblivious to the cure that awaits them in a few lifestyle shifts that are highly practical and absolutely free.” – Dr. David Perlmutter, Grain Brain
Before starting any new diet and exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise and/or diet changes with them before beginning. I am not a doctor or registered dietitian. I do not claim to cure any cause, condition or disease. I do not provide medical aid or nutrition for the purpose of health or disease and claim to be a doctor or dietitian. This is merely an opinion blog.