Happy Wednesday fellow readers! Today is a momentous day for me and I wanted to share my story of progress, change, and failure over the last year of my life. Why now? Simply put today is exactly one year since I decided to embark on my Keto Journey.
Disclaimer….this is my journey. This is what has worked, what has not worked, what challenged me, and what guided me. Please keep in mind that everyone’s journey is their own and there is no such thing as right or wrong. Also, none of the information herein is intended to be any form of medical or psychological advice, it is simply my opinion and experiences in writing. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions, I am always glad to have a conversation about anything with anyone.
To fully understand the impacts of my Keto journey I need to back up a few months. In September 2017 I was spiraling out of control not only with my weight gain but more importantly with my depression and anxiety. After I was given incorrect information from my doctors nurse I landed myself in an emergency room suffering from extreme withdrawal symptoms due to a sudden change in medication that was doctor authorized. I decided that day that it was time to shop around for a doctor and find one that had my best interest in heart and not just a prescription pad. Someone that truly listened to what I was telling them and wanted to help me.
In October 2017 I found my current health care provider, Dr. Jacqueline Gentry, and my life and health has moved mountains since that day. She has an amazing approach at medical care and is very open minded in how she treats her patients. She actually listens to everything I tell her and spends the time with me that she feels we need together. I was at my heaviest weight I have ever been of 266 pounds, and was on 6 prescription medications of which 1/2 were related to digestion disorders. At the age of 35 I had already had two upper scopes, a radioactive digestion study, my gallbladder removed, and a colonoscopy. I can’t even tell you the amount of medication I was put through to find a “combination” that worked for me. I had settled for the fact that this would be my life and I would always be on medication in order to eat without pain. I felt the same sort of impending doom on any hope of ever beating my depression or anxiety. Medication after medication failed for me and when we finally found one that worked the dose was so high that it can cause major problems when discontinuing use. In conjunction with these problems I was also suffering from anywhere from 4-6 migraines a month. On top of this I was (and still struggle with) a closet binge eater.
At the age of 35 all I wanted to do was stay in my bed and sleep or stare at the wall. I didn’t want to do anything and I didn’t think there was a way to get better or get the help I needed. If I wasn’t sleeping I was eating and I was eating all the wrong things most of them in secret. I am so glad now to say that I was wrong. Before finding Keto my new doctor recommended I try something called a flexitarian diet. So I did I gave it my all and it was very hard for me to follow. I was preparing multiple meals to ensure everyone in my house had food, and at the same time I was feeling deprived because I could see the food they were enjoying and I wasn’t allowed to have. After three months of that I lost ten pounds but then I stopped. It was like my body just didn’t want to lose the weight anymore. Chances are my body did want to lose more but was I loading it with carbs and sugar and was still hiding the fact that I was binge eating things every time I could get alone time. So her next step to me was a recommendation to read up on fasting as it was coming out in a lot of current research that it was useful in weight loss. So I purchased The Complete Guide To Fasting by Jason Fung, MD with Jimmy Moore. I solely credit this book for turning my life around. I was reading for the point of learning how to fast and how it could help and they kept mentioning how well a ketogenic diet worked in conjunction with intermittent fasting. In typical fashion as soon as I finished this book I decided I needed to know what Keto was and how one did it, and if I myself could yet again follow another diet.
On May 29, 2018 after a couple months of research and youtube videos from a wonderful lady by the name of Ashley Salvatori. I decided I would at least give Keto a go for a month and see if I had any results. I knew wanting to do it wasn’t enough for me though. I needed a strong support system to help me through. Ashley offered tons of videos and web information and also hosts a private FB group that I joined. Hearing others experiences and input became vital for me, I started to build up a group of people and groups that were doing what I wanted to do. I wanted to see their successes and their struggles. I knew one sure way for me not to give up was to get my husband, Tanner, to go on the journey with me. After a few weeks of explaining and throwing in the word bacon a lot he said he would give it a try too. So we started together and he became a bigger rock for me than I ever have been for him. He held me accountable and even managed to keep my binge eating in check because we were sharing food logs and doing everything together. I became his teacher and as the teacher I couldn’t let my student down.
The first 7 days of keto for me were the worst 7 days I have ever experienced. You hear of the keto flu, this was ten times worst than the keto flu. This was true withdrawal from an awful chemical called sugar! Let me tell you sugar addiction is real and stopping it cold turkey is no joke. I had a migraine for four days straight, I felt light headed, my temperature was all over the place, and I was probably the most crankiest person ever. I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t want to sleep, I physically hurt! I wanted to cave by day three but my husband wouldn’t let me. I hated him for that, but now I am grateful for him making me stick with it. After about 7 days I finally started to feel better and I noticed past the pain that I was starting to get energy and my mental status was changing. For the first time in months I actually didn’t want to stay in bed. I actually have moments today where I have so much energy that I go stir crazy because I don’t want to sit down and just relax.
One week after starting my keto journey I went from 263.2 pounds down to 252.0 pounds. A loss of 11.2 pounds! I was through the roof excited, and that was my first mistake! I formed an obsession with wanting to be on that scale every single day and if the number didn’t move I became depressed and I would have to fight to stick with it. No weight loss in a day would make me want to quit and dive into a barrel of ice cream. Also, 11 pounds is awesome what you don’t realize that those 11 pounds came off so quickly because it was inflammation and water weight loss not fat loss. It was my body adapting to it’s new lifestyle even before I realized it was. Thanks to Tanner I kept though and he encouraged me to stop touching the scale. I didn’t listen! I did eventually slow down with the scale. I went from weighing daily, to weekly and then monthly. So I currently weigh once a month and I don’t let it impact like I use to. It is just a number and nothing more. By the end of June I was down to 249.2 pounds a monthly loss of 14 pounds. So I chose to continue on beyond the thirty days I had promised myself with nothing but weight loss in my sites. It was like I had blinders on and all that mattered was weight.
Each day I continued on I found keto easier and easier to follow and I found myself no longer craving things I normally would have. I did make a conscious effort to avoid any place that would tempt me. I wanted to succeed so bad for the first time in a long time. Still I focused so much on the weight loss I wasn’t seeing the big picture in front of me. Three months in and I was down to 229.4 pounds a total loss of 33.8 pounds. That meant in three months I averaged a loss of 11 pounds a month. At the same time pounds were dropping inches were dropping as well. In three months a total of 46 inches taken off my body. In three months this was the first time I could look at pictures or in the mirror and see that my body was changing. When I started to notice that change I also started to notice there were other things happening that I wasn’t paying attention to. Things far more important than any amount of weight loss.
I have said this numerous times and I still say it today, but Keto is NOT a weight loss diet. In the beginning I thought that was what it was, but I was so completely wrong. It took me three months to start to see that and understand it has benefits way outside of weight loss that mean so much more. I started to realize I wasn’t in pain when I ate anymore. I have had a combination of acid reflux, IBS, and gastroparesis since I was 16. I have always struggled with food and digestion and for the first time I had zero symptoms. So my doctor allowed me to start reducing my digestion meds. Six month into my keto journey I no longer was on any of those medications and was feeling better gut health and benefits than I ever was. Six months in and my migraines were also down to 1-2 migraines a month and was officially released from neurologist for continued monitoring under my primary care with medication only as needed. I also started to see how much better my mood and mental disposition was and we started the process to gradually step me down on my anxiety medication. In addition to this my urge to binge was lessening. All these positives in my health, plus the benefit of weight loss added in, in my head it felt like a miracle in the making.
I even managed to make it through my first keto Thanksgiving and Christmas without cheating and de-railing my progress. I found keto friendly recipes and made those in place of the usual junk and treats that I would have usually prepared. Let me assure you though those six months were the hardest six months to stay on track and keep moving forward. There were days when I truly screwed up and ate way outside of my required macros. Then I would beat myself up for days until I reminded myself I am human. I am going to make mistakes what matters is if I keep going or if I just give up. I never gave up I just reset the next day and kept going. There were days when I had a rough day at worked and I missed the fact that I couldn’t just order a pizza for dinner. Meal prepping was frustrating to me and so complicated with my busy schedule, yet I found a way to make it work and I learned how to start simplifying things. I learned it really is okay to eat the same thing more than one day and meal prepping doesn’t have to be complicated. I started to find my groove and started to realize this was easier than anything I have ever tried to accomplish when it came to my diet.
Six months in an I met a major milestone for me, 50.2 pounds loss! I never imagined this journey would bring me to this amount of loss. Eight months in and I finally found “onederland”. What is “onederland” you ask? I finally dropped below 200 pounds and was now at 197.4 pounds, a total loss of 65.8 pounds since my journey started. At this point I also had been able to reduce my anxiety meds by 75 mgs. That may not seem like much but it was a big deal for me. It symbolized to me that there is hope that I may get off all of my medication at some point. At this point in my journey I also saw two more significant changes: 1.) Sleep 2.) Heart Rate. I went from sleeping and average of 3-4 hours a night to 7-8 hours a night. I actually sleep all night and feel rested in the morning. I wake up before my alarm clock most mornings. My resting heart rate has dropped 88-89 beats per minute down to 77-79 beats per minute. That means I am saving my heart 11-13 beats per minute or 5,781,600-6,832,800 beats per year, that is amazing!
Nine months into this journey and I chose to even cut my keto lifestyle a little more and try a more keto-carnivore path. Keto-carnivore is the majority of your diet coming from animal products but you allow a limited amount of keto friendly items. For me those items are mostly dill pickles and some occasional keto friendly sweeteners. I wanted to see what my body would do in the absence of carbs. Would I lose even more weight, would I feel even better, what if any benefit would I see? I did a lot of research and one thing I didn’t like the idea of was that I could actually gain weight by increasing my protein until my body healed and could utilize it properly. So did I gain? Not at first I actually lost a pound. So while I did lose it was a much slower pace than with just keto. Then in turn I ended up dropping down to 192.2 pounds. So was the switch worth it and am I strict with it? Yes the switch was worth it because for the first time in my entire life I have been migraine free for 2 months! And while that stupid scale has slowed down I still continue to lose inches and notice changes in my body composition. I also have noticed changes in my skin and hair quality. I have less outbreaks on my skin. I also have way less cravings and I don’t find myself being controlled by food as often anymore. There are days when I still struggle with wanting to binge, the difference now is the binge would be with something like steak and not a little debbie cake. I am 85% more conscious of what and why I am eating what I am and that makes a huge difference. I now know what triggers me to want to binge and I am learning what to do to deal with that in a positive way that is not food associated.
Welcome to one year! Today is the day I choose to celebrate my life and my health and how far I have came. Today is not the end but the start of a whole new focus and list of goals. Today is the first day of forever. Forever shall my lifestyle be keto/keto-carnivore driven. This all started as a weight loss attempt and has turned into one of the single most life changing event I have ever experienced and been through. I find inspiration and new changes daily in my life. I see what a year has done for me I can’t even begin to imagine what two, three, four or five years will be like. I can’t even begin to list all the awesome people I have met since I have started this journey. They have all had some sort of influence on me and have gave me so much great information, a few even inspired me to start this blog and share my story with others. A few that I have found the most influential are as follows or have been mentioned previously: Dr.Ken Berry, Neisha Sallas-Berry, R.N., Dr. Ryan Lowery, Josh Perry, Logan Delgado a.k.a. Goody Beats, and Keto Coach Lauren.
So here you have the final results of my year of keto:
Starting Weight – 263.2 Current Weight – 194.8 Total Weight Lost – 68.4
Starting Total Inches – 489.5 Current Inches – 385.25 Total Inches Lost – 104.25
Previous Prescription Meds – 6 Current Prescription Meds – 1
Previous Migraines – 3/4 month Current Migraines – 0 (2 months and counting)
Previous Sleep Pattern – 3/4 hours a night Current Sleep Pattern – 7/8 hours a night
Previous Resting Heart Rate – 88/89 BMP Current Resting Heart Rate – 77/79 BMP
I am proud of how far I have came in my journey and I am looking forward to see what the future brings. As always I am an open book and want to share with all of you all the good and the bad. I want to be able to answer your questions and offer you guidance just as others in the keto community have gave me guidance. Just remember it is your journey you own it and you can make it to your goals. Take it a day at a time and never give up… and until next time…Keep Ketoing On!