How My Weight Loss Journey Began
I’ve struggled with my weight most of my life. At my heaviest, I weighed 212 lbs. in 2014. There are no photos from this time because I felt so huge and unattractive, I’d only take selfies. I NEVER took full body photos unless I was hiding behind an object like a pillow or person.
Because I avoided full body pictures like the plague, I honestly hadn’t realized just how much weight I had gained until we took our engagement photos in early 2016. My selfie game was so strong, I knew all the right angles, so I never realized just how big my face and body had actually grown.
When the photographer sent back the photos, I was astonished. My immediate response was, “Is that how I really look?!” Out of 40+ images, I only felt some-what confident sharing 9 on social media. I was so embarrassed. How could I have let myself go like this?
Hubby was also displeased with his appearance and began going to the gym to work the weight off. I HATED the gym but refused to let him get fine without me so I made the decision to go with him.
I used his willfulness as my motivation and our wedding photos as my incentive. So we did cardio 4-5 times a week and ate chicken and broccoli damn near every dinner for 8 months. After months of dedication and discipline, we dropped the weight and were down to the smallest we had ever been since before we met each other. I was so proud of my reflection in the mirror. With a balanced diet and active lifestyle, I looked and felt great.
Then Came Baby
During pregnancy, I was seriously afraid of gestational diabetes so I made sure to maintain a healthy, well balanced diet. Because of a previous miscarriage and some symptoms I experienced early in my first trimester, my doctor advised me to stop jogging and just walk for light exercise.
When we were admitted to the hospital for me to deliver our son, I had only gained 22 lbs. And by my 5 week check-up, I dropped 15 pounds, leaving 7 pounds for me to lose in order to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I was really proud of my body’s snapback.
Postpartum Weight Gain
So now I just needed to lose the extra 7 pounds…easy right? NOPE, not for me! I was so exhausted, breastfeeding every 2-3 hours around the clock during maternity leave. Then I started at a new job where I was trying to learn as much as possible, while pumping 3 times a day during the workday (once during my lunch break).
I was so busy trying to be a great wife to hubby, a great mom and food source for my baby. I was trying to be everything for everyone, except for me. I lost myself and let myself go entirely. The worst part was that I had no one to blame, it was all my fault. I was eating ALL the junk food as if I was one of those girls that can eat whatever they want and not gain weight. That’s never been me, I don’t know what I was thinking.
I Didn’t Have the Motivation for the Gym
Along the way, people tried to warn me about my weight gain. My mom even offered to pay for a full year gym membership for me. My husband and mom would both encourage me to return to the gym, but I just had zero desire to spend any time at the gym. I was away from my baby 9.5 hours a day during the workweek and I didn’t want to miss out on any more time.
Even on the weekends, the gym sounded more like a punishment than a getaway. Eventually I ate my way into gaining 20 pounds in addition to the remaining 7 pounds that I hadn’t lost from pregnancy.
Before, when we were working out for the wedding, I had all the time in the world to work out. I could go in the morning or evening. I literally had no excuse to skip my workouts. But now that I was a full time working mom it was incredibly more difficult to push myself to work out. I was so drained, waking up 3 to 5 times a night to breastfeed and even after I stopped breastfeeding, I just didn’t have the will.
And honestly, I didn’t think I’d ever go back down to a size that I was comfortable with.
I gave up hope.
It was getting bad. None of my clothes fit well on me including my “big girl” clothes. I was so unhappy with my body but wasn’t doing anything to make it better. I refused to buy new clothes, but only had a couple of leisure outfits that would actually fit. And my addiction to sweets made it seem impossible for me to ever truly eat healthily and lose weight.
A Real Life Transformation From Someone I Trusted
Then my friend who also struggled with her weight in the past few years, up and lost over 40 pounds in a matter of months! I couldn’t believe it! If I disliked working out, she downright despised it. So what tf was she doing to drop the weight???
The diet bandwagon that everyone was hopping on…Keto.
You know, you see people with their magical diets and you don’t really know if you can trust it. Like did they get surgery or do they have a faster metabolism? Is the diet so restricting that there’s no way I could actually do it? Well because the testimony came from someone I knew very well, I knew her transformation was legit. And if she could, I knew I could too!
Hubby was super supportive and did a ton of research on the Keto diet finding recipes and Keto substitutions for almost everything. I didn’t have to give up bacon, cheese, chocolate, ice cream…it was like a diet made just for me!
Keto Questions Answered
What is Keto?
In short, Keto is all about high fat, and very low net carb intake.
What are net carbs? To calculate net carbs, you’ll need to look at the nutritional facts and subtract fiber from the total carbohydrates.
Total Carbohydrates – Fiber = Net Carbs
For example, a snack may have 15g total carbs with 11g of fiber. Your total net carbs for this snack would be 4g.
And when I say very low carb, I mean 20 – 50 net carbs a day. I personally do my best to stay under 20 net carbs a day because the fewer carbs, the more you lose.
By limiting your carb intake, you’re forcing your body to burn fat for energy instead of carbs. This process is called, ketosis.
Another benefit to eating more fat and fewer carbs is that you stay full longer!
Typical Meals I Eat on Keto
- 3 Egg omelet with veggies and cheese
- Almond flour pancakes with eggs, and bacon or sausage
- Cesar salad (spinach instead of romaine because it’s more nutrient-dense) with bacon, avocado, and cucumbers (no croutons)
- Cheeseburger with avocado, bacon, and ranch (no bun) wrapped in romaine
- Chicken burger with cheese, wrapped in romaine
- Fajita and guacamole
- Lemon pepper chicken wings (from the air fryer or Wingstop) with broccoli
- Salmon (fatty fish) with riced cauliflower and asparagus
- Tacos with romaine wraps instead of tortilla
- Lasagna (my favorite keto-friendly lasagna recipe)
- Cauliflower pizza with pesto sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni
- Pesto pasta (zucchini noodles) with chicken, sun-dried tomatoes (just a few per serving), and mozzarella
What Can I Eat on Keto?
Meats, fats, and veggies mostly.
- Fats: Bacon, avocado, ranch, cheese, mayo
- Fruits: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries in small portions
- Wine: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay (in small amounts, like a glass or two occasionally )
What Can’t I Eat on Keto?
Sugar is the devil as far as keto is concerned so anything sugary, you can just forget about.
Here’s a list of common ingredients that I avoid:
- Most fruits
- Quinoa (yes, you read that right)
- Candy and desserts that use sugar and flour (I specify this because there are Keto-Friendly desserts)
- Most Cocktails (sorry, no more margarita Mondays )
Full disclosure, there’s a long list of things you can’t eat. To be safe, look at the nutritional facts before you eat or drink something that you aren’t sure about.
Do you need to exercise on Keto?
You don’t have to exercise in order to lose weight on the keto diet, I didn’t.
How long did it take to lose the weight?
The first week I lost 10 pounds. This sounds insane, but I swear it’s true. It was all water weight though.
After the water weight dropped I lost about 2-3 pounds a week. There were weeks where I didn’t lose any pounds at all. Although I suspect I was still losing inches even though the scale wasn’t reflecting weight loss in pounds. During the times I felt my weight wasn’t coming off fast enough or if I cheated and wanted to drop the extra pound or 2, I would intermittent fast.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Remember how I said on keto, you stay full longer? Well this is especially helpful when intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is fasting for at 16 hours and consuming your daily intake of food in 8 hours.
For example: Fast from 7pm to 11 am, then eat all your food from 11am to 7pm. For me, this is just a matter of me skipping breakfast which is pretty easy for me since I rarely have time to eat breakfast during the week.
Intermittent fasting isn’t required on keto, but it definitely helps to increase or speed up the weight loss.
Why it works for me?
Keto allows me to eat foods that I enjoy. There are so many keto-friendly alternatives to the food that I love (like chocolate) that I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself. And it really does keep you full longer so it’s easy to eat less.
How often do I cheat on my diet?
Very rarely! It takes a few days to get into Ketosis so I’m very reluctant to set myself back. In the six months I’ve been on Keto, I’ve cheated four or five times.
I know I’ve said this plenty of times, but it’s true…there are so many keto-friendly alternatives. You can find a keto replacement for almost anything. It’s one of the main reasons that I’ve been able to stay on the Keto diet for so long and cheat so rarely.
Here are some alternatives that I keep stocked in our home:
- Sugar > Swerve or Erythritol
- Syrup > Lakanto Maple Flavored Syrup with Monkfruit (taste just like regular syrup!)
- Chocolate > Lily’s Chocolate
- Ice Cream > Rebel Ice Cream
- Flour > Almond Flour
Please note, I find that these options are most affordable at HEB, but if you don’t live near one, they are available on Amazon and other stores (usually with a more expensive price tag).
And I replaced my Starbucks vanilla latte with a pike roast with heavy cream and a few pumps of sugar free vanilla syrup.
The symptoms I’ve experienced are headaches, hair loss, and increased cholesterol levels.
To help reduce my elevated cholesterol, I’ve cut back on my 3 egg omletes and bacon.
Currently downing Biotin every morning to try to thicken up my hair.
I have heard of other people getting what’s called the Keto flu, but I haven’t experienced it. You can read more about the Keto flu here.
Who is Keto not for?
If you have heart issues, or if you struggle with high cholesterol or high blood pressure, this is diet is probably not a good one for you.
I would not participate in any diet if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, your little bundle of joy needs the nutrients of a balanced diet.
I think it’s important to contact your doctor before beginning any diet.
Let me end by saying, everyone has their own comfort level when it comes to their weight. I specify my weight in certain sections of this post to help illustrate my weight at the time. The weight that I am uncomfortable with may be different from the next person. I do not participate in or condone weight shaming.
I am not a health professional and if you are considering a diet, it’s always a good idea to run it by your physician first.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions. I’m all ears .
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