On February 11, 2019, I decided to completely change my life. I was tired of being morbidly obese and putting on a fake smile each day pretending everything was okay. I wanted more for myself but didn’t have the confidence or self worth that I would be able to ever lose the weight without weight loss surgery. I had tried every diet and “miracle” MLM product known to lose the weight. I yo-yo dieted for the past 13 years with no luck. Nothing worked! Nothing taught me how to eat right. But I gave myself one last chance to do this with a ketogenic way of eating plus intermittent fasting. I literally said to myself, “this is the last time I try or I’m getting a gastric sleeve.”
So I’m a frugal person by nature and the thought of more medical bills really was a turn off. Sadly, the fact that I was morbidly obese wasn’t as big as a turn off as the thought of more medical bills. Makes no sense but that’s how my crazy works. But I decided to do something completely out of my comfort zone – something so different from the way I operate. I made a plan! Yep, it was as simple as that. I’m a classic “type B” person. We live in chaos. We don’t make lists. We don’t pay attention or stress over minor details. We just roll with the flow. Making a meal plan, grocery list, scheduling everything was foreign to me and not the way I operate. But nothing else had worked before so why not give it a try?
My background wasn’t always obese. I was an athlete growing up and led an active life. In college, I stopped all those activities but didn’t change my eating habits to reflect my less active, new lifestyle. So the freshman 15 turned into 30, 40, etc. By the time I graduated college I had gained 50 pounds. I met my now husband around my senior year and as with most couples in love…. we ate out a lot on our dates. Exercise? What’s that?
We got married and my eating habits got worse. I was adulting so hard. I had a real job and started my career, husband, house to take care of, etc. I had little time for making my health a priority. My hectic schedule gave me the excuse to keep ordering food from fast food or take out from restaurants. I blew up to 298 pounds.
I felt horrible. I was huge. I stumbled on the Whole30 diet and it gave me the boost to start losing weight. I loved the diet so much that I turned the Whole30 into the Whole100. Then I switched over to low carb and 8 months later I got down to 218 pounds. With an 80 pound weight loss…. guess what happened next? Yep, I got pregnant. Two things to point out that I didn’t realize at the time… cutting out all the carbs and sugar allowed my irregular cycle to return and create a baby with my husband. My body thrived on eating so clean but it took planning … something this type B girl was not interested in.
I gained 60 pounds back while pregnant with my first and was around 270. She was an easy baby but I was now juggling life with a baby and still was not interested in planning. See a pattern here?
We wanted another baby so it was time to lose the weight again. Since I was so successful with the Whole30…. it was a natural transition to get healthy again. Since it took 7 years to conceive our first baby, we were not worried about preventing another baby from happening. Well, 30 days later it was our daughter’s first birthday. I noticed I hadn’t had a period in a while and I had lost about 20 pounds over the past month on the Whole30. We had stuff to buy for our daughter’s birthday party so I grabbed a pregnancy test while we were out shopping. The results were in…. baby #2 coming!! HOLY MOLY! We were absolutely shocked and completely not prepared for 2 kids under 2! I hadn’t even lost the weight yet from baby #1. My life was about to get even more chaotic. Looking back now, it’s obvious that cutting out carbs, processed foods and sugar does wonders for the body and it was another clue on how to crack the secret code on weight loss.
I didn’t gain any weight with baby #2 because I was sick the whole time. However, after she came I was able to eat again and juggling 2 babies under 2 was insanity. I was breastfeeding and sleep deprived so I was eating all the things too. Over the course of the next 4 years my weight blew back up even higher.
I found out I had a genetic heart defect after I had baby #2. I had been having symptoms for years but brushed it off as being fat. My father had been having a load of heart problems and during that time had a bunch of genetic testing done. He found he was positive for a gene that causes cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Since I was having heart issues (and there was a genetic link) I decided to get tested to see if I had it too, especially since I had kids. Unfortunately, I also tested positive for the LMNA gene, have leaky valves, aorta is backwards (super rare), and a bunch of other serious issues. You know what the worst part was? It didn’t scare me that I had the beginning stages of heart failure!
I have two cardiologists. One for the genetic side of my heart issues and one for the routine maintenance. The genetic cardiologist said to me I needed to do something about my weight and fast. I needed to at least lose 100 pounds over the next year or I need to get weight loss surgery if I can’t. There’s no cure for what I have as it’s an electrical issue. Weight has no impact on getting this since I was born with it. It won’t matter if I weigh 120 pounds or 400 pounds. However, he said I’m throwing fuel on the fire by being morbidly obese. It speeds up the process of heart failure. I would be getting a pacemaker soon if I didn’t do something about my weight. My regular cardiologist suggested the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting. I was intrigued and began my research.
It was now February 11, 2019 and my kids were now 3.5 and 5 years old. I could not keep up with them. I would wake up tired and feeling exhausted. I was short tempered and moody. I had nothing that fit in my closet, including bras and underwear. I was barely fitting into size 22 bottoms and 2/3XL tops. I didn’t want to leave my house and do stuff. I was drowning inside. I hated the person I saw looking back at me in the mirror. The feelings of disgust with myself caused me to just eat more food to feel better. It was a viscous cycle.
I took a deep look at my life. I had 2 beautiful girls. Why couldn’t I do this for them? My self destructive eating habits were killing me slowly. The fact that I had a genetic heart defect that causes heart failure didn’t even scare me to make the change. What was it going to take to get me to change my life? I was too chicken to get bariatric surgery. I was down to my last option which was a complete lifestyle overhaul. This lifestyle is known as a ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting. And… my nemesis… PLANNING!
The one thing holding me back in life was my failure to make a plan. Why not try planning? What’s the worst that could happen at this point? So that’s what I did! I researched the heck out of the keto and what foods are part of the ketogenic diet. I calculated my macros. I made a menu based off those macros and what foods I could eat. I had a plan for the first time in my life. The next step was to make a clever strategy to beat myself at my own games. What kind of person was I? What made me thrive? I dug deep and reflected on my life. This was a huge reason for my success. You have to find your “why” to succeed. It dawned on me after scrolling for hours on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook! I couldn’t find anyone like me who could inspire, motivate and be so real with their journey. There were tons of weight loss stories but hardly any that had over 140 pounds to lose and didn’t want to sell me something like fancy pills, products or shakes. None of them taught me how to eat. They were just a quick fix and you’d end right back where you started because you didn’t learn anything.
I have always been a “people pleaser” and would do anything for the people in my inner circle. I’m amazing at fighting someone else’s battle! I’m kind and genuine, I love to laugh, I have no shame, I am strong and I am brave. I knew if I went public with my story I could help others like me. I could help them fight… something that I’m so good at. I also knew that if people were counting on me to “show up” every week that I would do it. I make time for everyone else in my life except myself. So, to beat myself at my own game… I came up with this hack. I would go public with my story on YouTube so that I was accountable and focused. I would share the whole journey, which included the good, the bad and the ugly. It was a way for me to stay true to my “people pleaser” nature and succeed.
What I didn’t know was that I would learn so much about myself in my journey. I learned how to plan, how to make lists, how to set goals and smash them, how to get up when I fall down, how to stop the viscous emotional eating cycle, how to eat real food in the correct serving size for my height/weight and how much I needed my community to help me. I learned how to be a type A person!
The difference this time in my weight loss success is that I value myself. I know I can’t pour from an empty cup. I can’t be a mom, wife, sister, daughter or friend if I’m dead. I can’t wing it when it comes to eating. I HAVE to make lists and plan, stay focused, and trust the process. I have to show up every day! I cannot go back to eating the high carbohydrate diet that led me down the self destructive path. I also know that I made the right choice in changing my lifestyle because if you have bariatric surgery you still can’t eat the same way. So getting a risky surgery that costs money to still have to make lifestyle changes makes no sense! Here’s a better explanation on why I changed my life with keto instead of surgery.
Since embracing the ketogenic lifestyle I have noticed so many changes in my body. As of May 2020 I have lost 122 pounds! I went from a size 22 to a size 12. I have PCOS and eating a diet full of carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods makes my symptoms so much worse. I have so much more energy and productivity because my brain fog is gone. I am genuinely happy and reacted better to stress. I used intermittent fasting to help train me how to avoid emotional eating. I ditched my best friend, FOOD, even though I miss the carbs. I don’t hate the person in the mirror now. I love popping tags on a size smaller in clothes! I love helping other’s fight this weight battle.
If you made it this far in my story, thank you! We all have the power to write the chapters of our life. What do you want your book to say? I know I wanted a happy ending to my story! My advice would be to give yourself a closer look. Write down what you want. Come up with a plan and do it! Get busy living or get busy dying!