Like the rest of my family, I’ve always been tall. But unlike them, I’ve also been overweight since I was young. Most meals in my family consisted of quick, not-so-nutritious foods like Hamburger Helper or takeout pizza.
I ended up losing 80 pounds when I was 17, but not in a way that was healthy. In all honesty, I basically starved myself (I drastically cut calories and skipped meals), which ended up only worsening my relationship with food.
Soon after, I became pregnant, and I gained most of the weight back.
But I lost it again due to stress after my daughter died at five weeks old. My weight yo-yo’ed for a while after that (I was avoiding processing the loss of my daughter and indulging in unhealthy habits), until I wound up at my heaviest weight—276 pounds, after the birth of my second daughter.
The turning point came when I heard about a friend who had recently lost weight through the ketogenic diet.
I’d tried all the different fad diets the cabbage soup diet, drastically restricting calories but nothing ever stuck for me until keto. I officially started the keto diet in August 2016.
At first, the weight loss came pretty easy I lost 70 pounds in just under a year on the diet, but then I plateaued. I eased up on my diet, and though I wasn’t eating anywhere near what I used to eat, I still wasn’t eating as mindfully as I could.
Eventually, I started the keto diet again.
Once I re-committed, I lost an additional 40 pounds, bringing my total weight loss to 111 pounds over two years and three months.
Now, my life’s all about maintenance my goal is to be healthy, not skinny.
I try to keep my net carbs at 20 grams or less per day, and though I’ll have the occasional cheat meal, I won’t have a full cheat day. My diet is pretty strict, but I don’t feel restricted. I like to meal prep, so I usually have something in the slow-cooker or I’ll prepare chicken on Sunday night that I’ll eat throughout the week. Here’s how my meals tend to play out:
- Breakfast: chia and hempseed pudding
- Lunch: a piece of chicken with half an avocado
- Dinner: some sort of red meat (lately it’s been venison) with steamed vegetables
- Snack: a handful of walnuts, a square of dark chocolate that’s made of at least 85 percent cocoa, or SmartSweets gummy snacks
As far as exercise goes, I mostly work out at home.
I try to find ways to work in exercise as a daily part of my life: I walk at least five miles per day, and I do bodyweight and resistance band exercises at home for 45 minutes to an hour five times per week.
But, honestly, I’m much less strict about my exercise than other aspects of my lifestyle. If I have a lot going on, for example, I don’t feel guilty about cutting down my workout. Health is a priority, of course, but I don’t want my daughter to see me pass up on a meal or consistently sacrifice time or sleep for exercise.
I’m still getting used to my new body.
Though I’ve never gone to a doctor for an official diagnosis, I almost feel like I’ve developed body dysmorphia since I lost the weight. I don’t necessarily see myself as a thin person, and I have a hard time seeing a difference between current photos and old photos of myself.