I lost my mom when I was 13—but it wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I realized I’d turned to food to cope with her loss.
The breakthrough came during an Overeaters Anonymous (OA) meeting in 2014. I was 378 pounds at the time, and while being in the support group and identifying my problems with food helped me jumpstart my weight-loss process (I lost 78 pounds through calorie-counting), it was only temporary.
Soon after I lost the weight the first time, I landed a desk job and met my partner—and before I knew it, I was back up to 350 pounds. I’d become sedentary, and since our dates revolved around dining out, I over-indulged and lost control of my weight again.
More From Women's Health
I felt both happily in love, and awfully overweight—and I knew something had to change.
That’s when a friend recommended the ketogenic diet, a high-fat, low-carb diet that aims to put you into ketosis. I immediately jumped in, and started the keto diet on September 18, 2017.
TBH, the keto diet was....an adjustment. I struggled to rethink what had become the norm for me (if I was hungry, for example, I couldn’t just go make a sandwich anymore). Eating wasn’t all about convenience anymore—but after I lost my first 20 pounds, I felt even more motivated on the diet.
My support system also helped with my lifestyle change. My friends were (and are) considerate of my lifestyle, and my partner happily eats all of the keto meals I prepare. My father also started the diet with me and has lost 100 pounds, so I've never felt alone in this weight-loss journey.
Aside from the keto diet, I also cut out cheat days.
I am constantly resisting the temptation to binge eat, and for that reason, I can’t have cheat meals or cheat days because they’ll turn into cheat weeks.
That doesn't mean I never indulge, but I've found new, healthier keto-friendly snacks to indulge in, and I only do it when I'm really craving something. Now that I'm focused on eating when I’m hungry and not out of habit, these are the meals I’ll have to stay on track:
- Breakfast: I realized I only ate breakfast out of habit, so I don’t usually eat in the mornings anymore, but I will have coffee with heavy cream, and tons of water.
- Lunch: An omelet with loads of veggies and cheese, and maybe bacon on the side.
- Dinner: Alfredo sauce and shrimp over NuPasta (a keto pasta alternative) or any type of meat with veggies
- Snack: I’m obsessed with The Keto Box, which lets me try a few different keto snacks a month.
After losing 75 pounds on keto, I also started exercising regularly.
I credit my diet over anything else for my weight-loss, but regular exercise has been great for my health.
The first time I lost weight, I would exercise hardcore for four to five weeks and then avoid the gym for the next six. Now, I’ve found activities I like: I do hot yoga because I love how it's tightened and slimmed my core, and running’s become my absolute favorite workout.
In fact, I ran a 5K this past summer, a 10K in October, and I’m currently training for another one in May, after which I’ll be running the Manitoba Half Marathon in June.
While, yes, the keto diet helped me lose 142 pounds, it took a lot of hard work and dedication.
Basically, there’s no magic pill. For me, the keto diet worked, not just for weight loss, but also for regulating my hormone levels (I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS) and improving my overall health (I discovered I actually have a gluten intolerance).
Another thing that’s worked for me: holding myself accountable on Instagram. Since starting the keto diet back in 2017, I’ve religiously posted photos of my progress. Seeing those photos shows me how far I’ve come, and it helps inspire those starting their own weight-loss journeys—learning about people who I’ve touched also inspires me to keep moving forward with my goals.