I am married with three young children. I work as a financial analyst and I love music, movies and spending time with my family.
Before I had kids, I was on a keto diet for many years. A low carb regimen is the easiest way to effortlessly stay in shape, and I loved it. After my first child I was able to bounce back to my starting weight within six months, thanks to keto. Then, I had two kids back to back. I gained a ton of weight with the first, and then held on to those pounds going into my second pregnancy. By the time I was done having kids, my weight was at an all-time high. I made many half-hearted attempts to get back on keto over the years, but life kept getting in the way. I went to grad school and then I gained even more weight. It was depressing. Last November I realized that six years had gone by and I never lost the pregnancy weight. I was 30 pounds heavier than my highest weight during pregnancy. I decided to go back to the mindset I had 10 years ago. No more wraps, protein bars, shakes or other convenience foods. Just clean eating with carbs below 40 a day. It wasn’t easy at first, but I knew if I went all in and avoided shortcuts it would work.
Never. It isn’t worth it. I’ve been on keto since November 2016 and I’ve never had a cheat day. It simply isn’t worth it. I have found low carb foods that I absolutely love and I never feel deprived. Cheating is a slippery slope, and one cheat meal can turn into a cheat day. Before you know it, you’ve fallen off the wagon for months. For me, I just don’t go there.
I jump right in. When I started back on keto I noticed headaches at first. I keep instant miso soup packets in my desk to help me get through a tough day. The sodium is a nice boost and the rich flavor covers every craving. I started out eating the same simple foods over and over until I developed a habit. If you jump right in making baked keto desserts and other treats, that can derail your progress in a hurry. I usually have a big salad every night with a protein. I sometimes make garlic butter shrimp or I might grill some chicken or sausage. I have the same salad several times a week. Romaine lettuce, roma tomato, cucumber, hardboiled egg, bacon, goat cheese and white balsamic dressing. I have learned to prepare foods that I love, so I am never tempted to got through a drive-thru or eat at a restaurant. It’s important to be prepared. Keep everything on hand, ready to go. That is where simplicity is key. Making complicated meals at first will make keto seem that much more daunting.
I use MyFitnessPal to track my macros and weight every day. I log everything I eat, no matter how small, so I can keep an eye on how my diet is impacting my weight loss. I weigh myself every morning, but I only log a loss. Weight loss on keto is not linear. It’s always one pound down, and then right back on the scale the next day. The routine helps me stay on track but I don’t worry about the scale. I can see the downward trend over time.
My family was and still is supportive. I think they knew that getting back to my ‘normal’ weight was very important to me. In the end, it’s my body and I decide the direction I want to go.
My weight stalls all the time. As I mentioned, weight loss is not linear. The numbers on the scale go up and down based on many factors. I might a five pound loss one week and then nothing for two weeks. Over time, my weight loss has averaged 10-12 pounds a month. This is where MyFitnessPal is helpful. In moments of frustration, I can look at my progress over a week or a month and truly see the loss over time.
I feel a million times better. The benefits go way beyond the numbers on the scale or the way my clothes fit. My mind is clear, which is one big benefit of intermittent fasting. My confidence is back, and it is really benefiting me at work. I used to get winded on a single flight of stairs and now I can power through my day without a moment of exhaustion. Keto is really amazing, but in order to reap the benefits you need to stay on it for the long term. I didn’t really hit my stride until six months in.
I had a tough time with meal planning. My three young kids are very picky eaters and my husband does not like to limit his carbs. I was making a meal for my kids, a separate meal for myself and then figuring out something for my husband. That is a lot of planning every day. I finally just decided I would find easy meals for myself and stop the short order cook routine for the family. I have two options every night. Either my husband can have what I am eating, or what the kids are having. It’s still a challenge but I have developed a short list of meals I can prepare for myself in 10 minutes or less. I just cannot stress enough how important it is to keep things simple. Not only does it help in weight loss, it also makes the daily routine much easier.
At first I was tired and irritable. I also had some digestion issues, but some daily celery helped with that. I did have headaches but I quickly learned that sodium helped alleviate them. I also keep instant miso soup packets on hand for any headache strikes mid-day.
Over time I have evolved to eating only one meal a day. I drink plenty of fluids from the time I wake up until I have dinner around 7pm. I love my Diet Dr Pepper and have found that it does not impact my weight loss at all. Occasionally on the weekends, I might have some celery, cherry tomatoes or snap peas with homemade ranch as a mid-day snack if I am really active. For dinner my go-to is a protein (chicken, sausage or garlic butter shrimp) with a big salad. I also steam cauliflower and add butter and garlic seasoning. I don’t vary my diet much, and I don’t use any keto convenience foods. I have found that the bars, wraps, shakes and baked goods stall my weight loss. When I go out, which isn’t often, I like sashimi or salmon with grilled vegetables.
I saute two pounds of peeled and de-veined shrimp in a large pan with a stick of butter, minced garlic and salt & pepper. Then I make a big salad with romaine lettuce, roma tomatoes, cucumber, hardboiled egg, bacon, goat cheese and white balsamic dressing. I look forward to it every time, and I make plenty of shrimp since my family loves it as well.
For a sit down restaurant, I like Macaroni Grill. I get the salmon but I sub out the greens for their roasted vegetables. They are amazing with a side of ranch. I also like the bibb & bleu side salad. For a drive through, Chick-Fil-A is my go-to. I get the grilled nuggets with a side salad. The creamy salsa dressing is delicious, and I also add a couple of packets of their jalapeno salsa. I do allow myself a tiny bit of the Chick-Fil-A sauce for my nuggets. It adds carbs, but still fits within my macros. I can go pretty much anywhere and find something great on the menu.
Chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant. It is my only temptation, but I haven’t given in to it.
I think it’s really important to go into a keto lifestyle with the right mindset. It has to be a lifetime change. Keto isn’t a temporary fix, because going back to your original way of eating will lead to regaining all the weight and then some. Celebrate every pound lost. Most people set a goal but don’t take the time to celebrate every victory along the way. I promised myself at every milestone that I would never, ever be that weight again. I also think that it’s great to start keto knowing that a month from now, you will have lost weight. Period. It’s like knowing you have a huge promotion on the horizon. You need to work for it, and once you have it, you need to operate at a higher level to keep it. It is worth it a thousand times over to lose the weight, and you’ll reap the rewards every step of the way.