My personal story on choosing the ketogenic way of life
Something that I’ve noticed throughout my fitness journey is that most people have a story associated with why/when they decided to start this lifestyle. Sure, there are the very fortunate few who claim that their parents forced them into fitness activities and it “just stuck” throughout their lives, but for the majority, we weren’t so lucky, and had to find our stability in an area that is constantly changing as far as advice/recommendations due to the fitness industry.
This post is going to be long and detailed because I think it is important. It’s not important because it’s my story, but because the other detailed stories and common occurrences that resonated with me were major stepping stones helping me choose this lifestyle when I was researching information online one year ago with a head full of questions and uncertainty. It’s important because if I can encourage and resonate with at least one reader, then this post has done its job, despite being long-winded. Just want the quick facts? Scroll down to the TL;DR section.
How it happened
Like many others, there were a few “that’s it” points for me that led me to search for something that would stick. You would have thought one breaking point would be enough, but if you haven’t learned yet, I’m stubborn and have to learn things the hard way. I had yo-yo dieted for years, wanting a “quick results” solution to years of damage I had done on my body. But there were a few times that made me stop in my tracks and think “something needs to change.”
The first point
The first point of mine was at a doctor’s visit in December 2014. I requested an appointment because I felt “funny” and nauseous after eating anything lately. I had also noticed that the scale had gone up quite a bit, but didn’t think much of it, chalking it up to things like eating breakfast before weighing and wearing “heavy” clothes (the next time you wear 35+ pounds of clothing, please take a picture and send it to me). It wasn’t until the doctor came in, made a comment about the weight gain and some blood test results that my attention shifted fully onto my weight and health. He started using words like “insulin resistance” and “A1C levels,” then said the diagnosis that shocked me: pre-diabetic.
According to this doctor, I was borderline diabetic, and if I didn’t do something SOON, I would be officially diagnosed. I felt like a failure to my own body. Memories of all the sweets and carb-laden foods I had been eating danced in my head, as did thoughts of having to take insulin and not fully understanding what being a diabetic meant. The doctor placed me on 1500 mg of metformin, told me to have “balanced” meals (in his words, pair each protein with a carb), and sent me on my way.
I became sick to my stomach from being placed on 1500 mg of metformin. Turns out your body doesn’t take well to being told to automatically switch its way of digesting. I spent NYE and my birthday within 50 feet of a restroom and struggled to keep down meals. After three days of this torture, I had had enough and emailed my doctor to see if there was something to alleviate this stress. They lowered me to 500 mg extended release, and the bad symptoms stopped. I thought nothing more of his diagnosis and the worries of losing weight and went on with my life.
I did start meeting with a personal trainer three times a week, hoping that would keep the diagnosis at bay. I managed to tone up and lose 20 pounds during a weight loss competition at the gym but gained the weight right back after those two months were over. Nothing seemed to be working, and I was exhausted from trying so hard with no return.
I was also in a horrible place in life. I was working at a job that wasn’t going anywhere, in an emotionally abusive relationship with a man who didn’t care much about me, and had “friends” with strings attached to our relationships left and right. The result of this? Binge eating and comfort foods. LOTS of it.
The final straw
Fast forward one year from being put on metformin—December 2015—and I had grown used to taking the medication without much thought. I had cleaned up a lot of the bad parts of my life: found a better job with bigger career opportunities and benefits, dumped the crappy boyfriend, and set on a path to learn to love myself again, though that part was proving difficult toward this time.
I was getting ready to celebrate a friend’s wedding, but couldn’t find anything to wear that would fit me. I felt bloated, sick, and hated the way I looked in pictures. This was one of my closest friends who was getting married, and yet all I wanted to do was hide in all of the wedding pictures.
It was in shopping for clothes at this time that I reached my breaking point. NOTHING was fitting. Shirts were either too tight on the stomach or pinching at the shoulder blades. I blamed it on the styles and kept looking. Pants weren’t fitting me; they were either too tight in the thighs or leaving gaps around my waist. Everything looked wrong and I was getting fed up after trying on nearly 40 clothing items with no luck. What was going on with my body? When did my back start rolling like that? When did my stomach get so round and bloated? I was confused and let down and felt helpless. I cried softly in the fitting room for a good 20 minutes, pulled myself together, and left without buying a single garment, but on a mission to make a change.
One thing worth mentioning is that I had been diagnosed with PCOS in 2012. I figured this is why I was having issues with insulin resistance and thought that maybe some of my fellow cysters would have advice on diet changes and fitness plans. I headed to my Facebook support groups, gave a brief synopsis on the above occurrence and asked for help. I expected some “eat more veggies!” or “less candy, more lean meats”, but I never expected the overwhelming number of responses recommending a low-carb, ketogenic diet.
Bottom line: why I went Keto (the TL;DR section)
My body needed a change–a change that I could maintain. I was tired of feeling tired, sick of not fitting into clothes, and fed up with my stomach hurting after each meal. I went Keto because it was the only way of eating that made sense for my body, and has continued to be the only diet that has allowed me to sustain weight loss and energy while feeling GOOD (not to mention I get to eat delicious food and guilt-free treats on the regular). I’ve lost 44 pounds and counting, and have gained so much more happiness.
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Here’s a taste of the yummy, low-carb goodness you’ll see: