I tried so many diets over the years but didn’t seem to have the motivation to stick to any of them. With the fad diets I'd try, I would lose a couple of pounds at a time, but in the end nothing worked long term for me.
My weight gain affected every aspect of my life. I would never leave my house, and I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror because I hated the way that I looked.
But the moment I saw the number 101 on my scale last year, I knew I had to do something about my weight.
In August 2018, I asked a coworker about the ketogenic diet, as he was following it and making noticeable progress with his weight loss. He gave me a brief rundown of what keto involved and referred me to the popular keto guide website Ruled.Me. I remember going home that day and doing a *lot* research on Pinterest, Google, YouTube, and various Instagram accounts.
That August, I decided that I needed to turn my life around. So I took note of my starting weight and began my journey.
My new lifestyle consisted of eating 20 net carbs a day and going sugar-free. I also strictly followed the keto diet for the first five months, which meant I tracked everything I ate—and I saw immediate results.
In the first month alone, I lost 7kg. Seeing that little bit of immediate weight loss gave me the motivation to push myself even further. I started off slow so that I could listen to my body and understand what my limits were with this new diet. I wanted my plan to be sustainable and healthy.
I also started to incorporate intermittent fasting with the keto diet. The ketogenic diet can be a different experience for everyone, so I knew I had to take my time to learn how my body would react.
Here’s what I typically eat in a day now.
- Breakfast: I fast intermittently at this time. So for me, that means I don’t eat past 7 p.m. and I don’t eat until the next day until 11 a.m. I drink iced black coffee, tea, or water (sometimes with electrolytes).
- Lunch: Hardboiled eggs, ham and cheese roll-ups, tuna, cheese, and some type of nuts
- Snack: Yoghurt, cucumbers, or pork rinds
- Dinner: A protein and a veggie. Sometimes I’ll get creative, but most of the time I like to keep it simple. Simplicity what works for me.
One month after I started my new ketogenic lifestyle, I incorporated working out as well.
I started with an hour of cardio three to four times a week, which soon turned into five times a week. Working out soon became my “me” time. It was an outlet for me to let go of any stress I was having. Currently, I run 10km a day, five times a week, and I've also recently started incorporating weight lifting into that schedule.
Staying consistent is what got me to where I am today.
Did I struggle? Absolutely. But I stayed consistent—meaning even when I got a little off track, I got right back on—and my results show that.
I also encourage anyone on a weight-loss journey to do their own research, start off slow, and see what works for you. Everyone's journey is different and what worked for me may not be the best fit for you (physically or mentally). In the beginning, it’s about figuring out what works for you and your body and adjusting if necessary.
But the biggest advice I can give is don't compare yourself to others. Even up to this day, I still struggle with that. Everyone is on their own journey and timeline, so comparing yourself to someone else will only set you back emotionally.
I also wish I could go back and tell myself that I should love myself no matter what. I struggled so much with what people thought about me. It’s still a process for me to learn to love myself to the fullest but I am slowly getting there.
I have lost a total of 33kg. It has been a great year for me, and I want to continue on this path.
The keto diet has changed my life forever. I had zero confidence when I started this journey. It wasn’t only about losing weight, but also about learning to love myself again—and I'm getting there.
What also made this journey so satisfying is knowing that I started off with little to no knowledge of keto and working out, or how it would all end up for me. A year later? I have learned so much more about the ketogenic diet (and am still learning!). I'm also a runner. It feels amazing to watch my skill set and knowledge grow.
I have maintained my goal weight and have been feeling better than I have ever felt. And bonus: I’ve also made great friends along the way that have been the best support group with this new lifestyle.
Cindy Escobar, as told to Emily Shiffer. This article originally appeared on Women's Health US.