I don’t know what my actual starting weight was. Somewhere around 89kg, probably, though it could have been more. I just remember seeing that number on the scale—and then not wanting to look again.
Growing up, I was always just an average weight. Sure, I had gained a little weight in college from stress, but nothing dramatic. But then I found myself in a toxic relationship—I was often depressed and resorted to eating my feelings.
I also did a lot of binge eating when I wasn't feeling happy with my life or myself (I only have a few "before" photos from this time because I rarely let anyone take pictures of me). I grabbed anything tasty to make me feel better: ice cream, pizza, candy—and to be honest, I have no idea how much I was actually eating.
Getting out of my toxic relationship was a turning point for me.
For the first time in a while, I started feeling happy with myself and my life—and I was able to lose 90kg by, basically, just paying more attention to what I was eating (and not doing as much emotional eating).
I got out of that toxic relationship shortly after I hit 89kg. In making that small change and starting to become happy with my life, I was able to lose about 9kg on my own. I just started trying to pay more attention to what I was eating—not as much junk food, more fruits and vegetables, stuff like that.
I was also doing some very light exercise, too, maybe 30 minutes of walking a day with some simple bodyweight exercises—nothing too extreme. I lost about 4.5kg more over the course of eight months following that routine.
Then, at 75kg, I hit a stand-still with my progress—until I learned about the keto diet.
I plateaued—the weight just wasn't going anywhere, even when I tried improving my eating even more. But then I heard about the ketogenic diet through a friend.
Keto seemed like something I could do pretty easily—and I'd say that the keto diet is what helped me break through my weight-loss plateau. I immediately cut a lot of carbs and sugar out of my diet. I also purged everything in my pantry that wasn't keto friendly—cookies, crackers, chips—because I knew if it was in there, I'd want to eat it.
I was very, very strict about it—paying special attention to my net carbs—but still eating good, healthy foods, like a lot of healthy fats and lean meats. I also made sure to stay in the 1,200 to 1,500 calorie range, to continue losing weight. Here's what a typical day of eating looked like:
- Breakfast: eggs and bacon and coffee with heavy cream and stevia
- Lunch: salad with tuna and extra veggies with cheese or avocado
- Dinner: an omelette with cheese and veggies on the side
- Snack: moon Cheese (my favourite!) or sometimes peanut butter
I should also say that I didn't experience the dreaded keto flu like many others have. During the first few days, I felt a touch disoriented, but other than that, I felt totally fine.
Doing keto, without any exercise, I lost 4.5kg in two months.
After that, I started working out about five times per week. Between that exercise and following the keto diet, I was able to lose the last 14kg I wanted to get to my goal weight.
I came up with my own fitness routine with a friend—a mix of weight training and cardio. I did about 30 minutes of strength training with gym machines each day, along with 30 more minutes of running—so nothing too drastic or complicated. In fact, I still stick to that routine now.
As for my keto diet, I'm not quite as strict about it as I was when I first started the plan. I still don't eat a lot of bread, pasta, and rice, for example—but I do give myself a free pass every now and then. Not only does it keep me sane, but I think it also keeps me on track.
Sure, I lost weight—but I gained so much confidence and energy.
This journey has definitely taught me to really take care of myself, to take care of my body, and to be appreciative of the life (and body) I have.
I’m three years older than I was when I started my journey, but I feel 10 years younger. I won't lie—being able to fit in smaller clothes is great, but just having more energy and wanting to do more with my life is the best part of this journey.
The keto diet also revealed discipline and determination that I never knew I had—as did working out (I never thought I could run, and I did it!). I'm living proof that, if you have a goal and you just keep trying, you can reach it. And that's a really cool feeling.
As told to Jenna Adrian-Diaz. This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US.