Health Progress, Keto Basics, Open Blog, Pregnancy, Supplements, Uncategorized

Miracles Do Happen!

It’s still really early and there are some things that still worry me, but I’m excited to tell you that I’m pregnant!  My body repaired itself enough to actually get pregnant!!  What?!?  It’s so dang crazy, I can hardly believe it myself.

I did Keto so that I could get healthy and have a chance at getting pregnant.  Honestly, I didn’t think it would work.  I mean, 20 years ago a high-profile Endocronologist told me that I have PCOS (polycycstic ovarian syndrome) and that in no uncertain terms would I ever get pregnant.  He added that if I do get pregnant that I would surely miscarry.  That was 1998, just before I turned 18 and graduated from High School.

Over the years, more has been learned about PCOS (though still not much) and many women have gotten pregnant and had babies.  It gave me hope, but in the back of my mind I always remembered what that one doctor told me…and it was confirmed by the fact that I never got pregnant.  In some ways it was a relief.  If I never got pregnant, then I never had to worry about having miscarriages and lose the baby.  I also didn’t have to worry about my health problems becoming the problems of my baby, which were pretty bad, if I never had a baby.

Did I ever not want children?  No.  It was like a biological need that was so strong coupled with the fact that I want to prove the medical field wrong.  I just wanted a baby to love and care for.    There were times that I thought I might be pregnant but never got a positive test.  I’m aware if was probably wishful thinking and uncontrolled hormones causing me to think it was possible.  It was a let down every time.  It became a game over the years that I almost wouldn’t want to take the pregnancy test because as soon as I took it, the possibility of being pregnant went away.  (I’m not an idiot.  I realize this is crazy.  But sometimes its nice to have hope.)

In this serious about my pregnancy, I want to talk with you about how I improved my health and actually got pregnant.  I will keep updating the blogs to you can follow along with how things are going with me and the pregnancy.  I hope this provides some hope to just one person out there.  If you want children and can’t have any, there still may be hope for you.

To get the notifications about the postings, please click on the Follow button.  If you have questions, comments or would like to share your story to give others hope, be sure to write in the comments section below.

I hope you have a wonderful Monday!  -Rebecca

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inflammation, Open Blog, Uncategorized

Dealing with Inflammation

I have terrible inflammation.  It hurts and I know its a symptom of something worse going on inside my body.  In today’s blog I’m going to offer some ideas on how to deal with this inflammation and swelling using my experiences and some found during research that I have yet to try. (Yesterday’s blog: Inflammation & You)

#1: Chronic inflammation is a serious problem and should be discussed and presented to a medical professional, which I am not.  I’m just a regular person whose had some experiences to share.

#2: It’s really important to identify what is causing the inflammation.  It’s natural to want to treat the inflammation because it can come with some mild to severe pain, can limit your range of motion and just be unsightly in general.  I hate when I can’t fit into my wedding ring because my fingers have become swollen sausages!

#3: After you’ve identified the root causes (#2), you need to deal with them.  It’s of no help to know what’s causing the problems but ignore it.  Basically, you’re going to need to get healthy and heal yourself.  This can be done in many ways, but you definitely want the support and guidance from your doctor or you could be risking making things worse.

Sometimes, you come across something that impacts your life and things change for the better.  Sometimes these great changes improve other areas that you were not intending.  Personally, I desperately want to have children with my husband.  I’m overweight and have serious health problems, like PCOS (polycycstic ovarian syndrome), anxiety and allergies with a lovely (not really) chronic sinus infection.  Most of my health issues are intertwined but are easily seem as different issues.

I’ve had a lot of failures but the many doctors that I have seen seem to think that if I just lose weight I should have no problem getting pregnant.  Having PCOS makes it dang near impossible and being sick with sinus infections keeps me in bed a lot making it difficult to go to the gym and workout.  I’m a mess.

I am happy to share that I am far less a mess today that I was even 1 year ago.  I stumbled across Keto from a friend at work and I am so grateful!  Not only is it easy to follow, I’m not hungry all the time, or crabby, or starving…and it worked!  Not only has it been working, I’m getting healthier in more ways that just losing weight!  And, I’m also having success with improving my other health issues, like anxiety.  I went in to try to lose some weight and now my hormones and blood sugar are balanced and where they should be, I’m no longer a prediabetic, I’ve seen improvements with my mental health and I’ve really seen a difference in my inflammation!

It took a long time to identify that I had anxiety issues.  I thought I was losing my mind and doctor’s couldn’t figure it out either.  Mostly it’s the anxiety and burnt adrenal glands that seem to impact my inflammation the most.  Now, I have noticed that I can handle more stress (good or bad) before a reaction…and, when I do have a reaction, the inflammation goes away much more quickly.  I’m loving this improvement and it gives me hope that one day I might be done with it altogether.

For me, the ketogenic diet really helped me to address many mental and physical health issues that I have.  In addition, I take supplements and prescribed medications to address the problems individually.  Technically, I do not do anything in efforts to rid myself of the inflammation as it is now healing itself.  It kind of helped me to know that the swelling was a reaction to something else going wrong.

Whatever you do, follow the three steps above to begin dealing with your inflammation.  It’s so important that we do not ignore this as just something that happens.  Swelling and inflammation should not be ignored because its your body telling you that something is seriously wrong!

Here are a few things you might want to ask your doctor about or research to help address inflammation:

  • Adrenal and cortisol relief herb/supplement…I like the one from Dr. Berg but just started the one from Mother’s Market and don’t see much difference.
  • Avoid or limit certain foods that may increase or irritate inflammation: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, margarine, vegetable oils, grains and grain flours (breads and pastas), french fries, alcohol, processed meats, MSG, aspartame (most diet sodas), too much protein, dairy (milk, heavy whipping cream,
  • Add certain foods that help reduce inflammation: fresh fish (not farmed), tomatoes, avocado and olive oils, avocados, green leafy veggies (kale, spinach, etc), strawberries, blueberries,  nuts, coffee (but don’t go too crazy), garlic, spices and herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, curcumin, chili peppers), green tea, onions

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please write in the comments section below.  I’m hoping that this helps even one person out there in this world to feel better and know that something can change for the better.  Also, if you would like to share your experiences with inflammation, please add it to the comments below so that you too can potentially help others.

Feel free to follow this blog to be notified of new postings and share the information to help others!

PS-Tomorrow I’m interviewing a nutritionist today about inflammation and I could not be more excited!  I will be recording my first video for many months and will let you know what it’s posted on YouTube for your enjoyment.  Keep a look out!

Health Progress, Keto Basics, Open Blog, Uncategorized

Inflammation & You

What do you know about inflammation?

Quite honestly, when I thought of inflammation pre-keto I mostly thought about the way my fingers and neck swell in response to a stressful event in my life.  I didn’t realize that inflammation has such a huge impact on the body.  I had no idea that inflammation is a symptom of something more, as well as being adding strain to other areas of your health.

It seems that it doesn’t matter if the stress/anxiety is caused because of joy and happiness or drama and a heavy heart, my body still responds with an inflammatory response in a negative way.  In the year that I have been following the ketogenic life, I have noticed a real change in my inflammation.  It takes more stress to cause a reaction and it resolves itself much more quickly.

In addition to following keto and avoiding foods to avoid inflammatory response (except dairy…I’m just not there yet), I’ve worked really hard to get my anxiety under control, remove unnecessary stress, added supplements that support my adrenal glands and cortisol responses and allowed myself time to heal.  The latter seems to be the most important.  Nothing is an overnight success but requires time and effort to allow the body to heal.

Definition:  According to Medicinet.com, inflammation is “A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a result of infection, irritation, or injury.”

Additional information about health risks and issues associated with inflammation:

Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. … In these diseases, called autoimmune diseases, the body’s normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues.” -WebMD

I read an interesting article from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Inflammation that I recommend you checking out.  The basic gist is that inflammation can be good to protect you, but it can also cause problems, including, “arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, blindness, cancer, diabetes and, quite possibly, autism and mental illness,” which are obviously bad.  It can even kill you (that’s the ugly, in case you were wondering).

In what ways does inflammation impact you?
What has helped you with your inflammation?

Did you know you can be having inflammation as an allergic response?  This week I will be interviewing Laura Maldonado, a Nutritionist with information that can help us all with improving our health through Keto, paying close attention to identifying and dealing with inflammation.

Stay tuned for the interview video to be posted on YouTube.  For up to date information, be sure to follow this blog and join the BeckDoes keto support group on Facebook for shared experiences, recipes, mildly humorous memes/jokes, and the support of those trying to improve their health.

Extra note: the image is from Violet from Willy Wonka and the Choclate Factory.  I thought it was fitting because when I have issues of inflammation I feel just like this.  Well, not blue, just round and uncomfortable.

Health Progress, Open Blog, Uncategorized

Anxiety & Keto, my experience

I’ve been doing Keto now for 1 year and 15 days.  But I’ve been dealing with anxiety for much longer.  Before I began Keto I was doing fairly well and was stable on my medication.  I saw these two, Keto and anxiety, as very separate not thinking one could have an impact on the other.

Technically, when I started Keto, I think I was off my Lexapro for almost a month.  I think many of us find that Keto has greatly helped improve mental health but seems to make it spark up at the beginning.  In combination of excess work/life stress and the beginning of Keto, I had to go back on Lexapro and stabilize.

It wasn’t until about April 2018 that my psychologist suggested that I try again.  She really felt that I was ready.  She was also super supportive on Keto.  I had to wait until the end of the school year because I knew from last summer it would cause some problems.

July 2018 I started stepping down from the Lexapro to 7.5mg daily

August 2018 – 5.0mg daily

September 2018 – 2.5mg daily

And in about 10 days I will be on 0mg of lexapro daily.

Each time I dropped I had a freak out/panic attack.  This last step really has me going though.  This is my second panic attack and I just want this all to stop.  It’s totally worth it because I hate this feeling and I don’t want to go through this withdraw again.

When it gets bad I take my prescribed Ativan to help me calm down.  The part that I hate the worst, more than being frustrated and irritable about every little thing, it feels like I’m jittery with electricity throughout my body.  It feels like my heart is pounding but I am sitting on my bed doing not much of anything.

You might be wondering why I’m writing about my anxiety on a Keto blog.  The fact of the matter is that Keto effects every single aspect of your mental and physical health.  Sometimes it can be a little rough in the beginning, especially if you’re already having an issue with anxiety, but after that little bump, there is nothing but a brain healing itself.

Keto has helped me more than group and individual therapy, medication, stress reduction, and meditation ever has.  Everything I could do was to help me identify and cope with my issues.  I really couldn’t do much to help heal my brain.

I started Keto without the goal of improving mental health but am excited to tell you that Keto really does help with brain issues.  Now, I am not a medical professional.  This is my experience.  I ask that you use common sense and the advice of your medical professionals.  But don’t be afraid to add Keto to your regime.

If I had known Keto could help my brain heal itself, I think I would have tried it sooner.  It’s was a pleasant surprise.

What are your experiences with Keto and mental health?  Have you had any improvements?

Long story short, I’m 10 days from being off of my medication and I attribute this all to Keto.  I expect a few bumps after I’m completely off, a few bad days that I should keep myself from other humans so I don’t freak out and take it out on them.

___________________________________________________________

For those of you who haven’t ready about my anxiety adventures before in this blog.  I’m sharing because when I looked for information about how people got off their anxiety medications and their experiences, I simply couldn’t find it.  It was scary for me.  I hope that someone can benefit from me sharing my story in some way.

Please take care of yourself.

Previous posting: Getting off Medication

 

 

Health Progress, Keto Basics, Keto Beginner, Open Blog, Uncategorized

Back 2 Basics: Update Blog

Update: 9/8/18

I have been tracking for 2 1/2 days now and I’ve already lost 1.2 pounds (as of this morning).  I’m feeling great and doing well.  I did pay for the Premium version of the Carb Manager so I could add every single thing I consumed…it’s a lot of individual ingredients when I cook at home.

Also, as you read through, you may be interested in viewing my recent, Back to Basics, blog to help get a good grasp on some keto basics.  If you’re totally new to keto, you may want to check out Keto Basics and Getting Started.

Remember, you can always reach out to me.  I’d love to help!  I am not a medical professional, but I have experience, research, resources, recipes and common sense…all of which may assist you in meeting your health goals.

-Rebecca

_______________________________________________________________

It’s so easy to get comfortable.  It wasn’t very long into my time doing keto that I stopped tracking my consumption.  I has a pretty good handle on my macros, carbs and overall consumption.  Uh…I was wrong.  Yep, you read that correctly.  I was wrong.

It gets a bit tedious to track every single item you eat every day of your life, at least for me.  I was doing a great job of tracking for the first 3-4 months, then I stopped and just eyeballed thinking I would be fine.  I didn’t gain weight, but I didn’t lose.  My health continued to improve and I did continue to shrink a little.

Mostly I am glad I didn’t go backwards, but that simply isn’t good enough as I have quite a ways to go.  I started thinking about getting back to the basics and the one thing I was putting off the most was tracking in my app (BTW, I use the Carb Manager app, but there are so many great ones that will do the trick), mostly because it takes time and is kind of annoying.  Feeling convicted and knowing that I’ve been fairly status quo for the last several months made me bite the bullet and start tracking again.  I also started fasting more regularly and not eating when I wasn’t hungry (I’ll admit that sometimes I would go out to breakfast with my husband just because I wanted to spend more time with him).

Yesterday I began my new, strict regime of fasting in the morning and tracking everything I consumed, except water and my electrolyte drink.  The one big thing I noticed was that I was over consuming carbs, didn’t have quite enough protein and went slightly over on my fat.  It’s really no wonder why I haven’t lost.  I mean, I fasted, was more careful and I still ate 31g net carbs!!  I cannot even guess how far I was off these past months.

Going to bed with this all in mind confirmed that I need to be more careful and mindful of what I’m doing and how well I’m taking care of myself.  Realistically, I don’t see myself tracking every single thing the rest of my life.  But I can make a reasonable compromise that will still help keep me in check.  I’ll tell you what I decided below.

This morning I already saw a difference!  I lost 0.8lbs.  Crap, this means I was way off when I was eyeballing!!  I lost nearly an entire pound in one day.  Dang it.  That means I was stalling because of my diet and maybe not as much because of stress as I thought.

Taking all of this in has changed my perspective.  I need to pay more attention and focus on what’s important.  I need to check myself more often than I have been.  I still have a lot of weight left to lose, at least 65 but more than 100 if you ask the doctor.  I want to be healthy for myself, my husband and I want to have children so badly…and I want to be healthy enough to get pregnant and help them to grow to be healthy babies.

My solution is simple.  I will track myself until I cannot stand it anymore and need a break.  But, instead of waiting until my annual Keto-versary to assess, I think I need to make reassessment and tracking something I strictly follow at least every season (3 months).  I’m thinking it could look something like this:

  • September track consumption in app
  • Maybe in late October or early November I stop tracking and try to eyeball
  • December reassess and track again
  • repeat for March and June

I should be tracking all of the time, but it’s just not who I am.  So I will take the time to focus on myself and reassess, then strictly track for as long as I can and tallow myself a break for the rest of that season.  Does it have to be seasonal?  No.  But I thought it would be easier for me to remember.

Here are some questions to ask yourself (and feel free to share your answers in the Comments section):

  • How are you doing right now?
  • How have you been feeling mentally and physically?
  • How do you track your consumption?
    • What tools or apps do you use?
    • Are they effective and user-friendly?
    • Do you need a different solution?
  • What are your goals?  Do they need to be updated or modified?
  • What changes do you feel that you need to make to achieve your goal(s)?

If you’re enjoying this blog, please share with others and click the Follow button so you get notifications when I post anything new. 

If you have any suggestions, questions or comments, please add them to the comments section below or email me directly at beckdoes20@gmail.com.

I’m not a health professional, just a regular person who may have some experience and resources that can help.

Keto Basics, Keto Beginner, Open Blog, Recipes, Uncategorized

Back to Basics 2018

New to Keto?  You’ve come to the right post.
An old Keto pro?  You’ve also come to the right place.

Sometimes we find ourselves getting comfortable and lax with our health.  I know what Keto is and how to follow it.  But that doesn’t mean that after a year I’m still as strict as I used to be.  This blog is dedicated to the basics of Keto success, which you are either learning now or refreshing and reminding yourself of now.

What is Keto?

Your body needs fuel.  It can use either carbohydrates (carbs) or fat for what it needs.  Carbs and excess protein turn into glucose, which is what your body uses as fuel very easily (in most cases).  When your body has glucose to use it stores the fat for later.  When glucose is used up or is unavailable, your body switches to fat for the energy it needs.  The fat is turned into ketones naturally and is then used by your body.  When your body burns ketones for energy, you are now in a state of Ketosis, or Keto for short.  The fat can come from what you consume or what your body has stored, but it will take from the stored fat last, so that is important to keep in mind.

The Keto lifestyle is basically consuming a very small amount of carbs (20 grams or less daily) so that your body is forced to be in ketosis.  In the beginning you have to train your body to make this change and you will see and feel many changes, including rapid weight loss, which is mostly water weight in the beginning.  Keto’ers, or those in ketosis, do not retain water like they did before.  After the initial weight loss and you’re keto-adapted (used to fat for fuel), you will see real changes in fat loss and improved health.

That was a really long way of saying that your body is a machine that runs off of fat…either the fat you feed it or the fat it has stored around your body.  To do this, you should eat 20 grams or less of carbs daily.

There are a few more tidbits, such as foods to avoid and whatnot, like grains and sugar.  But you can learn about that another day.

black and grey casio scientific calculator showing formula
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Macros…What Are They & How Do I Figure Out Mine?

Every body is different.  What my body needs is much different than what your body needs.  A simple calculation of where the calories are coming from is a ratio of 60-75% fat, 15-30% protein and 5% carbs.  I did say simple though, right?  Using apps and macro calculators help a great deal in identifying your specific keto macros.  I particularly like the Keto Calculator on Ruled.me.  It’s easy to use and understand.

Example:

I’m a 38 year old woman who is 5’7″ weighing 266 pounds.  When I calculate using the Keto Calculator on Rules.me to reach my goals, my macros look like this: 1799 calories, 126g fat, 146g protein, and 20g net carbs.

(Carbs are total.  Net carbs are carbs minus fiber.  Some Keto’ers use carbs and some use net carbs.  I use net carbs and am happy.)

Try a macros calculator and see what you come up with for yourself.  This is super important information, so be sure to write it down or add it to your app.

Modifications:

You may find that the ratio is not good for you.  For instance, some body types are better with more protein, while others seem to do well with way more than 75% fat and zero carbs.  You will want to make adjustments based on your own body and how you feel.

You will want to keep carbs low.  Most people do well on 20g carbs daily, but if you’re pregnant or have other needs, perhaps aiming for 50g is better until you are well enough to drop down to 20g.

Intermittent Fasting:

There are a lot of great resources and medical professionals who support Keto as a healthy lifestyle.  One of which is Dr. Eric Berg.  While many of us believe intermittent fasting (IF) are helpful, Dr. Berg is a true believer who strongly believe Keto and IF got together to improve and maximize your health.

Fasting is when you go without eating for a long time and is usually seen as suffering.  IF is a small fast that can be done multiple times during the week and isn’t generally very much of a struggle at all.

When you eat anything your body has an insulin spike (just smaller when on keto) and stops or slows ketosis.  But when you’re IF and in ketosis your body has time to rest and heal…and the more time you have between meals, the longer your body has to heal itself.  The reason its easy with keto is because you don’t get very hungry when you eat a lot of fat…you feel full and satisfied.

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone until after they are fully keto-adapted.  And you should start off slowly, gradually increasing the length of each fast.  It doesn’t work well for everyone, but most people do quite well.  And remember, you aren’t starving because your body will consume the stored fat if it needs more.

Usually you will skip breakfast and have coffee, pushing your first meal of the day back a bit.  Then you will eat your second meal and that’s it for the day.  Go to sleep and wake up to do it again.  The most common fast is 18:6 IF, which means you fast for 18 hours and eat during a 6 hour window (1 or 2 meals).  Most of the time during a fast you’ll be sleeping anyway, so you will hardly notice you aren’t eating.

A typical day of IF:

  • 6 A.M. wake up and have a cup of coffee (some say butter is okay, some say it isn’t…I do butter and am very happy)
  • 1 P.M. eat a good lunch
  • 6 P.M. eat a good dinner
  • 9 P.M. go to bed
steak food
Photo by Malidate Van on Pexels.com

Great Keto Meals/Snacks: (I’ll work on updating all of these recipes so you can click on the links to find more information.)

  • Magic coffee
  • Taco salad with nuts and seeds for crunch, your favorite taco meat, shredded cheese
  • Bacon, cheesy scrambled eggs, zucchini and squash, and a side of avocado
  • Crack chicken over steamed broccoli
  • Porterhouse steak, creamed spinach and mashed cauliflower
  • Chicken wings and bacon with ranch
  • Kalua Pig (pulled pork) salad with ACV dressing, nuts, seeds, hemp hearts, cucumbers and fresh bacon crumbles
  • Bacon wrapped pork chops with roasted cauliflower and guacamole
  • Baked salmon with pesto butter over a pile of parmesan and herb cauliflower rice
  • Fathead pizza or cheesy bread
  • Chocolate peanut butter cups (fat bomb)
  • Blueberry cheesecake fat bombs
  • Chocolate chip protein cookies
  • Keto chocolate frosty
  • Blackberries and whipped cream

 

Best Advice:

  • Be kind & forgiving to yourself!
  • Get a Keto-Buddy!  You don’t want to go through this alone.  Having the support of family, friends or even a new Keto Facebook Friend will make all the difference in the world.
  • Salt everything!  You need to keep up your electrolytes and since you’re not retaining water, you lose electrolytes way faster than before.
  • Check labels, ingredients lists and nutritional information on all packages.
  • Stop and figure out why you’re hungry.  Are you upset or bored?  Or are you really hungry?  If you’re hungry too soon…did you eat enough fat?
  • Figure out your macros and keep track of what you’re eating and drinking.
  • Pay attention to how you feel!  There is a reason you feel a certain way.  Are you missing something nutritionally?  Maybe you need to change your diet a little or add a supplement.
  • Track your progress and successes in many ways, not just by the number on the scale.  I wish I took real before photos so I could see the difference (I just thought this would be like everything else I tried and failed.)…and I wish I took measurements too!  It’s also important to do your blood work before starting, so you can see how that improves as well.

Please comment below any questions or suggestions you may have.
Also, be sure to follow my blog to get notified as soon as I post a new recipe, update, or encouragement by clicking on the Follow button.

Health Progress, Keto Beginner, Open Blog, Uncategorized

1 Year Anniversary

It’s been a year.  Whoa.  I cannot believe I managed to make it this far.  Not because the keto lifestyle is hard or I’m hungry or whatever, but because I have tried and failed so many times and so many ways just to get healthy.

The Starting Point

Let’s talk about where I was when I was finally willing to give Keto a try.  I had just returned to work after a summer vacation of trying to lose weight with traditional diet and exercise, I had been taking the metformin prescribed by my dr to help me control the insulin resistance, PCOS and prediabetes, I had zero hope of getting pregnant, I was wearing dresses that were very forgiving if I gained or list (but you know I was gaining), my anxiety was okay so I was able to get off of my lexapro (until I went back to work, it got crazy and I had to go back on nearly immediately), I kept swelling and turning red with achy joints and didn’t know why (adrenals were shot and I didn’t know it), I wasn’t sleeping very well, I had regular and daily headaches due to stress, sinuses and who knows what else along with migraines that were pretty frequent, regular chronic sinus infections which meant a lot of antibiotics regardless of what I did to try to keep it at bay, regular-ish cycles which really weren’t that regular but I did have them (thank you PCOS), nails that split and broke and peeled which caused concern about the bones I couldn’t see and their health, I was always hungry, had IBS and chronic, daily diarrhea (those pool signs were a joke because I never had diarrhea from being contagiously ill, just from everything else in my life), exhaustion and sometimes I had a hard time focusing and thinking straight…I actually could go on.  But I think you can see here that I was a hot mess!

At that point, 1 year ago, I was 37 years old with no idea how to fix myself.  I knew I was killing myself and had often in recent years simply given up on how to be healthy because everything I did failed so miserably.  If I managed to lose anything, I would gain it back immediately.  I spent a lot of time and money trying new diets, old diets, cleanses, supplements, etc.  I could not figure out what my body needed to even survive.  At 37 I found myself ready to begin desperate measures…surgery.  I actually researched various surgeries.  I had even gone to the classes my insurance company provided to help me learn more about health, lose weight, use their dietary supplements and food replacements (that aren’t actual food), but mostly I went to be held accountable and still failed miserably.

The beginning of Keto was actually early Summer 2017.  My coworkers and I had a weight loss challenge for the summer.  We all put in money, I think like $40-50 and the winner got to keep the entire pot.  This was really what I needed.  Accountability and support.  I lost 17 pounds that summer from recommended diet and exercise.  And then when I got off my anxiety medication I gained 16.  So, all that work and I lost 1 beautiful pound.  I was not happy, to say the least.  I worked really hard.  But, in the end at least I tried and I was also off my meds (lexapro, not metformin).  Then we returned from vacation and we all did our weigh in.  I didn’t think I had won because I only lost 1 pound, but I didn’t think my coworker, Hannah, would just kill it either!  She was already pretty small but wanted to lose a little of what she called “baby weight.”  She looked like a different person and lost something like 35 pounds doing Keto.  HOLY CRAP!!!

Yes, you read that correctly, my friend lost a ton of weight that I didn’t even know she had to lose, won about $700 cash and felt great.  She’d been trying to tell me a little about Keto and what she was doing here and there, but I honestly just thought it was bonkers.  No seriously, how do you lose weight eating fat?  And how in the world and I going to give up all sugar, grains and most fruit and the starchy veggies that I loved the most?  I figured, based on my past experiences that she must have been starving herself, eating foods that tasted terrible and really damaging her health just to lose a few pounds.

I was wrong!

Naturally, I was ready to hear more about Keto and what Hannah had done to lose the weight.  I think I asked her a million questions, many repeated questions, etc.  Honestly, how could she lose weight like that?  It really seemed impossible given my experiences, comparing Keto to the Standard American Diet (SAD) and the FDA’s recommendations that I’ve been told my entire life.  But…Keto does sound like something I should try before I go under the knife and permanently change my body out of desperation.

Yes, I tried Keto out of desperation.  All else failed.  So, I gave it a go.

There are few things you should know about me, in case you don’t already…

  • I grew up being taught to question everything (Thanks dad)
  • I grew up taking supplements (Thanks mom and dad)
  • I grew up and never knew why I was so sick…we were doing what we thought was right and my body didn’t respond like it was supposed to
  • I often have what can be considered weird ideas and beliefs because it can go against popular ideas and experiences, but eventually got tired and sometimes just went along with the “program”…I’m more of a think outside of the box kind of person
  • I knew I could heal my body but didn’t know how
  • As I got older, I saw more and more people, especially women, having similar issues as myself…I was no longer that uncommon, but it seemed that no one had the answer
  • At church, they did the Daniel Plan…I was curious but not interested in another failure at the time, so I passed.  From what I gather, you eat foods that God made, so no processed, store bought foods.  Is that right?  ( I honestly don’t know, sorry.)
  • The medications were making me sicker but I also needed them
  • I needed a miracle.

So, along comes Keto.  Did I already know that Low-Carb was good for me?  Yes.  Did I like it?  No.  Did it work when I did Atkin’s a long time ago?  Yes, until I stopped…but I was always hungry, the food wasn’t that great and I really wasn’t cooking that much, so I probably wasn’t really doing Atkin’s as it should be done with real food.  Low carb has a ring of truth for me.

Moderate protein?  Well, I like protein and have never had an issue with it.  I guess I could try.  At least keep track and see where I’m at.  I wasn’t sure if I was getting enough or too much.  But, could you have too much protein?  I didn’t think so back then.

High fat?  Now you’ve lost your dang mind!  Now this is where I struggled the most.  Does it taste good?  YES.  Did I already know that going in?  YES.  But every bone in my body and cell in my brain was trained to think fat was bad, very bad.  VERY BAD.  Eating fat makes you fat.  Obviously.  Except it doesn’t.

To be honest, the biggest struggle I had doing Keto wasn’t giving up the carbs, which was hard because I was totally addicted to carbs of all kinds, especially sugar and flour).  My biggest struggle was mentally dealing with the fact that I could, and should, eat fat.  I should enjoy it.  Fat doesn’t make you fat.  Fat helps your body operate appropriately and is the best fuel source for your body.  Carbs make you fat.

I used to feel so guilty when I ate things like a whole avocado, bacon, butter, the fat from a delicious steak, etc.  Oh my goodness.  I really struggled with this.  I wanted to limit this so badly.  But when you do, you get hungry and mean and tired and crabby and hungry.  Did I repeat myself?

When an idea or information is so ingrained into who you are (and it’s a popular viewpoint), it is a true challenge to go against it.  Taking time to think about what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and why you’re doing it is a key to success here with Keto.  You can be successful if someone just tells you what to do and you blindly follow it, but it’s better if you are making these decisions for yourself.

D-Day of Keto:

Once I decided to give Keto a try I made a plan.  Cold turkey?  NOPE.  That doesn’t work for me.  Besides, going low carb in the past has given me headaches (I know, I already had headaches, right?  I told you I was a mess.)

The plan was to reduce carbs as much as I could as I tried to learn more and prepare for Keto.  At this point I really didn’t know much except I needed to look into macros and start tracking.  I got an app on my phone and began the logging.  I had no idea how many carbs were in food I thought was healthy!  It was a big shock.  One day I stopped at Del Taco on my way to work and got a cup of beans and cheese.  It’s delicious, I’m not going to lie to you.  I loved beans and always thought they were healthy for me.  I got to the parking lot at work and logged my meal into the app…and then I discovered this tiny cup was literally 18 grams of carbohydrates.  I blew my entire day practically doing what I thought was the right thing.  BTW, that was the day that I learned legumes are not keto-friendly.

After 2 weeks of lowering my carbs and keeping track I realized I didn’t eat carbs that day.  That was my first day of Keto.  September 1, 2017.  I was jumping for joy that day when I realized what I hadn’t done.  I was telling my husband, who I didn’t really think would consider Keto, and he was somewhat interested.  Then I went to bed and woke up the next morning to find that my husband was up all night watching YouTube videos about Keto and doing research.  The first thing he said to me was that he’s going to do Keto to!  What?!?  I didn’t expect him to do this with me and was happy to have coworkers to have support…but what a huge blessing this has been on our whole family.

(If you’re interested, my husband created a folder of saved YouTube videos to help organize helpful information.  You can check it out by clicking here.)

Even after the official start of Keto, I continued to learn a lot and make changes.  I would do something I thought was healthy and later realize it probably wasn’t the best idea, so then I would make modifications.  It’s important to forgive yourself because you won’t be perfect and that’s okay.  You’re relearning how to be healthy and it is not always obvious.  Be kind to yourself!

Healthy Update:

I have some serious improvements.  I am not done healing.  Some changes are obvious and some are not so obvious.

I followed Keto for a year with just modifying my intake and not exercising.  Every time I exercise I have serious inflammation issues, though it is getting much better and recovery is faster than it was before Keto.  So, basically I changed my diet but not my exercise.  The only thing I’ve changed in regards to exercising is that I have more energy and feel like moving more, so I walk more and feel more like doing fun, active activities than I did before.

To date, I have lost about 65-70 pounds, am no longer taking metformin, have regular cycles, have longer breaks between needing antibiotics for my sinus infections, have improved adrenals with a quicker recovery to inflammation, have regular BMs daily and diarrhea is rare, have improved mental health which include trying again to get off of my anxiety medication (don’t worry, I have dr support and I’m weening very slowly) and fewer panic attacks, stronger nails and hair that grow so fast it borders on annoying, I can think more clearly.  The list goes on.  My blood work is amazing.  My blood pressure is perfect now.  I have hope of having a child of my own with my husband now.  Real hope.  While I’ve plateaud for the past 7-8 months, I have still lost inches and am still healing my body internally.  I went from a size 26 (I’m not totally sure, I was buying 24 and squeezing myself into extra forgiving dresses and leggings with baggy shirts with lots of stretch) to now I wear a size 20 (for real).  The hump on the lower neck, upper back area is significantly smaller.

I feel free.  I feel like I have been healing and am confident that I can easily continue healing.  I feel really good.

I went to a party yesterday with family and friends, many of whom I don’t see often.  I got a lot of great compliments, even from people who saw me after my initial big weight drop…so it made me feel good that the weight plateau didn’t mean I wasn’t improving.  Whew!

I intended on taking updated pictures in the same outfit as a year ago.  I apologize for it not being ready, but I will do my best to get to it.  Life is crazy and I have a gnarly sinus infection at the moment…one day I will just have a busy life and no illness (I hope anyway!)  I’ll work on the before and after pictures.  I definitely want to share them, but I think I need to see them.  I often look in the mirror and just see me, not the slightly smaller me.

Going Forward:

I need to tighten up my eating.  I haven’t been keeping track of my macros and I’m curious to see how far off I’ve been.  I suspect I generally am lower than 50 grams of carbs but need to lower it back closer to 20 grams.  I’ll begin journalling and keeping track of my consumption in my app again very soon…probably after I finish this blog posting.  I’ve also been eating dirty and would like to focus on being more strict more often.

In addition to the consumption, I have begun including exercise into my health improvement plan.  My choices are swimming, going to the gym and walking on the treadmill or elliptical (though, the elliptical still kind of intimidates me), going for a walk outsides, riding my bike, and playing a game…like tennis or basketball.  I plan to do this 2 days a week for a while and then boost to a minimum of 3 days per week.  I think the fact that I’ve been moving my body more has helped.  But adding actual exercise for at least 30 minutes 2-3 times a week should help and I expect to see some improvements.

I’m still focusing on improving my adrenal glands and keeping my blood sugar stable while also preparing for pregnancy.  I kind of feel like I’m still a bit unhealthy to be able to get and maintain a pregnancy, but I’m not sure I’m too far off.  I’m going to try now and see how it goes.  After all, I’m not getting any younger and will eventually run out of eggs to even try to cook.

In Closing:

Keto isn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be.  The struggles, after you get beyond the adaption phase, are really mentally accepting what is okay and how it conflicts with what you’ve always been taught and “known” to be true.

I’m happy.  I’m successful.  I could do this forever, and actually plan to do this forever.  It’s working and it’s not hard.  I’m not hungry.  I’m actually getting healthy.  I’m getting healthier every single day and it isn’t hard.  I’m able to get off my medications that hurt my body while trying to help it.

If you’d like more information about Keto, check out my blog about Keto Basics and Getting Started.  For a Keto support group, check out BeckDoes Keto…And, So Can You! on Facebook.  And, if you’re looking to watch some of my videos, though there aren’t many right now, check out BeckDoes Keto on YouTube.

Don’t forget to like, subscribe and follow to get up to date access to resources as they’re posted.

Keto is a good thing for me.  I hope that you find what you’re looking for to help your health.  It’s worth giving Keto a try, if you haven’t already.