I feel like I’ve been fat my whole life.
That’s not true, of course. I was a healthy little kid. I started putting on the pounds around puberty, and I felt fat all throughout high school. The funny thing is now when I look back, I’m kind of envious of that body. I mean, not really, because I was still kind of porky – but it’s better than where I ended up. I was less than 200lbs then.
I gained weight in college, eating and socializing with my friends. I was really active, fencing a lot, doing reenactment broadsword combat, and oh yeah – walking around campus constantly.
I really gained weight when I started dating a guy who was already obese. He loved to eat out, and would in fact refuse to eat most things I prepared. I blew up. I don’t even know how much I weighed.
My senior year of college, I was tired of being fat. I put my boyfriend and myself on The South Beach Diet, which was really popular at about that time. I did manage to lose a fair amount of weight, and was happy to fit into a size 16 Ann Taylor dress at graduation. I weighed about 220lbs.
Then I became a teacher, and we moved, and things got bad. Any good eating habits flew out the window. I started drinking more, because I was pretty depressed in my relationship and in my career. I put on about 40 more lbs. The only reason I know this is because when I booted up my Wii Fit a few months ago, I saw that weight recorded on it from years ago.
I kicked my ex to the curb, started cooking for myself again, and lost about 15lbs. And then I met Canadian Bacon. We fell into the unhealthy spiral that addicted gamers can easily get sucked into – we ate a lot of take out and we sat on our asses all day, killing things in a virtual world. Don’t take this as me bashing our WoW career – it was a ton of fun. But we neglected our bodies tremendously.
Last summer, we moved into my grandparent’s basement to help take care of them. My grandfather is 82, and a Type II diabetic. He is obese and mostly immobile. Right now he is in a nursing home because a month ago, he fell and broke his pelvis. My grandmother is 79, and also a Type II diabetic. She is not overweight because she eats very small portions. However, she eats all the wrong things – she lives on fast food. I have a whole series called What Will Meemaw Eat? on here that records how she does things like demand McNuggets when I fix chicken, and ask for Taco Bell when I cook Mexican. Last year she had a 90% blockage in her carotid artery that had to be cleaned out, or she was facing the potential of a stroke at any time.
To say my grandparents have inspired us to lose weight is an understatement. CB and I are terrified of being in such poor health as we age. We are both healthy right now, and we want to stay that way. I most vehemently do not want to develop diabetes, and we want to stay mobile for as long as possible.
Shortly after moving in, we began working on losing weight. But really, we knew next to nothing about nutrition, and we weren’t really going anywhere. That all changed one day when I was browsing Imgur. I saw a picture of a couple on the front page who were near our ages. They had a before picture where they looked remarkably like us, and then an after picture where they had lost a ton of weight. “Wow!” I said to myself, “How did they manage to do that in just a year?!” This led me to the keto subreddit.
I showed the picture to CB, and we read about keto. I was very intimidated by the large amounts of fat, having been corrupted by SAD (the Standard American Diet) and South Beach. My ex and I tried a crash course in Atkins back in like 2004 that lasted for like maybe a week, and I disliked it. So I had a lot of trepidation. But CB was like “This sounds really good. We should do it.”
(That’s how our relationship works a lot of the time, by the way. I come up with crazy ideas. He has the discipline to follow through.)
We have learned so much and come so far over this past year.
Our view of nutrition has changed. We will probably never eat the SAD again. We both have a hard time with moderation, which is why keto has been so great for us. By eating high fat and filling up on protein, we’re getting satiated a lot faster and with a lot fewer calories than we would if we were eating SAD foods. There have been very few times on this diet where I have just been hungry.
I have had fun developing a ton of keto-friendly recipes.
In November, I began going to hot yoga. It was the first time I ever voluntarily worked out, other than normal conditioning for fencing and reenactment combat practices. I quickly fell in love with yoga. It has helped me in so many ways. It’s given me more confidence – when you’re in the hot room, you either strip down to as little clothing as possible or you feel like you’re going to die. I used to refuse to go out in public in anything other than jeans and a t-shirt. Now I wear my yoga crops and a sports bra and a headband and I sweat my way through asanas like a pro. I look like a hot mess and I fall occasionally. But when I first started, I couldn’t even complete a whole session, and I couldn’t even balance on one foot. I have come so, so far since then in my balance and flexibility!! I am even standing on my head sometimes… wtf is that?!
In March, CB and I began working on C25K in earnest. We did a 5k in June. It was a miserable experience because we had not yet finished the program (week 7). I am a horribly slow runner and I hate running, though I love how I feel after a run. While we have not given up on running, we have put it on hold for now – running made me feel insatiable, and my weight loss stalled out significantly.
In August, we researched and purchased a membership at the YMCA. We set up an appointment with a personal trainer and began working on the weight machines. Then we met again, and “graduated” from the machines to the free weight floor. CB and I are now following the ketogains plan and are lifting heavy 3x a week. Since I began putting the pounds on the barbell, the pounds have started falling off of me!!
Speaking of which, weight loss is not linear. It looks more like this:
It is a long and oftentimes frustrating journey. As I wrote here, I feel inadequate a lot. CB has lost much more weight than me, and more quickly. I know it’s not a competition, but I can’t help but feel that way sometimes. I get frustrated when my stomach gets in the way during certain yoga poses. I hate my batwings because I would live in tank tops 24/7 if I could. I see cute things in stores and I want to wear them, and I either can’t fit them yet, or I know it doesn’t make sense to spend the money when I’m just going to shrink out of them.
But that’s the thing. I am going to shrink out of them. Yesterday I told my bffe that this is the first time I have been confident in my diet. I am losing this weight. It is coming off. It will continue to come off. And keto is so damn sustainable, as long as I just keep calm and keto on, I will eventually win this thing.
I started keto at 300lbs. Today I am 238. I lost 62lbs in one year on this diet. CB started at 280lbs and today he was 199. Together, we have lost a combined 143lbs. That is an entire person!! Holy shit.
Oh, and I know BMI is mostly an arbitrary number, but mine’s dropped 9 points. I’m still obese, but before long I’ll be merely “overweight.”
I don’t even know what my goal weight is. I think around 170lbs sounds nice, because I am tall. Mostly I want to get down to around 20% body fat. I really want to have nicely muscular arms, legs, and back. I can’t even imagine having abs but while I’m making my Christmas list, let’s throw those on there, too. CB is working on cutting now, and wants to get below 15% body fat.
I have gone from 43.5 inch waist to a 37 inch waist. That’s a plus size 22W to a regular 18.
My hip measurement has shrunk from 54.4 inches to 49.
Sure, I’ve also lost 5 inches on my overbust, but let’s face it – my boobs needed to shrink some. And they still look quite proportional like this.
And somehow, my fastest loss was on my fingers – I went from a size 10 wedding ring to an 8.25 in a couple of months. And this bitch needs to be resized again.
And now, before I go, I’d like to share some things we’ve learned on keto –
- Water consumption is key. We each drink a gallon or more of water a day. We have mostly given up all other beverages in favor of water. We keep Powerade Zero on hand, but we drink them rarely. On keto, you must drink ALL THE WATER ALL THE TIME. It makes for a miserable month or two until your bladder adapts, but it will adapt, ladies!
- Low carb high fat does not mean all fat all the time. You don’t have to cook everything in bacon grease or douse everything in butter. It’s delicious but unnecessary. Make sure you meet your protein goal, have whatever carbs you allow yourself, and satisfy the rest of your hunger with fat. I am losing weight faster now that I make sure I meet my protein goal than I did when I ignored it in favor of pushing fat macros.
- Buy stock in steamer bags of frozen broccoli. I eat like one a day. At $1.50 and 7 minutes in the microwave, it’s not a budget breaker and it’s definitely a time saver.
- Artificial sweeteners and frankenfoods are okay in moderation. We’d eventually like to eat more whole foods when we hit goal weight, but until that blissful day of fresh corn tortillas and honey comes to pass, we’re okay with Torani sugar free syrups and Mission Low Carb Tortillas.
- Use LiteSalt for the electrolytes.
- Set your activity level to “sedentary” on the keto calculator, and don’t eat back your exercise calories. Making those mistakes is common, and also probably why I stalled out from Feb-July.
- Don’t freak out if your period freaks out. I use hormonal birth control, and my period has mostly been normal. But there was one month when it came early and it stayed late and that sucked. Just KCKO and things will return to normal.
- Lifting fasted is excellent. I feel much more energetic when I wake up, go lift, and eat something afterwards. It’s the best!
- Ignore that old advice to “eat six small meals a day.” Intermittent fasting is great if you like to eat a lot of food at one time. Ahem. That’s me and CB. So now days we often just skip a meal, and eat two larger ones (600-700cal each). It’s more satisfying to us.
- Start off super strict – 20g of carbs or less. When you eventually loosen up some, don’t stress out about it. Don’t cry over a french fry here or there. Just keep on trucking. It’s your overall habits that are important.
Here’s to another year on keto! By my second ketoversary, I hope to be near my bodyfat % goal. And I have promised myself that when I am 100lbs down, which should be next spring at this pace, I will post progress pictures on here. I was debating posting some today, but I feel a little awkward sharing photos of me in my underwear with my friends and family (online strangers are perfectly acceptable, for some reason). I also feel like my pictures aren’t very awe-inspiring yet, because I am so tall and have lost very evenly all over. They’re not very dramatic, but I think once I hit that 100lb mark the differences will be jaw-dropping. I feel so good right now, I can’t wait to see how I feel then!