My Journey into Keto

I recently started my keto journey on Dec 26, 2016. I know the timing it suspicious but this was not a New Year / New Me resolution. Before that I had started around June of that year back (again) on Weight Watchers. KetoStud had first introduced the concept after watching me fail at every attempt to make it past a weekend on the trademark low fat diet. My first response when hearing about keto was “no way I can give up pasta.” Then came desperation after feeling hungry all the time on the low fat wagon to the point where I would try it. The final confirmation of keto came when I began my latest employment where not one, but two of my coworkers told me they each lost over 100 lbs on keto. I was sold. Now this has been quite a journey and this is how it started…

I was never overweight growing up. I had a very happy childhood without worrying one second about food. We ran around our neighborhood inventing new games and climbing trees. We rode our bikes everywhere and recorded songs off the radio. We dreamed.

My first AH-HA moment, and I mean in the way that I realized that food could be used as a comfort, was about in the tenth grade. I came home from school and noticing that I was feeling lonely and I reached into our pantry and starting eating. It could have also been out of the fact I was ridiculed a lot in high school for being “more developed” than most girls. This grew to the point where I would start eating a little bit of everything in the kitchen so that no one would really notice that food was missing. Or at least I thought that but my Mom could tell something was up. I would hide wrappers or the “evidence” underneath layers in the trash or quickly take it out to the cans. If I heard someone come home I’d stash whatever I was eating in the oven or microwave until they left. A midnight or after dinner raid of the cabinets was also not completely unheard of. I was starting to put weight on and I remember one doctor’s visit where my mom brought up her concern to the doctor. At that time he unofficially diagnosed me with Binge Eating Disorder. My mother phoned as many (mind you this is before the internet and we lived in a rural area) specialists as she could with no avail. I felt hopeless. After that it was something that I would struggle with throughout high school until I started setting my sights on a military career. Realizing I had to lose weight I started gym classes and exercising but didn’t really concentrate on my diet.

After I was not accepted to my first choice (because I was overweight) and not having a backup I moved out of my parent’s house to live with my grandparents. That summer I ate the most restrictive diet I’ve ever had in attempts to lose weight for the military. I ate 200 calories a day and ran 1-2 miles everyday. It consisted of a Slimfast shake in the morning, 100 calorie Yoplait for lunch and a bowl of pre-made salad lettuce (plain). When I moved back home I kept up the same behavior but added in wearing a sweatsuit during summer and running/walking five to seven miles a day. I felt like passing out every time I stood up but everyone was encouraging me. I fastened belts around my stomach overnight in hopes it would make my waist smaller. Those closest to me didn’t seem to mind this disordered eating because it was achieving the end goal for the moment being. After failing the weight requirement the first round by a couple pounds, I had to make it a little longer with this behavior until I was the right weight. There were some binges (I mean my body was starving!) and one time I remember hiding from my grandparents and sticking my fingers down my throat to make myself purge outside their house. I was pushing so hard that my throat was sore for days after that.

I did make it to the military and embarrassingly enough when I got to boot camp I was over the weight limit and was assigned to the road guard detail. It’s embarrassing because that’s where the borderline weight limit airmen were assigned because they had to march more. As soon as I graduated and settled in my training I went through a life change as I was informed that my parents were getting divorce. I also had a lot of trouble passing the PT test or staying within weight requirements which made my freedom very restricted during the half year training.

When I graduated and returned home life was drastically different. I began college shortly after which introduced alcohol as being just as nifty as food for a coping mechanism. Even though I always wanted to be healthier and be as pretty and thin like the girls on my campus, I never felt good enough. I tried to get help and see the campus counselor who didn’t really help much. She pulled up a word document about compulsive hand washing, replaced the words “hand washing” with “eating” and told me to use it whenever I felt a binge. After this I saw a social worker to try to get to the issue of my disordered eating. Needless to say, I was not impressed with counseling at this point. She would stare blankly at me and made me feel very uncomfortable all the while telling me she would just go a whole day without eating without problem.

One summer I was able to use calorie counting and lost 30 lbs using Sparkpeople. Which was gained back over time. Shortly after college I became engaged but this time signed up for Weight Watchers hoping the accountability would help. I eventually had breast reduction surgery which really did help my lower back and frequent migraines. It also made me feel “normal” since the girls were a thing that everyone would notice and tell me about. As if I wasn’t aware I had them?! I lost 30 lbs on Weight Watchers with meetings and an online tracker as well as crossfit and running during work.

After the wedding I gained it slowly back. I felt lost and hopeless as the realization came that I had made a mistake with the marriage. At this time I added my first addition to my family, a little Sheltie named Moses that essentially became the greatest love in my life. When I was home alone feeling sad he was there and I met a lot of my neighbors through walks and dog parks. I really credit him with saving my life. I sought out help but after feeling “better” I stopped going. I always felt like it there was going to always be something wrong with me.
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After my divorce, I hit rock bottom. Even though I was the one who called the marriage off (which was done semi-amicable) I was spinning out of control. I had a lot of work stress and immense feelings of failure from the marriage. Not to mention right before we separated I had dislocated and broken my ankle which required surgery and ban on any high-impact exercises. After a year it had healed but I now live with inflammation which causes painful bruising and onset arthritis in my ankle. I still can’t run or engage in any high impact exercises.

I also lived alone without a solid support structure so it was a nightly torture of being by myself with my thoughts. One night I did try to end it and was kept overnight for observation. It was dark and it felt hopeless. I didn’t care anymore about living. But behold! I met my future husband a couple months afterwards on Christmas Day 2015. We met on Tinder and we were messaging each other over a river. He, recovering from brain surgery in the ICU nonetheless! I was also pushing 200lbs on a 5’3” frame at the time. Dating him in the beginning we went out a lot and had fun falling in love with each other. A lot of carb fun was included. Each of us could easily drink 7-8 IPA’s in one sitting. We started living together and are happily engaged today.

About my 29th birthday I rejoined weight watchers and lost almost thirty pounds through a low fat diet. I ate lots of fruit and pasta and was starving about 2 hours after a meal! Hitting a plateau for months on end encouraged me to give keto a try. And after being engaged on October 2016, there was no better time!

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There’s a lot in my past that’s been connected to my sense of well-being and it was no secret to me that back in tenth grade started my introduction to depression. As of late, my anxiety was heightening to the point where I was displaying obsessive behaviors that had crossed over to the “unhealthy” side and I was still struggling with wanting to end it. After one tough night it was clear I needed professional help. I’ve been living with depression (MDD) for a greater part of my life. Luckily I didn’t let it kill me and was brave enough to learn how to live with it. I see it as any other medical condition that someone might have and most importantly I don’t identify as the disorder. This year I’ve been processing a lot of events that I had been pushing down my entire life. I could never distract myself enough or push it far enough where it didn’t rear it’s head from time to time spiraling me into a rut. Enough was enough. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life because a lot of times I don’t want to go and just ignore everything. Working through events makes drains me because of the familiar tough emotions associated with that time. But I go, and I’ll go, and I’ll go until I can let go and accept the past.

When we started keto, I had known about the weight loss and the lowered risk of seizures. The energy was an add on bonus. Another bonus I started feeling was that my depression and anxiety symptoms had started to decrease. I’ve noticed that my thoughts are mostly positive nowadays and the goals that I’ve set for myself (this site included!) were achievable. I’ve started to feel that I really can be comfortable in my own body. This also includes keeping the inflammation down in my ankle. If I can feel the screws on my ankle I know there’s little to no swelling!  This journey is really to repair my diet-ravaged metabolism and for the first time in my life take care of myself. I do it to help treat depression and anxiety that I haven’t learned to live with this entire time. I do this because I’m going to waste a life if I don’t take control of my well being and let myself live it then best I can.

That brings you all up to speed! Thanks for making it this far if you’re still reading. It’s not easy sharing this so publicly but I know I’m not the only one out there. That’s always easy to forget when browsing through others social media and thinking “everyone has it so together” and I couldn’t find a way to do it. Well you’re not alone. Life is tough, after all it kills us in the end! It could be easier, and I meet a lot of people who have lived their life a little easier but I wouldn’t trade it. The greatest thing I’ve learned about myself through it all is how strong I am. I know I can do anything / make it through anything and my spirit of never giving up is going to help me live my dream life.

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