If you're like me, and pretty much the whole rest of the fitness world, you are looking to fuel your body in the best way, maintain muscle mass, stay lean, and feel GREAT while doing it. Here's my story!
When I began working out I was 38 y/o. Yah, I was a late bloomer. I had two kiddos and I ate what they ate...hot dogs, mac 'n cheese, Trix. Yes, yes I did. Once I began to delve into "all things fitness" I began to learn that what I was eating wasn't really in my best interest. So I began the journey. Clean, healthy eating was (IS) where it's at. I limited sugar (still ate it), added good lean proteins, whole grains, fruits...all the right things. And, IT WORKED. I felt great!!! I lost 50lbs, became a fitness instructor and life was grand. I learned how to keep lean muscle by eating good proteins and pump up that fat loss with high cardio classes. Cardio was (IS) my passion. I started around 175 pounds, 5'6" and steadied out around 125 pounds and kept it off for 10 years.
Now, most of you know me, and you know I workout HARD and ALOT. Is this the best for your body?? Mehhhhhh...but it's me and it's who I am. About 3yrs ago my weight began to creep up. I hardly even noticed it, but there it was. 10lbs! Whaaaaaaat???? I was still working out HARD and ALOT. I was eating super clean. What was happening to my body? Hi there perimenopause...hello. Over the last 3yrs my weight has definitely fluctuated and I was so frustrated.
Enter KETO and my husbands decision to try it. I am a nurse, 25yrs experience, and decades of practicing the food pyramid (burn that thing) and a low fat diet. I was interested but not convinced. What do science-minded people do? Research. And so we did. ALOT OF RESEARCH. I'm not a follower. I'm a leader. It took me a very long time to not be a follower. I wanted to make my own informed decision on what to do regarding the ketogenic diet. My keto journey has taught me so much and I have learned a new way to fuel my body with healthy fats, grass-fed organic meats, low carb veggies and absolutely NO SUGAR. If you take nothing else away from this blog post but SUGAR IS THE DEVIL then my job is done here.
I hit it hard. Now, the keto diet takes commitment. It's not for the faint of heart. There is also no way to cut corners or cheat. That's just plain & simple. It's just like anything else in life...you want it? You MUST work for it. And, it did work for me. And it worked for my husband. He lost 50lbs. I lost 12lbs.
I was super lean. My end weight was 123 pounds at 5'6". I felt absolutely wonderful! I cooked and baked every day. I ate nothing that I didn't prepare myself and for me, that was key! I do love to cook & bake. Now that doesn't mean I spent hours in the kitchen. The meals I would prepare were not hard. Check out KATHLEESTA on Instagram. Kathleen & I started the page out of a love for healthy, clean eats and truth?? So many people ask us what we eat? How much? When do we eat? Lots and lots about food. We even jumped into the food prep business for a minute. Props to those of you that do this. It's a ton of work. We loved doing it for people, but it was just alot with all the other things that we had on our plates. You know, the whole teaching classes, Mom-ming, nursing and a whole slew of other stuff. So now, the page is just a great spot where we post recipes, foods, snacks, goodies, tips. Its great! Check it out.
Again, the key is RESEARCH. Read about it, learn about macros, what is a healthy fat? How much can I eat? Is a french fry OK? Listen...I'm not going to answer those questions for you. You do you. Have I eaten a french fry? Sure. But not in the beginning. Not until I reached my goal and learned what my body would and would not tolerate.
Let's back up to duuu duuudahhhhhh...the Pandemic. Yah, that. Guess what also began to happen to me? Perimenopause became menopause. Yes. 49y/o. Full blown menopause. I had NO idea hormones played THAT big of a role in...well, in EVERY aspect of my life. I never thought it would affect me the way it did y'all. I DID THE RESEARCH. I studied and read and did "all the things" I was supposed to do. I still gained weight. Yes, on keto. I experienced mood swings, terrible hot flashes, depression, mind fog. You name it...I had it. Mind over matter, right? MUCH EASIER SAID THEN DONE. I was that person who lived by my own motto of YOU CAN. Did you know I was struggling?? My mind said "fake it until you make it". I did.
Here's what I learned from my experience.
Give yourself grace.
Know that it is OK to ask for help. I did. And ONLY THEN did I begin to feel better. Your body is a gift. Treat it as such. I had to change my mindset from...I have worked so hard for my body to look this way, to- I work so hard for my body to be healthy and to feel happy. Your worth is not in your weight. That's such a hard thing to swallow after you have worked and traveled that weight loss path, conquered it, maintained it, and for YEARS guided others. I didn't feel worthy to guide others anymore because I felt as if I was failing myself. How could I be a role model to my classes? THAT my friends is absolutely the most ridiculous thing I have ever let into my mind. It even looks ridiculous as I type it. With all that being said, I am still practicing the ketogenic diet. Today, I weigh 130lbs and...I am happy. Am I still striving to lose those extra pounds? ABSOLUTELY! That's where the word "practicing" the ketogenic comes in. I haven't mastered it. I am practicing it!! But I CAN do it. Now, Keto might not be for you. That's OK. How about the Paleo diet? It's phenomenal. Mediterranean Diet? YASSSSSS!!! Eat your brown whole grain rice, use that olive oil. YOU.DO.YOU. This is what works for me.
I love the way I feel when I'm in ketosis. I love sharing recipes, my favorite cookbooks, trying new things. I'm happiest when I am learning. You know you can always reach out to me. Shoot me an email, a text, a message thru Insta or FB. You are NOT alone. The struggle IS real. What you see on the outside might just not be what's going on in the inside. Know it's OK to reach out, grab that hand...that hand may have experienced what you're experiencing. That person may have a few good tips for you or...they may just be the perfect listener.
It matters. YOU matter.
And, as always...