Becoming obese does not happen overnight. Returning to a normal weight will not happen overnight either. After high school and into early adulthood my weight bloomed from a normal BMI to obesity. Being at a normal weight through high school I think was mostly related to riding my bicycle and walking everywhere. The funny thing about high school was that I was considered the “fat friend.” When I graduated high school, I started college and was working full time or else working more than full time at two or more part-time jobs. Driving to work and school eliminated the walking and riding my bicycle. Like many late teens I worked in fast food and pizza restaurants where the perks of free or reduced cost fast food probably stepped up the weight gain as well. After completing job training and beginning to work at office jobs, the weight continued to go up. I tried to get it under control with NutriSystem, Weight Watchers, medically supervised shake diets, trying to follow low fat guidelines, exercise, and others. I would quickly lose interest and fall back into my old eating patterns. Life went on, I got married, had a child, and kept on my path of poor health.
About 10 years ago, I developed high blood pressure, began taking medication, and started to get concerned about my health. I discovered Atkins and began the Induction phase. After several months I had lost over 40 pounds and eliminated my need for medication. Some life changes resulted in Carb Creep and the pounds returned and then some. Then about five years ago, I found myself in the Emergency Room with sky high blood pressure and a fast pulse. I once again began taking medication and this time at twice the dose. I began to recall my success with Atkins, but did not take action until I had reached an all-time high weight of 310 pounds. At a doctor’s visit I learned that not only did I have high blood pressure, but I was now a full-fledged diabetic. I talked with my doctor and asked if I could try to get this under control with diet. At the time I was employed full time and a full time student. I had gone back to school to complete my Bachelor’s degree and was about six months away from graduation. I knew that any exercise would be limited. My doctor agreed and I started back on Atkins. As I began to do research I began to discover Keto.
Keto is an abbreviation for Ketogenic diet. I had discovered in Atkins that Induction placed my body into a state of Ketosis and this was how my fat stores were burned. Ketogenic diets have been around as a health protocol since the 1920s when it was discovered they were therapeutic for children with Epilepsy. In addition to being a low carbohydrate diet, Keto is also a high fat, moderate protein diet. One of the arguments against Atkins was the high amount of protein. So, I got on board the Keto train which my husband jokingly (or perhaps not so jokingly) refers to as a cult. After six months on Keto at my follow up with my doctor I had lost over 35 pounds, eliminated my need for high blood pressure medication, reversed diabetes (a1C went from 6.7% to 5.5%), and many other physical problems had improved dramatically.
Since that visit my weight has continued to come down, but not as quickly as I had hoped. Weight loss after 40 has its own complications, but I also had more life events that were thrown into the mix which may have also had an impact. Without remaining on Keto, I think I would have quickly returned to a health crisis. Staying on Keto, adding intermittent fasting, walking, and getting back on my bicycle have all contributed to my continued good health. I have been stuck at a plateau for about three months but I am quite happy to report that overall I have lost about 70 pounds and continue to see improvements in my health. Losing over 20% of my body weight has been an incredible journey and I am dedicated to remaining on that journey. I do not want to go back to being sick, tired, and over 300 pounds. Even if the scale stays where it is the progress I have made is incredible.