I’m going to be upfront; I am not a fan of diet culture. I have been overweight the majority of my life and according to the seriously outdated and harmful BMI chart, I still am. I am also 5’10”, so no matter what I do or did I will be a large woman no matter what. I’ve tried all the diets. I think either myself or my parents had me on a diet from the time I was in puberty. I hated them all. I just wanted to be like my friends. I wanted to be able to eat a Taco Bell bean burrito after school without being a size 14 at 14 years old. I continually felt bad about myself until around age 25, when I said screw it and figured if nothing had worked so far nothing ever would. I am truly grateful for the body positive movement for making me feel comfortable with myself. I am grateful for Generation Z girls, who seem so much more positive with their bodies than I was and have helped this millennial learn to love themselves.
However, and you knew this was coming, once I turned 30 I really started thinking about becoming a mom. Diabetes runs in my family and both my paternal grandparents died from the disease. I knew that I couldn’t outrun my genes forever. I knew that I wanted to be able to play with my kids, travel, and be able to teach them a better relationship with food than the one I had growing-up- I knew something had to change.
My dad had been telling me about Keto starting around 2018, and it sounded really hard and kind of terrible. I figured that although I was heavy I had always been healthy and there was no need for me to do it, but I was really impressed with his results. Because although my dad is super active, thin, and ate a healthy diet compared to most Americans, he was still losing his eyesight to Diabetes. No matter what he did he couldn’t get a handle on the disease until Keto. So after 30 years as a Type 2 Diabetic my dad was finally off all meds in his 60s thanks to Keto.
Finally at 33, my husband I knew we were ready to start the rest of our family. In preparation, I went to the doctor to get a full blood panel and the results were not great. I was on my way to joining the rest of my family. I felt ashamed and really lost. I decided it was time to do a total overhaul on my diet. I knew I did not want to die before 70 like my grandparents.
But I loved bread. I had been a baker my whole life, how could I give up my one true love? So I started with calling my dad. I got the keto books he recommended. I threw out every carb in my house and did strict keto. I have to say with my personality that once I decide to do something I do it, so I don’t judge others for having trouble sticking to keto, but for me I just went in with the mindset that is how I now eat. This was about my life; this was about my health. I did strict keto for 4 months. No carbs, no cheats, and really no eating out. I lost about 30lbs in those 4 months without even changing my calorie intake that much.
While I haven’t had the crazy weight loss of some people, but for me it was never about that, I can’t dispute how much keto changed my life. I suddenly had more energy and was able to exercise more than ever before. I bought an exercise bike and within a year I had lost almost 50lbs and went from a size 18/20 to a size 12/10. But most importantly, my next blood panel came back beautiful. I was ready to start my family.
I am no longer keto, instead I say I am keto adjacent. I don’t eat sugar, rice, or wheat. I will occasionally eat corn and legumes, but usually no more than once a week. I avoid most starchy vegetables, but sometime incorporate a serving of potato. (Especially during pregnancy, this baby wants his 1oz serving of chips.) I try to eat a 1/4c. of fruit everyday, but I only eat berries, peaches, and kiwis. Basically, without trying I probably eat between 50-100 net carbs a day compared to the average American who eats between 225-325 net carbs per day.
Yes, it’s hard sometimes, especially when all I want is a quesadilla or a sandwich, but in the end the benefits outweigh everything else. Food and dieting no longer control me. I might never be the skinniest keto queen, but I am healthier than I have ever been in my life and I know that I am giving my baby the happiest womb. In the end, that’s enough for me.