Several months ago, I had a idea for a monthly feature here on Small Steps of Change. I wanted to introduce you all to some real moms who had transformed themselves through nutrition and/or exercise. We all know that many of the before and afters we see on Facebook or Instagram are photoshopped or fake or the result of a crazy diet that isn’t sustainable for most of us. We are women, moms balancing kids and work and marriage and life, all while trying to get ourselves in shape. I know so many real life moms who have real success stories with real tips on how you can do just what they did.I believe we all have a story and that story grows in power when it’s shared. So here’s Betty’s story!
Hi guys, I’m Betty. I’m turning 32 next month and I wear many hats currently. I’m a wife, mom, college student, and a substitute teacher. I married my husband, Matt, when I was only 20 years old and not quite 9 months later, our oldest son, Walker, arrived. I quickly realized that I did want to stay at home with him and that juggling college and parenting a baby was not ideal for us. So, Matt took as many hours as he could and worked as many hours as he could to finish his degree. A month after he graduated, I gave birth to our daughter, Greta. I stayed home with them until Greta started a pre-school program and every since I have subbed lightly at their school. I’m now starting school back for myself to finish up my degree in K-5 Elementary Education and then, hopefully, continuing on for my Masters in School Counseling. Though, I reserve the right to decide to go ahead and teach before pursuing my Masters. I’m lucky enough to have some flexibility and I plan on taking my classes very slowly. One or two at a time for the next year and half to ease myself back in. Walker is 10 and in 5th grade (middle school here) and Greta is 7 and in 2nd, so I feel very much needed at home still for the time being.
Tell us your “change” story
I started a low carb high fat (lchf) or a Keto lifestyle on January 1st, 2016. I was a classic New Year’s Resolution gal. Honestly, it was my 12th year of the same old resolution of desperately wanting to lose weight. I have always been a heavy person. I was one of, if not the, biggest girls in all my grades from Kindergarten to Senior year in high school. It’s not held me back as one would think. I am very much an extroverted personality and always have had plenty of friends. After getting married to a guy that liked to eat as much as I did and then having babies and some Postpartum Depression, I was bigger than ever. So, I rounded out my 30th year on Earth closing in on a number I couldn’t imagine hitting. It seemed unreal.
Matt had done a Keto diet for around 3 months a year or so before I started and had super fast amazing success. I did not and would not do it with him cause “people can’t live like that” and I “couldn’t give up breads, pastas, and sweets” and a lot of other lies I told myself. He did eventually quit the way of eating and go back to our old habits so he did gain some weight back.
In December 2015, I was at my worse. I was binge eating daily. I was eating so much sweets and crap that I honestly was falling asleep pretty much right after eating. If I wasn’t diabetic, I was nearing it. It was bad. I don’t think I have ever felt so bad physically as I did that last week in December. Somewhere in the middle of the month I told Matt that I had to do something. I had to quit eating these foods. I was desperate and that maybe Gastric Sleeve would be the only thing to save me.
I scrounged the internet for something, anything, to do. I have done it all. I have exercised, Weight Watchers, shakes, cabbage soup, Alli, phentermine, everything. But, the one thing missing from it all was CONSISTENCY. And, I knew I was missing consistency because I couldn’t get over my cravings and urges. I had once looked into Overeaters Anonymous (yep, just like AA) and OA tells you to quit the foods that cause you to binge. Well, what foods caused me to binge? Carbs. Any and all carbs. And, I knew right then that I had to treat this like a disease and I had to do Keto.
Keto is a low carb, high fat lifestyle. Your goal is ketosis, which is a fat burning state. You receive MANY benefits from being in ketosis. To learn more about keto I suggest the fastest and easiest way is https://www.reddit.com/r/ke
My really big epiphany came cause my birthday is middle of February and I was thinking of a cake. I kept telling myself that I would have a cheat day. Though as days went by, I was remembering all those “cheat days” before and how they lead to me gaining weight at an unbelievable rapid pace. I called my best friend and I cried like a baby. I told her that I knew I couldn’t have cake on my birthday and that I was so sad cause it felt like my best friend wasn’t going to be there. I ended up making a delicious low carb strawberry cheesecake. I had around 3-4 pieces of it over 2 days and gave the rest away. It was so delicious and so worth NOT “cheating” cause as a Binge Eater, it’s just not as easy as getting right back on track.
Meals are pretty simple as long as you remember that on a lchf diet, fats are king. Morning: coffee with heavy cream. That’s pretty much it. After about 6 months on keto, I just naturally went here. I am “fat adapted” at this point and eating 5-6 small meals a day is not beneficial for a low carb lifestyle. You simply do not need it, nor do you want it. Lunch/Dinner: meats, cheeses, eggs, veggies, butters, ghee, oils. And then, after dinner, I love another cup of coffee with heavy cream. Intermittent Fasting sort of naturally happens with a lchf lifestyle and I am toying with it, but have far from perfected it.
I meal plan consistently. I, right now, have about a month’s worth planned out at a time. This is a bit more than usual, but a week to 2 weeks is common for me. I always try to have boiled eggs in the fridge and I make ahead lunches for days I work. This isn’t a fancy process though. It consists of me doubling a recipe and freezing some for me and Matt to have.
Fitness is whatever is pleasing me at the moment. I ran for about 4 months out of this last year and loved it, but stopped when it became cold. I do NOT enjoy running in the cold, so I quit for time being. I do Body Pump videos, I do lots of Shaun T videos. I take Zumba here and there. I just bought a spin bike for the house and a stepper. I do not claim to be consistent at all in fitness. I hike a lot and always have. Other than a bit of walking or hiking, I did nothing physical for the first 3-4 months of last year for weight loss.
Recording my food and fitness into MyFitnessPal became a habit I started 3 weeks into this journey. At this point, I continue cause I couldn’t bear to lose my streak! I’ve almost made a whole year at the time I am writing this up for Aileen. (Betty made her one year goal of daily tracking on My Fitness Pal and then decided to stop. Way to set a goal, crush it, and then decide that you need something different.)
I cook a lot. I cook lunches and dinner pretty much everyday. We wanted to make sure we weren’t getting sneaky carbs, so we really found it just a lot easier to eat at home. Our kids eat what we eat, though sometimes I will add mac and cheese, buns, chips, or fries along with their meal.
Some examples of regular meals are: bacon, salmon cooked in ghee with brussel sprouts fried with bacon, steak with goat cheese and mashed cauliflower casserole, keto cream cheese pancakes and sausage patties, omelettes, chicken thighs on the grill, crackslaw ( http://www.food.com/recipe/crack-slaw-low-carb-434863 ), deviled eggs, jalapeno poppers, and MORE jalapeno poppers!
My very favorite is Creamy Cajun Chicken Spaghetti Squash ( http://www.wickedstuffed.com/keto-recipes/roasted-chicken-creamy-cajun-spaghetti-squash-pasta/ ).
I have a Pinterest board called “Tried and True Keto/LCHF recipes I recommend” for just this question. https://www.pinterest.com/bingebetty/tried-and-trued-ketolchf-recipes-i-recommend/
If we eat out, I get things like fajitas (no rice, no beans, no tortillas or I may splurge and have just a couple corn tortillas), steak, broccoli, and salads, or wings. Sometimes, Matt will run by and get pizza on his way home and we will have the toppings off of a pizza and wings.
I do occasionally have a diet drink. I try to keep it to just a couple a month. I will have some “low carb” days where I have closer to 50-80 net carbs. Whereas keto is more 25 or less net carbs. On those days, we may have splurged and had a couple corn tortillas or had Halo Top ice cream (an absolute favorite of mine!!). We went to a beer fest and I sampled a lot. While light beers are keto/lchf friendly, regular beers aren’t. I think that may have been my highest carb day of the year. I neared 100 net carbs that day. Honestly, I paid for it. If you are on a Keto diet, you are much more sensitive to alcohols and their not so great effects for the next day or two.On Thanksgiving I had lots of turkey, bacon wrapped asparagus, mashed cauliflower casserole, Carbquik biscuits, and then low carb pumpkin cheesecake and some low carb peanut butter cookies. ( http://www.sugarfreemom.com/recipes/low-carb-gluten-free-peanut-butter-blossoms/ ) I don’t feel deprived during these events because the fats help me stay satiated. If I go to a party, I almost always bring jalapeno poppers or ham, pickle, cream cheese roll ups.
If you are reading this and you are severely overweight like I was (really, like I am), I honestly encourage you to quit lying to yourself. Quit telling yourself you can’t live without chips or cheesecakes or whatever. You can. I have for over a year now and I am living more than I ever have. I found alternatives to every food that was killing me. Sometimes you just can’t have it in moderation. I’m not necessarily talking to you ladies out there who are looking to drop 30 pounds of baby weight, though I do know you have a job ahead of you too… but, if you have 100 or 200 pounds or more to lose, please stop lying to yourself. By giving up these foods, I am freer than I ever was before. Keep calm and Keto on!
Big thanks to Betty for sharing her story!!! Betty and I met nearly 10 years ago on an old website called Babycenter. A group of moms connected and shared something special. Our virtual friendship has continued over all these years!