I’m a skeptic at heart. I like to think that I am not swayed by others’ opinions. I began hearing about low carb diets back when I was a medical student in 1997. A couple of my friends did a low carb diet and I thought they were crazy. Fast forward to 2017. I now have seven children and work full time as a physician. I have tried everything to lose my baby weight. The scale tops out at 208 pounds and my Body Mass Index (BMI) is almost 33. Obese. I feel awful. No confidence. Achy all over. I’m taking around 8 ibuprofen daily for various aches and pains. I can’t sleep at night. I get home from work and want to crash every night. I’m frustrated with everything in my life. I’m depressed. I feel dejected and lost.
One day I see a long-time patient who looks and feels great. She is thin and appears fit. She is happy. She has lost a significant amount of weight. When I ask her what she did to look and feel so good she tells me she did ketogenic diet. I had heard of keto before, but for some reason, this time I really listened. I spent all my free time after work reading as much medical literature on ketogenic diet as I could find. I did lots of research to makes sure I was doing a safe and healthy plan. To my surprise, I realized that keto IS the most healthy way to eat, regardless of whether weight loss is the goal, or just a healthy lifestyle.
I began my keto journey on July 29, 2017. I started with my husband (a diabetic with high blood pressure and high cholesterol) and we kept it very simple. All we worried about in the beginning was keeping total carbs less than 20 grams a day. The weight came off quickly. I lasted a week. I’m not fan of meat or fat. I couldn’t imagine not eating carbs long-term. Because my husband refused to give up, I started again. I lasted a week again. But this time it was really hard to quit. Too many people knew I was doing it and I felt pressured by all the questions I was getting from my patients and my friends, so I began for the third time. This time was different. I closed the door to failure. There was no way I was going to let myself fail.
Once I made a full commitment to keto, it became so easy. Track carbs. Enjoy some of the delicious fatty foods I had deprived myself of for all the years I ate low fat like I was taught in med school. I loved being able to have butter, cheese, bacon, heavy whipping cream. My diet was pretty limited at first. When I craved sweet I had a few berries. I never strayed over 20 carbs a day and the weight came off so easily. I lost over 20 pounds in the first two months. This was so motivating. As time marched on, I tweaked things a little and began tracking more and watching the little things like protein intake, quality of fats, etc.
The more weight I lost, the more motivated I was to learn about all the benefits of keto. I read all I could about the decrease in diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression, inflammation, and more. I suddenly realized that I felt great! Positive. Happy, energetic, excited for the future and PAIN FREE!! I went to get some ibuprofen for my daughter and realized I had not taken any for over four months. All of a sudden I was not skeptic. All the stories I had heard about keto were true for me. I don’t remember the last time I felt this good or had such a positive attitude about life. I had tons of energy.
Now I am excited to continue to learn more on my keto journey. I started an Instagram account (@ketofitmdmom) and I get strength from the keto community. I find it very easy to fast and easy to sustain a ketogenic diet. It is no problem to cook for my family. We mostly eat the same foods, though my children are not keto. We share the same main dish and I might make them a different or additional side. I enjoy coffee with MCT oil and heavy whipping cream every day. I have sweet keto treats nearly every day. I’m never going back. This is my lifestyle. I love the power it gives me. Now I’m working to learn more so that I can share this lifestyle with patients who can benefit from it too. What started as a desperate weight loss journey for this busy skeptical family physician and mom has become a passionate lifestyle I want to share with the world.