Low carb success stories

When I was 11, my mom and step-dad got divorced, and I turned to food for comfort.

Suddenly, I was eating anything I could get my hands on—and it wasn’t even junk food most of the time. My mom actually kept lots of healthy foods in the house, but I would often eat an entire bag of whole-grain bagels for breakfast instead of just one.

I lost a bit of the weight I gained when I hit high school—I tried to develop better eating habits, and I was also a student athlete playing three sports. But I quickly fell back into my old ways and ended up graduating from high school 80 pounds heavier than when I started. I kept overeating (healthy and not-so healthy stuff) until 2014—at my heaviest, I weighed 378 pounds.

I knew I had to make a change when I couldn’t do a single pushup.

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A post shared by Cristina McClaren (@gringafitaf) on Nov 30, 2018 at 10:22am PST

I’ll never forget my turning point: It happened on a Thursday; I signed up for a bootcamp class to do while my son was at football practice. Since I had been active in high school, I thought the workout wouldn’t be a big deal, but I soon realized I had signed up for the biggest shock of my life.

During the class, I couldn’t run one lap around the track. I couldn’t even do a jumping jack—I literally could not jump up. I quit the class after just 30 minutes, but from that moment on, I knew I couldn’t continue living life as unhealthy as I had been.

After saying “I’ll start getting healthy on Monday” for longer than I can remember, I chose to start that Thursday. I picked up my son, and when we went out to eat, I ordered a salad. That marked the beginning of the changes I was finally ready to make.

I started by just eating more healthy foods—but that change wasn’t big enough.

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At first, I focused on getting in as many whole grains, fruits, and veggies into my diet as I could—but because I wasn’t necessarily setting a ton of guidelines for my diet, I constantly fell back into the trap of overeating.

Around that time, I also vowed to continue the bootcamp class that showed me just how unhealthy I had become. I went three days a week, and I even joined a local gym where I could take weight-lifting classes and train with advice from trainers or fitness accounts on Instagram. I’m still doing this routine today—though I’ve added exercises and weight as I’ve gotten stronger.

I lost about 90 pounds that year—but I ended up gaining 20 pounds back. I thought since I was active, I could ease up on my self-imposed healthy diet—but in reality, this mindset just led me back to overeating.

In 2015, I switched to a low-carb eating plan—and two years later, I went all-in with the keto diet.

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A post shared by Cristina McClaren (@gringafitaf) on Jun 17, 2018 at 6:14pm PDT

I did the keto diet for about a year, but ultimately decided that a low-carb, no-sugar diet works best for me. I also make sure to watch my portion sizes and follow the recommended servings on most foods. Here’s what I eat in a typical day:

  • Breakfast: eggs and vegetables with coffee and stevia.
  • Snack: celery and cream cheese with everything bagel seasoning.
  • Lunch: Grilled chicken with a green vegetable and riced cauliflower, or mashed cauliflower so I can feel like I’m eating the carbs I used to love.
  • Dinner: I usually try to keep it small and have some sort of protein with salad

In addition to eating low-carb and watching my portion sizes, I’ve also learned to keep myself from overeating by planning my meals in advance—as much as two days ahead of time. It gives structure to my diet and prevents me from thinking about what my next meal will be.

But, despite my progress, my weight-loss journey has been a pretty lonely one—my husband and son don’t maintain as healthy a lifestyle as I do, so I have to resist temptations a lot (like looking the other way when they have ice cream for dessert).

So yeah, it’s been a long and bumpy road—but I still ended up losing nearly 200 pounds.

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Now, I’m at my goal weight of 183 pounds. Until I made the decision to turn my life around, I’d convinced myself I was okay being the “fat mom” at my son’s football games, but I wasn’t. And now, I can think about next steps like skin-removal surgery and maintaining my health.

Overall, I want people to know that they don’t have to take fancy classes or buy expensive foods in order to lose weight. (I get my vegetables from the 99-cent store, for example.) Yes, losing weight is a lot of hard work, and there will be times when you want to give up, but don’t wait until Monday to do something you can start right now.

Low Carb Diet Results: Before and After Weight Loss Stories

Need a little inspiration? I’m going to share some recent low carb before and after weight loss stories with you from within our Low Carb Challenge Group! With their permission of course. 😉

I see tons of low carb diet results within the group every single week, and it’s truly amazing what people have achieved. As one example, see these inspiring pictures of John – who lost 180 pounds!

I shared some of my own before and after weight loss pictures here too.

But THIS is my favorite before & after picture. 😀 LOL

Low Carb Diet Results: Weight Loss Stories and Before & After Pictures

Kathi: I lost my weight during previous challenges-the last 4 to be exact. I’m a very slow loser, hypothyroidism is a weight loss nightmare. I became more stubborn than my fat & after 13 months I’d lost 45 lbs & reached my goal weight. I’m now 6 pounds below my original goal and couldn’t have gotten here without this group. Don’t get discouraged, stick with it and it will work!

Amy: My first 90 day challenge I lost 31 lbs! Clean, healthy, low carb eating!

Dawn: Beginning photo of me at my heaviest 189. Me now at 150 (right).
~ Dawn has lost 39 pounds!!

Andy: I’ve been trying to lose weight since August of 2014 but never actually tried LCHF until October 7th. Since then I have lost 141 pounds!!! I feel extremely blessed to be almost 4 months into my weight loss journey and still losing 10 lbs a week! I give FULL CREDIT to staying under 20g of carbs a day, no cheating, and TONS TONS TONS of water (Half your body weight in OZ) but no more than that or it can be dangerous! Best way to tell is if your Urine is a very light yellow. 😉

Judy: 40 pounds gone forever!

Wendy: 13 months – 150 pounds gone, thanks to low carb!!

Joan: 44 lbs since 12/2013, it’s been a good road. I’ve deviated but got back on track. I don’t miss the junk food at all. I love this WOE.

Join the Low Carb Challenge!

And finally… here is a photo of ME enjoying the low carb lifestyle. 😀 You can see more of my before and after pictures here.

If you’d like to get started eating low carb, see the checklist at this link: Starting A Low Carb Diet.

If you’re already eating low carb, and struggling with your own weight loss, check the 4 points at:

Not Losing Weight Eating Low Carb?

Be sure to join us in the Low Carb Challenge if you haven’t already! 😉

There are so many benefits to a healthy low carb diet. In addition to the weight loss, so many of our members have improved their health dramatically.

Lynn Terry aka @LowCarbTraveler

p.s. This is MY favorite before and after photo 😀

My Ketogenic Diet Success Story – How I Lost 45 Pounds Eating Bacon

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Gaining weight wasn’t something I was horribly worried about until living on my own during the college years. The idea of a ketogenic diet was years off from my mind at that point as I cooked and ate whatever sounded good at the moment with no second thoughts. It wasn’t until I left for college and ate all of the easy-to-cook pre-packaged meals and pulled all-nighters weekly that the weight started to creep. Don’t even get me started on how it packed on when I discovered bars after turning 21. A refreshing moscow mule sounds fine and dandy until the sugar and calories do their work on your waistline!

I talk more about my breaking points before deciding to go Keto in this blog post, as well as a timeline to my weight loss in my About Me section. But, I realized recently that I never explained to people:

Why a Ketogenic Diet?

I’ve tried nearly every popular diet there is to no avail. Take a look at this picture below. The picture on the far left is near my heaviest weight in 2015. Moving along a good few months, the middle picture was a progress picture after 4 strict months of working out 3x a week with a personal trainer and sticking heavily to a high-protein, moderate carb, and low-fat diet focused on counting calories. This kind of diet left me feeling ALWAYS hungry, constantly tired, and I loathed going to the gym, but forced myself due to paying over $300 a month for someone to tell me what workout to do.

After researching diets recommended for women with PCOS, I landed on a Ketogenic diet: eating foods that were high in fat and low in carbohydrates. Standing at 5’2″ and being pronounced pre-diabetic at my Keto starting weight of 168, I decided it was time to give anything a try.

How does Keto possibly work?

It sounds crazy. How can one lose weight while eating cheese and bacon? Trust me, I was a skeptic myself. I read tons and tons of research and testimonies before taking the dive. I knew that I would get shock and scoffs from those who didn’t understand, but the idea of nourishing my body with fat to keep it satiated rather than consuming empty carbs for temporary “fullness” just made sense to me. Part of me was a bit scared to make this change based on what I had been taught about fat, but the other part of me figured that if it didn’t work after a couple months, I would switch to something else and start over. So, with much hesitation, I threw out my bread, potatoes, and rice, and stocked up on flavored cooking oils, sugar-free sweeteners (I use Swerve sweetener to replace white sugar and Lakanto monkfruit sweetener to replace brown sugar), shirataki noodles and Quest protein chips (pasta and chip cravings are REAL during the beginning, y’all!), and ALL the cheese.

You see, many of the yummy carbs we eat but know are bad for us give us quick and easy energy, but don’t last in nourishment, meaning we don’t feel satisfied or full as easily. Whatever our bodies don’t use up in energy ends up getting stored as fat. It’s no wonder our bodies are subject to weight gain on a diet containing a high amount of carbs. But how do you get nutrients and energy without carbs? Using a ketogenic diet, carbs are replaced with high-fat foods which causes the body to go into a natural state of ketosis. In this way, the body runs on ketones for energy rather than carbohydrates.

No bread or sweets?! That sounds impossible.

I know, I know. I’m met with a lot of eyebrow raises and pure shock when I tell people that it’s as “simple” as cutting out bread and cookies. But, the truth is, it really is easy if you get a bit creative. There are a lot of low-carb friendly bread recipes, and sugar-free options are plentiful when that sweet-tooth kicks in. I mean, with sugar-free cheesecakes and pecan pies on the regular, it’s hard to argue that I’m “deprived” in this way of eating!

How long did it take for Keto to work?

I’m not going to sugar coat it; the first week was AWFUL. I’d heard of the “carb flu” associated with a ketogenic diet thanks to my research, but I didn’t realize how real these claims were. I was constantly sweaty nauseous, weak, grumpy and suffered from some pretty crippling headaches.

I was hungry like no other and wanted to snap at anyone who talked to me. It wasn’t pretty.

But, having read all the testimonials that spoke of this happening, I tried with all my might to push through. It helped that I had told everyone around me I was starting this diet, and part of me wanted to continue just to prove the nay-sayers wrong. About 8 days into eating this way, my bad symptoms lifted and I felt a weird sense of energy and clarity I had lacked for quite a while. It was as if I was living in a dimly-lit room for some time and someone finally drew the blinds to help me perk up.

Losing a total of 45 lbs on a ketogenic diet, I got to the lowest weight I’ve been since graduating high school. I actually went back home a month ago and was able to fit into my high school dance dresses! The feeling of being able to fit into those dresses all the way left me like an excited child on Christmas morning, zipping up each dress and realizing I had achieved what I thought was impossible, simply by eating a low carb, high fat diet.

Did you work out?

I get this question a lot. While I did work out toward the beginning, it was more for my own cardiovascular health than it was to lose weight. The toning up was just a bonus. I started lifting weights a few times a week, sticking to light weights with several reps. I then began running for a few months as I prepared for two separate 5K runs. Let me add that I am NOT a runner, but I was actually excited at having the energy to train and get up for a race. One of the races I actually ran fasted! I never would think I could say that. It was incredible. I ate an enormous amount of bacon and eggs after.

I haven’t been working out much these past 3 months due to using every excuse in the book, but I really want to get back into it! It is such a great habit for cardiovascular health, and it relieves my stress. Not to mention that I continue to pay a monthly membership! Whoops. Perhaps now that I’ve reached goal weight, THAT will be my next fitness goal.

How about fasting?

The second most-popular question I get when those curious ask me about a Ketogenic diet is if I participate in intermittent fasting. The simple answer is yes, though none of my fasts have lasted more than 16-18 hours. Intermittent fasting describes a dieting pattern in which a person chooses to eat during only a certain time during the day. Studies have shown that this cycling between fasting and eating can help weight loss efforts, improve metabolic health, and protect against disease. I typically fast during the weekdays from 10-11 PM to 12:45 PM the next day. On the weekends, I choose to fast from 11 PM to 3 or 4 PM. Some days will be longer or shorter, depending on how hungry I am and what I’m doing that day. Above all else, I always try to listen to my body.

Do you count calories? Your macros? Both?

In starting out, I plugged EVERY little thing into MyFitnessPal and stuck to macros of 85% fat, 10% protein and 5% carbs. Better safe than sorry was my mantra, and it helped me learn what foods had hidden carbs snuck into them. After I got in a pretty rhythmic cadence for meals, I stopped counting all macros and focused mainly on how many net carbs I was having per day (net carbs meaning total amount of carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols), sticking to 20 net carbs or less per day. I never worried much about calories, as I stopped eating whenever I felt full and didn’t deprive myself if I was hungry.

Overall, a Ketogenic diet has done wonders for my life. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance on my body and its health, and it feels wonderful to not feel guilty for eating or indulging. My hopes is that this diet does the same for you!

Did I answer all of your questions? Comment below and let me know if you’re curious about anything else; I’m happy to help!

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Weight Loss Success Stories on Low Carb High Fat Diet : Edify

Rick’s Story

31st January 2014

“My introduction to LCHF started out as follows.

I started out obese at 123.5kg in June 2012 (as a 26 y/o, 182cm tall male). At 17 y/o I would have been approximately ~70kg when I met my wife. Clearly being looked after in the food department, mixed with busy work life, 4 children (5 now) and generally being lazy; all contributed their fair share to gaining 50kg+.

So in May 2012 I’m starting to feel a bit shitty with myself (my appearance, my fitness and my overall health). Work involved driving around in a small car and wearing a duty belt to hold keys, torch, radio, etc. At some point it became painful to simply sit in the car as the belt was digging into my stomach. I think that’s what really cinched it for me.

So while driving around I was listening to my weekly fix of computer security podcast, and the show host discussed how he had achieved great results on a ‘very low carb’ type of diet. So I looked into it and it made sense. My wife and I spoke about giving it a try for 30 days, and we kicked it off 1 June 2012. After seeing the results we did, we would have been mad to have thrown in the towel.

After 12 months I’d lost 30kg+. I continued to lose weight and hit 46kg lost after 18 months. (At the time of writing this I’m hovering at about 41-42kg lost).

I still have a ways to go – currently around 20% BF and hoping to get to around 15%. Along the way I’ve transitioned from a pure LCHF to more of a LCHF/Primal mix. I’m loving the varied foods we get exposed to, and we certainly never paid any attention to them when adhering to a typical WOE.

I’ve achieved my results without exercise. After a few months of LCHF I tried running. Still quite overweight and far from fit at that point, it didn’t really do it for me. I also tried cycling, but I was about as good at that as I was at running. I bought a power cage, barbell and weights and did a good 3 months of weight lifting at the start of 2013, and I was seeing great strength improvements, but I decided to put it on hold as I was having trouble measuring my weight loss results with any muscle gains I was seeing. At present I’m just loving my new-found energy and expend as much of it as I can with the kids.

At some point along the way, I started IF (intermittent fasting) – initially just skipping breakfast, then I worked up to eating dinner-only on a daily basis. I dabbled with 48 hour fasts, but I’m pretty set now in the one-meal-per-day routine.

At the 12 and 18 month marks, I got blood workups done and was super-stoked with the results. Overall I’d have to say I’ve seen great improvements in under two years, and speaking about my methods and personal achievements with my friends seemed to encourage them to look at their bodies and lives and do something about what they weren’t happy with. I even wrote up a basic breakdown of my initial knowledge base as an ebook to help out friends and other people who wanted to know what I did and how I did it.”

Rick Meredith
Brisbane QLD Australia

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