Low Carb Keto Living Success Story
How Lisa Lost 80lbs Following a Low Carb Keto Eating Plan
Lisa Baker is a store employee at The Low Carb Grocery’s Newmarket location. She is currently living the low carb lifestyle – and healthier and happier than ever! We sat down with her to learn more about her weight loss journey and how she recovered from a tragic family incident that caused her to gain 80lbs. Her story is a perfect example of how transformative these diets can be for some in all aspects of life, aside from just weight loss. She loves cooking and baking healthy low carb recipes and helping our customers navigate similar journeys – which is why we were so excited to learn more about her personal experience with low carb and keto diets.
When did you start eating low carb/keto?
I have always had weight issues; it’s really yo-yoed over the years. I was always trying the fad diets, most worked but no one diet ever addressed the mental aspect. Losing weight is actually quite simple: lower calorie intake, increased exercise – voila! But once the goal is achieved, off we go back to the poor habits and the weight creeps back on.
So, in 2015, I had a very traumatic incident happen in my family. My 20-year-old son was killed in a car accident. After that, I reverted back to the poor eating habits. In 2017, I found myself 80 pounds overweight, and I was diagnosed with borderline diabetes and high blood pressure. I knew I needed a more permanent change in my life, and a friend of mine told me about this metabolic program. I was like, “Okay, well, I’ll give it a shot.”
What it basically starts out as is a low carb diet. I had never heard of low carb diets, but anyways, I started following the program. I was strict, I was determined. I was like, “This is going to work, right?”. Basically, it’s a protein and vegetables for every meal – very restrictive. The idea is to “kick you into ketosis” – switch the body from burning carbs into burning fats. It took my body about 6 weeks to do the conversion and that’s really when I started noticing all of the side benefits of ketosis. Because you’re no longer eating carbs, but they’re still contained in the body, it has to rid itself of the carbs in order to start burning the fats. And that’s when the weight loss started for me – it literally falls off when I’m in ketosis!
What was the most challenging part of starting living the low carb lifestyle for you?
I was learning as I was going. As you progress in the metabolic program, you start incorporating different types of food, but in the beginning, of course, it’s very restrictive. No cheese, no dairy, no nuts, no seeds. So, when I was about halfway through, that’s when I started to increase my fats. I was so limited to my foods before that, and I was so bored and sick of it.
I learned a lot more about keto on my own by watching videos on YouTube and doing my homework, and it’s really all trial and error. I think a lot of people overthink keto and low carb. They think “Oh, I can’t do that. It’s just so restrictive!” – but it isn’t! It’s what you make it to be.
For example, one thing I was really missing was my sweets and treats – I love that stuff. So that’s when I started baking and playing around with recipes. I spent hours and hours in the kitchen trying different things. There were definitely some flops – lots of flops, actually. But by 2018, when I fully started a keto diet, I really got the hang of things.
So, how long did it take you to lose the 80 lbs?
Just over a year – about half a year on the metabolic program (low carb, low calorie) and half a year on the keto diet (low carb, high fat).
Did you experience any roadblocks while following the diet, such as birthdays, social events, or dining out?
You know, I didn’t really have too much trouble. I was even celebrating a big birthday and we went to a really nice restaurant. I ordered a beautiful steak and some roasted vegetables. So, you can always make it work! People sometimes make excuses like, “Oh, I had to have that bread!” – but, you don’t! I know that if I go towards those types of foods now, my body just screams at me.
Did you experience the “Keto Flu” when you started doing keto?
Oh yes, that’s horrible, haha! I remember getting very tired, very ache-y. I felt like that for a couple of days. I also had a metallic taste in my mouth that no matter what I ate, I could not get rid of it for 2 or 3 days. But it was more the exhaustion and the flu-like symptoms that got me down. I was out for a couple days – it wasn’t pretty. But I try to look at the positive side, it means my body is getting where it’s supposed to go. It’s the transition.
Do you hold yourself accountable with your diet, or did/do you currently work with any professionals to help you?
I had a personal trainer that I was working with 3 times a week when I started my weight loss. I was doing weight training, very little cardio. Now, I do hot yoga 5 times a week, which I love.
I also worked with a psychologist in the beginning to help me work through some of the other things that were in the way. Most people who are overweight are overweight because of certain reasons. So, in order to be successful in your weight loss, you have to dig deep and get into that stuff. A lot of people don’t like to do that, and I think that’s why a lot of diets fail. So yeah, it’s not just the food that has to change, it’s every aspect of your lifestyle.
What were some of the biggest changes you noticed while following these diets, aside from weight loss?
Well, first of all, the inflammation in my body was completely reduced! I always had a bloated “pooch” on my lower abdomen, and even my wrists were inflamed. I could just feel I was holding onto fluids. So, the inflammation was gone immediately. That was huge for me. I also sleep much better, much clearer thinking, shiny hair! Just glowing. Definitely my confidence, too. And I like to give back. So, the idea of working at The Low Carb Grocery, I love talking to people. If they’re struggling, I love to help because I’ve been there.
My energy levels are also through the roof! I’m going to be 60 next year and, I’m telling you, I have more energy than some of my 30-year-old son’s friends.
Fasting is a common practice with keto plans. Do you ever intermittent fast and if so, do you have any advice for first timers?
I do and I swear by it! Once I had lost the 80lbs, I was on Facebook in these intermittent fasting groups, and I wasn’t even sure if I could do it because it sounds really daunting. But, I was talking to a few people and they said just try it, try going slowly. Start with doing 12 hours, then 14, 16, etc. I got into doing it, and I eventually reached a point where I could do 36-hour fasts!
As you do it, your energy spikes! It’s incredible how good you feel when you give your body a break from having to digest food. There’s a stage during fasting called autophagy, where the body is able to stop working on digestion and work on other things – healing itself, cancer prevention, anti-aging. Autophagy is REAL!
Can you walk us through a typical day of your favourite keto meals?
So, these days, I usually start fasting around 8pm and then I won’t eat until about 1pm the next day. I’ll have coffee in the morning and put full-fat cream in my coffee, and that keeps me full until the afternoon.
My first snack would be a handful of almonds, maybe some cheese or pepperoni sticks. My first big meal would be a salad with boiled eggs or some tuna fish. Then my dinner meal could be anything. Lately, I’m really into the konjac noodles so I make a lot of stir-fries, I use the rice and make all kinds of dishes! It’s so low calorie, so quick, and so good. I also make lasagnas with the Palmini heart of palm lasagna noodles.
What is your take on snacking while eating low carb?
I am a big snacker! If you’re doing keto where you are able to eat higher calories, snacking doesn’t matter. When I started the metabolic program, I was doing about 1200 calories a day for 6 weeks. And now I do about 1600-1800 calories a day, which is a lot for me. But what the calories consist of is important, too. The other thing is, as you eat more fat in your diet, the hunger and cravings go away because you get fuller faster off of those foods.
But this is where The Low Carb Grocery comes in – we have the best snacks, the best low carb options! So, yes, there’s always a place for snacking on low carb diets.
What are some of your favourite snacks?
Where do I start!? The Atkins treats are really good. We have so many protein bars that are amazing, too. The CarbRite ones are amazing and they only have 1-2g of net carbs per bar. I also love the Coffee Mate Creamers for my coffees. Oh, and anything from Farm Girl – the cakes, brownies, cereals – awesome.
My other snacks usually include nuts, cheese, or jerky snacks. I do a lot of homemade muffins and cookies, too. I bake a lot from scratch, so I use the almond flours, sweeteners, whatever I need from the store. Maybe a sugar-free caramel drizzle to make things fun! I’m so amazed at how the offerings at the store have evolved. The quality, taste, flavours. I’m a big texture person and the stuff we have now is great.
Keto diets get a bad rap for being expensive. What tips do you have to keep eating keto within budget?
So, keto can be as simple or complex as you make it. You don’t have to buy all the stuff from the store, but there are things that are less expensive. We offer clearance sales and weekly specials, which is a great place to start. But protein and veg are your basics. Whatever you add to it, is your choice.
Have you had cheat days?
Of course, you’re human! You’re going to have birthdays and events come up. I can go to a birthday party now and if they’re cutting the cake, I can have a couple bites and I’m good with that – I don’t even want any more than that. And if I do overdo it, my body reacts, and I suffer! I don’t want to suffer! So that keeps me away from that stuff.
Sugar, in my opinion, is poison and it often appears in inexpensive, processed foods. It’s very highly addictive. Being off of it feels good, and I can just make my own low carb treats, instead. If I go on a little sugar bender, it takes me a couple days to get back into ketosis. So that’s another thing – you have to go restrictive again if you stray. So, it’s just easier to stay in ketosis sometimes!
How would you sum up your experience over the last 5 years – and counting?
I have come to eat, breathe, and live the low carb lifestyle. I swear by this diet because of the changes I’ve seen in my own life. I create foods that I truly crave. And, I feel included now. Like, I can go to a friend’s house for a barbeque and not feel like I’m missing out. It’s really just about finding the right substitutes for low carb. And that’s why when people make excuses, it makes no sense to me! There are great swaps for everything. Some of those things can get expensive, yes, but how can you put a price on your health?
When I stared this and I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and prediabetes, that really scared me. Not so much the illnesses, but the side effects from these illnesses. My doctor felt that the problems were weight-related, so he suggested the metabolic program to help me lose the weight. I no longer have borderline diabetes and I no longer have high blood pressure and that feels great to know. People don’t realize the health benefits and how good it really can be!
We hope you enjoyed reading about Lisa’s weight loss story and her experience with low carb and keto diets. If you are interested in starting a low carb or keto diet, be sure to check out more resources on our blog. Or stop by our Newmarket store and speak to Lisa in person while you shop!
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Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to replace personalized medical advice. A low carb keto diet may not be suitable for you. Consult your health care provider before making any changes to your lifestyle or use this information at your own risk.