It’s been a couple of weeks since you last checked your weight…
You wake up early in the morning and step into your bathroom to take your bath. Stepping out of the shower, you see your bathroom scale in a corner and decide to track your weight loss progress. “This can’t be. I’ve gone past my goal weight?!” Surprised by the reading of the scale, you step down and on again to confirm the scale isn’t broken. The same numbers are still staring at you…
You’ve actually gone past your weight loss goal. Your keto efforts finally paid off. What a surprise!
The scenario above was exactly Nicole’s experience. Well, without the part where she climbed a scale.
Nicole’s scale was at her friend’s for months, so she couldn’t consistently track her weight when she started working with me. She realized she had lost more weight than she set out to do when the clothes she couldn’t fit into initially became too large on her. She had to give out most of those clothes and go shopping.
Nicole is a 33-year-old divorced mom who fought really hard to lose weight.
On her journey to lose weight, Nicole followed people like Dave Asprey. She also tried keto on her own. Nicole took Pruvit, keto drinks, and other weight loss supplements without much to show for it.
While she succeeded in losing over 50 lbs, she ended up gained way more back.
She was confused and worried about why she wasn’t getting weight loss results like others were.
Nicole came to me because she wanted to take her keto to the next level, get to her weight loss goal and live it as a long-term lifestyle. She knew she was missing something and needed the guidance of an expert.
When Nicole came to me, in addition to her weight, she was consumed by painful periods. During her monthly period, the world literally ends for Nicole and those around her because of the excruciating pain.
It was emotionally traumatic for her and everyone around.
Nicole also had constipation issues, struggled to let go of her nightly glass of wine and what she called, “poor eating habits”.
During the nine weeks of working with me, Nicole experienced massive transformation in several areas of her life.
She said her biggest win from working with me was her transformed eating habits.
Nicole said the rule of “5 minutes meal” I have in the program changed everything for her. She went from consuming boxed food and keto products to making her food at home because she learned the secrets of my fast & easy meal formula so that she could make meals in no time.
She said the nine weeks program helped her remove all the blind spots… All the things that were holding her back from getting the weight loss results she desired… The biggest of which was her eating habits.
Nicole was also able to give up her nightly wine habit.
She said the program caused her to pause and question the role of alcohol in her life. It was really transformative and an eye-opener.
Nicole said, typically, during a super stressful month, she’d give up on her efforts to lose weight and go back to her high-carb lifestyle… But the support and structure within the program gave her a different outlook.
It helped her stay on course.
By the second month of working with me, Nicole noticed that her period pain dramatically subsided. She experienced less cramping. It was regular and smooth sailing for her!
Nicole said the painful period relief alone was worth her entire investment in working with me!
Nicole also stated that the issues she had with constipation were gone. Her movements are now regular.
Nicole says that working with me leveled-up her keto game, shifted her perspective, and removed all the blind spots that held her back.
She has also given away all her Pruvit drinks, and other weight loss supplements, as she realized they don’t have a place in her life anymore.
Do you feel inspired by Nicole’s story?
Would you like to experience a similar transformation in your life?
If yes, I have good news for you.
Right now, I am taking in a new set of people through the same program that Nicole completed.
Click here to read more about who is the right fit to work with me and find out if this might be right for you, too.
I talk to women every day about their lifelong battle with their weight. We discuss all the diets they’ve tried over the last few decades. They’ve tried HCG, Weight Watchers, Medifast, Atkins, South Beach, elimination diets, Whole 30, paleo, FODMAPS, Jenny Craig, weight loss surgery, and on and on and on… and the most recent trend seems to be Orbera, the $8,000 balloon inserted into the stomach for 6 months. The fact that people are willing to pay that much money for a temporary means of restricting food intake is both alarming and eye opening. This indicates the enormity of this issue for people and their desperation to find a solution, so that they can put this monkey to bed and move on to more important things in their lives.
Despite what society says about overweight people being weak-willed and lazy, I know that the people I speak with are incredibly resourceful, tenacious, and have unparalleled willpower! Despite feeling hungry, tired, and miserable on diets, they continue to seek out yet one more diet to solve their battle with their weight. That is true strength and tenacity.
What I’ve noticed after talking to 100s of women (and several men) about all of their diet trials of the past is that there are a few errors in the way that people view weight loss diets, a lot of fantasy, and most importantly, there are key pieces missing to their dieting efforts. Let’s looks at each of these.
The Diet Lies We Tell Ourselves
Every time I talk with someone about their past diets, they have two ways of assessing them: they worked or they didn’t work. Their criteria for sorting them is based solely on how much weight they lost. This is a huge error in reasoning and a very narrow lens of success because they ignore what happens AFTER the weight loss period. Don’t you go on a diet because you want to be slim, not just now, but forever? A diet isn’t just what happens while you’re losing weight; it is also what happens after. Despite what they may tell you in the sales office of your local diet center, there is no diet that will fix your body so you can go back to eating what ever you want. A diet only works if you lose weight (how ever long that takes) AND you can keep eating that way forever, as a lifestyle, so that you can keep the weight off forever.
Common Diet Lies (or Myths) that People Believe:
XYZ Diet worked because I lost weight fast or lots of weight. (SELECTIVE MEMORY)
If I can just lose the weight, I just know I’ll figure out how to keep it off. (DENIAL)
Just let me lose the weight really fast, right NOW! I’ll figure out later about how to keep it off. (BARGAINING)
XYZ Diet will heal my body so I can go back to eating all my favorite foods. (SALES LIES)
There must be something wrong with me, since everyone else seems to be losing lots of weight really easily. (SOCIAL MEDIA FANTASY)
I guess I’m just a stress eater/emotional eater/carb addict, so I’m doomed to cheat and fall back into my old eating habits. I need a diet plan that lets me eat cookies and cake so I can survive all the cravings! (LACK OF INFORMATION AND SKILLS).
How to Know if a Diet Worked
Let’s get real. If you’re going to look back on past diets and determine fairly if they truly worked, you need to look at multiple aspects. This is also important in assessing any diet plan or program that you are currently considering, or are doing right now.
Did you gain the weight back? That diet did not work!
Did the food taste terrible and you were constantly fantasizing, “I can’t wait to get back to my old favorite foods!” That diet didn’t work because it was not teaching you a sustainable way to eating. If you don’t like the food, you can’t live that way!
Did you have to take a mountain of supplements every day because the food you were eating was lacking in key nutrients? Did the food you were eating come in packages and powders and have a long list of ingredients trying to simulate real food? That diet is not sustainable because you can’t get proper nutrition from powders and supplements long-term!
Did you find that you felt cold, hungry, and tired all the time? Especially after losing weight? That diet did not work, and in fact, it slowed your metabolism so that you are guaranteed to gain all the weight back and even more! This is the worst kind of diet, and sadly, the most common.
Did you tell yourself that if you could just lose the weight, that would be enough motivation to keep it off? That diet is also doomed to fail. If weight loss alone was ever enough to make people keep it off forever, then no one would ever go on more than one diet in their life. This completely ignores the biological and psychological forces at work, that conspire to keep you fat forever.
Did you have a supportive community? If you don’t have support from friends, family, other people following the same way of eating, it isn’t impossible to succeed, but it will be very challenging.
Did you have an expert guide? When things went wrong, didn’t work, left you frustrated and ready to quit, did you have someone there to guide you step-by-step and keep you motivated and on the right track?
Was it a one-sized fits all approach? Every one of us on this planet is a unique person and needs a diet that fits us. Often people wonder why a certain diet worked for their friend, but didn’t seem to work for them. Most often that is due to the lack of adjustments in the plan or program to fit a person’s individual needs.
The Missing Pieces for Sustainable Weight Loss
What you really need is a perfect way of eating for YOU, a way that you can live with the rest of your life, so that you can lose weight and keep it off. The culmination of my education and personal and professional experience has shown me that there are multiple keys to a way of eating that leads to weight loss that is sustainable. You MUST address both the proper nutritional approach for your body and health issues AND get support for the psychology of why we eat. In other words, this is what you need to lose weight and keep it off for good!
Here is a check list for you when you’re looking into your next (and hopefully your last!) diet:
Community Connection Does your diet connect you with other people that are successfully following the same way of eating, so you never feel alone?
Nutritionally Complete Does your diet meet all your nutritional needs, so that you can follow it forever?
Accountability & Motivation Does your diet program include expert coaching to keep you on track and motivated to keep going, even when things get frustrating?
Expert Guidance Does your diet program also include a trained health care professional that troubleshoots issues that arise and guides you step-by-step to your next best move to get maximum results?
Sustainable Way of Eating Are you eating food that you enjoy and could eat for the rest of your life?
Not Slowing Metabolism Does your diet not restrict fat and calories? And make you feel energized, mentally alert, physically good, and a zest for life?
Heal the Underlying Hormonal Issues Is your diet addressing the underlying biochemical reasons that you keep gaining weight? (Not sure? Schedule a consult here)
Teach Skills to Overcome Cravings Does your diet program teach you why we have cravings, why we are wired to overeat, why we turn to food for comfort, and teach you the skills to address all of this so you can permanently change those old habits?
Education Does your diet program teach you the WHY behind the way you are eating, so that you are empowered to make the right choices long-term, instead of making you dependent on meal plans and packages foods to keep going?
Now a little homework. List out all the past diets you’ve tried and check them against this check list above. Which diets actually worked? (Here’s a hint: if you are currently overweight and looking for your next diet, then NONE of your past diets worked.) And for all the diets that didn’t work (remember, that is all of them), which pieces were missing? Next step, take a big breath and sigh of relief, because it’s not your fault all those past diets didn’t work long-term.
Now, comment below with your AHA’s regarding all your past diets – what parts were missing in each of them?
Keto Chat Episode 14 is with Randy Webb, Licensed Professional Counselor in Arizona and Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Washington. Randy was my counseling internship supervisor when I was completing my graduate degree in 2012, and at that time, he was a vegetarian. When I went to visit Phoenix in March 2016, I was excited to talk to Randy about a couple of the therapies he’s passionate about. But then I discovered that he had a big surprise for me regarding his diet!
What we talk about:
Randy’s surprise development of metabolic syndrome, fatigue, sleep trouble, and kidney issues when he was eating, what he thought was, a health diet.
His journey from a low-fat, high carb, vegetarian diet to a lower carb, omnivorous diet
Who inspired Randy to look at his diet and give up oatmeal and consider eating sardines for breakfast
What health improvements he’s seen since changing his diet
Which dietary change had the biggest impact on his health markers
How Randy became interested in hypnotherapy
How trauma can lead to mindless eating, emotional eating, or stress eating and what can be done about it
How EMDR therapy empowers a person to build their own internal resources for health and well-being as opposed to other talk therapy that focuses on identifying and changing what is “wrong” with a person
In this episode of Keto Chat, I sit down with Katie McKenna, a therapist and nutritionist that I went to school with at Bastyr University. She is licensed as a mental therapist and certified nutritionist in Washington and has her practice in the Seattle area.
Katie shares her training and experience working with eating disorders and how she helps her clients transition to ketogenic diet. She also shares tips on redefining your identity as you make a radical dietary change, and much more.
Take the 90 Day Keto Diet Challenge:
Katie McKenna, LMHC, CN, Therapist & Nutritionist
9 months on a ketogenic diet. Wow. In some ways, it feels like just yesterday I started this way of eating. In other ways, it seems like forever ago that I was in that old body with all those debilitating symptoms. In the beginning, I mentally committed to at least 90 days because I knew it takes at least that long to become very well adapted to a ketogenic diet. The results have been so dramatic that I’ve gone three times as long as my original commitment with no plans of stopping.
A lot is new: weight lifting, podcast interview, thoughts on cravings, hair regrowth, and more. And a lot is the same: weight loss maintained, normalized blood pressure and blood sugar, all the other health improvements, and my 90 Day keto challenge programs.
Ongoing Health and Symptom Improvements
Here is a recap of the health improvements I’ve experienced over the last 9 months:
Normalized blood pressure
No more metabolic syndrome
Normalized liver function
Normal fasting blood glucose (went from 96 to 70)
70% drop in inflammation (C-reactive protein)
Only one migraine headache in the last 9 months (before keto I was having multiple migraines each month that lasted 6 days each)
Chronic leg pain is almost completely gone
Leg swelling almost complete gone
Memory and mental acuity are at pre-accident level
Energy is fantastic (one year ago I was bedridden from extreme fatigue)
Sleep has dramatically improved, both in quality and circadian rhythm
Urinary incontinence is gone
Athlete’s foot is nearly gone
Toe nail fungus is dying
Sugar, carb, and fast food cravings are gone
Depression and mood is greatly improved
Skin appearance and texture is so soft and smooth
Cardiovascular exercise endurance is unbelievable
Resting heart rate has dropped from high 80s to 60s
Heat intolerance is gone
Physical clumsiness and dropping things is almost gone
Motivation is through the roof
Light and noise intolerance is gone
Sense of ease, calm, peace (lack of anxiety)
Obesity is gone
Central abdominal obesity gone
Ability to return to work full-time
My diet remains pretty much the same and you can see what I eat by following me on Instagram here. For the most part, I don’t weigh or measure my food at this point because I’ve learned what foods and portions fit my keto macros. I did decide to do a dairy-free month, however.
Dairy-free month. Personally, I started to notice my consumption of heavy whipping cream was increasing over time and that each time I had some, it never felt like it was enough. I started having obsessive thoughts about how I could get more, so I decided it was time to take a break from it. This coincided with my 20 year old son (he’s keto, too) expressing his desire to do a dairy-free month, as well. He tends toward cystic acne that he has identifed in the past was triggered by dairy, so prior to keto he mostly avoided it. He decided to try dairy again when he went keto about 7 months ago, to see if the tendency for keto to dramatically reduce inflammation would mediate or prevent his normal reaction to dairy. At first, he did not seem to have his normal cystic acne breakouts, and he still doesn’t. However he wants to take his keto diet to the next level and cut out dairy to see if it will completely eliminate all acne (and my guess is that it likely will).
Keto without dairy is a challenge, however it is not impossible. I’m exploring dairy-free keto friendly foods, like Kite Hill cheese, Go Veggie cream cheese, and Epic Bars, plus some homemade recipes, so stay tuned for updates, new recipes, and product reviews.
Hiking and Lifting Weights
A few weeks ago, I was able to go hiking for the first time since the car accident. It had been 2.5 years since I’d gone hiking. It was a milestone, for sure. What was most impressive for me was my level of cardiovascular endurance. Previously, any time I’d go hiking, I would experience pretty significant hypoglycemia symptoms (like feeling delirious and lightheaded at the end) if I didn’t have a high carb snack along the way. This time I not only didn’t need a snack at all, but I also hadn’t even eaten breakfast. And we hiking for over 2 hours. I felt strong and energetic. And after the hike was over, I had thoughts of going for another walk. It was the feeling of tapping into my body’s ample supply of fat energy. It was glorious!
I also decided to start lifting weights and settled on the 5×5 stronglifts program. I joined my local no-frills gym and really enjoyed the feeling of challenging my muscles. Soon I noticed though that lifting weights three times per week suddenly brought my appetite roaring back. This freaked me out a bit, so I took a break from the gym to do a little investigation. After all I could from /ketogains on Reddit and Facebook, I came to the conclusion that I was dramatically under-eating calories (even when following my appetite) for the workouts I was doing and would actually need to go back to monitoring my intake to ensure I was getting enough calories on workout days. Since I have a trip to Phoenix planned a couple of weeks, I decided to hold off on my 5X5 workouts until I return and can adequately monitor my food intake.
Guest on Ketovangelist Podcast
A few weeks ago I had the honor of being a guest on The Ketovangelist podcast. It was really fun talking to Brian and sharing the story of my health transformation, plus some insight into what it is like working as a nutritionist while following a diet that goes against what mainstream nutrition says is health. Take a listen if you haven’t yet.
On the Ketovangelist Podcast!
Over the last 3 months, my weight has been fairly stable, as well as my body fat percentage and measurements. There is a theory that your body remembers past weights that it was at for any significant period of time and tries to maintain that weight, which can result in plateaus. My body may just really like this weight (mid to low 160s). Or I might be consuming too much dairy, which equates to too many calories and/or extra inflammation. I shall continue to watch and see what happens. This does show that this way of eating is sustainable, however, since I don’t really track or measure my food any more.
September to February. Comparing measurements from September (pictured top right) to February (bottom right) I’ve lost nearly 1 inch on some measurements (chest, calf, bicep), almost nothing on my hips, but almost 2 inches on my waist.
December to February. My body’s measurements were pretty much the same when comparing December (middle picture on bottom; last time I took measurements) to February (picture on bottom right), which confirms that my body is in a holding pattern of weight maintenance.
Health Issues Improving
No more TMJ?!? So I hadn’t even reported on this in the past, but I just noticed two days ago that the former popping in my jaw is gone. I can open and close my jaw with ease, without any popping or locking. While this wasn’t something that I experienced any pain with, it was a sign of something not working correctly in my body. Another keto surprise benefit.
Hair regrowth. During the time that I was losing weight, my head shed a lot of hair. After researching this, I found that it is quite common on ANY diet where a person losing a significant amount of weight. I also found that there weren’t any supplements that counteracted this (research showed biotin supplementation, for example, was no more effective than waiting it out). It seems that weight loss is a significant stressor on the body in what ever form it takes. So it seems that as my weight loss has stopped, my hair has begun to regrow. I have about 1.5 – 2 inches of regrowth everywhere on my head. It makes for interesting extra fluff to style, but I’m happy to report that keto doesn’t make your hair fall out long term.
Athlete’s foot and nail fungus update. At one point I reported that my athlete’s foot of 10 years had gone away, but it seems to be dying a slow death. It is no longer occupying the bottom of my foot (no scaly, peeling skin there at all), but I have a small patch that has moved up onto the top of my foot and my little toes. It’s quite odd, as it seems to be moving in a wave, trying to run away from the ketone bodies, but it can’t escape. Athlete’s foot fungus is notoriously hard to kill, even with the strongest pharmaceuticals, so it is interesting to see how it is dying off with keto. And my nail fungus (which I think I also erroneously declared gone after a month) has grown out about one quarter of the length of my nail, so it too is dying a very slow death. I hope it’s painful, too. Well, not painful for me (which it’s not), but a slow, painful death for fungus just sounds like the stuff of a B horror movie.
No gas. This may be TMI, but I never fart. OK, almost never: when I add a lot of high-fiber seeds like chia, that can cause a little gas the next day, but a very small amount. And when I tried out Quest’s powdered MCT oil for travel last month, it caused a little gas and bloating initially, which I’m attributing to the small amount of corn fiber it contains. All of this “no gas” stuff is actually old news, but something I just realized that I hadn’t mentioned here. Keto is really great for getting rid of bacterial overgrowth (the wrong kinds in the wrong place, and too much of the wrong kind) in intestines.
Normal resting heart rate. A year ago, and for a very long time before that, my resting heart rate had always been in the high 80s. I’ve never been a super fit person aerobically, but even when I was in “better shape” my heart rate always remained in the mid- to high-80s. While at my endocrinologists office, I discovered that my resting heart rate is now about 68 – 70 beats per minute. Wow! It dropped about 20 points over last year. Now some might jump on this and say, “Well, you lost all that weight. Of course your heart rate dropped.” And to that I would say, no, I’ve been this weight in the past and even then my heart rate was in the 80s.
And others may say, “Oh, well you’re working out now, so you’re in better cardiovascular shape.” No, no, I’m not doing much “cardio” at all, so the drop in heart rate has nothing to do with being in better cardiovascular shape. At least by the standard idea of training hard, doing lots of exercises that make you breath hard so your body gets more efficient at carrying oxygen to your tissues idea of cardiovascular shape.
And still others may say, “Aha! That keto diet slowed down your metabolism!” Which may be partially true. However, since I’m not constantly freezing (in fact I still run warmer than most people around me), I would disagree that my drop in heart rate is due primarily to slowed metabolism. I would argue that since my body is using fuel more efficiently, as evidenced by the anecdote I shared above about hiking and treadmill walking, my heart does not need to pump as furiously to get oxygen and nutrients to my tissues.
Chronic Leg Pain
The chronic leg pain (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS) that I was suffering from after my car accident of 2014 did lift pretty quickly after I started keto. However, most recently as I’ve become more physically active with hiking and weight training, I am being reminded that there is still damage and scar tissue in my legs. Whereas before keto, if I would do ANY increased activity, like even sitting without my legs elevated, I would have extreme swelling and pain to the point that it would interfere with my sleep. Now as I resume hiking and begin lifting weights, I notice after that my legs feel tight (instead of swollen) and tender to the touch (allodynia, which means pain upon non-painful stimulus to the skin, which is a remnant of CRPS and sign of nerve damage). And when my massage therapist has worked my leg muscles, there is considerable pain with deeper work. But knowing where I was almost 2 years ago, I am very grateful I’m not back there!
I continue to have issues with sleep (central apnea) as I reported a few months ago. I’ve been working with a wonderful chiropractor as well as a massage therapist to properly align my neck and spine, and it has been helping. My sleep is improving, but I still continue to have issues with hypnoapnea early in the morning, which prevents me from getting optimal sleep. All of my doctors have said that central apnea is hard to treat, which is similar to what I was told about my neuro and endocrine symptoms after my car accident. And since I found a solutions for that (yay, keto!), I’m not giving up hope on resolving my central apnea. I’ve added chlorophyll with the idea that increasing my blood’s oxygen carrying capacity may help. And I continue to work with my primary Naturopathic Doctor as well as my Naturopathic Endocrinologist as we delve into the genetic medicine and nutrition of methylation defects.
How about you?
What health improvements have you noticed after following a ketogenic diet?
Brion and I met randomly while hiking with friends and as it turned out, he too follows a ketogenic diet. And as so many have experienced, he also had a health transformation as a result of following a very low carb, moderate protein, high fat diet.
I invited Brion over to chat about his keto diet. Some of his health improvements include improved mood, less alcohol use, and weight loss. Plus he talks about keto compared to other diets, like how with keto he’s not constantly hungry, unhappy, or irritable.
He concludes our discussion by saying, “I think it’s been a life changer.” Take a watch and listen. This is what keto is like for real people.