Hi – I’m Karen Gilchrist. Nice to meet you and welcome to Rocket Weight Loss!

My keto diet journey started in a round-about-way 13 years ago when I discovered I had a gluten intolerance. I needed to eliminate all wheat, rye and barley from my diet in order to stop the abdominal bloating, cramps, diarrhea and skin rashes. Many of the gluten free products we have on our grocery shelves are high in calories, carbohydrates, sugars and fillers. As I ate more and more gluten free products my waist and hips started expanding.

Over the following three years the weight came on slow and steady until I realized I was 35 pounds overweight. Not only that, but this was an incredibly stressful time in my life. There were so many concerns: finances; health; career path/education; family; and a sick dog too.

Those were dark days. For me, my focus became less and less about how I looked and felt. I was eating on the run and not going to the gym. And why not, in my twenties I could do that without gaining a pound. But I wasn’t twenty anymore!

For the most part, my focus was on my work, part-time courses, paying the bills and taking care of everyone else. I avoided mirrors and would not allow anyone to take my photo. I was so depressed and ashamed that I had done this to myself.

My turning point was an invitation to a friend’s party, and I had nothing to wear. Absolutely nothing fit me! On the way to the party, I had to make a mad dash to the mall and buy a pair of black jeans in a larger size. I was so disgusted with myself that I decided to go on a diet the very next day.

The first diet I chose was a low-calorie one; I lost four pounds in a month. While the diet was easy to follow, it was boring and unsatisfying. Next was the low-fat diet but I found it time consuming and challenging with label deciphering, added sugar, sodium, gums, and sometimes foods that had an aftertaste.

I considered doing the Atkins Diet again because, years ago, I had successfully lost 10 pounds on it before a wedding. It is a low-carb diet and it worked much better for me. And then I remembered my issues with it.

The Atkins diet has four phases, starting with eating low carb, lean protein, and high fat foods until the first goal is met. The first phase puts you in ketosis where you are burning the fat you eat and your stored fat. After meeting the first goal, you slowly add more carbohydrates until you reach your final goal weight.

For me, adding carbs with each successful level kicked me out of ketosis and completely stalled my weight loss. I decided not to try the Atkins diet again because I remembered how frustrated I was with the diet and how quickly I regained all the weight back.

So now what? How could I possibly lose the extra weight?

Friends had told me about the keto diet, and I was seeing their success with it, but because of my challenges with the other diets I was hesitant. I knew I needed to make a diet change soon before I gained more weight and my health would begin to suffer. So I set out to learn as much as I could about the keto diet before diving in.

Upfront, it sounded a lot like the Atkins diet, except the idea was to stay in ketosis until you reached your goal weight. What I liked about the keto diet is that it permitted so many of the foods I enjoy (e.g., butter, cream, meat, poultry, fish, and green leafy vegetables). It also had good low carb options to replace the gluten products that I still craved. Like the Atkins diet, the keto diet creates a state of ketosis where the body is fueled by ketones. Unlike the Atkins diet, the keto diet does not reintroduce starchy carbohydrates.

I wanted to lose the weight quickly, so each day I ate a strict standard keto diet consisting of 5% carbs, 20% protein and 75% fat. I used ketone sticks to check that I stayed in ketosis. This was very motivating, especially when the scale showed me at the same weight for a couple of days in a row.

I lost 35 pounds in four months. I was so pleased with myself and my confidence soared. I went back to the gym and didn’t feel intimidated by the other people surrounding me. It was also a profound joy to walk into any clothing store, pick something off the rack, try it on and like how I looked!

Weight maintenance was easy by doing the cycle keto diet where I added nutrient rich carbs 1-2 days a week, did intermittent fasting for the following day, and continued the standard keto diet for the remainder of the week.

Flash forward to now, the year of COVID-19, and I work from home. I am sure you will agree, it has been an extremely challenging time. Stress and working from home made it too easy for me to fall into old habits of snacking. Before I knew it, I gained the “Quarantine 15!”

I’m so glad you are here to join me as we all lose these extra pounds. We’ll keep each other motivated, applaud our successes, share yummy recipes and meet our goals. As for me, I thought I’d start with the cycle keto diet, and if I don’t shed these pounds shortly, I’ll switch to the standard keto diet where I know I can lose this weight fast.

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