For the past year, I have lived in Redmond, Washington with my boyfriend Erik. We have a kitty named Lilly, with whom we share our low carb ice cream and cheese. I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked for the same health insurance company for the last 13 years, and my boyfriend works for a cable and internet provider.
When we’re not working, I can be found cooking/baking (baking really relaxes me), taking pictures of food, designing said pictures, scrolling through keto Facebook groups for new recipe ideas to add to my ever-expanding list of things to try, or binge watching shows with my boyfriend. Meanwhile, Erik can be found programming, gaming, reading political blogs, or being my personal IT.
We have both lost a significant amount of weight thanks to the low carb lifestyle. I lost 70 pounds in the first 7 months (from 250 to 180) and Erik lost 50 (from 250 to 200). Erik had tried low carb before but I never have; any weight I’ve lost before was due to calorie restriction. It wasn’t until we had a weight loss competition between the two of us that I saw how effective low carb was. Erik would eat low carb foods for one week, and I just watched my calories like I’d done many times before. After one week, he lost 7.5 pounds, and I lost about 3. Granted, many factors went into his weight loss; he had more to lose than I did and guys tend to lose weight easier than women do, etc. However, I was still shocked and jealous of his progress, so I decided to also start a low carb diet. I lost another 5.5 pounds the following week and was hooked on those results.
I, like many people in the beginning, ate a lot of salads, lunch meat, cheese, bacon and eggs. Because I was VERY lazy and never really cooked anything other than spaghetti and Hamburger Helper, the extent of my cooking in the beginning of this lifestyle were bacon cheeseburgers. The progress I was making each week was great and the best part was I felt amazing. It did still feel very limiting, though. I bought a lot of Russell Stover sugar free candy to help with the sweet cravings, and got full on water to help combat the rest of the temptations. But the thought of living this way for an extended amount of time until I hit my goal weight was pretty discouraging.
We ate this way for a little while until one day I came across a recipe to make a pizza crust out of cheese and eggs (this wasn’t fat head pizza, but a different recipe). I was fascinated so I tried it. It was crazy good! We had been eating cashews and pepperonis for so long and now we had a real hot, crunchy pizza that we could eat guilt-free. This new world opened up and I started looking for more recipes. I actually wanted to cook for the first time in my life.
Being proud of my little accomplishments, I would take a picture of the finished product and share it on Facebook to show my friends and family, “Look, I’m a real grown up!” I would then be asked “what’s the recipe?! Post aaaall your low carb recipes.” So, one night I made an Instagram account and uploaded about 10-15 pictures of the things I’ve already made along with the recipes. I was going to log everything we eat there, make the account public, and share the link so my friends and family could save it. As I was posting them, I received about 70 followers and tons of likes and comments within the first 10 minutes. I then realized there is an entire community of people in the same boat as us, just trying to make this lifestyle both more enjoyable, and therefore more likely to last. I had no idea how big that community was at that point. Since then I have found keto subreddits, keto Facebook groups and many, many keto-dedicated Instagram accounts.
Since August 2016 my hobby has been cataloging pretty much every single new meal we try (even the not-so-pretty ones), and sharing them in the hopes of showing that you don’t have to sacrifice in order to lose weight. There is a low carb version of whatever you want to eat, right this second. That is always the point I want to get across when I talk to people who are just starting out, or are thinking about starting. I feel the best way to do that is to give people another place to see recipes. I try to find and make things to cover all ends of the spectrum; sweets, snacks, pastries – things most people believe they have to give up with this lifestyle. One of the most heartbreaking and common posts I see in Facebook groups are along the longs of, “I’m so sick of eggs…what else can I eat in this WOE (way of eating)?” The answer is anything, and that is the message I want to convey.
It is so wonderful to see more and more low carb/bun-less options on menus, companies making sugar-free versions of their products, and my favorite part of all – when people who are doing this lifestyle end up inspiring those around them with the astonishing progress they make. Success is contagious and it has been such a rewarding experience to be a part of this supportive community.