Name: Jessica Reid
Starting Weight: 192
Current Weight: 142
How long have you been following a ketogenic diet? 9 years
What is your favorite keto meal? Steak, salad, and strawberries
Why did you start keto?
To lose 10 lbs as quickly as possible, 2 weeks before Thanksgiving! Although at the time it was Atkins induction and I didn’t even know what keto was. I did lose those 10 lbs but I had no idea how incredible I would feel. Within the first 2 weeks, I knew I would eat this way forever.
What was the hardest part of keto and how did you overcome it?
I don’t think it was actually about keto. It was the “diet mentality” in general. Feeling like you have to be all-or-nothing, on-or-off, perfect or off the rails.
Also feeling like “I can’t eat that” instead of “I can eat whatever I want but I choose to eat foods that make me feel best.” How did I overcome it? I decided to do some deep inner work to heal my relationship with food, weight, and body image. I would never have been able to do this without ketosis though. It created the physiological capacity in my brain and body to do the inner work. I compare it to when taking psychotropic drugs is actually necessary to give you the mental capacity to do the work in therapy. It takes the daily pain and shame cycle away to create the lightness and space you need to heal.
Biggest changes in your day to day life?
No longer having a running total of calories in my head! No more feeling hangry. No more feeling pain, shame, defeat and self-hatred. I don’t think about food except when I’m hungry.
Best tip for newbies?
Eat unlimited protein! Mug cakes will save your life in the beginning. Use the keto products as a crutch to ease your transition, but eat real food as much as possible. The keto products are not only expensive but they are loaded with inflammatory ingredients (which will stall your progress) and they are really hard to eat the portion size (again will stall your progress and make you feel like a failure when you overeat them).
But you’re not a failure! Just like any other food product, they are chemically designed to light up your brain and make you want to eat more.
If there is one thing that you could tell yourself when first getting started, what would it be and why?
It’s okay to make mistakes. You will inevitably wind up eating something you didn’t know had carbs. You don’t have to be perfect to see progress. Even if you ate something that kicked you out of ketosis, you can still have a low carb day (under 100 grams) and that’s so much better than a high carb day. Ketosis does NOT automatically equate to weight loss. You can maintain weight or even gain weight in ketosis, so don’t eat unlimited amounts of fat just because there’s no carbs in it. Eat to satiety and enjoy your food but if you want to eat more of something, choose protein and not fat.
Anything you would like to add about your story?
Just that ketosis is absolutely life-changing and magical and I could not believe that I was never told about it before. It’s a normal physiological state for humans yet because of the Standard American Diet we are used to, most of us never experience it in our lives (short of perhaps fasting for medical or spiritual reasons.)
You don’t have to be in ketosis forever, but I do think everyone should at least experience it and try it for themselves. Then you can decide how to use it as a tool, how often is best for you, etc. But you don’t know how good you can feel until you know how good you can feel!
Follow Jessica on Instagram