Customer Story: Why a Keto Diet works for me
The ketogenic lifestyle has gained huge traction in recent years as an effective way to manage weight.
The low carb, high fat diet is associated with numerous benefits; from weight loss to improved skin and a reduction in the risk of certain cancers. Whilst it’s not for everyone, it’s generated strong results for thousands of women and men across the globe, including Rachel Morales – an ESL teacher and mom of two from New York. We chat to Rachel to see how keto has worked for her.
What prompted you to change your diet?
I'll never forget sitting in my kitchen when I decided to make the change. I was talking with my husband (ok complaining to my husband) about how frustrated I was with my weight. I had been on this constant roller coaster of diets and my health was taking a toll. I was just fed up with being fed up. I wanted to get control over this and show my kids how to live a healthy life. I remember looking at him and saying “alright that's it. I’m doing it. “That was the beginning.
How did you find out about keto and what drew you to trying it?
My husband was actually the person to tell me about keto! I had done Atkins in the past and saw how they were similar in practice, and I had literally tried everything else, and I mean everything! What did I have to lose? Except a ton of weight. What I loved about keto is that there is a science to it, specific to your body. I knew that if I could just figure out what my body needed; I could be successful. I was also intrigued at how fast the weight loss is in the beginning. I was ready to let go of this weight, both physically and emotionally.
What did you want to achieve?
Of course, I wanted to lose a lot of weight but I was looking for more this time. I wanted to achieve a healthy relationship with food and work on both my physical and mental health. I strongly believe they are tied together. Just before I started keto, I also began noticing that my legs were swelling in ways they had never done before. I was terrified and later was diagnosed with a condition called Lipoedema - a disorder which causes symmetric enlargement of the legs due to deposits of fat beneath the skin that are resistant to diet and exercise. Getting the diagnosis only motivated me more to hit my goals.
How did you find it initially?
Like with any new venture there is a learning curve, and I was committed to figuring out the ins and outs of keto. To be honest though, I really felt that it was the easiest diet I had ever tried. I was eating real, whole foods that kept me full and satisfied. My cravings were diminishing and my energy was up! Following keto has helped my health condition in a major way. My swelling and inflammation have gone down because I'm not consuming foods that trigger it, and it's easier for me to walk. There’s a huge difference between when I eat carbs and when I cut them right back. I’m hoping to use my experience to raise awareness about the condition and help other women find solutions.
What does a typical day's food look like for you?
My day is not like the average person. I am up at 4am for work and finish at 9am. Keto gives me tons of energy. During that time, I drink coffee and water only. If I am intermittent fasting, I eat between the hours of 12pm-8pm, if not I'll eat around 10 or 11am. I try to listen to my body and practice intuitive eating. Since I have been doing keto for 2 years now, I usually eat 2 meals and a snack. I love a good steak and eggs, and anything with avocado. I make sure I have a decent amount of protein and fat and then add whatever veggies or carbs the meal may consist of. I really love experimenting and finding substitutes and cooking everyday food the keto way.
"Fullgreen’s Riced Cauliflower has been a great rice substitute for me – it’s tasty and satisfying without the carb overload which suits my keto lifestyle perfectly"
What would you say Keto has done for your health?
As a result of this lifestyle I have lost over 40lbs and kept it off, which is such a milestone for a yo-yo dieter like me. My lipoedema had been under control, my inflammation has gone down dramatically and this helps with the pain. On top of that I have such a clarity of mind that is hard to explain. It's like I was walking in a fog and then it finally cleared. It's opened me up, and I am more creative, I can focus better and have energy for days.
Will you ever go back to a normal diet?
Absolutely not, this is my life now and I love it. I truly believe that I am one of those people who is super sensitive to processed foods, refined sugars and carbohydrates. I have seen the difference in these 2 years doing keto and 30 years doing everything else and I wholeheartedly believe I have found what's right for my body. This is my normal diet.
What advice would you give to people thinking of trying keto?
Firstly, I would book an appointment with your doctor, to talk it through and become a team. I went to my doctor and expressed what I was doing, what my plan was, and asked to get some testing done so we could really see how healthy this would be for me. My doctor was not for keto, but she saw that I had done my research and came up with a plan. And when I came back 3 months later, she was so ecstatic with my results that she told me to keep doing what I had been doing. There are many ways to get healthy, so make sure you are doing what works for you! Second, make sure you have a support system, whether it's your family or on Instagram, having people in your corner will help push you forward when you want to give in. Third, give yourself time to learn. Keto is so much fun and there are so many incredibly delicious foods that you can eat on a daily basis. Just remember it takes time switching over from the foods you are used to.
Follow Rachel on Instagram at @its_keto_sis for more info on her keto lifestyle (and tons of delicious keto recipes)