What happens when you grow up in the south and traditional food shapes those formidable years? You develop a taste for fried food, good old southern baked delights and sugar and lard in everything! It creates a craving for carbs that goes beyond comfort food, this is home cooking. The things that make you feel at home and comfortable are the things that lead to your demise. It’s an unfortunate story, but not an uncommon one.
Let me introduce you to Freida Smith. A wonderful woman I had the pleasure to stumble across on one of my many trips to My Fitness Pal (an app to track your daily nutritional information, weight and exercise). Freida first caught my eye because she has logged in for 250+ days in a row and had a significant weight loss! This is the kind of person that makes my ears perk up. The kind of person I want to get to know. To cull information, tips, tricks and what makes the ketogenic diet work for them. Here is Freida’s story:
“My taste buds were formed early to love carbs. By age 29 I was 303 lbs. I had a vertical banded gastroplasty and lost 110 lbs, but over 25 years the staples popped open and the mylar mesh, put in so my stomach would stay small, literally grew into my stomach. I gained back the 110 pounds plus another 109 pounds. At 412 pounds and 54 years old, I had to have surgery to fix me. The surgeon said at 412 lbs, my future health was dismal. He suggested a gastric bypass. In 2006, after gastric bypass, I went from 412 lbs to 284 and over the next 10 years see-sawed between 284 and 305. That was until my husband was diagnosed with lymphoma. I then skyrocketed to 324. In April 2016 a co-worker gifted me a fitbit, saying she didn’t want me to die. This stunned me, but she said to just wear it, she didn’t care if I exercised. I did wear it, as I didn’t want her to think me ungrateful. I couldn’t believe how little I moved around. Well.. I have an excuse, I said, orthopedic problems… I’m 63 for God’s sake! On May 9th 2016, I went to an urgent care facility with bronchitis, but the doctor said I was having a heart attack and I got a very expensive ride to the hospital. No heart attack, but I had a wake up call. A very close friend told me about the ketogenic diet. It was little overwhelming at first, but I decided enough was enough! I had to do something! The first few days were spent reading everything I could get my hands on about keto. After 5 days I wasn’t hungry. I went to the doctor on May 19th, 2016 and the doc wasn’t convinced the diet wouldn’t drive up my cholesterol. I told him I’d come back in 2 months for bloodwork. I went back 29 pounds lighter, and my blood work was very good! My HBA1C went down and I was no longer pre-diabetic! Three months after that the HBA1C was below 6.0! The doctor’s words were “Very impressive!”. I am now down 83.2 pounds (at the writing of this blog) after what will be 10 months on March 16th 2017.”
I asked Freida if she had any numbers for cholesterol and she said she never had cholesterol problems but she was very worried about diabetes. Her mother was a double amputee due to complications of diabetes. Freida’s Blood Sugar was running 105-113 before Keto and her fear of diabetes was more than anything else. Although she didn’t have cholesterol problems listen to these numbers! Her cholesterol went from 189 on May 19, 2016 to 135 on February 21, 2017!!! The doctor was so impressed with her results that he even admitted that when he had suggested Weight Watchers and she chose a “fad” diet he was sure she would fail. After seeing her success he told her that he is sold, and that she “must be eating good fat”. Freida told him “I am eating good fat; bacon everyday; ribeye steaks; bacon grease on all my fried cabbage and searing of meats, etc”. She also told him “I love to make my own cracklings like my Mama used to do. He did not even know what cracklings were! I told him i bought pork skins from the Hispanic market and rendered the grease out of them and that’s cracklings! I told him then I use the pork grease (lard) to fry my green beans, chicken, or pork chops. His jaw dropped… Yep, the only fat I eat is the ‘good fat’, I told him”
- Q:What is the best advice you can give someone who was in a similar situation to yours about the keto diet? A: “Best advice for someone in a similar situation to mine…My husband’s mortality was in question, I was 324 lbs and feeling miserable and I knew that something in my life had to change. Because I could not make my husband well, that left me to work on me. A close coworker gave me a fitbit and said she didn’t want me to die. I had come to the lowest part of my life. A very close friend who i feel is like a daughter introduced me to Keto information, so I began reading and the more I read, the more I was convinced. My advice? What do you have to lose? No pun intended. I told myself I would give it one month. I knew if my husband didn’t make it, I’d have to pull up my big girl pants and survive.”
- Q: What is the most inspiring thing you read? A book, blog? Any specific person? A:”My top inspiration is my Husband Terry. I weighed 220 when I met him in 1994. By 2006 I weighed 412. I lost over 100 pounds, gained back 40 and 2012 had a revision and lost that 40. The surgery was no cure. Terry supported me through all that, never said a mean word, always tried to heighten my self esteem. At 324 lbs. he encouraged the Keto, but had his doubts. Another diet. Today he sees the benefits of 83 lbs gone and he is proud.”
- Q:What is your favorite ketogenic thing to eat? A:”My favorite Ketogenic thing to eat is eggs and bacon. Keto is easy. Bake up 5 pounds of bacon on the weekend and I’m set for bacon in my keto veggies, and if I’m hungry on the fly, bacon.”
- Q: What is the hardest part about a ketogenic diet? A:”Yes, there are some difficult moments with Keto… If I fail to prepare for an outing, or meetings at work where there are sweets and carb laden tables….it gets to me. I miss potatoes and watermelon.”
- Q:Do you think you will remain ketogenic forever? A:”Yes. This new way of eating for me has saved my life. I can literally breathe. I can walk without back pain. I can fly on a plane without a seat belt extension. And for the first time in a very long time, stares my way are not because I’m so large I take up the majority of a seat on the train. Those stares are smiles as they recognize my weight loss. Keto forever.”
- Q: Does your husband follow keto? A:”My husband loves fathead pizza. He does not follow the diet. He loves his protein bars. But he’s certainly loves pork rinds, which he wouldn’t eat before. He eats what I cook for me but adds what he likes as well.”
Thank you Freida for sharing your inspiring story with me! You are amazing! Keep Ketoing!!!!!!!!!
For more information on how YOU can get started the Ketogenic Diet check out some of my other blog posts or contact me to join our support group on Facebook!
For information on “good fats” Check out Maria Emmerichs blog on Choosing Healthy Fats