BY ASHLEY JAGLA AS TOLD TO ARYELLE SICLAIT
FEB 15, 2019
I went on my first diet at nine years old. I was always chubbier than the other kids, but things really started to spiral when I hit puberty.
By the time I was 12 years old, I was coping with a lot of life changes. My mom got remarried, and I was no longer going to be her only daughter. I turned to larger helpings of food to cope, and by 15 years old, I weighed 255 pounds. My go-to move became eating in secret, which I did well into adulthood.
My weight loss journey started slowly.
I weighed 296 pounds after I had my daughter at 27 years old. I decided to make a small change by cutting back on fast food and sweets, two things I ate all the time.
In just a few months, I was down to 280 pounds—I felt like I was finally making sustainable progress, so I decided to ramp things up with the keto diet. And to hold myself accountable, I started my own Instagram account to keep track of my progress.
I chose keto because, at 28, I was suffering from arthritis, and my extra weight made it difficult to sleep (I felt like I was being crushed), and I had heard the keto diet offered a quicker solution to weight loss. On top of that, I was prediabetic and had hypoglycemia.
I started out on what many call a "dirty keto" diet.
I ate everything and anything that was technically low-carb, like hot wings and sausage. It wasn’t necessarily healthy, but it was part of my transition. I did "dirty keto" for three weeks, and then transitioned to healthier high-fat dishes (more avocados and eggs; less meat). I started cooking my own meals more often too. Here's what I typically eat in a day:
- Breakfast: Eggs with avocado
- Lunch: Tuna and asparagus or chicken and broccoli
- Dinner: Burger or steak with cooked veggies and a large salad
- Snack: Berries, cheese, peanut butter, or a protein bar
Two days a month, I add some more treats (usually carbs) to my meals, which is a reward that helps me keep my binging under control.
The diet ended up being the best decision I could have made. Within a month of going keto, my joints felt better and my blood sugar returned to a normal range. I was finally able to play with my kids pain-free and get through a movie with my family without getting sick.
Changing my diet has also given me more stamina to exercise.
Last year, I couldn’t run for more than 90 seconds, and now I’m running at least five times a week for an hour to an hour and a half at a time (with the occasional two-hour long run). I'm even training for a half marathon!
I added weight-training to the mix last fall. I lift twice a week following recommendations and workouts that I've found online, though I plan to start lifting more after my half-marathon prep is done.
I lost 120 pounds since starting the keto diet a year ago.
I'm so proud of my success on the keto diet—not just because of my weight loss, but because of how much of a difference it's made in my health.
Of course, there are days when I want to binge on fast food and carbs, but I always remind myself that I never want to feel as sick as I felt before starting my weight-loss journey. Now, I finally feel like I have my health under my control, and I plan to keep it that way for a long time.