How I Became My Healthiest Self on the Keto Diet
We’re already halfway through the year and I can hardly believe that I actually did it. Even though it wasn’t in the way I imagined, I’ve already reached my goal of becoming the healthiest I’ve ever been.
Me. The one who has had two back-to-back pregnancies within the past three years. The one who gained fifty pounds and neglected to work them off before becoming pregnant again. The one who emotionally eats and loathes working out. The one who couldn’t even remember what it felt like to be skinny.
And yet here I am. Nearly thirty pounds lighter than I was six months ago. And the weight I’ve lost since then goes way deeper than just physical.
Before I share more about the past six months of my weight loss journey, I want to be sure to highlight one important fact: I am NOT the skinniest or smallest I have ever been. I still don’t have the slightest bit of muscle and I’m sure my hormones are still somewhat out of whack. But even so, I am the healthiest I’ve ever been — because it’s not just my size that’s been transformed; it’s my behaviors and my habits and even my mentality towards health and food.
When I entered into 2019, I was carb-hungry and sugar-addicted. I was forty-five pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight and my hormones were so crazy that I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to lose the weight if I tried. But I still had a dream. This year was going to be my year. My year of pursuing a better, healthier version of myself. My year of shedding the extra pounds and all that insecurity that was weighing me down. My year of loving my body again.
After setting my goal of becoming the healthiest I’ve ever been, I originally had it in my mind that I would find some sort of intense workout program (never mind the fact that I hadn’t worked out in like four years). But instead, I got in contact with a friend who had just recently shared that she had lost twenty pounds on the Keto diet because something about it intrigued me. What is this trendy “Keto diet” I’ve been seeing all over social media? And if she could lose twenty pounds in just a few months, could I lose my weight, too?
A part of me feels silly for saying this, but I really do believe the Lord’s hand was all over this process of starting the Keto diet. One of the reasons I feel this way is because I was just days away from starting a heavy workout regiment when I switched courses and dove into Keto instead. Just a couple months later, after being on the Keto diet for some time and not working out whatsoever (my reason being that regular exercise is not usually recommended for people who are just starting out with Keto), I discovered at an appointment with my midwife that my last pregnancy had dramatically weakened my pelvic floor and that too much physical activity could very well cause a pelvic organ prolapse (meaning, my pelvic organs could suddenly drop into my vagina… fun stuff). Naturally, I was INCREDIBLY relieved that I had held off on starting any sort of exercise and that I could now focus on rebuilding my pelvic floor.
But another reason why I believe the Lord’s hand was over this process is that the Keto diet set me free in ways I didn’t even know I needed to be set free. I talk about this in a blog post from this past February after my first month of eating Keto. At the time, I was disappointed that I wasn’t yet seeing the weight loss I had been anticipating (little did I know that I would end making so much progress), but I was also really thankful for how this change of diet had helped me overcome my insomnia, as well as break free from hopelessness and powerlessness in my relationship with food.
For the first time in my life, my appetite and cravings had no control over me. I never thought I’d be able to say no to carbs or stick to a gluten-free diet. I never thought I’d have the willpower to pass up sugary foods or go to bed at night without satisfying that itch for something sweet. The Keto diet did that. So even though I’m no longer eating Keto because it just wasn’t right for me long-term, I still do sing its praises. But I’m not just healthier because of what Keto did for me; I’m healthier because of what I did for myself — and this is what I most want you to take away from all of this.
Becoming my healthiest self started and ended with ME. It wasn’t some fad diet or intense workout regimen. It wasn’t a product or program of any sort. Of course there were things that helped. Being on the Keto diet helped regulate my hormones so that I could sleep at night again. It helped kickstart my weight loss journey and gave me an opportunity to change my mindsets around the topic of food. But I was the one who had to say “enough is enough” and commit to trying something new. I was the one who had to do the research and craft the meal plan week after week. I was the one who had to prep the food and clean the blender. I was the one who had to decide if I was going to give in to my impulses or muster up the willpower to make better food choices. And I was also the one who had to CONTINUE to make those better food choices even after I was no longer eating Keto.
Yes, I credit so much to the Keto diet, but I also don’t belittle or neglect to celebrate MY hard work, MY progress, MY victories. And I don’t think it’s vain to feel this way. The healthier I am and the better I feel overall, the more I believe this was God’s intent for me all along. We read Scripture about practicing self-control and “taking our thoughts captive”, but forget that it can very much apply to our mindset and relationship with food, fitness, and health. We’re told to throw off every sin that entangles and to run our race with perseverance, but don’t realize that this may involve breaking free from unhealthy, gluttonous habits SO THAT we are well enough to do all the things God has called us to do.
For the longest time, I felt powerless. I was a habitual emotional eater and a victim to my cravings. I was lazy by nature and even just the thought of eating healthier was usually followed by a dozen reasons for why I couldn’t. But by the grace of God, I took baby step after baby step in the right direction and it eventually got me to where I needed to go. And through the entire process, I was able to replace those victim mentalities with a more empowered mindset to the point where I’m forever changed and even my family benefits, too.
I now have the energy to be present with my family and play on the floor with my kids. I’m able to teach them what it looks like to build good eating habits and take care of their bodies. I’m more confident and not wasting time obsessing over how unhappy I am with my body. I’m spending less money on new clothes or pretty things to make me feel better about myself. I’m even more excited about having sex with my husband! These are massive victories and breakthroughs! And they only happened because I finally made the decision to do what it takes to get to a healthier place.
But even still, I can’t take all of the credit. Because it was the Lord who led me in the right direction, the Lord who gave me the strength I needed, the Lord who used these things to help heal my body. This body I’ve been given is HIS miraculous design, after all. I believe he knows what I need most — in body, mind, AND spirit.
I know I’ve said this once before, but I’ll gladly say it again:
I will never tell you to put all of your faith in some diet. But I absolutely will tell you that it is worth it to put all of your faith in the Lord.
There is no problem that is too big or confusing for him. No unhealthy mindset that he can’t help you replace with truth. No amount of weight that he can’t give you the right resources, wisdom, or strength to lose. Maybe you’ll find your answers and become your healthiest self through some diet or fitness plan. Maybe it’ll be doctors, medication, or supplements that’ll help lead you to where you need to go. Maybe it all has to start with counseling and getting to the root of some bigger issues. But whatever the case, God is able to work in you and use all of these things to bring healing.
If you have a goal of becoming your healthiest self this year, I am cheering you on. We are halfway through the year and I know that it’s easy to feel guilt or shame over long-abandoned New Year resolutions, but I want you to know that it’s not too late to make a plan, take those baby steps in the right direction, and find health and freedom like never before. I believe you have what it takes to become your healthiest self and overcome all obstacles — not just because YOU are strong, but because you serve an even stronger God.