Cheri lost 70 pounds and has ‘a life again!’

Cheri is finally enjoying life again – thanks to a keto diet!

After struggling with her weight for many years, Cheri decided to make a change so she could have an active role in her grandchildren’s lives. Soon afterward, she came across Kristie Sullivan and Diet Doctor and liked the keto approach.

Cheri took the plunge, lost 70 pounds (32 kilos), and says that she’s finally living life to the fullest again!

Here, she shares her story, which has been edited for length and clarity.

Cheri’s story

Hello, my name is Cheri. I am 54 … yikes! When did that happen?

I live in Northern California, in a tiny town with my husband and my two youngest daughters. I have eight children ranging from 16 to 33. I don’t know how they all got so old, either.

I am blessed with my husband of almost 20 years now and soon to be blessed with my ninth grandchild. I decided four years ago that I wanted to be around to have an active role in my grandchildren’s lives – not just from the couch. So I went on a search on how to change my current lifestyle.

I have done many diet programs over the last 30 plus years. I first did Weight Watchers in high school. Not because I really needed to, but my mom needed a partner, so I did it with her for a short time.

Then, after getting married, my husband and I went to a nutritionist, who was good, but so restrictive and very expensive. One of the things he wanted us to do was drink goat’s milk and nurse my babies until age 4! Yeah, not for me. After spending lots of money, I quit.

Then, came babies. I kept an extra 10 pounds (5 kilos) from the first three babies and ten more each from the next three! So, I tried Weight Watchers again. Still, I didn’t like it. Who wants to count points? Then, I tried Richard Simmons and LOVED sweating to the oldies, but that got old. The food was good but so time-consuming to prepare.

Then a divorce and remarriage and two more babies, where I, again, kept on 10 pounds (5 kilos) from each one. So that is 80 pounds (36 kilos) just from pregnancies. Now, add in a restaurant!

My husband has had pizza restaurants since he was 19, and then we opened a couple of pizza restaurants together. When you have a restaurant with all your favorite foods and frozen yogurts… you eat there a lot and daily.

It got to the point that we probably only ate breakfast and one dinner a night, a week, at home. The rest was from our restaurant.

On the days that we had to go shopping for the restaurant, we ate fast food, lots of fufu coffees from a local chain — the bigger and sweeter, the better. Most days, I would go all day and not eat until about 3 to 4 pm and then have the cooks make me something to eat.

Then, when I got off work, I would eat at home again and then go to bed and start the whole thing all over again.

During this time, I gained more weight, so I started Jenny Craig. At first, I loved everything about it. It was “stupid proof.” It came already boxed and packaged for the perfect serving size, just add a salad … done. I lost 50 pounds (23 kilos) doing the program. But it got really expensive, restrictive, and boring! I quit that program and gained it all back, plus extra.

I was now, according to BMI, morbidly obese … morbid? I thought I was just a bit overweight. I was lying to myself: I just needed a larger size because it was 100% cotton and shrunk. I couldn’t go up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing because I was carrying my purse and it weighed a ton.

I had to always use the handicap restroom because they were now making the normal stalls too small for some reason. But, that MORBIDLY obese kept coming back into my thoughts, and I decided I do not want my kids or husband to be embarrassed to be seen with me because I am so overweight.

I looked at my tags, the ones I didn’t cut off so that NO ONE would ever really know how big my clothes were, and I was just so shocked. Shirts were 3x and pants were a tight 24w and the scale said I was 124 pounds (56 kilos) overweight. I am so thankful that health issues had not started. I was just extremely overweight, tired, and my joints hurt after a long day at the restaurant.

Now, this brings me to low carb and keto. I was highly motivated. I turned 50 and did not want to spend the next several years missing out on life, so I started looking for different options.

I knew a few people kept talking about Atkins, but I always said I could NEVER do Atkins because I don’t like meat. Well, I do love the cheap meats … hotdogs, baloney, hamburger, and chicken. I figured nothing else has worked and I might as well give this a try.

So, I bought Dr. Robert C. Atkins’ cookbooks, the Atkins app on my phone, and his books. I skimmed through and changed many things about my diet.

I would still go out to breakfast with friends but not eat toast, French toast, or hash browns. I made a habit of starting to eat breakfast every day. Lunch was a hamburger patty with cheese, avocado or hotdogs with cheese, chili with no beans or veggies, and a salad. Dinner was usually chicken, salad, and green beans.

But I still felt like it wasn’t quite for me. Then, I came across Kristie Sullivan’s Facebook page or cookbooks. I don’t remember which one came first.

She was a REAL person that I could relate to. She ate REAL food. She didn’t kill herself exercising to lose weight. Kristie is a wife, a mom, and a career person. I started following her page, which in turn lead me to Diet Doctor. Oh wow, such a game-changer!

I switched to following Kristie’s cookbooks and then Diet Doctor recipes as well. I would still eat the way I mentioned before, but now, I would look up a recipe to cook with chicken, salmon, or hamburger. I would do that a couple of times a week.

I meal prepped on weekends — lots of boiled eggs, cooked up lots of bacon and ground beef to have ready. I bought string cheese and lots of other kinds of block cheese as well. That way, if I got to the point that I was “starving,” I could grab something until I had the meal ready. That was huge for me and helped me to stay on plan.

Because of COVID and being confined at home, I have really gone crazy and make new recipes constantly. Sometimes two a day, a dessert and a meal. Or two lunches, one for today and one for the freezer. I have found ones I love, ones I wouldn’t make again, and ones that are now weekly. This has really helped me in lots of ways.

I’d never been a baker or one to read recipes. Before keto, I could feed many people; it wouldn’t be fancy by any means, but you wouldn’t leave hungry. Now, you still won’t leave hungry, but it will be a low-carb meal that’s good for you, one from either Diet Doctor or Kristie.

My husband started with me when I first started Atkins four years ago, and he lasted maybe a month. Then, he started again for two weeks a couple of years ago. Now, he has been low carb for a month. He has very high blood pressure and is hoping to get it down from eating low carb.

I have been doing it consistently for four years. I lost 21 pounds (10 kilos) the first two months, and my clothes were getting smaller. Unfortunately, I didn’t take measurements, I only used the scale number for the first few months to gauge my progress.

Now, I tell everyone, “Who cares what the scale says?” Do the measurements. It’s a better gauge of what your body is doing. The scale will go up and down, weekly and sometimes daily. That used to depress me.

Now, I only weigh myself a couple of times a month. I have lost 70 pounds (32 kilos), and have maintained it since July 2019. I am not where I ultimately want to be, but I have been very happy where I am right now.

I have made mistakes along the way; we all do. Just don’t focus on them. Remember why you are doing this and how you personally feel when you are eating right. For me, I have way more energy, my clothes are bigger, and I’m now in an XL shirt and a 16w pant size! My joints don’t hurt at the end of the day and the “normal” restroom stalls aren’t too restrictive. No more handicapped stalls for me!

I also found my cheekbones, jawline, and my knees after years of hiding! After four years of eating this way and turning 54 this year, I am considering exercise. Nothing too crazy, but walking for sure.

I have a stationary bike and an elliptical that, for years, has been a clothes rack. Now, it’s time to dust off the cobwebs, actually hang my clothes in the closet, and start using them! I do not feel it is necessary to exercise to lose weight or to maintain. I want to do it to tone up all this loosey-goosey skin and muscle.

There is a lot of talk about fasting these days, and for me, I really enjoy food. So, I don’t feel it is the right fit for me. Maybe down the road, I would consider it but just not at this time in my journey.

If I could offer up any advice: Take your measurements… the scale will lie to you but your measurements won’t.

Try one new recipe a week, any recipe. For me, in the beginning, it was a dessert. I was never one to have to eat a dessert, but on a diet, you always feel like you are missing out … and I wanted to stay on track. So, I got really good at making cheesecakes! What? Yes, you can have cheesecake with this way of eating. This really helped me to stay on track and not feel like I was missing out.

Lastly, I use a quote I heard from Kristie. “Just for today,” I won’t eat that whole bag of chips. Maybe tomorrow, but “just for today,” I am choosing ME and I will not eat it. I have had to do that daily and sometimes even multiple times a day! I taped up “Just for today” all around my house and inside my cars, so I see this saying all the time.

This has helped me to choose my health and life over whatever else is happening around me.

I have not had anyone to do this lifestyle with, so I have to truly do it for my health and what I want to accomplish in this life. For me, that is to actively participate in my kids’ lives, grandchildrens’ lives, and have more fun with my husband!

We only have one life and I have wasted at least 15 to 20 years not actively participating and just watching from the sidelines. Now, I want to enjoy life! Stay the course. I’m not where I want to be for my “goal” weight, but I’m OK with that. I have a life again! Enjoy your journey and choose YOU daily!


Hi Cheri. Congrats on your fantastic success. I really like your message about how it’s not all about the weight. You have your life back! It is most inspiring to me that you feel better, you don’t huff and puff, you don’t ache, and your outlook on life is so much better. That’s a true measure of success! Keep up the great work.
/ Dr. Bret Scher

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