From defeated and depressed to healthy and happy
Before she found the keto diet combined with intermittent fasting, Lenore felt hopeless that she would ever lose weight and improve her many health conditions.
After all, she’d been trying to lose weight, unsuccessfully, for almost 50 years.
But when her doctor recommended the keto diet in 2019, and she found Diet Doctor, her life-long struggle with obesity finally began to ease.
Now she has lost 132 pounds (60 kilos) and has dramatically improved her health. Moreover, emotionally, she feels healed, too.
“I can’t begin to explain how good it feels to be able to go out in public and not have to deal with the judgemental stares from others.”
Lenore’s inspiring story has been lightly edited.
What is your name, age, and where do you live?
My name is Lenore, I am 63 years old, and I live in Brisbane, Australia.
How and when did you decide to do low carb or keto?
I started my keto journey on February 25, 2019, on the recommendation of my doctor.
Did you have any health or weight struggles before going low carb or keto?
I have been overweight since the age of eight. I also have stage 3 lipedema, which is a female disease of painful fat accumulation in the legs, hips, and sometimes upper arms.
Before keto, I was feeling very defeated and depressed because every diet that I had ever tried was not sustainable. And with each diet I would lose no more than 33 to 44 pounds (15 to 20 kilos) and the weight loss would just stop. (I have since learned that lipedema is very resistant to conventional weight loss approaches.)
So then I would give up and just put the weight back on, plus more, every time. This caused me to become heavier and heavier over the years until I became very morbidly obese.
I had been taking prescribed blood pressure medications and was on them for many years. Also just prior to starting keto I was diagnosed with mild kidney disease (most likely from the years of blood pressure medications.)
I had more recently been having bronchial asthma attacks as well, which sometimes required steroid medication. I also have arthritis in both feet and I needed to use a walking stick.
In what ways has your health improved?
My physical health has improved tremendously. I have lost 132 pounds (60 kilos). I was able to come off all my blood pressure medication after only six months of keto.
My kidney function is now considered normal. I no longer get bronchial asthma, and although my arthritis will always be with me, it has improved; I only need to use my walking stick occasionally when I am having a bit more pain and it’s a bit more difficult to get around.
My emotional health? I can’t begin to explain how it feels to be able to go out in public and not have to deal with the judgemental stares from others. I don’t have to worry if I will fit into a café chair or even possibly break a chair. That, thankfully, never happened but it was always on my mind every time I had to sit on what I considered a flimsy-looking chair.
With my stage 3 lipedema, I have fat cells on my lower body that will not go away (unless I have liposuction or surgery) so it is not possible to know what my goal weight should be. But I am confident that I can keep healing and getting better, bit by bit each day, by sticking to the keto diet and intermittent fasting.
What were you eating before making this lifestyle change?
I was eating what was considered a normal, balanced diet. I was eating the same foods that I was feeding my husband and my daughter, who are both considered normal size.
Sometimes, I would indulge in dessert or snack foods, like most people, but I would never do it to any extreme.
It was only when I was diagnosed with lipedema that I found out that it can be extremely hard for women with this condition to lose weight. I now know that I had the first signs of lipedema in puberty.
Finding out that lipedema was an actual disease, and that it was not my fault that my lower body and legs were so huge, was like having a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
What does a typical day of eating and/or fasting look like for you now?
I do intermittent fasting, anywhere from 16 to 18 hours a day, which I found to be easy from the very beginning of my keto journey. I was never a breakfast person.
Lunch is sometimes leftovers from dinner the night before, or I have a cloud bread sandwich with meat and salad.
Dinner is either a Diet Doctor meal or one of my own meals that I create. I always make sure to total the carbs for all ingredients to know exactly how many carbs are in my portion. I don’t go over 20 grams of carbs a day.
I will also sometimes have a keto slice (dessert square) with my lunch but I only bake dessert-like things that have no more than 1 or 2 grams of carbs per serving so it still fits in with my 20 or fewer grams of carbs per day.
I don’t snack in between meals for the most part, but if there are days I am feeling a little hungry between meals, I will have a small handful of macadamia nuts.
What mistakes have you learned from on your journey?
Luckily, I have no input on this topic because my keto journey has been so easy for me from day one!
I guess I’m one of the fortunate ones: this diet just fit me like a glove. I have never gone off plan and I never intend to go off plan.
I look at excess carbs as poison to my body now, so why would I ever consume them again?
I’ve had stalls like everyone does, but I don’t let it get me down or feel defeated. I just keep on keeping on and when my body is ready to lose again it does.
Do you think exercise is necessary for success on low carb?
No, I am living proof that exercise is not necessary. Due to my lipedema and arthritis I am quite limited in what I can do. So I just do what I can and don’t try to push myself to exercise.
What are your top three tips for people starting low carb?
- It’s good to do a bit of reading on the Diet Doctor site when you are first starting.
- A game changer for me was also watching documentaries such as The Magic Pill and That Sugar Film; there are others as well.
- Find what works for you, as we are not all the same. What may work for some may not work for others. My motto from the very beginning was “the simpler the better.” It doesn’t have to be difficult.
I have only ever counted carbs and never macros. But be sure to have enough protein. That is very important. I have never used the meal plans either, but I know they can be very helpful for many, so definitely make use of them if you feel you would benefit from them.
Final thoughts or takeaway?
I could not be more grateful to my doctor and to Diet Doctor for giving me the knowledge and guiding me along the way to a happier and healthier life.
I’m hopeful that now my life will be much longer than it would have been had I not started this journey.
In June of 2021, I was delighted to become a volunteer moderator for Diet Doctor. I consider myself blessed that my doctor directed me to Diet Doctor and to have experienced such success.
I’m happy to be able to help others achieve their goals, in any way that I can.
We are delighted to share your terrific story, Lenore. Many women with lipedema will be encouraged to hear that you found, through keto and intermittent fasting, a way to help improve your health and successfully lose weight.
We encourage any women who may have heavy hips and legs to read our two guides on lipedema. One is an evidence-based resource about what is known about this female condition of painful fat accumulation.
The second is a feature article on how many women with lipedema are finding they can more easily lose weight and reduce their symptoms of pain and fluid retention with the ketogenic diet.
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