Candace first told her inspiring success story in May 2020, when she described how a keto diet was allowing her to live “her best life ever.”
In that story, she shared how she’d started gaining weight at age 9, was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) soon after, and then for decades tried “every diet ever known.” In college, her weight hit a high of 315 pounds (142 kilos). Even when she went on an apples-only diet, she still did not lose a pound.
Doctors accused her of lying about what she was eating.
“The truth is, most people viewed me as a liar and closet eater,” Candace said. “My family always said it was impossible to be as large as I was without consuming copious amounts of food.”
“I would later learn it was not the amount of food, but the types of food I was eating.”
When she discovered the keto diet, all that changed. In total, she lost more than 155 pounds (70 kilos.) Her weight stabilized at a healthy 160 lbs (72 kilos), her hunger and cravings disappeared, her skin cleared, her periods normalized, and she felt the best she had felt in her life.
We caught up with her again in December 2021, 18 months after she first shared her story. She is doing better than ever. Her weight continues to be stable, she works out regularly, and she has become a personal trainer and health coach, specifically to help other women successfully lose weight and get healthy.
“I am so passionate about the low-carb, keto diet. This is now a way of life for me. And I want to help other women of color who may struggle as I did. I want to save lives!” says Candace.
Here is Candace’s updated story, edited for length and clarity.
What is your name, age, and where do you live?
I’m Candace Oates, 41. I live in Colorado.
What happened since you shared your story on Diet Doctor in May 2020?
Many people have reached out to me via my Instagram (LowCarbCandace.OAA) to ask me questions.
The majority of questions were centered around the diet’s sustainability. Many people expressed the difficulty of adhering to “such a strict diet” for the long haul. They’d try it, but then they’d go off the diet, try to reintroduce carbs, and find themselves in a cycle of gaining/losing instead of maintaining a healthy weight.
For that reason, I will forever adhere to a low-carb dietary lifestyle. I feel better in my 40s than I ever did in my 20s. I am able to easily maintain my weight between 157 and 163 pounds (70 to 72 kilos). I never go hungry and rarely have cravings. I have tremendous energy and my brain is clear.
I have seen and felt the repercussions of eating any other way. I used to suffer from high blood pressure, cholesterol, pre-diabetes, anxiety, depression, body shame, and frustration from allowing food to negatively control my health.
So I don’t think of low carb as a temporary diet. This is now my permanent lifestyle choice.
Are you low carb or keto now or a bit of both?
I lost most of my weight (123 pounds) by adhering to keto-style eating. When I got to my “happy weight” of around 160 pounds (72 kilos) a couple of years ago, I increased my carbohydrate intake to no more than 75 grams of carbs a day.
For me, this meant incorporating more fresh/healthy veggies and a few more fruits. If I hit a trigger day (a day where I consumed a few too many carbohydrates and I started to crave junk food again), I’d immediately go back down to no more than 20 carbs a day until the cravings would go away.
It is important to note everyone has a different max carbohydrate number. You have to experiment to find your limit. I know I have exceeded mine when I start craving carbs again.
Do you have any tips for others about how to succeed?
The secret to living low carb is having a supportive community like Diet Doctor. I also find the people on Instagram very supportive.
Get to know who you are as a healthy individual! I am not the Candace I was when I was 23. I used to eat when I felt any emotion — joy, fear, anger. Now I meditate or go on a walk, or work out.
Understand that your physical, emotional, and spiritual health is more important than ANY junk food. There is literally no junk food that will move your mind/body/spirit into a positive space.
Never let a slip-up in your diet become a lifestyle shift. If you make a poor choice, immediately get back on track.
Find an outlet for emotions and stress other than food, such as walking, journaling, sewing, or reading — whatever works for you.
If you are having personal issues like anxiety and depression, see a therapist and your doctor.
Use every single tool available to you — such as Diet Doctor.
For variety, try other regional recipes with new spices and unique vegetables.
Believe in yourself. You CAN do this!
In what way has Diet Doctor helped you succeed?
Diet Doctor, literally, is the information source I use for not only myself but for all my clients, whom I am now coaching, who follow a low-carb diet.
I learned so much through this website and all of the tips, recipes, and stories keep me motivated and on track!!
It is hard to say what is “the most helpful” part of Diet Doctor. Every time I have a question, I just look at the Diet Doctor website and the answer is there!
As for the recipes, my favorite one to make is the keto egg muffins. I make a batch ahead of time. It saves me so much time and it makes my breakfast super easy.
As a personal trainer/health coach, I often start work early. Having a yummy breakfast that I can simply heat up is so great!
The low-carb, keto diet has saved and transformed my life. I am so passionate about it, if you cannot tell!
I want to help as many other people as possible and share the importance of making low carb a healthy lifestyle. It is not a dietary fad. It is a way of life that will transform your life.
Thanks for sharing your passion and your update, Candace. Spreading the message that the diet is not restrictive, but liberating and sustainable will help a lot of people. Congratulations on your continued success.