‘Keep carbs low and things will fall into place’
Kristin never experienced any weight issues during her younger years. That’s why it came as a surprise when she suddenly started gaining weight as a senior in college.
“I managed to avoid the ‘freshman 15,’ so it was very disconcerting to start gaining weight seemingly out of nowhere as a senior!” Kristin says.
From college on, Kristin continued to struggle with her weight. Even though she tried many different diets over the years, she ended up quickly regaining any weight she’d lost with each attempt.
After having her first child at age 29, Kristin fell into postpartum depression. From that point onward, she suffered from chronic depression that would sometimes turn debilitating depending on what was happening in her life.
In her early 30s, Kristin was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain vital hormones. To treat this condition, Kristin started taking medication. But after about a decade of trying different “medications and doses,” she decided to stop her meds altogether because of the unpleasant side effects.
“The main side effect was insomnia,” Kristin says. “If the medication dosage was low enough, then I didn’t get insomnia, but it also wasn’t a high enough dose to do anything.”
Rather than trying to combat her hypothyroidism through medication, Kristin decided it wasn’t worth having to endure the insomniatic side effects these prescriptions produced. Instead, she’d rather live with her condition’s symptoms, which often include fatigue and weight gain.
Things started to turn around for Kristin in early 2016 finally. At that time, a friend of Kristin’s had just added her to a newly created keto Facebook group. That friend was Kristie Sullivan, a Diet Doctor writer and recipe creator.
Although Kristin wasn’t particularly interested in keto at that time, she stayed in the group. After all, she couldn’t help but be inspired by all of the keto success stories she kept seeing and wanted to support her friend, Kristie, in her weight loss journey.
But after hitting an all-time high on the scale and suffering some additional health issues, Kristin finally decided to give keto a try. In June of 2016, Kristin took the plunge. With Kristie’s guidance and support, she decided to give eating low carb a try.
The first thing Kristin did was put together a new eating plan.
Right away, she noticed some benefits of eating keto that actually suited her lifestyle quite well. For example, Kristin never liked breakfast, so she loved that she could skip her first meal on a low-carb protocol. Also, given that she was never particularly fond of certain high-carb foods, such as potatoes, rice, and pasta, it didn’t feel like a huge effort to cut these out, either.
On the other hand, Kristin did find it difficult to cut out her usual weekend indulgences, such as pizza, burgers, and beer. She considered these foods to be her weakness. But, once she managed to eliminate these splurges altogether, she almost immediately felt more in control of her cravings and began losing weight.
Takeaways from Kristin’s keto journey
Today, nearly four years since going keto, Kristin is 35 pounds (17 kilos) lighter. But in her opinion, that’s not the greatest benefit keto has brought into her life.
For one, living a keto lifestyle has helped Kristin’s depression.
In Sept. of 2016, she and her family went through a major life transition when they moved from the United States to Korea. This was just three months after Kristin started her keto journey, but even that early on, her new lifestyle (and eating habits) made all the difference.
Normally, such a large life event would have thrown her into a spiraling episode of severe depression, Kristin explains. But instead, she was able to maintain her composure and felt relatively fine throughout the process.
Additionally, since living low carb, Kristin’s thyroid values have also improved — so much so that even her doctor is now fine with her not taking medication.
Last but not least, after a few years as a keto adherent, Kristin’s newfound passion for keto landed her a job at Diet Doctor. She’s the only full-time community member, and she also helps out with the app and customer service.
Kristin’s keto lifestyle
When Kristin and her husband first tried low carb in the early 2000s, they avoided carbs and solely subsisted on low-fat foods, such as chicken breast and tuna.
Although they lost weight, this strict diet regimen wasn’t sustainable. They walked around, feeling hungry and deprived. For this reason, Kristin now thinks it’s important to add fat into your diet to feel satisfied — and she tries to do so with every meal.
These days, Kristin starts her day with coffee and adds a tad of butter. Around noon, she typically has a salad with some lean protein, such as fish or chicken breast — or she’ll keep things simple and have leftovers from last night’s dinner. For dinner, she usually puts together a meal containing a healthy balance of fats, protein, and vegetables.
“Generally speaking, each meal is seven to 10 grams of carbs and 20 to 25% protein and 70 to 75% fats,” Kristin says. “As long as there’s equal fat — or more fat than protein — I know it’s a meal that will keep me full for four to six hours.”
See here for a few of Kristin’s favorite Diet Doctor recipes:
But Kristin would recommend people to do what they enjoy – whether that’s weight lifting, running, or yoga. She says that “Exercise should be a celebration of what our bodies can do!”
Moreover, Kristin has found that her fitness has improved on keto. “Thanks to being fat-adapted, I found that I could run faster and further than I could pre-keto despite training less often.” She highly recommends Art and Science of Low Carb Performance by professors Phinney and Volek for any exercise enthusiasts.
Top keto tips
Kristin has some advice for people starting keto:
- Keep it simple. If you’re new to keto, get started with Diet Doctor’s 2-week challenge. It’ll put you on the right track and help you to build upon your knowledge as you go gradually. You don’t have to obsess about macros, especially since doing so often causes people to become too overwhelmed.
- Keep carbs low. If you do this, everything should eventually fall into place. Once you’re a ways into your keto journey, you’ll see that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to macros. But, so long as you focus on limiting your carbohydrate intake, you should start seeing results, Kristin explains.
- Find support. It could be in real life or online. Kristin’s blessed with a supportive husband who also eats keto. This helps her stay on track with her diet during tough times. If you don’t have keto friends and family, Kristin suggests joining the Diet Doctor Facebook group for support.
You can learn more about Kristin on her author page.
Thanks for sharing your journey and your top tips Kristin! We are so thankful to have you on our team at Diet Doctor and appreciate your passion for helping others find success like you have. Keep up the great work!
/ Dr. Bret Scher
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