“Keto broke all the rules I had been taught”


Can a simple diet change that breaks all conventional rules transform your life? Sarah would be the first to attest to that!

Since starting a keto diet, she has lost 80 pounds, and the empowerment from achieving that has seeped into other areas of her life. Here she discusses her journey and what she wishes she would have known when she started:

Sarah’s story

Hi Amanda,

Just sharing my keto journey with you (as well as for others) who may find some inspiration, motivation or wisdom.

General information:

  • Height: 5’5” (165 cm)
  • Age: 39
  • Married: 16 years, 4 kids
  • Instagram account: @myketolife2

Weight lost:

  • Starting weight: 239 lbs (108 kg)
  • Current weight: 159 lbs (72 kg)
  • Goal weight: 150 lbs (68 kg)
  • Total weight lost: 80 pounds (36 kg)
  • Started January 15, 2019

Inches lost:

  • Waist: 11 inches (28 cm)
  • Hips: 11 inches (28 cm)
  • Chest: 8 inches (20 cm)

What was your life like before?

My life before felt out of control in every sense of the imagination. My main two areas where the source of the same feelings would come were with food and money. It felt like wild horses could not drag me from scouring the cupboards for food. If it I was in my mind, I had to do it. Nothing could stop me. It was a powerful force, yet left me feeling totally and utterly powerless at the same time. And that powerlessness led to being all the more triggered and in defeat.

I would often watch other people who managed their weight or finances and often wondered what their secret was. It all seemed so impossible for me. I just felt like there was some secret I hadn’t been able to discover or unlocked or wasn’t lucky enough to know. So many years like this, sitting on the sidelines feeling like victory would never come for me. Sometimes I would muster up enough willpower and courage to lose weight, but these attempts didn’t last long. I felt like my own worst enemy.

What happened that changed things?

I have cycled through many seasons of coming to the end of myself. Finding the resolve to lose weight only for that willpower to dissipate, or even worse, turn in on myself and becoming afraid of becoming more attractive. This fear was very much attached to childhood sexual abuse, and so I knew that my issues with food were deeper than self-discipline issues.

I’ve have many years of ups and downs, dieting. Was keto just another attempt? I really didn’t care because I came to it from a place of desperation. I’d been here before. For months I toyed with the idea of keto, I’ve done Atkins, isn’t it similar? Not again, I told myself. I’m not jumping on another bandwagon. So as I anticipated an upcoming change, knowing I had to do something, the more I spiralled out of control with my eating. It was the dieting mentality that I wasn’t sure how to change. I seemed to know it all, but why couldn’t I apply it?

I was shopping and spotted The Keto Diet by Leanne Vogel. Impulsively, I bought the book but it sat on my shelf for months. I even brought it on vacation with me. Too scared to open it and start yet another failed attempt, I couldn’t bring myself to read it.

I went camping with my best friend who was on keto diet and had lost 20 lbs (9 kg). She told me about the Diet Doctor website and other resources. I started looking into it. Over the Christmas break I researched more and to my surprise this was a much different way of eating than I had thought. So much healthier than I understood. It broke all the rules and knowledge I had been taught all my life. I felt like a rebel, a revolutionary in some strange way, breaking new ground for myself. I soon found myself soaking up as much information as I could about this counter-cultural way of eating. I knew I was becoming a little obsessive about the whole thing, but was ok with that. Sometimes when new habits are being formed the pendulum has to make a big swing, eventually landing somewhere in the middle.

It is important for me to mention that also at this time, I had been in trauma therapy for several months working through my journey of childhood sexual abuse and learning to regulate my autonomic nervous system… which I have since learned that a high-fat diet helps regulate the Autonomic Nervous System! No wonder this framework of eating has been hugely successful for me and so many others! I do believe that these two things coming together around the same time (therapy and keto) set me up for success.

I do also believe that therapy or not, Keto sets you up physiologically for success. I noticed right away my blood sugar stabilizing, allowing the healthy high fats to satiate me to the next meal. I wasn’t driven by ‘fake’ hunger or the hunger that comes from carbs spiking your blood sugar. I no longer had to put myself to bed with hunger pangs (like with previous diets), but felt satisfied to the point I didn’t feel the urge to snack or reach for those high-carb foods.

What is your life like now?

After a month of research, I made a promise to myself that I would see this through all four seasons and no matter what, I would trust the process and not give up on myself. No matter how bored I got, how demotivated because of weight stalls (and I’ve had many!), how uninspired I became, how tired I got of cooking and planning meals – I would NOT give up. I decided to start an Instagram account dedicated solely to this journey and would follow others on a similar journey. My IG is an open journal that documents month to month changes, things I cooked and liked (or didn’t like!). I decided on several measures of success where I would monthly weight in, take transformation pictures and measurements. I’m so glad I did this as I could visually see the changes. And when I hit my longest weight stall is when I lost the most inches. Good thing I wasn’t only being driven by the scale! I also told myself that I would not give into impulses. If I want to eat off plan, it would have to be planned in advance.

The keto diet has given me healthy framework a of eating, providing me healthy parameters, couple with proven science that gets your body working with you (not against) to lose weight. That in itself is motivating!

Keto has given me empowerment. I can do this! That empowerment has now seeped into other areas in my life.

What I wish I knew from the beginning

  1. The ketogenic diet is a healthy way to eat and totally sustainable in the long term! I misinterpreted keto to be like Atkins, which I had done before, lost and gained weight back. The meal ideas are endless. Perhaps I would have made the decision sooner to make this much needed change in my life.
  2. I attempted to exercise right away but found it difficult to make so many life changes at once. I also found my body felt like a big heavy log until my metabolism became ‘fat adapted’. I heard about all this amazing energy on Keto but didn’t reap those benefits until a few months later. I decided to pause any intense exercise until I had lost 50 lbs (23 kg). I’m glad I did, breaking this journey down into smaller steps has been helpful in the long term. Now I am almost 40, I enjoy exercise and have better muscle definition and strength than in my 20’s!


Congratulations on your success, Sarah! Thanks for sharing your story with us. I am so glad we could help you find your way on your path to weight loss and health gains. I especially like your comment about realizing losing inches while not losing weight is still a huge victory. Keep up the great work!

/ Dr. Bret Scher


Most popular success stories

  • Johanna’s PCOS improved with keto, and she has ‘no plans to stop’
  • 'All biomarkers indicate I'm in the best health of my life'
  • Cheri lost 70 pounds and has 'a life again!'

All success stories

Share your story

Do you have a success story you want to share on this blog? Send it (photos appreciated) to success@dietdoctor.com, and please let us know if it’s OK to publish your photo and name or if you’d rather remain anonymous. It would also be greatly appreciated if you shared what you eat in a typical day, whether you fast etc. More information:

Share your story!


Keto for beginners

How to lose weight


Weight loss