The keto diet: “Will eat this way for the rest of my life”


After a life of yo-yo dieting, Debbie realized that she didn’t have any willpower left to make another attempt to lose weight. Thankfully, her doctor then said that she at least should try the keto diet. This is what happened:

Hi, this is my story, it’s long but hey, I’m 62 years young. I am writing this story for myself, so I can be accountable to myself. I can’t even begin to tell you how many diets I have been on since elementary school.

I was a very sick kid until I was 5 when I got my tonsils out. My parents feed me milk shakes and ice cream most of time. Well, let me tell you, once I was better, they gave me all the things I had missed! Both my parents were obese, and to top it off, we’re Jewish, you know what that means. I had the typical Jewish grandmother who wants you to eat all the time or you’ll starve. I became the fat kid in the family.

My parents divorced when I was 3, my mom was young and fed us what she could afford, which was potatoes, rice, and pasta. Need I say more. My mom lost her weight and didn’t want me to go thru what she did as a child. I started with yo-yo dieting young.

My sisters didn’t have a weight problem so we always had junk food in our house (I became a closet eater). My mom would take me to doctors and they would always put me on a diet. I would always gain the weight back. By the time I was in high school I was probably 50 pounds (23 kg) overweight.

Believe it or not, when I was 21 there was a article in Cosmopolitan magazine called “Fasting the Ultimate Diet” and of course I had to try it. I fasted for 42 days while I was a cook on a fast food truck (first one off the assembly line, 43 years ago), and smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. I lost around 50 pounds (23 kg) and then got pregnant with my first son. So, I had to start eating and quit smoking ASAP. Well, you can imagine the outcome of that. Gained all the weight back plus an extra 35 pounds (16 kg). My excuse was I was eating for two, but when he was born I only lost ten pounds (5 kg). I never lost the weight and got pregnant again with my second son. I gained 50 more pounds (23 kg) with him. So, between both of them I gained 130 pounds (59 kg)!

When my second son was 10 months old, I was waiting to get on a program through the hospital called Medifast. It was a liquid diet that they monitored once a week with blood tests and weekly classes on food and nutrition. I went in for the initial tests, but the whole time my stomach was bothering me. When I got home I was very sick with stabbing pains in my gut. I ended up going to the hospital and staying for a bunch of tests. They did exploratory surgery and I had pancreatitis. My whole system was poisoned and the Doctor told me if I hadn’t gone to the hospital when I did I probably would have died. I was in there for three weeks. For the first time in my life, they did not want me to lose any weight and to let my body heal for 6 months. My weight in the hospital was 297 lbs (134 kg).

I waited for six months and then started the Medifast program at the hospital. I lost 98 pounds (44 kg) in four months (not one bite of food, all liquid shakes.) Then I ate some BBQ chicken and the diet was over for me. I never could get back on the fast.

Then my sister got married and I was her Maid of Honor. I wore a gorgeous dress and everyone thought I looked beautiful. Eight months later my sister died of a drug overdose. I was so crushed and mad, all I did was eat. I gained all my weight back, plus some.

For the next nine years I went on many diets and would lose weight just to gain it back again. In 1991 I ended up in the hospital with a herniated disk in my neck. I had to have emergency surgery 5 days before Christmas. Because they had waited so long to operate, my left side was going numb down to my knee.

Then in 1992, I went through a divorce and lost 75 pounds (34 kg) and moved to Las Vegas to start over, and to be with all my family. My boys were 14 and 16 and they were a hand full. As a single mom and a full time manicurist, my life was busy and I managed to get down to about 175 pounds (79 kg) and I felt pretty good about myself.

I was still heavy but felt I could live at this weight and be happy. I lived in Vegas for a year before I met my current husband. When we split for a while, I lost another 30 pounds (14 kg). Of course that was starving myself yet again. Which all of you know is the reason we gain the weight back. I couldn’t continue this way of eating forever because I was hungry all the time. I am a nail tech, had a full clientele and no time to eat regular meals. We always had a ton of snacks around the beauty shop so I would snack all day.

I got married and we moved back to Southern California and I couldn’t get my nail license reinstated. I was home all day with nothing to do and ate out of boredom. In that three years living there I gained weight and then lost it, only go gain it back again. I never went above 198 pounds (90 kg). That is where I always started dieting, because I promised myself I would never get over 200 pounds (91 kg) again.

In 2002 we moved to Oregon where my husband was retired and wanted to have a small farm. I on the other hand decided to get my nail license and go back to work. I am a city girl who loves people, and wanted to meet people in my new town. I figured the best way to meet people when you don’t have kids growing up, is to go to work. I love doing nails.

Then in 2003, I had another major back surgery, on my lower back. So I tried to lose weight after that because my doctor said I had the back of a 80-year-old woman. So I went on another diet to give my back some relief. But, when you work in a beauty shop, there are always sweets and people bring in lots of baked goods. You guessed it – I ate. So for 12 years the weight went up and down just about every two years. I have tried diets that were so crazy that now I can’t even believe it.

Then in 2014, I was down to 155 pounds (70 lbs), but my back got so bad I was having spasms all the time. I was bent over on my right side because I had severe scoliosis. I had another back surgery in Sept of 2014. My whole back is now fused together with screws and rods. I decided to retire, except for a few clients I see out of my house. Well, within two years of being home I was back up to 197 pounds (89 kg) and had a doctor’s appointment in December 2016. My doctor told me I was pre-diabetic, which didn’t surprise me. My dad’s side of the family all had diabetes or died from complications from diabetes. My mother had hypoglycaemia most of her life. I had been tested for diabetes since I was in grade school.

I told my doctor I just didn’t have any more willpower so she told me about the ketogenic diet. In the last month of 2016, I read everything I could get my hands about this way of eating.I found the Diet Doctor webpage and watched as many videos as I could. I was inspired by reading so many success stories.

I was ready to start on Jan 3, 2017. It wasn’t easy the first month but I never (even to this day) have eaten anything that wasn’t on the plan. I keep things simple. I lost 14 pounds (6 kg) the first month, then I stopped losing for 2 months. I didn’t get discouraged because I had abused my body for so many years that I figured I was adjusting to this way of eating. I went back to the Doctor six months after I started and she was so happy with me. My blood sugar was down to 75 mg/dl (4.2 mmol/L) and I had lost around 40 pounds (18 kg). I got off my blood-pressure medications and felt the best I had in years. It has been a year now, I have lost 62 pounds (28 kg) and am down to my goal weight of 135 pounds (61 kg). I have found a new way to love and honor my body through the ketogenic diet and will eat this way for the rest of my life.

The first picture was of me in 1984 and the second one was on Christmas day 2017.



Thank you for sharing, Debbie! And congratulations on your success with a keto diet :-)

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  1. Mara C
    My goodness, what a journey! I'm glad you detailed so much of it, because it helped me see it truly is never too late & you're still only 62 w/potentially another 25+ years to live in a healthy, sustainable way. Thank you for your inspiration!
  2. Donna
    Debbie, thank you for sharing your story! Our lives can certainly seem like rollercoaster rides with circumstances, health and emotions intertwining! Your story is inspiring and proves there is always something to be learned from our successes and failures. Your conclusion, "I have found a new way to love and honor my body through the ketogenic diet and will eat this way for the rest of my life." is beautiful! Your success, through years of challenges, is a great motivator for others with health and weight issues. Also, what a reward for the Diet Doctor team to see the life changing fruits of their labours!
  3. Leta Braxton
    Would love to try this challenge but my husband I are not big red meat fans and we don't eat pork so can you give us a menu for a two weeks challenge for this diet?
  4. Cat
    Thanks for sharing! I lost 50lbs in 6 months in 2016 eating keto, as did my husband. I've regained some due to falling off track last year and eating too many carbs, but am getting back on track. I'm 32 and I know I really gotta stick with it. My motivation is to be healthy and a good example to my kids.
  5. ian
    try vegan
  6. Wendy
    Keto is the most self indulgent diet! 96% of meat comes from factory farms where the animals never see the day of light until en route to a slaughterhouse. Most slaughtering is done at high speed slaughterhouses where many animals are not stunned properly and dismembered while still alive. All meat animals are slaughtered while still babies - most between 6 weeks and 8 months. Cows at 14 months. Many butchers cut out the tumors and still sell the meat.
    All animals suffer unimaginable cruelty and horrific deaths??. I turn 61 next month, have been plant based for decades and I’m in better shape than many people half my age!
  7. Cat
    Oh snap, the holier than thou vegans have arrived. ? My family and I finished off lots of ground beef for dinner tonight. Cause swearing off meat does absolutely nothing to save animals. Acting like those of us who eat meat ae horrible only tells us that you can't be taken seriously. Only fighting for more humane practices will make those animal's lives better. There is nothing evil about eating meat, get over yourselves. I have a wheat allergy and my husband has had severe fruit and veggie allergies since childhood. He has to be careful, often reacts if he eats any fresh fruit or vegetables. It sucks. Vegan diet would be very very difficult and not healthy at all for my family. No thanks. Just like anything, no one way of eating works for everyone.
  8. andrea
    you're so lovely, Debbie. I'm pleased for you that you have found your true self. :)
  9. andrea
    note to the vegan trolls: G-d specified what type of meats we are to eat, so they were designed for human consumption.
  10. 1 comment removed
  11. Wendy
    Because you have absolutely no concern for the rural poor who live near factory farms and suffer severe asthma, allergies and cancer because they can’t afford to move? Or because Animal Ag is creating massive ocean dead zones? Do you care about the environment and world your children and grand children will inherit?
    And how about all the feed that is grown to feed livestock instead of the worlds starving poor?
    Who’s holier than thou?
  12. Keith
    Congrats Debbie amazing how keto enabled you to beat hangry it can be difficult to stop those trigger foods. Your letter describes well how relationships and work can make it harder to be consistent. Sleep as always so important. Kudos to your doctor for recommending keto.
  13. Tim
    Keto diet is extremely unhealthy. Have fun with all the health issues you're going to have down the road
  14. 1 comment removed
  15. Ethical Person
    Hey Andrea (troll) If we're bringing the Bible into this then wasn't the garden of Eden originally meant to be vegan?
  16. Sushma Alphonsa
    I would like to know your current diet. What is the keto diet you are using as there could be so many out there. What of keto diet worked for you?
  17. Aiko Fujita
    There are Vegan Keto recipes on the internet. I mix it up. I try to eat Natto for vit k2 more often. Also, I do eat meat and fish as I feel lethargic when I don’t, but eat small amounts.
  18. 2 comments removed
  19. Ruth-Ann
    Wow, your life story is so similar to mine. I'm almost 62 yrs young, have been a yo-yo dieter for years and years trying to keep my weight under 200 lbs. I'm pre-diabetic, have had pancreatitis and my gall bladder removed. I have been on and off the LCHF "diet" for several years but now have been consistently Ketogenic for 4 months currently. Since April 26, 2019, I've lost 40.8 lbs, my A1C has gone from 6.3% to 5.6%. I want it to get to below 5%. Your story has encouraged me to keep on keeping on. Thank you for sharing your story!!!

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