Caroline reached out to my low-carb clinic in September 2017. She had been struggling with her weight for a long time. She had just recently been told the only hope for her was bariatric surgery. This is her story.
“As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been active. I played soccer, ball hockey, volleyball, and tennis. I got into strength training, hoping to improve my body composition and lose excess weight. Later on, I got hooked on endurance sports, like running and triathlons. My weight was always up and down.”
In 2012, Caroline weighed 302 pounds (137 kg), even though she was very physically active. She managed to go down to 230 pounds (104 kg), but she had to do 2,5 hours of endurance sport every day, and was severely restricting her food intake. It was impossible to sustain, and eventually the weight just crept back up.
In January 2017, she weighed 282 pounds (128 kg). She knew she needed to lose weight, but she didn’t know what to do anymore. Nothing she had tried had really worked.
In April, she had an acute inflammation of her gallbladder. She ended up in the emergency department of her hospital. Her doctor told her as kindly as possible that she was obese, with a fatty liver, and that she was slowly killing herself. He said she had to lose weight.“Losing all this weight… I had been trying my hardest to lose weight ever since I was 9 years old. I only ever wished to be normal!”
The ER doctor told her to discuss it with her family doctor, and that her only option at this point was likely bariatric surgery.
Finding low carb
Caroline made an appointment with her family doctor, who knew her very well, and knew she was a determined and hardworking person. Her doctor told her about Clinique Reversa, my low-carb/keto/intermittent fasting clinic, and said this option might be worth a try before getting an invasive and irreversible surgery known for its complications and long-term failure rates.
Caroline decided to give it a try on her own while awaiting her appointment. Through lots of trials and errors, and the help of her gym coach, she started eating low carb, aiming for ketosis. She quickly rediscovered satiety, something she hadn’t felt in years. It was one of her first non-scale victories.“I realised I could follow a meal plan and not feel hungry all the time. I couldn’t believe it! I was having bulletproof coffees with butter and cream every morning, and I was losing weight!”
In September, Caroline started with us. There are more than 600 km between her town and my clinic. Indeed, we have patients coming from all corners of the province of Quebec. The record is held, so far, by a very dedicated man who drove 17 hours to make it to his medical evaluation and introduction course!
Caroline fine tuned her diet with our coaching, and realised she could eat a very wide variety of food, but she had to make choices to remain below 20 g of carbs per day, because she was aiming to be in nutritional ketosis. She wanted to continue doing endurance and long-distance sports, fueled by ketones.
We are lucky to have Marc Ciminelli, a kinesiologist, at our low-carb clinic. He’s been low carbing it for years, and is an ultramarathoner himself. He’s an expert at advising patients who want to perform while been on a ketogenic diet. And he’s also very good at helping people rediscover movement and physical activity. We aim to encourage people to add movement back into their lives, not with the goal to lose weight (losing weight is mainly about food and their hormonal effects in the body), but for all the other reasons physical activity is good for our health and well-being.
For those who don’t have access to such an expert, there is The Art and Science of Low Carb Performance, by Volek and Phinney.
During the following 6 weeks, she lost 28 pounds (13 kg), which is almost as much as the 32 pounds (15 kg) she had managed to lose in the previous 6 months by training very hard and being very strict with her food intake!
“Feeling healthy has never tasted so good!”
Caroline still trains hard, but she was able to reduce the amount of time she dedicates to exercising. There is less pressure to do it for weight loss, but more focus on fun and feeling good.
“This lifestyle has made it possible for me to find a balance for my physical health and mental health. Of course, I am still in the process of losing weight, but I am patient. There is no rush when you can lose weight while drinking coffee with heavy cream, and eat bacon, brie cheese and eggs!”
Caroline has lost approximately 80 pounds (36 kg) so far. Eating keto is her new lifestyle, her new normal.
I ended up meeting her again recently at the grand opening of our new Clinique Reversa in La Sarre, Abitibi (Québec). She came to my conference for the general public on reversing type 2 diabetes and obesity with low carb. She gave a heart-felt testimonial about her experience. The entire time she spoke, the room was hanging on her every word.I was thinking that this young lady not only looked amazing, but she was literally glowing. And I silently thanked her family doctor in my heart for telling her about low carb instead of encouraging her to get a bariatric surgery.