Updated: May 2, 2020
Linda Steward shares with us her weight loss journey and how she came to realize how her lifestyle was the real obstacle.
"I was born and raised in Texas. Until last year, I never realized how unhealthy my lifestyle and eating habits were" Linda said. "On the weekends, my mom would make fried chicken and pork chops with bacon and pancakes or waffles for breakfast. She would make more so we could have the leftovers for the rest of the week and just reheat what we want for breakfast. I was young and definitely not paying attention to my diet as I didn't need to at the time. My mom was overweight and tried several diet pills to make her lose weight but obviously nothing was working since her diet was still the same, lots of meat and fried foods."
"A few years later, I met my now husband and moved in with him. I reiterated my mom's habit of making huge quantities of breakfast foods on the weekend. I was cooking lots of meat and frying shrimp, potatoes, fish sticks and so on. That all caught up to me eventually. I gained weight gradually over the years without even truly realizing. It is one morning when Facebook notified me of a 'memory' that I had my first reality check. A photo that a friend had tagged me in years ago showed up. I was shocked. It looked like I ate the old me. My face had pretty much doubled in size and my waist line was long gone. I stared in the mirror wondering what had happened to me. I was eating the same way as I was before and I was thin back then so I didn't understand how things could have changed so drastically."
"About 5 months after this first slap in the face I got pregnant. I was over the moon and being on a diet was the last thing in my mind. Better yet I started eating more and my excuse was that I was 'eating for two', which I found out later is no true! Being pregnant does not mean that you have to eat like two grown adults. That being said, I gained about 80 pounds during my pregnancy and no, I wasn't expecting twins!
After my daughter was born I was overwhelmed with joy but a few good looks in the mirror brought me back to reality very quickly. I was overweight. I was obese even. My ankles and knees were painful from all the weight I was carrying around and I was out of breath after going upstairs to my bedroom. I had high blood pressure and was also having sharp chest pains so I decided to see a doctor and that's when I had to come to the realization that my weight was my main health problem triggering all these other issues I was having."
"I explained to the doctor how I have had the same diet pretty much my whole life but was pretty thin when I was in my 20's. He pointed out to me how that was the problem. When we are younger, our metabolism works faster and we haven't accumulated all these fats and sugar yet. It all builds up over time so keeping the same diet forever (even more so an unhealthy one) isn't a solution. He recommended a nutritionist/dietician that would educate me on healthy eating and habits."
"My meeting with the dietician introduced me to a whole new world I knew nothing about. I didn't think my diet was healthy but I truly didn't think that it was THIS bad. Turned out that friend chicken and waffles for breakfast was the most unhealthy way to start the day. My dietician recommended that I start the 'Keto' diet. I had no idea what it was and when she explained it i thought it made no sense. She said I should eat more fats. Good fats. I wasn't even aware that there was such thing as good and bad fats. I guess i was truly uneducated about diet just like a lot of people in this country."
"First Day of the Keto diet for me: my sweet husband decided to support me and follow the diet as well. He wasn't as overweight as I was but could definitely lose a few pounds. The principle was to cut off most processed foods, cut off sugar and get rid of carbs and sugar producing foods (that plus some light exercise at least 3 times a week). The beginning was rough, I missed the carbs, the bread, the pasta but I knew it was for my own good. I was too young to suffer from high blood pressure and to be so unhealthy. My first days went and I was regularly checking in with the dietician. I started to feel ill and have flu-like symptoms. She assured me that it was perfectly normal due to the lack of carbs and electrolytes in my diet and recommended taking a Keto supplement which would also help me get into ketosis faster (if you are new to the concept of keto diet, ketosis is when your body starts using fat as fuel!). I took it everyday before lunch and the symptoms disappeared as fast as they came."
"Fast forward to my 3rd week on the diet. I have lost weight (almost 20 pounds down) and so did my husband. I couldn't believe that increasing my 'good' fat intake would help me lose weight but the results were there and I was in no position to question it. I was still eating cheese and bacon but had to introduce avocados (which I absolutely love now!) and more fatty fish and meat. No more frying and no more pancakes but after awhile I wasn't missing it anymore.'
"After almost 6 months on the keto diet I am down 126 pounds and I could not be happier. I am not back to my youth weight but I am feeling great in my skin. I finally went shopping for new clothes without the fear of not finding anything that fits me! that was huge. I feel better and healthier overall, the chest pain is gone, my knees don't bother me anymore and my blood pressure is back to normal."
"This whole experience had me realize how the diet I grew up on was setting me up for failure. We tend to think that the way we are raised is the right and only way. We tend to carry the same habits we grow up on to our adult life and transmit it to our children. We need to educate ourselves. Do research to be better and make sure our children are healthy and live a long life. My upbringing did me wrong and could have cost me my life. We need to open our minds to what we don't know in order to better our lives so we can be around longer for our loved ones."