My name is Kelsey Baker (@keto_kels). I'm 26 years old from London, Ontario, and I am a mental health nurse. I decided to try keto in 2017 when I was at a low place in my life and have lost over 60 pounds in the process.
I used to deal with food addiction and binge eating. I was in denial for a very long time about the state of my health and how unhealthy I was both physically and mentally. Growing up, I was always heavily involved in sports. I was constantly active, but that drastically changed when I entered university.
I was really unhappy at school and turned to food for comfort. I developed quite a few unhealthy habits during this time, namely binge eating. I was in a vicious cycle of being unhappy with the direction of my life and turning to food to hide behind a veil of short-term comfort. As I gained weight, it just worsened my already poor self-esteem. I became increasingly self-conscious, so I continued to turn to food for immediate satisfaction. And the cycle went on.
Even at my highest weight of 220 pounds, I was still in a state of denial. I knew I was at an unhealthy weight, but it was never motivating enough to implement a lifestyle change. I would participate in unhealthy crash diets (the military diet, the lemon-cayenne water diet, laxatives, extreme caloric deficit, you name it). Of course, they weren’t sustainable. And I’d answer those failures with binging.
At that point, I had been following a keto Instagram influencer for close to a year and was intrigued. So on one random day, I made the decision to just *try.*
I started following a ketogenic lifestyle on May 3, 2017. TBH, though, there wasn’t anything memorable about that day, or even an "aha" moment that switched my mindset. I remember specifically saying to myself, “Just try it for three days, then go out for sushi on Saturday.” Guess what? I ended up canceling my sushi plans.
I actually enjoyed the keto way of eating. It genuinely didn’t feel like a diet because I was consuming a lot of the same foods that I was already used to and loved. It truly just took making some small tweaks and food swaps to align my diet with a ketogenic way of eating.
Here’s what I typically eat in a day now.
- Breakfast: Two whole eggs, two pieces of bacon, and coffee with cream
- Lunch: Cobb salad with hard-boiled egg, avocado, bacon, and ranch dressing
- Snacks: Turkey pepperettes and cheese or veggies and dip
- Dinner: Chicken breast with broccoli sautéed in butter
- Dessert: Frozen raspberries
I saw so many positive changes when I switched to a keto lifestyle.
I typically call it a ketogenic lifestyle because it truly doesn’t feel like a diet anymore. It’s not something I view as short term at all. My body responds best when using fat for energy. My energy levels drastically increased. I used to take a nap every single day because I was so fatigued all the time. I was constantly fighting against my poor health, as well as the mental war going on inside my mind.
I also started to exercise. The keto diet opened my eyes to new passions, such as Olympic lifting. When I first started keto, I lost 60 pounds in seven months with diet alone. In January 2018, I shifted my focus from weight loss to fat loss/muscle gain, and I’ve decreased my body fat percentage by 15 percent in two years.
When it comes to weight loss, this is my biggest piece of advice: don’t over-complicate things.
There’s a ton of conflicting information out there. To simplify the process of starting out on keto specifically, I stuck to the keto food pyramid at first to guide me. It took a lot of the guess work out of what to eat. (Need keto grocery shopping advice? Check out this WH keto foods guide.)
I also made sure to keep my goals small and attainable, and I think that has helped me stay on track. My first goal, as I mentioned, was completing just three days of keto. Then I would set a short-term goal of tracking all my food for a given period. You’ll stay motivated, and it helps keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
I also recommend that everyone experiment with exercise until they find something they genuinely enjoy. If you don’t like weight lifting, more than likely, you won’t be consistent with it. There are so many ways to get active.
Weight loss is also not a race. Get rid of the expectation that if you’re not seeing results as fast as the next person, you’re failing. Everyone is different, and the goal is to strive for progress, not perfection. My mindset was always "get skinny and be thin." It was only once I switched my mindset from "get skinny" to "be healthy" that I started seeing (lasting) results.
The weight loss aside, I am a much more active participant in my life in general.
I was in an incredibly low place for such a long time. I battled with anxiety and depression for years. I still do, but it’s not debilitating anymore, and I consistently implement healthy coping mechanisms to help combat those internal struggles.
I never realized how much I held myself back in the past. It’s truly shocking how impactful poor self-image is. On the other hand, it is amazing how much positive energy you draw in when you exude it. Genuine confidence and self-acceptance have the ability to influence every aspect of your life. I’ve truly never felt more empowered.
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