Wow! Neither of us can believe we have been living a keto lifestyle for 2 years. We would never have predicted we would ever reach this achievement. We have never stuck to any “diet” for more than 3 months prior to starting keto.
When we started we were at breaking point. We just needed to try one more diet change with the hope this this time it would work. Thank god we did as keto has changed our lives.
our 2 year ketoversary!
Erika and I both began our keto journey on the 10th of July 2016. We had tried just about every other diet out there prior to this. We were at a point where we were unsure we would ever be able to stick to anything long term and felt we were likely to live our lives as obese.
If you are interested in finding out more about our weight loss stories check out Dan’s story and Erika’s story. These stories go more in depth into our background with aiming weight, previous weight loss attempts and us getting starting with a ketogenic diet.
What we have learned
I have really had to learn to be flexible with my approach. I am definitely a more black and white type of person. We would be 100% in and strict or 100% off and eating whatever we want. The problem with this approach is it never worked and it was also not the way Erika worked. She needed more flexibility in her approach. So, we needed to come to a compromise to make this work for us, together.
I definitely think keto works differently for each individual person, but as a couple we really needed to find what worked for us. Erika needed some flexibility and I needed some rules. So, we set in place an off plan meal once a fortnight. This was something we implemented from day one and it really helped. I had the strictness and the rules around once a fortnight and Erika had the flexibility she needed to feel she could stick to keto long term.
At the start this was a very structured approach and it worked for us. Now, it is nowhere near as structured. We will eat off plan occasionally. When we travel we are much more relaxed with what we eat. Whenever we eat off plan, it is always a structured well thought out decision and not a spur of the moment thing. We usually talk about it before hand and what we are going to eat. The benefit of that for us, is it means we aren’t making these decisions when looking at the food. The decision has already been made.
So, I would say the number one thing I learned was to be more flexible with my approach. We acknowledge that this may not work for everyone, but the key to keto is finding what works for you and for us this was it.
I have learnt so much about myself over the past 2 years. Not only about how my body reacts to certain types of food, but also about my emotional eating. It is hard when I see photos of myself from 2 years ago as I find it difficult not to think about the emotional and physical pain I was constantly in.
I know now that carbohydrates and sugar are both certainly not my friends, as much as I would like them to be, as they are delicious! For me to lose weight initially I limited my carbohydrate to 20g or less per day. I can maintain my weight loss at this amount, but to continue losing weight I really need to lower my carbohydrates more as well as monitoring my overall calorie intake.
This has been difficult for me to come to terms with as it takes me being very strict and dedicated to stick to that carbohydrate restriction. Particularly with Dan having more flexibility at maintenance this has been a big challenge for me.
I also learnt that when I am stressed or emotional I turn to food for comfort, and this is not something that I have been able to completely overcome. I certainly have much more awareness of how I am feeling and I can now acknowledge when I am emotionally eating. This doesn’t mean that I don’t do it, even if I am over eating keto-friendly foods. This will be something I continue to work on my whole life, but having the awareness has certainly helped.
Keto Highlights of the last 12 months
12 months ago, I made the step into the Crossfit world. I have been intrigued by Crossfit for a while and can’t believe I have been going for 12 months already. In May, we moved house and I had to find a new gym. This was a little stressful for me as I was concerned about what the people would be like, but the transition has been easy.
I am often the only one at the 6am sessions, so have ended up with my own personal session. My Crossfit highlight was deadlifting 92kg. I have set myself a goal of 100kg by the end of the year, so I will keep you posted.
Another highlight for me was Christmas. This was our second keto Christmas and we both felt much more confident and less anxious about Christmas last year. We made a lot of keto-friendly food options and were surprised to see these options be the first to go.
The biggest keto highlight has been starting this blog. We had no idea what we were doing and jumped straight in. We have really enjoyed the ride of creating this blog and getting to know all of you. We love seeing people making our recipes and enjoying them.
One of the biggest highlights of the last 12 months for me was getting married! When I weighed over 150kgs getting married was never something that even crossed my mind. I would have hated the thought of having to find something to wear, hating how I looked and having anyone looking at me. I never wanted to be the centre of attention that was for sure.
After losing over 50kgs I feel much more confident and can buy clothes more easily now. It was so special to be able to celebrate with Dan in one of our favourite cities, San Francisco. Without shedding the weight I know this would never have happened.
My other highlight has been working on Have Butter will Travel! As difficult as I find it to put myself out there, particularly as I am not at my goal weight yet, I am just loving sharing our keto lives with you all. From the recipe creating, photography, writing and social media it has been a big learning curve but so much fun too.
Things we have had to work on over the last 12 months
One of the big steps for me over the last 12 months was figuring out maintenance. I have been at my body’s happy weight for the past 12 months. The difficulty for me has been my mindset. As I have been at goal weight, I have struggled with the mentality of ‘I could get away with eating that’. My carb intake can be a little more flexible and I need to keep that in check to avoid that slowly snowballing back into the standard Australian diet.
For my birthday this year we both had a DEXA scan. We were keen to see what our lean body mass and body fat % was. We were both really happy with our results and plan to have a scan every 12 months to monitor our progress. Along with going to Crossfit, I have been working on building my muscle and reducing my body fat.
Over the last 12 months I have had to learn to acknowledge my success, even if I am not at the weight I want to be at yet. I felt like I wasn’t qualified to share my experiences with a ketogenic lifestyle because I was still overweight, which was me continuing to put myself down.
I have successfully lost over 50kgs and maintained this massive weight loss. This is not an easy achievement and I have had to learn to be proud of this and feel I am worthy to share my experiences.
When we moved house in May I needed to find a new doctor in our local area. On my fist visit I was talking to her about the improvement in my blood pressure due to my weight loss. She asked how much I had lost and when I answered, her first question was did I have weight loss surgery. When I said no she was in disbelief. She said she had never really come across someone losing that amount of weight, and keeping it off, with diet alone. She was amazed and said I should be very proud as that is a very difficult thing to do.
Experiences like this are a great reminder that I am qualified to talk about my experiences and share my lifestyle in the hope it will help others in the same position as me.
What we think worked
Dan & Erika
As mentioned above, our flexibility was a key component to keto becoming a long term way of life for us. We have done a few trips since being keto and we always look forward to coming home and for things to go back to normal. Keto is our way of life now. It looks different from the keto we were doing at the beginning. It evolves and changes depending on what is happening in our lives, but it is a constant now.
Another key factor for us has been community. Being around like minded people really helped us to learn and also feel like we weren’t the ‘weird ones’. The community we found that fitted was online. Firstly, through the 2 keto dudes and then through Facebook groups and Instagram. We have made some great friends, that we can’t wait to meet at Ketofest.
The most important factor is that we have done this together. We always have each others support. We don’t have non keto food in the house as both of us are eating the same foods. This makes a massive difference in the beginning. Both of us have said, we would have found it so much harder had the other not been doing it as well.
What do we hope to achieve in the next 12 months
I will continue with my maintenance approach. I would like to keep my weight at around the 75kg mark. My main goal now is to build muscle and see some physical changes in my body. I plan to have another DEXA scan in March to assess any changes in my body fat and muscles. The previous DEX scan had my body fat % at 25.3%. I would like to see this get under 25% and in the next scan.
At Crossfit, my goals are to achieve a 100kg deadlift, a 20 inch box jump and a pull up.
I need to continue to work on my self confidence and self love. Being kinder to myself in general. As I would like to continue to lose weight there will be periods where I need to restrict considerably and I will need to balance those with more relaxed periods for my mental state. I am not in a hurry anymore as long as I am continuing to move forward!
Check out our other keto success stories for more inspiration