The Life Changing Power of Diet

bowl of vegetable salad and fruits
Photo by Trang Doan on

If you have read my Blog detailing all the curve balls life has thrown us in the less than 5 years Jared and I have been together, you can probably understand how hard exercise has been. Since our car accident I have been suffering with a lot of pain mostly in my hips and my lower back into my legs which has made it difficult to exercise. I have given it a good go over the years, trying everything and I mean everything including Hydrotherapy, Physiotherapy, private Pilates, Chiropractic and personal trainers. Although every one of these services has made some difference I still find I am in pain almost every day and still overweight.

When I found out I was Pregnant I weighed 122Kg. The day Logan was born I was down to 120kg and after he was born I weighed 119kg and I knew something needed to change. Through recommendations on Facebook I found a different sort of Personal trainer who works with fixing the source of the pain and where it is stemming from in the body. For example my neck was hurting and after trying a few different things he found the pain was coming a little bit from the muscles in my ribs needing some release, as well as my neck itself, however the biggest pain relief came from scar tissue he found in my stomach that he massaged out. Finally I am starting to see great results and actually having pain free days.

One day I found a documentary on Netflix called ‘The Magic Pill’ which talks about clean eating and the Keto diet as well as what carbohydrates and what processed food is doing to our bodies. I was so moved by this documentary that as soon as Jared was home from work I asked him to watch it with me again. Jared was just as moved as I was, especially when they talked about the way that glucose fuels cancer cells and how simple it was to change. Needless to say we both made a commitment to start the Keto Diet right away.

So what is Keto? Keto is a high fat, moderate protein low carbohydrate diet. Nothing artificial and no sugar, only good healthy fats with every meal and tons of vegetables. With the vegetables and fruits you do need to be careful because a lot of vegetables are high in carbohydrates. For example if I eat a punnet of strawberries in a day I have blown my carb allowance for the whole day.

So what happened? In the first few weeks Jared dropped a lot of weight (average 4kgs per week for the first month) and I lost a little weight but more inches on the waist, but the benefits I feel are far better than mere weight loss. Suddenly I had energy, more energy than I have had in years. At this point Logan was in his 4 month sleep regression and was waking up 4-6 times a night. Before Keto this would leave me sprawled out on the couch, drained of energy whenever he was napping. On Keto I was still tired but I was tired and doing 2 loads of washing, vacuuming the house, cooking 2 meals a day and playing with Logan so much more than I had before. That alone would motivate me to keep going on Keto but the difference in my pain levels was what really amazed me. Suddenly I was not just having pain free days I was having pain free weeks. I could move more freely and I didn’t feel as heavy, I felt light and springy. The swelling in my lower legs disappeared which made moving around a lot easier. I suddenly felt like a thin person trapped inside of a overweight person instead of a heavy, fat old lady who was falling apart.

Let’s talk about Dairy. I love dairy, especially cheese. I am known for saying that a life without cheese is not a life worth living, but in saying that I am actually Lactose intolerant. When I was a baby I was allergic to cow’s milk and was given soy instead. As an adult I still don’t really drink milk but when I have yogurts or cheeses especially in high quantities I would get bloated, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and clear the room kind of farts. For 3 weeks before we discovered Keto I decided to quit dairy because I was just sick of feeling this way and I must admit I felt so much better. When we started Keto I said to Jared that it was already such a restrictive diet so I would add dairy back in until we had the hang of it then I would cut it out again. 2 weeks in and I was putting dairy with every meal and was not getting any of my symptoms, 3 weeks and no symptoms, 4 weeks and no symptoms. Did this mean that I actually have never been lactose intolerant? Maybe the high sugar and carbohydrate as well as a bit of dairy was just too much for my body to process all together but without the carbohydrates and sugars my body has not problem digesting diary.

So where are we now? I got down to 107kg but I am now up again at 109kg due to Jared’s unexpected appendicitis. For the last 3 weeks we have been very unhealthy ordering pizza and Chinese food to make it easier. Jared was told he could not lift anything over 6kgs for 6 weeks which meant no holding Logan, so unfortunately that left me with a rather awkward juggling act and a need for quick easy meals.

So we have been off Keto for 3 weeks but what has happened? Although my weight gain hasn’t been extreme I have noticed my pain return. As I sit here on my bed writing this I have pain running down the left side of my neck and both hips are really painful, especially the left where my PT believes I have some nasty nerve damage. I also have pain radiating from my lower back down into my legs. I have experienced headaches and the carpel tunnel I contracted after pregnancy has returned. I must admit I don’t remember when it disappeared but I had it for at least 6 months or more after the pregnancy and I am also lacking in energy and tired all the time.

The return to Keto is going to be one of the most important steps to starting our journey. If we are going to have the energy to get the house ready with all the painting and repairs required (and If I’m actually going to be able to help without being in pain or making my pain worse) then we defiantly need to kick the carbs and up the fats. If we look further ahead to our trip itself it’s going to require a bunch of car time, which is something that always increases my pain and the swelling in my legs so Keto will defiantly be important for that.

I spent yesterday making healthy snacks and lunch for today as well as grocery shopping. For breakfast I have had 5 strawberries, 2 almond and date balls and a fruit juice (I know the high speed weight loss version of Keto is anti fruit but I do think it’s too important to forego). For lunch I made a lamb salad with spinach, lime, red onion, cucumber, asparagus and lamb. For dinner it will be steak, Brussels sprouts cooked in butter and bacon bits with green beans cooked in garlic. I decided this time I would go slower and easier on my journey back into Keto in stages.

Stage one – eat only healthy foods and lots of healthy snacks to curb the cravings

Stage two – cut out all snacks

Stage three – cut out breakfast

Stage four – lower the amount of dairy and meat we eat (this isn’t really a Keto thing just something I want to do to help save money).

We started Keto to lose the weight and get healthy, to give Logan the best life we could and to try and help lower the risk factor with a second baby, but what we found was something much better than weight….we found quality of life.

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