My name is Alexis Wesco (@prettynurse_84), and I am 35 years old. I live in a small town called Picayune, Mississippi, and I have been a registered nurse for 14 years. A year ago, I decided to start eating keto and incorporating intermittent fasting like the 16:8 diet and OMAD diet into my lifestyle. I've now lost 114 pounds.
Focusing on my health helped me get through an incredibly difficult time earlier this year, when both myself and my father contracted coronavirus, and he passed away from it. I struggled with emotional eating during this time, but leaning into the lifestyle changes that worked for me before helped me stay healthy through it all.
I’ve struggled with my weight since I was a child. I always got teased and made fun of in school for being overweight. I have tried almost every diet out there, from Slim Fast to Adipex to the Military Diet.
As you might imagine, I would lose a little weight, but once I would stop the diet, the pounds would come back (plus some). I just love to eat food.
At 34, I reached my heaviest weight; I was 294 pounds. But the moment that I knew I had to make a change didn't come until November 23, 2018.
It was my little sister’s birthday. Her friends and I planned to go out for the night to celebrate her, and we took pictures before leaving.
As soon as my picture was taken, I remember looking at it and thinking, “I look that big?!” I couldn’t believe it. I remember not really being able to enjoy myself that night because I was thinking about how big I looked. I knew at that moment that I had to change my life. The cycle had to stop.
I chose to start the ketogenic diet. I first became aware of the keto diet back in January 2019. As the New Year began, I knew I needed a fresh start.
On TV and social media, this diet seemed to be super popular and a huge success for a lot of people. I started seeing success stories that I could relate to. I had tried all the other diet fads, so I thought, why not see what keto does for me? I initially started the diet by participating in a challenge.
I was amazed at how I was able to still eat good food without feeling totally restricted on keto.
I was losing weight and eating food I liked, just with fewer carbs. Who doesn’t want that? At the end of the two-month challenge, I was down 26 pounds and ended up winning the challenge! So, I just kept doing what worked for me. I do miss standard bread, sugar, and pasta from time to time, but there are so many alternatives to choose from. I also drink a gallon of water daily with electrolytes.
I also introduced a fasting regimen into my routine. When I first researched keto, I read a lot of different articles stating that intermittent fasting could help advance weight loss. I was determined to lose the weight, so I wanted to do everything it required to get the best results. And spoiler...
...fasting helped me tremendously with my weight loss.
I started my journey by incorporating the 16:8 intermittent fasting method. In the beginning, I really had to get used to waiting until noon to eat and closing my eating window at 8 p.m. But after only a couple days of doing it, it became a habit.
I then advanced to doing OMAD (one meal a day) a couple months later. I currently eat OMAD most days, and on the weekends, I stick to keto, but with no fasting restrictions.
I was then introduced to extended fasting about six months into my journey. Extended fasting is restricting food for longer than 24 hours. I usually do this only at the end of each month. During this time, I only consume water and electrolytes. It is *not* for everyone, but for me, it makes me feel amazing. It helps me with mental clarity and aids my weight loss.
While this routine may not work for everyone (and you should talk to your doctor or nutritionist before trying a fasting plan yourself), this method works for me.
Here’s what I typically eat in a day now.
- Breakfast: Two scrambled eggs with a dash of shredded cheese, three slices of bacon
- Lunch: Chicken Caesar salad
- Snacks: Berries, pork rinds, Quest protein chips, or pickles
- Dinner: Garlic butter shrimp with Palmini noodles
- Dessert: Highkey chocolate chip cookies or Rebel ice cream
I also started working out at the beginning of my journey.
I had worked out in the past, so I knew if I continued to do it along with dieting, I would see amazing results. I typically work out four to five days a week. I work out at the gym with a small group class that includes a combination of cardio, HIIT and weight-training exercises.
This works well for me because exercising with others motivates and pushes me to keep it up. I like being competitive and being a top weekly loser on weigh-in day.
I have lost 114 pounds in one year and two months—but not without bumps in the road, including COVID-19.
It hasn’t been easy staying on my journey during these past few months with my job as a nurse during the coronavirus pandemic. But my commitment to this lifestyle has made me come out stronger. As a nurse working in the hospital during a pandemic, it has been overwhelming and mentally stressful.
Outside of work, I took care of my elderly parents and raised two young boys, so I feared bringing anything home to expose them. Unfortunately, my fear became a reality as my father and myself both tested positive for the virus. At the time, my concern was not for me but for my father who had all the underlying conditions: diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and being overweight. My own symptoms were mild. My father and I were told to go home, self-treat, and return to the emergency room if symptoms got worse.
For my father, the virus moved quickly and deteriorated his body. On April 16, 2020, after only a week of finding out that he contracted the virus, my father passed away. That was a very difficult and hard time for me. My world completely turned upside down. I never knew that I was an emotional eater until I had to deal with the death of my father.
At times, I wasn’t even hungry, but I just had to put something in my mouth. I fell off track for a bit, but I eventually got back to what I knew worked. I said to myself, “Lex! You gotta shake back!” Through fasting and praying to God, I was able to get back on track.
My weight loss journey is far from over. I will maintain this lifestyle for the rest of my life.
These three changes helped me see the most noticeable results in my weight loss.
- Change one: I stayed focused on my goals. Keto is not a “quick fix." It is a lifestyle change. I had to be mentally prepared for this lifestyle. I knew I didn’t want to be classified as medically obese so I could live my best, healthiest life, so I did what I had to do to keep the weight off to see results. I stay motivated and determined to reach my goals.
- Change two: I incorporated fasting. Once I started, that was it! My body responded well to it, and it helped give me my best results. It helped advance my weight loss so much.
- Change three: Exercise, exercise, exercise. I had to stay active! Even if it’s just walking for 30 minutes, doing something daily or a few times weekly gets my heart pumping. I enjoy working out so much now. I hate to miss a day.
I love the confidence in myself now. I also love going into a regular store and being able to buy clothes without a problem. I can run and play with my busy boys without getting tired. And most importantly, I’m healthy. I did this journey for me. Whatever your weight loss goals may be, just stay true to you.