My name is Courtney Smith (@coco.goes.lowcarb), and I’m 40 years old. I’m from Houston, Texas, and I am an account manager in group insurance. After finding out I was prediabetic, I decided to start intermittent fasting and following a keto/low-carb diet. I lost 105 pounds in two years.
I struggled with my weight from a very young age. In addition to being heavy, I was really tall, so I always stood out in a crowd. Most of my struggles took place during my childhood and teenage years. I owned who I was as an adult. I have a big personality and I'm confident, so I never really let my weight get to me once I decided I was okay with being overweight.
But after losing a close family member, I started self-medicating with food and wine. That's when I noticed that I was gaining weight rapidly, and I was also generally unhappy with some other aspects of my life. Instead of addressing my issues, I continued to eat whatever I wanted.
I was also dealing with knee and lower back pain due to arthritis. The weight exacerbated the pain. I was told I was prediabetic in early 2017 after going to the doctor for my annual physical. At my heaviest, I was 333 pounds. I was around 35 when I realized I had gotten so big. I was miserable but also had refused to do anything about it.
After receiving my prediabetes diagnosis in 2017, I decided I needed to make some serious lifestyle changes.
I was terrified. I saw what diabetes did to friends and loved ones, and I knew that the outcomes could be bleak. I was determined to take control of my health and stop making excuses.
So, I started eating differently and walking. I saw some results but knew I had more work to do. I got serious in January 2018, at 39 years old. I had a friend who was losing weight, and I just asked her outright what she was doing. She explained keto and some of the benefits of that lifestyle.
Keto and low-carb works for me because I am able to eat and create delicious meals that don't make me feel restricted or like I am being punished. I'm also able to go out to eat and make choices that don't alienate others or make me appear to be on some weird diet. This is important, as my profession requires that I attend work lunches, dinners, and sporting events.
I think dieting or lifestyle changes scare people because it can be challenging to figure out what you can eat when you're out at events or dinners, but being keto helps me with that. I saw how rapidly the weight started falling off, all while being able to still enjoy great food. I'm proud to say that this lifestyle has reversed my prediabetes as well.
I also typically follow a 16:8 fasting plan, meaning I eat within an eight-hour block of time. I eat between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., or from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. I don't snack very much, but if I do, I make low-carb choices.
Here’s what I eat in a day now:
- Breakfast: I rely on crustless quiche that I meal prep weekly. It consists of sausage, eggs, cheese, spinach, and onions. I also have coffee with a light splash of heavy cream, stevia, and cinnamon.
- Lunch: If I have lunch, I have steak or chicken with a wedge salad or steamed veggies. (Because I do 16:8 fasting, breakfast is more like a lunch.)
- Snacks: My go-to snacks are almonds, berries, Two Good yogurt with grain-free granola, cheese sticks and pepperoni, and veggies with guacamole.
- Dinner: I love zucchini noodles with meat sauce, and I have that at least once a week. My other go-to dinner is ribeye steak with cauliflower mash and broccoli with cheese.
- Dessert: I have learned how to create low-carb desserts from scratch. I bake cookies, cakes, etc. If I opt for ice cream, I enjoy Rebel Creamery or Enlightened ice creams.
I also walk at least three times a week. I started walking for about 20 minutes a day at work. It was a good way to step away and decompress while getting my body moving. My goal is to incorporate more exercise and yoga into my life.
These three changes helped me see the most noticeable results in my weight loss.
- Change one: I incorporated intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting helped me tremendously. I noticed that when I started fasting I felt better and the weight started coming off at a quicker pace. I also feel more energetic and more focused after fasting.
- Change two: I drink water like it's my job. It helps me with flushing water weight and I also feel that it contributed to clearer, brighter skin.
- Change three: I cut out mindless snacking and treats. I found that my weight loss stalled and that there are so many hidden carbs and sugars in some of the meal replacement bars I was eating. Once I cut those out, I noticed that my weight-loss plateau ended.
After two years of intermittent fasting and eating keto, I’ve lost 105 pounds.
I chose to turn my life around at almost 40 years old. I have a new lease on life and I'm so grateful. I've had times when I opted for the slice of cake or a few chips during this journey, but I don't park there and beat myself up. This lifestyle change is about balance. My biggest piece of advice is to not beat yourself up during the process. It isn't easy—but it is so worth it.