I Do Keto, Intermittent Fasting, And Tae Bo Workouts—And Ive Lost 135 Pounds

My name is Mayra Arias (@low.carb.love), and I’m a 35-year-old mom and self-employed businesswoman based in Laguna Beach, California. After battling my weight for years, I committed to a consistent workout routine and the keto lifestyle. I’ve lost over 100 pounds and kept it off.

I never thought about my weight when I was growing up. I was surrounded by family and friends who accepted me for who I was. I was a happy kid and ate whatever I wanted, which included lots of highly processed foods and munchies.

It wasn’t until my 17th birthday that I really noticed my weight in an impactful way. When I developed photos from my camera from that day, I was utterly shocked by my size. At that exact moment, I decided to change. I got a gym membership and started working out every day.

But looking back, I made some less-than-healthy choices to slim down as fast as possible during that time. I overdid it with my workouts and ate an overly restrictive diet. Yes, I lost weight, but my approaches were not safe or sustainable.

I maintained my weight until I got pregnant at the age of 24 in January 2010. During my pregnancy, I stayed active, walked every day, hit the gym three times a week, and watched what I ate. Still, I gained 100 pounds. At the peak of my pregnancy, I weighed 278 pounds. After I gave birth to my daughter on November 13, 2010, I lost 40 pounds naturally as a result of breastfeeding, taking care of my daughter, and recovering from my pregnancy. But I was still overweight and ready to see lasting change.

Two months later, in January 2011, I started my *second* major attempt at weight loss. This time, it stuck.

I began working out at home five days a week, as I needed to be home to take care of my daughter. My workouts consisted of cardio, squats, and lots of crunches. For cardio sessions, I did old-school (and fan-favorite!) Tae Bo workouts (think: a mix of martial arts, boxing, and dance), as well as hot yoga and weight training.

I also started a low-carb, high-protein diet and figured out my calorie deficit.

I knew I needed to start eating fewer calories than my body required to maintain my current weight. And, tbh, losing weight after my pregnancy required a ton of focus and determination, so I also got rid of temptations to help me stay on track. For example, I threw out all of my junk food, sweets, chips, soda, and bread.

My diet consisted of healthy protein sources like chicken, steak, salmon, tuna, and eggs, salads and veggies, cheese and plain yogurt, olive oil, some fruit, and protein shakes for on-the-go nutrition.

By June 2011, five months into my weight-loss journey, I had lost over 100 pounds. For the next five years, I worked out at the gym every day to maintain my weight and stay fit. This was, as you can imagine, a lot of work. But it was worth it.

In August 2014, one of my friends mentioned the keto diet, and I was intrigued.

It sounded like something I could incorporate into my lifestyle, so I tried it for a week. In just that one week, I lost six pounds—and I was sold. It’s been my way of eating ever since. For me, it’s less a so-called diet and more a lifestyle. I also started intermittent fasting in January 2018. Generally, my eating window is about six to eight hours (so I often skip breakfast).

I eat keto-friendly foods about 90 percent of the time. The other 10 percent of the time, I eat outside of keto rules so that I can enjoy special occasions and different cuisines around the world as I travel with my family.

Over the last two years, I’ve committed to sharing my weight-loss journey and the tips I've learned with friends and followers. It’s my personal mission to transform as many lives as I can by sharing my story, as well as simple recipes and alternatives to traditional high-carb, less-healthy foods on my Instagram. I enjoy experimenting with baking low-carb, sugar-free desserts like cupcakes, cookies, bread, cinnamon rolls, danishes, brownies, ice cream, and more. I’m also big on keto-friendly drinks like shakes, smoothies, teas, and coffee drinks.

The most helpful changes I made were simple swaps.

Some examples (trust me, you can do these, too!): I replaced my go-to pasta with zoodles, swapped rice for cauliflower rice, and ditched my go-to desserts for homemade keto versions. I also swapped soda for sparkling water and replaced high-sugar drinks with homemade, sugar-free versions that were keto-friendly.

Here’s what I eat in a typical day:

Breakfast: A cup of coffee with a splash of heavy cream.

Lunch: Chicken or beef with veggies (plus butter and salt), salad, and healthy fats (like dressings, sauces, avocado, grilled cheese, or spicy mayo).

Dinner: Chicken, steak, or salmon and veggies.

I've now lost about 135 pounds. As someone who's had ups and downs with her weight, my biggest advice is to remember that weight loss is a journey, and it’s okay to go at your own pace. Having lost weight *too* fast the first time, I’d advise anyone to make a healthy plan to lose weight over a realistic time period. Find a lifestyle you can stick with long-term. For me, that was keto, but it’s important to find something that works for you and your body.


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