She’s in her late 30s. She lives and works right here in Jamaica. All her life she tried to lose weight. Spoiler alert: SHE DID! Her story of how she finally did it is absolutely inspiring. Her name is Naki. And there’s so much about Naki’s story that I identify with. Perhaps you’ll find parallels with Naki’s story too. It is my privilege to share her story. I am grateful for her willingness to be open and her generosity in sharing her journey. Naki’s story is about a body and a life “right-sized”. Let’s go!
WARNING:I use the word “fat”, and I do so with understanding, compassion and a huge dose of keeping it real. If you know my own story, you will understand that I of all people, truly get it, and that my using the word “fat” is never a condemnation or a judgement.
There are those who greet each New Year with gusto, setting lofty goals, brimming with energy and “up-and-at-’em, Uncle Scooby” enthusiasm about all the things they’re going to do and going to get. Then there are those who REFUSE to set resolutions, telling themselves and others that they exist above the fray, not needing to get caught up in the short-lived hype and emotion that surrounds those particular 24 hours between December 31 and Jan 1. Which camp do you fall into? Or do you fall somewhere in between?
“I’ve been doing keto for a month now and I haven’t lost a pound.”
That was a comment I received from a prospective client. I immediately told her that I suspected hidden carbs as the culprit. She insisted that she ate low-carb, with the occasional fried chicken or shrimp in batter. I explained that the batter is made from wheat flour which is carb rich. She explained that she didn’t think “that little bit of flour would make a difference.” She recently shared with me a picture of her meal: fish and vegetable salad. Sounds good, right? Except that the fish was done brown-stewed style, which means it is first fried than cooked down in a ketchup rich sweet and spice sauce. Ketchup is unbelievably high in sugar. There are 11g sugar in 100g coca cola, 9 g sugar in 100g orange juice and 22g sugar in 100g ketchup.
August 28, 2017. Almost 2 years ago… I decided (for the millionth time) to try and lose some weight. And it’s funny, because at the beginning of that same August, I cleaned out my wardrobe and ditched all my “slim” clothing. I had somehow told myself that I was going to get old, fat. I had given up apparently. Then my daughter took a picture of me in my happy place, at the beach, and I simply hated what I saw. I have always been fat, but the face that stared back at me was bloated, my neck was MIA and I almost didn’t recognize myself. I decided to give it a go again. I knew from past experience that cutting carbs was the way for me to lose weight (I simply functioned better and it had worked in the past). A 30-day trial was in order. Here’s what happened next…
Snacks. Snacking. I need snacks. How exactly does one snack on keto? Is snacking even allowed on keto? I get these questions ALL the time. First of all, let’s start by banishing the word “allowed”. We’re all adults here and none of us requires permission for what we choose to put in our mouths and bodies. What I do is provide you with information on how the choices we make impact our bodies and I may even show you how they support or sabotage your personal goals. What you actually do is up to you. So sure, you can snack and sure there are keto type snacks that you can eat and enjoy and remain on track. In this post I’ll explain what happens when we snack, give you some ideas for keto approved snacks and provide you with some recipes & links for easy to make snacks. Let’s jump in!
One of the members of our Caribbean Keto Tribe reached out to the group with this question: “How do you stay on track with keto when there are people in the house who eat carbs?”It’s a very valid question. When you’re trying to change the way you’ve eaten all your life, and those same (delicious) carbs are all around you, the task can seem daunting. It becomes trickier when you’re the one that prepares most of the meals too, right? You figure that if you lived alone or if everyone else was doing keto, you could easily make a salad with grilled chicken or some cauliflower rice and curried goat and keto on. But the presence of bread in the house, that ice cream in the freezer, that box of breakfast cereal in the cupboard, the crispy snacks that you buy for the kids and the mac and cheese you’re making to go with dinner test your best resolve.
“Don’t eat this!” “Eat more of that!” “The keto-what?” “Carbs are the devil!” “Fats are good!” “But not trans fats!” “But what about my cholesterol?” “Am I in ketosis?” “My macros need adjusting!” “Don’t count calories but count carbs? Say what?” “And what the hell is a carb anyway?” “IT’S ALL SO CONFUSING! I GIVE UP!” Are you at that point yet? You’ve tried so many things, yet you’re still fat. Have you resigned yourself to being fat forever? Are you trying to convince yourself that you’re happy? Are you finding work-arounds to exist in this world as a fat person? If this resonates with you then you’re the person I’m talking to.
Don’t give up just yet… This is the Information Age, and so today, our challenge is not accessing information. Our challenge is to be able to sift through the plethora of information out there, triangulate and then decide what is valid from what is sheer quackery. So I get it. The frustration at being able to nail down exactly what to do to lose weight is all too real in the face of all the information out there. One person says “eat more fat to lose weight!” And another person insists that juice cleansing is the way to go. And yet another person says eat a wholly plant based diet. So who is right?
I’ve been on the keto diet for over a year and a half now. If I had a dollar for every time someone remarked to me “Wow! You have so much willpower!” I wouldn’t need to sell another low-carb bread or quiche! I don’t think that willpower has been the critical success factor for me on this journey. I have simply created some new habits that have now become my default position, the way I simply live today. I have discovered that so much of what we eat, how much we eat and when we eat, is not driven by our physiology or some biological need to survive. We do these things largely out of habit! That’s how we’ve always eaten. We always eat breakfast! Right? As I coach people in their own weight loss journeys, I’ve become interested in this whole subject of “habit” and “addiction” and change. People can and do change their habits. Sure, it takes some effort, but understanding exactly how habits work can help you target your efforts and make them count. Yes you can!
I’ve always struggled with my weight. But in my younger days, I was always able to knock off 5 or 10 lbs with minimal effort. I’d simply cut back and in a week or two, I’d be good again. My last major successful weight loss was after Nicholas was born. I did Atkins, a low-carb diet, and lost weight and felt great. The changes happened pretty quickly too. Then I started allowing a little carb creep, and a taste here and a taste there, became a carby meal here and a carby meal there, and fifteen years later I hated what was staring back in the mirror at me. Photographs of me horrified me. “That could not be me” I reasoned and deleted them. All of them. I simply didn’t like how I looked, and I was beginning to have some minor but potentially serious health issues (sleep apnea, acid reflux, wheezing, etc.)
“Low-carb and Invincible!” was my declaration one morning several years ago on Twitter. I was only a few days into cutting carbs from my diet on one of my many, many attempts to lose weight by going low-carb. I remember exactly how I felt. I was in a stressful job at the time, stressful because of the organisational politics and shitty personalities that I had to navigate daily as I tried valiantly to lead my team and deliver. That particular morning, my mind was crystal clear. I was able to focus with lazer-sharp precision. I was more decisive than usual and I was effortlessly channeling my inner and most times hidden “pleasant-yet-firm-and-direct” self. I felt the difference.