Let me introduce myself. My name is Anna Smith and I’m a 51 year old Texas girl residing in San Antonio, Texas. I live a Ketone powered full life with my precious husband and our forever sidekick, Stewie. Together we three work redesigning and remodeling houses. When not working on the houses, I pursue my artistic endeavors painting somewhat intuitively using mixed media and acrylic. In addition to being passionate about Ketogenics and nutrition, my heart’s passion is telling visual stories through my art.
My struggle with weight has been lifelong. I remember first having “dieting” imposed on me at age three. I was taken to “fat” doctors through elementary school and at about age 8 or 9 I was given a pocket sized calorie counting book and small spiral journal to track food and count calories. I was also given a paperback copy of the Royal Canadian Army Exercise Manual to have a structured list of excercises to follow. Needless to say, I was taught from an early age the dieting protocol of calories in/calories out and believed that would be my ticket to health. Along with my early introduction to dieting, I developed a certain degree of self-value attached to the size of my body and others’ perceptions of me.
With this early introduction to how to think about food and activity, the sad cycles of weight loss and weight gain began for me. Not surprisingly, by high school I struggled with an eating disorder which I held as my secret. It wasn’t something that was clearly visible because of the curvaceous body I had. The results of starvation and dehydration from failure to drink water for fear of what I kept hearing was “water weight”, were actually praised despite my hair loss, easy bruising, and bouts with almost passing out. I had no idea what I was doing to my body. All I really wanted was to be loved. Body size, feminine beauty, and others’ opinions seemed to be intrinsically attached to receiving love. I managed to keep my weight down for a few years, but weight began to return to my body in the later years of college and began to really skyrocket with the loss of my father followed by an abusive marriage. My eating was out of control and heavily consisted of “low fat healthy grains”, pasta and fruits. That was what I thought was “healthy”.
During those years I frequently cycled in and out of Weight Watchers and other weight loss programs with limited, short lived success. I found comfort in “diet” frozen meals and deserts along with protein bars, shakes and appetite control candies because I considered “they” must know how to help me “get skinny.” I was trapped in a confused cycle of dieting. I was an adult but I sincerely didn’t know how to feed myself. On top of that, years of dieting had wrecked my metabolism so it seemed that even smelling food made me gain.
At my heaviest I tipped the scales somewhere between 338 and 350. I only know this because I have a Weight Watchers weight record booklet that has my weight recorded at 338. I know, however, I grew even larger than that but couldn’t weigh at home. I also developed high blood pressure, was pre-diabetic, I suffered from skin issues, and I was incredibly depressed. All ailments I took medications to control. It was scary because I wasn’t very old but thought maybe this was just part of getting older. On top of that, daily in that bloated, unhealthy body I faced the humiliation of not fitting into chairs with arms and often even feared breaking them. Some chairs my body actually did break… Daily living was riddled with the pain of living in my huge body and I was miserable. I lived in isolation. Even though I was usually the largest person in the room, I regularly faced the reality of being invisible due to my size. My health was wrecked and I often felt hopeless.
Miserable, I turned to calorie counting and extreme calorie deficit to lose weight. I lost about 100 pounds unhealthfully doing this. During this time I lost tons of hair and my gal bladder as a result. With extreme calorie and food restriction coupled with regular exercise, I hit the wall in weight loss. I eventually couldn’t lose any more weight. I also found that even though my calorie restriction was very low, if I exceeded 800 to 1200 calories I would actually gain weight. It seemed so unfair, but I maintained that lower weight for years.
My diet was not healthy within the calorie framework I followed. All I knew was calories. Within my calorie limits I fed the carb monster. Eating 800-1200 calories on most days I would budget sweets and wine. I didn’t know about hormones, nor did I know that WHAT I ate was important. Extreme calorie restriction and calorie counting was also exhausting to maintain on a daily basis.
In April of 2017 I discover a brief discussion about Keto in a JC Penny post on Facebook. There was discussion of Keto and its healing potential for Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s. I carry strong genetic markers for those so my interest was piqued. At the time I read the post I was actually thinking “I need to get myself some Keto.” I didn’t realize Keto wasn’t something I would “get” but something I would do. I began reading everything I could get my hands on related to ketogenics and the Keto diet. I was fascinated, doubtful, but hopeful.
On April 18th, 2017, I took the leap of faith and hope, changing my eating and beginning my Keto journey. I didn’t expect Keto to work for me. My life had taught me that this body was defective and broken. Freedom from pain and ease of living was something I saw as a reality only for others, not myself. BUT… I began. I was hopeful!
The first 5 days eating Ketogenically were very difficult for me. I was exhausted from Keto flu and detoxing from my beloved carbs. At that time I did not know the importance of sodium and electrolyte supplementation while eating Keto. Day five, however, I will forever remember! It was as though the heavens opened and the angels sang! My head was clearing! Depression that I carried daily with me was lifting and I felt so different! My weight was also rapidly dropping. I was just beginning my journey, but I was hooked on Ketones!
Over the coming months I continued to educate myself on ketogenics, hormonal responses to food and nutrition. I unlearned what I knew about calories and greatly healed my body through feeding and fueling myself properly. I am now proud to say I am much less than half my size at my heaviest weighing in at 167 to 164 on a good day! Chronic pain, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes and insulin resistance along with the grey clouds of depression and despair are a thing of the past! Issues such as hypersensitive skin, carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic digestive issues have also disappeared!
No longer is food a source of shame for me, but it is rather a source of healing and medicine for my body. I continue to learn the chemistry and science of ketogenic eating and cooking through the magic of better, best and optimally healthy ingredients. As a karmic prayer to the Universe I also reach out to help others in their journey towards health. I am the founder and facilitator of Keto San Antonio, a local Keto Community and Keto Lone Star, a Texas wide Keto community both of which are centered on the power of people, love, and healing through discovering how food can be our medicine! I hope you will join us as we unite and support each other.