When you start a ketogenic diet, I recommend writing down your goals and keeping a daily log of your progress. This will help keep you motivated and accountable. The key to success with any change is consistency and persistence.
– Dr. Bill Wilson
Perhaps you’ve been reading this with an open yet skeptical mind so far and you’re wondering how ketosis works in the lives of real people. In chapter 16, we’ll begin revealing what the scientific literature says regarding being in a state of ketosis. But there’s nothing like the inspiring testimonial of a life that has been changed forever for the better.
I’ve already shared my own weight and health transformation story, and now I want to introduce you to eight more people whose lives have been radically altered since they began following a low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat, ketogenic nutritional plan. Let their stories inspire you to give it a go for yourself.
Lynne Daniel Ivey
Durham, North Carolina – Age 53
Lynne started her dieting efforts at the tender age of ten when she attended her first Weight Watchers meeting. In the decades that followed, she continued to struggle with managing her weight despite going on diet after diet, feeling hungrier and hungrier each time. She desperately wanted to get thin, stay thin, and never feel the agony of being constantly hungry ever again.
After attempting so many “gimmicks,” as she describes them, to lose weight over nearly four decades—calorie-counting, low-fat diets, weight loss pills, diet shakes, protein bars, and those rah-rah support meetings that left her more broke than healthy—Lynne decided enough was enough when the reality that she carried 344 pounds on her five-foot-four-inch frame had her “very afraid” in September 2009.
“I was beyond discouraged,” Lynne told me. “I was exhausted from extremely stressful situations in my work environment and at home. And I was struggling to balance the challenges that life was throwing at me.”
One of those challenges was taking care of her ailing mother, who suffered from type 2 diabetes until she succumbed to the disease at the age of seventy-four. It was at that point that Lynne vowed to do something to prevent herself from experiencing the same fate, because that was “not the way to die.” But all of the conventional dietary and lifestyle advice she had been given by doctors—namely, eating a low-fat diet and exercising more—were making her “hungrier, sicker, and fatter” than ever before.
“I was exhausted all the time. I felt like a complete failure,” Lynne admitted.
In November 2009, Lynne went to see Dr. Eric Westman, who she had heard was having great success using a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet to manage his patients’ obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
Dr. Westman opened Lynne’s eyes to the stark reality that the low-fat diet she had been following in an attempt to lose weight and get healthy, was in fact the exact reason why she was having so much trouble getting her weight under control, and, ironically, it was putting her on the path to the same health problems that she had watched her mom go through. That was all it took to motivate her to give a ketogenic diet a try. By eating a 1600-calorie diet of 90 percent dietary fat, 8 percent protein, and just 2 percent carbohydrates, Lynne lost a total of 200 pounds. More importantly, she has kept that weight off for more than four years.
“I have lived—thrived!—in a steady state of optimal ketosis,” she shared. “Thanks to Dr. Westman, I have learned to eat a well-formulated ketogenic diet enjoying delicious, fresh foods high in good dietary fats, moderate in protein, and very, very low in carbohydrates.”
After years of fighting constant hunger on every eating plan she tried, hunger is no longer an issue for Lynne: now she eats only one meal a day and has “embraced intermittent fasting.” This has brought her fasting blood sugar levels down into the 70s, with regular blood ketone readings between 1.8 and 4.0 millimolar. Her energy levels are through the roof and every measurable sign of her health is spectacular, including normal blood pressure and outstanding cholesterol ratios.
“These kind of improvements in my health are hard to believe for those who don’t understand the science behind a ketogenic diet and nutritional ketosis. But it is true,” Lynne stated.
Lynne eats lots of coconut oil, olive oil, butter, heavy cream, cream cheese, hard cheeses, whole eggs, and sometimes a few macadamia nuts. Protein is limited to small portions; she says she treats it like a condiment for her high-fat meals. As for vegetables, from time to time she consumes a few non-starchy ones, such as lettuce, kale, spinach, onions, tomatoes, green beans, squash, zucchini, broccoli, and bell peppers.
“I have the best health of my life and my healthiest years are still ahead of me,” said Lynne. “Healing is indeed possible when you find the right diet for you.”
And from the results she has seen, obviously a low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat, ketogenic diet is what’s right for Lynne.
As my grandmother used to say, when the you-know-what hits the fan, for heaven’s sake change what you are doing and see if things get better. If you keep doing the same thing, don’t expect different results. In my opinion a ketogenic diet would be a good choice for many people facing common chronic health problems.
– Dr. Bill Wilson
Chicago, Illinois – Age 40
Freda says the ketogenic diet “gave me back my life” after she struggled with adrenal burnout that had her sleeping most of the time for a period of eighteen months. In late 2012, she was still experiencing low energy and fatigue when she stumbled across the ketogenic diet. She immediately began adding in more fat to her diet in the form of raw cream and milk. When Freda noticed that her energy began returning and she was experiencing greater mental clarity and better memory than ever before, she knew she had found something special that could potentially get her out of her health rut.
In June 2013, Freda officially began a low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat, ketogenic diet. Within a month, she was registering blood ketone levels in excess of 5.0 millimolar. What started off as a simple experiment to see what would happen has now become “a way of life” for Freda. Because of the increased energy from being in a state of nutritional ketosis, she was able to go back to school to obtain her undergraduate degree in nutrition and exercise science.
“Going back to school again was only a dream before I started on nutritional ketosis,” Freda shared. “Now it’s a reality and I will never go back to eating any other way.”
While she admits there are times when she goes out of ketosis, when that happens she can “feel the change.”
“It’s like day and night,” Freda said. “I go from Bradley Cooper in Limitless to Leonard in Awakenings, when the promised cure is starting to wear off and he realizes there is no chance for him to live his life. That scares the crap out of me.”
Now, Freda says, being in a ketogenic state makes her more aware of the difficulties so many people have in getting their health under control.
“They are living on the brink of Leonard and just want their energy back,” she noted. “Nutritional ketosis has given me an edge on life and has really helped me become the best version of me with ease.”
More energized and motivated than ever before, Freda now helps others get their life back with ketogenic coaching sessions.