How Dani Lost 70 Pounds on the Keto Diet (Interview)
Hi Dani! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?
I started my journey back in 2014. I never really saw myself as being super overweight. It was obvious that I was bigger than most of my friends but I didn’t really take it seriously. In 2014 after I got out of a bad relationship I decided to put my focus on myself instead of worrying about making everyone else happy.
One day while I was scrolling social media I saw this video of a young lady who did a 100-day challenge where she committed to working out every day for 100 days. Her video inspired me to do my one 100 day journey. I committed to working out for at least 20 minutes a day for 100 days. I would make a post daily just as a way to document and hold myself accountable.
At the end of that challenge, I had lost around 20 lbs and gained a lot of confidence. Over the years since then, I struggled to stay consistent. I would do good for a while but then something would happen to throw me off track (new relationship, personal issues, etc.) Up until January of 2019 when I finally started taking my health seriously.
What did you do for exercise when you started? Did you change it up throughout your journey?
When I first started working out I would just do home workouts. I would turn on my Wii Fit and play games or dance. I would find videos online and do them in my bedroom. I also found a lot of helpful workout apps (7 min workouts and daily yoga apps) I also enjoyed riding bikes and taking walks. Once I really got the hang of things I started using the gym. I would walk the track or hop on the treadmill or elliptical for 30 minutes.
Now that I have more knowledge on what works for me, I try to make sure to do some form of fasted cardio (cardio before you’ve eaten anything in the morning) and strength training (training various muscles) a few times a week. I still like to switch things up by doing home workouts and going to the gym. I get bored easily so I have to change my routine every once in a while.
Some advice I would give is to just get moving! Work to your skill level though, never try to overdo it or you could end up injuring yourself, and then you’ll be set back even further. Start simple and then build upon that as you build up your endurance and strength. Also, remember that your journey is personal, don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone has different body types and skill levels and abilities, focus on yourself, and don’t let other people’s progress deter you from your own goals.
What did you do for nutrition when you started? Did you change it up throughout your journey?
When I first started back in 2014 I didn’t start off focusing on diet, I was all about working out but not so much about changing my eating habits. After a while I started working on paying attention to portion control and making healthier choices, for example: if I really wanted a cheeseburger, I’d get the burger but without mayo and get a salad and water instead of fries and a pop.
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When I refocused at the beginning of 2019 I decided to do keto (high fat, moderate protein, low carb) along with intermittent fasting (not eating for a specific amount of time every day). Keto is challenging but definitely effective. I had to cut out all the things I loved (bread, pastries, candy, even most fruits). Keto forced me to pay more attention to labels and ingredients and also forced me to eat cleaner. I lost about 40 or so pounds while doing keto and fasting.
Currently, I decided to go back to a more traditional form of eating. I’m eating low carb for the most part. I eat things such as lean meats, lots of veggies, and fruits. When I do eat carbs I stick to healthier options such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and beans. I think keto is good for the one you are first starting and want to drop a lot of weight, but once you start to build musical and want to tone I think it’s a good idea to move back into a more traditional form of eating.
How did you stay mentally strong when it was tough? Did you ever give up? How did you recover?
Staying strong and focused can definitely be a struggle. It helps to create a “why”. Why are you trying to lose weight/ get healthy. What is your motivation for taking this journey? Once you have that why make sure you set goals. I would say to have one overall large goal ( ex. I want to lose 100 lbs), but then set smaller realistic goals to help get you to that larger goal (ex. Lose 5 lbs this month, work out at least 3x a week).
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Doing all of these things will help keep you focused and motivated. Whenever you are feeling stressed or tempted to quit just go back to your way and go back over your goals.
Something else I like to do is to look back at myself from when I wasn’t healthy. I see those old pictures and remind myself that I don’t want to get back there again.
Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress?
I’ve used apps such as My Fitness Pal and Carb Manager to track my progress. Both are extremely helpful if you like to track your calories and macros. I do have a scale but I try not to use it very often. Scales can sometimes discourage you when you don’t see what you want. I like to rely more on other ways to track my progress. I’ll do things such as take pictures, measure myself, and try on clothing. Taking pictures will help you see your progress that sometimes you miss because you’re too wrapped up in everything. It may suck in the beginning to take those pics because you may not like the way you look but you’ll be grateful for it when you look back on it months, even weeks later.
Measuring yourself is so much more accurate than weighing yourself. While working out you are often losing fat but also building muscle and muscle is leaner than fat. The scale won’t be able to pick up on that so you may think you are gaining weight but you could really be leaning and building muscle.
Using clothing as a way to track your progress is very helpful also, try on a pair of jeans that maybe you cant fit in and then use those to track every week. Try using a belt and watch as you slip down the holes in the loop.
Do you have any “hacks” or “secrets” that helped you succeed?
- Setting small realistic goals (build-up to the larger goals to make it more attainable)
- Replacing pop/juice with water
- Finding fun ways to work out so that you don’t get bored and don’t even realize you’re working out (dancing, playing games)
- Making little changes and then build upon them (This month cut out all juices and add more veggies to your meals, next month work out at least 3 times a week, next month cut out added sugar)
- Try to be active at least 3x a week (walking, riding bikes, etc)
Do you have any fitness books/podcasts/websites that you’d recommend and why?
Where can we find more about you?
My Instagram page is called DaniKetoMarie. I try to post daily about my fitness journey. You can see examples of workouts and meals I have made over the last few years. If you’re on Facebook my fitness page is called Dani’s Journey.
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