How Isabella Lost 80 Pounds With Keto Diet and Exercise (Interview)
Hi! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?
“I was always the big girl.”
I decided to lose weight for my health and self-confidence. I have always been overweight, even as a child, I was just always the “big girl” and if I’m being honest, I hated the description. It weighed on me, literally, to the point where I allowed it to be a part of my character. I noticed that people treated me differently because of it as well.
I witnessed someone in middle school not give me the time of day as a friend all because of how I looked to them and then they turned around and made an entire Facebook post about how much they loved me after they got to know me. So, moments like those shaped me and I held onto them as motivation to kind of start. As well as my health, which of course should have been my main concern.
I had been trying to lose weight on and off since middle school, going to planet fitness with my mom. I didn’t stay consistent with it since I was so young and wasn’t able to take myself there. Fast forward, my senior year in high school, I was required to intern for my senior practicum (which is basically an internship). I had hoped to intern with a photographer, but no one was available or gave me the time of day. So I ended up interning at a family-owned cheesecake bakery, which was the start of a very bad time in my life.
Then I interned at a cheesecake bakery…bad idea.
Cheesecake is my favorite dessert and since I was only interning for them, they paid me for cheesecake. I ate a lot of that which led to me gaining over 60 lbs and my knees started to hurt overtime when I would walk. I then started going to a nutritionist, she helped me lose that 60lbs I gained and more. But shortly after I stopped going, I decided to go back to the place I interned at and work for them. Except for this time, I was able to get paid money and cheesecake as well. I then started to eat cheesecake and fast food since I worked so many long strenuous hours there. This caused me to get up to 406 lbs when departing the job, which I didn’t notice at first.
It wasn’t until I started feeling those same pains in my knees again or not being able to fit into my pants, that I realized. I decided in August of 2017 to finally decide to document my weight loss journey and change my life around.
What did you do for exercise when you started? Did you change it up throughout your journey?
I started by walking.
When I first started my official journey, I was walking for exercise. I would walk around my neighborhood because at the time I didn’t have enough money to maintain a gym membership. I would walk as often as I could, so ideally this would be every single day but that would turn into every other or maybe two to three times a week.
I would be out there for as long as it took me to complete up to five miles, or on days that I was taking it easy, up to three. Over the next two years, I was then able to start going to the gym with friends and eventually got my own membership. Then I would do lots of cardio on the treadmill and elliptical for about fifteen to twenty-five minutes. And then head over to do weights, where I focused a lot on my core and lower body. These gym workouts would last for at least one to two hours at most.
Get a gym membership if you can.
As far as advice goes, I would tell people that working out doesn’t have to be conventional. I definitely believe you should get a gym membership if you can, it helps to hold you accountable being around so many other people with the same goals. I would also recommend keeping a consistent routine, but to switch it up every so often because your body can get used to doing the same thing after a few weeks. I’d also recommend going to the gym with people who you trust and know will help you achieve your goals. For me, going to the gym was somewhat embarrassing at my highest weight and I always felt so self-conscious. So going with friends or family for me was like my haven to let loose and actually focus on the workouts.
What did you do for nutrition when you started? Did you change it up throughout your journey?
Eating cheesecake and fast food wasn’t helping…
When I started, I was trying my best to stay in a calorie deficit. But at that time, I just couldn’t stick with it coming from eating cheesecake and fast food almost every single day at work. I slowly realized that I was lacking a lot of self-control and poor eating habits. I then started to eat a lot of salads, tacos, and chicken. I’m truly not an experimental person so I just tried my best to eat foods that were the easiest to cook and the most appetizing to me.
Then I tried Keto.
I eventually decided to do the ketogenic diet, which is a low carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet. I chose this diet because it kept showing up in my life. I saw so many different people trying it and how successful it was for them to not only lose the weight but also maintain that weight loss. I also decided to do it because I know that God was leading me to it and I had a lot of diabetic symptoms. And the ketogenic diet targets a lot of different things that can cure those symptoms and even the disease itself.
I did take a lot of supplements in my journey. To name a few, I took burdock root, turmeric, cayenne pepper, dandelion root, ginger, omega 3 fish oil, etc. I started taking these because my dad and brother are really into natural remedies and supplements, so they explained the benefits to me and I definitely feel like they helped.
How did you stay mentally strong when it was tough? Did you ever give up? How did you recover?
My faith is number one.
The only thing that has helped me along this journey is honestly my faith in God and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Knowing that He would see me through this journey and that I’d win as long as I remained focused. But of course, it was and honestly still is extremely hard for me. I’ve slipped up so much since the journey has begun, especially doing the ketogenic diet because it’s really restricting, especially if you don’t do your proper research, which at first I didn’t.
I’ve definitely had slip-ups.
I started to eat fast food again, even gave in to eating a lot of sweets but then I’d feel so terrible about those decisions and decide to keep going. I also prayed a whole lot and fasted as well. I used these tactics to help me stay grounded. And lastly, my youtube subscribers definitely kept me grounded. I started this journey publicly on my youtube channel and have been being very open and honest with them since then. Knowing that there was an entire wave of people that I had behind me watching and also rooting for me made me want to continue so that I could eventually make them proud.
It’s all about your support system.
As far as advice goes, I would say to make sure you have a good support system. Outside of my subscribers, I have family and friends that genuinely wanted to see me reach my goals. So they would come to the gym with me and also ask how I was doing along the way. I would also say to have a WHY (a reason). My WHY has always been to help others out that are struggling like myself, which became my subscribers. I have so many people supporting me and looking to me as an inspiration so that helped me to stay on track. I would also encourage you to pray, journal, and read/watch things that will give you consistent motivation because it comes and goes.
Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress?
I didn’t use any trackers for nutrition. I definitely tried to use My Fitness Pal but I couldn’t really stick to that. However, I did document my workouts on Instagram and in videos for my YouTube channel. I would record almost every single time that I was going to the gym!
When did you start to notice progress?
View this post on Instagram
I started to notice minor progress at 20 lbs down in my face. I took a lot of selfies so I could tell when my face appeared smaller than usual. I really started to notice my weight loss at about 40 lbs down though. I felt a lot lighter on my feet and was feeling a lot more confident than I ever had before.
I slowly started taking full-body pictures because I was proud of the progress I was making. Then with my 70lb weight loss, I saw an old photo of myself in comparison to one I had seen recently. It was the big moment where I finally gave myself the credit to say, “Hey! You lost 80lbs girl!” and I felt so overjoyed about that.
Do you have any “hacks” or “secrets” that helped you succeed?
A hack for me was fasting. Fasting helped to curb my appetite a lot since I was abstaining from food for 24-72hrs at a time. After I would come off a fast, I noticed that I wouldn’t have the urge to eat so I would actually have to force myself sometimes. And even on those days, I still wouldn’t be hungry enough to finish the entire meal.
I’d also recommend lifting weights, even as a woman. A lot of women are afraid of what weight lifting may make them look like, however, I found that it helped me to cut the most fat!
What advice would you give to beginners who are looking to lose weight?
Start with what you have.
For beginners, I’d recommend starting where you are. You don’t need a gym, you can work out from home with youtube videos or even walk in your neighborhood. If you can afford a gym membership, I’d recommend starting on the treadmill or bike at level 1 or 2 for about 30-45 minutes.
As far as nutrition goes, find what works best for YOU and your body. Everyone is different and there are so many different diets out there and everyone will try to tell you why you should go their route. But do not give in to everything other people tell you, try things out for yourself and if it works, continue in that. Weight loss is truly all about consistency, exercise, how often, and how much you are eating!
Where can we find more about you?
Would you like to share YOUR story on How I’m Fit?
We’d love to hear from you! Please send us an email and we’ll get in touch shortly!