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Doing Keto And Intermittent Fasting Helped Me Erase My Joint Pain

My name is Chineye Emeche (@neyslosingit), and I am a 35-year-old biomedical scientist. I wanted to become my healthiest self, so I started the keto diet and intermittent fasting and got hooked on group exercise classes. I lost 90 pounds in nine months.

Since the age of 6, my weight was a daily struggle. From the self-esteem issues it caused to how I got teased in school and at home, my weight had an impact on every aspect of my life. I remember being in grade school and not being able to participate in physical activities because of how movement would hurt or leave me out of breath. I tried to hide the pain, and eventually found comfort in food, especially sweets.

I got to a point where I was so embarrassed of my weight. I hadn’t weighed myself or visited the doctor in years. My joints hurt. It hurt to walk, I was always out of breath, and I had chronic knee pain. The heaviest weight I recall seeing on the scale was 270 pounds, at the age of 33.

I felt trapped in my current body–and that was my motivation to change. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I will never forget the day something clicked in me: November 12, 2018. I was listening to the radio while getting ready for work, and the morning show host made a comment that there were seven weeks left until the New Year. In years past, I had always waited until the New Year to embark on a weight loss journey. As weird as it sounds, something clicked after I heard that.

Instead of waiting for January 1, I started my weight loss journey that day.

In the past I had found success with low-carb eating, calorie counting, and WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers), but I couldn’t sustain my losses. I found that restricting led to binge eating. This time around, I started with a low-carb plan and ultimately transitioned to the keto diet, and I incorporated intermittent fasting.

Some days I eat one meal a day (OMAD), but I listen to my body and eat only when hungry. Keto is sustainable for me because I eat satisfying foods and can find healthier alternatives for foods I enjoy eating. It has provided healing from the inside out. (Reminder: This is what works for *me*–and you should consult an RD or doctor before making big changes to your eating plan.)

Here’s what I typically eat in a day now:

  • Breakfast:Keto waffles or scrambled eggs with cheese, a few pieces of bacon or sausage, and half of an avocado.
  • Lunch:A turkey club cheese wrap or “chaffle” (cheese waffle), a large chicken or salmon Caesar salad, or a bunless burger.
  • Snacks:Strawberries, almonds, cheese chips with guacamole, or cucumbers with ranch dressing.
  • Dinner:Air-fried chicken or salmon with cauliflower rice and asparagus.
  • Dessert:Homemade keto ice cream, keto chocolate chip cookies, or mug cakes.

I started exercising as soon as I committed to changing my lifestyle.

Initially, the gym was intimidating because most people seemed fit, and I was insecure in that environment. But ultimately, I had to get those negative thoughts out of my head, and I did the more I went.

I started the fitness portion of my journey by taking group fitness classes (sculpting with weights, Zumba, and cycling). Working out in group settings helped me learn proper form, specific exercises, and techniques. They also motivated me to keep pushing; seeing others work through the discomfort made me realize I could too.

Now I lift weights on my own four to five days a week. I absolutely *love* weightlifting and what it has done to my body. There’s a sense of power and accomplishment knowing I push myself and my body.

These three changes made the biggest difference in my weight loss results.

  • I track, track, tracked.The only way I truly knew how much I was putting in my body is if I tracked it. I weigh and track what I eat so that I know my food fits within the macronutrients I eat per day. I tend to log my meals (in a fitness tracker) the night before so that I can play around with portion sizes and know exactly what I am eating.
  • I celebrated the non-scale victories.So many times when losing weight, we focus on the scale to gauge our success. I don’t! Instead of focusing on the scale, I focus on how my clothes fit, the inches lost, the healthier choices I’ve made, committing to exercising, etc. And I no longer reward myself with food; my rewards include clothes, mani/pedis, and trips.
  • I stayed consistent.I did not gain the weight overnight, so I couldn’t expect to lose it that fast either. I continued developing healthier habits gradually throughout my journey, and over time, it became a lifestyle.

It took me nine months to lose and maintain my 90-pound weight loss.

I want women to know that you are worth more than a number on the scale. If you are looking to make a change, do it for you. As cliche as it sounds, you can do anything you put your mind to. If weight loss is your goal, commit to it. Take things one day at a time.

This journey is not easy, but it is possible. Everyone’s journey has its ups and downs, but trust the process. If you fall off, get back up. Make your journey your own. Don’t compare yourself to others. Your only competition is you.

Written by Healthy Cat

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