Amanda McDonnell's Story

Amanda McDonnell is not your typical keto eater. She suffers from two genetic conditions, hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS) and lipedema, that require a bit of explanation.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, lipedema is characterized by symmetric enlargement of the legs due to deposits of fat beneath the skin as a result of hormonal and hereditary influences. And hEDS is a connective tissue disorder causing joints to dislocate while slowing down metabolism.

Fat caused by lipedema can only be removed through surgery and hEDS makes it nearly impossible to exercise in order to lose any visceral fat. These disorders made losing weight incredibly difficult for McDonnell until she found keto.

“I knew I had some visceral fat to lose and more research told me I could slow the progression of my Lipedema in a ketogenic state,” said McDonnell. She was also pregnant with her sixth child when she decided to try keto for the first time, and she was determined not to gain extra baby weight as she had during past pregnancies.

McDonnell turns to YouTube when she needs advice and that’s how she found Dr. Berg. “[He] seemed able to explain so many of my issues in a scientific way that I understood,” she said. “It was a bit of a light bulb moment in my life.”

Although she has a supportive husband, McDonnell only had herself to rely on  when it came to sticking with keto. Accustomed to snacking before bed, she found that the hardest parts of her weight-loss journey were the cravings and carb withdrawals. “You just have to trust that it's coming and get through the first difficult days,” she said.

Since starting keto, McDonnell has lost 38 pounds (17 kg). “I feel much better about my future knowing I can actively do something to help keep my disorders in check,” she said. “I've never been able to shift any weight before, no matter what I tried. Suddenly it was falling off and I felt great. What better incentive is there to keep on keeping on?”

McDonnell gave birth to a healthy baby without gaining any extra weight. “I realized I could achieve weight loss from eating a ketogenic diet instead of starving myself on low-calorie shakes,” she said, and offered this encouragement to others: “This is a way of life, not a quick fix, so keep at it. It might be difficult now but that's about to change and you're going to feel great.”

Favorite Way to Exercise: Gentle swimming, small weights, or wheelchair exercises

Favorite Keto Recipe: “To be honest, I don't really have one,” McDonnell said. “I just eat quite simply. Meat, green vegetables, green smoothies made with almond milk, cream, eggs and nuts are my staples.”

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