Crystal McGee’s struggle with weight started with some health problems early on: she was born with seven heart defects including a hole in her heart and had open heart surgery at age 3. These issues became especially evident during pregnancy.
Tragically, McGee lost one of her twin babies as a newborn. “My husband and I watched him die and at that moment, I died,” she said. “My heart sank and I began on my journey with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, and Seasonal Affective Disorder.”
Despite the help of counselors and workshops, she continued to struggle with her grief and the difficulty of understanding why such a loss had happened to her. Then, on November 5, 2018, she decided to try intermittent fasting after seeing Dr. Berg’s video on the subject.
McGee started with a 16:8 intermittent fasting ratio since she wasn’t a “breakfast person” anyway. She had become tired of feeling ill, waking up with headaches and stomach aches, and pulling muscles just going to the bathroom. She wanted to feel better—and get rid of her depression, too.
“The first week was a little rough but positive self-talk and drinking water got me through it,” she said. Then she learned about insulin resistance from Dr. Berg and was even more “blown away.”
“I knew right there and then, this is what I was suffering with,” she said. “I continued to watch his videos and get educated. I now share these videos with others that come to me for help and it really helps others to understand in an easy way.”
Her family was supportive throughout McGee’s journey. Many of her relatives are following the keto way of eating as well. Even on Facebook she gets a lot of positive feedback, because she’s been sharing her progress since Day 1.
McGee’s keto journey wasn’t without hardship. During the holidays, it was difficult to resist foods she knew were unhealthy. A trip to Las Vegas demanded a lot of self-control from her.
“I bake every year for my family and I made 100 cookies and didn’t even take one bite. This made me super strong,” she said. “Going to Las Vegas was a challenge but I didn’t even have one drop of alcohol there and stuck to keto overall through my trip. Other than that, I haven’t found [keto] hard at all.”
It was encouraging for her to see the results. She was feeling better and realized it was easy. That’s what kept her going. If she had to do it all again, McGee explained, she would only have started younger.
“I love motivating others to start their new journey. It’s such a good feeling,” said McGee. “The best thing is being educated. Understanding and applying [what I’ve learned] to my family and my kids to get healthy so they don’t have to suffer like I did. When I wake up I feel alive and grateful for this beautiful journey.”
After receiving a FitBit as a Christmas gift, McGee began to track her steps; she aims to get between 10,000 and 40,000 steps a day. She walks instead of going to the gym.
“I have a 20-pound (8-kg) weight [that] I lift with here and there and it has really helped my arms,” she said. “The thing I have learned also is becoming intuitive to my body and what it wants. I pay attention to clues and signs I get and just really listen.”
Since starting keto and intermittent fasting, McGee has lost 67 pounds (30 kg): her 4’11” frame was carrying 222 pounds (100 kg) at the outset of keto, but she last weighed in at 155 pounds (70 kg).
“My goal weight that I set for myself when I first started was 150 pounds (68 kg) and I am so close to being there,” she said. “My long-term goal is 140 pounds (64 kg) which I’m only 14 pounds (6 kg) away [from]. Who knows? I may even go to 130 pounds (60 kg) but I will listen to my body as I go.”
Additionally, all of McGee’s mental health problems have faded away since starting keto. That’s another health benefit she’s gained from this journey.
“I feel alive, I feel happy, I feel stable, I feel confident, I feel positive, I feel smart, and most of all I feel healthy,” said McGee. “The best part about this journey is how good I feel each day when I wake up. My mindset is positive and I think of solutions. There is always a way even if something is not working.
“One thing I would say to someone reading my success story is you can start today. Don’t wait,” she advises. “Trust the journey you’re about to embrace as it works—no matter your age, size, how sick you feel—now is the time to start as it’s never too late. We need to take care of ourselves and to love ourselves in order to feel good. You won’t regret it!”
Favorite Way to Exercise: Walking
Favorite Keto Recipe: Loaded burger balls and strawberry fat bombs