At 64 years old, Denise Welch has a long history of obesity that began when she was in puberty. A failed gastric bypass patient with an out-of-whack metabolism, Welch claims she ate everything that wasn’t “nailed down.” By 2017, she carried 407 pounds (185 kg) on her 5’5” frame, which forced her into an early retirement from a job she loved.
But her real reason for starting keto was all the pain caused by severe osteoarthritis in multiple joints. “My healthcare provider requires a BMI of 40 or lower for joint replacement,” Welch explained. “That meant I needed to get down to 240 [pounds]. Pain is a powerful motivator.”
At that time, she started an Atkins-style low-carb, high-protein diet that made her feel terrible. Then she found keto and her life changed. In just over a year, she was able to lose 167 pounds (76 kg) and qualify for the knee replacement she so desperately needed.
But after reaching that goal, she decided to take a break from keto. “Big mistake,” she admitted. “I went on a carb binge and gained 28 pounds (13 kg) in three months.” During that time Welch felt awful. She’s also sure that the binge set her back during recovery from her knee surgery.
Nevertheless, she’s on a roll again in what she calls “Keto 2.0.” Her weight has dropped back down to 244 pounds (111 kg) and that means she’s almost ready to undergo a shoulder replacement. “I feel so much better!” she said.
Welch found Dr. Berg, like many people do, after searching keto on YouTube. “I found nearly all of Dr. Berg’s YouTube videos so informational and relevant,” she said. “When I hit a plateau, videos on extreme keto and intermittent fasting got me over it [and] videos on apple cider vinegar and supplements were really helpful [too].”
She also joined a Facebook group started by her niece to share struggles, successes, recipes, and encouragement. But even with increased energy and freedom of movement, her weight-loss program wasn’t always easy.
“[The hardest part was] having a non-keto son and three vegan grandchildren living with me,” said Welch. “French fries and pizza, cereal, pancakes, waffles! It all smells so good.” Nonetheless, she is “amazed” at how satisfied she is by keto and only wishes she’d started a long time ago.
Now that Welch has committed to keto as a way of life (after learning the hard way to avoid breaks) her new goal is to reach 150 pounds (68 kg). “I know I can get there,” she says.
Favorite Way to Exercise: Walking
Favorite Keto Recipe: Keto Low-Carb No-Bake Cheesecake