Army veteran Dennis Breitwieser-Cutshall struggled to lose weight after leaving the military, losing and gaining pounds to the point of frustration. At the time when he left the service he was going through a divorce and becoming a single parent, and he noticed the weight just “piling on”.
“I had reached a point where I was uncomfortable and didn’t recognize myself…again,” said Breitwieser-Cutshall. “I had gone back to smoking and put back on 50 pounds (22 kg).”
This was all nearly eight years ago; at that time, he eventually hired a trainer and downloaded a calorie-tracking app. But after two years of eating 50% carbs, 35% protein, and 15% fat, he had only lost 20 pounds. Then he found Dr. Berg in a YouTube video with Thomas DeLauer, and that opened his mind to the possibility of keto.
“I was tired of counting calories and too much of my time was spent weighing out food, logging, tracking, and adjusting,” said Breitwieser-Cutshall. “So instead, I began focusing on my body and the changes or lack thereof.”
He had already experimented with intermittent fasting by the time he decided to give keto a real go and now he does daily 18-hour fasts with occasional 3-day fasts to meet certain goals. Yet, for him the weight loss wasn’t instantaneous as it has been for some others. It was a challenge to remain patient.
“I didn’t want to lose too fast as I now know that a steady loss of fat is more permanent than a rapid drop,” he said. “It’s about a lifestyle change, not an ‘on a diet’ phase. I had to remind myself: “I didn’t get this way in 12 weeks, I won’t get healthy in 12 weeks.
“The popular advertisements about the people who made crazy transformations in three months are amazing but not always realistic for everyone. I may have taken longer than that (much longer) [but] I learned so much more on my journey in the way of diet, fasting, health, fitness, self-acupressure (also from Dr. Berg’s site).”
Now remarried, Breitwieser-Cutshall has always had the support of his wife and kids during his journey with keto. In fact, he himself was the most skeptical at first.
“I was vehemently against keto, believing that we need carbohydrates for energy, but the more I read on Dr. Berg’s site and watched his videos, the more I was convinced to give it a go,” he said. “The combination of intermittent fasting and keto was the catalyst to my quick and permanent fat loss and ultimately the way to go.”
Breitwieser-Cutshall understood that it was ultimately up to him to change his life and his only regret was that he didn’t start sooner. “But I can’t help but think that I am wiser because of my mistakes in my youth. I’m glad I made that change now rather than later,” he said.
He also mentioned that keto was his last resort; at the outset he told himself he’d go back to his old ways if this lifestyle didn’t work. “I was at the point of frustration, but I was going to do this 100% and almost looked at it like an experiment,” he said. “I didn’t have any carb ‘cheat meals’ or days. I didn’t skip workouts. I was going to prove keto/IF doesn’t work or prove it does!”
Since starting keto with intermittent fasting he’s lost 15 pounds (6 kg), which may not seem like much but he’s also lost 7 inches (17.7 cm) around his waist. He’s working to put on muscle mass and doesn’t focus on the scale at all.
“Obviously, the physical changes were a motivating factor. My “small” clothes that were way too tight became too big. People noticed the changes,” said Breitwieser-Cutshall. “But I also focused on other things like my fitness levels improving, my sleep quality, my health, and just concentrating on improving day by day. I don’t crave ice cream!”
Compared to the way he felt before, he claims to feel “incredibly younger” and encourages others to start their keto process slowly.
“Don’t change everything at once; it is too much to maintain,” he advises. “Compare yourself to yourself as there is no one exactly like you. Track your progress. If you walked a mile in 30 minutes last week, try to walk it in 29 minutes next week. Gradually introduce IF and keto and make small improvements each week. Tell yourself how proud you are of yourself for your accomplishments. Get rest and sleep!”
Favorite Way to Exercise: HIIT combined with strength training
Favorite Keto Recipe: “Either the Almond Joy Treat or the Peanut Butter Cups,” said Breitwieser-Cutshall. “I used to eat ice cream every day so swapping it for a kale shake (adding in Dr. Berg’s electrolyte powder for flavor) or keto treats really made the transition easier.”