As a self-proclaimed Coca-Cola guzzler, Desirée Leal struggled with her weight all her life. “I was a pudgy kid who loved mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and my grandma's cakes,” she said.
Leal was also a yo-yo dieter for most of her teens, twenties, and thirties, after which her weight leveled off at around 160 pounds (73 kg). She had trouble conceiving, but at age 42 gave birth to her son—and by the time he was three and a half, she had reached 182 pounds (83 kg) without even noticing.
“[I] had chronic back pain, fatigue and mood swings,” she said. “The final straw came when I developed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which ruled my life and [for which I] got little to no help from doctors.” It was during this frustrating period that Leal decided to take her health into her own hands so she could be a better mom to her son.
After she watched a documentary called “In Search of the Perfect Human Diet,” she started looking into both paleo and keto, finding Dr. Berg’s videos during her investigation. From him, she learned to worry less about cholesterol being “too high.” The way Dr. Berg explains intermittent fasting was very helpful to her, Leal said.
At first, her husband was skeptical of keto but he soon came around. In reality, for Leal, other people’s opinions were actually the hardest part of doing keto. “I found that having the support from the Keto community online really helped,” she said. “Kindness of strangers, I guess!”
She noticed right away how easy it was to do keto, noting how satisfying it is to eat “good, tasty, whole” foods. “I know I am truly nourishing my body,” she said. In the space of seven months, Leal did keto “nice and slow,” eventually losing 47 pounds (21 kg). She says she feels “a bizillion times better.”
“I can run and play with my son for the first time ever and I can walk to my grocery store, which is about 850 meters, without breaking a sweat,” she says. “Whereas before, walking that small distance would just about kill me. I feel like I have a life again!”
Favorite Way to Exercise: Bikram yoga, rebounding, and swimming
Favorite Keto Recipe: Keto Cobb Salad