Jerrica Jackson never struggled with her weight as a child. In fact, she was a track athlete until she was an 18-year-old. But personal issues coupled with depression led to unhealthy weight gain over the years that followed.
“The more weight I gained, the more sedentary I was. The more sedentary I was, the more depression, shame, and self-loathing devoured me whole,” said Jackson. “I had lost all self-love, worth, esteem, and confidence. I now look back at journal entries where I had written things like, ‘feeling fat and disgusting’ and ‘I am so disgusted with myself.’ It absolutely kills me.”
By the spring of 2018, Jackson weighed 235 pounds (107 kg) with a BMI of 37.9. Her waist was 42 inches and her stomach measured 51.5 inches. She was sent to a specialist who told her she was insulin resistant and at risk for pre-diabetes. The doctor suggested that Jackson should exercise.
On August 20, 2018, she began a strict keto diet with a 16:8 intermittent fasting schedule. “By January 2019, I could no longer consume two meals and switched to one meal a day,” she said.
Jackson did thorough research on keto before she started it. She heard about intermittent fasting on Instagram. She came across Dr. Berg’s YouTube videos and began to listen regularly to his Friday Q&A sessions with Karen.
“I credit most things I know about IF and keto to Dr. Berg,” said Jackson. “I think the biggest takeaway was hearing him warn about maltodextrin, dextrose and maltitol that can be found in ‘keto-friendly’ foods and how important paying attention to the ingredient list is.”
She explained that she “blindly walked into this” and expected nothing. Still, she had the support of her parents and started sharing her journey on Instagram. “I found there is a large online keto community and I began connecting and sharing with others like me,” she said. “It was a great feeling.”
For Jackson, the best part of keto is all the “non-scale victories” like being able to work out again and fitting into the clothes she wore in high school.
“The self-growth aspect, finding myself again, being able to be on my feet for hours without them hurting within the first few minutes, being able to wear bracelets again... Honestly, the hardest part was continuously having [to buy] clothing that fit me as I was losing,” she said. “I would buy a new article and then less than a month later I would be swimming in it.”
In her first year of keto, Jackson lost a total of 109 pounds (50 kg), her waist dropped 15 inches, and her stomach dropped 17.5 inches. “I went from a size 42 to a size 27,” she said. “It’s just insane.”
These results kept Jackson motivated. The only thing she said she would have done differently is this: she would have cut carbs gradually instead of going cold turkey.
“The past year has been a process for me. Almost like a coming of age journey. The amount of personal growth I have experienced the past 12 months is astounding,” she said. “I feel like an entirely different person. I’m energetic and chipper. I’m fit. I have no indigestion issues anymore. I don’t feel ill or guilty after I eat. I am far less anxious. I am no longer insulin resistant. My blood sugar is normal. My blood pressure is normal. Depression has left my life. The sun is on the horizon.”
Favorite Way to Exercise: Hatha, vinyasa, and restorative yoga with resistance training cardio on the elliptical
Favorite Keto Recipe: Keto western omelets, homemade kale chips, air-fried chicken thighs, air-fried jalapeno poppers, and cheese-wrapped beef fajitas