Marisa felt uncomfortable in her body by the time she was 10. She was considered obese by age 16. Eventually, her 5’5” frame was “tipping the scales” at 275 pounds (125 kg).
“It feels like I have been dieting my whole life,” she said. “I have tried low-fat, calorie restriction, counting points, regular exercise, you name it. I would lose 20 to 50 pounds and then gain it all back again — and then some. I just couldn't maintain the deprivation.”
While pregnant in 2014, Marisa was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and was prescribed a low-carb diet. She knew it worked because she lost weight even while carrying her baby. But after her son was born she resumed her usual diet. She found it hard to maintain a low-carb lifestyle because she is vegetarian. Later when she found keto, it would become much easier for her to stick with better eating habits.
When she was younger, losing weight was about fitting in. But after becoming a mother, she had a difficult time keeping up with her children; then, weight-loss became a concern that was more about caring for them. Still, she wasn’t sure if she’d ever be able to get to a healthy weight and maintain it.
In 2016, Marisa was looking for a low-carb recipe on YouTube and found Dr. Berg’s channel. Thanks to his videos, she saved hundreds of hours of research by learning how to push through plateaus and where to look for hidden carbs. Dr. Berg’s YouTubes assured her that you don’t have to be perfect, just consistent.
“[The videos are] easy to understand, easy to watch, not too long, and based on science,” said Marisa. “He really helped me understand the benefits of the ketogenic lifestyle and [gave] practical advice for making small changes that lead to big changes. His humor and sarcasm also made his videos entertaining.”
Especially at first, most of Marisa’s friends and family thought she was “nuts” for eating a high-fat, low-carb diet. But after her blood work proved that she was seeing enormous health benefits by doing keto, they were a lot more encouraging.
“One of my biggest supporters was my primary care physician,” said Marisa. “Although most medical professionals are still promoting low-fat diets to lose weight and lower cholesterol, I believe the tide is turning and the mainstream is starting to recognize the health benefits of doing keto. The support of my physician (and the proof in the blood work) was the encouragement I needed to stick with it.”
For Marisa, the hardest part about keto was realizing that overeating is still something to be mindful of. Sometimes, she’ll track what she eats to make sure she’s not overdoing it; but for the most part, she just practices intuitive eating and thinks of food as fuel versus comfort.
In two and a half years of keto, Marisa has lost almost 100 pounds (45 kg) and has maintained this weight loss for over a year. Then, in January 2019, she had a surgery that removed six pounds of excess skin.
“I was able to wear a bikini for the first time in 30 years,” she said. “I never thought that would be possible.”
Even with so much success, if she could do it all over again, Marisa would have added intermittent fasting sooner. It’s something she’s still trying to incorporate to lose another 20 or 30 pounds. But she realizes that weight loss is an ongoing process for her.
“It's hard to describe how much happier I feel now that I have finally cracked the code [to weight loss]. I believe there are a lot of ways for people to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but for me that had always been elusive before discovering Keto. I am not at my ‘goal weight’ but I am healthy and I feel amazing. I have a ton of energy, I can keep up with my kids, and I don't feel deprived. I feel in-control and empowered.”
Favorite Way to Exercise: Walk, swim, hike, take bike rides, and have dance parties with her kids
Favorite Keto Recipe: Dr. Berg’s Chocolate Mousse