There’s no hope, I’m done. I can’t keep up anymore, sighed Leanne Tornatore, setting down the drumsticks on the instrument she’d happily played for the past 50 years. She’d just quit the rock band she was in with her husband because her weight — and the back pain, heartburn, extreme fatigue, and breathing issues it caused — had slowed her speed and stolen her stamina.
Struggling with weight had always been a part of Leanne’s
life. But that struggle hit a crescendo when her husband was. diagnosed with cancer and Leanne began anxiously eating more and more at night, trying to soothe her nerves. Before long, she was attempting to hide her body under girdles and size 3X shirts.
Leanne prayed for things to change at the precise moment that the keto diet started gaining popularity. “It felt like perfect timing. It was absolutely meant to be,” she says. After watching YouTube videos for a crash course on the meals everyone was raving about, she decided to try it herself… and lost 15 pounds in the first two weeks!
It was easy to fall into a rhythm with her new lifestyle. Within two weeks, Leanne’s acid reflux and breathing problems were gone, and her energy began to soar. “I no longer needed naps — I had a spring in my step. I was a different person. I felt in control for once!” Leanne had no worries when, a month after starting keto, she celebrated her anniversary with some carrot cake exactly like the one at her wedding. “I really had the willpower to get back on keto the next day. I just knew that I would be okay.”
Despite that early success, Leanne still wondered whether her age might start working against her like it had in the past. She had lost weight 25 years earlier on the Atkins diet, but she had gained it all back after menopause.
She knew keto guru Eric Berg, D.C., suggested drinking apple cider vinegar daily as part of his anti-aging keto approach, so she started mixing 1 Tbs. of apple cider vinegar and 1 Tbs. of lemon juice in a water bottle with a little bit of stevia and sipping it before meals. It helped Leanne’s body absorb amino acids. from protein, increasing collagen production to keep her skin looking youthful as she slimmed.
With more energy, Leann was able to start walking for exercise. She started out doing just 10 minutes a day but quickly found she was able to walk for an hour a day. As more weight melted off, Leanne literally watched her body age in reverse. “I would see wrinkles and then they would disappear. Over and over again it happened.”
Even after whittling away 75 pounds, Leanne didn’t develop any loose, sagging skin. Now, with her energy and stamina at an all time high, Leanne is back to jamming on her electronic drum set at home. And though she’s not playing for a crowd, she’s enjoying a different kind of spotlight: being seen in public. She recently confidently danced the night away in a sleeveless dress at her granddaughter’s wedding.
“Before, when I was at my highest weight, I felt like I was 90,” says Leanne. “But now, at the age of 66, I feel 40!”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Keto Over 50. You can purchase the magazine in full on Amazon, $12.87.