Krista Simpkin once suffered a laundry list of ailments linked to poor blood-sugar control: prediabetes, high blood pressure, constant back and joint pain, headaches, and more. “Keto fixed it all,” she shares. Krista, now a keto coach, adds: “Healthy little tweaks to your life can get huge results. I tell people, ‘You’ll get smaller and feel better than you ever thought possible!’”
“You guys go on. I’ll catch up,” shouted Krista, 51, waving her family ahead as she collapsed on a bench. She’d been trying to keep pace with her grandkids at a Florida zoo, but at 315 pounds, sometimes even sitting felt uncomfortable. Her swollen ankles throbbed, her energy long gone. Krista frowned, struggling to catch her breath. In the distance, her loved ones snaked farther and farther away. This is ridiculous, she thought. I should be with them making happy memories. Something has to change. As a faint breeze blew, Krista realized: It’s ME that has to change.
Krista couldn’t remember a time when her weight hadn’t held her back. She’d gone straight from children’s clothes to plus sizes; pounds piled on through every season of her life, leaving her exhausted and achy. “Your blood sugar and blood pressure are dangerously high,” doctors eventually warned. By then, she’d tried dozens of diets. Nothing has ever worked, so odds are nothing ever will, she’d thought-and kept loading up on processed junk.
Now she was paying the price. Should she try Weight Watchers a fifth time? Before she decided, she heard a newly slim acquaintance raving about a “keto” diet. Googling the unfamiliar term, she sat mesmerized as Eric Berg, D.C., broke it down on YouTube. He explained that all the carbs we eat spike blood sugar and the hormone insulin. “Excess insulin prevents fat burning,” he said. “If you can’t lose weight, excess insulin is the reason.” Is that why low-cal diets don’t work for me? Krista wondered.
“Lowering carbs improves insulin naturally,” Dr. Berg continued. Plus, it prompts the body to make a special fuel called ketones that turbocharge fat burning and energy. Krista felt a flicker of hope.
The First Step
Dr. Berg teaches folks to blitz their bodies with insulin-improving strategies, but Krista’s instincts told her it’d be okay to ease in. To start, she gradually got rid of all the sugary, processed foods in her kitchen — the stuff Dr. Berg said was locking fat on her body. That was easy, she thought as she finished.
Her next little step: figuring out the veggie situation. Dr. Berg insisted she needed nutrients from seven cups a day to optimize her results. Krista wrinkled her nose. I’m not forcing myself, she decided. So she watched more videos until she got to one where Dr. Berg suggests sneaking spinach into milkshakes. I can do that! she smiled.
Next up was her first keto grocery list. The internet suggested she make fat bombs, cloud bread, and other strange-sounding things. “Let’s keep it simple,” she said to herself, heading out for basics like cream, butter, salmon, steak, and cheese.
When she felt ready, Krista made her first meal: a cheese omelet. It held her easily until late afternoon, when she had a burger and cautiously sipped her first shake made with greens, heavy cream, water, ice and stevia. Pretty tasty, she thought, relieved. Dinner was steak, deviled eggs and another shake. In mere days, Krista was down 10 pounds.
As Krista settled into keto eating over the course of a couple of months, her appetite shrunk along with her waist. She soon felt ready for her next baby step: skipping breakfast. Dr. Berg says every time we eat anything — even keto fare — we release at least a little insulin. That’s why he suggests no snacks. He’s also a fan of skipping one meal a day. “It turned out to be easy,” shares Krista, who still sipped her morning coffee.
“I had zero hunger.” Swelling in her legs went down too. Her body loved her latest baby step! Energized, Krista began trying new keto recipes. She found creamy casseroles, a version of her favorite Panera soup, even pizza. And she was soon celebrating big milestones: 50, 75, 100 pounds gone. Each time, she bought herself new clothes, thinking, I can’t imagine I’ ll get any smaller than this. Yet she continued to shrink. In all, 176 pounds melted away and her health transformed.
Two years down the road, Krista has traded her size 26s for 6s. “I’ve lost half my size. I’m smaller now than I was in middle school!” That’s why she tells everyone about keto: “Just take the first step — honestly, this has seemed so easy!”
Your Favorite Foods — Keto-Style
One “baby step” that can make the transition to the keto diet a slimming cinch: finding keto versions of your go-to comfort foods! “You can even do this ahead of time, experimenting to find recipes that really satisfy you,” suggests Dr. Berg. For more of his keto guidelines, tips and recipe ideas, check out DrBerg.com. As always, get your doctor’s okay to try any new weight-loss plan.
Mashed Potatoes — In food processor, blitz 6 cups cooked cauliflower, 2 Tbs. butter, 2 Tbs. cream cheese, 1 Tbs. minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
Chocolate cookies — Mix 1 1⁄4 cups nut butter, 2 eggs, 2⁄3 cup cocoa, 1⁄3 cup Swerve and a pinch of salt. Form 12 balls on lined sheet; flatten. Bake at 350°F, 12 min.
Chicken Tenders — Dredge chicken tenders in beaten egg and then a mix of almond flour and spices; pan-fry in coconut oil to cook through, 1-2 min.
Making Krista’s Strategy Work for You
The ultimate goal. Top keto expert and Healthy Keto Plan author Eric Berg, D.C., recommends two to three meals a day, each one a plate filled with 50% low-carb veggies, 25 percent protein and 25 percent fat. Eat just enough to feel comfortably full. “Eating less often and replacing carbs with fat drastically lowers blood sugar and the fattening hormone insulin,” he explains. “You also begin to make ketones from stored and dietary fat.
They become your main fuel instead of blood sugar.” Studies show keto speeds fat burning by 900%, amps up energy and improves countless health woes.
Easy does it. If radical change feels overwhelming, Dr. Berg suggests incremental changes instead-one every two weeks or so. Start by eating one healthy keto meal each day. When that feels comfortable, cut out snacks. Next, add another keto meal; eventually, go full keto. As hunger drops, replace breakfast and lunch with brunch.
“Every small step makes your life better,” promises Dr. Berg. And it all adds up to losses of 5, 10, even 15 pounds a week! “I’m with you, and I believe in you.”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.