As part of our Group Coaching program, we shine a spotlight on members of our program to learn more about their journey. Last week’s Member Spotlight was Shelly Miller. Shelly’s story is one many of us can relate to: she struggled with weight most of her life, and after trying to count calories and exercise with no success she turned to her doctor for advice. He told her to read a book called Sugar Busters, and she had some success following this plan. After starting a family, she got further and further from low-carb eating and ended up nearly 200 pounds and pre-diabetic. Another doctor introduced her to and Jason Fung in July of 2019, and that was the beginning of her amazing success story — since then she has lost 50 pounds and is no longer pre-diabetic!

Discussion :

  • Shelly’s wake-up moment was after being diagnosed as pre-diabetic. She realized she had some neuropathy and nerve pain in her feet which got her thinking about the effects of her eating, diabetes, and the scary possibility she could lose limbs.
  • For the first few weeks on a low-carb diet, Shelly cut out snacks, bread and starches. After a few weeks she was able to skip breakfast, and soon after that she was doing a 24-hour fast pretty easily.
  • Shelly opened up about her struggles with longer fasts and exercise. Exercise has been a real struggle with COVID lockdown and other circumstances. Dr. Tro recommended using a secondary reward and setting the bar low to move past the resistance to doing exercise. For example: set a goal to do just 5 minutes of exercise, and typically once you start you go longer than 5 minutes.
  • It was also suggested that Shelly address added dietary fats, the “fat lever,” as Dr. Tro calls it. Examine added fats like dairy, nuts, chocolate if you are having trouble meeting health goals . Example: How many plain hamburger patties can you eat until full? How many can you eat with cheese, avocado, and mayo? Most times you can eat more patties in addition to the added fat, but satiety is not increased by all that much.
  • After the holidays, Shelly found herself eating high carb leftovers until uncomfortably full. She realized they needed to be out of the house, so she packed them up and gave them away. She eventually took a step back and realized those foods were not worth undoing her progress and was able to rebound and get back on track.
  • “Replace what you cant restrict” is a great strategy for when you are faced with trigger foods or when cravings are taking over your willpower. Eating the low carb replacements is a much easier and less damaging approach then taking a couple of days or longer of high carb. The damage is minimal and its much easier to get back on track and fast.
  • We discussed the Swiss Cheese Model of Defense to bolster your chances of success, putting safety nets in place to avoid pitfalls. 
  • Shelly learned from this holiday experience and now knows what to expect at the next holiday: put safety nets in place to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Getting back to basics is a better strategy for recovering from a high carb slip-up then trying to restrict and do any extended fasts immediately after.


Article by Brian Wiley

Brian Wiley is a Certified Health Coach who struggled to lose weight for most of his life. He attempted most of the mainstream approaches, along with the standard advice to “eat, less move more.” This advice resulted in minimal short-term success, or no success at all. Brian then adopted a low-carb lifestyle in 2009, and succeeded in losing 100 pounds. He has maintained that weight loss ever since using a low-carb ketogenic IF lifestyle. "I see people every day, both in real life and on social media, struggling, going through the same cycles of unsuccessful dieting like I did. I want to serve as an example that this approach can be successful, is not a fad, and is a healthy long-term lifestyle solution." Brian is also an ACE certified personal trainer.