Age: 72

Where do you live? I live in North Jersey.

Profession? Retired from Operations /Trade Show Company

Diet/weight history? I have been as high as 200 pounds and as low as 158. Weight was a concern throughout my life and I tried all the usuals: WW; Optifast and pills that turned out to be amphetamines and shot my BP through the roof.

My strongest addiction was to alcohol; that took me to my knees. I got sober through AA at the age of 35 and have been sober since. I also smoked cigarettes from 18-36 years old. I am a firm believer in the “addictive personality” and I definitely have one.

Successes achieved on low carb? I have lost about 17 pounds since starting keto and reduced inflammation considerably in my knees and hands (both arthritic). I am a patient of Dr. Tro’s, so he watches my labs carefully and they are generally good. I struggle with an elevated A1C but I require statins and have a family history of diabetes, so it is something we watch carefully. I also take meds for HBP.

How long have you been low carb? I started in September, 2020.

Why did you start low carb? My brother passed in June, 2020 and in my grief, I lost sight of self-care and my weight shot up.

How did you start? I contacted a friend that is a keto coach and did a few privates with her and then joined her weekly group. The privates were pivotal for me because I am a vegetarian and she helped me pick foods and create recipes that allowed keto with no meat.

How has keto changed for you over this time? I have become really clear about what is “maintenance” for me and what is a “cut” and I have the choice on which mode to pick. For maintenance, I need to stick to three meals with no extras added (I often just want “a little something more”) within an 8 hour window and need to fast one day a week to lose weight.

What do you struggle with? I want to eat when I am bored or stressed, so staying active and making plans to avoid the boredom and movement instead of food to avoid the stress eating, not easy. I was keto for well over a year before I added exercise. A food plan is much easier for me to follow than an exercise plan. I joined forces with an exercise instructor and that has made a difference in helping me to stick to regular aerobic and resistance training each week.

What do you love about low carb? The reduction in inflammation is the best day-to-day improvement. My knees and thumbs used to hurt a lot.

Top tip? Eliminate the concept of a “cheat.” My AA background makes a “cheat” a concept not to be used concerning liquor or food. In AA, if you “cheat,” you start counting days over again. In low carb, I just “allow” certain foods in on certain occasions, but it’s planned and acceptable to me without remorse.

Advice for people just starting out? Get a coach! Use the app! Make Dr. Tro your doctor, if possible! It takes time to figure out your best approach and what foods you can and cannot eat. Reliable info and ongoing support are the keys.

Favorite low-carb meal on the go? Almond butter and no-sugar jelly on protein sparing bread.

Favorite low-carb meal to cook? Low carb pancakes and scrambled eggs is my favorite meal.

Favorite inspirational quote: Adapted from AA: “Don’t binge, even if your ass falls off.”

Anything else you want us to know about you? I asked Amy about how to feel more involved in the group. Warning… “do a  member spotlight” is her answer to that question. That is why I am here.

Article by Amy Eiges

Amy Eiges is a health coach and reformed chronic dieter who is passionate about helping others recover from the diet-binge-gain-shame cycle she struggled with for years. Since discovering a ketogenic and low-carb lifestyle, she has lost over 200 pounds and has both reversed pre-diabetes and resolved lifelong depression. "When I was just starting out, facing 200 pounds to lose seemed insurmountable, and the idea I would ever be where I am now was unfathomable. Know this: I am not extraordinary. I just finally got the right advice, put one foot in front of the other and didn't look back. I know now that it can be done, but after battling this war for 40 years I had lost hope that it was really, truly possible. I am living proof that it is." Read more about Amy's story and struggles with food addiction and chronic dieting ("I Am Not Broken").