Introducing FatUp Features! A new series to highlight everyday individuals that choose to live the ketogenic lifestyle and showcase, how it’s impacting their lives!
Her name is Sarah-Jane. She’s a keto lifestyle blogger from Toronto and the very first in the FatUp Features Series! I absolutely love her genuine spirit and loved getting the chance to chat it up with her! Get tips and tidbits on how she found and now uses the ketogenic lifestyle to impact her life and health! Check out her interview!
Bridgette: How did you learn about keto or the low carb, high-fat way of eating?
Sarah-Jane: I found out about keto because I was the biggest doubter ever! A big part of my journey has been my father. When my dad was, I don’t even know a specific age at the time, maybe 56, 57ish, he’d been told he was in the pre-diabetic range he actually was able to become a patient of Dr. Jason Fung who is the author of The Obesity Code, he’s located in Toronto and we’re located in Toronto. My dad’s family doctor, hooked him up with Dr. Fung to be a part of one of his clinics. So my dad came home with a bunch of this information about how he’s supposed to eat butter and fat and all this stuff. I was a major in biology at the time. I was like, “Dad, hell no, you’re not supposed to eat any of this fat! You’re not doing this stuff!” So I actually started researching keto to debunk it. I was just like, he’s crazy. But after doing a lot of research and going to the Diet Doctor and a big resource of help for me was Reddit. I said you know what, cool, it’s fine, it’s not crazy. There’s some, scientific research, there’s some facts. It’s no problem. I started cooking and baking keto things for my dad, and successfully he is now out of the pre-diabetic range and has lost over 40 pounds.
For me personally, when I started to adopt keto for myself, I had a semester off of school and I’m a really avid baker and cook so I used to sit at home and literally make elaborate menus and cook and then eat. If you scroll down really low into my Instagram, you can actually see those posts and that food. However, I started looking in the mirror and started poking on myself and I was like, “Huh, what’s going on?” I decided to bring out the trusty scale and stand on it, I saw a number that I’d never seen before in my adult life. I sat there and I was like, “Okay, am I going to just eat food and be happy for the rest of my life and just say it’s not in the stars for me to look the way I want to look and say it’s just genetics. This is me. I’m destined to be this size. I didn’t get the hips, I didn’t get the Kim K, this is just it, right? Or am I going to do something?” So I was like, you know what? “Hell no! I’m 21, I gotta be cute! If I can’t be cute now, when am I ever gonna be cute?” It was then that I started researching and Ketogenic Diet. Reddit was a huge resource and Facebook groups. I stumbled and fell a bunch of times, but I’m happy I stuck with it.
Bridgette: How long have you been on keto thus far?
Sarah-Jane: I started and learned about living the ketogenic lifestyle in May of 2017. So that’s when I really started. I cheated a couple of weekends but essentially I would say for about a year.
Bridgette: What’s your style? Are you strict? Do you track macros? Are you lazy keto?
Sarah-Jane: I’ve been told a lot of things and I’m still not exactly sure but I’ll tell you what I do. I do drink diet pop which has been sweetened with aspartame, that’s literally the only cheaty thing that I do. I don’t do if it fits your macros keto. So, I’m not going to have a doughnut if it’s under 20, not going to do that. I just try and keep it as clean as possible. If it’s sweetened with maltodextrin, I’m not drinking it. Maltitol, none of that stuff. None of those fake sweeteners, but I do drink diet pop, that’s as far as I’ll go. I don’t do little chicken nuggets or like anything really breaded or anything like that, just pop. Essentially standard keto.
Bridgette: Do you do Intermittent Fasting (IF)?
Sarah-Jane: I dabble in intermittent fasting. I mean if I’m not hungry and I can stretch it, why not stretch it for 16 hours. Right. So I dabble in it back and forth. It might sound unhealthy, but if I’m trying to capitalize on an extra low or whatever on the scale then I’ll definitely do it, but it’s nothing too strict.
Bridgette: Do you work out or is it strictly keto?
Sarah-Jane: I love working out! I should work out more than I do. In January I worked out for five days a week, that was amazing, I saw great results. I work out just not as strictly as I should. I go to the gym but it’s not like five days a week type thing.
Bridgette: Do you take supplements and if you do, what are the must haves and why?
Sarah-Jane: I don’t take any form of supplements, anything that comes in a bottle. The only thing I do is apple cider vinegar. I’m a student so I don’t really have the dough to be spending on magnesium or collagen or this organic bone thing, so I don’t. Whatever works the most normal and natural things. Give me some apple cider vinegar. I’ll spend some money on that. But otherwise, no.
Bridgette: How long have you struggled with your weight?
Sarah-Jane: I think it’s definitely been a lifetime struggle because, I dunno if everyone’s experiences this or if most young women have experienced this, but it’s like, at what point in your life did you realize that you weren’t skinny, or were fat, or you’re bigger. So I had been conscious of that placement, I guess since the fifth grade. A friend had told me, “Oh, well yeah, your stomach is bigger than mine.” And I was like, “What! I have a big stomach!?” And so then I started looking in the mirror and I’m like, “Oh my God, I have a big stomach!” So it’s been since the fifth grade where it’s been like, okay, this time I’m totally going to lose weight, and it was just never happening for me. I had really active friends in high school and they were like fit AF and I just wasn’t, so it’s been a lifelong struggle, but I’ve definitely felt like it’s really held me back from being who I feel like I am inside because, I would think to myself, “Yeah, but you don’t look like this, you can’t act like that.”, even though that’s how I feel naturally. So it has definitely been a lifelong struggle and this is one of the first times in my life where I’ve ever made a significant change and attacked that bad boy and I’m loving it!
Bridgette: Do you have a morning and evening routine and if so, can you give me a little bit of information about that?
Sarah-Jane: When I was doing well, really strict in terms of routine, I think after a while you are just able to listen to yourself and intuitively give your body what it needs. But when I was first starting out in my routine in the morning it was eggs for breakfast, then I would have a salad for lunch and then chicken thighs and some form of vegetable for dinner. I use to work out five days a week and then in February I started another routine with apple cider vinegar, twice a day and I always work out in the mornings.
Bridgette: What are three items that you have to have to while doing keto?
Sarah-Jane: Bone broth, chicken thighs, and diet pop. I’m sorry. I need it!
Bridgette: What do you miss the most that is NOT keto friendly?
Sarah-Jane: I’m from Ghana, so a lot of our food is delicious. I’m not the type of person who’s like, burgers and fries. I’m more like rice or give me, plantains, stuff like that, but real food is what I miss the most because to me a salad is awesome, amazing, but it’s not hot and it doesn’t make you feel full inside, you know what I mean? So for me, it’s definitely rice and plantains.
Bridgette: Do you follow like a nighttime routine? Bedtime? And how many hours of sleep do you generally get?
Sarah-Jane: My general routine is that I have to be lying in the bed and the phone goes off at 11:30 pm. I know that’s pretty late but I also wake up pretty early. I generally tend to wake up at around 6:00 am every morning, so from 11:30 pm to 6:00 am. I probably should sleep more, but that’s all I can afford to do. So that’s all I do.
Bridgette: What is the hardest part of doing keto?
Sarah-Jane: The hardest part of keto is everyone else’s opinions and judgments. Everyone has so much to say about what you do and everyone thinks it’s their position to say whatever, but, it’s successful! I’m happy I lost the weight and as much as it sucks to say I’ve made progress in my life. What you doing sister? Like what are you doing friend? Like mind your business, right? It’s like, I’ve even had people tell me, “Oh, you’re losing too much weight. You should stop.” Um, oh, you’re doing this. But I’m like, “Yo, homie! It’s not your business.” Honestly, I feel like I’m more in tune than I’ve ever been in my body. I can listen to myself and know that, oh, you know what? My head hurts, I probably would need some electrolytes. Give me that bone broth. I listened to my body, I know that I’m hungry, eat, and when I’m not hungry I don’t eat and I think that’s so much more to say that for so many other people and whatever else they’re handling or doing. Keto is the only thing that has ever made me able to listen to my body knows what it wants and nourish it.
So I feel like the hardest part of keto is everyone else’s judgments. Getting a hot dog and taking off the bun. I’m having a salad stacked with good delicious fatty, things and people weighing in on it being like, “Yo, isn’t that really fattening?” And then even the worst part is someone said, “Why are you getting a salad?” And it’s just like, “Yo! Mind your business! This is what I like!” Even my dad has been like, I hope you’re not still doing keto, you’re getting too small. I’m just like “Listen fam! I got goals! Okay!” It’s just that everyone thinks that it’s their right to weigh in on your journey, and I think that’s the hardest part. I felt like if everyone could just shut up and mind their business, that would be an amazing thing for sure.
Bridgette: What is your favorite keto recipe and why?
Sarah-Jane: Honestly. Taco Salad. That’s something that I never ever knew was in existence until keto where it’s like you could literally have everything you want in a taco but just have it in the salad and it’s something that I find so much easier to make. Taco salad is amazing. I like that and it’s easy to make.
Bridgette: What is your top tip for anyone interested in starting a low carb, high-fat ketogenic diet?
Sarah-Jane: My first tip and I’ll tell everybody is to research and it sounds really cliche, but I didn’t really start getting the benefits of Keto until I immersed myself in the culture, so I joined Facebook groups. I was in the Keto SubReddit. I was in Keto Recipe SubReddit. I was in the XXKeto SubReddit. I didn’t even use Reddit that much, but like immersing myself in it and making the decision to have a community to help or support me was the biggest thing because when you start out you don’t even know what an electrolyte is. Do you know what I mean? Depending on your background. I read back in my Reddit history and I saw that it left like a super amateur request about fat.
I’m like, oh if I don’t eat enough fat enough, I’m not going to be in ketosis. Okay, but that’s not how ketosis works. It has to do with the carbs. But it’s things like that where you have to just research. I don’t want to let people encourage people to get stuck in the research phase. You also have to make a decision. If you could make a decision and you say, I can’t live without rice, I can’t live without noodles, then you know what, you can live with the consequences of that. If that is what is holding you back. I think a lot of the time people say they want the benefits of this way of life, but it’s like you have to be willing to sacrifice as well. I don’t get to eat rice. When my family is frying, plantain, I have to stay in my bedroom but the fact of the matter is, I love the benefits of it. Definitely research and make a decision.
Bridgette: Any favorite keto journey accounts on Instagram?
Sarah-Jane: @keilaketo | She’s awesome! I love her and I’m so proud of her even though I’ve never physically met her because I just think she’s accomplished what I feel like so many people want to accomplish and she’s documented the entire process on her Youtube and on her Instagram.
@ihackeddiabetes | He lives in Toronto too, so that’s cool, but he is just awesome. His recipes are amazing, his Instagram stories are amazing and his story is amazing.
I think that keto is great for health, weight loss is just one part of it.
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