Girl Smarts: I switched from veganism to the keto diet and lost 60 pounds

I started competing in pageants at age 4, and eventually became the number-one pageant trainer in the country.

My industry comes with extreme pressure to be thin, so, for a long time, I worked hard to keep up appearances.

That all changed when I got married in 2014. It was wonderful-I felt like I was finally able to relax, after meeting someone who loved me for who I was on the inside, not just the outside-but I also lost interest in my healthy, active lifestyle.

My life felt like a constant celebration-constantly eating out or having a few cocktails each night-which was a whole lot of fun, but not good for my body (or emotional and mental health). A lower back injury from a car accident around this time also made workouts painful.

Basically, it was the perfect storm. I slowly fell into a rut-and the thing about ruts is that one day you just wake up and you’re there.

Here’s the thing: I knew exactly why I was gaining weight-and I still couldn’t stop.

Years of pageant coaching led me to be come a sort of health coach for my clients. I’d tell them to eat at home, for example, because that way you can control what goes into your food.

Girl Smarts: I switched from veganism to the keto diet and lost 60 pounds 1 play (KATIE BOYD BABBINE)

But the busy schedules that my husband and I kept meant we were eating out constantly. (French fries sound way better than a salad when you’re tired and overwhelmed from working a 16-hour day.)

I was also vegan, which was not helping me-all I ate was carbs, which made me feel constantly hungry, tired, and grouchy.

When I didn’t recognize the person looking back at me in the mirror, I knew I had to change.

My husband loves to take tropical vacations, and it made me so insecure to be on the beach or at a pool in my swimsuit. When someone would ask what I did for a living and I responded that I was a pageant coach, they’d look at me, puzzled-all of this just reinforced that I had to do something differently.

At first, I tried going pescatarian. Adding fish back into my diet slowly helped my body make the transition out of veganism

After about six months following a pescatarian diet, I eased into paleo-adding chicken or beef to my diet, and taking away most of the carbs. After six more months of that, I began to feel better and more focused-but I’d only lost a few pounds.

Since I’d worked so hard on getting meat back into my diet, I decided to give something else a shot: the keto diet.

My body started changing dramatically on the keto diet.

A quick primer on the keto diet if you’re not familiar with it: It’s a high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein diet that forces your body into a state of ketosis (where you burn fat instead of carbs).

Girl Smarts: I switched from veganism to the keto diet and lost 60 pounds 2 play (KATIE BOYD BABBINE)

It was tough at first (I had to cut out my beloved starchy carbs, along with any sweets), but eventually I got the swing of things and actually started to enjoy it. I lost about 35 pounds in the first six months.

Here’s what a typical day of eating on the keto diet looks like for me:

  • Breakfast: coffee with grass-fed and organic butter or ghee with MCT oil.

  • Lunch: a huge salad with arugula, romaine lettuce, and mixed greens with goat cheese, caramelized onions, organic grilled lemon and rosemary chicken, pecans and homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

  • Dinner: roasted salmon crusted with crushed pecans and dijon mustard with asparagus topped with truffle oil.

  • Snacks: keto bark (a mixture of Lily’s chocolate with coconut oil, crushed macadamia nuts, and unsweetened shredded coconut flakes).

Once I started losing weight, I felt comfortable working out again, too.

I found an incredible orthopedic doctor who sent me to physical therapy for my back injury, and I also started getting cortisone injections and other treatments to help with my pain.

Girl Smarts: I switched from veganism to the keto diet and lost 60 pounds 3 play (KATIE BOYD BABBINE)

I was able to start working out slowly-about three days a week at the gym, doing a mixture of light weights and slow-but-steady cardio. After a few months of this, I lost another 15 pounds.

Keto isn’t always easy.

Sometimes I slide backward and eat something that isn’t keto-approved-but I don’t punish myself for it. I just tell myself tomorrow is a brand-new day and I get to start fresh.

I also never feel deprived on keto-which is huge for my happiness. I always make sure to have tasty keto snacks on hand: single-serving guacamole, Moon Cheese, Epic Bars-I even get to have tasty pork rinds. And, while I do a lot of my own cooking at home, I always make sure to check restaurant menus beforehand when I decide to treat myself to a dinner out.

But it’s not just about the weight loss-doing keto and making a commitment to exercise helped me start putting myself first, which ultimately made me a healthier, happier person overall.


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