Hi there! My name is Piper Youtzy. I’m a wife to an incredible husband, a dog momma to two crazy boxers, and for as long as I can remember, I have always LOVED food.
But it didn’t always feel like food loved me back.
In fact, from the time I was about twelve, most days felt like a battle with myself. My metabolism took a nose-dive (or what felt like it) when I hit puberty, and I went from a skinny kid that never worried about what she ate to an overweight teenager.
You know, that age when girls are super nice and forgiving.
In the 7th grade, I packed on about forty pounds and began to actively hate my body.
TRYING TO FIND MY LIFESTYLE
Since then, my weight and eating habits have been a roller coaster.
In high school, I had horrible body issues and restricted myself to 300-500 calories per day. No matter how much weight I lost, I never felt confident.
In college, my self-image improved, but I packed on the freshman fifteen (cough more-like-twenty-five cough). Going into senior year, I used a combo of a vegan diet and the P90X exercise program to lose the weight. I felt confident in my skin, but my negative feelings towards food had returned. Before going out with friends, I would plot exactly how to nurse the same beer for hours so I could avoid the calories.
When I moved to Cleveland and met my husband in 2013, my happiness sky-rocketed. We spent the first few months of our relationship exploring every restaurant and bar we could find together... and both packed on some weight.
Over the years, as we strove to build a healthy life together, we tried a variety of methods: the Four-Hour Body by Tim Ferris, switching to a vegetarian diet, eating 80/20, or just exercising like crazy.
We both went through weight ups and downs. We both got in incredible shape for our wedding, and then I’m pretty sure we both gained it all back on the honeymoon.
Which brings us to now. Or, right before Keto.
THE VICIOUS CYCLE
We were living what we would refer to as a “balanced” lifestyle. We were exercising regularly, 3-5 times per week, and our goal was to balance eating super healthy at home with treating ourselves to meals out on the weekend.
We never felt comfortable calling it 80-20 so we called it 70-30.
In reality, it was probably more like 50-50. Maybe worse.
We’d start out the week strong. We’d each have 1 egg mixed with 1 cup of egg whites and avocado toast or turkey bacon for breakfast. We’d make a salad for lunch. Then we’d cook chicken and veggies for dinner. Maybe we’d make a burrito bowl with quinoa if we were feeling adventurous, but most of the time, we didn’t have energy for more than baked chicken breast and some broccoli or asparagus.
We never made it much further than Wednesday before we cracked. And no wonder… these meals we considered “healthy” were downright boring and unsatisfying!
One egg mixed with egg whites is never going to feel like a real breakfast. Chicken and veggies gets so old, so fast. We didn’t even realize that we were setting ourselves up for failure.
Thursday-Sunday, we’d eat out or order in at least one meal a day, maybe more. Then we’d finish off Sunday night with our favorite pizza (our tradition) and promise each other that we were going to eat healthy this upcoming week.
And the cycle would continue.
FINALLY FINDING KETO
Maybe you’re resonating with my story a little bit.
You start the week with the best of intentions, but part way through, you just can’t take it anymore. You have to eat something better! All your at-home options sound boring and awful, and going out to eat sounds like so much fun!
That’s exactly where we were. Then we started Keto.
We were feeling stuck, and frustrated, and ready to try something new. One night, I went out to get my hair cut... and when I came home, Jared had fallen down the Keto rabbit-hole on Reddit. He asked if I'd ever heard of Keto (which I had not), and we started reading about it together.
We decided to give it a shot. We went to Costco, picked up our supplies, and jumped in on December 9th of 2017.
It was a few weeks into our Keto Diet before we realized that we had all but stopped going out to eat.
We weren’t even trying to cut back… we were just having so much fun with all the foods we were making at home, we quit feeling the urge!
Now, when we do go out to eat, it’s not because we can’t take the menu options at home. Instead, we find ourselves wanting to go out because we’re really feeling the romantic vibes at a certain spot, or we’re dying for some food a restaurant makes that we can’t really duplicate (like the incredible brisket at the BBQ joint down the street).
We go out for positive reasons, like pursuing an ambiance, instead of for negative reasons, like trying to escape the soul-crushing monotony of our diet.
We have also saved a ton of money this way. After just a few months, it’s already really adding up. And in case that wasn’t enough, we feel happier and healthier than ever.
They say that the last 10-20 pounds is the hardest. When my husband and I started the Keto Diet, we were both plateaued about 10-20 pounds above our goal weights.
I had been stuck at 130-135 every since the after-wedding weight-gain. I didn't hate how I looked (I've learned a lot of self-love and improved body-image since my high school days), but I was frustrated. I was trying to eat healthy, I was working out, and I was stuck at "just not quite satisfied."
Within the first month, I lost 7 pounds and went from 131 to 124. As a 5’5 woman, those 7 pounds made a HUGE difference! I finally felt like what I saw in the mirror matched how much time and effort I was putting into my healthy lifestyle.
BUT IT DIDN'T STOP AT WEIGHT LOSS
I also noticed some other side effects.
I have always been a very talented sleeper. I’m one of those people that can close her eyes and be asleep within 30 seconds, then stay asleep for ten hours straight.
But on the flip side, waking up has always been hard for me. I trained myself to never hit snooze more than once, but the first hour or two of my day always felt slow and foggy.
A few weeks into Keto, I realized that this grogginess was gone.
One day, I set my alarm to get up and workout before work (which never worked... I would always turn off my alarm and decide to work out in the evening instead).
When the alarm went off, I was AWAKE! I popped out of bed, got my work out over with, and had the best day! Believe me, even typing those words doesn’t seem real.
Before Keto, it was a very rare occurrence that I woke up feeling refreshed. Now, as long as I get 7 and a half or 8 hours of sleep, I wake up ready to go. Sure, I still get random groggy days, but they are the exception now, not the rule.
My first week or two, I also started noticing what I refer to as Random Bursts of Happiness.
At first, I thought I was crazy. But then I started reading about other people living the Keto life experiencing the same thing. It’s the strangest phenomenon… you’ll just be going about your day, doing something mundane, and suddenly, you feel this overwhelming joy and gratitude for your life! I don’t know what causes it, but it’s such a delightful surprise when it happens.
LOVING FOOD AGAIN
And finally, my favorite part… the food.
Since my body issues from my pre-teen years, I have always been a “guilty eater.” When I splurged on something, like pizza or ice cream or pasta, I felt a deep guilt for it. Which means that since age twelve, every time I ate something, it was either “healthy” and unsatisfying, or I felt guilty about it.
Unsatisfied or guilty.
Every. Time. I. Ate.
What an awful way to go through life, especially for someone that LOVES food!
Now, I feel completely guilt-free about everything I eat, because I know how it’s going to make my body react. And the food I’m eating is so much better!
Breakfast is THREE eggs scrambled with a little heavy whipping cream and cheese, REAL bacon, and avocado! How much better does that sound than 1 egg, 1 cup egg whites, and turkey bacon?
My husband and I still make chicken breast, but we cook it hasselback-style with an alfredo-spinach sauce on top or over zero-carb “miracle” Shirataki noodles in a creamy vodka sauce.
We have the energy to whip up things like taco bowls with ground beef or bison, or to bake garlic-parm chicken wings with ranch, or even make “fat-head” pizza with all our favorite toppings! (You’ll find tons of recipes on this site and other Keto sites that use fat-head dough. It is fantastic.)
Are there challenging moments? Of course! Going out to a Mexican restaurant with friends and having the basket of chips stare at you, or going to the movies and smelling all the popcorn around you. Those moments are tough.
But you figure out ways to overcome these things, like ordering steak fajitas at the Mexican restaurant, eating the whole thing, and being the only person at the table feeling satisfied instead of painfully full after the meal. Or bringing pork rinds into the movie with you as a perfect crunchy snack!
It's challenging in the moment. But it passes, and you realize that you didn't die, and then it gets easier and easier every time.
LIVING LA VIDA KETO
Keto has so many other health benefits, I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface… but hopefully, my personal story gave you the confidence that you are completely capable of switching to a Keto lifestyle!
There are so many positives to Keto, you’ll still be learning them months after starting (I know I am). And by that point, you’ll feel happier, healthier, and excited to eat awesome food every day.
Ready to start your Keto journey?
Visit my Keto Quick-Start Guide to see exactly how you can start living the Damn Good Keto lifestyle!