After seeing Lauren Berryhill featured in Women's Health Magazinewe knew we needed to reach out! Lauren is a strong woman and mother leading a ketogenic lifestyle not just for her own health, but also to help change the lives of those around her! Her love of fitness, and her Keto-Mojo meter helped her not only reach her goals, but inspire others to do the same. Receiving her fitness nutrition and personal training certificates have allowed her to integrate her ketogenic lifestyle into her coaching approach. With good clean food, motivation, and the right tools, anyone can do this! So let Lauren give you a little insight into how she makes keto work for her.How were you introduced to the ketogenic diet? And what inspired you make the lifestyle change?
I decided to start keto after trying what seemed like every diet out there. When I say I've tried everything, I mean EVERYTHING. From Weight Watchers to Herbalife to basic calorie counting to detoxes to regular macro counting. You name it, I've probably attempted it and failed.
I have been "dieting" for the bulk of my life; as a teenager, a young woman, and even as an adult, I’ve always felt pressured to be on a diet, to always strive to be "thin" and “skinny." As life progressed (college, engagement and marriage), my weight fluctuated quite a bit, then I would decide to start a diet. I may have had success with losing some weight using the methods I tried, but as far as finding something that changed the entire way I view and feel about food as well as heal myself of my eating disorder, keto was my saving grace.
I've always dealt with food addiction. Sugar addiction, to be more exact. Sugar consumed me. Desserts and candy were my vice. I would eat half a dozen donuts in one sitting, and, in the same day, eat a whole pack of gummy worms and half a dozen chocolate chip cookies. All while eating two to three normal meals that day as well. Hard to admit? You betcha. But in order to recognize my problem, I had to admit what I was doing. And, in order to change my problem, I had to change my mindset and how I viewed food.
That didn't happen overnight. By the end of my pregnancy in 2015, on the day I went home from the hospital, I was up to 232 pounds. It was the heaviest I had ever been, and by far the unhealthiest. Pregnancy was my excuse to binge all the time. I should've wanted to be healthy as an expecting mother. I regret that I wasn’t now, but I will never regret the lessons learned and the journey that brought me to where I am and who I am today.
The first year after having my son, I calorie counted, did IIFYM and Weight Watchers and was SUPER restrictive. I was able to lose 60 pounds, but it was very hard and I still had "cheat days" (more like cheat weeks). I binged, essentially, every few weekends. I just couldn't break the cycle.
But in January 2017, I found keto! I researched for two weeks before starting. I told myself I was giving keto four weeks and if it wasn't successful (like all other diets), I would give up and just settle for the body I was in. Luckily that wasn't the case, and the rest is history! I have been following a keto lifestyle for almost two years now!
How often do you track your blood ketones and glucose?
I track my blood ketones and blood glucose daily. I test every morning fasted upon waking. I will also typically test after I’ve consumed something that I feel may trigger an insulin response/blood glucose response to see if I need to avoid certain foods.
After being featured inWomen’s Health magazine I am sure people have reached out to you for advice. What are your top five pieces of advice for the keto newbie?
My top five tips for keto newbies are as follows:
What is your favorite keto recipe?
My favorite keto recipe is probably Keto Connect’s Fudgy Brownies!
What are your absolute keto must haves?
A Keto-Mojo meter, DUH! And also:
You’ve come a long way from where you started. What has been your motivation to continue and stay on track?
Honestly, I’ve fallen in love with the process of changing my body composition and improving my health. It took me a long time to achieve the mental state that I have obtained. I no longer view food as bad or good but as nourishment. I view keto as a sustainable lifestyle that I never feel I have to stray from or feel deprived living. I enjoy lifting weights and getting stronger, which in turn has given me the motivation to continue improving in my fitness journey as well. I hope to one day compete in a bodybuilding/physique competition to show just how hard I’ve worked and to have the ultimate transformation.
How do you handle cheats? If you have them, how often and do they impact your plan for the next day/week after?
I actually have a different view of food since starting keto and recovering from my binge eating disorder. Viewing foods as “cheats” was negative for me. So, I keep my life keto 99 percent of the time. The times I may have something higher carb or sugar-filled is on special occasions, where I want to enjoy an experience and make memories such as vacations, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I just remember during those times that it is a one-time thing where I decided to choose “memories over macros.” I exercise self-control with those types of foods, otherwise I worry I would slip back into my eating disorder tendencies. So I am very cautious and maybe enjoy non-keto friendly foods a handful of times during the year.
I also make it a point to not “punish” myself for the decision to eat off-keto. As long as I make the decision with the mindset that it’s just for one time and I will jump right back to eating my normal keto foods the next day or even the next meal, I feel totally fine. Punishing yourself, such as calorie restriction or excess exercise for having a non-keto meal, leads to bad relationships with food and bad behavior, and I’ve healed myself of that, thankfully.
What sets you apart as a keto coach?
I think what sets me apart is the fact that I have been through absolutely all the same struggles that I help my clients through. They see me as an equal who can relate (most days), rather than a superior (such as someone who has never struggled with weight gain and eating disorders). I was able to go through my journey without using a coach. I really could have used help at times but I felt too ashamed or proud to ask for help. When coaching became my goal, I wanted to make others feel it was okay to ask for help. I want others to feel comfortable reaching out. I also feel I’m different because I try to find the best way to make keto work for each individual person. I don’t just stick everyone in one bubble. I work closely with clients to find the right balance for them.
Do you work out? If so did you work out prior to keto and if so how has your workout changed?
I didn’t workout out at all prior to keto. When I started keto, I started out by just walking as much as I could. Three months into keto, I started going to the gym and slowly started lifting weights. Since about six months into keto, I have been serious about my weight and strength training and have made great strides! My endurance is amazing on keto and my strength has only gotten better. I’ve built all my muscle on keto as well. I follow mainly bodybuilding style training and incorporate heavy compounds lifts. I plan to incorporate some powerlifting in the future, as I only want to get stronger! I love pushing myself in the gym beyond what I feel my limits are.
Do you see keto as a lifestyle change for you long term?
Keto is and always will be my lifestyle. It has changed my life beyond what I can explain in words. I’ve become the healthiest and most physically fit version of myself while following keto. I’m no longer prediabetic. My cholesterol has improved. My mental health is at its best, and I was able to heal my eating disorder with keto. I will never return to the old lifestyle that got me where I was in the first place. I can only hope that by coaching and spreading the word about me, my story and how keto has changed my life that I can help others do the same!