'My 160-Pound Weight Loss Came Down To The Keto Diet And The CICO Method’

Photo credit: Caitlin DeMasellis
From women's health
My name is Caitlin DeMasellis (@leanqueensupreme) and I am 30 years old. I'm from Holly, Michigan, and I'm a sales representative and ACE certified personal trainer. I tried the keto diet, followed by simple calorie tracking and fun workouts, and I lost 160 pounds.
I was always a heavy child. But my weight skyrocketed at the age of 13 when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. At that point, I was already struggling with overeating, and eating became my emotional support during and after that.
I tried to do normal things like bending down to tie my shoes, walking up the stairs, or training my dog. With almost every activity I felt like I couldn't breathe, let myself drip from my seat and felt overheated. When I was 17 I hit my heaviest weight of 325 pounds.
When I was 17 in spring 2008, I knew I had to change something. We had to order our hats and dresses for graduation and we took our measurements, including our height and weight. I was asked what I was and I was so embarrassed that I lied and told the man that he takes everything with a significantly lower weight. He warned that you could not reorder after the selection and I wanted to fit in my dress for graduation day so I wanted to make some drastic changes.
At first I had no idea what I was doing. I tried to eat what I saw thin girls eating on TV. I've tried every fad without success. What ultimately worked for me was to see that my terrible eating habits came from my emotional eating. When I became aware of this and finally stopped using food as a coping mechanism, I found weight loss * so * much easier. Then I could really start trying new nutrition plans in a healthy way.
I had great success with the keto diet in 2016, but now I'm mainly focusing on eating as many whole, unprocessed foods as possible.
I follow something called CICO (which means: calories in, calories out). I track my calorie intake and make sure that I burn more calories than I eat every day to stay in a calorie deficit for weight loss.
Keeping track of what I eat was key because I found that many of the apparently healthy things I ate, such as nuts and cereal, were actually high in calories, and it helped me to realize that I was much more than one only serving. If I knew exactly what I was consuming, there was no need to guess.
I also had to realize that I am not perfect. I was * so * upset when I gave in and ate junk food or ate too much. This would trigger a downward spiral of emotional eating / binging that could take two days or two months. When I found that I would never be perfect, I could forgive myself, be gentle with myself and return to my healthy lifestyle.
I usually eat the following in one day:
Breakfast: When I run, I usually eat oats and a banana overnight. And when I rest, I might have a protein bar or a shake.
Lunch: I love making low-carb wraps with tons of vegetables and protein.
Snacks: I try to keep snacks high in protein and low in calories. This usually means low-sugar Greek yogurt with some fruit or a piece of cheese with vegetables. I also always have a protein bar in my purse in case I get caught out of the house and I'm hungry.
Dinner: I love to recreate some of my favorite childhood recipes with a healthier touch. This usually means reducing tons of pasta or switching from high-fat protein (like ground beef) to something lower in calories like chicken sausage or ground turkey. I try to include at least two types of vegetables in every dinner.
Dessert: I love ice cream, but I've found that portion control (especially if you love ice cream!) Can be difficult. I choose portions of ice cream with a portion like frozen Greek yogurt bars or illuminated ice cream bars.
My typical training week consists of three entertaining cardio activities (running, cycling, kayaking) and two strength training days.
I take the weekends off, but try to have something to do with my family, like walking the dog or playing a game outside (golf, cornhole, etc.). I enjoyed competitions, raced and also participated in triathlons.
Another of the most helpful changes I made on my trip was that I stopped doing exercises that I hated. I drove to the gym, sat in the parking lot for hours, and then drove home. I was so afraid of exercise that I couldn't even get myself to go inside. Once I found something I enjoyed (like riding my exercise bike while watching my favorite TV show), it was something I could look forward to going to the gym. This led me to go back to school and become an ACE certified personal trainer.
My weight loss journey may have started at 17, but I didn't really see any progress until I started keto in 2016 and then CICO.
I have lost over 160 pounds in total and my weight is rising and falling a bit, just like everyone else's. Since 2016 I finally ended the yo-yo diet and was able to maintain a healthy weight.
Small changes over time lead to big results. So start with small weekly changes and build on your progress every week. You will soon look back with a surprised, triumphant smile.
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