When Covid-19 hit in early 2020, a keto diet transformation was not on peoples minds, everyone suddenly found themselves somewhat trapped as countries went into lockdown. With no access to gyms, entertainment, and restaurants, many began practicing self-development.
For 52-year old Andrew Serio, that turned out to be a life-changing experience, which involved a keto diet transformation. Andrew, an instructor of Italian at the University of Buffalo, suffered from obesity, which was gradually getting worse. With his health deteriorating, the Buffalo resident decided that it was time for a change.
How did you get into the keto diet?
I began to follow the ketogenic diet in the middle of a global pandemic in May of 2020. I reached a point where I’d finally decided that I had to do something about my obesity. I’d considered a traditional low-calorie, low-fat diet because I was more or less unaware of the power of keto at the time. After doing some research and speaking to some friends, one in particular who had had experience with keto, I decided to go ahead with the limited information I had and begin what I now know was a simple low-carb diet. It got me started nicely and allowed me to form some good habits, but it definitely was not anything close to the “clean keto” lifestyle I would begin to follow later in my journey.
How would you describe your keto journey?
I think I’m pretty lucky because, for the most part, the first word that comes to mind when I describe my keto diet transformation and keto journey is “successful.” I really threw myself 100% into this lifestyle, and I did as much research as I possibly could. This is not to say that there haven’t been some bumps in the road, but because of my determination and all the information I’d acquired, I was able to overcome any obstacles pretty smoothly.
What was the turning point that made you want to change your lifestyle?
I’d known for years that my obesity problem was getting continually worse and would eventually cause serious issues, including possible death. Obesity is a leading cause of heart problems and death, yet it is sadly not something that we like to discuss. I was very good at denial and had reached the point where I’d basically given up. I had lost all hope – this is why I say today that keto literally saved my life.
Did you try other diets before keto?
Throughout much of my life, I have tried traditional low-fat, low-calorie diets along with hours and hours of cardio exercise. We know now that this type of lifestyle does not work to maintain a healthy weight, even if it does produce weight loss at the beginning. Keto is more sustainable and will make you healthier in so many ways; carrying a healthy weight is only one of them.
How has being on a keto diet plan changed your life?
Keto has changed my life in so many ways that I don’t even know where to begin! While my weight loss is the most visible and striking improvement, the benefits go far beyond just dropping down a bunch of sizes. My overall health has completely transformed. My sleep has improved, I have more energy and mental clarity, and I deal with stress more easily. As for my self-esteem, I can’t even tell you how it has improved! Life is so much better without those blood glucose level spikes! Another way that keto has changed my life is that it led me to the practice of intermittent fasting. The keto lifestyle on its own is very effective and will force your body to burn fat for fuel, but keto, in conjunction with intermittent fasting, will turn you into a fat-burning machine!
I believe that even my relationships with family and friends have gotten better. My wife never judged me when I was obese and, of course, never stopped loving me no matter what. However, she was very worried about my health and ] is so much happier knowing that I am so much more sound, both mentally and physically.
Did you relapse at any given point, or did it just work for you from the get-go?
I wouldn’t say I relapsed, but along the way, I’ve had to make some modifications to make sure the lifestyle continued to work for me. Nowadays, I allow myself some “carb days,” when I’ll eat some pasta or some bread, but I’m always so happy to get back into ketosis afterwards.
How much weight have you lost so far – Keto before and after?
I’ve lost 145 lbs (65.9 kg). Before beginning keto, I was sure I’d be obese for the rest of my life, and I never dreamed I’d ever been this weight again. To say I’m happy would be an understatement.
What is your go-t0 keto meal?
Most of the time, I follow a very clean, almost keto-vore diet, and so my favorite meal is a ribeye steak grilled to medium-rare with a side of broccoli cooked in grass-fed butter. Avocado and avocado oil, ghee, bison, pasture-raised eggs, and chicken thighs are also staples in my diet.
In your own opinion, what should people think about when starting the keto diet?
Education is the key! Learn as much as you can about keto but accept the fact that you will make mistakes. Even with all the research, know that beginning the ketogenic lifestyle is a very personal journey, and so what you read in the books might not work for you exactly. There is a great deal of trial and error and experimentation along the way.
What advice would you give someone that’s unhappy with their weight and is looking to start their keto transformation journey?
I would absolutely advise them to at least try keto. Do lots of research and “unlearn” almost everything you think you know about nutrition because most of what they tell us, is simply not true. Begin gradually and reduce carb intake to 50 grams a day while working towards lowering that number to 20. Be patient; it takes time to turn your body from a sugar burner to a fat burner, but you will become fat-adapted relatively quickly if you follow the keto diet plan. It will happen – it’s a scientific fact.
What is surprising is how quickly your sugar cravings disappear and how you remain satiated after meals. Consuming healthy, slow-burning fats instead of the quick-burning carbs that lead to cravings and eating binges will do wonders! Stay the course because it will be so worth it. Reversing insulin resistance and being in ketosis is an amazing feeling! It might seem difficult at first, especially when you start experiencing the “keto flu” symptoms, but it will pass and become an enjoyable lifestyle to follow. Trust me when I tell you it works; I’m living proof!
To learn more about Andrew, you can follow his journey on Instagram.
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