Ashley joined the Bears in December 2019 and is down 90 pounds, just 17 pounds from her final goal weight of 135. As we publish this, Ashley just posted photos from her wedding in this COVID era, looking all enviably gorgeous, though it is not a surprise since Ashley is super-cute at every size. She recaps her weight loss success story for us here.
My main motivation to lose weight was because I didn’t feel like myself anymore and I was shame eating when no one was looking. On Thanksgiving 2019, I ate so many yeast rolls (like 12ish), on top of everything else. I felt out of control, broken, undeserving of a healthy body, had no confidence, and was a slave to the food. I literally hated myself.
On Black Friday, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want the food itself; I wanted the way it made me feel (insulin spike, carb lethargy, etc.). I resolved to no longer let the food control me and to no longer shame eat a whole box of Swiss Rolls in my car. I was finally ready.
I had health-related problems due to my weight. My doctor advised me that I was prediabetic, my thyroid levels were all over the place, and they wanted to start medication therapy. My joints were achy, and my former knee and shoulder injuries were always sore. I took ibuprofen almost daily to deal with swelling and pain and used an inhaler multiple times a day.
The biggest health-related problem for me was mental. I was broken and didn’t think I would ever lose weight. I thought I’d be morbidly obese forever. Surgery was inevitable if I continued on this destructive path.
Diets of the Past
In the past, I tried low calorie, the Zone Diet, Weight Watchers, and other plans that I had to pay for. Nothing seemed to work. Or I would lose 10 pounds in six months only to gain it back threefold. I didn’t have support, I felt alone, I knew nothing about maintenance or what I was doing wrong, and I was winging it. I was so frustrated that I ended up with an eating disorder (binging/purging) and abusing laxatives when I was in my 20s.
I’m now 35 years old, and I am thankful that I’ve mentally recovered so I no longer have to do that. I also didn’t feel satisfied when I ate, even if I was full. There was a void that could never be filled when I was comfort eating.
My mom recommended Eat Like a Bear to me, and I tried it out of desperation. She had been part of the group for a long time and started showing me pictures of Amanda, Maria, and other Bears who were losing weight. I was added to the group and saw the success. It felt real, and the people were raw, honest, and genuine. No one was trying to sell me anything. I didn’t feel pressured to do anything, and I felt welcomed from day one.
I researched keto, the three-day plan, and what I could and couldn’t eat and decided to try it. I figured if I didn’t lose weight, I could at least say I tried. And if I lost weight, it would be a miracle.
I ate one meal a day and fasted 23:1, with no extended fasts from December 2019 to May 2020. I tried to stay under 10 carbs per day. I only ate at home and wouldn’t snack. I have no cheat days. I lost 75 pounds during that time. From May to July 15th, I ate keto but didn’t fast, and I lost 13 pounds. I am now back to fasting 18 to 23 hours a day, and I only allow a one-hour feeding window and 15 carbs or less per day.
A typical meal is 6 to 8 ounces of lean protein, a ridiculously large side salad with low carb veggies, and a healthy fat such as cheese, avocado, or smokehouse almonds. I drink three to five 24-ounce tumblers of Ultima Replenisher Electrolytes, and in the morning, I’ll have coffee with no-carb Nutpods creamer. I also drink green and black tea.
The Difference with Eat Like a Bear
Eat Like a Bear is different to me because it isn’t a diet. I realized that if I didn’t do this, I would have to have surgery and be on medication for the rest of my life.
I understood that the group and support were there to celebrate my victories, to help me through my valleys. I came to the conclusion that if all of these Bears could do it, I could do it too if I wanted to. All I had to do was pull up my bootstraps, follow in their footsteps, take it one day at a time, and reach out for help if and when I needed it. The group support is the very best tool, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.
I realized Eat Like a Bear was working during December. I ordered a bunch of clothes on Black Friday of 2019, and by the time they were delivered, they didn’t fit and were way too big. I weighed and measured myself, and I saw the pounds and inches falling off. The best part was that the weight and inches were dropping fast, and the lifestyle was sustainable for me.
A New Life
Today, I am able to enjoy so many things without the weight. I bought shorts and a bikini on purpose. I can wrap a normal-size towel around myself, paint my toenails, sleep better, and exercise without using an inhaler. I feel like me again in my own skin. I feel beautiful, sexy, and confident for the first time in a long time. Most importantly, I am no longer a slave to food. I no longer feel like the fattest person in the room, and I feel like people see me as me—happy, joyous, and free—instead of seeing an obese person.
Tips for Newcomers
My top tip before starting out is to educate yourself. Read Eat Like a Bear’s FAQs, watch all the videos, and subscribe to the three-day challenge. For education other than the above, go to the store and read tons of food labels…I didn’t know what had carbs and what didn’t. Find a list of alternative names for sugar so you don’t buy something with hidden insulin spikers.
Write a list of what you would like to eat, and make it keto. Buy or make electrolytes that you will actually drink. If the homemade ones are too salty, adjust the recipe or buy premade electrolytes that are made with zero sugars/carbs. Track all your food before putting it into your mouth to avoid eating anything you shouldn’t eat.
My other tip is to be kind to yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself. There will be ups and downs, and this is a mental and physical journey. Reach out for help if you need it, and flourish! You got this!