Robin Dukes is known in the group as being “trim and ripped.” Her starting weight is actually the goal weight of many people in the group, who happen to be starting a whole lot higher on the scale.
It’s a bit entertaining, however, this dynamic we find ourselves in with a community full of extreme weight loss cases, when I get the comment: “This won’t work for me because I only need to lose 30 pounds.” My answer? Exhibit A: Robin Dukes. We have many “exhibits,” actually, but perhaps none quite as eye-poppingly ripped as Robin. Here is her weight loss success story.
Robin’s Weight Loss Motivation
I was officially “overweight” and tired of it. I was tired of the depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, the lack of control over my body and my life. Tired of stuffing my embarrassing cellulite and overflowing jelly rolls into too-tight clothing, and too stubborn to go buy bigger and bigger sizes. Just TIRED.
My OB doctor had told me that this 30+ weight gain I’d experienced was normal and typical for hitting menopause, regardless of the age, and to just “Go with it. Drink your wine and be fat and happy. If you stress out about it, you’ll spike your cortisol and get fatter. Besides, you have to starve yourself or exercise to death to lose weight.”
I started this method as a last-ditch effort to save myself, but also to give this doctor the middle finger. I don’t like authority figures telling me what I “can’t do.” Besides, I see lots of 43-year-old women who are still lean, fit, and healthy looking! Why can’t I have that too?
Diets of the Past
Initially, with keto, I was skeptical. I’d heard all the rumors about how “hard it is on the body”, and how “unsustainable” it is (none of which is factual). I’d also done Paleo before with some success, but nothing that lasted or really stuck.
Prior to that, my husband and I had also tried being vegetarian, and that did nothing to help our weight management. Even prior to that, I’d been a strict vegan for about three years. Again, that didn’t have a clear benefit on my weight at the time either because I was also young (early 20s) and seriously into fitness also. I’ve tried the “Diabetic Diet,” the “Blood Type Diet,” etc…you name it!! None of those were effective or sustainable.
Of all the diets we’d tried, the Paleo low-carb lifestyle DID suit my husband and helped him to maintain his weight. So, he’d been begging me for at least five years to PLEASE go back to low-carb eating in the house.
I just didn’t see the point for me, and I felt like any effort I made would likely be a waste. Pointless. Basically, there was no obvious solution that seemed worth trying. That’s because I didn’t know about the science behind ketogenesis and intermittent fasting – YET!
Giving it a Try
With starting the keto diet, it was a matter of all the stars aligning: me being fed up with being fat, a colleague at work showing me how quickly she lost inches and proclaiming how easy it is, my husband begging me to go low-carb, then my mom also said she was starting keto (at 250+ pounds). And if she can do it, so can I!!
Also, it was about to turn 2020, like the very next day! So on New Year’s Eve, it dawned on me what I needed to do. I needed to TRY KETO to help myself, help my mom, and help my husband. I had all the support and resources I needed.
So it began. As soon as I made up my mind, I was on an immediate mission. Like a crazed fiend, I cleaned all the poisonous sugars and starches out of my house and began the research. I immersed myself with every YouTube expert (Dr. Berry, Dr. Boz, Dr. Fung) video I could find – on repeat!
I joined every decent-looking Facebook keto group I could find. Eventually, I tripped upon Eat Like A Bear, and I quickly realized that this is the most knowledgeable, reasonable, as well as loving and supportive group of people on Facebook, if not on the entire web! I un-joined all the other keto groups full of hatred, ignorance, and irrational strictness, and proclaimed myself a Bear. I invited my mom and my friends, and I have recruited at least five solidly committed Bears so far! This number is growing weekly.
First of all, let me just say that NOT ONCE during this process did I measure a portion, track a macro, or follow any recipe to any exactness. That nonsense is NOT required to lose weight, thank goodness, or this way of eating would not have worked for my style and personality!!
So, for the first two to three weeks, I just ate keto-friendly foods. I read labels and stopped purchasing or eating anything with any sugar, grains, or starches in it whatsoever. I fiddled with keto meal ideas, played around with recipes, and ate as much good food as I wanted.
I got some mild “keto flu” symptoms of headache, so I figured that out with electrolytes and got myself over the initial hump of carb withdrawals. It was totally worth it!
After maybe a month of just “doing keto,” I started to get focused on intermittent fasting, as I’d learned in the Eat Like a Bear group how important this is. I started with regular six-hour eating windows, which was very easy for me because two meals a day was already our household routine.
Gradually, I trimmed this down to four hours, then a three-hour window. Eventually, I found myself doing one meal a day after about two months of being keto. It was easy because, by that time, my hunger and appetite had FAR decreased and my body was very fat adapted.
Along the way, I was not overly focused on vegetables or salads. In fact, I was wary of vegetables because I know my body feels better when I eat very high fat and protein. I did experiment with the ridiculously big salads and enjoyed these immensely, maybe one-half to one-third of the time. The rest of my meals were cooked keto meals, which my husband prefers over salads.
Gastrointestinal upsets – particularly after raw foods, and especially after large filling meals like a ridiculously big salad – became a chronic issue for me. This is still ongoing, but overall, it’s definitely improving with a BIG learning curve of strategies.
Regardless, I have strictly adhered myself to the keto diet with intermittent fasting and the Eat Like a Bear framework – 100%. No cheating, no matter what! As a result, I met my goal weight of 135 pounds in four months’ time and then surpassed it. Depending on minor daily fluctuations during maintenance mode, I’ve lost about 40 pounds in 2020.
The Eat Like a Bear Approach was Different
I’m the kind of person who likes to understand why. I’m a scientist and a self-proclaimed nerd. I have three college degrees, including my Doctorate in Physical Therapy, so to say that I like to understand the human body is a huge understatement!
The reason that Eat Like a Bear works, however, transcends the incredible amount of scientific literature supporting both ketogenesis as well as intermittent fasting. And the science is awesome!! It’s truly mind-blowing, actually. And when I understand the WHY behind why this lifestyle works, it makes me believe it, preach it, and live it that much stronger.
The Eat Like a Bear group works because it combines the science behind it all with LOVE, encouragement, and a safe place to cry, complain, question, and celebrate. Eat Like a Bear gives us community, a place to share our successes, failures, and our new winning strategies, as well as our shames and fears. This group also gives us accountability and also a place to grow by helping and supporting others.
Eat Like a Bear has given me real friends! Weight loss is a complex physiological, emotional, and social process. And Eat Like a Bear provides the framework for support for all of it!
When I realized I’d lost a whopping 10 pounds in the first month, I was in shock. After the first 20 pounds and around week 10, it really began to dawn on me that this is REAL. Weight loss of this speed or ease had never happened in my life. Nor had the incredible reshaping of my body! The way in which fat and inflammation (water) were leaving my body left me sculpted and looking like an actual fitness model, as one fellow Bear told me.
For the first time in my entire life, I was developing shapely legs with visible musculature, replacing the chub and cellulite. Defined ankles with multiple layers of svelte calf muscles appeared, replacing my cottage-cheese cankles! Having legs I wasn’t ashamed of has been my greatest vanity-related non-scale victory.
I’m now creating a collection of shorts and skirts in my wardrobe, where before there were NONE. For most of my life, my legs were too gross for me to even face. These days, I prance around the house (and even out shopping!) wearing leggings or spandex yoga shorts.
I spend far too much time in front of a mirror lately. But that’s what I’ve had to do in order to emotionally grasp the immensity of how different I look!! Seeing my new shape actually brings me such joy that I tear up and cry. Yes, having gone from a chubby size 8/10 down to a women’s size 2 or a junior’s size 5 has generated a lot of pride in my appearance!
Health and mobility non-scale victories have also accumulated, all of which are totally unexpected: no more chronic pain, not needing as many hours of sleep, no more urinary leakage, better hearing and vision, better reflexes, better mental focus, clarity and memory. The list is long.
Robin’s New Life
After losing 24% of my body weight, all of a sudden I can trot UP a hill…on my toes! I can also sprint if I need to or just want to for the fun of it! I can get up off the floor without grunting or pain. I can go up the stairs two at a time! Carrying a 50-pound sack of chicken feed feels like no big deal anymore.
At age 43, this kind of mobility should be expected and is usually just taken for granted. Not for me!! As a physical therapist who felt like she was aging faster than normal, my mobility issues made me feel and appear as debilitated as many of my 70+ year old patients.
I had no idea so much of this was related to inflammation! And I had no idea that so much of inflammation is caused by our diet! Indeed, I have learned how vitally important our diet is for not just our weight, but our entire quality of life and health.
Tips for Newcomers
Don’t wait! This lifestyle will save your life!! It will improve your life quality and longevity in ways beyond your wildest dreams. And it’s SO SIMPLE! There is work involved that won’t always be easy. It’s downright hard at times, but so very worth the investment. You’re investing in your own life. What’s more important than your health?
Even if you’re not a scientist-type like me, it’s important that you understand the basic science behind this. So read. Study. All the resources you need to get started are FREE. Thanks to Amanda Rose and her enormous, generous heart, everything you need to regain your health is right here. This is not a marketing ploy. You don’t need to spend a dime. This is a GIFT with zero strings attached.
Join Eat Like a Bear, read Amanda’s emails, and study her videos. Get on the main page and read all the files and units. Post your story and share when you’re ready, knowing your journey is helping support thousands of other Bears.
And yes, this WILL work for you, too, if you make the commitment to it.