I lost 200 lbs with a simple diet that anyone can do

I am a mother of nine children. And I’m a dance mom – most of my kids dance. So we were – and still are – a crazy busy family when I started my weight loss journey. Life is chaos, but that’s exactly what I like. I am a people person and I like to talk.

I had eight pregnancies and two miscarriages. I also adopted one of my children. I married young, and for more than 20 years of my adult life, almost all of it, I was either pregnant or breastfeeding. I like it. I love children and being a mother. It is joyful and rewarding.

But I didn’t take much care of myself. With each baby, I would gain 25 to 30 lbs, maybe more. And after having the baby, I will continue to gain weight. I never lost weight after my pregnancy. I got really, really great.

With my last child, number nine, I decided to go ahead and get pregnant even though I wasn’t able to lose weight. I kept trying to get under 300 lbs to feel healthier, but I just couldn’t do it.

So, I thought: “Well, I’m 40 years old, this is my last chance if I want one more child. I’ll just go for it and hope everything works out.”

Tamra Hyde the heaviest, weighs 374 lbs.
Tamra Hyde

It was really scary. I ballooned, gaining so much weight that I climbed to 374 lbs by the time I had my son. My blood pressure was going through the roof, and I had to be induced three weeks early so he could be born and I could take medication. I was in a dangerous situation.

I know it wasn’t the best choice to have a baby then. But when you are a mother you do something for your children and sacrifice your life for them. It’s really hard not to do that even when you know you need to take care of yourself.

But I knew it was time to think about my health and to be around my growing children, and to see my grandchildren. I used to think about these things all the time, but I got caught up in my mother’s life and forgot about life.

As before, I have not lost the baby weight. It was December 2016. I was 374lbs and absolutely miserable. I couldn’t do a good job as a mother and I couldn’t be there for my children. I was really depressed.

I would eat anything I could get my hands on that had sugar in it. He would eat entire boxes of 6-packs of full-size donuts at night and drink a 64-ounce Coke. I could eat a 5lb bag of gummy bears in a couple of days.

My blood pressure was ridiculous. It was so high that I was in serious danger of hospitalization. I was so desperate, but I couldn’t find answers and I felt like there weren’t any. Losing weight seemed impossible, and I was afraid of getting to the point when I would need to hire home health care to take care of myself.

So, I got serious about finding a solution. At first, I looked into gastric bypass surgery; sleeve surgery; the balloon in your stomach surgery. But people have died from having these surgeries. There are too many risks. I knew surgery was not for me.

Finally, I found my solution. It gave me new life and gave me hope. My weight loss journey finally started on January 1, 2017, when I weighed 374 lbs. As of October 2019, less than three years later, I have lost 200 lbs.

Tamra Hyde before and after weight loss
Tamra Hyde before and after picture after her 200 lbs weight loss.
Tamra Hyde

I achieved weight loss through a calorie-reduced ketogenic diet, where I minimized my carb intake and focused on healthy fats and protein. My target calorie when eating in deficit was 1,300. It is not a fad diet. It’s a way of eating that I find very sustainable.

I had never heard of keto before until a mom I was talking to on Facebook told me about it when I told her I only ate lean meat and vegetables. I was amazed when he introduced me to an online keto community. My prayers were answered.

Keto is basically a low carb diet. It’s about putting your body in a state of ketosis, so that you burn your fat stores instead of sugars for energy. Limit your carbohydrate intake to basically starve yourself of glucose.

I measured my “macros” – macronutrients such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates and so on – that I should consume every day in grams to make sure that I consumed the right amount of each to enter ketosis.

What you can eat is quite simple to understand. It’s basically any kind of meat, cheese, but watch the carb count, especially on things like cottage cheese – plain yogurt with live cultures, leafy greens, avocado, broccoli, zucchini, squash – everything that’s low in carbohydrates.

Eat fruits sparingly because they can contain a lot of carbohydrates. Fruits are the lowest carbohydrate fruits. Nuts are good too, although they are high in fat and calories, so you need to be careful when tracking your macros.

The foods you can’t have are rice, bread, potatoes, and those big root vegetables of any kind. But the first among all of them is sugar. I used to love sugar, but two weeks off it made me a completely different person. You don’t even know yourself. It’s like stepping out of a fog into a beautiful sunlit room.

I suggest avoiding fake sweets or “keto-friendly” flours. They will only take you back down the slippery slope. Do not bake bread or bread. Stick to whole foods with a low carb emphasis.

Anyone can do this. At first it’s overwhelming, and those initial weeks are hard, especially if you get a lot of sugar like I did. But it is completely doable.

I don’t have a gym membership. The only exercise I really got was going on hikes with my kids or walking around amusement parks on trips. But I naturally became more and more active as I lost weight.

When I became lighter, I felt an itch in my body to move. I was more active because I wanted to be – it’s fun. Before I lost the weight, I could barely move up the stairs. Now he runs them.

I have tried other things that I have documented on my YouTube channel, Keto in the Chaos. like intermittent fasting and managing my electrolytes, as well as talking about the emotional ups and downs of this journey.

I was happy and felt like a long time ago when I hit the lost 200 lbs mark, but still a little weird. I was surprised by my reaction.

Tamra Hyde after losing 200 lbs
Tamra Hyde after losing 200 lbs of weight.
Tamra Hyde

I had a lot of emotions in those two days. They were all over the place. I don’t know if it was because I felt like my journey was over, or because I had to evaluate where my life was going from here.

I had to do a lot of soul searching when I was expecting to feel cool and happy. However, I was so excited and proud of myself for what I had done.

Once I lost those 200 lbs, I switched to a maintenance keto diet to keep my weight at a level I was happy with. I was really looking forward to moving on to that next phase in my weight loss journey.

Keeping the weight off was the scariest thing. Losing weight is only part of the battle. Keeping it out is even harder.

I had lost inches around my arms, waist and thighs. I had some loose skin and belly rolls after the weight loss, but overall I was pretty happy with how I looked and felt, and wasn’t looking to lose any more.

I took a break that fall to eat some comfort food, including more fat. But I stayed on my keto diet. I was just experimenting a bit with calories and my macros to see where my body was happy and my weight stayed stable.

In the past, when I lost weight, every time I moved to maintenance calories, I put on 15 to 20 lbs of water weight. I was really trying to avoid it again. So one of my goals was to figure out if I could eat more carbs without my body going out of ketosis.

I was nervous about loose skin as I approached my lost 200 lbs. I had a lot of comments that made me feel like people didn’t want to see my loose skin and that I should be embarrassed or ashamed of it, or that it wasn’t Christian to see my body in a bikini.

I was hurt that people weren’t interested in seeing what I looked like or that I would have to hide my loose skin. I prayed a lot and came to the conclusion that Jesus does not care if I show my loose skin and how I look to the world so that people can have an idea of ​​what it could be like if I lose weight.

I was looking for videos like this in the past, so I wanted to add to the ones that are out there and give another perspective. Many of the videos I watched had people with looser skin than me.

I literally lost an obese human from my body, which is crazy. I can’t even imagine strapping a 200 lbs person on my back and walking.

Eventually, I decided I wanted to have plastic surgery to remove the loose skin, including a tummy tuck. I had no health reasons to do it, I just wanted to get rid of loose skin. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Since then, I’ve been dealing with lipedema and lymphedema, which caused fat build-up and fluid retention in my legs, and I’ve gone through perimenopause. And I was struggling to follow a strict keto diet due to some financial issues, so we had to do what we could to get by.

As a result, I put on weight amid these problems and am back in the low 200 lbs. But I’m trying to get into keto again and get under 200 lbs, and I’m following my journey on YouTube once again.

I’m still proud of where I’ve come from. My life has changed so much losing weight and I have gained a freedom that is indescribable.

Tamra Hyde talks about her weight loss journey on her YouTube channel, Keto in the Chaos.

All views expressed are those of the author.

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