My name is Nance Mendoza (@prettydarnketo). I am 49 years old. I live in Glenpool, Oklahoma, and I’m a stay-at-home mom. When my near 400-pound weight started giving me serious health problems, I committed to my weight-loss journey, went low-carb and keto, and lost over 150 pounds.
I struggled with food for as long as I can remember. I remember sneaking food to soothe myself during stressful situations when I was young, although I was an average-size kid.
Weight didn’t become an issue for me until my first pregnancy. I was 135 pounds at my first prenatal appointment and I gained 100 pounds over the course of the pregnancy. In the following years, I continued to gain weight, and I got pregnant again.
My marriage failed soon after that, and I coped with becoming a single parent by bingeing and eating secretively to cope. Food was the balm that soothed like no other, no matter how desperately I wanted to lose weight.
I eventually remarried, and my husband was also overweight. We both liked to eat, so it seemed to be a match made in heaven.
But my weight gain led to health problems.
I had high blood pressure and was on two medications. In 2004, I was also diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. You would think that diagnosis alone would be enough for me to make a change to lessen the load on my joints, but I had such a hard time fighting the mental battle of weight loss. I desperately wanted to lose the weight, but knowing I needed to lose over 100 pounds seemed like such an impossible task. At my heaviest, I weighed 378 pounds.
On February 17, 2017, I got a text from my husband that said, “I have diabetes.” He had his yearly work physical and the results had come that day. Hearing that from him was the catalyst to my weight-loss journey.
Years before, I had made a feeble attempt to do Atkins and it did work (until I gave up). So I had basic knowledge of eating a low-carb diet.
As I started doing more research, I started to learn more and more about the keto diet and eventually shifted to more of a keto approach. Now I’ve basically combined the two. I keep net carbs under 25 grams per day, and I focus on protein and use fat to satiate.
I also started tracking my food. Having the visual data and seeing what I’m actually consuming helps me make the right choices. I don’t love doing it, but it helps me so much. I do full menu planning, too. Menu planning helps keep me on track so I know exactly what I’m going to be eating and gives me something to be excited about. Plus, it gives me an opportunity to look for new recipes and try new things so meals don’t become mundane.
I drink lots of water. I didn’t realize before how important it was to get adequate water to both stay hydrated and help control my appetite. Sometimes I confuse thirst for hunger, and now when I’m feeling snacky, I try drinking water first. A lot of the time, I’m just thirsty.
Here’s what I typically eat in a day:
Breakfast: I normally fast and just have coffee with cream, collagen, and zero-calorie sweetener. But on the days I do want breakfast, I have low-carb waffles with peanut butter and sugar-free syrup.
Lunch: Bunless burger with mayo and veggies, tuna salad, or deli meat and cheese in a lettuce wrap or low-carb tortilla.
Snacks: Cheese, nuts, iced coffee, or a protein bar.
Dinner: I try to recreate meals the we would have eaten pre-keto. It’s important to make meals my daughter will eat so we can eat as a family. I make things like meatloaf, chicken parmesan (no breading), chili (no beans), spaghetti (with shirataki noodles), buffalo wings, and crustless pizza. I like to make sure we have a meat and a veggie if possible.
Dessert: My favorite dessert currently is Greek yogurt sweetened with lemon sugar-free syrup. I like to add pecans or strawberries. Low-carb ice cream is also a favorite.
With rheumatoid arthritis, I’m not physically able to do all types of activity—but I love to walk.
Walking is the easiest thing for me to do, and I really enjoy it. I also have dogs, so we get out and walk almost two miles several times a week. I went from being hardly able to because of the fact that I weighed almost 400 pounds to being able to walk all over England and Scotland a few months ago on a trip overseas. It was such an amazing feeling!
I’ve lost 155 pounds, and it’s taken three years.
I’m still not at my “goal” weight, but I’d say I’m pretty close. It might sound cliché, but if I can do this, anyone can. At 378 pounds, I was happily married with beautiful children, but I was so miserable with my physical appearance. I started this journey because of my husband’s health (he’s lost 140 pounds right along with me and improved his health situation, including his diabetes)—but of course I knew I desperately needed it for myself.
Slowly, it became more about me. I started to see I could actually do this. I could take this one day, one week, one month at a time and be successful. Each victory was proof to myself that I was worth taking control of my health.
In turn, this journey has made me a better wife, mother, and daughter. I’m happier, and my health and disease are in much better control. I’ve gone from two blood pressure medications to taking half of one. I’m wearing clothes I’ve never been able to wear, traveling to places I never thought I’d be able to go to. I’ve decided to make this a way of life, not just a diet. Living is so much more important to me—and I’m actually living and enjoying life in this new body I’ve worked so hard to have.