Meet Damaris - the woman behind the OhSheKnowsKeto YouTube channel. She is a 31-year-old college graduate who happens to be a stay-at-home mom to her beautiful four-year-old daughter, Savannah. She describes herself as a person who constantly searches for answers in various sectors of her life and one of those sectors led her into the health and wellness industry. She is passionate about getting the word out about the ketogenic diet because it changed her life and she is certain that with the right information; people's lives can continue to change.
Before coming across the Ketogenic diet, Damaris had tried several ways of eating. About a year before being pregnant with her daughter, she stumbled across a book called “skinny chicks eat real food” by Christy Avanti. This book changed her life and laid the foundation for her success with Keto today. After reading this book, she lost 30lbs within the following 8 months.
In December 2014, she got pregnant and hit her highest weight (212 lbs) by the time she delivered her baby. However, most of it was baby and water so she went back down to 175 lbs. Three months after giving birth, she took a birth control shot which was a huge mistake. It became impossible for her to lose weight. She tried everything – Christy Avanti’s way, vegan, vegetarian (twice), pescatarian, strict calorie constrictions, Intermittent fasting – but nothing was working.
She eventually hired a nutritionist when she reached her highest weight again, this time without another human in her belly. Damaris shared, “That really was a low point for me. SO THIS IS WHERE THE UNIVERSE ALIGNED FOR ME TRULY and to this day I am truly grateful for it.” Her nutritionist recommended that not eating meat was probably the reason behind her being overweight. She was overconsuming carbs and fat. While she did not believe this at first, she finally agreed to eat meat again after speaking with her boyfriend.
Shortly after, one of her favorite makeup influencers, makeupshayla, mentioned that she was going to start the Keto diet. She then began researching about the Keto diet. She eventually decided to start Keto after her birthday weekend (May 18, 2018). From then on, she never looked back.
Since starting Keto, Damaris has lost 50 lbs. However, her results go beyond the scale. “For me, the biggest victory (and a major reason I continue) is that I am in control of the foods I eat and my life doesn't revolve around food anymore. 212 Lb version of me would eat breakfast and think about what I am going to eat for my mid-morning snack and potentially lunch. It was like a prison. While in ketosis, I eat once in the afternoon and forget about eating until night time. So being in control and rarely hungry with little to no cravings was the main result that I am proud of the most, and to this day it still amazes me,” she proudly shared.
Like many others, Damaris also has her share of challenges during her Keto journey. Currently, her biggest setback is to consistently workout. While it’s not a Keto-specific issue, it’s an overall health challenge that is very important for her. The setbacks she encountered also became her motivation to document her journey on YouTube and Instagram so people can see everyone has struggles they need to overcome no matter how much success they have.
When it comes to meals, Damaris keeps hers super simple and basic. Below are here Keto go-to meals:
- Different variations of eggs & bacon (this is probably daily)
- Grilled chicken or turkey in between kale/romaine with either mayo, avocado, onions
- Zucchini noodles cooked in oil/ minced garlic peppers and onions with grilled chicken
- Cobb salad
- Oven “fried” chicken wings
- Fried cauliflower rice with onions and peppers (I like mine Crispy)
One of the mistakes she sees other people commit while on Keto is jumping right in and not taking it slow. It’s going to be hard for someone to change several habits all in one shot. She recommends looking at this lifestyle for the long term and building a solid foundation gradually. “Get comfortable with each step before moving on to the next challenge. Slow and gradual progress brings long term success. It's a process,” Damaris shared.
Another mistake she sees is expecting magical results. A lot of people assume that soon as they start keto they will drop a massive amount of weight immediately and get discouraged when it does measure up to their expectations. While many individuals do shed a lot of weight early on, it does not apply to the majority. According to her, there are so many variables that determine the speed of weight loss and to put immense pressure on yourself while changing all those habits at once will become stressful and potentially fall off. The last mistake is not educating themselves on how and why Keto works. She believes that it is important to understand basic biological mechanics.
Damaris’ Tips for Keto Newbies:
- Believe and Trust the process: The secret/not-so-secret formula is to consume at least a 20% calorie deficit, eat low carb, moderate protein, and high fat. If you do this you WILL lose weight. Everything else you hear about is to make the process easier. You have to have to have patience; which is hard for a lot of ppl who want to lose weight. Even on keto, I notice people lose weight at the beginning then the 10lbs a month is not enough because Samantha on Instagram is losing 30lbs a month lol. The longer you are in ketosis the easier it becomes so stay strong and patient.
- Track your food: The only way to truly know what you are consuming is to track your food, well at least at the beginning. This is not necessary for weight loss but I highly suggest it just to make sure you are eating the proper amount of each macro and calories. If you are consistent, give it time, it will work.
- Don’t compare yourself to others: (1) I believe keto will work for everyone, but I do think people may lose weight or adapt to it differently (2) you don’t know if the ppl you are comparing yourself too are being honest on the methods they took or potentially sacrifices they made for their results. Focus yourself and doing everything right. Use other people's journeys for advice, motivation, and inspiration.
- Prepare!!! This is my number one tip that I give to about 98% of people who ask me how I kept at it for so long: (1) Always have keto options available in the back of your head at all times. So whether I am at home, going to the park, meeting up with family, I have keto options available (mentally) for places I frequently travel to. That includes convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants, target/ Walmart Odds are there are many keto options there for you… and if you are not sure google “keto foods at _____ (target, dunking doughnuts, apple bees, etc)” (2) Pre-plan your food before you eat it. Whether you choose to do it the night before, the morning of, or while you are cooking. Add all your food inside your favorite food tracking app. If plans change or you changed your mind, just go right in and readjust. I think this is helpful because if you already mapped out your day and you see all you can eat. So if you are tempted to eat a handful of nuts or berries and you see that you hit your fat or carb goal for the day.. Then you will really make a conscious decision whether it's worth it or not; and for me it's never worth it. If you DON’T pre plan and input your food after you eat it, then it will be too late if you over consumed anything. The trick is to keep your meals relatively similar and simple
- If you are craving something non-Keto in particular… google “keto _____ ” most likely there is a keto version waiting for you. But if you are not going to be able to only eat 2 keto pumpkin spice cookies then don't make it at all lol