Check out this interview we did with the lovely Carrie McDowell on her weight loss success adapting a keto approach to her lifestyle.
Hey Carrie, Firstly, I want to say what amazing results you have achieved in a short period. Tell us a little bit about yourself, did I hear you say you are a Mum of 5?
Thank you. Yes, I have 5 kids aged between 15 and 6 years old. I am a single mum and I am 37 years old. I am a full-time Uni student and I work 3 days a week as a massage therapist in Brisbane.
What was your starting weight, current weight and goal weight?
My Starting weight was 81kgs. My current weight is 74 and my goal weight is 68 kilos.
So close to your goal. How long has it taken you to lose 7kg?
55 days. I have lost approximately 1kg a week for 7 weeks with not a lot of effort.
What motivated you to lose the weight?
I felt really stressed and unhealthy, lazy with my meals and gave into emotional eating. I knew that if I didn’t chose to make a change at my age now I would find it really difficult to lose weight later.
Also, my new jeans ripped one day trying to button them up and I cried. That was the day I decided I wanted to feel healthy and look sexy again.
Good for you. What nutritional changes did you make to help you achieve such incredible results?
Firstly, I eliminated high carbohydrate foods. Mostly anything that was packaged and processed. I ate way too much bread and chocolate so they were the first to go. I also bought a 1 kilo jar of high quality coconut oil and added it to anything I could including my coffee in the morning. This is called bullet proof coffee and it helped a lot.
You mentioned to me previously that you used IF (Intermittent Fasting) as a protocol. Tell us a little bit about Intermittent Fasting and what made you take this approach?
I had heard about this approach on a podcast and decided to try and boost my results with this technique. During the week days, I ate in a 6-hour window and fasted for 18 hours (including sleep). During the 6-hour eating window I had two to three meals where I ate heaps of vegetables (raw and cooked), grass fed butter, organic coconut oil and protein foods like fish, chicken and eggs. My times for eating are from 11am to 4pm, but you can make it a time that fits your lifestyle.
During the weekends, I ate normally. I used this style of eating because it helps me control a pattern of consumption, it also simplified my life and meant I didn’t need to prep so many meals. But, the most important reason is during a fasted state my body doesn’t have a recently eaten meal to use as energy so it is more likely to pull fuel (energy) from stored fat.
How have you found intermittent fasting?
I found it really helps me, I had to get over the fear that I would starve. But after I tried it for 3 days it was so easy. Now I don’t feel hungry at all and have learned to mentally override the need to peck at food which I think was just habit. If I get hungry I have a big drink of water and a tablespoon of coconut oil, that always controls my appetite.
What exercise changes did you make to help you achieve these results?
I didn’t do much because I dislike cardio. However, I moved to a new area where the kids could walk to school so I chose to walk them daily which gave me 1km of exercise for 5 days a week. I was really excited to realise I was doing 5kms a week in exercise. I used to think my job was enough exercise but it didn’t increase my heart rate enough.
How do you juggle exercise around home life?
When I get back from the school walk I do the housework before I go to work while I’m still in the zone. Now I do the washing with squats and vacuuming with lunges, so I can keep progressing and fit into a new pair of jeans.
What supplements did you use to help you achieve these results?
I took a ketone drink once a day in the morning.
What were the main benefits that you noticed from Exogenous Ketones?
I noticed I slept better, I felt less stressed, I became less moody and therefore felt happier and THEN I became motivated. It helped control my appetite, especially when combined with the coconut oil and coffee.
I felt my tummy was the first to start slimming down, and for me its normally the last place I lose the fat. So I think the ketones helped target this fat in some way.
Did you use any other supplements to achieve these amazing results?
I used caffeine, in the form of coffee in the morning with MCTs (found in coconut oil). This boosted my energy and supressed my appetite until 11am. I took a magnesium supplement at night for cramps and to help me sleep. I also added extra sea salt to my food.
You have a history of working in health and wellness. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Did it help you with structuring your nutrition and training?
Yes, I worked in health food stores for 12 years, I saw many fads and expensive products come and go. I tried many of them, but found little results from just protein drinks and thermogenics as they all required heaps of exercise to work. I never had time to do that kind of combination so I felt exogenous ketones were a better fit for me.
I studied biochemistry at Uni which gave me a better understanding of how the body worked. I learned that not only can you burn glucose, proteins and fats for fuel. You can also burn ketones created in the liver.
This fuel source was not easy to create naturally as it’s on the bottom of the list. But to take an exogenous ketone supplement would "bio-hack" the metabolism straight into utilising a fat burning fuel source.
Once I knew this I couldn’t wait to try it because I knew not only would my body use stored fat for its new energy source, it would reduce inflammation.
Prior to using ketones, I suffered with high levels of cortisol (stress hormone). When I had a ‘bio-scan’ done at a boot camp challenge earlier in the year, my inflammation was measured at 0.85. This was higher than 50-year-old smoker. I am only 37 and I don’t smoke so this concerned me a lot.
This explained why I could never drop more than 3 kilos over 6 weeks working out 4 days a week. I was inflamed and my body was not in a healthy place to start burning fat.
Is there any advice or key points you would give our readers that might help them on their weight loss journey?
Yes 2 main things are…
1. Trust that your cells will know what to do if you just give them the right nutrients and opportunity and don’t get disheartened.
2. Find an activity that is easy to do which makes you happy where you don’t get bored and just do it. It doesn’t have to be a gym membership, just something you will look forward to doing.
If people want to connect with you further do you have somewhere on the interwebs where they can find you?
Message me on facebook or Instagram @carrie.mcdowall
Thanks so much for your time and again we are super impressed with what you have achieved in such a short amount of time and here at Switch Nutrition we wish you all the best on your health and wellness journey.
My pleasure Greg. If this helps even just one person, then what an amazing purpose for my journey.