“The tests are back. We need to cancel your extraction,” said Twila Longenberger’s oral surgeon, concern on his face. “Your blood sugar is 400. Unless it’s under 200, there could be serious complications.” Twila felt stunned. She’d always been good about her diabetes meds. Of course… “My glucose monitor broke, and I didn’t get a new one yet,” she admitted. “But I feel fine!” The doctor touched her arm. “This is serious. See your primary care physician soon.”
Twila felt fear rising inside her. At 410 pounds and with endless health issues — diabetes, intense joint pain, massive migraines, a slow thyroid, metabolic syndrome, PCOS, and more — the Indiana retiree fought constantly just to keep from getting worse. Did she have the strength to fight harder?
Driving to an emergency appointment, her belly wedged against the steering wheel, Twila thought back on her struggles. The real trouble began when she developed PCOS and her hormones went crazy. She grew heavier and heavier — especially after she and her husband started a family.
She tried Weight Watchers, supervised fasts, low-fat plans, and, as her sugar soared, a diabetic plan. Progress was always slow, and even extra fruit made pounds pour back on.
Gradually at peace with being bigger, she still stuck with her diabetic program of low-carb mini meals; her weight continued to climb. By the time she hit her mid- 50s, everything felt hard. It hurts to walk, to stand, to sit. Sometimes it hurts just to breathe, she thought. Twila was fighting tears by the time her exam got under way. “We’ll adjust your meds,” the doctor said. “And I want you to try eating protein at every meal and keeping carbs to 100 grams a day.” As if by reflex, Twila opened her mouth to explain why it couldn’t work. But no words came. That actually sounds doable, she thought.
Using a free app, Twila began looking up carbs in various foods. Even healthier bread, pasta, and sweets are carb bombs, she realized. I’ll skip them. She began fixing meals with protein, non-starchy veggies, a little fat, and fruit or potatoes. She snacked on nuts or popcorn. “It’s not that different from how I used to eat,” she shared with her husband. “I feel pretty good!” Twila’s new monitor showed her sugar was coming down, so she kept at it.
By week three, she did a little dance. Her sugar had been cut in half! I can reschedule my dental work, she beamed. Soon after, she weighed herself and her joy was gone. She called the doctor. “I lost 30 pounds,” she said. “That’s too fast, especially for me. Something’s wrong.” But the doctor explained it was normal for the body to burn extra fat and to let go of water weight as carb intake comes down. Sure enough, over the next month Twila lost another 27 pounds, plus her fatigue, migraines, high blood pressure and intense arthritis pain were all disappearing.
The Ultra Keto Plan That Worked
“You’re responding so well, you might want to try a ketogenic diet,” the doctor said during a routine check. Twila didn’t know much about the approach, so she did research and learned it calls for 70 percent of calories from fat. That doesn’t seem safe, she thought. I don’t want to hurt my body more than I already have. Yet so many doctors seemed to recommend it. I guess I could stick to healthier keto foods and see what happens.
The next day, Twila had a veggie omelet, steak over salad, and pork loin with buttered broccoli. Hour by hour, she felt in control, not deprived. I think because I’d already cut back on carbs, it’s easier to adjust, she realized.
As days passed, she learned to avoid foods that didn’t seem to sit well in her system, like zero-carb sweeteners and processed keto junk. I only want foods that will help me heal.
By the 16-week mark, Twila had lost a staggering 102 pounds. And blood tests soon showed every part of her was improving: her kidneys, pancreas, liver. For the first time in 24 years, she was no longer diabetic. Twila got in a groove, eating three meals a day between 10 am and 6 pm. She felt great — better than great. “I used to eat seven times a day and be hungry and tired,” Twila, 57, recalls. “Now I eat less but I’m full and energized.”
Fast-forward three years, and Twila is down 245 pounds. She’s reversed or dramatically improved all her health conditions. “My thyroid meds have been cut by half and my triglycerides are down 320 points. Even my allergies are gone!” she marvels. “I can’t believe this is me. I am so blessed!”
Ultra Keto — How it Works
Ultra keto dieters slash carbs as they up fat intake — a trick that keeps the body from making enough blood sugar to fuel itself. To compensate, our system turns fat into an alternate fuel called ketones, and studies show ketone production speeds fat burn by 650 percent. Experts add that system-wide inflammation caused by high blood sugar is relieved, triggering health improvements from head to toe.
Twila found that her body responded best to anti-inflammatory fare like veggies packed with healing antioxidants, protein rich in healing amino acids and soothing fats like butter, olive and coconut oils. Experts agree she hit on keto at its best. An Italian team found that anti-inflammatory, or ‘ultra,’ keto not only speeds away fat but also improves health up to 77 percent faster than other diets. “The less inflammation you have, the better every cell and system work,” says Josh Axe, N.D. Keto expert Fred Pescatore, M.D., also swears by the approach, noting his patients lose up to 16 pounds a week!
How to Lose Weight on Ultra Keto
As Twila adjusted to ultra keto eating, she’d occasionally find herself frustrated that she couldn’t enjoy certain foods —especially bread — without gaining. “But then I heard something on YouTube that really resonated with me. It was a keto dieter saying we don’t choose the deck of cards we’re dealt, we just make the best of the deck we’re lucky enough to get,” she recalls. “I realized that, while my body doesn’t handle carbs well, I’ve found a way to get my health back. And I can still have delicious foods like chicken parm and pot roast!”
To follow Twila’s lead, use a free tracker to get 70 percent of your calories from fat, 25 percent from protein, and 5 percent from carbs. Use natural, unprocessed ingredients when making meals like the examples here. Twila loves the recipes found in Keto Comfort Foods ($15.69, Amazon) by Maria Emmerich and at MariaMindBodyHealth.com. As always, get a doctor’s okay to try any new diet.
Breakfast: Eggs, any style, prepared with non-starchy veggies and butter; a side of minimally processed sausage.
Lunch: Sliced beef and optional cheese over a leafy green salad with sugar-free olive oil vinaigrette.
Snack: Cottage cheese with berries, mixed nuts or jerky with no nitrates or sugar.
Dinner: Chicken parmesan, keto style (recipe below).
Keto Chicken Parmesan Recipe
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- ¼ cup crushed pork rinds
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded to ½”-thick
- 24 oz. no-sugar-added marinara
- 8 oz. mozzarella
Mix Parmesan, pork rinds and seasoning. Dip chicken in egg, then Parmesan mixture. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Top with sauce and mozzarella; bake until internal temperature is 160ºF, 5 minutes. Enjoy with salad. 4 servingsThe fast track to 100% healthy!
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.