Nissa Graun is a 38-year-old self-professed "yo-yo dieter" and mother of two adorable boys, 4-year-old Charlie and 2-year-old Joey. Like many women, Graun has been dodging calories and counting fat grams—losing and gaining the same amount of weight—since childhood.
“For years, I would eat very low calories while working out six to seven days a week, for probably two hours a day,” she told People magazine. “So, I would get to the point where I would restrict so much, and then I would keep restricting and feel deprived, and then I would overeat the junk food that put on the weight.”
While pregnant with her first child, the soon-to-be mother gained an additional 65 pounds, bringing her total weight up to 245 pounds and giving her the medical scare of her life. She now had gestational diabetes and, according to her doctor, if she didn't get control over her diet, things were going to get a whole lot worse.
Graun said that’s when she learned about a reverse plan, centered on a high-fat, lower-carb diet, also known as the ketogenic diet. "Keto" aims to reprogram the body—forcing it to burn fats rather than carbohydrates for energy.
By “cutting out a lot of the processed carbohydrates and adding in healthy fats like coconut oil or butter” and doing intermittent fasting (restricting her daily "eating window" to 10 hours a day), she was finally able to shed the weight and regain control of her life—losing a whopping 90 pounds after her pregnancy and clearing herself of gestational diabetes.
Despite her success, Graun told Mom.me she had to “work to improve her digestion before she could successfully follow a low-carb, high-fat diet.” She said she began cutting her carbs to “25 grams per meal or less and started adding healthy fats slowly.”
Graun, who has since lost 105 pounds, said this is the first time she’s eaten real food in her life, and her body “really loves that.”
Still, it must be hard to keep from dipping your hand in the Goldfish jar when you’ve got two little boys running around the house.
“My kids are super picky eaters, so I just do the best I can,” she told Mom.me. “They eat a lot of yogurt, so I always choose full-fat yogurt. When I give them juice, I use low-sugar Honest brand juice, and I mix it with water. I also add collagen for healthy protein and some MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil to make sure they get healthy fats.”
In addition to treating her kids to homemade fat bombs, Graun has stressed the importance of eating foods that will make them healthy and strong: “Real foods like meat and veggies,” she said. “I think since we live this lifestyle, they see what we do and copy. That's not to say they don't eat some processed foods. I just try to be selective with what they get ... like Beanitos instead of Doritos.”
She also said she’s learned to love cooking, and can whip up some amazing high-fat dishes she shares with others on her website, Eating Fat Is the New Skinny.
Though Graun admitted that she “used to survive on easy-to-heat processed foods,” she now swears by her high-fat, low-carb diet, stating it was one of the best things she ever did for her health.