The first covid lockdown seems like another lifetime ago these days. Back in 2020, as the UK entered the first one on 23rd March, I had reached my heaviest weight ever and my BMI was 31, which is obese. Before pregnancy, I had taken for granted that I was of slim to medium build. I didn’t have a sweet tooth, or eat carb-heavy meals generally. During pregnancy I developed an insatiable sugar and carb craving. I binged on cake, chocolate, ice cream, pancakes and multipacks of crisps. I allowed myself by using excuses: I was eating for two, or that I would indulge myself and go back on track after the baby was born.

But my cravings didn’t subside after the birth of my child: I continued eating sugary junk when I was on maternity leave and even after I had gone back to work and my little one was in childcare. At work, I pigged out on cookies and biscuits in the school staffroom. My bad habits had become a lifestyle.

Before lockdown happened, I knew I was having health problems from being overweight. My heart raced as I walked upstairs. My ankles, hips and back ached constantly. I couldn’t run after my child. I knew that if I continued I would end up with diabetes, or even bowel cancer, which runs in my family. As a person who can’t do moderation, I knew it was a case of all or nothing. So, I researched the keto diet and went cold turkey from my high carb diet, keeping to under 20g a day.

It took me 5 months to lose 3 stone/ 42lbs. Finally when I reached my pre-pregnancy weight, a healthy BMI of 24, I stopped. Since then I have maintained the weight I lost. It hasn’t been easy; I have had to go back to keto intermittently in order to control my cravings. In January this year I made the decision to stay low carb permanently as a lifestyle choice, instead of slipping back into bad habits with cake and chocolate, putting on up to 14lbs, and having to go through keto flu all over again. This way, I know I won’t have yo-yoing weight as I’ll be staying on track all the time.

I’ll admit, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter and birthdays are tough as the temptation to binge on chocolate is all around. But, being able to play with my child and have an active lifestyle is more important to me – much more motivating than a quick fix of sugar.

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is an author and poet from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her writing centres around protagonists who are on a journey of self-discovery and who explore their identity by overcoming adversity. She began writing for publication while working as an English teacher in Japan, a career pathway that has influenced themes in her writing. Her former career as an Archaeologist has also inspired her writing and she has incorporated elements of archaeology and mythology into both her fiction and poetry. In addition to promoting her own work, Leilanie runs Bindweed Magazine, a creative writing ezine, with her writer husband, Joseph Robert. Aside from literary pursuits, Leilanie enjoys spending time with her husband and their lively literary tot, a voracious reader of construction vehicle books. CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA: https://mailchi.mp/17e6ca162ff3/leilanie-stewart-author

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