From an astounding 188 kilos to a fantastic 82 kilos: the transformation that Noelle Dawson underwent in fourteen months is crazy. And yet she did it entirely on her own, thanks to the keto diet and intensive exercise. “At one point I even became so heavy that the scales gave way,” said the 38-year-old woman from Nashville, Tennessee.
As a child, Dawson was a talented gymnast but wanted to eat food. Her performance suffered, with the result that her strict coaches gave her punishment training. The desire to exercise disappeared, replacing an unhealthy obsession with food. “For almost twenty years I let myself go completely”, it sounds from Noelle’s mouth.
“When I met Chris in 2004, I weighed around 150 pounds. I wanted to become a mom, but it didn’t work out in all those years. Two adoption attempts went wrong. Because of all those setbacks, my weight has gone up.” Through foster care, Dawson finally managed to get four children under her supervision. Two years later, the crown on the work followed, with its pregnancy.
But the grinding continued in her head. “When will the day come when I won’t wake up? I woke up every morning with that question. Being overweight touched me to the depths of my soul. I still had difficulty walking or putting on my shoes, how did I still have to deal with my children?”
One day there was only an error message on her scales. “At first I thought it was the batteries, but not so. That device only went up to 185 kilos. I had never felt so miserable. If I had not then decided to change things around drastically, I would not be here anymore.”
In the first eleven months the focus shifted to her nutrition. No more eating out three or four times a week, now Dawson went resolutely for the keto diet. Read: still (a little) protein, healthy fats and vegetables, almost no more carbohydrates. “As soon as I weighed 90 kilos less, I decided to add a scoop to it. Finally I was able to work myself into a sweat in the gym. I was also shocked by the energy I suddenly had in my body… After all these years in the chair, it gave me an incredible kick.”
Her trainer praises Dawson. “She was very determined. She sat there all the time and continuously wanted to get better. You saw that she had a mission.” There was one major problem, of course. “I was extremely proud of myself, but the skin surplus made me insecure. Whenever I was exercising, that sheet just hung up there.”
Five months ago, Dawson, therefore, had an abdominal wall and arm correction performed. At the same time, she chose to have her breasts reduced and lifted. “Those interventions have changed my life. Finally being able to move freely again gives me an indescribable feeling. I can see my children grow up actively, and I enjoy that intensely every day. It also gives me the motivation to keep going for it.”
“I learned a lot about myself. The most important lesson was that I am definitely worth it. I feel free from the chain that hung around my neck all the time and prevented me from being happy.” Her husband Chris has replaced a new wife. “She has clearly not done all these efforts for nothing. In my eyes, she has changed most mentally. She really shines now.”
A side note about the keto diet: stars such as Mick Jagger, Kim Kardashian and Rihanna are devoted to it, but specialists in this field hold their hearts.
What exactly does the latest weight loss hype mean? You can continue to eat many high-fat products, such as butter, cream, meat and avocado. By just scraping the carbohydrates, your liver will produce ketones, and you will use up your fat reserves.
“When your body no longer gets carbohydrates, it will first use up its glycogen,” says Theo Niewold as professor of Nutrition and Health at KU Leuven. “Once the glycogen has burned out, the water also disappears. That explains why you can lose weight spectacularly after one day of dieting. The kilos return as soon as you eat normally again.” From the second day, your body switches from glucose metabolism to a fat metabolism. “After all, your body is equipped to survive in the event of extreme scarcity,” says Michaël Sels. “The brain then uses ketones – a waste material from fat burning – as an energy source.”
“The keto diet is a very one-sided diet,” says Sandra Bekkari. “People who follow it closely will not even eat certain types of fruit and vegetables because they contain too many carbohydrates.”
“Carbohydrates are not bad, we just have to choose the right ones and eat the right amount. Those in sugar and cookies are not recommended, but countless other products such as whole-grain cereals, legumes and fruit do contain healthy carbohydrates with the vitamins, minerals and fiber that our body needs. So I am not in favor of scrapping all carbohydrates.”
There are also various side effects. “It is often said that you get more energy from the keto diet,” Bekkari continues. “That may indeed be true after a while, but in the beginning you are tired. Your body is not used to getting its fuel elsewhere than from carbohydrates. Your body must learn to switch to burning fat, which causes the known ketogriep. It expresses itself in a tired and weak feeling. “
“Another big disadvantage is a stinking breath. Because your body goes into ketosis, an acetone odor is formed that is not pleasant for your entourage. Finally, you also get too little fiber, and the chance of nutritional deficiencies is real. For that reason, dietary supplements are usually recommended.”
In short: if you delete carbohydrates, you will lose weight quickly. The only question is whether it is healthy and whether it can become a lifestyle.