Losing Kilos Going Keto

The word “diet” doesn’t conjure fond memories for most people.

But one diet promises to permit much of the food that is forbidden by other weight loss plans.

The ketogenic diet, known simply as keto, places restrictions on only one food group: carbohydrates. Carbs are limited to anywhere from 15 to 50 grams per day. Other than that, dieters are free to eat all of the bacon, steak, and peanut butter their heart desires.

With an ultra-low-carb intake, the body enters ketosis, meaning it burns glucose from fat rather than carbs for fuel. The ketogenic state bolsters fat loss and can increase energy and overall health.

At SAM, four team members have seen incredible success by sticking with the keto diet. Here’s what they experienced along the way.


David McMath

How did you get started with the keto diet?

“I noticed Whitson avoiding some of the free lunches, and we got to talking about his results with the diet. What sold me was the number of recipes available for the diet. It made it easy to find meals that fit the requirements. I purchased the book Simply Keto that I recommend to anyone who needs information and recipes about the diet.”

What has been the hardest part?

“Giving up bread, pasta, and sweets has been hard. But having co-workers who are on the diet too has made it easier to stick to. There are also keto substitutes for banned foods called fat bombs. They’re usually small, homemade snacks that are heavy in fat. They help quell cravings that may have you otherwise reaching for carbs.”

What results have you seen?

“I’ve lost 35 pounds since I started on Memorial Day weekend. I still have a few more to go before I reach my BMI goal, but I’m not far off.”


Liz Elder

Why did you start the keto diet?

“I’ve always struggled with my weight. In November of 2017, I was at my heaviest. I had lost some weight in 2018 with Weight Watchers, but when my daughter got engaged, I knew I wanted to be in shape for her September 2019 wedding. This January I started keto.”

What results have you seen?

“I had pretty bad arthritis before this. Some days, I could barely pick up a cup with one hand. Within two weeks of cutting out sugar, I could feel the inflammation leaving my arthritis. I’ve stopped taking several pain and blood pressure medications. In the two years I have been dieting, I’ve lost over 100 pounds.”

What has been the most difficult part?

“Cutting out the addictions was tough in the beginning. I used food as a comfort mechanism. I’ve since replaced that with a healthier addiction – exercise. There was also the “keto flu.” It happens between weeks 2 and 3. For an entire weekend, I couldn’t get out of bed. It happens when your body detoxes from all of the sugar and junk you’ve put into it. But after that, my cravings totally disappeared. I accidentally ate full-sugar ice cream once, and I actually felt hungover the next day. It was terrible!”


Sheena Griffin

What has been your biggest struggle with the diet?

“I used to eat lots of fruit, so having to cut high-sugar fruits like apples and bananas has been hard. Giving up fried food (because of the breading) has also been difficult.”

What results have you seen?

“I’ve lost over 20 pounds in the one year that I have been on the diet. I feel better and have more energy throughout the day.”

Have you slipped up?

“Nope, I haven’t had any cheat days. Sometimes, I’ll go over on my carb limit for the day, but I haven’t eaten any of the banned foods.”

What advice do you have to those interested in the diet?

“Do your research. Learn how to scan ingredients. Some foods may say ‘no sugar added,’ but this doesn’t mean they are free of sugar or are keto-friendly. Learn which sugar substitutes you can use so you can stay in ketosis.”


David Whitson

What results have you seen with the diet?

“Since starting keto, I’ve lost over 40 pounds and have energy like I can’t remember. The last time I went for my biannual check-up, my doctor said my blood levels had returned to normal thanks to the diet. My mind is much clearer, and I typically only eat dinner and a snack for lunch.”

What is the hardest part?

“I kickstarted the diet with a month of no drinking. Once I came off, I forgot that beer isn’t keto-friendly. Luckily, hard seltzer is super low-carb and is a great alternative. I’ve never been big on sweets, so that part wasn’t hard.”

What advice do you have for future keto-ers?

“See if it’s right for you. If you can’t part with sweets, then it’s not going to work. The ‘keto sweets’ are good substitutes, but other than that it’s an easy diet… especially if you prefer savory flavors.”

Dear Dad: Jokes From Our Favorite Blokes

Few things are as equally endearing and exasperating as the dad joke. With June comes Father’s Day, so the dads of STRONG have pulled out their best lines.

1. I was playing chess with my friend, and he said, “Let’s make this interesting.”

    So we stopped playing chess. – Stan Long

2. What’s a pirate’s favorite restaurant?

     ARRRRRby’s – Will Giuliani

3. How do you find Will Smith in the snow?

     Look for the fresh prints! – Jeremy McRee

4. “Dad, can you put my shoes on?”

     “No, I don’t think they’ll fit me.” – Chris Jones

5. Where do Volkswagens go when they get old?

     The Old Volks home. – Marcus Turner

6. Dad: “Have you heard about the new movie Constipation?

     Kid: “What? No!”

     Dad: “It never came out.” – Nathan Phillips

7. Son: “Dad, how many people work at your office?”

     Dad: “About 10% of us.” – David McMath (referencing his former company)

Beauty in Birding: David

In the foothills and forests of Spokane, Washington, there lives a deceitful little bird. The killdeer, with its amber-lined eyes and unassuming stripes, protects its nest not with force, but with weakness.

David McMath watched the killdeer’s “broken wing act” all throughout his childhood in the Evergreen State. Because the bird nests on the ground rather than in trees, its eggs are particularly vulnerable. When a predator approaches, it feigns injury, holding out one wing and wobbling in the opposite direction of its nest, luring the egg thief away.

David hadn’t seen the broken wing act in decades. He caught on as a child, running in the opposite direction of the bird to glimpse its granite-colored eggs. It wasn’t until several weeks ago that he was on a bird-watching trip at the Auburn Fish Hatchery and stumbled upon a killdeer nest built right into the gravel road.

Killdeer nest in Auburn, Ala.

“It was a nostalgic moment,” David said. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen a killdeer nest. I thought Spokane had a lot of wildlife, but I’ve been amazed at the biodiversity here in Alabama.”

The childhood love for observing backyard birds manifested into something greater when he came to Birmingham. David found the Birmingham Audubon Society‘s Introduction to Birding class, and the rest is history.

“The group meets for a monthly class, and there are plenty of expeditions all around the state,” David said. “The field trips give me the chance to see parts of rural Alabama I’d otherwise never visit.”

It was during one of these outings that David witnessed his most memorable bird moment to date.

“We were watching a field of about 50 wild turkeys by Guntersville Dam when, all of a sudden, I saw a bald eagle flying overhead,” David said. “The eagle, who was much larger, was being attacked by a red tail hawk. It looked just like a WWI dogfight and was amazing to watch.”

David explained that neither of the birds was hurt. It was a battle for turf, not death. In fact, he said he rarely sees birds engaged in a true fight.

David with Spirit, a bald eagle kept at Auburn University’s bird observatory

Aside from field trips and sight-seeing, David enjoys the arcane knowledge that goes hand-in-hand with a niche hobby.

“I like stats and numbers, so birding gives me the chance to fill up that part of my mind,” David said. “A lot of people learn sports facts, but since I’m not much into sports, I soak up knowledge on birds and their habitats instead.”

For instance, David shared that there are 28 varieties of flowers in Alabama alone that are pollinated exclusively by hummingbirds.

“There is so much to learn,” David said. “It’s a neat feeling to walk down the street and be able to distinguish between a cardinal and a towhee calling.”

For anyone interested in learning more about Alabama’s fauna, the Birmingham Audubon Society offers monthly classes at affordable prices. Field trips are free of charge and open to the public.


Read Andrea’s Story Here