Elena Juarez punched and food-prepped her way to losing 100 pounds. But her weight-loss journey kicked off with a serious health scare.
About a year ago, her 10-year-old daughter, Biani, arrived home with a school nurse’s recommendation for a diabetes test. “She came home crying, asking if she was going to die,” the 34-year-old businesswoman and mother of two tells Health. “I assured her she was fine but I was definitely concerned.”
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The doctor told Juarez her daughter was healthy “for now,” but that both she and her daughter needed to make changes to their diet if they wanted to avoid developing the obesity-linked condition.
On her own, Juarez started following a paleo-friendly diet challenge that included kickboxing That’s when she heard about the ketogenic diet. Six weeks later, she adopted the trendy high-fat, low-carb plan.
One hundred lost pounds later, she credits going keto and sticking with kickboxing for her weight loss. “Even at my heaviest, I was always a healthy big girl,” she says. After visiting the doctor, “I didn’t know how to approach it, but I knew we all needed to change our unhealthy ways.”
Now, she does an hour-long workout that combines cardio and strength training four to five times per week. She also follows an intuitive eating regimen.
She is proud to say she hasn’t given up her favorite food: pizza.
“Never did I think I’d be able to eat pizza on any diet, so this to me is my favorite part,” she says of her switch from regular pizza to a low-carb pizza crust.
When the family goes out to eat, Juarez says she orders food with extra lettuce and brings her own carb replacement, like low-carb Shirataki noodles.
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“I always hear women say they are too busy because the mom life is a busy one,” Juarez says. But you can never be too busy to take care of yourself and eat healthy; it’s all about having the right mindset, she adds.