I lost 200 pounds with a simple diet that anyone can do

I am a mother of nine children. And I’m a dance mom—most of my kids dance. So we were – and still are – a crazy busy family when I started my weight loss journey. Life is chaos, but that’s exactly what I love. I’m human and I like to talk.

I had eight pregnancies and two miscarriages. I also adopted one of my children. I married young and for more than 20 years of my adult life — almost all of it — I was either pregnant or breastfeeding. Like it. I love babies and being a mom. It is joyful and rewarding.

But I didn’t take much care of myself. I would gain 25 to 30 pounds with each baby, maybe more. And then when I had the baby, I would continue to gain weight. I never lost weight after pregnancy. I got really, really big.

With my last baby, number nine, I decided to go ahead and get pregnant even though I couldn’t lose any weight. I kept trying to get below 300 pounds to feel healthier, but I just couldn’t.

So I thought, “Well, I’m 40, this is my last chance if I want another baby. I’m just going to go for it and hope it all works out.”

Tamra Hyde is the heaviest, weighing in at 374 lbs.
Tamra Hide

It was really scary. I bloated myself, gaining so much weight that I was 374 lbs by the time I had my son. My blood pressure shot through the roof, and I had to be induced three weeks early so he could be born and I could take the medication. I was in a dangerous situation.

I know that it was not the best choice to have a child at the time. But when you are a mom, you do everything for your children and sacrifice your life for them. It’s really hard not to even when you know you should be taking care of yourself.

But I knew it was time to think about my health and be there for my children to grow up and to see my grandchildren. It took all the time to think about those things, but I got caught up in my mother’s life and I just forgot about my own life.

As before, I haven’t lost any of my baby weight. It was December 2016. I weighed 374 pounds and absolutely miserable. I couldn’t do a good job as a mom and I couldn’t be there for my kids. I was really depressed.

I ate everything I could get my hands on that had sugar in it. I ate entire boxes of 6-packs of full-size donuts at night and drank 64-ounce Cokes. I could eat a 5 pound bag of gummy bears in a few days.

My blood pressure was ridiculous. It was so high that I was in serious danger of being hospitalized. I was so desperate but I couldn’t find any answers and it felt like there weren’t any. Losing weight seemed impossible, and I dreaded realizing when I would have to hire home health to take care of me.

So, I got serious about finding a solution. Initially, I was involved in gastric bypass surgery; sleeve surgery; balloon in abdominal surgery. But people died from those operations. There are too many risks. I knew surgery wasn’t for me.

I finally found my solution. It breathed new life into me and gave me hope. My weight loss journey finally began on January 1, 2017, when I weighed 374 pounds. By October 2019, less than three years later, I had lost 200 pounds.

Tamra Hide before and after weight loss
Tamra Hyde before and after pictures of her 200 pound weight loss.
Tamra Hide

I achieved weight loss through a calorie-reduced ketogenic diet, where I reduced my carb intake and focused on healthy fats and protein. My calorie goal when I was eating in a deficit was 1,300. It’s not a fad diet. It’s a way of eating that I’ve found to be very sustainable.

I had never heard of keto before until a mom I was talking to on Facebook mentioned it to me when I told her I only eat lean meats and vegetables. I was amazed when she introduced me to the keto community online. My prayers were answered.

Keto is basically a low carb diet. It’s about getting your body into a state of ketosis, so you burn fat stores instead of sugar for energy. You are restricting your carb intake to basically starve yourself of glucose.

I measured my “macros”—the macronutrients like protein, fat, carbs, and so on—that I should be consuming each day in grams to make sure I was consuming the right amount of each to get into ketosis.

What you can eat is pretty simple to understand. It’s basically any kind of meat, cheeses—though watch the carb count, especially things like cottage cheese—plain yogurt with live cultures, leafy greens, avocado, broccoli, squash, zucchini—anything that’s low carb.

Eat fruit sparingly as it can be high in carbohydrates. Berries are the fruits with the lowest carbohydrate content. Nuts are fine too, although they are high in fat and calories, so you need to be careful when tracking your macros.

The foods you cannot eat are rice, bread, potatoes and those large root vegetables of any kind. But the first among them all is sugar. I loved sugar, but two weeks without it made me a completely different person. You won’t even know yourself. It’s like stepping out of a fog into a beautiful sunlit room.

I suggest avoiding fake desserts or “keto-friendly” flours. It will only lead you back down the slippery slope. Do not bake or make bread. Stick to whole foods with an emphasis on low carbohydrates.

Anyone can do this. It’s overwhelming at first, and those first few weeks are tough, especially if you’re losing a lot of sugar like I am. But it’s totally doable.

I didn’t have a gym membership. The only exercise I really got was hiking with the kids or walking around amusement parks on field trips. But I naturally became more active as I lost weight.

As I got lighter, I felt an itch in my body to move. I was more active because I wanted to be – it’s fun. Before I lost the weight, I could barely walk up the stairs. I run them now.

I’ve tried other things that I’ve documented on my YouTube channel, Keto in Chaos. like intermittent fasting and managing my electrolytes, as well as talking about the emotional ups and downs of this journey.

I was overjoyed and felt like a long time coming when I hit the 200 pound lost mark, but also a bit weird. I was surprised by my reaction.

Tamra Hide after losing 200 pounds
Tamra Hide after losing 200 pounds.
Tamra Hide

I had a lot of emotions in those few days. They were everywhere. I don’t know if it was because I felt like my journey was over, or because I had to evaluate where my life went from there.

I had to do a lot of soul searching when I expected to feel cool and happy. Still, I was so excited and proud of myself for what I had accomplished.

Once I lost those 200 pounds, I switched to a keto maintenance diet to keep my weight at a level I was happy with. I was really looking forward to moving on to the next stage in my weight loss journey.

Keeping the weight off was the scariest. Losing weight is only part of the battle. Keeping it is even harder.

I lost inches around my arms, waist and thighs. I had some loose skin and belly after losing the weight, but overall I was pretty happy with how I looked and felt, and I didn’t want to lose any more.

That fall, I took a break to eat some comfort food, including more fat. But I stayed on my keto diet. I just experimented a bit with calories and my macros to see where my body was happy and my weight stayed stable.

In the past, when I lost weight, every time I went to maintenance calories, I gained 15 to 20 pounds of water. I was really trying to avoid it again. So one of my goals was to figure out if I could eat more carbs without my body going out of ketosis.

I was nervous about loose skin as I approached my 200 pounds to lose. I had a lot of comments that made me feel like people didn’t want to see my loose skin and that I should be embarrassed or ashamed of it, or that it wasn’t Christian to show off my body in a bikini.

It hurt me that people weren’t interested in seeing what I looked like or what I needed to hide my loose skin. I prayed a lot about it and came to the conclusion that Jesus doesn’t mind if I show my loose skin and what I look like to the world so people can get an idea of ​​what it could be like to lose weight.

I’ve looked for videos like that in the past, so I wanted to add the ones that exist and give another perspective. A lot of the videos I saw had people with more loose skin than me.

I literally lost a fat man out of my body, which is crazy. I can’t even imagine strapping a 200 pound person on my back and walking around.

In the end, I decided that I wanted to have plastic surgery to remove the sagging skin, including a tummy tuck. I didn’t have any health reasons to do it, I just wanted to get rid of loose skin. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Since then I have been dealing with lipedema and lymphedema, which caused fat deposits and fluid retention in my legs, and I am going through perimenopause. And I was struggling to keep up with a strict keto diet due to some financial issues, so we had to do whatever we could to survive.

As a result, I gained weight in the midst of these issues and was back in the low 200s. But I’m trying to get back into keto and get under 200 pounds, and I’m following my journey on YouTube once again.

I’m still proud of where I got. My life has changed so much with the weight loss and I have gained a freedom that is indescribable.

Tamra Hyde talks about her weight loss journey on her YouTube channel, Keto in Chaos.

All expressed views are the author’s.

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