14 of the Most Impressive Keto Diet Before-and-After Pictures
These people show how successful this popular ultra-low-carb, high-fat diet trend can be. Read their stories, get their advice, and take in their impressive photos.
"Accountability is the key."
In early 2016, Mary Alexander saw a photo of herself in a bathing suit and decided something had to change. A few weeks later, she started the keto diet, an ultra-low-carb, high-fat diet that's becoming increasingly popular, partly because of the many keto diet before-and-after pictures. According to Harvard Health Publishing in 2017, the keto diet can accelerate weight loss and improve blood sugar. After two years, Alexander's lost 60 pounds with 10 to 15 more to go to reach her goal.
"The hardest part of keto was getting started," says Mary, a 54-year-old marketer from Rockwell, Texas. "Bread and sweets had been my friends for years, so giving them up was really hard." She kept herself accountable with her Instagram account: she's gained more than 26,000 followers since she started her journey. "I attribute all of my success to my account, as well as weekly weigh-ins."
If you're unsure that the keto diet fits your needs, here's what you should know before trying the keto diet.
"I've never felt so good."
Just 21 years old, Francisco Vega was nearly 100 pounds over his ideal weight. The welder from Modesto, CA tipped the scales at 295 pounds. Seeking a drastic change, he turned to the keto diet to reshape his body and his future. Vega dropped 75 pounds in just six months. Today, he's 35 pounds away from his goal of 185, and he's enjoying every delicious moment of it.
"The hardest part of it has been that I can't have too much fruit," he says. Fruit has become his favourite "cheat" meal, Vega says, but he's quick to note that the diet is not nearly as restrictive as people fear. "Don't second-guess yourself," he says. "The mental clarity and the energy and the super delicious food, combined with the hunger suppression, are enough to draw anyone in to try keto."
"No memberships or big expense: Just food."
Like many yo-yo dieters, Suzanne Ryan had tried just about every eating style out there without finding long-term success. But the keto diet before-and-after pictures she found online caught her eye. "When I stumbled upon keto, I was so impressed with the results people were getting. I was excited because it was a concept I hadn't tried before," says the 33-year-old behind the popular @ketokarmasays Instagram account.
Within the first year of her keto experience, the San Francisco Bay Area mom, author, and blogger lost 100 pounds. She lost an additional 20 to reach her goal weight and has been maintaining it for almost two years. Her cookbook, Simply Keto, offers the sound keto advice that worked for her: "Don't overcomplicate things, and take it one day at a time," she says. "Work on the emotional side of your eating habits, and invest in the process." However, it’s not the easiest diet to follow, and these early mistakes can sabotage your weight-loss goals.
"You will feel better, and look better—even naked!"
Chase Bowler lost 75 pounds in his first eight months on the keto diet. "I felt better, looked better, and ate great!" says the public relations and business development director from Ottawa, Canada. Bowler's story is a lot like many weight-loss stories: Things are OK for a while, but then they stop working. "I have always been active, played sports twice a week, and was in the gym three times a week," he says. "But I ate a ton of the wrong food and drank too much beer, which was filling my body with unnecessary carbohydrates that I didn't need."
He adopted a keto diet—"lots of butter, bacon, and steak"—and the pounds just melted off. "You do not know what great feels like until you try this lifestyle change," he says. "You will wake up buzzing with energy, and you will feel incredible. It is the best thing I have ever done."
"Any diet that lets me eat cheese is fine by me."
Sara Pierson was at her wit's end after years of counting calories. She needed a solution that would help her lose weight and keep it off. "Keto was like nothing I had ever heard of before and went against everything I had ever been taught," the 25-year-old Missouri chef says. "It immediately struck my interest, and I was obsessed with learning as much as I possibly could about it. After all, I had nothing else to lose."
But lose, she did: In total, after six months, she's down 40 pounds, on her way to 70. "I love that I don't have to track my calories," says Pierson, who shares her journey on her Instagram page. "Intuitive eating has been a game-changer. I never feel limited in what I can eat at all. If there is a non-keto meal I miss, I have been able to adapt it to be keto-friendly fairly easily, even holiday dinners." Like any diet, consult with a doctor before you begin—and you can start with these things doctors want you to know about the keto diet.
"The keto Instagram community is so supportive."
It's hard for Julie Smith to name just one favourite keto meal. "Bunless burgers, egg roll in a bowl, fathead dough pizzas, and just plain bacon and eggs," says the Utah-based blogger and keto Instagram influencer, who started eating keto as a way to treat polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). "The best part of the keto diet is the delicious food I get to eat while still managing to lose weight," she says. "The list could go on forever."
When she first started her keto journey, Smith knew the food was delicious, but she didn't realize the best part of the diet would come from people she'd never met. "I found a few Instagram accounts who really motivated me to start my journey," says Smith, who has lost 60 pounds in just over a year. "Those people have now become some of my closest 'online friends,' and we talk frequently." After so many people helped her begin her keto journey, Smith says she now wants to help others. "If people have questions, I want them to feel like they can reach out to me, or anyone else, for some encouragement."
"I weigh the same as I did in my final year of grade school."
"I've been overweight my entire life," says Harvey Mayo, a 42-year-old sales manager in Colchester, VT. "I'm hoping that my story will inspire others to make healthy lifestyle changes and let people know that it's never too late to do it." Indeed, Mayo started his keto journey almost two years ago and dropped 185 pounds in under 18 months. "After a friend took the picture of me that you see, I started my keto journey," he says. "That picture was the straw that broke the camel's back. I woke up the next morning, and I've never looked back."
In addition to enjoying the many keto foods he finds so delicious, Mayo also started moving. "I promise you it wasn't just the food. Get active!" says Mayo, who shares his healthy meals and fitness experiences @harveygetshealthy. "Start with something as simple as taking a walk every day. That's what I did. After you get comfortable with that, challenge yourself with a light jog or hop on the elliptical at the gym, and take it slow at first. It can be done, and it's never too late."
The next time you’re debating whether or not you want to break a sweat, try out one of these workout motivation hacks.
"Keto was a miracle diet for me."
In her first year on the keto diet, 33-year-old Joanna Wilcox lost 60 pounds. "The best part is eating high-fat foods like bacon without any guilt," she says. "It's also great to not struggle with the up-and-down insulin swings and constant hunger like before." Wilcox, who runs @ketoincanada, has lost lots of weight but gained almost 86,000 followers, plus loads of confidence and perspective. "I feel completely satisfied, and I'm the healthiest I have been in my entire life," she says. "Clothes fit amazing, and I no longer struggle with cravings."
Wilcox encourages people curious about the keto diet to set their minds to it and give it their best for three months. "Commit to yourself and your new way of eating, and it will be worth it in the end," she says. A surefire way to stick to keto is to enjoy the food you're eating—like these keto diet recipes that so good, you'll forget it's part of a diet.
"The gym and dieting could not get my gut down."
Raymond Pirrello Jr. had made many of the best healthy-living choices: He was a gym regular; he had even joined a CrossFit gym in his hometown of Sparta, NJ; he was also a careful eater. However, the 41-year-old financial marketer wasn't seeing the results he wanted. "I tried everything, including a visit to the doctor as I thought my testosterone levels were off," he says. "The doctor simply said that my testosterone was fine, but I just had really bad genes."
Pirrello wasn't going to take that response lying down. His cousin, who happened to work with a ketone supplement company, turned him onto the keto diet, and his story changed: With a significant diet refocus, Pirrello has been able to tone his body, drop weight, and find endless energy for his many intense CrossFit workouts. "The best part was having more energy and overall health improvement," he says. "I went from the top 50 percent in CrossFit to the top 10 percent in the nation, and I owe it all to the change I made with keto because everything else stayed the same."
"It's not always going to be easy, but it is 100 percent worth it."
Nicki Kirton had let cycles of binge eating and emotional rebounds ratchet her weight up to 350 pounds. She wanted a solution, but she felt stuck. "In the summer of 2017, a friend reached out to me and asked me if I'd ever heard of the keto diet," the 30-year-old development and marketing coordinator from Winnipeg, Canada says. "I had, and I have some friends who had had great success with it." Kirton was also familiar with the diet because she was diagnosed with PCOS as a young teenager, and keto is one of the diets recommended for women with this condition. In fact, a 2018 study by the Cleveland Clinic in the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Clinical Case Reports showed that a keto diet could help restore infertility in women with PCOS. (Here's how those with PCOS can lose weight.)
With this in mind, Kirton decided to try the low-carb, high-fat diet and was ecstatic about her results: "I am now down almost 100 pounds since I started keto in September, with about another 70 left to lose," says Kirton. "I have finally found something that works and that is giving me consistent weight-loss results, and that is the biggest motivator."
"I had a vision of being heavier if I didn't do something soon."
After being out of the Navy for almost a decade, Ken Baker, a 54-year-old veteran and podcast host, saw that his weight—and his waistline—were expanding more than he'd like. "I was really starting to think about the next five to 10 years of my life and what that would hold," he says. "I would look around and see guys my age and 10 years older, and what was really an eye-opener was that everyone's gut was larger."
Baker discovered the keto diet and learned its ins and outs through YouTube videos and other keto experts' advice. He dropped 10 pounds in one month and another 40 in just five months. "It's really funny that no one ever tells you, 'Hey, are you gaining weight? How is your diet?'" Baker says. "But when you lose close to 50 pounds, you hear, 'You look 10 years younger!' and 'You are half the man you were!'"
If you need motivation, these success stories will give you the motivation you need to get started on your weight loss journey.
"Keto is simple with a focus on real, high-quality food."
Jen Fisch, author of The Easy 5-Ingredient Ketogenic Diet Cookbook and blogger at Keto in the City, had meddled with low-carb diets, but the high-protein approach left her hungry and craving a better option. A few Internet searches for keto diet before-and-after pictures later, the 40-year-old Hermosa Beach, California author was turned on to keto. "Turns out that the healthy fats on keto kept me satiated, and I didn't have those 'hangry' feelings anymore," she says.
Her keto meals are filled with delicious eats, like Cream Cheese, Coconut Flour Pancakes and Crunch Chicken Milanese (recipes are available in her book). Her daughter even loves the last dish. "Crushed pork rinds create a perfectly crispy crust on the outside," Fisch says. When Fisch says she needs support or encouragement, she turns to Instagram, where she posts as @ketointhecity with almost 85,000 followers. "There is an incredible support system there, and I credit those connections with keeping me motivated," she says. The keto diet is tough and takes some adjusting, so set yourself up for success by understanding the negative side effects.
"I was fed up with being lethargic and bloated all the time."
A trip to the doctor's office in early 2017 gave Tae Min Kim, an entrepreneur living in Charlotte, North Carolina, a new direction on his diet and lifestyle. He was diagnosed with celiac disease, a condition that causes an immune reaction to gluten, a protein found in many wheat and grain products. In fact, some symptoms of the gluten allergy are so subtle that it's important to know what to watch out for. "After that day, I decided it was time for a change," he says. The keto diet helped Kim regain his energy, drop nearly 40 pounds, and decrease his body fat percentage to his goal level. "I have tried a lot of different diets in the past, but none of them was as easy as the ketogenic diet," Kim says. "The keto diet is extremely sustainable due to the fact that I get to eat a lot of delicious foods."
Kim, who shares his keto journey, says another great thing about the keto diet is the mental clarity and energy he's found. "It's literally on a whole different level. It's helped me be more productive at work and still have the energy to actually go to the gym and, of course, spend time with my family."
"This diet is as hard or as easy as you choose to make it."
A brand new Instagram account was the driving force for 29-year-old Alexis Matthews, a health care analyst in Pittsburgh, PA. With that account—@100ketodays—and the almost 64,000 followers who've joined her for the journey, Matthews has found the encouragement and motivation to start keto and stick to it. Now, more than a year later, Matthews has dropped 55 pounds and has her eyes set on a total of 80. "Most importantly," she says, "I'd like to get to a healthy body fat percentage."
Matthews' favourite keto meal is chicken wings with Brussels sprouts fried in bacon. "I cook very simply with keto, mostly just a protein with a vegetable," she says. While she does admit to missing classic pizza, she says the benefits far outweigh the cravings. "Keto makes me feel far less bloated, have fewer digestive issues, and improves my endurance at the gym," she says. "The motivation needs to be created within yourself. When that clicks, everything weight loss-related is just so much easier."
If these keto diet before-and-after pictures have got you inspired, find out which foods successful keto dieters never eat.