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This Couple Dropped 235 Pounds on the Keto Diet in Under One Year

April McIntosh constantly had a complicated relationship with meals. She struggled with her weight growing up and constantly indulged in fatty, sugary meals to handle her emotions. April always wanted to reduce weight, and she made an effort to be active, however she simply couldn’t get her diet on track.

That all transformed about a year ago, when April and her husband, Chris, found the high-fat, low-carb keto diet—and shed a collective 235 pounds.

Last November, the number staring back at April on the scale was 330 pounds, and for Chris it was 316. April tells Health the Virginia couple’s diet consisted of processed, less-than-healthy foods such as mac and cheese, frozen chicken nuggets, and instant mashed potatoes. “Stuff that actually had no nutritional value,” she says.

Chris is a mechanic, an occupation that calls for long, stressful hours, he states. His meals reflected this. If he was making lunch to take to work, he would throw together “whatever was fast,” he tells Health . At the end of the workday, he indulged to take the edge off. “Eating was my coping mechanism,” he states.

Gently, April started to understand that her weight was holding her back. One moment that stands out to her was when she was at an amusement park with her 8-year-old brother. He was dying to ride a rollercoaster with his big sister , however April was panicked about it, she recalls.

“While we were in line, I was thinking ‘I don’t understand if I’m going to be able to fit or if it’s going to be harmful because I’m so much larger than him and the bar isn’t going to close correctly to maintain him safe,’” April states. When it was their turn to get on the ride, April’s worries came true. Her hips couldn’t fit in the seat, and she had to say to her little brother she couldn’t ride with him.

April desires that would have been the final straw to force her to agree to losing weight. But that breaking-point moment lastly happened a couple of months later, when she and Chris were at an awards dinner. She dressed up for it, and she believed like she looked amazing. But when she saw the pictures from the night, the woman she saw on the screen didn’t appear anything like the way she felt. “It was marvelous to me that I got to a point where I didn’t even identify myself,” she says.

At that time, April was done sitting back and looking at her health spiral out of control. She had been following keto success stories on social networking, and though she was skeptical about quitting foods like pasta, she understood something needed to change.

So on the last day of November 2017, April made the change to keto. She admits the first few days were difficult, particularly because of the hunger. But after approximately a week, she observed healthy changes. “I had more energy, I didn’t feel bloated all the time , and I was truly excited,” she states.

Chris, on the other hand, wasn’t certain keto was for him. He stuck to his regular meal options while he watched April give the high-fat, low-carb keto lifestyle a go. Chris didn’t believe he could quit foods like breads and potatoes, which had been staples of his diet for his entire life.

It began to take him about a month of looking at April’s progress to join her on her weight loss journey. As soon as he got on board, he understood he made the right decision. “You won’t believe the places you shed pounds,” he says—explaining that he wears rubber gloves to work, and in a short time period, he dropped a glove size.

April and Chris accept that those early indications of success encouraged them to stay with it. They changed their usual frozen chicken nuggets with steak, cheese, broccoli, and bacon, and they made sure they were getting training in ways that worked for them. April states she likes to stroll a mile or two on her lunch break to get her body moving, and Chris works on his feet all day long and does active house chores similar to splitting wood.

Now, 12 months later, April has shed 135 pounds and weighs in at 195. Chris has shed 100 pounds and clocks in at 216.

Each are more confident about the process they look, and they really like which they no longer be concerned that their weight is holding them back from pursuing activities and hobbies. But April believes that the most satisfying part for her is her newfound freedom from meals.

“I don’t feel like food manages me anymore,” she indicates. “When I place something in my mouth, it’s because I know what I’m doing, it’s intentional. I’m not only eating to eat.”