A woman lost more than 140 pounds after she couldn’t fit in an airplane seat and was so shocked that she promised to change her lifestyle for the better, after years of emotional eating, she made sure she sat on the pounds.
Renatta Keith, 37, from Hunstville, Alabama struggled for years with her weight because of the grief and pain of losing her mother to drug addiction, her brother to alcoholism, and her father to Parkinson’s disease.
At her heaviest, she weighed 290 pounds and the wake-up call came when she boarded a plane to Los Angeles two years ago and had to request a seat belt extension to carry her larger frame.
A spinal operation soon followed, and the mother-of-one decided to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle.
By following a ketogenic regimen – a high-fat, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet – and training three times a week with a personal trainer, she shed 140 pounds to achieve a healthier weight of 150 pounds.
Renatta Keith, 37, from Hunstville, Alabama struggled for years with her weight because of the grief and pain of losing her mother to drug addiction, her brother to alcoholism, and her father to Parkinson’s disease. At her heaviest she was 290 pounds. Shown for the weight loss on the left and then on the right
Renatta now. The mother-of-one tragically lost her mother to an opioid addiction in 2009 and her father to Parkinson’s disease. Her brother died of alcohol suffocation in 2013
In 2009, Renatta lost her mother to drug addiction, not knowing that she used opioids for years until it was too late.
And just four years later, her father, who served a soldier in Iraq, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease on his return and died not long after. Renatta was the one who found his body.
Renatta, who is dealing with two tragic deaths, turned to emotional food to cope while struggling with the extreme grief she faced.
In a series of unfortunate events, Renatta’s brother died of alcohol suffocation a year later – causing her to go to food even more as she struggled to cope with the pain of suddenly losing her loved ones.
A photo collage of Renetta with her older brother Chad, who died in 2013. The couple were in the neighborhood and his death hit her particularly hard after the death of both parents
Renetta’s father (photo) died in 2009 from Parkinson’s disease. He was a war veteran. Unfortunately it was Renetta who found his body
Renatta would consume almost a full liter of cola a day, and mainly ate drive-through meals and sugary-rich foods throughout the day, bringing her weight to a peak of 290 pounds.
The 37-year-old said: ‘I have experienced the sudden loss of my mother in 2009 out of the blue.
“She had hidden an opioid addiction from the family and it quickly got out of hand. In 2012 my father came home from Iraq and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
“One day I found him dead and the images were very difficult to deal with and escape from.
After suffering the traumatic losses, Renatta turned to emotional food to cope and accumulates on the pounds (now pictured)
The super slimmer admitted that she used food as a coping mechanism to hide from the pain after the death of her father (pictured with her as a child)
“I started to eat to handle the grief. The following year my brother died of suffocation due to an alcohol attack.
“He was dead a few days before we found him, and again my grieving process included a lot of food to cover up my pain.
‘I ate the equivalent of a day’s calories and sugar before noon. I usually ate all my meals from a drive-by and drank almost a liter of diet coke a day. “
But Renatta realized that she had to change something when she did started a trip to Los Angeles two years ago and booked a standard economy class seat.
When she boarded the flight, Renatta realized that she couldn’t fit in her seat, and the staff had to provide her with a belt extender.
When she was 35 years old, she was shocked by the experience and knew that she had taken her eating habits too far.
Renatta has attributed the amazing success of her diet to her friend Matt (right) who was nothing but supportive
Renatta said: “Because of the humiliation and experience I realized that I had to do something about my weight. I had to treat my body better. “
Not long after, Renatta’s spine was damaged by the excessive pressure of her weight, causing her to undergo a front lumbar interbody fusion operation.
What is the ketogenic diet?
This diet is known as Keto, is high in fat and low in carbohydrates and offers many health benefits.
It means that carbohydrate intake is drastically reduced and replaced with fat. This reduction in carbohydrates puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis.
When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also changes fat into ketones in the liver, which can provide energy for the brain.
There are four versions of the ketogenic diet that can be tried.
Ketogenic diet is an effective way to lose weight and lower risk factors for disease.
Some studies have shown that it is even more efficient than other low-fat foods.
She realized that her weight caused many problems in her life, and this gave her a much-needed wake-up call to change her lifestyle for the better.
“It all occurred to me when I had a front lumbar interbody fusion, it’s a kind of spinal fusion that uses a front approach to fuse the lumbar spine.
“Because of the recovery and the pain, I realized how I had given my body and had to lose weight to stop further damage to my spine.”
Renatta began monitoring her food and sugar intake daily to gain a better understanding of what she put into her body.
She stopped drinking light soda, which she said helped reduce her craving for sugary foods and eventually reduced her carbohydrate intake to start a ketogenic diet.
Renatta also had a personal trainer and worked with him three times a week, focusing on a mix of cardio and strength training.
She said: ‘I started following my food and seeing how much sugar I consumed every day.
“This image really helped me learn what was in the food I was eating.
‘I completely cut soft drinks and my taste buds changed. I could taste food again and crave unhealthy foods full of sugar.
‘This made my joints feel better and I could move my body with less pain.
A before and after photo montage shows Renatta’s progress with her weight loss. She decided it was enough after she needed a seat belt extension two years ago during a flight to Los Angels
‘I adjusted to a low-carbohydrate diet and eventually reduced my carbohydrates to a ketogenic value. I have done this for two years.
“I worked with a trainer three times a week and he taught me how to train.”
With a determined and focused mindset, Renatta managed to lose 140 pounds in the course of two years.
She took a photo of her scar from her spinal cord surgery to keep her going and reminded herself why she started.
Renatta managed to overcome her grief without having to rely on food to copy, and now said she felt “reborn” and learned how to live her life to the full.
Renatta said she feels reborn after shedding the weight and achieving a healthier weight goal (now pictured)
Renatta said she stopped drinking light soda, which in turn reduced her craving for sugary foods (now pictured)
The mother-of-one said she started to follow her food consumption daily to understand what she put into her body (before, left and after, right)
The 37-year-old said: ‘Once I started exercising and eating well, I had clarity and focus like I had never experienced before.
“I kept a picture of my scar from my spinal surgery and it motivated me to keep going.
‘I had the opportunity not to bend, walk, sit too long or stand too long.
“I knew that pain and never wanted to experience it again. I was determined to do everything I could to help me not to need extra surgery. “
“When I made a mistake instead of giving in to what I wanted to eat the rest of the day, my next meal would be back on schedule.
“I stopped” Well, I made a mistake today; I will start again tomorrow or Monday ‘.
“I got off this roller coaster and broke this cycle. This realization and the time I spent to get mentally fit was where the magic began to happen for me.
“Processing my sorrow with a professional was the key for me. I found ways to deal with my heartache in addition to food and that changed my mentality, which in turn changed my life.
Shortly before her weight loss journey began, Renatta went through a anterior lumbar interbody fusion, a type of spinal fusion that uses an anterior approach to fuse the lumbar spine bones (photo: the scar Renatta received from the operation she used as her weight loss inspiration
Matt and Renatta together. Matt adjusted his girlfriend’s dietary changes in a heartbeat to encourage her to lose weight
‘I feel reborn, funny because that is what my name means! I feel free. All the energy I spent trying to lose weight is now being used to enjoy my life.
“Instead of feeling sad and sad about the loss of my family, I can now lead others away from pain and give advice.”
Renatta has since started her Instagram page @renatta_rising, where she posts pictures of healthy meals and her incredible weight loss transformation to more than 40,600 followers.
She wanted to share her story and motivate people to start their own weight loss journeys, hoping to inspire others to find their way to healing.
The super slim said she cut the excuses and went to the gym to reach her weight goal (photo before and after)
The mother-of-one documented her weight loss on Instagram and now has more than 60,400 followers (shown before and after)
Renatta has since been overwhelmed by the support she has received online and is doing her utmost to help people find resources and get the mental health care they need.
The 37-year-old said: ‘I had an Instagram page for years, but recently made it public.
‘I got the confidence to share my story and to be vulnerable, so that maybe someone else could find the way to healing.
“The support online was great. Many people talk to me about their sadness and weight gain, I try to help as much as possible to find the means to get mental health help. “
Renatta, who has a 16-year-old daughter, said her biggest support during her weight-loss period was her friend Matt, who helped her motivate her and meet her nutritional needs throughout her journey.
She continues to follow a low-carbohydrate diet, but sneaks a treat here and there to reward herself for her consistent hard work and dedication.
Now happier with her body, Renatta said she was grateful that she could break her cycle of bad eating habits
Rather left and then right. Renatta said she only started to lose weight when she changed all her behavior and negative thoughts
Renatta takes Pilates lessons five times a week and enjoys kayaking, hiking on nature trails and hiking.
Speaking of her current lifestyle, Renatta said: “I still eat few carbohydrates because reducing sugar helps me to control my inflammation.
‘I do have sushi and a cupcake every month, because life without them just doesn’t seem so fun!
‘I don’t call these cheat meals, I call them deserved meals because I work hard and earn them.
“Having these deserved meals helps me mentally, I know I can get them and that keeps me sharp and on track throughout the week.”
In a few words of advice to others starting their own healing and weight loss journeys, Renatta said: “Instead of just diving into another weight loss program, you first spend some time working on and nurturing your mental health, find out why. Why did you arrive that way?
‘Why are you overweight? I learned that losing weight wasn’t enough until I changed all the behaviors and negative thoughts about myself that brought me there.
“There are great doctors out there, so you’re never ashamed to make contact and get mentally fit, not just physically fit.”