By the time I was 12 years old, I was coping with a lot of life changes. My mom got remarried, and I was no longer going to be her only daughter. I turned to larger helpings of food to cope, and by 15 years old, I weighed 255 pounds. My go-to move became eating in secret, which I did well into adulthood.

My weight loss journey started slowly.

View this post on Instagram Shes gotten bigger, Ive gotten fitter . Some of the highlights of these past 13 months are: No More Chronic Pain No more insulin resistance More energy Being more active with my kids No more fear of leaving the house Not stressing about seating Being able to RUN Discovering who I am outside of mental illness and food addiction! Falling in love with that person . This journey is about so much more than just the number on the scale, its about quality of life. . . #transformationtuesday #weightlosstransformation #beforeandafterweightloss #losingweight #losingweightfeelinggreat #fattofit #fitness #fitnessjourney #fitfam #fitstagram #weightlossjourney #weightloss #keto #ketotransformation #ketosis #ketoforpcos #pcosweightloss #ketodiet #lowcarb #100lbsdown A post shared by Ashley (@ashleymcfitterson) on Feb 12, 2019 at 8:12am PST

I weighed 296 pounds after I had my daughter at 27 years old. I decided to make a small change by cutting back on fast food and sweets, two things I ate all the time.

In just a few months, I was down to 280 pounds-I felt like I was finally making sustainable progress, so I decided to ramp things up with the keto diet. And to hold myself accountable, I started my own Instagram account to keep track of my progress.

I chose keto because, at 28, I was suffering from arthritis, and my extra weight made it difficult to sleep (I felt like I was being crushed), and I had heard the keto diet offered a quicker solution to weight loss. On top of that, I was prediabetic and had hypoglycemia.

I started out on what many call a "dirty keto" diet.

View this post on Instagram Weight loss is such a strange thing. Some days I still feel very large and disappointed that I let myself backtrack last month. Other days I feel incredibly lean and content with my body despite not being at my lowest weight. . . . . . #transformationtuesday #transformation #weightlosstransformation #ketotransformation #ketodiet #dietbet #weightloss #weightlossjourney #beforeandafterweightloss #losingweight #ketosis #1year #100lbs #progressnotperfection #fattofit #fitnessjourney #fitnessmotivation #weightlossmotivation #lifestylechange #diet #exercise #running #weightlosscommunity A post shared by Ashley (@ashleymcfitterson) on Jan 15, 2019 at 7:09am PST

I ate everything and anything that was technically low-carb, like hot wings and sausage. It wasnt necessarily healthy, but it was part of my transition. I did "dirty keto" for three weeks, and then transitioned to healthier high-fat dishes (more avocados and eggs; less meat). I started cooking my own meals more often too. Here's what I typically eat in a day:

  • Breakfast : Eggs with avocado
  • Lunch : Tuna and asparagus or chicken and broccoli
  • Dinner : Burger or steak with cooked veggies and a large salad
  • Snack : Berries, cheese, peanut butter, or a protein bar

Two days a month, I add some more treats (usually carbs) to my meals, which is a reward that helps me keep my binging under control.

The diet ended up being the best decision I could have made. Within a month of going keto, my joints felt better and my blood sugar returned to a normal range. I was finally able to play with my kids pain-free and get through a movie with my family without getting sick.

Changing my diet has also given me more stamina to exercise.

View this post on Instagram Ive been running so much slower this week because I destroyed my legs on Monday haha. Maybe I should keep leg day for the end of the week instead of the beginning!? . What kind of fitness routine do you follow? . . . . . . #fitnessjourney #fitnessgoal #fitness #fitfam #exercise #gym #gymrat #gymaddict #gymjunkie #chickswholift #girlswholift #buildingmuscle #running #distancerunning #marathontraining #run #goaldigger A post shared by Ashley (@ashleymcfitterson) on Jan 10, 2019 at 8:56am PST

Last year, I couldnt run for more than 90 seconds, and now Im running at least five times a week for an hour to an hour and a half at a time (with the occasional two-hour long run). I'm even training for a half marathon!

I added weight-training to the mix last fall. I lift twice a week following recommendations and workouts that I've found online, though I plan to start lifting more after my half-marathon prep is done.

I lost 120 pounds since starting the keto diet a year ago.

View this post on Instagram I DID IT!! 5 miles ran under 1 hour! Okay, so it was 59 minutes and some seconds, but it still counts!! . I cant even believe how incredible our bodies are! This hunk of meat could barely go up a flight of stairs just 7 months ago and now it can run 5 miles. Our bodies WANT to be strong, we just have to get through the mental battles that stops us! . . . . . For those waiting for the ELF active mascara/eyeliner update - it worked super well!! I added before and after a to my story, but after an hour running, sweating, and wiping my face - it looked great! The rest of my makeup, however, disappeared lol. ---------------- #running #progress #fitness #fitfam #instafit #weightloss #weightlossjourney #weightlossmotivation #100lbsdown #elfcosmetics #drugstoremakeup #elfactivecollection #losingweight A post shared by Ashley (@ashleymcfitterson) on Aug 26, 2018 at 3:20pm PDT

I'm so proud of my success on the keto diet-not just because of my weight loss, but because of how much of a difference it's made in my health.

Of course, there are days when I want to binge on fast food and carbs, but I always remind myself that I never want to feel as sick as I felt before starting my weight-loss journey. Now, I finally feel like I have my health under my control, and I plan to keep it that way for a long time.