4 Pinays On Long-Term Keto Share How The Diet Changed Their Lives

For these women, it was a complete lifestyle change.
PHOTO: (LEFT) Courtesy of Regina Bumanglag, (RIGHT) Courtesy of Christine Joy Ferrer

Sometime in the last few years, the keto diet started trending, with several celebrities attesting to its merits. Still, it isn't without controversy—especially because it’s all about consuming more fat and banning most carbs.

But the keto diet isn't just about the drastic weight loss; it's also about the dramatic shifts in someone's lifestyle when done long-term. Check out the experiences and life-changing transformations of these four women.

Christine, 36


Occupation: Trainer in a BPO company
On keto for: 1 year and 6 months

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Are you purely on keto?

Intermittent fasting comes naturally when you do the keto diet, but I don't do it every day.

Have you tried other diets before? What makes keto different?

I tried a lot of diet plans before, like the military diet, banana and sweet potato-only diet as well as slimming pills and shakes. But keto is the one that showed real change in just one week, and that’s why I stuck with it. I don't feel hungry at all while I'm on keto, and the food is still the same food I enjoyed before. The only difference is it's a high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb diet.

What motivated you to start and stick to the diet?

I was having a lot of health issues. I had high blood pressure. I was already told by my doctor that I'm borderline diabetic. I also noticed experiencing difficulty in breathing while walking. That made me realize that I wanted a long life.

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What is your diet like?

I normally eat salmon, pork, beef, or chicken with green leafy vegetables, butter, berries, avocado, and cheese. The food we avoid are starchy vegetables, rice, normal bread, processed sugar, honey, and sweet fruits. As much as possible, cheat days are not allowed, especially if you are just starting to adapt to this way of eating.

How did your new diet affect your budget?

Before, I used to have a lot of fast food; I ate out frequently, too. One meal would cost P200 to P300. Now, I spend P390 for all three prepared meals. For groceries, [the cost varies] because I am also baking now to make sure that I still enjoy sweet treats that are sugar-free. When I buy baking supplies, I spend P2,000. But usually, my grocery budget ranges from P500 to P1,000. I used to spend more than P2,000 before keto since I loved junk food.

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Other than your diet, what are some of your other lifestyle changes?

Before keto, I didn't even walk because I pant easily; now, I am a fan of walking. This is now part of my daily exercise. I also take the stairs instead of elevators and escalators. That's a huge change for me given how sedentary my lifestyle was before.

What were the changes in your body after being on long-term keto?

My starting weight was 110 kg or 240 lbs. Now, I weigh 67.13 kg or 148 lbs. I have lost almost 43 kg or 92 lbs. since August 2017! I can now wear a size small to medium from 4XL. One of the greatest [perks] for me is I can now buy clothes from a tiangge rather than going straight to the plus size sections in a mall.

Did you experience any health improvements?

My blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol level are normal. The last time I had my blood work done, the results were amazing, which is quite unusual for me because I was used to being prescribed certain medicines. My period is regular now, too.  

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What were the setbacks or problems you experienced?

In every diet, you will always encounter setbacks. Keto flu is the worst. It is like detoxifying because you were withdrawing from all the food that you used to take. But it didn't stop me from continuing. Keto flu is part of the process, so I was prepared for it. Weight loss plateau is one of the worst parts, too, as this will test your patience with the diet. For me, I just thought, "Everyone is different." What I celebrate are my non-scale victories.

What’s your number one advice for someone who wants to give the keto diet a chance?

Consult your physician first if you have doubts. There are doctors here in the Philippines who practice keto.

Regina, 36


Occupation: Credit and collection manager
On keto for: 1 year and 4 months


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Are you purely on keto?

I was on keto/low-carb diet for the first three months, then keto/low carb plus intermittent fasting thereafter.

Have you tried other diets before? What makes keto different?

I tried the HCG diet, [meal replacement shakes], and slimming pills. Keto is different because I love the foods, especially meat and seafood.

What motivated you to start and stick to the diet?

My kids and my family. I want to be healthy and physically fit.

What is your diet usually like?

My daily meals include a cup of vegetables, then meat—any luto basta keto-approved condiments na nabibili ko online. Since day one, I only had two cheat days, since I hate keto flu (which happens more often when you have cheat days).

How did your new diet affect your budget?

I usually cook one meal for the whole fam, no hassle basta approved condiments. Budget is around P800 a day for five members of the family.

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Other than your diet, what are some of your other lifestyle changes?

Gawaing bahay lang, but planning to go to the gym starting March for toning.

What were the changes in your body after being on long-term keto?

[I had] smaller thighs, a flatter stomach, and a smaller face. My waistline was 48 inches, [and now it's] down to 27-28 inches. From 212.4 pounds, [my weight went] down to 116 pounds.

Did you experience any health improvements?

My annual exam results are all normal now.

What were the setbacks or problems you experienced?

My weight plateaued. I have had only non-scale victories since April 2018. I just go with the protocol and stick to the diet plan by having 5g to 20g of carbs a day and following the other macros.

What’s your number one advice for someone who wants to give the keto diet a chance?

It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle change. Journey siya not only ng pagpapapayat pero pagpapa-healthy. Kung nagawa ko, I’m sure mas kaya mo, just trust the process and keep fighting!

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Daphne and Angela of ketosistersmnl, 31 and 29, respectively


Occupation: Engineer and Entrepreneur
On keto for: 1 year and 3 months

Are you purely on keto?

On weekdays, we do intermittent fasting as well.

Have you tried other diets before? What makes keto different?

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Yes, we’ve tried a lot of different diets throughout the years! The military diet, the seven-day diet, low fat, high fiber, juicing—name it, we’ve tried it! Keto is different because with other diets, we were basically starving and restricting ourselves, but with keto, we actually like what we eat, and we don’t let ourselves starve.

What motivated you to start and stick to the diet?

The main reason is really to lose weight. We started doing keto a few months before Daphne’s wedding.

What is your diet usually like?

When we started, we were super strict with our macros since we were still getting used to it. We'd just have black coffee with Truvia (Erythritol and Stevia blend) for breakfast. For lunch we'd have Filipino dishes like adobo, bicol express, chicken curry, etc. with cauliflower rice. You can look at our Instagram for most of our meal ideas. Most Filipino dishes are actually already keto-friendly, it's the rice that's deadly!

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How did your new diet affect your budget?

We haven't really worked out the budget adjustment.

Other than your diet, what are some of your other lifestyle changes?

We’ve always liked to exercise! We used to go to the gym regularly and would have weekly runs, but we never really lost a significant amount of weight on other diets. But on keto, we still lost weight even if we kept exercise at a minimum. Also, since we’ve been trying to live healthier, we couldn't go out and have drinks as much as we used to. A low-carb diet and alcohol do not go together and will give you serious hangovers! If ever we did go out, instead of beer, or sugary cocktails, we'd just have whiskey or vodka with diet soda.

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What were the changes in your body after being on long-term keto?

After a whole year on keto, we've lost a combined total of 50 lbs. But what we really appreciate are the non-scale victories! From XL or size 12-14 dresses, we now wear Mediums or sizes 6-8.

Did you experience any health improvements?

We have our cholesterol checked annually, and for the past years we have had high (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. Since starting cutting out carbs we have noticed that overall, our bad cholesterol and triglycerides have significantly decreased. One other improvement that we've noticed is having regular periods. Though we weren't really diagnosed with PCOS before keto, our periods were quite irregular. But a few months in, we noticed that we were having it regularly. (In fact, Daphne’s pregnant now!)

What were the setbacks or problems you experienced?

When we first started out, we didn't really fully research about keto, all we were concerned about was getting our fats high enough. It turns out that it's not true at all. ‘Carbs are a limit, protein is a goal, fat is just a lever.’ It's very important to know your proper macros, especially for weight loss.

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What’s your number one advice for someone who wants to give the keto diet a chance?

For us, the important thing about the keto way of eating is its sustainability. We have had instances where we cheat, but we always go back to it; "Keep calm and keto on," as they say. With that, we want to share our CauliRice recipe!

Cauliflower Rice
1 cup cauliflower florets, riced (I use frozen)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large egg
Salt, pepper

Dry roast the riced cauliflower in a nonstick pan. Make a well in the center, add olive oil, egg, and stir fry. Add salt, pepper and parsley to taste. That’s it!

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