What would compel a 47-year-old mompreneur of two teens to be bold enough to do a swimsuit shoot while on vacation in Mexico? CHEDZ of course, and the KETO community! This is my story on how I went from size 4 to size 0 in one month and have been able to maintain.
Hello Intermittent Fasting:
I never had to worry about my weight until after college, when my metabolism seemed to slow down. I was working for a tech company and traveling quite a bit, which meant a lot of meals out. My weight fluctuated wildly, and it was always a struggle to maintain it. I tried so many diets over the years, but none seem to work, and I never felt good on those diets. My focus and energy levels were always very low as I felt sluggish most days.
In 2018, my brother and sister-in-law introduced me to intermittent fasting, and I was hooked the instant I tried it. I started fasting from 9 pm to 12 pm and then gradually moved to 9 pm to 4 pm and 9 pm to 6 pm. I will occasionally fast for 24 hours as well.
With this fasting schedule, I no longer eat breakfast or lunch (I actually eat breakfast for dinner sometimes because I love all things eggs). I snack between 4-6 pm (depending on my daily schedule). I try to fast at least 5 days a week, and sometimes for 7 days. However, for most weekends, I throw my fasting out the door so my family and I can enjoy lunch and/or dinner out. I typically do not eat breakfast, even on the weekends.
Nice To Meet You Keto-Friend(ly):
Starting in late 2018, there was an explosion of customer feedback from the Keto community for our product CHEDZ. While we had always received fan mail from the diabetic community for the no sugar content of Chedz, I started receiving IMs from US, Canadian and Philippines customers who had discovered Chedz and were excited about the low-carb, keto-friendly snack. While I loved all of the positive feedback, I found myself not being able to completely relate to how keto really works and how Chedz made an impact on that trend, which motivated me to find out what all the buzz was about.
After doing some research, it dawned on me that by snacking on Chedz and cooking with Chedz that our family was already somewhat experiencing the keto lifestyle. But, because I love carbs and sugar, I wasn’t on a true keto diet, so I knew if I was going to really give keto a try, I would have to limit those vices.
In February of 2020, the right motivator came along as I was trying to get ready for a food tradeshow, and wanted to be able to personally relate to and talk about how well Chedz fit into the diet. One month before the show, I started the keto diet by slowly reducing my carbs for dinner. I would make a regular, carb heavy meal for our teen boys who need to grow, and are not subject to my diets. I would then make a low-carb, keto-friendly meal for my husband and me. We also reduced our portion sizes and tried not to have seconds.
Two weeks before the actual event, I went on an egg and salad or vegetable diet. Coupled with my fasting, I really began to shed pounds.. I lost about 5 lbs in 10 days (I am quite petite so this is a significant number for my body size). With past diets, it would take me much longer to lose 5 lbs. I was blown away by the quick results!
At the beginning of my keto journey, I did experienced the so-called “keto flu.” This lasted off and on for about 2 weeks, and then I started feeling absolutely amazing, with more energy and focus than I’ve ever had. I am not sure if I ever went into ketosis since I never tested myself, but I have never felt heatlhier in my life than I do now and got positive results and met my weight goals.
After this experience, I no longer stress out about gaining weight on vacation, during the holidays, etc. because I know how to get back on track quickly.
Fasting alone can help me maintain my weight, but I have found fasting alone to be less effective for weight loss. Coupling keto with fasting allowed me to finally lose the stubborn belly fat from having two kids. I can finally see a little bit of abs!
Breakfast & Lunch:
As a result of my fasting schedule, I no longer eat breakfast (unless we are on vacation) or lunch (primarily during the weekdays) because it drags me down during the week and makes it difficult for me to stay motivated to work. I just want to take a nap if I eat those two meals. When I first started fasting, the hunger pains were unbearable but I pushed through them by keeping busy. Now my body has gotten used to fasting that I am no longer hungry for breakfast or lunch during the weekdays.
The downside of fasting beyond lunch is that lunch meetings are challenging, as others may expect you to eat with them. However, I warn others in advance of my fasting schedule, and have found others to be accepting if I drink non-sugared beverages while dining out. I also sometimes have later meetings, such as at happy hour. Of course, exceptions are made for special events and celebrations such as birthdays and over the holidays.
Since I fast, if I cheat during the fasting window, I have to start the fasting schedule all over and that is not appealing for me. Therefore, fasting curbs my snacking. I snack after my fasting window has ended which kind of makes up for missing breakfast and lunch. My snacks include any of the below, depending on my mood for the day. I regulate my portion based upon my body size so it will vary for each person.
- Cheese (any kind; cheddar, white, etc.)
- Nuts (any kind; almonds, macadamia, pecans, walnuts, etc.)
- Baby carrots
- Celery sticks (these are pre-cut in 2-3 inches) with peanut butter or almond butter
- Very limited fruit (banana, grapes, clementine, applesauce apple, etc.). Knowing that fruit is full of sugar, I limit the portion size.
- Limited dried fruit such as mango, clementine, dates, raisins, apricots
- Limited turkey jerky (this usually has sugar)
- A small portion of cheese bagel with sausage patty
- 1/4 to 1/2 avocado plain (this will keep me satiated for hours)
I do occasionally cheat if I am having a weak moment or fall into stress eating and will reach for chips or truffle salt popcorn, but I am very disciplined on the strict keto weeks and will cut as much carbs out as possible so these items are off the list when I am preparing for an event, photoshoot, etc.
- This would include low carb, keto-friendly dishes such as cabbage and bacon, zucchini spirals (zoodles) with marina and meatballs, fish, shrimp, meatloaf with Chedz crumbs, Chedz baked chicken (see more Chedz recipes here: https://chedzsnacks.com/recipes/), homemade keto bread, eggs any fashion, broccoli, green beans, salads, etc. Essentially, I skip the carbs entirely or have a very small portion if my weight is in check for the week.
Unless we are celebrating something, desserts are usually reserved for the weekends and vacations. However, I often have a small portion of fresh fruit (apples, clementine, grapes, banana, etc). or dried fruits (a dried date or two) to satisfy that sugar craving. Again, it is in very small proportions (i.e. 2 slices of apple wedge, half clementine, 1/3 banana, 4 grapes, etc.) due to the sugar content. On the weekends and on vacations, I go all out and eat all of my favorite desserts (cakes, cookies, ice cream, etc.). Yes, I do cheat on the weekdays sometimes (stress eating) but I am able to balance my weight out eventually.
- My beverage of choice is water, which I drink all day long every day.
- My go-to caffeine is black tea with no sugar.
- On the weekends or on vacation, I will drink alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages and some with sugar, such as Thai iced tea. I rarely drink alcohol unless we are on vacation which is usually twice a year.
Once I get to my desired weight, here is how I maintain:
- Monday – Thursday: Due to my fasting schedule, I can generally eat a good dinner that is full of carbs. However, if I am needing to lose weight or generally want to maintain and not risk going overboard, I stick with low-carb, keto-friendly meals 4-5 days a week. This requires making 2 different dinners (I make a higher carb meal for the kids) or I will forgo the carb portion of the meal that I make for our kids. This is worth the effort because keto-friendly meals work!
- Friday-Saturday (sometimes Sunday): I still do not eat breakfast but depending on our family schedule, I may or may not fast and will eat lunch and dinner. I carb load on the weekends, which allows me to enjoy my favorite foods (cakes, cookies, pastas, chips, etc.). Our family loves buffets so we even treat ourselves to the occasional buffet on the weekends.
On Monday when I step on the scale, I am heavier but when I go back to the low-carb, keto-friendly meals and fasting, I am back to my desired weight by Wednesday.
I work out on an empty stomach almost every day, anywhere between 8am-5pm, before my fasting window ends. I take rest days based upon my work schedule, or when my body tells me I need to rest.
Friendly Tips: Please note that the below tips work for my body but may not work for everyone.
• Work out: Get as much exercise as you can on a weekly basis according to your fitness levels and goals. I take a strength and conditioning class almost daily Monday-Friday at our club. I jog on the weekends or do something active with the family. The mind is powerful so I tell myself that working out daily is doctor’s orders. Because I work out on a regular basis, my body and mind have gotten addicted to it. I feel horrible if I don’t work out and the stress and anxiety creeps in even more. In addition, I find that if I don’t work out daily, getting back to a workout routine is extremely difficult. Therefore, I will also work out while on vacation which usually involves jogging, walking or workout videos on YouTube.
• Stay active: We are a very active family so we are either jogging, swimming, hiking, skiing, biking, etc. on the weekends. It is important for us to teach our kids to be and stay active so we role model it and drag them along.
• Keep busy: Keeping yourself busy with new skills or projects will help distract your hunger pains. I am learning yoga and am continuously learning how to bake and cook new recipes (especially keto-friendly ones). Of course, the Chedz business keeps me very busy around the clock!
• Portion control: Fasting helps me curb my urge to snack all day. With fasting, I can only snack during a small window. To help with portion control, I will put food portions that I know I can over-snack on in a container. For example, I can go crazy on salted almonds or just nuts in general. In order for me to control my portions, I put about 8 salted almonds in a small container and that would be my daily portion. Similarly for fruits, if I decide to eat a banana, I will cut just 1/3 portion for my snack and wrap the remaining up for the next day. When my husband and I were getting married, we worked on portion control quite a bit. We would split an entrée or if we had different entrees, we would cut the portion size in half and save the remaining for the next day. Since I am smaller than my husband, I try not to eat more than him and will split meals accordingly. I have found that my stomach would adjust to those portion sizes. If I eat less, it would crave for less and if I eat more, it would crave for more.
• Food prep: I have learned that if I do some advance prepping with fruits and vegetables, then I would be more apt to eat the healthier options vs. choosing the unhealthy options like chips. As time is allotted for the week, I wash and pre-cut celery sticks to desired length (~2-3”). This allows for me to quickly pull the sticks out and spread peanut or almond butter on them. In the past when I was tired, the thought of pre-washing and cutting the sticks first made me reach for easier items like a bag of chips. I do the same for lettuce to make a quick salad and pre-wash my fruit so I can quickly grab them without any excuses.
• Load up on vegetables: I love fruit and can eat it all day but know that it is high in sugar and not as keto-friendly. Trying keto has made me transition to vegetables and now I love vegetables. Keto has made my body crave for vegetables. A trick of mine is to eat my vegetables first because then I feel more satiated and will eat less of the other items on my plate. For keto, my vegetable portion has been larger than my protein portion. I also serve more keto-friendly vegetables which includes kale, salads, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, spinach, green beans, etc. I love corn but it is high in carbs and therefore is reserved for the kids!
• Healthy proteins: I am attempting to eat healthier proteins and less processed ones. I love bacon, sausage, etc. but am feeding the family more rotisserie chicken, fish, etc.
• Invest in a good scale: I hold myself accountable each day and since I do not calorie count, I rely on the scale for my progress. If I am heavier one day, then I will strive to do better the next day or for that week. I weigh myself 2-3 times a day.
• Serious fast slim down: If I am prepping for an event, a photoshoot, vacation, etc., 2-3 weeks before, I reduce my carbs significantly by adhering to a strict fasting and keto-friendly diet. I do not eat out at restaurants and just eat at home. I keep my sodium low to avoid bloating (I am a saltaholic so this is tough for me). I keep sugar to a minimum and avoid reaching for any of my vices (chips, cakes, cookies, pastas, etc.). Essentially, I will go on an egg (hard-boiled egg with no salt) and salad/vegetable diet. The salad will have cheese, Chedz and a scant of salad dressing (i.e. 1-2 teaspoons depending on the salad size). I will have whatever protein I am making for the family that evening but in smaller portions (i.e. meatballs, bacon, ground beef, chicken, fish, etc).
Fasting and keto take a lot of discipline but what keeps me going is the way I feel on both which is super healthy and energetic and I’m able to maintain my weight while feeling extra good.
If you slip up one day, don’t feel bad (well, I have a very guilty conscience and I usually feel bad) but you can always make it up the next day by being extra good. Likewise, if you are super good with your fasting and calorie intake one day, you can give yourself a breather the next day and still even out weight wise.
In my personal experience, I realize that my body does not need as much food to function and survive. I’ve been recreationally eating for years due to stress, anxiety, entertainment, boredom, etc. But now I am more conscious about what I purchase and eat. I don’t take any vitamins because I try to get the necessary vitamins from my diet.
Overall, what I have learned through my weight loss journey is to try different things and stick to what works best for your own body and schedule which includes different foods based on your dietary preferences and needs. This also includes workout routines. Different foods and routines work for different people and therefore it is important to be respectful of other’s dietary preferences, needs and schedules. Being open-minded to try new things and being flexible is key to acceptance.
Some of these tips may/may not work for everyone but it is a huge revelation for me personally to figure out what works for my own body and schedule. It took me 47 years and I owe this to Chedz and the keto community for inspiring me to try the keto way. It is also advisable to speak to your health care provider about starting any new dietary regimen.
Thank you to those who have given Chedz a try and have spread the word about our all-natural, keto-friendly snack. You are supporting small businesses and women and minority-owned.
Wishing you all love, peace, happiness, safety and good health for a lifetime.
Owner – Hall Brands LLC CHEDZ
Thank you to Mysterious Ramblings for doing a review on Chedz.
Click on the picture below for the video and review.
My new-found passion is to be a role model for young women, and to help encourage women entrepreneurs. Meet Dasha, who is Hall Brands’ first Marketing/Advertising Intern. Dasha is a high school senior and college student. Her hobbies include cinematography, photography, hiking, painting and designing clothes.
Dasha was born in Kazakhstan, a Central Asian country and former Soviet republic, in the year 2000. At the age of one, her family moved to Kaliningrad, Russia. In 2010, her family immigrated to the United States. She has since worked hard to assimilate to the new country and learn English.
She is one of the most mature, motivated and hard-working young women I have met to date. Dasha is working with Hall Brands to gain additional marketing and advertising skills to complete her senior project and to obtain additional college credits.
I look forward to mentoring Dasha through this internship. Likewise, I will look forward to working with her for our marketing/advertising needs. Upon graduating from high school, Dasha has plans to continue pursuing her college degree. She plans to seek a career in marketing and advertising.
One of my new found passion is to be a role model for young women and encourage women entrepreneurs. I had the opportunity to collaborate with a new women organization in New York, PantSuit Professionals, https://www.pantsuitprofessionals.com/ who kicked off their launch on May 10, 2017. Not only do they have a cool name but are a great women’s organization. Check out their info. We were happy to be able to donate Chedz for their kickoff event which looked fabulous!
Hall Brands LLC is a 2016 grand prize winner for Comcast Innovations for Entrepreneurs (I4E) national contest. I have been requested by Comcast Business Oregon to write a blog about my trip to Philadelphia to receive the prestigious award. It is challenging to express in words the incredible experience we had and the emotions I felt, as the trip exceeded all expectations – it was definitely my “most amazing business trip ever.” As you read through this, play the song “Gonna Fly Now” in your head (this is the theme song from the movie Rocky), as the lyrics of this song “Flying high now” best describe how I felt during the entire trip.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016:
We (my husband/business partner Matt and I) touched down in Philadelphia late Tuesday evening and were greeted at the airport by a friendly driver. He helped us fit our two huge boxes of product samples plus our luggage into his car while still keeping it comfortable for us, and drove us to The Logan Philadelphia, pointing out sights of Philadelphia along the way. After checking in, we grabbed a quick dinner close by at Pete’s Famous Pizza, which we very much enjoyed, as we are big fans of neighborhood diner-style restaurants. We took in the scenes around Logan Square while walking to and from the restaurant, and fell in LOVE with Philadelphia that night.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016:
Running our respective businesses (my husband is a founding partner of a law firm) required us to work the majority of Wednesday, with only a short lunch break to try an authentic Philly cheesesteak at Logan Square Pizza and Grill. The sandwiches did not disappoint, and disappeared quickly from our plates.
At 5:30 pm, we headed to The Library at The Logan Hotel for happy hour, where we met the 5 other grand prize winners and their guests, as well as the fantastic team from GMR and Comcast who planned this phenomenal experience for us. Around 6:30 pm, we headed to The Barnes Foundation for the awards dinner. At the museum, we had the opportunity to meet and mingle with some of the experts and take in the breathtaking exhibits. It almost felt as though we were in a Paris gallery. Sipping on premium wines, enjoying a divine dinner and having stimulating conversations made the evening perfect and dreamy in every way.
As I was walking up to accept my Comcast I4E award after a flattering and flawless introduction, I felt so humbled and honored to be receiving an award from such a respected company. Many people have suggested for me to go on Shark Tank – while that may be something to aspire to, being a Comcast I4E grand prize winner is even more exciting in a unique way that only a few will ever get to experience. Being an entrepreneur, I rarely ever get recognized for toiling away day after day. Having a company as grand as Comcast recognize our efforts means the world to me.
Thursday, August 18, 2016:
This was the exciting day where we would be able to meet with top entrepreneurs and industry leaders to get expert advice in six key areas: Finance, Business Planning, Growth Strategies, Operations & Technology, Marketing, and Digital Presence. The day started bright and early at 7:30 am for the walk to the Comcast Center, and didn’t end until 9:00 pm. The Comcast Center is an impressive building with spectacular views. Immediately following a delicious breakfast (Comcast fed their winners very well), the keynote kicked the day off with a discussion of “Building the Right Team,” which is a topic that has been on our minds for a very long time.
Following the keynote, there were breakout sessions throughout the day in which the 6 grand prize winners met with panels of the experts. The grand prize winners had the opportunity to share some of their key learnings via video, which we understand will be released to help other entrepreneurs benefit from the expert advice we received. We were absolutely “blown away” and “star struck” by all of the brilliant and highly successful experts and their personal achievements – it was surreal to be in the same room with them. However, they were all very approachable, helpful, and listened carefully to us. They provided valuable insights, tips and suggestions for actions that we had not considered, and generously offered to follow up after the event to help us move our company forward. Every one of the experts showed a genuine interest in helping our business become more successful. By the close of the meetings, we felt as though we received an immense amount of quality guidance to help take our business to the next level. Here are some key takeaways from meeting with the experts:
- Seek to build teams with members who bring diverse and relevant skills to the table and who share a common vision
- Always think about whether our company is targeting its most promising markets
- Develop backup plans for all key business functions
- Manage cash outlays via specialized financing solutions for capital expenditures and investments
- Seek industry partners that can help us grow for their own strategic reasons
- Carefully and deliberately align brand messaging and product offerings
- Simultaneously target distributors (push our product out) and customers (pull our product through) with coordinated marketing plans
- Focus on the most important marketing channels for our specific business – there is no “one size fits all” solution.
- Consider branding strategy and product mix to be a key component in planning for growth
And here are just a few of the many pieces of wisdom that the experts shared with us:
- “Don’t be a perfectionist to the point where you can’t make money. Be willing to bend. Leave your ego behind.”
- “Stay true to your brand.”
- “Be careful with how much equity you give to others early on – small businesses often give up too much.”
By 5pm, we had successfully made it through the expert sessions, and were treated to a ride on a traditional Philly trolley. We were not sure where it was taking us, but were happy for the time to reflect on the day, chat with the other grand prize winners, and take in more sights. Soon enough we arrived at the destination – the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where we were greeted with champagne! The cold bubbly was refreshing in the intense summer heat as we toasted to our success at the top of the famous “Rocky Steps!” Professional photos were taken of the winners and guests toasting to celebrate this amazing event. At the time, I did not even think about the significance of this legendary spot, but later was glad to have seen this iconic landmark from the famous movie.
All too soon, we again boarded the trolley, and were transported to the Reading Terminal Market for a private dinner event. It was another splendid evening of great drinks, food, desserts, music and company. Although my mind was overwhelmed with so much advice yet to be sorted out, I was somehow able to unwind and enjoy the festivities.
At 9 pm, the trolley dropped us back at The Logan hotel, where we said our farewells. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment, yet sadness swept over me knowing that we would be leaving this great city soon. In addition, I had already started missing the experts and everyone else that had done so much to make the last couple of days so special.
Friday, August 19, 2016:
On Friday, we were able to be tourists, and walked all over town for hours taking pictures of the historic sites and beautiful classic architecture. We also ate more delicious food. We even tried scrapple! It would have been nice to have an extra day (or week) in Philly, as we didn’t even come close to hitting all of the landmarks on our list, but this just gives us a reason to return in the future.
In our minds, this experience has been personally and professionally the most valuable, priceless business trip that we have ever taken. Everything was orchestrated perfectly and flawlessly. It exceeded our expectations, and has been life changing for me personally and a game changer for our Hall Brands LLC business. If we are able to grow Hall Brands LLC successfully, we will always credit Comcast as one of the companies that has helped get us there. Comcast gave us the red-carpet treatment, and made us feel like absolute winners.
As we departed Philly, the Rocky theme replayed in my head with the lyrics, “Gonna fly, fly, fly.” Comcast gave us the tools to help spread our wings and fly toward higher grounds. I now understand the significance of the champagne toast at the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art where the famous “Rocky Steps” occurred. It is the perfect location to toast to our victory as a 2016 Comcast I4E grand prize winner, one of our greatest achievements to date. We hope that as we put some of the advice to practice and continue to stay in touch with the experts that we will get many more of these “Rocky” triumphant moments. Thank you Comcast, and thanks to all of the experts and to the organizers behind the scenes – Hall Brands LLC will be forever grateful.
Monday, August 22, 2016 – Wednesday, August 31, 2016:
As soon as we landed in Portland, OR, reality hit and we were back in the trenches, working full force on our businesses. This was even more difficult than usual, as we were in the throes of “Philly withdrawal” – we really missed the city and all the pampering. Before we went on the trip, we had agreed that, even if the experts didn’t keep in touch and the trip turned out to be just a trip, it would still be very special. However, the remarkable thing is that the experts and other team members with whom we met are already (and proactively) taking actions to staying in touch, getting connected via LinkedIn and social media, and following up on their offers to help Hall Brands LLC with sales, marketing, networking and other strategic tasks. Just one week after the event, we already see a true dedication on their part to follow through with their ideas and suggestions. We are so impressed with this event – we still cannot believe how lucky we are. Thanks again to everyone involved! We hope to see everyone – the organizers, the experts and the other winners – sometime soon!
Wednesday, September 07, 2016:
I received my award in the mail today! Thank you Comcast Business for our FIRST ever shiny (and pointy) award!