Suzanne Ryan weighed nearly 300 pounds when she decided to make a change.
Five years later, Ryan, who documents her weight loss journey online, has lost 120 pounds and transformed not just her body but her life.
Ryan is the author of a new book "Beyond Simply Keto." In it, she shares not only keto-friendly recipes but also how she was able mentally to achieve such a major weight-loss goal.
Read below for Ryan's three tips for keto followers and two of her most popular keto recipes.
1. Focus on your mindset and mental health.
"Even the most perfect plan will fall short if you don’t believe in your ability to succeed. The bottom line here is that getting healthier is an inside job. As someone who has struggled with low self-esteem and depression, working on my inner voice and mindset through reading and counseling was by far one of the most important steps in my journey of losing 120 pounds. Also, it’s really beneficial to have a support system that keeps you uplifted and accountable."
2. Progress not perfection. Ditch the all or nothing approach.
"It’s important to know that forming healthy eating habits will always be a work in progress. Therefore, try to stay away from the mindset of all or nothing. Even if you eat something that is "off plan," don't allow that one choice to landslide the rest of your choices for the day. Get back on track with your next meal, and leave the guilt trip at the door. Progress, not perfection is the goal here."
3. Keep it simple. Don’t overthink it.
"When you’re starting a new way of eating, it’s easy to go down a rabbit hole of learning all the things. While it’s good to be educated, sometimes this can feel overwhelming and prevent you from starting. Often, it’s better to keep things simple and just jump in. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn along the way. You will continue to make adjustments as you go. For example, when I first started keto, I didn’t check my blood ketones or worry extensively about macros. I simply ate keto-friendly foods and tracked carbs."
Yield: 6 bagels (1 per serving)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
"There are a million keto bagel recipes out there, but I found that using flaxseed meal really makes this recipe special. Not only is flaxseed full of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, but it also really changes the texture of these bagels to become more 'breadlike' than most other keto bagels I’ve tried. These bagels are great to make the night before because they are even better once they are sliced and toasted."
3 cups shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
2 ounces cream cheese (1/4 cup), cubed
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg, for the egg wash
2 tablespoons everything bagel seasoning mix
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Microwave the mozzarella and cream cheese for 2 minutes. Take out, stir, and microwave the cheeses for an additional minute. Take out and stir until the cheeses are combined and smooth.
In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder, and salt. Add the mozzarella mixture and eggs to the dry ingredients and start kneading with your hands. You can also do this in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Make sure everything is well mixed together.
Divide the dough into 6 equal portions, then form each into a round disk, about ½ inch thick. Using your finger, poke a hole into the center of each disk and mold to form a bagel shape.
Whisk the remaining egg in a small bowl. Brush the egg wash on the top of each bagel, then carefully sprinkle the bagel seasoning evenly onto the tops of the bagels.
Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Serve as is or slice in half and toast before serving. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or zip-top bag for 2 to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
Nutrition information, per serving: 302 calories, 23g fat, 20g protein, 6g carbs, 4g fiber, 2g net carbs.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Yield: 8 servings (1 cup per serving)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
"This is a classic creamy soup that your whole family will enjoy. Any leftovers will reheat really well, and oftentimes soups taste even better on the second day!"
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup diced yellow onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart (32 ounces) vegetable broth or chicken broth
6 cups broccoli florets
1 cup half-and-half
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon hot sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, then add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are soft and the garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Pour in the broth and broccoli florets and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
Add the half-and-half, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and hot sauce, if using.
Continue cooking and stirring for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the soup has thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Nutrition information, per serving: 365 calories; 28g fat; 16g protein; 9g total carbs; 3g fiber; 6g net carbs.
Recipes reprinted with permission from Suzanne Ryan and "Beyond Simply Keto."
Editor's note: This was originally published on Jan. 14, 2020.