By SHAE DANILO
Tamara Donnison used to weigh 141 kilograms. She would drink alcohol, binge eat and watch TV. That was it. She described her old self as a closet binge eater, occasionally eating a Big Mac in her car before walking inside to eat dinner. After Tamara’s 64.4 kilogram weight loss, she now describes herself as a corporate gangster who’s keen on being fit and awesome.
In January 2018, the now 33-year-old from Melbourne decided to start eating a keto diet. She cut out carbs and sugar and begun counting her calories for eight months before gaining the confidence to go to the gym.
“A keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet with moderate protein,” Tamara says. “You’re putting your body in a state of ketosis. You can have higher density foods that are high in fat. So, eggs, bacon or avocado. Instead of burning glucose, which is sugar, your body is burning ketones, so you’re using your fat as your energy source.”
Tamara made her lifestyle change after a long history of heart and diabetes-related illnesses impacted her family.
“You know, I was at rock bottom when I started, I was a pre-diabetic. My mum passed away at 58 from diabetes-related illness. My dad has a stent and all my uncles have stents. There’s a lot of heart and diabetes-related illnesses throughout both sides of my family,” she says.
Tamara was on high blood pressure tablets and her knees were sore.
“I honestly thought at my heaviest that this is my luck in life. I’m just going to be that fat funny girl and that’s it, you know?”
Tamara says she is a big goal setter, and that has helped to her weight loss success and her constant drive and motivation.
During her weight loss journey, Tamara joined a community of online support through Instagram. She says a key factor to her motivation has been the many people all over the world supporting her online.
“I found that Instagram for me is my accountability. I’ve gotten all these followers that look forward to seeing what I do every day,” she says.
The community Tamara has joined online has educated her on being able to eat cleaner foods. The common misconception within a keto diet is that people can only eat bacon and eggs. However, Tamara says through growing her knowledge and having an online community, she now eats stir fries, salads and vegetables.
“I’m fortunate that everyone in my life has remained and I haven’t lost any friends,” she says. “If anything, I’ve got better relationships with them because I’m more authentic in myself and I’m not holding back.”
Tammy Anne, Tamara’s close family friend of five years, says Tamara is a different person than who she was a few years ago.
“Tamara is so proud that she’s changed her life around,” Tammy says. “She has such a great deal of pride and confidence in herself now and she doesn’t put walls up anymore.”
Tamara says she loves her life now and that keto is more than just a diet – it’s about what it does for you.
“You’re more focused and have more energy. That’s another reason why I’ve kept at it for so long because I like the way it makes me feel,” she says.
She is now excited to travel and experience opportunities that before she would have struggled to do.
“It was only a couple of weeks ago, I was like, I can jump out of a plane if I want to! I’m not too heavy anymore. I could jump out of a plane if I wanted to do that. Maybe I will. Maybe I’ll jump out of a plane.”