Ketogenic Way of Eating:  Challenges, Successes and Support for Change

Leslyn Keith, OTD and Catherine Seo, PhD

“By changing nothing, nothing changes.”   ~ Tony Robbins

Katrina’s Story

Katrina started a Ketogenic Way of Eating (KWOE) 3 years ago. At the beginning she weighed 400 lbs/181 kg. She didn’t know about lipedema at the time and shares she’s glad she didn’t know that experts say that lipedema fat is resistant to diet and exercise. Eating low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high fat and giving up all artificial sweeteners, Katrina has lost 200 lbs/90 kg. She exercises regularly and is fully committed to her new healthy lifestyle. She also helps others as a KWOE coach. Katrina’s story is one in a series of hundreds of successes being reported by women who have lipedema. A KWOE seems to work to reduce weight, inflammation, swelling and pain associated with lipedema.

[Katrina's Pictures]

Ketogenic Way of Eating Means Lifestyle Changes

Perhaps, you have read about the amazing success people are experiencing using a KWOE for many health conditions, including lymphatic disorders, and now you want to try it.  Where do you start?  Is it hard to find ketogenic foods?  Do you have to learn a different way of cooking?  What will your friends and family say?  There are so many websites with information on ketogenic eating, and a lot of it is contradictory.  How do you know which information is right?  It all seems so overwhelming.  Or is it?


A ketogenic way of eating is really very simple, but changing from a plant-based, high carbohydrate diet can still be challenging.  We are creatures of habit and tend to resist change rather strongly.  Margaret Mead is credited with saying “It is easier to change a man's religion than to change his diet.”  Our eating habits are shaped by social, political, cultural, financial, and medical forces and more.


Mende’s Story

Mende struggled with her weight for years wearing mostly 20/22 size pants. She was looking for information online for her mother who was experiencing pain and swelling in her disproportionately large legs. She realized that both she and her mother had lipedema and began KWOE in September 2016. Over the months her weight dropped, but even more important to Mende, her swelling reduced. She was able to wear her wedding ring again after it hadn’t fit for over 25 years. Recently she shared her latest victory, her ankle swelling reduced enough for her to fit into strappy sandals.


Mende shared, “Even when I was 12 years old and about 140 pounds, I've had wide feet. I sometimes could get by with regular width shoes, but they had to be made a certain way in order to fit. I also could never wear shoes that tied or fastened around my ankles because of ankle swelling. Well, since I've been nearly a year on keto, I've discovered that I actually have narrow feet! During my shopping trip yesterday, I decided to try on some strappy heels, and guess what! They fit!!!

[Katrina's Pictures]

How to Make the Changes

We would like to provide you with the information and resources to make this important lifestyle change.  As always, remember that it is important to consult with your medical provider before making drastic dietary changes, particularly if you are taking medication.  The dosage of your medication may need to be decreased with this way of eating, and only your physician can do this for you safely.


After removing all foods from your home that are not on the list of ketogenic foods, then replenish with healthy foods.  You can find an excellent list of foods at:  Lipedema & KETO Way of Eating Face Book group in the pinned posts.  This list includes real foods, not processed or packaged foods for the most part.  When restocking your pantry at the grocery store, visit the produce, meat, and dairy sections for the bulk of your shopping.  Purchase the foods on the list that you like and will enjoy eating.  If you are not a fan of duck or okra or cabbage, for instance, there is no need to force yourself to eat these things.  There are plenty of delicious ketogenic foods to choose from.

Now that you have your kitchen stocked with appetizing foods, you can plan your meals.  There are several online sources for meal ideas that we provide for you at the end of this article.  The main principle is to keep it simple.  No need to make a fancy soufflé when melted cheese on steamed cauliflower will be just as pleasing!  A typical morning meal can be scrambled eggs, bacon and half of an avocado.  Mid-day you may want to have your favorite sandwich, but eaten with a fork on a bed of lettuce instead of with your hands and encased in bread.  In the evening you may eat a grilled steak or salmon accompanied with steamed asparagus and a salad.  An important principle is to only eat when you are hungry and stop when full.  You may find that you want to eat only once or twice a day.

Keto WOE Meals are Delicious

[recipe picture]

© 2017. Catharina Lindgren photography, Sweden. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Upper left: Pizza with cauliflower crust Upper right: Caesar salad with bacon
Lower left: Zucchini lazagne Lower right: Bunless bacon burger with green bean fries


Lipedema Getting Better: Stories From a Few Lipedema Ladies

Many report a very rapid result in terms of symptom reduction.


Ann Marie shared, “Today I am starting day 5, and I am down 7 lbs. This diet is crucial for me. Since day 3, I have not had any pain in my legs or even in my knees. I may not lose much weight or inches in my legs because if this condition I have, but I feel better and the pain is gone. This WOE is amazing and great for your health!”


Andrea shared, “I haven't felt this good in a long time. I was wearing a leg brace and walking with a cane. I was able to shed my brace a couple weeks ago. 75lbs/34 kg down and counting! I'm never going back! I was on three meds and have eliminated two. I'm looking forward to the day I'm pill free!”


And in some cases, while the scale might not show significant results, there still seems to be significant benefits.


Christina shared, “I've been keto for three months. I haven't lost one ounce, but I've lost inches and I've gained a stronger sense of self. For the first time in years, my feet and legs don't hurt after standing all day. I felt energetic even after I got home from work. And I didn't have any blood sugar crashes like I used to. Best of all, I haven't binged on food in three months straight. So, I guess I should feel disappointed in keto since the scale reads the same as it did June 1, but I'm really happy with the results.”


Easy Reminders

Here are some good reminders to help you make the transition that are taken from A Low Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet Manual: No Sugar, No Starch Diet by Dr. Eric Westman.

  • “Carbs make you hungry”
  • “Fruit makes you fat”
  • “Fruit is nature’s candy”
  • “Eat fat to burn fat”
  • “Don’t fear the fat”
  • “Corn is fed to animals to make foie gras"
  • “It’s not YOUR fault—it’s the carbs’ fault”
  • “You don’t have to eat everything on your plate!”
  • “Eat when hungry, drink when thirsty”


Keto WOE is basically simple. Eat real food when you are hungry, eat lots of good fat, skip the carbs except the good ones minimally, and include a moderate amount of protein. Food is meant to be nourishing and life sustaining. You can enjoy your food. You can eliminate cravings. Most importantly, you can begin to experience progress even with lipedema. According to many, the challenges of changing old habits are met with success and greater health.




Lipedema & KETO Way of Eating Face Book group

Lipedema & Keto WOE Mentoring Community (membership goup)

The Lipedema Project Keto –

Dr Leslyn Keith –

Coaching with Katrina:

Diet Doctor –

Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) Symposium Series

The Science and Practice of Low Carb/High Fat/Ketogenic Way of Eating for Lymphatic

    Disorders Dr. Eric Westman

Diet and Lifestyle for Lymphatic Disorders: Implementing a Ketogenic Diet Dr. Leslyn Keith