I get asked a lot by Brands that I work with how I got into being a digital creator (influencer). It is always this same question, "What made you decide to create your blog/social media/become an influencer?"
Let me be clear, I am a digital creator, influencer and I do get paid by brands. That is my "job" now. Has this always been my job, 100% - NO! And I have even turned down 2 company management offers since starting. Let me explain.
If I am being honest, this website was created because I was continually copy and pasting my recipe to people over and over again. Then they kept asking "where can I find these ingredients?", and it was easier to just create a page to send everyone to. But let's tell the whole story. The good, the bad, and the sad. I am a firm believer that if people can see someone else being 100% honest and vulnerable, it ultimately helps them as well. And I like to help people. Whether it is staying on a diet, saving them some money, or making them feel a kindred spirit. So, here we go! "My story behind The Ketosis Mom."
In 2016, I was working for a pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Georgia. I transitioned into manufacturing from the clinical world, and I was in plasma operations. This means, everything happening at the plant that could effect any part of supply chain from beginning to end, was my team's "work". It was fast paced, I was one of the younger people there, in my late 20's. I was also used to fast paced and being able to understand an entire process from a lean perspective for continuous improvement. Oh, I have a Bachelors in Science from the University of Kentucky and a Masters degree in Heath Administration. I am also certified in lean six sigma training. I had "a career".
That same year, I became pregnant with my first child. That same year, my father died (suddenly, and cause of death, a mystery). My father died while on a work trip, it is still unclear if it was on a plane or getting onto the plane. He was 59 years old. I was 11 weeks pregnant when that happened. I was (I am) a daddy's girl. This hit me like a freight train. I have always been a "stress eater". Being pregnant for the first time and not really knowing what normal cravings were vs am I just stress eating, I started gaining weight fairly quickly. When I was almost 5 months pregnant, my family threw me a baby shower. After my shower, Joe (my husband) and I went and bought this car. My father was the CAO of Kia Motors Manufacturing in Georgia. He told me before he died that he wanted me to get a new "mommy car". So I did, and I got it in a pearl white, which was what he and I always agreed "looked nice on cars".
Two weeks after I bought this car, brand new. I was on my way to work at 730 am in the morning. My husband also worked at the same facility, but was already there. We always drove separate despite working in the same location. Going straight on a highway, there were two stop signs on either side of the road where I was crossing. I saw 5 cops that morning. Which is why I know I was going the speed limit. One of the cars, to my left, did not stop at their stop sign. I was on the highway with the right away. They did not see me coming (or maybe they did?) I have no way of knowing. All I know is that I ended up in a ditch, my brand new car totaled, all I saw was white, and I could not breathe. When I came to there was blood all over me and I could not see from one eye. My whole body hurt and my driver side door was flung open by a man asking me was I ok. I did not know if I was ok because I was just trying to breathe. Even with slamming on my breaks I just remember thinking: am I ever going to stop? Is my car stopping? am I ok? is the baby ok? did I just die?
I am going to fast forward through everything that happened from there and just go ahead and tell you all. Yes, the baby was ok. As a matter of fact my trauma doctor screamed at nurses in the room for saying "she is fine", because he said "did it ever occur to you she didn't know it was a girl?" FYI trauma rooms are scary, with lots of people, but if you try and answer them the best you can it goes much faster. According to my report I read later, I was unconscious, but I thought I was awake. I had facial lacerations that resulted in a lot of stitches. Also me yelling that the Dr needed to knock me out before coming at my face with giant needles. I had broken orbital bones, a fractured sternum, and a hip that was knocked out of place (but no one knew my hip was out of place until AFTER I had the baby. I was told they could not scan my abdominal area because of the baby). I had retinal hemorrhaging and saw a specialist in Atlanta, but I still have small black out moments when my blood pressure raises.
* If you do not like seeing blood in photos, scroll down quickly*
I was blessed to be alive. As someone I worked with had just died from a wreck identical to this "t bone" accident, as they called it, that same February. But, let's recap all the things to make someone eat more with STRESSORS. I was 1) pregnant, 2) my father died, 3) I was in a major car accident. Now, let's keep going shall we. I know, you're thinking wait, there is MORE?! Yes, there is.
I was in physical therapy for the remainder of my pregnancy. I was also seeing multiple specialists to determine if I would require any surgeries. On top of my OB provider. I developed a severe gallbladder infection that a surgeon said needed to be removed immediately. This ended up being a fight between the OB and surgeon over when it would be removed. It was ultimately settled that it would be after my c section (yes I had to have a c section due to all of my injuries from this wreck). It was my first major surgery and I was scared. Very scared. Do not google statistics around childbirth in the USA, especially when pregnant and already having a bad YEAR! So now let's add in 4) gallbladder infection/surgery and 5) C-section to all the stressors. I also could barely walk or move. I gained close to 100 pounds through this whole first pregnancy. Oh by the way, I also have hypothyroidism and they never changed my dosage the whole pregnancy (when you are supposed to be monitored). So.... something had to change. Something that I could actually control. Because for the entire 2016 year, nothing was in my control.
Ultimately, I lost my role at work the moment I told them I was pregnant (car wreck or not). The car wreck just solidified their decision to split my role between multiple people and hire new ones as well. When I did return to work (yes, I did go back). They left me in my old role for 1 month and 1 day before moving me to a team that I had 0 experience in. However, neither did anyone on that entire team. The director of that area was also known to only be there as a "friend" (of some sort) of the leadership that did not know their burro from a burrow. I do not care if she ever reads this, because my feelings towards her were always very well known. I do not like people at work who pretend to know things, that do not. I had spent the previous 3 years questioning what anyone on the entire team even did, or knew in general. And trust me, I was not the only one. Her being told I was coming to her team, went over swimmingly. When I say swimmingly, I mean she went into leadership's office crying and begging to not put me on her team. She did not want me on her team because I had embarrassed them in the past. I do not deny that. I often called out people lying in meetings or would keep asking questions because I knew they did not know how to answer it. I am a brutally honest person, even at work. If you are not capable of (or in this case qualified) doing your job, I often would point that out, even to your face. So long story short, this lady told everyone on her team to just not show me anything because she "was not planning to keep me anyway." She would call mandatory meetings every time I would go to the mother's room to pump, and then claim I was not present. I was also asked by male members of the team what exactly was I doing while in that room. And yes, HR did know all of this. The team had 1 procedure written in 4+ years of work and it was about how to attend a morning meeting. I think we ALL know people like this at work. Somehow getting through because of personal relationships. Nonetheless, I put in my notice because I knew it was only a matter of time before I exploded around ignorance. My leadership had replaced me when I was still there, around 3 months pregnant. The way this lady spoke to "her team" was also awful (both verbally as well as written emails). Have you ever met someone that could not communicate what they were asking for, because they could not understand the ask themselves? Boom. That was her. Then when she tried to present it to other leaders and could not answer their questions (because she herself did not understand any of it) expect a tongue lashing because "she looked dumb". Instead of allowing me to help her, also in knowing what people would ask in those meetings, she decided I was the enemy coming from another team. So ... my husband knew everything going on. Note that BOTH he and I were "exceeds" performers in our roles and always have been. He was recruited by multiple companies after I placed my notice and we decided that it was a sign to just move on. So now let's add in 6) new baby in the house, 7) work stress and 8) relocation . How do you all think my weight was doing up until here?
(Picture of my miracle baby)
This was my "turning point" where I stopped with "lazy keto" and "low carb" and went into what most people call strict keto. I was spiraling out of control with different MAJOR stressors in my life. But I still lost weight. I was not exercising. Let me be very clear. I could still barely stand to walk because my hip was out of place and I was in physical therapy.
When we moved to New York, from Georgia, I lost around 65 pounds postpartum. Note, this was not everything I had gained. I had to work really hard to make sure I was losing that weight. Throughout my journey, I had a lot of family members and friends asking me what was I doing or eating and could they get recipes for it. I found I was constantly typing out the recipe, searching for the photo and hitting send. I also found that I personally did better when I took a picture of each meal and saved it somewhere, aka personal accountability. So my Instagram account @KetosisMom was born sometime in 2017. I also enrolled to be an Amazon Associate (I believe I have to put #sponsored here per their guidelines). This gave me the capability to TAG the products I was using in my recipes I was uploading.
In 2018, I created this website because I wanted to have a full library or recipes for ME to easily reference during meal planning. Instead of scrolling my Instagram feed in search of "how did I make that last time?". I became pregnant with our 2nd child in 2019, and I ate keto during the pregnancy as well as postpartum and lost 85 lbs after giving birth. I had gained around 60 lbs with her.
So let's recap. 100 lbs gained with pregnancy 1, lost 65 lbs of that. Gained 60 pounds with pregnancy number 2, lost 85 lbs so far from that. So I am still up 10 lbs from before getting pregnant (but honestly needed to lose before then as well). I have ups and downs. I still have stress that gets to me, but I am trying to control the weight gain and continue to lose. That is my "current state". I am assuming my audience likes following along with my struggles, because it is relatable. I DO have trouble staying full #keto and often fall off the wagon. I try what I refer to as 80/20. 80% of the time I am keto and 20% (vacation and holidays) I have what I want. And yes, it makes me physically feel awful.
(sweet baby #2)
With the creation of this website and posting blogs that were often in response to things people asked me, came some brand sponsorships. At first, I did not want to work with brands. I wanted to just have this as a means to organize myself, my recipes, my thoughts or responses to people with questions. I even worked with numerous people on customized meal plan development to get them started. Then I realized that a lot of products I was recommending, I could get my followers a discount on. My work with partners, brands, sponsorships all began with me responding to brands I was already recommending and using. I have an entire discounts section for things I have used for years! I get asked by people, "do you feel like a sell out for working with brands?" My answer is No. I feel like my relationship with brands is ultimately a perk for people who follow me. My amazon associates account turned into an Amazon Influencer Storefront and myself, and my entire family test products, review products, show unboxing, or installation videos. We have made a family affair out of "work".
The way I look back on all of this now, is this was "the car wreck that changed my career, and my life". I had an awakening and self awareness of how much stress and pressure I had around me, and needed to do something to fight back. My social media and this website has been a way for me to reflect, hold myself accountable, and also share some really great finds, products, and reviews with people. My audience helps ME stay accountable. And I help them save money and find out more on products and brands.
I tag things I like, want, use, would gift, am gifting, even review new items that have not even hit the public yet. I also tag clothes I love and what they look like on me - with my weight changes - to help other women find something they too can love and feel great in. How great is that? How great is it that you can control what brands you work with? That you can ask your audience what do they want to see or know more about? It is a lot better than working somewhere that filled your job the moment they found out you were pregnant.
Yes, I am still working to lose weight. Yes, I am still working to control stress (we are about to relocate AGAIN). Yes, I share honest opinions with my audience. Yes, I love what I do now.
- The Ketosis Mom