I will never forget the look on my husband's face as he emerged at the top of the basement steps. Bryan's eyes were bright red and filled with tears. "My dad passed."
My father-in-law was only 58 years old.
He had checked into the hospital on November 16, 2016 for a routine procedure, went into cardiac arrest under anesthesia, and was unable to be resuscitated.
As if losing a parent the week before Thanksgiving wasn't bad enough, on December 4, 2016, I received a 6-word text from my mom that will remain seared in my memory forever: "Dad having a stroke. Ambulance here."
Twelve days later...December 16, 2016...exactly one month after the death of my father-in-law...exactly nine days before Christmas...my father passed away.
My father was only 69 years old.
As we wallowed in the shock and pain of losing both dads so quickly, we knew we had a problem. Bryan and I had been gaining weight for years. I had suffered a severe back injury that resulted in back surgery when I was 26, and I used that as an excuse to avoid exercise. With my challenging corporate career, I was perfectly content to sit in my office chair day-in and day-out, and say I was "too tired to exercise" when I got home.
Bryan was a professional athlete and played in the National Football League (NFL). He suffered a career-ending hip injury in 2005, that required reconstructive surgery. He was used to being able to eat 5,000+ calories a day to maintain his weight. Upon retiring from the NFL, he was no longer physically active as part of his career, and also found difficulty in making time to exercise.
And let's not forget about our diets. When we first moved from Pittsburgh, PA to our home in Fayetteville, PA (about an hour south of Harrisburg), we used the "we don't have furniture" excuse to order pizza every night. Then, we used the "we are too tired to cook" excuse almost every night after work. But instead of choosing healthy options when we went to a restaurant, we ate mostly fried foods and sandwiches and pastas. While every bite was delicious, we knew in the back of our minds that we weren't taking very good care of ourselves.
Bryan and I had developed a bit of a cavalier attitude about our health. We figured, as long as our "numbers" were good (cholesterol, A1C, triglycerides, etc.), we could keep doing what we were doing. And that mindset worked - for a little bit. Then it didn't. We quickly started to see blood tests with increasing risk factors, and we were only in our 30s. When we combined this with the death of both of our fathers - both of whom were diagnosed with cardiovascular issues, as well as the same risk factors we were seeing - we knew we had hit rock bottom.
So what do you do when you hit rock bottom?
You fight. You pull out all the stops and do something to fix the problem - no matter how "crazy" people say you are.
So at our rock bottom, Bryan and I turned to crazy healthy keto.