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Case Study
Mar 19

Case Study – Conservative Management Success

Christina has implemented a Keto diet and successfully achieved a considerable weight loss, along with other health and lifestyle benefits. Sarah from our team has interviewed Christina, who has graciously agreed to share her story of how her conservative management of Lipoedema, has impacted her life.

Tell us about yourself and your journey with your weight and your Lipoedema

I had been dieting since I was 12 years old and had tried everything from Jenny Craig, to Weight Watchers, to calorie restriction, to pills. Some of these diets offered results but none had long term success. I had given up on dieting! I had decided to accept that everyone in my family was big and that I would be big too.

My husband passed away in 2004 and I lost interest in everything and just didn’t care anymore. I don’t like cooking for one person, especially with my Lymphoedema as I find it hard to stand for long periods while cooking. This meant that I ended up eating a lot of takeaway or dining out. I didn’t watch what I was eating at all during this time and my weight ballooned to well over a Plus size 36-38. I felt uncomfortable in public because of my weight and I felt guilty.

I had a GP that had been trying for several years to convince me to have gastric bypass surgery, which I was opposed to due to a negative family experience.

I wasn’t able to walk to the letterbox without pain. I was forced to upgrade my car a few years earlier because driving had become painful and I needed a car that made it easier for me to get in and out. I couldn’t stand the idea of not being able to drive and having to rely on a mobility scooter to get around! People rely on me and driving helps me to assist others, as well as have my own freedom.

My brother then passed away last year and he was only 2 years older than me. I thought to myself “this is ridiculous” and I knew I had to do something to avoid a similar fate to him.

At what stage did you learn you might have Lipoedema?

About 12 months ago a nurse at a local surgery mentioned Lipoedema to me, and also told me there was “nothing you can do about it.” I never looked it up or tried to find out anything more about it. I also never saw that nurse again.

Then, about a month after my brother died, I was reunited with my cousin at a funeral and my cousin told me about Lipoedema and Dr Lekich.

I did an internet search and found that Dr Lekich had 3 consults left for an upcoming clinic in Melbourne and I quickly booked in for an appointment on his next visit, which was in the following month.

At the time of booking Dr Lekich’s team suggested I try the keto diet prior to the consultation, as well as other conservative management techniques.

Tell us about your experience with the Keto Diet?

I decided to give keto a try in the month leading up to my appointment with Dr Lekich. I kept wondering how I would be able to stick to it, but I decided to give it a go! I didn’t expect it to work and I didn’t even weigh or measure myself before I started. I visited my GP for a referral we looked up my last known weight which was 8 months prior which was 180kg and I know I had gained even more since then but this is the weight I refer to as my starting weight.

One month, I was due for my appointment with Dr Lekich and I had already lost a lot of weight, at least 10 kilos. I was so impressed with everything I was learning about keto as well as the results I had achieved in such a short time. I couldn’t help but wonder why more Doctors weren’t promoting this diet as a weight loss tool.

I researched and researched everything I could find out about the keto diet. I downloaded the “Stupid, Simple Keto Diet App” on my phone so I could scan barcodes and track my eating – it keeps me honest! I checked and double checked everything that I was learning about keto to ensure that I was giving it my best shot. I also purchased a blood keto monitor and I love it!

How much weight have you lost with the Keto Diet?

I never expected to lose as much weight as I have. So far, I have lost 52.2 kilos within 9 months from the start weight I use of 180kg, and while it’s still working, I will continue with it. I’m still losing an average of 1 kilo a week. I don’t go to a gym or do much exercise but just being able to move and walk better is great although I still need my cane a little at times I think I will soon be able to walk freely without it all together

I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything in my diet. The only cheat meal I have had was a small slice of plum pudding with a spoonful of brandy custard on Christmas Day as it’s a traditional family recipe, which was an intentional and planned detour from the Keto diet. I don’t generally miss the sugary sweet stuff!

I now have a great GP who is fully supportive of my keto diet and encourages me the whole way.

Has the Keto Diet had any other positive impacts on your health or your life?

Even though I’ve lost weight, I’ve also experienced relief in other areas. Within 2 weeks of starting keto, I felt far less pain in my legs and I haven’t had any pain killers (other than turmeric) since starting keto.

I used to have to take pain killers before going to see a show at the theatre, as I couldn’t sit for 2-3 hours without being in pain – this is not a problem for me at all now!

I know I look and feel a lot thinner now. I think it will be a little while until I feel really proud of the way I look, but I am feeling very happy with my weight loss so far.

I also started a keto group in town with a few other ladies who meet now and then and share with each other on a private Facebook group.

Do you have any short-term goals or plans for your health or lifestyle?

Yes, I’m looking forward to being able to buy clothes at the shops and I even bought myself 2 pairs of leggings to wear under dresses and skirts – which I have never owned before! My goal later this year is to be able to walk freely around. Take a cruise even go swimming again without being stared at because of my weight and be able to fit in a seat on a plane without being in pain. I can now envisage achieving these goals in my near future. My long-term reward upon reaching a comfortable goal weight will be to buy the bon moto-trike I’ve always wanted to ride off into the sunset on to explore new places.

I wear compression to the knee (even though they get too big for me too quickly at the moment!) and soon I will be able to buy flat knit compression to the waist.

I would like to continue to lose weight and look and feel comfortable. I am 64 years old, so I have no expectations about a goal weight but I feel that 80 kilos would be the minimum I would want to achieve. I would just like to feel happy with myself.

I would also like to see how much more of the weight I can lose myself without surgical intervention.

I am still considering surgery in the future, as my thighs are quite large and I may need surgery to reduce the Lipoedema fat in these areas. However, I may also need to consider surgery to remove my excess skin as well. Once I am satisfied that I have lost as much weight as I can myself, as well as explored all the options for conservative management, I will then reassess my surgical options.

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