Countless people swear bythe ketogenic diet, saying that they lost weight and got in shape by following this trendy low-carb, high-fat plan. But one mom’s road to keto diet success was totally unplanned—and it all started with an informal challenge by her husband.

In June 2017, Keli Ricci and her husband, Tyler, made a bet to see who could go the longest on a low-carb diet. The mom of two weighed 207 pounds at the time, and her weight made her feel uncomfortable. So she agreed to take on the challenge.

At first, the couple didn’t follow any specific diet. They simply cut most carbs from their meals, including starches and sugar. But as anyone who tried ditching carbs knows, it isn’t easy. Tyler ended up caving at the two-week point after losing 10 pounds. Keli decided to continue.

“I was happy with my success after losing a few pounds, so I decided to keep going,” Keli tells Health. Soon, her general low-carb plan turned into the keto diet. “As I was looking up low-carb recipes and food inspiration, I kept seeing things about the keto diet and started making little changes to get into ketosis.”

In ketosis, the body burns fat for fuel instead of stored carbs. Getting your body in a state of ketosis is one of the goals of the keto diet, which stipulates that followers obtain 75{808354920710da2c58ca4c121b2f9cd001b60a9f3e57a0e917ca94f1376ace86} to 90{808354920710da2c58ca4c121b2f9cd001b60a9f3e57a0e917ca94f1376ace86} of their daily calories come from fat, 6{808354920710da2c58ca4c121b2f9cd001b60a9f3e57a0e917ca94f1376ace86} to 20{808354920710da2c58ca4c121b2f9cd001b60a9f3e57a0e917ca94f1376ace86} from protein, and 2{808354920710da2c58ca4c121b2f9cd001b60a9f3e57a0e917ca94f1376ace86} to 5{808354920710da2c58ca4c121b2f9cd001b60a9f3e57a0e917ca94f1376ace86} from carbs.

By May 2018, Keli’s weight plunged from 207 pounds to 125 pounds. Now, a year later, she has maintained her weight by eating mainly cheese, chicken, steak, and vegetables. She tracks her daily food intake on a weight loss app and stays active by working out and playing with her two children.

 

“I’ve never been at a point in my life where I felt comfortable with my weight, and I’d tried losing it so many times and given up,” Keli says. “I can’t really say why it was easier this time, but I guess I just felt ready. Once I heard about the keto diet and started changing from a low-carb to keto diet, I started really enjoying my meals, and I was having a lot of success with weight loss, which motivated me to keep going!”

“Being in ketosis helps calm the big swings in hunger and blood sugar spikes that come with a diet full of sugar,” she adds. “I’m satisfied between meals and rarely snack or even feel the need to being in ketosis.”