Significant changes don’t usually happen overnight, and Michael, known to Instagram as @fat_dad_keto, is no exception. It started with a series of small events: regular trips to the store to buy larger and larger clothes, avoiding shoes with laces because they felt restrictive, and even difficulty literally fitting into public places and spaces. The final of these small events happened at Michael’s best friend’s wedding; he had gotten fitted for his suit during the summer, and on the day of the wedding, the suit was uncomfortably tight. Despite it being an objectively joyous day, inside, Michael was unhappy and uncomfortable. Then came the pictures, and Michael did not like what he saw. A couple false starts and two months later, Michael committed to changing his life for the better, for good.
Michael gave the keto diet a try in late 2014 and has since amassed an Instagram following of over 36 thousand followers by sharing content around his keto meals and substitutions. He’s humble even to the point of self-deprecation when I tell him his feed looks delicious, “That’s kind of you to say! Between my ugly counters, full plates, and poor kitchen lighting, I think they all look rather unappealing!” He describes his reasons for sharing his meal by saying “When I first started I received a lot of support, advice, and inspiration from this community, now that I have a few people that follow my journey, I feel like it’s the least I can do. Meal planning and recipe creation can be pretty overwhelming, so if sharing what I eat is helpful to people starting their journey, I’m happy to help.” He tells me it’s important to show people that making a lifestyle change doesn’t mean they’re going to have to “reinvent the wheel.”
Conscious of the many opinions floating around about the keto diet, Michael tells me what he thinks about it. “All I can speak to is how it’s affected my life. It’s made me much more conscious of the food I’m putting into my body, and it’s certainly helped me lose weight. Keep in mind that I’m not always ‘on plan’ or strict with keto, but since starting, I’ve been much more mindful of food, exercise, health, and fitness in general. My outlook used to be a lot more ‘black and white,’ and doing something as challenging and rewarding as keto has really helped me embrace the gray in life.” When I press him again about his response to the keto naysayers, he keeps it diplomatic and says, “My main response is to do some research, consult your doctor, and try and keep an open mind.”
I agree to let him out of the “hot seat” for a second and ask him about his cravings and his favorite products. He lights up and starts telling me about his love for eggs. He’s like the Bubba Gump of eggs. Egg scrambles, egg omelets, eggs on the side, eggs in a crustless quiche (we happen to have a great quiche recipe with a crust if you're into that kind of thing). Michael and eggs, sitting in a tree. Once we’re done obsessing over eggs, he tells me about the brands he supports. What’s most important for him is that a brand is authentic. “I’d so much rather talk to and work with a small company with real people who care about their product and their customers than a giant faceless corporation.” He says the companies he appreciates most are the ones who aren’t just looking for an Instagram story post, but the ones who actually are interested in customer feedback.
When I ask him to narrow down his three favorite keto brands, he looks a bit pained. After some contemplation, he lands on the original keto bars. “They might be my absolute favorite product, actually. Great macros, fantastic taste and texture, versatile, and the people behind the brand are cool.” I ask for second and third (he assures me these are in no particular order), and he says, “Outer Aisle thins and crusts are delicious and have kept me from going ‘off plan’ quite a few times. Oh, and I still have a soft spot for Quest products, in particular, their protein bars. They definitely got me through my first year on keto.”
“Ok, Michael,” I say, “now it’s time to inspire people, but we can’t make it look all like rainbows and ice cream sundaes, so talk to me about the hard parts of all this.” He tells me the hardest part of his journey has been finding the mental motivation, remaining disciplined, and remaining consistent after five years. He says it can be easy to get complacent, and it can sometimes be hard to “keep pushing.” He says it can sometimes be hard to keep setting new goals because a part of him feels satisfied with what he’s already accomplished.
I tell him that now it’s time to hit people with his best inspirational advice, and he doesn’t disappoint. He says, “Be patient, recognize that you’re not going to hit your goals immediately. Understand that perfection is a myth, and that progress takes time. Expect speed bumps and hiccups and setbacks. Give it time and allow yourself some grace.” I ask him if he’s ever considered life coaching, he immediately shoots back, “Are life coaches allowed to curse?”
Follow Michael on Instagram @fat_dad_keto if you, too, are into eggs.