Just after Christmas in 2015, Houma native Jeffery Haydel joined his family on a cruise to Mexico. When he and his family landed in Cozumel, Jeffery felt like he was having a heart attack while walking on the island. Being at his biggest weight, around 530 pounds, Jeffery had to be helped back to the boat by his father and brother. Still being out of breath the next day, he was unable to join his family when the ship landed in Progreso. Jeffery, who was just 28-years-old at the time, had to be physically wheeled off the boat when it got back inland. He couldn’t breathe or walk due to his weight. This experience, which he calls “the biggest eye-opener,” sparked his now 200-pound weightless journey.
In March the following year, Jeffery went under the knife and got gastric sleeve surgery.
“A normal person’s stomach is the size of about a two-liter bottle”, Jeffery says, “After my surgery, they got me down to a 12-ounce can, so my portion sizes were able to be smaller.”
From the surgery to September 2017, he was able to drop 130 pounds. Unfortunately, Jeffery hit a slump later that month when he broke his foot. Not being active and having a poor diet caused him to put back on 20 pounds. He then posted on Facebook asking if anyone knew of a good diet he could try. That’s when a friend reached out to him about the ketogenic (keto) diet, and during the first two weeks of it, Jeffery lost 15 pounds, and 30 the first month.
The high-fat, low-carb, protein diet, keto, has rapidly gained popularity in recent years. Although many go on the diet so they can lose weight fast, Jeffery has adapted it into his lifestyle. On the keto diet, he was able to go from a size five extra-large shirt to a three and dropped from a 54 waist to a 46.
“Growing up, honestly, I’ve done all the diets,” says Jeffery. “They all lasted for about a month or so before I gave up because I didn’t see this quick of an answer.”
He posted all his progress on Facebook and has gained a following from people in the area, who have also adopted the keto lifestyle. Recipes and keto guides can be viewed on his Facebook feed to help out anyone who picks up the diet.
“The advice I can give [anyone deciding to start a healthier lifestyle] is to set a goal and go after it,” Jeffery says.
His goal is to get down to 280 pounds (at 330 currently) by June, when he will marry his fiancé, Kristen Mounts. Being there for Kristen and the rest of his family is what this healthier lifestyle is all about to Jeffery.
“It is a new way for me to be there for my future wife and family,” he says, “It allows me to be in the action, actively.” •