A new group of women is revolutionizing the way Williamsburg eats.
“This isn’t a ‘go on a diet’ kind of thing, it’s a lifestyle change,” said Melissa Moss, one of the leaders of the new Keto & Low Carb Support Group. “We’re not the food police or the Keto police, we feel there is room for a lot of ways to do this.”
Recently, Moss posted in the Facebook group “Williamsburg News and Notes” that she was looking for a women’s support group for those practicing the Ketogenic, or Keto, diet. She is new to the area and was looking to get back into a healthier lifestyle after getting married in May.
According to the Charlie Foundation for Ketogenic Therapies, the Keto Diet is one that is high in fat with a decent amount of protein and low carbohydrates. This helps to put the body to enter a state of ketosis, which is when the body breaks down fat for usable energy.
While the diet was invented in 1923, it has become extremely popular in the past few years, rivaling other classic diets such as Atkins and Paleo.
Changing her eating habits helped Moss to feel better, loose weight and fix some minor health issues like migraines.
“Sugar is very addictive,” she said. “It’s really eye-opening to start checking labels…so I really thought it would be great to have a place to exchange tips, recipes and advice with local women. We can cheer each other on as everyone [is] working on their health and weight goals.”
Moss said the Keto diet isn’t just about dieting, it’s about changing a person’s life and making healthy decisions, which most people know isn’t necessarily easy.
For Amber Alfaro, the other leader of the group, the experience starting Keto 20 years ago was difficult.
“The first time I [did Keto], I remember crying over a Popeyes biscuit,” she said. “I was taking the crust off the chicken and I smelled my friends biscuits and it was tough.”
It is shared experiences such as Alfaro’s that both she and Moss believe can connect women to help each other stay true to the diet.
While Moss posted the initial idea for the group, Alfaro was the creator. She said she saw Moss’ post and messaged her, saying she would happily start a Facebook group for Williamsburg women wanting to do the Keto diet.
But the popularity of the group astounded Alfaro with 160 members in less than two days. As a result, Moss decided to help moderate the group as well.
In the group, women can post recipes, share experiences or recommend local restaurants that have Keto-friendly options.
“We could be a force for change,” Moss said. “We hope that we will help local businesses realize there is a strong market for low-carb choices and that we will help local businesses.”
Alfaro and Moss said they wanted to keep the group open for individuals identifying as women to create a community of comfort in discussing their weight loss. Alfaro said women share and experience the diet differently so this will give them a space to talk about topics such as pregnancy and post before and after photos.
The women want to go further than just having an online forum, they want to organize monthly gatherings for members to meet and connect with each other face-to-face.
“I’m really thrilled that the response has been so great, now it’s like I have 172 best friends,” Moss said. “It’s nice to know that you have a great group of a support team in your pocket all of the time. It’s just good to know you’re not alone.”
Alfaro and Moss clarified they are not medical professionals and do not give medical advice.
To learn more or to join the group, visit Keto & Low Carb Support Williamsburg, VA online.