Misty Mitchell realized she has reached a low point in her life when she tipped the scale at 296 lbs.
“I was bed-ridden, I was huge, I was unhappy, I was hungover,” Mitchell, 36, tells PEOPLE. “I was drinking at least every other day and that was only because on the non-drinking days I was too hungover to drink again.”
Mitchell said she has initially lost weight in her early 20s by following the Atkins diet, but quickly gained it all back when she began reincorporating carbs into her diet. The weight gain left her feeling hopeless.
“I had completely given up eating healthy and making good choices, and just ate comfort food, like tacos and hamburgers and chicken fried steak — really anything without any thought to calories or gaining weight,” she says. “I just had given up hope.”
In February 2015, the Wimberley, Texas-based mom of one decided she needed to make a change.
“I decided to quit — I quit drinking, I quit smoking cigarettes, and I quit eating carbs all in the same day,” she says.
Of course, making such a drastic lifestyle change was not easy.
“I knew that I had to quit drinking to be successful at [losing weight]. I knew as an alcoholic who drank way too much, I knew that my body would never go into fat-burning mode, it would always be burning alcohol,” says Mitchell. “I had to admit to myself that I had a problem. That was my first hurdle.”
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Mitchell was able to give up all of her vices, but admits, “It was pretty hard and I was pretty cranky.”
She adopted a ketogenic diet, which is based on eating adequate lean protein, low carbs, and fat macros based on your personal needs. Mitchell sticks to a diet of lean meat such as chicken, turkey, tuna and shrimp, green vegetables, healthy fats like avocado, and occasionally treats herself to brisket, bacon and hamburgers without buns. She also works out five days a week doing an hour to an hour and a half of weight lifting with a personal trainer.
Mitchell’s hard work has paid off. She has lost 137 lbs. over the past year and a half — and her whole life has changed for the better.
“I hated how I looked, I hated looking at spaces and calculating if I had turn to my side, if I could fit through or if I had to go around, if I could fit into a booth,” she says. “I was not traveling, not going to my daughter’s events, making my husband go to the grocery store because I didn’t want to see anyone I knew.”
“Now I coach my daughter’s running team and go lift weights, go to the store,” she says. “I don’t mind running into people. I’m just happy all the time.”
“It’s a really rewarding job,” she says. “I get to coach people and celebrate their success. I was there at 300 lbs., embarrassed and feeling hopeless, and I think that gives them more trust in me.”