Whoever said health was easy? With life threatening disease like diabetes, blood pressure and heart disease risking your vitality, you may understand exactly what you need to do to enjoy a healthier, happier life. Right?
Exercise, a new diet. Sounds simple. Your health journey really begins with you believes Sharney Blackway (27) who has been making waves on TikTok as “Mzansi’s Keto Queen.”
Blackway is a wife and mother to a toddler based in the East of Johannesburg. She started a Keto diet in 2021 and has dropped from a size 44 to a size 30.
The ketogenic or keto diet puts the body into a state of ketosis. This means the body uses fat for energy, turning it into ketones. It then uses these ketones instead of sugar. To induce ketosis, a person has to drastically restrict carbohydrate intake and replace it with fat.
“Keto is a lifestyle,” she says. “When I started, I remember thinking to myself, I am going to do a quick fix and I am going to be fine. This [size 30] was not in the equation.”
Health for Mzansi sat down with Blackway to unpack Keto and her health journey.
1. How did your wellness journey begin? Was there a catalyst or moment that sparked your journey?
I would be lying if I said it was one thing, because if it was, I would’ve have started a long time ago.
I gave birth to my daughter in 2020 and it made me want to be a role model that was confidant, and not a mother who was constantly insecure. It was about me being healthier so I could be there for her longer and for my grandmother just because she loved when I loved myself.
2. You are considered the Keto Queen of Mzansi on Tik Tok. Tell us what exactly is Keto?
Keto is a lifestyle. I always tell people for me it is like being a vegan, or pescatarian, instead of meat and animal by-products, I cut out sugars and certain carbs.
People don’t just do Keto for weight loss, it helps you with brain form, it helps you focus a lot better it helps you just plan your life a lot better.
I started off thinking that it would be a quick diet and I was going to lose all the weight and I was just going to go back to my happy jolly life.
It is high in fats like cheese, butter, full cream, heavy cream, things I never thought could ever make me lose weight. It is low on carbs and portion control for protein is essential and should always be moderate.
3. What were some ineffective weightless attempts that you did try in the past?
I thought of losing the weight for years, I tried and failed and my attempts would last for like two days. I’ll be like life is too short, I am not going to die like this, unhappy, I want to eat that oxtail curry.
I have tried banting and I have tried eating plans where I would have a boiled egg on Monday, or a cup of coffee on a Tuesday for breakfast, and then lunch the next day. I never tried anything drastic, like those things you get over the counter.
4. How has transitioning to a Keto lifestyle helped you better your relationship with food?
For me the biggest things has definitely been being able to say “no thank you.” If you are not hungry, don’t eat. I could decide where I have had enough and can feel my body is sustained.
I have completely changed the narrative now and I now see the benefits that food has. I think that I am a lot more disciplined, I have a lot more self-control when it comes what I put in my body and I just respect food a lot more.
5. What have been some of the very notable benefits of Keto for you?
Before I started, I was a BBW [big beautiful woman]. People loved my body and I still have people telling me “I don’t know why you lost the weight, you were so thick.”
I started feeling what Keto was doing for my body. I was someone who went from thinking I would never quit alcohol but it was so easy to not have alcohol for almost six or seven months into my journey. Even now it is not that important to me. My body started wanting more.
6. Do you have any advice on how to improve relationships with food?
Do a load of introspection before starting, because if you are not going to go to war with all your weapons the that is going to be an issue. Look at the things that trigger you.
It is good to want to see change when it comes to weight. Be very cognizant of the difference between a quick fix and a lifestyle change. Go into it with an open mind.
Be very conscious of the fact that your body might not change when you expect it. I started losing the weight and it was rapid, I was scared that it was too much. I focused on this picture of Kim Kardashian and realized that I wanted something that was surgical.
Also if you do happen to have a bad day and backslide because we are all human, make sure you get back up the next day.
7. Health For Mzansi word of the day
BBL Effect: BBL is short for “Brazilian Butt Lift” a fat transfer surgery that takes fat from one part of the body and injects it into the buttocks for a more voluptuous ass.