About Mende Staggs

I've been larger than a size 18 since I was 18 years old. Most of that time, I've been a size 20/22/2XL. Even as a teenager, I was a size 14/16/XL. I've tried just about every "diet" out there and failed to lose weight and/or keep it off. The only semi-success I've had is when I went on the Atkins diet about 15 years ago, but that diet was too hard to maintain, and I gained all my weight back and more.

Not only have I struggled with my weight, but my legs and hips have always been disproportionately larger than the rest of my body. My legs were often swollen and painful, too. My mom has never been overweight, but she has the same large, swollen and painful legs, and so do many female members of her family. Doctors had no answers, so I figured it was just our genetic lot. I never gave up searching online for an answer to our leg problems, and in 2015, I discovered The Lipedema Project. I watched the documentary, The Disease They Call Fat, and knew I had found the answer.

In August of 2016, I received an email invitation from Catherine Seo for a webinar about lipedema and the keto way of eating. I had no idea what keto was, and when I realized it was "another diet,"  I was skeptical, at best. I didn't understand how it was any different than the Atkins plan I'd been on before, and I was doubtful that it would work for me anyway. But, I was also desperate for something to help me, so I started keto if only to prove that it would fail me, too.

My goal was to be a size 14 again... the size of my teenage self. I've lost 100+ lbs and I'm now a size 6. Oh, and I've suffered from debilitating migraine headaches since elementary school. They are completely gone! I also have a condition called lipedema that causes me pain and fluid retention. The swelling is well-controlled, and the pain is nearly gone. Keto is my new way of life. I'm excited to see where this keto journey will take me!

I'm 46 years old. I’ve been married to my college sweetheart for 27 years, and we have four beautiful children: one girl and three boys. We have a small hobby farm in rural Missouri where we grow honeybees, mushrooms, heirloom vegetables, goats and chickens. I’m also a baker and cake decorator, and I teach high school Spanish and cooking classes at our local homeschool co-op. I’ve also taught many community education classes on a variety of subjects at both a local technical school and a farmers market.

I have been using my cooking and teaching experience to coach women with lipedema in the keto way of eating. I am passionate about keto and want all women who suffer from lipedema to find the same physical, emotional and spiritual healing I have experienced.

Mende is a certified keto coach from the Noakes Foundation.

The Lipedema Project has evolved from the early work of Lipedema Simplifed and has more extensive information about lipedema. Please visit http://lipedemaproject.org/ to learn more.