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North Carolina A&T Graduate Launching Website to Improve Dining Out for Ketogenic Dieters

If you have ever struggled with losing weight, you’ll likely see yourself in 24 year old Chad Thomas’ reflections on his younger self.

“I saw people losing crazy amounts of weight and never thought it would work for me. I always thought I’d be struggling.” Sixty pounds down and a complete lifestyle enhancement later, Thomas’ perspective has changed completely. Starting a ketogenic diet allowed the North Carolina A&T graduate freedoms that seemed intangible before he found a plan that works for him. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that, through the carbohydrate deficit, forces the body to burn fats. Thomas started following the diet, coined “keto”, at a software internship in November of 2017 after a coworker taught him about its health benefits. This coworker maintained a keto diet because it kept him healthy and was a good supplemental treatment for a chronic condition he suffered with. His strict keto following gave him a breadth of snacks, products, and meals to recommend to Thomas at the start of his new dietary journey. Thomas found that he could “have a lot of things in the same form but with lower calories,” like Halo Top ice cream. He developed a passion for switching items for their keto alternatives in cooking. Quickly, he had a lifestyle rhythm composed and maintained. Following the keto diet, Thomas actually didn’t realize how much weight he was losing until he went to try on clothes for his probate for Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. He went to try on his usual 44 waisted pant size and it was too large. He continued going down a size until he found a slightly loose but comfortable size 38. Thomas had lost 42 pounds from November of 2017 to May of 2018 following the keto diet! The following year, Thomas went through a transitional period and faced some personal stresses along the way. Consequently, he ended up gaining back the weight he had recently lost. In August of 2019, Thomas moved into a new apartment complex, met a personal trainer, and resumed his fitness journey. Still following the keto diet, he ended up losing 60 pounds, 18 more than he lost the first time around! While working toward this new fitness goal, however, Thomas has found and continues to find difficulties ordering food that fits his dietary preference. Brady: Chad, how did you know you wanted to create KetoLot? Thomas: I started going out with my work team a lot when I started my new job. We would go to places like Q’Doba and I really struggled to figure out which options were keto. I looked online and saw a lot of blog posts that I’d bookmark showing different keto meals at restaurants but they were all super long and it wasn’t simple. I thought to myself, ‘there’s gotta be an easier way to do this. I can just create a website for this.’ B: And when did you start creating the website? T: January through March of this year is when I started doing the heavy work on it. I started back up in May and now have KetoLot ready to release on July 25th. B: What sorts of personal values do you want to express through KetoLot? T: I want to emphasize that I am using all free materials to learn how to make something like this. I want to provide something useful to the community. I want to show that anyone can identify a problem and create a solution to it. I’m a Black developer and I really want to encourage other Black people to get into tech and create software! Thomas, who often spent entire days learning how to best technically refine KetoLot, wants people to know that “learning does not stop.” He found himself motivated by “having something tangible to work toward.” Once the resource is officially available, Thomas urges everyone interested to use it themselves! He wants people to get involved, joking that he can “only visit so many restaurants and upload so many meals.” When KetoLot launches on July 25th, make sure to visit it either to find a keto meal, or to add one for the community! The website release will livestream on Twitch. Meanwhile, be sure to follow KetoLot on Twitter @ketolot and on Instagram @ketolotapp. Please also ask any questions or leave any feedback at Thomas’ personal social media handles; Instagram: @chad_theabstract Twitter: @ChadTheAbstract

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