In just five years, Mayra Wendolyne, has built an Instagram following of 1.6 million, she has over a million followers on TikTok and more than 500,000 people subscribe to her YouTube channel, Low Carb Love. Those numbers are massive, especially for a 37-year-old mom who didn’t grow up with social media. Mayra uses her social media platforms to talk about her weight loss journey—which resulted in her losing 135 pounds and keeping it off for nearly two decades—and to share low-carb and keto recipes with her followers. Her authenticity, transparency and infectious personality are what really make her stand out though. That and the fact that she’s engaged to a man 34 years her senior. Mayra has also been sharing her age-gap love story on social media through @mayraanddonnie on Instagram and it’s already accumulated more than 230K followers indicating their story is resonating with many.
Mayra, who is Mexican American and grew up in California, has been on a weight loss journey for more than 15 years. She’s shared photos of her weight loss and how changes to her diet allowed her to enjoy the foods she ate growing up while maintaining her weight. The photos of at her heaviest were the impetus to make a change. She shared with HipLatina that she was shocked by her weight gain and that immediately after seeing the photos, she dedicated herself to a low-carb lifestyle and never turned back. Within a year, Mayra, who weighed 315 pounds, lost 100 pounds, and the following year, she lost another 35 pounds and she’s kept it off. That was nearly two decades ago, when there was no Instagram or YouTube to use for free advice like we do today, so she simply threw out all the junk food and went out and bought a bunch of chicken and fresh vegetables.
But she never fully gave up traditional Mexican foods. Instead she tells HipLatina that she would take whatever protein her mother made and put it on top of salad or vegetables, instead of rice or tortillas. Throughout the years, she learned some clever swaps, and figured out how to make low-carb versions of her favorite Mexican dishes like chile relleno, huevos rancheros, and enchiladas using low carb tortillas and her low carb tamale dough recipe.
Then, years later when she first went keto, she loved it and during her search for more information, she realized that a lot of people were talking about it on social media. “I started looking it up on Instagram, and I saw how so many people were sharing their stories,” she says. “Long story, short, it took me about two-and-a-half years to start Low Carb Love, but I had wanted to do it. I would stalk a lot of pages, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ I loved all the tips that they shared, so I kept telling Donnie, ‘I really wanna share my story. I feel like I could really help so many women lose weight and maintain it.”
At first, Mayra mostly shared the keto dessert recipes that she herself had developed, including recipes for Latin favorites like dairy-free flan using coconut cream/milk and her personal fave, chocoflan because that’s what everyone who had recently gone keto was looking for. Her recipes were popular and her online presence grew and grew. But, it wasn’t until she shared the details about her weight loss journey—including before and after photos—that things really took off. Everyone wanted to know what she was eating and a lot of that was traditional Mexican dishes that she had figured out substitutions and swaps for.
“That’s what I knew how to cook. It’s basically how I grew up and it’s a huge part of who I am and my identity,” she says. “I come from a very traditional Mexican household, so to think of not eating my traditional foods would have probably affected me in more ways than I can think.”
Today, Mayra shares keto recipes for everything from chicken tostadas and taquitos to even tamales, along with American favorites like jalapeño poppers and chili cheese dogs, and of course, the desserts she’s still best known for.
All the while, Mayra’s now-fiancé Donnie Scott was supporting her in the background. After some time, people started to notice him in her Instagram stories, and the questions started to pour in. Mayra revealed that he was her boyfriend at the time and let her followers know that he is in fact, 34 years older than her.
Some don’t understand it and they’ve gotten their fair share of hateful comments and questions. People have even asked whether she’s with him for a green card or money. But they’ve also received a ton of support and their age-gap relationship has also touched many people. Through their Instagram account they give their followers a peek into their personal life including their vacations and dinners and they also have fun with viral trends and answering the array of questions they get about their relationship.
“We’ve had so many people jut thank us, for just kind of bringing it to light and it’s almost like validating their story,” she shares As for Mayra, her mission is still the same: to help women live healthier, happier lives without feeling deprived.
“I hope that my story can inspire other Latinas to make the change. A lot of time we don’t realize how important our health is. I just really want people to know that thy can do it,” she says. “You have to be open-minded because you want to lead with your health first. I feel like our health is so important and you can still eat delicious foods—our traditional Mexican foods—while not only losing weight, but actually living a healthier lifestyle.”