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A sugar-free zone

Inspirational stories from successful low carb dieters and lessons learned. You can tell us your story here.
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Low-Carb Diet Success Stories



And I asked myself, "How did I get here?"  

By Karen
Vancouver, B.C.

I started gaining weight when I was 10. I also started puberty at the same time. Developing breasts and being the tallest person in the class in grade 4 made me stand out. My classmates laughed at me and being a child, it was hard to figure out how to defend or soothe myself. So, I would eat until I thought I would burst, which packed on a layer of fat that hid my physical development. My family started to criticize my weight gain, so I was getting it from all sides.

At 13, I had heard about "high protein" diets. I hadn't read anything about them though, and decided to not eat bread, potatoes or dessert. I dropped a lot of weight in a few months and kept it off until my mid 20's. I think it had to do with being a vegetarian from age 16 to 22. I was a "healthy" vegetarian and didn't eat a lot of junk.

I have always loved food and cooking and naturally fell into the restaurant world as a cook. In retrospect, I find it funny that I was drawn to the profession that would give me an excuse to overeat. I was on a continual quest for new foods and combinations. That would equal weight gain. Then I discovered Italian food (and also stopped going to the disco!) in the early '80's. With a steady diet of pasta, polenta, risotto, pizza and bread, the pounds just piled on. I used to drink a lot-too much red wine! I stopped drinking excessively when I was about 30 and developed a huge sweet tooth. So, I replaced drinking wine with eating sugar.

When my mother died of a heart attack after an angiogram in December of 1997, it was time to wake up. It took her death to make me realize that I was not happy with my relationship to food and many other things. During this time, my dog died and my 18 year marriage collapsed. It was time to re-think my whole life.

I had given myself enough excuses and actually had talked myself into being comfortable with my size. I was always looking for the "why" when what was required was a decision and then action.

I think I weighed as much 250 pounds at one point. When I started the journey, I weighed 235. I bought some books and jumped on the low-fat bandwagon. I lost about 20 pounds over the year and was craving sweets constantly. I ate big bowls of muesli with skim milk, oatmeal, big bowls of brown rice with tuna and vegetables, cartons of Hagen Dazs and Gelato Fresco sorbet. By the end of the year, I was so frustrated and unsatisfied that I wanted to kill myself! Instead, I ate tons of pasta with lots of butter, olive oil and cheese.

After my low fat fiasco, I was provoked to buy Protein Power after hearing the ad constantly on CFUN. Then I remembered going on the low-carb diet in my teens.

After reading about how insulin works it all made sense. I was a sugar addict!

Like all addicts who want to change I had to admit that I was powerless over my addiction and be willing to let my higher power remove my defect. Well, I entered into the realm on blind faith, and you know what? It worked! I needed guidance from an entity that was greater than my own pathetic self.

I dropped a lot of weight quite quickly with PP. I also had the occasional "cheat" during this time. Then, I went on a 6 month binge. Luckily, I only gained 10 pounds. In June 2000, I went back on the wagon. I read DANDR and increased my protein and fat intake, which really helped with the sugar cravings.

Am I an "emotional eater"? Oh yes! I used sugar to control how I felt. The slightest twinge of anger, a hint of sadness would send me right for the tastiest form of sugar. It is a futile vicious circle. I am still tackling my problem with overeating.

For me losing weight is not as black and white as changing my diet. Unless you have a physical ailment that has contributed to your condition, I believe you have to change your whole attitude and be willing to challenge the demons that got you so bent out of shape in the first place. I still have to do this on a daily basis and will continue do so forever. It's all part of being an addict.

My Soapbox…

Sugar is white death and we become addicts early in life. Sugar makes us happy and high, then muddled and low. Imagine taking on the sugar industry with the same vengeance reserved for the tobacco industry. Sugar is almost a sacred cow! Wouldn't that be a hoot! When people say -Oh, I couldn't give up bread, pasta, chocolate, drinking wine etc.-is that not an addict talking? The only difference is that it is sanctioned and public.

Off Soapbox

When people ask me what I eat, I love to rattle off a list and watch their eyes glaze over. They seem to think that I must have given up an awful lot. The only thing I gave up was a load of fat and the thinking that attached it to my body.

I love this WOE-the weight loss, the clearer skin and the energy. I tell myself that this is for life, so, if my weight loss seems slow, that's fine. I'd much rather be stuck here than being crazed and compulsively filling my face with sugar and starch. It takes time to develop habits and this WOE is a habit. But a good one! I now weigh 170 pounds, and want to make it to 150. Stay tuned…

This is moi, at my heaviest, strangling a razor clam
This is moi, at my heaviest, strangling a razor clam

At 170 pounds, cradling a bottle of really good Italian olive oil
At 170 pounds, cradling a bottle of really good Italian olive oil

New! The Low-Carb Gourmet, by Karen Barnaby

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