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Low-Carb Diet Success Stories

 

A Way of Life, Not a Diet

Lucy (HiFive)

Hi, all

 

This is me before beginning LC (photo taken June 2004, began LC July 2004), weight about 155:

 

This is me after, just the other day at 117 lbs:

I didn't think of posting a Success Story but then someone suggested it--I haven't lost that much weight after all, not compared to so many admirable people here...only 40 lbs...but I do think I have changed because of LC, and I am so happy with the changes, that I have decided to say something about it.

I was a skinny child (grew up overseas, no junk food, plenty of exercise), but when we came back to the States I met Twinkies and all their compatriots and became a chubby adolescent. That experience really left its mark on me: when I lost weight for the first time at the end of high school I did it in a terribly unhealthy way, and the psychological scars of such eating-disordered behaviour settled in, and have been with me ever after.

I stayed thinnish in college (but always felt fat!), lost a lot more weight during grad school in response to personal trauma (my parents died)--again, not healthily, I just stopped eating. Maybe a cry for attention, maybe simple grief, I dunno...a few years later, I started gaining weight again and it took another personal trauma (a divorce) to make me drop weight...again I just stopped eating. What is so sad about all this is that although I was happy to be perceived as "thin" I always felt fat...wasted a lot of time worrying about how I looked and my fat thighs...jeez.

Stayed thin for a few more years, until about 4 years ago when I started putting on weight again...this time, it was probably due to the same factors as before (felt generally happier, so actually started eating, and my poor body just stored everything for fear another famine was coming). The whole time all this see-sawing was going on, I was pretending that I never thought about my weight, never talked about it with anyone, and that was very destructive, because of course I was obsessed with it and felt terrible about myself.

I did a lowfat, lowcal regimen 2 years ago when I couldn't stand myself anymore...joined a gym and began working out like a maniac...got down to 122 lbs or something and felt better...but then I got very busy and my gym habit got derailed and I started eating badly again... tried Atkins briefly in 2002 (summer), but I did it badly, having read DANDR but still falling into various traps: eating too many calories, not eating enough veg, not drinking water, not taking vitamins. No wonder I didn't lose very much. I got discouraged and just sort of drifted off the plan.

I put all the weight back on and more...got to a personal high (I think I have never weighed so much!) last summer of 155.

Then I visited my best friend who had been struggling with a 60lb weight gain (he had always been skinny, but due to a better income he was able to afford more food than before, and he had terrible eating habits! never having had to think about what he ate)...he had lost it all doing Atkins. I remembered how much I had enjoyed the LC lifestyle while I had done it...no more blood sugar rollercoaster, and the food was tasty...so I went on Atkins immediately, during that vacation/visit.

This time around, several things have been different about my Atkins experience, and I credit them with helping me get to where I am.

(1) I kept an eye on calories--not during Induction, but starting a few weeks in. I use Fitday to keep an eye on things--the few days I didn't use Fitday, I found my eating straying a bit. I keep my fat at 60-70%, my carbs at 10-15%, and protein to 20-30%.

(2) I found this forum. Here, I learned about SAs (I had eaten WAY too many of those Endulge bars and the like the first time around), about the importance of drinking water, and SO many other things that DANDR alone didn't make clear to me.

(3) I started drinking water--it really makes a difference for me. I think I had been permanently dehydrated with all the tea/diet soda I drank before. My skin is so happy with all this water, and water does help me lose! I try for about 100 oz a day.

(4) I started exercising...this was BIG. I didn't do ANY exercise for about 6 weeks into the WOE, but then I just went back to the gym (thanks, ThinMe2b, who kicked my butt gently and got me going!). The difference this time was that I stopped expecting to change into someone who likes exercise. I didn't plan to go back to my maniacal, 2 hour workouts. I started slowly (like 8 min of cardio, for example, and 10 or 20 lb weights), and worked my way up slowly. I decided to set a limit of 30 min per cardio session, and to forgive myself if I couldn't do that some days. Because I am not obsessive about it, and because I have tried to keep the exercise a relatively pleasant experience, I don't dread going to the gym. it is no big deal. And if I need to skip a day, I skip a day...and go back the next. I have really felt the changes in my body from the exercise. 30 min of concentrated effort did more in a few weeks to my troublesome hip/butt area than all those hours of cardio on that lowfat/lowcal diet! I can't believe the changes! The most important thing for me of all was to accept myself for who I am--I am NOT and will NEVER be "athletic"--but also to realize that that doesn't mean I can't use my body on a regular basis to keep it healthy.

(5) I did strength-training. I put this separate from general exercise above because I think it is so important, and I didn't realize it in the past. One of the forum members, Built, gave me great advice...I do squats for my lower body and use circuit machines for my upper-body...I concentrate on form and on using the muscle with each rep, NOT on how much weight I am lifting. Strength training kicks up the metabolism, and I am noticing better shape in my arms. It's a slow process, but in keeping with the new, realistic me, I am not expecting madonna-arms! Just stronger muscles and a better metabolism.

(6) I kept to a whole-foods diet...only started using some LC products about a month ago. "Whole-foods" to me means real food--meat, eggs, dairy, veg, etc. I look at the food I eat and think about how it will nourish me: the LC sweets, etc are nutritionally empty, and I try not to devote too much of my daily calorie intake to stuff that doesn't feed my body. I include veggies, and for some reason have really veered away from red meat...haven't had a slice of bacon in months...as time has gone on, I am enjoying lighter meats like ground turkey and grilled chicken. I have plumbed the forum for recipes (sometimes I tweak complicated ones to be easier, since I am SO not a cook!!), and that has provided a lot of variety.

The MOST IMPORTANT CHANGE is that I am happy with myself. For the first time in my life, I don't feel "fat" (and I have weighed much less than this before!). I can look at my body objectively--yes, I have cellulite, yes I have a large proportion of bodyfat making up my weight--but I fit into my clothes and I look good and exercise and good eating will change that (the bodyfat %, not the cellulite--cellulite is here to stay!) slowly, over time. I am NOT depriving myself of food, starving myself to see a number on the scale. I am just eating carefully, aware of what I eat, and exercising regularly, and drinking water.

Now I am at 115...I would like to get down to 110 or 112 to give myself a "cushion" for the future...I would like to stay between 110-117 ideally. I have a small frame, so this weight is good on me...but I also know that if I do continue to build muscle, I may end up weighing more than that...and that's okay. I will go by how my clothes fit, how I feel, how I look. It is great not to feel a slave to a number.

And I have been bouncing around the teens for the past couple of weeks...not in any hurry to get to goal...sort of feeling my way along, seeing what foods I can add and how they affect me...a 2-lb gain doesn't make me "fat" or feel panicked. It's not about the numbers anymore. The numbers are just a general guide to let me know what my body is doing. I can't tell you how freeing it is to feel this new "partnership" with my body, instead of being locked in some struggle with it, trying to force it down to some unrealistic NUMBER on the scales...

My plan for life: still working on it, but this is what I am doing:

Eating about 1200 cals a day. Sometimes less, sometimes a little more. I generally don't let myself feel hungry--but sometimes I drink a glass of water if I think I am hungry and find that I wasn't really hungry after all! I think this calorie level will go up some when I am truly in maintenance--say to 1400 or 1600--but I am sure there will be 2000-cal days in there as well as 1100-cal days. It will depend on how hungry I am, as well as special occasions when I eat out or have a holiday meal.

I do not plan to eat refined sugar or flour at all, with very few exceptions. I do plan to eat white rice in the form of sushi (maki), maybe 2-3 times a month. I do not think I will miss bread at all, esp with all the LC pitas/wraps/breads available. I do not plan to eat pasta, except an occasional small serving of Dreamfield's, and only as part of a meal which contains vegetables/meat/oil.

I plan to continue my water-drinking. I feel so much better hydrated!

I plan to continue to avoid red meat in excess--not that it is bad for me, but it is densely caloric, and it is easy to eat too much of it at a sitting. But there are plenty of yummy, 4-oz portions of steak in my future! I am sure.

I think "demonising" food is a silly thing. So I won't label simple carbs as "evil"--but I will try to keep the nutritiousness of my foods high--which necessarily means cutting out simple sugar (not nutritious), and I will avoid trans fats (which will be getting easier and easier as gov't regulations go into effect and the packaged-food industry finds a way to use substitutes).

For special events (like holidays), I will probably follow a CAD-like regime: two LC meals and a balanced "reward" meal, consumed from start to finish within an hour.

I will continue to weigh myself every day. If I miss a day, I will not freak out. If I find myself approaching my high-cut-off or ceiling weight, I will be stricter about my eating for a few days to bring the weight back down. Denial about how much weight I had put on got me to an intolerably high weight, where I was uncomfortable, out-of-shape and miserable...I don't want to go there again.

And the hardest thing of all for me--I will continue to exercise. For me, it is much easier to control what I eat than to exercise regularly. I am a physically lazy person by nature. But I enjoy the effects of having exercised--and I like being more fit, able to climb stairs without wanting to lie down and die, etc. But I will not be compulsive about it to a pathological degree--I will resist any impulse to "ramp up" the exercise--I am not trying to be a supermodel here--and I will not stress if I have to skip the gym. But I will try not to skip two days in a row.

So that's my story! I am very happy to have gotten here. I love the way my clothes fit, I love feeling lithe and knowing that I am getting stronger. I feel like "myself" again--actually, like "myself" for the first time, since for the first time I feel I am seeing myself without all that distorted body-image and ED crap. I like what I look like; I am not trying to look like anyone else. I don't think I will be wasting so much energy in the future worrying about my fat thighs.

And now, I feel, the real work begins: staying here.

We are all different--each of our journeys will be unique--but if any of this helps anybody, I will be thrilled. I have received so much help and support from this forum I can hardly hope to "pay it all back."

Best to everyone, and I hope this wasn't too lengthy,

Lucy

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