A Way of Life, Not a Diet
This is me before beginning LC (photo taken June 2004, began LC July 2004),
weight about 155:
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
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
(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
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
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,