I am not quite to my goal of 150, but I feel like I am “there.” More there than I have felt the past two times I’ve been there. This is long, probably because it’s taken me so long to get the fact that this is FOR LIFE.
Back in 2001 I went through a MAJOR depressive episode. I just wanted to die. I made an appointment with a psychologist and also a psychiatrist (for antidepressants). Both were Christians. The first thing the psychiatrist did after praying with me and looking over the forms I had filled out is to schedule me for a six hour blood glucose test. I found that very odd, but he was adamant that food plays a major role in mood. So dh and I agreed to pay out of pocket for this test, since insurance wouldn’t cover it. I failed the test miserably. When I went back for my next appointment the psychiatrist told me I was hypoglycemic and gave me a sheet of paper with foods I was allowed to eat. He said that my diet was a large part of why I was depressed and that if I fixed my diet I wouldn’t need antidepressants. I didn’t know it at the time, but what he prescribed to me was basically a low carb diet – the Atkins diet.
I thought about it for days. I wasn’t happy about it, but the blood glucose test was proof that I needed to do something. I managed to stick with it for all of three days….
At that time I was fat and getting fatter. I just didn’t realize it yet. It would take another couple of years for me to wake up to reality. In the meantime I began having worse and worse hypoglycemic symptoms…headaches, dizziness, black outs, major fatigue, etc. etc.
Fast forward to 2003. My mom was all about the “new” Atkins “fad diet,” which was weird, since she’d always tended toward vegan. Every time I talked with her I got an earful about Atkins and rolled my eyes. At that time I was reading, and all into, Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions.” (I still agree with much of her book, minus the grains.) Dh’s sister was also spouting the Atkins mantra. She was (and still is) obese and diabetic. I rolled my eyes at her too. Until one day dh and I went to lunch with her at Panda Express (Chinese food). She checked her blood glucose before we went in. And then again right after she ate. Her BS rose by 100! I have <no> memory, but I immediately thought back to my six hour blood glucose test.
Needless to say, I went out and bought Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution and read it cover to cover. I remembered the sheet of paper with the foods I should eat on it that the psychiatrist had given me. I was convinced.
When I started on May 1, 2003, I weighed around 220 lbs. This is what I looked like:
It’s been a loooong time since then, so I don’t remember all the details of my journey. Here is what I do remember:
a) I went caffeine free when I did my first Atkins induction and I was sick, sick for a full week – I mean can’t get out of bed sick. It was awful. But I wouldn’t change it if I could. I have continued to be caffeine free with rare exceptions.
b) Once that week was over it was not long before dh noticed a change in my attitude (mental health – not crabby, grumpy, a B) and he told me he wouldn’t allow me to go off the “diet.”
c) My energy level rose SUBSTANTIALLY. It was quite amazing.
June 17, 2003 I was admitted for a blood clot. It was determined that I have a genetic disorder that predisposes me to blood clots (have had 2 miscarriages and a pulmonary embolism). Factor IV Leiden. Was told not to eat foods high in vitamin K…..which are <most> of the veggies on the Atkins induction list (learned later that I should have kept eating them regularly/consistently and slowly added them back in). Going lc and adding in all these high Vit. K foods compounded my genetic predisposition and caused the blood clot, but I was NOT discouraged from the way of eating. I KNEW that this was how I should eat and worked through it adjusting my blood thinner as needed to accommodate the Vit. K foods.
I never climbed the carb ladder past rung 5 the first time around. I got great at including more veggies, dairy, nuts and berries….and LOTS of lc convenience foods – tortillas, bread, pasta, etc., etc……but never moved past that. I got up to around 40-45 carbs. I DID exercise towards the end of my weight loss and it showed.
This is what I looked like at 163 <with> exercise:
Around May of 2004 I got “too busy” for the forums and began coming less and less. By December 2004 I had started dabbling in hc treats “once in a while.” I did eventually get down to my goal weight of 135 and into a size 8. But I had already grown complacent and the beginning of the end was in full swing.
In July of 2006 I found my way back to the forum at 178 having gained back 43 lbs. I know the only thing that kept me from gaining it ALL back is the low blood sugar symptoms I experience when I add back in high carb foods. I had really changed my eating habits in many respects. I never did go back to caffeine or sugar or flour or potatoes on any kind of regular basis.
I did, however, continue to rely heavily on lc frankenfoods (shakes, bread and tortillas) and never really got good at including veggies again. And once again, did not climb the carb ladder – just added in berries and nuts.
By November 1st 2006 I was already back to the beginning of the end having “off plan” foods here and there, them becoming more frequent as time went on. I did not include exercise that time around. I ended up calling it goal at 160 based on my husband’s wishes – and probably the loss of focus.
This is what I looked like at 163 the second time around <without> exercise:
I was able to maintain my weight for 6 months or so, but then began to gain - weight and symptoms -once again.
Dec. 26 2010 I came back once again. My weight had only got up to 168, but my low blood sugar symptoms were out of control and I was feeling very desperate to get my eating back in control. I have done much better this time around. I have not touched wheat in any from (including so-called lc products). I did a clean induction and then started climbing the carb ladder. And I didn’t just stop after adding nuts and berries. I have completed the legumes rung and am working through higher carb fruits, enjoying pears, apples and peaches so far. I am at 45 carbs and am still experimenting to find my ccl and ccm. I have stopped eating out so much and am very careful and choosey when I do. I discovered an intolerance to dairy through the help and advice of the long term maintainers here, though I plan to experiment with some higher quality cheeses. I have consistently tried new veggies and new recipes to keep things interesting and have discovered things I can’t believe I’ve missed out on my entire life (bok choy and eggplant to name two).
I’m not on a diet and I can’t have just one bite or one meal off plan. Some people may be able to. I can’t.
The most important things I’ve learned from regaining twice:
1. I need to come to these forums daily for support if possible.
2. I need to weigh every single day to make sure I am not getting off track.
3. I have to have a plan for what I will eat in any given situation – especially the holidays (which for me is Nov. 1 thru Jan. 1).
4. I cannot eat wheat – even lc products.
5. I can NEVER eat “normal” or I will end up sick and depressed – and fat.
My best advice is to Listen to (long term) Maintainers, Not to Losers
. Doing so has been the key to me understanding what I need to do to be successful at not just weight loss, but LIFETIME maintenance. I hope I am on my way to being one myself.
My second best advice is to READ THE BOOK and FOLLOW THE PLAN. For Atkins, that means don’t just stay at induction levels. Do ALL four phases (induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance and maintenance). My biggest regret is that I didn’t do this the first time around when I had the most weight to lose. It would have been SO much easier if I had done it then!
I want to say a HUGE thank you to those long term maintainers and other members of this forum who have supported me, encouraged me, given me advice, kicked my butt when needed and held my hand when needed. There have been <many> of you over the years. You all know who you are. My plan is to give back what has been given.
I am excited to be at goal once again, but even more excited to be starting my next goal: Lifetime Maintenance!
I reached goal today, Sept. 24, 2011!
(I am planning to have some professional quality photos taken of me soon for my “after” photo as a reward for making it to goal. Will post those as soon as they are done.)