I've been thinking about when to start writing a success story. What constitutes success on a long, long journey, when I am not quite at my goal weight? But this morning I realised something that made me understand it was time to write a success story, even though I'm not yet at goal.
I am the oldest of five children, three girls, two boys. Although I didn't put on significant amounts of weight until I was about 13/14, I was pressured by my parents about what I ate, how much I should eat, from around age 9/10. By the time I was 14 I weighed around 185 pounds, and I'm about 5 foot 4. Meanwhile the sister who was the closest to me in age was model-thin and beautiful, and none of my other siblings had significant weight problems - my other sister was a bit plump, but nothing extreme. My brother was skinny. My youngest brother was 15 years younger than me, so while I was growing up his weight didn't really feature into the family equation. I spent my whole life knowing that *I* was the fat one, *I* was the one with the problem, the misfit. I know that my parent only spoke out of concern for me, they were never cruel or abusive, but they did pressure me constantly about my weight.
I have been living LC for nearly 3 years now. I started around mid-November 2001, weighing about 240, although as you can see from my stats, my highest weight was 250 a few years earlier. I spent all my life from the age of 14 at a weight of 185 or higher, except for 2 periods of prolonged dieting, once when I was 16/17 when I got down to 154, and once when I was 21/22, when I got down to about 172. Of course as always with a low-fat diet, I was starving the whole time, I was fighting cravings constantly, and despite managing to keep dieting for over a year each time, it was a constant battle - and when I eventually admitted defeat and 'snapped' the weight piled back on again - and then some, taking me to an all time high of 250 by the time I was 24.
LC has saved my life. In my wildest dreams I never believed that I'd ever lose weight again. I'd given up. I knew that even if I could somehow switch into that mindset that allowed me to ignore all my body signals, all my cravings, it wouldn't last, and eventually I'd snap again and pile back on the weight. I was scared to start LCing, thinking that would happen and that a couple years down the line I'd end up heavier than when I started. But I was so miserable I had to give it another shot. LC hasn't just given me *back* control, it's *given* me control. I have never before been in control of my body, it has always been in control of me.
For the first year and a half of my LC journey, I did CAD and lost 50 pounds in fits and starts. But all that was in the first 9 months of that time, and then I stalled for 8 months, and even put back on 5 pounds. I could'nt control my reward meal; I was still bingeing on way too many carbs and treats. Eventually I knew that if I was going to lose more weight I would have to become stricter, and I switched to Atkins. I thought it woudl be really really hard, I thought to myself I'd be missing all the foods I love the most, but that it was worth it, and I'd go back to CAD for maintenance. I never expected what would happen: that I woudl actually feel *better* on Atkins than I did on CAD. Cravings are things of the past, and even though I'd still say pasta is my favourite food, I don't miss it - I don't care about the fact that I haven't had it in months. Every so often I will have a CAD day or week, which might even help end a plateau, but then it's immediately back to Atkins as my 'normative' way of eating. My weight loss is slow, I still plateau frequently, sometimes for months, but I keep going, and it works. Clearly, since I am now down 85 pounds since the start of this journey (and 95 pounds in total from my highest ever weight).
So why write my success story now, when I'm still 15/16 pounds away from goal? Well, I'll write an updated story when I get to goal, but for now I want to look at two hurdles:
1. I am now at the turning point of the lightest I have ever been as an adult. I weighed in this morning 3 times. Twice the scale said 154.6. Once it said 153.8. When I dieted when I was 17, the lowest I got before snapping, which is the lowest I've been since I hit puberty and got to my adult height, was 154. So I am now on the verge of uncharted territory, about to move into new lows that I literally have never seen as an adult.
2. Today I realised that I am now the LIGHTEST of all my siblings (I checked in with the two of them that are closest in weight to me, so I know this as a fact, not just a guesstimate). Not only that, but despite the fact that two of them are male, and so 'allowed' to be heavier than me, neither of them are particularly tall, and I *still* have the least weight to lose. To get to my current goal, I need to lose 14 pounds or so. Even if I decide I want to lose more than that, which I might, the lowest I will go is 130 pounds, so the most I want to lose is another 24 pounds. When I spoke to my brother this morning, he told me he wants to lose 28 pounds (he started Atkins last week). I don't wish to crow over the fact that now all my siblings have weight issues, and it's not just me. Two of them have significant amounts of weight to lose, two of them have less significant amounts to lose, but the simple fact, the turnaround, that after 2 decades of awareness of being in a certain position in the family, the simple fact that I am the lightest of my siblings and have the least weight to lose is simply unbelievable. It requires a re-ordering of the world to even comprehend.
I never truly believed that I would reach this point. The first fifty pounds of weight I lost was just getting back to the weight I was 'used' to being for most of my adult life, around 185, it wasn't a weight I was ever happy at. Now I truly feel like I'm about to move into the 'slim' zone. I'm not there yet, I'm still 'overweight' according to height/weight charts. But I walk into regular shops and I buy clothes in small sizes, 12/14 UK which is 8/10 US. I don't have even a trace of a double chin; my jaw is well defined. My face has taken on a new shape, I see cheekbones. I love seeing my collarbone and wrist bones. You may laugh, but honestly I've got alarmed at feeling 'lumps' and then realised that what I was feeling was ribs.
My waist is 29 inches (I am extremely hourglass in shape). I am no longer self-conscious walking down the street; when people look at me now I know they are looking in approval rather than censure or horrified fascination at the 'fat girl'. Kids or teenagers will never again be calling me names in the street. I don't even think about navigating my way round small spaces; that I might not fit around someone's chair at a squashed restaurant, that I might not fit into airplane seats etc. I have made it to 'normal' land, a place I never ever thought I'd get to. Even when the weight gradually started moving, every time I plateaud I was scared that that's where I'd stay.
LC has saved my life. I KNOW that this weight will never go on again. I KNOW that I am in control of my body, it does not control me. I KNOW that I WILL get to goal, even if it takes me another six or eight months because I am a slow loser.
I am indescribably grateful to the Drs Heller of CAD and Dr Atkins for freeing me from the torment of hyperinsulinemia and the prison of a body I loathed and could not control.