I've been low carbing
for 2 years now and I'm STILL not at goal. For crying out loud! I give up. I think I'll try Weight Watchers. At least then I can have bread EVERYDAY and I do miss bread. Uh, wait a sec. I don't miss bread anymore. Not at all as a matter of fact. On second thought, I think I'd better stick with what I'm doing. Somehow I don't think I'd be where I'm at today if I was still eating bread.
Joking aside - on with the real story...
I've been thinking about doing a new milestone for a few months now. I first considered it when I reached 200 pounds lost, again when I reached the 2 year mark with this WOE and finally when I became half of my starting weight (220 pounds lost). A lot has happened this past year, including getting my life back. I consider that a pretty big deal. So I think it is time to write up what has happened this past twelve months and do a final milestone. I'm only a few pounds from goal, so the next one should be a "Success Story" post some time later this year.
At the end of my first year eating low carb I'd lost 147 pounds. I did a Year 1 Report Card
post in the milestone section. I gave myself a grade of A-. I felt that I had done well, but I could have done a little better. This year I'm not doing letter grades. It is pass or fail. I passed. It wasn't all smooth sailing, yet I continued to make progress and I stuck to my rule number one: I refused to cheat. Sometimes I did eat too much on-plan food. But I ate no candy, no bread, and no junk (except maybe those Atkin's bars). At the second year mark I'd lost another 72 pounds and I'm now just a few pounds away from my originally stated goal weight. As great as that first year was, the second year was even better. My only regret is to wonder why it took me so long to figure out what I needed to do. I wasted a lot of years. But that is water under the bridge. I'm back. I'm me again and I'm loving it.
- For once I was actually looking forward to going to the doctor for my annual check-up. I was eager to see my latest A1C results. I was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic in March of 2014. At a follow-up appointment in June I'd lowered my A1C to the pre-diabetic range (6.0). I was sure that my next A1C would be in the normal range, but I still wanted to see the number. The doctor visit went well for the most part. I did have a normal A1C (5.1), my liver inflammation had cleared up and my hypertension had improved enough that my doctor took me off of my BP meds. No more prescriptions!
However, my LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol had skyrocketed. The June cholesterol labs were taken 5 months into the diet. My cholesterol numbers had actually improved. Inexplicably, 9 months later my LDL had almost doubled (248). There is high and then there is WTH? This was beyond normal and my doctor could not believe it. She ordered the labs done again. The results were the same. My doctor was very concerned. She said that the standard procedure would be to prescribe a strong statin like Crestor. That got me concerned. I did not want to do a statin. I didn't go the statin route. I spent the rest of the year tweaking my diet trying to figure out how to resolve the problem on my own. Long story short... I was able to figure it out. I found out that I was one of a very small percentage of people who get alarmingly high "bad" cholesterol from doing a very low carb diet. Due to a broken foot and sudden lack of exercise I had tightened up the diet in the months preceding the March 2015 labs. I was eating far fewer carbs and calories than I had been the prior June. I found some information about this unusual condition online. It offered some dietary tips for lowering LDL & total cholesterol. I made some changes and by the end of the year I seemed to have taken care of the problem. My cholesterol numbers were pretty good. I had my labs taken every 3 months and I also tracked my food. Here are the results:
Increasing my fiber intake and adding back a few more healthy carbs seems to have done the trick. I also cut back a little on saturated fat and used more olive oil. I was happy eating VLC. I am just as happy eating how I am now. I think I've found my maintenance diet. I'm having my labs done again in March. I've been eating more fiber than ever, so I will be curious to see if the numbers continue to improve. I'll know in a month.
In April I went camping in the Shenandoah national park with my youngest daughter. We had not been camping in years. My daughter had enjoyed the camping trips we took while participating in the YMCA's Indian Princess
program. She had been bugging to do it again for a long time. I told her that we would someday
. But with my weight and health issues mounting in recent years, someday never seemed to come. I finally delivered on that camping
promise. It was a fun trip. We did a little hiking along the Appalachian Trail as well. It was quite a workout for me, but I was amazed at how well I could keep up. I'd come a long way in just one year.
Back in our Indian Princess days each new member of the tribe got to pick an "Indian name" to go by. My daughter chose Howling Wolf
and I named myself Two Bucks
. The humor of my name choice was not lost on anyone. Well, I'm happy to say that one of those bucks has melted away. I guess I'm just one normal sized Buck now.
Camping food - All on plan
Here is a post from my Journal that I did on May 2nd. It was about one of those moments where I realized that I wasn't in Kansas anymore...
In May 2015 I flew off to Oregon to witness my eldest daughter graduate from college. I was 270 lbs at the time, but I did fit comfortably in the airplane seat for the first time in decades. Graduation was great and so was seeing family. I did enjoy spending time with my daughter. We took several walks together, including a little hiking trip in the mountains to see Drift Creek Falls. In 2013 I couldn't walk from my recliner upstairs to bed without having to stop for a rest. I wouldn't have considered doing that hiking trip before losing the weight. We had a great time. This whole trip was awesome.
Below is a post that I made last September in support of another forum member that was having a hard time staying the course. It was a post that covered the process I went through to find the path to success. It was suggested that I add this to my journal or my next milestone, so that is what I'm doing. I cleaned up the grammar a bit (I could no longer edit it where it was) and made it a better read. It is, however, essentially the same thing I said I that original post.
Halloween through New Year's Day was always diet killer season for me. If I had managed to accomplish anything earlier in the year it was always undone by the end of the year. Birthday celebrations were always trouble, too. Holidays and birthdays were an automatic cheat day for me. Tradition always trumped the diet. But for the 2nd straight year I made it through the holidays without cheating. I stayed on plan through every birthday as well. I made cheating not an option. I planned ahead and always had good, healthy food ready to go. This is what I had for my Thanksgiving dinner (plus a slice of LC cheesecake - not shown)...
Doing a LCHF/Atkins diet is not about eating "nothing but meat" as the rumor goes. That is such a myth. It is about eating fewer carbohydrates. It is about eating healthy, whole foods and not eating man made processed junk. My body works fine when I eat good food. Eating junk breaks me.
By Christmas I was looking pretty darn good, if I do say so myself
January was month 24 since I started this way of eating. On New Year's Day I weighed 221. That was one pound away from being exactly half of my starting weight. For each of the first 23 months I weighed less at the end of the month than I did at the beginning. That streak ended in January.
I let my guard down after Christmas. I started having LC deserts more frequently than I normally do. I began having them every day. I'm talking about treats like 90% cacao dark chocolate with peanut butter, Breyer's Carbsmart ice cream topped with peanuts, and those dang Atkins bars. I did OK with moderation for a week or two. But soon I was eating more than I wanted to. I was exceeding my targets for both carbs and calories. I was eating junkier carbs. I found myself eating 2 or 3 Atkins bars in one sitting. That was binge-like behavior! I could feel that I was starting to lose control of my eating and I didn't like that feeling. I needed to put an end to this ASAP and that is what I did.
I stopped having the LC goodies in mid January. Within a few days I had a good handle on my eating again. My weight was up several pounds. It was mostly water weight from eating too many carbs. I had shed most of that by the end of the month. But not all of it was gone, so January was a gain month. I'm back in the zone now with my eating and pushing on to goal. I just hope I've learned my lesson on this. Staying in control of what I eat is paramount to my success.
I've had problems with Atkins bars in the past. I have trouble stopping at just one bar. Because of that I had been avoiding them. After this last episode it is clear that Atkins bars are a problem food for me. I now consider them an off-plan food. If I stick to my rule #1, I won't be eating them anymore.
A few days ago I had one of those moments in life that just slap you upside the head like a V8 commercial. Here is the post about it from my journal:
One of my LC buds responded to that post with the following questions...
I thought they were great questions and I've been thinking about them for days. Interesting that she should mention the sailboard (aka wind surfer). I think giving up windsurfing back in the late 1980's was the beginning of me losing myself to my ever increasing weight. Being 10 or 20 pounds overweight is more a vanity/self-image thing. I was overweight for many years - most of my young life, in fact. Though I may not have liked how I looked in the mirror, though I wouldn't run around with my shirt off like the buff dudes did - those pounds didn't physically stop me from doing anything that I wanted to do. When I got too heavy to windsurf... that is when obesity took over and I started losing the ability to enjoy life as I once did.
After that it was being denied insurance at work for weighing too much. Soon I started filling and then more than filling an airplane seat. And yes, I even had to ask for the dreaded seatbelt extender a few times. As time passed and the pounds piled on even tying my own shoes became difficult. Trimming my toenails was next to impossible. All the while, I considered myself a healthy fat person. I tried to put a smiley face on it. I'd blame age, a sore back, or just plain "I don't want to right now" for not wanting to do things with my family. The real reason was due to my weight much of the time - but I never acknowledged that to myself. I could diet some of it off from time to time, but I could never stick with it and the pounds rolled back on with more to spare within a few short months. The transition from being "normal" to sitting out life on the sideline was slow and incremental. Most of the time I hardly noticed it. But over time the impact was great. I was athletic and active when I was young -- and I was anything but that just a few years later. My size consumed me and I wasn't me anymore. A few years ago the health issues started piling up and I was no longer that 'healthy' fat person. I was sick and I was way more than just fat. Life was becoming miserable.
The epiphany the other day was realizing that all the physical restrictions and limitations of being obese were now gone. Almost from the start of this WOE things have been getting better. Diabetes related issues were resolved quickly. As the weight came off and I got more active - one by one the things that I could not or would not do became possible again. If I want to do something now, I just do it. I've stopped looking for shortcuts. I've stopped looking for places to sit down and take a load off. I'm dreaming of the possibilities of life again. And I'm going to be here for my children, grandchildren and maybe even a few great grandchildren. This is my normal life. I got it back and I plan on keeping it this time.
I may have to dust off the old windsurfer this summer and give it another try. I hope it is like riding a bike.
And finally (yes - my posts can get wordy) - the THEN vs. NOW photo...
I avoided the camera well in recent years, so I didn't have many head to toe photos of myself. My wife snuck this one in a few years ago. I wasn't my max weight, but close enough. I can't believe that I'm going to put this photo of me out there. But this post is about where I was and how far I've come - full disclosure. SO here it is...
Above, in the current
photo of me, I'm showing off my latest Goodwill find... a like-new pair of size 35 Levis. I didn't even know they made a size 35. The size 36 jeans that I shrank into a few months ago were starting to get loose & baggy. I am a size 35 and the new jeans fit great. In the photo on the left, I'd have been wearing size 56 (or so). My goal jeans that I've had since the 1980's are size 34... Just 1 inch to go!
210s pound was a fantasy goal 2 years ago. I didn't think I'd ever really get there. Now it is only a few pounds away. I'm still calling that my goal weight -- but now I want more. I plan to just stick with what I'm doing and just see where the scale number finally lands. The 190's would be great. The 180's would be flippin' awesome. I'm an LC lifer now. We'll just have to wait and see what happens. From what I hear, maintenance is hard. I hope I do it and do it well.
So have you got a lot of weight to lose? What are you waiting for? Ditch the excuses, stick to your program, and get it done. This is your life we are talking about. Make the most of it. Change how you eat and find a healthy WOE that works for you. You can get your life back. You will thank yourself later, trust me. Bread, pasta, cake & candy -- or -- life, happiness & good health. What is it going to be? After the year I just had I know which one I'm choosing.
I got my life back and it is a wonderful life. If I can do it, you can do it, too.