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-   -   In it for the Long Haul (http://forum.lowcarber.org/showthread.php?t=474262)

cotonpal Sat, Jul-16-16 10:41

In it for the Long Haul
 
My story is not the usual one you see posted here. I have no idea what date I actually started nor do I know what exactly I weighed. The highest weight I remember being is 245 lbs and that was somewhere around 2003. Somewhere around that time I changed my diet. I never wrote down the date nor did I write down how my weight changed, although I did check my weight regularly on the scale. My goal was always more health oriented than weight oriented although I did want to lose weight and was happy when it happened. So here's my story as best I can recollect it or at least as I now reconstruct it. Maybe it didn't happen quite this way but what is definitely true is that I have lost approximately 117 pounds and I am much healthier than I used to be. What is also true is that I am older but I take no prescription drugs nor do I see the doctor except for an annual physical so she remembers who I am.

All my adult life I have had gastro-intestinal problems ranging from mild to moderate, bad enough to interfere with my life in many ways but not bad enough to completely derail my life. Most of my adult life I suffered from major depression, the kind that makes you want to end your life. I tried pretty much everything but nothing helped very much or for very long. In my 40's I developed asthma and had to take daily medication to control it. There was other stuff sprinkled in there too but the final straw was when I realized that I was no doubt on my way to diabetes or already there. Along with the weight gain I had episodes of increasing hypoglycemia that alternated with times of extreme fatigue. I recognized these symptoms as signs of blood sugar dys-regulation and that did it for me. My memory of my paternal grandmother is of an old woman in a wheel chair without any legs, amputated due to diabetes. I did not want to become her. I decided it was time to do something about it. That was about 13 years ago. This is what I did, the condensed version:

1.Read Dr Bernstein's "Diabetes Solution" and started following his 6-12-12 , 30 total carbs a day, low carb plan plus joined the forum on his site. His plan made sense to me because I knew that what I needed to do was get rid of the high carb food in my diet and there was plenty of that, take out, home delivery, drive through. You name it I ate it and the more I ate the hungrier I got. Whole pizzas, pints of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, Starbucks Frappacinos, packages of Pepperidge Farm cookies. I ate until I felt sick and it took a lot to get to that point. I also felt disgusted with myself but I couldn't seem to stop.

2.Read "Neanderthin" by Ray Audette The paleo plan made sense to me, basically eat real food. I adopted his plan to my low carb Bernstein approach. Things started to get better. My hunger decreased, my blood glucose stabilized, my fatigue lessened and my gastro-intestinal symptoms lessened but not enough nor did my depression diminish significantly. But I was losing weight.

3. I read Elaine Gottschall's "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" and adopted her specific carbohydrate diet, keeping it low carb. This turned out to not be as successful as I hoped although it did clue me into the relationship between specific kinds of foods and gastro-intestinal symptoms. Unfortunately some of the mainstays of her diet turned out to be foods I was sensitive to but it took me several years to figure this out. I was continuing to lose weight all this time.

4. I followed along in this way for several years and my weight continued to slowly drop until I reached 155 pounds and I continued to battle all the gastro-intestinal ills which seemed to be getting worse and were making it more and more difficult to do anything outside the house. Seeking out medical help was of no help. In fact by deciding to follow the advice of the doctors I tried a bunch of things that derailed my up until then strict low carb eating. I gained 20 pounds and went up to 175. At that point I hated the scale, got rid of it, and decided to go back to strict low carb eating, practicing portion control but not counting carbs precisely. I decided that no doctor could be of any help to me. I had already tried that route.

5. All hell breaks out. My intestinal tract goes into overdrive. I cannot leave the house. I can barely leave the bathroom. I already know that going to the doctor is not going to be of benefit. Six Immodium at a time get things to stop but only temporarily until I try to eat again and then hell returns. I got on the internet and found a website about microscopic colitis. The symptoms fit mine. The info I got there saved my life. I got tested through a place called Enterolab, discovered my numerous food sensitivities, removed them from my diet and finally I began to get better. I do not eat any grains, any dairy, any soy or other legumes, any eggs, any chicken and any beef. For a long time I couldn't tolerate any fiber so for about 2 years I was close to 0 carbs. I still avoid the above listed food but have been able to add vegetables back in. I eat a big salad every day (low carb veggies only). And I can leave the house without anxiety, without worrying about the location of the nearest bathroom or nervous when sitting in the audience at any of my granddaughter's events (those were the only ones I would go to). I missed my daughter's wedding because I could not travel. This was a bad time but it has improved so much.

3. So how did this effect my weight and health? Sticking with low carb but no always weighing things, either myself or the food (I pretty much knew what the carb counts were) in 2 years I lost 30 pounds. bringing me down to 145 and a total of 100 pounds lost since my highest weight. I discovered this when I had a physical at my doctor's office. That was 2 years ago. All my health problems are virtually gone including lifelong depression, asthma, Gerd, rosacea, seasonal allergies, arthritis, dry eye, blood glucose swings (most likely diabetic or prediabetic).

4. I remain very strict about my diet. I continue to avoid grains, dairy, soy, eggs, chicken and beef. I am 100% real food paleo. I have lost another18 pounds without any effort and now weight 127. I walk 4-6 miles a day (remember I used to be afraid to leave the house) and I think that helped with the final weight loss but before that I was pretty sedentary, 100 pounds came off because of dietary changes. I believe that by removing the foods that caused me so many digestive issues I was finally able to stop the weight gain and start losing again. But what keeps me thin and healthy has as its foundation low carb real foods.

The support in this forum is great. I am so glad I finally found this place.

If you want before and afters you can find them in my journal here:

http://forum.lowcarber.org/showthre...140#post9142140

Jean

Nancy LC Sat, Jul-16-16 11:50

That's such a wonderful story, Jean!

I'm similar to that, however the weight loss never seems to happen. I'm not sure if I had colitis, or what, but I've definitely figured out that my intestinal symptoms are due to stuff I put down my gullet like NSAIDs and a bunch of foods I react too. Even low carb ones!

Kristine Sat, Jul-16-16 13:21

Wow, that's amazing, Jean. :thup: That must have been difficult at first to eliminate so many foods, but I guess once it makes that much of a difference in your quality of life, it's kind of hard to feel sorry for yourself. At least you have the knowledge.

Best of luck in the future. :thup:

cotonpal Sat, Jul-16-16 15:38

Nancy - I have no official diagnosis of colitis just like I have no official diagnosis of diabetes. I figured in both instances since my approach was going to be dietary why go through the process of getting a diagnosis and getting a doctor involved. I found that solving my food sensitivity issues got my weight loss going again after I had decided that I would eat low carb and be satisfied with wherever things ended up. It may happen for you too.

Jean

cotonpal Sat, Jul-16-16 15:40

Kristine - It really wasn't difficult for me to give up all those foods. What was difficult was being so sick. I would have subsisted entirely on eye of newt if that was what it took to be able to leave my house.

Jean

bkloots Sat, Jul-16-16 16:36

Thanks so much for posting your story, Jean. If only all of us could refocus on good health instead of weight loss as the primary achievement! No, it isn't effortless. Yes, we may have to give up a lot of food things we thought we couldn't live without. But now, look at you! Real life at long last!

Best best wishes!

thud123 Sat, Jul-16-16 18:14

Thank You Jean. Your presence on this website has helped many (I include myself in that many) your insights are keen and you have an abundance of kindness. You are a good example of how someone can not necessarily "take control" of their life but learn to find a path that causes the least harm to yourself and others spreading good cheer and a message of hope along the way.

To steal a phrase from Old Lodge Skins (Chief Daniel George) in the movie "Little Big Man"...

My heart soars like a hawk.

Thank you for telling your story.

cotonpal Sun, Jul-17-16 04:25

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkloots
Thanks so much for posting your story, Jean. If only all of us could refocus on good health instead of weight loss as the primary achievement! No, it isn't effortless. Yes, we may have to give up a lot of food things we thought we couldn't live without. But now, look at you! Real life at long last!

Best best wishes!


Thanks for stopping by Barbara. I was fortunate to understand that my high weight was just one symptom of my underlying bad health and to focus on weight exclusively made no sense plus, although my weight caused me problems, it did not cause nearly the problems that my other health issues caused. I feel grateful to have figured out that I was the one responsible for finding the solution and that focusing on the positive aspects of what I was doing was a lot more beneficial then bemoaning my fate. The attitude of "I can't live without..." just brings frustration. The foods I have given up are the foods that were making me fat and sick. In other words they were not foods for me they were poisons. This attitude makes my choices easy.

Jean

cotonpal Sun, Jul-17-16 04:32

Quote:
Originally Posted by thud123
Thank You Jean. Your presence on this website has helped many (I include myself in that many) your insights are keen and you have an abundance of kindness. You are a good example of how someone can not necessarily "take control" of their life but learn to find a path that causes the least harm to yourself and others spreading good cheer and a message of hope along the way.

To steal a phrase from Old Lodge Skins (Chief Daniel George) in the movie "Little Big Man"...

My heart soars like a hawk.

Thank you for telling your story.


Thanks Thud. I enjoy our mutual admiration society. Too much time spent feeling sorry for myself led to just more misery. This way works much better, seeing obstacles as the path, keeping the mind peaceful and clear while observing the storm clouds, that always will come and go, without latching onto them with anger or frustration or even happiness, in other words contentment no matter what. Not that I'm there yet but I'm working on it.

Jean

Just Jo Sun, Jul-17-16 07:28

Thank you for sharing your story, Jean! You always inspire and motivate me as well as so many others here!


Your before and after pics in your journal are truly AMAZING! Thanks for posting those! :thup:

ReneeH20 Sun, Jul-17-16 08:58

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is really encouraging to see someone doing LC successfully for years.

It is also a great reminder to me that I initially started my LC WOE for health. I am also interested to read about how you fixed a lot of your health issues with diet as my husband has a lot of stomach issues and also deals with depression (mostly seasonal affective disorder). The poor guy just deals with the pain most of the time and just starting to realize that maybe he should start eating the same way I do for his health (he is not and was never fat).

khrussva Sun, Jul-17-16 11:46

I enjoyed reading your story. It is amazing what you were able to accomplish and even more amazing that you are staying lean and healthy after reaching a normal weight. Your path is certainly different than mine. But you figured yourself out and so did I. We ended up at the same place... with a happy & healthy life. Please stick around. I love reading your posts.

cotonpal Sun, Jul-17-16 13:17

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReneeH20
Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is really encouraging to see someone doing LC successfully for years.

It is also a great reminder to me that I initially started my LC WOE for health. I am also interested to read about how you fixed a lot of your health issues with diet as my husband has a lot of stomach issues and also deals with depression (mostly seasonal affective disorder). The poor guy just deals with the pain most of the time and just starting to realize that maybe he should start eating the same way I do for his health (he is not and was never fat).


Renee - For me the combination of a low carb real food diet along with figuring out my food sensitivities eliminated so many health issues that even if I hadn't had the weight to lose it still would be the best way for me to eat. I continue to eat this way not just to maintain my weight loss but to maintain my health. I hope you can convince your husband to try it.

Jean

cotonpal Sun, Jul-17-16 13:19

Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Jo
Thank you for sharing your story, Jean! You always inspire and motivate me as well as so many others here!


Your before and after pics in your journal are truly AMAZING! Thanks for posting those! :thup:


Thanks for stopping by Jo. You are another member of my mutual admiration society.

Jean

cotonpal Sun, Jul-17-16 13:25

Quote:
Originally Posted by khrussva
I enjoyed reading your story. It is amazing what you were able to accomplish and even more amazing that you are staying lean and healthy after reaching a normal weight. Your path is certainly different than mine. But you figured yourself out and so did I. We ended up at the same place... with a happy & healthy life. Please stick around. I love reading your posts.


Ken - So many people, faced with challenges, give up too soon. I think one thing we have in common is that we have been determined to figure it out and we have. Yay us! I plan on sticking around. I always hope that I can help inspire someone else to follow this path of healthy eating. It's about so much more than losing weight. Losing weight is just its most visible aspect.

Jean

JEY100 Sun, Jul-17-16 14:23

Jean, what a wonderful, truly very long-term success story. Success not in weight loss, but conquering so many health issues. That is a crazy number of seemingly unrelated health issues all solved through diet...your own dietary experiments. Would love to have some docotor now explain them all. :idea:
Though please answer one question that others will undoubtedly ask...what DO you eat? Eggs, meat, chicken and dairy are the backbone of usual LC menus. We know that you have accepted your food restrictions, but a new person trying to find a dietary solution may be overwhelmed by the "don'ts". As others have already written, you are an inspiration and so freely and generously share your time and good advice with other members...thank you!

cotonpal Sun, Jul-17-16 16:50

Quote:
Originally Posted by JEY100
Though please answer one question that others will undoubtedly ask...what DO you eat? Eggs, meat, chicken and dairy are the backbone of usual LC menus. We know that you have accepted your food restrictions, but a new person trying to find a dietary solution may be overwhelmed by the "don'ts".


One thing that I decided early on in my journey of diet change is that I would not think of the way I was eating as a deprivation but as a gift I was giving myself. In other words I thought about how lucky I was to have figured out how to regain my health simply by changing how I ate. The things I no longer could eat might be considered food by other people but I started seeing them as poison and who would voluntarily ingest poison? Arsenic, no matter how good it tastes, will never be on my menu.

Now to specifics. There are lots of food still to eat.

Proteins that are currently in my diet:
ground venison
canned wild Alaskan slamon
wild caught Pacific cod
pork liver
homemade breakfast sausage

Fats:
olive oil
coconut oil

Vegetables:
various leafy greens
broccoli
cauliflower
bok choy
cucumber
red pepper
mushrooms
cabbage

Nuts and seeds:
flax seed
sunflower seeds

Other:
coconut milk (homemade)
shirataki noodles
salad dressing (homemade oil and vinegar)

Liquids:
Coffee
Green tea
herbal tea
water

If you think of it as deprivation then you will feel deprived. If you think of it as a means to a healthy life it will feel like a gift.

Here's my tough love speech. Most of us become very spoiled. We think we need variety and scrumptious tastes all the time. We don't. I think of my food as medicine to keep my body healthy so that I can use my life in more productive ways than taking pills and visiting doctors. My food is easy to prepare and tasty but it is not the center of my life. I used to believe that my coffee had to have milk and sugar in it. Yuck to black. Now I drink it black and it's fine. Habits can be changed. Attitudes can be changed. We can learn to eat in ways that enhance our health if we let go of what we used to think about food and embrace a new way of thinking and eating.

End of lecture.

Jean

Rosebud Sun, Jul-17-16 21:37

Hi Jean, I am so very happy for you that you have found the solution to your gut problems. And as to your magnificent weight loss, I can only come over all Oz and say, "Goodonya, mate!"

Meanwhile, I might take some advice from you. You see I have fairly major problems with my tum too, to the point where I can only leave home if I have eaten nothing at all for 24 hours. My problem is diverticulosis/itis, and I cannot eat any nuts seeds or much fibre without triggering a you beaut episode of diverticulitis. But it never occurred to me to eliminate any proteins! Hey, if it has worked for you, it's worth a shot, right? Oops, just made a typo there putting an "i" instead of an "o" for "shot". Appropriate, yes? :D

Let me just finish by once again congratulating you on doing so well!

cotonpal Mon, Jul-18-16 04:02

Roz - That was how I used to function. If there was somewhere I had to go I would fast for at least 24 hours beforehand. I was doing intermittent fasting before it was all the rage. You might want to try an elimination diet to see if you can find the foods that are causing your symptoms. It's a hard way to live, not being able to leave the house.

Jean

Just Jo Mon, Jul-18-16 10:50

Quote:
Originally Posted by cotonpal
If you think of it as deprivation then you will feel deprived. If you think of it as a means to a healthy life it will feel like a gift.

Here's my tough love speech. Most of us become very spoiled. We think we need variety and scrumptious tastes all the time. We don't. I think of my food as medicine to keep my body healthy so that I can use my life in more productive ways than taking pills and visiting doctors. My food is easy to prepare and tasty but it is not the center of my life. I used to believe that my coffee had to have milk and sugar in it. Yuck to black. Now I drink it black and it's fine. Habits can be changed. Attitudes can be changed. We can learn to eat in ways that enhance our health if we let go of what we used to think about food and embrace a new way of thinking and eating.

End of lecture.

Jean
OMG, lecture away! You are so articulate and eloquent!

You always manage to say things that I wish I could express if I had your gift!

Your belief about the foods we are lucky to enjoy mirror my own! I never feel deprived for having found what foods works for me to keep me healthy!

I don't bemoan the foods that were keeping me morbidly obese and would probably send me to an early grave suffering from the ravaging and debilitating diseases associated with being 100+ lbs over weight and getting older...

I made a comment in my journal this morning about my incredible LC WOE; that it has become so completely ingrained in me to the point that thinking about eating anything off plan seems so totally foreign and wrong to me.

Actually, thinking about eating or even seeing off plan foods (i.e., those horribly toxic carbs) make me wanna gag at times...so to say I'm in a totally fab-tastic place in my journey is truly an understatement!

I'm gonna continue to FIGHT the Good Hard Fight and be the best I can be health-wise as I get older! :thup:

Of course I'm part of your admiration society! You're truly AMAZING!

Squarecube Mon, Jul-18-16 13:17

Great read, very impressive. Thanks for writing it up, you never now who you might be helping down the road.

Squarecube Mon, Jul-18-16 13:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by cotonpal
snip............

Now to specifics. There are lots of food still to eat.

............

Jean


Hey, you left out the eye of newt. It's Paleo, etc, and fried in some coconut oil, i bet it's quite good.

slwloser Tue, Jul-19-16 21:42

Your success story
 
What an inspiring story!! Thank you.

I really needed that ;)

Ambulo Wed, Jul-20-16 07:50

Thank you for sharing your story. Your patient persistence in researching your health issues and then sticking to the principles that work for you are an inspiration to me.

walnut Sat, Jul-22-17 14:36

Thank you for sharing your remarkable story!
Quote:
One thing that I decided early on in my journey of diet change is that I would not think of the way I was eating as a deprivation but as a gift I was giving myself. In other words I thought about how lucky I was to have figured out how to regain my health simply by changing how I ate. The things I no longer could eat might be considered food by other people but I started seeing them as poison and who would voluntarily ingest poison? Arsenic, no matter how good it tastes, will never be on my menu.

Isn't that the truth. People are always sending me articles about potential cures for celiac, etc, that are coming down the pipe. I always reply that i'd rather avoid the poison, in the first place, than take the antidote.

mviesprite Tue, Jan-23-18 12:59

I have just read this and I say wow, congrats on a great job turning this all around for yourself. Not an easy road, for sure.
I was curious about your path to success, seeing you on the 90 day thread.
Contrats and keep on!
Kat :)

aponimommy Tue, Feb-20-18 09:10

Such an amazing journey! :)

LebenRedux Tue, Feb-20-18 11:23

Thank you for sharing your story and pics, cotonpal. I'm just starting out and am so impressed you reached 106% of your goal! Inspiring!

SilverEm Thu, Apr-19-18 07:50

Jean, I'm really happy for you. I'm glad you found a way to take such good care of yourself. :)

LCer4Life Wed, Sep-12-18 11:43

That is a inspirational story. I am making my way through the forum posts of interest. :wave: You have done great. I really like the summary of the books and what you got from them. I followed Atkins back in '04. I couldn't believe it had been that long ago. Gained weight and thought it is time again and make it a WOL. I am very focused and doing ok. More NSV that scale but I've always said the 'number' doesn't matter it is how you feel and how your clothes fit. Life is great and I have more energy that I know what to do with :lol: Feeling great. Your story inspired me more and I will Keep On Keeping On!!! Thank You


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