I think I am ready to declare success
I started low carb eating in February 2007, as a show of support for my sister-in-law who had developed gestational diabetes and was given a low carb diet to follow the remainder of her pregnancy. Being Vietnamese, she just knew she would never be able to eat without rice, noodles and tapioca starch as a daily part of her diet. So, I told her I would do it with her. You know, misery loves company.
It wasn't Atkins induction or any particular plan. I just avoided the main carbs: wheat, grains, potato, carrots, sweet potato, corn, oats, sugars, juices, and any very sweet fruits. The weight initally just flew off.
When my nephew was born three months later, my friends all wanted to know when I would go back to eating "real" food, and that was when I realized I simply wasn't going back. I had lost a pretty decent amount of weight by then, I felt good, my neck and back pain was gone, my MS symptoms had drastically improved, I was sleeping, my horrible menstral cramps were going away and my hair and nails had never looked better.
I managed to get down to a low of 165 within the first eight months, but then I'd get sidetracked and pop back up to 175 or 180, before moving back down the scale again into the 160s. Now that I was going it alone, without my sister-in-law and without a real plan, things got tough. Plus, I had reached a weight where it was going to take some discipline to move any lower and I had no idea how to be disciplined.
Somewhere around that time I found this forum. I re-read my Atkins book, the one I picked up in 1999 and never bothered to really read. I read Jimmy Moore's site. I read kimkins. I ready the PP plans. I read GCBC. I started flirting with paelo principles. I found Mark's Daily Apple and then Panu, when it was first getting started. I tried IF. I tried carb cycling. I read a lot, but I never could get out of my 165-175 yoyoing. (Frankly, I think I tried far too many things without giving any of them a chance to work.)
In 2009, I got very sick and took massive doses of steroids for months on end. I was also hospitalized and at the mercy of hospital dieticians. I ended up re-gaining about 30 pounds, almost back up to 200. It was very demoralizing, but I did lose it all again, this time with the help of hcg. And I didn't stop losing at 165. Since I was far more educated, I was able to be far more disciplined. (Plus, being so demoralized over the regain made the plan much easier to follow.) I made it down to 158 in September 2010. By March 2011, I hit my low of 149.
I also finally started exercising. I was an athlete when in school, but for years I had used my MS as a rationale for not working out: I can't get too overheated or my body attacks me now. But my husband was battling high blood pressure, and he found that simply walking cured his hbp almost immediately. So, I started walking with him: 2 miles every evening after work, 3 miles on weekend mornings. When the weather got too hot for me to handle the outdoors heat, rather than simply give up walking, I joined the gym under my office. I've been religiously using it, and I actually love it now.
I still walk maybe 3 days a week. The other 2-3 days I work out, I lift weights. I spend only 15-20 minutes lifting, and I do the heaviest weights I can handle. It has made a huge difference in how I feel. I travel a lot for work, and I've started packing my workout clothes and actually using the hotel gyms wherever I go. And if there is no hotel gym, I have a power yoga dvd that I keep in my laptop, and I can always do yoga in my hotel room.
It took a while -- years really, for LC to become a part of my life. But now it just is. Everyone who nows me knows that I just don't eat carbs. It is who I am and no one cares. I still have a full and exciting life, professionally and socially. I just don't eat the cake, cookies, bread, chips, pasta, etc. Exercise is also becoming second nature to me.
Most days I am closer to 151 than 149. I weigh a few times a week now. Not daily, but I never go more than a week without getting on the scale, just to keep things in check. I now comfortably wear a size 6P-8P or a medium. And I am comfortable in my own skin.
Technically, I am still overweight, according to the height/weight charts. But I don't care about those. I think I look pretty good for a middle aged woman with three kids and a chronic illness. And I feel fantastic. If at some point I lose more, fine. If not, that is fine, too. (Really, I actually mean that.) I am healthy and happy and I have found something that really works for me, in my life.