Around 1991, my husband was told he would have to stop donating blood because his triglycerides were too high. He was sent to a specialist at a prominent medical university. The specialist encouraged him to begin a low-fat lifestyle, then turned to me and asked what I was doing there. I had just been there to accompany my husband, but I got the lecture, too.
I've been fat all my life. My mother put me on my first diet at age 5 and things have progressively worsened from then. Before she died (of diabetes & heart complications), she told me that she only did it because of pressure from my thinner relatives (uncles who thought they knew it all and told you so).
For over ten years we tried the low-fat way. I never lost any weight from a rather strict regimen. In 1997, I was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure - found when the eye doctor noticed damage. My blood sugars were fairly well-maintained with glipizide, but my blood pressure kept spiking higher and higher. I finally had a heart attack and triple bypass in March of 2000.
Even after the heart attack, my health was continuing to fail. My (new) doctor was giving me more and more meds every visit. In March of this year (2002), he told me there wasn't anything more he could do for me. I was likely to die within two years.
Discussing matters with my husband on the way home, we considered three options. My husband had lost 5 lbs with the Slim-Fast diet plan over the previous 7 months and thought that would be the healthiest way for me to go. I had a friend who had gone through the stomach stapling (twice) and that, though scary, had given her good weight loss. I had another friend who had been on Atkins for a few years and lost about 40 lbs with it.
I don't like artificial shakes/bars, etc. For me, the Slim-Fast plan and stomach staplings sounded like torture. On the other hand, I've always preferred meats to sweets. To be honest, Atkins seemed too good to be true - a possible hoax - but I had to try SOMETHING or die. I was actually concerned that Atkins would hasten my death, but received permission from my doctor to try it for JUST ONE MONTH. He was certain I would be back on another plan as soon as I saw the flaws in low-carb eating.
In the first two weeks, I lost 15 lbs. Yes, it was water-weight (as EVERYONE pointed out), but some of it stayed off in the second two weeks. Plus, my edema all but disappeared. And, after one week, I went off of my diuretics and half my heart regulator pills (Metoprolol). I also went to the hospital for a bp check and had a reading of 138/87 - an impossible number.
Back at the doctor's, I told him about the bp reading. It seemed strange to him that my bp was so low that day, confirmed by the hospital, when it was so high this very visit. He went to re-take the bp that had been taken by the nurse and discovered that his nurse had been using the wrong size cuff on me. My bp had been artificially read as too high for MONTHS because of a, forgive me but I know this is why, lazy nurse. It turns out I was not as close to death as we thought.
But, after that scare, those results, and the feeling that I FINALLY knew what to do - how to lose weight - how to take care of myself in a manner that worked - how could I go back? It WASN'T MY FAULT I WAS BIG! That was such a powerful moment for me, to realize that I'd been misled, given the wrong tools.
I've been on the plan for 8 months and have lost 54 lbs. I feel better and happier than I have in decades. People still stare and comment, but I don't take it seriously anymore because I know I'm doing something about it. I'm finally on the right path. It is almost a new religion for me to educate anyone I can, get the message out to all those people like me who just need the right information to change their lives. Bless Dr. Atkins and every other scientist who sticks to the truth against the entire world.