A very varied life style on South Beach
I am about 3 lbs from goal, and now definitely within the normal range of BMI so even though I would like to go a few lbs lower, it is a good moment to write this.
I seem to be atypical on this roll of huge losses. I am 5'7" or 5'6.5", and all my blood and pressure etc. were always perfect - so my physician called being overweight a "cosmetic problem". I felt it was also a self confidence issue.
I was a fat baby, slim pre-teen, fat teenager (like many here), then started smoking, dating, sex, crazy life and lost 50 lbs or so - I was around 140 lbs then. Then I moved to US, and slowly slowly gained weight to about 160 lb. Had kids, which actually didn't do too much harm - my weigh-in for the second (152) was actually lower than for the first (158) - but then I slowly gained again, then stopped smoking, restarted, and then stopped for good, and gained a full 20 lbs just that last stop smoking. So now I was at 185, needed new clothing and definitely didn't feel right. I stayed stable at this for years - I thought I had a balanced diet and definitely didn't yoyo - it was just stable at a high level.
HOW I STARTED THE DIET
I did not try diets before. I thought I had a fairly well balanced diet. I wasn't pigging or really indulgent, I could keep my weight easily but at that high level. I started Atkins after hearing in the news fall of 2003 that all the bad mouthing may be wrong - that its actually not as unhealthy as it was presented in the press until then. So I bought the book, and still remember getting disgusted when it said: don't cut off the fat ends of the meat - something I had ALWAYS done. So, I wasn't full hearted but had heard enough about how well it works (and seen several colleagues loose 30-60 lbs) that I was willing to give it a try. While I was skipping all carbs at work, a co-worker asked whether I am also cutting carbs because of diet. I said yes, and she asked what program, and I said Atkins. She pointed to another co-worker who had lost 30 lbs and said from her she had heard about South Beach, and gave me a run-down which sounded like Atkins without the fat I hated and with the fruits I loved. That weekend I bought the book, and from the start it just felt right. That is important - I think a diet just has to feel as if its something you can live with. I had always loved fish, seafood, fruit and veggies and hated fatty meats. So, I switched in the second week from Atkins induction to South Beach phase 1, which I kept for 2 weeks. WIthin these 3 weeks, I lost 6 lbs, within 10 weeks 11 lbs. Not so much, but realistic considering what I wanted to loose. Then it stalled for quite a while and I was about to give up. After about a month, it got going again - don't know if it was oil of oregano, cutting down on wine, or doing more exercise or all together. So the next 10 lbs or so were pretty easy. AFter that between May and now, not much happened - but I got used to this as a way of life. I had visitors, went on vacation, and all through many trials and tribulations never lost control. I don't feel a slave of the diet, I feel in control. I can eat a piece of cheese cake if I really need to, or real ice creme, but I won't have three, or second servings, and I AM in control. To me this is one of the most important things.
TRAVEL AND BEING IN CONTROL
My biggest challenges are travels. I have to travel a lot, and get into situations with very little food choices. While my big vacation to Eastern Europe showed me that Eastern Europe is a low carb heaven with lots of high protein and high fiber food, the domestic front is difficult. So one of the things I learned is: you need to plan ahead. Now I don't travel without cheese snacks, low carb chocolate pieces, and apples. If I know that the official free BREAKfast of my meeting will likely be doughnuts and OJ, I don't hesitate to spend the money on going to the hotel BREAKfast buffet or order a three egg omelette. If I am offered only sandwiches or pizza, I don't hesitate to undo them, eat the inside of 4 sandwiches or take the top of three pizza slices, look greedy but leave the bread of 4 sandwiches or the bread of the pizza on my plate. Because those who know me see the 30-35 lbs that are lost, they will understand. Those who don't I don't care. I don't get tempted by sweets much, but if I have people come to my house, and a friend took the trouble to make a home made sugar serbet, I eat of it and enjoy it. I don't even really consider it cheating as long as I don't loose control. Even though peanuts are supposedly ok, they don't seem for me - I can't control them so that is one thing I have to work on.
ENCOURAGEMENT AT WORK
Even though the last 5 months without weight loss were hard on me, it was beyond 25 lbs and during this time I was approached a lot by co-workers, relatives and family who all applauded what I had lost already. WHat also helped is that our cafeteria started offering low carb items - 10% of the institute is on low carb, so they sell hard-boiled eggs, and the salad bar has protein (eggs, canned tuna or chicken breast).
The other personal struggle is with my knees. Although once I had lost some, I really enjoyed walking seriously several times a week - sometimes even with DD or DH, my knees started bothering. It is still worrisome but I finally took physical therapy and will continue that until after the Michigan winter is over. After that, hopefully the knees will be better and I can take up walking again seriously. If it wasn't for the knees, a really good thing about this journey is enjoying walking so much!
The other pleasure is to enjoy cooking. I feel my diet is variable, and I am finding out how to make really nice tasting cakes with whole grain flour, tried out quinoa, chanukka latkes made with veggies instead of potatoes, tried different fish recipes, had a whole variety of BREAKfasts. I often read that people are complaining about their diet being boring - South Beach doesn't have to be, and while some of my meals may be very unconventional, they are tasty, and healthy. I think this positive feeling about the diet is part of the success. I could cook most times for my family and myself, just modifying for me by either dropping one item (potato) for me or using whole grain rice or noodles.
SO, here I am, pretty sure that even if I might gain some lbs again, I have a way to take control pretty soon, and know how to get control. I somehow don't fear anymore that I can't keep this weight - I am sure I can.
The only negative is that its expensive to buy all new clothes, go to physical therapy (otherwize I would have enrolled in a fitness club- costs too), and the items of the diet are expensive. I am saying to myself I could have gotten there by starting smoking again - for $1000 a year for a pack a day - and so this money is also well spent.
EXAMPLE FOR THE KIDS
I also know my teenage kids while teasing me about my constant fretting about carbs have learned through observation - if they get in danger to become fat teenagers - which I hope can be avoided - I think they will know what to do. Overall, this was really a great journey .