Hi, my name is Lisa, and I'm a Dieter.
Been following some sort of a diet for most of my adult life--never obese as a teen/young adult, but chubby, gaining weight easily. In my early 20's, I fell into the low fat craze of the 90's, and actually was able to control my weight fairly well. Never LEAN, mind you, but not too bad. Of course, I had a VERY active job at the time, on my feet all day, so in hindsight I see that helped.
I also joined a gym at that time, Gainesville (FL) Health and Fitness, the place where Ellington Darden perfected his Nautilus workouts. At this center, I learned how to use fitness machines, doing slow reps in a circuit-style format. I also was heavily into aerobics. Never tried free weights--I bought into all the hype that heavy weights make you bulky, light weights for tone.
In 1998, I gave birth to my first son, and had a post-delivery weight of over 200#. A pretty big jump from my usual 160# (I'm 5'7.5" tall). I was in denial, though, as well as going through rough times with my son's father and my career. It wasn't until early 2000 that I decided enough was enough, time to sit down and diet seriously.
My chosen method was SlimFast, coffee, and aerobics x 100, haha! Still having life troubles, I used starvation as a way to punish myself, and to help me feel like I had control in at least ONE area of my life. It worked--by the end of the summer I was down to my lowest weight ever, 147#, but I looked like crap, my life was crap, and my health was crap.
Somehow, I managed to dig deep again, and make some life changing decisions. These included quitting my job, separating from my son's father, packing up all my stuff and my son, and moving over 5,000 miles away, to a strange country and hopefully a new life with an internet sweetheart.
It turns out this was the best thing I have ever done for myself. Maybe too good--settling into a comfortable, cared-for existence, I began to gain weight again. I managed to control it with low fat dieting, jogging, and aerobics/resistance training videos, but it was a constant battle, yo-yo-ing
up and down. I'd lose weight for a special event, like my wedding, only to gain it back on as soon I relaxed.
In mid-2004, I gave birth to my 2nd son. Once again, I had gained during the pregnancy, up to a little over 200#. This time, late '04, I found the Internet. Specifically, low carb dieting, and this message board.
As I began reading and absorbing, I realized that everything I knew (or *thought* I knew) about dieting and exercising was...well, if not wrong, at least misguided. I began the Atkins plan in Dec. '04, and did lose some weight without hunger, without too much effort. But within a month or two, my loss slowed to a crawl. A good friend of mine pointed my way to another fitness board, www.beyondlowcarb.net
, where I *met* someone whose posts I had read previously on the 'net, a woman known as "Built". In addition to Built, there were MANY women there, weight training with REAL weights, full of wonderful information...it was a whole new world for me!
I started reading as much as I could about weight training, using free weights, learning that ANYone could do this--it wasn't just the realm of the elite. I began using free weights in addition to my weight machine, and eventually added a bench, a barbell, more plates, and a squat rack. I began experimenting with different lifting plans, different diet tweaks, trying everything out, like a kid in a candy store. The problem, though, is that I was not sticking to one plan or routine long enough to get the most out of it. I did lose fat and gain strength, but not the best/most efficient way I could have.
Built and the other experienced lifters treated me kindly and with patience, eventually helping me to see that I needed to slow down, choose a good plan, and work it. Great advice, which I finally took, just in time to get pregnant with my third and final son. Ha.
I was determined this pregnancy that things would be different. This pregnancy I would eat better, I would train better. My body had some other things in mind, but in general it was a better pregnancy than the other two, and while I did end up gaining again to a bit over 200# (226# to be exact), I was able to lift some during pregnancy and maintain my hard-earned muscle. During my pregnancy, I took the opportunity that lots of down time provided to read up on proper beginner training, and also read the journals of successful people. They all shared the same trait--consistency. Consistency over time. They chose well-designed plans, and stuck to them. I vowed I would do the same.
When I was cleared post-partum (Dec '06) for dieting and exercise, I began my own version of a plan, based on Atkins. I had some success, losing about 20 pounds by Feb '07. Then my body rebelled--I started getting severe migraines, and my blood pressure was very high, 170/110, totally unusual for me. I was put immediately on blood pressure medication by my doctor, and the migraines calmed down a lot. Not gone totally, but enough that I could function. My weight was 205# (Mar '07), and on my own plan, I managed to lose slowly, down to about 195# by July...still bouncing up and down in weight.
By the end of July, I'd had it. I realized that I knew what to do, but just couldn't get it together enough to figure out how to lose consistently. I turned to Built for help, as she had graciously offered it in the past, but I was too stubborn to take it. I'm so grateful that I relented! She set me up on a carb cycling program, and helped me design an effective workout plan. It's all detailed on her blog page here
. Using her plan, I lost consistently through the summer and fall, reaching 175# before taking a BREAK.
Now looking at the upcoming Christmas holidays and wanting to be able to enjoy them guilt-free, Built and I decided I should try a PSMF, Protein Sparing Modified Fast, a version written by Lyle McDonald (read more about it here
. Built helped me put it together, and we logged it on her blog here
. It was a very successful run, getting me down to my pre-Xmas target of 166. (I should note here that IF you're going to crash diet, this is the safest way to go, IMO, and in addition to success, it provides you with an exit plan so you don't just gain it all back.
I enjoyed the Christmas holidays, and come January, was ready to resume the PSMF. Start weight was up to 170-ish (fully carbed), and I dieted for 2 more cycles (with the required 2 week BREAKs), ending at 155#, 22%BF. A few more weeks of diet BREAK, and then I resumed the PSMF at the end of May at ~158#, ending it yesterday at just under goal of 150#. My blood pressure, incidentally, has been in the normal range for the past 6 months, and I have been (with my doctor's guidance) able to wean myself down to a half dose of one daily med, soon to be zero.
As of today, I have achieved my first goal, which was to look "normal" in a bikini (at age 39, no less!). (All progress pictures can be seen in my Gallery here.) I am about to take a summer vacation, but at the end of summer, I will be back on this forum, logging my progress to a ripped bodybuilder physique--the support here is priceless and has made all the difference.