If I had to sum up my advice in 6 words, that would be it. Here's the long version:
I didn't want to be this small. That's not to say that I'm not happy to be here, but I didn't want it the way some people desperately and passionately do. I didn't strive for it or dream about it or ache for it. I didn't put things off in my life, waiting to be thinner. I didn't try every diet, or any diet for that matter. I tried getting into exercise once, but that didn't stick. I didn't really want to be thin, but I didn't *not* want to be thin either. I just didn't think about it. Yet here I am, 75 pounds less than ten months ago. A size 4 instead of 18. Biking to work instead of driving to work. Running instead of knitting.
I won’t bore you with the details of how I got here (but here's
a link to a summary in my journal if you want them). In the end, there was no magic bullet. Was low carb the answer? Yes and no. I think for me, it was just a lucky combination of right place and right time. The very first time I went to the farmer's market, Kaiser was there recruiting for this study. My husband supported me by completely changing the way we ate - fast food out, home cooked in - as well as supporting me in everything I do. My best friend joined the gym with me and went 6 times a week for months (and still goes 4 - 5 times a week). The study leaders imparted useful, important information (the hunger fullness scale rocks!). The other folks in my group shared their challenges so I could learn from them. I just followed the plan.
I am lucky that my metabolism isn't messed up from previous attempts at dieting, and that I don't have any other complicating medical condition. I am lucky that I found a way of eating that works for me. Low carb was never a chore for me - it just seems natural. I'm lucky to have discovered Couch to 5K and Robert Ullrey's podcast that turned a lifelong, passionate hatred of running into an enjoyable hobby. I'm lucky to live 4 miles from work, so bike commuting is a real option. I'm lucky to be financially sound enough to be able to afford to make the expensive choices that make this WOE easier (a personal trainer and gym membership, lots of fresh meat and veggies, restaurant meals instead of fast food, a computer and internet to make this forum always available). I'm lucky that this opportunity came at the exact moment in my life when I was most able to take advantage of it.
Others will tell you that they lost the weight simply because they wanted it enough. They struggled and starved and overcame. They "decided" that they would lose it, as if it were that simple. Sure, I was the one who ate on plan, exercised a lot and tried to get enough sleep - it's not as if all of this just happened to me - but I don't really think I can take the credit. It took all of the elements coming together for this to work.
So here I am. Smaller than I ever imagined possible. A size 4 (2 at some stores!). A runner. A bike commuter. Someday even a triathlete. A person who will struggle with her weight every single day of the rest of her life, or until she tires of the struggle, whichever comes first. I have to weigh myself every day and write down all of my food every day and exercise every day. I have to overcome my natural laziness every day (I still rarely take the stairs). I think of it like having a chronic disease - this is what I have to do to stay healthy.
My maintenance strategy is to try to focus on the little things I can enjoy now that I'm thinner. I have more clothing options and feel better about myself in clothes (I'm still not thrilled about my naked self ). I can keep up with my kids. I don't get winded when I do take the stairs. Other people admire my strong arms and legs. And of course, I've had my rings and watch sized down, so there's no going back now!
The one thing I hope to impart with this story is that there is so much more to losing weight than just food and exercise. There is a lot of guilt being passed along from our culture's war on obesity - a front for bigotry and hatred of anyone above the "normal" weight - but it's not so simple as calories in, calories out. Follow your plan, get some exercise, and let your weight fall where it may.