I've been low carbing
for 2 years now and I'm STILL not at goal. For crying out loud! I give up. I think I'll try Weight Watchers. At least then I can have bread EVERYDAY and I do miss bread. Uh, wait a sec. I don't miss bread anymore. Not at all as a matter of fact. On second thought, I think I'd better stick with what I'm doing. Somehow I don't think I'd be where I'm at today if I was still eating bread.
Joking aside - on with the real story...
I've been thinking about doing a new milestone for a few months now. I first considered it when I reached 200 pounds lost, again when I reached the 2 year mark with this WOE and finally when I became half of my starting weight (220 pounds lost). A lot has happened this past year, including getting my life back. I consider that a pretty big deal. So I think it is time to write up what has happened this past twelve months and do a final milestone. I'm only a few pounds from goal, so the next one should be a "Success Story" post some time later this year.
At the end of my first year eating low carb I'd lost 147 pounds. I did a Year 1 Report Card
post in the milestone section. I gave myself a grade of A-. I felt that I had done well, but I could have done a little better. This year I'm not doing letter grades. It is pass or fail. I passed. It wasn't all smooth sailing, yet I continued to make progress and I stuck to my rule number one: I refused to cheat. Sometimes I did eat too much on-plan food. But I ate no candy, no bread, and no junk (except maybe those Atkin's bars). At the second year mark I'd lost another 72 pounds and I'm now just a few pounds away from my originally stated goal weight. As great as that first year was, the second year was even better. My only regret is to wonder why it took me so long to figure out what I needed to do. I wasted a lot of years. But that is water under the bridge. I'm back. I'm me again and I'm loving it.
Here is a summary of my second year eating LCHF (starting February 2015)...
. I started the year down 147 pounds from the previous year. I still had a ways to go.
- For once I was actually looking forward to going to the doctor for my annual check-up. I was eager to see my latest A1C results. I was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic in March of 2014. At a follow-up appointment in June I'd lowered my A1C to the pre-diabetic range (6.0). I was sure that my next A1C would be in the normal range, but I still wanted to see the number. The doctor visit went well for the most part. I did have a normal A1C (5.1), my liver inflammation had cleared up and my hypertension had improved enough that my doctor took me off of my BP meds. No more prescriptions!
However, my LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol had skyrocketed. The June cholesterol labs were taken 5 months into the diet. My cholesterol numbers had actually improved. Inexplicably, 9 months later my LDL had almost doubled (248). There is high and then there is WTH? This was beyond normal and my doctor could not believe it. She ordered the labs done again. The results were the same. My doctor was very concerned. She said that the standard procedure would be to prescribe a strong statin like Crestor. That got me concerned. I did not want to do a statin. I didn't go the statin route. I spent the rest of the year tweaking my diet trying to figure out how to resolve the problem on my own. Long story short... I was able to figure it out. I found out that I was one of a very small percentage of people who get alarmingly high "bad" cholesterol from doing a very low carb diet. Due to a broken foot and sudden lack of exercise I had tightened up the diet in the months preceding the March 2015 labs. I was eating far fewer carbs and calories than I had been the prior June. I found some information about this unusual condition online. It offered some dietary tips for lowering LDL & total cholesterol. I made some changes and by the end of the year I seemed to have taken care of the problem. My cholesterol numbers were pretty good. I had my labs taken every 3 months and I also tracked my food. Here are the results:
Increasing my fiber intake and adding back a few more healthy carbs seems to have done the trick. I also cut back a little on saturated fat and used more olive oil. I was happy eating VLC. I am just as happy eating how I am now. I think I've found my maintenance diet. I'm having my labs done again in March. I've been eating more fiber than ever, so I will be curious to see if the numbers continue to improve. I'll know in a month.
In April I went camping in the Shenandoah national park with my youngest daughter. We had not been camping in years. My daughter had enjoyed the camping trips we took while participating in the YMCA's Indian Princess
program. She had been bugging to do it again for a long time. I told her that we would someday
. But with my weight and health issues mounting in recent years, someday never seemed to come. I finally delivered on that camping
promise. It was a fun trip. We did a little hiking along the Appalachian Trail as well. It was quite a workout for me, but I was amazed at how well I could keep up. I'd come a long way in just one year.
Back in our Indian Princess days each new member of the tribe got to pick an "Indian name" to go by. My daughter chose Howling Wolf
and I named myself Two Bucks
. The humor of my name choice was not lost on anyone. Well, I'm happy to say that one of those bucks has melted away. I guess I'm just one normal sized Buck now.
Camping food - All on plan
Here is a post from my Journal that I did on May 2nd. It was about one of those moments where I realized that I wasn't in Kansas anymore...
Originally Posted by Originally Posted by khrussva - Title: Invisible Cake
Birthday cake has been sitting on the kitchen table since last Monday (my daughter's birthday). It is chocolate with vanilla frosting - just the way I like it. It just occurred to me that I've seen that cake several times a day for 6 days now and I have not been tempted by it in the least. I have become indifferent to it. It may as well be a box of pencil shavings. My brain seems to have cut the ties. The carb magnet is gone between me and this cake at this point in time. I still have moments that pop up out of the blue where I am tempted by some food that I no longer eat. But not this cake. Not this week. It is almost like it is not even there. It would have been simply impossible to imagine this a year ago.
I do remember what that cake tastes like. If I stuck a fork in it and took a bite, it would not taste like pencil shavings. It would taste over-the-top wonderful and send off fireworks of pleasure in my brain. I know that with 100% certainty. But therein lies the problem. We've engineered our food to be too pleasurable and it has a drug like effect that makes many of us want more when we have a little. That is why I cannot have a little. I had my last bite of cake back in 2013 and I know that is how it has to be. And that goes for anything else that I know will set me off. I just can't do it. By staying away from it I free myself from the pleasure and pain that those foods caused me. I need to stay free to be happy and healthy.
Funny how this works. When I don't eat the junk that gives me the most pleasure I am happier and healthier than I have ever been. If I indulge myself this will all come crashing down. Everything in moderation is a wonderful phrase and a nice idea for those who can do it. My daughter can do it. She has had one small slice of that cake everyday and otherwise eats the LC food that I make. But I know that I cannot have carbs like that cake in moderation. No reason to cry about it. That is just how it is. Knowing that and accepting that was a huge hurdle get over. But I seem to be over it and my LC WOE goes on without a hitch.
In May 2015 I flew off to Oregon to witness my eldest daughter graduate from college. I was 270 lbs at the time, but I did fit comfortably in the airplane seat for the first time in decades. Graduation was great and so was seeing family. I did enjoy spending time with my daughter. We took several walks together, including a little hiking trip in the mountains to see Drift Creek Falls. In 2013 I couldn't walk from my recliner upstairs to bed without having to stop for a rest. I wouldn't have considered doing that hiking trip before losing the weight. We had a great time. This whole trip was awesome.
Below is a post that I made last September in support of another forum member that was having a hard time staying the course. It was a post that covered the process I went through to find the path to success. It was suggested that I add this to my journal or my next milestone, so that is what I'm doing. I cleaned up the grammar a bit (I could no longer edit it where it was) and made it a better read. It is, however, essentially the same thing I said I that original post.
Originally Posted by another forum member - Titled: I am AFU
I have gained 40 lbs since April. Today I ate 3 donuts, a muffin, a burrito with beans and rice, a bag of potato chips before 11:00 am . Depressed, out of control, and can't get it together.
for the first time I am looking for a medical solution. I can't keep doing this.
I'm going to give this to you as straight as I can. I hope it is well received. I do intend it to be.
First of all, if I could I'd like to rephrase your message title. I don't believe that you are AFU. What is happening is that you are eating food that FYU. It is the food. It is not you. The key to fixing yourself is to stop eating the food that your body cannot tolerate.
I've been where you are a dozen or more times. I did my first low carb diet back in the 1970's. I have been doing it on and mostly off ever since. I always looked at the diet as a means to lose weight. When or if I ever got to my goal I had every intention of going back to eating my normal favorite foods. Then I'd try my best to cut back and eat normal portions so that I would not regain the weight. I would also exercise to try to keep the weight off. And you know the drill... it never worked. The world tells me that I just need to have more willpower. They want to slap the donut out of my hand and give me whole wheat toast and a banana. Little do they realize -- and me also for the longest time -- that eating wheat toast and a banana was no better for me than that donut. It wasn't about nutrients or empty calories. It was all about what that food does to my blood sugar and my brain. I wish I figured this out a long time ago. I thought there was something wrong with me. As it turns out, what was wrong was my food choices. There are foods that I should not be eating. And wouldn't you know it -- most of them just happened to be my favorite foods.
Read the "Invisible Cake" post in my journal (Post #594). That was an amazing day. A food that I used to love was no longer tormenting me to eat it. You are no different than me. You can get to this same place, too. Eating LCHF is now how I want to eat. It is no longer misery and deprivation. And yet, the way I eat is not signficantly different than all the other failed low carb diets I did over the years. The main difference is...
You guessed it. I don't cheat. I stick exclusively to on-plan foods.
On failed diets of the past I could go weeks on plan -- maybe even a month or two. But I could never stick to the program all the way. The food would get so boring and those old carby favorites were just too irresistible. I'd cheat. I'd take a break. Then I'd struggle like heck to try to get back on plan. The more I dabbled in the carbs the harder getting back on plan would be. Dieting that way was pure misery. Eventually my diet would head into a tailspin and die. When I couldn't take it anymore I'd just give up and start avoiding the scale. The regain was on. I'd get the usual feelings of self-loathing, desperation, depression, the works. Eventually I'd level out, have some urgent need to lose weight again, and start the process all over. But I was usually heavier than the previous time I'd started.
5 years ago I lost about 70 pounds on a low carb diet (down to 325 or so). My old business was dying and I was planning to start my own restaurant. I needed to lose weight so that I could stand on my feet all day. One motivation for starting the restaurant was that, if I could earn enough money, I could afford weight loss surgery. I was convinced that I could not lose all the weight on my own. I needed help. Had the restaurant succeeded I'd probably have a lap band right now. But the restaurant failed and I had to go bankrupt in 2012. I landed easy and fell into a good job by the end of the year. But I was depressed and I was eating for comfort through all of 2013. By the end of that year I'd gained a ton of weight and I was starting to have all the symptoms of diabetes kick in. I was fat, sick, and tired. I was pretty much hating life at that point. I was at the bottom and it was time to do something or just die. I decided to do something. But I needed to figure out what I was doing wrong. My way of dieting was not working.
In January of 2014 I saw a news report on TV about people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off. The percentage of people do that is very small. According to the story the ones who do it share a few things in common. 1) They permanently change how they eat and 2) They don't cheat - EVER. My first reaction was... 'Well, of course they'll lose the weight if they don't cheat. What a stupid story. No real news here." But then I started thinking about it. I had made cheating part of my diet plan. I gave myself permission to do it. I also never intended to make what I was doing a permanent change. I was always planning on having my old favorites again at some point.
Anyway - I had to do something. Life was not fun and surgery was no longer an option. I didn't have the money. So I decide to start my LC diet again -- but with a new rule... NO CHEATING, EVER. No matter what I was going to stick to on-plan food. No saving up carbs so I could eat 1/2 a cupcake. Only low carb food would be allowed. I started that diet on February 3, 2014 and so far I've never broken the one and only rule. I've stayed on plan and that has made all the difference. I found this website and others; I watched low carb/sugar related youtube videos as well trying to learn all I could about this WOE. All the while, day after day after day -- I stayed on plan.
Was this time any easier than before? No - it was the same. At 2 months in, I could hardly choke down the boring LC food that I had been loving the first few weeks of the diet. Those old carby favorites were screaming my name. This was the point where I would always give in on failed diets of the past. I'd take the bait and eat some off plan goodie for some releif. This time, I didn't. I started searching for new LC recipes. I added more spices. Some days I ate way too much LC food. ANYTHING but break rule number 1. The truth is I still didn't believe that I could stay away from my favorite foods forever. Even though I was staying on plan I was thinking about ways I could work pizza, bread, and pasta back into my diet when I got to maintenance. I was feeling deprived. I was still hating the diet. But I was losing weight and toughing it out. I was staying on plan.
Soon I was into new territory... 3 months on plan, 4 months on plan, 5 months on plan. I'd never done this before. That is when the magic started to happen. My addiction to my old carby favorites started to break. I started asking myself why I considered pizza, pasta, bread, and candy so essential. I started to wonder why I thought I needed them. Don't get me wrong; I knew they would taste good if I ate them. It is just that they didn't seem to be pulling me towards them anymore. I didn't "need" them anymore. I started to enjoy my LC foods again -- even the foods that I had considered so boring before. Suddenly I realized that my LC foods were becoming my new favorite foods. At this point I could tell the diet was sticking. I started to believe that I would get to goal. Soon after that I knew I would get to goal. There was no stopping me. Why? Because I don't cheat and I actually liked how I was eating. Plus, I felt so much better eating this way. Health issues, including symptoms of diabetes, were vanishing one by one.
After that I started to change my way of thinking about the diet. I needed this to be about my health. Weight loss was secondary. I finally accepted the truth about myself regarding the junky foods that I used to eat. I can never go back to the eating my problem foods again. If I do I will get fat again. My body does not tolerate sugar well. I am easily addicted to processed, sugar laden food. The problem is the food. If I stay away from my problem food I am cured. These days life is much easier. Staying on plan is a breeze. I can be around goodies all day long and I know I will stay out of them. I have a good thing going. Dabbling in the carbs will screw it all up. I'm still sticking to rule number 1.
From where you are this all seems impossible. I would recommend that if you love pizza have some pizza. If a snicker's bar is your favorite go ahead and have one. Say your goodbyes. Get your head in the right place to get started on your diet again and then do what I did. It is all about sticking to on-plan food day after day. If you do that long enough you will free yourself from the bondage you are in with all that carby junk that you crave. You can do this. It is not much different than what you have done before. You don't even have to believe that you can do this. What you need to do is to stick to plan day after day. Eventually, eating the right foods for your body will make a believer out of you. You just need to do this the right way.
I hope this helps and I wish you the best.
Halloween through New Year's Day was always diet killer season for me. If I had managed to accomplish anything earlier in the year it was always undone by the end of the year. Birthday celebrations were always trouble, too. Holidays and birthdays were an automatic cheat day for me. Tradition always trumped the diet. But for the 2nd straight year I made it through the holidays without cheating. I stayed on plan through every birthday as well. I made cheating not an option. I planned ahead and always had good, healthy food ready to go. This is what I had for my Thanksgiving dinner (plus a slice of LC cheesecake - not shown)...
Doing a LCHF/Atkins diet is not about eating "nothing but meat" as the rumor goes. That is such a myth. It is about eating fewer carbohydrates. It is about eating healthy, whole foods and not eating man made processed junk. My body works fine when I eat good food. Eating junk breaks me.
By Christmas I was looking pretty darn good, if I do say so myself
January was month 24 since I started this way of eating. On New Year's Day I weighed 221. That was one pound away from being exactly half of my starting weight. For each of the first 23 months I weighed less at the end of the month than I did at the beginning. That streak ended in January.
I let my guard down after Christmas. I started having LC deserts more frequently than I normally do. I began having them every day. I'm talking about treats like 90% cacao dark chocolate with peanut butter, Breyer's Carbsmart ice cream topped with peanuts, and those dang Atkins bars. I did OK with moderation for a week or two. But soon I was eating more than I wanted to. I was exceeding my targets for both carbs and calories. I was eating junkier carbs. I found myself eating 2 or 3 Atkins bars in one sitting. That was binge-like behavior! I could feel that I was starting to lose control of my eating and I didn't like that feeling. I needed to put an end to this ASAP and that is what I did.
I stopped having the LC goodies in mid January. Within a few days I had a good handle on my eating again. My weight was up several pounds. It was mostly water weight from eating too many carbs. I had shed most of that by the end of the month. But not all of it was gone, so January was a gain month. I'm back in the zone now with my eating and pushing on to goal. I just hope I've learned my lesson on this. Staying in control of what I eat is paramount to my success.
I've had problems with Atkins bars in the past. I have trouble stopping at just one bar. Because of that I had been avoiding them. After this last episode it is clear that Atkins bars are a problem food for me. I now consider them an off-plan food. If I stick to my rule #1, I won't be eating them anymore.
A few days ago I had one of those moments in life that just slap you upside the head like a V8 commercial. Here is the post about it from my journal:
Originally Posted by khrussva
Weight: 218 - Bouncy
I've not been checking my BG nor BP as much lately. The results have been consistently good - so there really is no need for it to be a daily thing.
Epiphany - a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
I had one of those last night just after having gone to bed. Like a wave washing over me I suddenly realized that I am a normal sized person again - with all the rights and privileges thereunto appertaining. I'm not skinny. I could stand to lose a few more pounds -- and I plan to. But after all of those years of waiting and wanting to feel like a normal, capable human being again... the wait is over. My head appears to have caught up with my body. I do have my life back. Not someday, not wishful thinking -- it is here. Now I just have to figure out what to do with it. I'm liking the expanded array of choices available to me now.
One of my LC buds responded to that post with the following questions...
So...when were you last a "normal" person? How many years ago? And how many starts and stops in between until now? What are some of the things that "normal" means to you? I think there's sailboard in there somewhere, right?
I thought they were great questions and I've been thinking about them for days. Interesting that she should mention the sailboard (aka wind surfer). I think giving up windsurfing back in the late 1980's was the beginning of me losing myself to my ever increasing weight. Being 10 or 20 pounds overweight is more a vanity/self-image thing. I was overweight for many years - most of my young life, in fact. Though I may not have liked how I looked in the mirror, though I wouldn't run around with my shirt off like the buff dudes did - those pounds didn't physically stop me from doing anything that I wanted to do. When I got too heavy to windsurf... that is when obesity took over and I started losing the ability to enjoy life as I once did.
After that it was being denied insurance at work for weighing too much. Soon I started filling and then more than filling an airplane seat. And yes, I even had to ask for the dreaded seatbelt extender a few times. As time passed and the pounds piled on even tying my own shoes became difficult. Trimming my toenails was next to impossible. All the while, I considered myself a healthy fat person. I tried to put a smiley face on it. I'd blame age, a sore back, or just plain "I don't want to right now" for not wanting to do things with my family. The real reason was due to my weight much of the time - but I never acknowledged that to myself. I could diet some of it off from time to time, but I could never stick with it and the pounds rolled back on with more to spare within a few short months. The transition from being "normal" to sitting out life on the sideline was slow and incremental. Most of the time I hardly noticed it. But over time the impact was great. I was athletic and active when I was young -- and I was anything but that just a few years later. My size consumed me and I wasn't me anymore. A few years ago the health issues started piling up and I was no longer that 'healthy' fat person. I was sick and I was way more than just fat. Life was becoming miserable.
The epiphany the other day was realizing that all the physical restrictions and limitations of being obese were now gone. Almost from the start of this WOE things have been getting better. Diabetes related issues were resolved quickly. As the weight came off and I got more active - one by one the things that I could not or would not do became possible again. If I want to do something now, I just do it. I've stopped looking for shortcuts. I've stopped looking for places to sit down and take a load off. I'm dreaming of the possibilities of life again. And I'm going to be here for my children, grandchildren and maybe even a few great grandchildren. This is my normal life. I got it back and I plan on keeping it this time.
I may have to dust off the old windsurfer this summer and give it another try. I hope it is like riding a bike.
And finally (yes - my posts can get wordy) - the THEN vs. NOW photo...
I avoided the camera well in recent years, so I didn't have many head to toe photos of myself. My wife snuck this one in a few years ago. I wasn't my max weight, but close enough. I can't believe that I'm going to put this photo of me out there. But this post is about where I was and how far I've come - full disclosure. SO here it is...
Above, in the current
photo of me, I'm showing off my latest Goodwill find... a like-new pair of size 35 Levis. I didn't even know they made a size 35. The size 36 jeans that I shrank into a few months ago were starting to get loose & baggy. I am a size 35 and the new jeans fit great. In the photo on the left, I'd have been wearing size 56 (or so). My goal jeans that I've had since the 1980's are size 34... Just 1 inch to go!
210s pound was a fantasy goal 2 years ago. I didn't think I'd ever really get there. Now it is only a few pounds away. I'm still calling that my goal weight -- but now I want more. I plan to just stick with what I'm doing and just see where the scale number finally lands. The 190's would be great. The 180's would be flippin' awesome. I'm an LC lifer now. We'll just have to wait and see what happens. From what I hear, maintenance is hard. I hope I do it and do it well.
So have you got a lot of weight to lose? What are you waiting for? Ditch the excuses, stick to your program, and get it done. This is your life we are talking about. Make the most of it. Change how you eat and find a healthy WOE that works for you. You can get your life back. You will thank yourself later, trust me. Bread, pasta, cake & candy -- or -- life, happiness & good health. What is it going to be? After the year I just had I know which one I'm choosing.
I got my life back and it is a wonderful life. If I can do it, you can do it, too.