To learn about what led me to a low carb lifestyle, please read my introductory article, My Journey to Low Carb: Part 1: Did I have PCOS?.
My first few days of low carb eating were incredibly easy. I found that I wasn’t as hungry as I used to be and I had more energy. I was propelled by adrenaline – excited to finally be trying something I was sure was going to work.
I found that I could eat low carb both at home, and at restaurants. At the time, I was lucky to have access to NATO’s Star Chef, an international buffet-style dining experience, complete with both hot meals and a full salad bar. For two dollars a meal, I could pick exactly what I wanted.
I ate omelets for breakfast, meat and vegetables for lunch, and more meat for dinner. I skipped the carrots, corn, and potatoes. I even shunned bananas. If it had any sugar in it at all, it was off my list.
Within one week, my skin cleared up. I felt energized and no longer had to fight depression to get out of bed in the morning. Within a month, my periods returned. Over a four-month period of eating very low carb, I’d dropped 40 pounds.
Once I reached 180 lbs, I started to allow myself “treats” once a week. My weight stayed the same and any losses came to a halt. At the time I thought that if I just went back to eating a strict low carb diet, I would be able to start losing weight again. I kept this in the back of my mind. Most of my meals were low carb, but I found it hard to say no to bread, beer and chocolate.
Over the next year, I hovered between 180-185 pounds. I told myself that my body was “happy” with this weight. My periods had returned but they were still irregular. I developed severe endometriosis and started breaking out again. When the scale reached 186, I recommitted to a low carb lifestyle. I figured I could drop 20 pounds easily, just as I had in the past. I baked with soy flour and ate Atkins protein bars. I exercised five days a week. The result: nothing. Not a single pound. Once again, I was stuck – but this time I didn’t know why.
The scale crept up to 190, and then 195. I kept recommitting to a low carb lifestyle, falling off the wagon and getting back on. I knew that eating mostly low carb was the only thing that was keeping my weight below 200, but I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted, so it was incredibly hard to stay committed.
I managed to get pregnant through in-vitro fertilization in 2008. I was 190 when I learned I was pregnant, and quickly ballooned up to 300 pounds. The unfortunate side effect of gaining that much weight was that I had the most miserable pregnancy in recorded history. Practically everything that can go wrong with a pregnancy went wrong with mine.
After I delivered, I knew that I had to go low carb again, but this time the diet didn’t fit my lifestyle. I needed carbs for energy, since sleeping wasn’t an option. I started gaining weight. Doctors and friends told me to give my body time to heal, but I knew that I was sick, and getting sicker.
When my kids were 5 months old, my brother sent me a copy of Mark Sisson’s book The Primal Blueprint. It resonated with me in a way that nothing else ever has. It finally explained why my body did well on a low carb diet, and why what I was doing wasn’t working anymore. It discussed food quality, introduced the terms lectins, phytates, and gluten, and talked about the foods we had evolved to eat.
We didn’t evolve to eat grains, legumes, or artificial sweeteners. These things were derailing my success and making me sick, even if I only ate them once a week. Armed with this knowledge, I struck out on a low-carb journey once again, but this time I knew what I was doing.
Next month, I’ll discuss the changes that occurred when I went from a low carb approach to a Primal/Paleo lifestyle. Check out my success at www.primalgirl.com