Barbie From Pennsylvania’s Low Carb Success Story

Barbie from Pennsylvania is 49 years old. She began the Atkins program nearly 2 years ago at 195 pounds and wearing size 18/20’s. She is currently at her goal weight of 131 pounds and wearing a size 6/8!

Barbie has had trouble with her weight all her life. “I was always chubby and overweight when I was growing up,” Barbie said. “I had allergies and asthma both as a child and teenager. I was very sheltered. I didn’t take gym in school and so I got virtually no exercise.”

When I was about 12 to 14 I would sometimes attempt to ride a bike to lose weight. Because I was so out of shape, this would trigger an asthma attack that would last for days. Between the wheezing, the medications, and no appetite, I would lose a quick 5-10 pounds.”

“The bad thing about having asthma is that most attacks woke me up in the middle of the night. I would take medication for the attack, and as soon as I was feeling better, I would eat something and go back to sleep. I feel that this resulted in a lifelong habit that I have to this day. I am a night eater.”

At age 15 Barbie discovered amphetamines, and used them sporadically until she was 21. “My weight went up and down during these years,” she explained. “I remember once getting down to 117 pounds. I would starve myself all day and stay up most of the night because I couldn’t sleep. If I did eat, it was at night. I was around 132 pounds when I graduated from high school. (That was a size 13/14 then, for some reason now, it is a size 8.)”

At 21, Barbie weighed in the 120’s. When she got pregnant she remained in 160’s after the baby came. “Sometime after that I dieted with something over the counter called Appedrine,” she said. “I went back to the 120’s for a while, but my weight bounced up and down over the next six years.”

At 27, Barbie got pregnant again, and gained more weight, topping out in the 170’s. “It took me along time to lose the weight this time. Like the previous time, my weight bounced all over the place. I honestly don’t remember how I lost the weight then. I think I began exercising during this period. I was also under a lot of stress and began drinking for a while.”

Barbie was 34 when she got pregnant with her third child, and remembers being back in the 120’s. “I was around 160 pounds after having her. When she was three, I went on Medifast through my family doctor and got down to 120 again. The good about Medifast thing was that I got to have shakes and nothing else at all, and it was easier for me to control myself as long as I didn’t eat. As soon as I stopped, the weight started creeping up. I never learned to eat properly on Medifast.”

The next step for Barbie was going to a diet doctor for amphetamines. “This worked for about a year,” she said. “I got my weight back down and he kept giving them to me. Gradually, I gained all the way up to 160 pounds while still taking them! They didn’t help my appetite any more, but I liked the energy I got from them. I used the pills whether I was loosing or gaining. I was addicted for 2-3 years. I finally got the courage to stop and got pretty sick. I was having one problem after another.”

Barbie’s family doctor put her on Zoloft (an antidepressant). “I stopped caring how I looked. I ate anything I wanted for the next four years. Mostly desserts. I ate all night long. I ate bags of candy, cookies, cake, and ice cream. I am surprised I didn’t get heavier than I did! I think I stayed between 180-195 pounds for a long time. I had no desire to diet, and I hid behind my big clothes.”

In January, 2000, Barbie’s aunt, whom she is very close to, told her that she was going to try Atkins. “I still had no interest, but I thought I’d give it a try a couple of weeks later. (I had a dinner to attend and didn’t want to start until that was over.) My aunt felt so good on it!! I was convinced, even more, that I wanted to lose weight. I wanted to feel like that!”

“One week before the dinner, on January 10, 2000, I started the Atkins’ Induction . I still had the night eating problem, but I now ate only low carb things. In four months my total cholesterol went form 239 to 146 and I was able to stopped taking Zoloft! I never cheated, except for one time when I took one week off to go on a cruise and gained three pounds back. But I went right back on track when I got back home.”

“I guess it took me about 10 months to go from 195 to 137,” Barbie said. “I did have to add exercise to the program, and because of my night eating my weight loss was slow. To speed up my progress I began exercising. I was so out of shape, and I still had asthma. It was hard! I couldn’t breathe. I had to use an inhaler throughout my workout just to get through it. (Now I hardly ever need the inhaler!) I do aerobics for an hour each morning, weight training three afternoons a week, and have been riding my bike four miles each night since Mother’s Day.”

“I hardly ever weighed myself during this period. I didn’t want to feel as though I was dieting. I bought one of the Tanita scales this year but took it back, because I can’t deal emotionally with the fluctuations. I just got weighed at a friends house on her scale for the first time and if her scale was correct, I’ve lost another 4 1/2 pounds. I was thrilled, but I won’t get weighed again. It gave me permission to cheat and eat more, and I had a little trouble getting back on track.”

“This is the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life,” she shared. “My allergies and asthma are almost gone. I no longer take Prilosec for my stomach. It’s the longest I’ve ever maintained a healthy weight. This is the easiest eating plan I have ever been on. Most of the time I am in control.
Its my way of life. I wish I didn’t still eat at night, but this plan is so good, it didn’t stop me from loosing weight or maintaining.”

Barbie’s family is very supportive. “No one else in the house is doing low carb. I have to admit it hasn’t been easy to prepare everyone else’s meals, but I make sure not to do it on an empty stomach. I have only recently begun to cheat occasionally, but the next day, I get right back on track. I know I am a carboholic, and there are certain things I must stay away from. I couldn’t have done all this without the support from the low carb lists on Yahoo Groups, so I want to thank everyone for their support.”

Barbie’s favorite low carb support lists include (although she says she belongs and enjoys all of them):

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Karen Rysavy from Colorado Low Carb Success Story

Karen Rysavy from Colorado is 38 years old and 5'11 inches tall. Karen started low carbing in 2000 doing a combination of Atkins and Protein Power but since that time has studied most of the popular low carb plans out there and implemented parts of each (the parts that worked for her) into her own personal Way of Eating. She began at 271 pounds and wearing size 24/26 and is now 210 and wearing 14/18. Karen revised her goal of a size 12 and 185 pounds to "happy and healthy". A very important goal for Karen, one which she has REACHED!

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