Barb from Minnesota is 42 years old and 5′ 8.5″ inches tall. Barb’s all time high weight was 225 pounds, which she reduced to 195 pounds through ‘conventional dieting and exercise’ before she began the Atkins program. “Now,” she said, “I am not so ‘religious’ and simply avoid sugars and starches (for example, rice, potatoes, pasta, and bread).” Barb currently weighs 160 pounds, and has dropped from a size 16 to a size 12 by low carbing.
“My weight problem started at puberty,” Barb told me. “I was never really fat; I just got big all over. At that time, my weight problem started with major pressure from my father to maintain a sleek physique. I yo-yoed up and down between ages 13-19, at one time flirting with anorexia. I was stuck in the classic diet and regain syndrome. I lost and gained the same 30 pounds over and over again.”
“When I quit smoking at 19, I ballooned up to 225 pounds. ‘Blessed’ with excessively large breasts, I had an opportunity for breast reduction surgery. The surgeon advised me to lose at least 30 pounds before surgery, which I did by finally ‘eating healthy.’ The rule was no processed foods, only meat, fresh vegetables, fruits, etc. I got down to 150 pounds and looked great!”
“After surgery I started working out with weights and maintained my weight loss until I was about 27, then I got ‘lazy’ and gained weight until I was back up to 200 pounds at the end of my marriage.”
“Newly single, I starved myself again and tried lots of over-the-counter diet aids like Dexitrim. I got back down to 155 pounds this way. The cycle of 20 pounds lost and then 20 pounds gained started over again. That lasted for about 12 years, and my weight settled in at 195 pounds.”
“Finally, at 39 I was disgusted. It was getting so hard to lose any weight at all. I had almost decided to accept my weight and quit fighting it when my cousin told me about Atkins. I remembered Atkins from the 70s when my Mom used it, and it rang true with her time-tested method of giving up bread whenever her weight got 5 pounds over her ideal weight. So I tried it.”
“I don’t think I’m addicted to carbohydrates,” Barb continued, “because I can have carbohydrates here and there and they don’t set off a binge. BUT I do believe I am hyperinsulemic and that I can’t process carbohydrates normally anymore. I tried the Atkins program as a last ditch attempt to get healthy and, hopefully, slim.”
“The good parts of this way of eating are that I feel fantastic, full of energy, and the low carbohydrate regime is easy to manage. Also, I eat more veggies now than I have in my whole life! I have maintained a weight of 160 pounds for 3 years now with almost no effort and no fluctuation, and yes I ‘cheat’ plenty!” Barb smiled.
“The bad parts are uninformed and uneducated people who tell me how bad it is for me. They tell me that my cholesterol will be bad, I’m courting heart disease, that low carbing is a fad, and that the protein will hurt my kidneys. What BUNK! I drink over 100 ounce. of water a day; my cholesterol ratios are textbook perfect, and my blood pressure is 118/70. My resting heart rate is 52 BPM (beats per minute), and I do cardiovascular exercise 3 or more times a week, working in the 130-150 BPM range.”
“I do miss bread, but not for the taste or texture. The real reason I miss bread is that it keeps meat juice and fat off your fingers. Not eating bread makes grabbing a fast lunch tough, and I pretty much always need a knife and fork for all my meals. But protein bars are the greatest invention for the on-the-go low carber, although you really need to read the labels.” It’s easy to follow, even for a lifetime. If I’m in doubt about a certain food or a meal, I go with what a diabetic would do and I’m pretty safe.”
“For me, the benefits of low carbing have been increased energy, more stamina, and non-neurotic eating! My family is great, although my husband loves me no matter what size I am. The emotional benefits are a feeling of triumph, a sense of accomplishment,” Barb laughed, “my sanity.”
“Atkins was so easy, and finally eating enough protein helped me to increase my muscle mass with a weight training program. I now eat meat, vegetables, low glycemic fruits. I supplement my diet liberally with protein shakes and protein bars. In addition, I take a full regimen of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.”
“This all came together at a time when I decided that once and for all, I had better get healthy or I’d have a very painful old age. I lived with chronic low back pain for 10 years and which turned out to be osteoarthritis. I was terrified of also getting osteoporosis, so I studied and researched weight training, learning that weight-bearing exercise, along with proper nutrition, could rebuild bone, increase muscle mass, and increase metabolism. So here I am, eating healthily and weight training religiously!”
Great job, Barb!
We will update you when Barb reaches her goal weight of 150 pounds and a size 10.