An Early Low-Carb Success Story: The Bickfords

Meet the Bickfords

Meet the Bickfords

It is always a joy to meet new low carbers, and even more so when you meet couples who are not only partners in marriage but in low carbing, too.

The Bickfords are from Maine and have been married 19 years. Lori is 37 years old; her husband Ralph is 40. They have two children, Tori, 17, and Feather, 15. Lisa is a full-time MRI technologist. She also teaches and sells Creative Memories scrapbooking supplies and gives classes.

Started Low-Carb A Year After They Learned About It

The Bickfords had known about low carbing for almost a year when they first started June 5, 2000. Ralph needed to lose weight for medical reasons, so Lori decided to give low carbing a try with him. “Actually, I had a patient that did it, and was raving how he could now fit in the MRI machine after eating steak and bacon and eggs. I bought the book the next month, and I was VERY excited after reading Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution. We started it 3 days later.” Lori started at 177.5 pounds, and Ralph weighed 280 pounds.

After her first child, Lori started putting on weight. “I’ve been heavy off and on ever since.” Like most of us, Lori, too, rode the diet roller coaster trying to find the answer to her weight problem. First, she tried TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly). She cooked all her own food, yet only had the support of the group for discussing issues once a week. “I lost some weight but not enough,” she told me. “I didn’t do it more than a few months.” Lori felt the weight loss was terribly slow, not to mention she felt deprived, and “cheated a lot.”

Lori Tried Almost Every Program

Lori also tried Richard Simmons Deal-A-Meal. “It was really, just a halfhearted attempt” she added. She felt it might be easier for her to stick with it, since she only had to keep track with the food cards. However, it didn’t turn out that way for her. She only stuck with it for a couple of weeks.

Next, Lori tried NutriSystem. She stayed with the program for eight months and getting to her lowest adult weight of 123 pounds. However, she noted that she started at only 155 or so. She told me she found it convenient to eat their foods, but “got sick of salads!” Lori’s husband was on the program with her, making it “EXPENSIVE, plus we always cheated big time at least once a week.”

Jenny Craig was Lori’s last-ditch effort after gaining back the weight she had lost with NutriSystem. She wanted to get the extra weight off quickly before an upcoming cruise she was planning. She had gained back nearly 15 pounds and wanted to have different food choices aside from the limited ones she’d had to live on for so long -she didn’t last long with this program. “Maybe 1 1/2 months and I only took off about five of those excess pounds.”

Ralph Tried A Few Programs Too

Ralph, had some diet roller coaster rides of his own. In the past, he had done NutriSystem with Lori. They both lost weight, only to put it right back on. Every week after weigh-in they would stop and CHOW on a huge Chinese meal! “We did it as a reward. Now, we don’t feel the need to do that at all. When we do have a bit of high carb we always have a ton of low carb meats, etc. It’s more like the CAD (Carbohydrate Addicts Diet), so we don’t really even consider it a ‘cheat. We don’t crave the high carb stuff often now that it is out of our systems.”

Ralph also did a few months of watching the type of foods he ate (doing low fat), including a lot of walking. He lost a lot of weight then, but couldn’t keep it up. He was wearing tight 44’s (low, under the belly) and that belly is now gone! He is now at 219 pounds, and looks great! His cholesterol has dropped dramatically – from about 230 to 115. It’s well within the normal range. His triglycerides are super, and his good and bad cholesterol ratio is where it should be. “I wish we had the numbers handy. I’m not sure where they might have gotten to,” Lori said.

Ralph has gotten a little discouraged lately that his weight hasn’t dropped in the last month or so. Lori said “That is why we are doing it together. I keep encouraging him, making the foods he can eat, and helping him over the tough times. I’ve been forwarding a lot of lot stuff to him, so he has the information. too. His goal is to get down just below 200. I think it is a bit too small for him, but it is his body and his choice.”

Lori feels we are all addicted to carbs. “They are everywhere, and so easy to find them in nearly everything. If you want to just eat without having to think about what has carbs, you can’t, they surround us!”

Then They Both Tried The Atkins Diet

The Bickfords have had wonderful results! Lori is now down to 138.5, just 8.5 pounds from her goal!! She told me she feels the best part of this way of is that you are always satisfied. “It is easy to find meals at restaurants (once you get good at it), and it doesn’t take much to fill me up anymore. There’s so much variety! The weight just falls off, and I have such energy! Most of all, I feel great about myself! I think my choices are varied and appetizing, and I usually can find something that will satisfy me. I also noticed my pulse rate has gone down, and I am sleeping so well at night, not at all like before low carbing.”

Lori admits that she does have hard days, when she is just dying for some ‘bad’ thing. She tries to keep telling herself that as soon as she is at goal SHE CAN have a little of that stuff without worrying about it. She knows that day will be here sooner if SHE DOESN’T have it now!! “Keep the realization that the weight will come off if you are persistent, and YOU are stronger than any cravings,” she told me. “Tell yourself it is one day at a time, you can do it! This low carb lifestyle is a minute by minute choice sometimes. Challenges will be presented to us all the time, and it really does get easier to say I CHOOSE not to have that right now.”

Lori says it is all a matter of attitude. “You have to THINK your way thin and healthy when you are faced with temptation, you have to say to yourself What is more important right now? The fleeting taste of that high carb item, or the weight loss I want to see?’ Remember,” she continued, ” after you eat that… whatever it is… you will probably feel guilty, you’ll be upset with yourself, and feel like you will never lose weight. Try waiting 15 minutes. Tell yourself you’ll wait and decide then if you really want it. After the time has elapsed you may find the craving has subsided. After all, you would have eaten it by then, and just be wanting more

Visualize yourself thinner. I can finally see my weight loss when I look at pictures. That was my big thing. I could tell with my clothes, but I still looked big to me in photos. Well, when we got our first rolls of vacation film back, and I LOOKED skinnier!!!!! THAT is great motivation!!!!”

The downside, Lori added, was that so many places don’t offer low-carb choices. She feels Dunkin’ Donuts could really stand to try a good low-carb sugar-free donut!!!

“You know what I HATE?????” she asked me. “I HATE when people I see all the time say ‘You are just wasting away,’ or ‘When are you going to stop losing weight? You are getting too thin’ HA!!! First of all – me – TOO THIN?!?!?!?! It could never happen!!!! Secondly, it is none of their business how much weight I lose! I was always a thin person in a large body; they just didn’t know it! Maybe it is their way of protecting themselves about their bodies. When a skinny person is around they don’t look at them and say ‘You should put on some weight, you are too thin’.”

She feels low carbing has worked where other diet attempts have failed because she can make her own food and eat the foods she likes. “I can have quick snacks or a more elaborate meal and still stay low carb. It is no longer cheating when I have something. The mindset is so different.” Lori feels low carbing is easy and she plans to stick with it without and major problems. “Every day is easier and more of a habit, a true way of life.”

Carbs Are The Enemy!

“Take it one day at a time, and make yourself THINK about it before a high carb item goes in your mouth. Carbs are the ENEMY. They are working against you! Fats and proteins are GOOD! Eat those instead, they are even more satisfying!!! Keep low carb snacks with you all the time, so you aren’t tempted to indulge because you are hungry. YOU CAN DO IT!!!! I hope this way of eating is what helps everyone, and that when the medical history books are written, Dr. Atkins low carb vision is more widely accepted for many health problems.”

Find Your Long Term Motivation

For long-term motivation, Lori is finding it getting very easy for her to see this as a way of life. “I think of a couple of things. My Mom quit smoking, cold turkey, after 40 years of rarely ever NOT having one in her mouth or hand. If she can do that, I’m SO impressed, then I can surely keep my carbs limited. After all, it is not as if I can NEVER have a roll, or potato, whatever if I want it. But she can never pick up smoking again or it’ll be all over for her! She’d have to ‘quit all over again.”

The other thought Lori always keeps in mind is that if she ate as she did, she’d look like she did. “Every time I look in a mirror now, at 39 pounds lighter, I am amazed! I still have 8.5 pounds to go, but I will always remember what I looked like at that weight, and THIS is where I want to stay. No Hershey’s Kiss or yeast roll feels as good as looking this wonderful!!!!!” Remember – carbs are the ENEMY!!!!! Carbs want to hang on to your body as FAT, and make those cute little outfits look too tight. Every time you have the urge to binge make the CHOICE to not do it today. The vast majority of the time this way of life is more than satisfying. I AM full, I ENJOY what I’m eating and cooking is a fun adventure.

Lori enjoys trying out all the new recipes, and having a fulfilling meal. “Chocolate will NEVER feel as good for as long as your being 39 pounds lighter will! Keep that in mind the next time a candy bar is staring you in the face! You just tell it that right now you want to lose weight. For now it just needs to stay ON THE SHELF and OUT OF YOUR MOUTH!!! Staying strong,” Lori says, “is the key. You have a higher goal than instant gratification.”

Loris support system comes from her family, friends, and Yahoo Groups mail lists. Emotionally, she says “Since I know I am looking great, I FEEL great! Plus, I am sleeping better now than I have in years! Nearly everyone thinks the program sounds great, and I personally know of eight people who have started because of my raving about it.”

What a story! What a couple! And what an inspiration it has been for me to share in Lori and Ralph Bickford newfound success with low carbing!

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