Bridgette from Texas is in her early 30’s, and by low carbing has dropped from 210+ pounds to her goal weight of 135! She has been able to exchange her size 22 blouses and size 20 pants to medium blouses and size 8 pants!
Bridgette follows Atkins for the most part, but has utilized the Protein Power plan to establish her daily protein intake parameters. “So it is safe to say,” she said, “that I adhere to the rules of Atkins’, but ‘kick it up a notch’ with Protein Power.”
Bridgette has struggled with her weight her entire life. “I went from starvation, to strict low calorie diets with minimal short term success. I can remember being on a diets since the age of 10,” she told me.
Bridgette can remember being on 600 calorie a day diets, low fat/high carb diets, and the soup diet. “You name it, I probably tried it,” she told me. “I even reached a point in my life where I only ate once every three days! I worked out two hours every day, and still was only able to get down to 140 pounds. On my 5’5″ frame, that wasn’t necessarily skinny.”
“I remember starving myself by eating nearly zero calories,” she continued, “while at the same time seeing results like brittle hair, dry skin, and cracked nails. Pretty scary. I wanted a quick fix to my weight problem. At the time, I just didn’t get the ‘way of life’ thing. I would go without real nourishment for 6-8 months at a time. Temporarily, I felt like I was in control of my food and weight issues. The bad part was, I was getting weaker by depriving my body of the fuel it needed to survive. When I could wear a smaller outfit, I was elated. When I had to pass on the Thanksgiving dinner, I was miserable. I found that I as always catching the latest flu or cold bug, too.”
“But I couldn’t live that way for the long haul. It was impossible. I wasn’t really facing the issues of my weight and food. I wanted food for more than just nourishment. I used food as a reward system and as a punishment. When I lost weight, I would eat again. When I gained weight, I would punish myself and starve. Food consoled me, albeit temporarily. When loved ones would die, or there was a party, food was the only constant thing around. The battle of the bulge became harder and harder. I always gained the weight back, plus some.”
Bridgette said she would never try such measures again to lose weight. “Depriving one’s self of food is not only unhealthy, it’s self-defeating,” she added. “The difficult thing with food, and its addiction, is that you can’t abstain from it. You can’t swear off food like you can other addictive substances. It is something that is always there, in front of you. The key to it is finding what works for you. A person needs to learn what their own body needs for nourishment, for exercise, and for satiation. Each person’s chemistry is different. Each person needs to discover the optimal combination of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates for themselves in order to find success. ”
Bridgette has been low carbing for more than four years now. “I found that I was getting tired after eating high carb/low fat meals and that my weight was rising at a more rapid pace. I would work out two hours a day and only eat 600 calories worth of food, and I still gained weight!” Now Bridgette says she feels wonderful! She no longer has migraine headaches, stomach cramps after eating, and her complexion is awesome. “Plus,” she added, “I can eat select foods and feel full, without gaining weight. I love the knowledge I have about what my body needs to survive.”
Bridgette still has temptations every now and then, especially at family functions when only high carbohydrate food options available to her. This, She feels this is the only down side to low carbing.
“I have discovered the main cause of many of my ailments,” she noted. “I used to have acid reflux, stomach cramps, and migraines on a daily basis. Heartburn would keep me up at night, so I was always tired. With low carb, I no longer experience any of these problems. I have learned what I can modify on the eating plan, and what I have to adhere to strictly. My body cannot process carbohydrates effectively. If I were to continue to live on the USDA food pyramid, I would probably weigh 300 plus pounds by now!”
“When I started this way of eating, I was not taking any daily medications,” she told me. “However, when I was involved in a car wreck and had a hysterectomy, I was put on a daily dose of estrogen. I had reached my goal before the wreck, but found that the hormone was making me gain weight again. I had to go back to the induction phase of the diet and work through the steps to re-determine my CCL (critical carb level). But still,” she added, “the weight was easier to keep off.”
Bridgette has a wonderful support system. “My husband has been my biggest supporter and fan of this lifestyle,” she said. “He immediately agreed to eat this way. For me, this lifestyle was a new beginning. I shed the pounds and the pains. My husband lowered his cholesterol. My mother and father, although resistant in the beginning, really have become true supporters of this way of life. My father has lost 48 pounds, and my mother has been able to maintain her weight, even while on HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and other medications. In the beginning support was limited. It was only when I described the eating plan, and explained that I would live life on meat and salad forever, that friends and coworkers became supportive. Support comes from knowledge and the visible positive affects of this way of eating.”
Bridgette grows tired of misconceptions of eating low carb. “Many people assume that all you eat is meat, fish, chicken, and salad,” she said. “It’s true that in the beginning you have to be strict with this way of eating, but after the induction phase, a variety foods are incorporated back into your life. The good thing about this way of eating is that you begin to discover the amounts of each type of food you can have. People see me eat an occasional piece of bread, or a select item of fruit. Immediately, the nonbelievers say, ‘Oh, you’ve fallen off the low carb, eh?’ Oh contraire! I then explain how I have been able to incorporate foods, or the occasional carb-filled meal, and maintain a balance in my dietary life. After I explain the process, its like a domino effect, many people start the low carb diet regimen themselves.”
Bridgette is very supportive of the low carb lifestyle. She even created a website to help others on this journey. “I can remember the struggling with limited low carbohydrate information in the beginning of my journey. I want people to know that there are thousands of people out there who experience the same struggle with food and I did.”
Bridgette’s low carb site can be found at: http://pages.ivillage.com/mzbridgie/lowcarb/