Connie from Ohio is 31. She started the Atkins Plan in May of 1998, but told me, “It’s since been tweaked so much it’s more like a hybrid plan of my own.” Connie has gone from 244 pounds to 169 pounds, and from a size 24 to a 12!
Connie has been diagnosed with Syndrome X, which is a collection of symptoms including insulin resistance, hyperinsulemia, elevated triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol (the good stuff). “If not controlled, all of these things will eventually lead to heart disease,” she noted.
Connie has had trouble with her weight for as long as she can remember, and says that the problem “Makes it hard, emotionally, growing up.”
Connie had two major attempts at weight loss prior to finding low carbing. “The first time was in college,” she told me. “My friends and I did it together. We were in college, single girls looking for boyfriends. I don’t remember how long we did it, but I basically starved myself. I existed on diet pop and packages of peanut butter crackers. I managed to get down to 160 and a size 11. I did feel weak a lot, but, at the time it all seemed worth it. Looking back, boy was I dumb! When my weight loss stopped, I changed to drinking Slim Fast and my hair started falling out!! I eventually gained all the weight back plus ‘interest.’ Obviously, this isn’t a healthy way to lose weight and keep it off!”
Connie’s second attempt was right after her wedding. “I was disgusted with my honeymoon pictures,” she continued. “I tried to lose weight this time via low fat and aerobic exercise. Once previously, I did this with a couple of friends, but my main motivation was not letting them see me give up. (They were both rather thin girls.) I managed to shed 25 pounds before I gave up. I was hungry all the time, plus the other two girls had lost interest in going to the gym and I didn’t like going by myself. Once again, I gained the 25 pounds back – plus more. For me, low fat/low calorie was miserable and hard to follow. I always had cravings.
Connie’s low carb story began when she and her husband were trying to become pregnant. “After a year, we went to see an obstetrician. After several failed attempts with some low grade fertility drugs, the obstetrician convinced me that we needed to do a laproscopy to look for endometriosis. The day of the surgery, I weighed in at 244 pounds, and I remember thinking ‘Oh wow, I’m under 250!’ I was surprised, because I thought I weighed more. After the procedure, he came to see me in the recovery room and told me he was pretty sure I had Polysystic Ovarian Syndrome and should see a specialist if I wanted to continue trying to conceive. I went home in tears and immediately started searching the Internet for information on PCOS. I discovered that low carb had helped a lot of women lose weight, and low and behold, many of them had also gotten pregnant as a result!”
Connie started low carbing immediately – that very night. “I didn’t go about it the right way like I should have. I didn’t go out and buy a book and read it. I didn’t have my blood work done so I’d have some baseline numbers to compare to. I just read everything I could from the Internet and started cutting things from my diet,” she told me.
Two weeks later at her post surgical check up, Connie had lost 10 pounds just by winging it!’ “I was stunned and thrilled,” she said. “That gave me the motivation to go get a low carb book and stick with it. I chose Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution.”
By September of 1998, Connie had lost approximately 40 pounds and was pregnant!”Unfortunately,” she added, “I jumped off the low carb wagon at the first Dairy Queen that I passed and didn’t get back on plan until my child’s fist birthday in June of 2000. Looking back, I wish I’d followed a modified low carb plan during my pregnancy as well.”
Connie has known about low carbing since May of 1998. She has actively low carbed from May 1998 to September of 1998 and then resumed low carbing in June of 2000 until the present.
“I have no doubt in the world I am addicted to carbs,” she continued. “I remember being constantly hungry. No matter what I ate, it was never enough. When I ate something (usually sugary) it never satisfied me. I wanted more and usually ended up eating whatever it was until it was gone. I had no portion control at all.”
For Connie, the good parts of low carbing far outweigh the disadvantages. “The best thing is not the weight loss; its the realization that I’m not a fat slob with no self control,” she said. “Low carbing controls my wild insulin reactions and, as a result, I feel in control of my eating. My constant carbohydrate cravings are gone. The other great things about low carb are that I have more energy, my mood has improved 100%, my skin has improved, and my hay fever lessened.
“Are there bad parts of this way of eating?” she asked. “Well, it depends on your outlook. You can bemoan the fact that you can’t have the Hershey bar or the loaded potato skins, or you can just accept that there are certain things you can no longer eat if you want to live a long healthy life.”
Low carbing worked for Connie where other diets have failed because “I’m satisfied after eating. I don’t leave the table and immediately go hunt for more to eat even though I’m not really hungry. I don’t obsess over food anymore. I used to get up in the morning and make a beeline for the fridge where I would have a giant bowl of sugary cereal and milk. Food was the first thing I thought of when I got up, and the last thing I thought of at night. It’s very liberating to not feel that way anymore.”
Low carbing has been very easy for Connie. “I enjoy the foods that I eat and don’t tire of them easily. Sure, giving up sugar and other carbohydrates was difficult at first, but once you’re through the first few weeks you’re home free! It is definitely a way of life for me. There’s no turning back!
Connie has a great support system. “My husband is 110% behind me and my other family members have seen the physical and emotional changes in me as well. My mood and attitude have greatly improved. So far, I’ve had nothing but good experiences with others in regard to this way of eating. Several coworkers are proponents of low-fat, but we debate over it in a friendly manner and can just agree to disagree.”
In January, 2001, after a six-month stall, Connie eliminated all dairy products from her diet. “I lost 10 pounds during that first month! I believe that it was a combination of way too many calories and carbohydrates in the form of cream, cream cheese low carb treats, and tons of cheese. I had hoped to add dairy back in after a few months, but I’ve tried several times and ended up with a very bad upset stomach each time. I think there was a bit of a dairy intolerance in there. I also have to avoid processed meats such as lunch meat, pepperoni, salami etc. They cause severe water retention for me, and generally I feel poorly when I eat them.”
At this point Connie started setting monthly goals. “My goal for February/March of this year was to start lifting weights. I am definitely hooked!! I love it!”
At the end of June, Connie embarked on an anti-yeast plan. “This is in response to some symptoms that seem to indicate that I have an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria in my system.Anti-yeasting required cutting further things from my daily diet, which now consists only of fresh meat and vegetables. I’ve only been at it for a few weeks, but already I feel ten times better than I was before.”
“Low carbing has been such a journey for me,” Connie explained, “and it’s one that I’m not done with yet. I’m not sure where I’ll end up, but I’m learning a lot about both the low carbohydrate lifestyle and my body along the way.”
“One thing that helped me tremendously was having support for other low carbing people online. I don’t know that I would have stuck with it had Into participated in low carb chats and newsgroups. I subscribed to mailing lists, a low carb newsgroup, and regularly hang out in a low carb chat room where I learned so much from other experienced low carbers.” Connie currently moderates several forums on the low carb bulletin board associated with The Lowcarb Retreat.
In conclusion, Connie offered up some tips for new low carbers: – Have patience – Keep it as simple as possible. Meat, veggies, and dairy in moderation, plus water, water, water is the best recipe for success at low carbing. – Get support from other whether it’s family of fellow online low carbers.