Jamie C.’s Low Carb Success Story

Jamie C. is 42 years old, and had been overweight her entire life. She grew up in a family of thin people. The only exception of her mother, who had also been heavy her whole life. Her sister was five years older than Jamie, and although she was thin, Jamie didn’t remember her being mean or saying bad things to her about her weight.

“My brother, on the other hand was a different story,” Jamie said. “He was 14 months younger than I, and since we were so close in age, we spent a great deal of time together. He would constantly make fun of me and my weight. All of my friends were thin too, and they would join in the ‘fun.’ And the kids at school were merciless, even in the Catholic school I attended!”

Jamie’s mother, knowing what being overweight meant, tried everything in her power to ‘make’ Jamie lose weight. “I was put on strict diets and was severely punished if I was caught cheating,” Jamie told me. “I remember one M&M episode in particular! I was denied second helpings and dessert was taboo, even while the rest of the family (even my fat mommy!) were partaking and enjoying everything right in front of me.”

In the summer following Jamie’s junior year in high school, she obtained a job at a local supermarket as a cashier. “Surprisingly enough,” Jamie said, “I managed to lose 40 pounds during that summer and met the man who would soon become my husband. We got engaged that November, and had plans to marry the following November. I was just 18 years old when I married him. He was thin and came from an Italian background. His mother, in my opinion, is the best cook in the world. It did not take long before I started putting on weight again.”

With her wedding fast approaching, and Jamie was trying desperately to lose weight and failing. She finally ended up having to let out seams on her wedding dress just to fit into it. “It was an 18!!” Jamie exclaimed. “I remember being 185 pounds near my wedding day and sadly, when my husband and I split a year and a half later, I was 238 pounds. However, it did not take me a year and a half to gain all that weight; I did that in record time following the wedding. I gained weight so fast that the stretch marks on my body looked like welts! Being so young, I didn’t even know what they were!”

The following years for Jamie were spent dieting, losing, cheating, and gaining. “I kept telling myself that if I was thin, all my problems would be solved; I would be happy, someone special would love me, and I would be happy.”

In 1988, the year Jamie was to turn 30, she decided she had had enough of being fat, and was going to get thin, no matter what the cost. “I weighed 253 when I entered the hospital for a gastric banding procedure,” Jamie said. “Gastric banding is s surgical weight loss technique that is less drastic than gastric bypass, but no less invasive. A band (rubber band) is placed around the stomach, enabling a one-once portion of the stomach to be used for filling with food. Once that pouch is filled, you feel like you have eaten a 12-course meal and you may only have had a few bites. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Not really! Since the opening to the stomach is restricted, so is the ability to eat certain foods. Meat must be cut into very small pieces, and chewed very, very well. If the opening is blocked, you feel extremely uncomfortable until the food either passes down, or comes back up. When food becomes “stuck” you cannot even drink liquids. In addition, nervousness tends to constrict the opening of the stomach, so all eating must be done in a calm environment.”

Jamie managed to lose weight following the surgery. “Due in part to the fact that I had never had major (or for that matter, any) surgery before. The recovery period from this took it’s toll on me. I managed to get down to my ‘wedding weight’ of 185, before I figured out how to cheat. My one ounce portion of stomach could hold only so much meat or salad, but foods like ice cream, pudding, and cereals went down nicely, as did chips, dip, and all kinds of junk food. It wasn’t long before I gained most of the weight back.”

Jamie continued with more attempts to lose weight, having some success, only to gain it back.

“By then, ‘Fat makes you fat’ was everyone’s mantra,” she continued, “and that made so much sense. I went on a totally fat free diet. I did manage to lose a little bit of weight, but not much, and not without a lot of exercise and deprivation. However, everyone applauded my intentions, and they always made fat-free foods available for me when I was at their homes.”

Before long, Jamie gained her loss back again. “It was now November of 1999,” she said. “I had decided that 225 pounds was going to be my weight for the rest of my life. I was just not going to consume myself with obsessing about losing weight anymore. If it happened, it happened, if not, then so be it. I had a (thin) man who loved me the way I was. As long as I could fit into some nice clothes, I was just going to enjoy the rest of my life. Then one day, I was having lunch with a friend who was on the Atkins diet.”

“Although not overweight, my friend was trying to lose weight for her May, 2000, wedding. She explained the diet to me over lunch, and it intrigued me. I bought Dr. Atkins’ book (Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution) that weekend and started the diet the following Monday morning, November 15, 1999. I decided to give Dr. Atkins the two weeks he asked for in the book. If the diet didn’t work for me, I would go back to my original plan.”

“At the conclusion of the two weeks, which included Thanksgiving celebrated out of town at my sister’s house, I had lost 17 pounds! That was amazing to me! I decided to keep going until Christmas. I wanted to wake up on Christmas morning and weigh less that 200 pounds.”

“I did it on December 24, weighing in at 199! I had planned to ‘cheat’ on Christmas as a present to myself, but didn’t feel the need to do so. Although many delicious food items were served, eating them and the momentary enjoyment they might provide versus the possible weight gain didn’t seem to be worth it. I stayed on program, and it has been for over a year now.”

Jamie’s original goal was to fit into some size 14 clothes that she had bought at her ‘thinnest.’ “I had some really beautiful suits for work and my sister had given me some really cute summer clothing. I managed to wear each suit maybe once. By the time summer had rolled around, the shorts and capris were way too big! Right now, I wear a size 8 dress and a size 6 pants! Never in my life have I worn clothes this small!”

“Although, thankfully, I have always been in pretty good health, my cholesterol continues to drop. I have lost 80+ pounds and feel great. I wish, though, that I would have the same support from my friends that I had when I was trying to lose weight doing low fat. Everyone was so supportive then. Now, even in light of my health and weight loss, I get chastised for following this way of eating. ‘It’s not healthy,’ “You’re going to get heart disease.” Everything from headaches to heavy menstrual periods to earaches gets blamed on this diet. I have a friend, although taller and thinner than I am, currently trying to lose weight. Yet she tells me I should not lose any more weight because I would be too thin. Is she afraid that I will become thinner than she is?”

In concluding Jamie added, “I wish I could say that once I lost all this weight my life became a fairy tale. It didn’t, and that has taken some adjusting to. I can’t blame all my unhappiness on my weight any more. I am currently looking for ways to improve my life. But at least I know it’s not my weight holding me back. I am so happy to not be a prisoner of that for the rest of a my life!”

“Not insignificantly, I don’t feel like a failure anymore! I learned that I didn’t not lose weight because I was a failure, but because the diets failed me.”

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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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