JJ From Idaho’s Low Carb Success Story

JJ from Idaho is ‘ageless,’ she tells me and is currently at her goal weight of 112 pounds, down from her starting weight of 189 pounds. JJ is 5′ 1 1/2″ tall and has been following the Atkins program for three and a half years.

“I was a heavy teenager,” JJ said. “My dad would always call me ‘fatty’ (He was not a nice guy). I lived up to his expectations of me. I became slim and slender through college. Then, after I got married and had a baby, my weight went up to 220+ pounds. I tried everything to lose weight, including starvation and fasting. I first heard about Dr. Atkins in the 70’s, went on it, and lost all the weight. I went down to a size 2-3 and stayed there for 20+ years!”

“After I had a surgery in 1994 that left me physically unable to care for myself, I started gaining the weight back. By 1998, I weighed 189 pounds. Being older, it was more difficult to lose it. From 1994 to 1998 I tried literally everything again to lose, but only gained. Once again, it was Dr. Atkins that came to my rescue. I thought that if it worked once, it would work again.”

JJ told me it would be easier to tell me what she hadn’t tried to lose weight than to list what she had tried, but she gave it her best shot. “I can categorically say that I tried everything out of sheer desperation. I would stay on a particular diet two to six weeks, and It was never easy. I was hungry, irritable, and couldn’t get the specialty products I needed. I suffered cardiac palpitations while on the predigested protein diet.”

“All the diets were all hard to stay on. I was HUNGRY, tired, and had no energy. (Did I mention HUNGRY!!??) I would do great the first week or two. After that, it was just so very difficult and painful to continue on. I would lose weight, then gain it all back again. The “yo-yo dieting and weight loss program” would really describe best what I was doing. I tried Scarsdale, Cambridge, predigested protein, Richard Simmons, starvation, fasting withjuices/water, Redux/Fen-Phen, all of the over the counter aids, and both herbal teas and supplements. I tried the Grapefruit Diet, Hollywood Diet, Mayo Clinic Diet, the Diet Center, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, the Cabbage Soup Diet, Somersizing, low fat, low calorie, Calorad, Optifast (under the supervision of a doctor), and the Beverly Hills Diet!”

“I did incorporate exercise into all of the different plans. I would lose some weight, get back to ‘normal,’ and then gain it all back. But it wasn’t until after I started on Atkins that I had the energy to really begin and continue with an active exercise program.”

JJ first used the Atkins program in the 1970’s when Dr. Atkins was considered a ‘fad diet doctor.’ “It worked wonders for me! I maintained my weight for 20+ years! Not always low carb, but nonetheless, I was slim and my metabolism was active. I gained rapidly in 1993 to 1994 after my surgery, and I was not able to take it off effectively. I was essentially trying low fat/low calorie and exercise at that point. It only made me hungrier and more irritable. I suffer from fibromyalgia, and I had more muscle and joint pain and aches while on the other programs.”

“The second time around I suddenly remembered the diet I was on way back when. I found out that Dr. Atkins had a new book out, got it and read it one evening. I then right went to the grocery store and bought what I needed to get started! I began Atkins October of 1998 and have ‘discarded’ 77 pounds as of June, 2001. I have maintained my weight loss since.”

“I have never felt so good, or had so much energy! I sleep well, wake up easily and alert. My muscle aches and pain are essentially gone. My exercise program is vigorous, and I feel good after I have worked out.”

JJ said this way of eating is very easy for her to follow. “I have essentially no sugar cravings. This way of eating has worked for me because it has allowed me to eat normally. Protein, veggies and sweet things without sugar in them. I eat most of my veggies are raw, in salad form, and I eat fresh fruit. It was a conscious decision I made.”

“I do eat other foods from time to time on special occasions, but my sugar cravings return if I eat something like potatoes, pasta, or rice, and especially if I eat anything that has real sugar in it.”

“I have to be aware of my body and what it is feeling and how it is functioning. It is something that I will do for the rest of my life. I have discovered that how I feel is more important to me than how I look, I am happy with how I look now, but more importantly, I have the energy and vitality that I need to accomplish about anything that I set my mind to.”

“I have had no problems that I am aware of. Benefits?? LOADS of them!! I have more energy, more lean muscle mass, my lab work shows improved numbers, my clothes fit better, that bloated feeling is gone. I’m sleeping better, and I have few to no cravings, there’s no binge eating, I’m better able to control my food portions. I have a feeling of being in control of my own food intake, and my own health and well being.”

“Overall, I am a better, stronger woman, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally because of the kind of fuel I am putting in my body. I now have a true, strong desire to be healthy, and I want to look and feel my best. I can play with my 3-year-old granddaughter with ease and energy. I even have a stronger connection to God, spiritually, because my mind and body are thinking and functioning more efficiently! I am a more effective educator and leader. I have a new lease and outlook on my life, future and health. And I like the ‘new and improved’ me!!”

JJ has had all kinds of negative feedback from people she knew cared about her. “It came in all forms like: ‘You are killing yourself,’ ‘You can’t eat that much meat!’, ‘You can’t live on protein,’ ‘You can’t have any fat and be healthy,’ and ‘You won’t be healthy if you don’t eat any fruit.’ They were all based on each person’s lack of knowledge of low carbohydrate eating. I do not defend what I do, I just smile and say ‘Thank you for caring for me so much. I will tuck that information away.’ Then mentally I push the delete button.”

JJ offered up some advice for low carbers. “Cheating?” she said. “It’s going to happen. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Don’t whine, complain, and tell people you need a kick in the rear. Only you can kick your own rear!! You have to become your own best cheerleader, and not allow yourself to put yourself down because you failed 1, 2, 3, or even more times!”

“The pain of being unhealthy and overweight has to be a stronger motivating factor, than the pain of ‘cheating’ and feeling guilty. Become aware of why you cheated. Evaluate what happened. Try and learn something about your body, how it works and functions. Is it emotional eating? Why? Were you really hungry? Were you tired?”

“Fatigue and physical exhaustion are big factors in overeating. Carbs offer ‘instant,’ if short-lived, energy. Our bodies needs energy. When we are not giving it proper rest, we often get a quick ‘fix’ by eating. Try going to bed at a decent hour. It will help you utilize what you have eaten much more efficiently.

“Stalls,” JJ continued, “are inevitable!! The body needs time to adapt to what is happening. The weight initially comes off very quickly, and then many of us stall. Metabolically, the body has to catch up to the weight loss. It is readjusting to less body fat, more muscle mass, changes in body chemistry, and different fuel!!”

“Don’t rely solely on the scale. Use body measurements as well to monitor your progress. How do your clothes fit? Have a body fat analysis done. Recheck that every six months. Most are available for minimal cost at exercise gyms and clubs.”

“Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate! How is your water intake? Do you need to increase your level of activity? Are you getting hidden carbs in your foods, especially processed sugars? Are you eating too much, or not enough??!!”

Timing is important too. When you eat right before bedtime, your body does not need the fuel to sleep. Personally, I do not eat after 4 PM, or maybe 5 PM on some days. But that is a choice of mine. IT works for me, and has helped my metabolism immensely. By morning I am hungry and ready to eat and enjoy my breakfast.”

“Are you getting enough exercise, water, sleep, vitamins and calories??”

“Most importantly,” JJ concluded, “this is way of eating is a choice!!! Only you can make it work, and only you can be successful with it. You may have people around you who will help you and cheer you on, but it is really up to you.”

“Once you have made the decision to start, never quit! As Winston Churchill said, ‘Neva…Neva….Neva!!!’ If you fall, pick yourself up and say ‘I’m going on! I may have skinned my knees, but I will walk, I will run, I will FLY, and I will be healthy!! I will look good and feel terrific. If it’s going to be, it is up to ME!”

“Set your site on your goal and then FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS!! One of my friends signs her letters, “WITHOUT DEVIATION OR COMPROMISE!!”

It is a choice and a decision only you can make. Remember you have to live in the ‘house’ you are living in for the rest of your life. How sound is that home, and how well does it house your spirit and your soul?

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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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