Joanne from Leeds in the UK is 28 years old. She started low carbing in January of 2000, and has been at it ever since. Joanne follows the Atkins program and is currently just below her goal weigh at 117 pounds. She has gone from a US size 14/16 to a US size 6/8.
“I put on weight around the age of 12 or 13,” she told me. “I lost it again in my late teens, but started putting on weight again when I left the University and started work sitting at a desk on my backside all day! I put it on slowly at first. In fact, I wouldn’t have said I had a weight problem until 3 years ago when I started another new job with a works canteen that served pie and chips every day, along with dessert!”
“I tried the cabbage soup diet first. (That is supposedly the diet of the British heart foundation given to patients to lose weight quickly.) Now, I hadn’t known real hunger until I tried that for a week! I lost four pounds, which came straight back on, as there is no way you can possibly maintain on such a drastic diet.”
“About a year later I started Weight Watchers because I was depressed with my weight. Obesity runs in my family, and I figured if I couldn’t get it off before I have kids, I would never be able to, so better start now! I stuck with it for six weeks.”
Joanne used Weight Watchers new “Points” system, but says, “I hadn’t lost any weight for ages, and I couldn’t go any lower in points. I was at the minimum level and starving most of the time anyway. I lost a total of only seven pounds, even though I tried a bit of exercising! I also couldn’t be bothered with all that constant weighing and measuring, and keeping of a food diary.”
“I don’t remember feeling too bad on Weight Watchers, to be honest,” Joanne continued. “Or rather, I felt no different than ‘normal’, which I now know from doing low carb, is not the way I should have been feeling. I know now that it didn’t work because of my carb intolerance, but I couldn’t work out why back then. After all, I was eating balanced meals rather than using all my points up on chocolate, etc. So, I stopped following Weight Watchers, and of course ALL the weight came right back on very quickly.”
“About six months later, I tried Atkins, and I would never try Weight Watchers again! I know how unhealthy calorie and fat restriction can be. I also know how healthy low carbing is, and how well and vibrant it makes me feel.”
“I started low carbing almost immediately after I’d heard about it from a new woman at work. If I’d thought about it and planned, I wouldn’t have done it. It was such a novel idea that I figured I’d give it a go. It sounded like I could eat the kind of foods I would enjoy eating, and there was not a lot of measuring or faffing about in the kitchen. I believe I am addicted to carbs, particularly bread. That could still be my downfall (and occasionally has been!)”
Joanne noted these good things about her experience with low carbing:”Health, comfortable digestion, skin improvements, weight loss, great food, the friends I have found over the Internet (including a new bloke! Hehe!).”
“Low carbing has become my hobby. I have read about it and learned about it. I love helping others. It is my major interest in life. I can’t remember when I spent such a lot of time caring about any other topic or activity in my life. I know, I’m just sad!” she laughed.
As far as the bad aspects of low carbing, Joanne said. “Well, it can be a pain when the only stuff to eat is bread and pastry. I also used to feel guilty about cheating, when I’d never felt that I had had any emotional issues with food before. But, I’ve gotten over that now, and either just don’t cheat, or allow myself the occasional piece of bread or dessert for the pure enjoyment of it.”
“Low carbing has worked very well for me, even if the weight loss has been slow. I didn’t’ commit to it fully as a way of eating at first. I don’t think anybody really does. But you only find out how much it is worth sticking to when you do fall off the wagon. I don’t feel terrible when I eat carbs, which is something others do feel and actually helps them stick to it. And it only works if you stick to it consistently. I never go hungry, and I’ve also received valuable support from online friends which I never had on Weight Watchers. I feel healthy, even though I hadn’t realized I was unhealthy before low carb. All those little aches and pains, the wind, the bloating, the moods, the fatigues, all gone on low carb. Before, I thought they were ‘normal’.”
“Low carbing is easy now. Although, it was hard to accept, at first, that there are certain things I would probably never eat again, or never want to eat again. Now, even when I’m depressed, moody, or bad tempered and I need to comfort food, it doesn’t even occur to me to go for anything that isn’t low carb. It is truly a way of life, and will be forever!”
“No one tries to get me to stop low carbing. All my experiences have been good. People have really noticed the change in my weight, and they also comment frequently on how healthy I look. I have converted my parents and try to support them. It’s good to have a friend at work now who also low carbs, and I get a lot of support from the Low Carb in the UK list at Yahoo groups.”
“Emotionally, I am much more even tempered. I ‘m on an even keel now and less likely to fly off the handle at any little thing, although I still do at the big things,” Joanne laughed. “I also feel much happier within my self. Being slim gives me more confidence, and I love shopping for clothes now.”
Joanne life with low carbing appeared in an article in the weekend magazine of The Mirror, a British newspaper. She was a bit upset as she felt they were a bit biased about her diet, quoting the article as saying: “Both of these women have diets that are not too bad. There is a higher fat level than normal, but they are getting a balance of fats, and a reasonably low level of saturated fat.” (Joanne’s says, “This is soooo not true!”) “Both show a certain amount of digestive stress and have very acidic urine levels,” The Mirror continued, “which shows that their bodies are working hard to get rid of the extra toxins. Joanne has a higher level of digestive stress than Karen and both are showing high levels of nutrients in the blood and saliva, which could mean that the body is not getting enough nutrients from food but overall I’d say they’re using Atkins diet in a sensible way. I think the basic theory behind the diet is good, but the trouble is how some people interpret it, which could mean taking in too many saturated fats.”
Joanne’s replies that, “As to the gastric distress, the guy who tested us put this down to the fact that I eat a higher carb level and more fruit than Karen does, and the tester put the high level of trace elements in our blood down to drinking tap water. And we actually do eat a lot of saturated fat!” she laughed.
Joanne also noted that, “Here’s what they don’t say: We asked what results they would expect to see if we we’d been on a low fat high carb diet for 18 months. They replied that they’d expect to see cellular degradation and that they’d refer us to a doctor. We discovered that we were eating just the diet that they recommend to their clients at the fitness center – even when we said we eat a lot of cheese and butter, they said this was fine! Overall, he was very impressed by our results and decided we were healthy. Interesting how the journalist (not the testers!) still cannot get over this saturated fat thing.”