Mary from California is 37 years old, 5′ 10″ tall, and has been following the Atkins program since July of 2001. She has lost 59 pounds, dropping from 200 pounds to 143 pounds. Mary has reached her goal weight, and has reduced her dress size from a 16 to a 4/6!
“Growing up,” Mary said, “I was always tall, but just average weight. From high school until I had my children I was a size 10/12. When my second child (my baby) was almost a year old and I was 27, I decided I needed to lose weight. I started exercising and eating less. I lost 40 pounds, dropping from 180 pounds to 140 pounds in about eight months. Unfortunately, after reaching my goal I went back to eating the way I had before. Even though I continued to exercise, I slowly ended up regaining all of the weight I had worked so hard to lose.”
“A few years later, at 30, I ended up repeating things, cutting back on quantity and exercising more. I got back down to 140 pounds again. At 140, I wore a size 6. But at this time I was going through a divorce and a move, and I stopped exercising and started eating more. A few years later I was up to 200 pounds, which was a new high weight for me. I was wearing 16s and they were getting tight on me! I couldn’t face the embarrassment of having to shop for “large size clothes,” and I began to exercise and eat less again. This time I lost 50 pounds and got down to 150, could again wear a size 6. But I kept repeating this destructive pattern, and I again slowed the exercise and ate more once I reached my goal weight. Each time it began as a gradual thing, but would end up with me not exercising at all and eating anything I wanted … and gaining all the weight back yet again.”
“Last spring I was thoroughly disgusted with myself. I had gotten back up to 200 pounds, and I as wearing tight 16s again. I decided to do what I had done the three times before, and at the end of April 2001, I began exercising and eating less. In the first month, I lost 10 pounds, but, then I did not lose anymore! Being 37, I wasn’t sure if my metabolism had changed or what, but I was very discouraged. ”
“About this time my husband had lunch with a friend of his who had been doing Atkins for the last 8 months. My husband hadn’t seen him since he started following a low carbohydrate lifestyle, and he was shocked to see that his friend had lost about 100 pounds! Since my hubby was overweight as well, he asked about Atkins and thought it sounded like something he could do and stick with. He came home and told me about it. We went out and bought the book, read it that night, and decided to start the next day, July 7, 2001. My 11-year old-son was also overweight, so we had him join us as well.”
“We all did very well on Induction, and it was really nice to have three of us eating the same way! We found that we could still eat out, we just had to make different choices. I also found a lot of recipes online. All three of us have done great! I have lost 59 pounds now (49 low carbing with the Atkins plan), my husband has lost 46 pounds, and my son has lost 37 pounds!”
“I am such a sweet and carbohydrate addict that I’ve often thought that if I had taken the time to think about it longer before I started low carbing I would probably not have wanted to try this. But I know now that my body just can’t handle eating that way.”
“I now don’t want to eat the things I used to for several reasons:
- I don’t want to gain the weight back.
- I don’t want to have to go hungry. When I eat low carb I feel satisfied.
- I don’t want feel nauseated, or bloated, which I do when I eat high carbohydrate foods.”
“This way of eating seems natural to me now. I can’t imagine going back to eating how I used to, and I don’t want to… EVER!”
“I was never a diet person. I am a picky eater in that I don’t like eggs, cottage cheese, most fist, etc., so diets that dictate what you must eat for each meal never would work for me. When I tried to lose weight, I did it on my own by eliminating sweets and desserts, eating smaller quantities and doing aerobic exercise. I like to be in control my former was of dieting made me feel like I had control. The good part was that it worked for me, at least until my last attempt. The bad part was that I tend to get obsessive, so often I would eat so little that I would be hungry all the time. I was basically starving myself. Then I would eat anything, and my body would hold onto it, and I’d gain.”
“I often used food deprivation or excessive exercise as “punishment” if I ate too much or gained weight. Emotionally, I would get very obsessive, and the more weight I lost, the more I’d try to cut back on how much I ate. It was hard for me because of always being hungry and because I didn’t count anything, calories, fat grams, carbs, nothing. I had no way of measuring anything or trying out what I was doing. It certainly messed up my metabolism! By cutting back on my food consumption so drastically, my body just held on to my fat even more, and made me have to work even harder to lose anything.”
“The best part about following a low carbohydrate lifestyle is that I am not hungry! I can go out to eat almost anywhere and order off the menu and eat really good things! I now feel confident that this is NOT a diet, but the way I will eat the rest of my life. This is what will prevent me from repeating my unhealthy yo-yo cycle of losing and then regaining the weight. Low carbing has allowed me to lose weight without feeling deprived. I make low carb desserts or buy low carb candies when I feel the need for something sweet. I can do that without cheating!”
“I don’t view reaching my goal weight as the end of this process. Very little will change for me. I’ll only be adding a few more carbs, but I’ll basically be eating the same way.”
“What’s been hard about low carbing? Well, the first three days of Induction were KILLERS. It is hard that there are certain things I miss still eating. Mostly Mexican food, pizza (with the crust), French bread, chocolate, etc. It is also hard when we get together with my family.”
“My mom just doesn’t understand this way of eating and she keeps asking when we can eat x, y, and z. She asks why we don’t eat fruit. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell her, she still doesn’t get it. I think she can’t handle it because she has always shows her love through food… mostly desserts! It also does take more planning, so that you have low carb choices on hand, but once you get used to eating this way, that isn’t a big deal either.”
“It really hasn’t been that hard. Have I had to resist eating things I would have loved to gorge down on? Yes. But have I been able to resist? YES! This is definitely something I can stick with for the rest of my life”
“I did lose a significant amount of hair about two or three months after starting this way of eating. I began taking MSM, the loss eventually stopped, and now I have lots of new hair growth.
“I have wonderful support with my husband and son low carbing with me. As I mentioned, my mom doesn’t seem to know how to react to us eating this way. She thinks it is great that the three of us have lost as much weight as we have, but I don’t think she understands the science behind low carbing well enough to know that it is safe.”
“Several other mothers at my son’s school have done low carb diets before, and all of them have made positive comments about how I look and how I am doing. I also belong to an online support group at yahoo groups that is wonderful.”
Mary offers up some last minute advice for low carbers:
“Before you start, make sure you weigh yourself, and measure. Take chest, waist, hips, arms, thighs, and anything else you can think of. And, as much as you don’t want to, TAKE BEFORE PICTURES! I was horribly embarrassed to have my picture taken when I was at my peak, so the only ones of me are from far away and don’t really show how heavy I was. I wish now that I had taken some better ones and some close-ups so I could really see the difference low carbing has made!”
“If your thinking of cheating, DON’T do it! Have a legal treat as a substitute. If you stall sometimes, don’t be discouraged. Weight loss seems to go in cycles. Just watch what you are eating to make sure there aren’t any hidden carbs in what you’re eating. If your weight loss stalls, cut out the low carb bars and processed foods, get extra water and exercise, and see if that make a difference.”
“Please don’t ignore exercising! You really should look at that as half of the weight loss equation. I’m proud that I not only lost the weight, but that physically I am in the best condition of my entire life! I do 30 minutes on an elliptical trainer 3 to 4 times a week, 20 minutes with hand weights about two times a week, and 500 stomach crunches daily.”
“From my experience, you lose a lot right away, and then the weight loss slows down. Don’t let that stop you! I have been losing an average of only one pound a month for the last five months, but all those one pounds add up! I’m only one pound from my goal weight! Even if you don’t see the loss on the scales, make sure you measure yourself, because sometimes the loss in inches is more than the weight loss!”