Rita From Vermont’s Low Carb Success Story

Rita from Vermont is 42 years old. She has been following the Atkins program since October 10th, l999. Rita has dropped from a high weight of 463 pounds to her current weight of 189 pounds – just 4 pounds from her goal weight of 185! She used to wear 5X to 6X blouses, but now quite comfortably wears medium blouses, size 12 dresses, and size 14 pants!

“I have been overweight forever,” Rita said. “I was called all the names in school. The last time I was under 200 pounds was when I was 11 years old.”

Rita tried Weight Watchers five times over a six year period. “I started when I was just eight years old,” Rita told me. “I went to Weight Watchers camp at 11 and got down to 169 pounds. I did this because my mother was doing it. I stuck with it as long as my mother did, but finally gave up when I was 13 and the lecturer yelled at me because I had gained 1/4 of a pound. Two days later I got my first period.”

“I loved Weight Watchers in the beginning because of the “free foods.” I have found this is one thing I can’t handle. I can overeat on anything! I always felt great as long as the scale went down, but if I had a gained, forget it. I would start eating again. Each time I tried Weight Watchers, any weight loss was regained – plus a 20-25 pound bonus.”

Rita also tried Overeaters Anonymous for 12 years. “I lost 80 pounds and kind of kept any weight gain at bay during those years from age 16 to 28. After I had my first child, though, I just could not go back. I loved OA – it is a great program – but I couldn’t help hearing my ‘bull’ alarm going off. The ‘fat serenity’ in the group bothered me so much that I just couldn’t get what I needed from them. I still recommend OA to others. Support is so important, but I get it from my email lists now.”

Rita also gave mini attempts to diets such as the Grapefruit Diet, Ayds, Stillman’s, diabetic diets, and heart diets and told me, “I must say that every one of them worked as long as I stuck with them.”

In 1994, Rita got to the point where she felt she needed to get some weight off fast. She was 463 pounds, had obstructive sleep apnea, borderline diabetes, borderline high blood pressure, and swollen limbs. “I had open RNY gastric bypass surgery on March 31, 1994. I lost 218 pounds by November of 1995. Then I found out I was pregnant. I had a healthy girl on August 26, l996.”

“After my daughter was born, I started into a spiral of grazing on all the wrong foods. The surgery is not a panacea. The surgeon cannot staple the brain, only the stomach. Over the next two years, I regained 64 pounds. I was scared, and back up to 306 pounds. I then went back to exercise and my food fixed itself. I gave up sugar and started being careful. I got down to 273 pounds by July of 1999, and then hit a three month plateau. It left leaving me wondering what to do.”

“I kept hearing ads for Protein Power on the radio. They were really playing it up. I decided to read Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution, figuring he’s been around for many years and most others have disappeared. That is when I made the best decision I had ever made for myself, besides having the RNY……low carbing on Atkins.”

Rita started Atkins on October 10, l999 with the blessings of her surgeon and nutritionist. She had heard about the program in the 1970’s, but never tried it. Rita believes she is absolutely addicted to carbs. “I start on a vicious cycle when I eat carbs. I am a food addict, but carbs start me in a horrible pattern of needing more and more. Before low carbing, I would diet so I could eat again. I would lose weight and of course never reach my goal because of the amount of weight I had to lose. So, when I would lose some I would reward myself with food, and low and behold, all the weight would come back – plus more.”

Rita started low carbing because she loves protein and figured with the RNY, this would be a great way to get in the protein that she needed. “Enough protein is a problem with the limited absorption I have due to the bypass. It just made sense to me that this would work. I did the two-week induction and lost 13 pounds! Just saying I was ecstatic doesn’t give the feeling justice. I seemed to have finally found a ‘niche’ for myself that I could stick with.”

“I think the two-week induction is to cleanse the body of the carb overload we have had. Going right to less than 20 grams of carbs allows the body to detoxify, thus the cravings go away and the cleanup is total. Then, when other foods are added back in slowly, you can see how your weight loss and your body react to different levels of carbohydrate consumption. I think if what level you are at is working, don’t change it. I kept my carbs under 20 grams for about eight months. It was my choice, and I did it because I had so far to go. Then I slowly upped them to where they are now, about 50-60 grams per day. I get my carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits. I still stay away from starches.”

“I do NOT miss the starches, breads, pastas, or sugars. I don’t know why I am not tempted, but I just don’t desire junk food anymore. I keep my protein bars (low carb ones, of course) on hand, and they take care of my sweet tooth. For major chocolate cravings I bought the Sugar Free Chocolate Twist and put some sugar free chunky peanut butter in a cupcake cup, and then a layer of Chocolate Twist, and freeze. It tastes like I am cheating, and is delicious! For special occasions I just eat what I know I can have. I do “splurge” a bit by trying a bite of something I have not had in a long time, but pretty much I stick to what I know I can eat. If I stick with protein, I get full and don’t need the other stuff.”

“The worst part of this way of life would have to be getting others to understand that I don’t eat certain foods, especially when I go to someone’s home for dinner. I am Jewish, and some of our holidays are a low carbers nightmare: matzoh, matzoh balls, knishes, potato latkes……YIKES!!”

“Low carbing got me out of the excessive carbohydrate consumption pattern of eating I was in. I found out during induction how addicted I was. When I stayed away from carbohydrates, I got stronger. This way of life has become a habit now, and I can stick with it for a lifetime. It is so simple, but not always so easy.”

“My goal weight was set by my surgeon in 1994, and is 185 pounds. I am 5′ 8″ tall and large framed, and the charts show I should be at the most 155 pounds, but since I was morbidly obese for a long time, she felt that I would never weigh what the insurance charts say to. She said because of my excess skin and increased bone mass I would never see 155. (After all, how did my frame manage to carry all that weight for all those years without any problems?)”

“Today I am wearing a size 12 dress and medium tops. Who would have believed it? I feel better than I ever have in my life! My energy, thoughts, and attitude have all improved tremendously. I am so positive and happy! My worst day now is better than my best day before. I truly believe that I have a negative chemical reaction to carbohydrates!”

I am also hypothyroid, so I have to work that much harder to get excess weight off. This time I am more dedicated even if the scale moves up a bit. I don’t get discouraged because instead of a diet, it has become a way of life. If it is a way of life, I will never be done with it, right? I finally accepted responsibility for my actions. One thing I have learned is that progress, not perfection, is important. I am not a failure when I slip; I am a slow successor! It is a new day, a new minute to continue on the journey. The road is long, bumpy, and winding, and sometimes it seems all uphill, but I just try to keep in mind that the straight, smooth path will come after a while, and it makes me appreciate it that much more. It is one step at a time. I have taken this in five pound increments, and kept believing that slow and steady wins the race.”

I have finally called a truce with my addiction to food. There is no battle day to day, minute to minute anymore. I can actually outlast the kids when we are doing things like bike riding, walking and other activities. I am getting comfortable in my own skin. I no longer look in the mirror and go “Ick.” Now it’s more of a sigh. Acceptance is a toughie, especially body acceptance. I have a great family with support everywhere. I have a very positive, never say die attitude, and I know if I am doing what I know I need to do that the weight will come off; it has to. If I choose to give up then, I guarantee my failure.”

Rita has enjoyed many health benefits as well. “Energy, perfect lab results, and excellent health!!” she told me. “My surgeon has accused me of bribing the lab for the typical perfect lab panel! Who could ask for more??”

Rita has gotten wonderful feedback from those around her also. “Everyone is amazed. Lots of people I know have started low carbing because of my results! I belong to several email low carb lists, and feel good sharing the ups and downs with my groups”

Rita is the moderator to Lowcarb4Life on Yahoo Groups, and is very active in helping others to obtain their goals. She also enjoys Celebrate Low Carb, AtkinsDiet_LoCarb, and Carbsmart Choices, all of which are on Yahoo Groups, too. (The URL’s to Rita’s support groups are listed below.)

In closing Rita wanted to share that her new motto is: I have gone from NOT fitting into Lane Bryant to NOT fitting into Lane Bryant clothes!!” It’s a very “fitting” motto for Rita, don’t you think?

Super job, Rita!


The URLs for Rita’s low carb support and low carb recipe lists are:


CarbSmart Choices: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CarbSmartChoices

AtkinsDiet_LoCarb: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AtkinsDiet_LoCarb

Celebrate Low Carb: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CelebrateLowCarb

Check Also

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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: