Revisiting Suzy From Indiana – A Low Carb Success Story of Maintenance

It’s been nearly a year since we have checked in on Suzy to see how she is doing after reaching her goal and maintaining it. I recently caught up with her, still cheering others on at her favorite low carb newsgroup, and asked her to bring us up to date on how things are going.

Here is what Suzy told me:

“Well, not that much has changed over the last year I’ve been on maintenance, and yet it has. When I’m out of ketosis (or in and out – as I suspect I am), the hunger returns. I have found that constant eating (5 mini-meals a day) helps more than anything. Sometimes it’s just not worth it and I end up skipping a mini-meal, but I usually end up regretting it.”

“This is hard, though, because meat and eggs have to be cooked, and I’m lazy. It was much easier when I just reached into the bag of potato chips to get a little something, believe me!”

“Right now, I should make a little omelet – I have all the ingredients, cheese, onion, and green pepper, but I have to cut them up. I have to break the egg and butter the pan and stand there while it cooks, so I’m putting it off and will probably end up with peanut butter on a slice of Earthgrains 35 bread. Not as good a choice!”

“I think I got to goal in May of 2000. Can you believe I forget the actual date?!? I remember vividly starting low carbing the day BEFORE Thanksgiving of 1999, but I forget the day I accomplished what I set out to do!”

“The hardest time was last Halloween – I ate and ate and ate the leftover candy we put out for the neighbor kids. Ah, but I didn’t gain any weight from it (probably because ALL I ate was candy – no real food, much less protein.) Thinking that my metabolism was “fixed,” I continued eating carbs until right after Christmas. Still, I only gained about 4 pounds total … not that much in the scheme of things. BUT Christmas of 2001, I was almost in a size 12 (from a size 6 the summer of 2001)!”

“Now this will probably be impossible for people to believe, but I swear it’s true! So, back to Induction. BUT, it wasn’t as easy as it was the first time around. The first time I was in Induction, I followed the book to the letter. After the two weeks, I was in the ongoing weight loss phase, and found a lot of things I could eat that weren’t exactly on plan. Things like hot, spicy salsa and tortilla chips from my favorite Mexican restaurant had no impact on my way of eating. I used chewable calcium tablets which had sugar. Tomatoes also aren’t a problem for me, even though they’re fruit. Little things like these that make it possible for me to lose weight, even though technically they are cheats.”

“I found it extremely hard to give any of them up for the two-week Induction phase the second time around. It took me three months to lose the INCHES I had put on over the holidays (starting with Halloween). WOW! I won’t be doing that again this year, believe me!!!”

“Maintenance is easier than losing, of course. BUT it’s not free from peril! For one thing, I don’t have the scale going down, down, down….it just sort of is the same day after day. Not a whole lot of motivation there. People who were so shocked to see me (or didn’t recognize me!) after I lost weight are no longer saying how great I look now. A lot of the external ‘back pats’ are gone, and my motivation has to come from within.”

“Things I’ve added in — ah, now there’s the rub. I add things constantly. The scale bounces up or the waist of my pants are tight and I have to think back to what could have caused it. I often can’t pinpoint it. Food log, you say? Hahahaha! I can’t remember to do it, no matter how hard I try, and it would be so helpful if I could! I eat (snack might be a better term for it) 5 meals a day and sometimes just seem to be constantly eating, though ‘meals’ might not be the right term for those days.”

“Thermogenics for my metabolism would be the thing I would have to say is the biggest help to me, day in and day out. I need to raise my metabolism, and keep it raised if I want to eat like I do. To do this, I need to do aerobic exercise two times a day for 12 minutes straight, minimum. This does not mean bouncing around ala Richard Simmons. This means moving enough that I am able to talk, but my heart rate is up. It means breaking a sweat. It could mean dancing to the radio, taking a walk after dinner (always!), or anything with holding my arms in the air – like washing windows. It can also mean traditional exercise – and in fact, that’s actually easier than washing windows! The family belongs to a fitness center, and I sometimes use those facilities, but I feel like I need to get ‘dressed up’ to go, which takes the spontaneity out of it. Down the basement here I have a lot of fitness equipment, about 30 exercise video tapes (I have the attention span of a flea and get bored really easily), a shaper ball, and an aerobic step (which I hate), all of which I bought used for a grand total of $250.00.”

“I go down there, put on a cassette tape of music or a video and start slow – warning up. Sometimes I only do about 15 minutes; sometimes I just feel like doing more and stay down for an hour — it all depends. You know the Nike ad that says, ‘Just Do It!’? That’s how I start – by getting my butt down there – and if I quit after 15 minutes, then I quit. If I continue, then that’s great, but I don’t let it bother me either way, because I ‘just did it’!”

“Corn on the cob with butter was a problem last summer. This year I don’t even think about it. I can’t have it – one ear made the scale bounce up something like 1 1/2 pounds overnight – and I now know I just can’t have it. The bread that comes at a restaurant – the good stuff – I can’t have that, either. I found that out on Valentine’s Day of 2000. So I don’t touch it. EVER. Italian restaurants are a thing of the past, too. Even if I manage to order low carb, the bread on the table combined with the side of spaghetti is too much for little ol’ me to resist. Is it the carbs? I’m guessing it’s the STUFFING of my face, but either way, I don’t go out to Italian restaurants anymore. BUT I can order chicken fajitas at the Mexican places I skip the tortillas. I don’t even like them all that well; they are just a vehicle to eat the stuffing, anyway. So I order extra lettuce and have a Chicken Fajita Salad. I can have a steak, a tenderloin with sauce, or any of a myriad of things from any restaurant – just don’t bring me a basket of BREAD!”

“So here’s what works – never being tempted! This is pretty hard, when you think about it! I can’t be around people who eat a lot of carbs for any length of time without succumbing. My oldest and dearest friend is a total carb addict. She weighs in at around 250 pounds on a 5′ 4″ frame, and her diet is 98% carbohydrates! I we spend any time together, I end up cheating! I start out great, but in no time, I’m tasting what she has, and later ordering it for myself! ”

“Yes, my friend knows about Atkins, and no, she won’t go on it because she ‘doesn’t like meat all that well’. She is the classic case: depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure, but I can’t persuade her to give low carbing a try, though I’ve given her the books.”

“For me, it’s the carbs, but it’s also overeating. If I have the bread at dinner, I still have the same entree and other stuff I was going to order. If I have two Oreos instead of a peach, well, it’s not the end of the world. They’re both about 16 grams of carbohydrates. Unless the Oreos are in a package here at home, in which case, then it isn’t two Oreos any more – and I overeat.”

“I can eat whole wheat crackers, whole wheat bread, rye bread, Total cereal, puffed Kashi cereal, beans in chili or soup (though I really like my low carb chili. I make it the same way as my regular chili, but I add green beans instead of kidney beans. It’s weird, but we really like it.”

“I think I’ll go ahead and cut my vegetables and have that omelet after all.”


You can read Suzy’s original success story here: suziindiana.html

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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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