In this Release Statement I affirm that my weight loss is attributable to following the Atkins Diet and Nutritional Approach (the “Atkins Diet”) and I have not used any weight loss diet pill or other regimen to achieve my weight loss. I further affirm I have never, at any time in my life, undergone any bariatric surgical procedure, such as gastric bypass, Lap-Band, or stomach stapling, to lose weight.
I understand that by submitting this form I am representing that my personal weight loss story is true and accurately reflects my personal experience following the Atkins Diet (collectively “Success Story”). I further understand that by voluntarily submitting my Success Story Atkins may use in perpetuity my name, image, likeness, voice, identifying characteristics, testimonial and endorsement statements to promote the Atkins Diet and Products on its web site and/or other similar formats designated by Atkins (i.e. digital, television, social media, public relations).
I waive all rights and claims relative to Atkins’ use of my Success Story in any version or media, including, without limitation, rights and claims relating to copyright, libel, rights of privacy or publicity, and confidentiality.
- Low Carb Diet Results: Before and After Weight Loss Stories
- This Woman Lost 120 Pounds On the Keto Diet Without Setting Foot In a Gym
- How Much Weight Can You Lose on the Keto Diet?
- How long can you stay on the keto diet?
- How much weight can you lose in 1 month?
- I knew I had to make a change when I couldn’t do a single pushup.
- I started by just eating more healthy foods—but that change wasn’t big enough.
- In 2015, I switched to a low-carb eating plan—and two years later, I went all-in with the keto diet.
- So yeah, it’s been a long and bumpy road—but I still ended up losing nearly 200 pounds.
- Read About Our Successful Customers
- Read More Success Stories
- My Story: How I Lost 77 Pounds
Low Carb Diet Results: Before and After Weight Loss Stories
Need a little inspiration? I’m going to share some recent low carb before and after weight loss stories with you from within our Low Carb Challenge Group! With their permission of course. 😉
I see tons of low carb diet results within the group every single week, and it’s truly amazing what people have achieved. As one example, see these inspiring pictures of John – who lost 180 pounds!
I shared some of my own before and after weight loss pictures here too.
But THIS is my favorite before & after picture. 😀 LOL
Low Carb Diet Results: Weight Loss Stories and Before & After Pictures
Kathi: I lost my weight during previous challenges-the last 4 to be exact. I’m a very slow loser, hypothyroidism is a weight loss nightmare. I became more stubborn than my fat & after 13 months I’d lost 45 lbs & reached my goal weight. I’m now 6 pounds below my original goal and couldn’t have gotten here without this group. Don’t get discouraged, stick with it and it will work!
Amy: My first 90 day challenge I lost 31 lbs! Clean, healthy, low carb eating!
Dawn: Beginning photo of me at my heaviest 189. Me now at 150 (right).
~ Dawn has lost 39 pounds!!
Andy: I’ve been trying to lose weight since August of 2014 but never actually tried LCHF until October 7th. Since then I have lost 141 pounds!!! I feel extremely blessed to be almost 4 months into my weight loss journey and still losing 10 lbs a week! I give FULL CREDIT to staying under 20g of carbs a day, no cheating, and TONS TONS TONS of water (Half your body weight in OZ) but no more than that or it can be dangerous! Best way to tell is if your Urine is a very light yellow. 😉
Judy: 40 pounds gone forever!
Wendy: 13 months – 150 pounds gone, thanks to low carb!!
Joan: 44 lbs since 12/2013, it’s been a good road. I’ve deviated but got back on track. I don’t miss the junk food at all. I love this WOE.
And finally… here is a photo of ME enjoying the low carb lifestyle. 😀 You can see more of my before and after pictures here.
If you’d like to get started eating low carb, see the checklist at this link: Starting A Low Carb Diet.
If you’re already eating low carb, and struggling with your own weight loss, check the 4 points at:
Not Losing Weight Eating Low Carb?
Be sure to join us in the Low Carb Challenge if you haven’t already! 😉
There are so many benefits to a healthy low carb diet. In addition to the weight loss, so many of our members have improved their health dramatically.
Lynn Terry aka @LowCarbTraveler
p.s. This is MY favorite before and after photo 😀
“They seriously underestimate portions, especially for grains and meat,” says Eat Your Way to Happiness author Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D. “They eat too many processed foods that are high in calories, fat, salt, sugar and low in fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They eat far too few fresh fruits and vegetables and when they do eat them, they chose the worst ones, such as potatoes, iceberg lettuce, apple juice, etc.”
Science repeatedly backs up this claim. A recent study published by Plos One followed members of a hunter-gatherer tribe in Northern Tanzania. Researchers obtained physical activity, metabolic and nutrition data and compared it with the average Jack and Jill who indulge in the common Western diet. What they found was that the tribe members are comparable in every way except for their nutrition habits. Rather than the fat and calorie-laden diets we typically enjoy, they eat only whole, natural foods. The study’s findings are simple and common. Basically, you can keep running 5Ks or Sweatin’ to the Oldies, but chances are high that results will be disappointing unless you change what and how much you’re eating. To get healthy and stay that way, the trend has to continue — not just for a week or a month, but for the long-term.
Nutrition Mission: Not So Impossible
“There are a million reasons why dieters fail, and the reasons vary from one person to the next,” explains Somer. “People lie about what they are eating, underestimating their calorie intake by about 700 to 800 calories a day.” Exercise is also grossly misinterpreted by a lot of dieters. “They think/say they exercise far more than they really do,” Somer elaborates.
The good news is that all of these miscalculations are manageable with a little effort. First, be truthful with yourself. Are you really exercising as hard as you think you are? If not, step it up. Next, experts advocate ditching the processed junk for real, whole foods. Somer suggests committing at least 75 percent of your diet to a menu rich in fresh fruits and veggies, 100 percent whole grains, legumes, nuts, nonfat dairy products and seafood. “Load at least three-fourths of every plate with colorful plants,” suggests Somer. “Bring food with you so you aren’t tempted by drive-throughs and vending machines.”
There’s no one-size-fits-all plan for nutrition. “You must design a diet you can live with for life, not a quick-fix gimmick that always results in weight regain,” says Somer. “Respect and love yourself to feed your body only foods that will fuel and nurture it, not foods that undermine health.” So, ask around, do some research and find a healthy, doctor-backed plan that appeals to you. Will it be hard? In the beginning, yes. Any major lifestyle change usually is. Is it worth it? Do the work and button-up your old skinny jeans. Then you’ll have your answer.
This Woman Lost 120 Pounds On the Keto Diet Without Setting Foot In a Gym
When I was in second grade, my parents got divorced and my brother and I ended up living with my dad. Unfortunately, while our health was always a priority for my dad, we didn’t always have the means to eat the most nutritious, home-cooked foods. (We often lived in small places, sometimes without a kitchen.) That’s when fast food and processed foods became part of the norm.
My unhealthy relationship with food really took off during that time. Even though I was a skinny kid growing up, by the time I reached high school, I was considerably overweight and didn’t know where or how to start gaining back my health.
Over the years, I tried everything from the South Beach Diet, Atkins, and Weight Watchers to B12 shots with diet pills, the infamous 21 Day Fix, SlimFast, and juicing. The list goes on. Each time I tried one fad or another, I felt like this was it. Each time, I was sure that this time was going to be the time that I finally made a change.
One of those times was my wedding. I thought for sure that the occasion would be the perfect way to get back into shape. Unfortunately, thanks to all the bridal showers, parties, and tastings, I ended up gaining weight instead of losing it. By the time I walked down the aisle, I was a size 26 and weighed over 300 pounds. (Related: Why I Decided Not to Lose Weight for My Wedding)
From that point on, I felt completely hopeless. The fact that I wasn’t able to lose weight for what I thought was the most important day of my life made me feel like maybe it just wasn’t going to happen.
My true wake-up call came just three years ago when the son of a friend was diagnosed with a terminal disease. It was devastating to watch him regress because of his illness, eventually becoming bedridden and then passing away.
Watching him and his family go through that pain made me think: Here I was, lucky to have a body that was healthy and capable despite everything I’d done to it. I didn’t want to keep living like that anymore. (Related: Watching Her Son Almost Get Hit By a Car Inspired This Woman to Lose 140 Pounds)
So I signed up for my first 5K in his memory-something I now run every year as a reminder of where I’ve been. In addition to running, I started looking for healthy eating ideas and came across keto, a very low-carb, high-fat diet. I’d never heard of it before. I’d already given everything else under the sun a shot, so I decided it might be worth trying. (Related: Everything You Need to Know About the Keto Diet)
In January 2015, I started on my keto journey.
At first, I thought it would be easy. It definitely wasn’t. For the first two weeks, I felt tired and hungry all the time. But as I started teaching myself about food, I realized that I wasn’t actually hungry; I was detoxing and craving sugar. ICYDK, sugar is addictive, so your body literally goes through withdrawal when you cut it out. But I found that as long as I stayed on top of my electrolytes and stayed hydrated, the feeling of hunger would pass. (Check out: The Results One Woman Had After Following the Keto Diet)
In just four or five weeks, I started seeing results. I had already lost 21 pounds. That-combined with a newfound mental clarity from cutting sugar out of my diet-really helped motivate me to continue eating well. I’d spent my whole life obsessing about food and, for the first time, I felt my appetite decrease. This allowed me to think about other things that were important to me and to get out of the hungry haze I’d been living in. (Related: The Keto Diet Transformed Jen Widerstrom’s Body In Just 17 Days)
I started keeping my diet simple, yet consistent-something I maintain to this day. In the mornings I usually have a cup of coffee with half-and-half and a natural sweetener and scrambled eggs with avocado on the side. For lunch, I’ll have a bunless sandwich wrapped in lettuce with chicken or turkey along with a salad with dressing (that isn’t loaded with sugar). Dinner usually involves a moderate serving of protein (think fish, chicken, or steak), with a side salad as well. One of my goals is to include green cruciferous vegetables in every meal. I’ll snack sometimes if I’m feeling particularly hungry, but TBH, most days that’s more than enough food to keep me satisfied, and it doesn’t leave me thinking about food. (Also see: How to Safely and Effectively Come Off the Keto Diet)
You might be thinking: What about exercise? I’m not the kind of person who goes to the gym, but I knew that being active would help with weight loss. So I started doing small things to add activity into my day, like parking my car far away so I had to walk farther to get to the store. My weekend activities changed too: Instead of sitting on the couch and watching TV, my husband, daughter, and I go for long walks and hikes. (Related: Why Exercise Is the Least Important Part of Weight Loss)
To date, I’ve lost 120 pounds, bringing my weight to 168. It goes without saying that keto has been a wonderful decision for me and is a very important part of my story-so much so that I wrote a book about it. [Ed note: Many experts believe the ketogenic diet is best followed for a limited amount of time-i.e., for a little as two weeks or up to 90 days-or suggest carb-cycling as an option when not following a low-carb keto diet. Consult your doctor before starting any new diet to ensure there are no contraindications.
That being said, when it comes to extreme weight loss, it’s important to find what works best for you. Once you find that, you have to really invest in it-that’s where sustainable success really lies. Most people who’ve struggled with their weight know that it comes with body-image and self-esteem issues. You have to focus on addressing those issues before you can truly make being healthy a lifestyle and not just a passing phase.
At the end of the day, if my story inspires even one person to treat their body well, then I’d consider that a job well done. The biggest and scariest decision is the decision to try, but what do you have to lose? Take that leap and start treating your body the way it deserves to be treated. You won’t regret it.
- By Suzanne Ryan as told to Faith Brar
How Much Weight Can You Lose on the Keto Diet?
You’ve seen the headlines. Here’s How I Lost 50 Pounds on the Keto Diet! I Tried Keto for 30 Days and Here’s What Happened! I Almost Gave Up Trying to Lose Weight — and Then I Found Keto!
Success stories, especially when it comes to weight loss, are the thinspiration of the lifestyle blogosphere. Bonus points if they include before-and-after photos that may or may not be photoshopped.
But there’s just one problem with these testimonials: Each of them dictates one person’s journey through keto. And they might not even tell readers the whole story.
It’s possible to lose weight while following the keto diet. But the numbers may not be the same for everyone.
How much weight can you actually lose on the keto diet? The short and vague answer is: it depends. How long you remain on the diet, your end goals, and whether or not you experience side effects can make all the difference.
How long can you stay on the keto diet?
ketogenic diet | ThitareeSarmkasat/iStock/Gety Images
The keto diet has strictly medical origins, and it may be able to help patients improve their health in clinical settings. But outside the supervision of a health professional, it’s not always a sustainable or safe weight loss method — especially in the long-term.
Experts haven’t decided on a universal time frame that works best for weight loss on keto, mostly because every individual reacts differently to it. Some people do it for a month and then move on. Others claim to have kept up the diet for years.
In reality, most people who try the diet to lose weight without a medical reason won’t keep up with it that long. Why? Because it’s not an easy diet to follow. You’re extremely limited in terms of what you can eat in a day, and if you aren’t willing to get creative with your food choices, you might get really bored, really fast.
Those who claim they lost massive amounts of weight quickly while on the keto diet probably weren’t exaggerating. But what they might have failed to mention was whether or not they were able to keep up that pace of weight loss — or maintain it after the fact.
As with any diet, you might appear to lose a lot of weight in the beginning. But it will most likely slow down. And that’s typically when dieters get frustrated and quit.
How much weight can you lose in 1 month?
Weight loss | Ensuria/Getty Images
Even one month is a long time to sustain a diet like this, so let’s stick with a 30-day average for the rest of the article. Medically, professionals usually recommend an average of one to two pounds of weight loss per week when losing weight the “traditional” way. Is the keto diet any different?
At first — within the first several weeks — you’ll lose mostly water weight due to a decrease in calories. This will come off quickly, allowing you to drop 10 pounds or more, in total, in 30 days or less.
But what happens after that depends on whether or not you stick to the low-carb, high-fat life. Will you exercise while you’re doing it, or do you subscribe to the belief that you don’t have to because keto will do all the work for you? Will you experience side effects that make the diet unsustainable for you?
There’s no way to predict how much or how quickly you can shed pounds. But if keto ends up being a diet you can willingly and safely stick to, and it works for you, then it may be worth your time.
If you’re going to try keto to lose weight, know the facts before you come up with a plan. This isn’t a diet that’s magically going to make you 30 pounds lighter and keep you there. And just because it worked for one person doesn’t mean it will work for you.
There’s no harm in trying — usually. But be realistic about the possible results.
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When I was 11, my mom and step-dad got divorced, and I turned to food for comfort.
Suddenly, I was eating anything I could get my hands on—and it wasn’t even junk food most of the time. My mom actually kept lots of healthy foods in the house, but I would often eat an entire bag of whole-grain bagels for breakfast instead of just one.
I lost a bit of the weight I gained when I hit high school—I tried to develop better eating habits, and I was also a student athlete playing three sports. But I quickly fell back into my old ways and ended up graduating from high school 80 pounds heavier than when I started. I kept overeating (healthy and not-so healthy stuff) until 2014—at my heaviest, I weighed 378 pounds.
I knew I had to make a change when I couldn’t do a single pushup.
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A post shared by Cristina McClaren (@gringafitaf) on Nov 30, 2018 at 10:22am PST
I’ll never forget my turning point: It happened on a Thursday; I signed up for a bootcamp class to do while my son was at football practice. Since I had been active in high school, I thought the workout wouldn’t be a big deal, but I soon realized I had signed up for the biggest shock of my life.
During the class, I couldn’t run one lap around the track. I couldn’t even do a jumping jack—I literally could not jump up. I quit the class after just 30 minutes, but from that moment on, I knew I couldn’t continue living life as unhealthy as I had been.
After saying “I’ll start getting healthy on Monday” for longer than I can remember, I chose to start that Thursday. I picked up my son, and when we went out to eat, I ordered a salad. That marked the beginning of the changes I was finally ready to make.
I started by just eating more healthy foods—but that change wasn’t big enough.
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A post shared by Cristina McClaren (@gringafitaf) on Nov 13, 2018 at 1:16pm PST
At first, I focused on getting in as many whole grains, fruits, and veggies into my diet as I could—but because I wasn’t necessarily setting a ton of guidelines for my diet, I constantly fell back into the trap of overeating.
Around that time, I also vowed to continue the bootcamp class that showed me just how unhealthy I had become. I went three days a week, and I even joined a local gym where I could take weight-lifting classes and train with advice from trainers or fitness accounts on Instagram. I’m still doing this routine today—though I’ve added exercises and weight as I’ve gotten stronger.
I lost about 90 pounds that year—but I ended up gaining 20 pounds back. I thought since I was active, I could ease up on my self-imposed healthy diet—but in reality, this mindset just led me back to overeating.
In 2015, I switched to a low-carb eating plan—and two years later, I went all-in with the keto diet.
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A post shared by Cristina McClaren (@gringafitaf) on Jun 17, 2018 at 6:14pm PDT
I did the keto diet for about a year, but ultimately decided that a low-carb, no-sugar diet works best for me. I also make sure to watch my portion sizes and follow the recommended servings on most foods. Here’s what I eat in a typical day:
- Breakfast: eggs and vegetables with coffee and stevia.
- Snack: celery and cream cheese with everything bagel seasoning.
- Lunch: Grilled chicken with a green vegetable and riced cauliflower, or mashed cauliflower so I can feel like I’m eating the carbs I used to love.
- Dinner: I usually try to keep it small and have some sort of protein with salad
In addition to eating low-carb and watching my portion sizes, I’ve also learned to keep myself from overeating by planning my meals in advance—as much as two days ahead of time. It gives structure to my diet and prevents me from thinking about what my next meal will be.
But, despite my progress, my weight-loss journey has been a pretty lonely one—my husband and son don’t maintain as healthy a lifestyle as I do, so I have to resist temptations a lot (like looking the other way when they have ice cream for dessert).
So yeah, it’s been a long and bumpy road—but I still ended up losing nearly 200 pounds.
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A post shared by Cristina McClaren (@gringafitaf) on Jul 2, 2018 at 3:29pm PDT
Now, I’m at my goal weight of 183 pounds. Until I made the decision to turn my life around, I’d convinced myself I was okay being the “fat mom” at my son’s football games, but I wasn’t. And now, I can think about next steps like skin-removal surgery and maintaining my health.
Overall, I want people to know that they don’t have to take fancy classes or buy expensive foods in order to lose weight. (I get my vegetables from the 99-cent store, for example.) Yes, losing weight is a lot of hard work, and there will be times when you want to give up, but don’t wait until Monday to do something you can start right now.
These real-life testimonials demonstrate the many ways low carb living can improve your life, from weight loss to increased energy to improved health. Take the time to read about how the low carb lifestyle works, learn how simple it is to live the low carb lifestyle and try some of our delicious low carb recipes.
Through these stories, our customers show how a low carb lifestyle can have a positive impact on your health and life, and how easily low carb living can be adapted into your life. Get inspired!
Read About Our Successful Customers
You’d think that all the energy you exhaust running after two little ones would be enough to shed those pesky post-pregnancy pounds but sometimes it takes a little more than that.
At the age of 21, I was blessed with my first child and cursed with an extra 50 pounds of body weight. I had an average weight throughout school, so this was a huge shock for me. I had never been overweight! It took a huge toll on my self-confidence. My second child 3 years later brought me to just over 200 pounds the day she was born. I couldn’t bring myself to check my weight for an entire year after that. Read More…
As a nurse, I reached a point in my life where I realized I have to practice the same healthy lifestyle changes I was preaching to my patients.
After all, who was going to listen to someone at an unhealthy weight about eating right? I was tired of being a hypocrite, tired of feeling unmotivated, tired of my low self-esteem, tired of feeling sick, and tired of always being tired. With the little energy I had left, I pushed myself to evaluate my eating choices realizing that they weren’t good ones. If a change was going to be made, it would have to start there and it would have to start right away.
Having a very physical and demanding job, it was important for me to feel my best so that I could give my best. At my peak weight of 265 pounds, I was so self conscious that I constantly worried about what others thought of me, and degraded my own self worth because of what I thought they were thinking. It caused me to be shy and hide my real personality from those around me in fear they would judge me negatively. Read More….
The day I decided to lose weight was the day I learned I had Type 2 diabetes. I had done a blood test as part of a government of Ontario study, and my glucose levels were extremely high. After seeing my doctor and a few more tests her conclusion was simple; “Yep, you’ve got diabetes”.
At my highest I was around 220 pounds, but it didn’t feel that high. I was always outgoing and never felt self-conscious. I accepted that my body type was “bulky”, and didn’t notice anything wrong with the way I looked, felt, or ate. It wasn’t until my diagnoses that I realized just what bad shape I had put myself into. I hated knowing I had diabetes and knowing I would have to take more medication than I already did. I also have Multiple Sclerosis, and while there was nothing I could do about the MS, there was something I could do about the diabetes. Read More….
Read More Success Stories
Tim L. Story Susan P. Story Ruya T. Story Megan H. Story Gillian H. Story Erin S. Story Christina C. Story
My Story: How I Lost 77 Pounds
My story begins many years ago. I started my health improvement and weight loss journey in 2008 after a series of health scares forced me to look at my bad diet and non-existent exercise habits.
My blood pressure and fasting blood sugar were both elevated, and I started having issues with blurred vision and pain in my feet. That really scared me, as my mother had been diabetic before she died at the age of 63, and I did not want to end up dying young and in pain as she had.
So I started paying attention to how I felt after I ate. Armed with my observations, I began to change my diet.
At first, I cut out the obvious processed junk foods, and started choosing real foods instead. Out went the boxed and canned stuff, and I started eating fresh meats and vegetables instead. Although my diet was much lower in carbs at this point, and I had removed many of the problematic foods, I still got my chocolate fix in every week, and I was eating bread or corn chips occasionally.
Six months into these changes, I felt so much better, I decided to write a website and share the information I had learned about what constituted real food and the difference it can make in your health.
I called the website Healthy Eating Politics, since what I had learned about “healthy eating” was the direct opposite of what the federal government and mainstream medicine was saying.
I discovered that the low fat, whole grain, high carb diet being pushed by the USDA was making people sick, and that cholesterol and saturated fat were NOT evil foods. The lie that cholesterol and saturated fat cause heart disease was doing a lot of damage to the average American’s health, and I wanted to let people know there was a different philosophy about what constituted healthy eating.
During that time, I was still making changes to my eating habits, and learning what foods made me feel good, and what foods didn’t. I found that the less bread and sugar I ate, the better I felt.
Since I was feeling so much better eating a lower carb diet, I decided to really cut my carb intake and work on losing my extra weight. That’s when I discovered the scourge of insulin resistance.
I had a raging case of it, brought on by years of eating a diet high in carby junk foods.
My insulin levels were so high, I had severe reactive hypoglycemia for the first 6 weeks of cutting my carb intake. I had to reduce my carb intake in stages. I started with about 80 carbs a day, then a few weeks later, went to 60 carbs a day, and kept dropping my weekly intake until I was able to lower my blood sugar and insulin enough that I didn’t have any more low blood sugar episodes. (It comes back though, if I slip and let my carb intake get too high).
When I finally got down to where I could stay at 20 carbs a day without a low blood sugar reaction, it seemed to work for taking off the extra weight I’d put on. It did an even better job of fixing my metabolic syndrome related health issues.
The first month on a ketogenic level diet, I stayed at 20 carbs per day, and then worked up from there to about 30 a day and then up to less than 50 carbs a day.
I lost 25 pounds and felt even better, even though I wasn’t exercising.
But at that point, the weight loss stopped, even though I was sticking to an average of 50 carbs a day.
This didn’t make sense to me. I was following a low carb plan, and I even dropped my calorie intake to 1500 a day in an attempt to keep the weight loss going. But it didn’t work. I struggled with a weight loss yo-yo for months. I’d lose 5 pounds, and gain two back.
It was very discouraging, as you can imagine.
But, since my health had improved 1000 percent eating the low carb way, and I had lost some weight, I stayed with it. Months went by and I kept tweaking my diet.
At some point, I realized that having any kind of grain made me feel terrible, so I cut all grain out of my diet. I stopped eating any food with wheat in it, and I scoured my vitamins and other hidden sources of gluten and removed those as well.
I didn’t lose any weight, but feeling good went to a whole new level. My energy sky rocketed, my skin looked great, and I felt super healthy, but I was still heavier than I wanted to be.
There were days when I felt like that no matter what I did, I’d never get the extra weight off. I had completely changed my eating habits for the better, but I was still too heavy. It was frustrating to say the least.
The worst part was that I had all this nutrition knowledge in my head, and I couldn’t figure out why I still had a weight problem.
In hind-site, I see now that I struggled for the following reasons:
- I didn’t want to admit that I had an unusual and very low carb tolerance level. I know now that I am so sensitive to carbohydrates, that even sticking to a very low 50 carbs per day kept me from breaking the weight loss plateau. I mean, you can hit 50 carbs a day with the limited choices of about 3 servings of green vegetables, a few eggs, some cheese and a little greek yogurt. (I envy people who can eat 100 carbs a day and still lose weight).
- I also didn’t want to admit that calories counted, at least for me. Yes, I know that I’m only 5’3″ and that my job is sedentary. But when you don’t want to “see” something, you can really come up with some nifty rationalizations. My reasoning followed the brilliant line of “other low carbers didn’t have to count calories, darnit”.
- I didn’t realize how important the right type of exercise was for increasing insulin sensitivity, so I had no regular exercise program.
- I wasn’t ready to commit to a carb intake less than 20 grams a day for an indefinite period. I knew my choices would be pretty limited on that low of a carb intake, and I would have to really cut back on my dark chocolate habit. I’d already completely and permanently changed most of my eating habits, and I was annoyed that I’d have to make even more changes. Bottom line was I didn’t want it bad enough. Feeling super healthy was enough of a reward at that point.
Over the next year, I continued to study nutritional science and write my websites, experimenting and changing my thoughts on what worked for me and what didn’t.
I just knew that if I kept going, one day I would discover the key to my weight issues. Until then, I’d just tough it out, and keep my focus on continuing to improve my health.
Around this time, I caught the flu, and developed a really serious case of chest congestion. I hadn’t been that sick in a long time, and it scared me into figuring out why. My thought was “wait a second, I eat really well, why am I so sick?”
So I did some research, and found out Vitamin D was essential for respiratory health, so I had my vitamin D levels checked. My levels were super low – a measly 27. Normal is between 50-100. Not surprising since I lived in Wyoming, where it is Winter 10 months out of the year, but not good.
Having read how beneficial it is for so many body systems, I started a program to get my vitamin D levels up. I started taking 5000 IU a day and then checked it again several months later. It was better, but still only at 31. So I upped my daily intake to 10,000 IU. I felt even better at this point. Last time I had it checked, my vitamin D level was at 61, and I rarely get colds any more. So, one more puzzle piece fell into place.
After about a year of dealing with what was becoming the marathon weight loss plateau, I decided to have a fasting insulin test done. The result was eye opening.
My insulin levels were still sky high (27 on a normal scale of 3-19 uIU/ml) – even after several years of following a low carb diet. I realized then that my metabolism was really broken, and it wouldn’t be fixed overnight.
My goal at this point switched to a focus on working hard to increase my insulin sensitivity. I started a high intensity interval training program after reading Doug McGuff’s Body by Science book.
Before then, I hadn’t realized how important the right type of exercise was for increasing insulin sensitivity. My attitude, born of past experience, was that exercise did nothing for weight loss. I had exercised religiously for years and ended up gaining weight.
Of course, at the time, I was doing lots of moderately paced “aerobic” exercise because I thought it was the right way to burn fat. I didn’t know then that a high intensity interval training (HIIT) program was a better choice for an exercise program to help me reverse my broken metabolism.
So I started a regular exercise program which included lifting very heavy weights and intervals of walking and sprinting on a treadmill once a week. It helped, and I gained valuable muscle mass and strength.
I Finally Break My Weight Loss Plateau
At the end of 2011, I finally put it all together. I made a conscious decision to commit to a true “less-than-20-carbs-a-day” ketogenic diet, stay with my high intensity exercise program, AND cut my calories. And low and behold, it worked.
I’ve lost another 60 pounds. I still have more to go, but I’m happy with what I’ve done so far.
When I think about the fact that I’ve lost a total of 77 pounds since I began in 2008, I get a little misty. It’s been such a long, difficult journey, but I take solace in the thought that permanently changing 40 years of bad eating habits is not an easy thing to do.
That kind of transformation involves restructuring entire thought patterns, reversing years of destructive behavior, and learning new ways of being. It’s a huge investment of time and energy.
So what flipped that final switch for me?
Maybe it was the fact that I had planned a trip to Costa Rica for my 50th birthday. I wanted to be able to really enjoy that trip, and at my heavier weight, I just would have been miserable.
In other words, I think I succeeded this time because I had a larger goal, and I also found, to my surprise, that having a deadline to work toward was motivating.
I also set my plan up so that once a week, I was accountable to someone who recorded my weight loss and inch loss. This accountability has also been key for me.
Finally, I track everything – calories and grams of carb, protein and fat. Tracking everything is not strictly necessary, but I feel it gives me a measure of control, and keeps me honest.
I even track my fasting blood sugar, as I feel it gives me a measure of what my insulin is doing. My fasting blood sugar has dropped from an average of 95, to an average of 86. That’s a good sign in my book.
An even better sign is the result of the fasting insulin test results I recently had done. My fasting insulin has dropped from that sky-high level of 27 to 3.9 uIU/ml. When I got those results, I was so happy and relieved, I started crying. That result tells me that my hard work is paying off, and that maybe my metabolism wasn’t so broken that I couldn’t fix it.
I’m not yet at my final goal, but I now feel very strongly that I WILL get there. I already feel so much more confidence in myself, and I’m pretty happy that I’m finally moving in the direction I’ve been wanting to go for so long.
A Few Thoughts
In my struggles to feel better and lose weight, I’ve become convinced that good health and normal weight are the result of controlling blood sugar and insulin. Anything you can do to increase your insulin sensitivity is going to help.
So that’s my story. I hope it helps you in your own journey. If you are struggling with weight issues, please know that you can and will succeed, if you just stick with it, and make the changes necessary.
It may seem hard at first, but you will adapt to the new way of eating, and it will become habit after a while. If I can do it, so can you.
For those who are interested in what I eat, see this post over at Dr. Attia’s Eating Academy site. I totally agree with his “goals and level of insulin resistance” ideas. I also got the short end of the stick for IR genes, and discovered independently that the same foods also work for me in terms of health and well-being.
I don’t exercise as much as he does, so I can’t eat as many fat calories as he does, if I want to lose weight. But the food choices are the same.
Note that the type of fat you eat is key. You won’t be able to stick to the diet if you limit saturated fat. Eating only polyunsaturated fats like vegetable oil will quickly make you feel awful, and they are extremely unhealthy and inflammatory. I eat mostly butter, cream cheese, fatty meats like pulled pork, lots of eggs, cheese and just a little mayonnaise and sometimes olive oil.
You also need a source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats, since these essential fats have to come from food. For the Omega 3 fats, make sure you eat foods like tuna, shrimp or salmon 2-3 times a week, or take a little fish oil every other day or so. A little mayo will cover the Omega 6 need.
I love coconut oil, but I limit it because it’s a “medium chain” fat, and the body can’t store it, so it has to be burned for fuel immediately. When I’m in weight loss mode, I want my body to burn my stored fat, not the fat I’m eating.
I’ll also add that consistency is key. If you slide into a cheat day, it’s going to take you 3-5 days to get back into burning fat.
Also, I take a few more natural supplements than Dr. Attia does. If you choose to eat a lower calorie diet, don’t skip supplements. You’ll need them to make up for the lack of food volume.
One more thing: I like to cook, which makes feeding myself much easier. I’ve posted many of my low carb recipes, and I also put together some low carb cooking tips as well. Feel free to use them.
Well, it’s been eight months since I returned from my Costa Rica trip. During that time, I’ve managed to regain 20 pounds, a few pounds at a time. Disappointing, and annoying, but there it is. It’s been frustrating but I’ve learned some things as well.
The lower calorie diet that I adopted to lose the weight worked well, but it did have the expected effect of slowing my metabolism. When I returned to eating my normal calories levels, I gained back some of the lost weight. However, since I’ve stayed with the low carb, high fat, ketogenic diet, that effect has finally stabilized, and I’m now maintaining my weight at normal calorie intake. It took about the same time I was on the lower calorie diet (5 months) to regain my normal metabolic rate.
I’m determined to re-lose the extra weight, and then lose even more of the excess pounds, so I’ll keep trying different strategies, and hopefully find one that has a less detrimental effect on my metabolic rate.
2017: Five Years Out from Costa Rica…
It’s been a rough couple of years. Life has punched me the face lately, and I haven’t been as focused on weight loss so much. I’m still eating well and feeling good, and I’m happy and healthy for the most part. For now, I’m just trying to enjoy each day as it comes.
I’ve gotten less critical of myself and my weight issues over time. Maybe that’s an age thing (I turned 55 this year) or because I’m happy with the work I’ve done to help others, or maybe I’m just tired of the struggle. I guess some would say I’ve accepted defeat, but I’ve become keenly aware of the fact that life can be cut short in the blink of an eye. So I’ve stepped back, and I’m taking time to enjoy my days, not work so hard, and spend more time having fun instead of worrying about my weight. It feels good.
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