Pounds or Inches Lost: I lost 67 pounds!
Starting Weight: 189 pounds
Current Weight: 122 pounds
Sue’s Weight Loss Success Story!
On December 23, 2004, Sue sat at a table in one of her favorite restaurants with her boyfriend, Chris. She gazed at the dessert menu, and tears pooled in her eyes as she read the description of their newest dessert. “Apple and cream cheese filling rolled in a tortilla, deep fried, dusted with cinnamon and sugar, and served with vanilla ice cream.” She wanted one so badly! It looked so good that she started to cry! The realization was sinking in. She would not be able to enjoy these sugar and carb-laden foods again. As she focused on what she was giving up, she had no idea what she would be gaining the same night. More about that later.
On month earlier, on November 22, 2004, Sue had come to a decision – that she would lose weight, become healthier, and more fit. She and her boyfriend, Chris, had just broken up. She didn’t know it at the time, but he had bought her an engagement ring, and then came down with a bad case of cold feet. Instead of proposing, he broke up with her. He hadn’t given her a good reason, and left Sue guessing. “Part of me considered my weight to be part of the issue,” Sue confides.
At 189 pounds and 5’1″, Sue was miserable with herself. She hated the way she looked. She had no self-confidence and no self-esteem. It was at that point that she ran into her ex-husband. He had lost at least 40 pounds, which he had put on after their divorce. He had gained so much weight, that he was almost unrecognizable to Sue. Now he looked great! “I asked him how he did it, thinking all the while he’d given me all the weight he had lost, as I used to be 40 pounds lighter!” Sue says. He told her that he had taken up a low carb way of eating and walked her through it.
Sue decided that day that she would do it! As she started on her low carb diet, she found it much easier than other diets she had tried. “Because you eat enough fat and protein, you aren’t starving all the time. I’ve done low-cal. I’ve done low-fat. I’ve done weight watchers. On all of them I was ready to gnaw my own arm off! This “diet,” which I started with the mentality that it would be forever, was easy to stick to. I could eat all I wanted, as long as it was low carb and sugar-free.
“In the beginning I ate everything in sight – salads all day long, lots of veggies, cheese, meat, nuts. I didn’t follow induction quite to the letter, as I started out on a different plan, but it was basically Atkins. For sweet cravings (I have a major sweet tooth) I ate sugar-free Jell-O. And I was committed. With the other diets in the past, I did want to lose the weight, but I wanted a magic pill, I didn’t want to have to put in the effort. I’d even gotten the doctor, when I was at 170 pounds, to give me diet pills. But without changing the way I ate, they didn’t do a darn thing.” Sue has been able to turn her low carb diet into a lifestyle. And she hasn’t looked back.
“It was so inspirational to watch the numbers on the scale drop and to watch the inches drop even when the scale didn’t budge,” Sue says. She admits there were times that her weight stalled and she experienced some frustration, but, for the most part, she lost pretty steadily.
In less than a year, Sue went from 189 pounds, hitting her goal weight of 130 on September 25, 2005. “It was pretty gradual, and I slowly noticed my clothes getting looser. I remember going through my closet and trying on every pair of jeans I owned. I am a clothes hog, so there were a lot of them! I had to give half of them away. It was neat fitting into stuff I’d worn in high school. It was also a lot easier to go to the store and find clothes that fit my 5’1″ frame when I was no longer a size 12-14.”
Along with changing the way she ate, Sue developed a love for exercise, starting with inline skating three months into her new low carb lifestyle. Soon, she also fell head over heels for her local YMCA. She worked out there four to five days a week, doing weights and cardio. She still exercises a few times a week.
Sue now maintains her weight at about 121 to 123 pounds. She has developed her own maintenance diet, mixing Atkins Maintenance, Protein Power, and something of her own. “Now being on maintenance, I allow myself treats once in a while. I’m not diabetic, so on rare occasions, I can have sugar or a small bit of regular pasta at a restaurant. I make those times ‘planned cheats,’ and they are only for special occasions. I do, however, make sure I always get my minimum amount of protein every day.” For Sue, the minimum protein amount is somewhere between 60 to 68 grams, depending on her activity level. She uses the method to calculate protein intake found in the Protein Power book. “I average about 100 grams of protein per day, so I’m getting more than my minimum requirement. My protein intake is about 20% of my calories, fat about 70-75%, and carbs are the rest. Of course, it varies from day-to-day and some days my carbs are much higher and my fat lower, but I almost always get in about 100 grams of protein.”
Remember that December night at the restaurant a little more than a year ago? Sue’s then boyfriend presented a new engagement ring he’d bought for Sue, got rid of his cold feet, and finally proposed. The delicious looking dessert that had made her cry was completely forgotten as she gazed at her ring and her new fiancé. It became crystal clear in that moment what really was important in her life.
“That engagement ring, by the way, was a size 9.5 a few days before Christmas when he gave it to me. It’s now a 6.25. That was another big thing for me, watching my engagement ring get too big as my fingers shrunk,” Sue says.
Sue is now happily planning her April wedding, going to school part-time, and working at her local Harley Davidson.
Sue’s Weight Loss Success Tips!
Find what works for you. There is no one, perfect plan, or there wouldn’t be nearly so many books like South Beach, The Zone, Atkins, Sugar Busters, and more. A fairly low carb plan like Atkins or Protein Power works for me, while something like South Beach and the “good carbs” works great for a friend of mine. There is nothing wrong with individualizing a plan to suit you, as long as you don’t do something unhealthy like eating no carbs. We do need our veggies!
Keep a journal. Keep track of not just your food and what and when you eat, but also your thoughts from the day, just like any other journal. Do it publicly on a forum or a blog, or keep it private like I do mine. You’ll start to see a pattern in your eating, and you’ll notice if you have certain things that trigger your food habits or cravings if you are an emotional eater for example. Check out www.fitday.com keep track of your nutritional intake and create a journal.
Find a support group. I am on many Yahoo! Groups, and the people on the lists share my experiences. They are an extended family of wonderful support!
Try out lots of new recipes. Don’t get bored! Get in that kitchen, and make up things with what you have in the house! You’ll be surprised at what tastes good and fills you up! I didn’t even know how to cook a year ago unless I followed a recipe to the letter. Now, I have about four dozen cookbooks and hardly ever open them except to get ideas for a recipe of my own.
Plan ahead. Plan meals ahead if you can. If you plan ahead, you know you’ll have something low carb you can eat. This way you won’t get so hungry that you’ll eat anything, no matter how carb-laden it is. I found a way to circumvent that a little bit, as there is basically nothing high in carbs in my house that I’d want. My fiancé, Chris eats semi-lowcarb, but I don’t like most of the stuff he has around that is high-carb, so it’s easy. He doesn’t eat much in the way of bread or potatoes, but he does eat regular pasta, cookies, ice cream, and oatmeal. When we make dinner though, they are always low-carb.
Stock up at home. My fridge and cupboards are full of low carb goodies. I don’t eat very many low carb “fast foods” or convenience foods like the bars and stuff, but I do have some here on hand, just in case of a Lowcarb-Food-Emergency! I’d rather eat an Atkins Morning Start bar (the best, lowest-carb ones I’ve found so far that aren’t fully loaded with sugar alcohols) than a regular candy bar! I have a low carb chocolate bar, just in case. It’s been in the fridge for 2 months, still unopened! I also have a box of Blue Bunny low carb ice cream bars in the freezer. I’ve tried all the different flavors and like them way better than most of the low carb ice creams I’ve tried (though the Breyer’s Neapolitan is good). They do have some sugar alcohols, and are between 10-15 grams of carbs total depending on the flavor, but its way better than eating regular ice cream! That’s one thing Chris has around that I do like. He likes cookies and stuff, but not the same kinds I do, so it’s easy for me to avoid his and snack on something of my own.
Bring your own food. If you know you will be going to a party with no low carb food on the spread, bring your own. I’ve brought food to friends’ houses for parties, dinner, etc. These are people who know I am low carb, and aren’t offended. But if they are, tough! They have to understand that I can’t and won’t eat those things. I’m allergic! It makes me break out in fat! If I’m invited somewhere and am not sure what the menu will be, I ask. Try to find out what the menu is ahead of time to make sure there will be things you can eat. If you can’t, eat before hand. That way you won’t be so hungry and likely to eat things that aren’t on plan. Keep snacks handy. I keep a small container of nuts in my bag (macadamias or almonds) in case I need a snack on the go.
Have healthy snacks available at work. If you are lucky enough, like I am, to have a refrigerator at work, take healthy snacks with you and keep them there. People at work are good about not eating what isn’t theirs, so I can keep my low carb stuff handy. I have a little container of heavy cream for my coffee, as they only have the powdered creamer that I hate. I keep a box of splenda packets in my office too. I share with a few of the other girls. Otherwise we only have Sweet n’ Low, and they don’t like it either.
Read labels. You’ll eventually find that just because something doesn’t have carbs, doesn’t mean you want to eat it. There are all sorts of other things in ingredient lists that I avoid. They are not only unhealthy, but they also can easily stall you.
Finally, stay committed. You can’t view this as a yo-yo diet. Stay true to your new healthy lifestyle all through the week, and yes, even on the weekends. Get your exercise. Avoid temptation. And get support! This is a great way to get healthy and lose the weight. It is up to you to make the decision to get started and never look back.