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-   -   My Weightloss Story: June 2003-April 2006 (http://www.lowcarbfriends.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=422271)

TaDa! 04-19-2006 08:36 PM

My Weightloss Story: June 2003-April 2006
The Statistics:

108.5 Pounds Lost
from 236.5 to 128 pounds

105 Inches Smaller
including 23 inches from the hips, and 17 from the waist

11 Clothing Sizes Down
from a size 30 stretchy trouser to a size 6 regular jeans

39.2% Bodyfat Lost
from 61.8% bodyfat to 22.6% bodyfat

9 Pounds of Muscle Gained
from a lean body mass of 90.32 to 99.07 pounds

This is the story of my first three years on Atkins. I do not think I ever believed I would be here. I am one of those people who have been overweight, well, obese (hate that word) for my entire life. Since I was a young child I always thought that my life would be better, happier, more meaningful, more fulfilled, more normal if I could only lose the weight. Nearly every act act and every human interaction of mine was colored by my shame, the weakness I thought I had, the results of which were so readily visible for the whole world to see, comment upon, and judge. Without even knowing me, people already had a good idea of what kind of person I was - or so I thought.

As a child and as an adult, I thought I had to go the extra mile to be accepted. I had to be the one to bow out, to put up with bad behaviour, to try to please everyone. I did not go out on dates like other teenagers. I was the one against the wall at the dances. And I grew angrier and angrier, turning to my secret shame for solace. Secret, because even as a child, I knew my parents and my family even would love me more if I was only thin. I tried all kinds of diets soaking in the glory of losing a pound or two and the disapproval when I could not keep at it for very long. Remember the melba toast and fat free cottage cheese days?

1980s Senior Prom ......... In My 20s .........

I spent much of my young life chasing acceptance, love, value as a human being as I thought it was defined by others, buying into the superficial definition of a person's value in society, chasing something I could not attain rather than looking inside to my own intrinsic value -- essentially wasting my youth looking for acceptance and doing a lot of things I am not proud of, things that were not meant to fulfill my own needs. And I became angrier and angrier inside at what I perceived as my own unfair shortcomings.

Luckily in the midst of all this, in 1993 I met a wonderful man, a good man and we married. In our first year together as boyfriend and girlfriend, I went on a typical lowfat high carb diet and lost more weight than ever before. 60 pounds. From a weight of 220 to 160. My then-boyfriend was very encouraging. At the time he decided to quit smoking cold turkey due to my allergies and asthma and he began to run to help give him positive feelings to counteract the negatives of quitting smoking (in other words, as he ran and stayed off the smokes, his breathing and lungs felt better and better giving positive reinforcement.).

I had never ever run before - couldn't go more than a few steps at a time at a weight of 220, or so I thought. He taught me to walk fast and take very slow jogging steps. I progressed little by little to where I could "run." We entered a few 10K races (6.2 miles) together and my times were very slow, but I was losing weight and having fun. And then one day I was sick of running. I had pushed it too hard and I stopped. I also stopped watching my food intake and I quickly gained back the 60 lbs.

1993 Wedding .... 2001 With My One Year Old .... July 2003 at 226 after 10 lb loss

I was so traumatized by having gained back that weight and all that it took to lose it that I pretty much gave up on serious dieting for a good long time. It got to the point where I actually was very proud that I could maintain my weight of 225 lbs. I had my first child in 1996, gained about 20 lbs with the pregnancy and got back down to 225 afterward without any real effort.

During that pregnancy a woman I worked with sensed that I might be pregnant. She was a woman in her 40s, never married, and always in the midst of some office intrigue - well-known for her viciousness. She cornered me one day and out of the blue, started telling me how obese women routinely lose their babies and how bad it is for the baby. This, I think was one of the most terrible things that happened to me, far worse than people thinking I was pregnant all the time because my face tended to always be somewhat thinner than my body, being called names, being shamed at the doctor's office as a child and at gym class Ö all the usual horrors we have been through.

My second child was born in the year 2000. Again I only gained 20-25 lbs, but this time it would not all come off and I was up to about 240+ pounds once some of the pregnancy weight came off. The difference this time, I felt as though I could not hide the weight as I had before (At 225, I had seriously thought I could hide it behind sweaters and long shirts), the fat was now depositing itself on my outer arms and I was getting a rounded shape to my shoulders. Not only that, now any clingy materials would show the rippled fat lumps underneath. I felt desperate once again.

Donít get me wrong. I know my husband was deeply disappointed that the cute adventurous girl he had married who had showed such promise of getting her self-esteem and energy in order, had turned into a very large frumpy housewife who looked her age, although he never uttered a single word to me about it. It weighed heavily on me and affected our relationship deeply, only adding to my discontent, self-hatred and self-rejection.

I started to try different diets, even going on a diet drug for a little while and slimfast, but I could not stay on anything for more than a few days. I again went into a period of deep depression. Then on Memorial Day Weekend in 2003, I heard my sister's boyfriend talking about this "diet" they were planning to go on called Atkins. I had heard about it before, but had always dismissed it because it was a meat diet and I was a vegetarian. But after listening to his enthusiastic explanation of the science behind it, I thought to myself: well a protein is a protein is a protein. And I decided then and there to start it.

The whole way of eating was so revolutionary to me that I thought it might just work. I desperately hated lowfat diets and lowfat and fat-free products. Eating as a vegetarian since I was 12 years old, carbohydrates were always the basis for the meal with the vegetables and cheeses, etc piled on top. I did not think I would really miss the starches all that much if only I could come up with delicious satisfying dishes. I started June 3, 2003.

That same day I discovered internet Atkins sites and I registered right away, my only hesitation being, would I post my weight?! Dare I?! I reasoned that anyone on the site would have the same problem as I so that even if they recognized me, it shouldn't matter. So I took the plunge and posted my weight as well as an avatar picture.

Induction was hard as a vegetarian, but I made it through. I gave up caffeine at the same time and my induction hangover was absolutely horrid. But I was thrilled with my weightloss and the foods I was eating, I just plowed right on. I only lost 6 lbs in my entire two week induction and people with my large weight were losing 12 lbs and 20 lbs routinely. It did not bother me. I was on a ketosis high.

I knew that for this to be successful I would need to start to move, to exercise and I desperately dreaded it. After a few weeks thinking about it (I always think for a few weeks before I act), I started walking 4 times a week in the woods. I was afraid to go out in public and did not want the neighbors or anyone else to see my huge body struggling to do what normal people take for granted, so I began to walk in the woods in (a version of) my regular clothes. I wore my usual black stretchy pants, a t-shirt, and a windbreaker to hide the fat body. I started to enjoy hearing the birds sing and seeing the natural beauty around me.

In my first month I lost 10 lbs and then I was off to a two week vacation to Ireland to visit family. Luckily I was the cook in the house as my Mother-in-law suffers from Alzheimer's. It was a tough two weeks from the standpoint of taking care of my MIL, and my two children, but I stayed on plan. I did not have my usual Guinness or the great pastries and Irish bread. I walked when I could. And I lost 3 lbs while I was there.

My size and how I looked was still very upsetting to me. In the picture above, for example, I actually thought the brown jacket made me look slim .. that is until I developed the photos. I was now committed to getting this weight off and looking like the pretty girl (160 pounds) my husband had brought there to visit 10 years before, once again. I averaged about 7-8 lbs a month lost and was absolutely thrilled. I dallied with very low calories staying at 20 carbs but with OWL foods that included some nuts, a daily morningstart bar for breakfast and a sugarfree chocolate bar once a day as a treat.

By Month 6, I had miraculously lost over 50 lbs down to the low 180s. I was able to buy new clothes in small Plus sizes and was getting compliments left and right. I had that Atkins honeymoon glow about me. And I had progressed from walking 4 times a week to walking 6 times a week at as fast a pace as I could bear. Often with a small interval of jogging here and there. On days when I had my 3 year old with me, I'd put her in her regular old baby stroller and I'd walk as fast as I could on a paved trail near the house.

The snow and ice set in and I moved my exercise to the Mall, walking with the early-morning seniors. I soon realized I was walking faster and was turning into a menace with the baby carriage, so after much thought, I bit the bullet and started Curves, signing up for a year's membership.

( Part 1 of 3. To be continued in next post)

TaDa! 04-19-2006 08:36 PM

By my first Atkins-versary in June 2004, I had lost about 90 pounds and was ecstatic! At 146, I was so very very close to my goal weight of 135. But I was starting to binge-eat more and more. It started happening around once a month at first, close to my TOM time. A typical binge would happen only in the late afternoon or evening and I would start eating the various bars, melted cheese and salsa, nuts, peanuts, pretty much anything I could get my hands on and we are talking very large quantities here. Eating until I literally could not get another morsel down my throat without the danger of vomiting. Once or twice I even induced myself to vomit. Luckily I am so fair-skinned that it makes my whole face and eyes full of broken blood vessels for days, so Bulimia was not going to work for me. (Thank God!).

Well the binge-eating became more frequent and even though it was all "legal" foods the effect was the same as if I had jumped off the wagon .. weight gain. I held it together through a vacation to Virginia Beach and through a surgery that I had in July. I was unable to exercise for 8 weeks and even though I was allowed to walk, I just didnít do it. I managed to get my weight down to 139 .. 4 lbs from Goal Ö and it was a hard-won number. I spent weeks going up and down and up down across the 140 threshhold.


But the struggle was too much, I started binge-eating and within a couple of weeks I was up to 151 pounds - a 12 pound gain. I got right back on Atkins (OWL with 20 carbs), and managed to get to 145 by the end of September. October came and my weight was going up and down, periods of binge-eating intersperesed with periods of being strictly on-plan..

Unhappy with my performance and ability to lose, I decided to do the Fat Fast which of course, worked and at the same time, was a disaster for a binge eater. This entire time I was exercising consistently at Curves and I actually grew to like it and all the ladies there I would socialize with. The exercise did not stop me from yo-yoing up and down between the 140s and 150s. I would ignore fitday for weeks at a time - binge eating, of course - and then be back on plan for a few weeks drops a few and then back to the bingeing.

Well in January 2005, I received a free gym membership for two years thanks to the Discovery Health Challenge. My Curves membership was due to lapse in February, so I started going to the gym, jogging on the track and doing weights. It really helped renew me and I had a more serious re-start of this WOL and got back to 141 in a month. By February I was struggling again and back up the scale. By May I weighed in at 159 and by mid-September 2005 I had reached 162.5. I was up 23 pounds from my lowest point. Over the summer I had kidded myself that I was still thin and I still looked good even though I was bursting my size 12 jeans at the seams, but deep inside I was very unhappy.

That entire summer, I binged almost nightly. I would binge, have a binge hangover the next morning. I would restrict food and successfully stop the binge-eating for a night or two, or sometimes three, only to start again. I was out of control and I could not stop myself. I was afraid for my life that this was it, the end of the fairy tale ending. I was about to wake up from a dream, I thought. I was at wit's end.

I had started reading some self-help books .. if you know me, you know I am desperate when I start reading self-help books!!! I was the one who scoffed at "that nonsense," a cold hard facts kinda girl, but somehow my readings about binge-eating behaviour and what is called "binge eating disorder" had permeated my thick sensible skull and I came up with emergency measures. This was a full scale DefCon 1 situation.

So I went back to the method that had served me so well in beginning Atkins. I call it "Problem-Solving My WOL." Basically, I build on the experiences and setbacks of other dieting attempts, a plan that takes into account the pitfalls of past diet failures. So, for example, just starting a high protein high fat program like Atkins initially was my answer to counteract the deprivation I felt on lowfat high carb dieting. And for exercise, I took one of my lessons from that 1992-3 60 pound loss and regain. The lesson being, to develop a liveable exercise program; not one that was so difficult to maintain that procrastination and resentment might set in. Along the way I finetuned it to mean that the activity could change at any point, but that I should always incorporate a minimum of 40 minutes of some sort of cardio at least 4-5 times a week. I addessed a big issue for me at the time; that of being ashamed to be seen to be exercising, by starting out in the woods in private in regular clothing. Basically, I listed all the possible pitfalls and all the possible objections and addressed each one.

Now 2 and a half years after starting it was time to finetune the eating aspect. It was time to list the reasons my plan, as it had evolved, was no longer working for me, was actually causing me to self-sabotage. The roots of my discontent I decided were in binge-eating disorder. Like many binge eaters, my inner environment had evolved in such a way that I demanded perfectionism in every aspect of my life and expected to be treated in a manner I deserved to be treated. When something went wrong, I turned to food for comfort in the same way an alcoholic would turn to alcohol - not eating a package of cookies, or an extra slice of cake in the way a normal person might overeat, but eating three packages of cookies, buying an entire cake to eat it. Eating to get a feeling, a rush of endorphins, not even enjoying the food or noticing what I was eating after the first few bites. And eating until I became physically unable to eat any more.

What specifically had changed between the year 2004 and 2005? I think that the weight was not coming off as easily and my inner voice told me that I was bad, that I had not done all I could, that I was weak-willed lazy, disgusting and useless - that I would never ever succeed. And somewhere deep inside I believed it and to comfort myself I would try to fill the hole inside me with food. I would binge. A binge would lead to remorse and I would restrict my food, to very low calories and carbs in an attempt to "get the weight off" but it was more than that. I was sending myself a message that I had to be disciplined, to be punished for my intransigence. This kind of self-punishment, need for disipline message, would send me back for comfort to the food Ö a binge. And the cycle would continue.

( Part 2 of 3. To be continued in next post)

TaDa! 04-19-2006 08:37 PM

How to stop the cycle? I decided that I needed to eat more. After a binge - and I was bingeing all the time now - I would have to try and move on by letting myself know that there are no recriminations, no accusing voices of my childhood locked up inside my own head. My first step was to decide that the very next day I would eat 1600 calories and 40 carbs!! I had never eaten 40 carbs "on plan." For me, "on plan" had always meant 1200 calories or less and 20 net carbs. The 40 carbs were good solid healthy carbs - lots of vegetables mostly ( apound of eggplant, 3 oz onions, 10 oz spinach daily) and cheese and milk.

To my amazement, within two weeks the frequent binge-eating had stopped cold. I had given myself the message that I was trustworthy and I lived up to my own pronouncement. Another part of the plan was to start up the carb ladder once I was in control and a month and a half later I started slowly cautiously up the ladder, adding net 5 carbs at a time, and a new ladder rung food every two weeks or so. Little by little I made my way up higher.

Back to 147 lbs in November 2005

At the same time, I removed all binge foods from the house. No more sugarfree chocolates. DH could no longer have peanuts. No more salsa. No more cheddar cheese or swiss or muenster - only plain mozzarella, Parmesan and American. The morning start bars were something both dh and I like for breakfast, so I started to buy the one variety I hated - a non-crunchy one - Not something I would crave to eat.

One very serious trigger for me was the scale. I had weighed daily since the beginning, but I was now taken to weighing the night before and subtract two pounds, guessing what my morning weigh-in would be. I somehow convinced that I was doing this as part of my wol. What I was doing was using the scale to justify a binge. If my weight was up, well what the heck! Binge! If the scale was down, well what coud it hurt to eat a little more tonight Ö I would punish myself for weigh gains. I would punish myself for not losing weight Ö The scale was truning into an instrument of binge. So I decided to do weekly rather than daily weigh-ins. Monthly would have been far better, but I was unable to stay strong enough to do that, so I compromised .

Another part of my plan was to begin a journal to record my journey, take notes on the books I was reading for inspiration and for self-help, and to talk myself through many of the issues that I have kept bottled within me. Unbelievably, this was one of the things that has been instrumental in my final push toward goal. I feel I have resolved many feelings inside. I know that binge eating is a fact of my life, because that is how my mind has evolved to cope with life. I know that I will at times try to turn to food, but that I have the tools to identify my triggers and to pick myself up immediately and carry on withoput recrimination. I do not claim to be "cured." With the tools Dr. Atkins has given me, my incredible online support system, and the tools and skills I have developed through my reading and journaling, I have a clearcut path back to the straight and narrow whenever I should need it.

Finally, I spoke with a trainer at my gym. I had been running 24 miles a week all summer, and yet I actually gained weight rather than losing it because of the food. As I progressed in my running, I realized that I love the feeling of power in my body and when the trainer suggested I cut out a couple of weight workouts and replace them with longer runs in order to lose faster, I was all for it. And he was right, the extra cardio helped with this final leg, giving me a pretty consistent loss since September.

It has been 7 months since my final "re-start" and I reached my goal of 135 in February, and my goal of a size 6 in April. Having never ever been a healthy BMI, never mind "thin," I am not sure where I would like to end up, but I do know that I will always be working on some goal for improvement. My next areas are likely to be bodyfat, muscle building, long distance and competitive running and other sports. I expect in a year or so to be writing a similar thread about how I reached Goal, my experiences with the Carb Ladder and how I got a year of Maintenance under my belt. This story is by no means complete.

I will be tweaking my food and exercise components as I push to new goals, but never again will I restrict myself in the way I once did with food or with exercise. I may never do a real 2-week Atkins induction again. When I do get to Maintenance you can bet I will approach it as methodically as I have approached my weightloss and I will test and monitor myself thoroughly for as long as it takes to get to an equation that ensures Maintenance without daily food journaling, but only through Dr. Atkins' five pound Maintenance "Buffer" as I like to refer to it.

At 129 lbs April 8, 2006 at my first-ever 10 mile race, also my first-ever cross country trail race

I am not a religious person in the conventional sense of the word, but I thank God for the burden he gave me in my life. And, the word burden does not begin to describe what I suffered in a lifetime of obesity, nor the effect it has had on every aspect of my existence.

How can I be thankful for the suffering that preceded this awakening?

This has not only been a weightloss journey, but a journey inside that has changed the way I view the world and my every interaction with it, taking me from a place of deep dissatisfaction, to one of revelry in my own existence, living each day as if it were my last. I have accomplished something monumental in my life - not only the weightloss, but the insight and introspection, that has allowed me to find my own peace and happiness right inside my own skin -- not anywhere outside it. Sometimes what I have achieved - ordinary everyday happiness - hits me like a ton of bricks. This can never be taken away from me.

How many everyday ordinary people can say that they have fought the battle of their lives and come out the winner? I can. And it only took me 41 years to prove that, indeed, I can do ANYTHING if I put my mind to it.

And so can you.


Your fellow traveler and sister-in-struggle,


tracelin 04-19-2006 09:02 PM

Wow! What a great read! You've done amazing, and you look amazing! :clap:

MaWhit 04-19-2006 09:06 PM

Wow, what an amazing journey! You have a gift with words.

sunnydee 04-19-2006 09:15 PM

Woo Hoo!!! Congratulations to a wonderful, beautiful and inspirational person!!! Your story sounds so familiar to mine, I'm hoping that I'll be writing mine sometime too as well!!! Great job!!! :clap:

DisneyPrincess 04-19-2006 09:15 PM

Thanks so much for sharing your story. You have done amazing, look amazing, and I can tell you feel amazing. You are so motivating and inspirational, I look foward to following your successes

Purple Sage 04-19-2006 09:23 PM

Thanks for such an inspiring story....I feel like I need to write mine about a different kind of eating disorder but the whole journey is a little raw still....you are very couragous and must have a really great handle on it to post all of your struggles....Thanks

oldmusicfan84 04-19-2006 09:30 PM

i really have tears in my eyes from your story. I have felt much the same way with the up/ downs. Although it has been 6 months or more since I have been here to this site/ I am at an all time low.....I really want it bad but am still in the self sabatoge mode....I pray every day...for strength to over come......your story really challanges and gives hope. Thank you for being very real and giving of your self. You have alot to be pround of........keep us posted.............................

amazinglyamy 04-19-2006 09:36 PM


My_Sharona 04-19-2006 09:49 PM

Same with me, it brought tears to my eyes, but what an happy ending!
Congratulations Pauline on your new life! :clap: :clap: :clap:

positivebubbles 04-19-2006 10:32 PM

You do not know me, but I am so proud of you! What an incredible story. The last part made me cry because I so want to come out the winner (not just with the weight but with the demons and the sabotage)-You have come out a winner. You keep going girl-and don't stop sharing your wisdom....it is worth a lot!

Sincerely- Pam

dlslds 04-19-2006 10:35 PM



that was so very moving! Thank you for posting this, for being so open and so, well, nakedly honest.

you are gorgeous babe! inside and out, i can see the light from you shine!!!
i just love love LOVE the pic of you running!!!! its looks like you are laughing!!! wheeeeeeeeeee!

:hugs: Diana

Laprettygurl 04-19-2006 11:27 PM

Thank you for writing that down. :hugs: You look gorgeous! Must be a trait of the name. ;)

Beth728 04-20-2006 03:08 AM

Thank you for this powerful post. I am printing it and sharing it with my sister whose weight is life threatening. Your insight and honesty are gifts. I am currently in maintenance and look forward to your thoughts as you travel that road!

charmed 04-20-2006 03:14 AM

wow.. Thanks for posting..


Diana 04-20-2006 03:33 AM

Thank you so much for this!!!! So many lose the weight then start the vicious cycle of Bingeing, Myself included. I am now working through it and learning why I do it.

Thank you so much for your post!!!!

pixiegirl01 04-20-2006 03:47 AM

TaDa, that is an outstanding story, and like many others, I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes. All I can say is that you are obviously an amazing person, inside and out. Thank you for sharing your struggles and your success!


Jamie 04-20-2006 03:56 AM

Thanks for sharing.....I'm in the same place as you right now as I'd been below goal for a year and a half. Working my way back down and trying to learn more about myself and my binging behaviors....you have given me a lot of encouragement!

Peskie 04-20-2006 04:08 AM


Ms Inspiration.....great job!

idioglossic 04-20-2006 04:25 AM

Pauline :clap: :clap: :clap: fantastic inspiration to all of us... fellow travelers... :hugs:

HeatherKae 04-20-2006 04:33 AM

Amazing story. Thanks so much for sharing it. It's very inspiring.

youglogirl 04-20-2006 04:43 AM

Your story is truly inspirational. Thank you for sharing. Congratulations on reaching your goal.

sunnilou2002 04-20-2006 04:49 AM

Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. Very brave


lotwm 04-20-2006 05:02 AM

WOW I needed to read this.. Have been struggling and binging.. and I know I need to give up the sugar.. It is tripping me big time.. But your post touched my heart and gave me inspiration to get back up and make this life long and that I can do it.. Thank you so much.

iameless 04-20-2006 05:13 AM

Thanks for telling your story! It's very inspirational to know that it IS possible to work your way up the carb ladder and still manage to lose! I've been waiting to move until I hit goal - because it's just so much easier to stay at 20! I will have to give this some more thought - you know, two weeks worth! :) Congrats!!!

gotogirl 04-20-2006 05:35 AM

What a wonderful story!
When I was near goal, you wrote something that inspired me to start up the carb ladder. Amazingly, I began to lose again. I had been sticking to 20 carbs a day or less and was afraid to add carbs. Thank you so much for your help.

TaDa! 04-20-2006 05:48 AM

Thank you all for your kind words. I think a lot of us go through these same things and we just do not see it, because the threads on Main Board tend to concentrate on the quick fixes ... and we do not share the longterm struggles that are never solved with those quick fixes ...


Originally Posted by dlslds
i just love love LOVE the pic of you running!!!! its looks like you are laughing!!! wheeeeeeeeeee!

Yep! I am laughing! I realized a mile from the finishline that I was going to be unhappy with my time (trail races are much harder and different than road races), so I sprinted the last mile.

I was exhausted having just outrun a guy I had followed much of the race, through a muddy swamp, and my legs were soaking wet. I came out of the forest toward the finish line (that picture), and there was dh with a camera, and my two kids jumping up and down yelling "Go Mom Go!!!" It was surreal.



Originally Posted by gotogirl
When I was near goal, you wrote something that inspired me to start up the carb ladder. Amazingly, I began to lose again. I had been sticking to 20 carbs a day or less and was afraid to add carbs. Thank you so much for your help.

I am so glad it is working for you too!! Isn't it marvelous to be able to eat such variety and be unafraid to do what Dr. Atkins actually designed hius program to be like?! Wish I had gone up the Carb Ladder in 2004 ... but hey, I made it up there and that's all that matters now! I guess I needed to learn the lessons I did through that time of struggle.

Laura150 04-20-2006 05:57 AM

:notwrthy: :notwrthy: :notwrthy:


qtpie 04-20-2006 05:59 AM

Thanks for posting your story. You are an inspiration to others.

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