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Birthday 1970-09-03
Location Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Occupation Self-employed
About Me I'd been heavy all my life. Things really got bad the summer after my grandmother passed away back in 1992. I packed on a lot of weight in a very short amount of time and just kept gaining. By 2005, I weighed 327 lbs and had spent those 13 years morbidly obese, even with a large 5'10" frame.

My daughter was going to be graduating high school and because I was a single mom and had already started going through empty nest syndrome, I knew I had to really start focusing on caring for myself. Two of my aunts had been telling me about Atkins where they each lost 80 lbs so I finally decided to give it a shot for just the induction period and see how it goes.

I lost 10 lbs those first two weeks so kept at it. Then lost 20 lbs in that first month. Of course I had to keep doing it. Within six months, I'd lost 80 lbs. Within a year, I lost 140 lbs. I kept off the weight for three years, then had gotten engaged to a man who loved bread, pasta and sweets. I ended up packing on 70 lbs easily. I broke up with him at the end of 2010 and within five months back on my own eating low carb, I lost the 70 lbs and felt the best in my life!

I was working with a personal trainer and went to the gym regularly. I was still overweight, though, fluctuating between 190 and 195 lbs all the time... but I had gone off of low carb and was trying to eat "healthy" grains and low fat. I was also going to see the doctor to monitor my progress and found out that summer that I have a high lean body mass so my normal weight should be no less than 175. I was thrilled to hear this! I thought being "big boned" was a myth, but apparently it's real and because I'm pretty muscular, especially for a woman, I would be terribly underweight at what I thought was the ideal 125 lbs. So I made it my goal to get down to 175.

But by the end of 2011, I found out I had Pelvic Organ Prolapse where my bladder, vaginal wall and rectum all dropped to my pelvic floor and were protruding outside of my body. I was devastated. I didn't know that such a thing was possible! I had to go in for repair surgery the Spring of 2012. In preparation for surgery, I was asking my surgeon everything under the sun about symptoms I was experiencing and, not knowing a lick about prolapse, if they had to do with it. I ended up finding out that my severe bloating, joint pain, headaches, constipation and fatigue were all due to gluten intolerance. I also found out that my urinary urgency was due to drinking too much caffeine! So I went back on Atkins. But the surgery and recovery period were the worst experiences of my life... I ended up getting down to 180 lbs, but my family told me my face looked sunken in and I didn't look healthy at all. It took me a few months to recover and I was devastated by the fact I couldn't be anywhere near as active as I'd become. But, I decided to turn my new state into a positive and started doing modern vintage pinup modeling.

My career took off and I started my own business helping other women find confidence in themselves through pinup makeovers and photo shoots. Life was great! Until my mom got deathly ill at the end of 2013.

I dropped everything to take care of her. Not only did she have COPD where she has to have high levels of oxygen pumped into her lungs 24/7, she's had strokes and at that time had a heart attack, too which made me realize I'd have to move in with her to see first-hand how her lifestyle was affecting her health. The doctors told her she needed to change her lifestyle drastically.

My mother and I had always been close, but from a distance. When I started Atkins, I had to break the patterns of my childhood by going cold turkey off of the foods I'd grown up with. My mom, on the other hand, kept eating just the same as she always had. Now the doctors were telling her low fat, low salt and low sugar. She was just beside herself... She did enjoy being served in the hospital, though. So with all I learned about nutrition through Atkins, I took it on myself to teach her how to eat right and started preparing her meals. Granted, I did have to study quite a bit more to learn about low fat and low salt diets, but I did and came up with a modified South Beach diet for her.

On my diet, she was doing great for those first few months home! Her blood pressure went down so much the doctor took her off blood pressure meds. She lost over 30 lbs. She was able to start living life like she hadn't been able to do in years! But she did fight me quite a bit... Her doctors told me I did a great job getting her started but I needed to let her do things on her own. After a very difficult Thanksgiving, I finally did and she's been managing ok since. Her blood pressure's gone up a bit again and she's not losing weight anymore, though she's only 5'2" and weighs 225 lbs so with her small frame needs to lose 100 lbs, but she's only gained 5 lbs since being on her own, which she's happy about.

It's very difficult for me to see her like this and since her heart attack, I went back to very old habits to soothe myself. I packed on 30 lbs the first three months being with her. I realize that based on my past that doesn't seem like much, but for me, I've gotten used to being thinner so I've been down on myself for gaining the weight, especially so quickly. At least I'm well aware of the gain so have managed to not gain more, but I can't seem to lose it, either. But then, in between doing low carb, I still try to soothe myself with food...

I'm still doing photo shoots but it's so difficult to see myself looking heavier again. You'd think that would be plenty of motivation for me to retrain myself, but between the restrictions due to my prolapse and my mother's health still being a concern, it's so hard to care for myself properly. I'm allergic to gluten, yet, eating it forces me to rest. Granted, I end up with a rock in the pit of my stomach and can barely walk, but... It's dumb, I know. I guess I just feel beaten down and really need to pick myself back up again.

I was looking for low carb desserts and came across this site. I was so glad to see there's a whole section on low carb AND gluten free! This is the first time in awhile I've been excited about being able to drop this weight like I used to do. I can't do too much physically, unfortunately, so am seriously hoping just the diet changes will do it. I'm looking forward to reading your story and finding out more about you!

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