July 2, 2016

My Story | Removing the Carbage

Like many of you, I have battled the bulge for most of my life. It was an obstacle course. Yet, ironically, my journey dropped me off right where I started.

I was a chubby toddler. It was considered “cute” in the 50s and 60s. I lost most of the baby fat in elementary school, although I was never slim. My personal struggle with weight arrived with puberty. 

At 5 feet, 6½ inches tall, I typically felt obese, especially when comparing myself to peers. Yet, my highest teen weight remained below 145. I laugh now that I have been 90 pounds heavier.

In the summer of 1973, I was a 15-year-old preparing for high school. My wrestling match with weight had pinned me down. When my mom purchased “Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution” (published by Bantam in 1972), I felt like she had tossed me a life preserver.

Carbohydrates had been my friend longer than I knew what a carbohydrate was. Carbs were my go-to food, but my indulgence was not without guilt. I reasoned that binge-and-purge was my own invention. I developed an unhealthy relationship with food and I rarely ate 1 serving of anything.

I favored the “P” words: pastry, pasta, and potatoes. I loved buttered white bread and plates piled with pasta. I sought out bakeries featuring scones, croissants, and anything chocolate. I had a little tea with my sugar; kept a perpetual stash of watermelon hard candies in my school locker; and I knew where Mom hid the good stuff.

The Dr. Atkins’ program worked amazingly well! (I majored more on the protein aspect and not the fat.) I trimmed down in time to turn heads at the high school, although I soon surrendered to social eating. I had become bored with ground beef patties, hot dog wieners, tuna, egg salad, cheddar cheese, and iceberg lettuce. In a family of 5, steaks were not often on the grocery list.

My biggest weight gain occurred with my first pregnancy in 1987. Fish made me ill, yet I had no issues with carbs. I often craved a capacious bowl of mashed potatoes pooled with butter. My weight soared to 180, dropped while nursing my daughter, and then climbed back to my top pregnancy weight. 

I will not burden you with the names of diets, but I have spent the last 4 decades experimenting with most trending weight loss systems. Despite practicing food-combining, cutting the fat, and emulating the French and Greeks, I just kept adding pounds. I actually woke up to the exact same weight for 1 year, no matter how carefully I had eaten!

My husband frequently observed me preparing organic and natural meals that Whole Foods would have applauded. The nagging question was, “How could we go wrong with brown rice, whole grain breads, and pasta?”

In 2015, a friend told me she had gone gluten free. I knew I was not celiac, but I was experiencing considerable bloating when I ate grain products. I eliminated gluten and felt better. I lost only 10 pounds. Then, in August of that year, I discovered Jimmy Moore’s “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” via podcast. I had an AHA moment!

Eliminating gluten had begun to clear out the usual suspects, but I needed to acknowledge that low-carbing was the only thing that had ever worked for me! So, I returned to my point of departure, only the landscape had changed dramatically. 

My first foray into low-carbing was in a world without internet. Now the resources are almost overwhelming! There is no shortage of support! I have adapted to a LCHF (Low-Carb-High-Fat) plan which includes moderate meat, healthy high fats, and low carb vegetables. I am keeping my carbs closer to a Keto diet, although I have not invested in the equipment to monitor ketone readings. And, as of this posting, I have lost 37 pounds!

I enjoy creative cooking and that includes my passion for ethnic cuisine. I have made some sacrifices—but not with flavor. Fat is now my friend! And butter is back, baby!


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