My story is not the usual one you see posted here. I have no idea what date I actually started nor do I know what exactly I weighed. The highest weight I remember being is 245 lbs and that was somewhere around 2003. Somewhere around that time I changed my diet. I never wrote down the date nor did I write down how my weight changed, although I did check my weight regularly on the scale. My goal was always more health oriented than weight oriented although I did want to lose weight and was happy when it happened. So here's my story as best I can recollect it or at least as I now reconstruct it. Maybe it didn't happen quite this way but what is definitely true is that I have lost approximately 117 pounds and I am much healthier than I used to be. What is also true is that I am older but I take no prescription drugs nor do I see the doctor except for an annual physical so she remembers who I am.
All my adult life I have had gastro-intestinal problems ranging from mild to moderate, bad enough to interfere with my life in many ways but not bad enough to completely derail my life. Most of my adult life I suffered from major depression, the kind that makes you want to end your life. I tried pretty much everything but nothing helped very much or for very long. In my 40's I developed asthma and had to take daily medication to control it. There was other stuff sprinkled in there too but the final straw was when I realized that I was no doubt on my way to diabetes or already there. Along with the weight gain I had episodes of increasing hypoglycemia that alternated with times of extreme fatigue. I recognized these symptoms as signs of blood sugar dys-regulation and that did it for me. My memory of my paternal grandmother is of an old woman in a wheel chair without any legs, amputated due to diabetes. I did not want to become her. I decided it was time to do something about it. That was about 13 years ago. This is what I did, the condensed version:
1.Read Dr Bernstein's "Diabetes Solution" and started following his 6-12-12 , 30 total carbs a day, low carb plan plus joined the forum on his site. His plan made sense to me because I knew that what I needed to do was get rid of the high carb food in my diet and there was plenty of that, take out, home delivery, drive through. You name it I ate it and the more I ate the hungrier I got. Whole pizzas, pints of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, Starbucks Frappacinos, packages of Pepperidge Farm cookies. I ate until I felt sick and it took a lot to get to that point. I also felt disgusted with myself but I couldn't seem to stop.
2.Read "Neanderthin" by Ray Audette The paleo plan made sense to me, basically eat real food. I adopted his plan to my low carb Bernstein approach. Things started to get better. My hunger decreased, my blood glucose stabilized, my fatigue lessened and my gastro-intestinal symptoms lessened but not enough nor did my depression diminish significantly. But I was losing weight.
3. I read Elaine Gottschall's "BREAKing the Vicious Cycle" and adopted her specific carbohydrate diet, keeping it low carb. This turned out to not be as successful as I hoped although it did clue me into the relationship between specific kinds of foods and gastro-intestinal symptoms. Unfortunately some of the mainstays of her diet turned out to be foods I was sensitive to but it took me several years to figure this out. I was continuing to lose weight all this time.
4. I followed along in this way for several years and my weight continued to slowly drop until I reached 155 pounds and I continued to battle all the gastro-intestinal ills which seemed to be getting worse and were making it more and more difficult to do anything outside the house. Seeking out medical help was of no help. In fact by deciding to follow the advice of the doctors I tried a bunch of things that derailed my up until then strict low carb eating. I gained 20 pounds and went up to 175. At that point I hated the scale, got rid of it, and decided to go back to strict low carb eating, practicing portion control but not counting carbs precisely. I decided that no doctor could be of any help to me. I had already tried that route.
5. All hell BREAKs out. My intestinal tract goes into overdrive. I cannot leave the house. I can barely leave the bathroom. I already know that going to the doctor is not going to be of benefit. Six Immodium at a time get things to stop but only temporarily until I try to eat again and then hell returns. I got on the internet and found a website about microscopic colitis. The symptoms fit mine. The info I got there saved my life. I got tested through a place called Enterolab, discovered my numerous food sensitivities, removed them from my diet and finally I began to get better. I do not eat any grains, any dairy, any soy or other legumes, any eggs, any chicken and any beef. For a long time I couldn't tolerate any fiber so for about 2 years I was close to 0 carbs. I still avoid the above listed food but have been able to add vegetables back in. I eat a big salad every day (low carb veggies only). And I can leave the house without anxiety, without worrying about the location of the nearest bathroom or nervous when sitting in the audience at any of my granddaughter's events (those were the only ones I would go to). I missed my daughter's wedding because I could not travel. This was a bad time but it has improved so much.
3. So how did this effect my weight and health? Sticking with low carb but no always weighing things, either myself or the food (I pretty much knew what the carb counts were) in 2 years I lost 30 pounds. bringing me down to 145 and a total of 100 pounds lost since my highest weight. I discovered this when I had a physical at my doctor's office. That was 2 years ago. All my health problems are virtually gone including lifelong depression, asthma, Gerd, rosacea, seasonal allergies, arthritis, dry eye, blood glucose swings (most likely diabetic or prediabetic).
4. I remain very strict about my diet. I continue to avoid grains, dairy, soy, eggs, chicken and beef. I am 100% real food paleo. I have lost another18 pounds without any effort and now weight 127. I walk 4-6 miles a day (remember I used to be afraid to leave the house) and I think that helped with the final weight loss but before that I was pretty sedentary, 100 pounds came off because of dietary changes. I believe that by removing the foods that caused me so many digestive issues I was finally able to stop the weight gain and start losing again. But what keeps me thin and healthy has as its foundation low carb real foods.
The support in this forum is great. I am so glad I finally found this place.
If you want before and afters you can find them in my journal here: