Stina had fought her weight throughout her whole life, struggling for more than 50 years, and tried all weight loss methods. Nothing worked long term and at last she decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery. But after a massive initial weight loss the pounds started to return, again.
Then she found low carb. This is what happened when she threw away all potatoes, all bread and everything labeled low fat:
This is a long letter.
I am a 63 year old woman who has struggled with my weight throughout my entire life, since I was 10-11 years old, but who now is is reaching a normal weight with the help of LCHF. This means that I have experienced being overweight for more than 50 years, and during most of these years I have been classified as obese according to the medical definition. My highest weight was 124 kg (274 pounds) on my small 157 cm (5’2″) frame. There is almost no diet that I haven’t tried and most of them worked for a shorter or a longer period. But the weight came back and I weighed a little bit more every time after going on a diet.
I have three children and during my pregnancies I put on only 4-7 kg (8-15 lbs) and weighed less after coming home from the hospital than I did before I got pregnant. The only time I was not experiencing intense food cravings was when I was pregnant and I ate very healthfully. I gained a lot of weight during breast-feeding and the weight problems got worse and worse over the years. But it wasn’t until I tried the Grete Roedes diet in 1976, when my first child was one year old, that it got really bad.
I was “good” and followed the diet strictly and lost weight, 18 kg (39 lbs) after two rounds. But it was a challenge without any equivalent and the only thing that made me lose weight was pure willpower. I was ALWAYS hungry, had enormous food cravings that got stronger and stronger when I ate the carbohydrate-rich and low-calorie food which at the time was the recipe for weight loss, which the low-fat products that started showing up in the stores later on also became. I’m convinced that that hunger is similar to the feeling of being addicted to heroin, even though I never tried that.It got so bad that I went to a knowledgeable and experienced endocrinologist to figure out what had gone wrong and why I always felt hungry, especially when I ate carbohydrate-rich food. This was in the early 80’s and he was probably years ahead since he said that “for some of us bread should be given by prescription only”, but he couldn’t really help me – and he said that there was nothing wrong with my metabolism.
I’ve always loved fatty foods, like cheese and butter and tasty gravies. But this was forbidden and accompanied by shame and guilt of eating the wrong food, especially since my mother always pointed this out. Cookies, desserts, candy and soda have never been a part of my daily diet, it was something I ate on special occasions only. But I’ve always loved regular food, and especially regular whole-grain bread. Potatoes were also favorites.
Over time I went on many diets, I’m sure it must have been 15-20 all together and money-wise it must have cost me the equivalent of a better used car. I’ve tried diet pills (Xenical, it was horrible), happy pills (during a short period of time, I felt like a zombie), the pineapple diet, been a member of most diet clubs, counted calories etc. The only thing I didn’t do was forcing myself to throw up or eat huge amounts of food at a time or other desperate methods. But I could eat all the time, especially tasty slices of bread without feeling completely satisfied.
Over time I tried fasting, something I really liked, and the longest one I’ve endured lasted for 21 days. At that time I was at a wellness center in Sweden and only drank vegetable soup and tea for three weeks. I lost 8 kg (15 lbs) and was in amazing physical and mental shape which lasted for many months after the fast was over, but I slowly and steadily came back to the starting point as I went back to my old habits. Later on, I repeated this type of fasting, and it is something I like very much. But the weight loss didn’t last very long, since I went back to low-fat and carbohydrate-rich food.And then came an offering about a low-carb diet with a doctor and I signed up. This was probably at the end of the 80’s. It was a surprising experience; the hunger and the cravings for food disappeared – it was like switching on an energy switch.
Amazingly, for the first time ever I experienced inner peace and no cravings for food. I lost over 20 kg (44 lbs) in a relatively short amount of time without being very hungry. The problem was that it wasn’t only low-carb food, but also low-calorie, and small portions of food that should be measured carefully. It went like expected – all the weight came back after quitting the diet – this was not something that I could live with long-term.
The years went by. I’ve lived and I live a very active life and I have a great family, including a very patient husband, and I never experienced that the weight problems were an obstacle for doing what I wanted to do. But over time the wear and tear on my body and especially my knees got so great that I needed prosthesis in both knees. It was a relief because I felt really bad before realizing that this was necessary. But I worked full-time and I’ve never been on sick leave except for a couple of weeks after the surgeries – in retrospect I can’t wrap my head around how this was possible.
In 2005 I discovered by coincidence that I was at risk, due to genetics, of developing heart disease, something that was quite unexpected since family on both my mother’s and my father’s side have been healthy and strong people who live long lives – especially the women. It was stated that it was a genetic factor that couldn’t be managed by lifestyle and diet (but in retrospect I’ve come to realize that that isn’t true, since my blood values are within normal range nowadays). But then I decided to undergo surgery for my obesity to do something with what I actually could change and when I had taken the decision I did not have the patience to stay in the long queue so I took a loan and paid 150 000 NOK ($18 000) to do it in a privat clinic. At that time I weighed 117 kg (257 lbs) after losing 7 kg (16 lbs) prior to the surgery.
I’ve been very happy with the surgical procedure and I haven’t suffered any complications. But my upset stomach with plenty of air and discomfort did not disappear. I lost 45 kg (100 lbs) until I reached 80 kg (196 lbs) within the first 18 months, but then the weight loss stopped. A few pounds crept back on after a year or so, and after a year about 10-12 kg (22-26 lbs). I chose a low-carb diet again as I had good experience with it and as it was associated with a high fat intake. But I didn’t dare since one does not tolerate fat as good after that kind of surgery and I was afraid of getting diarrhea.
As a step in preventing heart disease (which I showed no symptoms of getting) I was put on statin drugs – Simvastin 20 mg daily. The highest cholesterol reading I’ve ever had was 5,7 but I was still supposed to take statins! A few blood pressure readings were quite high (white coat readings) but I did 24-hour readings that were good. In spite of this, I was put on drugs to lower my blood pressure. I had a lot of trouble with muscle and joint pain throughout my body, but I stuck with the drug for many years, even though I became very blunted both in energy levels and feelings and I started to develop poor memory. Then a few critical voices spoke up about using statins on healthy individuals, and I just decided to quit in November 2014. After a while, I started noticing that the side-effects were wearing off.
I bought a device to measure blood pressure in January and started measuring three times daily and registered the readings for three weeks. I started understanding why I was feeling dizzy and as though I was about to faint when I noticed that my blood pressure was at 100/60 and sometimes even lower. I quit all blood pressure medications too and the tendency to faint disappeared, while the blood pressure remained good. My doctor said that I should do a 24-hour reading this summer (she was not very happy about the fact that I had quit all medications) but it showed that the average blood pressure reading was 124/70 in the daytime and 96/44 in the nighttime, so that became the end of the discussion.
Luckily, I’ve never had high blood sugar readings (fasted blood sugar at 4 mmol/l (72 mg/dl)) or any signs of having diabetes, it might have something to do with the fact that I never had a sweet tooth. Even though I’ve consumed a lot of carbs through eating bread, potatoes, rice and sometimes a lot of fruit.In January 2015 a friend of mine lent out the book the Food Revolution to me. It became a personal paradigm shift, and my new life started. All puzzle pieces fell into place. I read and read and got completely consumed by it. I became a member at DietDoctor and read everything I came across about LCHF, statins, diabetes, weight loss etc. I’ve always been more interested in health and diet than the average person and this was a gold mine!
I started eating LCHF and experienced the same thing as I had many years ago: my food cravings went away and I felt a inner peace and a calm stomach – fantastic. And I felt full, for a long time! And I haven’t experienced any problems with tolerating high amounts of fat – my body has become accustomed to this as it was ten years ago that I underwent gastric bypass surgery.
I enjoyed eating my favorite food, which are delicious cheeses, oils, dairy products, gravies, eggs, pure fish/meat/poultry and lots of my favorite vegetables (that happen to grow above ground). I started doing 16-hour intermittent fasting, and it fits me perfectly. And I’m losing weight. I’ve also started fasting for 24 hours two days per week – I’ve seen all videos with Jason Fung and I like his message and genious way of teaching. It is an immense relief not having to think about food, the next meal, what I can eat. It is a sense of freedom that I before couldn’t imagine.
I lost 30 kg (66 lbs) and I now weigh 62 kg (136 lbs), and I haven’t weighed that since I started dieting for the first time when I was 14-15 years old. In total that means that I’ve dropped 62 kg (136 lbs) from my heaviest weight (124 kg (274 lbs)) and am thus half the weight that I used to be! This is a lifestyle that will last as long as I live, but of course I’ll eat a little bit of fruit or a few potatoes when I’ve reached my goal. But I love LCHF food and love cooking delicious food, I’ve collected many tasty recipes. Anne Aobadia is my favorite! I bake gluten-free LCHF bread and have plenty of variations to choose between, and I can bring two small slices of butter and cheese to work – this is basically the only bread that I eat.
My husband has lost 10 kg (22 lbs) and loves this diet just as much as I do. The pain in my muscles and joints is gone – it is not easy to know how much of this is due to weight loss and how much is due to quitting medicines, of course both things play a role. It isn’t that important to get the answer either, it is just amazing that I can experience this, after 50 years of great overweight!I’ve had to throw out all my old clothes, and I’m still surprised that I can buy clothes that fit in a size 38/40 (8/10)! Of course I’ve got extra skin, even though I’ve undergone plastic surgery on both my stomach and my arms after the weight loss surgery that caused me to lose 45 kg (100 lbs). I’m considering doing something about the things that bother me the most but otherwise I feel that I have a body that works better than it has done in decades.
I feel healthy and strong, I take no medications – only supplements. I work full time just like before and feel that I have plenty of energy for my challenging and demanding job. My blood values are better than they have ever been – they have always been OK, but now they’re really good. It has also been fascinating to see how the belly fat has melted away. I now have a W/H-ratio of 0,76.
Even though I now write a letter that is four pages long this is a short summary of my 50 years of struggling with my weight. I could have written books about this, but I won’t do that. I’m incredibly grateful that I’ve finally found the key to a life where I can feel harmonious about my weigh, and that it has actually become possible for me to be thin. I will never change my diet, it is just amazing how good I feel on LCHF.
Good luck with the important fight for healthy and natural food and the fight against the obesity and diabetes epidemics! This is a global mission that MUST succeed when knowledge and research win over the enormous commercial powers.
Thank you, thank you so much! I cannot express enough how grateful I am. I hope that my story can inspire others who are in the same situation and who are also “mature adults”!
We’re so glad to hear your story Stina, and we’re so happy that you’ve found a way to manage your weight, but most importantly your health! Good luck with your new, healthy lifestyle.
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