“I became free and beautiful”


Do you want to know how to remain weight stable at a normal, healthy weight for decades? Jean, a real fighter, shares how she managed to do so, even when going through tough times:

My name is Jean. I am 73 years old and I am retired, living in The Villages, Florida.

I am a twin and my weight at birth was 4 lbs (1.8 kg). As I grew up, I became a heavy child and I was so miserable. My twin brother had a normal weight but I was overweight. I did not look like the other kids. Kids made fun of me and I could not buy nice clothes because they did not have a size back then that would fit. At age 25, I weighed 220 lbs (100 kg). I remember going to the beach with my friends. My mom had made me a beautiful bathing suit. I loved the beach but I could see people staring at me. Then a couple of men walked by and called me Fatty. I was so hurt that I cried all the way home. That was my turning point.

I’m not sure how I discovered low-carb. What I knew was that I ate the same amount as my family and I was fat. I don’t remember if Atkins was around then but I remember talking to my mom, and we decided it must be all the pasta and bread we (because of the Italian heritage) were eating. And we even had deserts every night after dinner. So, this was my daily menu for a full year: oatmeal for breakfast, cube steak, green beans and mushrooms for lunch and dinner. The pounds began to fall off, so that was, in fact, the culprit for me. I went from a size 22 to a size 8-10. I became free and beautiful.

At the end of that year, I weighed 140 lbs (63 kg). I kept the overweight off until I stopped smoking and I gained 30 lbs (14 kg). I managed to lose it after a year, and was back to 140. The weight stayed off with the low-carb diet. Then I got breast cancer at age 41 and I had to have chemotherapy which made me put on 25 lbs (11 kg).

After treatment was over, I lost the weight. Back down to 140. Yay!

I’ve had a few surgeries along the way. But I never gained the weight back. I don’t eat sugar or bread and when I do, my weight seems to reappear. Staying thin and healthy has been my main goal in life.

I’ve had a great career and feel like looking good and eating right has helped with that. I always dressed well and worked out for years. Did not drink alcohol nor ever smoked again.

My life now is spectacular. I am a size 10 at age 73. I worked out in a gym for 20 years and I still ride a recumbent bike 5 miles a day. I have, as I noted before, gained weight twice in my lifetime. Once when I quit smoking and once when I had cancer, followed by a year of chemotherapy.

I never fast. I maintain my weight on a low-carb diet still but have added fruits but not the ones high in sugar. I never have desserts. They just don’t exist in my world. I also believe sugar is not good for anyone and cancer patients are better off staying away from it. My cancer recurred at age 63, but it was believed that it was from having my right breast radiated. I had a mastectomy at that age. No more problems.

My biggest challenge was learning that food was not the only thing in life. I started looking at it differently and when I finally was able to buy beautiful clothes and look good, that kept me going. I love looking good and have prided myself in that all of my life. I love myself, dogs, and music. Food is only a way to keep my body nourished.

In terms of what I wish I had known, well, frankly, I wish my family tried to help me more. My dad and mom loved me no matter what I weighed. But not the rest of the world back then. I have gone back to my 5-year class reunions for my entire life, and people are stunned at my accomplishment. Most of them are obese now, like the other 2/3 of the population. Kids and people can be mean. But no one, or anything, has broken my spirit.

All the best,


Thank you Jean for sharing your very helpful insights and congratulations on your success!

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