“This way of eating saved me”
Kenneth had always been chubby, and went on many diets, but nothing worked in the long run. The weight kept climbing until he reached 440 lbs (200 kg) one day. He was diabetic and suffered from high blood pressure.
But then one day he found a (low-carb) way to do it, and the rest is history:
Whenever I try to tell my story I always seem to go on and on. What happened to me is nothing short of amazing and I get excited about it. It is a long story. It would probably make a good book. Maybe I’ll do that someday. But for this I’ll do my best to keep it short and to the point.
I have always had issues with my weight. I was a chunky kid in grammar school. I went on my first diet (Atkins 72) when I was just 12 years old. I lost 20 pounds (9 kg) and reached a normal weight. I soon regained. That was the beginning of what turned into a 38-year nightmare on the weight-loss rollercoaster. Up and down, up and down. I could lose weight on a diet, but I could never keep it off. I was either on a diet or gaining weight. With every regain I got a little heavier. I tried different diets. I tried all the standard dieting tips and tricks. Nothing worked long term. I could not sustain a low-fat diet long enough to accomplish anything. I had the most success with low carb. But once I was over 300 pounds (136 kg), I couldn’t even stick with low carb long enough to lose it all. Dieting was always misery and deprivation for me. I could not sustain it.By January 2014 I weighed 440 pounds (200 kg). I had become a type 2 diabetic. I was on high blood pressure medication. I had issues with my lower back and sciatic nerve pain in my left leg. I started having diabetic nerve pain in my feet. I was on the brink of losing all mobility. Despite being heavy, I had been active and athletic in my teens and 20’s. This was not the life that I’d hoped for. This was not how it was supposed to be. I had lost my health. Dieting didn’t work. Was weight loss surgery my only hope? I did consider WLS. I couldn’t afford it. As it turned out, I didn’t need weight loss surgery. There was a better way. Long story short, I figured out what I needed to do and I did it. I lost 250 pounds (113 kg) over the next 30 months and reclaimed my life and my health. At a desperate point in my life the answer to my problems showed up. I was ready to listen. The pearl of wisdom that I learned was that I needed to stop “going on a diet.” My lifelong concept of a diet was that it was a temporary means to an end. That had never worked and was never going to work. I had to make low carb a permanent lifestyle change. I stopped cheating. I stopped looking backwards and lamenting about all the foods that I couldn’t eat. That was the key to my success. By staying away from the fiberless, carb loaded, “tweaked to the bliss point”, processed junk food that I craved I found freedom. The desire to eat those foods faded away and staying on plan became easy. The diet became more about discipline and less about willpower. The “diet” transformed into simply “how I eat”.
I found the support and information I needed in the forums at lowcarber.org. I started keeping a journal of my weight-loss journey on that forum as well. I’d like to share with you a journal post I made in May 2015:
Title: Invisible Cake
Birthday cake has been sitting on the kitchen table since last Monday (my daughter’s birthday). It is chocolate with vanilla frosting – just the way I like it. It occurred to me that I’ve seen that cake several times a day for six days now and I have not been tempted by it in the least. I have become indifferent to it. It may as well be a box of pencil shavings. My brain seems to have cut the ties. The carb magnet is gone between me and this cake at this point in time. I still have moments that pop up out of the blue where I am tempted by some food that I no longer eat. But not this cake. Not this week. It is almost like it is not even there. It would have been simply impossible to imagine this a year ago.
I do remember what that cake tastes like. If I stuck a fork in it and took a bite, it would not taste like pencil shavings. It would taste over-the-top wonderful and send off fireworks of pleasure in my brain. I know that with 100% certainty. But therein lies the problem. We’ve engineered our food to be too pleasurable and it has a drug like effect that makes many of us want more when we have a little. That is why I cannot have a little. I had my last bite of cake back in 2013 and I know that is how it has to be. And that goes for anything else that I know will set me off. I just can’t do it. By staying away from it I free myself from the pleasure and pain that those foods caused me. I need to stay free to be happy and healthy.Funny how this works. When I don’t eat the junk that gives me the most pleasure I am happier and healthier than I have ever been. If I indulge myself this will all come crashing down. Everything in moderation is a wonderful phrase and a nice idea for those who can do it. My daughter can do it. She has had one small slice of that cake everyday and otherwise eats the LC food that I make. But I know that I cannot have carbs like that cake in moderation. No reason to cry about it. That is just how it is. Knowing that and accepting that was a huge hurdle get over. But I seem to be over it and my low-carb way of eating goes on without a hitch.
Sticking exclusively to on-plan foods is what made this possible. When I don’t eat the junk, when I stay away from my “problem” foods, I have the upper hand in my eating. When I am in control, great things can happen. Even this:
From my journal – April 2016
Weight: 218 lbs (99 kg) – Bouncy
I’ve not been checking my BG nor BP as much lately. The results have been consistently good – so there really is no need for it to be a daily thing.
Epiphany – a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
I had one of those last night just after having gone to bed. Like a wave washing over me I suddenly realized that I am a normal sized person again – with all the rights and privileges thereunto appertaining. I’m not skinny. I could stand to lose a few more pounds – and I plan to. But after all of those years of waiting and wanting to feel like a normal, capable human being again… the wait is over. My head appears to have caught up with my body. I do have my life back. Not someday, not wishful thinking – it is here. Now I just have to figure out what to do with it. I’m liking the expanded array of choices available to me now.I had not even reached my goal weight, but I was already there. The impossible dream had come true. That is what can happen when you make low carb your permanent way of eating. LCHF is how I eat now. It is how I need to eat. It is how I want to eat. I used to think that I couldn’t live without bread, pizza, candy, or cake. As it turns out, the opposite is true. I am truly living again and I don’t eat that junk. I eat real food.
So that is all I have to say about that. If it hadn’t happened to me I wouldn’t believe it. This is what eating right everyday will do.
As I mentioned above, I make my low-carb home in the quiet little corner of the internet at lowcarber.org. It is an old, out-of-date forum that is not as popular as it once was. It is free and well moderated. As old and clunky as it is, it suits me just fine. I like the format and I’ve learned a lot from several long term maintainers that remain active. I wrote several milestone posts on that forum and a more detailed success story. If you’d like to read more about my unbelievable journey, click on the links below:
- Does losing 250 pounds make me a success story?
- Year 1 Progress Report
- Year 2 Progress Report
- 440 Pounds to 10K in 26 Months
- 1000 Days of Healthy Eating Milestone
That last one lists all of the health improvements that came my way once I changed how I eat to low carb. Diabetes isn’t the only thing that got cured. All of these links are available to non-members. To read my journal, you will have to register. But as I said, lowcarber.org is a free website.
Three years ago I was a dead man walking. This way of eating saved me. I want to be an advocate, a case study, an inspiration, and perhaps even a role model to promote this healthy way of eating. I want to do my part to change the narrative in what constitutes a healthy diet. So I plan on opening up a blog site in 2017. I’ve set up a small website at LCforLife.com. I’ll put my blog up on this page when it is ready.
You are a true inspiration, Kenneth – congratulations to your fantastic success!
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