In 1996, I made a health transformation that took me from 160 lbs to 125 lbs over the course of two years. I began exercising and changed to a low carb diet. The transformation was quite amazing. I was 32 and became strong and fit. I looked good, and I felt great about how I looked and this appeared to be an easy way to manage my weight and health.
Like a lot of people the change didn't stick because my life was not balanced. I had an unhappy marriage which fueled my exercise and diet regimen. Then in 2000 I became pregnant. I continued to exercise and gained a very healthy 30 lbs. My 9lb, 4oz daughter was born in 2001 and my weight dropped to 140 over the next few months.
My life was changing dramatically and I subsequently became divorced and remarried all while launching a successful career as an IT consultant. By my wedding day in 2003, I weighed 135 lbs.
I continued to exercise, but my health took a back seat to my responsibilities as a wife, mother, and stepmother. We had a new 4000 sq. ft. house with a blended family of eight. My job was thrilling but also demanding.
I didn't really think about my health until 2006 when the stress of everything caused me to have heart palpitations. You can imagine that this was a wake up call to reduce the stress in my life.
I became the president of our company (which seems like more stress, not less) and I began purchasing phentermine to control my weight since I didn't think I had time to control my weight naturally. Phentermine was effective, yet in the back of my mind I couldn't shake the idea of doing damage to my heart and overall health so I stopped.
By early 2007 I weighed 170 lbs. I had gained 35 pounds in 4 years.
At this time my husband was training for marathons and competing in half-triathlon events. He spent a great deal of time training and I didn't see him as much on the weekends. I decided to take up cycling so that I could go out with him when he was running. It's no secret to anyone that I have always despised running.
At the Redman Triathlon in September of 2008, I weighed 163. I felt like a fat girl on a skinny bicycle. It was worse when the cyclists raced past me during the event shouting, "way to go". I only heard, "good for you fat woman." Even so, I finished the 56 miles in 3 hours and 47 minutes.
With all of the training and exercising, I had only lost 7 lbs because I did not change my diet. By 2011 I was up to 173lbs.
Our gym ran a twelve week contest for weight loss and training around a pilates reformer program. I enjoyed the support and found myself selecting a low carb diet (to the chagrin of our nutritionist). My weight dropped to 157. The 12 weeks came to an end, we put our house on the market, and I began eating carbs again. In early 2012, I was back up to 173.
I don't know when it happened, but I think I was influenced by the sudden loss of my father in law to take a look at my life. I was immeasurably happy with my relationships. I was satisfied with my career success.
But I was unhappy with what I saw in the mirror. I knew it was entirely within my control. (I am not a person to make excuses for myself for very long).
While watching Extreme Makeover Weight Loss edition I had an inspiration. The trainer on the program sets up a plan for each person to lose a dramatic amount of weight over the course of 1 year.
One whole year to make the changes. Thinking back to my experience in my 30s (which happened over the course of a couple of years), I knew that a long term program had been successful. I had to find my way back to that place, but this time it would be a permanent change.
I mapped out 1 year of changes with quarterly REALISTIC goals. Just like the tv show, I selected rewards for myself if my goals were met.
At the end of the first quarter, I had lost 7 lbs but I wasn't losing anymore. It was so slow going that I decided to join myfitnesspal.com so I could be more diligent about recording my food.
Two more months went by and only 1 lb lost. I returned to a low carb diet and lost another 5 lbs in just two weeks. I'm ending the second quarter of my program. I'm down to 160 and having such an amazing spiritual journey through this process.
I have less than 6 months to go, and I'll be turning 49 before the year long program ends. I haven't met my quarterly goals, but I have lost 13 lbs and the momentum is building. I am convinced that I will meet my next quarter's goal by sticking with my low carb menu.
Exercise alone isn't enough. Counting calories isn't enough. For me, it's low carb from now on.