I am a Successful Dieter

I have struggled with my weight from the time I was in high school. I never seemed to be able to get my weight down to what the experts told me that I was supposed to weigh. If I wanted to be an air line hostess, I had to get my weight down from 145 pounds to 125 pounds. I tried and tried. I went to my family doctor, and he prescribed a sensible diet. And I stuck with it for almost a week, weighing myself every two hours to see if I had lost any weight. Having no success at the end of the week, I quit and went back to potato chips, chocolate candy bars and chocolate chip cookies.

When I went off to college and became a border, I was introduced to the most luscious freshly baked breads, rolls and muffins served up for breakfast every morning. I quickly gained fifteen pounds.

Ten years later, I went to a doctor for help. He put me on the most stringent diet I have ever experienced, one of his own devising, and I lost twenty pounds. In addition to the diet, he put me on thyroid medications. I will never know if it were the diet or the thyroid, but it was successful and I got down to a size 14 dress size. An achievement!

When I left town, he prescribed Dexedrine. While faithfully taking Dexedrine and abandoning his very strict diet, I regained twenty pounds. And went back to a size 16 dress size.

Fast forward almost twenty years and I was gaining steadily. I was also trying a variety of weight loss diets, including Pritikin and the Drinking Man’s Diet. I joined Overeaters Anonymous in desperation. Maybe they could help me control my steady weight gain. It didn’t work for me.

I joined Weight Watchers twice and went in for my weekly weigh-in and sharing. I was constantly hungry.  I did lose ten pounds but when I stopped going to the meetings, the ten pounds came back and more.

I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I attended a weight loss class given by a nutritionist and I followed all her advice – even eating popcorn when I was hungry – as she suggested. And I kept gaining.

I went for long walks, skied, played golf, tennis and racquetball – to no avail. Nothing changed.

Not only did I do all these little experiments on myself to see if I could lose weight, I obtained a research grant to study successful dieters to see what they did to lose weight. I got no real insights.  Nothing popped out at me.

One day when I went to the veterinarian’s office, I saw one of the staff who had been a two-tun-Tessie looking as if she had lost fifty pounds. Amazed I asked her – “How did you do it?” And she told me. She was on a weight loss dieted called The Zone or the 40-30-30. 40 grams of carbohydrate. 30 grams of protein and 30 grams of fat. She shared her information with me and I dived in. I bought all the books and weight loss aides. We had lunches together where she prepared 40-30-30 meals. I started losing but found the program unsustainable. It was too hard to monitor the proportions. So I went exploring other diet books. I avoided the Atkins book because so many physicians trashed it, but I found a physician authored book called Protein Power[1]. It changed my life.

I devoured the book! Then I found a website where I could share my journey, ask questions and get knowledgeable answers. When I began this weight loss program in 2006, I had already retired and was busy breeding and showing my dogs. I achieved the weight I wanted in 2007.

Pam relaxing

Before I tried the Low-Carb Diet

Today

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So what changed?

I found that on a low carbohydrate diet, I was never ravenous as I always was on every other diet. Although I thought about food constantly, it was about what to buy and how to cook it. I found my cravings for sweets diminished. My major concern was how to eat enough vegetables. I solved that with salads. I prefer raw vegetables to cooked and vegetables right out of my garden.

I successfully lost eighty pounds and have kept off seventy- five of them. I reached my goal in 2007 and it is now 2021 – so that’s not so bad.

Do I miss bakery goods and lime sherbet and Sees Candies? Sure. So every once in a while, I indulge. I never let my indulgence go over a week because I know how fast I regain weight and how long it will take me to take it off again. But I also know that if I don’t indulge periodically, I will obsess repeatedly. I find it is better for me to slip a little rather than take a nosedive.

So, although the Dietary Standards for Americans says my diet is all wrong, it is right for me.

[1] Michael R. & Mary Dan Eades, M.D. 1996. Protein Power. A Bantam Book.

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