But first, let's go back three years to the summer of 2009 when I was 41-years-old. This photo was taken at my brother's home in Las Vegas.
I'm not sure how much I weighed in this photo. I recall getting as high as 194 pounds before I stopped weighing myself. At 6' 2", I was about a size 14 and a BMI of 24.9. I was nudging up against the "overweight" BMI category which is 25 - 29.9.
Many of my clothes weren't fitting properly and I felt pretty down about my appearance. I had low energy, terrible PMS, and I thought about food around the clock.
I pulled back on the portions and snacking and slowly dropped about 10 pounds over the course of a year. I hovered around the 180 - 185 range mark right around the time I started my blog in June of 2010.
I discovered Mindless Eating a few months into blogging and read it from cover to cover. I recommend this book to anyone trying to shed a few pounds regardless of their way of eating. It helped me to adopt some great eating habits which led me to lose another several pounds until I settled into the high 170's.
I didn't move much from that weight for a long, long time. And that was fine with me. At about 177, I was a size 10/12 and a BMI of 22.7 - well within the healthy weight range for my height.
But I feel my best at a lower weight, but not skinny; skinny is never a goal of mine. I look and feel my best at around 162 -168 pounds, a BMI of about 21+. Currently, I weigh 165 pounds.
Last November, my husband Bill and I cut out almost all sugar and carbohydrates. We are essentially on a modified Atkins diet. Modified because we don't count carbs, we just consistently choose low carb foods, and we did not do the initial induction part where you consume 20 carbs a day for two or more weeks. If I had to guess how many carbs I eat in one day, it would range from 30 - 50 grams.
Many of the foods we eat are organic and whole foods, but I do eat low carb bars twice a week or more and I treat myself to a sugar free candy or ice cream bar every now and then. I enjoy low carb tortillas and low carb flax bread and we even eat low carb pasta once in a great while.
Rebekah of Cupcake Caramel also follows a low carb regimen. She and I started a blog last year about the way we eat called Sugarless, Flourless and Fabulous. On it, you will find recipes, tips on how to prepare yourself for traveling or just being on the go, book recommendations and a bit about our personal experiences with low carb eating.
Low carb diets are NOT for everyone*. Some people don't do well on a low carb diet and actually gain weight. And for others, it's just too strict a program to adhere to.
We are all different; there is no cookie-cutter diet that suits all of us. But it is a lifestyle that works well for me. And not just because it keeps me at the weight I like. I have other reasons, too:
~ Bloating used to be a regular occurrence for me. Now, it only happens occasionally and it's either hormonal or it's because I ate something with hidden sugar or grains.
~ PMS is less dramatic, but not gone altogether thanks to peri-menopause. It has lessened since I cut out the sugar and carbs and this makes me and my family very happy.
~ Break outs around my jaw and chin areas used to be an everyday thing. No more. My skin is very clear.
~ Because I am married to a man who is connected to not one, but two fire departments, a good night's sleep is rare. When I do sleep, I sleep soundly. My sleep issues are now due to outside disruptions, not spikes in my blood sugar before bed.
~ I have a clearer mind and don't get brain fog the way I used to.
~ I don't think about food ALL the time like I do when I eat a steady diet of sugar and flour. I have changed from a live-to-eat person to an eat-to-live. Cravings are not part of my world so I don't have to play games with myself to avoid temptation.
~ Buy less food and better food. I buy organic whenever I can and I shop the periphery of the store (produce, meats, dairy), except for a few items like canned salmon, tuna, tomatoes, and the like and a few frozen vegetables.
~ No afternoon crashes that used to call for cups of coffee or pots of tea to get me through until dinner.
A very slow weight loss using a combination of behavioral changes I learned from Mindless Eating, and choosing foods that my body does best with - minimal sugar and low carbohydrates - has gotten me to my ideal weight. Almost 30 pounds have been shed since 2009.
|April 2, 2012|
In case you are curious to know, my husband has also lost weight along with me. He is down about 15 pounds since November and he looks great!
|Valentine's Day, 2o12|
The weight loss phase is over as I don't want to lose any more weight. 165 pounds is a great, healthy number for me. Now, I am just maintaining it and enjoying adding in more low sugar fruits to my diet.
Next, I am planning to incorporate regular exercise to my routine. I have been very bad about making exercise part of my life and that needs to change in order to keep my body strong and my heart healthy as I age.
*I am in no way a nutritionist or a medical professional. Please consult with your doctor before you begin a low carb diet to make sure it's right for you.