It's been a long trip, self inflicted wandering off course included. But after about 2 years and 9 months, and four fresh starts, I've lost 50 lbs. The graph doesn't show the 207 mark, but that was my peak just before starting SparkPeople.
I lost about 33 lbs following a low fat vegetarian diet, exercising, and tracking my food. And then, I took a little break. The first few months were fine, but then I brought home 12 boxes of Girl Scout cookies and gained 10 lbs in 10 weeks. Problem.
So I started again (where the orange goal line starts). I lost a few pounds, then it bounced right back on. I wasn't seeing the results I'd seen before, and I just couldn't stand being on a "diet" any more.
Enter low carb. As a vegetarian, what I knew about Atkins was "eggs and bacon". Through a very fit friend who had switched to very low carb for athletic performance, I heard interesting bits and learned more. It was the weirdest possible idea for me, but I dove in. I followed all the advice I could find about keto adaptation (aka Atkins Induction phase) and made the transition feeling pretty good. And that's when the abrupt downward transition on the chart is showing. It worked. I wasn't "hungry" all the time thanks to stable blood sugar. In 4 months I lost over 22 lbs. Even better, 1 month into it, with almost 10 lbs lost, my husband got on board. He's lost about 45 pounds and is down from size 40 pants to size 36.
Enter the stall. I was so close to having lost 50 lbs. It was easy for me not to cheat with carb-y things, but I'm still working on not eating when I'm not actually hungry. Defined snacks shifted to all day nom-athons. Almonds are a double-edged sword for a vegetarian low carb eater. I was eating low carb, but probably eating more than I needed. I would drift into a day or two of having too much sugar alcohol, both through yummy things I made, as well as processed foods with malitol. And dang me, I tried to get out of my cardio "rut" and wound up back on my couch.
The last straw was that two days in a row last week I had more carbs than intended, probably enough to throw me out of ketosis a little. I didn't have any of the big "no-nos", I was just not diligent enough with restaurant sauces. I was back up at 160.
Out there in the Atkins and Keto world is the "fat fast". Oh, I think I'm about to lose some friends here, but I'll explain it anyway.
1000 calories a day, no more than 5 days. 5 snack sized meals of 200 calories each. 75% - 90% of your calories from FAT. I really had my doubts about this quick fix. I read through a lot of message board postings, here and at multiple low carb sites. In just about every message thread, there was someone who posted that they'd done it to get through a stall, and that by sticking to normal low carb afterward they did not regain the weight.
So I did it for 3 days. I lost a little over 4 lbs, dropped through the 157 lb mark that had been so long coming, and gained 3 days of good practice in defined meal times and portion control. I was also really diligent about drinking enough water, for a change. More details are in this Fat Fast thread in the Low Carb Living team:
The good news is that I've had NO doubt that I could maintain low carb eating as a lifestyle, especially once my husband was also low carb. I know I still need to work on not eating out of habit, boredom, or clean plateism. I need to get back to regular cardio, even if it's back in my happy rut of elliptical, elliptical, elliptical.
I think I'd like to lose another 10 lbs, and I'm fine if it takes 10 or 20 weeks. Of course, 10 weeks is just after Thanksgiving. 20 weeks is right about Valentine's Day. But for the record, there will be no Girl Scout cookie season at my house this year!!!