For the first time in my life, I am no longer at war with food, the scales, and best of all, no longer at war with myself. This however, has not always been true.
For over 40 years, I battled my weight. At age 10, I had already attended my first Weight Watcher’s meeting. I was an expert at losing weight, but could never keep it off, and like many, I found myself caught in a vicious weight loss cycle. I was always at odds with the scale, and I was always hungry.
As a teenager, I was active, yet struggled with my weight and had to watch the scale like a hawk. Throughout my twenties and thirties, I managed my weight with diet gimmicks: I counted calories, weighed my food portions, and restricted food choices. I attended diet group meetings, endured weekly weigh-ins, and kept food diaries. I popped diet pills, severely restricted calories, and ate “diet food” to curb hunger, and I stayed between 124 to 150 pounds. However, as I neared my late thirties, I could not keep the weight off. By the time I hit my late forties, I had gained over 200 pounds, reaching my highest weight at 374 pounds, and being only 5’4”, this really frightened me.
Exacerbating my discouragement was my exhaustion, as I struggled to juggle the challenges of working full-time with being the primary caregiver, over a period of eight years, for my diabetic mother. During that time, I witnessed how type-2 diabetes ravaged her health and destroyed her once full and vibrant life, until complications from the disease took her life at age 74. My wonderful mom taught me how to live. But her greatest gift to me was showing me that type-2 diabetes and the litany of complications that accompany it was no way to die.
I knew I had to do something, but had no idea what that “something” was. Eating a low-fat diet and exercising more, as my doctors prescribed, was only leaving me hungry, fat, and sick. I was completely exhausted and felt like a failure. That all changed when on November 5, 2009, I attended my first appointment with Eric C. Westman, MD – Founder and Director of the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Duke University, and internationally known researcher and expert in the clinical use of a ketogenic diet (high fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrates ) used to prevent and reverse type-2 diabetes.
Before meeting Dr. Westman, I had no idea that the “low-fat diet” the experts had been telling me to eat was precisely what was making permanent weight loss impossible for me. Most importantly, I had no idea that a low-fat diet was setting me up for the same disease that caused my mom’s death.
Thankfully, my mom’s story won’t be mine. Since implementing Dr. Westman’s approach, I have lost over 234 pounds and kept those pounds off for over five years. Thanks to Dr. Westman, I have learned to thrive with a beautifully, well-formulated diet that is high in good dietary fats, moderate in protein, and very low in carbohydrates. I enjoy fresh foods every day, including good fats (olive & coconut oil), dairy (butter, heavy whipping cream, full-fat cheeses), eggs, beef, chicken, pork, non-starchy vegetables (lettuce, kale, spinach, onion, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, broccoli, bell peppers, and avocados), and from time to time, nuts and Low-Carb fruits (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries).
I didn’t crave sugary or starchy foods after my first week following Dr. Westman’s Low-Carb approach. I planned for and always had high fat/moderate protein/very low carb options with me to keep hunger away. I learned, as Dr. Westman taught, that once the problematic, high carbohydrate foods were eliminated, losing and keeping the weight off was not a problem. Hunger, cravings and yo-yo dieting became a thing of the past – and I’ve never looked back!
Today – at age 54 and at 139 pounds – I feel amazing. I have boundless energy, clarity of thought, restful sleep, and no aches or pains. My blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, and A1C levels are all wonderfully normal. I have the best health of my life, and look forward to my happiest, healthiest years ahead.
I’ve learned that we cannot exercise our way out of a bad diet. However, we really can heal ourselves with the right one. High quality, nutritionally dense, Low-Carb foods are the most powerful medicine we have. We can heal broken metabolisms and prevent and reverse a myriad of health conditions – simply by eating beautiful, delicious Low-Carb food. I am beyond thankful for Dr. Westman, and for his work with me and so many others around the world. To say that Dr. Westman changed my life is an understatement – Dr. Westman’s approach saved my life. I’m thrilled to have finally found a wonderfully delicious, truly nutritious way of eating that is sustainable, healthy, and absolutely right for me.