When I was doing Atkins the first time, I started writing a nonfiction book about being low-carb and loving it. The other day, I stumbled on these pages again. They read a lot like blog posts, so I thought, “Why not share them like they are?”
I never thought losing weight could be easy. God knows, it never had been before.
I can’t remember exactly when my weight became a problem, but I do know I’ve been at least a little chunky since sixth grade.
Oh, I had thinner moments. There was my freshman year of high school, when I spent the majority of my time shut in my bedroom to avoid the acid tongue of the uncle who was staying with us. Apparently I didn’t eat very much at the time, because I passed out in English class — and when I went to the doctor, he told me I wasn’t eating enough.
Then there was the end of my junior year. When my mom went on the NutriSystem diet, I followed it with her. Puffed wheat or rice cereal with skim milk and a glass of grapefruit juice for lunch, chicken breast and half a baked potato for lunch/dinner — and those powdered drink/broth/gelatin mixes to supplement meals. My weight got to an all-time low — for me — of 198.
Not bad, but still about 40 pounds overweight, if you believe those pesky height-weight charts. At 5 feet, 10 inches, they say I should be between 150 and 160.
Then I went to college. No “freshman 15” for me — no siree. Mine was more like the “freshman 30.”
If you really believe in the low-carb lifestyle, which I now do, it’s no wonder I gained weight in college. There were late-night Taco Bell runs … triple orders of Papa John’s breadsticks (a group of us had to go together to order enough for them to deliver) … platefuls of biscuits and gravy from the campus dining hall every Saturday and Sunday. Oh, let’s not forget lunches from the student union: taco salads, the baked potato bar or bacon cheeseburgers with a side of fries, consumed most weekdays.
My eating habits didn’t improve after college. In my first apartment, mac & cheese, Hamburger Helper and ramen noodles were diet staples. I also ate more than my fair share of pizza and fast-food burgers and fries.
Oops — can’t forget cookies, chocolate and other desserts.
I’m not going to deny it: I love food. In general, the worse it is for me, the better it tastes.
I’ve never been much of a fan of exercise, either. I was in the marching band in high school and, for a while in college, I used the fitness center pretty regularly. But for the most part, I’ve been sedentary.
Overall, it was a real recipe for disaster. Eventually, my weight climbed to more than 300 pounds. Don’t ask me how much more, because I avoided the scale in those days. I think my highest recorded weight at the doctor’s office was 306.
I fooled myself into believing that, at my height, I carried the weight well … and, to an extent, that’s true. Had I been shorter, I’d have been much, much worse off.
But it was still bad enough. My blood pressure was high, and I got to a point that I fell asleep on the couch every afternoon, exhausted from doing … well, pretty much nothing.
I knew I needed to lose weight. I probably told myself that at least once a day. I just hadn’t found a diet I could commit to — or maybe I just hadn’t gotten the kick in the butt I needed to make me commit.
I liked eating more than I liked the idea of being thin.
To be continued …