Whenever I hear people talking about their New Year’s resolution to lose weight or how they are going on this diet or that diet so they can look better in a bikini, I never know whether I should tell them that I’ve lost tons of weight using (mostly) the Atkins 40 diet and, more recently, a combo of two different diets, but more on those later.
I mean, why should anyone take my word for it? Although I have a few pictures (unfortunately, most of my personal items were lost in a flood) they might think that I’m bragging or that I’m just exaggerating. I usually don’t say anything unless they ask.
Me as a skinny 6 year old
It's true that I was thin as a child, but it’s because I was very sickly until I was about 11 years old. I had pneumonia when I was 6 weeks old and it seems as if I got it again almost every year after that. I was so thin at one point that a good gust of wind under my umbrella actually picked me up off the ground!
My mother tried to keep weight on me, but in the worst way possible. Snacks were cookies or cake or ice cream. She bribed me to eat by saying that if I finished my plate I could have cookies or brownies. It set me up for a sweet tooth that has been my undoing.
The weight began to show when I was about 10. My mother was originally happy, but by the time I was 13, I was downright fat. I was a mere 5 feet tall and weighed 150 pounds. Then she tried threats to get me to lose weight, such as, if I didn’t lose X number of pounds by next month, she wouldn’t take me shopping. It didn’t work because I couldn’t fit into any cute clothes anyway, so I ignored her. I began to hide packages of cookies under my bed.
Starting to put on the pounds at 11 years old
I got married at 19 and although my husband liked me fat, I didn’t. I was disgusted by my wedding pictures. I was now 5 feet 5 inches and weighed 200 pounds.
Me at 21 and 200 lbs
One of my friends told me about how he had lost weight through this amazing program called Atkins. He loaned me his book and I spent the weekend reading it. Now this was the original Atkins, which recommended 20 grams of carbs each day or less. It sounded crazy, to be honest. How can you eat bacon and eggs for breakfast and call it a diet? I decided to take the book’s recommendation and try it for a weekend. What did I have to lose? (sorry about the pun)
I lost 7 pounds. Seven pounds in one weekend! I was sold. I stuck to that diet! My husband complained that I was going to get scurvy from not eating fruit and that I was getting "too skinny". I ignored him (but did try to let him see me eat a small piece of fruit now and then). I lost 35 pounds the first month, and 15 each month after that. I was thrilled.
One of the things I didn’t pay attention to, however, was that I was supposed to gradually start increasing my carbs until I began to gain weight, and then cut back so that I could maintain my weight. I stayed on that less than 20 grams program for probably 4 years!
My kidneys hurt after a while and I went to the doctor, who was horrified about my diet. He told me to get off or risk kidney failure.
I went off the Atkins diet. I was 25 and weighed 130.
Me at 30 and 230 lbs
Well, I must say that the next few years were crazy, but fun. I ended up getting divorced (hubby didn’t like me being so thin) I went on a lot of dates and ate everything in sight. I took a different job in another city and moved away.
By the time I was 32, I weighed 230. I remember looking at the scale and suddenly realizing that I weighed more now than I ever did in my life. I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without having to catch my breath. My idea of exercise was walking through the grocery store!
However, I was afraid to go back to the Atkins diet.
Me after Nutrisystem
I had to do something, however, so I decided to try Nutrisystem. I loved the idea of never having to cook, never having to count carbs or calories, everything was done for me! However, I wasn’t very happy with the price, nor how I felt. In the 1990’s, it cost me $200 to join, then $60 a week for food. On top of all that, I was hungry. All. The. Time. I did all kinds of things to try to keep my mind off food, but it was so difficult!
I’m very stubborn, however, and I stuck to it for 1 year. I lost 60 pounds. This was maddening to me because I lost that in about 3 months with Atkins.
My life was changing again and I accepted a different job that had extremely high stress levels. I stopped Nutrisystem and decided that I could do it myself.
I really did try! And after 2 months, I gained back 10 pounds. I remember crying all weekend because I just didn’t know what to do! I knew I couldn’t keep “starving” myself, but I was determined that I wasn’t going to put that weight back on.
I tried the Weight Watchers Points system for about 6 months. While I was very excited about it at first, marking all the boxes in the house with their points per serving, looking up recipes, etc. I found that the fees were pretty high for what I was getting. I didn’t like the looks I got from others during those weigh in’s either. Perhaps some people find these kinds of support groups really work for them, but that wasn’t the case with me. I also found that I was hungry most of the time. While I thought that would pass after a few days, it didn’t and I quit after a few months, really disappointed.
Me on diet pills
While reading about diet plans, I heard about a drug called phentermine. It was part of the Fen-Fen combination that didn’t hurt the heart. Best of all, at that time, I was able to buy it off the internet. No one had to know, I didn’t have to weigh in or anything else.
And I must admit it worked like a charm. Especially in the beginning, I only took 1 pill each day and I found that, not only did I have tons of energy; I had no desire to eat. None. I could eat, but I simply didn’t want to. I remember sometimes going 36 hours without eating! I was so proud! I was so happy! It only took a few months and I was back down to 130!
But as the saying goes, all good things come to an end. After about a year, one pill did not do the trick. Within 6 months, 3 pills a day did not do the trick. My body had become accustomed to phentermine. Then came the day I could no longer buy it online. It had become a prohibited substance without a prescription.
Again, within a matter of months, the weight began to creep back at a rate of about 2 pounds a week. I was soon back at 230.
Me at my heaviest ever 237 lbs
Ladies, if you haven’t gone through menopause, I don't want to scare you, but it's pretty sucky. I saw a picture of myself at the lake and I was horrified at how I looked. Now I was not only at my heaviest ever (237), but I looked older to boot! I wasn't going to wait around to hit 250, I was going to try the diet everyone was talking about.
After going full on kidney destroying protein with the original Atkins, paying outrageous prices for Nutrisystem food (which wasn’t that tasty) and Weight Watchers, risking my health with diet pills, and always falling back on Atkins 40, I think I might have found a diet plan that really works for me; the 2 Week Diet.
The 2 Week Diet is technically only 14 days in length, but you can repeat it until you reach your desired weight. It was similar in some ways to Atkins, but in this plan, calories DO count and the focus is on eating a lot more natural, healthy fats, not protein.
I altered the plan a little to suit my goals which includes adding cheat meals. Studies repeatedly show that flexible dieters tend to do better than rigid dieters often see anything less than 100% perfection as utter failure. I decided to give the 2 Week diet a chance.
This diet is scientifically based and seems to work well for me. After determining my BMR (Basic Metabolic Rate), I used the information in the book to create a calorie deficit.
I also began some moderate weight training and eating a great deal more healthy fat, rather than protein. I believe that the combination of calorie restriction ( mostly from cutting back on carbs), weight training and walking at least 5 days a week, along with the consumption of lots of healthy fat (HELLO Guacamole!) was the key to losing weight while I went through menopause.
I will be honest, I did feel a bit hungry the first two or three days, but I noticed that if I drank a big glass of water when I felt hungry, I felt just fine. I think I might have been more thirsty than hungry. After about 5 days, I no longer felt those hunger pangs.
Since going on the 2 Week diet, I’ve lost 50 pounds since February of 2017. I'm not hungry and I’m feeling much, much, better. While it's slower than using the original Atkins diet, I’m happy that I'm losing anything rather than gaining!
Want to know more? I have some amazing pictures and a bigger story behind this Menopause or Mid-Life Madness. Sign up for more details!
Why not join me on my 2 Week Diet Challenge? I still have 30 pounds to lose (maybe even 40, who knows!) so if you want to see my progress, and track your own, this would be a great time to sign up! By the way, there is no judgment here. Everyone has their weight loss struggles. This is also real life, so we don’t need to bring each other down. We want to show and receive support for everyone, no matter where you are on your weight loss journey!
If you are inspired by Tammy’s story and want to take charge of your own health and weight – then join the 2 Week Diet Weight Loss Challenge TODAY.