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In May 2005, I was overweight (almost 200lbs, although I didn't know the actual number at the time), exhausted, having trouble sleeping, and generally in a bad mood during my waking hours.

For a long time I had been mildly interested in low carb theories. I can remember visiting New Orleans about 8 years ago when the sugar busters craze was going around there. I knew that sugar was bad, but I still caught up in the "low-fat" drum beat. We tried a "less-meat" diet for a while, relying on many vegetarian dishes. I can't tell you how many "eccentric" dishes I subjected DH to in a quest for good health. ;)

But I still wasn't paying enough attention to what I was eating. In hindsight, my nominally "healthy" my diet had way too many starchy foods, too little protein, and *way too many sweets*. For instance, we were in the regular habit of buying a bag of chocolate chips. I sometimes baked cookies, but most often I had them consumed in less than a week.

And by Mother's Day 2005, it had all caught up me with me. I was reached a bottom emotionally. I was lucky to have so many things in my life - a wonderful husband, two health children, a successful part time business. So why couldn't I enjoy it?? Why did I feel so bad almost all the time? I had to do something, anything.

Because of how dependent I was on food to lift my sprits, I guessed that food might be causing my problems. I spent time wrestling with my own starch and sugar monster. Would life be okay without pasta, without bread, and without dessert? (Egads, no dessert???) Would it be worth living? (This seems like such a trivial and extreme question now, but at the time it was a serious one.)

About that same time, I found this board. I had lurked on the TMF boards for months, but I didn't see the low-carb board until a post came throught the "Best Of". I read through the LC FAQs, and the recipes. I order some books and got started on Atkins induction on Mother's Day because I was tired of waiting to feel better.

Working through the cravings on Induction was a bit difficult, made slightly more so because I found out after the first few days that I was sensitive to Splenda. I was ingesting alot of Splenda to try and break the sugar habit. But at the end of two weeks, I had lost 9 pounds and felt good. I felt so good, in fact, that with the addition of some nuts and some occasional cream cheese that I simply kept going on induction.

And now it's a year, a month, and a week later. I'm 50 lbs lighter and a size 10!!! Most importantly, I feel fantastic, physically and mentally. Quite literally, my thoughts and life have changed for the better.

My family is still having some minor adjustment pains. My sister and aunt have asked me recently, in their own ways, when do I go back to eating "normally"? Compared to the rest of my family, I think they have the most invested in the "low-fat" diet theories. My sister lost most of her weight and maintains on it weight watchers, and my aunt is a diet technician. I choose not to have prolonged discussions on diet with my family to keep the peace. My brother-in-law has asked directly if I'm going to eat this way for the rest of my life. The correct answer is, of course, "I don't know, I haven't lived it yet." But real answer is that you'll probably find me eating this way at age 80.

Eating low-carb has revealed that I'm still mildly allergic to peanuts and dairy products, despite being desensitized to them in childhood. I'm definitely sensitive to artificial sweeteners and most probably have a wheat sensitivity as well. To go back to eating "normally" for me is to invite illness and depression back into my life. It is to invite back the daily struggle to achieve mental peace and to attempt to accomplish something after 4:00pm.

Truthfully, I wouldn't care if I gained weight on this WOE. But it makes it all the more sweeter to have this diet be one of the most effective weight loss plans on the planet. I don't worry about gaining weight as I get older now. I know how to control my weight in way that's healthful and without hunger. The weight loss is the berries on the cheesecake as it were. ;)

This year has also revealed to me how lucky I was to have married DH. I have cooked up so many out of the mainstream ideas for our family. He was rightfully reluctant to attempt this low-carb thing, especially after the whole vegetarian thing. ;) But he supported my choice, especially when I emphasized to him that it was not necessary for the kids and him to eat this way. He now generally chooses to eat what I eat. He has returned to his high school weight and his hypoglycemia, not surprisingly, is under the best control of his life.

He has always been there for me. Turning to low-carb was like waking up out of some sort of nightmarish perpetual bad mood to find a great guy who still loved me after all he had been through. (And I'm not easy to live with in a good mood. ;) ) It has been the greatest gift to be able to feel how much I love him rather than to just "know" it intellectually.

On the outside, my low-carb diet seems very restrictive. To me, it's the path to freedom - free from allergic reactions, moodiness, excess body fat. I'm free to live a normal life.

I hope that you can all find a diet that makes you feel this good. If you are still struggling with food, keep looking for a diet that works for you. For me, it has all been worth it.

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When Life Gives You Lemons
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