In October of 2010, my doctor prescribed medication for high blood pressure. After a few weeks on the medication, my blood pressure hadn't dropped at all. She wanted to start me on another medication, but at that point it struck me that I needed to take control of my health. I was about 230 pounds and tired most of the time. I got out of breath walking my stairs, and fell asleep on the sofa most nights. I told the doctor that I wanted to try diet and exercise before a new medication. So, for the next month, I followed the DASH diet - a low fat, carb-based diet - and exercised (cardio) most days. I did lose 15 pounds, but my blood pressure wasn't getting any better, and I didn't feel much better, either. This was especially so because I still suffered from intense, painful, daily gastric issues which I expected would go away once I adopted a "healthful" diet.
One day while I was surfing the Internet for something unrelated, I came across a Website that featured low carbohydrate eating. Although I was always against low carb, something about this Website made me want to give it a try. Within a couple of days, I'd switched to Atkins. I decided to avoid things such as sweeteners and low carb products, though, knowing how addicted I was to sweets and carb-heavy foods.
I lost 60 pounds fairly quickly and easily, without much tweaking. I did have one 6 week stall after the first 40, but it was easily overcome. I felt satisfied most of the time, and lost weight even though I typically ate between 1800 - 2,300 kcals per day. My blood pressure dropped, my high triglycerides became a thing of the past, my energy increased, my gastric issues disappeared and I was (and still am) thrilled about all of this.
My biggest challenge actually didn't come until after I lost these 60 pounds. I still wish to lose another 30, but I've been unable to get those pounds to move without uncomfortably restricting Calories, which I find I cannot do for any meaningful length of time. Although most people find that their appetites are very suppressed on a low carb diet, I do not. And, sometimes my appetite is quite high. I am looking into going with a lower protein, continued very low carb approach to try to induce a level of nutritional ketosis that may suppress my appetite enough to shift these last 30 pounds.
What advice (if any) would you give to someone interested in trying a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet? Were there any obstacles that you overcame that could help future dieters?
Make sure to read, read and read. You will likely be bombarded with advice from well-meaning friends, relatives and physicians to avoid a high fat regimen and eat more carbs. Being armed with knowledge will help to keep these people from diverting you.
Have a support group. There are a number of good Internet forums where a low carb eater can find information, advice, support and friendship along this journey. It really helps make a difference, especially when something discouraging such as a weight loss stall occurs.