I started eating low-carb from that day onwards and didn't look back. I suffered no "Atkins flu", I just started feeling better and better with each passing day. I started noticing weight loss very quickly, but it was more than just that... I started noticing health improvements right away, in ways I'd never expected.
A week after I started, the chronic pulsatile tinnitus that had been plaguing me 24/7 for the last 6 years suddenly went quiet one evening. I was so shocked I just sat there, blissfully enjoying absolute silence, something I'd not heard for longer than I could remember. That first time, it only went quiet for 5 minutes, but it continued to go quiet and over the next week, became less and less until it was gone entirely. And that wasn't all. The eczema on my face that had embarrassed and made me miserable most of my adult life started clearing up, more quickly and startlingly than I'd ever expected. The gastro issues I'd suffered with most of my life and just assumed were "normal" for me cleared up and I stopped feeling sickly after most meals, stopped having dreadful troubles on the toilet or constant flatulence.
I also noticed that I stopped getting the "sleepies" after every meal, and then I stopped also getting hot flushes that used to come regularly a few times a week for no apparent reason. Even the spider veins on my legs started to clear up and fade away! I had more energy and I finally felt motivated to go walking, and to try exercising regularly, something I'd never had the energy to do before.
Unfortunately a couple of months into my low-carb excitement I developed a chronic illness, which had all the appearance of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and it really derailed me. I spent about six months basically in bed and exhausted, unable to do much of anything. I kept to my low-carb diet as best I could during this time, and I maintained my initial weight loss for the first couple of months, but bad things crept into my diet due to be too tired to think about it properly, and I was more sedentary than anyone has any right to be, and the weight started to creep back on.
The illness has now been resolved -- it turned out that all my symptoms were in fact side effects on an anti-depressant medication I was taking, and when I stopped taking it, I got better. I've lost a lot of trust in doctors as a result, since for all the complicated tests and things they did to try and help me, nobody figured out it was the medication until I checked the US side effects list for my meds (hich differ from the local side effects list, go figure) and decided to stop taking them myself.
But I'm now feeling "normal" again, so I'm in the process of cleaning up my diet and putting into practice the things I learnt in the beginning, as well as all the things I've read since then. I'm working more with the Primal Blueprint these days, as it makes the most basic sense to me. And I'm currently doing the Whole 30 and loving it.
The amount of crap (sugar! wheat! additives! veggie oils!) that is in processed foods, and how hard it can be sometimes to buy fresh foods easily. If you walk into a convenience store, chances are the only thing you'd actually be able to buy is bottled water.
That, and the way that people can't believe you'd give up bread, pasta, or rice (I lived in Japan when I started low-carbing, and rice is so damn ubiquitous), and particularly why you'd voluntarily give up sugar, and keep trying to push you to eat carbs again, as if they are doing you a favour. Working every day with people who refuse to get it, even when you're always smiling and polite about it, can be frustrating at times.
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?
Go for whole foods as much as possible, and find recipes to make them interesting. There are tons of fantastic recipes available online for free, and there is so much that you can do with fresh meat, fresh vegetables, and some herbs and spices. When you're eating fresh, wholesome food that's not just filling but also really delicious, it's so much easier to appreciate how well this way of eating works. Also, load up on fat and don't be afraid of it! And finally, read lots of literature and learn from it, but listen to your body and figure out what works for you. We're all different.