How I lost 1000 pounds in 50 years
My history of good and bad diets
Let me start by saying that I am not a doctor, a nutritionist, or am in any way telling anyone to try any of the diets I have tried. This is merely my story. I have been dieting since I was the age of 10. And all of my diets were more or less successful. Some more, some less. My first diet was my mother slapping my hand when I reached for another piece of chicken fried steak. By the early 60's everyone was taking diet pills and my family was no exception. I remember going to the doctor and getting a prescription for these black capsules that completely stopped my appetite and made me talk incredibly fast. At the tender age of twelve I already weighed 130 pounds and with the pills I lost down to 111. The fact that I never got a full night's sleep the whole time time I was in 7th grade, was beside the point. I was thin. Twiggy made her appearance in the early 60's and we all wanted to look like her. My desperate search for "twigginess" truly started me down the road of yo yo dieting. It never occurred to me that my skeleton wouldn't be as thin as Twiggy's entire body. But try I did. The Quick Weight Loss diet came into fashion. And the title said it all. If you wanted to lose weight quick. - go on that diet. I have to say that through the years that particular diet.. which is basically all protein has been my best friend. The Quick Weight Loss diet ultimately became known as the Atkins diet. But more about that later. One of the problems with the all protein diet is that although you can lose weight rapidly, the moment you go off it, you will gain all the weight back plus some just as rapidly. The protein diet and versions of it helped me to lose 50+ pounds over and over again. At least 10 times.
There was also the fasting diet. You don't eat anything for two days to "shrink" your stomach and then eat "normally." Sadly, normally for me was trying to make up for the two days of starving. Still, a fast 7 - 10 pounds. Over and over again. By the 70's the Cambridge diet came into fashion. This was basically a 300 calorie a day drink fast. I crashed off at least 20 pounds with it. But that diet ended when I, without thinking, drank a bloody mary at a party after I had been eating only 300 calories a day for three weeks. Let's just say my friend's fireplace, white carpeting, and every available piece of pottery, contained the evidence of THAT mistake.
Finally in the 80's I decided to do something sensible - Weight Watchers. Which is a truly sensible diet. One I have been on many times. I should be a Lifetime member since I have lost so much weight with Weight Watchers. 50, 20, 10, 70, 50, 60 pounds at various times. The only problem with Weight Watchers is that once I stopped.. on the pounds came again.
The 90's was Phen-Fen. I was sure that was the magic bullet. And it was Phen-Fen that actually alerted me to the fact that my eating had a brain chemistry component to it. But the FDA ended that craze when people came down with heart murmurs. I think I lost about 70 pounds with it. But once I was off the drug. It came back.. the dreaded fat. By now I was well over 250 pounds.
Sometime in the mid 90's I gave up. Hey - I had been fat that long. Whatever. So I just went about my business. Dressed as well as I could. Embraced my fat, if you will. And perhaps that is where I would have stayed until by my 50's my health began to suffer. Serious back problems, blood pressure powering up, cholesterol looking ugly. Knee problems. And of course there were other problems. Like sitting in an airplane seat, or a restaurant booth.Or just getting through a turnstile. My weight soared to over 300. The not dieting diet also didn't work.
And then my granddaughter was born. Suddenly I wanted to live - a lot longer. What to do? I had been researching weight loss surgery forever, but was fearful of it. But once I discovered that it was covered by my insurance, I took the plunge and had lap band surgery. I lost 60 pounds. I started working out at Curves. 60 more pounds. Four years later I have maintained a weight loss of 120 pounds. It wasn't easy. I do still watch what I eat, which is sort of an Atkins-ish food plan. But the surgery not only made it possible, it keeps me in check. Maybe not the answer for everyone. But for me it worked. Finally.
I could still lose about 30 more pounds. But it is a new decade and they are doing a lot with gene therapy... stay tuned!
If you want to read more about my decision to have Lap Band surgery and see my before and after pictures please look at my HubPage artlcle Diet or Bariatric Surgery: How I made My decision.