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My Story

With a 10th Anniversary website update, I’m re-writing this bit, as a great deal has happened in the last few years!

2010: I’m properly eating LC again after a hiatus of ~5 years. Life took an “interesting” twist back in 2004, and although I never abandoned the principles of LC totally,  I let far too much bread, pasta, rice and potatoes back into my life.  And yes, felt rotten because of it!

So, I had to remind myself of this quote.
“A friend asked me “Do you think you will spend the rest of your life without ever eating potato again?”

I thought about it, and said
“Have you ever had a potato dish that was worth you weighing 21 stone? No, I didn’t think so…””

So, here is my updated story:

I am a big person.  I always have been. Always taller that anyone else in school, and developed into a woman  standing 179cm with size 43 feet.

Here is me in 1976, in the sea at Brixham.

Nikki in the Sea in Brixham 1976

I started gaining weight when I hit puberty.

On the Cliffs in Torquay ~1983

You can put this down to good food, definitely too much ice-cream and a decreasing desire to do exercise, very much a self-perpetuating cycle as I got chubbier.

So, time rolled on, and in 1999, the 19st 2lbs  I was carrying around made me an Evans size 26. I didn’t really mind… Evans make good clothes, that made me feel and look good, and at the age of 29, and after a lot of soul searching, and self-accepting, beautiful is very much as I am.

However, around my Birthday that year, my health started to make me mind what size my body had got into.  I suffer with a little arthritis in my right knee, both wrists and left shoulder. My knee in particular was hurting large amounts at that point, I was having trouble walking up the stairs at work, and discovered that I had 52″ hips! I was also starting to grow out of the clothes I had.

So, some form of diet was in order. I have in the past done the typical Low-fat diets, with some success.
When I was 18, I lost three and a half stone with Weight Watchers (Their Exchange system, pseudo low-carb, but low-fat too… However, not a bad scheme at all, considering), taking me down from 15st 2lbs to 11st 10lbs.

(Excuse the “Princess Diana Haircut! 😉 )

But over the next ten years, I gained all that back, plus another 4 Stone. As a very hypoglycaemic person, the periods of being hungry and ratty on my attempts at low-fat diets were very wearing. I reached for the raisins, as a fast sugar fix, which I saw as my saviour food. A Typical “High and crash” insulin reaction.

As I lost interest in the diets,  the endless restriction on life, the constant “No” refrain (Which is actually very draining in itself) when all you really want to do is to be a relaxed person.

So, I consistantly returned to eating whatever I wanted, and “big” meals (in terms of calories), Curry, Italian, Greek, Chinese, Ice-Cream and Biscuits, as well as the other foods that are “Bad, but *wonderful*!”

A fella I was working with at that time had recently discovered and used the new to the UK “Dr Aktins’ New Diet Revolution” to get thin, and after he described the principles to me, he lent me the book.

The principles of low-carbing changed my life. I discovered freedom from the Hunger monster. As a confirmed carnivore, low-carbing is a way of eating (WOE) where I eat the foods I love. There is no sense of deprivation, as one can still eat Curry, Chinese, Steak, and (with preparation) the ice-cream and the biscuits, and life is just better without the Sugar and Starch.

This is my 1999 “Before” picture:
My before pic...05/11/99
Me, *extremly drunk* (and that is an understatement) at my 29th birthday party, one month before I started Low-carbing. The man with me was my then partner, Matt.  I didn’t really get my picture taken much before, wasn’t really that comfy…

And here I am as at 08/03/01. Looking “business like” in my size 18/20 suit, in my kitchen, and weighing in at 14st 11lbs.

A during pic...March 08 2000

So, that was the first time around.

As I said in the intro, at the end of 2003, “life” really got in the way.

I never reached “goal” that first time around. If you read my emails on the LCUK mailing list, you’ll see that I hit 14st 1lb, then started a 2 year or so pattern of being stalled out there fore about 6 months, then gaining 7lbs, then stalling out again, then gaining another 7lbs. I didn’t stop eating LC during this time, as I was still getting the other health benefits such as good blood pressure, excellent skin, hair, nails, great muccle tone,  regular periods, moderated hunger, no hypogycemic symptoms etc etc.

There was a great deal of turbulance in life however, I was doing shift-work, and also changed boyfriend, then house (away from my beloved PurpleKitchen!) & then my job.

All these things added up as “other body stress” and also to not counting as carefully (even with my keeping a food diary) as I should have been doing, which matters a great deal when you are using Dr Atkins’ plan.

So, even though I was still low-carb, still not eating wheat, sugar or other high-grade carbs, I’d got back to 20-22 size clothes and up to 16st 10lbs again. I never thought about giving up though, there was was too much good going on with everything else healthwise to simply change away from low-carbing, even if I wasn’t “getting thin”, as I was convinced that would come evenutally once my metabolism sorted itself out.

It was about that time that I wrote an article for CarbHealth about my recently discovered Polycystic Ovaries.  That story stops just short of my actually seeing the consultant, which happened September 2003.

Seeing that consultant was quite possibly the saddest thing that has ever happened in my life. I got a diagnosis not of PCOS, but of Endometriosis, based on the facts that my Hormone profile was picture perfect (Personally, I put that down to the beneficial effects of low-carbing) and there were small spots of endometrial tissue on my sigmoid colon.

He prescribed a 3 month course of Zolodex implant pellets to stop my ovaries producing Oestrogen and Livial Oestrogen pills for the last 2 months to prevent bone loss.

The treatment sent me rather insane.  The impact to my body and brain of screeching my Osetorgen production to a halt was both major and cataclysmic.

Almost overnight from the first Pellet implant, I started to gain weight and lose my mind, and when the Livial was added the process accelerated.

So I also started self-medicating with sugar, as my mind was screaming for something to just stop the crazy.

It wasn’t helped by the fact that two days after the first pellet implant,  my then boyfriend decided that it was time to call our relationship quits. To his credit however, he very much supported me through the next 3 months, and is still one of my best friends now.

Three months later;  a whole bunch of tears cried over my ex (for both reasons of us splitting, and my general bat-shit crazyness), random eating and “crazy-mad-angst” had happened. I landed up 18st 7llbs. Over the course of the following year, even as I tried to get my eating back under control, I gained another stone, pretty much all on my tummy. My body Oestrogen/Insulin systems were so out of whack that I don’t think I could have avoided gaining that visceral fat.

Back in the size 26 clothes, but not quite back inside my mind I was totally held in the thrall of carbs again. I’d say that it took pretty much took 2005 and 2006 for my body to settle back out again.

My mind came back to some level of normal about a month after stopping the medication, although there was a great deal of “fog”,  a tiredness in everything I was feeling and doing.  Sleeping 14 hours a day over the weekends, I was still dog tired Monday morning.

Physically, in that first year after Zolodex/Livial I had virtually no periods at all, then I started a year’s worth of pretty much constant menstruation.

I’m sure you can guess,  I wasn’t loving my body, and it wasn’t loving me. Despite all my rational brain knew, I just wasn’t in a place where I could not but love myself with Food. I didn’t have space inside me to let go of the Sugar again, it made me feel better, dragged me through the day, that same-ol’ same ol’ addiction pattern.

However, just because you can see the pattern, it doesn’t make you less of a person if you cannot step away from it at that time.

Time turned, and the fog finally started to lift.  I could feel that I wasn’t totally back on form,  but that physically I was very drained simply from losing so much iron all the time.

My gynaecologist had suggested (but not documented) when I saw him that a Mirena IUS be fitted once I’d completed my Zolodex if  my periods did not regulate, so finally I took myself off to the FPC round the corner from work, and after tests and investigations on my womb by the very good nurses there, got my Mirena fitted in Jan 2007.

From there, things definately leveled out. I stopped bleeding, started eating a little better (less junk but still not anywhere near to Low-carbing) and the casual relationship I started early 2006 sorted itself into a more serious/ stable affair.

One of the things that my partner got me doing was cycling. My muscles loved that. My body reshaped. I kept thinking “I really must go LC to help this muscle building process along!” but I didn’t. I’d moved house at the beginning of 2007, and I hated my kitchen. I wasn’t ready to spend time in a place I didn’t like to do all the cooking that LC needs… My adddict brain hadn’t reached it’s “rock-bottom” yet, was still finding excuses.

2008 was the year of starting house renovations and some quite horrific back pain. I’d been at the Osteopath on and off since late 2005 for knee and back pain, a few sessions of wonderful clunking and clicking and I’d be sorted and away. However, December 2007 I managed to give myself a serious L3-L4 Capsular strain, and whilst taking X-Rays to ensure I didn’t have bone degeneration, we discovered that I have a slight congenital scoliosis in my lumbars and one leg 2cm shorter than the other. Sorting out the Capsular strain and accompanying Fasset irritation took most of 2008 to calm down. So, NO cycling, total house turmoil and so no proper thought over eating either.

2009? I’m thinking on it now, and nothing notable happened.  The house was (and still is) in pieces, and I didn’t start cycling regularly again after getting my back sorted enough to be mobile again. Work got manic, with lots of late nights and weekend overtime. Couple that with a hectic social life to distract from the home chaos –  being tired from both too much work and too many carbs. I had all the same hypoglycemic, dry-eyed, dull-skinned problems of the past. I knew the fix, just didn’t have the energy to have the motivation to eat properly.

However, from about November 2009, I finally knew I was ready to be LC again, I just had to find the time to get the carbs out of my system without distraction.

Chance favours the prepared mind, and I took the opportunity when  my partner headed off to Holland for a 3 day stag-weekend in March 2010. No-one in the house to cook for but me? No-where for me to be but at home? Stock up on Veggeis, Steak and Cream!!!

I didn’t weigh myself when I started again. I didn’t really want to know just how bad it had got. I just knew that I was edging out of the size 26’s and into the 28’s.

I know that about middle 2009 I was 19st 8lb… I can only guess it was about the same or worse.

I also don’t want to get obssessed with the numbers. That way madness lies, especially given my hormonal history.

Dr Barry Groves’ “Eat Fat, Get Thin” and “Natural Health and Weight Loss” is where my philosophy is at now, as I’m very much with Dr Groves in that I believe that the lower you go to start, the lower you have to keep to convince your body to burn it’s fats away, and keeping yourself counting is just another form of diet slavery.

I choose to eat right – Cut out the processed carbs & the junk sugars, make sensible choices over the natural carbs, and up the Protein & the Fat to far more appropriate ratios for health.

I probably eat 40-60g a day and I know on some days, when I allow myself the pleasure of a stolen chip or two from a friend in a restaurant, or a couple of glasses of wine with Dinner, that I probably touch 100g or so.

However, what I’m doing is very sustainable. Low Carbing is all about making good food choices, and acknowledge that if I make a higher carb choice every now and then, that these can be enjoyed without guilt as long as the portion is realistic.

As I make these better, more natural choices I feel better and can relax enough to just let my body take care of the rest.

Which, given that I’m now (13/08/2010) at 16st 10LB, my Pre-Zoladex weight, I know that it will.

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As I said at the very start of the page, 2010 is the 10 year anniversary of my registering LCUK.

The code hadn’t been updated since I wrote the site all those years ago, and a definate spring-clean has in order for a few years! I also had to take the site down for a while because of a rather nasty stalker I picked up on a totally unrelated internet forum. So, that seemed to be the perfect opportunity to put the content into a modern, flexible, accessibility friendly CMS. WordPress.

So, here’s to all forms of new beginnings.

Enjoy!

Love and slushiness
Nikki