A Lighter, Healthier New Year!

I used to be obese.

Back in 1997 or so, when I was freshly diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, they put me on steroids. Now, I wasn’t all that petite beforehand, but the steroids (as they do with many people) helped me pack on quite a few pounds. When all was said and done, and I got on different medication that didn’t help break my body further, I weighed around 210. On a 5’4″ frame, that’s quite a lot. I tried low-fat dieting and made it down a few pounds, but I felt terrible, my disease flared, and I was hungry all the time.

In 2002, I discovered low-carb. I don’t remember how I initially heard about it, but I immediately went to the library and read several of the books out at that time: Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, Protein Power, The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet, and a few others. My husband, carrying a few extra pounds himself, got on board, we picked Atkins, and we got to work.

From March, 2002 to April, 2003, I made my way down to 130 pounds. From a size 20/22 to an 8. My Crohn’s was in remission, and I was feeling much better. But in the following five years, I made the mistake so many do — I thought I could go back to eating a “normal” diet, visiting fast food places “occasionally”, not worrying about carbs or portion sizes or anything. And of course, the weight came back. I held steady at around 145 for a couple of years, but a move across the country, a new job, and new stresses started the scale creeping upward again. I wore a size 12 when I moved to Florida. Two years later, I was fitted for pants at work, and had to take the 16s. I was miserable again, my Crohn’s was flaring, all the old unhappiness with my body was back. Things had to change.

We started eating low-carb again in November of 2008. Atkins again, although I have to have an eye out that I don’t eat too much fiber (the Crohn’s doesn’t like it). And even more reading. Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon. Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories. All of the old books again, and newer ones as well. And more online resources than there were in 2002, especially blogs like the one by Protein Power’s Dr. Michael Eades. This time, not only do I understand how the diets work, I also understand how our bodies work. And that will make all the difference — knowing that it’s not just a quick trick to weight loss, but a way of keeping toxic foods out of my body.

So now, a year after the re-start, here’s where I stand:
November 2008/December 2009
Weight: 165/133
Waist: 30″/24.5″
Hips: 45″/39″
Size: 16/8

It’s been a slow loss compared to the 2002-2003, but I’ve had a lot less to lose. And 32 pounds in a year is nothing to sneeze at! My cholesterol numbers are great, my blood pressure was recently clocked at 100/62. My Crohn’s is in remission thanks to new non-steroid medications. I’m not quite at my goal of 130, but I’ll get there. Really, I could stay here; size 8 is great, and I’m happy with my body as-is.

Here’s a Missy from the past, versus Missy of this morning. Enjoy my morning hair.

1998, 200+ pounds / 2009, 133 pounds

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  1. Pingback: Weight Loss » Blog Archive » A Lighter, Healthier New Year!

  2. It’s very likely that your remissions of Crohn’s are linked to carb restriction.

    Read the book by Wolfgang Lutz “Life Without Bread.” Dr. Lutz discusses his clinical experience with carb restriction and Crohn’s.

    My daughter also has Crohn’s, and is doing very well without any meds but using carb restriction.

    Best wishes for continued health and fitness.

    missy Reply:

    Oh, I’m pretty certain that the Crohn’s is helped immensely by carb restriction. Taubes mentions Crohn’s, as does the Enig/Fallon book and The Protein Power Lifeplan, among others. I haven’t read Lutz, and sadly, our county library system doesn’t have it.

    I’d love to try going med-free, but my doctor is against it. He believes that a remission WITH medication is better than a remission without, because a remission without may not be truly disease-free; you could be mildly flaring and not know it, which causes more damage down the road. I’m rolling with it for now. At least he doesn’t have a problem with the low-carb diet; I hear that some doctors would go nuts if they heard that’s how I eat.

    I’m glad to hear your daughter is doing well with her Crohn’s. Have a great 2010!

  3. Pingback: themissy.com » A Lighter, Healthier New Year! | protein-power-lifeplan | protein-power-lifeplan needs supplementing

  4. Awesome! Good for you! Keep up the good work! I’m rooting for you… I don’t have any illnesses that would restrict my diet, so my “low-carb” (not carb-free) diet is simply a matter of not being addicted to starch, as so many in this country are. I like mono-unsaturated fats as well as animal fat, and I consume lots of dairy. I’m 5’3″, and for me, 130 is my “ugly number” – but this is because I’ve never been obese… so because of weather and unemployment-related depression (mild tho it’s been), I’m over my ugly number and would love to get back below it. I no longer have delusions of 115 being a healthy weight for me, but low 120’s looks good on me. Since I have managed to eat better in the past few years, I know that now my issue is activity, not diet. Work keeps me active, and sunny (warmish) weather helps too. So I’m hoping 2010 brings me lots of both!
    Then maybe I’ll figure out how to improve my husband’s diet and activity level…

    missy Reply:

    Good luck getting down under the ugly number! If you’re not able to get some sunlight, can you supplement vitamin D3?

    I’m only an inch taller than you, but 130 works for me. My big issue is where I store my fat — my top half can look emaciated if I get too light, while my hips and butt are still large. Right now, you can easily count my ribs, so I’m definitely in a goal-ish place. I mean, you can see from the measurements that it’s an almost 15-inch difference between my waist and hips. Total pear shape.

    I admit, I’m lucky — Scott has been right along with me for all of these weight loss journeys. He’s dropped right around 35 pounds himself this last year.

  5. Here is a link to a translation of a section of an earlier book by Dr. Lutz:


    Dr. Lutz goes into lots of detail on many gastro ailments, including Crohns,if you scroll down about 1/3 of the way.

    One other thought: your doc may have it backwards: we know for sure that Crohn’s is not caused by a deficiency of any medication. But it may well be that true healing is prevented by excess carbs. We all have to make decisions about medications and diet without complete information.

  6. Congratulations on the weight loss. I just have to say though, I love your before picture. You look… jolly. And ‘surprised’ to see a camera.

    I’m attempting to lose weight right now, but I can’t restrict carbs, I like them too much. mmmmmm carbs. (looks at crackers next to bed, then to cookies hidden in bookcase, then to chocolate in the drawer)

    ps – They’re in my room so that I might eat them instead of other people, who will then blame me for buying them and “forcing them to eat them”. The cookies have been around for awhile…

  7. Nice one!

    I’d be interested in a little more detail on your diet. Apart from low carbs, are you doing anything else?

    I don’t know many people with whey protein in their cupboards!

    What do you aim for with your diet? Is it a calorie limit (plus protein and carb limit)??

  8. I don’t have whey protein in my cupboard because ricotta cheese provides exactly the same amount of protein, tsp for tsp, and it actually TASTES like food (plus, provides additional OOMPH to the texture of smoothies without making your fruit taste cheesy). Plus, I think it might be cheaper, tsp for tsp… and I have more room in my fridge for an average-size cheese tub than I have in my pantry for a humongoloid ginormous jug of powder from GNC! That might just be me, though. You might use so much that it’s cost effective for you, or maybe you don’t like the texture of ricotta.

    missy Reply:

    This is the first time I’ve ever bought the whey protein. A lot of low-carb recipes seem to want it, and treat it like a dry ingredient (which might not make it swappable for ricotta). I got a small can, so I’ll see what I can do with it, and if I like it.

    I actually have never eaten ricotta cheese. My brain puts it in the same category as cottage cheese, which I find gross.

  9. ricotta is a primary ingredient in most lasagnas, so back in your carb-full days you may have eaten it without noticing. it’s much creamier than cottage cheese, so you may want to give it a try (not necessarily to eat straight but as a sub for whey, or if you like fruit, you can have fresh fruit w/ about 1/2 a cup ricotta for a perfect small protein/carb meal!)

    speaking of carb restriction, which sources of carb are you allowed? fruit/veggies only, or do you ever eat rice? I know pasta and bread and potatoes are out.

    missy Reply:

    My mom only used mozzarella in lasagna. I don’t think I’ve had non-mom lasagna (or mom-style, when I made my own).

    Technically speaking, according to the rules of Protein Power, I can have up to 55 grams of carbohydrate per day, any kind I want. Although they encourage an emphasis on fresh veggies and lower-carb fruits (berries & melons), you could (if you choose to) have lower-carb bread or Dreamfields pasta or things of that nature. I choose to not eat wheat or other grains. I could eat potatoes, but they’re my personal Kryptonite, so I stay away from them. Most of my carbs come from veggies, dairy & nuts, although I got some gorgeous blackberries at Costco the other day and I’m eating those in moderation.

  10. My sister sent me a link to your masking-tape pants-copying entry and I’ve tooled around a little on your blog from there – thanks for sharing this story! Especially with all the cookie recipes and other sweets you post (I think I was reading your low-carb category). It’s so easy to think we have to be impossibly disciplined and never eat anything tasty ever again to be thin. I lost about 30 pounds in 2004 and have kept it off through a combination of exercise and having lost my taste for really sugary or fatty foods as well as things like white bread and potatoes. Listening to your body really does work – but it can take a lot of discipline to cut through the noise keeping you from doing so.
    Lovely blog. Best of luck in the new job!

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