Growing up, I was always overweight.
I never exercised, and I found most of my comfort through food—and not the healthy stuff; my diet was carbs, carbs, and more carbs. (I loved pasta, bread, and potatoes.)
But, while I spent most of my life overweight, I also spent that time wanting to lose weight. Taking the steps to doing so, though, always seemed overwhelming.
When I had my children, I hoped that they'd be naturally thin like their father—for my son, that turned out to be true; but my daughter began growing into a body type similar to mine. I was teased and uncomfortable in my body growing up, and I didn't want her to go through that same experience.
I knew I needed to learn how to lose weight so I could teach my daughter how to eat healthy.
Another thing that prompted my weight-loss commitment: After divorcing my husband, I plunged back into the dating game, but I was incredibly disappointed with how I looked.
Around this time, I also moved in with my dad and stepmum, who mentioned she had done the Atkins diet years ago. She said it helped her, so I decided to give it a try—that was in February 2017.
I was surprised at how easy it was to follow the Atkins diet.
The plan focuses on counting carbohydrates (healthy, fibre-rich ones), while still getting adequate protein and healthy fats. It's also broken up into four phases: Phase one allows 20 grams of net carbs a day, and it increases with each phase after that.
While you can eat a wide range of things on Atkins—as long as it stays within the carb limitations—Atkins also has their own line of low-carb foods made specifically for the diet.
These Atkins-approved foods made following the plan even easier. I knew if I was having a hard time figuring out what to have for dinner or a snack, Atkins had my back.
Here's what a typical day on the Atkins diet looked like:
- Breakfast: a few slices of bacon and two eggs sprinkled with low-carb cheese.
- Lunch: a salad with lots of veggies and homemade ranch dressing (a mix of mayo and low-carb powder seasoning).
- Dinner: chicken with a big mix of veggies like mushrooms, peppers, and onions.
- Snacks: cheese sticks or Atkins candies.
I knew I had to work out to lose weight too, but the gym didn't appeal to me. I started walking instead.
I have a very long driveway—it's about 400m long, so each time I walked up and back equated to 800m. I started walking back and forth on the driveway four to eight times a day—that amounted to 3 to 7km daily.
Exercising made a huge difference: I not only started losing weight quicker, but I also felt myself getting stronger and more toned. Seeing those changes in my body was all the motivation I needed to stick to my Atkins diet and exercise regimen.
And even though Atkins turned out to be a diet I could stick with, it wasn't necessarily easy. Snacking is still a major temptation for me, so I make sure to carry around healthy snacks (like the cheese sticks and Atkins candies I love) so I don't fall for gas station treats. And, with two kids to take care of, I have to make time to get in a workout—that means early in the morning before they wake up or well after they go to bed.
Losing weight has finally made me feel happy with myself—something I haven't felt in a long time.
I can take photos now and actually look at them without being embarrassed. Of course, I feel better and have more energy for my kids too, but it all adds up to feeling happy and comfortable in my own skin.
Weight loss isn't a one-time thing—you can't revert back to your old diet once you lose the weight and expect to not gain the weight back. Instead of being just a diet, Atkins taught me how to change my lifestyle—now, I can pass on my newfound healthy eating habits to my kids so they don't have to go through what I went through.
As told to Danielle Page. This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US.