148-Pound Low-Carb Weight Loss Success Story Epitomizes 'Lifestyle Change'
June 23, 2005
The following article is a reprint from my new blog called "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb":
I just love finding stories of people who have been successful livin' la vida low-carb because their success can and will motivate others to finally begin a low-carb lifestyle for themselves. No doubt that's exactly what Karen Kimball is hoping will happen with this WBRZ News 2 story from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Karen once tipped the scales at a hefty 274 pounds back in 1998. Just like me, she decided enough was enough with her unhealthy lifestyle choices that were ruining her physically and started livin' la vida low-carb beginning on March 1, 1998. Since then, she has lost 148 pounds and has maintained this weight loss for over five years! WOW! She has lost 54 percent of her starting weight (to give you perspective on this, I have ONLY lost 44 percent of my body weight!) and is sticking with it permanently. You go Karen!!!
"I've always been a large person. Even in my childhood, I was large," she said. "I often say that I was born at 175 pounds!"
I can certainly relate to that. It's funny how people who have struggled with their weight since childhood all seem to have the same perspective regarding weight problems. We think we were born this way because it's all we've ever known. We have tried anything and everything to lose weight and nothing has ever worked for us before we finally found the low-carb solution. Karen and I have been fortunate enough to find this lifestyle change before it was too late. I'm sure she would agree with me that telling as many people as possible about this amazingly healthy and delicious weight loss and weight maintenance plan is a passion she has now. It's hard not to tell others about something so miraculous in your life.
If you think everything was peaches and cream (metaphorically speaking, of course!) for Karen during her weight loss, then think again. She went through a divorce while this was happening, but exclaimed she has "never looked back."
One astute observation Karen has made is that "anybody can lose weight on any diet." It's true. I have made similar statements about weight loss and tell people to do whatever it is that they feel like they can do and continue to do. But Karen said people need to "change the lifestyle that put [the extra weight] on you in the first place."
"It has to come from inside you," she explained. "You have to do it for you, or you'll put it back on."
She's exactly right! That's what I tell people who ask my advice about what to do regarding weight loss. The biggest thing I tell them is to make up your mind right now that this is what you WANT to do and then DO IT! There are no excuses in the world that can derail you from your weight loss goals if you make up your mind once and for all that this is what you want to do. If you reach the point where you realize that you have to do this or something bad might happen to your health, then you have the right mindset to make a real lifestyle change.
After yo-yoing on many diets throughout the years, Karen started reading up on various low-carb programs and noticed they all had a common thread that recommended eliminating sugary foods from your diet. That low-sugar, low-carb way of eating has served her well ever since. She also eats brown rice, sweet potatoes and whole wheat pastas. However, Karen has wisely given up supposedly healthy, but very high-sugar foods such as bananas, raisins and carrots.
Another creative thing that Karen does that I tell people all the time to do is be prepared with low-carb foods so you don't put yourself in a situation where you cannot eat anything because all of the choices are loaded with carbs. She keep a jar of nuts with her at all times (so do it!) and she will bring her own whole-wheat bun to a restaurant to use when she orders a hamburger. Now I've never done that because I'm just so used to eating it bunless now, but that's a great idea. The point is to be ready with your own food if you know you will be dining out or visiting friends for dinner.
I just LOVE what she does with dill pickles. She buys a big jar of them, rinses them in water and places them in a mixture of vinegar and Equal (I would recommend Splenda, but to each his own!) for delicious sweet pickles. In fact, a Splenda-sweetened version of pickles is on store shelves today. Karen strongly supports Splenda (as do I!) and calls it a "miracle for dieters."
This is a lady after my own heart. She also scoffs at the notion that she needs to limit her fat intake, although she will opt for a lower fat product in recipes if she decides to make a low-carb dish. She uses low-fat cheese (EWWW!) in her chicken enchiladas along with whole-wheat tortilla. I would not opt for lower fat products because fat is the fuel that drives your low-carb weight loss. I say get the full-fat version of low-carb foods and enjoy every last bite!
I was surprised to read that Karen eats a lot of fruit, namely apples because they "satisfied" her and "curbed the appetite." But apples are not good for you to eat in excess, she is quick to note, and should be limited. Instead, eat strawberries, blueberries or raspberries with whipped cream and/or sugar-free chocolate. Yummy!
Karen shares my concern about what we are teaching future generations about healthy eating by "feeding them fast foods."
"Everything we give them is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Once we introduce them to all that sugar, it's very hard to take it away from them, Kimball remarked. "I think the FDA should limit the amount of sugar in foods. With health care costs and medical costs on teh rise, we have a national problem. Food is required for our needs -- if it's not healthful [like sugar], it shouldn't be on the market."
Whammo-bammo again, Karen!!! The addiction to sugar is as strong as any drug or alcohol addiction. We have rehab clinics for people with those addictions while the sugar addiction get completely ignored. And to think the President of the Corn Refiners Association is promoting HFCS as a healthy product for consumption. No wonder our kids getting obese at astronomical rates!
Suggesting mandatory nutrition education beginning in kindergarten through high school, Karen said there needs to be more "focus on nutrition." As an avid cook since home economics class in high school, she has learned to adapt her old recipes into low-carb masterpieces by tweaking just a few of the ingredients.
Another thing me and Karen have in common are the frequent double-takes we get from people who haven't seen us since we've lost weight. I love this little surprise as much as the old friend or family member. In fact, I'm going to visit my family in Tennessee next month and they haven't seen me since I was 410 pounds! I literally cannot wait to see the look on my dad's face when he sees how skinny I've gotten!
As a 30-year veteran of the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles, Karen fondly remembers preparing and cooking lunches for her co-workers after work each day. This lady's a real saint!
Last month, Karen tied the knot with her husband Mark Kimball and she is already giving him advice about how to keep his weight in check. With retirement approaching, she is hoping to go on the speaking circuit and might possibly write a book entitled "Fat Girls Do Get A Second Chance." Oh, that trumps "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" any day, Karen! LOL!
The article ends with Karen's world-famous sugar-free strawberry pie and chicken enchiladas. I am so glad I found out about Karen Kimball today. There are a lot more people like Karen and I who are happily livin' la vida low-carb in the real world despite the constant negativity that pervades through much of the media and misinformed public. I'd love to meet Karen someday and give her a big ole hug for carrying the torch of low-carb proudly. She is a true hero in my book! Can you tell I like this lady?! :-)
Karen, if you find this story and would like to comment, please send me an . I would LOVE to hear from you!