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May 13, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Missouri Woman Lost Over 150 Pounds On Atkins
Jimmy Moore
April 26, 2006

The following is a reprint from the blog "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb":

As you know, I can come down pretty hard on journalists who exhibit a hostile, negative tone towards the low-carb lifestyle because I believe they are unfairly monopolizing the information about one of the most healthy, effective nutritional approaches out there that is helping so many people lose weight and keep it off forever. I make no apologies for openly confronting anyone in the media who does this and will continue to speak out in defense of livin' la vida low-carb anytime I see it incorrectly being reported.

However, today I want to applaud someone who I had previously expressed my disappointment with. She is Health & Fitness Editor Amy Bertrand from the St. Louis-Dispatch. In July 2005, I blogged about her article praising sugar and dismissing claims that it has contributed to the obesity problem in America. I disagreed of course.

"Sugar should be avoided like the plague because it has caused more harm than good," I wrote in a blog post at the time. "I'm telling you, ever since I eliminated sugar from my diet entirely, my quality of life has drastically improved and I can feel the difference in my body."

But let's give credit to Bertrand today for this column praising a 37-year-old low-carb weight loss success story named Colleen Awalt. It is rare to hear a low-carb story, especially about a woman, so I am proud of Bertrand for having the courage to print it.

Like so many of us, Awalt lamented weighing 320 pounds at 5'2" tall and was desperate to do SOMETHING about her weight after suffering from being overweight her entire life because of, well, life. I've said it many times, don't let LIFE get in the way of weight loss because it most certainly will. This was painfully true in Awalt's life.

After briefly contemplating gastric bypass surgery and wisely deciding against it, she turned to a healthy, nutritious and delicious way of eating that she had seen one of her friends experience tremendous success doing: the Atkins diet.

Like my Atkins experience two years ago, Awalt quickly began losing weight when she started livin' la vida low-carb. The first month she lost 20 pounds, 45 pounds in four months, and was so stoked it gave her the motivation she needed to eventually shed a whopping 150+ pounds from her body and become "normal"-sized again. WOO HOO, YOU GO COLLEEN! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

"I was able to walk into the store and try one on off the rack, and it fit," Awalt told Bertrand in the story. "I kept staring at myself in the mirror. I felt like a princess."

All of us who have lost weight can certainly relate. You really do feel special inside that first time you don't have to go to a specialty store that starts off with "Big & Tall" in the name to buy clothes. There no way you could ever pay me enough money to walk back inside of one of those overpriced stores EVER again! LOL! The good thing is -- I DON'T HAVE TO! Go me, go me! :P

Serving as an example of what low-carb living is about, Awalt said she exercised often and ate whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Most importantly, she made livin' la vida low-carb her permanent LIFESTYLE CHANGE!

While I enjoy doing the elliptical machine and playing basketball and volleyball for my regular exercise, Awalt does kickboxing and credits it as a major part of her weight loss success. It really does make a BIG difference in your low-carb plan when you add exercise to the equation. Stop your grumbling, it REALLY does! Just ask Colleen about her hunka hunka burning muscles! Whoa nellie! :)

Rather than weighing herself on a bathroom scale like many of us do, Awalt tracked her success in inches -- as in the ones she was melting away on her body! She said it was "empowering" for her to see the pounds coming off at such a rapid pace.

But, like me, she then had to start dealing with a different kind of problem...EXCESS SKIN! With an abdominoplasty surgery costing thousands and thousands of dollars, Awalt had the same collective GULP that I did when faced with the cost of the procedure.

Nevertheless, this was too important to Awalt for her to NOT have it done, so she borrowed the money from family members and adjusted her living expenses to pay for it.

"I have so many people who support me who wanted to help," she said.

Oh how I envy her. People often ask me about whether I still have hanging skin and the answer is YES! Even after keeping the weight off for nearly a year and a half and doing more ab crunches than I can remember, the skin is still just hanging around (all pun intended!). I would LOVE to have this taken care of in my abdomen and in my inner thighs someday, but it will have to wait until I can financially make it happen.

For Awalt, they removed 8 inches of skin from her waist which weighed 15 pounds. I'm sure I have about 15-20 pounds of skin on me, too. However, the reality of having that tummy tuck surgery is that it is painful and puts you out of commission for a little while. In the end, though, I KNOW it is all worth it!

"It's crazy how this skin is," she says. "When you weigh that much it affects you in so many ways."

Yeah it does. Now that I have overcome that weight monster in my life, I am enjoying aspects of life that I never thought would be possible for me. It's something that's hard for people who have never had a weight problem to understand. But it is an amazing feeling. Right, Colleen?

Awalt also encountered some difficult times when she got out of her routine with her eating and exercise and the weight started going back up again. But she took control of the situation when she saw this happening and has begun the weight loss phase again in earnest to get back down. Kudos to you for making this a real life change and not just a "fad" diet weight loss gimmick as so many attempt to describe low-carb.

Wanna know what a typical menu for Awalt is? Check this out:

"Breakfast is usually some cottage cheese and fruit and one hard-boiled egg with decaf tea. For lunch she'll eat a salad at a local restaurant or she'll go home to eat grilled chicken and a green vegetable. She eats dinner early, around 4:30 or 5 p.m., so she can get to her workout. Dinner might consist of a tuna sandwich on wheat bread and a vegetable. She drinks "tons of water" throughout the day, and tries not to eat after 7 p.m."

It sounds like this triple-digit low-carb weight loss success story is doing just fine serving as a prime example for others to follow who want and desire a great way to lose weight and keep it off.

Share your compliments to Amy Bertrand for an excellent story by e-mailing her at .

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