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Atkins, Paleo and low carb diet weight loss success tales: How they kept it off

Read about low carb diet success stories.
Read about low carb diet success stories.
Victory Belt Publishing

What does it take to lose weight and keep it off? There are hundreds of stories about losing weight - but keeping it off seems to get less attention. Find out how these success stories won at weight loss and maintained their pounds-off platforms in exclusive interviews.

Plus:

Atkins Success Story: Sugar-Free Sheila

"Through childhood and early adulthood, I carried extra weight - and even with daily, hour-long treadmill walking sessions coupled with portion control as well as fat and caloric restriction, it just never seemed to come off," says Sheila. "Specifically, I gave Slim Fast, the Cabbage Soup Diet, the Blood Type Diet, and veganism a wholehearted go; but sadly, none of these got me anywhere. Not even a small taste of temporary success - nothing. So when women come to me frustrated after having similar experiences, I can truly empathize. I've been there."

When she first tried the Atkins diet, she "skipped reading the book and just followed it my way! Needless to say this haphazard approach offered me no weight loss after a solid month - even with daily cardio. So I blamed my folly on the program's so-called ineffectiveness and didn't look back ... for three years. In this second attempt, I read the Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution book this time, followed the program in accordance with the text, and was half a pound down the following morning. Five months later, I was at my ideal-weight goal. Thirteen years later, I am still maintaining that same dress size today."

Sheila notes that she follows the Atkins diet but uses Primal-style guidelines. "Lots of non-starchy vegetables, low-glycemic fruits, adequate protein, enough fat to sate the appetite, and dairy in moderation. I'm also a non-drinker. Commercial low-carb products are also not a part of my daily menu - in fact, to this day I've yet to try a low-carb tortilla."

Paleo Success Story: Marie

Marie says that she went on her first diet in high school. "We all carried around calorie books and competed to see who could lose the most weight." She then dieted all through college and the first part of her career.

"It seemed endless. I would try every new diet, convinced it would be the 'answer,' and then fail again." And then Marie read a book by Dr. Loren Cordain, the Paleo diet expert.

"It was the first time that I had read a book that I felt I could follow for life instead of just a few weeks," says Marie. "I never felt wel after eating dairy or grains, so even though it was hard at first, I felt so much better that it was worth it."

After one year, she had lost 80 pounds. Marie has maintained that weight loss for seven years.

Low Carb Diet Success Story: Ben

"Most people think that going on diets constantly is something only women do," says Ben."But my parents put me on my first diet when I was eight years old."

A rebel, he hid food in his closet, used his allowance at McDonald's and viewed his admission to an East Coast university like a meal ticket to Temptation Island. "I got all A's, but I also gained more than 100 pounds during my four years there," he now admits ruefully.

Ben succeeded in his career, climbing the ladder at an advertising company. "But then I was tactfully told that I would do better if I looked more, ahem, streamlined when I met with clients," he says.

After contemplating suing the company for weight discrimination, Ben decided to "take a good long look in the mirror. I didn't like what I saw. "

He tried low-fat diets, vegan plans and even "the old-fashioned cabbage soup diet. Which made even my boss try to avoid me from the odor."

Then Ben came across two books by low-carb diet expert Gary Taubes. "It was like the cartoon light bulb went on in my head," he recalls of "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It” and “Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health."

Ben gradually learned to forget his fear of fats and to focus on adding them to his diet, along with protein. "I realized I was good at prepping for meetings with clients and researching but not so good about prepping for my own health," he says. "So I 'prepped' and researched everything I could find about low carb diets, especially ketogenic diets because once I started to test myself, I lost weight quickly."

After jump-starting his weight loss at one point with a Fat Fast, Ben followed the "principles that I read about in Jimmy Moore's books and on his Web site," he said.

Note: Jimmy has authored a new book, "Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet."

It's now been eight years since Ben began his low-carb diet weight loss journey. He has lost a total of 130 pounds and maintained it successfully. As for his career? "I'm now the client services manager," says the trim and toned Ben proudly.

Help for Sticking with It

Relationship expert and "Ask April" columnist April Masini offers this advice: "Dieting isn’t just what you put in your mouth. It’s what goes through your head. In other words, it’s a mindset, not just a behavior. If you approach dieting as a true meeting of the mind and body, you may have a much easier time."

Worried about relationships when you're dieting?

Dieting isn’t just about eating — it’s about your relationships while you’re dieting, so — don’t decline dinner parties! Getting out and socializing is part of health, and integrating your dieting self into your social circle is part of your dieting success. This is where you get to integrate your dieting self into the party. You can either tell your friends that you’re declining a sugary cocktail in exchange for a less caloric white wine spritzer or a weak vodka and club soda because you’re dieting, or you can just do it, and let them figure it out. By telling them, you may get their support. Some friends, once they know, will ask you if you’d like an alternative drink, entree — or even prepare lower fat, sugar — whatever — food in solidarity. Sometimes your healthy habits are contagious!

If you have food pushers in your family, be honest, says April.

"A real relationship is an honest one, and white lies are okay, now and then, but being honest about yourself is an opportunity for you to expand the relationship you have with that aunt. Elderly doesn’t mean fragile in every case — and we all know tough, little old ladies! So try being less afraid of maintaining a status quo that is stale and dishonest, and focus more on an honest relationship that is expanding because you say no to her cake! You may be pleasantly surprised by her reaction — but if you don’t let her know about your diet, you’ll never get the opportunity to see what that reaction she has, is."