candy-s-before-and-after

Candy S. Before and After!

Meet Candy S!

She’s been following the AH plan for 9 months now and she’s eager to share her journey with you! Every body is different and what’s wonderful about Candy’s story is that she found what works for her. We hope these stories motivate you, but we also want you to remember that each body will have different needs and experiences on the AH plan. Be gentle with yourself and learn to listen to what your body needs.

“After a decade of depriving myself…

…and still being heavy, I gave up and decided I would eat whatever I wanted. After all, if I was going to be heavy, I might as well enjoy food.

A few years later, I was miserable. I had outgrown even the “plus” sizes in most stores and I could barely move. Just walking across a room left me breathless and it took me all day to do a few simple household chores because I had to take so many breaks. I was terrified I was going to end up in a wheelchair if I didn’t do something.

So, after an OK from my doctor, I started walking in December. I walked a few yards and then a few more, until I was finally able to walk 1/4 mile, but it took everything out of me. I would come in, lie down for a few minutes and then get something to eat. I knew I wouldn’t lose any weight this way, which led to more frustration. I told my husband I felt like if I didn’t lay down, I would pass out. The more I walked, the more I slept and the more I ate. I knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what to do about it.

A few days later, my husband heard Dr. Ludwig on the radio.

He texted me a link to his book and told me it sounded like exactly what I was describing — like I wasn’t using the stored energy and was always exhausted and hungry. He suggested I order the book to see if it would help.

At the end of January, I started the eating plan. I went online and told the world what I was doing. I knew I needed their support, but I also wanted them to understand why I wasn’t partaking in potlucks or accepting gifts of food anymore. Based on the book, I figured I would lose about 50 pounds a year — meaning it would take me 3 years to lose the weight, but I prepared myself mentally and jumped in.

The menus were much more than I normally spend on food, but I followed them with very few substitutions for the first week. The first day was hard. The second much easier. By the end of the week, I had more energy and felt better. I started walking again and soon found myself coming in from my walk and doing the dishes — no nap or snack required.

By the end of the second week, I could no longer eat all of the food on the menu and I was walking further and further.

The pounds and the inches were falling off — literally.

I was afraid to break the magic — I have never lost weight this fast in my life — so I stayed on Phase 1 for a third week.

I own my own business and had an event on the third week. It was difficult to not eat the pizza, muffins, chocolate and popcorn everyone else was, but I filled myself with food I had brought. Many people commented on my weight loss (my clothes were baggy at this point) and how much healthier I looked. That was enough to keep me going.

When week 5 came, I finally started making my own meals.

(I needed to make the grocery bill more reasonable and I am not a fan of salads, so I was eager to try some different things.) This is also when I started going out to eat and having dinner with friends and family again. I was surprised at how easy it is to find things to eat at a restaurant that fit in the program (as closely as one can do when the food is not all homemade). This was an important step for me because I knew in order to make these changes for life, I needed to make sure it fit into my lifestyle, and going out to eat once or twice a month is something we do.

When I started this eating plan, I set aside some goals for myself — things that I would do after losing a designated amount of weight.

I reached my first goal, 50 pounds, Memorial Day weekend. My goal was to try to ride a bike again after 25 years. I borrowed a bike and did it! My husband and I bought bikes and have been riding all over all summer long.

In June, my husband and I took a trip up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We spent an entire week camping, walking beaches, hiking through forests and photographing waterfalls. I took some food with me, but we did eat out a lot. My meals weren’t perfect, but they were close. Although I didn’t lose any weight for a few weeks after that trip, I did keep my energy up. And, I climbed 96 steps to the top of a lighthouse and hiked about 7 miles. That didn’t include any of the walking we did on the beaches or around the towns while exploring. For a girl who could barely walk from the couch to the refrigerator six months earlier, that was pretty amazing!

To date, I have lost 70 pounds.

My waist is 14 inches smaller. I can bike for 13 miles. I have learned to kayak. I still wear plus-sized tops, but I am in misses sizes on the bottom. I can clean the entire house without a break. And, I can carry a 30-pound bag of chicken feed! I still have another 100 pounds to go, but I feel like a whole new person. I have confidence to try new things; I’ve learned to laugh at myself; and I feel pretty. Those are huge accomplishments for someone like me who used to hide in the corner and was always afraid to meet anyone new because she was so fat and ugly.

I need to come up with another set of goals for the next 100 pounds, but I can’t seem to stop moving long enough to do it!

My advice to those just starting out…

…is to follow the book. Stick as close as you can to the menu plans for the first few weeks. Try foods you think you don’t like — you may be surprised. My tastes have changed drastically since starting this program, although I still hate salads.

Be sure to follow the mental prep, too. I turned my lists, like “why I am doing this,” into art journal pages (I’m a paper artist). I look back at them whenever I am feeling down. It may seem small, but re-reading things like “being able to walk a mile” and “wearing a cute bra” gave me renewed energy. As those things happened, I put a star next to them and came up with new things to add to the list.

And walk after meals — even if it is just after dinner. I found the walk helps you stop eating (on those days when you want to continue to eat after you’re full) and it makes you feel good inside. It also makes you want to do something during the evening, rather than take a nap or lay down in front of the TV.

Oh, and keep in mind that gas stations are your friend! If you are busy and traveling or running errands and find yourself hungry with no time to eat, gas stations are much better than fast food. Cheese, nuts, beef jerky, apples, milk, water and unsweetened ice tea are usually offered. It may not be perfect, but it’s certainly better than a hamburger and fries. Plus it’s quick and you can eat on the road.

My favorite part about this program is probably the food.

I am not sure I could have made such a drastic change without the menu plans and recipes to follow. That gave me enough time to change my taste buds and learn portion control. It’s been about 9 months since I started and I still cook many of the recipes in the book — although I am anxiously awaiting new ones!”

Thank you so much, Candy, for sharing your story!

You can view similar stories on our Reader Stories page. If you’d like to be featured in our newsletter, please contact us at mystory @ alwayshungrybook .com (without spaces). We love before and after photos as well!

  • Phyllis Straus

    I have had the book for a while and seem to easily find reasons not to get started. I am truly inspired by Candy’s story and plan to get myself organized this week. Thank you, Candy. You are amazing!!

    • drdavidludwig

      Thanks Phyllis. If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend joining our Facebook Community for more inspiration, support, recipes, etc. It’s free and a place where Dr. Ludwig and I interact with our readers on a regular basis. Glad to have you on the AH journey! –Chef Dawn
      http://www.Facebook.com/groups/AlwaysHungryBook

    • Candy Spiegel

      Thank you. I know it is hard to get started, but think of how great you will feel in just a week!

  • Lisa

    So awesome, Candy! Thanks for giving us renewed determination. Keep up the good work!

    • Candy Spiegel

      Thank you.

  • Geraldine Smith Parkin

    Candy you look fabulous