Weight Loss Tips


Kent: An Atkins weight loss success story

Kent Weight Loss success before and after




October 31 2007

Kent Altena

City & country: Polk City, Iowa, USA
Age: 35
Weight before diet: 429 lbs.
Weight now: 218 lbs.
Target weight: 220 lbs.

Losing more than 200 pounds in 15 months and reaching his target weight through the Atkins diet and exercise not only made Kent look better, it made him feel healthier as well. See how Kent transformed some of the challenges of doing a low-carb diet into something that's fun to do and learn about the mindset techniques he used during his weight loss journey -- and which he's still using now to maintain his weight and his health.

-What finally made you decide to start with a weight loss program?
One fateful airplane trip, where I was cramped in the window side, convinced me I could not live like this for much longer. Seeing my former National Guard friends be deployed without me also shamed me for being not allowed to reenlist due to my weight. Walking up steps would cause me to be out of breath for minutes. I also had a severe case of sleep apnea, which while treated still left me with a lack of energy.

-What type of weight loss program did you follow?
Atkins Diet, 2002 version

-Why did you choose this weight loss program?
My brother, who was also over 400 pounds, had started the diet on January 1, and despite my skepticism and claims of it being a fad diet, he proceeded to lose 75 pounds. I thought if he could do it, so could I.

-How long were you on your weight loss program?
As any true Atkineer knows, you never go off the Atkins Diet. You simply migrate to the Maintenance phase. I have been on the diet for over 3 and half years now. It took me 15 months however to lose the weight though.

-What kinds of physical activities do you like doing to maintain your weight and to stay fit?
When I initially started losing weight, I found walking for 5 minutes straight to be tiresome. I gradually worked my way up to biking 30-40 miles per day. After reenlisting in the National Guard, I started running. That led to doing a very fun cross country race, called Living History Farms race, and I was hooked. From there, I trained and did Half Marathon, and this year I will be running my first full marathon.

-What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome or are still overcoming?
The most difficult obstacle was relearning how to cook some of my favorite foods. Doing low carb means a lot of your former comfort foods are suddenly unacceptable. Finding new ways to cook the classics, like Fried Chicken or Mashed potatoes, made eating a lot more fun. I can't recommend finding good recipe sites highly enough.

-How did you keep yourself motivated?
By being challenged with easily quantifiable goals, such as wanting to run this race or I want to reduce my Body Fat % by this date. It is by achieving these goals that demonstrated how far I had come from the guy who simply living to live and didn't care how he looked. If I was having a stubborn goal (such as weight that wasn't going off quickly enough), changing or tweaking the goal can sometimes break the log jam. 

-Do you have any weight loss tips for our readers?
Probably more than the readers would like to hear.  :-D  First, you have to believe it can be done. Self-doubt is one of the greatest killers of any weight loss plan. You start to doubt that it can be done, that the goal is too hard, and that invariably leads to wanting to cheat or wanting to comfort yourself with foods. It is a perpetual cycle for failure. 

I found if I wore my weightloss plan and goal on my sleeve that I would be more likely to stay true. What I am talking about is promoting accountability. I blogged my weightloss and documented how the weight was coming off. Even if no one was paying attention, I imagined they and my coworkers were. 

Finally, you should find a support group whether it be online or in real life. Joining the group promotes the accountability aspect, and it also helps your motivation and often if you have questions, someone will be there with an answer. I can rattle off lists of names of other Atkineers that assisted me in getting to goal.  Don't make your weightloss activity a private thing – there are certainly others willing to join you for the journey.

-Do you think it will be easy to fall back into your old lifestyle pattern? How do you prevent this from happening?
Absolutely not. I found that once you start a path and keep making the same choices every day deviating from the habit takes work. It may be difficult to start an exercise plan, but once you are doing it daily for months, your body and mind begin to crave the routine. Inertia can be used for good. Good habits can be just as hard to break as bad ones. That is the reason I advise people to not try plans like carb cycling (low carb one day, high carb the next) for weight loss. Anything that seems like a trick or that you plan to quit one day to eat “normal” is a recipe for recidivism.

-Do you have a favorite Web site or blog that helped or inspired you to lose weight?
My blog which features a lot of my weightloss and exercise thoughts is: Network-Admin and Weightloss Blog (http://www.network-admin.net).

My YouTube success story video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmRaD683OXU&eurl) and other low carb informational and cooking videos can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=bowulf.

My favorite low carb forum site is: Atkins Diet Bulletin Board (http://www.atkinsdietbulletinboard.com)

The best low carb site for those wanting to keep up to date with the latest news in the world of low carb is Living la Vida Low Carb by Jimmy Moore: (http://livinlavidalocarb.blogspot.com)