Turns out, diet talk is hugely popular–and controversial.
Author’s update: This post originally appeared in my website’s forum; I’ve reposted it here, along with this exciting news: MyZeroCarbLife.com has now reached 1,000,000 page views!
My wife, Kelly, has a pretty amazing story. A little more than ten years ago, she was overweight and miserable. When she went for an annual check-up with her doctor, he delivered sobering news: she needed to lose 100 pounds. Otherwise, she’d risk a lifetime of poor health. He had a simple but difficult suggestion: eating a very low-carbohydrate diet.
Sugars, which are the building blocks of most carbohydrates, are extraordinarily addictive. Science shows that eating sugar lights up the same neurons in your brain that blink on when you snort cocaine. If you’ve ever seen a kid wolf down a bowl of Sugar Smacks, this isn’t news to you.
Breaking addiction is extraordinarily difficult, and that’s the path my wife had to walk when it came to eating sugar. And, by God, she did it.
Over the course of a few years, through a strict low-carb and, eventually, a zero-carb diet coupled with an exercise regimen, she lost more than 120 pounds.
If you look at a picture of Kelly taken in 2004 and slide it next to a picture taken today, the difference is remarkable. Her transition from an unhealthy weight to a healthy one is mind-boggling. Transformative.
It’s hard to hide it when you lose so much weight, even when you’re mostly private about your endeavors. Naturally, friends and acquaintances of ours began reaching out. How on earth did you lose the weight? they asked. What can I do?
Help me, they frequently said. I need help.
I’ll admit that the idea started off a bit selfishly on my part. On more than one occasion, I said to Kelly that she ought to write down her story and publish it here, on this blog. At the very least, Kel wouldn’t have to write down over and over (and over) her story in Facebook messenger. She could tell it all in one place, then point people to the post in the future.
Meanwhile, I could appreciate the blog traffic.
Time went on, and finding the space to write all of it down came and went. Life with two kiddos is pretty full. Still, the questions came–monthly, weekly, sometimes a few times a week. Help me.
Then, back in January, the conversation about writing all of this down came back, and now Kelly had a little more time and energy to spend on it. On her birthday, we registered a new domain: MyZeroCarbLife.com. Neither of us was sure if the endeavor was worth it, or who the audience might be, or if it might be something she kept going. To save a little dough, I decided to host it on my website.
Kelly got busy writing the first couple of posts, and I worked on laying out the site and designing the graphics. Then, it was time to publish. When we clicked the button, sitting together down here in the office, I told Kel to keep her expectations modest. When I first started this blog in 2012, I wanted at least 50 readers for every post. That was the goal. “We’ll aim for fifty,” I said to Kel. She agreed.
Within two hours, 150 readers logged on to read the site’s only post. 450 more logged on the next day. Kelly wrote and published four more pieces. (The sixth, about feeding our kids a low-carb diet, will go live today.) Yesterday, 2,100 readers logged on.
In only two weeks, Kel’s blog has reached 23,000 page views. It took this blog 11 months to accomplish that much. Can you tell I’m more than a little proud of my wife?
Even more than readership, though, the response has been overwhelming–and divisive.
When Kel posted a link to her blog on a popular low-carb Facebook group, it quickly earned more than 400 “likes,” dozens of shares, and a small avalanche of comments. Within a few hours, it was gone, deleted by one of the group’s moderators. “Guess they saw the zero-carb part,” Kel mused. She had the same experience on another site.
A third Facebook page allowed the link to stay alive–and now it’s reached well over 800 likes. Kel is currently inundated by private messages and comments.
It turns out that talking about your diet can be as polarizing as talking about politics or religion. There have been plenty of comments (on both sides of the issue) that were somewhat unexpected. I can’t say we were totally surprised–Kel’s diet has stirred awkward and sometimes downright impolite comments from friends and family since she began this endeavor–but as her diet is very narrowly focused, it’s an easier target.
Eating is a very personal thing, as are eating problems. Addiction is difficult, especially when it’s a seemingly benign addiction. It’s apparent in our national conversation, too: think about how many times Michelle Obama has been ridiculed for asking American school kids to eat a healthier lunch. Sugar doesn’t appear to wreck lives the way alcoholism or illicit drug addictions do. There’s no dark side to eating a candy bar in front of your kids. Our national waistlines tell a different story, though.
Kelly’s blog isn’t preaching salvation. She’s only documenting what worked for her–with the full admission that she isn’t a doctor, that she isn’t in a position to dole out advice to others seeking their own way out, and that this isn’t an easy fix. Hers isn’t an evangelical mission. It is, however, contradictory when it comes to the low-calorie, low-fat diet craze that overwhelms the market right now.
I can’t begin to describe how my heart fills for Kelly. She’s displayed extraordinary courage by writing this down and making it so public. It takes a helluva nerve to put unflattering pictures of yourself on your own blog, especially in a world in which we Instagram everything to make it prettier.
Her vulnerability here is remarkable–but you’d never see it in her face when she’s writing. Instead, her countenance is full of conviction. Determination. Resilience.
Read the full story at MyZeroCarbLife.com