I considered that perhaps my stomach had shrunk. I wasn't sure how accurate that was from a biological standpoint, and I also knew it wouldn't explain my lack of hunger and the increased clarity in thinking I had experienced all day. My typical headaches were gone, and even the discomfort in my chest had vanished. Most amazing of all was the satisfaction that I felt after the meal. I felt more complete than I had ever remembered feeling after eating. It was wonderful.
The next morning--the third day--brought even more confirmation. I didn't wake up hungry as I normally would after a big dinner, and as unbelievable as it was to me, I had lost another pound. I didn't know what was causing it, but I was on a roll, and nothing could have convinced me to stop what I was doing.
I was doing everything they said was wrong, but I felt better and was less hungry than I had ever remembered feeling.
Afraid to change a thing, I followed the same eating plan for several weeks, with similar results. I continued to lose two to three pounds each week, and my cravings were literally gone! I felt better than I had in years, and for the first time in as long as I could remember, I had renewed hope and--I was almost afraid to think it--a way out.
And what a way out it was. As the weeks passed, I began to test foods to see whether some could be added as breakfast or lunch foods without bringing on the cravings and weight gain that had ruled my life for so long. I was afraid to meddle with something that was working so well, but if I could, I wanted the freedom and pleasure of eating more than one meal a day (no matter how good that single meal might be). Slowly and methodically, I discovered a wide array of high-fiber and protein-rich foods that satisfied me, kept me free of cravings, and still enabled me to enjoy what I had come to refer to as my "reward meal." And I was losing weight all the while.
My weight, blood pressure, and blood fat levels dropped so dramatically that my doctor didn't believe the results.
At the time I didn't understand why it worked. All I cared about was the fact that it did work. I lost more than 150 pounds over the next eighteen months (later I lost another 15 pounds without even trying!), and I kept it off--struggle-free--for more than fourteen years. With each passing day, it seemed that I was growing healthier as well. My blood pressure was so much better than at my last visit that my doctor thought something was wrong with his blood pressure cuff!
My blood tests showed such great changes in my triglyceride levels that he questioned the accuracy of the report. With repeated testing my doctor was at a loss to explain the wonderful results. I wasn't. It all made sense to me: whatever had been driving me, pushing me to crave high-carbohydrate foods, was gone, and everything else seemed to be righting itself as well.
I know with an unshakable certainty that the most difficult of experiences may hold a perfect purpose.
Our bodies are amazingly resilient. When we stop hurting them, they stop hurting us. The long battles that had filled my thoughts and dreams were over. Gradually, in the months that followed, my heart murmur disappeared, and my heartbeat became regular and strong. My headaches disappeared, as did my panic attacks and mood swings. Even my knees and feet stopped hurting. With each passing day, I grew stronger and more confident, healthier and happier. Life was good, and though I hardly dared to believe it, my personal nightmare was over.
In time I met the man who was to become my loving husband, partner, coauthor, and colleague. Together we would discover the scientific basis for this simple but effective way of eating that had set me free and would soon do the same for more than 1.5 million others.
Still, when I look back in wonder at all that has gone before, I know with an unshakable certainty that, although we may be tempted to deny it in hard times, and despite the fact that we may never understand it all, the most difficult of experiences may hold within them so perfect a purpose.
Excerpted from The Carbohydrate Addict's Healthy Heart Program by Richard & Rachael Heller/Frederic Vagnini. Copyright© 1999 by Richard & Rachael Heller/Frederic Vagnini. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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