Saturday, September 1, 2018

A Year of Lower Carb, and Phentermine

One year ago on August 26th, I started a journey that would change everything: I began taking phentermine and eating lower carb at the suggestion of my doctor. I did not have much confidence that it would help me at all, and I had stopped blogging earlier that summer. I did not come back to update until October, when I shared what was finally working for me. And here is what happened in the last year: I went from 258 pounds to 183 pounds, a loss of 75 pounds!

weight loss phentermine

Out of those twelve months, I spent about two and a half months off phentermine completely. In addition to that, I took a half dose on more than 60 days. That translates to my taking a full dose around 60% of the days this year. My doctor is happy with the way I have interspersed breaks in taking it so that it didn't stop working and I never developed side effects. She says she would like to see me lose another 20 pounds or so, and that I can start taking it again at full dose as long as I am losing weight on it.

I think it's a good time to press forward with losing. This particular weight was a very critical time for me when I got down to the low 180's before (in 2010) and I believe that one of the reasons I didn't keep it off was because I lost too quickly, without dealing with the emotions that come with a rapidly changing body. This time, I have been really working on accepting the changes, even embracing them, and not stressing out about it. I've been meeting with a counselor and he has helped me a lot with just re-framing how I see my body and my weight and how I handle any negative emotions as they come up. Hopefully September will be a good month of healthy eating and exercise along with phentermine to help me get into the 170's. I have stayed in the 180's since June and I weigh 183 pounds this morning, so I've had a good couple of months maintaining over the summer.

The thing that is most interesting to me is how last month, I got pretty lax with my eating but still did not gain. I am up one pound for the month, which is shocking considering how much and the types of food I ate. In the past, if I ate whatever I wanted, I'd gain 8 or 10 pounds in a week or two! To maintain, I had to stay really strict... especially if I was not formally exercising. An example: I noticed that in the entry linked above, last August, I wrote this:

"I let go and ate whatever. I went to the fair and had lemonade and a cheese steak and beer battered fries and a caramel apple. "But hey, I didn't eat an elephant ear or any ice cream!" I dunno, I guess I just felt like ten years is enough and maybe I just should be who I am. And by August 26th, I weighed 258 pounds."

I had a gain of at least 6 pounds from eating that stuff at the fair last year Funny thing is, I ate the SAME THINGS this year, *plus* the ice cream and a shared funnel cake, and fried pickles! How is it possible that it affected me so badly a year ago, but not now?

I think something really has been fixed that was broken. I have been able to eat the things I like without getting out of control, feeling bad, gaining weight. It's a great feeling. I just hope it lasts. There is always that scary element of "I thought I would never regain, but I did. And it could happen again." But for now, I am just taking it slow and figuring it out as I go along... and enjoying it.

You can see by my Instagram that I am certainly not starving myself or even eating tiny portions all the time anymore. Chicken fried steaks, mashed potatoes, bacon and eggs, wings, steaks, tamales, corn on the cob with lots of butter or mayo/cotija, hash browns... it's not "diet food" and not even all low carb. Last night was a splurge: New York style pizza (and yes, I ate the crust), garlic bread sticks, and salad plus a cinnamon roll for dessert. I have eaten candy. I have eaten regular, high fat, high sugar ice cream. BUT, I have never binged, and I have interspersed those meals with low carb things like spaghetti squash, cheese, salads, fresh tomatoes, and keto desserts and breads. The farmer's market has provided me with plenty of berries, apples, melons, peaches, and nectarines, which I do not restrict in any way. And I have loved all the iced coffee with cream this summer... at least 3 a day! I feel like I am finally eating like a "normal" person with no stress about it, no guilt, no pressure to avoid anything in particular. And the best part is, no food obsession!

Here's to a GREAT September! It's off to a wonderful start already!


Anonymous said...

I’ve commented several times and it’s never approved and I don’t get why? This post has me saying the same thing again: your lack of food obsession is likely mostly due to phentermine I’m worried that you are not understanding that and you think it’s something else. when you go off of it which you eventually will have to do it will go back to being difficult if you haven’t addressed the core issues and worked to change your food preferences.

nic0ll3tt3 said...

Congratulations, Lyn!! I'm so proud of you and so happy for all you have accomplished!! :)

I follow a low-carb diet and I've actually noticed that as long as I follow the low-carb diet 85/90% of the time, I can literally eat whatever I want the other 10/15% and not gain anything. I've also noticed that if I have a larger timeframe where I eat the "SAD", it's like my body is better able to handle those carbs, and I don't gain (albeit some water bloating).

I firmly believe that following a low-carb diet fixes a lot of the insulin resistance that causes people to be overweight/obese. Once the IR is on the path to healing, the body is just better able to handle an influx of carbs every now and then. It's like, a buffer to dealing with carbs, whether it's one meal, or a week of meals. And, as long as I get BACK onto the low-carb diet after a short period of time, I'm able to pickup exactly where I left off! It's pretty incredible (and very freeing).

Again, CONGRATS on finding YOUR happy groove!!

Lyn said...


Not sure, I haven't seen a comment in your name before so I can't say why it wasn't approved before. But thank you for this comment!


Thanks! I agree about low carb fixing something. I feel so much better!

Anonymous said...

Those are some pretty impressive statistics Lyn. Nice work.

MaryFran said...

Getting to the point where food doesn’t rule us and where the hinges are no longer happening....that is where the healthy living ‘magic’ happens!

Anonymous said...


I am very worried for you. You are wondering how you are able to go lax for a month and not gain or eat the same fair food as ones in the past but only gain a few instead of 6-10 lbs, its the Phentermine, plain and simple. A mindset about food isn't keeping the weight off, its medicine. This is the only variable that has changed from last time. I hope that you will realize this and make corrections to ensure this loss stays permanent.

Lyn said...


Thank you, it feels good for sure.


Agree, and it is very freeing not to be slave to food.

worried Anon~

So, you are saying that you think the Phentermine is speeding up my metabolism enough that I can eat more but not gain? And that it is not a permanent metabolism fix, so if I kept eating this way off the phentermine I would start gaining again? As in, if I eat x calories now and maintain, I will gain on x calories off the phentermine? Just checking to see if I am hearing you right. What corrections would you suggest? I am always open to suggestions. Thank you for the comment.

Anonymous said...

You are eating less because you are on a diet pill. Your eating choices and exercise habits will have to shift to maintain off an appetite suppressant is what I am saying. There is no evidence that phentermine actually speeds up your metabolism and if it idid, then yes, you would likely gain weight once off of it if you don’t make permanent lifestyle changes. Unless you are magical and not like most people of course! I hope for you, that that is the case! I’m wondering if you’ve done research on the phentermine or just talking to the doctor? I wish you luck but concerned because that’s the main thing that has changed, the addition of an appetite suppresant.

Lyn said...


yes, I've done research and shared some of it on my blog. No magic here, lol. But I do know I am eating more now, even with phentermine, that I was at other times when I was counting calories or restricting but not losing. What I ate at one fair this year was *more* than what I have eaten in the past, not less, so to me that says there is something beyond appetite suppression going on here. What has really changed, in my view, is my stress and anxiety about food is gone. Hopefully that is a permanent change that won't leave when the phentermine does. But then you could be right. I sure don't know how my mind and body will react being off of phentermine for more than a month or two since I haven't gone longer without it. It's definitely a learning process. I only have 20 or so pounds left to lose so I am guessing the next year will be spent working out how maintenance will look without phentermine.

Anonymous said...

For one, a schedule of regular and vigorous exercise would help!

Lyn said...

last Anon~

yeah... that's not going to happen. Regular, yes. Vigorous? Highly unlikely at this point.

Janet said...

As you know, you and I have been living the same life in terms of our weight/diet and exercise over the past eight years... When you wrote, "something has been fixed that was broken" I had to leave a comment to agree with you and shout, YES!! Yes, it has! What was broken was our awareness of what we were eating and WHY we were eating it and, our inability to forgive ourselves for slips (you cannot fall off the wagon if there is no wagon!) along the way.

Today, I (we) can ask ourselves, "WHY am I eating this?" and put it away if the answer is not related to physical hunger. Today, I (we) know the Fair will come around again next year so there is no reason to "eat it all" with urgency or fear that we will never have the opportunity again. Today, I (we) know Taco Bell (insert your own favorite here) is not going out of business so a couple of tacos is enough to satisfy the craving, because we know we can always come back for more IF we want it.

The urgency (binge mentality) around eating everything I want because I'm going to "start over" at midnight, tomorrow, Monday, the first of the month or the first of the year is fixed. GONE! Today, I know today is all that matters. Today, I know that taking care of myself WITHOUT food is all that matters in moving myself forward.

I want you to know that you can and will keep losing without Phentermine. I took it for a month (the dry mouth side effect was too uncomfortable for me so I stopped) back in 2015 after my doctor noticed I was beginning to gain back the 118 pounds I'd lost (between 04/2014 and 10/2014) - Nevertheless, this time around, I've taken nothing to help me shed this weight (I am currently down 73 pounds since May 20th) and truthfully, it's been effortless and like you, in a manner of eating that's sustainable and if I'm completely honest, enjoyable! The best, most effective appetite suppressant is knowing I can eat whatever I want without guilt or judgment. It's just food - It cannot do anything for me; it cannot fix me or make me feel better. It's just food. Needed to power my body and nothing else. What I call the "shitty committee" in my head has lost all its power to control my reasons for eating.

The answer, I believe, is to stop dieting - Dieting makes normal eaters afraid of food (from Susie Orbach's book, Fat is a Feminist Issue). It's not what we eat, it's HOW MUCH we eat that causes weight gain (from Jean Kristeller's book, The Joy of half a Cookie). Eating with awareness - Asking ourselves "how am I feeling and what do I need?" before eating anything is the answer to reducing our weight and keeping it off.

We returned last Sunday from a five day trip away from home... Although I ate whatever I wanted with complete awareness, I returned home UP four pounds. But instead of letting the gain be an excuse to give up, beat on myself or soothe myself with more food, I got right back on my bike Sunday evening and immediately back to eating what my body needs (instead of what my head/emotions wants).

This is what's been broken and is now fixed and, I firmly believe that as long as we continue in the mindset of awareness, forgiveness and balance in all things, we will reach our goal of whatever is a normal weight for our body and freedom from destructive food obsessions.


Lyn said...


What a great, insightful comment! Thank you for sharing about your journey. It gives me a lot of hope and I agree, freedom from obsession and binge mentality is THE most vital thing.