More Energetic Than Ever
How a low carb diet and triathlon training helped Christy Thatcher kick up her energy
Name Christy Thatcher
Hometown Limerick, PA
Job Speech pathologist
Weight before 205
Weight after 135
The Gain: "My life was insane," Thatcher says. In 1999 she was going to graduate school, holding down a full-time job, caring for a young child, and driving from Pennsylvania to New Jersey on weekends to visit her mom, who was battling cancer. With so little time to spare, she routinely reached for fast food. "Taco Bell was my demise," Thatcher says. A typical day's diet: nachos, a hamburger, ice cream, and soda. Over the next 2 years, she gained 70 pounds.
The Change: By 2002, her mom had passed away, and Thatcher had finished graduate school and given birth to her second child. For the first time in years, she really took a look at herself — and hated what she saw. At 205 pounds, she felt winded climbing stairs and had trouble getting up off the floor. "I wouldn't even let people take photos of me," she says. Thatcher knew she had to do something. She borrowed an Atkins diet book from a coworker who had lost weight on the plan, and in June 2004, she decided to give it a try.
The Life: The low-carb Atkins plan was a radical change from her usual diet. She started eating scrambled eggs with cheese for breakfast and a salad topped with meat or poultry and dressing for lunch. Dinner was usually chicken or pork, with another salad and a low-carb vegetable like broccoli or green beans on the side. Instead of ice cream, dessert was strawberries and blueberries. Thatcher also began going to the gym, where she walked on the treadmill and lifted weights. Two weeks into the diet, she had lost 16 pounds. When a colleague who participated in triathlons suggested she take a shot at one, Thatcher added swimming and cycling to her fitness routine. She completed her first triathalon in August 2005, loving the camaraderie so much that she joined a cycling group and a swim team. She now competes in two triathlons a year.
The Reward: "When you're 35 with kids, your life is all about your family," she says. "[Triathlons and team training] have given me a social network and time for myself — something I'd never had before."
Do your homework first. "I had some concerns about how healthy the Atkins plan was, so I asked my doctor about it first. When my doc gave me the all clear, I began the diet with no reservations."
Go all girl. "I found going to a women-only gym less intimidating when I was getting started. It didn't matter what I looked like, and the trainers were really focused on helping women."
Challenge yourself. "I started getting bored running on the treadmill, but training for competitions helped me stay motivated."