Goal! Photos in 3rd post

Share your McDougall successes here in order to inspire others.

Moderators: JeffN, f1jim, carolve, Heather McDougall

Goal! Photos in 3rd post

Postby Ruff » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:15 pm

Warning, this is a very long post. 2500 words. You can just skip to the next post for the photos if you like :)

Yes, I have reached goal. Of course the goal is just a number. 150 pounds seemed a nice round number 3 years ago. BMI of 23. In the normal range, that will do. And thats how I came up with the number.

I am female, almost 51 years old, 5’8”, and menopausal. One of the great things about finding this WOE is that older women seem to be able to lose weight. Anybody else notice that paleo type diets work work for the under 30’s and some older men. Women of 40+ and especially post menopausal women don't seem to lose weight.

Enough about that. The story.

Skinny child, slim young adult. That all changed when I had my first child (24 years ago). I put on a little weight, and never seemed to lose it. Then I had child number 2, and the same thing happened. Never really lost the baby weight. So now overweight but not obese. Still quite active, I didn't like it but I wasn't that worried. After the birth of my son 5 years later, things changed a lot. I put on quite a lot of weight, and started dieting to lose it. I dieted on and off for the next 14 years. I think I did most of the popular ones! I counted calories, points, sins and fat. I ate beans, grapefruit, packets, shakes and lemon and maple syrup. I started dieting at 12 stone and finished at 16 and a half stone. From this I deduced dieting makes you put on weight and vowed never to do it again.

Yeah right....

The real story starts in August 2010. I visited the UK for my parents 50th wedding anniversary. Son and I went, we visited lots of places and took lots of photos. Me fat at Stonehenge, me fat at Hadrian’s wall. I’m sure you get the idea. The day before I flew home, mum asked for a photo of me and my 2 siblings. Here is the me part of it. I was around 108 kg.


We landed in NZ on 1st September 2010. On the 3rd we had some logs delivered, and I put my back out stacking them (I should mention at this point, I had an accident in 2005 and although the subsequent operation saved the use of my left leg, I had a limp and a dodgy back. At this time I still used a stick if I walked any distance).

That night I woke bright and perky at 3am. Dang jetlag. I made a cuppa and took some pain killers for my back. I settled down at 4.30 on the sofa in the living room and switched of the light. Almost as I did so my life changed forever.

The earthquake was quite sharp, the largest I had felt, but it wasn't that bad. I wondered if it had woken people up. Then instead of dying away it picked up. Things started flying from shelves, I could hear hubby shouting but couldn't hear what he was saying. Son was shouting “I’m OK, the books are hitting me but I’m OK”

When it stopped the family all came into the living room. The lights didn't work, but son had his cellphone and we lit a candle. I don't know who mentioned tsunami first, but we live on a sand dune on the east coat of New Zealand. We leapt into the car and set off inland. As we came over the bridge we went down into water. Now remember it was nighttime, and there was no power so the street lights were off. We had come from the coast so we knew it wasn't a tsunami so we assumed it was broken water mains. In fact it was our first introduction to the scourge of liquefaction.

We made it to friends, and I spend the rest of the day lying under a table as the aftershocks rolled through whilst my family dug dunnies, sorted out water, checked on people, and generally did all the things people do after a disaster. I of course was in pain from my back and had become a big fat liability. I had a lot of time to think, but only one thought. I really do need to lose weight.

Over the next day or so it became apparent just how lucky we had been. No deaths and very few serious injuries. I started cutting out sugar and treats, but was too busy in post quake city to worry to much. I would find a proper diet, as soon as things settled. Nothing really settled though, we were experiencing almost constant aftershocks which kept people on edge all the time.

Only one month later my parents rang. Dad had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer and needed an op. The op was in December, could I come in January. Dad already had heart disease, prostrate cancer and a cancer in his spine that never seemed to do anything except give him backache. I booked a ticket for Jan 1st 2011

Christmas came and went, the diet went too! After all I was traveling in a week, why bother now. I decided I’d diet when I got back. I had planned to go out to the boxing day sales to try and find something nice to wear in the UK, but a nasty aftershock right under the city put paid to that.

I flew out to the UK. Dad was really quite poorly. He had suffered from chronic heartburn for years and that seemed to be connected to the cancer. I also suffered chronic heartburn. I did not want esophageal cancer. When I got home I looked up heartburn and found something called the Paleo diet could cure it. I read all about it and it seemed logical, there was lots of science to back it up, so I decided to give it a go. I decided to keep the dairy though. I liked a nice cup of Earl Grey with cream. So Paleo plus dairy. That was the way to go.

February signaled a whole new change for the family. Our youngest had decided to go to high school...we had been homeschoolers. So for the first time in years I was home alone! Hubby and I decide I would have one year at home, and then I would look for a job.

I started painting the house. I ran out of paint though, one Tuesday morning, late February. I thought about going to get some there and then, but it was a lovely day so I went for a walk on the beach instead. I would pick up the paint on the way to pick up my son from school. I had lunch, and started to get ready. I had left my sunglasses in the kitchen so went back and picked them up. As I turned to leave the most enormous earthquake hit.

It was appalling. I was knocked to the ground and was trying to crawl out of the kitchen as pots and glassware crashed around me. Apparently it was the greatest ground movement ever recorded in an urban area.

The rest of the day is a total nightmare. Hubby was on the Banks Peninsula, camping with 30 ten year olds. Son was at school, one daughter was trapped in the city centre, the other was out but knew her sister wasn't. I finally heard from everyone by about 8pm that night. The aftershocks were heavy and constant. We has no water, no sewage...well we had lots but it was in the streets, not the pipes, liquefaction all over the place, buildings down, people trapped, no power, no cell phones no way of knowing what was going on. I had to abandon the car. Son and I spend the night huddled together listening to a wind up radio. “Hang on”, the presenter said, “Help is coming. Kia Kaha”
The girls left the city that night. Eldest was too badly shocked to stay. Friends got them out to a farm north of the city and later they went to other friends in Dunedin. The rest of us stayed. I ate what I could, with no shops, no water, no power, and food from the welfare centre. I put on weight, my clothes didn't fir. I refused to weigh myself, but I would guess around 110kg.

Before the quake I had taken a book out of the library called Good Calories, Bad Calories. As we slowly recovered I read it.

What a sensible man Garry Taubes was. It wasn't that I was greedy and lazy, it was that I had been eating the wrong things. I became a committed low carber. A low carb paleo dieter. Plus dairy. After all cream was low carb. I didn't eat cheese, it gave me headaches, but cream....yumm! I did start to lose weight. See I was on the right track at last.

June 13th...another set of quakes, June 15th get a puppy, Ruff! I start walking. Thankfully Ruff can’t walk very far. We amble to the big sandune and back, maybe 500 meters all told. But as he gets older we go further. Eventually we make it to the surf club, which is a kilometer away!

I loved my paleo diet. Scrambled egg for breakfast, with mushrooms and bacon. Steak and butter for lunch. Pork chops and cabbage for supper. Snack of grilled ribs if I felt peckish. And about 10 cups of Earl Grey made with heavy cream throughout the day. I felt great, not much heartburn, and I could stop what there was with a cup of tea, but I had stopped losing weight again. (Surprised? I couldn't understand it!!!) Time to go back to the books.

In September 2011 I found a book called Nourishing Traditions. A friend recommended it. I started eating everything as long as it was homemade. Our dairy is all grass fed here as is our meat, so that was OK. Rock on! Eat everything and be skinny and healthy. Just cook it at home yourself the way granny used to.

Guess what happened? I got fat again and the heartburn came back. (bet you are not surprised are you!?) Back to the low carb Paleo. But that had only worked to a point before, I haunted forums and websites. I noticed Paleo and low carb worked best for the young fit bunch who did something called cross-fit which seemed to be a mix of religious cult and fitness club. The forums were full of older women like me who wailed plaintively “it doesn't work for me....”

We were told we were not being strict enough. I read more. I heard about zero carb, about a man called Bear who had lived for 40 years with no carbs, about a man called Charles Washington who had a zero carb forum. I joined. It was easy. Only eat it if it comes from an animal. Yeah! I could have my beloved cream! I started. The only plants I consumed were Earl Grey tealeaves. I ate meat, fish, eggs, butter and cream. I lost a little more weight. I got down to 85kg and took some photos. See below.


In December Dad took a turn for the worse. I booked a flight for December 30th 2012. I carried on zero carbing, but it was funny. I could not seem to drop below that 85kg. Sometimes I went the wrong way too, I got back up to 92kg at one point, but lost some of it again. I asked on the forum, and they said give it time. So I did.

Christmas was coming, and I planned a BBQ. Both my daughters were vegetarian at this time (one later became vegan) for ethical reasons. BBQ for me, lots of meat, grilled veggies for them, also vegetarian sausage, salads but I wouldn't eat those. I was pretty organized for me, and December 23rd found me wrapping pressies in the bedroom.

The earthquake was sudden, shocking, violent and close. All Christchurch people can identify where the earthquake is located from the feel. I knew this was very close. Son was in the next street and I was worried. I ran out of the house to get him. By the time I reached the corner, maybe 80 yards I was winded and gasping. By the time I reached the next street, 150 yards, I was bright red, exhausted and gasping for breath. Son was fine. We walked home. We had been home maybe half an hour when yet another, bigger quake hit. We were fine, but there was more structural damage to the house.

This was a turning point for me. It was obvious the quakes were gong on forever. And it wasn't safe to be fat. More importantly it wasn't safe to be unfit. Far more than being thin I needed to be fit. I needed to be able to run to school if necessary, I needed to be able to run right across the city. I was going to start running!

As soon as I got back from the UK!

I arrived in the UK on Jan 1st 2012. Dad died Jan 26th 2012. I started running Monday 5th March 2012. Run 1 minute, walk 1 minute....I returned to zero carb

Sunday May 20th, I run a 5km race in 43.52 (I could have walked it faster now!) June 2012 I did 10km in 1 hour 29 mins. Afterwards I had a weird moment. I was dizzy and nauseous. I saw the doctor and had a lipid panel done. Very high cholesterol.

From February to September 2012 I tried to be zero carb but kept falling off the wagon. I ate some grapes one day. Another day I had some cucumber. Once I managed for a whole month but then came the great incident of the leek.

I had been zero carb for a whole month, when I saw a leek in the greengrocers. I could NOT resist. I brought it. I kept it on the car seat beside me so I could smell it. I went home, I kept it on the side in the kitchen pausing from time to time to sniff it, finally I cracked. I stir fried it in butter and ate it.

This was about 2 weeks before yet another trip to the UK in September 2012. Just before my dad died he told me he had left me some money so I could fly back and see mum 6 months after his death. I was fulfilling his request.

I was in a hurry to pack, and forgot a book to read on the plane. It takes over 2 days to get from NZ to the UK and no book! I dashed into the airport bookshop and grabbed a book on nutrition at random. It happened to be called The China Study.

Maybe if it hadn't been for the leek I would not have been so taken with the book, but the leek had shown me something was not right. It was aberrant behavior over a leek of all things!! The cracks were already there, the China Study blew them right open.

I returned from the UK on 13th October 2012 (my 50th birthday) on 19th October I joined the McDougall forum.......

I'll put the photos on the next post.

Thank you for reading.
Last edited by Ruff on Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

My testimonial. viewtopic.php?f=13&t=38433
User avatar
Posts: 926
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:59 pm
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand.

Re: Goal!

Postby soul food » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:23 pm


G-O-A-L Shout ( Andrés Cantor )


soul food
soul food
Posts: 1669
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: Goal!

Postby Ruff » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:25 pm

The photos








My testimonial. viewtopic.php?f=13&t=38433
User avatar
Posts: 926
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:59 pm
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand.

Re: Goal!

Postby veggie lover » Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:19 pm

Wow, Ruff, you look so happy! Please tell us the rest of your story!!!
User avatar
veggie lover
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:41 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Goal!

Postby Ruff » Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:49 pm

Soul food and veggie lover, thank you.

I love that in the last photo....with my hands on my hips, I am wearing the same sweater as in the photo in the first post, when I had got down to 85kg.

I am happy, I love my life now. I owe such a debt of gratitude to drs McDougall and Campbell, as well as to all the lovely people on this forum. Life is great. I ran for 3 hours this morning, just to see if I could (I can but I have very tired legs right now!) I could never have done that in my former life.

My testimonial. viewtopic.php?f=13&t=38433
User avatar
Posts: 926
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:59 pm
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand.

Re: Goal!

Postby VegMommy » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:50 am

What a story, not only because of your great success, but because of your writing skill! If you're not a professional author you should be. My phone rang while I was reading your post but I let the machine pick it up because I didn't want to stop! I sincerely hope nobody takes your advice to skip to the photos because they'll be missing out.

Congratulations on your success, and please accept my condolences on the loss of your father.

(Edited because I thought it needed another exclamation mark. :D )

Re: Goal!

Postby ~Beth~ » Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:22 am

Thanks Ruff, for telling your story. I feel like I know you a lot better now.
That sweater sure looks a lot more roomy in the second picture
Congrats on making it to your goal
What an eventful few years you have had
Glad you found McDougalling!

:-D :-D :-D

Start date: Sept 25, 2012
User avatar
Posts: 902
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:02 pm
Location: Spokane, WA

Re: Goal!

Postby JulieS » Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:44 am

Wow. I don't recognize the woman in the first photos as the same one in the last ones! Good job! I bet it is nice to wear smaller sizes, too! :D
LOST 55 POUNDS! From pant size 14 to size 4, BMI:21
User avatar
Posts: 1345
Joined: Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:23 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Re: Goal!

Postby Tammy » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:01 pm

I love those smiling photos! Thank you for taking the time to write your story and share it with us. Your story reminds me that success is never a straight line and the journey is just as important as the destination. I wish you continued success as you move into maintenance mode!
Restart Date: December 29, 2014 (~200, too discouraged to weigh)
Current Weight: 126 (as of January 30, 2016)

My Journal
User avatar
Posts: 160
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:23 am
Location: Atlanta

Re: Goal!

Postby viv » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:49 pm

Congratulations Ruff on reaching your goal--AWESOME!

I too began McDougall after coming off low carb (Atkins) and nearly ruining my health in the process. Your story has inspired me to keep going.
5'8", Started March 2013
Starting weight: 217
Current weight: 157
60lbs gone--for good!
User avatar
Posts: 1618
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:28 pm

Re: Goal! Photos in 3rd post

Postby Lizzy_F » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:53 pm

Hi Ruff! WOW YOU LOOK AMAZING!! And running for 3 hours??? Oh my goodness. You ROCK!!

Thank you so much for sharing your story. Those earthquakes sound so frightening and horrible. Was that an anomaly during that time, or do you always have regular earthquakes like that!!!???!!!

I can SO relate to all of us "in our prime" ( :P ) females who got stuck with low carb. Only to be told to "give it more time" and "you must be cheating" etc. I never got serious about zero carb in terms of actually doing it, but I did a lot of reading at Charles site. Nuff said.

You have given me so much inspiration!!! The more I read the more this makes sense. Now to just do it and stick with it!! I can't wait to read more about your journey as it continues!


"Long-term sustainable change is what we are really after." ~Jeff Novick
User avatar
Posts: 768
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:21 am

Re: Goal! Photos in 3rd post

Postby amgmmg » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:42 pm


Thank you for sharing your story. You are incredible.
You give me hope. And you did it in under a year that is good.

Thank you. YOu also encourage me to run and run more. I am not doing it every day because of time but I must make the time.

Thank you
Posts: 319
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:55 am

Re: Goal! Photos in 3rd post

Postby Healthiswealth » Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:15 am

Thank you for taking us through your journey step by step. You tell your story so well - it is riveting. I was right with you through every scary earthquake moment. It makes the need to be fit so obvious. We always lose sight of the fact that we rely heavily on manmade conveniences that are not always reliable. We might indeed have to run through the whole city some time. Thank goodness you picked up the China Study. And now you are inspiring all of us!
Posts: 130
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:04 am

Re: Goal! Photos in 3rd post

Postby Ruff » Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:37 pm

Thank you, everyone for your congratulations.

Lizzy F. No, it is not normal to experience earthquakes like this. We have had more than 13,000 in less than 3 years. The first earthquake set off a rare earthquake 'cluster' which is a number of quakes on related faults.

The bad February quake was technically an aftershock of the first quake.

Ammg. I have been McDougalling for just under a year, but I had already lost...and regained some.....on the paleo/zero carb diet. The first quake was 4th September 2010. I find McDougalling a much pleasanter way to eat.
The mcdougal way is very simple, not easy sometimes, but very simple.

Vegmommy. Thank you for your compliments on my writing. I am considering putting my story into a book. I am not sure how one gets a publisher...but maybe that's a bit like the loose skin issue. Lose the weight before worrying about skin.....write the book before worrying about publishers! :lol:

Thank you all for your kind comments and congratulations, I do appreciate them.


My testimonial. viewtopic.php?f=13&t=38433
User avatar
Posts: 926
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:59 pm
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand.

Re: Goal! Photos in 3rd post

Postby rmjournal » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:39 pm

Your storytelling left me wanting more....the rest of the story. Thanks for sharing.

You don't need a publisher. Self publish by selling as an e-book through Amazon. Get to writing, I'd be happy to purchase once published.

Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:35 pm
Location: Austin


Return to Testimonials and Success Stories

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


Sign up to receive our regular articles, recipes, and news about upcoming events.