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'I Lost More Than 90 Pounds By Cutting Carbs And Walking'

Women's Health logo Women's Health 8/10/2018 Amber Akam as told to Danielle Page

Amber Akam wanted to learn how to lose weight so she could teach her daughter how to eat healthy – but also to feel more comfortable in her body. Here’s how she did it.: 'I Lost More Than 90 Pounds On The Atkins Diet' © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc 'I Lost More Than 90 Pounds On The Atkins Diet' Growing up, I was always overweight.

I never exercised, and I found most of my comfort through food-and not the healthy stuff; my diet was carbs, carbs, and more carbs. (I loved pasta, bread, and potatoes.)

But, while I spent most of my life overweight, I also spent that time wanting to lose weight. Taking the steps to doing so, though, always seemed overwhelming.

When I had my children, I hoped that they'd be naturally thin like their father-for my son, that turned out to be true; but my daughter began growing into a body type similar to mine. I was teased and uncomfortable in my body growing up, and I didn't want her to go through that same experience. 

I knew I needed to learn how to lose weight so I could teach my daughter how to eat healthy.

a woman standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Amber Akam © Amber Akam Amber Akam Another thing that prompted my weight-loss commitment: After divorcing my husband, I plunged back into the dating game, but I was incredibly disappointed with how I looked.

Around this time, I also moved in with my dad and stepmom, who mentioned she had done the Atkins diet years ago. She said it helped her, so I decided to give it a try-that was in February 2017.

I was surprised at how easy it was to follow the Atkins diet.

a man and a woman taking a selfie: amber akam © Amber Akam amber akam It's basically, a low-carb, high-protein diet focused on counting carbohydrates instead of calories. It's also broken up into four phases: Phase one allows 20 grams of net carbs a day, and it increases with each phase after that.

While you can eat a wide range of things on Atkins-as long as it stays within the carb limitations-Atkins also has their own line of low-carb foods made specifically for the diet.

These Atkins-approved foods made following the plan even easier. I knew if I was having a hard time figuring out what to have for dinner or a snack, Atkins had my back.

Here's what a typical day on the Atkins diet looked like:

  • Breakfast: a few slices of bacon and two eggs sprinkled with low-carb cheese.
  • Lunch: a salad with lots of veggies and homemade ranch dressing (a mix of mayo and low-carb powder seasoning).
  • Dinner: chicken with a big mix of veggies like mushrooms, peppers, and onions.
  • Snacks: cheese sticks or Atkins candies.

I knew I had to work out to lose weight too, but the gym didn't appeal to me. I started walking instead.

a man wearing sunglasses and smiling at the camera: amber akam © Amber Akam amber akam I have a very long driveway-it's about a quarter-mile long, so each time I walked up and back equated to half a mile. I started walking back and forth on the driveway four to eight times a day-that amounted to two to four miles daily.

Exercising made a huge difference: I not only started losing weight quicker, but I also felt myself getting stronger and more toned. Seeing those changes in my body was all the motivation I needed to stick to my Atkins diet and exercise regimen.

And even though Atkins turned out to be a diet I could stick with, it wasn't necessarily easy. Snacking is still a major temptation for me, so I make sure to carry around healthy snacks (like the cheese sticks and Atkins candies I love) so I don't fall for gas station treats. And, with two kids to take care of, I have to make time to get in a workout-that means early in the morning before they wake up or well after they go to bed. 

Losing weight has finally made me feel happy with myself-something I haven't felt in a long time.

I can take photos now and actually look at them without being embarrassed. Of course, I feel better and have more energy for my kids too, but it all adds up to feeling happy and comfortable in my own skin.

Weight loss isn't a one-time thing-you can't revert back to your old diet once you lose the weight and expect to not gain the weight back. Instead of being just a diet, Atkins taught me how to change my lifestyle-now, I can pass on my newfound healthy eating habits to my kids so they don't have to go through what I went through.

Video: This Breakfast Is Low In Carbs And High In Flavor (Delish)

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