Kyle Cox has one person to thank for the success of his latest magazine, LowCarb Energy: His mother.
But the 27-year-old entrepreneurial publisher's awareness of the low-carb market didn't come from the tremendous publicity the lifestyle has enjoyed over the past year. Instead, he was introduced to the concept of carbohydrate counting back in 1999, when his wife Karen, a graphic designer, was working hard to lose the pounds she put on in the months leading up to their son's birth.
"My mom knew that Karen wanted to get back to her pre-pregnancy weight, so she gave her the Atkins book and an Atkins carb counter," Cox says. His mother had been on a low-carb diet for six years at that point. "My mom is only 5'3", but weighed 150 pounds before she started Atkins. A year later, she was down to 100 pounds, where she's stayed ever since," says Cox.
While diet tips from the mother-in-law usually rate pretty low on any woman's wishlist, this suggestion was actually appreciated. By following the Atkins guidelines, his wife lost nearly 20 pounds in three months. "She's been low-carbing ever since," says Cox. "Though it helps Karen maintain her weight now, she really doesn't even want to eat high-carb foods anymore." Cox himself tried the plan at the same time, and lost 25 pounds. "But then I took up cooking as a hobby, and ate everything in sight," he says. At his peak, he weighed almost 240 pounds. "I felt unhealthy, sluggish and didn't have much energy." He started low-carbing once again, lost 40 pounds -- and kept it off.
The Cox's passion for the low carb way of eating was what really propelled the couple to create LowCarb Energy. "Karen's wanted to do this magazine for years," Cox says, "but we didn't think there was too big of an audience." They worked instead on magazines in the fields of pregnancy and parenting, producing top-quality national print publications -- she as creative director, he as production manager, and, eventually, publisher.
In late 2002, "We started noticing more and more new low-carb products on the shelves," Cox says. "When Michelob Ultra came out nationally in the fall of 2002 and quickly captured three percent of the beer market, we knew the time was finally right to launch the magazine we'd been thinking about for so long."
Together with a few colleagues committed to a carb-conscious lifestyle -- and both his wife and father -- Cox created a new company, Coincide Publishing. The group put together a media kit and demo magazine, then solicited feedback from low-carb consumers and potential advertisers. "The response was fantastic," says Cox. "And though we really believed it would work, we didn't want to rush it. We wanted to take the time to make it great."
By the time the first issue of LowCarb Energy magazine debuted in May 2004, the buzz about low-carb was everywhere, and surveys showed that the majority of American adults now watch their carbs to one degree or another. "The response so far has been phenomenal," he says. "People keep writing to us and saying, 'Finally -- I've been waiting for a magazine like this!'"
But what does his most important critic -- Mom herself -- think of the first issue? "We have produced hundreds of magazines, but this was the only one we ever did that she could relate to," Cox laughs. "She's just in love with it -- she thinks it's awesome."
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