Sunday, July 22, 2012
My fat loss progress to date:
Weight Loss This Week: -1.6lbs
Weight Loss Total this Month: -2.4lbs
Lean Mass: +1lbs
I don't get big number drops, but my weight loss is smooth and steady. I don't get weird ups and downs anymore. My weight loss isn't linear, but it isn't wild swings, either. These days I get more excited about lean mass increases than I do about the weight loss.
As I've mentioned, I keep a running data table in an excel spreadsheet as this allows me to view information in a way I can't with the Spark reports. I noticed I tracked total carbs instead of net carbs, which I think is skewing my numbers somewhat. Insoluble fiber isn't digested, so it isn't accurate to include them in calorie or carb counts.
However, that revelation is just a bit more depressing. When I count only net carbs, I am even less carb tolerant than I realized. Perhaps it is because I'm small that my 'carbohydrate curve' is going to naturally slide down further from the average. Or I am more metabolically damaged.
Yesterday I talked about the difference between observational studies and experimental studies. I used my college diet as an example: no breakfast, ramen noodles, pizza, beer and Snackwells cookies. I was not fat. I didn't have a washboard stomach, but I had a fairly flat runway. Obviously my awesome college diet wasn't to credit. It is more likely I was less metabolically damaged that I could handle such a crap diet.
I lay the blame on metabolic trashing at the doorstep of trans-fats and HFCS that came after college when I ate more fast food and chain restaurants. McDonald's sausage biscuits for breakfast; double quarter pounders with supersized fries and coke for lunch; Chili's steak fajitas with 32oz adult kool-aid margaritas.
Observational studies would blame the high fat. I blame the quality of fat, plus sugar.
Saturated fats have been targeted as the devil for over 40 years. They raise triglycerides! Bad! Bad!
As I explained in my blog, "Yes, I Eat Vegetables", triglycerides are a fuel source. They DO come from saturated fats. They do not cause artery blockage in themselves, but are a symptom of metabolic syndrome. When insulin levels are elevated, our bodies cannot burn triglycerides, they build up and float around.
To date, the only clinically proven fats that are artery clogging and heart damaging are trans-fats. Zero gram of trans-fat is a safe level. Due to a quirk in the FDA requirements, food manufacturers do not have to report trans-fats in quantities less than .5g.
When fast food companies were compelled to switch from using lard fat, they primarily chose shelf stable and cheap partially hydrogenated vegetable oils high in trans-fats.
My body type is pear shaped. When I gain weight, I tend to put it on the hips and buttocks before anywhere else. As I lose weight, I tend to lose it in my upperbody first. This past month, I'm blessed with noticeable 'firming' in my arms, but much slower decrease in my lower body.
Before I became fat, I had very smooth skin. Almost no cellulite. When I gained weight, I put on a disgusting cottage cheese layer of cellulite.
Cellulite is pocket distortions in the fat cell walls under our skin. We are what we eat. When I put on fat, I ate poor quality fat. Mainly PUFAs - polyunsaturated vegetable oils: soybean, canola, safflower, sunflower, and corn. And the hydrogenated vegetable oils common in fast food and chain restaurants.
My fat sources these days are primarily real butter, coconut oil, olive oil, and avocados.
As I'm losing weight, my cellulite smooths out beautifully. It's not quite gone, but it is shrinking. The cottage cheese effect is lessening. I am starting to see muscles emerge from underneath my skin. Now I know why people like to work out in front of the mirror. I love seeing my muscles move.
As my fat cells release their contents, I can't help but wonder if the old stored trans-fats are going to cause problems. I'm trying to up my antioxidant rich foods - even if higher carb - during my weight loss. Just as an insurance policy. I don't want bad food I ate 12 years ago derailing my health or clogging my arteries today.
Part of my weight loss goal is to reduce my cellulite. Losing the old fat, and eating high quality fats (no PUFAs) are keys. I'm also experimenting with something called "dry body brushing" that is supposed to help smooth out the cell walls.
This is one of the 'non scale' ways I measure progress. The numbers are great, but it doesn't make me feel as beautiful and sexy as much as watching my cellulite zap in the mirror.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
There's a study making the rounds in dietary literature that claims low carbohydrate diets increases risk of Swedish women's cardiovascular disease. The study was based on a questionnaire that asked women what they ate in the past 16 years.
According to the summary:
"A one tenth decrease in carbohydrate intake or increase in protein intake or a 2 unit increase in the low carbohydrate-high protein score were all statistically significantly associated with increasing incidence of cardiovascular disease overall"
Well. That should be enough evidence for all of us to turn course and go back into the safety of skim milk and low-fat cottage cheese.
But wait. We can't conclude anything from this study at all.
It's an observational study.
Tom Naughton (of "FatHead" documentary fame) has a YouTube video speech he gave on a low-carb cruise explaining how to spot good science from bad science.
Good science = Clinical/Experimental Study
Bad science = Observational Study
An example of flawed observational study conclusion:
"People who like to run are thin. I am fat. Therefore, if I want to be thin, I should run."
But there are numerous people who run and never get thin. They get shin splints and metatarsal stress fracture. If they can't run, how can they get thin?
The real conclusion is: "People who are thin tend to chose running for exercise."
Here's another observational study. 16 years ago (the period in which this study was conducted), I was a college student. I ate no breakfast, ramen noodles, pizza, beer, and Snackwells low-fat cookies. I was slim and weighed 125lbs. What can we conclude? Was it no breakfast, ramen noodles, pizza, beer or Snackwell's cookie that kept me slim?
We can't conclude anything. Even if we add in that I was walking an average of 2 hours per day to classes, uphill both ways, we can't conclude anything. Even if we added in my entire girl's dorm who were doing the same thing, we can't conclude anything.
Snackwells cookies were very popular in my dorm. Did it keep us college age girls slim? Did most of us gain weight after college because we stopped eating Snackwells? Should we eat more like we did in college to lose more weight?
Here is a breakdown analysis on the flaws with the Swedish study. She is not a low-carber; she is a raw food vegan who hates bad science.
- This study is observational—meaning it tells us nothing about cause and effect.
- This study relies on one food frequency questionnaire that the women filled out upon enrollment in the Women’s Lifestyle and Health Cohort. We have no idea what they were eating during the next 16 years.
- Women reported their food intake during the early ’90s, when low-fat diets were the gold standard for healthy eating. The most health-conscious women were likely to be eating the most carbohydrate at that time.
- Food frequency questionnaires are all sorts of terrible and don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.
- The study’s “diet score” design assumes that all low-carbohydrate diets are necessarily high in protein—resulting in a point-assigning system that doesn’t always identify true low carbers.
- The women with the lowest carbohydrate intake in this study were still eating up to 123 grams of it a day (an amount that’s probably wildly underestimated, to boot)—meaning they weren’t actually eating a low-carbohydrate diet.
- The true increase in cardiovascular disease risk from scoring high on the “low carb, high protein” scale is pretty minor—and pales in comparison to other lifestyle variables.
Emphasis: 123g daily carbohydrates was the lowest carb intake in this study. The conclusions are not drawn on a low-carb diet at all.
Here is a Standford clinical study comparing Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN (standard american recommended diet). Atkins outperformed all of the other diets in terms of weight loss, blood lipids, blood pressure, increased HDL, decreased LDL, normal cholesterol, low triglycerides, and overall compliance following the diet. The head researcher is a life-long vegetarian, and although surprised by the results, reported the facts as they stand. Conclusion: Atkins did not increase the risk of metabolic syndrome and heart disease, but decreased all known long term clinical markers.
The other interesting conclusion on the Stanford clincal trial is people who had some degree of insulin resistance performed better on Atkins. People who had no degree of insulin resistance performed better on the LEARN diet.
Here is an article about North Carolinian dieticians attempting to use legislation to censor a blogger who writes about how he cured his diabetes through a low-carb diet.
The blogger in question is named Steve Cooksey. Here is his blog, and all the ailments he cured through diet alone:
There's so much conflicting information, it's difficult to tell the good from the bad. Recognizing the difference between an observational study versus an experimental/clinical study is an important way to weed out the good from the bad.
Overall, self-experimentation was the only way I knew for sure.
Does my diet:
- Make me feel better
- Improves quality of life
- Leaves me with energy throughout the day
- No energy crashes
- No hunger
- No cravings
- Loses weight
- Easy weight maintenance
Does my diet reduce risk of Metabolic Syndrome/Heart Disease:
- Normal blood lipids (HDL,LDL,Trigylcerides)
- Normal blood pressure
- Normal body weight/body fat
My answer to all of the above is a resounding checkmark +.
Thanks to JustBirdy for raising the awareness on the ADA censorship and Denise Minger's analysis of the Swedish study.
"What did YOU eat 16 years ago?"
"Forbes article exposes the "academy's" creepy practices"
Friday, July 20, 2012
Just before I got started on my low-carb journey, I went flexitarian. I was trying to limit animal protein to the evening.
Here's a sampling of my diet then:
February 1, 2011
Breakfast: Blueberries, Kashi cereal, non-fat plain yogurt
Lunch: Carrots, celery, lettuce, tomatoes, bell pepper, poached egg, quinoa, pepperoncini
Dinner: Lettuce, bell pepper, tomatoes, carrots, celery, cheese lasagna, wine
Snack: Almond Butter, Apples
Calorie Total: 1341
Carbs: 176 | 54%
Fat: 44 | 30%
Protein: 53g | 16%
Eating this way was very easy to hit the Spark recommended ranges.
My weight graph for that time period showed I weighed 136 in February '11, and 135 in April '11. Not very impressive. You might argue that my food choices weren't ideal. I agree. But at that time, I believed calorie was a calorie, no matter what the source. So if the calorie matters and not the composition, I should have done better. I stayed within my ranges.
But really, I think this was the cleanest I had eaten.
As I wrote in my blog, "Realizing the Connection", my health deteriorated. Even though my weight didn't change much, I was getting fatter. My body composition was changing in the wrong direction.
I started researching low carb in April, then made the switch in May. Because I was toe-dipping my way in, I only cut my carbs back to half the normal to observe if I could see any change. I went down to about 60g carbs.
It worked! I started losing weight, so the 'insulin theory' seemed to have some merit for me at least. I was hooked, and wanted more. But there was a catch. I never did a typical induction because there was a detour ahead.
I didn't know anything about 'low-carb flu'. It caught me off guard. A couple weeks later, I got a sinus infection, which wasn't unusual for me. Something about it seemed different, though. It was a little weird to me it coincided with my dietary change. I think I searched for something like, "sinus infection on low-carb". Numerous links for 'low-carb flu' came up. Ok, this wasn't unusual. I decided to stick it out.
I got a particularly bad case of 'low-carb flu' because it lasted for months. I also got a bad case of thrush. Weight loss was the least of my worries. When I described these symptoms, someone on one of my blogs mentioned 'candida infection', so I researched that.
Turned out that years of my high carb/high sugar diet and antibiotic use for sinus infections killed off beneficial bacteria and allowed candida to proliferate.
Candida lives in our gut. Normally it doesn't do any harm because the other healthy gut bacteria competes for resources. But when the healthy bacteria population is killed by antibiotics, candida runs rampant. It's a fungus, not a bacteria, so it is unharmed by antibiotics.
You see what happened, right? I got sinus infections, took antibiotics, and killed gut flora over and over. Candida loves sugar, and my high carb/sugar diet gave them plenty of food. Despite being a regular yogurt consumer, this didn't help the balance. The candida was overrun, and starved off healthy gut bacteria for resource. Exactly the opposite of normal balance.
I was rather surprised that a fungus might have been causing my sinus infection, and not a bacteria. Perhaps all those years I took antibiotics killed off my gut flora for no good effect?
What made the candida theory particularly compelling was the thrush. The reason candida manifested in my sinuses and thrush was because my new low carb diet was starving them in the gut. They moved up into my head where they could obtain food.
I started researching how to get rid of a candida infection. The resources I found were depressing. Many suggested that eliminating a systemic candida infection was a very slow process, takes a long time, and some people never truly get it under control. Some people can manage, but never cure. But no matter what, it seemed the low-carb diet was the right track. There are books on candida diets designed to starve them out.
And you thought Atkins is hard to follow? Try looking up a 'candida diet' sometime.
Eating yogurt wasn't going to undo something this deeply rooted.
Luckily, a Spark friend of mine was going through a similar low-carb revelation as me. She also concluded she had a systemic candida infection. But while I started off relatively healthy, my friend was recovering from severe adrenal fatigue syndrome. Years of a high grain diet, chronic cardio, and the drug Adderall almost killed her. Her adrenals started shutting down one by one. In order to save her life, she abandoned her vegetarian diet of 16 years, something that caused her a great deal of emotional and moral pain.
She is still trying to heal her adrenals, but she is convinced that saturated fats and proteins saved her life.
(Note: Please do not read into this that I'm being anti-vegetarian. I started off with my 'flexitarian' story to illustrate the variety of different diets I went through. I see Spark member's blogs who do well on flexitarianism, and that's awesome! Regarding my friend, we can speculate all we want on whether she did vegetarianism 'right' or not. She personally believes Adderall did the most damage. Whatever it did to her makes it impossible for her to return to vegetarianism. Looking up "Adderall and adrenal fatigue" has surprising results.)
Together, we passed tons of messages to each other, trying to figure out how to rid ourselves of the candida as well as fix our damaged metabolisms. My friend was a biochemist, which was an absolute boon in helping me understand so many things I was reading. Conventional medicine wasn't going to help us, because they said our conditions didn't exist. We weren't defying any doctor's advice because they said nothing was wrong with us.
My friend discovered a powdered probiotic that was said to help with candida infections, and she passed the link on Amazon to me. She had been taking it for a week, and her candida symptoms were improving. It was an import from Japan, and very expensive. The reviews on Amazon, if to be believed, were miraculous. Almost too good to be true. But having suffered my sinus infection for a month, I figured I didn't have anything to lose.
(Because Spark doesn't recommend the use of non FDA dietary supplements, I'm not going to mention the product by name. Please message me directly if you want to know.)
The probiotics in yogurt are kinds that live in our guts full time. With a healthy population, they will multiply their numbers and live there symbiotically with us. The type of probiotics in this product are types that target candida specially. Some of them would compete with the candida for food, starving them out. The rest would actually eat the candida for food. But once they did their job, they would die out and not live permanently in the gut. Our bodies aren't symbiotic for them. They are naturally found in our environment in plants, so we eat them normally in low concentrations all the time. This Japanese probiotic is for the purpose of candida elimination.
So that was my strategy. Kill off the existing candida, and eat yogurts and other supplemental probiotics to repopulated the beneficial colony. The beneficial colony couldn't get a foothold as long as the candida was dominant.
I was warned not to take too much too quickly, or in addition to low carb flu, I'd also get 'candida die off'. That didn't sound very nice, and I already felt like crap, so I only took 1 packet per day. It came in powdered form, so I mixed it with water in the morning.
There was no improvement for the first 3 days (but I stopped getting worse). On the 4th day, my sinuses opened and I could breathe from my nose for the first time in about 4 weeks. My left ear, which was threatening to become an ear infection, opened on the 5th day. My sinuses drained out in a gross way. Fluid came out so fast, I thought I had a bloody nose. Apparently it was liquidized candida. Yuck. Good riddance.
I took about another 3 months of using this product plus repopulating beneficial colonies to say I was 'cured'. My friend, still recovering from adrenal fatigue, praised my 'quick' success. Starting off in an unhealthier state, she had more ups and downs. Because her adrenals were in a weakened state, she got the 'candida die off', and had to back off on her usage until she was stronger.
(I talked to her recently and she said her candida is mostly taken care of, she's getting stronger, but she's still working on building up her damaged immune system. She's switched to a GAPS diet, which has been beneficial for people with adrenal fatigue syndrome, IBS, ADHD, autism, and a number of other 'modern' ailments.)
After I eliminated the candida overgrowth, a number of symptoms I didn't even know were related disappeared. In addition to the sinus infections, there were eczema, allergies, IBS type symptoms, yeast infections, and inability to lose weight.
The inability to lose weight was due to the candida consuming the nutrients that I was supposed to be absorbing in my intestines. The IBS symptoms were due to a similar reason.
I realize there are skeptics out there who might dismiss this as 'new age holistic medicine nonsense'. I hear ya. If it didn't happen to me, I wonder if I'd be writing a different story.
I was motivated to write this because of a comment Spark friend Woubbie wrote on DOWNEASTB's blog about her low-carb story:
Woubie: "If I never lost another ounce eating low carb I would stick with it for the way I feel. Just to never have heartburn is a sheer wonder!"
I so agree. Sinus infections, eczema, allergies, IBS type symptoms, yeast infections, and inability to lose weight - all gone. If I never lose another pound, I'm still living better than I was a year ago. Some detractors have said this is an unsustainable lifestyle. No, living in a state of unexplained illness was unsustainable. If it were just about the weight loss, then maybe I would have gone back to eating pasta and potatoes with every meal. But having gone through a rather nightmarish process, I have a rather strong incentive to avoid it.
So despite the risk of ridicule, I felt it important to write this. Because maybe, just maybe, someone with an open mind might see something of themselves in what I'm saying. I don't care about the non believers - I'm never going to convince them anyway. I'm having a conversation with someone who knows what I'm talking about. Maybe that person has already gone through this. Maybe that person is still trying to figure it out. It helps to know that you aren't so crazy after all, doesn't it?
Thursday, July 19, 2012
I'm going to tread carefully today because I'm a little incensed, and I have to watch my tone.
I told you a couple blogs ago about how I botched my understanding of Atkins with double quarter pounders. This was due to ignorance. I didn't read the books. I didn't know why people were able to lose weight on it. How can people lose fat by eating so much fat?
A common theme I see on the message boards is, "I tried Atkins, but I gained weight!" I messaged one of these people and asked her how her induction went. I never heard back from her. I'm guessing it's because she didn't read the book, and didn't do induction.
Most of the low-carb methods I know of have some level of induction. Even the "South Beach" diet. South Beach is a moderate carb, low-fat diet. I decided I was never again going to buy skim milk or low fat cottage cheese, so I didn't choose this diet. But I love the cookbook and still use it. I just use real butter and whole milk/cheese replacing the low-fat versions in the recipes. However, South Beach has "phases" that starts off with heavily restricting carbohydrates.
Just like Atkins. Just like Protein Power. Primal Blueprint doesn't have an induction per say, but it does restrict carbs to certain vegetables and fruit during the weight loss stages, and opens a wider variety during maintenance.
Here's why induction is essential - not optional - to low carb success.
Many of us on high-carb/low fat diets have unnaturally high levels of insulin in our bloodstream. Many of us were never diagnosed with insulin resistance or diabetes, some of us were. If we're carrying excess amount of bodyfat (33% in my case), we are in a state where our bodies cannot use all the carbohydrates supplied, and it gets stored as fat. In the presence of high insulin load, dietary fat gets turned into triglycerides, and we're unable to burn stored fat or dietary fat for energy.
Triglycerides are a fuel source. The reason why people with metabolic syndrome also have high trigs is because the insulin load prevents them from being burned. High triglycerides are a symptom of a very severe problem - insulin resistance. Your body can't burn the triglycerides in the presence of the dominant insulin hormone.
Insulin is a hormone that turns on fat storage and turns off fat burn. The point of induction is to drop that insulin load so we can start burning fat. If people skip induction, particularly if they are very overweight or insulin resistant, then they don't drop their insulin load when they start eating more fat. The fat they eat gets turned into triglycerides, makes their blood lipids worse, they get fatter, and then they declare Atkins doesn't work.
Still, there are some cases where people's bodies are resistant to losing weight (low carb OR other), and even if they do induction, they might not see the results many of us do. Dr. Eades has several tips for these people to try.
Induction is very restrictive, but it is temporary. Some of us experience 'low carb flu' where we feel sick. This is usually due to side effects from our high carb diets. Headaches and cravings due to sugar withdrawal, not too unlike a drug addict symptom, are common. Switching from burning glucose to fat results in an energy drop, but we adapt.
About 'low-carb flu'. I became very sick due to an overgrowth of candida. This was from years of high carb/high sugar and antibiotic use that allowed the candida to overtake my system. I never knew this was a problem, and took me completely by surprise. Allergies, eczema, chronic sinus infections, yeast infections, IBS like symptoms, poor digestion, and inability to lose weight were all symptoms.
I got the worst sinus infection of my life as the candida was being starved out due to sudden carb withdrawal. It took months of probiotics in order to get rid of it. Before I tried low-carb myself, I would have dismissed someone describing candida overgrowth as quackery.
I'm a believer from real world experience. I have been free of my candida infection for about 9 months. I have no allergies, no eczema, no sinus/yeast infections, no IBS, and lost weight. I don't care if there are no scientific studies to prove this. Anecdotal, coincidental or not, this was what happened for me. My quality of life is so much better. This is one reason why I won't consider going back to a high grain diet. I don't want that crap back.
I'm a little tired of people dismissing low-carbs as a valid diet because of a few ignorant people who didn't read the books and are eating poorly. Pizza is junk food. Double quarter pounders are junk food. Deep fried food is not low-carb. People who order steaks and skip the salad are not eating the way the low-carb books recommend.
Look, there are people who eat poorly on any 'diet'. I see people on the message boards exclaim, "I've done everything right! Why can't I lose weight?" You go to their food tracker, and there's baked Lays potato chips, Snackwells Devil's Food Cakes, and low-fat yogurt that has 26g of sugar. You know why I find this particularly sad and funny? Because this is what I used to do! I didn't lose weight that way either! I wasn't eating remotely healthy.
I know vegetarians who don't eat enough vegetables. Doritos are not a highly nutritious vegetable. Why is it if you search for 'vegan' on FoodGawker.com, 90% of the recipes that come up are vegan muffins, cookies and cakes? Aren't vegans supposed to eat vegetables? (And to be fair, low-carb has a similar problem).
"Low carb" friends who eat double quarter pounders because "the extra meat compensates for the bun" are making a poor choice. People who pick the toppings off pizza leaving the crust are making a poor choice. When I did this, I was making a poor choice.
I want to apologize to all my low-carb friends for perpetuating this myth many years ago.
I am partially responsible for this stereotype, so I wish to make amends.
I am ethnically half Korean/half German. I grew up on my mother's yummy and healthy Korean meals, eating lots of vegetables along with protein and rice. I wasn't fat growing up.
One of my favorite dishes is Korean Kalbi, which is usually a marinated short rib, but sometimes my mom would use other cuts of meat like flank steak. A popular way we used to eat it was to take a bite sized piece and fold it into a fresh lettuce leaf like a wrap.
I grew up in Colorado, and in addition to my mom's Korean food, my cooking style is heavily influenced by Southwest Tex-Mex. Fajitas are my favorite tex-mex food.
Last night I made what my husband called "Kaljitas". Part kalbi, part southwest fajita. I grilled a flank steak, onion, and bell pepper like a fajita. I made guacamole and broiled a zucchini.
We wrapped it in lettuce leaves instead of flour or corn tortillas. Topped with a little guac.
This was 343 calories. A very respectable number even for low calorie diets.
I dare make the claim that this is healthier than my low-fat diet days. I would have skipped the highly nutritious guac because of its fat content, instead eating the comparatively nutritionally devoid tortilla. A small fajita sized tortilla has 90 calories. That's as many calories as my guacamole serving. I probably would have eaten 3 tortillas, making this a higher calorie meal.
Also, I do not buy "low carb" tortillas any more than I would "low fat" tortillas. Enjoy them if you wish, but please do not fool yourself into thinking it is somehow beating the system. Our biology knows the difference.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
One of the benefits of having a food journal that goes back 5 years is I can go back in time to see where I started, and where I am now.
The reason I joined Spark is because my weight loss stalled, and I wanted to lose more. And Spark is free!
Here's my very first day that I created an account on Spark and tracked my food.
July 3, 2007 Start weight: 135lbs
Breakfast: Cheerios, Plum, Granola bar | Calories: 218
Lunch: Baja fresh charboiled chicken, clementine | Calories: 352
Dinner: Turkey sausage, asparagus, corn, eggplant, sweet potato, bell pepper, halibut, tequila | Calories: 860
Snack: Low fat yogurt, plum, granola bar | Calories: 294
Calorie Total: 1725
Carbs: 219g | 55%
Fat: 30g | 17%
Protein: 112g | 28%
If we're going with calorie in-calorie out math, I'm a little calorie high, but the quality of food is pretty good. No fast food. No junk. Veggies, fruit, grains (Cheerios says its heart healthy!), and keeping fat low (because I was trying to follow the standard dietary advice). Shot of alcohol is ok in moderation, right? I packed too many calories at once at dinner, but hey! It was my first day!
Subsequent journal entries show that I dropped my average daily calories.
And it worked! My weight tracker shows that I lost 4 lbs in a month. Not bad!
However, checking my report in October 8, 2007, my weight jumped to 142lbs. Not good.
3 years later...
August 5, 2010 Start weight: 132
Breakfast: Banana, Cheerios | Calories: 177
Lunch: Carrots, dill pickle, lettuce, flank steak, potato, Izze soda | Calories: 543
Dinner: Carrots, tomatoes, peas, chicken thigh, Izze soda, bbq sauce | Calories: 289
Snack: Pineapple, watermelon | Calories: 125
Calories Total: 1134
Carbs: 176g | 64%
Fat: 16g | 13%
Protein: 63g | 23%
My weight report shows that I lost 3 lbs by October 1, 2010. 1.5lb per month. Not very impressive.
Sure, the Izze pop wasn't the healthiest choice, but calories in-calories out, right? The source of the calories doesn't matter, just the total calories, right?
(You know what I think of that. Good luck with that Twinkie diet.)
But it gets worse. According to my weight tracker, I weighed 138 after the holidays. A 9 lb gain since October. All of my work erased, and then some.
I think we can agree this was a yo-yo. If experts were to be believed, my food quality was above average (Pizza hut and potato chips aren't to blame). It did work for a time, then it didn't, and I rebounded. Fast. Over time, I couldn't lose as well on the same number of restricted calories.
(I'll skip comparison with my current results now because I want to wait a full 30 days before discussing.)
There was a study published recently that tested resting energy expenditure for people on low-fat, low-glycemic, and low-carb diets. This type of study has never been done before. What they basically did is forced all the participants to lose weight 10-15% of their body weight rapidly, put them on these diets, then recorded what happened to their maintenance metabolic rate. The result? Low-carb maintainers had the least decrease in resting energy expenditure; low-fat had the most; low-glycemic was in the middle. Low-carb maintainers burned 300 more calories at rest then the low-fat group. The 'metabolic advantage' goes to the low-carb group.
I'm not going to say that this definitely answered why my metabolism continued to decline year after year, but the circumstantial evidence is intriguing. This isn't a long term study, so certainly there is more work to build on this.
Running with this idea, though, my personal long term data suggests a cumulative effect.
It occurred to me that 'seasonal carb cycling' may have better results for maintenance, and blunt the awful holiday weight gain. If we have a lot of weight to lose, then being able to resume where we left off makes the task more manageable. Slightly higher carb in the summer if we're more active may be less likely to pack on pounds, then shift into lower carb in the winter when we're less active. If we go by traditional farming cycles, grains and plants ARE less prevalent in the winter months. Pre industrial populations lived more heavily on animal protein during the winter months when plants and grains were inaccessible. Vegetables were pickled before refrigeration became common. Grains were stored in silos, but rationed moderately because it had to last all winter.
The thing that is clear to me from my long term journals is that high carb and low activity are a disaster.
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