Friday, October 17, 2014

Have we fundamentally changed- my take away from the Refuse to Regain article

Riding the wave, but not getting crushed!
Barbara Berkeley, MD- author of the book Refuse to Regain had a recent blog post entitled : Have We Fundamentally Changed- A Novel Thought about Obesity

Quick, click on that link and read her article.

I can only speak from my own experience. Here are my take away ideas from the article.

1. Weight Loss:  Fundamental shift from 1998 and my Weight Watcher Days: yes, I went from being a WW point counter, very successful for weight loss (NOT successful in weight maintenance) to a very low calorie, low carb dieter (not sustainable for weight maintenance). 

Something changed for me. A fundamental shift!

2. Weight MaintenanceFundamental Shift: I had a shift in early long term weight maintenance, from a carbohydrate tolerance of 100-120 grams of carbs  a day pre-menopausal to a shift of 40-50 grams of total carbs a day in post menopause.  This happened while I was writing this blog. To sustain the 70 pound weight loss, I was going to have to have a fundamental shift in my Paleo-ish food template. What sustained me in early weight maintenance was not going to work in my weight maintenance plan 2-3 years down the road.

3. Cause doesn't matter, Just a resolve to eat more Primarily/Paleo-ish: I can only guess at the causes: menopause, shutting down the shallow end of the obesity genetic pool.  I can come here and state root causes, I might be p*issing guessing in the wind! I could be totally wrong about processed foods, xanthan gum and other additives being an issue for me. In the end, it doesn't really matter, it boils down to a resolve to eat less processed foods to meet my own goals.  I was told in 2002 that wheat and processed sugar might be like an allergy for me. Accepting the allergy concept fundamentally shifted my health to a better place.

4. Respect the new state of reality:  YES!!! THIS!!!  I respect the new state of reality. Not avoiding the reality of me needing to stay on about a 98% Paleo-ish food template, of choosing to remain what I respect my own reality of stone cold food sobriety. Rather than avoiding my own reality, I embrace it. Get crushed by reality or embrace the reality of long term weight maintenance. What keeps me in long term weight maintenance also keeps me in long term great health. Probably the best health of my life. That's a been a fundamental shift- accepting abstaining from grains, sugar, dairy, legumes, and nuts. It's real. It works real well.

There's no coincidence that  my long term weight maintenance = my long term health
Surf those waves!

I keep my eyes wide open, resolve to accept my own reality, and do the day in day out work that it takes. Surfing those dynamic shifts!

What didn't work in the past = Avoidance

1. Avoided the fact that the old points counting without respect to processed foods was not going to work any more.

2. Avoiding the signs of peri-menopause and the need to eat lower carb got me a few months of insomnia and some continued migraine head aches. Fortunately, I was much more into fundamental shifts by this point.

3. Avoiding  the advice for 10 years that sugar and wheat may be an allergy. Glad that I survived these years. Praying that I don't pay with joint damage or worse.

4.  Avoiding the reality of what works for me in long term weight maintenance. I couldn't make those fundamental shifts in my other two big attempts at weight maintenance - I regained 70 out of 60 pounds lost in 1999 and I regained about 25-30 pounds in 2002-2003. There was lots of yo-yo dieting all along the way.

Okay, any take aways of your own from the article? I suspect that many long term maintainers have respected their new state of reality.


  1. GREAT article! I haven't gotten her book, because I currently abstain from most non-fiction (LOL)...but I know I should. I'm sure I'd be down in the one-teens (too, like you) if I could give up nuts and cheese. I haven't accepted the 'allergy-like' theory yet re them. They remain two of my 'treats', although totally controllable, and other than probably an 'extra' 10 lbs., no decernable effects thereof. I guess I haven't decided that a life without them would be fundamentally better than a life with them. I went a few weeks-month last year without dairy, and saw no improvement, so I came back. I haven't tried life without my morning/mid-afternoon cashews or almonds (rarely goes, total, above 1.5 ounces, so not a lot.) We'll see.

    Thanks for the reference and food for thought!

    1. Gwen, I think that Refuse to Regain is required reading. My library has a copy. It took me so long to accept the "allergy" theory to wheat and sugar. Glad I didn't have a major health event while returning from the mile of denial for 10 years.

      Good luck and kudos to your return to where you want to be. Early addressing any gains is a key step in weight maintenance.

  2. I love this post, Karen. Your analytical, scientific, objective approach really resonates with me (you leave all emotion out of it). And I learn from you. When I started out, I took 20 mgs of prednisone a day and did intense cardio and weights (2 hours a day/3 times a week for a total of 6 hours). And I rode a stationary bike. I also just restricted calories and ate Lean Cuisines. As I moved further into weight loss, I ended up weaning myself off prednisone with my doctor's assistance (though I had taken it for 20 years). Weight loss became a bit easier for me, but still difficult because I take another medication that tends to add the pounds.

    I am now perimenopausal in my mid forties. It is easier to maintain a lower weight than when I was on prednisone, but I know things will shift once I hit menopause. I am prepared to make further dietary changes. I do eat dairy and am still experimenting with how much fruit I can eat versus whether I can handle a piece of Ezekiel bread instead. In my twenties I did very well on a high carb, low fat diet. (But I know my body has changed so I need to change things up). It seems when I have half a banana and Greek yogurt, I am worse off than when I have a slice of Ezekiel bread and butter. And I know I cannot eat more than two fruit servings a day.

    I am also constantly switching up my exercise plan. I prefer to do 45 minutes of the arc trainer four times a week with high intensity thrown in, and weights three-five times a week (mostly for upper body). And I like lifting heavier--at least for me (25 pound rows, 15 pound curls). I find that helps me lose weight. I am still trying to drop 5-10 pounds, but I think I might not get it off until the spring because I have a hard time losing in the winter months. And I do not like going 2 pounds above my current weight.

    1. Ali, so wise to experiment and keep an open mind about shifting your diet as you go. Not only weight but I find sleep to be so much better once I switched up ( fruit is mainly berries now, with an odd thin slice of orange or peach or persimmon or pineapple every so often).

      I also stay 1-2 pounds heavier in the winter vs summer since I embraced a mainly Paleo style of diet. Sub-cutaneous fat and not viceral. I had heard Sara Gottfried MD tell Able James in a podcast that her patients who had embraced a Paleo/Primal style of diet usually don't go below a BMI of 22. I can say that is totally true for me. I don't mind it a bit. My health insurance discount, sleep, controlling feeling cold in the winter all are better this way.

      Here's to experimenting and changing as we age. Kudos to you!

  3. Health, fitness, weight it has to be a lifestyle choice and a choice that is sustainable.

    Low fat, high carb not a good idea about low carb, high fat - now I think that works well. I eat no more than 50 carbs per day but I balance my good fats butter, avocado, nuts, etc green vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach and meat / poultry / fish throw in exercise get some sleep/rest and you're onto a winning lifestyle.

    Have a good weekend

    All the best Jan

    1. I know Jan... I get the a case of the sads when I hear my low fat, high carb friends talk about how they are never full, always hungry. My carb cut off per day is right around 50- with an occasional bump up to 60 if I walk more than 15,000 steps per day. Usually not much lower than 40- so a range of 40-50 grams per day total is my cruising mode.

      And to think that I used to eat more than 50 grams of carbs per meal (3x daily) plus 1-2 snacks (often fruit, 2x daily). That's 250 grams of carbs. If I binge ate- we are talking easily 300+ grams of carbs a day on low fat. Never felt full, always food seeking....

      Life is better for me now. :) Karen P.

  4. I tried the lactose free (or whatever it is) cottage cheese a couple weeks ago, after having been off dairy for a long time now (years maybe) and had instant GI bloat. One 1/2 cup three days in a row and I knew it was a total no go.

    The thing about elimination, from what I have observed, is people do not eat cleanly enough and for long enough to really see if one item is impacting them (whether they are eliminating it or reintroducing it). At times I have been off something for months, even a year, before retrying. And I had to keep the rest of my food as a nonvariable to see accurate results.

    I am with you on processed. I don't have any idea which of the many ingredients might be bothering me, so it is just easier not to eat any of it.

    At some point I was reading Paleo or some similar topic and realized that was actually how I was eating, but a little cleaner, because some of that I do not eat. That amused me to no end.

    If you eat whole foods, and you have a reaction, you KNOW what caused it.

    I am all about clear, simple, repeatable, nonstress.

    1. Vickie- I discovered that not only do I carry the homozygous gene (two copies) for lactose intolerance, I'm really casein intolerant. I so thought I could enjoy ghee (lactose removed, maybe a speck of casein) and I can't even have that. There is some super filtered ghee that went on the market that has all casein removed, but it's $10 a container.

      Yes! Having patience on the reintroduction of foods. Why be off them for 1-2 months if you can't re-introduce foods to test in an orderly manner. The point of an elimination diet is to test it, then decide. Feeling better for 1-2 months from the elimination is just the starting block.

      Here's to clear, simple, repeatable and non-stress. Cooking now is so much easier. Real food, in a pan, fast!