Saturday, November 1, 2014

Apple's Health app -two metrics side by side -Weight and Carbs (narrow carb window in weight maintenance)

Narrow Carb Window in Weight Maintenance
 1. I upgraded last weekend to iOS 8.1 on my iPhone and I started using Apple's Health App.

2. I KNOW and have KNOWN for a long, long time that my weight and my carbohydrate range are very closely tied together. I have a narrow carbohydrate range for long term weight maintenance and menopause.

3. DATA- because I'm a scientist my own personal data. I'm a scientific weight maintenance data ninja! 

4. Karen's Weight Maintenance and Menopause reality:

Gain weight   ( >70 grams of carbs per day, each day for weeks)

Slowly gain weight (50-70 grams of carbs per day, 1 week)

Maintain my weight (40-50 grams of carbs per day for weeks)

Lose weight ( <40 grams of carbs per day, 1 week )

Feel terrible ( <32 grams of carbs per day, each day)

 Macro breakdown for Oct 27, 2014

Weight Maintenance Macros Low Carb ,Higher Fat
What's working for me:

1. Weighing daily to own my own data and think like a data ninja on my own n=1 (big shout out to the Refuse to Regain book -Barbara Berkeley, MD) and my in real life weight maintainers on talking me into the daily weighing habit)

2. Track my food intake on My Fitness Pal for 4-6 weeks at a time.

3. Taking a break from tracking my food intake for 2-3 weeks at a time.

4. Respecting and using my narrow carb window in weight maintenance to get great overall health and wellness- good blood markers

5. Using my science brain and easy to record data to its full advantage.

What did not work in the past

1. Avoiding the scale and following other people's throw out the scale themes. This always resulted in a weight gain for me. Always. I was smart enough to think for myself this time around in weight maintenance. If you can maintain without weighing, kudos to you.

2. Not tracking my carbs along with my weight (think WW online tools). Tracking points was not the right data tracking for me.

3. Not having a set food template so that when I feel like not tracking I can just stop for awhile and not regain the weight.  ( *** note, not tracking does not mean I eat off the rails, eat off template foods, it means I take a break because I feel like it***)

4. Not looking closely at my blood work, food template, and my weight to see trends. 

5. Trying to use "intuitive eating" style tactics.  My binge brain reigns supreme. There's maybe 10% of my intuitive skills that I summons for weight maintenance on some days, but I can't use that part of my brain for eating.  For many other things, just not for my primary tool in weight maintenance.

Okay, who else is using data to keep on track?  I'll bet I'm not the only one with a narrow carb window.


  1. I can't stress how much I love these posts, Karen! I really like how you give the specific details in terms of carb, etc. that help you maintain and lose. Even if I don't do exactly what you do, I really learn from you--and you give me ideas to try with myself. I weigh every day if possible (if I go out of town, then I can't do that), and I would not stop this habit because it works for me and keeps me accountable. I don't physically track my food, but I keep a running tally in my head of everything I eat. I suspect, though, that I will start tracking once in a while to keep me accountable because sometimes I don't measure nuts (though I only eat 10-12 per day) and that sort of thing. One experiment that I have been doing is to see how my body responds to sweet potatoes and regular potatoes. I removed Ezekiel bread from my diet (which is my only grain), and started eating potatoes for dinner. That did not work for me, and I gained. So I am back to a slice and a half of Ezekeil bread per day. I also have not eliminated sugar totally because I do eat chocolate and nondairy ice cream. (I know that doesn't work for you and many others.) I never sit down and have a bowl. I just have two-three spoonfuls after dinner. This habit is going to have to die slowly. But I lost about two pounds recently and am hoping to keep them off.

    1. Ali, glad you find the posts helpful. I suspect lack of fine tuning your food template/habits and going back to less effective habits (say if I decided I was going to bake Paleo cookies or something) is the root of many a regain.

      Glad you can n=1 your plan. So, so many don't. So I salute you. I do find that increased hiking/walking/house cleaning for hours will naturally increase my carb intake without weight gain. (all veggies and fruit, not junk). I can eat pretty higher calorie- for me, but if my carbs are low, then it's no problem. So, so , glad I figured that out. I'll do a separate blog post on it.....

      Hey, if that ice cream works for you... (it does for the Refuse to Regain author)... do it. I eat 85% chocolate (half serving that has anywhere from 2-4 grams of sugar) also I have Coconut Butter and cinnamon from time to time. (another blog post on that...)

      Question for you Ali : do you ever take your fasting glucose in the morning after the sweet potatoes, or two hours post eating the meals with the higher carbs? I bought a glucose meter over the summer and have been taking readings. No huge revelations, but I'll probably do some n=1 testing around my blood sugar and fruit. (more blog posts..)

      Anyhoo, appreciate your comments. Keep up the great work on feeling better. :)

    2. No, I have not taken my fasting glucose levels. That's a good idea. I think I don't react we'll to fruit and am trying to limit my fruit intake to one piece a day. I actually can eat more grains than fruit without weight gain. I am really trying to lose 7 pounds and am trying to be super careful (hence, weaning myself off the few bites of ice cream). I am no longer willing to kill myself with the cardio like I used to (now I want my maximum time in the arc trainer to be 40 minutes) so my food intake is changing up. I am 5'1" and weigh 142 (and I fit into a size 8 at Ann Taylor, which runs big), and I want to be about 135. That is still considered an overweight BMI, but I have an hourglass figure (very much so) and lift weights so I look smaller. And I don't carry my weight in my stomach. I don't know if I can get below 135 at my age and having been so overweight (I am 44) without being super drastic (and also I need some leeway in menopause). Plus I don't know if my face will get too thin because I don't want to look gaunt.

  2. nah, I have to be really low in it too. But no breads/grains (except what might be in the occasional Ranch dressing, bbq sauce or 4 onion rings), no sugar (ditto), and no starchy vegetables (no beans of any kind)...and I'm usually ok. To lose I need to be at 1200 calories or less. Not even a calorie or two more, regardless of the source.

    good job!

    1. Interesting, Gwen. I think it's great you know what you have to do to lose. I've noticed I won't dip below a 22 BMI or go above 23 on my BMI unless I'm really carbing it up without long hikes (>5 miles all at one time).

      Do you track using an app?

  3. Really interesting to read your post Karen - detailed and logged in such a great way ....thanks.

    For me I eat no more than 50 carbs per day, I do control what I eat and this lifestyle suits me. If I should go off plan my body 'sees' too many carbs as poison and re-acts accordingly I don't go off plan which results in both me and my body feeling as happy and healthy as I can achieve ..... I'm 61yr now and feeling good!

    All the best Jan