Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thoughts on Dr. Berkleley's "Weight Loss in America" post- insanity vs belief and how it works for me

Weight Maintenance Island
Here are my thoughts about Dr. Berkeley's blog post from 6/23/2015

I tried it: Here's my own story:

As an obese child, I was told a lot of nonsense about losing weight. It wasn't my fault. It was the 1970's and 80's. Low fat Snackwell's, yogurts, and low fat cereal ruled the day. Tang, it's low fat and what the astronauts used. It's also really high sugar. Too bad I carry two copies of the high risk gene (FTO SNP) for childhood obesity. Being obese in the 70's and 80's was not fun. I was bullied physically and emotionally. Being obese sucks child or adult.

One of my DNA SNP's that shows my risk for obesity
Link to read more about this particular geneotype

Add on some extra ghrelin, the hunger hormone. In the 90's, 2000's and 2010's the exposure to processed foods got worse. Finally the urge to eat everything in the kitchen, with ZERO off switch, makes sense. I wasn't some weak willed person who could just count WW points harder.  I was eating under the real gene and hormonal response that switched on when I ate high sugar foods and highly processed foods. A hormone that told me "eat more". If you don't have it, you don't know the absolute drive to eat that the hormone signals. Super strong. Being obese, a yo-yo dieter sucks. It is physically and emotionally painful. Expensive, too.
One of my DNA SNP's for extra ghrelin (hunger hormone)
Link to read more about this particular geneotype

Currently from 2012 to present day: Now on a real foods, yes Paleo-ish food template, I was able to switch off my personal  DNA SNP's that put me at high risk for obesity.  I have all the genetics that I had when I was 70 pounds overweight and binge eating. That extra ghrelin  SNP (hunger hormone) is a real issue for me to address.  It doesn't mean that I don't have binge urges or small, reversible weight regains. It does mean I put as few processed foods in my body, with the least added ingredients. No grains, very little processed sugar no weight gains.  NSNG for the win.

For me it started with foods:  The foods I eat keep my hs-CRP inflammation very, very low, my glucose from spiking, my cholesterol biochemistry optimal for menopause. My sleep as good as I can can get. I've been the least anxious in my life by kicking processed foods- especially processed low calorie diet foods, to the curb.

It's not moral judgment. It's not my fault.  I have no choice but to deal with the genetic deck of cards I was dealt. My body chemistry will not tolerate highly processed foods. Since the age of 6, my genotype expressed the obesity phenotype. 40 years of obesity, morbid obesity, yo-yo dieting, and desperately trying anything and everything to escape. I was even normal weight on and off during that time.

 Check out my Instagram account for more meals. Post 70 pound weight loss, food is delicious, filling, low inflammatory, and allows for more normal satiety signals. I spent 40 years trying to find this place.  I certainly don't starve or eat highly processed foods that are low in calories and nutrition. I eat moderate to high moderate plates of real , great tasting food.  Higher in protein and natural fat, lower in carbohydrates, naturally.

I'm just happy that Dr. Berkeley, Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson,Vera Tarman, MD, and Dr. Pamela Peek, MD are all speaking up about not eating everything in moderation in today's food world. That food addiction and complex problems very far, far beyond "eat less, move more" advice doled out by major medical institutions, weight loss companies, and some doctors.

I agree with Dr. Berkeley, we are awash in a food tsunami

Also from Dr. Berkeley :

Insanity:  Overweight comes from eating too much.   Belief:  Overweight comes from a problem in the way your particular body handles modern food.  Other people may not have this problem.  They may eat just as much as you do and never get fat.  Does that mean that YOU eat too much?   - See more at:

Insanity:  Overweight comes from eating too much.   Belief:  Overweight comes from a problem in the way your particular body handles modern food.  Other people may not have this problem.  They may eat just as much as you do and never get fat.  Does that mean that YOU eat too much?   - See more at:
Belief:  Overweight comes from a problem in the way your particular body handles modern food.  Other people may not have this problem.  They may eat just as much as you do and never get fat.  Does that mean that YOU eat too much?   - See more at:
Belief:  Overweight comes from a problem in the way your particular body handles modern food.  Other people may not have this problem.  They may eat just as much as you do and never get fat.  Does that mean that YOU eat too much?   - See more at:

Just real, whole foods, cooked at home, most of the time.  When I'm out and travel, I still eat real, unprocessed foods. If you don't have this problem, yay you. I have the problem. It didn't go away when I lost weight. It's still there, I just keep a lid on it.

Also from Dr. Berkeley

Insanity: That this whole problem is so incredibly complicated and takes so much effort to figure out. Belief:  Stop eating ALL carbs except for non tropical fruits and vegetables.  (Much more info in my book, Refuse to Regain).  Do some exercise 5 days a week to stabilize your weight.  Eat very little from a package and just eat what's real.  That will return you to the diet that your body has been comfortable with for most of human existence.  Try it.  Then let me know how it went. - See more at:

I tried it. See my photo below. Here's how it went. It worked really, really well. Here's to finding a real food template of your choosing, and putting down the processed junk. Separate insanity from belief and your own reality. It turned out to not be complex, but totally do able.

One photo below is moderating all processed, sweet, low calorie foods = Insanity.

 One photo below is a real foods template = belief + habits= results. Big difference! It's not my fault I have obesity risk factors. It is my responsibility to cook and adopt habits that put the lid on the disese producing genetics and put life into living. The next 40 years, I choose to live differently.

I still have the same geneotype. I just choose food and lifestyle that keeps a lid on the phenotype. It's relatively easy now I got rid of the insanity.  Now just sitting here on weight maintenance island, waiting for the world to get caught up with some better practices.

PS- I didn't need a genetic report to get a handle on my weight. I just needed to piece together the info in the books Refuse to Regain, by Barbara Berkeley, MD. And the book The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf.  My DNA report is just more proof of insanity vs belief. AKA the frosting on the cupcake I don't eat anymore. ;)

If you tried it, how did it go?  My story won't be your story, but if a real foods template worked for you, please, please share your story.  If you don't have that problem, sure moderate all the foods, but please have some basic understanding and empathy for those of us who can't moderate all the foods. Thanks!!

July 2009 (moderate junk food) vs June 2015 (Paleo-ish 3 + years)


  1. Loved this post. Such a logical presentation of facts, and photos that add the exclamation mark.

    I looked into getting my own DNA done, but couldn't figure out how to get the results interpreted. The DNA lab wouldn't give me any guidance, not even the words to use for a Google search. I understand that they're trying to comply with fed guidelines, but the raw results won't help me if I don't understand them.

    I think they didn't understand that I have no idea--none--where to look for the company/agency/service for the nest step. No idea of what the entity is called. So disappointed.

    Like you, however, I know what food I need to eat and what I need to avoid. I think the DNA results would simply help me to refute the voice in my head that tells me I'm nuts and the "all tings in moderation" group (which is pretty large and influential!) is sane. sighhhhh.

    Probably why I enjoyed this post so much.

    Thanks, Karen, for continuing to present the truth.


  2. Hi Deb,

    Glad this post spoke to you. Once I started doing what I needed to do- very quietly, and broke free from the "You'll binge eat if you don't eat a cupcake" (yes, I know that's true for many, it's very damaging to me) and started going to no processed or very little processed (whole food marinara sauces, coconut milk without emulsifiers- just coconut and water) then I got to keep my natural body, very few cravings and a lot better head space. Just don't tell anyone and you'll have the freedom to do what works.

    Also, the company I used was Promethease. $5 and 15 minutes. It's all risk factors- so you might have the genotype but never have the disease or outcome. You also may have the disease, but this set of SNP's either wasn't screened for OR hasn't be discovered yet. I know someone with fill blown Parkinson's Disease that has 0 markers for it on 23nMe. I know someone with full blown MS with many MS markers on 23nMe.

    I'm not affiliated with either lab. And you may find out stuff you don't want to know. Some people may want to throw in the towel and say screw it, I'm going to be obese or asthmatic or prone to skin cancer, I can't fight it, but I've seen a different story. Change your diet to low inflammatory- I now tan deeply instead of burning. I also stay lean with many obesity risk factors. No dairy= no asthma or acne, very low allergies. Not one single thing had I not known before I got my report. At least I can understand it better.

    good luck!!

    1. Thank you!

      I'll follow up. I'm one of those people who would rather know than not know. As I said, I think I have identified my best food plan--which is almost identical to yours--but who knows? Maybe my DNA holds a secret that will rrefine the process.

      Thanks, again!


  3. Order with 23nMe completed! :D

    But, hey, after the order completed, I saw that one can get $20 for a referral that results in a purchase. If you want to try for that--since you did make the referral--let me know and I'll give you my info. It may be too late, tho, since I already ordered, but do look into it.


    1. Too late. Again, I'm non-commercial on my blog. I don't make any money from anyone.

  4. Way to go Karen! You are proof of what's possible! Excellent!

    1. Thank you madelovich!!! :) My path won't be everyone's path, but it will be similar to many. Funny how that is.

  5. One of the biggest factors in your favor is - you are not a rebel.

    I think you, like me, just wanted an answer.

    When you found the answer, you went for simple.

    No beating your head against the wall.

    No self sabotage.

    I see a lot of rebels in weight loss blog land. The cutting their nose off to spite their face kind. They are very fixated on being able to do what they want, the way they want, even though it has clearly never worked.

    I have written many times over the years that I CRAVE simple. I don't care who has the right answer. Child, husband, friend. My ego is left at the door. I just want to do what works and is simple. I want to have low stress/anxiety, be pain free, not be a burden to my family, be able to do what I need to do to live a full/happy life, sleep, not ruminate, etc.

    1. Vickie- yes!!! What works (real food, no grains/sugars) When I eat that way my stress and anxiety is low ( I sleep better), The no grains no dairy means my inflammation is low = lower heart attack risk to my family. No grains means very little joint pain, too- lower OTC drugs and lower secondary auto-immmune risk.

      No beating oneself up, just easier way to live life. Yes, answer. Thank you. :) Karen P

  6. 'real foods template' ... what a good combination of words.

    Enjoyed reading your post Karen, thanks

    All the best Jan

    1. Real foods template (for me, like you, lower carb) for the WIN!! Thank you for your kind words, Jan.

  7. Just found your blog through a comment you left on someone else's blog, and while we have very different food philosophies, it's refreshing to find someone else who's blogging about their maintenance experiences. Sadly, there seems to be too few of us out there!

    Now following :)