Tuesday, May 24, 2016

#3 Weight Maintenance Tool- Support in your current food template, and the ability to change support systems, as needed

Support from within your current food template is key in weight loss, but it's even a more powerful tool and more influential in weight maintenance. 

If you've not mastered this concept yet for long term maintenance- that's okay. Some of the ideas in this post might be hard to implement. That's okay. Sometimes I resisted changing because I did not want to leave those I thought were in my tribe who, well, just were not the best fit for my weight loss to long term weight maintenance plan. Nice people, but not effective for my best fit support. 

Weight maintenance support is a process. One that you have to change up as you progress, because long term weight maintenance can vary, so support may also vary.
Choosing the best support in your food & life template in weight maintenance is key

My #3 tool - Support from those in your current food template, habits,  and change it up,as needed

Here's my theory
If I hang out by choice or circumstance with my food enablers ,and  I go back to my obesity food template, then I am more likely to re-gain my weight. 

If the Biggest Loser people could have gotten matched to a genetically similar long term weight maintainer for life coaching within their biological required wellness template, then it may have changed their outcome. Weight regain is common, but some do not regain the weight. There are biological reasons why, and some have been able to get support for their genetics and environment. It's not easy, but very worth that work and that wisdom.

I've done this before- lost weight, unsustainable maintenance counting point and eating junk, so I know first hand. Been there, did that.  I yo-yo dieted for 40 years. A lot of the root of it was not getting the life AND eating support I needed in weight maintenance.

Going out there, getting support, then changing it up was key.

Here's what's working now:

1. I hang out in real life with either people who support me in my Paleo/Low Carb/Low Inflammatory food template. Think PaleoFx, NSNG meet ups, supportive friends and family who don't enable. 

With the Paleo/LCHF/Low Inflammatory foods people- they are my people. No explanations or hassles with them. There's variability within the groups. But we have the same, basic structure for the ex-obese. 

With family and friends:
What do you need now they ask? I might answer, take me to Trader Joe's, I just flew in and need to cook for myself (after a family death). What do you need now? I need you to watch my daughter so I can go out and take a walk, I'll feel better. (neighbor when I was a single Mom and my kid was pre-elementary) What do you need now? I need you to bake the cookies when I'm out hiking tomorrow. Thank you. (visiting relatives wanting to bake old family favorites)

2. Online: I have people I can contact in real life, and in other time zones if I feel like I want to binge eat (say after finding out a close friend or family member died). You know who you are. Someone who is going to tell me to STOP or DON'T eat my triggers. Or who will help me come back to my senses quick. No sugar coating, no head pats. Because, food sobriety requires someone else with grit and functional problem solving, and critical thinking. Think OA sponsors, think habit changing coaches, etc. Someone who is outside yourself.

Hint: On Facebook, you can see who is still online and message that person. Just saying..   Also, popping into a group of people who will support you 24/7 is key- IMO.

3. Changing it up: I've changed where and who I hang out with online, just for time management sake. The time to meditate had to come from somewhere. More Low Carb High Fat (natural fat). 

What changes I've made:

What didn't work in my past:

1. Support in real life by By Choice: I had to change from WW Lifetimer weigh in's due to that wall of freaking JUNK food, the  WW candy bars everywhere. Add in the verbal bullying in front of the whole meeting,  from one of the WW leaders about abstaining. Ugh! Tricky to find solid food sobriety in that room, though, surrounded by bars, crunchy snacks, and frozen WW coupons.

The members were nice, but I thought that leader was going to call the WW police.....;)  OMG- abstaining is not restrictive, it's self care for me. Is it too much to want to hop on a calibrated scale once and awhile? The ladies and a few guys, 10 deep  line line to purchase  snack boxes all stacked up..... I knew it was time for me to step away. I used to be them, and it just never helped me once I was in my mid-30's.

And, this was before Oprah was lovingly staring at bread loaves on Instagram like there were puppies in that box. LOL...gotta laugh about this. Oprah's done a lot of good, but to someone leaning out and maintaining weight, many find bread is not one of the tools  I found it too tricky to find solid food sobriety in that room, though, surrounded by bars, crunchy snacks, and frozen meal WW coupons.

No, it's a starchy S food. Not puppies. I'll spare you the photo, but click through the link if you are wondering...

NOTE: Not all WW leader and members are like this, I know, I had one that was likely a food addict in remission. She flat out told us she could not and would not eat pizza (her red light food she called it), her trigger food. One person asked- "how many points in one slice of cheese pizza at Costco?"The leader asked the person- "Once you start, can you stop?" The answer was "No, I binge eat". The leader replied, "Well then, you don't buy the slice. You don't even spend one minute looking for the points value, it's too much."  I miss that leader a lot.

If I eat, even one bite, my FTO/extra grhelin genes kick up (also theory since I haven't tested my insulin/ghrelin yet) and that opens the door to my life long binge eating. 1,000,000 NOPES. I learned from my past.

I'm not a bad person, I don't need to moderate or count points harder. Really. It's easier than that. Much easier, surrounded by people like me, who abstain when abstaining is required. For some, WW will be a great system, for about 40% of us who require some sort of abstention, we have to choose well. 

2. By Choice online :Also, I had to change  some of my Medifast buddies, blogger buddies, Facebook group support "I'm switching to moderation" friends. Moderation based programs are as damaging to my emotional wellness as food pushers with the item in my face physically.

Paleo banana bread, muffins, cookies. Franken food protein dessert items (Yeah, even Medifast processed foods) Ugh!!! Sugar, high carb is just that- it's not good for me to look at my key binge foods. Even high protein = joint pain.

 There is no health halo in food addiction recovery. Even Paleo Junk food pushers- buy my Paleo cookies/fudge/food plan/Whole Foods Gluten free  cupcake made by grass fed, local bakers with cute kids selling it at a farmer's market stand.  LORDY, no!  I walked away from the SAD to stay away from the SAD.

These are not bad people, but in different tribes. And that's okay.

I'm still friends with many online friends,but not all. I did not come all this way to keep the SAD in my Low Carb/Paleo/almost no processed food template. More NOPES. Not as many NOPES as the moderation crowd, maybe only 1000X NOPES. If it works for them, awesome! 

3. The ability to change up as needed. 

Just as I was easing into full blown Ketosis and found a great group of folks, my body changed a bit and now I need to ease up just a tiny bit on the very high fat percentage and aim for an alternate, mild, ketosis style. Some days really low carb <30, many days more of a 30-40 grams of carbs a day from veggies. I may go higher, too, if my glucose allows.  I'm still in that Facebook  group. It is what it is.

I've been keeping my fat high, but not as high- say in the 63-73% for my macros instead of the high 76-82 %. Don't worry, I've not gone back to "low fat". I like my health too much!

Who knows when or if the next 1-5 years will bring more changes.I've got to do what works, my body will tell me, then I may have to change up support as needed. 

I've come to understand, I'm stronger in my "tribe"
I used to think that "We are stronger together", but now I realize, we are stronger in our tribes. I would suspect that within our tribes, we have closer dietary food templates and tools. If you are finding yourself surrounded by a tribe that is enabling you to go back to your obesity and overweight habits, routines, and foods, think about that. 

Change it up! Enabling can become a tribe all it's own" I can't and you can't either, so let's eat together, YOLO!" Life is not found in the middle of a cinnamon bun.

 Whoa! I've seen it and lived it. Not the greatest outcomes for my health. 

We are stronger in our weight maintenance tribes. Here's to choosing and changing to meet your needs. #wearestrongerinourweightmaintenancetribes

Your food template will choose you, then you can choose your support. Onward. Anyone else have to change support in weight maintenance? Here's to choosing the best fit.

I'll watch for hawks if you want to dig....meerkats, not puppies


  1. Thank you for this post. I've been contemplating a transition to a more Paleo lifestyle. Also missing fruit lately... Not sure what to do about that. Add a little? Stay away? I'm in a stall pattern with weight loss and not sure if I should wait things out or make a change. I've never ever gone this long without a cheat (5 months today).

    1. Hollie I'll tell you, everyone is different. My genetics and ancestry and risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity (same FTO genes, I have many double copies) mean that I had to abstain from fruit for 40 weeks (Medifast), then craft a food template that did not include certain fruits (bananas, mangos) due to my blood glucose. Until I got my home glucose monitor, I had no idea that I was "normal weight" and becoming a type 2. I got stopped just prior to a diagnosis in 2011 of pre-diabetes. Yikes.

      Some people do great on fruit- especially my friends in real life that were born and raised nearest the equator- think Pacific Rim or South American. They do great. I can use berries from time to time, with say coconut milk and the high fat seems to take off the effect of glucose spiking. Plus berries are lowest in sugar.

      Also Paleo is lower carb on principle (no grain) but is only LC if you make it so. Even potatoes are now on the Whole30, but not for me. I will get very, very sick, very, very fast if I include potatoes. I can get type 2 blood glucose only after a few servings of fruit and stews with potatoes. It's glucose that spikes high, stays high and doesn't really resolve. Not good for me. Or my eyes, liver, or kidneys. Or weight maintenance. My insurance will cost more, too! Ugh. My HB1c will stay high, I get a discount for that. Can't afford to eat fruit- $$ out the door on that one.

      Here's to your n=1. If your binge switch is off, I urge you to look at other bio-markers and body measurments and overall lifestyle things like sleep, meditation, stress, too. I miss fruit, but I don't miss my central visceral fat or higher medical bills. Joint pain too from the fruit. (higher uric acid?). The trade off is worth it for me.

      Now, if I slice an orange for my kid, I might take an end piece or half a slice and put the juice of the teeny amount on a salad with olive oil. Essence of orange, but no crap glucose or joint pain. Nice flavor, good outcomes. That won't trigger a binge, for me. Take care Hollie, your food template will choose you.

    2. I have to watch fruit like crazy. When everything is in season, readily available, in the summer, I have to be super careful. It is easy to think "natural" or "healthy" and over do during summer season. Just as Karen said, I stay away from the higher sugar ones. And for me, fruit cannot be an every day thing. Especially not on the same day I eat starch, like a half a baked sweet potato. I think of fruit and starch as one on the same and that helps me visualize.

  2. Karen, super well written post! Really enjoyed it. I have always appreciated your what is and what is not working style. Very helpful.

    1. Thank you!!! I left this one in my draft file for awhile, until it was "done". Oh my, I had no idea how much I would need support in my food template until I got there. And how different moderators vs abstainers were. Now, there is Gretchen Rubin- thank goodness!!!! LOL.

      Perhaps my success in maintenance this time around had more to do with me being able to think for myself... :) Thanks for stopping by the blog, Vickie. I hope to visit my blooggy friends online soon..... Karen P

  3. I agree. I think it helps a LOT to be surrounded by people who are supportive of your efforts. There is no room for people who want to sabotage. And I noticed myself falling into bad old habits with certain people. It's a hard balance.

    1. Lisa, yes!! Oh, the sabotage I'm STILL faced with- mainly people begging me to eat crap food because "it's specially for me". Holly CRAP. That same person would never beg a in recovery alcoholic to drink a beer because it's July 4th or a ballgame. Being in food recovery is the same, for some I pull them off to the side and explain. For others, I say no up to three times, then stop talking to them.

      Yikes, dysfunction in that junction. So different than eating out with either those who respect that I don't eat processed sugar (except for 85% chocolate) and those who are stuck in the hyper palatable and want you to be too....ughh!!! Keep up the great work with your post baby, breastfeeding real foods- it will take you all very far. :)

  4. Very good and informative post. I think I now have a good idea of what your food template is. Mine is a work in progress, but I also must be wary of too many carbs. WW new program steers members toward fewer carbs, but they still sell the junk. WW for me is entirely about the weigh-in and the group support. I don't do their diet. I come and go, and right now, I'm "gone," but thinking I need the weigh-ins and group. I'm just figuring things out, but fewer carbs is now a given for me.

    1. Hi E. Jane Over on instagram https://www.instagram.com/karenspaleolife/ you can see my foods and now on snap chat you can see me preparing, storing and how I take my foods on the go. (snap chat is gardengirlkp) Low Carb veggies, moderate protein, no dairy, no nuts, very low processed foods. Occasionally some berries, maybe a small slice of in season stone fruit or citrus for flavor.

      Eliminating my high glucose foods has been a super big game changer for me. Very easy to prepare and batch cook once you form some quick habits around it.

      Yeah!!!! The weigh in and support are huge. If my old abstainer leader has a meeting I could actually get to, then I would go back for a once month free weigh in and much better advice. It's estimated that 40% of obese, 10% of normal weight, 10% of underweight folks are food addicts.

      So without WW filtering out, they MAY be making a huge profit off 40% of their membership from just pushing the high carb frozen meals.Their main income are their food products, so they MUST sell them. Hmmmmmm. Great way to keep profit sharing high for stock holders-IMO. It's somewhat predatory- also IMO. I think the WW plans that are low carb, simply filling (real food) are an improvement. But fruit is not free, really,how long until they partner with diabetes drug makers?? Just my 2 cents. I hope the organization changes up with more current science and proves me wrong.

      yeah, I love, love, love the high energy of a lower carb food template. Sometimes low ketosis, sometimes not. Here's to keep experimenting with your best fit food template. Very high reward for me. No migraines, good muscle tone, good sleep most of the time. Lower stress. Many benefits. :)

  5. All of this information is so helpful, Karen. Having support is so important, and I love having connections online because most of the people in my life do not eat like I do (although they don't sabotage my efforts). I have learned to keep quiet about how I eat in general settings and just make my choices without calling attention to myself. However, the online support I get is so crucial because I can find others who eat like I do, and I can learn from their successes, challenges, and failures. I see a lot of people in real life and in the online world try moderation, and I have a hard time connecting with those sites because that does not work for me (and I see a lot more success with the abstinent groups). I would love to go a meet up. That would be so fun! Please let us know how any go this year if you attend any.

    Thanks for sharing the food template that is working for you now. I can always, always, always learn from you.

    1. Ali, thank you as always. I hope that like the PaleoFx/Primal/Low Carb/Keto/AIP/NSNG grass roots grow, that more will be exposed to a real foods template and more groups will form. I'm 50 now, so I'm banking on some fun activity, travel, and food groups in my 70 & 80's that are just like me in my area- maybe sooner- LOL. ;)

      Yeah, moderation is going to work for maybe 60% of folks which is cool, but so harmful to me, really. Their cure is my disease. Will do on the meet ups. There's a Low Carb USA in late July 2016 (right in my back yard, but I may be cash poor due to other travel plans). Also an NSNG meet up in LA estimate time frame is October 2016.

      I expect to be able to to go to more events in 2017. Time will tell. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Hi Karen,

    I decided to come read your updates as i haven't done a lot of blog reading lately. I had a few questions which I hope don't make me sound entirely stupid. What is NSNG ? Are these NSNG meet ups in real life? I know you said you incorporate real life people/groups for support but I struggle to find any of these. I googled NSNG meet ups and didn't find anything. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. The only In REAL life support for weight loss I can find aside from WW is OA. I've had OA suggested to me repeatedly and I've tried it (as I've tried most everything I think) off and on over the years. I have never found it to be all that helpful and I think it's for the same reason you mentioned above that we as a weight loss community struggle to support one another. There are too many paths to follow. Some can do moderation and some can't. OA has no clearly defined rule of abstinence. Some abstain from sugar and some don't. Unlike AA where everyone can at least agree that they aren't drinking alcohol...OA doesn't have that as food feels more complicated. Recovery principles in general though seem helpful to me. Are you familiar with OA/recovery groups and if so what is your opinion of them? I know you are a scientist and I am someone who can barely do math at all so for me so much of what I write or dwell on is emotionally based. What you write a lot on seems very scientific and grounded in...reality haha! Do you think being a science/logically oriented individual helps you in in weight loss? Do you find that the majority of this for you is down to a formula of what you physically put in your body? Or is any of it behavioral etc like discussed in so much 12 step groups?

    What do you mean by n=1? I have seen you write this to me in comments and many others. Do you mean to experiment for yourself ? Again I sound like an imbecile so my apologies. Believe it or not I have a psychology degree and even a M.Ed so I have taken stat more than once but it's been a long time and I barely passed the stat classes! Back in my psych days we had to find p is less than .05 for statistical significance. Is that similar to your n=1? Also....You said you gave up SAD to stay away from SAD. Is SAD an acronym for something? Just checking!

    Last but not least...when I was rereading some of your posts I noticed you mentioned that your last attempt to lose weight you did use Medifast for the initial weight loss (I think). After which you transitioned to what you are now doing. This is my biggest question as I personally have found the most of my success to come from a liquid diet. Fasting from actual food that you chew really helps me break the addictive cycle. Did you do the liquids for the initial weight loss because of that? OR did you just do it because you had not yet find the paleo way of life you are living now? I find that for me doing liquids works best BUT making the jump at the end to maintenance becomes tricky. You seem to have done this Medifast to Paleo jump with success. I want to know if you would have still done it this way bc you find liquid fasting to be helpful OR if you would have done paleo the whole time?

    Sorry for the lengthy group of questions. I really almost never do this kind of commenting on anyone's blog ever. I just find you super fascinating bc I believe you're #1 super intelligent, well read, experienced in what you're talking about and #2 SUCCESSFUL which at the end of the day means the proof is there that you know what works for you. We don't get a whole lot out of that out here in the blogosphere sometimes. We get a LOT Of blind leading blind (me included) but sometimes not a lot of 'this works'...DO THIS! I am somewhere in the camp of I know this works ...but I can't quite get what works to work LOL

    Thanks Karen!!!

    1. PS. My apologies for typos and grammatical errors. I am not perfect but I am a bit OCD about making spelling/grammatical errors since I'm 'supposed' to be an English teacher! I am typing this on my son's computer while laying down in the bed (problem #1..my butt should be in the gym LOL) Also he is asleep and he keeps rolling over bumping my arm, half waking up and going back to sleep. All the while my cat is kneading my leg with her claws OUCH. So I apologize!! Will try to sit up and type next time!

    2. reply 1 of 2 (so long I need two replies- LOL)LOL Holly, I'm going to need a definition page to my blog so people can refer back. I work in the medical/science field and it's nothing but acronyms. Sorry about that. So funny.

      Okay, let me answer a few questions as best I can.

      Yes, I think in some aspects, looking at my lab work and interfacing with people who have been successful at managing their type 2 diabetes has been helpful. I work with expert MD's in Endocrinology and all of the other medical subspecialties, so asking questions around the break room is possible for me (fortunate for sure!).

      I also have the experience in bedside testing in my past on end stage diabetics. Tough stuff, and multiple in puts to those disease states- poverty, lack of medical care, lack of access to mental health care, food addiction, drug or alcohol addictions, drug induced, rare genetic disease induced- I think there are 57 known inputs to obesity and I've seen many, but not all. I find experts who treat patients AND get good outcomes and/or others who escaped their disease via life style to be the best guidance. Just eating real food won't 100% cut it-IMO.

      I also have the advantage of buying the 23nMe product and running it through a big gene database. I know what my risks are and are not- for the most part- it's not fool proof. Even before testing, I knew that I could no longer process lactose (two genes that turned on post preganancy) that certain foods made me binge eat for days (extra grhelin production gene- one gene) but it's activated by guar/xanthan gum, wheat, most added sugars. I knew before that test that I had those triggers, but it was more about forgiving myself for the binge eating of the past. That I have many FTO genes (addiction/obesity genes- two copies). It's likely ,unless I was raised very rurally ,that I would have been an obese child no matter what. I'm not a bad person, just swimming in a shallow genetics pool with processed food triggers. A few other blood relatives ended up like me, but I was the only one in the 70's in my family. I was the problem child and told so many times.

      So, yeah, OA and Food Addiction groups. My experience is this- the food templates recommended in those groups would keep me food addicted due to my genetics and ghrelin expression. (hunger hormone released in higher amounts). Very famous groups and food templates given to me would have resulted in a raging case of type 2 diabetes and would have kept me binge eating. Ugh! Really, that's the best we have for us? Yeah, right now it is. I have hope that we can get better help sooner rather than later.

    3. reply 2 of 2 For athletes, there are some nice algorithms being developed around 23nMe testing- and even I can use those- say I don't do well with chronic cardio- half marathon fast walking but I do great with slow walking- but long, long walks and photography and some Tabata style sprinting- on say a rowing machine. Reason being is that I have 2 genes for the fast twitch sprinting muscle fibers. Others will do great as runners- they have different muscle genetics. That's pretty cool. Some day the researcher docs like Vera Tarman MD's and Pamala Peeke, MD's meeting (both food Addiction Docs) with the Barbara Berkeley, MD's and the Dr. Sharma, MD's and the Yoni Freedhoff, MD's (obesity docs). There will be a meeting of the minds in the next 2-5 years and some better algorithms for the 57 obesity inputs. It's just a few years and a nicely built app away, I think. I need to live to see this day, for sure!!!

      I'm excited and I hope to live to see the day where I'm not told I'm too fat for the kids chubby section (1970's) and that I can tell people I abstain from grains, sugars and emulsifiers to keep my disease and financial risks low and not be verbally pooped upon by moderate eaters who have normal ghrelin and have NO IDEA what food addiction is like. (yesterday!!!!!) I'll never be a normie, but I can have the new normal

      N=1 is the experiment of 1. Not everyone in OA will have my genetics- so they will fruit it up. All I get from tropical fruit is fat pants and high glucose. I can get high glucose from too much protein, too. Some OA and FA groups will encourage you to practice "abstinence as you define it" Some will show you the door and say its XYZ guru's plan or get out. So rude, but they protect their own. It's likely they have similar obesity genetics, so that's okay for them. It's tough enough to recover from this deadly disease then to have that supposedly same group tell you to eat your trigger. What!!!???? No, all the nopes. I run from those setups pretty fast.

      I asked two CBT licensed shrinks outright- should I attend OA/FA- they did not say yes or no. I don't need 12 steps I just needed 12 foods I never put in my body- because for me it does start with food. I don't trigger, I get normal hunger. (although if my child died or if I had another trauma, I would go to the rooms for a while for sure) I get the anonymous thing, yes. I do understand it. That's cool, too. More power to them. It's a life saver for them. Good stuff. I listen to OA podcasts a lot.

      NSNG= No Sugars, No Grains (podcast, Vinnie Tortorich and Anna Vocino). Vinnie's podcasts can have salty language and topics, so be aware. It's LA style humor for sure. They had an in person meet up in LA in 2015 and those people are just like me. Health failing and they want and deserve better. Single moms, truck drivers, construction workers, office workers, voice over people- all just wanting to feel better. Many have beat type 2 diabetes with diet and lifestyle and will answer your questions And yes, SAD is the Standard American Diet. Thanks for stopping by the blog. I do think you can find an OA out there where you can find a sponsor who understands n=1. It will take a lot of stops and starts. Good luck. Until Food Addiction gets more integrated with obesity medicine on a molecular genetics level, abstaining in an n=1 food template and getting support is okay for now.

    4. Oh, yes, Holly. I did Medifast. In a way , it was very good for me. I had a strict plan and a health coach. It worked well to get the weight off, but it was expensive. I needed the 40 weeks to get 70 pounds off (keeping off 63 currently), but I did not want the expense or the processed foods.

      It turns out that I have a dairy sensitivity. When I went to transition, I used Dr. Berkeley's book and like a Primal plan (that has dairy) but I used Paleo (dairy free) and used an entire year to transition off processed foods. It worked for me without surgery. A couple of grand 2,000 or so. Yikes, but it was very effective and gave me the abstinence base I needed to move forward after 40 years of binge eating. It was some of the best money and efforts I have spent.

      I think I would have been 100% binge eating again on Paleo treats if I had done it any other way...