Sunday, February 22, 2015

Food Addiction- part 2- Overlap in diagnosis and intuitively knowing- ideas from the Food Junkie book

 Food Addiction- part 2- Overlap in diagnosis and intuitively knowing

 I'm going to talk about food addiction.  Skip this post all together if your sanity is moderation. Although if you seek to understand why people abstain from triggers, then maybe this post is for you. Do what works. Just don't tell a food addict - recovered or not- to eat a cookie or normalize all food. Thanks!

Parts of the Food Junkies book (Vera Tarman, MD, READ THIS BOOK!) really jumped off the page were :

1.  Chapter 5- Are you a food addict? - from the book  Overlap in diagnosis
  • Many diagnoses overlap, 
  • That diagnosing Food Addition can be confusing, that a person can be a food addict and have an eating disorder
  • That the book author Dr. Tarman, and other experts, believe that many people diagnosed with with binge eating disorder are actually food addicts (THIS!) 
My own experience: My counselor caught onto my food using ways and told me that "Sugar and Flour were like allergies, food sensitivities, you should stay off them, many people do." That was in 2002-2003. I was at the counselor for other issues, non-food related.

Thank goodness my counselor gave me some great advice.  Too bad my stinking thinking resulted in me getting to a BMI of 34-35, morbid obesity in 2004-2011. I thank my higher power every day I did not keel over. Many do die. Food Addiction Kills. Good thing I got the heck out of my own way!

I pray that eating disorder counselors and specialists get updated training that is accurate and timely. If I had a dime for well meaning doctors and people telling me to moderate all things... well, I could retire right now! 

I thank people like Dr. Tarman, Dr. Pamela Peeke and others that speak out and bring us the most current research.

2. In Chapter 5- Are you a food addict?  "Make no mistake, food addicts, like other addicts, intuitively know that they are engaging in self-destructive behavior"
  • system of denial becomes more complex and defensive as the addiction progresses
  • bizarre rationalizations = stinking thinking
Weight gain, moderating all foods

My own experience: Oh, my gosh!  I "used" every moderation scheme I could think of. My food addiction disease wanted to RULE my brain. I would attend a WW meeting (2007-2011) and then I would proceed to moderate all the foods that helped my disease fired up and my dopamine receptors full. (2009-20011) SURE!!! I can count those calories. No problem! 

Skinny Cow ice cream, cookies, candy.  H*LL Yeah! I could count those points like a champ, but the result was ALWAYS a binge. Never failed. False Fixes. 100% didn't get me to a normal weight

 Since the counselor told me that I would need to stop... well, I knew.  But I continued to "use" the moderation message to "use" sugar and grains. You can see from the weight graph below just how much moderation didn't work for me!!!   I can't blame WW, Livestrong or anything or anybody else. It's my own dang responsibility. Not my fault that I have the addict brain, but my responsibility to move onto other tools and methods in recovery.

I should have and could have stopped or changed after 2-4 months, but instead I waited years! Hey, better late than never!!!

Here's what is working for me:
1. Choosing medical professionals with updated skills and advice that matches with my goals.
2. Choosing to live in recovery by choosing a Paleo-ish food template that keeps my body AND mind well.

Here's what didn't work for me:
1. Not taking action quickly enough once I was given solid, sensible advice.
 Ummmm I would have been better off taking action within  2-4 months rather than 2-4 years. What the heck was I thinking?  Forgiveness, always. I'm still standing.

2. Irrational, self destructive behavior... okay... weird crap like we've all seen and heard before- yourself, WW meetings, other bloggers, etc. I forgive myself every day so I don't bang my head on the wall...... Sink or Swim!?
  • "I would binge more if I didn't have a skinny cow ice-cream"
  • "Normal people eat whatever they want"  BS!!!
  • "Those ladies at WW in Lifetime, well, I'm just not trying hard enough"
  • "My family would be upset if I didn't eat their traditional sugar/wheat bombs"
  • "My friends and co-workers would be offended if I didn't eat their homemade food"
Readers, what do you think? Anybody ever told you to abstain when you needed to moderate? Misdiagnose you? What weird thinking did you use to keep your stinking thinking alive? What ways have you kicked that thinking to the curb?

2011 vs 2015- Guess which photo was moderation vs abstaining?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Food Addiction- I'm a believer and lived to tell, plus the Yale Food Addiction Scale- part 1

Covered up the trigger food
 Warning: I'll be talking about Food Addiction and how the topic relates to me. It may be upsetting or triggering to some people. Some people don't believe in food addiction, so I may lose readers. That's okay, it will free up their time to do other things. That's very good for them and for me. Each day is a gift, spend your time how you see fit. 

I do believe Food Addiction is real, that Food Addiction can and does result in tragic outcomes. I hesitated to write about Food Addiction. It's somewhat embarrassing to talk about these things. On the other hand, it was worse to live in the disease, have obesity, and that sense of shame and not really understanding some root causes. Hard wiring genes AND my choice of environment.

I feel lucky in many ways.  I'm still here and still standing, so better to discuss and be well than to hide, look the other way. I'm writing my review of the book Food Junkies, by Vera Tarman, MD in the next few days.  Wow! Just wow.

Okay, as a starter, head over to the Yale Food Addiction Scale. Link to the pdf is here

I took this survey twice. Once as the "old me" and once as the in "recovery me". I had very high scores for the old me and super low scores for the recovered me.

What works for me: Yale Food Addiction Scale

0. Reading about food addiction helped me understand the 40 years of binge eating and how I had obesity as a symptom of it.

1. I know I'm not alone.

2. I have to work day in day out , meal in meal out to live in a recovered state. My food choices, my choice to choose food that keeps me in recovery (Paleo-ish food template for me, protein, veggies, natural fats, spices/salt, and a few berries)

3. I have to watch for slippery slope thinking. Example: I walked 6+ miles yesterday and I came home and had an on food template meal- for me- Paleo-ish. I  ate more food as fuel, but it was all food that is on my set food template. Also, it was Valentine's day. I still ate on my food template.

4. It helps me to know that places  and people like the Rudd Center for Food Policy, Dr. Sharma's writings Dr. Freedhoff's work and Dr. Tarman and Dr. Peeke  and OA podcasts have very relevant articles, books, personal stories the written word and spoken stories. 

5. I can forgive myself. Especially the 6 year old binge eater that I used to be.

What did not work in the past.

0. There was no research available to me growing up that addressed trigger foods. (or that I could understand)

1. I felt like I was the only one who ate sugary foods or grains and could not stop eating.

2. I moderated all my trigger foods, with terrible results, but kept doing the same thing!

3. I had lots of slippery slope thinking: I just got back from half marathon training and sure.. I earned this biscotti and sugary coffee drink, I need to re-fuel. Calories in, Calories out..... earned me a pretty big muffin top and plantar fasciitis. Ouch!! Mentally and physically.

4. The resources I needed, I could not or would not connect to readily.

5. I used to blame myself: I'm weak because I can't moderate, not strong enough, not normal. Sigh...

Okay readers: Did you take the test? I think this thing is a sliding scale-  no absolutes. Varying degrees of the ways our genetics and our environment effect us. No right answers. Just some solutions that work better than others. Not always fun to look at my past, but nice to know I could take steps to live in recovery.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015- the New Normal- 3rd food sober celebration

Valentines Day 2015

The New Normal.

This will be my 3rd food sober Valentines day after 40 binge induced frenzied years.

 Valentine's Day does not have to mean stuffing sugar in your pie hole, if you choose something different.  You can choose differently, if that fits your goals better. Choosing is Powerful.

Give my power away to a box of candy? No. Nope.

If you choose sugar, that's fine, I hope you'll own it. Some people can eat sugar sometimes. I cannot. It's not a bad thing, just different.   It is what it is. YES, abstaining sometimes is is a  drag. MANY things in life are a drag.  I'll be at my goal weight today, tomorrow, and higher power willing, in the next week, month, year.   Owning my own choices ensures I get what I get and I don't throw a fit. It's not always rosy. The outcome is worth it, IMO.

Once I got off sugars and grains (#NSNG for the WIN!), all my holiday's had to change up, in a good way.

3rd Food Sober Valentine's day. 

 Showing up to eat the traditional chocolate and binge eat those little hearts with the sayings on them was no longer an option. I had 40 years of the old, but had to start over the next 40 years of the new normal.

New Normal:

1. Time with family, doing things we love- I took a vacation day to spend with my daughter. We spent time shopping, eating out, spending time outside. Celebrated Valentine's Day on the 13th this year.

  • Breakfast, I ate at home while my teen slept in
  • Lunch was awesomeness. Paleo-ish lunch out at Urban Plates. Cafeteria style, customizable, local ingredients. YES! Farm to Plate indeed. I don't eat out often, but when I do, I like places that fit into my food template and give back to the local economy. (San Diego Peeps take note)
  • Shopping at the second hand clothing store- 70% off. Whoa! Wow!
  • Exploring the most awesome library in Encinitas. WOW, I sat on a lounge chair on the patio while catching up on magazine reading.(see photo below)
  • Gardening at home with the teen
  • Sunset walk on the beach
  • Podcasts.
  • Blogging-   mind your hs-CRP and your risks get lowered. BOOM!!!  Heart Health, hs-CRP really, really matters.  It's silent, not looking and being BOSS of your inflammation levels is a missed opportunity- IMO.. HUGE  heart risk decrease here. Root causes. Find them, mind them.
  • Teen did her teen stuff. 
    Encinitas Library, North County San Diego
2. I ate Paleo-ish food template

  • protein
  • natural fats
  • carbs from mostly non starchy veggies
  • spices- cinnamon, sea salt, Italian spice mix , garlic sea salt
3. I took time for myself. I took a vacation day.

4. I connected to family and friends and neighbors.

 Notice that Valentine's Day didn't  involve sugar. candy, "indulgences"-(How many binge episodes did THIS excuse  launch for me during 40 years? 100's if not 1000's. ).  My food addiction does not take a day or a meal or a holiday off.
If you are abstaining, please know you are not alone. Valentine's Day does not have to mean stuffing sugar in your pie hole. You can choose to make it mean something else. Choose what works. If you do eat sugar and it doesn't wreck you, awesome! For me, I choose food sober. 3rd year strong.

What didn't work in the past:

1. Eating out and eating fast food or junk food to "celebrate". Not doing things I truly loved.

2. Buying massive amounts of chocolate and 4 boxes for a dollar conversation hearts. It's cheap! It's Valentine's Day. Normal People have candy.. why not me..... Very much a "user" mentality.

3. I ate the Standard American Diet with lots of SUGAR- lots of cereal, whole grain waffles, GOD FORBID- fiber one bars. just total health washed junk foods. I thought the heart healthy symbol meant if I whole grained harder, I too would have awesome cardiac health. The people on the commercials do! WW told me I would. There was a price for not thinking for myself. I had very much a time penalty for all the GI distress.

4. I was too busy binge eating to connect much.

Last year's Valentine's post from 2014- same old, same old!

Alrighty! Who's owning their 2015 Valentines choices this year? If you abstain from sugars and grains, please know your are not alone. Ownership = love.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Celebrating Heart Health and Valentine's Day 2015, effective tools in lowering my hs-CRP

Okay, I'm celebrating Valentine's Day and Heart Health 2015 in one post.
Valentines celebration with flowers not food!

One of the best things I can do for true heart health is to attempt to keep my inflammation markers, including hs-CRP low.

 By keeping my weight in a normal range, I do far more than wear a lower number on my jeans. I keep my inflammation markers low. As a middle aged woman at almost 49, I'm at a higher risk for  stroke based on my personal family history. There are a lot of inflammation markers, but for today's post, lets look at hs-CRP. High Sensitivity- C-reactive protein.

WARNING: Now to be fair, you could have other things causing high inflammation (viral infections, bacterial infections, auto-immune disease, arthritis, etc)  DO check with your doctor about your own personal hs-CRP values your family history, geneotype, etc. DON'T make decisions without your own trusted medical team. I'm only posting what worked for me. I am NOT YOU. I'm one person who found a way to make it work. Your path may be different, that's okay. Also look at other lab values like your lipid panel, your glucose, HA1c.  Read more here at my favorite peer reviewed site for lab tests (favorite because non-lab people can read it and understand)
hs-CRP test

Here's what is working for me so far, over about 4 years.

1. Keeping my weight in the normal range. Yes, my fat cells will signal hormonally higher inflammation hormones and pathways.I  know this as I used to perform the lab tests for those markers!!!!

 Real life meets biology. Not only were the answers inside of me, I made a career out of the answers that were inside of me. Whoa! Funny and ironic, but having an extensive background didn't stop me from living on the inflammatory side for many years.

 I embrace my inner lab geek.  Rather than blame and shame, I stick to low inflammatory foods and good support for weight management and dealing with what I believe to be food addiction. All keep me at a normal weight. (one of many articles about fat cells causing inflammatory response)

2. I eat foods and keep habits that keep my hs-CRP values as low as possible:
 Paleo-ish food template:
Protein: eggs, grass-fed beef, chicken, lamb, salmon, sometimes turkey.
Fat: coconut oil, fat from grass fed meat, avocados, olive oil
Veggies: All non-starchy veggies (except winter squashes and some peppers)
Spices: YES, lots of them
Salt: sea salts work nicely for me on a low carb, higher fat approach.
Sleep: Yes

Strength training: Yes

Stress management: yes- walking, photography

Keeping positive people around me: yes, it's true, keep good friends around you = better outcome. Lower cortisol. This includes real life and online-IMO.

Time management: prioritize the above, gives me time to stay well

3. hs-CRP from 2008 to 2014. The tale of obesity (high inflammation) vs weight loss (lower inflammation) vs long term weight management (sustained low inflammation)

3.a Eat the SAD, be inflamed (grains, processed sugars in moderation, low fat-high carb)
3.b Lose weight, stop eating sugar and wheat
3.c Transition to no sugars, no grains (#NSNG for the win!!!)
3.d Whole30 in Jan 2013, remove dairy, dried fruit, stopped having migraines and deep cystic acne. (see what foods I gave up for my Whole30),
3.e. April-May 2013: gave up nuts, stopped having migraines, stopped having most binge urges.
3.f. Went lower carb overall 40-50 grams/day higher fat ,during menopause- easier weight management and sleep.
3.g I'm not bullet proof- I did have some dental inflammation in the second half of 2014. 

What didn't work in the  past:

1. Morbid obesity was a symptom of many things: likely food addiction, binge eating, ineffective habits and behaviors. Trying to fit into a moderate food world when I needed to abstain. Better late than never. It feels super good to put theory (all the stuff I learned in lab science in the late 1980's) into practice. I let go of the shame and the blame of being obese.

2. Eating high inflammatory food on the Standard American diet- think WW frozen meals, 1 point bags of M&M's , moderating junk food was like smoking a shorter cigarette. Low dose junk food did NOT work for me. (I was so proud of my snacking ways, now I use snack sized zip locks to store chicken liver-LOL!!!)

3. Not working quickly enough to change things when I knew they needed changing. I needed to take charge

High hs-CRP in 2009 vs Low hs-CRP 2014

Okay, have any of my readers looked at their hs-CRP? Has anyone else used diet and lifestyle to reduce inflammation markers? What other markers and ways did you use? It's not all food related for me, but it started with food.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

My own example of Weight Pivoting, vs Weight corkscrew and Weight Rapid Ascent- graphs!

Topic: Weight regain, post weight loss. 

Warning: Weight Graphs, may want to skip if this is not your cup of tea.

Tools and personal belief system I use: I use a Paleo-ish, modified Auto-Immune Protocol, with a removal of binge foods for long term food sobriety. I believe I'm a food addict in recovery. I deserve to use weight management tools, as needed along the way. I do not feel like myself when I have obesity, and I feel like the person who I was meant to be in body and mind when I don't have obesity.

Step 0: Read this article first 

Weight re-gain- when to panic : Article from Barbara Berkeley, MD.

Step 1: What works for me: 

 My favorite quote from the article:" Your body is a balancer, not a static instrument"

1.a  My own example: Pivot = normal variations
1.b  I don't panic over pivots, they are cool and welcomed, my new normal. No action required.
1.c. I do take actions over trends or pivots or ascents over several weeks or months
1.d. Less panic, more actions and experiments. Good root causes
1.e  A good dose of  Self-efficacy is required.
1.f  Understanding triggers in my binge brain is REQUIRED as part of this effort.  Opting out of the SAD!
1.g  I have to manage magic thinking, slippery slope thinking, and get support, too.
1.h It's not just about the food, but for me it starts with food!

My own example:
Weight Pivoting in long term maintenance- totally normal, Love it!

Step 2: What doesn't work for me, what hasn't worked for me in the past:
2.a Scale avoidance in "Hopes, wishes and magic thinking" I can not look and get back to maintaining or my maintenance range.
2.b Panic instead of action. It's called weight management because it takes action.
2.c Trying to "Count WW points harder, while moderating binge foods"
2.d Panic, self hate
2.e I thought others had the answer and I was less than because people could moderate junk food
2.f I did not understand the brain chemistry involved in trigger foods. I OPTED into the SAD.
2.g I did not realize that other people abstained from sugars and grains and did well.
2.h I didn't realize how much the processed food really effected by well being.

Great example of how just counting Calories and/or Points and eating.all. the. things did not work for me:
I found my old weight graphs at Livestrong

Here's an example of both corksrew AND rapid ascent in weight gain: 2008-2011 I was headed for health problems.

Example of weight gain: corkscrew AND rapid ascent weight GAIN

Okay, lets hear it from my readers, do you use weight graphs or clothing or measurements or just "how you feel" to reverse gains?  Any personal stories to share after reading the article? 

Throwing out all my Standard American Diet food has been life changing. Here's to Pivoting into what you need to do.  Weight Management requires life long actions- in my opinion.

Friday, February 6, 2015

3 Year Weight Maintenance Anniversary, ready for another year, not missing my visceral fat!

Oh, yeah!  3 years in solid weight maintenance.

Random shout outs included:

** I have before and after photos, I have graphs, some data, at the end of this post. If those things trigger you, please don't read past my photos. **

Boom, y'all. (Anna Vocino- love your podcasts with Vinnie!)

If you are newer to my blog: Lots of new traffic. Welcome! Hey! I love Instagram, so go follow me over there Thank you!

Basic Details:
I lost weight using Medifast (Paleo Police, I know you'll hate this... you'll get over it!),Getting off the SAD, sugar, and wheat did bring me to the clarity that I needed to start to stop binge eating. Also,  I had not heard of Paleo in 2011. But when I knew more, I did more learning.

I maintained using my own Paleo-ish  style,  modified Auto Immune Protocol using 2012 as my transition year. I'm tough, not moderate with my food template. (Moderate eaters, I'm good  without grains, I've got nothing for you, head back to your camp...) (via Jeff Probst - Survivor. OutWit, Outlast, Outplay )

I also used the book Refuse to Regain, by Barbara Berkeley, MD. Her blog link

My 2 cents: If you have 20 pounds or less to go before you maintain your weight, grab a copy of that book. Adapt it to what works for you.

I also have to manage my binge eating that has been with me since the age of 6. Food Addiction? Probably so. Abstaining works like a charm for me. I'm still standing. You don't have to like it or believe it, but to stay food sober, I have at least accept it . Check out the books The Hunger Fix, by Pamela Peeke, MD and Food Junkies Vera Tarman, MD- (Moderate eaters, your cure is my disease, carry on... , without me!)

I really, really don't miss my visceral fat. Amazing. I still sometimes don't recognize myself in the mirror. Working on that.

 My best advice- build your own n=1. Your own self experiment.

What works: My food template I customized
  • my weight management
  • my sleep habits
  • my post-auto immune disease
  • my likely food addiction.
  • my low inflammatory blood work
  • my lower visceral fat (and you know I don't miss that)
What didn't work in the past
  • Not customizing weight maintenance, or prioritizing it.
  • Ignoring the need to study weight maintenance and practice the skills
  • Being afraid of facing the binge eating stuff.
  • Not taking quick action when my blood work was going in the wrong direction
OMG- I do not miss my visceral fat! I do feel much better. Wow, just wow. Shocking, really.
Lets get to statistics and graphs... let's geek out for a few moments...Oh, here's another blogger that uses graphs a lot- David from Keep It Up David , he just got to 5 years in to maintenance.  Kudos to him! The 3-5 year range is statistically significant. However, as my bloggy friend Vickie pointed out in previous comments, many a blogger fell out around the 5 year mark. I can promise you I'm not headed out for some paleo desserts and baked goods to celebrate 3 years.  LOL.And with David's stair racing, it seems he's going strong, too.

I'm gearing up for the next 6 months, then 12 months. Onward! Top priority. Always. I feel better, physically and mentally. I can be the person I was meant to be.

** Note** Lynda ,my NZ bloggy friend ,has already mentioned the doormat improvement from 2011 to 2015 in my before and after photos. Someone always points  out the doormat, and Lynda's attention to detail from my front page earns her a kudos! Love that!

Random Cat photo for Katie:
Nobody misses my visceral fat, not even the cat(s) looking for hats. I hope Katie is still reading... she loves these photos ;) Now, here comes the data:
Tortitude, two cats, no hats. Checking dresser quality

Starting weight: 187.4
Starting date: 5/3/2011
Ending date for loss: 2/3/2012
Total weight loss: 70+ pounds
Percentage of total body weight lost: 37-38% or more
Weeks to lose the weight: 40 weeks
Years Maintaining: 3
Current weight: 113-119, right now out mid range 115-116 lbs
Age: 48
Height: 5'1"
Menopause: yes, in 2012, first year of maintenance
Binge eating: in recovery

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Be yourself, always!

Be yourself, always.

If I had to sum up the last 3.75 years ( loss and maintenance and recovery), I'd say a good sense of self:


Bold = more important.

 Recovery from what I now know to likely be Food Addiction- Well, It's been a real tough thing to navigate. I'm a pretty positive person, so I don't b*tch about how hard it is sometimes.  I let my pity party last 1-2 minutes max. I've had other things that I've overcome that have been harder. It's all relative. I wouldn't wish anything like this on anyone. 

Addictions kill. Food addiction is deadly. Not everyone lives to tell, so I figure, best to think positively about the whole thing. I'm still standing.

 (YES, a licensed PhD told me to get off sugar and wheat/grains in 2002- but without the "selves", I did not stand on my own.) Better late than never!  That's a real WIN!

Being yourself is very good and will lead to great things. That is a special gift. You have special gifts to share. Here's to finding what works for you and leaving the rest behind.

Besides, I'm short, wear glasses and can't spell worth BEANS! (loose, lose.... hey! I weigh less.... yeah.... LOL! Have some fun, laugh... life is short.... more humor!)   Here's to each of us finding our way and finding what we need.  

There is no one right way, but there are about 3-4 ways that will work better for you.

Onward..... Oh, and this IS filler material because.

1. This Sanderling bird photo ROCKS and I'm itching to use it. If I look in the mirror, only myself is staring back. Nobody else. I'm responsible. FOCUS!

2. I decided to do a re-take on my 3 year maintenance anniversary photos after getting less than fabulous reviews on my originals from Jr. Family Member.- LOL. She was right!!!

3. I may be feeling better and MAY have beaten getting a sinus infection! 

4. I probably just jinxed myself but I get 3 free Tele Doc visits. Instead of Doc-in-the-Box I can have Doc-in-the-Computer! Just like Max Headroom.... 80's reference..., but long story short, I'll cave in for antibiotics if I can't kick this stuff.  OMG. My health care deductible $$ costs are through the roof. I must stay well, I must stay well, I must stay well

What works for me:

1. Looking in the mirror
2. Sleeping instead of sweating a blog post.
3. Trying no antibiotics and staying off dairy, really it helps a lot!
4. Trying new resources and trying not to laugh if I think about Max Headroom.

What didn't work for me in the past:
1. Trying to be the moderate eaters at WW and a calorie/points only counter. Eating all the things
2. Staying up too late to blog, read blogs and TV.
3. Feeding my colds with all sorts of high carb comfort foods.
4. Thinking that all my physical symptoms were just a part of "getting older".

All righty!   Here's to the next steps.....

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A "crap ton of work" approach to not regaining the weight: I weigh in my own opinion and advice

Weight loss: There are many different ways to lose weight. Pick one. Do that. Check with your doctor somewhere along the way. You do NOT have to sustain weight loss, you have to sustain weight maintenance... There! I said it.

Many people will re-gain the weight post weight loss. The Biggest Loser's are not alone, just more in the public eye. Some people will not regain the weight. 5-20% won't, so you can choose to be a weight maintainer. *** Maybe***If you are willing to do a lot or even a little work and deep digging.

*** Depending on genetics and life circumstances, it may not be a choice you can fully make. Double copies of all the obesity genetics, tossed in with depression or other diseases.. well, I understand it goes beyond choice, way beyond calories in calories out, and the low fat snack food industry will try to sell you****  = It's complicated!!!!

Read what Doctor Berkeley thinks about it here:
     Dr. Berkeley's Article - When Public People Regain

There's not enough study, self experimentation, science, support in weight maintenance- in my opinion. If you do get to a goal weight, the next steps are the wild west. You'll hear so many different opinions your head will spin, you will exclaim- WHAT THE HECK!

My Best advice:  NOTE: this is what worked for me, it won't necessarily work for YOU. That's the hard part- customizing your own approach.

1. What worked for me:  Paleo-ish/Primal/Low Carb High Fat/Abstaining from grains and sugar approach. There are many different ways to maintain your loss, but based on genetics, past experiences, past diseases, age, menopause, allergies, you WILL have to experiment. You will have to change up your plan as you age. It's complex for many people.

 My opinion: Think weight maintenance is sustainable using what you used for weight loss and early weight maintenance? Maybe yes, but probably NO WAY.  Maybe YES WAY, if you are young and genetically lucky.  Good for you, easy maintainers- high five!

I'm one of the NO WAY people. I had to do a lot of work post weight loss to make weight maintenance work. High ten to those of you having to do this sort of change management.

I made 6 key changes over 3 years. 6 shifts.

2. What worked: 6 month shifts : Each 6 months over the last 3 years, I've had to test, re-test, change up my food template, my thought process, get help, remove things that weren't helpful.  I've had to do things other people HATE. My disease is their recovery. My recovery is their disease. That's okay.  I'm alive today because I did stuff that was right for me. No apologies.

 My opinion: If we look at the rates of re-gain after major loss, NO WAY will you maintain unless you can craft something that a what works for you approach. You are going to have to do a crap ton of work to maintain until you reach 3- 5 years post loss, according to statistics, what I've observed.

Example of " My personal crap ton of work"

My advice:  Several tactics in weight maintenance will work better for you. Find a few weight maintainers who are 3-5 years into weight maintenance and they are or have been steady THAT long. About 25% of them will match some or many habits, processes, experiences that you'll need.

Take what you need for yourself, leave the rest of their plan behind. Make your own plan. 

Here's a list of weight maintainers that I follow. (link) Make your own plan, but do seek out and question other people who are 3-5 years into solid weight maintenance.  SOLID in their processes. Truth!

What didn't work for me in the past:
1. Not respecting the inflammatory and food sensitivity of grains or sugars: 

Moderating grains/sugars + Auto Immune thyroid disease + menopause+ Food Addiction = crazy high inflammation + morbid obesity+ pit of misery

2. Getting too much advise from mainstream:

Not learning about other ways of maintenance from people who were  3-5 years into it.
Also taking too much advice from people who were actually re-gaining and not maintaining. Yeah, moderators. Love you, but I can't do that... I'm done re-gaining. DONE!

3. Not changing fast enough: 

I spent way too long, way , way too long trying to make other people's plans work for me.

 Okay, I hope this makes sense... feel free to leave your 2 cents below and bring your soap box. Biggest Loser, Public Weight re-gain, moderating vs abstaining, - let it rip!