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)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Big blog slowdown for awhile... Sleeping more,stressing less, coffee strategy for the WIN!

Sleep tracking with the Fitbit helps me optimize my asleep time.
I've slowed down my blogging for awhile. My main focuses over the last month have been stress relief, sleep, and managing some recent stress inducing events out of my control.

 The time that I would have been spent blogging, reading, and commenting on other blogs has been spent doing things I can control.  This is where the Primal focus comes into focus more than a Paleo food template.  Paleo food template, customized for weight maintenance, Primal Blueprint ideas for the rest.

I'm going to get really geeky in this post, so skip it if measuring and genetics aren't your bag.

1. Sleeping- and tracking sleeping with my fitbit. My personal goals are to sleep at least 7 hours a night during the week and more if possible on the weekends. I don't always hit  that goal, but that's okay.

One funny thing is if I do wake up in the middle of the night, reading a real book or magazine- light reading helps me go back to sleep. I used to get so, so stressed out about being awake in the middle of the night, that the worry kept me up even later. 

With the Fitbit, I can see that I go right back to sleep, fast.

Kicking the cats out of the room also helps with fewer sleep disruptions.

2. Limiting coffee consumption past a certain time: Since I know I'm an  slower or  intermediate metabolizer of caffeine, I know not to drink it past noon or 1pm each day. I drink about 3 cups a day with great results. All the long lived relatives had cups of coffee in their hands through about 2-3 pm based on my memories of them.

Now, I didn't need 23andMe DNA SNP analysis or Promethease html reports to tell me that I couldn't drink coffee past a certain time of day. But here are the details in print.  I use the "I feel better" guide to make most decisions in life. But the genetic stuff is just fun for me.

I'm an incurable data geek, so I might as well embrace the science, SNP's, and studies, all while waiting science to get caught up with a healthy dose of "I feel better".

I added links to SNP-edia so you can read more about my caffeine genotype. Of course, just because I have the geneotype doesn't mean I will exhibit the phenotype (traits)

But for coffee, I run pretty true for type.  I think it's hilarious that I have one slow AND one fast gene for caffeine metabolism.

Link to SNPedia for CYP1A2

Link to SNPedia for RS4410790 (T;T)
Why yes, I do drink 3 cups of coffee  day while my friends drink 2. Truth. :)

La Jolla Cove and tide pools June 2015

3. Walking & Photography- I've been heading out to senic places like La Jolla Cove, Moonlight State Beach, Torrey Pines State Parks and just taking time to walk, grab my good camera and take photos as I go. I'll listen to Podcasts or Music while I walk. Great way to be in flow state and relax, too.

Other stress relief methods have been puzzles, visiting with friends, and working on the meditation thing. I still have a long way to go with my mediation practice.

Wow!!! I hit publish by mistake, too soon. Ah well, no stress. Onward and more PaleoFx 2015 recaps are brewing.

What's working

1. Longer sleep
2. Drinking coffee sooner in the AM
3. Photography and walking

What did not work

1. Trying to do all the things all the time and decreasing sleep
2. Trying to get energy from afternoon coffee.
3. Sitting on the couch watching TV and eating low point junk food to "relax".

Saturday, June 13, 2015

My favorite take away messages from Paleo Fx-2015 part 4- Robb Wolf- It's not my fault

Farm to Consumer Legal Defense, garden girl and Robb Wolf!
Paleo Fx 2015  Some of my favorite take away messages from Paleo Fx 2015 were from the speakers who see patients or clients in real life.

Robb Wolf:  Robb spoke individually and in panels. I admire that he has gotten so many positive results with the police, fire, and first repsonders in Reno, Nevada. Working as a health care professional in real life, seeing Robb help the first repsonders reduce their medical risks, live safely, and save money for the city is a great thing. Wellness all around.

Take away #1 : It's not your fault
Basically, we are hard wired to seek novelty with food, evolutionary and  wise, but we are now around a lot of hyper-palatable food.  We are also told to moderate all food. Robb proclaimed this as "BS". You all know:  I'm no fan of moderating all junk food. I cheered loudly and became "that chick in the audience that was cheering". 

Take away #2 Novelty, not morality. Our tendency to overeat is biologically driven today. The person who overeats is not lost, it's not a moral failing. Today's food options set us up to override our biologic optimum foraging strategy (worked well long ago, not so much now)

The example that Robb used of the professional eaters- eating ice cream, then pausing to eat french fries because of palate fatigue, and then the eater was able to eat much more ice-cream and finish 10 gallons of ice-cream in 30 minutes.  That made total sense. The person eating was able to trick his palate and full signals to pack in even more food. Wow!  I'm pretty sure I did this with baked chips and M&M's or Skinny Cows and Popcorn at night during my 40 years of binge eating. This explains why I could binge during the day and still be "hungry" or food seeking. Sigh.

Take away # 3 It's not a moral failing

We still have to do something different. We have done everything right- but now we have to do things differently. The forces that made us who we are are not matched to us today. Good genes, bad options.

Take away #4  Excluding Food groups does NOT equal orthorexia. It's a way to survive the food forest. We struggle for a good reason biologically. We are not broken.

Regular Dietetics says abstaining (from grains,etc) is disordered. That's BS!  (this is the part where I cheered loudly). LOL.

Robb also put a plug in for Stephen Guyenet's work and also a plug for Gretchen Rubin's "Better than Before" book.

I've just got to tell you, I'm much better than before by abstaining from Grains and most Sugars. Far from orthorexic, I feel freaking awesome, so I was glad to hear Robb making these statements. One thing about going to Paleo Fx 2015, reading the before and after stories at Primal Blue print and Paleo- Non Paleo, Refuse to Regain, I'm convinced.  I think abstaining from food that makes us sick is underused. The foods that make us sick may vary, and that's okay.

My own experience:
I also think that a Paleo, Primal, or Real Foods approach is way, way underused in long term weight maintenance.

In one photo, I'm moderating grains and sugar, in the other photo, I'm abstaining from grains and most sugars. Clearly, abstaining from substances that kept my binge urges alive just wasn't the right thing for my brain or my body. Not my fault. I still had to do the work and do things differently.

July 2004 eating grains vs June 2015 no sugar, no grains (NSNG)

 What's working for me

1. Continuing learning from the leaders who have messages that fit with my personal situation in the Paleo space.

2. Eating a Paleo-ish food template- for me- the basics are no grains, very low processed or natural sugar.

3. Getting back in touch and staying in touch with my natural full and hungry signals. Not blaming myself for my geneotype or phenotype, but showing up to do the work to keep myself as well as I can. So much is within my personal choices day in, day out.

4. Rejecting the notion that abstaining from grains is bad and moderating is good. I'm better than before!

What did not work in the past:
1. Not seeking out leaders that were like me to learn and keep learning. YES- read books. My special note:  Attend lectures and workshops.  Please. Keep learning. RUN if someone tells you that you don't need to keep learning. You do. Because every life phase is different. Because there is new research that will apply to you. If I had stopped learning once I got to goal weight, I would be morbidly obese again.

2. Counting WW points and moderating everything and blaming myself for not being "strong".

3. Moderating ice-cream and salty foods together. Holy binge cycle and over riding of my biology.

4. Not being able to objectively think for myeslf and look at my results and make changes. Eating a little bit of grains results in a whole lot of pain.

The key note Paleo Fx 2015 talks are available to rent. Also, the talks tend to come out over the year via the Paleo FX youtube channel.

What conferences do you attend to keep learning and keep your head in the game? Do you agree? It's not our fault. But what work can we do?

Friday, June 5, 2015

3 years, 3 months into long term weight maintenance- boring as heck and happy dance combo! June 2015

Oh yeah!!!  3 years, 3 months. 3.25 years. In one way my update will be boring as heck. In another way, I'll spend part of today happy dancing my way around for another quarter year into long term weight maintenance.

I have photos, I have graphs. You know the drill if you are a long time reader and before and after photos or graphs trigger you.

Lets get to the statistics, shall we?

Starting weight: 187.4
Current weight: 118.4
Current maintenance range: 113-119
Age 49
Years in weight maintenance: 3.25 years
Menopause: 2+ years
Height :5' 1"

Tools: Paleo-ish, lower carb approach- just eat real foods, better sleep, modified AIP, walking 12, 000-16,000 steps per day, daily weighing and graphing my weight, strength training 2X per week, sprinting occasionally, abstaining from all grains, most processed sugar (85% chocolate works for me, most days- small amount), no dairy, no legumes, no nuts (high inflammation).  I pray to a higher power and meditate, too. Nothing too woo-woo.

Love or hate my tools, doesn't matter.  Find what works for you. I woke up today NOT wanting to binge eat. After 40 years. I'm now 3 years, 3 months into long term recovery. Yeah! I'll take that.
In one way, my updates are so, so boring. Yawn... another similar post. In other ways, I'm privileged to be here, providing a long term weight maintenance update.

May 2015 was a tough month stress wise. It brought stress and uncharted territory. It brought life and ups and downs and I can manage that by:

What works for me:
1. Rely on what works and using change management to easy my way into the new normal.  I can say I'm prioritizing myself.

2.  I can use non food techniques to manage stress. Stress does not =putting binge foods in my pie hole. Food and false fixes never helped me. Ever. No sugar or grain will fix these issues.

3. I  can use meditation, reaching out to others, and long walks and better sleep habits to maintain my weight and my health.

What didn't work in the past:
1. Not managing life change, as it happened.
2. Using food to attempt to soothe my feelings and moderating sugars & grains.( Skinny Cow ice cream and cinnamon toast never fixed it!). Sugar and grains only fueled my binge eating. Especially while sitting on the couch watching the Biggest Loser! LOL.
3. Not using multiple techniques to manage my health.

All right. Graphs follow. I suspect keeping my gut bacteria in check really helps, but EVERYTHING is highly theoretical at this point. I'm fascinated by the emerging science. All the proof I need for myself is "I feel better". Yeah!    More blog posts soon, at least that's the plan. I favor sleeping over blogging any day.Onward.

Oh, be sure to check out David's graphs at Keep It Up David. Kudos for looking at the big picture in long term weight maintenance, David.