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Comments on Weight of the Evidence: What if Willpower Matters Little in the Long-Term for Weight?

Updated: 2018-03-18T09:26:12.028-05:00


Iwould say, happy are they who are overweight - so...


Iwould say, happy are they who are overweight - sooner or later they WILL come to LC.
What about people who are slim, eating "healthy" oatmeal, plenty of fruits/vegetables, avoiding sat fat, exercising regularely?
Over the years, they develope all kinds of illnesses and will never become well.
It is sad. I know many folks like these and they are resisting to any information. They can find many explanations for their desieses and none will be the food they eat.
(apology for my English)

Clearly "willpower" is a red-herring, and always h...


Clearly "willpower" is a red-herring, and always has been. Willpower, like "portion-control" was the excuse given when low-fat dieting failed from the very start in the salad-and-cottage-cheese-eating and jogging days of the 1970's. Men saw that women were getting nowhere with low-fat dieting and immediately lost faith and interest in such diets for themselves, and relegated it to a "women's" fantasy subject, because it was clearly ineffectual. Men will follow anything that they see is effective and efficient at manipulating the physical world - give them a diet that works efficiently and logically, and they will jump on it eagerly. Low-fat just never worked. "Lack of willpower" was our first justification buzz-word for this failure. To this day, when confronted with a successful low-carber, interviewers will immediately say the successful dieter "must have great will-power". It's an undead mentality from the 70's, like lettuce, low-fat cottage cheese and wheat germ.

I have been fighting weight most of my life. I tr...


I have been fighting weight most of my life. I tried the low fat approach for several years. However, I didn't have the willpower to stick to it. I would get hungry an hour or two after a "healthy" low fat, high carb meal. I had intense, insatiable cravings that lead me to overeat. I tried to satisfy those cravings with "health complex carbs," but I was never satisfied and just couldn't stop.

I always thought it was in the execution and if I could just do it better, I would be successful. I could lose weight, but the cravings would kick in and I'd regain. I eventually gave up on trying to lose weight. It took a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes to make me question my approach.

Now that I'm on low carb, the cravings are gone for the most part and manageable. I am more satisfied with my food. The low fat approach wasn't right for me. There was no problem with execution.

losing weight and maintaining it is about a lifest...


losing weight and maintaining it is about a lifestyle change. That means your diet changes, your activities change, your outlook changes.
So for the people who have posted saying they lost a lot of weight, low carb, low fat, whatever, and then gained it back, I have a few questions.

Did you exercise to lose weight? Did you continue to do so when you got to your "maintain" level?

Successful weight losers do not diet. They change their lifestyle. You need to take a truthful look at the entire picture to really determine why you gained the weight back before you can go pointing fingers as to what the cause was. And I'd be willing to bet that 9 times out of 10 that reason was something within your control. You can't switch the 'lifestyle' off once you get to your goals. That's just the beginning.

And, I agree with anna; If I "Just ate real food" ...


And, I agree with anna;
If I "Just ate real food" I would probably not be as morbidly obese as I WAS, but I would be on the larger side at least.

What controls weight is insulin, and insulin is controlled by carbohydrate (and to a lesser degree, by protein and even less by dietary fat). "Real or not real" doesn't figure in. Example, I can eat a bunch of low carb cookies. If I keep eating them, I lose appetite (good cop, encouraging me to stop). If I ignore good cop's warning, then bad cop violent nausea kicks in and forces me to stop LOL.

With carbohydrate cookies, the only thing that stops me is the availability (how many are on my plate) and my motivation to obtain more cookies (should my plate run out). The lack of appetite and strong nausea never happens, because my body simply makes more and more insulin to usher the blood nutrients into my fat cells.

I get fatter, not fuller.

As said before, "real food" correlates with low insulin diets, but not always. I can quite well make organic cookies with sugar in the raw and milled whole wheat flour etc. I will become huge eating these. WHereas, if I use ingredients with no / low digestible carb and low protein counts, my ability to gain weight off of this is very limited due to the metabolism of it (very little insulin is made).
I can eat salads with walnuts and dried fruits, rice and beans and meats... I'll gain weight unless I'm careful of the food's effect on insulin.

Chelly Bean, I think part of the problem might be ...


Chelly Bean,
I think part of the problem might be that people have unrealistic goals about what they should weigh.

Back when people ate "real food", there was far less emphasis on maintaining a pubescent figure.

I can't count the number of times I've observed perfectly healthy weight women trying to lose weight, and having so much trouble with binging and gaining, trying desperate diets to get the "weight" off...

Low carb works if you have pathological levels of fat storage. To look like a movie star, to get the waifish protruding bones look, that's plain and simple starvation, low carb with a healthy attitude toward food isn't going to take (most of us) there without that additional component.

So, I think part of the reason food has become so complicated is because our relationships with our bodies has become complicated. Perfectly healthy, normal weight women are trying to lose weight, and if you're healthy and normal weight you really can't expect to lose body fat on a healthy diet. The extra focus on food and restriction is necessary when trying to foil the way our body is supposed to work.

Garden variety obesity is made up of poisonous sugar and starch and largep ortions of it.

The rest of us are brainwashed into thinking our healthy bodies need to be changed, and we resort to counting carbs fats and calories on our hands to look like nicole ritchie.

We really don't need to make up reasons for why we...


We really don't need to make up reasons for why we eat too much. We don't need to eat for emotional reasons are because we are horrible human beings. Eating is a natural and strong drive.

One way to think about it is:

Food is different for a reason that should be obvious, but is still surprising: food is the most important thing in your life, because food is essential to survival.

Get lost in the woods for a few weeks and you won’t worry about sex, your stock portfolio, or how you look. You’ll worry about food and how to get more of it. Food is almost all you’ll think about.

Tasty food reaches deep into your brain and makes you want to eat with a real and true hunger. Food has power. The unlimited quantities of fatty high-calorie and sugary foods available in our modern world are a constant threat to make us slip up and gain weight. If you are prone to obesity, you will often find yourself eating more than you want and exercising less than you think you should.

Eating isn’t something you decide to do. Eating is a powerful drive. Eating is raw survival and your brain wants you to survive above all else.

Dismissing that drive is like trying to tell someone to stop drinking water when they are thirsty or to not go the bathroom for a few days.

Chelly Bean,I agree that people should eat Real Fo...


Chelly Bean,

I agree that people should eat Real Food and that counting anything is inherently "unnatural". But the food that is currently available, even the "Real Food", is available in unnatural proportions, plus human intervention in the past 10-12,000 years has changed many Real Foods (sweeter, larger, more available, etc.).

Plenty of people do eat Real Food, never eat packaged food or step into a fast food restaurant and yet still they gain weight and develop diabetes and other health problems. I know a very obese person who eats little beyond fruit and vegetables, and never any packaged or fast food. I know another chef in Europe who is very, very active, makes everything from scratch with Real Food (in the modern sense of from scratch - she doesn't mill the grains, for example) yet she has always been heavy. Eating Real Food doesn't solve the problem if the foods still mess with human biochemistry, i.e., keep insulin production chronically high.

Also, many people who eat Real Food don't develop weight problems, yet they do develop health problems that can have nutritional origins, such as such as dental problems, heart disease, cancer, GI troubles, etc.

So I think "Just Eat Real Food" is very oversimplified. Yes, counting nutrients over- complicates things and is "unnatural", but sticking to Real Foods that are *most like the foods available to early humans* seems to be a "more natural" way to eat, which in modern times, doesn't come naturally. That means greatly reducing amounts of tubers, little or no grains or dairy, and more fat and organ meats. Exact proportions probably vary somewhat, but for someone who doesn't want to count anything or think too hard about it, that is surely the most "natural" approach.

I think one of the craziest things about counting ...


I think one of the craziest things about counting anything is that counting calories means you have to know the calorie count in any given food; counting carbs means you have to know the carb count; counting fat grams means you have to know the fat grams.

What happened to eating FOODS? The way things are today, we're expected to become rocket scientists, all knowing about every last calories, carb and fat gram within food, and ignore the FOOD itself. If that isn't a recipe for disaster, I don't know what is.

Eating is supposed to be simple. We NEVER before in our history knew, much less counted, calories, fat or carbs before a hundred years ago, and now we're told that is the only way to health?



When I was in my early 30s, I developed insulin re...


When I was in my early 30s, I developed insulin resistance and gained 30 pounds in a year, after a lifetime of being underweight (sometimes dangerously so).

I consulted with a nutritionist, who put me on a low-fat, minimal animal products, counting-calories routine for the first time in my life. Rather than lose weight, I gained another 20 pounds.

After seeing about a half-dozen doctors, finally one dx'd me with IR and told me to follow Atkins (at the time, I had no idea what a carbohydrate even *was*). This was in early 2003 - I stayed on induction levels of carbs for about 6 months and lost the 50 lbs with no trouble at all.

Fast forward to the present. I have loosened up on the carb restriction a little bit (I consider my diet controlled carb, but sometimes deviate from low carb for the sake of variety). I'm 10 pounds heavier than when I first lost the weight, which is fine - it's right in the middle of the recommended weight for my height, and my endo basically says "just keep doing what you're doing."

True, if I *counted* every single carbohydrate, I'd probably be about 10 pounds thinner. But, as has been discussed in previous comments, I did not find that approach sustainable for the long term.

By eliminating *all* junk food, never setting foot in a fast food restaurant, making protein the center of every meal, and continually keeping myself informed and educated about my food choices, I have arrived on something that works that does not involve counting calories or carbs, does not leave me feeling deprived, and allows me to maintain healthy A1C, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.

I lost 55 pounds using Protein Power Life Plan as ...


I lost 55 pounds using Protein Power Life Plan as my guide, over a one year period. Age 49, now at my college weight of 193 (6'2"). Never thought I'd see the day before low-carb. Blood parameters from cholesterol to CRP to homocysteine are perfect. I no longer fear cardiovascular disease.

I find the concept of insulin stealing the fuel from the blood to make fat (and the insulin thereby indirectly CAUSING hunger to increase due to the lack of fuel in the bloodstream) very useful in understanding how low carb works and in motivating me to keep the carbs low. I'm convinced it's impossible for me to gain weight without the insulin caused by carbs. I've always eaten volume, and I still eat quite a bit at each meal, just not carbs. People marvel at the size of steaks or the amount of chicken I eat at a meal and the huge plate FULL of broccoli. I can't succeed hungry.

I count myself among the converted now, and can't see myself ever going back. I buy the evolutionary explanation, digestive tract arguments, etc. for low carb as the healthiest long term eating pattern. I think that's key to my motivation, after the hunger control. Now I join those angry at the FDA for their high carb recommendations that perpetuate the obesity epidemic affecting MILLIONS, along with the American Diabetic Association (that one just boggles the mind; although I was never diabetic, my interest in low-carb has lead me to do a lot of reading).

I only had the time to add in limited exercise late in my program. I believe, based on my experience, that exercise is strictly optional for weight loss, and it certainly accelerated mine (weight lifting program to build calorie-burning muscle, not aerobics). Diet has to be the mainstay, and I've demonstrated (as have numerous others, of course) that it's very possible to lose significant weight with no exercise at all. This is an important point for all the time-pressed who are discouraged to even start a program because they know they have no time to exercise, and the powers that be are telling them that they can't lose weight without it.

I've come to believe that, for the vast majority of people, absent severe emotional eating, weight loss is guaranteed if carbs are truly kept below about 40-50 g/day. The key here is being truthful about the carb count.

Isn't it interesting that if you want to do low-carb, there's virtually nowhere you can go for in-person help. It's a do-it-yourself plan only. Jenny Craig, Lindora, Weight Watchers, FDA, etc. are all "balanced diet" promoters. There are some doctors out there who have seen the light, but too few. Most people will find themselves fighting against their doctor if they have picked up a low-carb book and try to follow it.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, so I won't take up too much more space. Thanks for your wonderful blog and for the opportunity to vent.

Is this not where the idea that it's a lack of wil...


Is this not where the idea that it's a lack of willpower takes us?

No, it has nothing to do with willpower and that's the lie that fat folks have been fed for many years. It's all part of the diet industry's marketing strategy to make us feel guilty if we do not maintain the weight loss. Just think about it, all of these "diet" programs you see on TV clearly tell you that the transformations you see from their "paid" personalities are not typical! They do this to give their program a safety hatch so when you regain the weight you lost, they can simply say: "Well, I guess you just don't have the willpower." Hell, I was once told something similar to this at a Weight Watcher's meeting--you can imagine how pissed and embarrassed I was!

Look, when your body signals that it needs food, it's not just your stomach asking for food, but every single cell in your body is asking for energy! Very few people can stave off this type of prodding from you body to eat.

Eating LC has a very satiating effect for most folks who go on it, I've read it's like 60%. Fortunately, I'm one who falls into that camp because my appetite is pretty much an after thought when I'm eating LC, so that's why I advocate combining LC with counting calories, which is a killer combination IMO.

I know there is a big debate about whether it is natural to count calories or there's no need to count calories when doing LC, and I've participated in this fiery debate. Well, as someone who thinks that a controlled-carb, paleo-style diet is our natural diet, I think we need more communicating, personal experimentation, and less debating in the LC community.

So, I now encourage anyone who has reached a weight loss plateau doing LC to simply start being more mindful of you daily caloric intake and play around with your numbers while keeping your carb intake the same.

Finally, when you educate yourself about the process(es) of how the body gains and loses weight, then you'll realize that folks who say that it takes willpower to lose and keep the weight off are pretty ignorant (not informed) about basic human biochemistry and physiology.

Again, the decision to go (and stay) low carb is a...


Again, the decision to go (and stay) low carb is a behavioral change.

I find it interesting that no one has mentioned the legions of people who have gone on low carb diets, lost weight, and then gained it all back. Probably a comparable amount to those who do the same on low fat and or low calorie diets.

The fact that you may be extremely carb intolerant and gain weight on normal, traditional diets like the Mediterranean diet simply means you have a different metabolism from many people.

The fact is that many people have much more difficulty following a low carb diet than those of you who fare extremely well on them due to carb sensitivity.

Hi Billy. Here's some interesting info on the heal...


Hi Billy. Here's some interesting info on the health effects of the traditional Japanese diet.

I have a feeling that your definition of "normal glucose tolerance" is circular. Is there a way to specify glucose tolerance other than in relation to carbohydrate consumption?

Billy,Echoing some of Regina's questions, just who...



Echoing some of Regina's questions, just who is this "I" that is in control of one's eating behaviors?

It is some abstract, disembodied spiritual entity, unaffected by the hormones, neurotransmitters, and other biochemical and neurochemical processes that are affected by the food we eat and our genetics?

There is no doubt that taking responsibility for our own health and our own food choices is important.

But to say that it's just a matter of willpower, as if that "willpower" (of undefined origins) is somehow disconnected from the long- and short-term effects of what we are eating is to look at human behavior in a very narrow and, in my experience, unrealistic way.

Over and over, it's been demonstrated that large amounts of carbohydrates affect the human body in very dramatic ways, and in ways that would affect one's ability to make informed, rational choices about what our next meal will look like.

And it's also been demonstrated that getting people off high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets, onto diets that more closely mirror what our bodies have been evolved to eat over the past couple of million years, significant reduces the need to somehow "will" one's self to eat better, however you define better.

Also in my experience over the past 20-30 years, getting people off of high-carb diets also tends to make them less and less obsessive about their weight and their diets. they just seem to gradually gravitate toward healthier food choices and healthier weights. Willpower just isn't much of an issue. It almost becomes harder to make the wrong choices, because your body can now communicate the right messages to your brain.

Or rather the brain now resides in a mix of nutrients and hormones that it is equipped to deal with.

I also wanted to mention, all food will raise insu...


I also wanted to mention, all food will raise insulin, directly or indirectly. Carb is just the most powerful, most direct, most imbalancing source.

Eating excess protein contributes glucose and insulin, and in someone with a broken ability to metabolize glucose properly this is going to cause higher insulin and excess eating/storing very similar to that of carb.

Eating excess fat reduces glucose tolerance, because fatty acids hog up mitochondria making them less able to burn glucose. Insulin resistance results in response, indirectly increasing insulin levels and blood nutrients from carbs and protein. Fat alone cannot cause weight gain but it powerfully affects the metabolism of foods that can (protein/carb).

So you see, all food, if in excess, is going to cause weight gain, the only question is at which level of intake does it occur.

I'm generally against calorie restriction because I think if we eat the right things, and are careful to eat properly (regular meals, when truly hungry) calories take care of themselves. The obesity epidemic correlates with increased consumption of large meals with fat and simple carbs. It's not because people stopped counting calories. It's because we're eating large portions of food types that profoundly break our bodies. If portions were smaller (less energy) or if it were lower in carbs, there wouldn't be an exaggerated insulin response.

I think a major reason is that our brain function ...


I think a major reason is that our brain function is very strongly influenced by our diet and our body weight. Not just with food intake, but how we perceive ourselves, our goals, our priorities, motivations. Food controls mood.

Some people have chemical disorders which are self-treated by high insulin diets. These individuals find it impossible to stick with any diet that actually works to lose body fat becuase this automatically reduces insulin and ultimately adversely affects their mood or functioning.

Then there are other people, like me, who feel good only when on a low insulin diet. If I start gaining weight or eating carbs I become a wreck in more ways than one. It's a very quick change. I get motivation. I can set goals. I am much more balanced, and much less depressed. I think this has played a strong role in my ability to maintain this weight loss.

Even if a person doesn't happen to have a susceptability to medicating with insulin, it's at least true that the effects of excess insulin are antagonistic to change. I am as good of an example as any of the power of an insulin-balancing diet on mood/behavior but even I can succumb to the awful effects of high insulin. You start gaining, then you become more apathetic and there are emotional changes (because of the effects of high insulin), and this encourages behaviors which only make the high insulin state worse. It's a cycle. I think insulin has this paralyzing and sedating effect on all people, and this is a major reason weight regain occurs.

Once you're in the trap, you're trapped, and it takes something powerful to get you out of it.

Again it is my good fortune that I respond so well to weight loss/restriction and other low insulin states. Even when I get in that trap all it takes usually is a day or two of food restriction to get me back to a place where the apathy and emotional affects melt away. I'm back to feeling motivated, energetic, balanced and capable.

So basically, weight regain occurs as a much understated cause: insulin is a tranquilizer, and it's hard to stay awake and make changes when you've got an infusion of hypnotics going on. By the time you can muster sufficient motivation, you've been lulled into regain of significant weight.

Atkins was the answer for me. I was raised on the ...


Atkins was the answer for me. I was raised on the dreadful "Mediterranean diet" (pea-sized portions of protein - high percentage of carbohydrates), and it meant constant hunger, fatigue, and feeling generally unwell. With avoiding starchy food, and being able to take in sufficient protein and fat not to be constantly hungry, I have lost over 70 pounds and had no problem with gaining at all. I have no reason to think about such matters as 'relationships with food' - presumably, if 'food were love' (one may use any tag line popular with those trying to sell books or counselling... no one needs 'help' with Atkins, though their site would make one think it essential), reducing carbohydrates would not reduce one's need for love!

I have utter contempt for Weight Watchers' false dependence and mind games (equating their programme with 'self esteem,' 'life goals' and so forth) - or for programmes where one is constantly hungry but made to feel guilty if one does not 'obey.' Hunger is completely ignored, or treated as a weakness! (It seems to boil down to - get used to being ravenous - if you eat more than your tiny allotment, you either are subconsciously trying to sabotage yourself, or only eating more than 2 ounces of anything because you weren't taught 'portion control' measurements - or are a pathetic neurotic turning to 'comfort foods.') And one would not dare 'cheat' - knowing one must face a monstrous doctor, or a weekly weigh in, or even the abuse some people hand out on an Internet forum.

However, with that said - I've had no problem with gaining, but have had very extended, highly frustrating plateaus in weight loss. I am not 'on maintenance' - I am trying to lose another fifty pounds, but, after the first year or so, weight loss slowed to a crawl.

I think the reason Atkins works for me, and for others, is that it eliminates hunger, fatigue, and cravings at the source. With no excessive carbs to stimulate appetite, and no need for 2 or three ounce protein portions that don't reduce hunger, the control of appetite is natural. It is based on one's own needs, not on what is on a 'diet sheet.' That is a far cry from being constantly hungry and refraining from eating what would ease it through fear or having to account to anyone.

I have to say "yes, yes, yes" to so many comments....


I have to say "yes, yes, yes" to so many comments.

I too was told "you must be an emotional eater - what are you hiding". Like I was CHEATING - well, frankly they did accuse me of cheating on Weight Watchers. Why?? Because my very carb intolerant body could not take all of those "healthy carbs". I ate by the book and didn't lose weight.

I'm so sick of being told I have an emotional eating problem. Bull Pucky is what I say. In fact, when I'm sad, happy and stressed out I DON'T eat. Go figure.

I have a 16 year old daughter that was being taught in school to eat less and move more - she was being told that the reason people are fat is because they eat too much and are lazy. This all in her HEALTH CLASS!! "How dare them" she says to me. She went on an information quest and "educated" her teachers. She lost 50lbs on a LC LIFESTYLE - cause that's what it is in our home. She got her insulin resistance & SUPER HIGH insulin levels treated with the meds that she needed and eats WHOLE foods. Yep, I said it, a TEENAGER that loves to eat REAL food, not crap.

And you want to know something. She'll NEVER gain her weight back because this is "just the way we live" (as she says to her friends that come over for dinner and LOVE the homecooked REAL food).

Thanks for opening up such great topic of conversation. As always, it warms the cockles of my heart to read such a bold woman, plainly state the TRUTH.

"Nobody ever got fat eating a diet of whole grains...


"Nobody ever got fat eating a diet of whole grains and low calories / fat."

Sorry, let me rephrase:

"Most people with normal glucose tolerance won't get fat eating a diet of whole grains and low calories / fat."

The traditional japanese diet is based around fish, rice, tofu, and vegetables. It is not as dominant in japan as it once was as western ways of eating are spreading.

Nobody ever got fat eating a diet of whole grains ...


Nobody ever got fat eating a diet of whole grains and low calories / fat.

Its statements like this that are getting people mad at you, Billy. How dare you make pronouncements for other people? That is EXACTLY how I ate for 20 years and gained 50 pounds. I DID not drink big gulps, biggie fries or any other junk. I rarely ate any sweets or candy. Just supposedly wholesome low fat, low sugar food. But it was still full of carbs. I ate what the low fat dogmatists said I should, cooking low fat meals at home that consisted of mostly vegies, no fat, very little meat, with a starch (usually rice or pasta). And I got fat!
But reacting to your comments (reminds me of a newly smug ex-smoker) is not the main thing I wanted to comment on.

Regina commented in her answers to you about the role of hormones. She is very much on to something there. I wanted to mention what has happened to me since I started eating low carb but I've not seen much comment about in the varoius readings I've done about peoples experience with low carb.

During my time of low fat/low calorie eating, I struggled with depression and developed a drinking problem. Well guess what. Since almost completely cutting out carbs, I no longer have the desire to drink, at all! And the one time I did treat myself, over the holidays, to eating sweet treats, the desire to drink came roaring back.

I used to drink diet pop every day (have for years) but had seen some comments that even fake sugar would effect your hormones so I decided to give it up for a while. I didn't notice a change in weight but I certainly did notice a difference in cravings. One day, I wanted something more flavourful than water so had one can of diet pop. Back came that desire to drink!

Regina I hope you will post on this aspect for low carb eating and perhaps show some research that has been done in this area.

I want to add that what helped us make such a dras...


I want to add that what helped us make such a drastic change in our lifestyle was understanding how our bodies deal with protein, fat and carbohydrates. The Eades' Protein Power book got us started on learning about this.

Once we got the concept, there was no turning back. I think the hardest part was going through the first couple of months of adjustment, and that was psychological as well as physical.

"Nobody ever got fat eating a diet of whole grains...


"Nobody ever got fat eating a diet of whole grains and low calories / fat."

No? My husband and I did. Katherine's description sounds very similar to our experience. We thought we were following good advice on eating lots of whole grains and avoiding fat. But we both gained weight.

After LCing for just about a year now, my husband has lost 50 lbs and I've lost 25. We each have a few more pounds we want to shed, but we'll get there. We do not eat ANY grains, sugar, potatoes or milk and we don't miss them any more.

For the long term:
We've also been feeling so good physically and mentally that there's no way we'd consider reverting to the foods we used to eat. WHY would we? Life feels a lot better when you feel good.

I really like the term "Live-it" above. I heartily agree! LC is going to be our lifetime way of eating.

Actually, we've just started Intermittent Fasting (Dr. Eades' method so that we have a 24-hour fast every 2nd day) and are finding this pretty easy and quite exhilarating. Surprise! Maybe none of us needs as much food as we think.

Regina, thank you for your excellent blog!

Billy - you commented that "Nobody ever got fat ea...


Billy - you commented that "Nobody ever got fat eating a diet of whole grains and low calories / fat."

I did. Vegetarian, whole grains, low fat (I was meticulous about low-fat) and low calories (meaning at my prescribed maintenence level of calories based on my height/weight etc, or below)

I also had addictive eating patterns, accompanied by intense cravings for starchy foods. Emotionally, it was horrible. I had to make a huge effort to control my eating, and I would occasionally eat in secret out of sheer humiliation.

Once I was diagnosed with celiac/gluten intolerance, and stopped eating all grains, my symptoms (both emotional and physical) disappeared did my low-level depression, anxiety, and other mood disturbances I didn't even realize were "abnormal."

The "what" can, and does in many cases, drive the "why".

Not saying there aren't other factors - I still, on occasion, turn to certain foods for comfort much like I would turn to cigarettes, even though I know they're bad for me. But I would wager that in most cases, the problem can be addressed through dietary changes, at least at the outset. Any remaining patterns are then much easier to deal with and/or rectify.

(As a side note, I would love to test OA members for celiac/GI)

You've got 62 comments to this post, so I'll keep ...


You've got 62 comments to this post, so I'll keep it simple:

Eat (at least, the majority of the time) foods that are suited to our physiology - foods that have a proven evolutionary basis for good nutrition and health. Foods that keep our systems functioning optimally - keep our insulin and leptin signalling working properly. Ultimately, that means keeping carbs low.