Does Reading Low Carb Blogs Help You Lose Weight?

A while back I posted a survey. I want to do a post on all the interesting info it provided, but I want to give a quick preview of one tidbit.

First off, a survey like this is unscientific. It points to interesting insights that would require more rigorous investigation to come to any firm conclusions on, so keep that in mind here.

Interestingly, I’ve had 51 people fill out the survey and 49 of them lost weight on a low carb diet.

35 of these people lost over 20 lbs.

Of those, more than half lost over 40 lbs.

Now, if I were to jump to conclusions, I’d say that reading this blog means you have a good chance of losing weight on low carb.

Nice try, but as the old saying goes – you can’t wash your car to make it rain.

Interesting though, isn’t it?

Atkins Gone Bad

I’m gonna take that inner child and kick his little ass
Don Henley, ‘Get Over It’

I’m big on personal responsibility, and I have to admit that I am the weight I am now simply because a part of me doesn’t want to weigh less.

At the beginning of the year I had managed to put on 20 lbs, and with a little effort I got that taken off in a couple of weeks. I’ve wanted to do another 20, but that hasn’t happened.

In asking myself why, it is apparent that a force other than the conscious me has decided it’s pretty satisified with where I am right now, and that peach pie the wife brought in would hit the spot – washed down with an ice-cold glass of milk.

I’ve been maintaining my weight, which is a good thing, while eating all the high-carb food that low carbers avoid, which sounds like nirvana – except that I think this is dangerous.

My reasoning is that in my estimation, excessive carbohydrates block the proper digestion of fat, causing a host of ills – high cholesterol being only one of them.

So what we have here is what I’d call: Atkins gone bad.

I eat low carb most of the day, then carb out on junk in the evening. Put on a few pounds, then take it back off with a few days of all-day low carb.

I still fit in my clothes – they are snug, but not so much that they cut off breathing. I think the subconscious me thinks that’s just fine – no need to take off any weight, right?

Problem is: I want to take this last 20 lbs off, and keep it off eating healthy becuase I believe that this will indeed add years to my life, life to my years, and stave off decrepitude for as long as possible.

That’s what my logical mind says – then the inner child sees the peach pie…

Oh – I have a stable of excuses – they flood my mind as I chow down on the pie, but they are just that: excuses.

I think willpower is overrated – the trick isn’t to force things to happen, but rather to find ways to change in the most effortless means possible. That isn’t lazy, and it shouldn’t be reduced to a moralistic judgement – we only have so much energy and so much time, and why swim upstream when you can get out of the river and walk upstream with a lot less effort?

And yet…I’m still 20 lbs away from my goal. Willpower is required, but it’s to be leveraged with a bag of tricks that I’ve learned during my years on low carb. Especially the tricks that allow me to keep that damn peach pie out of my gullet while those around me have a carb orgy.

Maybe I’ve forgotten some of them. Maybe it’s time to read my own blog to remember what I’ve forgotten.

Nothing is Certain – Of This I am Sure

There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” – Donald Rumsfeld

We live in a time where we can pretend we know things. Before there was science, Mankind had to have some humility toward the Universe and accept that much of the world was unknowable.

Then we invented science, and it explained many things quite well – and gave us this whiz-bang world of technological marvels and medical miracles where we can reattach severed limbs and transplant hearts.

Problem is: we are confused about the limits of science to explain things, and many people – including scientists themselves – think they know things that in fact, they haven’t a clue about.

Put aside our ego-centric world view and realize the Universe and everything in it was not created for us to understand – the fact that we do understand isolated little bits – somewhat – is remarkable, but it also lead us astray into the belief that it all can be understood.

It can’t.

What can we understand? We are great at mechanics – the engineering world can apply known principles and create computers, reattach limbs, build skyscrapers and bridges – and be pretty good at it. There’s some rules for dealing with the unknown – in engineering, for example, if you are building a bridge to carry a load of 1000 tons, you might double that just to be sure.

Things begin to get murky as we get more into the softer sciences. Our own biochemical processes are a great example.

When you really truly understand how little can be known, the first reaction is to despair – what am I to believe in?

But if you push through this, you come to the realization that the only thing to believe in comes from inside you.

This can be useful in all aspects of your life, but in low carb, it is applied through your experiences. Is low carb healthy for you? Doesn’t matter what the research says – it might or might not be true – or it might not be true for you. How do you feel? How is your bloodwork? Losing weight?

I mention this because I read a scientific paper titled: Why Most Published Research Findings Are False by John P. A. Ioannidis. It’s a tough read – you might want to check out this link or this link for some translations of what he’s talking about.

We low carbers might feel a bit alone in the world, but maybe it’s because we know we have to question everything – we have to think, and thinking is something most people avoid as much as possible.

Kitchen Experiment #17 – Spicy Dry-Rubbed Ribs

All the members of the Low Carb Confidental Taste Panel love PF Changs Northern Style Ribs. These are a dry rubbed ribs – no gooey BBQ sauce here. We wanted to try and create this at home, but I couldn’t find a recipe that even claimed to be close to their recipe.

I decided to make up my own, based on what I had read about other dry rub recipes, and with the spices I had on-hand.

  • 1 rack pork ribs (about 12-14 ribs)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp granulated Splenda
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 325. Mix all the dry ingredients together. In a large mixing bowl, place the cut ribs (yeah – cut the ribs apart), pour over the top 3/4 of the dry rub, then mix. Get the darn stuff under your fingernails – this is a messy process, but you want to coat these ribs well.

Now, in a baking pan, place a piece of tinfoil large enough so that there will be space along the edges – we’re going to make a tinfoil bag of sorts, so be sure to have ample edge all around when you put the ribs on the tinfoil. Curl the edges up – you need this tinfoil to hold the water you are going to add. Then coat the top of the ribs with the olive oil and place a layer of tinfoil on top and seal the edges together as best you can – you want the water to steam cook the ribs.

Cook for 2 hours.

The result?

Well, it sounded like a good idea, I suppose…

The flavor was good, but by no means were they ‘dry’ – perhaps the tinfoil bag wasn’t necessary.

Oh well.