Losing Weight May Be Hazardous To Your Health

Warning: if you are easily discouraged when your assumptions are challenged, you might want not want to read this. Check back the next time I have a recipe or something.

If you need an excuse to stay fat, grab a box of cookies, pull up a chair and read this: many studies suggest that people who lose weight actually have higher death rates than those whose weight remained stable, even if they’re overweight.

Just call me Debbie Downer. Hey: you want a ‘rah-rah-happy-go-lucky’ low carb blog, look elsewhere – I’m far too cynical and skeptical for that.

Another aspect for me is: I’m not scared of people whose opinions differ from mine – I’m fascinated by them.

So if you’re game, let’s explore this avenue for a little while. Continue reading “Losing Weight May Be Hazardous To Your Health”

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Atkins Induction: The Rules This Time

I’ve been in the state known as ketosis, brought about by following the rules of Atkins Induction, more times than I can count. I have also been either very successful or not-so successful at staying in Induction for an extended period of time and losing weight.

While I am not recommending long-term ketosis- Atkins doesn’t, and you’ll find few people who do as there’s little research as to what it might do to long-term health – I try to stay in Induction for extended periods – months.

Anyways, for those of you who don’t follow my blog, to summarize the last couple of years: I’ve been maintaining while trying to lose – win on one level, but a big fat fail on another.

I lost my weight in 2003, when I was a carb fiend. Such an abrupt change to low carb produced phenomenal results: 65 lbs. in the first year – another 15 in the second.

As is standard with losing weight and aging, some has crept back on. I’m still down 50 lbs. from my high in 2003, but I’m not satisfied.

So I did some looking back at what I’ve tried that succeeded, what failed miserably, what caused initial progress to evaporate, what and what traps have I fallen into again and again. Continue reading “Atkins Induction: The Rules This Time”

Low Carb Nerds, Nazis, Geeks and Newbies

Over the years I’ve noticed patterns in the low carb dialogs on my site as well as others, and some of it is great – perceptive and enlightening.

Others – not so great.

I got to thinking about this when reading a post on ‘low carb Nazis’, the link to which I promptly lost. Ugh.

Anyway, first, let’s put aside the justified criticism of the use of the word ‘Nazi’ here. I know many people are offended that the word ‘Nazi’ is linked with things like ‘food’, ‘feminism’, or ‘soup’. They think it trivializes the atrocities that the real Nazis did in the last century. They can be very militant about it – I suppose we can call them ‘Nazi’-Nazis, but they wouldn’t be happy about that.

The fact is, you can’t control language. If that were possible, I would first banish the word ‘blog’ as it’s about the ugliest word coined in the past 100 years.

But there’s more than just the low carb Nazis out there. There are multiple groups that each interact and sometimes learn from one another, and sometimes are angered by one another – or haven’t a clue what the other groups are talking about.

Below I’ve arbitrarily identified four groups, not that there aren’t more, and not that these are even correct of fair. You make that judgement – I’m not going to be a Nazi about this. Continue reading “Low Carb Nerds, Nazis, Geeks and Newbies”

Gary Taubes Finally Gets Around to Writing a Book on Low Carb that People Can Read (Hopefully)

UPDATE: He has – go read about it in my more recent post here.

I loved the book ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’ – the seminal work on the science behind low carb dieting – but I hated reading it. In my opinion, Gary Taubes is not a great author – he is a great presenter of information, but his writing style is dry and sterile – as if he places each word on the page with tweezers while wearing rubber gloves.

His style leans too much toward an audience accustomed to clinical research, where the author removes themselves from the content. In research, this is necessary as science is a presentation of ‘just the facts’ and any warmth or emotion carried in the message will put the research into question, making readers think that the message conveyed might be biased by the researcher’s own opinions.

This is always the case, of course – we’re just not supposed to show it.

I have read way too many books of similar depth that were more engaging, so I was very disappointed – this was supposed to be a work that would show the world the sound scientific basis for a low carbohydrate diet – and he created a near unreadable tome that would allow laymen critics to seize on the style rather than the substance.

I have always wished it would be rewritten – perhaps co-authored with Bill Bryson or Michael Pollan – two of my favorite authors – with both of them, I could read anything they wrote, no matter the topic or my interest in the topic because of the warmth, passion, and wonder they can inject into their narratives.

I have found engaging writers make me interested in subjects I never knew I had an interest in.

That’s what Gary Taubes needed to do in ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’ so that detractors could come to see that low carb is not as quackish as many think.

He failed. Continue reading “Gary Taubes Finally Gets Around to Writing a Book on Low Carb that People Can Read (Hopefully)”

A Visual Guide to Cognitive Biases

Don’t have much time this morning, but I thought I’d share this:

Cognitive Biases – A Visual Study Guide

I wish that losing weight was just about what you eat.

It isn’t.

It is also about what you think.

When you cave and give in to temptation, it was some thought that allowed you to do this, that bargained for that piece of cake, that told you it would be OK.

But it wasn’t.

My own problem is ‘bargaining’. My mind tells me things like this:

“You’ve been very good – now you should reward yourself.”

“You can cheat now and then and not gain weight – why not build this in to your diet?”

“It’s a special occasion – enjoy.”

“Life is too short NOT to have a RingDing now and then.”

When I’m tired or stressed these thoughts can catch me with my guard down – and afterword I say to myself: what was I thinking?!?

Understanding how we trick ourselves can go a long way to prevent these lapses, and the above presentation is an encyclopedia of how we trick ourselves – and is a great introduction to the weight-loss mind game.

If you are the type of person who thinks: ‘It’s my thought, so it must be correct”, read this and see just how many ways our minds can lead us astray.

Fat People Don’t Shop at Whole Foods

Here’s an interesting one. To quote from the article:

The percentage of food shoppers who are obese is almost 10 times higher at low-cost grocery stores compared with upscale markets, a small new study shows.

Researchers say the striking findings underscore poverty as a key factor in America’s growing girth.

In the Seattle area, a region with an average obesity rate of about 20 percent, only about 4 percent of shoppers who filled their carts at Whole Foods Market stores were obese, compared with nearly 40 percent of shoppers at lower-priced Albertsons stores.

That’s likely because people willing to pay $6 for a pound of radicchio are more able to afford healthy diets than people stocking up on $1.88 packs of pizza rolls to feed their kids, the study’s lead author suggested.

Now – people from Seattle might not be like the rest of us. It was also reported that people in Seattle have the most sex outdoors, so perhaps there’s something about Seattle that causes this phenomenon rather than just shopping at Whole Foods. Continue reading “Fat People Don’t Shop at Whole Foods”

The Genealogy Diet?

Here’s an interesting article on human evolution. In a nutshell, it says that Tibetans that live at 13,000 feet – an altitude where the oxygen level is so low as to make it impossible for people from lower elevations to function properly – evolved the capability to live at this altitude in about 3,000 years. While the article discusses the controversy surrounding the time spans, it brings up an important point – our genetic heritage plays a role in what type of environment we might thrive in – and that includes our food environment.

A better known example is lactose tolerance. Adult humans were originally not able to properly digest milk. Then, with the rise of agriculture and the beginnings of animal husbandry, primitive peoples had a rich supply of calories in the milk of the animals they raised for meat.

They drank it and got sick. But not all of them. Continue reading “The Genealogy Diet?”