An Introduction – Day 1

Joseph Merrick 'aka' The elephant Man
Joseph Merrick ‘aka’ The Elephant Man

Let’s start slow here, OK?

Once upon a time a guy went on a low carb diet and lost 80 pounds, bringing his decidedly pudgy exterior down to a perfectly fine 185. Of course, weight never stays off unless you are a total maniac about your diet – and this guy wasn’t – he was pretty awful at low carb, though some points should be given for some amusing hare-brained experiments along the way.

The weight loss stayed for about three years but the onset of middle age – and perhaps a well-honed laziness crafted into a fine art- caused the weight to creep back on. It was manageable for many years and a diligent return to a hard-core low carb diet each time things got out of hand always got it back down, though later years the weight tended to stay in the low 200s.

Then a decade passed. a WHOLE FREAKIN’ DECADE on a low carb diet. That’s a lot of time on a diet that makes one a bit of an oddball. Despite a lot of evidence that a low carb diet is helpful and safe for a lot of folks – and personal experience showed that it worked for this particular schmuck, he kinda drifted away from it.

There were some valid reasons for this drifting away. Some less so. Regardless, this guy went from someone who struggled with following a low carb diet pretty much every day – even if he failed miserably – to someone who wasn’t even trying anymore – and that gradual drift happened oh-so unconsciously, until the man awoke to find that perhaps he didn’t know how exactly to do a low carb diet anymore. Perhaps they didn’t work for him anymore and what once worked no longer would. perhaps the person he was 10 years ago when he lost the weight was gone and the person he was now couldn’t do what he had done then.

Perhaps he just didn’t want to be on a diet forever anymore.

This was all well and good, but a very real problem existed: he was getting fat again. He was outgrowing the fat clothes he bought.

Breathing in his clothes might become a problem. Buttons might begin to pop.

It was fun to eat Italian deli sandwiches. Bread is an awesome thing. So was pasta. But it seemed there was no way to dance on the knife-edge of having some without having too much. His appetite went out of control and a taste always became more than a taste.

Joseph Merrick, known as ‘The Elephant Man’ was a normal human stuck inside a deformed body. The story that I had heard was, because of his deformity, he had always slept upright.

But one time he wanted to sleep like a regular human being – lying down. His simple desire to be like other humans is supposedly what did him in: due to his deformities, lying down choked him to death in his sleep.

Perhaps there’s a lesson there the man needed to accept.

So with only that thought as a start, the man, with little of that wide-eyed optimism most dieters have when starting a sparkly new diet, just said: “Here we go again.”

13 thoughts on “An Introduction – Day 1

  1. I find your post a bit unnerving. You see, that’s my story. I lost 73 lbs around 12 years ago and echo every phase that you have gone through. From being able to maintain for around 3 years, to regaining 20, then losing the 20, then staying level. From giving up the low carb lifestyle to going hard core only high fat……ultimately to regaining all but the last 20 lbs. It’s never been the low carb lifestyle that failed me, it’s my genetics. I firmly believe that I am genetically programmed to be a very fat person and it’s my job to fight against this battle (that’s Gary Taubes theory). So, as we speak, I am 7 days back into a net 20 gram carb lifestyle. I don’t expect any miracles but I refuse to go out and buy a larger set of ‘fat clothes’. So, I think there are lots of people in my shoes, but ultimately the decision is mine to front the battle against my genetic predisposition obesity.

    1. I do believe that I can lose all of the weight, but it’s up to me. I do a lot of physical activity BTW, I bike 150 miles a week, I work standing for a living (chef), I haul 50 lbs bags of potatoes around… I’m not out of shape, my bloodwork is still awesome even 50 lbs overweight. Now I’d like to reward my aching body by taking off the fat that makes life such a chore.

    2. You sound so optimistic, Chef Michelle – perhaps you should avoid my blog from now on. It’s not that I don’t wish you well, but any success I might have moving forward might only come from a wellspring of snark and cynicism. Until I get to that level of ketones where they act like a valium for my mood, this might read as ‘The Cynical Bastard’s Guide to Weight Loss’.

      Of course, that presupposes I’ll have *any* success whatsoever. That remains to be seen.

  2. One of my goals in life is to remain healthy and active up until the day I die from old age. Researchers who study aging have learned that both animals and humans cannot be kept alive after the clock runs out. What this means is at some point, no matter how healthy the organism is, every organ in the body shuts down almost simultaneously and death ensues.

    At this point I believe the key to remaining healthy and active is to eat high quality, mineral rich food and avoid consuming too much omega-6 linoleic acid. (Avoiding excessive intake of added sugars goes without saying.)

    One doesn’t have to exercise a lot to be healthy. A good book that explains why is “Strong Women Stay Young” (Revised Edition) by Miriam Nelson, PhD.

    These days I exercise quite a bit because I do extreme gardening and need lots of compost to test the limits of what fertility can accomplish. I’m 20 pounds lighter than I was last winter when I was sedentary. I’m also eating a lot more food. Can’t beat fresh garden produce for flavor.

    1. Hi Dave,

      I don’t think there’s a hair out of place in your comment. So why is it so damn hard for so many of us? Seems simple: avoid added sugars, eat high quality foods, avoid seed oils. Get a little exercise. Simple.

      So why for so many of us does this resemble asking us to levitate just a millimeter off the floor? A millimeter isn’t much – so what’s the big deal?

      Your answer – or my answer, or anyone else’s for that matter seems to open us up into a hall of mirrors where the answers are right as well as wrong and reflect upon one another until none of it makes any sense and it’s all rather disorienting.

      If there’s any hope for me this go-round it will take another form that what has come before. Eat quality, minimally-processed foods. Got it. But there’s something else required. Short of some form of Zealotry, I’m unsure of the form it will take at present – though I have some ideas.

  3. Hi, nice to hear from you. I enjoyed your post, kind of tongue in cheek I suppose? I gather you are struggling? You know 90% of this journal is ‘mental’, it’s what we tell ourselves. If you are telling yourself you are on a diet, yes you get totally sick of it. I have been living low carb now for a few years, not as many as you but I don’t think of it as a diet but rather as just the way I eat. I am not perfect, I eat stupid stuff like bread now and again but you and I both know that bread and stuff like that, stuff made with wheat, or stuff made with fat and sugar – ie wheat and sugar – they are addictive. They do us in, do our head in. Wheat changes brain chemistry, apparently that’s a scientific fact but so many scientific facts can be laid out to show different things. However, from personal experience, wheat products do my head in. I am calmer, more in control of what I eat, a nicer person to be around, when I avoid wheat and sugar. So, cut yourself some slack. You know how to do this. Give up the wheat products, stuff yourself full of protein and fat and a few non starchy veggies, give yourself a week, you’ll feel better and being a male of the species your weight will drop quicker than it does for the females. Good luck.

  4. 2nd comment – I just noticed your reply to Dave – so you are aware of what to do, the physical side of stuff, it’s the mental side, like I said this journey is 90% mental. I don’t know what to suggest for that. Motivation I guess comes in many forms. You have to find the ‘why’ and go from there. Why do you want to lose weight? Why low carb? Perhaps the answers to the why will give you the motivation to go forward

    1. It is mostly the mental side. Why low carb? It worked for me and I assume it can work again? Why do I want to lose weight? To fit in my clothes. But what ‘motivates’? I’m not quite sure if I know what that word means anymore. I understand if that sounds like a strange thing to say, but perhaps future posts might make that more clear.

  5. My motivation to get rid of around 20 pounds: I can’t believe how uncomfortably hot I was this past summer ~ the heat usually never bothers me ~ not to mention upstate New York certainly doesn’t get that warm! Low carb keeps my blood work very, very good ~ I must show-off my latest triglyceride number: a mere 50. I would never get that low a number with a higher-carb diet. Why can’t I melt a measly 20 pounds off? Who knows ~ but I keep on trying.

  6. I love this post. It’s very true. Just because others ‘get to’ do something doesn’t mean it’s the healthiest for you. If you are allergic to peanuts…stop eating peanuts! If high-carb makes you fat and sick…stop eating it!!

    I used to feel very hopeless and jealous that I couldn’t be like some other people, whose bodies can handle carbs without becoming insatiable madmen with an appetite to Eat All The Things so I would try to be like them by ‘moderating’. It’s only recently that I’ve learned there is really no moderating for me, at least not at this time and maybe ever. When I try to moderate high carb stuff, I almost inevitably end up bingeing. So I can either keep wishing I was someone else who could anything they wanted without gaining too much weight and stay the same or I can accept who I am and what my body can handle (low-carb mostly!!) and get to a healthier body composition.

  7. There must be a certain tribe of people who all suffer from the same diet history. Lost 80 pounds (me and you) kept most off for 3 years, then gained 20 and lost 20 until we decide high fat was the answer and then we were back in the “fat pants”.

    I am doing 1200 calories of whatever I want (if I want bad things then I go hungry till the next day). The scale says in the past three months I have only managed to lose 13 or 14 pounds (I’m 68). But the pants are now two sizes smaller (even straight from the dryer). People are walking up to me saying things like “you have lost weight”. I say “thank you” for noticing and saying something.

    It’s not that I believe this will work. The 1200. I am just very grateful to be down 2 pant sizes. There are days, like today, when I was starving and wanted to eat anything and everything. Tomorrow. Well, there is soup and salad in the fridge. I think I went wrong on low carb when I started making muffin in a minute out of flax meal. Bread is bread.

    Anyway, what I wanted to express was my delight in seeing you back in print. A post from you helps keep me from falling off the wagon, so to speak, and gives me hope. I just hate wearing fat pants.

    1. Sadly, it appears our caloric needs decline as we age yet our appetites sometimes don’t follow suit. Ugh.

      Me, I’m so far *off* the wagon I don’t even *see* the wagon – but I have hopes that I might find a wagon and get back on it in the near future.

  8. I don’t know why I havn’t read this before but it’s really good! At least you got the weight off though. I have spent over a decade of my life yo yo dieting.

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