About 2017

August 2017 Update

About the last time I wrote, the site had devolved into me kinda writing the same post over and over. I was boring myself to death – not to mention what it might be doing to any reader that might have stumbled over this blog. So I stopped. I told myself that maybe if I peeled off some real weight – like 20 lbs. minimum – I might start writing again.

Well, in January of 2017 I was 283 and now I am 261 – so maybe I have something to write about again.

January 2016 Update

While I’ve left all my previous updates below if you’d like a bit of long-form reading, I can briefly summarize:

In 2003 I went on a low carb diet and lost 80 pounds over the course of 2 years.

I’ve been on a low carb diet (with numerous reversals and restarts) for most of the time between then and now with the exception of perhaps the last 6 months of 2015.

The reason I gave up was because from the fall of 2014 until the summer of 2015 I went from 207 to 250 despite my best efforts.

Something had changed – and I don’t know what it was.

I *did* have my appendix taken out. Is there a correlation? Who knows. I *do* know that science is reconsidering the worth of the appendix and that it might not be a ‘vestigial’ organ after all, but instead an important part of the immune system and helping to maintain healthy gut bacteria.

Whether or not this played any part in my staggering weight gain after successfully keeping off an average of 50 lbs. for about a decade, it sure was demoralizing.

So I gave up.

And now I’m back. I started my diet the day after Christmas 2015 and plan to post my progress until I reach 195 lbs. –  If I follow my plan it will take until October 1, 2016.

I should also note a few changes. First, I am way busier than I once was and while I used to polish my posts, this year might see less polished posts. I’m also planning to post more – I used to write a lot that never saw the light of day. Now I’m going to hit the ‘publish’ button without worrying over what I wrote. This might end up being more performance art than a diet blog – we’ll see together where this ends up.

I also have to mention that when you’ve been blogging for – what – 9 years? You tend to have a lot of posts with plenty of broken links as well as plenty of hare-brained rambles I wouldn’t write today. I used to be big on vitamins – now I’m not. I tried nicotine tablets as a diet aid – THAT was a stupid and expensive exercise.

I’m also in my 50s instead of my 40s. I found the crossover into the 2nd half of a century on this rock to be a rough transition. As you go through the 40s, you begin to hear stories of guys your age dropping stone-cold dead from heart attacks. Things change in your 40’s – since starting this blog my hair has added a lot of gray, my eagle-eyes are gone and I am compelled to wear glasses, and I’m in general more creaky and cranky than in 2003 when I first went on a low carb diet and lost 80 pounds.

I’m not particularly happy with this ‘getting old’ shit but I don’t have much say in the matter – though I *CAN* complain.

Maybe the only thing I can do is try to lose some weight, eat healthier, and hopefully feel better as a result.

That’s what 2016 is supposed to be about for me.

March 2015 Update

At present you can reverse the 2012 and 2003 pictures as I’ve put back on a lot of the weight since then. I had kind of given up on myself, but now I’m aiming for that right-side picture again. Will I or won’t I? Only time will tell…

Me September 2003 and August 2012 – with Brad Pitt’s face  substituted for mine

August 2012 Update

This post is a yearly ritual where I update the standard-issue ‘About’ page for people who come across this blog in search engines, forum postings elsewhere, other blogs, or even as a reference(!) in the occasional article that dots the Internet. If you’re one of these folks and you read an article and something resonates, your next thought is: ‘who is this guy’? – and you come here.

Sadly, I am likely to disappoint you. It seems that most of you are ‘drive-bys’ – folks looking for some quick answers to peel off 20 – or 200 – pounds, and you’ve decided to give low carb a try. The name of this blog – LowCarbConfidential.com sounds promising. What is likely to have brought you here is my post Atkins Induction – Observations On My First Few Days, which has been read over 60,000 times.

That’s not much in InternetLand, but its way more than I ever expected when I started this blog, as I thought the number of people who would actually read my writing would be a big fat zero.

For those of you reading that post, it’s probably all downhill from there with me and you. You’re trying to lose weight and get on the straight and narrow with regards to low carb dieting – and I’m eating Pop Rocks, drinking soda and eating Lindt Chocolate Truffles by the dozen.

This causes a lot of cognitive dissonance. Your brows furrow, trying to reconcile the ‘low carb’ in the site name and the ‘pop rocks’ in the post.

It doesn’t resolve. I’m inconsistent. Erratic. Sometimes I write about weird stuff that seems to have little to do with dieting. I’m wasting your time.

And you go elsewhere.

And yet…there’s something going on here. Around 9 years ago, in early September of 2003, after a vacation and fatter than ever at 265 lbs., I took a ride to the Rite Aid and bought the Atkins book available at the time – The Atkins New Diet Revolution. I sat in a chair in my living room and read the first 180 some-odd pages, and while highly skeptical of the whole thing, I decided to try the diet – partly to prove a friend wrong.

I ended up proving myself wrong.

9 years later I am 70 lbs. less hefty – hovering around 195 at the moment. In the interim I’ve had my ups and downs, but that’s the short story. The longer story is splayed out like a frog in dissection class across the 400+ posts I’ve written in the past 5 years – some of it as pretty as a dissected frog.

I did this by eating mostly low carb – some times more so than others. I also didn’t exercise for the most part.

I didn’t die in the first 2 weeks from a heart attack like I thought I would eating all that fat. I cured what most certainly would have been diagnosed as GERD if I wasn’t eating Tums by the carton and bothered to talk to a doctor about it instead.

I also staved off the family propensity for full-blown diabetes that my 2 siblings got in their 40s.

A sad fact is that most people who lose weight tend to gain it all back within 5 years. The number has been reported between 80 and 95%.

I gained some back, certainly, but I’m still 70 lbs. down from when I began – and certainly much healthier than I would have been if I continued the path I was on before I began living low carb.

I *AM* a heretic, though. I am a flawed being, and many times my low carb routine crumbles in the face of a Sicilian pizza. If I was an Orthodox Low Carber, I would resist heroically, and my supplicants would cheer me on in my steely resolve – faithful to the body of beliefs, to Robert Atkins and Gary Taubes.

I don’t follow the script, however. I eat the pizza sometimes – and yet the weight stays off.

How do I do it?

Here’s another frustrating aspect of this blog: the more I learn the less I know. I can’t tell you much definitively because I’ve found that all the ‘simple’ rules seem to have their exceptions. Most studies seem to contradict other studies; ‘fact’ – as it pertains to nutrition – remains elusive to me though the topic has been my hobby/obsession since about 2004 when I lost the weight and didn’t know why – and began to try to learn as much as I could about the subject.

There are other bloggers and sites WAY more certain of themselves than I am – they are much easier to believe in. A lot of you will find yourselves more comfortable there than here. The Atkins site itself is a wonderful resource, strangely neglected in the low carb community. Is Paleo more your style? Try Mark’s Daily AppleDr. Michael Eades of Protein Power Fame is another wonderful resource, as well as his arch enemy Anthony Colpo, who takes a different approach entirely.

Those are just a few. If you are looking for a coherent, consistent message, all these folks will defend the faith as they see it. They are all way smarter than me – and I like all of them – I just wouldn’t invite them all to the same dinner party.

Of course, if you are somehow intrigued by the writings of the World’s Worst Low Carb Dieter, you are welcome to visit – and I love your comments, good or bad.

The other day I was across the street from Princeton University, near where I live, and there was a hand-written sign on a light post. The sign read:

If you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

I am honored to say that, according to what the sign said, I am in the *right* room, as I have been humbled and honored in that most of the people who take the time to post a response to my writing provide me thoughtful comments and endless food for thought.

So if this seems like your cup of tea, welcome – there’s plenty to read here. If it isn’t, thanks for dropping by.

Update for September, 2011

As I begin my 9th year of low carb, I have to admit that, with all I have read and researched, discussed, written, experimented, tried and failed – I still can’t adequately explain low carb to my own satisfaction.

Here’s what I DO know.

I was about 265lbs in September of 2003. I went on low carb at the time and in 2 years got down to 180-185.

Over the years I put back on some of that weight, and took some off with low carb.

Even though I gained a lot back at times, I never ‘gained it all back’ – even at my worst, about a year ago, I was still about 30 lbs. under my 265.

Today, as I write this, I am 211.

Losing weight is very rare.

Keeping the weight off for 5 years for the rare people who lost weight – rare.

Being able to keep the weight off for 5 years without any regular exercise – rare.

Keeping it off with numerous cheats and not living like a monk – rare.

It seems I’ve violated some immutable law of the Universe. Certainly my doctor seems confused. I’m confused as well.

I’ve toyed with the idea of a book for a while, but as I reconsider this notion seriously, I ask myself: what the hell am I doing right?

I think I have the answer. It’s bits and pieces of the 380+ blog posts and innumerable comments written over the course of the past 4 years here. It’s in the hundreds of posts I never posted. It’s in my private writing and journals. And it’s in my head – unconscious things I do and don’t do that I don’t notice anymore.

It’s also in my failures. My worst weight gain was because of an experiment. As any scientist knows, you can learn a lot from a failed experiment.

I’ve begun the long process of trying to go through all this stuff and pull the gems from the dreck – and come up with an explanation I’m satisified with.

Wish me luck.

Update for September, 2010

I wrote the ‘About’ below some years ago. None of it is false, but I’ve changed. If you were to read this blog from the beginning to most current, you’d probably notice that the earlier posts have the tone: ‘I’ve got this one figured out.

I thought I did.

But I’ve kept reading and researching and experimenting with various things – and talking with people and gaining the benefit of their perspectives and their wisdom – even if their conclusions were different from mine.

Doing low carb for seven years while in my 40s has also led to the almost inevitable weight gain that just happens to most people – especially people who tend to gain weight easily.

At the 7-year mark, I’m still 40 lbs down from my starting weight, but 40 lbs above what I originally lost –  and feel as if I’m starting fresh.

So, seven years in, low carb is more complex a subject than it seemed when I lost the 80 lbs.

The more I learn, the less I seem to know.

So on my seventh anniversary since the day I went to the Rite Aid and picked up the Atkins book, sat myself down in a chair on a Saturday afternoon, and read straight through until I got to the recipes, I’d like to make a few things clear:

  1. I’m not in the advice business. I heard a quote the other day: ‘Dieting is a treatment that doesn’t work for obesity, a disease that doesn’t exist.’ I have my doubts about that second part, but the first part is spot on. Fact is: dieting doesn’t work for the vast majority of people. I think that’s because we think about dieting wrong. How so? I’m not sure yet – I’m trying to figure that one out. Obviously, I can’t give advice when I don’t know what I’m talking about.
  2. Don’t try this at home. This blog has evolved into a more personal one. I’ve probably lost some readers because of that – maybe gained some, too. The various experiments – some admittedly hare-brained – have left me wiser (at least I’d like to think that) in the sense that I’ve proven a number of things are hare-brained rather than speculating about them. Given my track record of the hare-brained (Irvingia and nicotine lozenges are 2 examples), I suggest finding some other blogger to emulate.
  3. I definitely do not agree with many of my own posts. No one would accuse me of being consistent – but someone also said that consistency means you’re as stupid now as you were 6 months ago. Read at your own risk.
  4. I’m still low carb – I’m just refining the definition. I don’t know what that is at present. Sorta Atkins, a bit Primal, a bit Paleo, sorta organic…I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

2007 – What Right Do I Have to Write About Low Carb?

It’s a valid question. Here’s my answer.

In September of 2003, I was working with a very good friend who just happened to be the owner of the company I then worked for, and I had noticed that he had lost some weight – he kept pulling up the pants of his pinstripe suit like a hobo. I asked him about it and he seemed reluctant to say, but eventually he admitted that he was on the Atkins’ diet.

This was at the height of the ‘low-carb diet craze’, where the message seemed to be that you can eat all the meat and saturated fat, butter and cream you can stuff in your gullet and the pounds would drop off – just make sure you stay away from things like sugar and bread, and don’t bother to count calories – count carbs. Doctors kept saying how dangerous it was but it was all the rage anyway.

So, being a good and supportive friend, I do what any good and supportive friend would do in a similar situation – I rip into him mercilessly.

“How can you be so stupid to think that a diet where you eat fat is going to help you lose weight? It’s absurd – absolutely absurd. Atkins was a quack – the Man is *dead* – it’s probably from a lack of carbs that he fell and cracked his head open.”

He took a lot of abuse from me on this, but we have that kind of relationship and I am a bit of a tease. These conversations continued through each work day. I would constantly throw these little barbs at him about his diet until one day, as he was walking out of my office, he made an offhand comment: “You know – my doctor just did my blood work and it’s a lot better.”

That was a turning point for me. In September of 2003, I was fat – 260 lbs. I’m now almost 80 lbs lighter. I took the weight off and have kept it off for over two years. This is considered so remarkable that I am a participant in the national weight control registry that tracks people successful in losing weight because it is so unusual for people to lose weight and keep it off. Even more frightening, to be eligible to join the registry, you just have to take 30 lbs off and kept it off for one year. That’s it. It is almost impossible to conceive that such a feat would warrant inclusion in a research program on losing weight, but it is.

As you’ve probably guessed, I tried Atkins – with some modifications – and it worked for me. That’s a whole other story, but in October 2006 I went to my doctor and had my blood work done, and I had my blood work done after a week where I had huge chunks of meat, low carb bread with butter so thick that it was like slices of cheese, and a coconut milk shake that the nutrient label stated had 54 grams of saturated fat. I was consciously going to an extreme because I wanted to see how it would impact my blood work.

When I called the nurse, she told me: “Your blood work is perfect. In fact, you have the blood work of a teenager.” My total cholesterol was 186 and all the constituent ratios and numbers were perfect. All the other numbers in my blood work profile were good as well.

Soon after I visited my doctor he told me how spectacular my weight loss has been and that I have added years to my life by losing the weight. I asked him: “since you measure cardiovascular health by a person’s blood work, and mine is perfect despite the fact that I eat enormous amounts of fat, am I hurting myself?”

My doctor looked at me, then at my chart, then at me, then the chart again. Then he said: “Science is in it’s infancy regarding nutrition and…” well it became clear he didn’t have an answer to my question. He didn’t really have a clue.

I did something that was not supposed to work and I lost the weight and have kept it off – and I don’t know why. I’ve read some of the anti-Atkins information out there and their arguments usually are: it doesn’t work. OK, I lost the weight so that one doesn’t fly. Then they say that if it does work the weight lost is water weight. I doubt I lost 80 lbs of water weight.

You would think that they could have stopped at ‘it doesn’t work’ if it really didn’t work but they continue. Next up is: the diet is so unpalatable that people restrict calories. Wrong again – when I went on low fat diets, even the dog wouldn’t eat some of the stuff I cooked. Now everyone likes what I cook – they just add a starch to it and its a normal meal to them. And portion control? I ate as much as I wanted, and sometimes it was a lot. I never starved.

Then they say that it’s bad for your blood work. Not mine, obviously. Then they say that if it does work though they say it doesn’t, that you are going to hurt your kidneys. I can’t find any studies on this one, but they keep saying it like it’s a fact instead of an urban legend.

Oh – and did I mention I lost 80 lbs and didn’t exercise? My blood pressure also went down to normal for the first time in 20 years, I have more energy and mental acuity than ever, a chronic heartburn I had since I was in my twenties went away and I sleep 2 hours less each night? Isn’t all this just slightly remarkable?

I’m puzzled at all of this and have been doing my own research on the subject. I am trying to understand exactly how I did it when so many others failed on Atkins – was there something in my approach that made the difference? I did modify the program and experiment, and I did lose the weight over three years. My other question is if I am really hurting myself or not, because every indication is that I’m not.

And that brings me to why I’m writing this. I want to be able to talk to people about this. I want to be able to tell them what’s worked for me, and maybe to help them find their own path to achieve what I’ve achieved.

It’s about giving back. Losing weight transformed my life, and I would like to think that writing about my experience could help other people.

Advertisements

20 thoughts on “About 2017

  1. Just wanted to let you know that I like your site. I just discovered it today. I maintain 2 blogger sites. One is my personal low-carb (and recipe) blog and another that shows the most recent posts on the blogs that I read. I have added your blog to the list… check it out, you might find some other good blogs…

    http://lowcarbblogs.blogspot.com/

  2. Thanks for the kind words. I have written a lot on my experiences with low carb and plan to post these as articles in bits and pieces. There might be spaces between postings, but I *do* intend to post many of my experiences and observations as soon as I can steal the time.

  3. I stumbled over here today and really like your blog. I’ll never get why people have such a brain block on low carb programs. They obviously work but some people are still drinking the low fat Kool Aid.

  4. Thanks Lisa. I was one of those low fat people – it made so much sense, and there’s so much science that backs it up. I was a believer.

    Only problem was – it didn’t work for me. And when it did (I lost weight twice doing low-fat) it required superhuman effort. I actually told myself that to stay thin I could never go out to eat again.

    That’s kind of pathetic, isn’t it? Today I went out to celebrate my daughter’s first birthday, had antipasto and a greek salad at a great restaurant, and made eggplant parm for dinner. Didn’t count a calorie.

    I don’t feel deprived and still maintain my weight – the way life is *supposed* to be – isn’t it?

    Thanks again for reading – hope I have more to say worth your time.

  5. I too live a low carb life. It’s wonderfull that you post your experiences. There’s so much bad media out there. We make a zero carb bread which is very good and I would like to share with you. Hopefully you don’t mind posting it so people can take advantage.

    Thanks,
    Rossana
    http://www.vivalowcarb.com

  6. Hi Rossana,
    I don’t mind posting a link to your site. I’m glad that there are companies like yours out there – I just wish there were more. You are located in CA, which is about as far away from me geographically as is possible. I think for folks just starting out on low carb, this can be a real discouragement – paying $10 plus shipping for a loaf of bread is the kind of thing that makes people fail on low carb.
    I understand why it costs so much – the ingredients you use are way more expensive than your basic flour you get at any grocery store, plus there must be an awful lot of steps involved to quick freeze, pack, and ship this sort of thing – and you need to make money doing this – that’s perfectly fair.
    I’ve never used your company, but I will certainly consider trying you out in the future. You seem to have a lot of products and while I try to get by on locally available items, there are some things it’s just easier to buy online and have shipped.
    Lastly – it would be great if you showed the shipping costs without having to log in – and perhaps showed the nutrition label on the first page of the product page – it took a little digging to find. Both can be a discouragement for users coming to your site.
    Regards,
    LLC

  7. I believe. I really do. I just need the discipline to follow through for my own really palpable, concrete results. Maybe I can stay on track with encouragement and support from your site! ANd i like your brand of writing. It’s avoice I can identify with. Keep up the great work.

  8. Thank you for your comments and your encouragement – I need it too.

    And right this moment there is artisan bread in my kitchen my wife bought that I am trying not to eat – I am only a few months away from gaining all my weight back if I gave up low carb.

    A fighter wins by getting up just one more time than the number of times he gets knocked down. You can’t fail if you keep trying.

  9. Im glad I found this. I might use you as a reference while i progress through my weight loss journey. Although I have chosen a slightly different program to you they are both in essence low carb. I have had major hunger pains, stomach aches, headaches and constipation for the first few days but these symptoms seem to be subsiding now and I am not hungry. Sugar withdrawal…..
    Anyway I would appreciate your feedback (www.darwinstable,wordpress.com)

  10. i am just curious: what slightly modofications worked for u on Atkins,plz? Of course, you dont have to tell me…

    • I did the last Atkins book – not the current. From that, I didn’t worry about quantities of green leafy vegetables. I also didn’t worry about coffee. I took fiber therapy with aspartame regularly. I didn’t exercise at all. Surely ate more than 4 oz. of cheese a day. I lost 80 lbs. like that.

  11. Hi, I just found your site and have read several of your posts. I very much like your writing style, your honesty, and your sense of humor. I started on a low-carb diet 3 days ago after reading Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It. You mentioned you wanted to know the why behind your weight loss, and I thought this book is what you’re looking for, if you haven’t found it already. Keep up the good work.

    • Hi Wei Wei,

      Thanks for the comment. As someone occasionally uncomfortable taking a compliment, I do appreciate your kind words but wonder if you continued reading my blog and still felt the same way ;-).

      As to the book, It’s one of my faves – and the one I would most recommend to anyone interested in the hows and whys of low carb.

      My natural disinclination to put my complete faith in anything anyone says about nutrition and weight loss these days still makes me question some of his conclusions, which is why I still ask why.

      At present, Gary Taubes’ wonderful little book is the best we low carbers have – I think.

      Good luck on your stab at low carb.

      Regards,

      LCC

  12. I have read a few of your blogs and this one is the best so far. I am glad to read your information because it comes from a real person with no hidden agenda. I have considered what you have written and found myself questioning “why”. I have struggled with my weight for many years and I have tried Jenny, Weight Watcher, Curves, Cabbage Diet….I digress, excuse me. Anyway, I feel like low carb is for me because I am able to see real people lose a lot of weight eating basically normal food. My family is able to eat what I cook. In fact they stand in line to get what I call my “program food”. I saw a friend of mine lose weight then body build…he looks amazing. Again, I just wanted to weigh in and let you know that you are appreciated. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

  13. Hi there, like the others before me I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your journey. I’ve just started on my low carb plan…and haven’t successfully done a full day since the two weeks at the beginning of December 😦 Having stumbled across your blog it’s given me a bit more motivation, and again, just wanted to thank you 🙂

    • You’re welcome.

      It’s comments like yours that keep *me* going when there’s so many other things that beg for my attention.

      Experiment with different approaches to low carb like I do with myself…you might find a combination that clicks for you. Good luck.

    • Thanks – I appreciate it. I also commend you for your own blog where you write about vegetarian low carb. There’s some people who need or want a vegetarian alternative for a low carb diet and we need more low carb vegetarian bloggers to show it can be done.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s