Back, But Not Quite…And Your Questions for an Irvingia Survey


I arrived home from my vacation around 9pm last night, and am still unpacking – physically and mentally. I’ve recently been  wondering if we sometimes disappear into our habits.

In other words: if we were to change our habits completely, would many of us just disappear?

Are we just the sum of out habits?

I say this because I am at this very moment living in this middle space between a world where all my habits changed, and the world of habits – the thousands of habits – that surround my ordinary life.

I haven’t let them all creep in just yet – I’m waiting for 9am, at my desk in work, before I let them hit with full force. This might be unwise – we’ll see.

My wife anxiously checked her work email last night from home to check for any ‘crisis’. I asked her if it made her feel any better.

She didn’t quite answer, but I think the non-answer was ‘no’.

Sorry to those of you who left comments that didn’t appear until now. They should be up there.


It appears that the Irvingia posts have become an absolute mess. Anyone trying to glean some simple facts from this will get lost in at least 50 highly interesting digressions and probably come away more confused than anything else.

To this end, I think a survey is in order.

Your task, those of you interested in the Irvingia supplement, is to suggest 10 questions that I can put to the the people taking the stuff.

Please leave comments on this post as to what those questions should be.

I’ll try to select the best 10 and survey the group – maybe it will help us all make some sense of it all.

Exercise, Eats, Christmas, and a Break – December 23


Got up at 5am and dragged myself to the gym. My mind bitched and moaned the entire way there, but as I said, I’m absolutely sick of the crap attitude that some part of my mind always has – and I ignored it.

Got to the gym and decided it was time to kick it up a notch. As time for me is most valuable, I put more into my 20 minutes by setting the speed up to 3.4 mph – up from 3.0. This got me 1.12 miles in the 20 minutes. 

And my heart rate stayed more or less the same as it was when I started at 2.0 – 115 bpm. 

So it does appear that some conditioning had already occurred – whoda thunk?


I wasn’t really hungry until maybe 3pm – way too long not to eat, but as I had to dash out and do some errands, I just had some mineral water and figured I’d eat when I got home. When I finally did get home I had some of the leftover thanksgiving Turkey I had frozen way back in November. It still tasted pretty good – I was sort of surprised. I also had 1/2 of a very large pickle with 2 slices of American cheese.

Later in the evening, I started my major grazing period of the day. 

It started with two bowls of stir-fried celery with egg, a big favorite of mine. I also had some toast drenched in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and oregano.

A little later I had some almond butter with a little zero carb jelly in a small bowl.

There was an Italian baguette in the kitchen, and I was feeding my daughter couscous – both of these seemed like they’d be worthy of digging in to, but I resisted. Just barely.

Scale went up to 211.2. Ugh.


For those of you who celebrate the holiday, here’s a Xmas greeting for you. Have a great holiday.

A Break

This posting of my eating has been an experiment of sorts for the past few months. I committed to myself that I would do this at least to the end of the year and see what it does for me. 

It’s the end of the year.

I am going to take a break for the holidays and enjoy my family and my kids. Then I want to spend some time reflecting on the past year, and where I want to be at the end of the next.

See you on the other side.

What Type of Diet Do You Follow?

If I would hazard a guess, most folks who come here are somehow trying to modify their body – most often through weight loss. While I don’t particularly like the word diet, as diets don’t work, but lifestyle changes do, I’m going to use the word here.

So – as of late I come here and spill my guts to you – reciprocate by answering a simple question: what ‘diet’ are you on?

There are an almost countless set of variants, so my little poll below could never list them all.

In the survey below, choose the answer that comes as closest as possible to what you’re doing. For example, I would say I’m on Atkins, but I’ve modified it considerably.

But – when I need to go back to my ‘roots’ and get some info, I’d always go back to my shelf of Atkins books.

So please, tell me what you’re doing – you can see the results yourself – at the bottom of the poll is a ‘view results’ button.

If, in your estimation, I have left off a particular diet that you believe to be a huge omission, please leave a comment and let me know.

Day 22: Crock Pot London Broil

I mentioned food boredom in yesterday’s posting, but what I didn’t mention – and haven’t talked about as of yet – was how I spent my summer and fall regarding diet. I didn’t post much, but I was busy experimenting with the notion of eating simpler, more raw foods – nothing wacky, like the raw liver recommended by the Weston Price Foundation, but more raw vegetables. It was about this time I wrote about food as a utility, and thought I might be able to change my relationship to food to a simpler one – healthier, closer to nature.

What I realized is that it’s too late for me – I am a product of a world that has fed me engineered food – engineered to be more enticing than mankind has ever known – and I am never going to be free of this.

I tried for a while, but there was always a backlash. I couldn’t do it for extended periods. It was a good experiment – I did learn that I can ‘go native’ if I have to without feeling deprived, but I also realized that Atkins, and their emphasis on both wholesome low carb meals – and their line of manufactured crap food like shakes and candy bars – actually got it right. 

When you gotta have some crap food – make it Atkins crap food. I doubt that you’ll ever see that tagline on one of their products, but it’s true, and actually complementary to their line of products – which I’ve concluded I need when I’m itching for junk.

I think I would not have binged on candy two nights in a row if I had some Atkins bars handy. Even if I had eaten more than one, I wouldn’t have put on the amount of weight I did.

Today, to fight the food boredom, I went out and bought london broil. I think the rest of the Italian stew will get tossed, and so too the salmon chowder. Both deserve another chance – with refinements to their recipes – but I needed something new. I think part of my problem is I cook on the weekends, usually, and try to eat the same thing for a few days. I’ve got to come up with a better system.

I decided to prepare the london broil in the crock pot. I never had one of these as a kid, and I’ve probably used the one I have maybe 20 times, so most things are still an experiment. I’ve created some things that were really bad – there’s some science, or at least craftsmanship to prepping something for an unattend cruise in a pot for 8 hours, and I an still getting the hang of it.

I chopped up peppers, 2 hot peppers, 2 stalks of celery, on small summer squash, fresh mushrooms, and onion, and 4 cloves of garlic. I mixed these up and put 1/2 on the bottom of the pot. 

I browned both london broils, and placed the fist one on my layer of veggies, then put a second layer of veggies, and put the second london broil in. It just fit in my large oval pot. I then added a cup of water with a tablespoon of ‘Better than Bullion’ – a black tar that reconstitutes in boiling water to beef broth.

I set the pot for about 6 hours on high.

When done, the meat was very tender – it fell apart much in the way my Mom’s beef stew came out. I put a little on some low carb bread with butter, and it was heaven.

The soup was also good – a cup was very filling.

I more or less picked on this – as meat on low carb bread with butter – and as a meat soup – for most of the day. The evening was a hot dog on half a slice of bread with cheese.

Then, to ruin the day, I had some of the nice italian bread, and a few cookies leftover from Halloween.

Weight? 208.8 – up 0.8 for the day. Not much, but then again, just how rapidly can a human body accumulate weight?

Down 5.2 lbs. from the beginning. I can take some solace in that, but not much.

In the survey from the other day, I asked the question: What single one personality trait do you think has helped you maintain your weight loss?

The answers:

  • perseverence
  • OCD tendencies
  • obsession
  • conscientious… trying to stay healthy for my family
  • bah… not having time to eat?
  • Obstinate
  • determed
  • the fear of dying of complications of diabeties as some family members have
  • Intelligence
  • determination
  • Perfectionism
  • Determination, keep on keep’n on
  • can’t stand sugar
  • Fear. Deathly afraid of getting diabetes
  • The fact that my favorite foods are meats, poultry, fish, salads and green veggies. I’ve never been too excited about sweets and breads
  • persistency
  • The need that my husband and I have to track things. Accountability is probably key for us
  • pride
  • Fear of dying early

Do you see a pattern here?

Day 21: Another Witching Hour

Breakfast was the rest of the bologna and some low carb bread

That held me over until mid-afternoon, where I made Brussels sprouts and bacon. I had a bit of that, then had a small bowl of my Italian stew. It was not a culinary delight – the bones and grizzle are grossing me out a bit – next time, I’ll use meat without bones and gristle, maybe breasts. The combo is sound, it’s just the chicken quarters just didn’t cut it this time.

I battled computer problems, and picked up nearly a 10-gallon bucketful of candy. The kids spent the day in a sugar daze – I’m not too thrilled about this, and later tonight I’ll hide a good portion of the sugared loot somewhere.

I hope it isn’t my stomach.

After the carb-out yesterday, I was sickened by sweets – I drank my coffee and cream this morning without Splenda. I’ve noticed that after such a performance, I’m a sponge for weight gain – it will be very easy to put on additional weight even if I eat very low carb. 

I also came up with the survey I posted – there have been 20 responses so far. To everyone who’s responded so far – Thank you.

I had the same kind of evening as last – in a single hour, I tear in to junk, and bollix up the whole day.

I think it’s really coming down to food boredom. And that can be handled by having more low carb stuff about.

Weight is 208 – up 2 lbs. from yesterday and 6 lbs. down from the start.

Did I say ‘tomorrow is another day’ yesterday?

I meant ‘the day after tomorrow.’

Survey: What Kind of People Succeed at Low Carb?

I wonder about you people sometimes. 

You probably wonder about each other – and probably me as well.

So what kind of person loses weight and keeps it off doing low carb?

Let’s find out. 

Here is a 10 question survey for people who have been successful losing weight on a low carb diet, and have kept it off for at least a year. 

Don’t take the survey if you don’t meet this criteria. God knows this isn’t scientific (to put it mildly), but it would still be fun to see the results – and I will share the results on the blog when I get enough responses.

This is anonymous, so you can answer honestly.

Here’s the link.

Indulge Me in a Thought Experiment

If you don’t mind, I’d like to try a little thought experiment – a visualization exercise. I need your help on this, and hope you’re game. It might be fun – it might be dumb, but if you know the outcome, it isn’t an experiment, right?

OK – make sure you are not hungry when you do this. You want to be comfortably full.

Here’s the setup:

In the not too distant future, the world has been taken over by thin people, call them the ‘Thinsters’, who have decided to perform fat genocide. Anyone who is fat will be put to death – and it doesn’t matter if you’ve lost the weight – even if you’ve ever been fat, they’re going to snuff you.

So, you’re sitting in a cell, and a rail-thin guard asks you what you’re last meal is going to be. He reminds you that this is a prison, and they can’t get you every last thing you’d like, but they can probably accommodate most foods and drinks that you’d eat or drink every day.

You can eat as much as you like, the guard says – it doesn’t matter now. He pulls out a pad and pencil to take your order…

What would you ask for?

Please post your responses as comments – or email me at if you’re shy and rather not post – I’ll keep it, well, confidential.

I’ll post the second half of this experiment some time in the near future.

Stay tuned.

‘The Steak At The Top Has Got To Go’: The Survey Results

A while ago I posted a survey – a little about you. The results of this survey are interesting, but you need to be careful not to come to conclusions from these results. People who participated are self-selected – what would the people who don’t fill in surveys say? We’ll never know. Someone once said about statistics that they’re like a bikini: what they reveal is tantalizing, but what they conceal is vital.

With my caution toward conclusions outlined, here are some of the results as well as my thoughts:

1. A lot of what I’m doing is preaching to the choir. A lot of you already know about low carb and have lost weight doing it – and what you come for is the personal reflections on living low carb and the reflections on living low carb in a high carb world. Living low carb is a little lonely sometimes, and blog posts that reflect on this aspect might help let folks know they’re not alone. I’m sure that a few folks that come along are newbies, but I imagine few of them stick – they soon go on to another diet – maybe Nutrisystem – dang, that pre-fab food looks delish on the commercials, doesn’t it?

2. The overwhelming majority of you folks found Low Carb Confidential through another blog. This source is cited 2-to-1 over search engines. This could mean that the folks that participated in the survey are ‘blog rats’ (think ‘mall rats’), and the people who come in from search engines have come in on a tangent and are less involved in the topic. For example, they are looking for a Tanita scale review, come here, get the info and split – never to return – low carb isn’t for them – for whatever reason. It is doubtful these folks would fill in the survey, it seems.

3. Half the responders try to visit every day. Again, leading to the ‘low carb blog rat’ profile of our survey responders.

4. The longer articles are preferred over the shorter ones. This is a nod to Megamas, most certainly, as my posts have tended to be short as of late. Megamas is currently recuperating from a serious case of cranious constapatus caused by straining his blog muscle. He is resting comfortably and it is hoped that he, and his in-depth articles, will return to Low Carb Confidential in the near future.

5. Most responders lose weight on low carb. While a few didn’t, most did – and they lost significant weight. Here’s the responses:

6. Have you lost weight on a low carb diet?
Percent # Responders
No 3.80% 2
No – I’m not on a diet 0.00% 0
Yes, but I gained it back 7.70% 4
Yes, under 10 lbs 7.70% 4
Yes, 10 – 20 lbs. 13.50% 7
Yes, 20 – 30 lbs. 19.20% 10
Yes, 30 – 40 lbs. 11.50% 6
Yes, 40 – 50 lbs. 9.60% 5
Yes, 50 – 60 lbs. 7.70% 4
Yes, 60 – 80 lbs. 3.80% 2
Yes, 80 -100 lbs. 7.70% 4
Yes, over 100 lbs. 7.70% 4
answered question 52

5. The open-ended questions proved interesting. Here they are, unedited or redacted, of the question: what do you like most about the site?

  • makes me feel not so alone as i begin this journey – 8 pounds in seven days so far!
  • Very informative and funny
  • your personality shines through while also offering great advice
  • depth of subjects covered. everything is there somewhere.
    all of it.
  • Your sense of humor
  • very witty writing..educational..funny…. relative.
  • Your writing style 😉 I like science pieces and journal-y pieces – I like all of it.
  • Your honesty. I like to read about your personal progress and set backs. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy your recipes also.
  • tone
  • Personalization of dieting and tips.
  • easy flow to the writing
  • It makes me giddily happy that you take a very analytical view in regards to Low Carb. I’m am atheist, and I often feel very ‘alone’ in the Low Carb world, with all the advice to ‘leave it to god’, etc. I feel very comfortable reading your blog in knowing that I’m not all of a sudden going to be subject to a theistic lecture.
  • Ideas for recipes, and success stories
  • You have a good voice. You know how some people are easy to talk with? You’re easy to read with. So to speak. Casual. Informative. Yours is one of the sites I use to help me keep my focus. And I like that I’m never sure what you’ll talk about. I never know what my best friend is going to talk about either.
  • I’ve only read 2 articles so far so don’t know yet.
  • reading your experiences with food issues
  • Well written and consistently updated.
  • Your writing style is intelligent and engaging.
  • it’s somewhat quirky
  • Recipes, candid stories from the authors.
  • the personal advice
  • Well written and updated pretty frequently.
  • I like the humor most.
  • the information
  • I am looking for anything else new on the low carb front
  • honest and candid opinions….and lcc funny sense of humor..
  • I really don’t visit the site. I get the LCC daily message in my email. What I like most is the author sharing his experiences — I have learned so much about the effects of alcohol, etc. – Info I haven’t found anywhere else. On the site, I especially liked the links to other low-carb resources like Viva Low Carb.
  • writing style
  • Factual like the alchohol test
  • The Nutritional information

6. Here’s the answers to the question: what do you like least about the blog?

  • Casualness
  • When there’s too much debate about other types of diets.
  • too much science for me sometimes
  • Not a drinker, so those entries are of little interest to me.
  • Could use a bigger font…these eyes aren’t getting any younger!
  • when it strays from low carb
  • Megamas’ sometimes gets a little self-righteous. Also, the alcohol experiment was a little annoying. I suggest he read Marion Nestle’s book What to Eat. . She does a good job of explaining why it is so difficult to attribute any one food or nutrient to a specific result.
  • the steak at the top has got to go
  • megamas too lengthy
  • you dont post each day

7. Answers to the question: what do you think of this survey?

  • i wonder if anyone ever sees the results :o)
  • okay
  • very good
  • good. glad someone cares to ask questions.
  • good idea
  • Will my answers really impact your posting?
  • good idea
  • It so totally rocks.
  • Its a good idea
  • Eh.
  • it’s cool
  • It’s interesting that you want reader feedback – a lot of blogs do not!
  • Great idea
  • Fine with me. I hope it helps you.
  • Kind of neat.
  • I understand the impulse to know more about who is visiting.
  • Nice starting point.
  • should help improve the site
  • I appreciate the chance to give some feedback.
  • it’s O.K.
  • Questions need some other options… for example, I don’t really prefer either the long or the short articles, exactly…it depends what they’re about! And really I read because it’s nice to hear other low-carb experiences, not so much because I’m looking for help exactly.
  • I love surveys in general
  • it’s a survey
  • Good idea to know where your readers are…
  • Easy to do. No problem except it asked about the site and I only went on the site once. You need a provision for people who receive the daily blog only.
  • short
  • Nice One

7. Answers to the question: What questions would YOU have asked on this survey that I didn’t?

  • I’d ask what type of diet a person specifically follows.
  • hey, got any good recipes?”
  • what type of LC diet do you follow? But just bc I’m nosey that way.
  • Age/Sex/Location/height/weight for statistical purposes to see what type of audience/market share is reading.
  • what subjects would you like to read about?
    My correct response to #4 is that I’ve been on a Low Carb diet for awhile and like to read about the adventures of others that eat similarly. I’m not really looking for advice.
  • I cannot imagine making (and keeping) the commitment to maintain a blog. I suspect, though, that you just have to write about who you are and what’s going on in your (low carb) life. Don’t worry too much about what everybody else thinks. And thank you, by the way.
  • I don’t have any other questions I can think of, but for question 4, your answers really didn’t fit my category. I’ve been low-carbing since 1997 and I read blogs for entertainment value, not advice. They also keep me motivated to stay low carb and sometimes provide me with new thoughts or recipes.
  • Basic demographics…age range, gender.
  • anything about how people handle weight loss stalls.
  • How do you read the blog? via RSS aggregator or directly from the site.
  • how can we help you better!!!!
  • “what are you wearing”… just kidding. I don’t know, it depends on exactly *why* I was conducting the survey.
  • What topics or information would you like to see covered on this blog?
  • No 6 should also have had Low Carbing for health reasons which, as a diabetic is my major reason.

Interesting stuff. Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey.

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?

Crazy Uncle Larry

Do you think of yourself as a crackpot, dear reader?

The survey that I put up 2 weeks ago shows that a lot of you have been on low carb for a while – and you’ve lost weight doing it. And part of the reason you visit the site is to hang out with other folks who are doing some sort of low carb diet.

I’ve been maintaining this blog for about a year now, and had little clue why people would read my drivel (I’m not including Megamas – the Hemingway of Low Carb – in this characterization). From the survey it seems that many of you enjoy the camaraderie – that there are other souls out there that understand.

What that must mean is that you’re not getting a lot of support from those around you. When you tear in to a greasy burger, but ask for it without the bun, you get that look, usually reserved for that crazy uncle Larry that you have to invite to Thanksgiving because he’s family.

Every family has a crazy uncle Larry

When you get that look, you have become crazy uncle Larry. You are the family crackpot.

Let’s face it: the conventional message to anyone who thinks about nutrition and health is that a low fat diet is the way to go, and fat, especially the modern bugaboo of saturated fat, will cause you to swell up like a liferaft and cause your arteries to clog up like a bathroom sink with a hairball.

Try to tell them that there is no direct proof that dietary cholesterol leads to serum cholesterol, and you’re uncle Larry.

This leads me to another thought: are we low carb adherents here because we are naturally contrarians, or have we become contrarians because of low carb? It’s the chicken/egg problem: some of us might have been attracted to low carb precisely because most people think it’s crazy.

And here’s yet another thought: one study I recently read mentioned that a ketogenic diet made people a lot more grumpy than a non-ketogenic low carb diet. Might going on a low carb diet cause a personality change? Especially for those of us who tough it out and stick to a low carb diet long-term – does it change us in mind as well as in body?

As crackpots go, we low carbers aren’t in the same league as this fellow who thinks cutting a hole in his skull has made him smarter, but we do stand out in a crowd, especially if we are at an event where food is being served – then it’s hard to hide.

Here’s some questions to ask yourself to see if you’ve become uncle Larry:

  1. When I meet new people I usually mention that I live a low carb lifestyle.
  2. When I see someone eating donuts or cake, I make a comment about blood sugar, insulin, or the production of tryglycerides.
  3. Some of the things I cook scare family members.
  4. I tend to correct people when they talk about saturated fat being bad for them.
  5. I annoy servers at resturants by asking them obscure questions about how my food is prepared.
  6. When asked to bring food to a gathering, it’s always low carb.
  7. I always mention that the food I brought is low carb.
  8. I try to convince people on low fat diets that they are wasting their time and ruining their health.
  9. I feel guilty eating an orange.
  10. I tend to use the word Splenda a lot.
  11. I think everybody else is nuts – I’m the one who has the facts straight. 

If you answered ‘yes’ to at least 3 questions, you are compared to uncle Larry.

If you answered ‘yes’ to 4 to 7 questions, you are uncle Larry.

If you answered ‘yes’ to more than 7 questions, you scare uncle Larry.