Start Weight:(24 May 13) 249.0 lb
Current Weight:(30 Jul 13) 228.0 lb
Goal Weight:145.0 lb
following: WholeFoodsEater's own diet
performance: gaining 4.4 lb a week

San Francisco journalist getting over 22 years of what I thought was a super healthy diet. I'm a former vegetarian (from age 14), who used to work out obsessively and subsist on 1200 calories a day. My weight gain of 70 lbs happened in less than a year -- when in 2008 I added fats, dairy and meat back into my diet after what amounts to starving myself for so long. I was "thinner" as a vegetarian, but I was far less healthy, eating almost no fat and very few calories to maintain that "thinner" weight. I lived on tiny "black bean salads" and soy. Because of that -- I had trouble concentrating, was irritable, and believed I suffered from ADD. I started WAP and decided that when my weight plateaued at whatever weight it wanted to grow to, I would stay at that weight for at least a year and if nothing changed I would then go on Atkins. So I stopped gaining and stayed at 240 all year. My new goal is to weigh and maintain a healthy 145 by March of 2011, although to be honest, I would be happy being a fit, athletic 165.

UPDATE: It's May 2013, and while I lost some weight on Atkins, and believe it works for losing, I found my metabolism is so damaged that after an initial loss, I just stayed around the same. Since my first attempt at Atkins, I've been eating low carbs, and yet never lost more, instead slowly gaining back up to my original weight. Without eating off the plan! I'm now working with a team of professionals I've assembled: a naturopath, a nurse practitioner, and a general practitioner -- all healthy and beautiful women who are obviously doing something right. The plan is to balance my hormones, reset my "set point," repair my insulin resistance, and then do a leptin reset. I'm taking RX HCG. I also just took a round of food allergy blood tests to see if those are an issue.

It's weird to think you've been so healthy and then find out what you've been eating is all wrong. After this process, I intend to do low-carb paleo for lifetime maintenance.

FatSecret member since: 30 Apr 10

WholeFoodsEater's Weight History

WholeFoodsEater's Latest Member Challenges

  Get Off Your Ass
status: Completed
ended: 23 Jul 10
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  Team Vs Team 4 Week Challenge Series 2
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WholeFoodsEater's Buddies

buddies only
not sharing weight
not sharing weight
last weighin: gaining 0.2 lb a week Up

WholeFoodsEater's Cookbook

cals: 113kcal | fat: 11.30g | carbs: 3.62g | prot: 0.82g
Avocado Dressing
Creamy homemade dressing.
cals: 273kcal | fat: 18.11g | carbs: 2.87g | prot: 21.21g
Seared Rosemary Beef Tenderloin
Serve these tasty beef medallions with crusty French bread to sop up every drop of the rosemary sauce.
cals: 93kcal | fat: 3.37g | carbs: 2.30g | prot: 12.30g
Crockpot Carnitas
Pork roast prepared Mexican style.
cals: 315kcal | fat: 12.59g | carbs: 5.46g | prot: 42.75g
Barramundi with Olives, Tomatoes & Garlic
Delicious grilled fish recipe from Australia.
cals: 96kcal | fat: 7.15g | carbs: 7.62g | prot: 2.85g
Classic Mashed Cauliflower
A great substitute for mashed potatoes.
view complete cookbook

WholeFoodsEater's Latest Posts

Too much fat...
Sorry I haven't had time to continue to participate in the discussion. I'm on a deadline this week and next, so my time is limited, but I did want to take a minute to follow up on a few things.

Kokusho, when I said "But. Enough," I was referring to "enough of" my not bothering to share my perspective on why Atkins is healthier than Cals in/out. Just meant that it was time for me to speak up, that's all.

You asked how I could take folks to task for acting like experts and then go on to cite a study. Actually, if you look carefully, you'll notice I didn't cite any specific studies in my response. That was intentional, because as you also wrote, it's possible to find a study that backs up just about anything. And I knew folks wouldn't necessarily take whatever example I posted under advisement.

ABOUT STUDIES -- Yes, one of the points I wanted to make was that all the health information we are constantly given isn't necessarily based on good science. All studies are not created equal. Studies by important sounding organizations, scientific coalitions, and even well-regarded medical institutions and universities are often wrong, wrong, wrong on this issue of what works best for the human body. This is because they look at data, vs. observing human physical responses.

The only way to judge the accuracy of the study is to look at the methodology that was used to conduct it.

For example, if Harvard does a study, you can't think "Well, that's Harvard, it certainly knows what it's doing, it must be important information that I should take into account and consider for myself." Because Harvard, like every other research institution, does a lot of crap studies and a few good ones. Instead, you have to ask yourself "how did they examine this and come to these conclusions? Is that a viable conclusion for them to have drawn?"

It's a good idea to start out being skeptical, regardless of where the info is coming from. Don't think the "experts" necessarily know more than you, because most of the time, they are working out theories based on looking at data records and not making decisions by observing how processes work in the human body. Who knows more about how the human body works? You do. Because you are observing your own.

If eating a hearty slice of whole grain bread makes you feel bloated but laying off the bread makes you feel lean -- that's what you should go with. If eating less fat makes you feel astringent, adrenaline bound, type A and slightly hyper but eating more fat makes you feel peaceful, alert, calm and in control -- that's a good indicator of what kind of eating works best for you.

I maintain that we are all fatter today because we have listened to "diet advice" and "lifestyle advice" for so long that we've forgotten what mother nature intended for our bodies. When I ask myself what she would want me to do, and consider also what and how my body responds to certain foods, I'm finding that I can get to a much healthier, happier place. That I was able to actually go look for the sources of that "advice" and find that it's all based on a lot of flawed science, allowed me to make sense of why my body seemed to be doing the opposite of what it should since I was being so "good."

The misinformation I was believing before seemed logical and intuitive -- eat less meat (I was a vegetarian), eat whole organinc grains (so I ate whole grains with each meal), plenty of carbs (I ate beans, apples, onions, peppers, rice, corn, carrots, daily), etc. So I was a model of good eating.

Quick aside to K8 -- like you, I was eating a normal amount of food when I was losing weight. It's later, after the weight has come off, on the maintenance side of the in/out style that I found I had to keep slowly cutting the cals in order to keep it off. That's how I got to the almost anorexic way of eating while the weight was still somehow coming back on. (That was mother nature basically kicking my ass, because she thought the weight loss by that method was some kind of emergency, and was determined to get me fat again at all costs.)

UNDERSTANDING STUDIES -- everyone should arm themselves with an understanding of statistics. I do keep on top of research, but with a keen skeptical eye, knowing that most research presented to the public on or reported on throughout the media is s##te. You wouldn't think every single brand of ice cream is healthy and awesome would you? Or every pair of socks? Or every make of car? Or every health insurance company? There are tons of studies every year on weight and health. Only a few are worthwhile.

I want to share some quick clues to look for in interpreting whether you can believe a report on a study, but I have to get to work. So I'll do that later this week if I can.

But for now, to bring it back to my original point -- there are very few people who can know what will work for everyone. There are also people who have "false fat" and haven't damaged their metabolism even though they've gained weight, and there are people who have severely damaged it. Those people can look exactly alike on the surface, but various ways of eating will have different effects on the different individuals, so that's yet another reason that folks can't tell that what works for them works for others.

And again, beyond five years. That's a key indicator of real success.

P.S. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm on a soap-box or anything like that. If it does, apologies in advance, it's just a matter of me rushing to get this out there.

Cheers everyone, have a great day!
posted 30 Jun 2010, 10:04
Too much fat...
Here's the thing. I have not posted about the "calories in/calories out" issue out of respect for people on this site who are eating that way and losing weight, and proud of themselves for doing so. One of these folks is even my buddy. (Ironically, she also seems to be one of the most outspoken on this board when it comes to challenging the wisdom of the Atkins way of eating. I'm not sure why, but I see the posts very frequently.)

I don't bother to jump in and defend Atkins, because I figure, "to each his own" AND because I know people will learn the hard way that they can't know what's best for others. So for the most part, I've been quiet.

BUT. Enough. As a journalist, I'm accustomed to weighing facts and evidence before making a decision on anything. I also tend to try to remain unbiased for the most part, attempting to keep an open mind about whatever issue I'm tasked with looking into. So when I do finally make a decision on something, I'm usually pretty confident about it. And when I say "research," I don't mean reading all the popular best-selling nutrition books and the latest articles in Self and Shape.

Backstory: I lost a good chunk of weight once before. I then gained it back WITHOUT eating more calories, or eating processed foods. I've been a health junkie since I was in my teens, so this regain was a pisser to say the least. I didn't deserve it because I'd been doing everything "right." What could have gone wrong? It was such an incredible mystery.

To answer the question, I spent several years researching just WTF it was that happened to cause me to gain a sh*tload of weight. My conclusion (based on my research) was that I had ***damaged my metabolism*** more than once, by restricting calories. First when I was a teen, and then repeatedly when I was trying to lose the weight I'd gained each time as a result of the previous diet.

Being overweight is a result of *malnutrition.* It's counterintuitive, but it's true.

I had starved myself on and off as a teen, to try and be thin, starting at around the age of 11. I also became a vegetarian at the age of 14. And I had my slightly chubby weights, and every time I lost, the weight came back a few years later, even though I NEVER was an unhealthy eater, or an "over" eater.

Right before I moved to California, I spent a year getting into what I thought was the "best physical shape" I'd ever been in.

I ate three small low-fat, low calorie meals and two healthy snacks every day (I can tell you my exact menus still to this day). I worked out by weight-lifting every morning in alternating upper and lower body inverted pyramid speed sets, ran through the park every morning after the weight routine, then walked 45 minutes to work in downtown Washington, DC. Each evening I alternated swimming laps or walking on the treadmill.

My weight went from 225 to 165 over that period of time. I believed I had FINALLY done it for good. Each time before, I'd lost weight and it had come back plus more -- WITHOUT me having poor eating habits -- and so it had to be that I just had never tried hard enough, right? This was the time! It worked. No going back!

Guess what? NO study, EVER, has been able to show that the calories in/calories out approach to eating results in SUSTAINED weight loss. NONE. The key word there is "SUSTAINED." The calories in/calories out approach results in a trampoline effect. If you start high and go very low, you will bounce back up higher than before. WITHIN FIVE YEARS.

This isn't BS. No one has figured out how to keep weight off for more than five years. And spare me the anecdotal stories. Everyone knows someone who lost weight and kept it off, but they also know far more folks who have lost weight only to have it come back. That's not a matter of willpower, poor choices, lack of commitment, etc. etc. It's because the metabolism gets DAMAGED by restricting calories.

All the recommendations that are bandied about -- Mayo Clinic, NYT, ADA, FDA, USDA including the food pyramid -- are all based on epidemiological studies. Those are not real "studies," but instead they are data dredges and meta-analysis not based on actual observations. They are based on *associations* and *risk factors.* NOT on biology. NOT on bio-chemistry.

So to my friend K8 and to anyone else who is approaching their food from an in/out equation: more power to you. I hope it works. Because the odds are against you. And so is the science. That in/out equation is merely conventional wisdom meets an informational cascade, and it's not statistically viable.

But who knows, maybe you folks will be the first who DON'T see the pounds come back during years five, six, and seven. Maybe when you say to yourself "that will never happen to me! I'll work out harder, and I'll eat even less" it will work. Usually, eating less and working out more simply causes your body to fight even harder to get the weight back, but maybe you will be able to defy the odds and somehow manage NOT to further slow your metabolism as you try to cling to the smaller, thinner body you attained through calorie imbalance.

OR -- the weight will be coming back. Just like it did for perfectly virtuous me. And someone will look at your lunch one day and say: "that's your lunch???? That tiny bit of food????" shocked not only that you are always eating such small amounts, but that you are fat (?) while eating next to nothing. And that will be your wakeup call.

My story is anecdotal. But the research I did was not. I share this only because I think that unless you've lost the weight AND kept the weight off for more than five years, you are not an expert. No matter what you've read, no matter what's working for you at the moment, no matter how many tips and rules you've committed to memory -- you aren't an expert.

It's easy to feel virtuous when you are on the initial slide down, and to think you've figured it all out and know what's best for others, but the reality is, biology is not that simple.

One way I think about it is this: we are all on our oft-mentioned and proverbial "journeys," but from my point of view, those who are on Atkins' are a little further along on their journeys than others.

posted 28 Jun 2010, 22:52
Can't find a reason to lose weight
Atkins is low-carb but includes fruits and veg -- those are the only carbs on the plan. It's extremely balanced and healhy. Don't go by the myths you hear, read the plan, then decide. I eat salad, asparagus, blueberries, avacado, scallions, etc. everyday.
posted 01 Jun 2010, 03:23
Can't find a reason to lose weight
For those looking to reduce high blood pressure, I have to suggest that you at least read up on the Atkins' diet. Dr. Atkins was a heart doctor, and helping his heart and high blood pressure patients was the original goal of the diet he created. Also, the science book "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes has some information about this. It's definitely worth looking at, and doesn't require cutting calories at all to lose weight.

Two more resources: the Atkins community boards on the Atkins website, and if you google "Friends in Low-Carb Places" you'll find another board like it. There are tons of people on there who've reduced their blood pressure by switching to an Atkins way of eating. Eating fat is actually good for your heart!
posted 01 Jun 2010, 01:23
Can't find a reason to lose weight
Hi Cherry -- I agree with K8. If you don't want to diet, why should you? If you feel healthy and happy, just go with it!

(There are a lot of myths out there that being at or above certain weights is detrimental to your health, but the reality is that the science doesn't back a lot of those studies up. In fact, being slightly overweight is a health *benefit* in some cases.)

If you are happy with the way you look and the way you feel, there's no reason why you shouldn't just do what you're doing and keep feeling great!!!
posted 31 May 2010, 19:18
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