Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Two Articles

Worth checking out this article from the New York Times.

I was fascinated by this research from Robert Lustig, the pediatric endocrinologist:  short sugar study.

The former has some enlightening points to make about dieting as a road to weight control.  The author mentions a Finnish study where former Olympians in weight-conscious sports like wrestling were three times as likely to be obese later in life as peers from sports where dieting to make weight is not an issue.

The Lustig study was only nine days long, but they were able to show rather dramatic improvements in metabolic markers just by substituting starch for sugar.  Keeping calories and weight stable-- the kids had drops in cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar in nine days.  Lustig believes added sugars are particularly villanous, unlike David Ludwig (different pediatric endocrinologist, different hospital) who thinks that starches are equally bad as they are similarly broken down in the body. That is the line as nurses we have been giving diabetic patients-- carbs are carbs and it doesn't matter where they come from. But I think I'm more in the Lustig camp than David Ludwig's. (Couldn't these guys have settled on aliases or superhero names or something? Way too similar.)

Worked out with weights timidly this morning. Haven't done that in ages. I am super hungry today, not a coincidence, I'm sure ;)  S'ok-- I'll go eat some starch :)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

You're In Luck

Somewhere I have a wordy argumentative post started, but it's too much work to find on Google Drive, so I will simply say: Hiya!

Hand relatively steady on the tiller here. Still loving my plan, though there is always room for fretting-- you can get really very overfussed with this stuff.  Since I am eating at regular times, it's easier to track in My Fitness Pal, so I know just exactly how much sugar I'm getting (79 grams!) and how my macros are embarrassing (42% fat-- um...)  When, really, I would like to remind myself that in about a month I've more or less convinced my body to eat at mealtimes and not between, I'm enjoying my food immensely, eating vegetables every day, and I feel good. I don't dread meal planning (everything is bad!) or cooking so much. I lost six pounds by the doctor's scale, without anything that can be reasonably called suffering.  A typical day looks like this:

homemade sourdough bread with butter
shake with almond milk, banana, and a little whey protein

slice of pizza with the family
rainbow salad with vinaigrette and sunflower seeds
raspberries

slice of sourdough with jam and butter
3 mini Hershey bars
handful of pecans

pork chop
1/2 cup of grilled potatoes
salad with vinaigrette
2 mini Hershey bars

It adds up to somewhere between 1700 and 1900 calories most days, bearing in mind that calorie counting is notoriously hard to get right. I'm quite sure I was eating over 2,000 before, so I have good hope that I will eventually level out at some pleasantly lower and sustainable weight. It's not a nutritionist's dream. I need to trade some of my added sugars for fruit, and I suppose I could eat less bread, but homemade sourdough is delicious and filling and life-enhancing, so maybe I won't, either. The key seems to be not exceeding the 18 grams of sugar. That (and maybe drinking lots more water?) appears to be what is keeping me comfortable. And as a happily married, middle-aged mom, let me assure you: I like comfortable.

Coming up:  Wordy Argumentative Post, as soon as I find it.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

I'm Back & A Couple of Brief Pseudo-Reviews

I spent the last week visiting friends in the Pacific Northwest. Gorgeous & the best cherries. Still adhering to The Plan, although "loosely adhering" would be a fairer description of some days.

This week's mini-reviews:  Secrets of the Eating Lab by Traci Mann.

Spoiler: do not read this book if you are hoping to lose a great deal of weight without surgery. Dr Mann does not believe it can be done and you may just disappear in a poof of unbelief.

I did like this book. It's funny and readable in pointing out some inconvenient but important research. We all have a bias of some sort or another, and Dr Mann's bias is that losing significant weight is very, very difficult, and she certainly has the studies to back it up.  Our current system is very invested in the idea that obesity can be fixed if we just do good things, but the data on dieting is not really very supportive of this received wisdom.  Her review of the evidence suggests that weight is something like 70% hereditable, just under height which is 80% hereditable.  It would certainly be a game-changer if we decided as a culture that there's not much you can do about being overfat (although, perhaps, not changing the game in the direction we want.)

Dr Mann isn't totally hopeless. She believes you can use strategies (she proposes several from her University of Minnesota lab) to move towards the bottom of your "natural" weight range-- for an average tubby person, maybe fifteen pounds down.  She doesn't think weight cycling is healthy (stating that 87% of studies show negative effects of weight cycling) and suggests that maintaining a stable level of obesity with otherwise healthy habits may be healthier than losing weight you can't keep off.   She is way pro on exercise but not as a means to weight loss.

I liked the book. I don't think it quite accounts for the dramatic population-level changes in BMI that we've been seeing. I am pretty convinced that irregular mealtimes, 24-7 availability of hyperpalatable, high-calorie food that requires no work to prepare or eat, sweet drinks every day (regular or diet), and, ironically, too little value placed on the rituals of eating nice food, have all been very hard on American waistlines.   I think that culture might have more influence on body weight that she seems to acknowledge, although she does uncover support for the "hang out with healthy eaters" theory of weight control. So what's my take home from the book?


  • Try not to be miserable about your weight.  Really.
  • Cover up food you don't want to eat. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Hang out with healthy eaters.
  • Exercise. It's good for you.
  • Think of the food you're trying to avoid as something nonfood-- the marshmallow as a fluffy cloud (would that work? Hmm.)


I've covered the can-it-be-fixed aspect of overweight on this blog before.  Reading the research is fascinating, but it kind of leaves us close to where we started:

Obvious it can be fixed: http://www.dianecarbonell.com/
Obviously it is very difficult (80% of the other weight-loss blogs on the internet, including mine).

For myself, I'm still very happy with my program, even though I've only lost about four pounds since I started at the end of last month. Adherence has been imperfect, but it has been (a) freeing and (b) great for improving the quality of my diet and also (c) my digestion. Even if I don't lose any more weight, I hope to eat more or less like this from here on out.

My other mini-review:

Gwynnie Bee, the clothing rental service.  Basically, yay Gwynnie Bee, if you are able to justify to yourself roughly $100 a month for the pleasure of borrowing clothes from a vast rotating closet.  I am treating myself to a few months' worth-- half the pleasure is seeing what's new and fine-tuning my requests to those I think will be most fabulous.  I get the service at $89 a month, with the first month free. The clothes come in size 10 and up. The website is constantly updated and easy to use. There are plenty of pictures and user reviews. The clothes are shown on size-10-and-up women, so you get a reasonable idea of what they will look like on you.  You don't have total control of what you get, but you can add any number of things to your closet (the virtual space where you list your favorites) and you can mark certain things as priority.  So far I've found they do a decent job of sending my priorities first. You don't have to clean anything unless you want to, you can keep each item as long as you want, and send it back free in the provided blue bag. If you really like something, you can click "buy" and not send it back. Some prices are good, some high.  It's a fun way to take some risks with clothes, and if you are currently transitioning sizes, it's great.

I have to do a better review of Dr Nwe's program and how I'm doing with it.  Next up:)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How do I love thee?

We had one more ER visit for a member of the older generation.  He's fine, thank God, feeling better. That's three this week, in case anyone's counting. Hoping we can get back to our regularly scheduled summer as much as possible, though it's not the summer we started out with.  The little one (taller than me) is doing better, and was even doing some stretches yesterday.  She can do the standing-foot-touching-the-ear thing which in a tall person is truly impressive.

I am still feeling terribly pleased with my new eating plan, which is mostly pros with only a few cons. I lost three or four pounds at camp (granted I walked over 10,000 steps every day). Dr Nwe says you should shoot for 7 pounds the first month.  I started this what, a week ago? So if I can lose three or four more in three weeks I will be pleased with myself.  So what do I love so much about this program?

Easy
Flexible, portable, adaptable
For life
Reduces carb cravings 
Results in less sugar
Makes you feel better physically and
Keeps you from getting to that ultra full place where you feel mad at yourself for eating too much

Cons:

I end up eating less fruit because I want to save my 18 grams for jam or something.
I could see where you would start popping extra bites here and there, skimping on vegies or fudging the sugar limit.

But as they say in Lord of the Rings, today is not that day.