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More About the Starvation Mode Myth
- POSTED ON: Apr 13, 2014

 Yesterday, I was encouraged by a statement made by an Obesity Expert, who didn't mean it to be encouraging.  That statement was:

"...there are almost no limits
to short-term weight loss goals 
(anyone can starve themselves thin)... "
                 
There are unlimited ways to starve oneself. I just need to find one that works FOR ME.  Preferably one allowing me to take one or two bites of the piece of cake pictured here.

But, Starving?  Being hungry is bad enough, but what about "Starvation Mode"? 
 
There are a number of nutritional myths within the dieting world. One of the ones that I find most annoying is the Starvation Mode Myth.

It is true that if you don't eat for a long enough period of time, you could starve, meaning die from hunger. Today, starve is also used to describe less severe limitations on food, such as when you tell your friend, "I have to go to lunch now. I'm starving." This is a way of describing discomfort caused by hunger.

The term “starvation diet” is an example of extreme dieting, in which someone tries to cause weight-loss quickly by cutting calories to less than half of what they need. Taking in fewer calories overall typically results in weight loss, which causes the body to do what it can to conserve energy, and a starvation diet takes that concept to the extreme.

The Starvation Mode Myth goes like this:


"If you don't eat enough, you won't lose weight!"


Okay, so all I have to do to lose weight is ... eat more food!   Wow, isn't that awesome? If I stall out at 800 calories, I'll just go up to 1000. And if I stall at 1000, I'll go to 1200. If that doesn't work, how about 1500? 1800? 2000? Oh wait, when I ate 2000 calories, I weighed 270 pounds.
Okay, that's not going to work.

But what if I just don't go below the magic "1200" that "everyone" says "no one" should go below? That must be what they mean by "starvation mode," right? If I stay at 1200, I will lose weight but if I go below that, I won't.

The problem with this idea is that, if it were true, no one would die from starvation and obviously people do. Clearly, even if you eat what is obviously too few calories to be healthy, such as an anorexic does, you will continue to lose weight.

  So where did this idea -- that not eating enough calories makes you not lose weight -- come from?

It started with the famous Minnesota starvation study. Some normal-weighted men agreed to ...


How Fast...How Much...Weight Lost After Gastric Bypass?
- POSTED ON: Apr 06, 2014


22 years ago at age 47, weighing 271 lbs. at a height of 5'0",  I had an RNY gastric bypass, open surgery, with NO removal of any intestine, which means that every calorie I eat is still digested, and still counts. 

The doctor's recommendation for post-surgery eating was simple. "Eat three meals a day of whatever food you want, but make half of each meal protein; avoid fried foods and sweets; and have no carbonated beverages."

My surgery was done when the procedure was still considered experimental.  At the time, it was performed here in California by only a few doctors. To get surgery, people had to travel to San Diego, stay in the hospital 2 or 3 days, then stay at a local hotel for an additional 10 post-surgery days before being released to return back home.  Follow-up care was received once a month during the surgeon's visit to one of the nearby temporary clinics located in various cities throughout California.  About five years later,  surgeons all over California began setting up specialized practices for weight-loss surgery, and coordinated with nutritionists who made specific post-surgery diet recommendations like protein shakes etc. That happened several years before laser surgery became common.

The first year after surgery my body would tolerate very little food.  Eating more than one-quarter to one-half cup of food at a time made me feel uncomfortably stuffed like after Thanksgiving dinner.  
I frequently experienced Dumping syndrome, which is caused by food passing too quickly into the small intestine. This caused immediate symptoms of flushing, weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and an intense desire to lie down. Severe episodes include feelings of nausea, and even stomach cramps.

I experienced severe dumping symptoms after just a swallow or two of fruit juice; or one or two bites of fried-or-greasy food; or a bite or two of any sweet like cookies, cake, pie, candy. I also became lactose intolerant. Milk made me feel ill, and even the tiniest bit of ice cream, with it's combination of milk and sugar, immediately made me lie-down-with-dry-heaves-ill.

Therefore, due to my weight-loss surgery, that entire first year my food intake was somewhere between 200 to 600 calories a day, which caused my weight to drop from 271 down to 161 lbs .... without dieting. This happened while I ate however much I could, of whatever food my body would tolerate.  The reason I did not binge, cheat, or quit, even when my weight-loss was slower than I believed I deserved, was because it was physically impossible for me to do so. 

Most people think that weight loss after WLS always happens rapidly.  That immense amounts of weight fall off everyone's body every week, 5-10-15 pounds, week-after-week, like on the Biggest Loser tv show.. only maybe even faster. 

However, Real Life AFTER a Gastric Bypass Surgery, works just like Real Life BEFORE a Gastric Bypass Surgery.  Even though after a RNY surgery Everyone has a smaller stomach, and Everyone eats just a small amount, the rate of weight-loss continues to be an individual matter.  Some people's bodies simply drop weight faster than other people's bodies, and surgery doesn't change that fact. 

Below is a graph of my own individual weight-loss results. This is what happened to MY body during the 64 weeks after a RNY gastric bypass surgery.  I did not diet during that time, but the surgery sever...


Food Diary Benefits
- POSTED ON: Feb 21, 2014

 For the past 9 ½ years … every day … I have consistently logged all of my food intake into a food journal, using a computer software program. The use of this basic tool has been the foundation of my weight-loss and long term maintenance of that weight-loss.

Here's a recent post by Canadian obesity specialist, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff of WeightyMatters about the benefits of keeping a Food Diary.


"What if I told you that in just two minutes a day you can double your weight loss success? And, rest assured, those two minutes won’t be spent busting out painful sweat while a trainer yells at you, or over a hot stove cooking a gourmet vegan meal.

Instead, spend those two minutes keeping track of what you’re eating by tapping on a smartphone or scribbling in a journal. Studies have shown that the amount of weight you’re liable to lose in a weight-loss program will be double that if you undertook that same effort, but didn’t keep a food diary.

No, food diarizing isn’t exactly sexy, and no, it probably can’t be fairly described as a whole hoot of fun, but it sure is easy these days.

Back in 2004 when I started working with patients on weight management there were no smartphones and diaries were just that – paper diaries that required a person to not only jot down what they were eating, but also to spend real time flipping through other books that provided calorie listings.

Nowadays we’ve got it easy. There’s a wealth of apps that do all the heavy lifting for us and not having missed a day of food diarizing since May 7, 2011, I can tell you, two minutes a day might even be an exaggeration of the actual time and effort required in keeping one.

While food diaries don’t cause you to burn calories directly, they do play three crucial roles:

Firstly food diaries give you some sense of where you’re at. Thinking of calories as the currency of weight (or frankly whatever else you might want to track – points, carbs, etc.,) keeping a careful accounting of your spending will help you with their budgeting. It’s important here to note that it’s not about never spending your calories, but rather using your records to pick and choose which ones are truly worth it. Why waste your calories on foods you don’t adore?

Secondly food diaries become fabulous investigational tools. By tracking patterns of hunger, cravings or food intolerances, patterns can appear and then instead of focusing on trying to deal with the downstream problem of trying to will yourself away from the cookies, you can instead focus on those cookie craving’s upstream cause to nip them in the bud. Giving you an example from my life, I’ve learned that if I have a breakfast without at least 20 grams of protein I have much more difficulty with food cravings at night. By ensuring my breakfasts are well organized I don’t need to battle with my dietary demons at night.

Thirdly food diaries are what habits are made of. Behavior change ...


Learning Curve
- POSTED ON: Jul 28, 2013

 
Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

...


What Does the Scale Say?
- POSTED ON: May 02, 2013

What Does the Scale Say? 

The only thing the scale can tell me is how much my body weighs at the moment I step on it. It provides objective numerical information. All of our value judgments based on that information are subjective … coming from inside our own heads. The scale cannot tell me how I appear to myself or others, whether I’m healthy, or how I should feel about myself and my own character.

The scale is a TOOL that can be helpful in weight-management.
It is not a judge of my worth, my health, or even my beauty.  I can choose to get on the scale and weigh my body or not, but that numerical information is an objective fact, whether or not I choose to look at it.

I weigh myself every day. I record my weight in a computer program that provides me with a graph that shows me whether over time (weekly, monthly, yearly) my weight is going up, going down or staying about the same. I find this information useful in my efforts of personal weight-management.

My own reality is that my own food intake … over time … is what ultimately moves the scale number up or down. As a “reduced obese” person, I need my MIND to help me stay a normal weight because my BODY continually signals me to eat in a manner that will cause me to regain my lost weight. I have discovered that  I, personally, ALWAYS choose to eat more ...over time... when I don’t use the scale to weigh myself and force myself to SEE and recognize that objective numerical reality.

I agree with the following article:


Don't Stress About the Scale

By Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, M.D. – May 1, 2013 – usnews.com

It's simple, right? You stand on your scale, and then it tells you how much you weigh. And if the sentence ended there, I'd agree you know how to use a scale. Except most folks, especially folks who are struggling with or are upset about their weights, don't end their sentences there. Instead, their scales also somehow seem to magically tell them "how they're doing."

Doctors aren't often any better. Despite a whole lot of schooling, their scales also seem to tell them things beyond weight; once patients stand on doctors' scales, somehow those scales miraculously tells doctors whether or not their patients are healthy.

Well, I'm here to tell you and your doctors that the only thing a scale is capable of telling you or them is how much you weigh. How you're doing and whether or not you're healthy—well, those variables depend on how you're actually doing and whether or not you're actually healthy.

It's no surprise that society assigns a huge amount of undeserved power to the scale—after all, that's what we've been taught. That may be due to the past 50 years of weigh-ins at Weight Watchers or the nonsensically dramatic final weigh-in of The Biggest Loser or the incredible weight bias that permeates all of society and leads many ...


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