At the risk of subjecting you to yet another banal and certainly verbose question, I decided to take my answer to another question as the basis for a different topic. I am going to post a few snippets from something Dr Kurt Harris wrote on another blog (not his), so I claim no originality. I bookmarked this text because it left a lasting impression like so many of his posts. This was in the context of low carb eating and the relevance of calories-in/calorie-out with respect to weight loss. His words are in I - IV:
I. Normal weight people eating a healthy whole foods diet don't need to do anything - their weight is spontaneously regulated with zero conscious thought the same way their breathing and thier thirst are regulated, They don't accidentaly die of cerebral edema from polydypsia, nor do they die of dehydration because they forget to drink enough. If the brain and gut and liver are as unbroken as the kidneys, no conscious thought need be given to the weight or energy content of food, ever
II. Some metabolically damaged people can heal their damage with time and abstinence from what caused the damage. Then they can be like the people in I, and need never weigh, or measure their food or their exercise output, ever. These people exist. I am one of them
III. Some metabolically damaged people may be so metabolically deranged that they must always eat a particular diet, say low carbohydrate diet, in order to maintain weight. Otherwise, they gain.
IV. Some people may be further damaged, and have to eat LC and consciously eat to less than satiety - probably because of persistent leptin resistance. Such people, in their frustration, may then speculate that categories I-III don't exist. It is not fair, but these people may be stuck with being food conscious forever, like alcoholics who can't avoid the drink without daily AA meetings. It's not their fault. But the existence of such people doesn't prove that CICO is the only thing we can say about fat loss, anymore than the existence of people with diabetes insipidus would imply that all people have to worry about how much water they drink all the time.
Ok, so here are my questions-
1) How many of you thought you were in one category before you embarked upon a Paleo diet/lifestyle and now feel you are in a different category? This might be an upward and downward movement.
2) What were the n=1 observations that led you believe you are now in a new category? Note that I am not asking what you did to cause the change of categories because presumably the answer is a paleo diet/lifestyle.
3) If you stayed in the same category, particularly III or IV, yet still achieved your health objectives (not necessarily weight), did you encounter significant stalls or reversals along the way to your eventual success?
Before hitting "Ask" - I am not trying to start yet another debate of low carb vs high carb. That just happened to be the context of the post from KGH that I am ripping off.
Ultimately, my motivation for this question is to get inspiration from the many wonderful success stories in our community. Ok, have at it. Thanks!
asked byAravindan_Balasubramanian (13682)
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on June 30, 2011
at 03:43 AM
I started my weight loss journey believing I was a II. After 100 lb loss I came to realize I was a III. After another 50 lbs I became a IV and I live as a IV now. I never, expected to have to eat low carb the rest of my life or to have to consciously restrict my calories but I do. I have mostly come to find acceptance but it's a bitter pill to swallow. Hearing people insist that I shouldn't have to (implying I must be doing something wrong) is salt in the wound. I've been at this a very long time and have manipulated my macros a million times over and I eat near perfection. It just is what it is. I have a good 20 lbs of fat left on me to boot but I cannot eat fewer calories than I do because I react strongly to severe restriction and I prefer to protect the weight loss I have had and the lifestyle I have finally achieved rather than risk annihilation by starving myself then going off the rails in response.
I appreciated Dr. Harris's words in this post more than I can say. I'll take any validation I can get that I'm not doing it wrong and that a body can be so broken as to never to fully healed. I will never be able to eat to satiety no matter what I'm eating. I will never be able to eat potatoes and rice. Never. There is a strong assumption, presumption that this shouldn't happen but I am living proof that it does. I think we sell a false bill of goods to some people. Not intentionally but this "paleo heals all" stuff is just not the truth for some. Paleo can heal a whole lot but there are some bodies out there that won't be healed by any diet. I think low carb paleo is the best way to manage the body for many of us but heal it to the point of "normalcy"? Nope. Not for me and not for some others.
Having said that I would never discourage anyone from paleo for weight loss. Far from it. I would say though that at some point just paleo food choices alone may not be enough to elicit weight loss. People must remain open to taken further steps as necessary to facilitate weight loss...and others need to learn to be o.k. with that.
Edit: Just to clarify my situation a bit more. I can surely maintain with more carbs than I can lose with but only if my calories remain very low. I can eat 75g, maybe 100g on days I work out but calories must stay under 1500 kcal or so (well below what I should be able to eat even on a day of doing nothing). I can eat a bit more if my carbs fall to zero. Non-workout days I stay 1200 kcal and can vary carbs a bit but I don't go over 35g and usually stick below 20g. Some days the hunger gets the best of me and I'll shoot up to 2,000-2,500 but that's maybe once a month. (And I do know this because I track everything and have for years. I have had several periods of experimentation over the years where I deliberately tried to gradually up the carbs and calories and each time I ended up gaining significant amounts of weight (20lbs) in a relatively short period of time (3 months or so is usually the time frame I set up for my experiments.) Honestly I've been in this "situation" now for many years and I really have tried to get the food intake back up but it just doesn't seem to happen.
I don't know for certain what biochemical issues I have that are forcing me to comply with this type of food schedule. Truly my life is in good shape (sleep, food, very little daily stress) and my general health markers are excellent. I do not have diabetes or pre. I will say that I had a glucose tolerance test years ago while still obese and the doc told me he's never seen insulin numbers go so high in all his life. He had me come in a second time to run it again as he felt someone had screwed the test up somehow. Second run gave the same results. However, I recovered within what he thought was a normal amount of time so he did not consider me insulin resistant. I would say from that I have some insulin issues (although as I am normal weight now I'm not sure if this is still the case)
I don't know the physiology at play here but can tell you what it feel like and that is that every day I arm-wrestle my body and do my best to win. There's a saying that was popular in the dieting circles years ago that went something like "I have a skinny girl inside me screaming to be let out" and I actually believed that for a long time. What I now know is that I have a very fat girl inside of me who is screaming to get back out and she lets me know it every single day.
I go to Nashville for Christmas every year so maybe I'll go see Dr. K this year and see if he can figure me out, lol! I'd be thrilled to figure out a way to not be hungry and to get another 20 lbs off my body.
The other thing is that I don't think I'm all that unique. I've been watching dieters for a good decade now and it seems fairly common that the initial weight loss is somewhat easy with just minimal manipulation but as the weight comes off they hit some pretty strong plateaus that require significant manipulation and that this gets more severe the lower the weight goes. I rarely see woman anyway who can eat the same way at 140 lbs as they did at 240lbs. I've not seen enough people use paleo over many years and achieve significant weight loss to know if this plan is somehow different. I have seen many low carbers who basically eat what we would call paleo for the most part and rarely does the weight loss come all the way off without overcoming some big hurdles on the way down.
(sorry for writing a book yet again. Economy of words is not my forte.)
on June 30, 2011
at 02:55 AM
I went from a 4 to a 1. But I had no idea what paleo even was when I started. I found this lifestyle from reading biochemistry and being fortunate to have friends who were researchers in the Amgen leptin trials of their synthetic analogue. Did I have stalls......yes but they were late. My weight dropped off because of how I went after the leptin issues with a passion in my view. I micromanaged me using every known lab you can imagine. The more I knew the better I did. It built up a database for me to use to think about how everything works in concert. It became my passion and I began reading an going to conferences in all branches of medicine, research and in disciplines. I am no longer afraid to look in the most bizarre places to learn more. I found out that the interconnectedness of the system is amazing and can be brought back if we consistently do the little things correctly over and over again. Evolution is based upon fractal geometry and when you continue to do the little things right over time......balance returns to the system eventually. That is my N-1
on June 30, 2011
at 03:14 AM
I am a solid # 3, however, with many years of healing and 90+ lbs off since 02, I also meet criteria for #2. I lost my weight doing what I would call low stachy carb/clean eating (organic no processed shxt...) I have never counted carbs or calories or anything.BUt I will eat a low-carb diet for the rest of my life. The important thing is the types of carbs I eat. I eat tons of vegetables with some meat or fish, always. I am a giant salad person and have been from the beginning. I did, in the beginning, do some visual measuring to get a feel for what a portion which is specified on a label actually IS. A good for instance is with nuts. What does a 1/4 cup portion of raw almonds actually mean - look like? I never measured portions with eating, but did teach myself about portions in this manner in the beginning.
My other powerful tool that I learned, I call "change it up." I absolutely believe in Sharma's and others work that tells us that once you have really, royally screwed your system and deranged yourself metabolically, you are a forever metabolically changed beastie. For me, "change it up" is the most powerful tool i have to work with this, aside from my "forever" low-carb eating. Change it up means I sort of view my body as this "entity" that is always trying to hold onto weight and get back to being fat. My job is to keep my body guessing - in every way possible. Just when it thinks I am going to be Ifing indefinitely and working out fasted, I eat a giant breakfast. Just when it thinks it knows the level of carbs I will be chronically taking in, I eat VLC - almost zero carbs - for 72 hours. Just when it thinks I am done with nuts and cheese, I have some in my evening salad. Just when it thinks I will never eat a potato again, I do. Same goes with fats - gobs of bacon for 5 days...butter galore...then they disappear. I do this as well with my exercise. I change it up like crazy...exercise 6 days straight with varied exercise/dancercise (strength/resistance interval training) and then skip every other day the next week, or do very light stuff on the inbetween days.
I weigh somewhere between every 3 months and once a month. If I am getting any weight creep, which with super-change-it-up and other tweaking is a rarity now, then i will weight maybe every two weeks to keep track until I get it off. And if I lost the scale tomorrow, it would be no big deal. Like most people, my clothing etc tells me all I need to know. The scale is a verifier and I also track body fat and muscle loosely and it is useful for that.
So, I am a III, but am able to enjoy some of the "freedoms" of a II, all of which has taken years of paying attention and tweaking. But the LC "umbrella" never changes.
on June 30, 2011
at 02:10 PM
i went from iv to somewhere between ii and i. i say somewhere between i and ii because i don't know if i can eat anything(i haven't touched processed foods in over a year) but i know i can eat any paleo macro ratio and keep at my weight. it was a process, though.
low carb with pretty deep ketosis to help heal my lifelong metabolic syndrome
cyclical ketogenic dieting/post workout nutrition to re-teach my body how to accept carbs again and to regain leptin sensitivity
after going through this process, i am pretty much able to handle as much starch as i want and copious amounts of fruit also without driving up my setpoint. never have been able to say that in my life.
on June 30, 2011
at 03:56 AM
- I thought there were a few Type I people and a huge number of Type III people, including myself.
- I can see reaching Type II. I have lost fat but still have too much in abdomen.
- No stalls or reversals. Slow, steady progress. (I do not aim to be strict.)
on June 30, 2011
at 03:42 AM
I think I would have classified myself as.. in-between categories 1 and 2. before paleo. From age 15-23 or so, I maintained my weight in the range of 94-99 lbs (with a few brief forays above 100 lbs due to hard-core overeating of junk food). My weight was effortlessly constant, but I looked emaciated, had little strength or stamina, and had various minor health issues (which got a lot worse when I was 23/24). I hated being that thin and felt that something was wrong with my system.
Now I think I'm a solid 1. After more than a year eating this new way, I am currently maintaining at 104-108 lbs. I feel much healthier in many ways, and look healthier as well. I've gained about 5 lbs per year since starting to try to eat 'paleo' (and that's even with spending 6 months eating VLC for no good reason and with un-ideal results) and hope to continue to trend for a couple more years at least. While I started out counting calories, meal-planning and timing exercise, I've gotten pretty loose recently. I don't have to count my calories (although I do sometimes out of curiosity) or stuff myself to the gills. I don't fuss much about my activity level. Just eat primal food to satisfaction and try to eat a little extra sometimes too. I am still maintaining at my new set-point without putting any effort into it.
on June 30, 2011
at 03:39 AM
I started paleo because I was starting to get fat (just turned 30), which I interpreted as a sign that my metabolism was broken, or least beginning to falter. So I was a II or a III. I was at that strange place where I was skinny everywhere except for my stomach. But I had been somewhat like that for most of my life, which I believe is the result of (a) not being breastfed, (b) having experienced repeated antibiotic treatments from chronic ear infections as a child, (c) being fed pasta every other night from a well-meaning Italian mother, and (d) years of being the ultimate and trashiest SAD hedonist. I'm not completely past this stage, in the sense that my stomach is still less lean than the rest of my body, but I've reversed the original weight gains, and I believe that I'm on my way to attaining a flat stomach for the first time in my life. I won't really have an evidentiary basis for claiming that I am a II until I have reversed it and become a I. However, I won't be surprised if the >10 years of pasta and extravagant SAD means that I'll always have to track carbs and implement eating strategies and hacks. If these fears are correct, then it suggests that I'm actually a III, and that this is possible for persons who are generally thin, kind of like the small and counterintuitive population of thin persons with diabetes.
on June 30, 2011
at 03:43 PM
I'd say I'm in III pretty much of my life, if I'm eating right I'm able to maintain but processed foods have always caused weight gain.
I have digestive issues in the last 7 years due to a lifetime of yo yo dieting, fad dieting etc. I have always been able to loose weight though when I put my mind to it.
on June 30, 2011
at 12:30 PM
(I'll start by mentioning that this is a difficult question to answer accurately, nevertheless:)
- I think I was always in category 1. I have never been seriously overweight, and never measured any food-intake until very recently. I never cared about anything other than not-getting-fat. So, the be precise: I never changed categories.
- Not applicable, see number 1 above.
- This is complicated, see below.mThere is no mention of purposeful weight gain and/or growth. (Not that I don???t like this thread, I do. That???s why I???m answering).
I feel right now I am category-less, as far as this thread???s are concerned. I am not and have never to my lay-knowledge been metabolically damaged but I do measure my food and eat strategically in order to grow larger. I am trying to gain weight.
So, in trying to answer your first question I kind of struggle. Perhaps I have made a shift from KGH???s category 1 to some un-named category.
on June 30, 2011
at 03:03 AM
uhh. I can eat and eat and eat whatever and won't gain any weight, and I just look skinnier and skinnier. I do everything latest in paleo, and had this problem before going paleo. So I'd say there's something wrong with my system.