I just got off of an interesting phone call with my mother who had some very... Enlightening things to say regarding my propensity for weight gain. Here are some of the things she mentioned: I was 6 pounds at birth, and by 6 weeks I was 12 pounds, according to her, I almost never stopped nursing on my own, and she would have to pull me away to get me to stop. I was breastfed until 14 months, and from then she made her own purees. But apparently I always had an insatiable appetite, and would do things like sneak butter from the fridge and just eat it plain. She says from 3 on she had essentially put me on a diet because otherwise I wouldn't stop eating, like I had an endless stomach. I went on to continue to gain weight past the point of cuteness, until she finally put me on Atkins when I was 10 and my weight normalized (until I became a vegan at 13 and proceeded to gain all of the weight in the world.)
I don't know a whole lot about babbies and such... But isn't this all a bit off? Could I have had a hormonal imbalance from birth? She said normally babies will wait a few days to nurse, but I was feeding literally right out of the womb like I'd been starved. Could it maybe have something to do with leptin? Could this have implications for me now? At the moment I'm experimenting with this food reward business, but it's too early to tell. If it's leptin, is it possible I would benefit from leptin injections? Low carb was working for me for a while, but after about 30 pounds I stopped losing, and I found my self control was just not there for a decent go at a PSMF. Is there anything else I could try to target specifically my appetite?
asked byKatie (2057)
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on July 14, 2011
at 06:30 AM
Babies do not wait three days to eat, and it's not unusual for babies to nurse for (what feels like to the mother) around the clock. Immediately after the birth of a child, the breasts produce colostrum, which is an extremely rich substance, high in fat and low in protein, that gives the baby it's first dose of immunity--it's essential that she gets this highly prized substance. It's true that the milk doesn't always come in right away, but the baby should and WILL suckle in order to activate the mammary glands and get the milk flowing.
Obviously I don't know a lot about your situation, but my instinct tells me there's a chance that your mother may have been projecting food issues on you from the very beginning. Were you really ravenous, or was she not feeding you enough food because of her own fears? It's very, very hard to get a good picture of what went on in our childhoods based on the subjective memories of others who may have been following the bad advice of the day from physicians and projecting their own fears and insecurities onto us. I've experienced a similar puzzle to you, but trying to put the pieces together from the fragmented and highly subjective memories of my mother, my siblings who called me fat when I actually wasn't -- it's an impossible task and bound to lead me nowhere but back to my current health situation.
No one here can tell you, especially based on second hand hearsay, whether you've had a hormonal imbalance since birth. Honestly, it's just as probable that you've been dealing with a psychological sense of depravity rooted in not being fed enough as a newborn and being put on a diet as a child.
I hope this didn't come off as harsh. It appears to have struck a bit of a nerve for me. I'm not comfortable with people putting too much stock in the often skewed memories of others. Of course our past holds keys for us and shouldn't be discounted completely, but it should be taken with a grain of salt, especially when there are inaccuracies in the narrative, such as the assertion that babies aren't supposed to be hungry when they're born!
on July 14, 2011
at 05:02 PM
"She said normally babies will wait a few days to nurse" - that's so totally not true. I have two kids, and both wanted to nurse literally moments after they came out. They were both like clockwork, the first one nursing every 4 hours and the second every 2. From what I've seen and heard, most babies are like that.
I don't mean to offend, and I'm sorry if my comment does that, but my impression is that your mom may have restricted your nutrition to an unhealthy degree from day one, which caused these problems.
on July 14, 2011
at 02:09 PM
My semi-informed opinion (I'm not a doctor but I have 2 kids) is that most babies are insatiable, especially with breast milk. Even if a baby is feeding enthusiastically, they might not be getting a high volume of milk, so by the time they finish eating, they could be hungry again. My kids actually never took to the bottle because they couldn't handle the volume of liquid, as they had gotten used to the relative trickle of breast milk.
Rather than worrying about your experience before age 2, I would think more about the nutritional value of foods you were given as a kid, say age 3-15, which likely formed your dietary habits.
I was always slightly (~10-15%) heavy as a kid, starting at age 8 or so, even while playing sports year round and riding my bike for miles on the weekends. I've also had a very hard time ever losing weight. As a kid and throughout college, it was common for me to have "snacks" of bread, candy, Hostess items, Ramen noodles, rice, pasta, etc. My mom freely provided these things, she grew up hardscrabble in a Pennsylvania mining town and was a soft touch for sweets, and always made sure there was a lot of convenient food in the house. Her heart was in the right place, and she was misguided by the nutritional advice at the time, but looking back this was a really bad way to feed her kids.
I was also extremely impoverished in high school and college so food was more of a matter of what was the most filling for the least amount of money, for example in high school I remember skipping lunch and getting a Hostess "honey bun" for lunch because it only cost $0.35.
I was in my 20's before I started to think seriously about the macro-nutrient categories of my food. Knowing what I know now about nutrition, I see that the habits I had as a kid were a complete disaster for me. Today, if I have a single bite of bread (gluten), I pay for it for 2 days, and I would never touch the foods that were once staples. I can't imagine exactly what the effect was for me to eat all that crap for so many years, but I think it definitely explains my weight gain as well as other problems I had. My mom inadvertently miseducated me about food, and I clearly should have been eating a more Paleo/Primal diet from the day that I started to eat solid foods.
As an adult, I had to completely re-educate myself about food, something which is still happening. For me, the Paleo/Primal diet is the culmination of years of study, and I think it is by far the best "diet" I've been on. I only wish I'd found it sooner.
on July 14, 2011
at 06:29 AM
I don't mean to hurt you by saying this, but my first impression reading through this is that from birth your mom never let you eat your fill and that she basically kept you on a restrictive diet from day one, which set your body up to feel like it was constantly in a famine. When you're not getting enough food, your body just slows its metabolism down and hangs on to all the calories it can in the form of fat. When you get access to food it then makes you ravenously hungry and you get even fatter, which is exactly what happened to you. I think your mom misinterpreted what was going on with you and was afraid you would get fat so she didn't let you eat enough. Babies eat a LOT because they are growing and developing like crazy during this time. Although she meant well, I think her vigilance about your food intake is what set you up for metabolic issues, not something you were born with. Sorry, like I said, I don't mean to hurt you or insult your mom. Back when you were a baby we didn't know as much as what causes obesity as we do now and I know she meant well. Of course, there is a disorder called Prader-Willi Syndrome that causes insatiable appetite, but your description of your history doesn't sound like it and your doctors probably would have detected it by now if you had it. I'm not a doctor though so this is just my two cents. Take it for what it's worth.
Here's some info about Prader-Will just in case:
on July 14, 2011
at 03:44 PM
That sounds like epigenetic obesity to me, and perfectly plausible. It is well known that propensity to fatness can get augmented through the generations by womb conditions, particularly gestational diabetes. Did your mother have that? There's lots on the web about it, but I don't have time to chase references right now. Maybe I can do that later if you haven't found what I'm talking about.
I did want to mention that some of us have experienced a limited ability to lose weight on LC, but were able to lose on ZC. I would recommend trying all meat for 3 weeks and see if it makes a difference for you. If you have more questions about how to do that, it might even be worth starting a new thread.
on July 14, 2011
at 08:51 AM
I'm particularly interested in someone coming up with a good answer for you here because my brother had a bottomless appetite from day one. As soon as he was able to he would climb from chair to chair and eat everyone's leftovers. He grew vertically as well horizontally faster than any of us.
I agree with the the other answers in that your mother may have been misinformed about what was normal for a baby and child. Nursing starts at birth, and sometimes it really will go around the clock. I've sat up nursing all night a few times right before a growth spurt. And I've yet to meet a little one that doesn't love butter by the fistful.
I think to find out if your first weight gain was unusual you'd have to look at your family's history of growth patterns, the charts in doctor's office are only rough guides. 6 pounds is on the light side for a baby, but 12 pounds at 6 weeks is right on target, I think you were making up for lost time, and that would take a lot of suckling.
I also have to wonder if your mom may have been restricting calories during her pregnancy. The theory we have bandied about the house about my brother's rapid growth and endless hunger after also being a small baby was that we were really strapped for cash while my mother was pregnant, so she tried to eat as little as possible, and pretty much only beans when she did eat. We think that might have instilled in him a survival mechanism that would drive him to seek any and all calories. To this day he tells us he's never felt full.
on July 14, 2011
at 07:14 PM
It's totally normal for kids to want to eat straight butter (especially if they're not getting a ton of other fats). I know I did as a kid, at that age we could still listen to our own bodies without the filter of the media and modern medicine.
Have you tried eating what may seem to you like an insanely high amount of fat?