BMI Bulimia

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By: Julia Gumm

When I was but a wee lass, at the dewey age of sweet sixteen, I went to see my doctor. Nothing was the matter, I was perfectly healthy, I just needed to get a physical for my driver’s license. The exam was moving along just fine until I got onto the scale. At 5’4″, I weighed in at 136 pounds, a result that yielded an unsurprised yawn from me. With the exception of that one zany summer when I decided that subsisting on a single sleeve of Saltines per week was a good idea, my post-pubescent weight had hovered steadily around the 140 mark, and I was pretty sure I looked fine.*

I was very active. My family was piss-poor so there was no computer or video game system to sit around on. I walked or rode my bike everywhere, hiked, swam. I even lifted weights and regularly did stupidly self-choreographed aerobic routines to the tune of Paula Abdul, more often than I like to admit. I had a firm grasp of the USDA nutrition guidelines and even engaged in a little Paleo-style Intermittent Fasting by way of never eating breakfast. This had less to do with a rabid obsession with cutting edge fitness fads and more to do with waking up about ten minutes before the bus came. But I digress.

So I hop off the scale, ready to wow Doc with my 20/20 peepers on the eye exam, but oh no, he has something to say about my weight. He directs my attention to some archaic monstrosity, a government height and weight chart. According to the paper and print hanging on his wall, (made in 1973 by some dumbass who never laid eyes on me) I was overweight. A total lard ass. Doc pointed that out, and said only “Now, you don’t want to end up as fat as your mother, do you?”

To be brief, I sorta think my doctor should lose his license to practice medicine for having made that remark. Not only did he tell an obviously healthy, size 7 wearing, 16 year old girl that she was gunning for obesity, but he failed to follow up his critique with any constructive advice. When I told him that I didn’t eat much junk food and that I was very active, he simply shrugged his shoulders, said I needed to try harder, and moved on. Way to plant the seed, buddy.

The following nine months saw me go from a healthy size 7 to a pallid-hued, called-down-to-the-high-school-guidance-office-over-rapid-weight-loss, size 0-clad kind of gal. My peers thought I was sick, barfing up everything I ate, or on an orgy of drugs, and I’ll tell you what, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. After reflecting long and hard on the fact that I was apparently a behemoth and yet practiced healthier habits than many of my skinnier peers, I realized that drastic measures were called for to get any real results.

One night, after dining on Goldfish crackers, a thought occurred to me: I could just get rid of it. I knew I had eaten because I was genuinely hungry, but obviously my body was conspiring to turn me into a blimp. Why not just toss my crackers instead of letting them go through the nasty absorption process that could only lead to disaster? So I did. It was strange, it felt like such a lie, a cheat. But it also felt cool, like getting away with something big: it was a revelation.

I found myself a barf buddy and we’d stuff ourselves to the gills at the China Buffet, then we’d take turns calling Ralph on the big white phone, hiding all the evidence of nutrition to be had from our small intestines. Nothing to see here, villi! It was sort of hilarious in its depravity, and boy, was I getting thin. I have no doubt that had I gone back to see my doctor after I had whittled myself down to a shadow of myself, he would have approved. While I had gone from a size seven to a belted size zero, I had lost a mere thirteen pounds. Who the hell gets called down to the guidance office for a measly thirteen pounds?! And who only drops thirteen pounds from seven months of straight purging plus over-exercise?

At my lowest, I weighed in at about 123 pounds, which is, if memory serves, just about the target weight for my height, maybe even on the high end of it. My body really did not want to let go of that weight. What was happening was I was effectively flushing all my muscle down the toilet along with my Lo Mein. Really, there is no way for me to ever go under 130 pounds without chiseling away at my muscle and dramatically changing the way I look. C’mon, I’m just beefy! Didn’t my doctor ever meet someone who was sturdy? Dense? Built like a brick shit house, as the hicks at my local bar like to tell me? Well maybe he didn’t realize that this is just who I am and it’s fine, but I eventually did.

One fine spring day I woke up and decided it was time to stop playing Lifetime movie protagonist and time to regain a little sanity. I decided that I was going to let my innards get back to the work of collecting and dispersing nutrients and let the chips fall where they may. If my doctor or some guy or the culture at large branded me a fatass, fuck ‘em. So I enlisted the support of a grounded, sympathetic friend and hammered out a plan for recovery. Recover I did, and I can proudly report that up-chucking has been re-relegated to its natural place in my psyche: gross, yucky, something to be avoided. Hey, that might not sound like a triumph to all the normal folk out there, but it is.

I’d say the lesson here is to forget the scale and the charts. One size just does not fit all, and it’s thinking like that that has driven so many of us to extremes just to be able to squeeze ourselves into boxes we were never intended to fit in, anyway. Did my doctor take into account that I have big, heavy, muscular arms? Is being able to beat half the boys you go to school with at arm wrestling really a health liability? Did he do blood work to see if my weight was adversely affecting my sugar, my lipids, my cholesterol? Did he ask me how I feel, did he consider that three other women in my family, all of whom he treated, were of a stockier build as well and that perhaps it’s just my genetic destiny to not be slight? Damnit, he never even asked me how fast I could run a mile! Shoot, I ran it just that week in gym class, and as a non-competitive athlete, I’d say it was pretty good!*

Nope. All he did was compare a number on a scale to a number on a chart. Not exactly a comprehensive approach, and it isn’t whenever you jump on the scale in your bathroom and bemoan your numbers, either. Forget the scale. It knows nothing. It doesn’t forgive for hormonal fluctuations, doesn’t care that you’ve got big birthin’ hips, and baby, it just doesn’t know you.

So where exactly did we get the idea that the worst thing we could possibly be is “overweight” according to an impersonal, imaginary measure? Oh, because the medical community came up with some chart? These are the same guys who told us to load up on margarine and use leeches for blood letting, right? Doctor’s don’t know everything. You know more about you than they do, if you just pay attention and trust yourself. Your doctor is certainly a valuable tool for your wellness chest, but he’s just parroting whatever the latest in current medicine was the last time he was paying attention.

My god, I look back at pictures of myself from before I became bulimic and I can’t fathom thinking I was fat. And I can’t imagine any adult, much less a doctor of good conscience saying so either, but he did. And what a waste of time and of life thinking you have to fit an impersonal mold will lead to. To have to obsessively count calories in, and calories out, to view everything as either an opportunity to lose weight or gain it, and every gain something that must be paid for by an act of attrition on the treadmill. When did we start glorifying weight loss as an example of virtue, in any extreme and for no necessary reason? Why are formerly healthy looking women praised in the press for getting their collarbone to jut out, their face to lose all softness, for meticulously documenting everything they eat?

This is obsession, this is a state of dis-ease, not health. Remember back in the 90’s when we all collectively clucked over Fiona Apple and Calista Flockhart, imploring them in our prayers to please for the love of god eat a sandwich? Compare a picture of Fiona Apple from 1998 to Keira Knightly, Giuliana Rancic or even Jennifer Aniston today. These women are held up as health and beauty icons, and they are skeletal! Positively lollipop headed. They make old school Fiona Apple look average. Giuliana Rancic even has her own health and fitness website that people take seriously called FitFabFun, but if you want to get the inside scoop on the disease she’s peddling as health advice, check out Giuliana Rancic’s diet plan. It’s no wonder her hairline is receding. No offense, Giules.

Why are we like this? Could it be that as a society we are guilt-ridden over the excesses of our lifestyle, and in response revere the most disciplined, the least indulgent among us? Is Mary-Kate Olson’s visible rib cage the single perfect rose of an otherwise gluttonous and gratuitous culture? Eating disorders and obsessions are certainly maladies of affluence. No one in the developing world is busy plugging the calorie content of their U.N rations into the fitness app on their phone, and you can bet there are a few billion people in the world who think you need a lobotomy rather than applause when you throw out half the food on your plate. And though I wasn’t around back then, I would venture to say that no human being ever got the idea to worry about eating and exercise, beyond what their natural instincts and inclinations led them to, until we had enough food and enough time and enough un-natural stress in our lives to sit around and get neurotic about it.

So I have a suggestion. How about instead of worrying about how to make up for the “damage” done at the holiday table, instead of comparing ourselves to some dipshit ideal dreamt up by fashion designers or bureaucrats or even our parents…why not trust ourselves? Is the body really so stupid that it doesn’t have the foggiest idea what it needs? When you’re tired and hungry, the answer is not to sweat through a spinning class and down a green juice. You wouldn’t put a child or even your dog through that kind of torture, because you know it isn’t good for them. Then why do it to yourself? Is it for drama, approval, a sense of control and accomplishment? Is that a healthy way to live?

I know this may sound crazy, but I propose eating what you want when you feel like it and making sure your life is active enough that you don’t have to jump on the gerbil wheel in order to get some exercise. I propose getting enough sleep and enough love and enough adventure. I propose greeting your reflection in the mirror with acceptance and joy, not with disgust, fear, or shame.

And if you’re doing all that and still someone tells you you could stand to lose a few, tell ‘em yeah, I could stand to lose you, pal. If someone gives you the universally accepted compliment of “Oh, you’ve lost weight!” why not shock the hell out of them and reply with dismay “Oh seriously? That’s the last thing I want to do!” You won’t believe the bewildered looks you’ll get. Let’s shake up the paradigm, people! Question your perceptions of health and beauty. Cause others to question theirs, too. Flip conventional wisdom on its head and take a look at things from a different perspective. It’s good medicine, I promise.

By the way, I have a new doctor now. Says I’m healthy as a horse, thinks I look great.

* Judge for yourself. That’s not Ginger Spice, that’s just me dressed as her for a high school dance. As you’ve probably already guessed, most people mistook me for Shamu.

* 6:42. High five me!

175 Comments

  1. Thanks Julia- that Giuliana diet plan page is terrifying.

    The rabbit hole of eating disorders runs deep. A woman I used to date had one for years (bulimia), and another just flabbergasted me when she said she wishes she had the willpower to be anorexic. Fortunately, she didn’t and was a good strong eater.

    I have a bunch of friends these days who have these fancy smart phone and other electronic tools to count their food calories, their exercise calories, how many steps a day they take, how many stairs they climb, etc. I do what I can to reframe things, praise hearty appetites and nonchalance about micromanagement, but the calorie-obsessed tide is strong.

    Ah well. I will try that retort about weight loss if I ever get it- ‘Lost wieght? Oh god, I hope not! Eesh! Maybe I oughta start jogging at dawn to get that fast mass back up.’ Haha

    Reply
    • At as young as 11 I used to wish for the willpower to be anorexic. Then, by age 15, I found I did have the willpower. Needless to say, I wrecked my health! Now I wish I hadn’t spent the entirety of my teens obsessing about food and weight. What a waste.

      Julia – Great post, although it’s hard not to get enraged at the ignorance and irresponsibility of your (previous) Doctor!

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  2. Man, I just read something about Ugandan women who have to sit stil and guzzle milk l in the “Fattening Hut” for two months before any man will marry them. Could you imagine any American girl wishing they had the willpower to do that? It’s all subjective, it’s so funny.

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  3. What a fantastic post. This is very encouraging, and should be widely distributed. Hah!

    I really like the final points you make about changing the paradigm, and causing other to question their perceptions of health and beauty. It’s so true. It can be uncomfortable, but certainly much easier to just go along with things, not to speak up when someone says something about your weight, or a friend’s, praising them for weight loss, or getting wide-eyed at the sight of a decent portion. But you’re right, how will things ever change if we don’t stand up for ourselves and our peers, and let people know that we think they look great, and more importantly, that they FEEL great, and perfectly comfortable with themselves, or ourselves.

    Thanks, Julia!

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  4. This is the same Guiliana Rancic that has/had breast cancer, right? Why would we take diet advise from her again? Wow people. Just wow.

    Great post.

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  5. Yes, and the same woman who discussed at length her infertility issues on her reality show. I have no idea what the root cause was, but it seems to me that her body fat percentage and “nutritional” status would not exactly make it easy to have her hormone levels in a place that it would be easy to get and stay pregnant.

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    • She actually posted a response on her Twitter account to people telling her that eating more would help her to get pregnant. She had eaten a cheeseburger and then taken a pregnancy test, and lo, it wasn’t positive. Proof that “eating a cheeseburger”, as so many implored her to do, has nothing to do with getting preggers! Of course!

      Reply
      • Sounds like Guiliana’s running out of viable brain cells due to starvation. That before/after picture is bad, but the pic of her on the skinnyvscurvy(sic?) site was terrifying. She’ll need a cheesburger per day, whole milk, butter, whole eggs, pizza, etc and then maybe after 90 days she could possibly be fertile…

        I like the fattening hut story, too. That’s some “primal wisdom” right there. :-)

        Great article, and enlightening for both genders.

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        • Just another fun tidbit about Ms. Rancic, her doctor ordered her to gain at least ten pounds to get pregnant. She was horrified by the suggestion and only allowed herself to gain five. And then when she still didn’t conceive, she got mad at her doctor and just dropped all the weight again. She admitted this on some morning tv program. And then she gets a whole bunch of hormone therapy instead and then she gets breast cancer. Fab! Fit! Fun!

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  6. Great post. Thank you so much for sharing! Really says a lot about how sick we are as a culture when we commend infertile looking women for being so gosh-darn “healthy”!

    Jesus, I am getting so fed up with the societal ideas of “health”– they are just as responsible for the deeply unhealthy habits we create in our lives as any of the “evils” of modern living. Women especially get fed this crap 24/7 and we all become convinced that dropping 15-20 pounds will lead to endless happiness, success and sex. Unfortunately, instead of this fantasy coming true the more likely reality is that after losing that “excess weight” you find yourself hanging onto what is left of your hair, shivering in a bathroom stall realizing that you are infertile, freezing cold, terrified of food and deeply depressed. But goddamn! You sure do fit into those skinny jeans. Way to get HEALTHY! Ahem, Giuliana Rancic.
    I wonder how many women face this exact same scenario (being told to lose unnecessary weight, that is). I certainly did, and it cost me dearly. Last year I went in for a doctors appointment, stepped on the scale and weighed a whopping 130 pounds (I’m 5′ 3″). I also had some troublesome blood-work and the physician told me that most women solve these kinds of problems by just losing 10 pounds. Well, okey-dokey then! What commenced then was a year long torture protocol that involved GAPS, Paleo, low-carbing, IFing and HIIT-ing. Whew! But I lost 10 pounds with my body screaming the entire way. Unfortunately after that I also lost my period, hair, happiness, sex drive, thyroid function and sanity. Recovery has been brutal, to say the least, but at least I am MUCH better off than when I started. 15 pounds heavier, but I don’t give a FUCK. I eat what I motherfucking want, and I yearn to spit in the face of all “health gurus” and sexist, misinformed doctors. Some girls are just always gonna have an ass; get over it already.

    Reply
    • Nothing wrong with an ass. In fact, a wise man once said “my anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hun.”

      Reply
      • “You got to have a Mother for me, now move that big ass round so I can work on that zipper, BAY-BEE” (Prince)

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      • Hey hey hey. Don’t forget about Too $hort baby. He went from Oakland over to Berkeley one day and later wrote the song “Invasion of the flat booty bitches.” Probably a bunch of vegans over there.

        “It’s no thang to do my duty, but not with you and your flat booty. In the Berkeley town what did we find? Freak and freak with no behind.”

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        • LOL that’s the spirit. My girlfriend says awhh my butts gettin bigger an I’m getting chubbier cuz of the winter, and I say your butt’s gettin bigger? You promise? SCORE

          But seriously..I ask her, at your fittest/thinnest, did you do anything to bring that about? She says no. I say exactly. You have a large appetite like a healthy chick should, you just need to relax and have what you want like you always have, and perhaps some stressors and maybe less activity from the colder weather has brought this about but it will balance itself out! You just keep being the happy go lucky chick you are and you’ll always be beautiful to me. and trust me, you’ll never blow up if you have what you want!

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          • Awww that’s so sweet! Good man, Bob Dean!

        • Not vegan so much as Asian. Not many fat people around here.

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      • Besides you need a nice big strong ass if you want to protect your back. No lie.

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        • Sounds great. I would love to have my weight gain create a nice butt, but as I gained weight, I just got more cellulite. Do any of you have any advice about why we get cellulite and if there really is anything that can be done to get rid of it? I’m sure I’m not the only female (do males even get cellulite???) here who has this problem and would love to know if there is anything that can be done about it.

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          • I have got cellulite- had it since a teenager and never been able to get rid of it despite trying all the stuff out there recommended ( dry skin brushing, endermology, cellulite massage, detox diet, different styles of exercise, chi machine,
            completely eliminating dairy, essential oils, silica, etc. etc).

            I would love a solution! So if anyone has one??

          • I think firstly it’s a genetic pre-disposition: I had cellulite when I was 7, swear to god. And I was skinny! But additionally, I tend to think it’s caused by a sluggish thyroid and all our lady hormones. Lower your stress hormones, balance your sex hormones and on some level just accept you’re probably gonna have a few dimples on your thighs. Think of them as…cute?

          • Haa, haa…cute, huh? I do have a sluggish thyroid.

          • All the WAPF girls swear that they got rid of a lot of cellulite (but not weight loss, say what you will about them but they aren’t anorexic!) by adding in more bone broth (fornthe gelatin and minerals) and coconut oil. My guess is it certainly wouldn’t hurt, as long as you are having the broth in lieu of water with meals, and not overdoing it…. Also, I find that when I am doing a lot of walking and stretching, it seems less obvious- probably because that type of low intensity exercise is good for lymph node circulation.

          • I have done the whole WAPF thing- with bone broth , coconut oil, gelatin, etc etc,
            no difference!
            I may be a hard case though- I have tried so many things that have not worked!

            But yes, I have a sluggish thyroid, and have had it from young..

            Hmm yeah, have not been able to see it as cute yet! lol

          • I hope to write a lot more about gelatin next year. Many believe that cellulite is from inadequate collagen formation and have had success with gelatin.

          • Personally, no amount of gelatin-pounding has changed the appearance of cellulite on my legs. It get’s worse when I gain weight and less visible when I lose weight, that’s pretty much it. But the next time I’m hanging around an old folks home, I’m going to look up some skirts and see if all that Jell-O is making a difference.

            I’ll be looking forward to see what you got on this, Matt!

          • Just come to Florida and hang out by the community pool with me! We’ll do some cellulite research. No looking up skirts required. 1-piece bathing suits 24-7-365

          • Time to add Jell-O to my routine. I did do bone broths for a little while but not long enough to see if it made a difference. I live where it’s hot and humid much of the year as well, so having hot broth/soup is just not appealing for most of the year. I need to think of some creative ways to include gelatin into my diet. The first idea that comes to mind is to add some to my homemade ice cream.

          • I have pounded gelatine too- to no avail!!!

            And yes, same for me- my cellulite is less visible when I am thinner and more when I am fatter-
            and that is about it for me!!

            I still look out for some answer though- hoping that some day something will fall into place and work for me.

          • I used to make jellies with cocoa, milk, stevia , and gelatin,
            or cocoa, coconut cream, stevia , and gelatin..

  7. Hi Julia,
    This is a really Inspiring post. I especially love what you said about people being obsessed with being thin because of the whole having control over yourself thing. It is incredibly sick. As a teenager who went through bouts of anorexia I just recall how satisfied I felt at the end of the day when I looked back and had only eaten maybe a handful of corn or one chicken breast. And then getting so much praise from all the adults in my life because they thought that I looked so good. It really taught me that you can’t trust adults or what anyone else says about how your body should be. Nobody can judge how healthy you are just by looking at you body shape and size.
    Anyway thanks for posting this and I look forward to reading future posts from you.

    Elizabeth

    PS Your doc sounds like a real dumbass!!

    Reply
    • Yup, been there, done that. All about control. I think a root cause is not just the media images, but the overall stress and lack of happiness that abounds today. The media images definitely play a huge role, too, though.

      Guliana just looks unhealthy. I can’t believe anyone would take health advice from her, but I guess they do if they want to look like her!

      Reply
  8. Great article and well written. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

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  9. Thank you so much for this article. I’ve been wondering how to convey that our cultural obsession with weight loss and the amount of eating disorders are really one and the same. It’s a thin line. Two sides of the same coin. I’m promoting Chief’s project to get traffic and interest in his blog as he’s getting ready to unveil a new paradigm around weight loss. I think he may be the first one to truly have a grasp on how fat storage in the body actually works. It could have the power to free people from misguided medical advice without being resigned to being dissatisfied about body image. I’ve seen so much concern around here about the weight gain as people heal their bodies. In promoting Chief’s blog I am also promoting my own. I will be going more in depth on issues as I also look to how we engage our society on a broader level. Kudos to Matt for breaking into the bestsellers on Amazon. That’s amazing!

    Here are my blog posts:
    http://fon2.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/chief-rok-and-the-secrets-to-fat-loss/
    http://fon2.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/why-what-chiefs-doing-is-important/

    And Chief’s blog directly:
    http://www.chiefrok.com/blog/roksolid/the-ransom-note/
    http://www.chiefrok.com/blog/roksolid/fatass-to-badass/

    Reply
    • Thanks Aaron. Wouldn’t mind seeing a post by you over here too sometime. Email me if you have any post ideas.

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      • Yep, I loved the blog posts Aaron..thanks

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    • Ah, yes. “Send money and I’ll tell you the amazing secret!” Never seen *that* before. Yawn…

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      • Hey brec, Donations are appreciated to help with non profit projects but not a requirement in any way shape or form. Go back and read before passing judgment or spreading misinformation. I can’t possibly make it any clearer.

        keep reading and you will see you are dead wrong about my intentions. Yawn

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      • Uh right… Chief isn’t asking for money. He’s gathering interest. It’s easy to write people off. Get enough negative feedback, confused responses, or cynicism and a person will take what they got and go off by themselves. Get enough active interest and you will enliven the other person to share, research, and do more.
        I’ve been in the alternative health world for a long time and after f*cking up my own health and turning myself around on a few different health ideas, I’ve locked on a few people that are really keeping things straight: Matt, Chief, Chris Masterjohn, and Denise Minger. That’s about it.
        And it’s an incredibly hard sell to get any kind of open discussion in the world of health and nutrition. Everybody already “knows” everything. I don’t know how to promote my blog. I don’t know how to promote what Matt’s doing. I don’t know how to promote what Chief’s doing. I feel like people have no clue what I’m talking about, or they’re not interested, or they already “know” everything.
        I suggest you take the time to look at your comment, the attitude it’s coming from, then taking a serious look back at Chief’s blog to see what he’s about. Do you know how much effort it took just to create my blog posts? We’re not closed to debate, feedback, or suggestions, but that’s not what you’re offering.

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        • Well said Aaron, I want to fully discuss anything and everything on my blog, debate feedback etc. If I wanted to sell something there are much easier ways of doing it, I’m about the truth not donations. People are so used to getting “sold ” when you tell them it is totally free and they still look for some kind of hidden price tag and when there isn’t one they twist things to make it seem like there is one.

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        • Yeah, and the truth is they, too, have agendas. That does not mean I have any less respect for them, but the truth is, no one is immune to dogmas, ulterior motives and confirmation bias in their thinking… myself included.

          For example, look at Denise and the contortions of logic and statistical manipulations she went through in order to be able to find some correlation between wheat (grains) and disease in her dissection of the China Study. I commend her for what she did in terms of exposing Campbell’s less than rigorous treatment of his own data, but frankly, when reality crosses paths with her pre-formed bias, she acts just like Campbell.

          In the end, people need to learn to think for themselves, without bias and prejudice. One of the best questions people can ask themselves is: “Do I really know what I think I know?”

          P.S.: I am not claiming that people are never free from bias, prejudice, ulterior motives etc, I am simply pointing out the importance of making sure, to the extent possible, that what one believes fits reality and the data they have available.

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          • Just to be clear, I was responding to this statement of Aaron’s:

            “…I’ve locked on a few people that are really keeping things straight: Matt, Chief, Chris Masterjohn, and Denise Minger. That’s about it.”

    • I always read Chief’s posts with kind of amazement,but it all is still and probably will remain a mystery to me :(

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      • Keep reading, it won’t. lots of new posts popping in. :)

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        • The underlying points I get with Matts stuff and Chiefs stuff is that you have to heal the body , feed it well, and destress it,
          so that it can get in a position where it will naturally be willing to offload a bit of fat since as it no longer is trying to keep it as a defence against ill health, potential starving (diets), stress, etc.

          As someone who has run the full gamut of diets and exercise for over 30 years, I can say that diet and exercise as portrayed by media and even “healthy” approaches, does not work.
          In the end , despite turning myself inside out and upside down- I still have a body that seems to want to defeat me by gaining weight with the slightest relaxation of calorie and diet control:
          and indeed- even gains weight with calorie, exercise and diet control!.

          I am now trying to work more on the approaches on Chief and Matt, as I understand them;
          and am resting more, exercising less intensely, and eating more, and trying to nurture my body rather than deprive it.
          And yes, I have gained weight- and would rather have not!

          But I dont want to live in fear of food and eating all my life, and in a battle with my body and weight.

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          • your starting to get it. ;)

          • cheers! I hope to get more..lol

  10. Does anybody know where we can find a good comparison of body image standards and changes in them over the past several decades… with pictures that clearly show the change?

    I was looking through this and was really struck by some of the images, especially Keira Knightly and Mischa Barton. It’s hard for me to tell how much body image standards have changed since I don’t have a good reference. I didn’t even notice while watching Anna Karenina so I didn’t even think about it until reading this article. Seeing Keira Knightly in the dress in this link really gives it away though. It doesn’t even look right.
    http://judgmentalobserver.com/tag/gender/

    Reply
    • I feel so bad for Mischa Barton, she’s on the yo yo. I actually have no idea who she is, but from what I understand she’s pretty young and has already done the amazing shrinking woman act two or three times with bouts of double chins in between. Not a good pattern, girl!

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    • pooch bellies in biblical depictions!

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    • Just look at the Columbia Pictures woman on the splash screen of an old movie. The modern one has lost at least fifty pounds.

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  11. I have suffered with an eating disorder for 13 yrs, and it wasn’t till last year when Matt said wtf you’re going die… Growing up hearing fat jokes from family, friends, co-workers, has a major impact on how you look at food. I didn’t care that I was doing it, my dentist did. NOTE: purging not good for teeth, example I have gotten several infections because of purging. I fixed that problem, because I couldn’t afford the dentist, and just stopped eating. Why would I stop? Everybody told me how great I looked. Last year I could see bones, and I was good with that. I knew I wasn’t fat, and I was okay. I still was unhappy because I still wanted to lose fat. At 114lbs, I knew I could lose more and my stomach would be perfect. I was sick and cold all the time, and my boss told me if I call in sick one more time I’m fired. Matt told me my body is shutting down. I have to EAT THE FOOD. I told him I don’t want to get fat, he told then I am going to die!!! It has been a struggle from the depths of hell. Everyone judges people off of their size and their looks. I am healthy and struggling with my normal body weight. My dad asked my over Thanksgiving did you gain weight? Last year I was about to die, and he thought I looked good. I see all these people who have health websites, and truly wonder how “healthy” they actually are…

    Reply
    • Alice, I’m really sorry to hear that. I hope from the bottom of my heart that you can overcome the thoughts about how other people view you. They are not you, and you have the right to be healthy and life a good life. I know what you mean about your family not realizing that your health is in danger – when I was sick my family denied it, and also called me out on the weight I gained as though it was a bad thing, while I was getting my life back and finally healing from that horrible part of my life. I shut out their comments as much as I could (was really hard) and am now healthy again with no desire to go back to my old ways. You’ve found a haven here, I have recovered with the information on this site.

      Reply
      • Yep I can sympathize! I too have been affirmed for looking thin (at below normal bodyfat levels),
        and negated for gaining weight (even when at normal bodyfat levels..)

        How is one supposed to get a good esteem at a normal weight when one is only affirmed and told you look good when you are thin!!

        My mother went on about how shocked she was when she saw me, and how I no longer looked nice and slim, and what had I been eating, etc. etc..

        I too have to realise my mother (and most of society!) has issues around weight etc, and I have to affirm myself when they wont.
        I have to disconnect myself from her approval/disapproval around my size/shape..

        Reply
        • I avoid people who talk to me about my appearance. Good or bad, inevitably it is unsatisfying. Unfortunately for my mother she gets blacklisted for her comments. I thought people were supposed to gain wisdom with age, but as far as i can tell vanity has replaced all else in her. Every time I see her, I am just saddened to see how many physical problems a life time of dieting will cause. It’s so strange that someone so ill, is always giving health advice.

          Reply
    • Alice, I feel you. People praise the Auschwitz look, they really do! I spend holidays with a woman whose family knows has struggled with eating disorders all her life. Last year she shows up looking like Anne Frank on a diet and everyone is telling her she looks good. I was blown away. That’s why I feel pretty certain that this has less to do with people appreciating health in others and more to do with a psychological backlash against all of the excess of America, coupled with the Puritan work ethic our nation is rooted in. The harder you swim against the current of mocha Frappuccino’s with whip, the better. Proves you’re disciplined and you “care” about yourself. It’s all subjective cultural crap. Bring it up as a conversation piece over your next holiday table. Then take seconds.

      Reply
      • You could say the excesses are a backlash against the Puritanism. Look at Ben&Jerry’s. They have to constantly invent new flavors with every possible thing stuffed into them all at once. Ditto the stupid cupcake trend. I find it really gross how we can’t have any simple flavors of ice cream or cupcakes anymore. It all has to be stuffed with 7 different kinds of candy and buttercream. I have traveled a little, not extensively, but this seems like a very American thing.

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        • I personally enjoy plain ol’ vanilla ice cream.

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        • That makes me think of an advertisement for Hershey’s ice cream hanging at my local gas station. Says “Now Bursting With More STUFF!!!” Makes me laugh every time. The best part is, there’s an audience out there that it works on!

          Reply
        • It’s the same in Sweden, low carb craze, raw food, fat scared, intense cardio being the healthiest thing you can do, eating salads, being emaciated as a healthy ideal, its everywhere in the media, all sorts of lifestyle magazines and tv-shows where they’re converting “fatties” to “healthy” by intense cardio and crazy restricted diets. Add to that a popularion which is chronically overstressed and sun-deficient, you get a recipe for disaster, government tells us to avoid the sun cus it’s dangerous, do as much cardio as you can even if you have children and working overtime, and saturated fats and carbs makes you obese, heart-diseased and diabetic, sigh it’s quite a mess

          Reply
          • The Swedish government advises against getting sunshine?! Good lord! That’s why you guys are so fair, so your poor sun-starved bodies can soak in as melatonin & vitamin d producing rays as possible!

          • Haha not true. They dont say avoid the sun. They say dont get burned. Were pale because the sun is only strong enough for mere three months a year. Come here during the summer and everyone has a tan. as soon as the sun is out, youll see swedes almost fighting over a spot in the sun, no matter how cold it is outside. But the body can only make vit d from the sun if it has a certain frequency, which it doesnt 9 months a year. Agree about the low carb high fat cult though. Sad and scary at the same time. Also no one is promoting extreme ecercise, if sweden is anything, its the land of “lagom”

          • Feck, smartphones arent that smart. I want finished haha. I have lived in the us. Living in sweden is a huge mental vacation in comparison. Were not nearly as obsessed about food, kcal and exercise as over there.. not anywhere close (and no i dont live out in a forgotten forest haha)

          • First world problems…we are worrying about all the wrong things.

            I have had people (guys) tell me I could stand to lose 5 pounds and I’m a size 0/2 (5’4, 120#) and former ED sufferer. I ignore them. Alice, the other thing is, everyone gains weight during recovery. It comes off, and you settle into a normal weight that will probably be about what you weighed before the ED.

          • Yeah I don’t know, last summer was really crap (I live in Gothenburg), and most people stay inside and work most of the summer anyway. Despite the latitude being the same as Alaska, northern Canada, south Greenland, Iceland and north Russia, there are no doctors that even screen for vitamin D at health checkups. If you ask for it they look at you flabbergasted as they don’t understand the point.

            Strålskyddsmyndigheten (Radiation Safety Authority) barely acknowledges that vitamin D has any positive health effects, and says that 15 minutes exposure is enough at summer, but never to go into the sun at midday.

            I don’t know if you missed all the tv-shows, magazines, books and stuff that promote steady state cardio as the holy grail of health. You just need to go any doctors office and they will have packs of running-magazines and such, making you seem like a unhealthy a-hole if you didn’t run atleast a marathon. That stuff about “land of lagom=just enough” is just a huge myth that swedish people like to pride themselves on.

    • Call your Dad and tell him that what he says has a powerful impact on you. Put this comment in a letter and send it to him. Tell him what’s there for you. Tell him you want a father that puts more concern over whether you’re going to live than how you look. Tell him you can’t have that in your life. Tell him to take responsibility for how he makes people feel and the effects it has. Seriously. Do it. Also, don’t forget to tell him you love him.

      Reply
  12. I haven’t commented here for months because I relapsed so badly with anorexia that I had to go into treatment again.
    Yo, Matt, is was fascinating to look at what they fed us there and see how perfectly it matched all you’ve been saying about easily absorbed food, etc.

    Julie, amazing, well-written post. I’m similarly infuriated by your doctor, and am fascinated by how different one body is from another, how ridiculous the bmi thing is. I had a really good friend, the same height as me and you, but different genetics and much more heavily built than me. We talked weights at one point, and the lowest weight she had ever been was 115, about the highest weight I’d ever been at that time (I did a weight gain experiment soon after which was as much a disaster as many people’s weight loss stories on here). At 115, I’m curvy and, to me, fat; at 115 my friend was clearly too thin (she showed me pics). She was routinely around 150 and looked just heavyset, not fat. That really brought it home to me.
    All the best for your healthy life!
    Ela

    Reply
    • Yeah we saw that coming when you started posting about how much you loved eating nothing but carrots. Sorry honey. Hope you’re feeling better and on your way back this time for keeps. We’ll always be here to help you in any way we can. Me and the 180 peeps that is.

      Reply
    • Ela, thanks for your compliments and I hope you’re getting yourself to a better place! When I quit the barfing I basically consumed Sprite, yogurt and bananas in small portions for a few months. What kinds of foods are you having luck with? You can do it!

      Reply
    • Ela, so glad you’re doing better! Keep up the good work.

      It is very true that peoples weights differ a lot depending on their build.

      Reply
      • Totally. I weighed myself a few weeks ago and I’m 185. I wish I could post a picture on here to show what that looks like on me and why I shouldn’t be considering dropping over sixty pounds to get to a “normal” weight.

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  13. Doctors really need to be held accountable for their careless remarks about weight. When I was in college, I had tried dieting off and on for three years…and I had gained 50 pounds. At the time I went to the doctor I was on 1500 calories a day and 30 minutes cardio per day, and I wasn’t losing any weight. I weighed 270 pounds. He checked my thyroid, saw that my hormones were within normal levels, and told me that I just wasn’t doing enough. He said that I should drop to 1000 calories a day and do 1 hour cardio per day. So I did.

    Needless to say, I couldn’t keep living that life. When I stopped doing it after about 6 months, I gained the little I had lost back, plus another 10 pounds. I will never restrict my calories like that again, and I think that doctors who suggest that kind of lifestyle should have their licenses yanked.

    Reply
    • More one size fits all crap. That really sucks that you went through that, Bonnie. The worst part is knowing your doctor probably thinks you must actually be lazy or sneaking Twinkies. As far as I know, most doctor’s really believe it’s all calories in, calories out. Ha!

      Reply
    • It is pretty damn weak that something so scientifically-known, and so physiologically fundamental as the futility of calorie restriction for long-term weight loss, seems to be completely undiscovered by most actual practicing medical professionals.

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  14. I can barely stand looking at poor giuliana she looks so darn malnourished. I’ve always thought she could’ve saved so much money in fertility treatments and surrogate fees if she would have only fattened up herself a bit. sigh….

    Reply
  15. My sister-in-law recently lost weight for her wedding, and everyone keeps telling her how well she’s done and how she must keep going even though the wedding’s been and gone. It concerns me, as I know that the plan she’s on is not sustainable long-term, and I wonder what the consequences will be, metabolically, psychologically, etc.

    Interestingly, in South Africa (where I live), it’s only the white communities who see thinness as something desirable. In the ethnic communities, skinniness is seen as a sign of poverty and disease (AIDS, TB, etc.) and as such is considered unattractive.

    When are people going to realise that thin and healthy are not necessarily synonymous? I’m healthier now, at 140 lbs, than I ever was at 105 lb, or even 120 lbs (my pre-RRARF weight). Why can’t we just be who we are, without being judged?

    Reply
    • It’s the same here. Big asses are very desirable for black women. Watch Real Housewives of Atlanta (I can’t believe I just admitted to watching that, but it was only twice while I was at the gym.)

      But also, white women don’t get the same kind of big ass as a black woman. If my ass gets big it just spreads out, it doesn’t get nice and round.

      Reply
        • My ass used to be really flat and saggy. But it’s freaking huge and round now from doing the right exercises (lunges, heavy squats, straight-leg deadlift, and several others) and eating a lot. I am now told “you have a black man’s ass.” It’s poetry to my ears. Now if I could just get that description of the front side too I could die a happy man.

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          • LMFAO (Laughing My Flat Ass Off)

            Gotta find some of those exercises. Not terribly well endowed in the back-side, though getting rounder from Eating the Food!! Good to know it’s quite possible!

          • I struggled with my weight from about the age of 12 until 15, needlessly. I was a pretty sturdy 12 year old (5 ft 7 inches) when I first became aware of my body image, but not by any means fat. Even as a kid I was a bit chubby and people picked on my a little because of it, but by 11 I had shot up a great deal and not put on a lot of weight, so I became much thinner naturally. By the time I was my full height of almost 5 ft 8 inches at 13, I was just 113 pounds (after dieting for about a year). I was very twiggy. Finally, when I was 15, a friend (who was very active and knew a lot more about stuff than I did) told me I was too skinny and should just eat what I wanted and my metabolism would take care of it. She also advised me to make every day activities into exercise. I believed her, so I did what she suggested, and I filled out a bit and looked really good and ended up about 130 pounds by age 19. Still thin, but not as twiggy, and really toned (I had some really strong arms, very lean overall). That was the best year of my life, 15, because I set myself free from the diet I was on. So I was very fortunate to have that good advice from a friend when I most needed it. How she figured out that our metabolisms take care of the extra food we eat, I have no clue, but it was just what I needed to know and believe at the time.

            So it makes me really mad to hear stories like these, because it’s just so wrong, and messes with peoples’ brains. Too bad our doctors are influenced by something other than reality and reason. Very eye opening.

          • Isn’t it amazing how the hardest things to understand are usually just things we’re over thinking? You know, your friend didn’t have to do a dissertation on metabolism in humans to figure that out. Eat what you feel like eating and don’t sit on your ass. It sounds too simple to be true, but it kinda sorta is! We just get in trouble when we start thinking that there is something wrong with who we are when we let ourselves be ourselves. All the tampering and restricting of diets just sets you up for a minefield of disasters waiting to happen, as so many people on this site have experienced.

          • Haha, you should now focus on writing a book on beefing up the front side. Forget Amazon, you’d probably top the NYT best seller list !

          • Sweet, gonna keep up the squats and lunges (and the eating a lot).

            P.S. Matt, since our chat last week my temps have been between 98.6 and 98.96 every time I’ve checked (even upon waking). Pretty good progress for 5 days!

          • Matt, I think I got an email the other day that said there are some special pills to get a magic johnson. You should look into that.

            But for the butt…Pretty much all women could use more glute muscle, and a stronger posterior chain. Do it for your posture, ladies! ;-)

            Full depth “olympic” squats & standard floor deadlifts have given me a decent bubble butt over time. I also do “romanian” DLs (knees bend a little, and the hips slide back) which I think are better and safer than a truly straight leg DL.

            Kettlebell swings are great for the butt and entire posterior chain, too.

          • Or… Just take ballet. ;) Haha. Great for the derrière, and so much fun. :D

          • Great for the derrière, but terrible for body-image! I think taking ballet for 9.5 years is part of what sparked my eating disorder (teacher used to slap our thighs and tell us we needed to burn the fat off!). But I agree, if you can find a teacher who appreciates that you’re just there for the fun of it, it’s awesome!

          • Yep got that kind of ass too from heavy lunges squats deadlifts etc!!!
            Big time.

            Unfortunately I also have saddlebags- which I have never been able to get rid of no matter what kind of exercise I do!

            So I have a big ass out the sides, and out the back..

          • @ matt, re:your ass:
            Picture please!

      • Haha, I’m a white woman with a black woman’s booty! It just gets rounder if I put on weight!

        Reply
      • I would love to have my weight gain create a nice butt, but as I gained weight, I just got more cellulite. Do any of you have any advice about why we get cellulite and if there really is anything that can be done to get rid of it? I’m sure I’m not the only female (do males even get cellulite???) here who has this problem and would love to know if there is anything that can be done about it.

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        • ditto!!
          cellulite solutions please??!!

          Reply
          • Ugh, yes me too. Don’t mind being 20lb heavier, but the cellulite situation is just horrible. I’m only 23 and seem to have cellulite EVERYWHERE (even calves and arms). I’m not overweight. I know that one theory is that it’s caused by estrogen dominance (hence men are less prone), but other theories say this can’t be the case as cellulite usually gets worse around menopause, when estrogen levels drop. Any thoughts, Matt?

    • Howzit Mali, me too, now we should have a private conversation in Afrikaans lol ;)

      Reply
      • Haha, howzit! I’m actually British, but married to a South African, so I don’t really speak Afrikaans (although I know a few basics, and could probably figure it out if you spoke to me in Afrikaans!). What part of the country are you in?

        Reply
  16. I learned how to be bulimic from 8th grade “health” class when they showed us a movie about eating disorders. “Wow, I can eat anything I want and just throw up! Why didn’t I think of that before!”

    I also wrecked my health in my teens from bulimia and a 12-pack of diet coke per day.

    Reply
  17. When I hit puberty I was 5’7 and 150 lbs. I had a growth spurt that apparently scared my mother and my doctor told her I was obese. I was put on a diet at age nine.. I have yet to recover but I’m working on it.

    Reply
  18. Matt I think you have missed the greatest step in order to boost metabolism, direct from Giuliana’s meal plan “she constantly consumes cayenne pepper in her water to increase her metabolism.”.
    You fool! You trick us into eating starch, SUGAR, salt while all we needed was more water and cayenne pepper! Shame on you.

    Reply
  19. On another note, more seriously, for me it’s orthorexia. I am preparing my trip to backpack Mexico and Costa Rica starting in January and I am researching if Fukushima has affected fish and seafood on the Mexico coastline before daring to take any. And I will take some Modifilan to detox from radiation if I eat seafood over there. How bad is it, Doctor Matt? Add to this the fact that so far I still react to grain, meaning no corn in Mexico, and it’s gonna be fun…
    I wonder how you can fight against this leanness obsession when it has infiltrated your fantasies? Meaning that personally, like most Westerners, I associate six packs on a man (I’m gay) with sexy/hot and chubby doesn’t give me a boner…While I kind of know that it might be due to years of advertising and conditioning rather than biological evidence of attractiveness. Dunno if that tendency can be reversed, I feel that approaching potential partners through this filter is quite limiting at times…

    Reply
    • Hey Laurent
      You might find you react differently to grain in foods in mexico that have been processed with traditional methods.

      I know what you mean about the leanness obsession and fantasies and it definitely can be reversed I’ve done so myself with various factors of attraction. Now a days women are attractive in more of a “buffet” sense to me as the different “flavors” are like different culinary arts and all the things unique ones can offer. As an example garlic isn’t the nicest thing to eat raw but what you do with it in the “kitchen” is a whole other story. Some people like Don Gorske choose to eat only hamburgers for their entire life. As you let your intuition lead you, you might find non physical qualities more attractive.

      Reply
      • Thanks Chief, I truly hope I will reach this stage of “buffet” rather than ending a dirty old man in Thailand, which seems common for my kind lol
        I do hope I will be able to eat some tortilla in Mexico. Maybe the lime water processing will make a whole difference indeed. 3 months in Mexico without corn seems like a challenge but hey I’ve done all southeast Asia without eating rice so…

        Reply
        • skipping rice there …wow
          I’m not sure I could avoid the “yummy” as well as you have in your travels.

          It takes time and it doesn’t happen overnight but dedicated time to thinking about it slowly will change things.

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          • I’m freaking fed up of being grain free. It’s been almost 7 years now, intolerance started after vaccines + trip to Australia where they have high level of gluten in the flours they use.
            I am determined to eat tortillas even if I die from it! lol

          • EAT THE FOOD!

  20. By the way I keep addressing Matt and don’t want to be rude, so congratulation Julia on your article that is informative and well written and that I appreciated!

    Reply
    • Thanks Laurent. You know, I have a definite problem with gluten but it’s not really a problem if I’m in a really good mood. I know that sounds funny. That’s the kind of thing a pragmatic, science-based person would likely roll their eyes at I’m sure. But if I’m not especially hungry or if I’m angry or tense or stressed or generally worried about anything and I eat wheat I get grotesquely bloated, blurred vision, hot and itchy, the works. If I feel fine and happy to begin with and make a deal with myself not to worry about the what if’s associated with eating wheat, diner french toast is no problem. Like this morning. Shit was good. Anyway, I don’t know if your vaccinations and experience in Australia are the only causes of your problems, could very well be. I just wonder if you feel it could be anything else or if you’ve noticed reactions come on during different emotional states? My boyfriend is epileptic and when he’s stressed, his digestion is bad. And when his digestion is bad, gluten gives him heart burn. And the longer he’s stressed, the longer his digestive tract is all messed up, and bam, he has a seizure. So it can look like wheat gave him a seizure, but there’s really all sorts of underlying factors going on to begin with, most of them emotional. He never really connected the dots between his mental state and the heartburn and seizures and stuff until he moved in with me and I saw it and pointed it out.

      Reply
      • That is an interesting observation Jinny. In my case I have never been intolerant to grain until I travel and it started in Australia. I was then diagnosed with heavy metal toxicity, mercury and aluminum that must have come from exotic vaccines but also from anti-allergy shots that I had for years as a teenager. It’s only true elimination that I discovered my symptoms were related to grain. But what’s interesting is that it has never been an allergy, but an intolerance. I think the mercury brought candidiasis to keep it in control and leaky gut…So there is a real metabolic cause here for me.
        HOWEVER, now the mental takes off all the time. If I know I might be exposed to grain I will be very anxious, fearing reactions afterward. So indeed the mental process might be in the way of healing now…

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      • Julia sorry, not Jinny as mentioned in my other post…

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      • I’ve been recovering from my orthorexia for over 3 years now. I’ve noticed one of the biggest factors for how I feel on any given day is mood. Second is eating the food. Mood is more subtle than just “mood” though. It’s feeling whole, complete, like things are taken care of. Like you’re in control of things and you have self-expression and autonomy in your life.

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  21. It hit me as I was doing laundry that we are to blame and we set the standards too. These girls wouldn’t have an eating disorder if we didn’t give them a reason to. Who buys the magazines, calendars, and clothes/bra/underwear? Marketing people know what sells, and truth is a 250lbs girl in her underwear isn’t going to sell compared to a girl who weighs 110. Okay maybe 250lbs was extreme, but try 180 or 190. Even hanes had a commercial with bigger girls, however the biggest girl couldn’t possibly have been more than 150lbs. These girls want to be thin to stay in the business. We all have different body shapes and sizes, and they go to extremes to make us happy. Could you date someone who was dumb? The worked at McDonald’s? You knew they could do better but they did what was expected of them. To do their job, get paid, not get fired. Models and actress/actors do the same thing. Deep down we know we can do better, but everyone of us is replaceable. On a last note I’m not saying a McDonald’s employees are dumb but friends have made it clear through fb newsfeed about missing fries/straws/ no ketchup, lol!!

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    • The fashion industry is run by gay men. Straight men don’t think the twiggy look is sexy… because they don’t look like women.

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      • Great insight Tierney, thanks for this useful contribution that presupposes all gay men look like women and that it is even a problem for a man to look less masculine. Following a lengthy article that highlights what disaster conformism, cliches and mental boxes can do to people mental health, this is spot on! Truly a fantastic contribution well on par with the intelligence displayed by all other readers of Matt’s blog, great to have you among us pal.

        Reply
        • What did you say up above? You don’t like chubby men. If they came with real boobs and hips I bet you’d like them even less. You’re worried about ending up a dirty old man in Thailand, I know what that means. Sorry if I offended you by pointing out that men with exactly your tastes run the fashion biz, and think the ideal of beauty is a 10 year old Asian boy… is that some kind of revelation?

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          • Dude, so rude and totally ignorant.

          • I take the liberty to joke about myself and recognize that I can be shallow in my tastes…But what you did in your post and answer is totally different. You basically label people on physical appearance and on what you think men should look like, I have mentioned that men in less optimal shape don’t arouse me, that doesn’t mean I label them as less masculine or less athletic or make fun of them – who am I to judge people without having walked in their shoes? By the same logic I guess transgender people are “less” human than other?
            And sorry when I say that I didn’t wanted to end up as a “dirty old man” in Thailand I meant becoming someone who goes out with a younger man, which is common in Asia, but certainly not freaking pedophilia! By associating gays and anyone who work int he fashion industry with pedophilia you certainly show a very discerning mind. By the way it’s the behavior of a lot of ageing men to want to be with someone younger, straight or gay, and even of some women and it has nothing to do with pedophilia. And if the fashion industry fantasize on 10 year old Asian why is the idea model a 6’6 caucasian male?! But anyway your posts speak by themselves – I am not gonna label you because we know what label does to people by now…

          • I’m not taking sides here, but I think perhaps Tierney meant that “twiggy” looking women don’t look like women, not that straight men don’t look like women and gay men do. I could be wrong, but that’s how I read it.

            Like I said, not taking sides. Just thought that perhaps there might have been a misunderstanding here.

          • That is exactly what I meant, thanks for saying it better than I was (obviously.) Laurent got the opposite idea for some reason.

            Laurent, I meant no offense, seriously, I think you are a wee bit sensitive here. I have actually know several people who go to Thailand for underage sex (obviously not friends of mine), so I’m sorry if I misunderstood your intent behind that, but Thailand is known as where you go to have underage sex, so you might want to be more careful with those comments in the future. I am the mom of two young boys so perhaps that struck my own nerve.

          • Ah! Sorry then if my own wording could have been misinterpreted…And indeed what I read in your comment is that straight men don’t look like women, hence the rant, In your sentence there was only “straight men” as a subject so that dictates that what follows was in relation to the subject…And your following comment implied that you think men working in the fashion industry have a taste for 10 year old boys. So I think there was a fair bit of misunderstanding here, and my own words might have been misinterpreted as well. Let’s move on…

          • I’m sorry. I can see that I phrased things very badly. I was tired last night and I’m not sure where that train of thought was even going or even if it’s very relevant to this discussion… yes let’s move on :)

          • Laurent, back to the fashion industry, I was talking about the ideal *female* model looking like a 10 yo Asian boy. For instance, some people think Kate Upton is fat.

            Guys… is Kate Upton fat???

          • Nope, Kate Upton isn’t fat at all. She’s just not “model skinny” because the standard for models is to look like starving skeletons.

            The fashion industry seems to want women to increasingly look non-feminine by having no curves, no healthy muscle tone and minimal breasts. So from the neck down, they do tend to look prepubescent.

            If this is partly because of gay men pushing for those ideals (I don’t really know), then the women need to stop buying into that paradigm. Upton is a good example for other models to follow.

          • HELL NO!!!! If Kate Upton is fat….then I wanna go and get me some “Hoggin’-Dazen” !! ;)

    • Hmm… Yeah why do people buy this garbage? Is it that we hate ourselves for our affluence, as Julia suggests? I mean once upon a time there were ads for multivitamins, telling thin girls they could gain a “figure.” It’s not as though magazines have always promoted starvation. So why did this change? Why has “being thin” become a status symbol? It’s so weird to me.

      And I haven’t really studied it so I can’t answer my question. But I did pick up a women’s fashion health magazine the other day, and it kind of shocked me with it’s glorification of eating disorders. XD Everyone on the pages was super thin, and the dieting tips were along the lines of “eat celery, and stop eating anything yummy.” Was horrible. Makes me really concerned when I think about how many of these sell each month.

      Reply
      • I read a really interesting book when I was 13 called “Good Girl’s Don’t Eat Dessert.” It’s all about how back when women were eating burgers and milkshakes at the car hop and bemoaning their lack of a “figure”, they were sexually starved. “Good girls” didn’t go all the way, they didn’t even want to….if you did or seemed like you did, you were a slut, you were bad, you were shamed. Now women are expected to be sexually liberated and not “prude” but should only indulge in dessert if they feel like being “bad.” How many times have you heard a women pass up delicious foods by saying “oh no, I’m being good.” As someone who has worked in restaurants for many years, I can tell you like, 80% of women are like this. But then when they do decide to go for it, they’re filled with guilt and they binge eat. I think most women in America have an eating disorder on some level, and that society has been putting restraints on all the appetites of women for quite awhile now.

        Reply
      • I think some men’s preferences are changing because if the media, too. Curves still rule, but I think there is a greater tolerance and even preference for skinnyness elsewhere. (Although our nation is getting fatter, so….) At least in NYC this seems to be the case.

        The “health” magazine are so awful. I totally ignore all of those sections. It’s like a how-to guide to disordered eating.

        Reply
  22. My girlfriend has come along way since i met her almost two years ago! I remember when i met her she was soooo skinny… i was like… this girl needs to eat. She ate one piece of pizza and i ate the rest on our first date… haha! I found out a week later she had been taking addoral on and off for a few years… she got them prescribed to her for low energy. After talking to her about alot of things… i got her to start eating the food a month later, and taking small doses of natural thyroid. She went through digestion issues, and everything there else there is when you have been starving yourself and living off adrenalin. Man did she keep eating though… she was worried about the weight she was gaining… i encouraged it, and told her i didn’t care, because i had already gone through it before and knew what it took to break free and be healthy all around. Luckily she was unemployed at the time… it was perfect… she could eat all day and sleep while i was at work… and thats what she did for a whole month. I loaded her up with whole milk, yogurt, fruit, french toast, eggs, pastas, pho, ice cream, hash browns, mashed potatoes, bagels and cream cheese, hamburgers, and pizza!!!

    By end of month one… her digestion was great, and she started have one to three regular bowel movements a day!!! She went from 5’6 110 pounds to 132 pounds!!! and the fat went to the good womanly spots!!! By month 3 she wanted to start lifting weights and rock climbing with me!!

    Its been almost two years since we got together… she glows, is happy, sex drive is higher than mine somehow, wants to run, and we both love food! She still hold her weight steady at around 130… and never has to worry about what she eats… and we drink a fair amount of micro brews and soda! She still wants to lose her little pouch of belly fat… and i told her that her two year mark of healing is approaching, and thats when my fat just melted away. I went from a steady two year weight of 162, my heaviest being 172… to my 20yearold/prediet weight of 146 at 7 1/2% body fat at 5’9… which some people might think is still to low for my height… but thats where my body wants to be… i don’t try to lose weight, gain, or bulk up… i eat when i am hungry.

    We are very happy… we eat alot of good whole foods at home… and when we go out we eat lots of different varieties that we don’t usually cook at home…. even fast food!! We have friends now that think they know what healthy is but have no idea… this particular friend, she fluctuates from 120 to 150 rapidly… she eats and crash diets and uses addoral all the time, and she is vegetarian/vegan depending on how long her body can last without animal fat and protein. When we eat out with her and her boyfriend who eats everything and is healthy… she tries to get something supposedly healthy while the rest of us just wants what good and tasty and want to try new things! NO limitations, and choosing what your body wants!!!

    I am not saying what i did, or what i had my girlfriend do will work for everyone… but i think there is a chance it will work for 95% of people… fuck diets.

    Reply
    • Cool story! I’m so glad you are both enjoying good health and that your lady is doing well. It’s inspiring to hear that the advice here is impacting people so positively.

      I have been eating the food for about a year now…I have stopped gaining weight for the past 4 months or so I’m pretty sure, but all in all, I gained a lot. I used to be a healthy 125 lbs before dieting down severely. My rebound weight was a lot more than I imagined though (about 60 lb gain), and my only wish is to be comfortable in my body, especially for sports. I never want to be skinny though, I completely reject that ideal. I just want to be at ease with moving again, and of course, feeling better in my body (i.e. more agile, endurant, etc). You say it took 2 years of eating the food before your body started letting go of some fat? How did your body start reacting after that period of time? I love the inspiration because sometimes, in the back of my mind, that awful little sneaky voice telling me to cut back on the food comes back – a normal thing I believe for ex-eating disorders. But then you have to shut it up and battle it! So hearing how eating the food is working for other people really helps keep my mind on the long-term picture, even though everyone’s body is different. I’m also lifting weights now and already see a difference in tone and the way I feel so I guess I’m moving along the right path. Your post was appreciated!

      Reply
      • I’ve been ETF for about 5-6 months and gained about 20 lbs. I have stabilized at that weight. Based on everything I’ve read so far on the website, I’ve assued that it will take at least a year for my body to heal and start losing weight. I’ve put myself in a place mentally to be patient and allow my body the time it needs to heal. Knowing this and allowing myself time for the process to work has eliminated so much of the stress I had towards my body and eating.

        Reply
    • halfnavajo, great story, as good as the post.

      Reply
    • Thanks- a lovely story-
      and also good to hear a possible time frame – possibly 2 years for the body
      to heal and naturally drop fat..

      Often our expectations are for a lot sooner than this!

      Reply
    • This is awesome!

      Reply
    • That’s really cool for you guys.

      Alas I’m still too caught up in my own (downward) pattern,bc I’m too anxious etc.
      Basically before,when I ate the food/what I felt like and was clueless regarding it all,there’s been a time where I suddenly gained like crazy,though from a fairly early age I became chubby and have always fluctuated throughout life since. Never felt really energetic and kinda had to push myself/make myself do certain things or felt really warm…..and the biggest issue that led to lots of personal insecurity,beginning pre-teen/teenage years was not having a femaleshaped body. I always had most fat around my belly&lowerback&upperlegs,flat ass,very small boobs,male-like bodyhair patterns…..and ofcourse being bullied,which really made me feel even more unattractive&insecure. Also never (could) wear really female clothes as I looked plump in it….

      Now I probably need to gain some weight,but just am too afraid that A) Once I start eating all foods again,i’ll become easily addicted by it again(I guess my ‘mind’ is one of the biggest enemy’s in this,wanting more&more&bigger even when deep down I might feel I had enough…..and this was also the case pre-current-weight)
      and B) the bodycomp will still not distribute the right way and C) I will have to make/push myself do things again…..

      I now have moments where I sometimes burst of energy so much it makes me restless,wanting to workout till I’m deadtired/inner-feeling&unrest like I’m not doing enough though I often lack inspiration and sometimes a bit fearful for some reason, but I can’t keep doing what I’m doing now….as I also know it’s damaging,financially causing problems etc.

      So,what’s the secret here?…..were the pizza,bagels,icecream etc. all homemade?is that the thing which makes the difference…..if one makes their own bread,icecream,pizza(dough&topping) etc. the body reacts differently(by for instance becoming less addicting)?

      Just like I mentioned above about Chief’s posts….I’m still clueless/hopeless&fearing regarding all of this…..

      Reply
      • Dutchie, how old were you when you first started freaking out about your body comp? And for how long of a period have you ever let yourself just be you, eating and exercise wise?

        Reply
        • @Julia Gumm The insecure thing really started to hit me since end of elemantary school/beginning of highschool since all friends started to have boyfriends (now&then) and I never did,so I somehow connected it to being ugly,also worsened by all the bullying. I always kinda dreamed that ‘later’ I’d magically turned into a swan like I saw in all those movies….
          In my early twenties I ‘awoke’ from that illusion and recogned that if I didn’t work for it,nothing would happen so I joined the gym to do some (intensive) Cardioing on various machines. I’d cut out mostly going to McD,Burger King and other fried stuff….meaning I wouldn’t buy it myself for at home,however I did eat fries and stuff when going to eat out with friends,which happened a lot. But I basically ate what I liked,which came down to lots of PUFA filled-HFCSyrupy/sugary/aspartame laden stuff and lots of dough in the form of bread,pizza/pasta etc. which kept increasing especially the last couple of years of my ‘still ignorant/unknowing regarding everything’ more&more&bigger servings like a true addiction,bc I liked eating it so much as in it gave me,momentarily,a good feeling.
          I wish it was all ‘good’ back then and it’s ‘just’ my current state/ruling out foods etc. that has been the cause,but unfortunately it isn’t. :(

          Like I said my bodycomp from a fairly early age was never really feminine,so looking back in hindsight I know it’s probably hormonally related. i just don’t know what…..born with weak adrenals&immune system,malnourishment/weak digestive systembc my mom could only live on milk&tangerines the 1st months during my pregnancy bc of horrible morning sickness? PCOS , other hereditary metabolic thyroid disease?….

          Though there’s never been any known metabolic disease in our family,which doesn’t mean there might’ve not been any….Seeing the ‘lifestyle’ my grandmother had my guess would be it’s adrenally related.

          Reply
    • That girl is lucky!

      Reply
  23. When I was 7 years old, I started taking diet pills (a family member of mine gave them to me). Then I started taking more diet pills (4 instead of 2, etc). I remember them sneaking them in my shoe on a family vacation to Florida. I remember taking so many one day that I truly thought my heart was going to explode. I was “child-chubby”, but nothing that should have made me feel as though I should have done that to myself, though I didn’t have much of a support system. Family was very negative towards my appearance. Countless crash diets, stints with restriction, binge eating, starvation, juice fasts, etc throughout my entire life. At 17, I became a legitimate bulimic. I was a heavier girl at the time (about 250lbs at 5’7″), though I carried my weight very well (I have a MASSIVE frame). Within a few months, I was between 175-180, would lose my period for months, then have it for weeks, started losing clumps of hair, bruised like an over-ripe fruit and was wearing sweaters even when it was 90 degrees as I was constantly freezing. My body was shutting down and I am confident I would have died had I not altered my behaviour.

    Eventually, gained all of the weight back, then started dieting to lose some weight. Mind you, while I gained weight and a considerable amount at that, my health came back with that added weight (and I was NOT eating a very wholesome diet; junk foods, however, aided in my healing). I felt good about myself and decided to ‘take it to the next level’ and implemented the Paleo diet/habits into my life. Initially, I felt pretty darned good and lost weight (pretty much back to the weight I was when I was ‘sick’). Eventually, I hit the wall, felt like shit and started feeling myself breaking down AGAIN in ways more than one.

    Now, today: I am slightly heavier than I’d like to be (I think most of us feel that way) My skin, however, is mostly clear… the best it has been (while eating Paleo it was a greasy sea of acne; I remember one day, after a great deal of planning, I was going to have my face tattooed and feared I wouldn’t be able to as my skin was so bad); my husband constantly says, “…Are you wearing foundation? Your skin looks beautiful”, though I won’t be wearing a thing. My nails grow quickly. I shaved my head bald last year and in just a year, my hair is thick-thick-thick and to my shoulders. While I haven’t been focusing on ‘losing weight’ as of late, I find that I do not gain weight as easily and this is eating… absolutely whatever I want. Copious amounts. My weight lifting has improved. My mood is elevated. My cognition is better. I’m having better/more sex. I have a REGULAR cycle. My digestion is wonderful. I heal faster/better. That’s only part of it all! :D

    (Thank you so much for this blog, Matt. It has helped me so much)

    Eat and be merry. Eat and be well! Life is far too short and too precious to punish yourself for a little extra weight or for celebrating life with some food! EAT THE FOOD!

    Reply
    • What an awesome story! Good for you. I’ve had the same experience with my skin now that I’m eating whatever I want- everyone tells me how great it looks, without makeup on. And I used to have acne! I don’t wash my face very often, and when I do I just use refined coconut oil (the smell of unrefined makes me gag).

      It’s also good to hear how fast your hair is growing. That’s one thing I’m still waiting on, but I’ve heard hair can take awhile to catch up.

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for your kind words/encouragement. I look back on what I wrote and those are only SOME of the things that have been corrected! I still have to remind myself to ‘get over the number’ sometimes (though I don’t even own a scale anymore, I can just tell that I have put on weight), but aches and pains have gone away, along with everything else listed + more and I am feeling like a new freakin’ human being!

        Reply
      • Thank you so much. : D

        Reply
  24. Such fantastic and inspiring success stories! I love you Matt Stone! I have been smashin and improving on my fukitol skills since last November and I’ve definitely gained a lot of weight, but my body composition is better than it ever has been since I was a kid.

    The weight gain has been both muscle and fat. I NEVER get light headed EVER anymore. My tail bone never hurts or gets swollen anymore. My ass doesn’t fold in on itself either (I’ve said this on numerous occasions it still freaks me the fuck out)

    Energy consistency is still improving. Vividness and just plain instances altogether of dreams have improved. I can tell I’m sleeping deeper just more recently now as well.

    So ya, I’m fatter, stronger, more confident (I still have my off days like shit my boobs jiggle when I hit bumps but it’ll be aight rofl) I have only been using just mouthwash (I know..I could do better than that even, but no toothpaste is a step) and my teeth don’t ever hurt and feel stronger and I haven’t seen a dentist in god knows how long.

    It’s interesting to note that when I first started I was craving tons of sugar and mostly of what I consumed also had lots of fat. I would eat whole cheesecakes and key lime pies, whole containers of macaroons, cookies, ice cream etc…My body likes the sugar still, but the fat part, its like fuck that. I can’t eat much ice cream at all as of now. From time to time I crave it sure, but nothing comparable to the beginning whatsoever.

    Sure, I can eat a lot still because my job requires a lot of calories, but jesus nothing like I could in the beginning.

    I could say a lot more and I don’t want to talk forever but through working with Chief, in recent months I have been made aware that I’m still not consuming enough carbohydrate. I’d get lazy sometimes and just eat like 3 footlongs from subway and stuff like that. The sandwich carb ratio isn’t adequate for me. Been really focusin on yummy snarbosnydrates and it’s making all of the difference.

    Fuck the scale, and the gaining part, obey your body, and if following this advice is making you feel better, continue to do so. The fat may effortlessly fall off out of nowhere like some here have reported (2 years for HalfNavajo) or reading this blog and Chiefroks blog eventually may give you the piece of the puzzle you’ve been missing and can help you out.

    I guess a lot of it just has to do with just fixing our carb/insulin regulatory functions. Lots of us have low carbed and what not. We have insulin resistance in some areas, our glycogen capacity is greatly hindered, this and everything else can take some time but just stay calm and enjoy your journey of being free from the shackles of dietary restriction.

    Reply
  25. A great article. My life has been one long diet except for past 1.5 years where I just stopped it all -the working out, counting calories, watching what went in my mouth. I’m back to working but it’s dancing and some cardio/weights. I like it. My 64 yo mother in law is now on her 40th diet seriously. Makes me sad. I told her not to worry about what her husband thinks( he’s not going anywhere they’ve been married forever ffs) but I don’t think she bought it. I don’t want to end up Ike herin20 years- reaching for the next diet fad. :0/

    Reply
  26. Bob dean metal dude,

    I have followed alot of diets matt stone has followed… it wasn’t until i was trying to find the holy grail of all diets when i was 23 till i got myself into this mess. My mom was always trying to tell me to find balance in my life of diets… one minute it was low carb, then primal, then alkaline diet, then the optimal diet, primal, banana diet… etc..etc… oh yah, we also met matt and pippa to test me for the RBTI diet. The RBTI diet was after both diane and i were good… we just thought the idea was interesting. My parents own a house in Las Vegas… the home of the buffet… i remember when i was low carbing there, i spent my whole time at the chinese and ice cream sections loading up on rice, noodles and gelato… wow my body must have wanted starch and sugar… i wonder why??? It was christmas, i was cheating… gained 10 pounds over the next three days… told myself i need to get back on track when i get back to san diego.

    I took wisdom from every experience…. i still keep learning… but i am right back where i was when i was a young healthy minded person, with more wisdom. Listen to yourself… its hard to teach though.

    Also… my girlfriend had a very understanding boyfriend(ME) not judging her, and only know she got sexier as she gained weight. Most assholes want a pre pubescent boys body with implanted boobies!!! no offense to ladies with natural boobs though.

    I haven’t even been around any health blog for the last year or so… its fun to check in everyone once in awhile though. I just wanted to update matt on Diane’s Health… and to let him get feed back on some of the aspects of health i have learned with him… i don’t really want to start blogs or write books… he does, but i will keep spreading the word, as long as him and other like minded people keep telling the masses to EAt the Food….haha….

    Reply
  27. That doctor = D:< !!!

    My doctor at age 16 = "Oh dear, your blood pressure is a little low here. Have you been eating enough?"
    My mother: "She's on a diet."
    Me: *glares at mom* (I was on the Guts and Glory Program. I needed to restore my digestive system by eating nothing but soup broth. Geez.)
    My doctor: "Hmm. Well I find those are generally a bad idea. You certainty have no need to be on one, you are quite healthy. You just need to eat a little more."

    If only I had listened to this wise man sooner… XD

    Reply
    • Wow, it’s rare for a doctor to even acknowledge that low blood pressure is even a problem. I’ve even been told (by a doctor) that “there’s no such thing as low blood pressure”, (presumably meaning that anything that’s not high is optimal). Nice to know that some doctors “get it” – eating more food has been the only thing that has worked for raising my chronically low blood pressure!

      Reply
      • Haha yeah it’s encouraging. :) He was a good guy, and an excellent doctor (MD in Canada’s public health care system).

        My current doctor, an orthomolecular physician, gave me cholesterol pills cause my levels were too low. XD However he said if I could eat two eggs with every meal, then I wouldn’t have to take them. I love him for that.

        I’m glad your blood pressure has been improving with upping the calories. :) My grandmother has the opposite problem, and the blood pressure meds she took caused her some pretty serious side effects relating to hear heart, so she stopped them against her doctor’s wishes (she’s had less luck with public doctors), and now does meditation, which seems to work for her. It’s so awesome when people find safe alternatives that really help. :)

        Reply
        • And yeah, it’s unfortunate when doctors become extremists in that way, thinking you can’t go too low. Um, yes you can. You could even die. XD They might be brainwashed by drug companies juuuust slightly. :P I read a report on statins by Dr. Mercola a few years ago, and it was pretty convincing on that front.

          Reply
          • Yes, natural alternatives FTW! I was once offered tablets to raise my blood pressure (by a different doctor). So glad I turned them down. Why take drugs when all you need to do is eat?

            I’m also not 100% convinced of the efficacy of blood pressure tests. Lots of people get nervous when having their blood pressure taken, which presumably would push the reading up somewhat…

  28. Great article. And that HS picture of yours is hott!

    Your doctor was an idiot and probably had a strange attraction to young boys.

    Reply
    • Possibly, but he certainly made enough inappropriate gestures towards me over the years that led me to believe he was thinking of me in less than wholesome terms. I mean really, what doctor needs to palpate the lymph nodes near your groin when you come in with a sore throat?!

      Reply
  29. Great post. Though it’s always so great to hear these sentiments from Matt, a dude. You really rocked it!

    SOMEBODY HAS GOT TO GET TOGETHER A TED TALK ABOUT THIS. Matt? Julia? Talk to me if you’re up for it. Seriously.

    Reply
    • Do you have an in with the TED people?! TED talks are my most favoritest thing ever!

      Reply
      • Julia, I don’t know who you are, but I do know that you are F***ING awesome. I kind of love you after reading this article. Thank you so much. : )

        Reply
        • Well, just knowing you feel that way makes me kind of love you too:)

          Reply
    • Yes, TED talk. Anybody interested in this contact me as well. Also talk to Chief. We’re all pulling to get this information out there.

      Reply
  30. Thank you for this lovely article. I’m continually horrified by stories of irresponsible doctors f*cking up their patient’s health and providing terrible advice. It makes me really angry, and I didn’t realize how prevalent it was until I moved to the USA, where doctors seem to only care about dollar signs.

    I think a lot of the weight obsession stems from sexism and society’s “need” to control women. If it’s not through their weight it’s through corsets and crinolines that atrophy your stomach muscles and render you so immobile you can’t escape a building that’s on fire. That’s not a joke by the way- there’s actually documented occurences of women piling up in front of do
    orways because their crinolines were so huge they couldn’t fit. Anyways, I digress.

    Reply
  31. Oops, I accidentally hit submit too early on my last comment (I’m on my phone.) Anyways, it seems like a lot of the dieting obsession is meant to undermine women’s abilities to trust themselves. I’ve also noticed that a lot of people assume that women don’t know what they want and take it upon themselves to project their expectations onto them. This is pretty apparent in the realm of bodies. Anyways that’s all my politicizing for tonight :P Matt, do you follow any body-positive activists? I started looking into the body positive movement recently and it seems to reflect a lot of what you say.

    Reply
    • I’ve noticed the same trend of undermining a guy’s ability to trust himself with pickup artist materials. They’re probably reflections on the same cultural tendencies. We have a weak social fabric in the US and it’s getting worse. We have almost sense of tribal culture or identity. Go to one of the main things you think will help you (diet and dating advice for girls), (dating and pickup advice for guys) and a lot of it really is geared to undermine your health in yourself. Amongst my friends I refer to pickup materials as cosmo for guys. One of the things I really like about Matt, Rob, and Chief is they really understand these things at a deeper level than just dieting. They get into civilization and culture as well. It’s all connected.

      Reply
  32. Kinda unrelated question,but today I had a conversation with someone and he said that’s it’s BS that flour from any grain(whitebread),but must be organic, is still high in nutrients as opposed to wholeflour.

    He says the only difference is that the whitebread version is stripped of all fiber&sprouts which is still left in the wholebread version. So that would mean,all flours would still be high in B-Vitamins and minerals or whatever grains should contain?

    Does anybody know,preferrably experienced, if this is true? Bc that could possibly mean that normal processed bread isn’t that beneficial and cause lots of different health problems, but organic bread might not cause a problem or addiction for that matter……

    Reply
    • I’m pretty sure the vast majority of the vitamins are in the germ of the grain, which is stripped to make white flour. That’s why they then turn around and enrich it. You know, “enriched white bread.” If you’re eating organic white bread, it’s pretty likely it won’t be enriched, so it’ll probably end up not having as many micronutrients as Wonderbread, actually.

      Reply
  33. They also remove the bran, which is full of micronutrients too.

    Reply
    • I just commented on this issue of white vs. whole grain, so I copy and paste it here as well. There more to whether or not a food is good for you other than whether or not it’s in its whole food form. This is one of the reasons that I believe what Matt has to say about food and metabolism. I’ve experienced for myself firsthand that “healthy” food is not always the best for a person. As it’s been said before, “You are not what you eat, you are what you digest.”

      Anyhow, here’s what I said:

      I think there’s more to it than low carb or gluten free. I also have thyroid disease. I was wheat/gluten free for 6 years in an effort to improve my thyroid health. I didn’t show any difference with my thyroid health, but the depression I had, which I was on medication for, disappeared. Because of that, I continued eating wheat free. After 6 years of being wheat free, I hoped that my gut was healed if there had been any gut problems that I wasn’t aware of (I never had gut pain, etc. just the depression). I decided to add wheat back into my diet to see what would happen. Having been wheat free for 6 years, I started out with the yummy stuff that I had missed…pizza, cinnamon rolls, etc. By complete coincidence, the stuff I was eating contained white flour. After a couple of weeks of eating white flour based foods and noticing absolutely no problems, I ate two pieces of sprouted bread for breakfast one morning and, BAM, all my previous symptoms came back within minutes, headache, congestion, sinus irritation, depression, etc. I took a full day for my symptoms to begin to subside. I tried several times after this to eat whole grain and the same thing happened each time. I have been eating white flour based foods for about 5 months now and I still have no problems and am feeling good. Actually, the only time my thyroid showed any flare-up up was my short stint with paleo. I did paleo for just a couple of month and I had to have my thyroid medication increased, after 15 years of stable thyroid function with no increase in medication in all that time.

      Anyhow, I think grains are more complex than to eat or not to eat, whole grain or refined. Just as some people have a problem with different aspects of milk (casein, lactose, whey), I realize now that people are sensitive to the different parts of the grain. For me, it wasn’t the wheat/gluten itself that I had a problem with, it is the bran and/or germ portion of the grain that I have a problem with. The same may be true for many others. Until my experience, I had never heard anyone suggest this possibility. I hope this is helpful to some of you.

      Reply
      • Thanks- I have had similar experiences!
        And think that the key comment is
        “its not what you eat, its what you digest!”

        No point eating all the supposedly healthiest foods in the world if you cant digest them.

        I have abandoned a lot of so called health foods, because I just dont seem to digest them!
        And they cause more of digestive irritation and discomfort than any possible benefits.

        Reply
        • I know. I never had digestive pains, but it took forever to digest food and for me then to be hungry again. When it came to dinner time I still felt full from the food I ate previously, but would eat anyways because I was afraid to become nutritionally deficient. I figured all of the food would still eventually make it through my system, but it was uncomfortable always feeling full.

          Since doing Matt’s protocol, I’m digesting my food more quickly and I’m not feeling stuffed come dinner time. I actually can hear gurgling digestive sounds and hunger pangs now whereas I rarely had hunger pangs (just ate because I knew I needed to) and just as rarely heard or felt my body actually digesting food. Such a difference, and not feeling stress or guilt over eating sugar and white flour has helped a ton.

          I refer to my diet as the 1950s diet now. :) Back to what works; we should never have gotten away from what was working then. Yes, the food could have been yummier in some aspects, that’s where Julia Child stepped in, but the basic ingredients they were using were spot on.

          Reply
      • @Emma I actually asked bc he’s a baker and said that indeed flour doesn’t contain as much nutrients as the whole grain,but people saying flour is totally devoid of nutrients is a lie otherwise bread&such would only be made from the outerpart….at least that’s what he said. Though he did mention specifically that the refined flour should be organic to still have nutrients.

        Digestionwise I really don’t know for me personally,looking back at my last bread-eating years I also ate some whiteflour stuff and it always constipated me like hell,next to the fact that it didn’t fill me up so I kept eating&eating while wholewheat filled me faster and I actually liked the taste of it. It seems like I really need fiber for my bowels to move along,and probably also bind toxins in the gut,I even have to eat icecream(at the restaurant) paired with some green beans inbetween. (I think also to keep the adrenal stress-response? lower).

        Reply
  34. Yeah it seems illogical that whole grains would be bad for you but when you think about it a bit more it’s actually perfectly logical. The bran, germ and what have you contains a lot of nutrients but is nutrients for the seed and the new wheat plant, it is not a fruit that wants to be eaten, hence there’s a lot of antinutrients,antienzymes etc like phytic acid to protect from bacteria,fungus,parasites,grazers etc

    Problem is these health nuts n “experts” dont use their effin brain! Why would these traditional cultures, asians, africans etc go through the laborious process of removing the bran and the germ, just for exercise or what? I mean seriously these nutritionist should try to use their heads once in a while

    Reply
    • You know, I thought the same thing. After learning for myself that whole grains mess me up, I thought about previous generations, before the current age of nutritional information overload, and thought that there must have been a reason that they refined the grain because they obviously weren’t making the decision based on “nutrition”. And, as you say, why would they have bothered to spend the time and effort doing so if not for a reason that made it worthwhile? It never fails to amuse me how the current generation always assumes it’s smarter than previous generations. Yes, there will always be progress, but that doesn’t mean that previous generation had it all wrong.

      I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying baking/cooking again. It’s been heaven to have homemade chocolate chip cookies, bread, chicken pot pie, pasta based dishes, etc. again. Yes, I made attempts at making these wheat free, but they never tasted as good as the original, and I always had a sense of deprivation that lurked in the back of my mind which I just tried to ignore. So glad that feeling is gone.

      Reply
  35. Really good point about current generations assuming they’re smarter than previous ones. It baffles me how we have become so history-less in the developed world. Reminds me of smug medical doctors laughing at old traditions of nutrition and stuff thinking their pills will save the humanity

    Reply
  36. Well, not much to add except that I have done it all- aerobics, every diet, anorexia, etc- since the late 80s, and weigh 15 lbs less than I did when I was younger. No one admits I’m thinner; people still say I’m an average size 2 when I’m more like a 0/2. I have dental damage to show for the years of malnutrition, and am most definitely thinner than the general public. Do I care? Not really. I’m in the ideal weight range for my height which is pretty low and have even been skinnier than this, but it never seems to matter. How I ever weighed 108-115 as a teen is a total mystery. I shudder the thought of ever weighing that again.

    Reply
  37. Thank you for this post (I am new here and read it now)! I have a family where it always has been important to be skinny. My grandmother has always talked about how fat her fat ass (she is more than skinny), my mother never ate when I was a child (I remember when she weight her self every day and not wanted to weigh more than 47kg….a number that followed me for many years). My sister became anorectic when she was 12, she is 29 today and still very sick. I got reflux problems when I was 14 and lost 20 kg (to a BMI 12..), because I couldn’t eat. My brain was sterved and I developed some kind of eating disorded, I didn’t know how to start eat normal….because no one did in my family. I almost died. But I don’t think no one really realized how bad it was, no one could see how skinny I was. Today I have a more normal relationship to food and my weight is not so low, but…I have realized I still have much to wotk with. I am so fucking tired of my family and they influences me too much. I eat, but I am still afraid of gain more weight and be the largest person in the family. I don’t want to be like them…and I try to break free. 180 degree health has helped me realize a lot of things and I will try this, restore my metabolism and try to break free from all control. I want to be strong and have a real healthy body. Now I understand why I never have been able to heal my self from bowel disease and other problems, even if I have tried a lot of things..

    Reply
    • You sound like you’re on the right track, Martina. Family is a wonderful thing when supportive of our health, but when it’s not, you gotta do your best to tune their silly little opinions out, Your life is your life- make it a good one! Eat!

      Reply
  38. NO ONE has high-fived you yet? For shame! HIGH FIVE!!!!!

    Reply
    • Thanks! I thought that was a hell of a number myself, I was also a pack a day smoker!

      Reply
  39. You’re still a babe, Julia!

    Reply

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  2. BMI Bollocks « Chattering Monkey - [...] Here’s a good article about the problems with BMI as a measure of health. Like this:LikeBe the first …

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