Don’t Diet

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Don't DietBy Matt Stone

Don’t diet. Yes it’s bad for you and slows down your metabolism and worsens your mood and does heinous things to your body in a variety of ways. That’s not what this is about. I’m talking about it being unrealistic. If you think you can just go hungry and will away all your cravings, keep it up forever, and not return to eating what you want when you’re hungry in the face of ever-escalating hunger… Well, you’re just kidding yourself. You’re simply red. And by simply red I mean if you don’t know ME by now, you will never never never know ME. Did you just meet yourself yesterday? Don’t you know what you do when you get hungry and how doomed of a strategy dieting is?

My girlfriend’s parents recently embarked on a diet. 1,500 calories per day for him, 1,200 calories per day for her. They are very much the inspiration for this post. And they have been the catalyst to a great deal of laughter over the last couple of weeks. They came over for dinner the other day about 2 weeks into their starvation quest. I was excited to feed them because I know her dad loves to eat (never seen him eat less than 1500 at a meal, much less in a whole day), they already rave about my food, and I knew with their heightened hunger that I would win them over for life.

As I was getting things finished up in the kitchen, pops says,

“Man this diet sucks. I can’t eat anything. The other day I went to eat some peanuts and could only have 12. 12 peanuts!”

This was almost as funny as the fight they had the other day about Klondike bars…

“Mark you can’t eat that. It has too many calories.”

“Missy I got 500 calories left for the day AT LEAST. These are 250. I can have two uv um if I want.”

Anyway, as expected, in their heightened state of food arousal, they sat down to the table and went nuts. It played out just like studies on restricted food eating show. Once a dieter reaches a certain point and they feel their diet is blown, they will then REALLY start pigging out. Pops was the funniest. I served him up a breast and a leg. 5 minutes later…

“Hey, could you get me another piece of chicken?”

“White meat or dark?”

“I don’t care, just something with skin on it. Don’t give me anything that doesn’t have the skin on it.”

From Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch…

“One of the classic studies involved fifty-seven female college students at Northwestern University.  The students were led to believe that the goal of the study was to evaluate the taste of several ice cream samples.  The actual purpose of the study was to determine how diet thinking might affect eating after drinking milkshakes.  The women were arbitrarily divided into three groups based on the number of eight-ounce milkshakes given (none, one, and two shakes).  After drinking the shakes, the subjects were asked to taste and rate three flavors of ice cream.  They were allowed to eat as much ice cream as they wanted and ‘taste-tested’ in private to guard against self-consciousness.  The researchers saw to it that ample ice cream was provided so that substantial amounts could be eaten without making an appreciable dent in the supply!

Here’s what happened.  The nondieters naturally regulated their eating; they ate less ice cream in proportion to the amount of milkshakes consumed.  The dieters, however, displayed a dramatic opposite behavior.  Those who drank two milkshakes ate the most ice cream – a ‘counterregulation’ effect.  The researchers concluded that forcing the dieters to overeat or ‘blow their diet’ caused them to release their food inhibitions.  With inhibition banished, restraint was eliminated and the dieters overate the ice cream.”  

He kept nibbling. Finally, he grabbed a whole carcass himself (instead of being served) and picked the thing completely clean. Dude ate a whole chicken. Don’t get me wrong, it was really good chicken by any standards, a dry-rubbed young chicken, smoked whole for 2 hours over mesquite, and turned frequently for sort of a rotisserie effect. But that starve and binge merry-go-round has certainly set in.

But the most incredible part of it all, is what pops said just as he was leaving…

“Oh yeah, this is going to be great. We’ll starve ourselves and lose the weight and then gain it back in 3 months plus an extra 10 pounds. Then I’ll just be 210 instead of 200. Yeah, that’ll be great. That’s how it works doesn’t it?”

From obesity scholar Robert Pool…

“There was just one problem with this straightforward approach to weight loss: it didn’t work.  When put on a diet, some patients would take off some weight – ten, twenty, perhaps even fifty or more pounds – but it wouldn’t stay off.  Almost inevitably the pounds would come back, often bringing some friends with them.”

Johnny Football AlabamaHe gets it. You don’t have to be an obesity scholar or top researcher on the subject to understand how unreasonable, unrealistic, and doomed the simple dieting approach to weight loss really is. In fact, no disrespect to pops, but the dude can’t even read. Just 2 weeks ago we helped him to use Google for the very first time in his life using Google voice search. He’s so unscholarly that when I told him my niece will be starting school at Alabama this fall, all he had to say was “That’s a hell of a football team.” That is true, but I have a strong feeling they won’t look very good September 14th.

Know thyself. If you are doing something that “sucks” to lose weight, it’s not going to work out in the end. It’s probably going to backfire. Give up immediately before you do real harm.

The tragic thing about this particular situation is that my girlfriend’s parents are not very overweight at all, and are nearing 60 years of age. I just don’t know what the hell they think they’re going to get out of this. Hot? Don’t think so. Healthy? Hmmm. If you call losing muscle mass, increasing cortisol, and decreasing DHEA, testosterone, etc. healthy then I guess so.

But it has been entertaining, and my meals are hitting the jackpot in brownie points. For that, I am thankful.


  1. You can’t pick your girlfriends parents, but you can pick on them! Ha ha
    one day they too will ETF and maybe lift some things and they will feel much better. Glad you did show them a good time with less ED than they normally have at home!

  2. Thanks for the reminder. It is disheartening to be overweight for certain, but it breaks my heart to see so many people obsessing over food, calories, carbs, etc., etc., etc. I just read about a woman who had gastric bypass–loves the way her clothes fit, but has ulcers and other health issues now and can hardly eat anything at all. Imagine her health in another few years! Ugh. I don’t love being fat, but I sure won’t diet again. That’s what got me here in the first place!

    • don’t forget about the “side effect” of gastric bypass: ANAL Leakage! Think that’s worth fitting into your clothes?

  3. Man, you’re flipping crazy. You break Lil’ Johnny’s legs and he won’t be running all over the place. Can you say 15? Dynasty baby.

    • I’m sure if you were the Bama coach you would be telling players to “sweep the leg.”

      • You are thinking of the coward and bully John Kreese, a scared little boy whose pathetic baby students got their asses kicked by a humble old man & his student, followed by Kreese getting his hands broken by two car windows.

  4. I got a lot of health problems from restricted diets. The last diet I thought I was eating healthy, I was eating mostly vegetables,avocados, fatty fish, nuts, unsaturated fats, whole grains, potatoes and meats. I felt really bad with fatigue, depression and many environmental sensitivities. Now I understand that all those things I ate slows down the metabolism. I’m now much healthier and the sensitivities is better and that from eating mostly homemade pizza, ice-cream, pancakes and drinking coca-cola and fruit juices. It sounds so crazy that eating these things can get you healthier but it has worked great for me.

    • I’m confused; most of what you were eating should have raised your metabolism e.g. Potatoes, grains and fatty nuts like maca’s!

  5. That sounds like me,, i’m the healthiest and leanest I have ever been in my life…. I eat lots of sugar, icecream, pancakes, etc…. I do track all my calories and macros though…

  6. What are your thoughts on losing weight with a thyroid condition?

    • One word… Fuhgeddaboudit.

      • Aww man! lol, I was hoping you could help a sister out. Stupid thyroid.

        • Hey Nicole! Yes, weight loss can happen even with thyroid issues. There are many low thyroid sufferers over at YE (link is on my blog) healing, and improving thyroid counts. It does take some time, but improvement can happen. I hope you are doing well.

    • The only way to lose weight with a thyroid issue is to eat, a lot. Many years of dieting and eating Paleo caused me to develop severe hypothyroidism. I had horrible symptoms (PMS, hair loss, CONSTIPATION, dry skin, fatigue, depression) and I was miserable. Then I started RRARFing 6 months ago. I immediately went from 122lbs to 140lbs. Then, I stopped gaining weight even though I was consuming about 4000-5000 calories/day. I consumed all of the S’s (starch, sugar, saturated fat, sleep, sun, …). I am still stuffing my face, but my weight is creeping back down (now 133 lbs). My last TSH was 0.7.

      • I’m glad to hear that helped you. It caused me to gain 80 lbs and climbing, so I unfortunately have to “diet”. I am just trying to do Schwarzbein, ish lol. It makes sense to me to match my energy level with my carbs. Since I am too exhausted for anything, I am trying to stay around 125 carbs. And keep it balanced. 3 meals a day, 2 snacks. Each have protein, starch and fat. Of course I will toss in some fruit for the sweet. I haven’t lost anything, but my gaining has slowed. So that’s a win so far.

        • Matt is right dieting will not be helpful (calorie restriction I mean). I too had a low-functioning thyroid and I woudl say the most helpful thing was to find out about the work of Dr Ray Peat. Matt talks about his work. Basically eating sucrose (fructose+glucose), avoiding polyunsaturated fats (eat cream, butter and coconut oil instead) and making sure you also eat enough proteins in a day, are the basis of his ‘plan’ to help people boost metabolism and the thyroide. Don’t diet and favour these foods:

          Carbs: well-ripened or stewed fruit, OJ, cane sugar (you can make your own marshmallows by using cane sugar, water, vanilla, salt and Great Lakes bovine gelatin), honey, root vegetables (especially beetroots and new potatoes with lots of salt)

          Proteins: beef bone broth, high-quality meats, shellfish and white fish pastured eggs, cheese, milk, bovine gelatin (Great Lakes).

          Fats: coconut oil, butter, ghee, cream

          Other: coffee (have it with your meal or with milk/cream and honey/sugar), bi-carb

          If you want you can eat ice-cream all day especially if homemade (wholemilk, egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, sugar/honey/fruit, vanilla, a little gelatin) because it’s nutrient-dense, warming and will boost your thyroide. Think sauteed bananas in coconut oil with homemade vanilla ice-cream and caramel or chocolate sauce.

          I hope this helps!

  7. Great article! And can I get a big WHOOP! from all my fellow Aggies out there. The article combined with that pic = awesomeness

  8. Being overweight is clearly correlated to worse health. I was wondering if we know anything about causation?

    The simple explanation is that it is because of the fat. Also possible could be that is it because people who are overweight tend to restrict their diet and go hungry?

    Do we know anything about that? Is being overweight in cultures that appreciate a full figure, where people are thus less likely to diet, just as unhealthy as in the West?

      • Interesting, but that is a different question and just one person. I was hoping for a bit more sciency stuff. ;-)

        • I think it’s an interesting question. Are people who are “overweight,” but who have never dieted, healthier than overweight people who have, epidemiologically? I’d guess “yes,” but I think it would be almost impossible in the US to find a study group of obese people who had never dieted or restricted. Mildly overweight, maybe, but not obese, because the social pressure to reduce is absolutely relentless in the US. I think it would have to be a cross-cultural comparison. A cross-cultural comparison would have tons of confounding variables, but could still be interesting in a qualitative, descriptive way. I’m no expert, but as far as I know, no one has ever done this.

          • Also (shoot, I have GOT to get off the internet) … it seems to me that the holy grail of metabolic restoration a la 180D would be to restore the “dieted” body to a “pre-dieted” state, insofar as that is possible. At the physiological, pre-conscious level, to erase the “memory” of starvation.

            Not that that is the ONLY goal of improving metabolism, of course!! But if that can be done, it would be a major accomplishment.

          • It definitely can be done (erasing the memory of starvation, that is). Look at the large number of people who survived WWII starvation conditions (hunger winter in Holland for example, or concentration camp survivors and POW camp survivors) and went on to live to very old age. Their bodies clearly recovered, and generally they weren’t obese. I have no idea what they did, and obviously many people did not recover from starvation and sadly died, but recovery from starvation is very much possible. The human body is very resilient.

          • sarah jane, Thank you very much for this link. Very interesting. Even if this is just partially true, the calories-in-calories-out-is-all-that-counts advocates should start thinking and be more careful about what they advice.

          • That was a great post! I had read about the Rosetans before, but never that they were FAT! I think they were covered in that Blue Zones book? Anyway, the account I read mentioned their smoking, drinking and heavy eating, but sort of implied that they were slim nevertheless. So interesting to read that they were fat & healthy.

            And the ’70s stuff was good too … honestly, there’s a real clarity in the writing that is so rare nowadays.

      • How it is that you can STILL floor me..(currently, I’m in the fetal position in the corner..rocking by now) is beyond me! And the simply red reference…LOVE!

  9. Love this post. It’s sad to think of people in their 60s wasting their time dieting. What’s the point?

    Reasons fat people may be “less healthy” than thin people:
    -Scared to go to doctors bc doctors tend to blame EVERY problem on weight so problems may be caught when it is too late

    -Shitty diets, or feeling guilty about food bc they are not eating what they are “supposed” to
    I have seen fat people refuse to eat all day long bc they think they are doing themselves a favor and then go absolutely nuts when it’s time to eat bc they don’t realize if they just fed themselves at normal intervals they would not feel that insane hunger. Fat people are also told that all their eating problems are psychological so many simply don’t see the connection between binging and restricting. Sad, but true.

    In other words, complicated.

    • @BaconPerrier, “It’s sad to think of people in their 60s wasting their time dieting. What’s the point?” Umm, hate to burst your bubble but people in their 60s DO care about their looks and want to be healthy. But I guess in your limited world view, you cannot grasp that. Sad.

      • Yes, people in their 60’s care about their looks. We can all grasp that. We’ve all seen people with facelifts and hairpieces. That doesn’t make grandiose attempts at hotness in middle age and beyond any less ridiculous though.

        • I don’t want to speak for eatmorenow, but I think the point of eatmorenow’s was that people of all ages go on diets because they want to look good and/or be healthy, not that it is more grandiose to so after your reach middle-age. eatmorenow wrote nothing saying that one’s age should determine whether or not you should diet – but you did Matt, along with BaconPierre. Maybe you and most people do feel that 60 year olds should want to look good but your post and Bacon’s comment certainly didn’t come of that way. I for one want to look awesome when and if I’m 90 and never want to be discounted because of my age. BTW – I’m in my 40s and already feel like I’m being written off.

        • Wait til you get to middle age, Matt. Your smugness will dissipate like your thinning hair..

          • Great lesson!! Looks mean everything. Forget about your health. Who needs that anyways. Go get plastic surgery to look like your 30, so more people will think you’re sexy. Why you are busy dieting and getting sick to look sexy, at least I know I will have my health.

          • My comments weren’t left with the least bit of smugness. I did notice my hair thinning for the first time at around age 27. I was mortified. So considering my thinning hair, should I…

            A) Scour the internet looking for baldness cures, magic diets, take Propecia or Rogaine, spray-paint my scalp, and otherwise obsessively pursue a fix for thinning hair


            B) Move on, realize that I’m getting older and that my hair isn’t as thick as it used to be, and otherwise not make a big deal about it

            That’s the point I’m trying to make here. Kind of like Peyton Manning’s peptalk.

          • For what it is worth, there are many hot men who are bald. For example, Chip Wade (former co-host of my favorite HGTV show), just neck up, is a hottie. So for guys at least, I don’t think hair has always signifies health, youth, or level of hotness.

          • OMG that is totally not the point of my post. My point is that you in the same way as the old don’t-trust-anyone-over-30 mindset, can’t even see yourself at 60, it’s not even fathomable in your mind. You have a preconceived notion of what it means to be 60 and what you should be doing at that age (playing shuffleboard I suppose?) and you can’t even imagine a person of that age caring about their looks or their health. This demonstrates how limited your world view is. Very sad. And by the way, I’m nowhere near 60 … But I’ll get there some day (as will you, if you’re lucky) and I won’t be looking to you for advice on life…

          • Gee, I thought I was a clear communicator but I guess not. The point of all my posts is explicitly saying that I understand people care about how they look when they are older, and they try as hard to look their best. All I’m saying is that it should be laughed at and made fun of, like many aspects of human nature. Farts for example. Small world view. That’s funny. I like how you’ve used that twice. Did you just learn that this week?

          • I think this argument is partially coming from a sloppy use of terms like ‘hot’. There is a bit difference between trying to look beautiful, elegant and attractive when older (totally possible) and trying desperately to look like a super-fertile 25 year old.

            I see nothing to ridicule in efforts to keep trim and attractive when older, it is not grandiose and is frequently done with no thought of being ridiculously ‘hot’- even if any dieting is still ill advised because of the health downsides. I know for one, through several scarring experiences, that my parents are still at it like rabbits at 60+ (TMI, soz), and find each other more attractive when looking trim. Indeed, 60+ dieting is often done purely for ‘health benefits’ with no thought of hotness in mind! I think there is far more to ridicule in pumping yourself full of plastic and becoming a serial anorexic in the hope of staying 18 forever. You can’t conflate these two things- and I would assume with your Gf’s parents that it was the former?

          • Thank you. It is ok to make fun of people and ourselves. People are funny. I wish they would figure that out :)

          • If you are dieting at any age, you don’t have good health. In case you didn’t know, diet experts are dying from cancer, heart attacks, strokes, etc… Yet they claim there diet is the key to great health. Only in today’s society we would worry about looks instead of health. Remember that when you’re doctor tells you have diabetes because you gained that weight back plus some, that you choose looks over health.

          • I didn’t check the replies on this for a day and all this happens.

            Look, everyone should be as hot as they want to be. Fuck “age appropriate” anything.

            I don’t believe that someone in the last 20-30 years of their life should spend it obsessing over calorie and carb counts to lose (and likely regain) 20 or so pounds.

            There is so much more to life.

          • I agree. I think once you reach 40, then 50 (not there yet) and 60 etc., you see that age completely differently than when you’re younger. Hopefully you still don’t have a 20 something mindset of what is important in life. No matter what anyone says though, appearance is still something that everyone finds important in some way: it represents who you are whether you like it or not and its used to judge everyone. That’s just human nature and you can’t change that no matter how much you don’t like it. So older people still want to be appealing to others, even if its not in a “hot” way! Although my husband at 43 is hotter than he was at 20 when I met him! I expect he’ll continue to get more handsome as he gets some gray and his body puts most younger guys to shame. The most sexy thing about him is his mind, his ambition, his love for me and our kids, and his love of life in general. I’m never bored with him and I find that very sexy! So if we want to continue to look pretty good to each other, let the haters hate because we really don’t care if we’re 70 and still hot for one another!!! (which we will be– sex gets better when you’ve known someone this intimately for so long!)

          • Wow, you are a lucky lady, Beth, and an inspiration! I really hope to have a marriage like that someday (still looking…but I refuse to settle).

    • Psshh, staying away from doctors would be a plus.

  10. Matt – I normally don’t like you. I make fun of you on other forums, and I think you are wrong on many levels. Sometimes I do sock-puppet posts on your blog, just to frustrate you. I write your name on bathroom stalls with pictures of male genitalia pointing at you from all directions…you get the picture…

    But, you are so right about dieting in the sense which you discussed here. The mind is a powerful thing. I have done exactly like your pops and the ladies in the studies so many times it’s ridiculous.

    I’m strict paleo. That’s what I tell myself, anyway, but “3 M&M’s” turn me into a little kid on Halloween whose Mom is passed out on gin and pills. Once I break my ‘No non-paleo food’ rule, it’s game-frickin’ on bay-bee.

    And there I sit, surrounded by candy wrappers, face smudged with fudge, crying and feeling sorry for myself. the only thing that makes me feel better is to get on The Scribble Pad and tell Woo what a dickhead Matt Stone is..and fry up some bacon!

    • I was the same way on paleo. I couldn’t be around non-paleo food without losing control and stuffing my face. Thank god I don’t follow that shitty, ridiculous diet anymore.

      • Paleo is GREAT if you don’t follow it strictly. Real food makes me feel best but I used to go crazy when I was overly strict. Now I allow myself to eat whatever I want.

      • You’re a weird dude Tim

  11. So if you’re overweight how do u suggest losing the weight if dieting doesn’t work?

    • I would suggest not trying to lose weight. If you are to intentionally try to lose weight, whatever you do must be permanently sustainable, so you must not be hungry or doing more exercise than you desire. If your metabolism is good, pursuing physical fitness and eating mostly foods that are filling but not so calorie-dense seems to be the safest route, but even this is no sure thing or appropriate for everyone.

  12. Ok thank u matt.

  13. Hey Matt- someday YOU will be over 60 IF you are lucky and keep healthy.

    And you know what… ? You will still like to think of yourself as HOT! People don’t stop feeling sexual at a certain age, unless they are unhealthy! So, maybe your ersatz in-laws do want to feel like they are attractive and sexy! Give us older ones some props!
    : )

    • So true Lianda!

      Check out these makeovers

      The ladies are 58, and, I think 67. They look great. Watching them lets
      us see by their facial expressions,…….they want and, are happy to look hot!

    • Trust me, I fully understand the desire to look hot and sexy at any age. I went to high school in what is perhaps the world capital of facelifts. I’m not chastising the desire, just the absurdity of it. To me, trying to get hot past a certain point in life, as human as it is, is the equivalent of a combover. Trying just looks foolish, and you risk becoming the punchline of a joke.

      I’m not slamming the older generation. I hope I am fortunate enough to get there. Considering that I write about health and nutrition, the odds are stacked against me!

      But at what point does it become silly to put a monumental effort into your looks? Probably around the same time it becomes foolish to train for the Olympics.

      • A “monumental effort” doesn’t mean being on a diet- OR facelifts! It means wearing attractive clothes, having your hair look styled clean & shiny,white teeth, great posture (from practicing yoga; and maybe some working with weights- so you can also get up and down from a toilet- besides looking good), have great smile, eye contact, and most of all confidence!

        • Her parents don’t do any of those things! Never seen them in anything other than Florida Gators t-shirts.

      • For the record, Matt, I think you’re hot – thinning hear, paunchier belly and all. Yeah, for sure, your naked torso with the pig’s head days was impressive, but also a bit intimidating.

        Your compassion, humor, humility, and quest for truth is very appealing. And if I were younger, thinner, and not already deeply in love with my husband, I’d be hugely crushing on you.

        May you be blogging in this sexy way well into your ancient years.

    • I worked in ALF for 10 years, and not one person worried about how sexy they were or how much they weighed, until the doctors told them. Not everyone was put on a diet, but everyone who was, ended up miserable and cheating on there diet. The need to look sexy at any age comes from society. What defines sexy anyways? Having the body of a 20 or 30 year old and having bad health to keep it? Whatever happened to just accepting who you are or being smart made you sexy? If you’re in your 50`s and 60`s, and think losing weight will make you sexy, you have learned nothing. I’ve seen alot working in an ALF, and if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that in the end if you have to deny yourself for an emotion, you will never be happy.

      • The wise cracking cat eating alien ALF?

      • Great post Kelly!

  14. The best thing I ever read was “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” It is all about making friends with your body and appetite, and how to learn moderation and not ever restrict. It truly changed my relationship with food. Then I found this site, and the two combined were like gold.

    • I see that book around often, still. On YOUR recommendation, I might actually give it a try. I had always assumed it was diet-y, fat-phobic and/or a romanticized idealization of France. (A lot of people go to Paris, find it super-glamorous, and generalize to all France, and even to all Europe.) Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic is apparently in France for some reason right now, and blogged about that very point this week.

      Quote: “Before I came here, so many people told me, ‘There are no fat people in Paris.’ But I think this misses something more telling. There are “no” stunningly athletic people either. There just doesn’t seem to be much gusto for spending two hours in the gym here. The people don’t seem very prone to our extremes. And they are not, to my eyes, particularly thin. They look like how I remember people looking in 1983.”

      • I’ll save you the time from reading the book: She cooks from scratch, makes real dinner type lunches, doesn’t restrict food groups, eats moderate amounts, eats a lot of very fresh food from farmers market stands, still eats desserts, and she is active during her day (walking a lot, climbing stairs, etc.). She has a leek soup that she uses when she needs to slim down a bit. One of my best friends is French and lives northeast of Paris… she is very slim and just recently (in mid 40’s) has started complaining that she’s gained a little weight (could be all the running in the car with her daughter to all of her events and the stress of it all). She has never done any sort of exercise routine in her life! Her husband will run a marathon every now and then (he’s in his late 50’s). She says that the American food that has come to France (aka McDonalds) is making the teenagers fat now and their culture is changing for the worse. The French enjoy long meals with lots of courses. Food is revered, not feared.

      • My impression is that Americans are the only people on earth who intentionally exercise or who have a culture of gym going.

        I live in a neighborhood with a lot of Asian immigrants, many who are 80+. I see them stretching and taking long walks every day. None are thin, but slightly overweight. None are obese. I doubt any of them go to a gym.

        • I think you a incorrect on that one. Most populations of the world engage in some form of intense. The issue here in America is the low calorie obsession combined with extreme amounts of exercise. Physical fitness and diet/nutrition are linked, but in the opposite way that most people here few it. Performing high intensity workouts 3-4x/wk and other daily activity is very beneficial for anyone. The problem arises when dieting or more specifically calorie restriction is added into the mix. Calories must be increased and food choices should be abundant. Whole, natural foods like fatty beef, chicken w/ skin, pork, whole eggs, butter, lard, potatoes, rice, full fat dairy, Haagen daz, etc… Calories are king and needed to maintain a healthy metabolism. Training isn’t the problem, rather a very valuable tool for strength, overall fitness, stress relief, and overall well being. Unfortunately people abuse their bodies by overtraining, under sleeping, and starvation. Basically… Go to the gym and kick ass while you are there, then go home and endulge in as much food as you’d like and enjoy life. This is very rewarding and healthy, not to mention you will look younger and have the stamina to match.

    • I thought when I read that book it talked about an annual soup diet or something similar that sounded restrictive. Maybe I have it confused with something else.

      • Yes, you’re right.

    • I’ve read that book. I wouldn’t call her cooking “real food”. Low fat this and low carb that. Basically, it’s a book about how her parents let the family doctor teach her disordered eating which she has sustained for the rest of her life. Restriction is exactly what it is about. My copy went straight to the charity shop.

      • Did we read the same book? She is not about restriction at all. It’s about making your diet more healthy and not restricting. She advises eating full-fat dairy, no low-fat version of anything, never going hungry, shopping at farmer’s markets and buying food that tastes really good, eating dessert and making room for the things you really love, and just enjoying food. Yeah, she recommends moderate portions and not overeating – by listening to your hunger signals and not multitasking while you eat, and cutting back on foods you really overdo. I don’t call that restrictive. And she advises easy enjoyable exercise like yoga, walking, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

        There is nothing low-fat or low-carb in the book, minus real stuff like vegetables. It’s full of recipes for things like pasta with creme fraiche and lemon, lentil soup that includes sausages pan-fried in butter, pumpkin pie, roast chicken, etc.

        The only thing I could see as being restrictive, as Amanda pointed out, is the leek soup fast, but that is only 1.5 days long, and she specifically says it’s only something to do a couple of times a year, and is totally optional.

        • You’re absolutely right Amy! If Katherine doesn’t call that real food, then I have no idea what she thinks is real food! Everyone who has a successful way of eating has something good to share, but no one is going to have the secret to your own health and weight maintenance. The best thing you can ever do is really pay attention to your own body, its cues and be real about what stress is in your life and how to deal with it or eliminate it. You can spend thousands of dollars reading all the diet books out there and still not find a definitive answer. I think I’ve done that! ;P

  15. Oooh, brownies.

    • I know, right? Of all the words in the article, that is the one that jumped out at me. Luckily I just made a fresh batch yesterday! Yum!

  16. What about the Kaleo-approach with still counting/limiting calories but never consuming less than your weight goal including all activities would need? It takes years for the weight to come off but it might be gone for good than. Any experiences here?

    • It’s certainly a more sensible approach, and I have endorsed her book. That still doesn’t mean that eating for your goal weight has scientific credibility. When studied, after losing weight most people’s basal metabolism is much lower than anticipated at a certain weight. Let’s say you weigh 300 and your maintenance calories are 4000 per day. A typical, non-reduced 200-pound person’s might be 3000 calories. By the time ol’ 300 gets to 200 pounds maintenance calories are WAY below 3,000 – more like 2,000. And the amount of calories required to satisfy appetite is a lot higher. A reduced dieter will complain of constant hunger at maintenance calories after losing a substantial amount of weight.

      Another quote from Robert Pool…

      “Leibel found that the non-obese group, which consisted of 12 men and 14 women who weighed an average of 138 pounds, needed an average of 2,280 calories per day to maintain weight. By contrast, the obese group, an identical number of men and women who weighed an average of 335 pounds, needed 3,651 calories a day. This wasn’t surprising – the obese subjects weighed nearly two and half times as much as the control group, so it seemed reasonable that they might need an extra 1,400 calories a day to maintain that weight. What was surprising, though, was the comparison after the weight loss. After the 26 obese patients had lost an average of 115 pounds apiece, they weighed an average of 220, and at this reduced weight their bodies demanded just 2,171 calories a day. In other words, these reduced-obese patients, who still weighed an average of 80 pounds apiece more than the lean subjects, had to eat 100 calories a day less to maintain their weight.”

      Basically what the study shows is that if you weigh 335 and your goal is 138 and you eat the 2,280 calories like a 138-pounder, you’ll stop losing weight somewhere in the 220’s. Other studies show that after reducing it takes more than maintenance calories to satisfy appetite until all lost weight is restored plus a few.

      Go Kaleo’s approach is better because it uses the synergy of exercise and eating a lot consistently and tweaking things freely without dogma guiding you. I assume it would work for a much higher percentage of people. But I wouldn’t know for sure.

      • Isn’t there a difference between goal weight and health weight? I know my goal weight would be 110, however that’s definitely not my health weight. So what happens when you go past your health weight, continue to lose more weight, and get sick? Wouldnt you have to increase your calorie intake? Now trying to fix your shattered metabolism, you ended up gaining all the weight back plus some. So how to you pick the correct goal weight without hurting your metabolism?

        • The Great K has talked about that very thing:

          And by “ideal weight” in this post, she’s referring to what you’re calling health weight, vs an arbitrary or culturally influenced goal weight.

          Quote from Kaleo: “For awhile [in her personal, trial-and-error methods to get healthy], I tried to keep my calories relatively low, 1800 a day, but found myself constantly hungry and dealing with lots of cravings and binge eating episodes. Not good. So I added calories until I found an intake that allowed me to eat when I was hungry, feel satisfied at every meal, and meet all my nutrient requirements (both macro and micro nutrients). It took a LOT of trial and error, in fact it was about 6 months of fiddling before I really felt like I’d found my sweet spot. The magic number: 2800 calories a day.”

          So, if I interpret this right, she found that 2800 satisfied her appetite; inthe post it says she’d actually been eating 4000 before trying to get healthy. (Personally, I still have a question here: I don’t completely understand the discrepancy unless she was eating *beyond* appetite before, which is possible, some people do that. But not all very overweight people here eat beyond appetite, many are just that hungry.)

          She then goes on to say, that 2800 calories ended up supporting about 160 pounds given her activity level. Which was higher than her fantasy “goal weight,” but the 2800 calorie intake was sustainable to her, and fewer calories weren’t, so she dumped the old goal weight.

          • I didn’t word one part of that right … I said “before trying to get healthy,” which is the wrong message. She writes about trying to improve her health for many years, with many unsuccessful attempts. I just meant, at a high weight, she writes that she was eating 4000.

          • But isn’t gokaleo`s approach the same as “I have to eat 12 nuts” and “I only have 500 calories left”, in order to lose weight? I look at gokaleo, and wonder if she is happy. She is always showing before and after pictures, and now its like “is there really a difference, besides the lighting?” What is she trying to prove? Yes, she lost weight, however when does she step aside and say “I’ve reach my physical and strength goal?” I’m not a hater of gokaleo. I just can’t imagine doing her program with the idea of a relax mindset of, eat the food. I would always worry about my intake. It would be more like, eat the set calories or you won’t hit your goal weight. I also can’t see the diet be for everyone. Why? I read on here twice that 2 girls got pregnant after years of trying, all by increasing there calorie intake not decreasing it. Granted they have gained more weight from the pregnancy, but they needed more calories. So how does anyone know in order to fix there metabolism that maybe increasing there calorie intake, is the better option than cutting?

          • I hear you, Kelly, on tracking. I think for a lot of people, maybe including me, tracking calories/nutrients can be inherently crazy-making, the “I have to eat 12 nuts” mentality, if you will. Even if the purpose of the tracking is to eat lots, instead of less. I suspect that for some people, all that tracking can set off a subconscious “scarcity” mentality that’s counterproductive.

            It think it appeals to people who like control or who even simply like data/counting per se, who really aren’t going to be able to give it up easily, and find they can channel that control into an abundance mentality, rather than a restriction one.

          • You certainly don’t have to do it my way, I think I made that pretty clear in the post itself.

            Being aware of calorie intake has given me control of my weight. Settling at a weight that allows me to eat enough to not be hungry all the time has given me the freedom to live my life and not obsess about food. It’s a very healthy balance for me. YMMV.

          • Wow! I’m so psyched you are reading here, GoK! It’s like Johnny Depp at the Safeway. I hope I was accurate in my summary of (part of) your article above, if not please let me know.

            If you’re still reading, can you clarify something that I am having trouble understanding: I am overweight but only eating to appetite (and not eating when not hungry); would I then have to go hungry to run even a small calorie deficit?

            Longer, in context. I am 30 pounds overweight now … while at a “normal” weight I had many life-disrupting symptoms of a low metabolism — indigestion, insomnia, slow injury healing and fatigue, mainly. Currently, eating *completely* to appetite (call it 100 percent full, vs 80 percent) is resolving those symptoms really well. At the point I’m at, if I go even a little bit hungry during the day, I will wake up starving at 4am and can’t go back to sleep. So, right now I am scared to run a calorie deficit. In order to lose weight, I would have to have a deficit, right?

            Based on reading here, your writing and elsewhere, I’ve concluded that I probably should stabilize and just focus on food and very moderate, gradual fitness, not weight reduction, for a while. Then, if/when feeling really resilient, I could try running a deficit.

            (And sorry to use me-me-me as the example, but I would have been even more long-winded writing generally.)

          • Yeah, to lose weight you need a calorie deficit. It sounds like what you’re doing now is working really well, so keep doing it. Honestly, unless you’re like 4’11, 30 pounds over the culturally acceptable ‘normal weight’ probably isn’t a threat to your health if you exercise and eat relatively well. So if ‘health’ is your motivation for losing weight, you can probably let that go (unless you are actually having health issues directly attributable to your weight).

            To create a deficit without uncomfortable hunger, I ate more protein and vegetables, because they are filling, and fewer calorie dense but non-satiating foods like bread. Not because bread is bad, I actually think it is awesome and eat it regularly, but because I needed to eat foods that were filling. I still ate bread, I just ate a little less of it and more protein. Yes, as Kelly noted, this is a little restrictive. I kept my deficit small, but I did keep a deficit. And the truth is, I will probably need to be *somewhat* aware of my calorie intake for the rest of my life if I want to maintain my weight loss. It is MUCH easier now because I have made new habits that I rely on (habits take the thinking out of the equation). But yes, I do moderate my food intake and probably always will. This is a reality with weight loss, and I think if a person feels that this won’t work for them then my ‘program’ (??) isn’t right for them.

            I’ve seen some science lately that suggests that creating a deficit through activity rather than calorie restriction may be more protective of leptin levels and RMR. Not enough science to really flesh out an argument yet, but enough to make me sit up and take notice. Maybe keep eating the way you are, and when you’re *ready*, increase your activity and see what happens.

            Like I said, I think you’re on a really good track right now and it sounds like your body is recovering and you feel good, so keep doing it! :)

          • Wow! Thank you, Ms Amber Kaleo, for taking the time to write such a great, thorough response! That did clarify things a lot. I love how candid you are. Thanks also for the info about activity being maybe more protective of lepin & RMR … I’m inclined to believe it, but won’t act on it just yet, at least not to create a deficit.

            The 30 pounds came on pretty quick — 3 months? — after I stopped restricting, so the mental adjustment is, well, an adjustment. I’m not sure there’s not more weight to gain, but I think I’m close.

            In addition to body image, I think I’m partly coping with cognitive dissonance — how can my health get better while becoming overweight, when everybody says gaining weight is so baaaaaaaaaad? It definitely brought out some body image/adjustment stuff to deal with, but at least I can process that on strong ankles and some sleep.

            Thanks again!

            ps — I like your pics. I read them in a completely different manner and context — personal, feminist and “body positive” — from the stereotypical “before and after” genre (which is often impersonal, airbrushed, objectifying, shaming).

          • I’m confused. When you were at normal weight, had health issues. Now at current weight health issues better?

          • I guess what I’m saying is why be at “normal” weight when you had health issues? Are you concerned that they would come back?

          • That’s correct. Normal weight, bmi 24 or 25, not skinny = health issues. Overweight, bmi 27 or 28 = health issues improved. And the timing is such that I don’t think could be purely coincidence. Are you asking why I would try to maintain a “normal” weight if it was causing health issues? I guess the answer is that I had no idea that maintaining “normal” weight COULD prevent the resolution of health problems. Compared to the culture as a whole, it’s a very radical idea, found here and few other places, that “normal” weight is not necessarily and self-evidently most healthy for everyone.

            Am I concerned the health issues would come back? Oh sure. They haven’t been gone long enough for me to feel out of the woods, yet. But if they’re gone for a year, I won’t be concerned anymore.

          • Hi Mighty m- I just wanted to suggest the idea of set-points. I do no know of course whether you were at BMI24/5 through restriction, and what your body is healthy at- but essentially the idea of ‘overweight’ is a rather fallacious one, based on stats that are not relevant to the population at large. As Gwyn Olwyn on YE says, most women fall between low 23 and 27 BMI at their HEALTHIEST. check out this post:

            It is possible that your body is truly at its best at a heavier weight- it is only daft societal indoctrination that suggests otherwise. Trying to artificially suppress weight would cause the symptoms you describe. Of course, this is just one possibility, making changes and listening really to what your body says is better than any theory!

          • Thanks for the comment, Imago, I appreciate it! I believe you’re right … and when the social pressure is tuned out, that’s the only thing that really makes sense, empirically and instinctually.

            Thank you for the reinforcement: “Trying to artificially suppress weight would cause the symptoms you describe.” Well said!

            That 24 BMI was definitely during some unsustainable restriction — tried paleo about six months, basically, to try to fix some indigestion. (ETF actually worked, not paleo.) That was a rare “small” phase for me … hadn’t been seen since 10th grade, haha! My grownup norm has been more like 26, 27. As far as other restriction … I never *thought* I restricted, but as I’ve been reading more an more into it, I recognize quite a bit of unintentional underfeeding, as well as some intentional. So despite some body-image-anxiety, it’s really going to be interesting — in a good way — to see what happens when I consistently eat well and plenty.

            Thanks again for the comment!

          • Kelly, I share pictures to share my experience, not as a before and after, or to prove anything. I don’t have physical or strength ‘goals’, I’m just sharing the process/journey, and I think I’ve made that abundantly clear on my blog and facebook page. At what point do YOU think I should sit back and say ‘I’ve reached my goal’? And what should I DO when I get to that point? Stop? I’m sort of baffled by your post.

          • I may have misread, I could have sworn I saw the posted as before and after. I am happy it worked for you. How can you be sure that your journey is right for mighty m? I’m confused on this. Its okay to be hungry, but not uncomfortably hungry. Hungry is hungry, is it not?
            You look great gkaleo. At what point does it become an obsession, that you can’t walk away from, and just eat the food and not worry about weight gain?

          • Hi Kelly

            ‘But isn’t gokaleo`s approach the same as “I have to eat 12 nuts” and “I only have 500 calories left”, in order to lose weight?’


            ‘I look at gokaleo, and wonder if she is happy.’

            Why are you so concerned about others happiness? Are you like Mother Theresa? This is usually a sign that you yourself are unhappy and judging others.

            ‘She is always showing before and after pictures, and now its like “is there really a difference, besides the lighting?” What is she trying to prove?’

            Nothing … but she does have a slammin body, you gotta admit that tho…

            ‘Yes, she lost weight, however when does she step aside and say “I’ve reach my physical and strength goal?’

            Who says she needs to step aside? Other than you, what if I said that to you, that you need to step aside and STFU.. ahh see that’s not nice now, is it?

            ‘I’m not a hater of gokaleo.’

            Yeah actually you are…or possibly you might just be hungry.

            ‘I just can’t imagine doing her program with the idea of a relax mindset of, eat the food. I would always worry about my intake.’

            That’s OK she is not saying her approach is for everyone. FTR if you are ‘always worried about your intake’, you likely have an eating disorder.

            ‘It would be more like, eat the set calories or you won’t hit your goal weight. I also can’t see the diet be for everyone. Why? I read on here twice that 2 girls got pregnant after years of trying, all by increasing there calorie intake not decreasing it. Granted they have gained more weight from the pregnancy, but they needed more calories. So how does anyone know in order to fix there metabolism that maybe increasing there calorie intake, is the better option than cutting?’

            The idea of increasing calories is similar to what Matt Stone promotes, that many ppl after years of restriction, would be better off refeeding and increasing calories and in some cases gaining weight is a good idea.

            It seems like you are not that familiar w Go Kaleo’s work.
            If you take the time and try to understand, you might actually get some valuable information that can improve your health and relationship with food. I wish you the best

            aka ‘San Antonio’
            Bringer of Peace & Light

          • Antonio, it would probably be better for everyone if you didn’t talk much. Sheesh, that was a dumb post!

        • I’ve been fascinated lately with people who have goal weights that are below their health weight, because it seems to me that the health weight and the goal weight should be the same and yet often they are not. So I guess I am curious – how did you decide that 110 pounds was your goal weight?

          • I just picked a low 100 number when I weighed 250lbs.

      • Matt, this study is also based on people who starved themselves down. It may be different when you lose slowly. Can’t determine from this study.

        • Research shows that speed of weight lost or size of calorie deficit makes no difference. But I suspect that may not be telling the whole story.

      • Yes, but does this apply when the calorie deficit is not so low like most dieters? When you get your metabolism working well, get out of the dying of hunger stage and then start eating 500 calories a day less (like right now I’m eating anywhere from 2,300-2,500 a day and that’s a deficit (that’s net after taking my exercise off, gross is actually more like 3,000). Did anyone in these studies eat sensibly like that? Or did they eat 1,500 calories a day and tank their metabolism?

        • *calorie deficit not so HIGH that is

        • I now see I’m late to the party.

        • They’ve tried pretty much every conceivable permutation. There is no reliable method for losing weight intentionally. But in my experience, both personal and observational, one can at least eat as much food as they want, even more than they want, and lose weight if they are physically active enough. That usually means finding a love for outdoor recreation and never losing that. The leanest I’ve ever been without hunger was eating way beyond basal metabolism needs and exercising a lot. That actually worked better than doing the same amount of exercise and eating as little food as I could stand.

          • Yea I think exersize sure has a lot to do with it which makes sense. We are made to move. It seems my appetite doesn’t increase in a linear way with my exersize (it did before, but not the last few weeks). If I wasn’t active I don’t think I’d be in a deficit without going hungry. In fact some days I don’t even want all the calories I get and have to whip up a chocolate shake at the end of the day to bump my total up. Food has become kinda boring. When I think back to coming off restricting its almost a bummer because food was soooooo exciting back then. I can specifically remember reading someone saying how just the words “jelly toast” could almost make them cry and thinking “yep”. Now thats just silly to me. I have bread I have jelly. I don’t want it.
            I seem to have lost some fat. I have not weighed, I’m still afraid to weigh. But I can see it in my chest (my collar bones and when I wash my hands I can see my muscles in my chest- this is very cool since I tend to hold my weight in my upper body) also my upper abdomen shows a hint of muscles under there. I’ve been running (hadn’t since winter) and it feels great and I seem to be making fast gains and I’m not pooed out half the day after. My dog is lagging behind me too. Mind you she’s gained weight with me, I kinda referd her along with myself Ha, and then I let my mom feed her (grandma syndrome) for a while. But, still, she’s a Rhodesian ridgeback in the prime of her life and I’m putting the hurt on her running hills so Ill stick with that story.

          • Also where are you seeing these studies?????

          • Most of these studies and great discussions on obesity in general can be found in some of the better books on the topic of obesity…

            Rethinking Thin by Gina Kolata, Fat by Robert Pool, Big Fat Lies by Glenn Gaesser, The Obesity Myth by Paul Campos, Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon, Losing It by Laura Fraser, and several others. The Science of Slim has some strong points as well. All of these books point out the true science of obesity and weight loss, which is heavily in conflict with the isms of the diet and fitness industry.

          • Thanks!

          • That suggests that in reality, it is not the energy deficit caused by the exercise that caused the weight loss- but the body deciding to lena out to become more efficient for the exercise! Another case of calories in = out not quite working….

          • I lost more weight starving myself, but eating as much as I could and exercising I lost more fat and only lost fat. That’s what made the aesthetic difference. The higher the metabolic rate the greater the proportion of the weight lost is fat vs. lean mass.

          • haha good point. I know too well that starving works a treat (at least once) if you wanna become a waif. Im very much enjoying the heavy lifting and heavy eating at the moment!

          • That’s been my exact experience. I exercise because I enjoy it and enjoy how it makes me feel. I eat the same way and love it. Exercise and dieting is a disaster. I like to go to the gym, do some super heavy squats or deadlifts, throw a pair of 120lb dumbells over my head a bunch of times then go home and eat a whole container of Haagen daz ice cream, washed down with a pizza then relax. I can run fast, lift heavy and still feel better than when I was 20 and livin’ la vida low carb and killing myself for a six pack and having the flu 5 times a year.

  17. Does anyone have that girls number? That chicken work is mighty fine.

    • Not to mention the gloves!

  18. I’m fascinated by the fact that you haven’t convinced them to adopt a different approach. This is not meant as a criticism – I find that food beliefs are SO deeply entrenched that even family members display resistance to a saner, non-“mainstream” approach (I’m speaking from my experience too). Despite presenting evidence and providing advice to the contrary, people have to be “ready” to listen and/or have to go experience the negatives of dieting themselves to then be open to a better approach. Or maybe it’s simply that family members never listen?!

    • Haven’t tried to convince them.

  19. I am not dieting, but I am restricting my eating for health reasons. I have been doing this for over a month now and I feel so much better. I do not feel the need to binge and I can eat small quantities of anything without feeling deprived. I do not show signs of elevated stress hormones, am sleeping better than before, but still not perfect and I still haven’t worn my jumper yet this winter.

    I do not wish to go into my health problems publicly, only to say that I have weighed up the qualified advice I have been given and I believe that I am taking the best course of action.

    I think that there is more to this issue than resistricted eating just doesn’t work. Perhaps there are psychological issues that go with going on a diet?

    • Probably depends on what you are restricting, too. If you are restricting junk food like twinkes and doritos, and eating a well-balanced diet, you’ll probably get healthier. If by “restricting” you just mean not overeating, same thing. But if you start cutting out healthy things, like all carbs, or all fat or all animal products (for some people) or whatever, or go too low in calories so that you are going hungry, then it’s a different story.

      • I have a friend who was always fat till she restricted just a tiny bit for about 2 years and lost it all. She has kept it off with minor fluctuations for at least 17 years. She followed a classic go kaleo approach without knowing it, with as much exercise and activity as she enjoys, no more – she happens to feels like lots of regular outdoor activity, cycling, watersports. All totally sustainable and no obsessing over food. She told me about it all those years ago and said the key was moderation, and tiny restrictions. How I wish I’d listened then!!

        • This is exactly what “French Women Don’t Get Fat” is all about, too, which I why I rave so much about it. Great for your friend!

          • Exactly! And at the same time her sister lost tons but rapidly, and using extreme measures . They went on a holiday together shortly thereafter , and with the indulging my friend put on 6 pounds which soon came off again, but her sister put on 20. within months she had regained it all – and since then has yoyo ‘d with big weight swings. Same genes!

    • Just want to emphasise: “but I am restricting my eating for health reasons”

      I did not say anything about weight loss, but it is a welcome side effect. In the past, I never had to worry about my weight. I feel better eating less.

      I wonder if these studies are not biased toward those that have the most problems losing weight and keeping it off. These are the people most likely to seek help. My grandpa put on a stone when he visited Germany with all their heavy food and promptly took it off again by cutting back, end of story. Lots of people do this all the time without consulting anyone or any problems.

  20. No wonder I don’t frequent the boards as much. This place has gone right down hill. I mean, he made a Simply Red joke (the band) and no-one has mentioned it. Blimey, my mum loved them.

    Apologies if anyone has mentioned it.

  21. Whoop!! After so many years of having a terrible football team I can’t get over how people who didn’t even go to A&M are picking us. In big games! Against good teams! Anyway- I hate how firmly the diet mentality is entrenched in the average American’s mindset. My husband is constantly trying to get us to drink skim milk and eat lots boneless, skinless chicken breasts. We tried that for a year while I was doing Paleo and all it got me was a 20 pound weight gain, insomnia, and irregular periods to the point of not even ovulating (which sucks when you’re trying to get pregnant!). One month of overeating (including all the carbs I wanted) and I was pregnant, sleeping through the night, and happy! I will never diet again. Thanks, Matt!

    • Emily, I’m doing that right now and I’m really hoping that’s my result too! I didn’t even realize how scared of carbs I was… my thyroid is already responding!

      • Yeah, the funny thing is that I actually started Paleo because I wanted to get healthier before I got pregnant, avoid gaining a lot of weight, etc. I didn’t even realize how much it had taken over my life and how much I was stressing out over what I ate until I finally just let it all go. I wanted to see what my cycle was like after 30 days of RRARF-ing but we got pregnant before the 30 days were even up. I think the reduced stress played almost as large a role as the increased calories and carbs. I’m 28 weeks right now and I’ve had a pretty much an ideal pregnancy thus far, too!

        • That’s really great to hear! (And I totally agree with you about the stress playing a major role!) Sending you good wishes for a very happy and healthy baby and an easy pregnancy! :D

        • Emily the exact same thing happened to me! I’m 27 weeks and I wouldn’t say my pregnancy has been ideal, but I think minor discomforts are common when you’re sharing your body with another human :) I’m still wearing my pre-preg jeans too. Congrats to you!

  22. Didn’t you write a book on thyroid..Eat for Heat…earlier you said forgetaboutit…about losing weight with thyroid issues…I thought there was hope??

    • I think you have to fix the thyroid issue before even thinking about loosing weight. For some people this may be possible for others probably not. I can imagine this being a frustrating conundrum because you first have to eat and gain weight to try to fix the thyroid problem. Then you have to try to loose weight in a in a slow drawn out non-restrictive manner for five or ten years in order to not wreck your metabolism or create psychological food issues. I think most people’s time would be better spent working on the deeper psychological issues they have first and allowing their relationship with food to follow. In short acceptance has to come first then you can gradually implement small changes into life more easily. When there is no acceptance then we live in a state of constant dissatisfaction with our eyes on a finish line that we may never cross. This usually leads to more frustration and eventually extremism in order to reach our goals and then the inevitable crash when we keep failing and totally wreck our self esteem.

      • lose weight, lose your mind

        loose pants, loose rope

    • You may ALSO need medication while re-feeding. (don’t take synthetic if you can avoid it – find a good doctor who prescribes dessicated thyroid).
      There are no guarantees with anything. But don’t fogetaboutit! MANY people have had successful weight loss with proper thyroid levels.
      Meanwhile, Enjoy your life- Speak your truths (your thyroid gland is at the throat Chakra… think about that!), and nurture yourself.

      • I agree. Thyroid conditions need medicine. I also think Matt was right telling me to forgetaboutit, because honestly, it’s not like I am the one with the control here. It doesn’t really matter how I eat, my thyroid likes to keep my weight up. It sucks, and i am just going to try and wait it out. I have been working with a doctor who has put me on my first ever thyroid medicine ( armour) and so hopefully the weight will get lost soon. My doctor also found nodules on my gland, and because of their size I had to get a biopsy. Now I am just awaiting results. So this little cancer scare is causing me to rethink my never ending attempt to keep my weight in control. I remember Matt once saying that if there is nothing you can do, it’s time to move on. Maybe I just will. There is more in this life to focus on and enjoy. I would love to be my thinner, prettier self enjoying it, but hey. that’s life.

        • There’s no doubt that true, genuine problems with the thyroid gland make things a lot trickier. It’s definitely not the same as a suppressed metabolism due to other factors (of which there are plenty, even a slight attempt to control one’s diet, weight, or eat less than you desire as is universally seen in all nutrition and health paradigms is enough to suppress metabolism significantly). But it’s good to start out trying to take control of diet and lifestyle practices first, then progress to other therapies. I wouldn’t give up or totally despair, but keep progressing through until you find a therapy that works – and look in a way that isn’t fearful and obsessive and allows for you to still live life. The worst case scenario for anyone trying to seek health remedies is spending a lifetime seeking them out and only getting sicker – missing life completely.

  23. Great article, Matt. I especially like the fact that you included an excerpt from Intuitive Eating. Intuitive Eating is one of the first books I discovered while trying to give up dieting, give up restricting, and giving up overeating at night resulting from undereating through out the day. It seems to place more of an emphasis on healing the mind and healing your ability to respond to your body’s wants versus what you think you should eat/want.

    From a purely observational standpoint, it seems that where many people are beginning to blur the lines between eating and restriction is the over-dependence on their higher-level thinking. Simply put– They’re putting way too much thought into it!

    In the beginning, I do believe that those who are coming off of extremely warped diets/diet mentality benefit with a structured meal plan/caloric intake while restoring their metabolism. Many of these people, underweight, healthy weight, and overweight alike are so disconnected to themselves that they struggle. But I’ve seen people who began at healthy weights who continue to force themselves to eat x amount per day and remain completely sedentary for months on end. To me, it seems perhaps many people are making a shift from one side of the spectrum to the other.. And are honestly surprised that they keep gaining and are shocked that they’re not at a set point. (Just like you can diet below your set point, I believe you can eat above it too- If you’re forcing yourself to eat and eat and rest and rest when your body is telling you something completely different.. Doesn’t seem right, either. )
    Likewise, we as humans and part-time health-junkies fail to acknowledge the brain and our beliefs when it comes our weights following chronic dieting. It has been documented, time and time again, that people have completely eradicated their health complaints simply through the mechanisms of their brain (“Mind Over Medicine”).
    Simply put, if we convince ourselves that we’re going to get fat, I’d venture to say that we’re more likely to put on weight through the healing process.
    On the flip-side, I feel like there are those out there who treasure this information simply because they need an “OK” to give up dieting, and become overzealous. I’m all about saying ‘Fuck It” to diets- Seriously. But if you’re cramming in tubs of ice cream just to say you can, raising your middle finger to the world.. you’re not really healing anything. Especially not your relationship with food, body, and self. You’re using food to punish yourself, just in a different way. The only difference is, is that you’ve given yourself the “OK” to do it, and are supported by your guru, your fuck-it friends, your alternative healthies, your..eatopia……… and it becomes the norm, the accepted.

    Anyway, I think the point of this rant is to really say that a greater emphasis needs to be placed upon restoring the intuitive nature of eating. Rediscovering your hunger/fullness cues, rediscovering variety in food choices, and removing your intent focus on food and calories while restoring your life and interests outside of food is key.

    • Well said. I think the whole point of the article is basically if your in your sixties and your fifteen pounds overweight and you basically stay there no matter what you eat, than dieting is a ridiculous waste of time that will likely lead to self imposed misery followed by more weight than you started out at. When I started dieting for health purposes three years ago I weighed 205 pounds and ate basically whatever I wanted. At my lowest I was down to 165 after a two week fast and people said I looked like a concentration camp survivor. On paleo I maintained 185 for quite a while and felt pretty good about my weight. Now after re feeding I am back at 205 which I feel is probably 10 to 15 pounds overweight for me at six foot tall. The point is I would rather be a little overweight and not obsess over food. It took constant work and vigilance to stay at 185. Even though I really liked that weight on myself I was physically and mentally a wreck. I agree that some people seem to chase the re- feeding dragon a bit far. In a way it is an excuse to just let go and I believe a lot of us need that confirmation. Sometimes I feel like after years of restriction you have to go a little hog wild until you get the binging out of your system. Believe me, a bowl of ice cream or a chocolate bar do not have the same appeal as they did months ago. When I read a post where someone says, ” I’ve hit 99 degrees and hope I can get higher” , I kind of cringe and think that it’s the same,” more is better”, extreme mindset thAt got people into trouble in the first place. Look at the “hot” movie stars of the 40’s. the guys weren’t ripped and the women were nice and curvy. People ate what they ate and at the very most maybe a guy would suck his gut in a bit for a shirtless shot.

      • Who came up with what the ideal weight is for height anyways? I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked over the years how much weight I wanted to lose. Its such a random number to me that I never really know. I feel like crap when I’m super skinny but my feel good weight hovers around the top of my BMI or over. I really don’t care! As a woman, I can eat as much as a guy because I’m tall and I get mad when someone expects that I want a smaller serving even if I’m hungry! I used to eat a ton when I played basketball and somewhere along the line, I thought I should act like a girl, tried out for drill team instead and cut calories… that was the beginning of dieting for me in high school. And I’m a foodie!! UGH! Matt, have you read or heard Zoe Harcombe talk about the whole calorie in/calorie out equation and how ludicrous it is? If we could come up with a formula to lose weight, we’d all be at the perfect weight or we’d continue losing “x” amount of pounds until we reached “0”. It’s all ridiculous and there is no one on earth who can prove the theory. She went to the British Gov’t and no one could explain it. No one in the US can explain it. Google her– it’s amazing info!

        • BMI is totally ridiculous and irrelevant. I can’t believe that it is applied to both men and women. Last time I checked men and women didn’t have identical amounts of muscle and bone.

          Zoe Harcombe, lol.

      • Anyone who thinks that they want to get hotter than 99 degrees, no you don’t. Believe me, I speak from experience!

        • I’m just happy to have gotten close to 98.6 a couple of times. My temps have averaged 97.1 for quite a while and usually were below 96 quite a bit. I always thought it was a bit weird but the doctors always told me it was normal for people to run that low. Now I know better.

    • Yes yes yes!

  24. Spent my years from 8 to 20 at 800 cals a day so I wouldn’t get “fat like Mum.” Got off that idiocy for 30 years and had six kids eating to hunger, gained and lost 100 pounds at least 5 times. Also had 20+ surgeries (none for weight loss…orthopedic issues.) I have chronic inflammation, constant pain, and at pushing-60 am seriously considering drastic steps to lose the 100 again. Read Eat for Heat, am reconsidering. But, oh man, you challenge every single thing I ever “knew” about weight. I would do damn near anything to get rid of the daily, wrenching, physical pain.

    • Well, how has everything you “knew” worked so far? You sound like a prime candidate for metabolic recovery! I think it could make you feel much better.

  25. That poor bastard Marlon

    Even before he let himself get obese and balloon up to over 350 lb., his eating habits were legendary. The Men (1950) co-star Richard Erdman claimed Brando’s diet circa 1950 consisted “mainly of junk food, usually take-out Chinese or peanut butter, which he consumed by the jarful.” By the mid-’50s he was renowned for eating boxes of Mallomars and cinnamon buns, washing them down with a quart of milk. Close friend Carlo Fiore wrote that in the ’50s and early ’60s Brando went on crash diets before his films commenced shooting, but when he lost his willpower he would eat huge breakfasts consisting of corn flakes, sausages, eggs, bananas and cream, and a huge stack of pancakes drenched in syrup. Fiore was detailed by producers to drag him out of coffee shops. Karl Malden claimed that, during the shooting of One-Eyed Jacks (1961), Brando would have “two steaks, potatoes, two apple pies a la mode and a quart of milk” for dinner, necessitating constant altering of his costumes. During a birthday party for Brando–the film’s director as well as star–the crew gave him a belt with a card reading, “Hope it fits.” A sign was placed below the birthday cake saying, “Don’t feed the director.” He reportedly ate at least four pieces of cake that day. His second wife Movita, who had a lock put on their refrigerator to stop pilfering by what she thought was the household staff, awoke one morning to find the lock broken and teeth marks on a round of cheese. The maid told her that Brando nightly raided the fridge. Movita also related how he often drove down to hot dog stands late at night (one of his favorite spots was the legendary Pink’s Hot Dogs in Hollywood; it was open 24 hours a day, and Brando would go there at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning and polish off a half-dozen hot dogs at a time). Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) costumer James Taylor claimed that Brando split the seat on 52 pairs of pants during the shooting of the film, necessitating that stretch fabric be sewn into his replacement duds. He split those, too. Ice cream was the culprit: Brando would purloin a five-gallon tub of the fattening dessert, row himself out into the lagoon and indulge. On the set of The Appaloosa (1966), Brando’s double often had to be used for shooting after lunch, and filming could only proceed in long shots, as Brando could no longer fit into his costumes. Dick Loving, who was married to Brando’s sister Frannie, said that Brando used to eat “two chickens at a sitting, and [go] through bags of Pepperidge Farm cookies.” It was reported during the filming of The Missouri Breaks (1976) that the environmentally sensitive Brando fished a frog out of a pond, took a huge bite out of the hapless amphibian, and threw it back into the drink. Living on his island of Tetioroa, Brando created what he called “real-life Mounds Bars” by cracking open a coconut, melting some chocolate in the sun, then stirring it into the coconut for a tasty treat. By the 1980s there were reports that one of his girlfriends had left him because he failed to keep his promise of losing weight. He seemed to be dieting, but to her astonishment, he never lost weight. She found out that his buddies had been throwing bags of Burger King Whoppers over the gates of his Mulholland Dr. estate late at night to relieve the hunger pangs of their famished friend. In the late ’80s Brando was spotted regularly buying ice cream from a Beverly Hills ice cream shop–five gallons at a time. He supposedly confessed that he was eating it all himself. Finally, a reported Brando snack was a pound of cooked bacon shoved into an entire loaf of bread. When Brando became ill, he seriously cut back and lost 70 pounds on a bland diet, but never lost his love of food and especially ice cream.

    • I love these Marlon Brando anecdotes. I also read he would have big bags of McDonald’s hamburgers delivered to his house, and he would make the delivery guy throw the bags over the fence because he didn’t want to see anyone.

      His physique was perfect in his early films. It’s hard to understand what happened to make him so constantly hungry. In his case, the results were definitely far from positive.

  26. Wow, I can’t believe that’s true. I wonder what made the man so hungry!

    • food was an offer he could never refuse

      • Great men are not born great, but they can definitely grow….

  27. Im wondering about one thing. Since im hypothyroid or have a low metabolism in terms of body temperature and feeling cold. How do you guys make to eat food with higher calorie density to water and also alot of salt and not get thirsty ? i dream of water if i do this and just want to down 1 liter of water after a meal like that.

  28. I wouldn’t say I diet, but I did change the way I eat a lot (to a point I enjoy of course). I used to drink tons of cola and eat chips all day long with a variety of fruit. Now I generally eat Rice, Sweet Potatoes (cooked with coconut oil) and a good bit of salad every day. Might seem highly boring I’m sure, but I somehow haven’t gotten tired of it (it’s much easier for me to eat and digest then other foods). I do occasionally eat meat but it’s not as often as before and it’s usually only once a day. Fluid wise I probably only drink 1 can of sierra mist a day (when before it was like 5 cans of coke a day, as you can imagine I was always in the bathroom). I would eat more variety but food is rather expensive these days so I just do what I can =p

    Feeling better than ever really. Don’t pee as much and skin is much softer and smoother now. There is one more problem I haven’t seemed to get rid of. Every morning when I wake up my stomach feels kind of groggy. Not in a nauseous kind of way, more like it feels kind of tight and uncomfortable. Unfortunately this makes it so I won’t want to get up for an extra 2 hours at times and is a rather unpleasant issue to deal with. I think Matt recommended not eating anything past 9 or so? Haven’t incorporated that practice yet but if anyone thinks that might help I certainly would be willing to. Other than that the body temp is warm and my mood is relatively positive now (I used to have an embarassing problem of masturbating too much, this put in extreme damper on my energy levels and mood and I recommend anyone to keep it at a minimum). So Matt’s been a real help to me in terms of advice, and I appreciate all the information he provides.

    Thanks for any advice!

  29. Matt, thanks for the best laugh I’ve had in months. Just delicious.



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