Lose Weight and Get Healthy!

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Seen the phrases “lose weight” and “get healthy” paired together before?  Me too.  At least a “Jillian” times.  Our entire society has come to equate losing weight with an improvement in health.  Funny thing that weight loss stuff though.  Not everybody gets healthier when they lose weight.  In fact, by percentages, most people get more UNhealthy when they lose weight.  A more appropriate phrase pairing might be…. “Lose weight and Lose health!”

So why does everyone think weight loss is such a great thing?  Why does just about every doctor in America think that if his/her patients lose weight, their health will dramatically improve?  The answer is really simple actually…

Weight loss causes a lot of temporary improvements in the biomarkers for things like heart disease and diabetes.  Emphasis on the word TEMPORARY.

With weight loss, you will typically see a drop in LDL, a drop in triglycerides, lower blood pressure, reductions in blood glucose, and several other changes that appear to be beneficial.

The problem is that these are just transient changes.  The weight is almost always regained due to powerful biological forces seeking to maintain a set bodyweight.  And when the weight returns, there actually tends to be more abdominal and visceral body fat than there was before – a biomarker in and of itself for heart disease and diabetes (but don’t get too scared here, the gain in abdominal fat is a result of having done something unhealthy, like subject yourself to the stress of dieting, and the fat itself doesn’t appear to be harmful – kind of like how a mullet has a positive association with dying in a drunken boating accident, but the hairstyle itself doesn’t directly drive the boat onto shore at high speed.  The hairstyle does directly attract women with STD’s though, and is directly responsible for the higher rates of STD’s seen with those who flaunt the hairstyle).

But even when the weight doesn’t return, and hell actually does freeze over, there is a lot of indications that these changes are still not maintained…

“On a short-term basis, weight loss is very effective at improving control of blood glucose.  However, this doesn’t mean that the diabetes is being cured; even skipping one meal will similarly lower blood glucose.  A 1995 review of all the controlled weight loss studies for type 2 diabetics showed that the initial improvements were followed by a deterioration back to starting values six to eighteen months after treatment, even when the weight loss was maintained.”

~Linda Bacon; Health at Every Size

Another reason doctors think weight loss is healthy is because people who are naturally leaner do tend to be ever-so-slightly healthier on a statistical basis.  Of course, on an individual basis, there are tons of really healthy obese people and tons of extremely ill people with the physiques of underwear models.  But as you age, the protective effects of being lean get smaller and smaller until, in the United States for example, you hit age 65 and stage 1 obesity (BMI of 30-35) actually becomes protective against degenerative disease and positively associated with longevity – more so than any other BMI range.

But we know that formerly fat people who have lost a ton of weight are much more often than not metabolically deranged as a result – not sharing the same health characteristics of a lean person who has never had a weight problem at all.  Paul Campos summed this up more simply than any author I’ve read, in his book The Obesity Myth

“The case against fat proceeds on the assumption that if a fat person becomes thin, that person will acquire the health characteristics of people who were thin in the first place.  It also assumes that there is some reasonably safe and reliable method for producing this result.”

And of course, as anyone who has followed my work can attest, I could go berserk, filling volumes on the details of the negative metabolic consequences of dieting – much of it attributable to the drop in leptin.  When leptin levels plummet, you see a large fall in metabolic rate, and the onset of any number of changes that take place when the basic metabolic energy production of the body falls (destroyed immune system, decreased sex drive and function, anxiety and depression, chronic fatigue, increased estrogen dominance, yada yada).  We also know that dieting raises cortisol, no doubt a big factor in the diseases losing weight is supposed to prevent.  No wonder weight loss typically results – not in health and body composition improvement, but an actual long-term worsening in both for most who experience it…

“There is no good evidence that significant long-term weight loss is beneficial to health, and a great deal of evidence that short-term weight loss followed by weight regain (the pattern followed by almost all dieters) is medically harmful.  Indeed, frequent dieting is perhaps the single best predictor of future weight gain.”

“…there is a great deal of evidence that weight LOSS increases the risk for cardiovascular disease among ‘overweight’ individuals, and some studies suggest that obesity actually protects against vascular disease.”

~Paul Campos

And so, in closing, (as mentioned in 12 Paleo Myths) based on what we know about weight, one should assume, unless proven otherwise, that any weight lost by any means is…

1)      Impermanent

2)      Unhealthy

3)      Destined to trigger health problems attributable to a reduced metabolic rate

While there are certainly success stories, typically as a result of improving metabolism through healthier eating, stress reduction, better sleep, exercise, and any number of other factors – you can hopefully let a couple of things go after reading this.

You can let go of the idea that if you are overweight, you MUST lose weight to be healthy.  Not true.  You can also let go of the idea that weight loss is a sign of improved health.  It rarely is, even when ALL biomarkers of metabolic syndrome improve!  Because when those changes are brought about by weight loss, they are likely to reverse themselves over time, with or without weight regain.  1 step forward, 2 steps back (unfortunately most health writers, practitioners, bloggers, gurus, etc. use short-term changes in such biomarkers shown by various studies as support for their theories, not knowing that these changes can often be looked at in reverse).

For now, think of weight loss (unless it is a spontaneous result of an improvement in your metabolism/hormones somehow) as something that, instead of getting you healthy…

  • Slows the rate at which your body burns calories.
  • Increases your body’s efficiency at wringing every possible calorie out of the food you do eat so you digest food faster and get hungrier quicker.
  • Causes you to crave high-fat foods.
  • Increases your appetite.
  • Reduces your energy levels (so even if you could burn more calories through physical activity you don’t want to).
  • Lowers your body temperature so you’re using less energy (and are always cold).
  • Reduces your ability to feel ‘hungry’ and ‘full,’ making it easier to confuse hungers with emotional needs.
  • Reduces your total amount of muscle tissue.
  • Increases fat-storage enzymes and decreases fat-release enzymes.

The message here?  Don’t blame yourself when you ‘break’ your diet.  It’s not about gluttony or a failure of willpower.  In fact, most dieters show extraordinary self-restraint, persistence, determination, and willpower.  You didn’t fail; the diet did.”

~Linda Bacon; Health at Every Size





  1. If I’m first, do I win a prize?

    • Yes, you win a rectal refractometer!

      • “Rectal refractometer” LOL. That must be 180H’s version of the left-handed screwdriver.

        Thanks for this article, Matt. It’s a nice overview / refresher on the weight loss issue and a perfect article to keep handy for masturdebating with hardcore dieters.

  2. Refractometer? Rectal thermometer? Anything?

    • Hahahahaha, I wrote the refractometer thing before your reply showed up. I’ll have to give you my mailing address in a private message.

  3. Hi Matt,
    I’m really trying to get on board here, but I fail to see the difference between the SAD diet and what you recommend. Could you take a moment and splain that please?

    • Recommending raising body temperature, and find that standard American foods often do it the best. Then you can transition to a more whole foods diet once you’ve taken care of that far more important priority.

      • Hi Matt,
        I just started following your blog. I’ve been following Ann Marie @ Cheeseslave for awhile so have heard about your “diet.” I also just downloaded your book, diet recovery.

        I know you say a SAD diet is best for raising temps, but doesn’t it cause other problems? I used to eat a SAD diet and I gained tons of weight and felt horrible. Granted, I have always been overweight and have yo-yoed quite a bit : ( Even now that I’m at one of my lightest, I’m still heavy. But my temps are still low–in the 97.2-97.4range pre-ove and the 97.9-98.2 post-ov, so I’m curious to give your ideas a try, and I’m tired of not eating food. I’m tired of being on a diet. Of course my chiro who has been working with me is totally against grains–think “Wheat Belly.” The thought of eating SAD, however, makes me sad because I just don’t want all of that junk food in my diet.

        Anyway, I think I completely digressed, but I am a little concerned. That said, I’m eating a bowl of oatmeal which I haven’t had in ages since I’ve been on a no grain diet (I still ate other carbs–fruit, potatoes, and yams). But, I made my oatmeal the Nourishing Traditions way.

        If you could shed any light on any of this, I’d appreciate it. I haven’t finished your book, yet, but I’m getting there.


        • Those temps are pretty good Lori. You probably won’t need much “junk food,” I just find that for some people that gets them back into peak metabolic condition the fastest due to the calorie density. Making sure you aren’t peeing clear and adding more carbs to your diet and eating beyond appetite is probably all you need to raise those temps by a degree or so.

          • Thanks for responding so quickly Matt. Okay, so I haven’t finished your book, but I do have a question about temps and I’m not sure you answer it there. If you do, I apologize for asking it here. This morning after I took my waking temp (which got taken in the middle of the night because I have insomnia so I always take it when I wake up whenever that may be because I may or may not fall back asleep) I took it again after being awake for a while. My temp went down. When I first took it it was 97.48. Then it went to 97.2. Then I age and it went to 96.96 or so. Is that normal? I’ve taken my temps a few times in the past after I eat and it seems to go down. Also, sometimes I take my temp at night and it’s lower even though occasionally in the afternoon it’s up to 98.something.

          • These fluctuations are normal, but ultimately we wanna see stable body chemistry and pretty stable temps, rising throughout the day to peak in the afternoon/early evening.

          • Okay, just another question. I’m almost done with Diet Recovery, and I’m seeing people talk about having water with lemon and honey in it (Ann Marie@Cheeseslave talks about drinking this at night) but where have they learned about this? It seems like in Diet Recovery you’re okay with water but somewhere in one of your blogs you go against this???? It seems like you’ve also changed your mind on junk food from what I’m reading! : )

            Any other changes from the book?

          • Lori – Refined foods turn out to be even better for raising metabolism than whole foods. Whole foods might be superior for health maintenance, but these highly refined foods do serve a purpose. Not sure whre this lemon and honey comes from.

          • I’ve read a few people who are following you that they are drinking lemonade–lemon and honey water, or maybe that is their take, especially at night, but I don’t get it and when I ask no one answers me! : (

  4. You win Matt’s forever friendship. all you need is one of those two piece necklaces and a blood pact.
    I wish Jillian was right. But after all this time, I think she is dead wrong.
    the hag

  5. I’m trying not to want it too badly (especially if I end up stressing about it), but I am really looking forward to that possibility of spontaneous weight loss. In related news, is it good news that I am not as hungry as I was at the beginning of RRARF? I tried to eat a big lunch and big breakfast today, but I got seriously stuffed on less food than usual…

    • That’s normal Kendahl. Yout body doesn’t want to gain any more weight or have your metabolism go any higher than it already is. Just the natural mechanisms kicking in, just like when you lose weight you eventually get to the point that appetite gets out of control, and you get less stuffed on more than usual.

  6. I’m so sick of eating, lol. If this is reverse psychology it’s working…

    • LOL, Simone!!
      My kids and I all feel that way! Do I have to eat ice cream after lunch EVERY day? No dear just until your temp goes up, now get another scoop and stop whining.

      • LOL – totally. The first thought I have when waking up “Crap, I have to eat right now again?”

      • Yes, the psychology of HAVING to eat junk food instead of GETTING to eat junk food is very powerful. As is eating MORE food than you want instead of constantly battling to eat LESS food than you want. It really helps to neutralize a lot of emotions and psychology surrounding food and eating – re-connecting them with their true desires and intuition. All good things.

  7. I believe in spontaneous weight loss. Honestly, I can not present myself as the absolute pinnacle of health because I definitely have my issues and am still recovering from whatever I did to my body last year. I’m still weak. But. I used to crave all sorts of things in my earlier years and now I eat what I want and crave very little. Usually stuff like meat or veggies or brown rice. It’s weird but true. And my body comp is the best it’s ever been. Almost no exercise besides walking to get around. I know I underwent some sort of metabolic healing from where I was a few years ago. I was never overweight though.

    When I was recovering from my ED I got puffy and definitely gained abdominal weight, but that’s all gone now.

    I’m dating a guy right now who is training for a triathalon and trying to “cut” his weight to compete better. It’s really bothersome to me as I watch him avoid carbs and stuff. I like him but am not sure I want to watch the path he is probably going down…

    • Wait til his sex drive and function goes Amy. Then you will be even more unsure.

      Spontaneous weight loss can and does happen. But you are effectively handing the accounting job over to the body. Sometimes it lets go of its excess fat. Sometimes it doesn’t. There are no absolutes there. No promises. Just fingers crossed.

      • Yeah, the sex drive is still going strong right now. I’m hoping maybe I can convert him before that goes…

      • I have experienced spontaneous weight loss before, three times actually. So I know it can happen, and probably will happen again. The key factor all three times was serious stress reduction and getting enough sleep. I lost about 30 lbs each time, in about a 3-4 month period. Once was after I graduated high school (took a year off to do nothing – very relaxing after a few very stressful years at school), the other times were after I had my children. I’ve gained weight since starting this, but I also feel stronger and am sleeping better then I have in years. I know the weight loss will come.

    • If it’s really bothering you Amy, you may want to give that some careful thought. There was a couple different girls I dated a while back while going through my “diet recovery”. Both were obsessed with eating well in the standard American sense, one was heavy into outdoor activities (i.e. lots of cardio), and both drank soy-milk.
      Sharing food is one of the fundamental ways we connect with other people. I know I can’t really be with someone who’s too off base from me in nutritional beliefs. That probably goes for most people on here.

      • Yeah, it’s a good point. I normally have this criteria actually. I love guys that ETF. It’s just that with this guy, we seem to have this amazing chemistry that you don’t find very often. Emotional and physical. Which makes me more willing to try to compromise on other stuff where I can.

  8. “unless proven otherwise, that any weight lost by any means is…

    1) Impermanent

    2) Unhealthy

    3) Destined to trigger health problems attributable to a reduced metabolic rate”

    Haha, come on dude, there is no way this is true. I agree that the average low carb or crash diet will always lead to negative outcomes but losing any fat will be unhealthy?! Bologna!

    What about the impact on your joints? What about the extra miles your heart has to pump around your body? Now im talking about OBESE people, not someone in the 10-15%bf range (for men). There is no way that a 350lb man is healthy and there is no way that that same man losing 150lbs over the course of 2-3 years using a calorie restricted diet that fulfills his protein, carb, fat and nutrient needs while utilizing short intense weight sessions could turn out to be unhealthy.

    I agree with a lot you are saying but man, this is taking it to the extreme i believe. So where does that leave all your overweight followers, they are just hoping for “spontaneous weight loss, somehow?”

    • It is true ol’ Buddy Zach. No obesity researcher has ever found a way to consistently achieve what you mention. And when they do, all the signs of starvation are present. I’m not saying weighing 350 is healthy. But losing weight doesn’t seem to be the answer with the current methods we have available to us.

      And yes, that’s exactly where it leaves the overweight 180 peeps.

      • What about Jon Gabriel’s method (what he outlined in the book, not what he seems to be doing now). That seemed pretty healthy.

        • Yeah, Jon Gabriel’s orginal work is great. But it’s not like it works at a very high percentage. Certainly not with his meditation cd which has you pretty much obsessing about weight loss instead of obsessing about life and forgetting about your weight as much as possible, which is a much better way to achieve accidental weight loss, or the elusive “healthy weight loss.”

          • I think you’re right Matt. Each of the three times I’ve experienced spontaneous weight loss I wasn’t even thinking about it. In fact, the lowest weight I ever was as an adult was during the most relaxing time I’ve ever had. I was living in Spain with wonderful friends, enjoying the sun – eating white french bread and ice cream every day. I lost about 15-20 lbs while out there. I did a very small amount of body weight exercises every morning, but I ate anything I wanted and didn’t think about it.

          • Who are all you people that can lose weight spontaneously when you’re happy and relaxed? The only two times in my life I lost weight spontaneously was when I went through bouts of depression after very emotional break-ups (first one was first love, second was my fiance who I lived with but broke up with after he was convicted of rape). I lost 20 pounds in a month after the first break-up, and about 40 pounds in 2 months after the second. When I’m relaxed and happy, I eat and eat and get fatter!

          • Happenened to me too Katy and I also start eating the wrong kind of foods,which lead me to addiction&my body&emotions in a downward spiral….That’s why I’d probably get addicted to them,needing to keep on eating them to ‘keep feeling good’ or in other words camouflaging the downward spiral symptoms of my healthSo,I guess that’s why I gain like crazy.

      • Well no, you will never get consistency because people are too individual and it comes down to hormones, dedication, will power, consistency, calories and much more. But i still think its a bit extreme to say that fat loss unless spontaneous from metabolic correction is going to lead to bad health.

        Side question, how come you arent pimping the 12 paleo myths book? I was hoping that some low carb bloggers would pick up on it. I think you should challenge a few to a fair critique of the book, it would be interesting to see them try to argue a few of those myths.

      • Now now, Matt. Just because his statement about calorie deficit is wrong – it doesn’t mean that you’re not wrong about, “one should assume, unless proven otherwise, that any weight lost by any means is… Impermanent, etc”

        If you take a step back you can see this is a reactive statement to dieting culture caused by being ‘in the know’ about certain things. There are plenty of causes where a permanent weight loss is healthy and none of your three “bad things.” Reducing inflammation for a few weeks can result in weight loss, removing a tumor can result in weight loss, transitioning from hundreds of grams of refined sugars per day and adding some stuff that slows uptake of that sugar (like fiber) can cause stable weight loss with none of your listed ill-effects.

        Your original premise is that most weight loss dieting (and as you have pointed out in the past, means calorie restriction dieting) is harmful to the health. What you implied in the first paragraph of this article is that losing weight isn’t necessarily healthy, which is true. How we should conclude is that, “you get healthy to lose weight; you don’t lose weight to get healthy.” Weight is a symptom, et cetera… Not that, “if you ever lose a pound your a piece of shit and deserve to die.” (Yes, that’s a direct quote.)

        • I’m not wrong about that James. Of course, there are many cases that prove otherwise. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to lose weight and keep it off without negative metabolic complications. It happens. It’s just rare. It is the exception not the rule, which is what that statement is meant to remind people of.

    • Hi Zach,
      One of the things not mentioned in this discussion is how the person feels. I’ve been following Matt’s guidelines for six weeks and gained 8-10 pounds and was overweight to begin with. I’m physically able to move around easier (less pain in my joints & breathing easier), more mentally alert, tension headaches & migraines are gone, emotionally very hopeful and looking forward to each day because I know that the day my diabetes will be gone is coming, increased libido goes hand & hand with all of these improvements. I now have more energy for my husband and children. I can get up at 5:30am, get all of us ready and go to Mass every morning, followed with a full day of homeschooling, cleaning and trips to the park. This includes a healthy nap and cooking all that food we’re eating, too! I can also get our laundry done, this is a big deal with 5 kids and a Daddy that has to go out of town who I help part time as his secretary. So basically I’m fatter and yet doing the best I’ve ever been with such an improved emotional and mental state that the physical is secondary. People want to feel better not lose weight, they just think that losing weight will bring the peace and joy they’re searching for. Two years ago I was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic, lost 30 pounds, was bitter, miserable and exhausted. I couldn’t eat anywhere because of the strict guidelines I was following and would fall asleep if I sat down or would be up & screaming at my children all day. Living with a dark cloud over you because you know that no matter how hard you try you’ll eventually die of the disease you have is horrible. Truth is a beautiful and real thing, not someone’s opinion that can be changed. The proof is in the pudding.

      • Hi Lydia,

        I have no idea what your post has to do with mine.

      • Lydia that is a great testimony God bless you!

    • I guess it isn’t properly seen as spontaneous, but one of the focuses of RBTI is getting the liver working properly making the enzymes we need to really get energy out of our food. So once the body is obtaining energy and using it correctly, the fat accumulation may be able stop and then reverse as the brain realizes energy doesn’t need to be hoarded anymore. It is kind of a “reset” of the metabolism.

  9. I feel like so many people use health as an excuse for dieting, but it really comes down to vanity. I have talked to so many people who have no chronic health problems but want to loose 10-15 pounds to get back to ideal weight and they all give me somewhat hysterical lines like, “I want to be there for my kids” when what they really mean is, “it sucks to have to by new jeans in a bigger size.” Not that these people are shallow, far from it, but they are trying to rationalize something which is a big, expensive, time-consuming self-improvement project as something which is actually altruistic. I had this exact argument with my mom this week. She gained a few pounds over the winter (most of it, eating at my house, I have to say) and she is all worried that it will negatively impact her health. She is 70 has no chronic health issues and has smoked a pack a day for thirty years. Since her whole life is a giant middle finger to medical statistics, why worry about a few pounds. I’m going to tell her that at her age, being a few pounds overweight is statistically protective. I’m sure she’ll be totally receptive to it…*insert flashing sarcasm light here.

    • Actually, this brings up a good point. There has got to be a benefit to people feeling better about how they look. Weight loss in that way lowers stress levels and promotes good feelings.

      • My experiences with dieting were such that I was never satisfied with how I looked. I’d see myself in pictures and want to cry. I was STILL fat according to my messed up mental idea of how I was supposed to look. Now I see those same pictures and think, was I crazy? So dieting never relieved any stress about how I looked. It just made me more neurotic about it. And every new diet added a new page to the crazy. I’m sure there are stories to contradict mine, but for me the fundamental issue was one of needing to learn to accept myself not squeeze myself into some ideal size.

        • Agree with Jennythenipper. Same for me. I felt much more awesome about my appearance at my heaviest weight, than when I was dieting. :P I actually didn’t really give much thought to what I looked like when I was most heavy, whereas I was obsessed with it while dieting.

          • That’s a really common phenomenon Puddleduck. Male bodybuilders experience the same thing I hear, never thinking about their bodies much until they start to get muscular, and then freaking out that they look small and scrawny when they are double the size that they used to be. Funny eh? But karma in a way, for not being thankful for what you’ve been given.

        • Agree, Jenny, to a certain extent. I’m not worried about being a certain size at all. I’m totally okay with never wearing a two-piece swimsuit again. I don’t even care about what the scale says.
          Here’s what bothers me – I have NO waistline. My belly bothers me not necessarily because it’s big, but because it obscures my “girlness” as I see it. Sure, boobs and hips and butt say girl, but mostly when there is some kind of contrast in the waist area. Curves, not blobs.

          I do get what you’re saying though – I remember feeling fat in high school – and now looking back, I was thin as a rail.

          • I always had more of a male body composition (small boobs,tiny flat ass,skinny arms&lower legs and a big belly and round face) too and other related ‘malish’ symptoms. I think it has to do with hormonal imbalances,amongst some Cortisol?

        • I second what Jenny said!!! I would KILL to look like I used to back when I “thought” I was fat. And it really makes me sad to remember how unhappy and self-conscious I was about my size back then :>(
          Now my size is really something to be unhappy about but since improving my metabolism (BBT 98.6 first thing most mornings now) I’ve come to accept that fat loss will happen when my body is ready.

        • Between the Pop tarts shout out and this posting, I say this:

          Jennythenipper For President!

  10. I got a question. I don’t mind gaining some weight while RRARFing, but I just look jiggly and have more cellulite. I’m not eating bad fats. Is it possible to gain weight and still have smooth looking skin and muscles. I’m also getting a ton of belly fat and swelling? Anyone know what’s going on?

    • Amy, that is usually what happens when you RRARF. Happened to me too, but only happened the 2nd time I did it (after 5 months of doing tons of cardio). First time I was much healthier when I did it metabolically, and only gained 5 pounds and felt really hot and happy.

      • Just noting this is a different Amy from the one above (I am the 1st Amy and am not jiggly). Just wanted to clear up any confusion, since I said above I have a great body comp.

    • I noticed my skin was smoother after reducing liquids. Just a thought, in case that applies.

      • Definitely. I think when hands are feet are warm there is more blood, oxygen, nutrients, oils, etc. travelling to the skin as well. My skin is stupid soft right now and the lines on my forehead even seem to have smoothed out since drinking less over the past couple of months.

        • wow, i’ve been noticing the exact same thing since i’ve reduced my liquids, i only drink a couple of mugs of water, eat plenty of (salted) food as usual, but my skin is super soft, like a baby’s bum, i use no skincare and have no lines, the faint lines on my forehead have suddenly gone AWOL, and dryness has gone too, interesting.

          • Yeah, the major decrease in the depth and definition of the ol’ forehead wrinkles has been really interesting. I mean, they didn’t totally vanish, but they are definitely less prominent.

  11. I’m a Jillian fan, and have read some of her books. I do find it quite telling though that she has PCOS, as well as thyroid problems. She also tells in her books about her past history with frequent extreme diets. Even though I’m a fan I do think she is a hot mess and maybe needs to chill out??

    • All that testosterone is probably what helps Jillian look so muscular, haha. Almost all people who forced weight off have to be obsessive to keep from gaining it back – eating some low-calorie, high protein diet and exercising like a fiend.

      • Yeah Matt, one of the contestants on one of the first seasons of Biggest Loser went public a while back after she’d gained back a lot of weight (well, by Biggest Loser standards).

        She said it was taking her over 2 hours of working out and severe dieting just to maintain her weight loss from the show and she just didn’t want to live that way. Kind of interesting. Someone should do a study on the perils of maintenance. That’s pretty intense.

        • They inject the contestants on the biggest loser with HCGH. It is impossible to lose weight that quickly without it.

          • I am not aware of anything compelling showing the HCG has any effect on metabolism and bodyfat regulation. It’s easy to lose 10 pounds per week when a person is that overweight and exercising 8 hours per day. 8 hours of intense physical activity at that weight might burn 2 or more pounds of fat off in a single day. Plus all the water weight and muscle mass lost. And bone mass. And organ mass.

        • Everything that anyone has ever looked into when it comes to maintenance involves at least one workout per day (usually 2), and a diet that is 40% protein or higher and very low in calories – continued indefinitely to avoid regain. Good times! Stuart McRobert actually wrote an interesting book on this and that was the theme amongst those who had successfully kept it off for 5 years or longer.

  12. I started RRARFing about two weeks ago. I have been eating WAPF style but lower carbohydrate for the last couple of years – but overall eating WAPF for probably 5 years. I lost 25 pounds slowly over a year and a half. Now I am rapidly gaining weight RRARFing. I mean I gained about 4 pounds and a very noticeable increase in fat around the midsection and my pants are too tight. I really believe in your ideas, but this is getting pretty scary after losing 25 pounds without really trying. I did have low body temp, which prompted me to give RRARFing a try. I honestly am not taking my temp now, because I have a little boy who wakes me in the morning and I never remember. I am scared – I need encouragement here! How long should I do this before I quit!?!? I find myself very hungry in the evenings despite nearly stuffing myself at dinner – maybe hunger doesn’t describe it – like I can’t get food off my mind and feel really driven to eat! I have also been experiencing a lot of stomach upset.

    • I wouldn’t stuff yourself at dinner Tonya. I would only stuff yourself at breakfast and maybe at lunch too if you are still cold. Everything else you are experiencing is absolutely 100% normal for coming off of a lower carb diet, and travelling from a low body temperature to a high body temperature. I wouldn’t stop until your temps peak at around 99 degrees during the 2nd half of your menstrual cycle. It’s at that point that most if not all of the fat gain will stop.

      • Thanks for the input – So what do I do about the insatiable desire to eat at dinner and afterward. Do I ignore it or answer my cravings? I have to force myself to eat a big breakfast! I ordered some dessicated thyroid today, as I am at the point where I feel I should try it. I am overwhelmed with stress that I cannot be free of right now, so I know I cannot achieve complete healing with diet alone. Do you think more metabolic damage will happen as a result, or that this would be fine until more health is achieved?

        • I would just continue to work on getting more food in at breakfast and lunch. If you are still having problems please contact me directly. Usually with a little info. it’s easy to line something out that works, and figure out if that’s actually appropriate for you to pig out at dinner and after (for some, this is awesome), or if that is working against you. Overall, if you see your temps rising you’re probably gonna be fine, and your appetite will level off once your temps reach the upper ranges. Don’t be so certain that this isn’t gonna work or that you need thyroid meds though. You might be surprised. Best to give it a fair trial. This is not something to be done for a year and then assess. I wanna see you get your temps up around 99 in a month or less and then see how you feel – and not really cast judgment or freak out about some of the initial discomforts in the process. But would love to talk to you in more detail some time to make sure you are doing everything you can to succeed.

          • I totally know how you feel. I started 1.5 months ago and I did gain some weight (maybe 10 lbs). I was pretty freaked out and I wanted to eat everything because I had not allowed myself to in the past two years on WAPF and a huge on and off again dieter since I was 9. I now have very little desire for food. I have to really search for something that even sounds good. Pizza, uggh, eggs, gross, icecream, tired of…. I was having huge cravings the first couple of weeks and overeating in the evenings too but now I’m kindof over eating. Which is so nice.

          • Hey there – my temps have been in the 99s for the last couple of days, but I don’t know if that is because I have a cold! I am also taking the supplement by Standard Process Thytrophin PMG. I do still have cold hands and feet and an overall sense being chilled.

            Anyway, I do want to talk to you. I am a Nutrition Consultant student and I really need to get this right. I have gained 6 pounds now and I can’t even fit into my size 12 jeans anymore. Fat gain is rapid around the abdomen. I am hoping to go into business next September with a Naturopathic Physician – how am I going to get hired as nutrition consultant if I am fat? I have read your metabolism book and now I am reading the Paleo Myths book. What you say makes a lot of sense, but I am also reading about eating more refined foods on the blog here so I am really confused. I have thrown caution to the wind this last week and have been eating whatever I want to some degree – homemade pancakes, pastries, grill cheese, raw cream, ice cream, rice pasta and all the foods I really crave. I come from years of eating really healthy foods, mostly organic and from farms, lower carb, fermented carbs and so on. I too have found that really no diet works and that everything ultimately comes with a price. I too have experimented on myself over the years in pursuit of health. So far, the only time I have lost significant weight was basically just eating a balanced diet and even having some refined carbs here and there – I tend to binge out on junk food once in a while – but I have never felt healthy! Now I really want to achieve metabolic healing and not have to think about this so much. I really want to be able to help my clients heal too! Right now I am working with practice clients; however I was recommending a lower carb diet – now I am totally confused about what to do for them. My reputation is at stake here!

            Do you offer student discounts for a consult? If so, I would really love to talk to you!

          • I’m actually talking with another nutrition consultant and recent grad from that funny nutrition school in New York. So I’ll have to add you to that. Then you can kinda see the physiological change we’re after here at 180. Some of your clients will just need to eat a balanced diet and not think about it too much. But you will want to master this as well, because you’ll see some sick people and can do a lot to help a lot of people if you know how to help them raise metabolism and lower the physiological stress response with food, sleep, and just a few other tricks. I will email you.

    • briliiant article matt. I’m going to save this page and hand it out to any of my friends who are going on a diet yet again for some “special event”. losing weight has never been that much of an issue to me, in fact I find myself losing weight if I’m not careful to eat WAY more than a normal portion (imagine eating more than the guy when you’re on a date). i think there is a lot more markers to health than weight for sure.

      also, tonya, i was pretty anal about measuring my temps when I first started doing matt’s suggestions, but then 1 week later i just gave up. I believe it’s really important of course, but wouldn’t stressing out over your body temperature be akin to stressing out over your body weight? I just judge by the way I feel, do I feel cold/jittery in general, cold toes etc, or am I happy and relaxed after my meals.

      • Haha. I’ve been telling everyone not to test their body temps more than twice a week now – to make sure no one becomes neurotic or obsessive about it. I underestimated people’s tendency towards extremes early on, but am more enlightened about it now. Like one guy I talked to this weekend read what I wrote about fluids and water and hadn’t had anything to drink in 2 days!!! Wa-wa-wa-wa-what???!!!! Balance, Daniel-San!

    • Drinking a little OJ in the morning can help some people get their hunger back before breakfast. Can’t remember why, but I read that just recently. My hubby is also one of those that “can’t” eat breakfast, then eats a lot later in the day.

  13. So I am on day 2 of the eat 90% of all my calories before 2pm plan. Love the freedom to pig out for breakfast and lunch. Why after each big meal am I feeling kidney pain for quite some time after. My water intake is 1/4 of what it was, and salt is higher even than usual. But ya, kidney pain, no urination issue just really tender in the kidneys?

    • I don’t know about the kidney pain. It may be from increase vasodilation from more food, more salt, and less water. Perhaps you don’t need to be quite so aggressive with it. Either eat less salt or drink more fluids and see if that makes it subside.

      • I will try more fluids, cuz I used to drink lots of water. Was not hungry at supper, so just ate a cup of raw carrots.

        • Angela- There is a nasty bug going around that includes kidney tenderness. My brother has had it, my Mom’s boss has had it. So, it may not be your diet or water intake at all. If it does improve with water intake, then maybe that was the issue, but bare in mind that sometimes coincidence is just coincidence, not causal.

          • thanks Alisha. I have increased water and still having kidney pain. So not sure, it may be that flu.

  14. If bodyfat accumulation was bad for you, the body would fight it. Also, the body has no way of knowing that your diet efforts are magically aimed at losing “only fat” – all the body knows is depletion, and it will fight THAT. Diets that “work” and feel “effortless” are just short-term tricks to get your body to not notice it’s being deprived until it’s too late – which is why you then get the reversal of all those healthy biomarkers.

    Also, it’s pointless to fight the ‘stress” of not looking the way you want to with the stress of dieting to try to look the way you want to. I get it, I’ve been there, I still am, but the solution to your body image problems is not to diet – dieting *causes* body image problems, it doesn’t fix them.

    • As with Matt, i think you are making too broad of a statement. Yes that is what happens to the majority of people that diet in hopes to look like insert thin actors name here, but those people have more then just a weight issue, they are unhealthy mentally. That usually leads to the typical calorie restriction, chronic cardio, fad diet.

      For someone like me who is actively working towards a real goal which happens to coincide with looking great naked and doing it correctly but still utilizing a calorie deficit, i guarantee i can achieve my goals without these inevitable reversal health markers. Many others have done this, its not a myth, if somethings not working, you need to evaluate it and make changes, not just give up and say that you were meant to be fat.

      And as for stress you are right, stress may very well be the number one cause of disease but that doesnt mean you cant systematically use it to your advantage while eliminating the real unnecessary stresses of life.

      • You’re also male, I assume by your name, and I think in our society the difference for women’s psychology related to their weight and body image cannot be overestimated.

        • Body image and acceptance are reflections of the culture and do not solely come from ourselves. For women, there is heavy pressure to be thin, especially if you are young and single. Some handle this better than others, but the lower your self-esteem and the higher your need for attention, the more you are going to restrict calories. This causes a lot of physiological and emotional damage.

    • Neesha, great comment. I had never thought of it quite that way before.

    • When I was starting the eating disorder recovery, my therapist kept telling me not to focus on food and eating, just to let it be for awhile and fall where it may. We did not discuss it in sessions. Instead I was to focus on my emotional state and feelings, etc, and what was behind the eating disorder. You know what? It worked, she was right. I think it is likely a huge secret behind naturally occurring weight loss, too.

      • Good point Amy. I think I need to focus like that too.

  15. Matt
    I get your point and I understand you are targeting those advocating “dieting” for weight loss, but I could see one taking from your post that weight loss is nearly hopeless without damaging health. But this smells like an oversimplification and it seems to me there have to be strategies that are safe…

    Just to play devil’s advocate, what do you make of the contention that (essentially to paraphrase Clarence Bass) the reason weight loss is unhealthy is because people normally attempt it too quickly and without exercise. Consider this:

    1. If muscle is lost during dieting – couldn’t that explain at least in part the decline in metabolism, and (as CBass contends the reason people gain weight as they get older). Perhaps that effect could be offset through sensible training.

    2. There is obviously a difference between restriction say 200 calories vs. 1000 calories in terms of its effects on the body. It would be interesting to know better what that difference is.

    3. It seems eating habits are at least to some extent trainable (like any behavior). Couldn’t one train oneself overtime to eat less and healthier? If obesity begins in the brain and there are triggers, cues, habits etc. affecting caloric intake and subsequent weight gain, it seems like that sort of training is one possible strategy for weight loss that seems like it would be healthy.

    • In…

      1) Not really. I think the only thing about maintaining muscle mass is that to do so you have to do hard muscular work, which has a pronounced hormonal affect favorable to fat loss

      2) Oh gee, why didn’t the world’s leaing obesity researchers think of that?! Actually, most of the general research I’ve come across shows better long-term weight loss maintenence when the calorie deficits are larger, not smaller

      3) It may seem that way, but no one has figured that one out yet.

      Interesting that you use the phrase “nearly hopeless.” I think all actual, real obesity researchers would use that phrase. However, I think trainers get better results with exercise because certain forms of exercise can potentially improve hormones and metabolism related to weight regulation. Whereas straight dietary restriction usually does not.

      • Can you clarify “not really?” You don’t think that lean mass is correlated to metabolic rate, and that losing lean mass causes a lowering of BMR?

        • Lean mass is correlated to metabolic rate as defined as total calorie burn. But that is not metabolism. That’s like saying that a Great Dane has a higher “metabolism” than a toy poodle, because of the increased lean mass. A toy poodle has a way higher “metabolism” than a great dane. I’m talking on a pound for pound basis. Women have higher metabolic rates than men, for example, even though their BMR is lower.

          • On what basis do you say that women burn more calories than men, pound-for-pound? The opposite is common wisdom, as it was when Cunningham wrote about it:

            “The observation that adult women consume less oxygen and, therefore, have a lower absolute postabsorptive RMR than men of equal age, height, and weight is well established and beyond dispute (8-1 1).”

            He goes on to conclude that the difference is accounted for by differing percentages of LBM, not by “the myth of feminine metabolism.”


            In another study:

            “%FFM was shown to correlate most highly with REE (r = 0.80) for the entire group of males and females. This finding supports the concept that the amount of active protoplasmic tissue (FFM) is highly related to REE, as shown in other studies (12-15). The relationship between REE and FFM in both sexes prompted the further assessment ofmen and women as a single group.”


            To the original point, since LBM is the best predictor of REE, it seems logical that a person who loses LBM as a result of a diet before regaining the weight mostly as fat would find their REE lowered compared to baseline values.

          • I’m talking about metabolic rate per pound of lean body mass. Women have higher body temperatures than men, typically. Which is one indicator. Not all lean mass burns the same number of calories per pound. If a Great Dane had the same metabolic rate per pound of lean mass as a small poodle or similar breed, it would need to eat several times the amount of calories. The highest metabolic rate in the animal kingdom belongs to the hummingbird. And they only eat 10 calories per day!

          • Both of the papers I linked in me previous comment contradict that, stating that there is no significant difference between the REE of men and women with the same amount of LBM, so if you have a citation for that statement I’d be interested to see it.

          • I don’t have a citation for it. Just telling you how it is. Women have a slightly higher metabolism than men do. Just as small people have a higher metabolism than large people. Both of those are generalizations of course. But a couple of simple papers and studies aren’t going to change what I already know to be true.

          • I do not know about the topic but I did want to say that from my statistic days that an r value of 0.8 is typically an abysmal r value that would typically say there is not a correlation. An r value of .05 and lower was what we often used. So one at 0.8 is obviously significantly higher and would probably show no statistical significance.

          • Oh wait. I could be mixing that up with the P value, in which case dont listen to anything I said

  16. My body seems set at 220. I’m only 5ft2in tall. I don’t want to stay 220. Screw health reasons. That’s all an excuse. I’m talking pure vanity here. I want to look better and be able to buy cuter clothes. I totally want to lose weight. I’ve been reading your stuff for months. I’ve stopped restricting carbs and try to stick to real foods as much as possible. But really. How are we supposed to lose some weight? Any. It’s not just gonna magically fall off. Can you wiggle your nose and make it happen? Please.

    • I would say just to eat a low calorie diet and exercise for several hours per day continued for life. But in reality, you probably won’t be able to continue that, will binge, and will end up much fatter than 220. If I was cool with a 95% failure rate, then that’s precisely what I would encourage people to do. I like Linda Bacon’s approach, which is to encourage people to just cut their losses, and focus more on their health, happiness, life purpose, etc. The irony is that when many people do that, they often lose weight when otherwise they were unable to in a lasting way.

    • I lost 30 lbs cycling calories, simply skipping dinner ever other day. I did put 10 back on after a terrible fall and subsequent injury, but I have kept over 20 of that off. I am also 5’2″ and I started my weight loss journey at 258. I weigh about 190. I do exercise, I run/walk hills, practice yoga, and do Cathe Friedrich step workouts (advanced, not for every one!). I try to get my cardio 5x/week before breakfast to take advantage of my insulin receptors being open for business. I also do the cardio because of the effect (affect?) on my depression level. The yoga also helps dramatically with my weight, IBS, and mood. Just 20 min. of easy yoga can prevent sleep problems or what I call stress retension ie. the mind racing over uselessly stressful events that might have happened a long time ago or just that afternoon. On a day where I need to rest without exercise (no yoga.) I will do a simple guided meditation.

      I emphasize vegetables, I eat at least 1 tbsp. of coconut oil/day. If I’m having a ‘skip dinner’ day, I will stuff myself at lunch. I don’t restrict fat, salt, meat, fruit, or vegetables at all. Too much starch makes my gut bloat, for me thats too uncomfortable. I consider the carbs in veggies to be freebies. If I have too much sugar (stomach ache) I will take a gymnema sylvestre to help block the absorption of the sugars. I don’t recommend it if you have low blood sugar. Omega 6 fats tend to plump me, omega 3s and coconut seem to help me lose weight. I weigh my food to be sure I’m eating enough and not eating too little. I do avoid things with dough conditioners (they always seem to make me fat, gah!) I don’t skip dinner all the time and if I’m out I don’t stress if something has a food that I normally avoid (omega 6s, soy, commercial chicken.)

      My health is not perfect. I have slightly high cholesterol, but I don’t worry about it because my triglycerides are good, and the depression associated with low cholesterol is a much greater deterrent than the potential for any other disease. I would rather be dead than depressed! My blood pressure is chronically low. Thats one of the reasons that I don’t restrict salt. If I have too little I will pass out and literally be down for the count. Can you say ouchie? But, overall, I’m way better off than I was at 258. I have more energy. I can run farther. I can touch my toes no problem (evening primrose oil and fish oil helped with that.) I am warm all the time.

      I don’t know if any of that helps.

      • Hi Alisha,
        Thanks for sharing your journey. You are down almost 70 lbs from your highest weight, so I was curious about the 40-50 lbs not accounted for by doing the skipped dinners – or maybe there was a typo?
        I seem to be gaining right now, which is annoying, but I can live with it.

        • My top was 258, I came down to 176, then over the last 7 months I have put back on 14 or so. I haven’t been skipping dinners lately. I had a couple of nasty injuries to heal from. Weight loss doesn’t always work when you are healing. I had maintained that 176 weight for a couple of years and the weight loss had stalled again. I don’t really know what to do from here.

          I can tell you what didn’t work was 4 meals at 400 calories each per day with 30 minutes of exercise 5x/week. I did that for 4 months and it didn’t work at all, my body temp went down, I was depressed, and hungry the whole time. I also tried gluten free for a year and that didn’t work either. Ignoring my weight doesn’t seem to work. When I do that I just balloon up. There has been some interesting research into setting your intent, and I wonder if when I ignore it I am subconsciously telling myself to gain weight, idk. Commercial chicken doesn’t work at all, regardless of meal timing. Girl scout cookies, marshmallows, and KFC, doesn’t work either (darn it!). But, bare in mind, my body is on a journey of its own, what does or doesn’t work for me may not be applicable to you. Coconut oil helps with the body temp but doesn’t really seem to make me lose any weight. Nuts always make things worse. Some protein powders make things worse (watch out for those.)

  17. I’m doing all I can to “get my six pack back” — for example, lunch was two (grass fed) hot dogs on buns, washed down with fruit juice, followed by two haagen daaz ice cream bars.

    Seriously though, I’m pretty much over the fat thing. It’s 60 degrees in my office and I’m barefoot, warm and happy. My abs can stay hidden for all I care.

    I’m far more interested things like being healthy, having plenty of energy, lifting heavy stuff, and more recently, running and jumping. Not a lot of running, but just being able to sprint up a hill a few times a week, or jump up onto something. These are basic physical abilities that I don’t want to lose due to being sedentary when keeping them is as easy as getting up and moving once a day.

    I think the biggest cause of obesity is the “need” to sit on our asses all day doing computer work. I helped my dad build a wood shed last summer, and I dropped 10-15 pounds of fat in 3 weeks as a result of just being on my feet and doing manual labor instead of sitting and typing all day long. After 8 months of excessive sitting, it came back. Maybe I should go work as a brick layer or something…

    • Get a standing desk. Supposedly better to stand than to sit too much, or much at all.

      • I have a standing desk. I enjoy looking up at it from the chair I still don’t have the willpower to NOT sit in when working on my computer.

        • I’ve considered the standing desk thing, but haven’t done it yet because I think I’ll end up sitting anyway since I’m so conditioned that being at the computer = sitting. Matt, how much do you stand when using yours?

          • I’ve read that standing is just as bad as sitting (sorry, don’t remember the reference). I think the key is just to keep moving and not stay in one position too long. Or just lay down ever now and then, with spurts of activity between.

          • Standing definitely feels horrible, which is why I can’t ever make myself do it. But so does sitting. Moving around = good. Good call Simone.

          • I have a standing desk and love it!I (well actually a normal desk that’s being raised by custom made wooden boxes. One useful thing I’d kept from the disrespectfull voluntary workplace I used to do voluntary work at.)
            It doesn’t feel normal/pleasant to me anymore to sit….I only sit when I’m eating or watch a movie. (which is rarely nowadays as I usually don’t feel at peace anymore sitting that long.)

            Anyway,I sold my deskchair when I had to move house,bc I could use the cash……so that’s a strategy.

          • I hardly have any discipline to stand at mine. Like maybe 30 minutes total since I bought it 4 months ago.

  18. Thanks, this post is a good basic overview of the 180 view of dieting. I know so many people I would send this link to if I didn’t think it would offend them.

    I’ve gained about 20 pounds since I started reading this blog about 2 years ago (that may or may not be a coincidence) but I haven’t seen any noticeable health improvements like a lot of RRARFers mention (granted, I haven’t been taking my temperature so I don’t know about that).

    I’ve never been a big exerciser–too tired–but I feel like it’s time to start. I bought a Bar Method dvd so here I go. It’s not my goal to lose weight, and if doing it makes me hungrier I’ll eat more and if I need to sleep more or take a break, I will. But I want to be stronger, have more stamina for gardening, hiking, etc, and yes, hopefully to “reshape” like the method promises (I have to think that even if with the same amount of body fat, the posture and muscle tone underneath must still make a difference in your appearance).

    My question is, should I be worried about metabolic damage like you describe in this post?

    • Rachelle –

      Exercise usually results in health enhancement. It’s individual of course, and I would love to see you get your temps way up and THEN start exercising, but exercise stands to benefit more people than it will harm. That’s why so many advocate it. I wish they would realize that dietary restriction harms a lot more than it helps, and back off of that.

      • Also Rachelle, are you worried the people you would send this to would be offended because you would sort of be calling them fat by sending this to them? Or because all your friends got STD’s from someone with a mullet hairstyle? Or are you just upset at the fact that Billy Mitchell, former Donkey Kong world champion featured in the photo in the post, doesn’t really have a true mullet?

        • Yeah, unfortunately there was this one sleazy mullethead that got around with all my friends. I don’t know what they saw in him…

          I don’t know, I guess my experience has been that giving advice or dissenting opinions about health matters with family and friends just doesn’t go well. Plus now that I’ve commented with my real name, I really can’t :) My sister-in-law, still nursing her second baby, started Weight Watchers. My mother-in-law is on Weight Watchers. Last spring my older brother (who I didn’t think was really overweight to begin with) lost about 25 pounds using an app on his phone that helped him keep his calories down to, I think, 1500/day–and my dad, an MD, was proud of him! Blerg! I’m just waiting to see how much he’s gained back the next time we see him, and how many health problems with it. Really sad considering he was the healthiest of my siblings.

          I should start tracking my temps. I guess the reason I haven’t is that my wakeup time is different almost every day, but I suppose something is better than nothing. When I was taking them for NFP about 4 years ago, I think they were usually in the mid-high 97s pre-ovulation and mid 98s after, and I don’t feel much different these days except heavier and a lot less stressed out. I will start taking them and let that inform my exercise decisions. Starting an exercise regimen, even without calorie restriction, has really worn me out in the past so I know I need to be careful.

          Thanks for what you do!

          • Rachelle- if you were wore out from your workouts then you may not be getting enough salt. Its common problem for athletes (especially runners.) Also, be sure to eat enough calories to cover that deficit. Sweat literally takes a lot out of us.

          • Alisha–good point and that’s totally possible since I love salt. I’ve never consciously restricted it, but you know the idea of salt being bad is out there, and in the past I may not have eaten as much as I would have if I knew it could help me feel better.

    • I’ve tried out something similar to Bar Method (Fluidity) and it’s GREAT! When I get back to working out after this month of rest, that will be my exercise of choice.

      • Yeah, I think it seems like a good workout for me. In college I tried to work out a couple days a week; I ran on a treadmill and hit a punching bag. Running made me feel like shit, but I loved the bag. Maybe that was just being able to release some aggression :) but I just hate cardio.

  19. The body is an amazing thing with an incredible design and it functions so well. If the body were a auto it would be more of a high performance vehicle. You don’t want to put low grade fuel in it. This is what many people do to there bodies. They fuel it with low grade fuel… (mineral deficient, artificial, overly processed junk food.) It is easier to stay healthy then to regain health. I think part of the answer to regaining it is to start treating yourself like the beautiful, amazing, “wonderfully made”, person that you are. Find quality fuel.

    • 00- Dave That is a beautiful statement. What do you think is high quality fuel? Thanks.

    • Love this comment :)

  20. I am a testament to this. I lost 188lbs in one year and although it was great to shave a foot off my waist and fit into my old college Crew jacket, my health sucked. I was way healtheir when I was fat and didn’t give a crap. I was stronger and in a lot of ways, more fit when I was heavy. With the weight loss came a barrage of issues…some psychological, some physical…but they all were bad. I’ve gained back maybe 30lbs or so since stoping the diet mentality. If my body wants the fat, it can have it. I am no longer dizzy, cold, and aimlessly walking the supermarket obsessed with food.

    • amen John, amen…

      • Thanks Bob…glad to know I am not alone. :) Since tackling food again, all my cravings are gone, as well as all my other issues. Gaining some weight back – and I am not sure if I am done with that yet – actually made me healthier. My doctor my disagree, but he probably took a 4 hour course in nutirition and diet throughout his whole medical career.

        • What’s scary is that docs believe what they do because they are taught the calorie theory in school, even though there is no evidence to support it, and an overwhelming mountain of study that refutes it. If that’s what they learn about the energy regulation system of the human body, imagine how totally f’ed the rest of their education is.

        • Ya…I’ve been smashin since December, gained 30 pounds so far. But I think I’m a lot healthier. Still tryin a chiefy approach though. I am about to get a physical soon for work. It’d be funny if he told me I should lose some weight. I’ll be like BITCH IM GETTIN FAT ON PURPOSE SO WAM BAM NO THANKS. I probably will never be able to fathom how much trying to lose weight has actually affected my life, but since I’m so young, probably a shit load. The energy swings and hair loss (at least accelerated) the alienation I guess from bein the “food” dude (I guess I still am though haha =) But anyhow, there is something that started happening because I lost weight too fast and unhealthily (I know that’s not a word) but I haven’t had the balls to tell anyone yet. It’s really embarrassing. I’ll get some balls sometime. I’ve become pretty good at losing weight I think, and I used to think that that was awesome. I’m still proud of it though, and I sure as hell have grown and learned from it all. Now I still want my body to look good, but I don’t let that stop me from having every last F’kin morsel I want. Muhaahahahaha

          • I’m with you Bob. I lost weight too quickly too…for the longest time I was losing 4-6lbs a week! At the time – using the scale – it was awesome but there is NO WAY that was all fat…muscle I am afraid. Lots of it. I definitely felt weaker overall…add to that the dizzy spells, cold spells, and sleepness nights dreaming about pizza and it was a bad experience. I was only eating ~1,500 calories a day, while doing interval training 7x a week! Sure, anyone can lose weight doing that. The bigger question is…can you do this the REST OF YOUR LIFE? No way. I was a social outcast is the true sense of the word. I couldn’t stand it. So sure, I am not thrilled about my recent weight gain but dumping all the other issues I had (cold, dizzy, cravings, etc.) makes it more that worth it. Starving yourself is never the answer, and only programs your body to gain weight the first chance it can.

  21. Ever since I RRARF’d my way back to health (and gained 10 extra pounds), and ever since my temps started hangin’ out in the 98s (usually between 98.3 and 98.6), all I can think about is sex. Darn you, Matt Stone! Now, I feel better than I have in years, and I am loving my potatoes, my white rice, and my “Mikey-likes-it” cereal, but I can’t help but wonder if all this thought about sex is just gonna stay, well… thought only … because… my healthy body may be happy like this, but gosh – I would have been so desireable about 150 years ago. Anybody know how to time-travel?

    • A REAL man won’t care. He’ll find being around your joy & energy is all he desires! There are still some guys out there who haven’t been brainwashed into thinking that curves are bad. In fact from what I’ve read there are several hanging around here!

      • Lydia, that was a very beautiful thing to say. All of us women need to reread your post, often. Our society has been brainwashed in SOOO many ways it is scary. Fantasy is the new fad.

      • You forget that men are just as susceptible to the brainwashing as women. So, don’t write all men off because of this. My husband is a great guy-but he believes health=low weight. But he still loves me and is willing to believe in my forays into “cutting edge” health ideas. I’m 5’3″ and weigh 150. I gained about 15 lbs rrafing over the past year.

        • A woman with curves and some extra meat on her bones…jeepers creepers folks. My last girl friend was kinda chunky but she had nice curves an was very pretty at least I thought, and to this day, she’d probably get me goin more than most, even celebrities.

      • Me! Me! Me!

      • I think the main thing a man looks for in a woman is high sex drive, haha.

  22. It looks like the “pig out on junkfood” method did not work out to make people loose weight, and now we are on the “fatter is better” track. Oh well…

    • I never said pigging out on junk food would make people lose weight.

      • Sounds like a case of “judging the cult by its cultists.” I’ve seen many commenters being almost boastful about eating junk food/SAD and staying lean/healthy, even after apparently getting their metabolism back in line. Can be off-putting to those who do have *real* health issues as result of SAD.
        I normally stay out of blog comments, but there seem to be so many hidden gems here.

        • Blaming health issues on SAD doesn’t prove that it’s the SAD that caused it. Most people are stressed, born with a low metabolism, have low socioeconomic status, are skipping meals and trying to eat less and exercise more, eating with guilt, restricting somehow… and they when they get ill they blame the standard american diet. But yummy foods have their place. Their properties can be exploited to our advantage.

          • I know for a fact my weight gain, any weight gain I’ve experienced in my life, is directly correlated to stress and not junk food. The healthier I tried to eat (and less calories), the more I gained.

          • Yeah I’m totally over health food at this point. The more calorie dense the food is, the warmer and happier I get, the better I sleep, the clearer and softer my skin gets, the pinker my tongue gets, the lower my body odor becomes, the better my bowel movements, and the more muscle I grow. And I gained some fat when “eating like a badass” but that fat gain has stopped. My waist hasn’t increased in over 3 weeks now. I think even I suffered from timidness about RRARFING just like everyone else.

          • Matt,
            What kind of calorie dense food are you eating?

          • Like typical American food. Lots of cheeseburgers, pizza, french toast, ice cream, french fries/homefries, milkshakes, soft drinks, juice, pastries, etc.

          • you seem to be eating mainly fat? could it be that eating lots of fat has some benefit also?!

          • I think the primary benefit of fat consumption is the calories it contains and the palatability it offers to the food. There are other benefits too, but none are as dramatic as its contribution in those arenas.

          • Just curious, are these all home-made, or store-bought? Do you look for ones with less additives, or do you not care? hah

          • Matt you look great.

          • Matt, I’m super confused here…. if these food are beneficial to revving up metabolism, what is it making people fat? You basically described the Standard American Diet. Shouldn’t everyone be sweating their ass off with temps around 99 from all that calorically dense food? Where is the distinction. How are these seemingly mutually exclusive events so intertwined?

          • Diet alone doesn’t seem to be at the root of the obesity problem. Gaining fat is beneficial to raising metabolism, for the surge in leptin. American foods help to achieve that most readily.

            Also, most obese people do not eat that much food in proportion to their estimated caloric needs. When everything is adjusted for, you usually see obese people eating less food per pound of lean body mass adjusted for extra metabolic needs of fat tissue than lean people. Other studies have shown that lean people often eat more food than the obese. Others still show that there’s a positive association between longevity and high calorie consumption. So it’s not black and white. I’m confused too.

            But each case is inherently unique. With you for example, as we discussed, I probably wouldn’t tell you to run out and get down on a bunch of junk food. For an ice cold young woman with no period? Absolutely.

  23. Ughh I am in a health class as a required GenEd course and I have to listen with bleeding ears as my professor extols the virtue of the whole “calories in, calories out” theory. It really is an eye opener as I realize that 2 two years ago I would have totally believed every word of that garbage. It is unbelievable to think that in a society so called ‘developed’ and full of knowledge can come up with such devastatingly terrible and dumb theories. This is the 21st century– you think as humans we would have figured out things like this already. Anyhow, I just did my bs health assignment where I had to track my calories. 4000 calories- holy moly I must be gaining weigh with all that foodt!! Oh wait, I’m not. Stupid school. Thank you for providing some sanity to my life, Mr. Stone. You the real professor.

    • Ick. Professor. Please don’t call me that. The only thing I can imagine being more insulting is to be called “doctor.” Heh heh.

      • Yeah, no kidding. Doctors have sent me home to die more than once, telling me there was nothing that they could do, and not only did I live but I look better than any burn survivor I know. Take that doctors.

  24. I’ve been semi RARRFING semi milk curing (double half ass!) for a little while now, and I notice that I am generally not as cold as before.

    What seems to get my body going though is strength training. And not even serious strength training. 4-7 minutes of short training, until my muscles get that burn. I do this in the morning right before I have breakfast.
    I do not get hot right away until I am well into breakfast and I start feeling SUPER hot and stay that way for a good 5 hours before I start cooling. If I do not do the exercise, I stay cold.

    I know the idea is to do little exercise, so am I tricking my body? Is it actually waking up and figuring it should maybe get going or is this just a side effect?

    Being active (not necessarily exercising) has always been what fixes me, when I am sick and have the flu and I get up and get on with my daily life, I feel better. After having my baby my bleeding only stopped on the days that I was active (when all advice suggested that being active INCREASED your bleeding).

    Is it just how I work? Or do I have a metabolism that just need a bit of a prod?

    • the adrenals/cortisol play a (key) role in body warmth and strength training/activity stimulates them. would also explain feeling better when ill. no reason to not keep it up if you feel better

    • I think exercise is probably a totally valid way to keep the hands and toes and body warm. Probably best to be such a metabolic stud that they are warm all the time regardless of exercise. But I don’t think there’s any harm in the practice. Too much exercise is stressful and anti-metabolic. But long-term sedentarism is stressful and anti-metabolic as well.

  25. Interesting you bring up the HAES (health at every size) movement. If you look at a lot of the prominent old-school low-carbers who’ve ended up far from goal weight – e.g., Jimmy Moore, Laura Dolson, Dana Carpender, etc. – many of them seem to be coming around to this way of thinking, even if not outright saying so. Although Jimmy actually HAS said as much – and his menus blog certainly didn’t disappear when he was losing weight… (Personal aside, Matt: revisit/update your awesome ‘Poor Poor Jimmy Moore’ post. Couldn’t be more apropos than at this juncture in history.)

  26. Quit pickin’ on me for tryin’ to lose weight Matthew, LOL!

    I wonder if there is a “weight” setpoint at work here rather than a “fat” setpoint, maybe through nerve endings in the feet or something, sensing actual weight. I have been doing some IF, more Leangains than Chief, but I eat comfortably, and I have been doing some HIIT, HIAIT, weight circuits, etc. My weight is almost exactly the same but I’ve been losing off the waist and my bodyfat percentage is down from the low 20’s to the mid teens. I haven’t really been watching what I eat too much, other than keeping it to a maximum window of about 8 hours and make sure to get enough protein because it’s easy to get a little low on protein when you aren’t eating all day long. I feel pretty good but actually have trouble sleeping at night sometimes because I’m too hot, probably from the EPOC, LOL!

    • Hey Will, I gotta do something to get you to come out of the woodwork! I agree completely about just eating well and doing some reasonable training too. It’s worth it just making exercise the point of focus and not diet, as too much thinking about diet makes people wacky and too disconnected from their physiological needs and instincts over time.

      Interesting that folks who do leangains feel too hot at night (and really vascular), and too cold in the morning, typically, with cold hand and feet complaints especially. One of the reasons I steer people towards eating more in the morning and less in the evening is to keep people more even keel all day. Maybe you should play around with fasting in the evening instead of the morning and tell us what happens. Come on, we need more guinea pigs up in hee-yah!

      • I’ve thought about moving my window earlier, but it makes the lifestyle so much easier eating a normal meal at night with the family, which is why I decided on taking a late lunch to work out, and then eat my first meal afterwards which is usually anywhere from 1:30 to 2:30 ending my eating window about 9:30 to 10:30. Honestly, that window is just a guideline as some days it might be an hour stuffing myself at one meal, Chief-style, and some days it might be 9 or 10 hours…whatever i feel like. So other than making sure that I have some protein with each meal, I don’t think about what I’m eating all that much, which is very nice (I eat ice cream almost every day, hee hee!) Vince Delmonte reported that Charles Poliquin stated that the people that are the most consistent in their diet are the ones that see the smallest changes in body composition. If you eat the same thing everyday, you will make the least progress. His article on the rotating meat and nuts breakfast got me out of the habit of eating 3 eggs every single day. Now it may be whatever leftover meat from the previous night, tuna, eggs, or whatever. Every day is different.

        I read the protein book that Brad Pilon wrote and basically he says that all the good studies that were done on protein intake, the best range for muscle building is between 80 and 120 grams per day and stuffing a ton of protein in can actually hamper gains. I also read an article by Lyle McDonald the other day and he said that there were some studies done with amino acids fed via an IV and it looks as though constantly eating protein desensitizes the body to protein, where it can’t use it. So periods where you don’t eat protein are necessary to re-sensitize the body so it can use protein. So much for eating every 3 hours. He didn’t have an exact time frame, but i believe he was theorizing that it might be like 5 or 6 hours between protein feedings. No need to stuff myself full of protein or count anything…just make sure I get some.

        I like working out, so this whole thing is super easy for me. One thing that I liked about something that Martin Berkhan wrote was, now that he has been lean for so long, he doesn’t even think about it anymore…he just is. That’s why I want to do this the least “invasive” way possible, so that it is just a bit of a lifestyle tweak rather than something that is all consuming. I’m just enjoying what I’m doing. Sure I could give up my glass of wine at dinner and cut out the ice cream, and speed this process up, but I’m havin’ a good ol’ time doing things this way, LOL!

        • Yeah, that type of eating is awesome. I did like my intermittent fasting experiment. I’m not doing it now though. Now I’m purposefully overfeeding for the first time in a really long time and doing some muscle growth type of weight training.

          I don’t think the body gets desensitized to protein so much as it gets better at using it for fuel instead of storing it, and the lower metabolism gets the less likely it is to store it (protein in excess is anti-metabolic).

          I can grow lean mass like a champ with less than 100g of protein per day. And I still eat most of my protein at one, single meal. I rarely eat meat, fish, or eggs more than once per day.

          Poliquin is probably right about variety, but not because the body needs variability, but probably more that eating the same thing over and over again gets redundant and decreases calorie consumption. I find calorie intake to be the primary force in mass and strength gains for me personally.

      • I have been doing the eating more for breakfast and lunch, and a smaller vegetarian meal at night. This seems to work pretty well for me. Right now, I’m warm, happy, and my veins are building in my hands (with soft skin, I might add). I’m still having a hard time with not eating something sweet after dinner at night, though, as this has been something I have done my entire life. Oh, and if I don’t eat enough at night and go to bed a little hungry, I sleep like shit.
        Also, I have been eating decently during the week- not dieting, but eating pretty health. On the weekends, I have been RRARfing it. Again, not all junk, but just MORE food. This seems to work REALLY well for me. It’s funny, when I think about it, that is how I ate when I was at my thinnest. I don’t know why I ever got away from that.

  27. Im overweight from slow steady gain during the 10 menopausal years (which were smooth) and recently thought I “needed” to lose that weight….I cut out grains and lost 15 pounds in a few weeks AND came down with leg shoulder and knee inflammation. My doc says its not related. I feel like it is and have let go of any concerns of weight loss….it helped me sail through menopause maybe my body knows what its doing! (diet is totally unrestricted now)

  28. I love how you challenge ideas that most people take for granted as truth.

    Are there really not that many examples of overweight people who have gone down to a “normal” weight and maintained it and were healthy? I haven’t studied all the literature you have but I find that pretty surprising at first glance. Are people who’ve done that really that hard to find?

    • I think they are very hard to find Jason. One that I know who weighed 250 at graduation and who weighs 135 now (female, age 33) just texted me from the emergency room, and was just telling me the other day about an oral infection that she’s had for 10 years now. I think this is her 5th trip to the emergency room this year.

      • Here’s the average intake for this person with a high exercise load. http://itsthewooo.blogspot.com/2012/03/diet-log-my-average-food-intake-for.html

        Less than 1800 calories per day described as a “buttload of caloric energy” or something like that. It reminds me of a quote from Robert’s Pool’s outstanding book… Fat: Fighting the Obesity Epidemic

        “Almost any doctor who works with the obese will tell you that successful long-term losers are a monomaniacal lot, completely obsessed with their weight. Bruce Schneider, a clinical researcher now at the FDA, was working in Hirsch’s lab in the early 1980s when Leibel advertised for people who had maintained a weight loss of 100 pounds for at least a year and a half. ‘He got six people,’ Schneider recalls, ‘and all of them were wacked.’ One woman had to – HAD to – jog six miles a day. If she didn’t, she became extremely upset. Another constantly fantasized about food. ‘You were basically dealing with chronic starvation,’ Schneider says.”

        • 1800 calories for a 120lbs woman whose only exercise is walking, who used to be more than double that and is now far more physically and mentally healthy. whats the problem there?. she was in a leptin trial and it fixed virtually all her dieting issues while she was on it. unfortunately she or anyone else won’t be getting access to leptin anytime soon. if you read her blog you’ll find she has as accurate an understanding of obesity as anyone.

        • The blog you linked to, the girl is OBSESSED! That is so sad.

          • I agree. She seems to have some serious mental issues. :(

          • She really goes on the attack in comments too. Definitely CICO low carb will save the world mentality…

          • I know right? Entering all of your food intake into a calorie tracker? I tried that once and only made it 6 days.

          • matt were you an obese and depressed child?. you don’t know what depression or mental illness is. this blog is a hobby for you. you have fun experimenting with food, the worst that happens is you gain some weight or worsen your allergies. you still function in life. imagine if instead of stuffy nose and back pain you had, for example, schizophrenia? if eating low carb, certain supplements and tracking your food kept you free of it you would do it yes? i think you’d agree being obsessive would outweigh the feelings of schizophrenia. not that itsthewoo is schizophrenic, but she is very sensitive to carbs, light, temperature and stress. so am i (to a lesser degree) that is why i want to explain that for someone like me diet and supplements can be the difference between happiness and suicidal depression. i eat 3-4k calories a day at 5″8 150lbs, look like a sprinter with barely any exercise. my body works fine. I obsess to keep my mind working fine. i am jealous of the people here who have the opposite problem. i would love to be the happy fat person

          • We all have our own demons, they just do not all look the same.

          • This is actually Matt’s full time time job… and from everything I’ve read, he’s had quite a number of problems throughout his life. No, nothing as serious as schizophrenia, but still some pretty big stuff. I always wonder why nay sayers’ comments are always very poorly composed and under researched… We are all about different opinions and ideas here, we just want the discussion to be intelligent…

  29. I get the vanity thing. There is a part of me that wants to be “hot” with a small waist and bigguns because of the privilege it affords one in this thin-is-godly society. Looks do have an affect on how we’re treated and what opportunities come our way. Positive attention is nice.

    BUT the reality of my health requires a better approach. After years of disordered binge eating, yo yo dieting and multiple weight loss surgeries, I cannot afford another diet. I work out with great caution (fear).

    It’s almost impossible to RRARF properly as I can only get in around 1200 calories on a good day. Many of those calories happen at night when my digestive tract is warmed up. Eating during the day is difficult and makes me ill. I do force feed myself but still cannot get in enough fuel to get my waking temps up much above 97.

    Weight loss for health’s sake is bass ackwards. It is much more sound to concentrate on health and let one’s smart body find its own best weight.

    For me (and yes these things tend to be person specific) lots of orange juice, raw milk, raw cheese, white sugar (yes you read that right), tubers and comfort food (pretzels, cakes, candy, and a pre-emptive ‘f*ck you’ to anyone who judges me for that) has helped to get me back to a semi energetic life, but I have a long way to go.

    Restoring health after many many failed diet attempts is hard work for someone like me with a surgically altered digestive tract.

    If only I had read Matt Stone BEFORE I did this to myself.
    Ah, well.

    Let me be an example to others of what not to do.

    Don’t diet. Don’t calorie restrict. Don’t get weight loss surgery.

    Don’t believe the weight loss hype!!

    • @Lisa,
      thank you for your candid honesty – when we have invested much in a way of thinking/being it is often the most difficult to critique that “adventure”, like spending a lot on a vacation/car/house/education/etc. that turns out “meh”. I have followed your journey with great interest and just want to say thanks for so bravely sharing. I have family members, business associates, and clients who have undergone the same level of intense “cure seeking” you have, have had limited results, but they don’t have the courage to honestly critique their experiences. Their loss. I myself have had to resolve to resist drinking the kool aid of complementary/alternative medicine, waiting for evidence, thinking critically, but avoiding naysaying while staying open to changing my mind. Sometimes tough when you make your living at helping others find anwers…

      • Thanks, Shiela! I feel a blog coming on lol

        I admit when something isn’t working because my addiction to progress is stronger than my addiction to being right.

        Nobody wins .
        We all die in the end.

        But garsh, ain’t it a fun ride in the meantime? :-)

    • “It is much more sound to concentrate on health and let one’s smart body find its own best weight.”

      Yes!! I think that is a HUGE part of actually health weight loss. Sleep, exercise, eating good food, happiness. (Not obsession and deprivation)

  30. I USED to be a certified personal trainer and holistic nutritionist. Over the last few years I’ve been approached by quite a few people about how to lose weight. And only one person has been able to lose fat in a healthy way. Ive seen her everyday for 3 years here is her story.

    When i met her she had some bad habits. Drinking, smoking, eating junk, stressing out, not sleeping well, etc. She was at her highest weight at that time 3 years ago with about 50 extra pounds of fat.

    When she asked for my advice, I gave her general recommendations. Eat to appetite of any food you think is good for you. Do moderate weight training. Sleep more. Watch less t.v etc. She began eating more often, and being more active. In a year she was riding her bike to work. She cooked her own dinner almost every night. Got into a stable relationship. Got into school, got a raise at her job. She only kept friends around who were positive.

    Time past and she would ask for a tip here and there, but mostly she did all the work herself. About a month ago I noticed she looked really good! Her hair was glossy, skin clear, good.posture , and a bright attitude. She told me she had lost about 5o lbs !

    Granted , she is a young woman. She probably has a hormonal advantage , but she did it the SLOW way. Over three years she did a complete 180 ! And bit by bit the weight came off without resorting to restriction or extremes. I think weight loss is a result of living the best life you can.

    • “I think weight loss is the result of living the best life you can.” Epic line by the carbosaur

    • LOVE this!

    • Indeed inspirational last line/quote.

      Does anybody here know,how to find out what one’s true passion is and how to ‘start up’ life again?….cause depending on my mood,there are so much things I’d like to do and/or learn,yet I can’t seem to find the rest,will,motivation,financial resources etc. to do something.It feels like I’m becoming a schizo person more&more.

    • A mental block I’ve had is giving myself a timeline for the weight loss. Up till now I wanted to lose weight fast because I want to have more kids and I don’t want to get pregnant without losing some weight first since I’m heavier now then I was at 9 months pregnant with my last child. The harder I tried, the more I gained. Think I need to just take it easy, whatever happens happens.

  31. I pounds almost 2.5 years ago and I did it using intermittent fasting and paleoish style dieting while traning. To this day I’m still very healthy for making a deliberate burning desire come to reality. Matt people fail using your methods and for those who succeed it is the same key factor over again. How bad Do you want it and I wanted it BAD with all bridges burned and today I’m an healthy 22 y/o 180 pound 10%bf with a nicusculature women and men dig and I’m maintaining by eating what ever I want.people who fail are weak and don’t want it BAD enough, they just kinda want it.

    • 50 pounds*

    • Good to know! I’ll look to find ways of wanting it BAD enough!

      • What’s “a nicusculature women”?

        • I think it’s Greek for awesomeness. In fact, if you run that comment through a translator, all it says is…

          Awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome Awesome awesome awesome awesome awesomeAwesome awesome awesome awesome awesomeAwesome awesome awesome awesome awesomeAwesome awesome awesome awesome awesomeAwesome awesome awesome awesome awesomeAwesome awesome awesome awesome awesomeAwesome awesome awesome awesome awesomeAwesome awesome awesome awesome awesomeAwesome awesome awesome awesome awesomeAwesome awesome awesome awesome awesomeAwesome awesome awesome awesome awesomeAwesome awesome awesome awesome awesomeAwesome awesome awesome awesome awesome

          • Your answer is awesomeawesomeawesomeawesomeawesomeawesomeawesomeawesome, BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

    • I wonder where your hormones are at.

  32. So losing a few pounds is something everyone should just forget about?
    Is there any safe way to lose weight in the long run?

    • I think the answer is fixing your metabolism and balancing your hormones while not obsessing about everything you eat.

  33. Greate article, Matt….Really challenges you to think a different way about losing weight.
    Thanks for sharing!

  34. I’ve been watching way too many episodes of Supersize vs. Superskinny lately. It’s entertaining, but a lot of things really pop out when viewed serially:

    Superskinnys always seem to dislike or actually be repulsed by food, they have no emotional connection with it whatsoever, they are disinterested or put off by textures, colors, smells,etc. They don’t think about food, it’s an inconvenience to them. When they do have food in front of them they look at it, push it around on their plates, and take tiny, exploratory bites, and don’t hover over their plates, look up and around when eating, etc.

    Supersizers have an extreme emotional attachment to food, it is usually a substitute for love, security or human interaction, they are obsessed with food, think about it all the time. They tend to eat pretty much only extremely hyperpalatable processed foods and are repulsed by fruit and veg, aren’t very adventurous with food. When food is in front of them they are transfixed – they are zoning out, almost trancelike, and tend to eat fast with big mouthfuls.

    So, interesting that those with a higher than average and lower than average setpoint are both so out of touch with their eating and inner cues. I really like Linda Bacon’s work, and fully support the idea, but I think that it’s a hard message for people to hear because their instinct is so often being thwarted by emotional issues, and often their environment and friends and family.

  35. Man alive! Awesome! I have been waiting for this to be written, and it couldn’t have came from a purtier mouth. I tell people this stuff and they look at me like I’m crazy. They’ll listen now! And not a single dirty word so that means I can broadcast it to my followers. I hope you don’t mind endless amounts of cash and overloaded web servers.

    • What happened to your roundhouse persuasion technique?

  36. Matt,

    So I recently came up with a wacky idea for temporarily boosting temperatures: voluntary shivering.

    I was wikipedia-browsing articles about thermoregulation and thermogenesis and was reminded that one of the body’s main methods of thermogenesis is shivering. Apparently the portion of energy lost as heat is greater in shivering than other types of muscle activity, which makes it the most effective type of muscle movement for heat generation.

    So I figured, well why not just shiver on purpose to generate heat?

    Have you ever done that thing where you fake like your getting an electric shock or struck by lightning? Well that’s basically what I did to shiver on purpose – short, quick, strong, back-and-forth movements. The more muscles you use at the same time the more effective it will probably be for heat generation (and for making you look ridiculous).

    Even if you just do it for 5 seconds with just legs or arms you’ll notice it start to get your heart rate up and your body warm.

    I did it once for about 20 seconds with as many muscles as I could co-ordinate and it felt almost equivalent to having just done a 20 second sprint. Afterwards, my heart rate was 220+ bpm and I had that acidy-taste in my mouth like you get after a sprint. But taking it that far might be counterproductive for heat gain, I don’t know for sure.

    I guess it has a similar effect as jumping jacks or burpees, but I definitely think there is something to the fact that this muscle movement is not actually doing any work (pushing, pulling, moving weight around, etc) and that makes it have a more intense effect on body heat and heart rate in a shorter time. Plus, it’s not difficult or painful like push-ups or burpees are.

    So this probably doesn’t raise your temperature set-point / metabolism, but it could still be potentially useful even for the temporary warming effect.

    It could very well be just as healthy or more healthy than using hot drinks or alcohol to warm up. And it’s much more convenient than methods like hot showers and hovering near the heater. Also, the energy it uses is food energy, so it will just make you a little hungrier and want to eat more.

    Also interesting to note is the fact that the body’s natural involuntary shivering response tends to lessen with age. I read that it’s considered a problem that seniors get cold but don’t shiver to warm themselves up. This might be another indication of this systemic low metabolism / low temp set-point problem. The counter-example is healthy kids with healthy metabolisms / temperatures who still have their shiver response. I can’t remember the last time I involuntarily shivered in response to cold.

    • I think any exercise will have this effect. Especially the harder it is and the more muscles it recruits. Nice not to have to depend on it though. But it might help in the interim while getting to that point.

  37. Hey Matt,
    Really good again! I have been there – I thought I was fat at 120 pounds at 5’3″ and went on a relentless cycle of exercise and diet; It’s been more than 15 years of this and now I’m 150 pounds…scares me to write that but I’m fine with it. Now when i look at those pictures when I was 120, 130, 140 I feel sad that i lost all the time worrying about fat when i could have enjoyed life. I had become one of those people who could starve all day and feel happy that I had hunger pangs. Last couple of years of healing from this and now I realize that the food i eat goes to much more than just the fat stores.
    The pesky little problems I had are disappearing- acne, dry skin, sleep problems, anxiety, mild depression and even congested sinuses. I do still have the weight but I have lost 10 pounds with just eating the food, yoga and dance. My waist is small and the one thing i notice at my gym is that all the women who are in good shape, exercise a lot etc. have saggy boobs and their skin looks like it’sgoing to fall off the bones/ muscles. Guess what! no sag here. even with DD boobs so that is definitely a result of the food I’m eating. I think over the years every time i ate a meal i was worried about gaining weight, i knew the calorie content of everything not to mention the gallons of water i chugged to “hydrate”. I have lost and then regained over a 100 pounds and honestly the current life style works for me. I workout 3-4 times a week, I eat at least 2 meals a day and since November I’m losing inches though only 10 pounds lost.
    My hands and feet are cold( is this just a vasodilation thing) though body temps are around 98.6 most of the time ? I was wondering if PUFA is really something I should worry about. What do you think about magnesium and iodine supplementation.
    Thanks for the good work.

    • Shailja-

      It is pretty much a vasodilation thing, but vasoconstriction in the extremities is pretty much an adrenal/stress thing.

      I don’t think anyone should “worry” about anything. I like to emphasize saturated fats, generally-speaking, but that doesn’t mean that I “worry” about PUFA. Been eating a ton of PUFA lately actually.

      Magnesium and iodine supplementation is probably fine.

      • Thank you! I found a catering service for Indian food and I know they use PUFA for cooking the veggies but the plus side is that I always have food so no starvation and delicious food at that. I’ll try to balance that out by cooking at home once in a while. Even though my hands and feet are cold when I go out with my friends- in skimpy clothes I must add, I’m the only one not shivering or complaining of the cold :-) And i always was cold before, even in India!
        I’m going to try magnesium and see if it helps with some muscle cramps/aches I have.

  38. Hi…I’m pretty new to this site and I’ve been reading alot, to say the least!! I find this all so interesting, as it goes against everything I thought I knew…. but it seems just to make so much sense.

    I, like many others here, have tried many types of eating, paleo, vegan, Dr. Fuhrman, and so on. However, I had not been able to stay on anything…ever!! I guess where I get confused is where it says that you feel better when you are overweight (at least that is my take on it)…however, I am 40 lbs overweight, and I do not feel good..at all!! I am only 48 years old, but I am itchy all over (mostly at night), I am achy, my feet hurt, I have a very poor memory, and have no sex drive to speak of.

    To think that I should eat more, kind of scares me, ’cause I am a big eater, and since following rrarf, I have gained 7 lbs…Yikes!! Again…this does make a lot of sense to me….but I am soo afraid of gaining any more weight…my temps range from 96.4 to maybe 97.3. My temps don’t seem to get very high at all…and I have been trying to do this for maybe 6 weeks now….again, I guess I am just second guessing things and wonder what else I should be doing.

    Any suggestions??


    • Donna, this is just my n=1 experience, so take it with a grain of salt, but in my 40s I developed an itchy rash, and had achy joints on damp days, and cutting out gluten has cleared both problems up just about entirely. It’s also giving me better thyroid tests.

      Just FWIW.

      As for the 180 protocol, I’m liking the eating schedule of having a large breakfast, a biggish lunch, and not much else. Besides gluten and a few other things, no foods are off limits. Somehow making foods legal is helping me hit a good place of eating the right amount.

      I’m no expert on any of this, but I wanted to reply because you sound a bit like me.

      • Steph, I too am liking eating big breakfast and big lunches, and no supper. I am always ravenous and obsess about food. this style of eating has given me the power back. I eat what I want until I do not want it anymore, and after lunch I am so satisfied physically and psychologically that I want for nothing. I have tried this way of eating low carb before and it was not nearly as rewarding. This time using yummy carbs as the majority of my calories has really benefited me. I really feel like I am getting my power back, it is really cool!

        • I found eating light at night allows a lot of people to eat absolutely anything they want and totally get away with it. Even lose weight.

          • Interesting that some people need late feedings, while others do better with light dinners and “fasting” until breakfast. I’m in the late feeding category at the moment. If I have something to eat an hour or so before bed, I sleep through the night without waking up longer than a few seconds to roll over. If I stop eating after dinner, I tend to wake up at 3-4 am for at least 30 minutes before going back to sleep, and often will need to use my “fall asleep” brainwave entrainment track to get me there.

          • Yes. I think there are basically 2 types of people at night. Those who tend to have cellular energy concentrations that are too low in the evening, and those that are too high. Even with a 4pm dinner today I’m sweating like crazy and my feet are burning up at nearly 11pm. If I were to throw more salt, calories, and carbs into the tank right now without too many fluids my heart would be pounding too hard to even fall asleep I think. Others who are more prone to be peeing and cold in the evening need to get up to that level to sleep well. Always a balancing act.

          • yea, i’m definitely in the eat late category, i remember when i was really little (i’m 29) my dad used to tell my sister and i that we come from a long line of late night eaters, to explain our surge in appetite towards bed-time.

            i’m normal weight, 5 ft 2 and get around 2500kcals at the mo, but used to get in more than 3000 a few years back with no gain (before my orthorexia when i was eating shedloads of chocolate, crisps and cookies instead of proper meals). the last few weeks i’ve been influenced by you Matt to ease up on the orthorexia and eat the foods i really like, (along with less liquids). so on a typical day i will eat just loads of my favourite food – bread (yes tons of gluten) in the form of 8 buttered bagels, sugared french toast and homemade pizza. i’ve also stopped the sugar, fat and pufa restriction (getting loads of sugar now)*. the result is a surge in energy, feeling hotter than i already was, no more constipation, softer skin, better sleep, less morning puffyness….. before all the wholefoods were giving me stomach pains, bloating, puffyness, constipation, zero energy. i feel like my whole metabolism’s improved, now i’m eating bagels and muffins in embarrassing quantities, and i’m still not sick of them yet, they’re helping me more than potatoes, lentils, salad and rice ever did. junk foods are way more beautifying and stress relieving, i look far better the less wholefoods i eat. thanx matt!

            (*i don’t eat meat/fish cause of animals are too cute to eat mental reasons and i can’t eat milk/cheese cause it gives me diarrhea, although i occasionally risk it as i love it so much but with horrible consequences!)

      • Eating lighter in the evening does help if hunger is running wild and temps are not coming up or even dropping.

  39. I think it is extremely difficult to ignore weight when you go from being a size 2-4 for most of your life (without dieting).. Then, hit 30s and go up to a solid size 6 and you are very happy with that size (especially since you live in the Midwest and not Cali any longer). But then at 35 you start having children and 7 years and 4 children later you are in a size 14 and can’t seem to lose the weight!! I suspect thyroid although I’ve never been tested. But the strange diets have only happened since having the children and other issues like IBS and gluten sensitivity. I know I am just venting here so forgive me. But I have not fully started this recovery although it makes a lot of sense because I am totally stuck on the weight gain issue. Hopefully, I can get over this. :(

    • Likewise, I wouldn’t have an ounce of excess fat on me if it wasn’t for my final season as a wilderness ranger. I had done RRARF and only went up to 178 prior to that season. Then did it after the season and hit 194 before my body temperature finally got back up to 98 degrees. Most of that is still with me today, only I have added a lot of muscle since then underneath it. Having children is a major stress. Many women go from lean to not lean after having a kid or two or three.

  40. Thank you Steph for your reply, I really do appreciate it. I did for awhile think that I was allergic to gluten, was tested for it, but was not positive for allergies.

    I have been diagnosed w/Hashimoto’s, but do not take any medication for my thyroid as of yet. I guess I like to eat too much and have not been able to get the eating down the right way as of yet.

    I think thought that I may have to start having a light, or even no dinner, maybe that is what I must try next. Thanks again Steph!!

    • Just FWIW, I don’t test allergic to gluten either. I think gluten can make autoimmune conditions worse without allergy. If you ever want to try gluten free and want tips on how to make it painless ( i. e. have your pancakes and cookies and cake and eat them, too), send up a flare!

      Good luck Donna!

      • Hey Steph,

        My “pet theory” about gluten is that non-organic wheat gluten is the real problem, because pesticides concentrate in the glutenous parts of the wheat. I eat a lot of organic wheat products and they don’t cause me digestive upset. But if I have non-organic wheat foods for a few days in a row, I start to notice bloating.

        So just curious: have you tried slowly re-introducing gluten from organic sources? (It kind of vexes me that most of the “gluten free” products out there aren’t made with organic ingredients, but that’s slightly off-topic.)

        • Hey Cameron!

          I never had digestive issues with wheat, as it happens. I had/have autoimmune issues (Hashimotos, eczema, and some joint pain that may be rheumatoid arthritis, though not diagnosed). I went off gluten and in time the eczema is nearly gone, no more joint pain, and my last thyroid blood test was better. The rest of my diet is pretty much a free for all (except I don’t eat beans and I limit goitrogens, as they are unhealthy for the thyroid).

          I find your theory interesting, though, because I wonder why it at least seems that more and more people don’t tolerate wheat well. I don’t know if I’ll put gluten back in to test, but if I do, perhaps I’d experiment first with organic.

          I often think of my grandma, who lived to 104 and ate everything in moderation. She enjoyed wonderful health, was an active, talented, hard-working, generous woman. So I certainly am not in the “all wheat is evil, no one should eat it!” camp. Something about it seems to set my body against itself, though.

  41. Matt any benefits of eating lentils in the metabolism temp arena?

    • Lentils can help, sure. Legumes in general really increase the butyric acid production in the gut. Butyric acid is very pro-metabolic.

  42. So for those of us who don’t have much of an appetite, don’t care very much about food except in an abstract, aesthetic way, and feel nauseated by the idea of eating a lot, I guess it’s ok simply to accept that we won’t be able to eat “normal” amounts of food, and that planning and calculating is part of our relationship with our bodies.

    I’m having so much cognitive dissonance with so much of this post. Usually, the less I eat, the less I want to eat. On the efficiency through low metabolism, I’d never heard it put like in the Jillian quotation before, that you’d be hungry sooner–I thought the whole point of being efficient through low metabolism was that less food is needed overall–certainly seems to be the case with me.

    I know that I need to stop losing weight at some point or it’ll just be an ED relapse, but I feel _so_ much better about my body now that I’ve dropped some, from “slim” to “skinny.” If I’m not driven to self-harm by the sight of my body, I count that as a health improvement, surely.

    • Ela – hunger and appetite and interest in food are a different story when you’re talking about them in the context of an eating disorder, which I’m sure you know, so I’m not talking down to you – I point it out because Matt writes within the context of diet recovery and recovery from disordered eating, NOT eating disorders. I’m sure he’s had success helping people with ED’s, but most ED’s have a strong psychological/psychiatric component to them, that has little to do with metabolism and energy-regulation. The mind truly is so much stronger than the body, so that when the psychological component of the ED develops, it can and will override the “normal” bodily regulation of metabolism and appetite.

      Again, I point this out because when you’re talking purely about metabolism and food, there can be that cognitive dissonance you’re talking about where your experiences just don’t match up. That’s not your fault; it’s not all physical. Eating disorders can’t be healed by diet alone with a little bit of intuitive-eating psychology thrown in. Disordered eating can, but that’s not the same thing. Of course, a good therapist is damn hard to find, so if that’s your route then I wish you the best of luck.

      • Ela, I second the idea that a good therapist is incredibly helpful. My eating issues could not possibly have gotten better without one. I’ve definitely still got my issues that I’m dealing with, but at least now I have a much higher self-esteem and understand where a lot of my issues came from. I know you said before that you eat 700 kcal/day, and that is definitely too low by any measure. Maybe your idea of weight is off, too. Like some other people here have posted, once I had started putting weight back on, I remember feeling unbearably fat at 10 pounds lighter than I am now. People think I’m really thin (but healthy looking) now – back then I looked (and was) emaciated. I would definitely encourage the therapist if you aren’t already. There are some eating disorder associations online that can point you to someone who specializes in that area. My therapist (who I still see) works at an ED treatment facility, and I would encourage that if there is one near you.

        • Thanks, Amy, thanks Neesha.

          Neesha, thanks for pointing out the ways in which I’m off topic. I guess it is a different lens.

          Amy, I really appreciate your thoughts too–I know you’ve been there and have a lot of good insight into the whole thing.
          Right now, I’m eating 3-400 calories a day (yes, I dropped again–been under some stress). I know that isn’t enough to be sustainable, but I’m pretty sure 7-800/day is sustainable for me, when I get around to going back up again.

          I do see a therapist–she’s great. Since I live in AK, there isn’t a lot of choice in that regard, and I count myself lucky. I trust her, and have been able to be fairly frank about what I’m getting into right now.

          • Glad to hear you’re seeing someone, Ela. Yes, 3-400 is definitely unsustainable. Glad you’re working on it.

      • True Neesha, but the body is what destroys the mind with eating disorders. It usually starts with a desire to lose weight, or trauma that causes weight loss, and then one goes beyond the point of no return where the mind breaks down. That’s what separates weight loss from eating disorder. In most cases.

    • The less you eat, the less you want to eat… is an eating disorder. You know that. And we have seen your relapse developing for quite some time. The primary reason that eating disorders are so hard to escape from is that eating, for a long time, will make you feel worse. ED’s destroy blood glucose regulation, digestive organs, and create catecholamine addictions. Eat and shut those catecholamines down and life can be pretty brutal. Good luck working your way out of the line of thinking you are currently going down.

      • Interesting…..that might explain why I feel the best mentally&energetically while being way past the point of a growling stomach. I also usually don’t feel like food,when my stomachs growling….and when it’s not growling I might ‘think about food’ whether it be the wrong or right ones.
        Lately,afer I’ve eaten (no matter whether it’s high-carb or low-carb) I feel mentally numb&lethargic and I usually browse something on the net and after a while my mood starts to lift and I feel more wanting to do stuff,though I should almost go to bed by then.

        Actually thinking back now…..in my high-Cardio days I didn’t eat much during the day either,I wasn’t hungry before noon.Then around 5 before dinnertime I’d usually go to the gym,go hard on the Cardio-machines for an hour and then rush home ravenously and relax in front of tv with whatever dinner/sometimes dessert also in weekend I craved&felt like I earned after the workout (usually lots of bread)…..and repeat the same thing over again the next day.

        Come to think of it…..I kinda ‘like the feeling’ of looking out to dinner in front of some favorite program.

        So,now reading comments here…..I’m scared I’m gonna gain like a m*therf*cker once I start eating the normal 3square meals a day,cause unconsciously I’ve never been doing that for years…..

      • Thanks for that, Matt–I hadn’t put any of this so baldly in the “relapse” terminology yet. But I guess it’s true, and it’s probably wise to say things as they are. I guess I’ll just keep reading and apply my wits to seeing how I can “skip my cake and stay functional too” (a hypothetical book title!)

  43. Hi Matt,

    I just got your Diet Recovery book last week and have been enjoying eating tons of yummy food and watching my body temp climb slowly over the past few days (I’m taking it orally, btw!).

    I have a couple questions, though. First, my temp on waking has still been hovering about 97.8. My temps after eating, though, have been trending around 98.6. This morning after having two eggs, a huge sweet potato with a big pat of butter, and two bowls of chips (the Trader Joe’s olive oil chips, no excessive PUFA for me!), my oral temp is actually up to 99.0! Pretty exciting. But my question is, is it normal to easily reach a high body temperature after eating, but take a while longer for the waking temperature to reach 98.6 as well?

    And then, MAXercise. I just did my first one last night and it was brutal. I only made it 3 rounds of burpees/tuck jumps followed by chin-ups, pushups and sledgehammer swings against a tire, respectively, before I felt like I was about to puke and pass out, which i figure is the signal to quit for the day. :D But I’m trying to balance your recommendations to eat heavy early in the day and light late in the day–when does this leave room for working out hard? If I tried to MAXercise on a full stomach I would be sluggish and probably vomit. But if I wait until evening, when my stomach is not too full, then after I am done I want to eat, and figure I probably should to feed my muscles and top off glycogen. So should I ignore the advice to eat lightly on days when I work out, or should I try to change my schedule, or what? Is there any particular time you feel is best physiologically to MAXercise? Appreciate the input, and thanks for what you’re doing!

    • All good questions, I’d like to know too.

    • That is totally normal encephalized. And I tend to push back lunch a little later and do my workouts around noon when I am doing any kind of hard training. Or you can have a couple pieces of fruit upon waking, work out really hard an hour or so later, and then have a huge breakfast and a later lunch after. You’ll find out how to make it work I’m sure. Or, you can just eat a much bigger dinner on workout days.

      • Hmm. I would try that schedule but I don’t think I could manage it around my work schedule. So for now, it’s bigger dinners after evening workouts for me. That’s pretty much what I was doing anyway.

  44. Hey Matt, what about Stephan’s ideas about food reward causing weiught gain? It seems backed up by studies (just a few though) and anecdotes (potato guy) showing weight loss without hunger, etc. It’s also a very compelling theory.

    • We examined those years ago (see dopamine and weight loss), prior to Stephan illuminating more of the research going on behind it. Even if it is true (which it is, but it’s just a partial truth because there’s much more to the story), it’s not a solution. We need a solution, in today’s world, for how to eat highly palatable food and not develop metabolic syndrome. Because we’re not going to eat a potato diet for life, and if you try to eat a potato diet you will be unable to increase the palatability of the diet, EVER, to keep that weight off. In fact, eating unpalatable food makes palatable food increasingly fattening. So it’s a life sentence for those who choose that route.

      • I didn’t think reducing reward implies eating a potato diet. Isn’t not eating crap a valid way?

        • Yes, that’s my diet (no crap) and it’s pretty yummy.

        • Yes, not eating crap usually does result in some weight loss. Initially.

          • I’ve been eating no crap for years now and am thin. I do not eat an “unpalatable” diet. I eat ice cream, pizza, crazy yummy stuff like foie gras and potatoes fried in duck fat. It’s awesome. I ate a croissant today. BUT I don’t eat doritos, skittles, donuts etc. If I really wanted some I would in moderation every now and then, but I’d rather stick with whole food without chemicals. I sometimes drink coke or have potato chips if I’m at a party. But pretty much no junk food. Avoiding the chemicals is my mantra. Hasn’t caused any fattening yet. I recovered my metabolism with this way of eating.

          • Oh, and I avoid refined veg oils like the plague.

          • Yeah, that sounds about right Amy. I haven’t really encouraged anyone to go out and house a bunch of really strange modern food inventions. Just starting to play around with people truly eating what they want – including some of that “crazy yummy stuff” you mention.

          • I’ve noticed that the “hyper palatable” foods in terms of the junk like skittles, donuts, etc., are not really in the same class as real foods and actually don’t carry the same palatability or reward factor, which is why I’m rather against the reward theory.
            Chips, soda, etc… these do not carry the same reward factor. They become sickening after a while and the body desperately craves something real.

  45. I’m a 46 year old man that tried the Paleo low carb diet in 2008. I had tried to eat lots of “good” food in the past, lots of brown bread and rice, oatmeal for breakfast, etc. I ate a lot because I was exercising at the gym with a personal trainer Very much the diet that you recommend, Matt. The truth is that I felt terrible. I woke up one morning 240 pounds and my joints killing me. In fact, the fingers of my hands were all stiff and it took several minutes to straighten them out. That was the push I needed to try something new. When I tried low carb Paleo, I lost 50 pounds in 6 months. Easily. With no hunger. I ate as much as I wanted. But I did do the following:
    1. I ate cheese when I wanted
    2. I ate bitter chocolate when I felt a craving coming on…sometimes with some cashews or other nut
    3. I ate whenver I was hungry, and avoided wheat products like the plague. THAT was my only strict adherence to my new nutritional philosophy.

    And that’s it. I stopped exercising so heavily because I didn’t want to overstress my body. I walked everywhere, maybe did some pullups and pushups every now and then. But it wasn’t my focus. In time, I added sweet potatos to the diet (any potato, really). I do drink coffee…I got addicted because I live in Santiago, Chile and when the big earthquake hit us, I went everyday to Starbucks because I was too scared to hang out at my 17th floor apartment!

    I’ve kept the weight off. The general rule of food in my life is: If I’m going to eat “junk”, make it the highest quality junk out there. If i’m going to eat ice cream (and I do eat quite a bit), I’ll make the most expensive and highest quality I can find. The sub-standard stuff now makes me ill. I think I’m a good example of someone who can reasonably eat a modified whole foods Paleo diet to satiety and be allright. People say I look very young for my age. But genetics may also play a role. Don’t you think most people could eat this way and show some improvement? Do they HAVE to gain weight to increase body temp? I hope you continue experimenting and asking questions. I think you’re on the right path but you’re not there yet… almost, but not quite…

    • Gonzalo – I would wonder if what you’re talking about IS in fact “low-carb Paleo.” Any idea what your carb intake was like? I’m curious because my boyfriend is on a kind of “modified paleo” diet that really isn’t paleo at all, modified or no, it’s just that he needs to eat heaps of food and has Grave’s disease (autoimmune hyperthyroidism) so wants to stay away from wheat. By no means does he avoid carbs, heaps of potatoes (white and sweet), plenty of white rice, occasional corn products, and a fair amount of sugar (white, raw, maple syrup.) He doesn’t restrict anything. You can eat a “whole foods” diet and not have it go crazy – plenty of people do!

      He’s doubled his daily calories and only gained four necessary pounds, all of it muscle. His thyroid basically puts his metabolism into overdrive, but before he was diagnosed and medicated, he had all the symptoms of low metabolism, because his body just couldn’t keep up. So he’s an interesting case for me reading all Matt’s stuff about metabolism, especially in relation to a supposedly “whole foods” and “modified paleo” approach to diet.

      I think these terms need to go, to be honest. We use them to feel better about ourselves, to seem virtuous, and they have very little meaning now, and I think that’s okay – it’s not paleo if it’s modified paleo! It’s not “whole foods” if you’re eating refined sugar and potato chips and cocoa and coffee and cheese! And who cares! I have a wacky idea – let’s just say we eat FOOD. What do I do? I eat the damn food.

      • Also, I think that there’s a kind of curve with going from SAD-type diet to paleo-inspired that can be really effective if calories and macronutrients aren’t restricted – if you imagine 20+ years of low-micro-nutrient foods (plus intermittent dieting and restriction based off of those foods) causing various problems, then switching to an unrestricted “whole foods” inspired approach would mean replenishing nutrient and mineral stores, plus possibly more calories.

        The trouble is when, off the back of that, people start restricting macros and doing crazy stuff to lose EVEN MORE weight or be EVEN HEALTHIER, because often there’s a corresponding involvement in the online paleo community – which is unashamedly pro-diet and pro-weight-loss. Starts out healthy, maybe, but usually ends in dogma and obsessiveness. Especially when some of that weight comes back, for whatever reason – mightn’t happen to you, but it’ll happen to a lot of us. Then what starts out for health gets warped. So yeah, I think there’s definitely a health-curve when transitioning from one way of eating to another, and if that isn’t just a temporary side-effect of weight-loss, then potentially it could be maintained if you don’t go gaga and start thinking that 20 grams of carbs a day is totally fabulous.

        • I gained 35 lbs doing “low carb Paleo”… thank goodness I never went as low as 20g of carbs a day, more around 70-90g of carbs probably. But even that is too low for me. I never cheated. I didn’t have cravings. But I certainly wasn’t healthy either. Steak & green veggies really screwed up my metabolism.

    • Your diet sounds great – but not even close to low-carb Paleo from what you’re describing. I think what Matt is warning against is people who stick to low-carb Paleo (probably meaning, no ice cream ever, no cheese, no potatoes of any kind, etc)

  46. Neesha,
    You make some very interesting points. In fact, I agree with most of what you said. I was limited to a “reasonable-length” post in a comments section, and I didn’t want to bore everyone with all my thoughts on the subject. Here are my comments to what you wrote:
    1. Modified Paleo is a term I’m comfortable with. I took the concepts of Paleo and apply the 80/20 law. 80% of the time, I’m eating Paleo, and 20% of the food is food I know doesn’t cause issues with me. Is it always 80/20? Of course not. I don’t even stress about it.
    2. Whole foods are not “just food”. In my mind, there is a big difference. In my house, I don’t have any food that comes in a box, for instance. I don’t have any vegetable oils. I rarely eat anything like potato chips, if only because I try to consciously limit intake of vegetable oils. But I do make some pretty good oven baked potato chips at home!
    3. “It’s not “whole foods” if you’re eating refined sugar and potato chips and cocoa and coffee and cheese!” I don’t think it’s fair to lump in cheese in this category. I’ve pinpointed some natural cheese that comes from the local farms in the south of Chile (I live in Santiago, the capital city). I think this is a “whole food”. Yes, of course it’s processed, but minimally so compared to non-cheese products like “Cheez Whiz” (do they still sell that stuff?).
    4. For me, the definition of whole foods is “of the highest quality and minimally processed with as few added synthetic ingredients as possible”. From THAT definition, you have to use your own logical filter to judge any outliers. What I mean by that is NOT to stress about everything you eat but whether it should become a staple food in your diet.
    5. ANYTHING that ends up in dogmatic-type behavior is bad. Unfortunately, let’s call a spade a spade. People are woefully bad at finding balance. I totally agree with your health curve insight. In fact, that’s what I always tell people. But let’s not pick on Paleo. Matt has a system in place, and I’ll bet you there are tons of people who will also go crazy with the concepts. I cringe when I read the comments section with things like “yeah Matt!! You’re absolutely right! I’m going to eat whatever, whenever and if I gain 20 pounds, who cares! Let me give myself a big hug!” Do you think that’s the right path? It might be for the first little while, in order to fix whatever metabolic problem they’re going through. Strict Paleo can also help fix certain things up after applying it a short while. Then LOGIC MUST KICK IN. What happens is that most people are looking for the magic bullet, and they run with what makes sense to their priorities at any given time

    • See, you sound like a nice sane person when it comes to food! But the thing is that *your* definition of “whole foods” is simply that – your definition. Cheese is a processed food. Not all processed foods are evil. But I think that should tell us something about food in general – the only foods that are evil are the ones that are poisonous, and even then, sometimes they have medicinal value! My problem is when people tout “whole foods” or any other label as being something that has an actual, real-world, objective definition, which it just doesn’t. We all make our choices.

      • Neesha,

        I see your point concerning definitions. ALL food, in essence, is processed. When I have meat, I don’t just rip into the side of a carcass with my teeth “au naturel”. By its strictest defintion, the meat I eat is “processed”. If it’s a steak, well of course, it had to be processed in order for it to get to my house in a form where I would further “process” it by cooking it in order for it to be edible. Using this definition, the cheese I eat is also “processed”.

        At some point, logic has to kick in. There’s a BIG difference between the “minimal processing” of food so that it is edible and the processing that bread, for instance, has to go through. If someone gets hung up between this difference, than that person will never really be able to properly “filter” choices EFFORTLESSLY, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts above. I think we tend to overthink this thing, don’t we? We get caught up in semantics in order to make excuses. But it really isn’t rocket science, for the most part.

      • I define a Quarter Pounder as a whole food, even though it is only a quarter, because I eat 4 at a time – thus taking a partial food and converting it into a whole food.

        • I love your laissez-faire attitude…I eat quarter pounders, except now I make them myself…

    • Great post Gonzalo, especially your last paragraph!

      • Thanks Catty!

  47. Spontaneous weight loss? Didn’t Ancel Key’s starvation studies show that ‘normal’ weight will return in about a year. RRARFing did as promised, brought my temps up to normal. The extra weight I’m carrying was much more pleasant (curvy not boxy) when the overeating came from home rather than restaurants. (PUFA’s anyone?) But yes, notable improvements overall.

    It’s good to have an international perspective. Yes I get ‘refined sugars/grains’ can help re-establish temps. It did. But we have to be mindful that in the near future, the remaining resources will go to either whole food production or SAD food production. In that sense, I feel it’s better to stick with the refined stuff you make at home (for the most part) than stuff in a box which tells my kids, “I don’t give a s**t.” I didn’t get the advertising overload as a kid, so breakfast cereals are just plain in ‘bad taste’ to me.

    • KB, did you lose weight after your temps came up?

      • Too recent to tell. Started in Jan, temps normal for 3 weeks now (started in high 95’s!). I can say that I stopped gaining. I spent a lot of money on nice ‘new size’ clothes so I can get confortable with the weight. My friends and fam don’t comment too much because my face looks normal. They said it has more color than when I was low carbing it.

        • Your approach sounds really healthy. I love that you bought new clothes to accept your new size. Good mindset.

          • Yes! Good for you!

    • Yes, all of Ancel Key’s subjects experienced spontaneous weight loss eventually. They turned the corner, as a group, and had a net weight loss at 33 weeks after the start of refeeding. At the end they were almost the same weight, but still a little heavier, with less muscle and more fat. I’m sure another year of eating the food and doing a little weight training would have left them all with superior body composition to the start of the experiment.

  48. Matt,
    Off topic, but when are you going to talk about Brian Peskin’s work? From what I can gather, he makes sense.

    • I’ve thought about discussing it a little bit, but I have a hard time believing that taking a few “Parent EFA’s” is really going to do much for someone.

  49. I’m a little late to this thread, but my thoughts had been swirling in my head for a while after I read this post and I figured I might as well spew. :) I am a 36 year old mom of two and have never in my life had a weight problem until now. When I was 5’8″ I weighed 135# and stayed at that until I shot up to 5’10” and soon weighed 150#. I stayed at that weight for all of high school and college+ and the only time I was “underweight” was when I decided to go vegan and dropped 15# and was back to 135# and a size 6, which at the time I felt pretty great about. It was mostly a vanity issue because I soon discovered that I could wear virtually any piece of clothing from any clothing manufacturer as a size 6. I had never truly dieted, but I did become mildly obsessed with health and really wanted to cure my depression and anxiety, that I had had most of my life without having a name to put to what I was experiencing. I also have had Raynaud’s syndrome since I was about 12 and have yet to find a cure.

    Anyway, the reason I say that I now have a weight problem is because I have gained about 5 pounds in the past few months. Normally I do not care about the numbers, and quite frankly, up until about 5 months ago when I started RBTI, I didn’t even own a scale. But I am the MOH in my sister’s wedding at the end of May and when I try on the skirt now that I am to wear in the wedding, I can barely zip it up and it is very tight. This has caused me to feel not only embarrassed, but depressed and hopeless. I have less than 2.5 months to figure out a solution (yes, i am looking into shapewear), but I really don’t know what to do. My sister is a size 6 at almost 6′ tall and model material. Yes, at this time in my life I am having a very difficult time accepting myself as I am. If it wasn’t for the wedding, I don’t think there would be an issue.

    I think for me there is a great deal of psychological stuff that needs dealt with. My mother is hyper critical of not only herself, but others as well. I now am the same clothing size as she is, even though she is 3″ shorter than me. Both of my parents have made comments in the past, you know the passive-aggressive subtle insults, that have deeply affected the way I look at myself. The only time I truly feel good about myself is when I have managed to put together an outfit that fits very well. This is difficult to say the least. I think I am going to try taking thyroid meds and some other hormone boosting supp’s because the eating thing is not working to boost my temp, nor help my psychological issues.

    • AmandaPlease – this is going to sound a little brash, but I’m gonna say it anyway – you don’t have a weight problem, you have a surrounded-by-assholes problem! Seriously, only 5 pounds?! I know how terrible the impact of weight gain can be for your self-esteem, but when you say “if it weren’t for the wedding and my passive-aggressive parents, I mightn’t have an issue,” well, that’s where you need to look for a solution, not your weight. Of course, it’s extremely hard to just drop the idea that you need to lose weight and would feel better if you lost it – I get that, that’s how I feel most of the time. But I try to give myself regular sanity-checks by reminding myself that my weight doesn’t actually determine my self-worth, and reading Health At Every Size blogs. Also, try to do things that help your mood improve that have nothing to do with weight and food – sit in the sun if you can, or visit someplace really nice that you like, or get a massage. I know that sounds stupid, but if you struggle with depression, it can help.
      Best of luck.

      • Hi Neesha,
        That sounds about right! I have spent so many years worrying about weight that it became second nature to me. I thought I was always fat because I had the “surrounded by assholes problem” .At 15 when I was curvy and probably a little chunky my cousins and aunts started calling me “fatty” even though I weight 125 pounds , my mom was too nice to tell them off. But, it has remained with me, even though my father always inculcated the ” you are more than your looks and you weight” I went down the rabbit hole of weight loss and it has taken me another 18 years to get over it.Last year, I met a guy online and I was talking to him on the phone and I happened to mention that I was working on losing 10 pounds and you would not believe it but he faked an emergency and never called me back.Still in the back of my mind I worry that people think I’m fat. In fact when I started RRARF I gained about 30 pounds and when I visited India, everyone from the neighbor to my dentist commented I had gained weight. And another relative commented that I don’t look like I work out ( like it’s any of his business) but at least to him I was able to reply that I’m not going for the supermodel look.
        The sad part is that I’ve always been active all my life- always had a gym membership,taken dance classes, hired trainers,swimming, badminton; much more than my naturally skinny sister or friends.
        Sorry for the long rant but it’s taken me so long to not care what everyone thinks- and i still do a little bit; and at the same time be myself and not conform to other people’s standards of who I need to be.

        I am currently a size 8 and am hoping to get to a 4/6 but in a healthy way this time.

    • Amanda,
      I know someone who tried everything for Raynaud’s who had suffered from it for years- including high exercise (e.g. climbing), high cal diet, boosting metabolism, pretty much RRARF-style, which helped a bit but with varying results, but then added in Piracetam (a pretty safe nootropic ‘smart’ drug/supplement) and it was like a new lease of life. A brief intro here: http://www.piracetam.com/category/raynauds-research.
      When I use it, I definitely feel warmer, particularly in my extremities. You have to play with dosage, and it might not work for you, but maybe something to think about in addition to being gentle on yourself re everything you described about weight gain, depression etc.

  50. Neesha, I get what you are saying, and yes I do some those things you suggest already. My point is what is going to happen if I cannot fit into the outfit my sister has chosen for her bridesmaids to wear on her wedding day?? It is not a piece that can be altered. Not that you or anyone around here really cares. It is a tailored piece. I know I do not have a weight problem. But since I gained these last 5 or so pounds after I bought the outfit, it “is” a problem. Also, when you go your entire life with not gaining weight in any significant amount and then all of a sudden you have to buy new pants, it’s discouraging. I don’t really appreciate the “get over it” attitude. For me right now, this is a problem.

    • Hi Amandaplease-I get it. Short term solution could be exercise-I’m getting great results with Sprint 8. This could work for you and get you through the wedding, while you discover root causee and longer term solutions. I am not dieting, however, it just doesn’t work for me. Be careful with Sprint 8-if you are not accustomed to exercise, then apparently it’s easy to hurt yourself. Good luck. ;0)

      • Matt’s Diet Recovery plan is not a plan to fit into a bridesmaid’s dress in a few months. If I were you, here is what I would do. I would adopt a modest diet/exercise plan similar to what everyone else always recommends, but not take it too far. It’s kind of obsessive but watch the scale and don’t let too many pounds drop off. Just enough to fit into that dress. The body can tolerate small forced fluctuations in weight with little or no rebound. What you don’t want is some unsustainable major obsessive “have to look good for the wedding” diet/exercise plan that will have major rebound after the wedding. Once past that, you can start focusing on the food issues piece by piece and kind of take it as it comes.

    • Amanda, I think Melissa’s idea about a short term solution is right on. My thought is (and this may be controversial) shelve aggressive “diet recovery”, if that has been your current plan, til after the wedding. You want to be fitting into that skirt.

      Five pounds is not too much to want to lose by May. Some new exercise program alone might get you there, but if you think it won’t, you might try (this may get me banned!) eating what you want, but using some sort of calorie count program to keep you in check so you can take off a pound or two a week, just to get you there.

      Then after the wedding, reassess and decide how you want to proceed for long term mental and physical health.

      Good luck! I’ve been a bridesmaid twice, I remember the “will the dress still fit?” anxiety.

  51. Could someone please tell me what the ebreviations stand for? RRARF?

    • Rehabilitative Rest and Aggressive Refeeding

  52. Matt,

    FYI, Something odd.

    2 wks ago I was plagued with fever, sore throat, etc….. Fever went to 101. Being the baby
    that I am, I took Tylenol. Here is the strange thing. While taking Tylenol my brix remained good without eating! I was to nauseated to eat.

    Since the Tylenol kept my brix up, I continued taking it after the fever abated. It continued
    to work. :) Trouble is IBS kicked in. :( I tried aspirin, it works too, keeping the brix up
    all morning. However, IBS won’t play that game. :(

    I have said from the beginning that once my brix was better I would start slowly adding
    in MinCol. Yesterday I opened up a capsule of MinCol and added it to about 3 cups of
    water. I drank 2-3 ounces every hour until gone.

    This morning I took 2 digestive enzymes(IBS) drank one cup regular coffee, one cup decafe.
    Yes, I know this is the wrong way to handle low brix. However, my IBS was screaming and,
    coffee plus digestive enzymes equals “empty colon.”

    After my colon cleansing, I again broke open a MinCol capsule and diluted it in 3 cups water.
    I drank about 3 ounces until gone. Here is another cool thing! My brix stayed up! I hadn’t
    eaten. I decided to wait until noon to eat today. My brix stayed steady at about a 3! It
    certainly wasn’t the coffee, or enzymes. I am thinking the MinCol kept my brix up?
    But, if that were true, why didn’t it help last summer?

    I don’t know what to make of this? I do know it makes me have hope. I hate eating
    breakfast. Too, once I did eat, I would continue to have to eat every 2-3 hours to keep
    my brix up.

    Just wanted to add this to mix. :)

    I am thinking maybe some type of inflammation is causing my low brix. Perhaps something
    to do with my auto immune issues.

    • Yes! Inflammation and stress of any kind crashes brix. Including, of course, not eating. And, along the same lines, eating can help to counter the inflammation and stress physiologically-speaking.

  53. Matt, do you know why my posts print out so odd?
    The one word lines?

    I don’t know how to stop that from happening.

    • I don’t know. They look great in my wordpress comment dashboard thingy.

    • You could just copy and paste the article into Word or Notepad and print it out, if that suffices.

      • Well, I could do that if I knew how. LOL!

        I don’t know how to do any “fancy” maneuvers on a computer.

        Warning: If you try to explain how, I probably won’t know what you are talking about. :)

  54. Amanda and Neesha and Shailja are pointing out something that I think is a HUGE problem for us ladies- clothing fits better when you’re thin! I actually don’t really mind being a size 12 right now but I can’t FIND any clothing that FITS right! My proportions are different- I have larger thighs and boobs, not too much stomach fat. Shirts fit everywhere except around my chest. If they fit my chest then the waist is flapping around. Pants fit everywhere except the top of my thighs. If they fit my thighs then the waistline, again, gaps out. ARG! When I was a size 6 this wasn’t a problem- everything fit. Right now I am just wearing a lot of baggy stuff and t-shirts because it is so hard to find nice clothing that fits me. I’m sure I would feel better about my weight gain if I could find reasonable clothes and not look like a slob in baggy t-shirts :(

    • I’d love to be a size 12 again for this reason. I’m size 16 right now and have to resort to “plus” size “fashions” at times and they are sooooooo limited in style. :( At my thinnest I was a size 10 and I’d be happy with being there for the rest of my life if I can only get there…

      • We need personal tailors!

    • The problem is that you are wearing clothes! There won’t be this problem at the 180 Colony, haha.

      • Oh my god, you should so totally have a Matt Stone Resort. People can come and spend a month RRARFing on delicious food you cook for them, napping in the sunshine, playing ping-pong, maybe doing some yoga, and listening to you tell them (the ladies at least) how much more attractive they are with a bigger ass :)

        • It is to be referred to as a RetrEAT!

    • You are so right on about the clothes. It is so hard as a 10/12 to find clothes that fit well. It is so frustrating and discouraging that I kind of give up and wear stuff that is too baggy or gives me a muffin top. Sorry Matt, but not ready to embrace a nudist colony either. What is really weird to me is that I was thinner last year, after losing the first bunch of baby weight than I am now. I do suspect some chronic pain that is keeping me awake plus marital tension might be at play. But I have been eating more and gaining recently, and my appetite has really dropped. Very few foods sound appealing to me. Only Indian or Thai sound appetizing, and the apple filling inside a turnover, not the outside.

      • Marital stress will absolutely do it. Years ago I was in a horrible relationship and just kept putting on weight. It was both stress and that fact that eating was bringing me pleasure that I wasn’t getting from the relationship. As soon as I broke up with him I “spontaneously” dropped the weight. My appetite literally changed overnight. Not saying you need to break up with your husband or anything, but working on what’s behind the marital stress will probably do more for you than any diet.

    • I am a size 6/7 and I have the same issues, just not the boob thing. Thighs are heavy and waist is small. Mom is like this too.

  55. Matt, I remember you had talked to someone somewhere in these comments (can’t remember if it was this post or another, but I looked and can’t find it) about what it means when you get numbness/tingling in the hands. In the morning when I wake up my hands are totally numb up to my elbows. It goes away after a few hours. Some days are better then others. Some days it seems to be totally gone, but then comes back. Seems to be related to fluctuating hormones. It’s worst in the last two weeks of my cycle. I have PCOS. Anything you can suggest to alleviate this symptom? It bothers me so much… thank you. Oh, I get it mildly in my feet as well.

    • I assumed that this, at least in most cases, was due to lack of peripheral circulation similar to cold hands and feet.

  56. Matt, I was meaning to ask you about something you commented about earlier, I think on the breakfast cereal post, about television reducing metabolic rate.

    Would watching television while RRARFing be very counterintuitive and could it even negate the effects that overeating would have on increasing metabolism? or is it more of a factor in the overall body equation? Like even though RRARFing increases metabolism so you technically are burning more calories, you’re also reducing the amount of calories you’re burning by lessening the amount of energy your brain is using…

    • Perhaps. Or maybe just going into a trance and not burning as many calories from thinking and concentrating on something just creates that much more of a surplus. Who knows.

      • Yeah, I agree haha. Who knows.

        I’d like to think that muscular metabolism (or maybe non-thinking metabolism, if calling it is accurate) would stay the same, burning whatever it usually burns off (at its current level) regardless of brain power being used, and that using less brain power would probably just do what you said, just increase the surplus. Maybe the two should be looked at separately.

  57. Wow. It is hard to express fully how much I am coming to appreciate your blog. In the past I think I was kind of snarkey in a couple of comments, once because I was frustrated that I couldn’t find your email in case I had any problem ever when making purchases, which has happened to me before, but I haven’t had one problem with anything from your site plus I did find an email upon looking more, and once when I was in a foul mood from diarrhea because I tried to break with the scd and do your HED on potatoes and ice cream. You get so many posters you probably don’t remember but I wanted to apologise anyway. It seems like there must be very few questioning like you are doing and exposing the deceptions about weight and health. I want to keep coming back because the deprogramming feels really good, kind of like taking off a tight pair of shoes. The hardest part is changing my body image and not hating my body anymore. I have been comparing myself to airbrushed models so long it is hard to give up wanting to be smaller and leaner. I am about 40 lb overweight and about 32% or so body fat at 5’6″. It is almost all in my boobs but and thighs. I have an ity bity waist and a big round thang and thunder thighs. Is there a safe way to reduce body fat and get those areas smaller? I am not going to diet anymore but if there is something safe that can help me tone up and maybe take a few inches off I would like to find out about it. I got Al Sears Pace Express which I think might be good for excersize, but he has this crazy low fat low carb eating plan that comes with which I won’t do.

    • Thanks Lisa. I can handle plenty of abuse though, don’t you fret. People love to hate me. I’ve become pretty immune over the years.

      Hearing your description of yourself, I refuse to tell you anything that might make your body change! You can send me pictures to my private email address though, heh heh, and perhaps I can make a more educated decision about which hundreds of diets you should not be on. :)

      • Ha ha Ha Matt, you’ll be inundated with a lot of pictures.I wouldn’t mind the boobs and the booty if I also didn’t have a round lower belly :-) I’m kind of getting neurotic about not exercising too much, I’m scared my metabolism will crash and I will start gaining the weight again.
        I do think that adequate sleep, enough food and staying in a good mood is when I’ve been slimmest in my life regardless of the exercise I was doing.
        This week when I felt that my hands and feet were cold and I was tired I upped my food and cut down on exercise.
        Once we have a handle on eating the food and sleep how much exercise should I include?

        • I will write about exercise soon in terms of how much a person can tolerate and how to gauge it and what not. You probably won’t tolerate exercise well if you haven’t been doing it in a while too. Keep that in mind. But in the context of eating and sleeping well, exercise may treat you much better than it ever did in the past. It just takes a while to get into better condition and not get so wiped out by the exercise you do. But just like sticking with carbs even though they may make a lot of people feel crappy at first, I think it pays to make it through the initial negatives. Stay open about it.

          • Thanks Matt!
            I get more wiped out with the full time job combine with the workouts…now if only I could win the lottery, I would be rich and skinny :-)
            I am trying to get a lot of sleep and if I’m too tired I take a break from exercise. Trying to control stress in a big way helps I think. I’ll try different combinations of eating and exercising. So far what has helped with inch loss is a small breakfast ( i really have no appetite in the morning) , a big lunch and a small dinner and 2-3 times a week of dance.
            I’m happy with the progress and want to make sure I keep moving in the right direction.

  58. Hello All, Tell Simone to make sure she is consuming no splenda or sucralose which is now being used in some softdrinks. I gave it up and my numbness went away immeadiately. Comes right back even when I consume a little.

  59. hey Matt for a site that places so much emphasis on experimentation and trial and error I was really disappointed to see that your post on Dr. Simeon’s protocol was built largely on assumptions. You made assumptions that it was the same as psmf and also that the hcg had no effect on the body when I am guessing as a non-pregnant male you have never experienced this. After reading through hundreds of pages of people’s journals having done Simeon’s protocol and also from seeing real experiences of people whose bodies were reshaped and had no hunger and also ended up able to eat normal amounts with a stabilized new setpoint I am convinced that there is more to this than standard psmf. In fact I have attempted to do a psmf before and never have been able to eat 500 calories but using the hcg I was able. I do think that metabolic health is a direct factor in whether there will be success in the long term but I also believe it’s possible this protocol could be a tool. I have one woman on a forum discussing rrarf who lost 30 lbs of fat with the protocol and then went on to raise temps with rrarf and lose even more weight. Why don’t you do an experiment before you bash something so you have the experience to back it up? I am not saying this rudely, I love your site and the basic approach but in your post on HCG you sounded very much like the fear-mongering, close minded FDA and diet establishment. Back it up please.

    • I didn’t experiment with it because everyone I talked to with personal experience bashed the shit out of it, including doctors who make big money off of the protocol. I have experimented with PSMF and was not hungry at all, lost weight, and did not regain it. Basically what everyone says will happen with HCG – and the diet is identical to what was used in the 30’s in Evans and Strang’s original experiment. So that was my experiment, combined with research, combined with communication with real people in the real world dealing with people on the protocol. It was not uneducated closed-mindedness.

      • well considering the fact that a large portion of the people I have spoken to have said the opposite including my Chiro who is very alternatively minded, I think you missed something. And appreciate the fact that psmf has worked for you but I dont think that is the same as having experience with the actual protocol, I dont think you are close minded at all but the way the Simeons protocol was approached bummed me out. I have seen it actually help people and I think it a million times better for someone to do a diet for 3 or 6 weeks and be over it then spend their life going from effort to effort not making any progress.

        This is more related to this post but I just have to say that emotional and physical health is so interrelated, and as a woman I can tell you if you feel like crap about yourself physically it emotionally handicaps you. Going out and doing what we love is essential but some of us love performing, acting and singing, and pursing athletic endeavors which are next to impossible to pursue when you are overweight. There is not way I could ever be happy saying, “OK youve got one life but you better give up your dream and just be out of shape.” No way on earth.

        • Can I just point out that if I had listened to the people who bashed Matt Stone without reserve I would never have come here and not have raised my temps by a degree and a half. I just think there is more to the story. Including healing metabolism before this is attempted and also the inevitability of human error when doing a strict protocol. Not for everyone no doubt but when I have seen it change people’s lives and give them new energy and determination to go out and be who they were meant to be.

  60. Do you think you could do a post on booze and what the mechanisms are that make people crash so bad?

    • I would but I’m not entirely sure what it is, other than the fact that you are drinking an amount of fluids way beyond what you would drink based solely on thirst.

      • I also thought that maybe the alcohol interfered with the liver’s ability to release glucose into the blood stream. Then when the carbohydrates in the beer/wine/mixer was used up, the blood glucose then started to tumble.

        When I was dieting and working out a lot, I noticed my energy really pick up after 4 or 5 beers. But a few hours after stopping, I would feel really horrible. Heart palpitations, room spinning, etc. At the time I didn’t know that these were the same symptoms of crashing blood sugar. Last year I started thinking about this and realized this had been going on for a few years, coinciding with my first real attempt at weight loss and shed 45+ pounds.

        Now that I have stopped dieting and working out and increasing my carbohydrate intake, I don’t have these post-imbibing reactions unless I really go nuts. Even then they are not as bad as a year ago. I have also gone past my pre-dieting weight by 10 pounds. So I love the groans about gaining 10-20 pounds. I have gained about 65 and by the looks of it, it’s mostly fat.

      • I also noticed in hind-sight that diet soda mixed drinks made me feel worse than non-diet. I just didn’t put these things together at the time.

  61. Not only has gaining weight started to restore some of my physical health, my emotional health has improved just about 1000 fold. Remarkable, considering the thought of gaining weight used to make my want to curl up in a ball and die haha. Anyways, here’s a question I’ve been wondering about:

    Say a person has about 10 lbs left, mostly in the stomach area. If they have a healthy metabolism and body and can eat without gaining weight, what effect do you think liposuction would have on that person’s metabolic function? I think it’s an interesting notion, considering it keeps all muscle intact, but I wonder if such a drastic loss of weight would cause any changes in the body or harm metabolism at all. I’m not considering liposuction, at least anytime soon, but I don’t condemn it and am curious if you, Matt, or anyone else has a scientific take on this.

    • Leptin is the primary regulator of body fat, and is contained in the body fat. Take a bunch of leptin away suddenly like that and the hypothalamus is bound to shut down, lowering body temp and raising appetite to restore lost fat. That’s my guess. But I don’t know for sure.

  62. Thanks for the great article. I have been at 98.2 BBT for 3 mornings in a row and getting up to 98.7 during the day sometimes (but mostly around 97.7-8). Anyway, I am wondering what would be the ideal temp – 99? Also when i get there, do i just eat to appetite instead of overfeeding? Also, i am worried my appetite won’t really be strong and that i won’t want nearly as much at breakfast and lunch so i might eat 3 meals per day to appetite but perhaps not take in enough calories? I’m just a little nervous about maintaining the temps esp too b/c i would like to come off the thyroids meds. Before I started taking the meds in 2004 i was at 94-low 95s (kept track for fertility) so I am worried about getting all those horrible symptoms back…

    Also, are you RRARFing again and also, if so, did your temps come down? do you know why? Do you try to maintain with whole foods or do you just eat from SAD and whole foods and whatever you feel like? I also plan to do MAX once my temps come up a little more. I did some weight training a little last week without overdoing it and it felt great.

    I alos have gained about 7-8 pounds (up to 145 from about 137 at 5’5″) which i am ok with b/c I feel so great and have so much energy, am having better digestion, and am finally warm! It’s nice actually being the warm one instead of the layered, shivering one!

    • I am RRARFING again just because I am seeing so many people doing better with refined foods and just snarfing down lots of whatever the heck sounds the best that I really wanted to develop more of an opinion about it. Take a close look for myself to see if I noticed any negatives. I figured I would experiment with it combined with some weight training to get maximal muscle development out of the whole thing as well.

      Your temps are great. No need to purposefully overeat anymore, but keep eating really well. You shouldn’t gain any more body fat from here even if you are eating really hard. But eat at least to appetite. Will be talking more about exercise coming up in a couple weeks I hope.

      • Thanks so much for your reply. I got up to 98.9 tonight ater some homemade pizza and homemade beer! Maybe I can hang with those Belgian boys (at least i think they were Belgian). Gonna try MAX this week and see how it goes. Thanks Matt!

        • Oh and I am in the midst of reading Body by Science but it is a little hard to get through — but and going to try the big 5 too.

          • I have read quite a bit about HIT in the past, and tried it for a while. It’s not like it’s the best training protocol for producing results or anything, but I do think it is probably the most metabolically-safe type of exercise that could still actually do something for someone hormonally/body composition-wise. And it’s simple enough that pretty much any noob could try it. Hard to injure yourself with low loads at slow speeds as well. So it has lots of perks. The only problem with the Big 5 is that it leaves out the glutes and hams – probably the 2 most neglected muscle groups in the sedentary western lifestyle.

          • If you include proper free weight deadlifts ( as suggested in the book ), your glutes and hams will be worked more than enough.
            BTW, interesting opinions about HIT. I’ve made totally opposite experiences. A classic brief and intense HIT session once every 5 to 10 days ( depending on possible effort ) was the ONLY way for me to put some muscles back on. Especially when I was in my worst metabolic condition.
            But it doesn’t have to be strictly BBS style. You could create a nice split which suits you and train more often ( every 3 to 5 days maybe ). Just like Berkhan.
            I think the most important factor in building serious mucle over a long term is progression. Keeping track is key. And it’s not THAT awkward ;-)

          • Granted, I was eating a pretty low carb diet when I was doing HIT before. I do squats instead of leg presses, and do drop sets with perfect form and really big range of motion all the way down to bodyweight which is more than enough to trigger the “high-intensity” type of effect. And I do deadlifts in a similar pattern, but with much faster reps.

  63. Matt,

    Let me know how the RRARFING and weight training works out! Curious too what you do for weights, for how long, and how many days…


  64. Hi Matt,
    I read your guest post from Anne-Marie’s blog where you mentioned that your teeth had improved and that it is possible to heal gut flora via adding foods rather than cutting them. We are battling tooth decay right now and are REALLY sensitive to sugars, have been on GAPS loosely for about a year and a 1/2, strictly since doing the intro in Aug. (started it when breastfeeding son #2 wouldn’t sleep at all when I ate regular foods), but continue to struggle with everyone’s teeth (even while on FCLO & Butter Oil daily), allergies and definitely experiencing low body temps for me (96.4-97.8). I’m always cold (heater & hood on now with freezing fingers & toes) & have many un-addressed low thyroid symptoms. Son #1 is allergic to milk and tree nuts which really cuts our carbs on GAPS. Hubby drank the water at the grand canyon when he was 15 and his intestines have been wrecked on ever since but he won’t stick to GAPS to heal it. He’s a carb-a-holic so if we could heal his gut flora this way, it would be wonderful!

    I just lost the 40 pounds that I put on when I started eating healthy fats for breastfeeding and am thinking of reintroducing grains but whenever I do I start putting weight back on… at about 5 pounds a week :( Do you think your method would help us with all these different issues? My allergic son gets tummy aches when he has some grains now (like oatmeal) but not the processed ones. I’m ready to make some changes but so scared to ruin our teeth further, grow unhealthy bacteria in our tummies & gain weight back… (to say nothing of the sleepless nights up with tummy troubles in my 18mo. old :( … Any advice?

    Thanks for your willingness to share what you are learning!

    • Yes, eating lots and lots of normal food will help a lot with everything you want to achieve. There may be some initial weight gain, but what happens in the first couple of months is really inconsequential. I think the more you de-program yourself about what is and is not healthy and all this nonsense about gut flora the better.

  65. I came across your website from a link at another real food type blog. I have since purchased your diet recovery e-book. It was extremely eye opening and I definitely want to give it a try. I completely subscribe to (and live) the Weston A. Price school-of-thought when it comes to nutrition; raw dairy, grass fed meat, bone broths, soaked grains, etc. Imagine my frustration with weight gain and lack of energy when I eat better than anyone else I know! Thanks to you I realized I was making the same mistakes only with better food choices; I routinely skipped breakfast and many days did not eat anything until after 2 PM! The majority of my calories were ALWAYS consumed at night. Today, April 1st, marks my first day at RRARFing. It was very difficult for me to eat when I woke up this morning, but I followed my natural cues and ate at 8 am, 11 am, and 2 pm. It was nice to enjoy the carbs, without thinking they were just a “compromise” food. I think I could get used to this… :)

    • Yes, our immediate physiological needs trump nutritional matters. Tend to those and keep the body stable in a pro-metabolism, low-stress state and you will notice a lot more health benefits. Another useful tip is to never let your urine get totally clear at any point during the day. If it is clear, eat something right away.

  66. Matt, didn’t know where to squeeze this is.. curious to know what are your thoughts on juice feasting? ie: not restricting calories but just drinking raw, fresh green juices w/ some fruits.. throughout the day? And prolonged juice feasts? Thanks!!

  67. You can check it out my blog. I have used the Roca Labs formula to lose weight. It worked really well for me. The juice feasting is not good for you and can be dangerous.

  68. Hi Matt,
    Thank you for your blog. I am reading your blog and I am implementing your ideas.My problem is:I have medical condition hypothyroidism induced by iodine treatment 11 years ago when I was diagnosed with Grave’s disease. I am on synthetic hormone for years but I cannot lose weight.I have been eating clean and healthy and reduced calories just to maintain my weight for years.Do you have any suggestions for me or maybe it is impossible to lose on any diet/nondiet with nonfunctional thyroid.

  69. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;)



  1. Paleo Diet: Weight Loss Doesn’t Always Equal Healthy » Your source for Paleo Diet information - [...] an article from March 19th 2012, called “Lose Weight and Get Healthy!” Matt covers this topic, and makes a …

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