No Diets in 2013!

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Happy New Year everyone!  It’s usually around this time every year that I encourage and empower people to, instead of gearing up to set goals in opposition to oneself (New Year’s Resolutions), especially as it pertains to exercise and dietary habits – to actually commit to spending a whole year without being on some kind of diet.  Instead of writing some passionate essay about it, I defer to what is arguably the most popular post I’ve ever written – Weight Fixation: “Waist” of Time.

2012 was a big year.  Just last week I was reading through an old book of mine, and it was like I was reading the writing of a stranger.  It made me think about just how far I’ve come since the days of paddling through the sea of conflicting ideas and trying to sift the train wreck of information in my head.  Health, especially when it comes to practical stuff that can be reasonably implemented into a person’s life with noticeable effectiveness, is about more than just coming up with the best set of logic, data, programs, or plans.  Attempts at coming up with solutions from the psyche is fraught with risk, as ideas create massive interference with the built-in cues our bodies have – cues designed to keep our bodies stable and healthy with a degree of precision a set formula can rarely achieve.

So anyway, don’t diet in 2013.  Diets by nature are an attempt to go against instinct.  It’s mind vs. body, and such an approach to health or even a better body rarely work out – despite the initial elusive improvements.

I’m psyched for a big year this year.  It’s going to be unlike any other thus far.  I anticipate spending most of my time working on short writing projects on topics as diverse as restless leg syndrome and anxiety to the benchpress.  I even plan on going beyond “advice” books and “health” books and writing in completely new genres.

I wish you all a Happy New Year and hope you too feel excitement about the things that lie ahead.  If not, work on fixing that – not some problem you have with who you are that needs some kind of “resolution.”

79 Comments

  1. Matt, your writing speaks to me and my sensibilities more than any other self-proclaimed diet or lifestyle “guru” I have ever read or consulted. I look forward to what wisdom you will offer to us loyal readers this year.

    I have cancer and I have jumped from one guru to the next, each with wildly different opinions about the perfect diet for “curing” cancer, that I was left confused, full of so many cravings, and guilt. Now I am much more confident about following the advice that speaks to my own intuition, and leaving the rest, and pulling from many resources instead of the “one.” You have helped me reach this conclusion, and I thank you for that.

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    • Wow, I completely agree with you Lillian and I wish you all the best on your journey!

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    • Lillian, for anyone with cancer — please research German New Medicine. It is amazing and there are a lot of testimonials, how cancer was resolved apart from standard medical care! The website I found is germannewmedicine.ca –

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      • been reading about the gnm for a while
        it sure involves a lot of woo

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        • “Hamer purports that his method is a “Germanic” alternative to mainstream clinical medicine which he claims is part of a Jewish conspiracy to decimate non-Jews.”
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryke_Geerd_Hamer

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    • Lillian, I read your website/ blog and just want to say that I’m sorry to hear about what you’re going through (AND that you are extremely talented.) I have to say that I wound up being a frequent guest here b/c of my initial reading and trying to figure out how to avoid and beat cancer– which led to trying to find some perfect diet (which was a bust). I lost both of my parents to cancer within a short span of time and a few months before my mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor, my husband was diagnosed with cancer ( I was seven months pregnant at the time). A fear of cancer (which was there already, as I had had my own scare spending a year watching and waiting to see what a tumor on my thyroid would do) became seared in my mind and I began trying to figure out an answer– I felt like a marked woman– I was scared for my children, for my husband, for myself. Anyway, I won’t pretend this psychic fear compares to a real diagnosis, but it has had me reading and digesting information for 8 years for some kind of common denominator in those who achieve spontaneous remission and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have much to do with how pure your diet is. I do think it has something to do with raising metabolism and, frankly, getting a tan– and I’m only slightly kidding about this. I notice that a lot of remissions are people who suddenly began spending a lot of time in the sun– walking, playing tennis, gardening– relaxing and rejuvenating. I’m not implying that that is a cure, only that there is more of a common denominator in that than any diet protocol. Recently someone linked an article here about a man who returned home to a greek island after his terminal diagnosis only to live another 30 years. Another story that I saw a few weeks ago was a man who went into remission after he began restoring an old church that he noticed when he began taking daily walks to reduce the stress of his terminal diagnosis. These are two examples, but there are many. I guess I’m just trying to say that as an amateur researcher for whatever that’s worth– I think you can be confident that following your own intuitive dietary wisdom will yield better results than some outside dogma forced upon you. I do believe some kind of commune with nature, sunshine, and fun/ new interest does as much or more to support healing than supplements and carrot juice. I wish you the very best in 2013.

      Reply
      • Yes I find very detrimental effects of the current absence of the sun/lack of Vit.D?mood disorders etc. Even though I supplement with Vit.D3 drops,but they seem to have no effect whatsoever.

        So,I’m looking into daylight-lamps but the real ones are way too expensive for me to buy. So,I was wondering if anyone knows cheap alternative lamps/bulbs?
        (oh and please no suntanning,bc I really can’t stand lying in that heat)….I’ve read several things about lampbulbs they use for Reptiles,but there’s lots of contrasting info regarding those……anyone any ideas?

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  2. Happy New Year! I resolve to not diet this year! First year in maybe forever! Do you think a woman can resume menstruation while maintaining an exercise regimen? I have been gaining weight and eating meat again but have not gotten my period yet (BMI is probably 24-25 at this point up from 21-22-I was never underweight but significantly restricting). I am wondering if I need to cease physical activity for a while?

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    • I would absolutely stop any activity except walking/yoga until you get it back. That’s the only thing that got mine to come back. Two weeks into ‘no exercise’ and bam, there it was, same weight, same food and everything. I’ve eased back into gentle exercise and labs and hormones are stable.

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  3. Happy New Year, Matt! Looking forward to continuing the journey towards being a healthier me.

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  4. This year I’m trying something I’ve never done — eating many mini-meals a day but eating whatever I want, even if it’s only a tablespoon of ice cream. I don’t get cravings, that I know of. I lost 6 pounds in 2012 and need to dump another 45. I think this will work. I hope to check back with you in a month!

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  5. I’ve committed to not diet this year and I’m hoping I feel no guilt with that decision. I’m very
    Interested to hear your thoughts on anxiety. That, more than any other reason, is why I’ve restricted certain foods. Happy new year!

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    • I also suffer from anxiety. I have found ashwaghanda, avoiding caffeine late in the day, and light exercise (walking/yoga) to be helpful. I don’t know if any of that would help you. I also practice meditation.

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  6. Happy New Year Matt!! I look forward to your new projects and want to thank you for all the amazing information and insights you have shared thus far.

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  7. Happy New Year!!! Will we be seeing another new book soon??? I re-read Diet Recovery this week after reading EFH and noticed how much things have changed LOL! It’s still awesome though and I still recommend it often. Thanks for your honesty, hard work and dedication despite the haters! You’ve helped this chic more than you know! Peace!

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  8. Matt, Hope you have a great New Year! Keep up the good work. You’ve helped me a lot and I look forward to feeling even better in 2013!

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  9. Happy New Year, Matt! You know I’m a big fan. I read about everything you’ve written and you’ve inspired me to just let it all go and move ON with my life already. Earlier in December I started checking my temps to see if I need some RRARFing or if I could simply try my own intuitive eating. I ended up just taking the basic rules (listen to my body/hunger, pay attention to my consumption, have what I want, when I want, but stop when I’m full, remember it’s all equal and my body wants it for a reason, etc.). It was SO wonderful to go into a holiday season with NO RULES. I didn’t overeat because I didn’t need to. I didn’t feel deprived because I didn’t deprive myself. And I didn’t care what the scale said, though I did continue a few weigh-ins just to see for myself what my body would do on its own. I felt better than I have in years (due much in part to a reduction in stress since I used to be a caregiver but that part of my life is over as of last year). The freedom to eat what my body craved was not only one less thing to worry about, but it gave me the option to share in all kinds of culinary traditions and specialties, which was wonderful too. I indulged and got through the holidays feeling *great*. No resolutions for me other than to stop giving myself a hard time and focus on what’s important! Keep up the great work. :)

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  10. I basically have been on a “no-diet” diet the past year, inspired by your postings on salt, water, energy density and metabolism I unshackled myself from even more diet restrictions, regularly eating stuff like pizza, chips, chocolate, mcdonalds, kebabs, white bread with nutella, crepes and other fast foods, in fact stuff like that became the mainstay of my diet. I felt like I truly had no limitations and could eat whatever the hell I wanted without gaining weight.

    I have to confirm your idea that salty, energy dense foods are inherently more metabolically stimulating than watery, low-salt foods, but I have just now REdiscovered that relentlessly eating super-palatable foods causes problems in the long term, specifically with dopamine dysregulation. IE I’ve been having problems for quite some time with low appetite/drive/libido, even though I haven’t really gained any fat.

    Looking back in an old comment I see I actually had made exactly the exact same realization 18 months ago after having been on a similar high-reward RRARF Peat-inspired diet with lots of orange juice, whole milk, ice cream and candy.

    http://180degreehealth.com/2011/07/180-healthy-eating-guide-part-iii-%E2%80%93-investigation

    Which I gradually cured myself of by continuing to eat the same foods, but intermittent fasting style.

    So anyway, I think that the peripherally warming effects of going on a high-energy density high salt/sugar/fat diet as you advocate in Eat for Heat, is not all about concentrating your body fluids, but at least in part due to metabolic effects of stimulating the reward circuitry, which among other things is known to suppress stress. This could be why alcohol temporarily makes your feet feel warm even though it leaches electrolytes from the body (because it stimulates dopamine).

    The problem is if you overdo this your reward circuits get desensitized and the metabolically stimulatory effects of superpalatable foods are gradually diminished. As an example, this is the christmas holidays so naturally I’ve been gorging myself almost around the clock on hyperpalatable foods. Yesterday around 11am I had cold feet that wouldn’t go away, so I ate a whole pizza of at least 1000kcal with loads of salt and no liquids – no warming effect, I had cold feet for another three hour just laying on my bed.

    Anyway I’m rambling, but I think getting a good supply of the naturally rewarding food stuffs like salt, sugar, fat, starch and energy dense foods is important to maintain metabolic health, but it is equally important for both metabolic and mental health to maintain the sensitivity of your reward system, so there has to be a balance. The french have this idea pinned down perfectly – eat for pleasure, but not more than that the food remains pleasurable.

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    • I would have to agree that overfeeding may not be the only answer for metabolism. I do not like overfeeding at all because it makes my stomach feel sick, so I naturally don’t overdo foods even if I’m eating high reward foods. I have been thin my entire life. But I have struggled with really low temps. Making sure not to drink too many liquids I think really helps. You don’t have to eat an entire pizza to get your feet warm. Eat what you want, don’t overdo the vegetable oil and if you do make sure you are getting vitamin E and keeping inflammation in the body down. You still have to look at what types of food you are consuming, obviously a diet of fast foods are not going to be sustainable.

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      • I agree with the limiting fluid intake. That has really helped me, however I still struggle with the frequent bathroom trips. Maybe 1x every two or three hours during the day (which is way better than in my days of trying to drink a gallon of water a day!). After I realized that my insomnia (as well as panic attacks and heart palpitations) were due to magnesium deficiency, I have been sleeping great (except for the 2 x a night bathroom trips) averaging about 9 hours of sleep a night. When I wake up during the night I feel sooooo thirsty, so of course I drink water. Should I be drinking something else at that time instead of water so I won’t wake up the second time? Or maybe I should be doing something different in the afternoon to counter this whole affect? During the afternoon, I have found that if I don’t drink a lot of water, by the time 9:30-10:00 rolls around I feel so hot and the thirstiness gets worse and urine concentration is like a 5 or 6! I just still cannot get balance and wonder what I’m doing wrong.

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        • Generally-speaking, if you wake up and don’t have to urinate, you most likely need something to drink. It’s more common to have to wake up and urinate, often with a really strong urge. And generally it’s better and more effective to have some sugar/salt under the tongue at that time.

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          • But if one is waking up to urinate AND very thirsty, then still the sugar salt? Wouldn’t the sugar/salt make me more thirsty?

          • Hopeful-

            From the Q and A section in EFH…

            “My mouth is dry all the time and I’m really thirsty! But if I obey that and drink as much as I want I’m cold and peeing all the time and having problems. What should I do?”

            “Dry mouth is a symptom of the stress response being activated. It is officially a symptom of water intoxication and hyponatremia. It can be very misleading and is not genuine thirst. Eating calorie-dense foods with a lot of salt and choosing beverages with added sugar in place of water or tea is a good starting point for eliminating the dry mouth. As your system relaxes the dry mouth should subside. Be careful about drinking plain water until you feel confident you have distanced yourself from the dry mouth tendency.”
            ——

            So if you’re peeing when you wake up, that thirst is likely due to the stress response. Try not drinking then and see how you respond.

    • I think consciously overeating was essential to stimulating the metabolism when eating exclusively of low calorie density whole foods (the original High everything diet). With more palatable foods, one can eat to appetite and not beyond appetite and still get the raw energy required to stimulate metabolism, thus making eating beyond appetite relatively unnecessary. Or perhaps the idea of metabolic typing is not too far off – that there is a balance point between the sympathetic and parasympathetic that is ideal. One is only therapeutic as one moves towards balance, and immediately becomes counterproductive once you move past the balance point and start to swing in the opposite direction. But I think our natural tastes and preferences guide us there is we let them. I mean, there is only so much one can eat before eating itself becomes unpleasurable. Likewise, starving or restricting oneself increases the pleasure of eating. I continue to think of these metabolism-stimulating methods as temporary – something you do for a little while to get out of a hole. Not necessarily a long-term solution. As I’ve always said, maximal health is not the reward for those who eat and sleep the most. After reaching a solid metabolism eating should be more casual and not forced, and things like exercise should pick up.

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  11. I’m excited for what’s in store for the new year as well, even if I may not be feeling well at the moment.

    I thought since you are exploring different topics of interest Matt, I thought you could maybe do something on how the hypothalamus regulates body temp?

    I did a little bit of reading recently after purchasing the EFH book. The suggestions of eating a salty carby snack when I’m cold worked great for a few days, but then it seems like salt is losing its effectiveness at raising my temp. I don’t want to say conclusively that that is what is happening, only that it is what seems like is happening.

    I’ve been reading a theory that as long as the hypothalamus regulates body temp at a lower temp, that it will work around your efforts to keep it up with food if it is set on regulating at a lower temp.

    I don’t want to confuse anyone who is reading this, there is a lot of questionable info on the internet, but I was wondering what Matt or anyone else at 180 thought of it. It’s well known that the hypothalamus regulates body temp, but I’ve never heard of it willingly want to regulate at low temps.

    I know if I can get my entire body warm CONSISTENTLY, the issues i’ve had melt away. At the moment, those initial improvements seem elusive, but I’m motivated to work towards it :)

    Until then, my body’s appetite and thirst mechanisms are pretty shot, and I have to guess myself when is a good time to eat and drink…i’ve been hanging on so far. I know when all this sorts itself out, that my best bet is to listen to my body.

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  12. Matt, I won’t be making this resolution in the new year. I’m thinking that my shift in diet won’t be too far off your intended message, however.

    I’m embarking on rrarf in January to counteract some slow and insidious weight gain. Once my temp is up I plan on strength training while continuing to keep myself nourished (overfeeding occasionally to keep temp up). Do you consider your Body Recomposition step 2 a diet? Sometimes it seems to me like ultimately it is, just a safe and slow one.

    Will i find you have changed your mind about using rrarf as a weight loss strategy as I continue to read Eat for Heat?

    Happy New Year!

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    • The Body Recomposition section in 180 Metabolism is ultimately not as effective as just contunuiing to eat the food and letting the body shed weight completely unforced. I think you can strength train whenever you are ready, and that will likely have a positive effect on your across the board, including body composition. I’m finding that if one is truly training for strength increase, they will repeatedly discover that the less they do, the stronger they get. This will definitely be a topic of frequent discussion in the coming year.

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      • Ok, full stop on RARRF. But I’m a little confused… What is the technique then? I can’t expect to eat as I have been and improve!

        I’m not a chronic dieter (besides a brief low carb foray in 2011) but I’d like to have weight redistributed to the right areas. I don’t care about losing weight, but I would like to lose fat. My basal temperature is 96.6ish.

        Eat the food and strength train?

        Do you still advocate avoiding pufas and fructose?

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      • Does ‘the less they do’ mean lifting heavy (rather than high reps)? Would Cathe Friedrich’s STS system fall into that category?

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      • “I’m finding that if one is truly training for strength increase, they will repeatedly discover that the less they do, the stronger they get.”

        I find this statement to be rather ambiguous. Less than what? Less then they did before? Less than “x” number of times per week? Less than number of times a politician tells the truth per week? (Bad example, that means you would never be training!)

        Also, what entails strength, that is, “what type of strength”? One rep max, i.e limit strength? How many times you can lift a certain weight in any given length of time? (That is known as “strength density”. To illustrate: Say you can initially bench press 250 pounds for 5 sets of 5 reps in 15 minutes. After a few months of training you can bench press 250 pounds for 5 sets of 6 reps in the same 15 minutes. Voila! your strength density has increased!) What about the ability to lift a given weight quicker and with more control?

        Frankly, I have never experienced genuine (long lasting) strength gains in *any* of the types of strength I just mentioned until I increased my workout frequency and volume. Of course, proper deload periodization and rest periods (days, weeks) must be implemented; one just can’t blindly “do more” and expect progress any more than they can blindly “do less” and expect progress.

        To be fair, limit strength (one rep max) is the one area where I *sometimes* benefit from doing less, but that is only short term. Without developing the other types of strength I mentioned, which requires training volume, intensity, and (some) hypertrophy, limit strength will prematurely stall.

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        • Talking about limit strength, which I’ve never had much luck increasing (except deadlift and squat while overfeeding, but that was more returning to levels I did in college – not going beyond what I had done previously). But I recently increased 1RM bench about 25 pounds in 4 workouts. That’s pretty good seeing that my bench max went up only 30 pounds since my freshman year of high school! If it goes up another 25 in the next 4-5 workouts you’ll definitely hear about it with no ambiguity whatsoever.

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  13. Okay— I won’t say I’m dieting, but I am trying to resolve a few things in the new years (full disclosure– with the ultimate goal of fitting into size 10 jeans). One of these ideas is to try to sit down and eat regular meals at the table. My limited observation is that many overweight (and many normal weight) people eat while driving, while watching t.v., while distracted, finishing off kid’s mac n’ cheese. I’m definitely in this camp. Distracted eater. Anyway, I’m trying to make sure to sit down to breakfast, lunch, dinner. If hungry, make a snack and sit down… you get the idea. I also, just out of curiosity decided to log my diet just to see what my calorie intake was. Drumroll… It’s 3 p.m. where I am (Germany) and I’ve already put away about 3000 calories… If someone had asked me I would say that I eat around 2500 calories a day at most– on a normal day. I still haven’t eaten dinner– or my usual dessert! I am suddenly in awe of people who can eat 1500 calories/ day and that anyone can maintain that sort of restriction for more than maybe one day. I’m 5’7 and 180lbs (used to be 170 before 180 degree health– thanx, Matt;-) At the rate I’m going it looks like I’ll see 4000 calories today and frankly, I’ve been fairly conscious of what I’m eating today because I’m trying to be organized and eat healthy meals at meal time (I did gorge on about three handfuls of almond m&m’s — a good 600 cals– though I was truly hungry) Anyway, this is just a little note to anyone who does plan to ‘go on a diet.’ You may want to see what you’re actually eating before you go slashing it in half. If people are like me– thinking they’re not eating very much, and you actually are: your body is going to hate you for suddenly dropping to 1500 calories.

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    • Wow…. I wish there was an edit button. I wrote that while being continuously interrupted by my littlest one (kids. can’t they see I busy writing important, mind-blowing stuff?!) Anyway, bottom line on the above post was that I thought I had a fairly moderate calorie intake and thanks to tracking it, I’m beginning to realize I’m consuming more like 4000-5000 calories a day. Most ‘healthy’ dieting plans would recommend around 1500-1800 for a woman my size/ age. No wonder I can’t stick to those plans… how can anyone?

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      • Before I started coming to this site, I weighed 110 lbs and I estimate that I ate about 2000 calories a day. According to all the calculations that I have seen, this is an appropriate amount for my height, age and activity level. In actuality, my body temperature was below 97 degrees and I felt terrible. Since I started following the advice on this site (which included increasing my calorie consumption) my lean body mass has increased at least 15 lbs.

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      • Susan thank you so much for sharing that about your food. I HATE tracking food and it makes me nuts. How would I even begin? But my weight is similar to yours, so I probably eat as much as you do!

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        • You’re welcome, Amanda– it was mostly done out of curiosity– though in honesty, after GoKaleo’s guest post and her talk of a modest calorie reduction, I decided to first see what my intake was and then try to shave some of that off. My grand total yesterday was about 3800, so I didn’t hit the 4000 mark (next time? ;-)) With the exception of excessive coffee with cream and the 3rd handful of m&m’s — there wasn’t much to shave, so I don’t think I’ll do that. Instead I’ll stick with the mindful eating plan and see if my jeans b/c comfortably roomy again.
          Nira- my temps were shockingly low even though I didn’t feel cold at all– in fact, I tended to feel warm and liked being out in the cold without a heavy coat. I spoke with Matt in august, ahead of my 40th bday -desperate for some guidance to figure out why I couldn’t lose my excess weight. I had been trying to lose 40 by 40 for about 2 1/2 years. I had only managed to lose about 10 lbs (and that was done mostly in the first month of Weight Watchers). He, of course, told me to give up the ghost and stop trying to lose weight and the day after I spoke to him I bought a thermometer and took my temp: it was 95.5 in the middle of the day– this is what 2 1/2 years of fairly consistent dieting had gotten me. So give up the ghost I did. My temps are now around 98 degrees and I have pretty consistent energy (though still a coffee addiction). My eyes, which had been continuously blood shot in my low carb primal regime, are now clear and white– my skin is far more even toned. But I still haven’t stopped dreaming of weight loss. I guess it’s become a hobby of sorts– how sad is that?

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          • It’s hard to not have dreams of weight loss and (at least for me) I think this may just be musings about having a better life. I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions this year, and it made me a little sad actually.

            I never realized what a heavy price I was paying for being thin, I was taught/ told by doctors that all my health conditions were genetic. Glad to prove them wrong.

  14. Last November I committed not to diet. I failed miserably, but I learned a lot. I will not do weight watchers again. This year I will not diet. It is wrong on so many levels.

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  15. “Attempts at coming up with solutions from the psyche is fraught with risk, as ideas create massive interference with the built-in cues our bodies have – cues designed to keep our bodies stable and healthy with a degree of precision a set formula can rarely achieve.”

    I think this is a great reminder and a succinct take on why there are both so many “diets” and why that can be so dangerous. Whether you choose paleo, raw food veganism, 3 trillion bananas a day, or whatever, the arguments for them – all intellectual – are always very seductive. One of the things I appreciate about this site is the emphasis on listening to one’s body. Something I am still challenged with because my head is filled with so many external perspectives that I got from studying diet and health for so long. Perhaps 2013, for me, is about finally jettisoning ALL of them, and really honing in my own awareness as to what is happening in my body, how I feel, etc, etc.

    Thanks again

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    • Banana pudding – yum.

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  16. I have instinctively never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions, just as I’ve instinctively never been a fan of guilt. They’re just aspects of our culture that have never felt right to me.

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    • That’s a consistent finding, and the older you are the more protective extra weight becomes.

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      • Hi Matt,
        Can you elaborate on that? How can extra weight be protective as we get older? I’m 46 yrs old, weigh 300lbs, so somehow that extra weight is protecting me? From what? Thanks.

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        • Oops! Nevermind…I didn’t realize that article referred to people who are overweigt but not obese. Obese people still have higher mortality rates.

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    • Today I spoke to a 44year old man,very nice and vibrant and overall happy carefree but really ‘what one would consider very overweigth’. He told me he has(had?) Diabetes/sugardisease and that it actually runs in his family,yet he seems to be an energetic person,has no car so cycles everywhere etc…..

      I wonder how this is possible,that he still is that big/huge belly….

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    • I was just reading that in “The Diet Myth” today.

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      • @Jill and what’s the reason according to the book?…dont know if he takes medw/insulin,which can one make balloon up too.

        I wonder also if strength training really has that much effect on leanness/bodycomp? From what can be found on bellyfat/middle fat, its always beimg sad its bc eating too much,too much carbs/sugar,adenal stress…

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  17. Happy new year Matt , thank you for the best Christmas present I got this year, being able to buy your new book at such an affordable price on amazon. It was a great read. I went for years avoiding salt and sugar. I really wasn’t aware that I drank so much, mainly cups of tea!. Well, I’m trying to fine tune the salt, sugar, starch and fluids. My body temp is still low but my stool is very impressive (after following your advice for just 3 days, I was scared I’d end up constipated. It’s so alien to me not to drink endless cups of tea and water, plus lots of fruit and veg.) My readings on the refractometer seem quite high about 9, is that too high? Thanks again, you bring me hope.

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  18. @Matt yes please do a pos about anxiety for no reason in relation to gut health etc. As soon as possible!

    Yesterday I spoke to my energetic therapist on the phone and I basicallyam not happy about what she tested would be good for me/all my metabolic/energy disregulations. According to her i should eat something every 2to3hours and not eat foodgroups mixed together,bc vitamins&minerals dont get absorbed properly.

    Honest to god….lately i wish more&more i never learnt about health,food etc. And wish i was still ignorant&unhappy&fat&tired bc i feel im even more unhappy/disregulated and working myself down the drain due to ‘knowing too much’.

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    • That knowledge is a liability when it comes to our health at a certain point is a recurring theme entering 2013 for sure.

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      • I am sure you guys have heard of these books but just in case……

        It’s Not Bout Food by Laurelee Roark and Carol Emery Normandi
        And Health At Every Size by Linda Baon Phd

        Also a good film: America The Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments

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        • Whoops, I mean Linda Bacon Phd

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  19. Hi Matt, great job on Eat for Heat! Thanks so much. The low carb diet almost killed me. I’m 34 and at first it solved all my problems, skin, hair – awesome, muscle tone, sleep, no PMS, everything was great! But then I lost too much weight and got super stressed, started to feel awful, went from high cortisol to low, high thyroid to low…you know the drill. NOW I am in quite a state, and have been battling for the past 2 years. I absolutely cannot sleep, (lay awake with heart pounding) my eyes are puffy, anxiety, pompholyx eczema, urinating all the time, food interolerance, aches, pains, weight gain, hair is dry, thin and shedding, god awful PMS, etc. So…I found your blog, got the books and found the water connection. Thank God! What a difference that has made. I started to add back foods, ice cream, dry gluten free waffles for breakfast, etc. I started to have more energy and not crash for the first time in months, started to sleep on half the sleeping medication, which is huge for me. But, now about 6 days in, I am wondering what is going on, as I really don’t have the heart pounding, just racing, with major anxiety all day, and didn’t sleep more than an hour last night even with the medication. My brix is now about a 6. When I started eating for heat it was probably about 4.5-5. My eyes are still puffy and I still have dry mouth if I drink too much, so I don’t think I should be drinking a bunch of straight water yet. Any ideas? Do people experience this after adding back the “bad” foods? Should I stop exercising (just walking is all I was doing)? If you still consult would you mind emailing me? If others have ideas I’m all ears! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Sounds to me like you’re not drinking enough water. Which doesn’t mean start drinking gallons, but maybe some more. I know Matt says some people’s signals are messed up, but to me it doesn’t make sense not to obey your thirst. I think anytime you stop listening to your body you hit trouble (understanding some people who’ve been guzzling water may need some transition time to re-calibrate and learn true thirst signals). My temps are pretty good and I drink a lot of water, but only when I’m thirsty. It usually ends up that I drink water: small cup when I first wake up, a cup about an hour after breakfast, a little water with lunch, and then a cup or 2 throughout the afternoon, and then about 4 cups in the evening, maybe even 5. I get very thirsty in the evening, maybe because it’s after my biggest meal and I am generous with the salt. Even so, my urine seems fine (not clear, probably too dark much of the day). If I didn’t drink that much at night, I wouldn’t be able to sleep properly, and it would cause me to feel like I had too much restless energy, not to mention just plain old thirst!

      Reply
      • Thanks for the reply Amy! I thought I might not be drinking enough too, but even now my hands and nose are ice cold, though my brix is a 6 and urine is basically colorless. Matt’s book describes hypoatremia and how the symptoms are excessive thirst, which I’ve found to be true, so now I don’t know which signals to ignore and which to listen to. I’ve also been taking 7mg of Armour in the morning, but I keep stopping because this sleep issue is absolutely kiling me.

        Reply
        • One other thing is, are you eating enough salt? Make sure you’re salting food to appetite. I wonder what affect all these meds are having, too. I have no idea what sleeping meds do to the body or how the interact with armour. All meds have side effects, so they may be causing issues, but I don’t have knowledge in this area and cannot advise.

          Reply
          • Thanks Amy, I think I do get enough salt, I have a ton of it on everything I eat, and there is lots of sodium in the waffles, V8, etc. I’m sure the sleeping meds do something, but I was having this issue without them. Does anyone think it’s possible that with such a high brix I could be wasting salt in my urine? I finally got a yellow color back, even burned a little this morning so I drank more water, but my face/eyelids are still puffed up. Is this usually caused by low diruetic hormone or high? Even without the water last night I had a major migraine, couldn’t sleep at all, woke up all night. Had some gluten free pizza, some ice cream too. This is beyond frustrating.

          • Migraine definitely sounds like too little water and not too much. At least for me, dehydration will cause a migraine every time. I’m not sure what the puffy eye thing means, but I would again tend to think dehydration. It only happens to me if I either a) drink too much or b) go really crazy with salt.

          • Oh, I just thought of something else. If you are just adding back in carbs (I think you said just in the last week?), that causes major water retention for a bit.

          • Amy thanks so much. This is so confusing! Yesterday I drank enough water to bring the brix down to 4, but felt pretty awful, freezing cold hands and nose, exhausted, heart pounding, migraine, and couldn’t sleep at all. Restricting water seems to help the headache but everything else that got better before i started exercising is back. I started eating lots of potatoes 6 months ago, but only recently started adding sugar, but I’ve been swollen and puffed up for almost 2 years so I don’t think it’s the carbs. Does exercise wash people out or concentrate urine? Did I use up all my already low cortisol and only have adrenaline?

          • I’m not sure, unfortunately. Maybe Matt could answer these questions.

  20. Hi Matt! I have been trying RRARF since the beginning of December and am reaching the 30 day mark. My appetite has decreased since the first two weeks, but compared to my under-eating over the past 5 years, I am still eating like a monster. So far, I have experienced improved sleep, less frequent urination, no 3-4 am morning wake-ups, and a gain in about 10 lbs of weight, which I need as someone who has a history with anorexia and over-exercise. I also figured some of this weight is probably water since I came off of a VLC diet.

    Despite these steps forward, my morning body temperatures are only around 97.6 degrees, my waking pulse rate is low (< 70 bpm) and my feet, hands and nose always seem to be cold. Do you recommend continuing to overfeed? I was thinking of trying some sort of thyroid supplement/support (such as desiccated thyroid) and was wondering if you know of anyone who had experience with trying this…especially someone who could not increase their body temps within the 30-day RRARF period. Finally, with the symptoms I am experiencing, may it be too soon to re-introduce Crossfit-style exercise?

    Thanks and Happy New Year!

    Reply
    • I’m not an expert, but when my feet are cold even though i ate lots of food, something very salty warms up my feet, especially if that snack has carbs coupled with protein. You might put even more salt on your food.

      Reply
    • LOL….Eating like a monster? what do you eat now generally?as in what meals/foods,don’t mean calories.

      Reply
      • Sorry for the duplicate response below…

        Sorry for not being specific. A typical day would be something like the following:

        Upon waking, I take some cod liver oil and eat 2-3 large sweet potatoes mashed with 1-2 cups of raw milk, some salt and some cinnamon…depends on how hungry I am, so the size of my breakfast varies.

        A few hours later, I eat some kind of animal protein (usually beef – muscle meat or liver, maybe salmon, shrimp, or cod), 2 medium potatoes, a bit of onion and garlic and about 1 cup of greens, all cooked in roughly 1 Tbsp of coconut oil.

        I usually have a salty carb snack a few hours later…maybe a medium potato with 1 oz or so of cheese and a lot of salt OR a sweet potato with salt, cinnamon and coconut oil OR salted homemade sweet potato or normal potato chips, which are fried in coconut oil.

        For dinner, I typically have some kind of roasted root veggies and/or butternut squash cooked in coconut oil and some homemade broth to add flavor. Root veggies I choose are often onions, turnips, carrots and parsnip. Dinner is eaten by about 6-6:30 pm. I tend to not get hungry later in the day.

        However, last night before bed I felt cold and hungry, so I ate another salty potato and sweet potato with coconut oil.

        Finally, I don’t really crave sweets, but when I do crave something, I eat them without guilt. I had around 1/2 pint of vanilla ice cream 2 days ago and a lot of cookies over the holidays.

        I guess this might not seem like a ton of food, but I am small…about 5′ 2″ and around 100 lbs. I haven’t made an effort to keep calorie count, but I can imagine it comes close to 3000 calories if not surpassing it. It’s certainly more food/calories than I am used to.

        Reply
  21. Ive been doing this for 3-4 days now. Im training with weights and playing soccer. Ive been drinking 2L of fluid a day and those beeing with meals and when i workout.
    I eat food i like, bread with cheeze and greens etc on, salty chips, some chocolate etc and some tiny amount of fruit.
    What i noticed yesterday is a headache coming and i got a litle worse as the day progressed.
    I tried sleep it off but today when i woke up it had gotten worse.
    What can be the problem here? to little fluid? to litle salt? to litle potassium?
    Please help :) i dont want to take any pill to make it go away.

    Forgot to mention, ive struggled with cold hands and feet and also body temperature and some fluid retention in the past. After these all those things have gotten alot better, esp the temperature. But yeah as i said, headache not good ;(
    Reply

    Reply
  22. Sorry for not being specific. A typical day would be something like the following:

    Upon waking, I take some cod liver oil and eat 2-3 large sweet potatoes mashed with 1-2 cups of raw milk, some salt and some cinnamon…depends on how hungry I am, so the size of my breakfast varies.

    A few hours later, I eat some kind of animal protein (usually beef – muscle meat or liver, maybe salmon, shrimp, or cod), 2 medium potatoes, a bit of onion and garlic and about 1 cup of greens, all cooked in roughly 1 Tbsp of coconut oil.

    I usually have a salty carb snack a few hours later…maybe a medium potato with 1 oz or so of cheese and a lot of salt OR a sweet potato with salt, cinnamon and coconut oil OR salted homemade sweet potato or normal potato chips, which are fried in coconut oil.

    For dinner, I typically have some kind of roasted root veggies and/or butternut squash cooked in coconut oil and some homemade broth to add flavor. Root veggies I choose are often onions, turnips, carrots and parsnip. Dinner is eaten by about 6-6:30 pm. I tend to not get hungry later in the day.

    However, last night before bed I felt cold and hungry, so I ate another salty potato and sweet potato with coconut oil.

    Finally, I don’t really crave sweets, but when I do crave something, I eat them without guilt. I had around 1/2 pint of vanilla ice cream 2 days ago and a lot of cookies over the holidays.

    I guess this might not seem like a ton of food, but I am small…about 5′ 2″ and around 100 lbs. I haven’t made an effort to keep calorie count, but I can imagine it comes close to 3000 calories if not surpassing it. It’s certainly more food/calories than I am used to.

    Reply
  23. I have been doing the Eat for heat thing for about 4 days now, and I am excessively thirsty. Will this ever go away? How long can I expect this to last?

    Reply
    • Probably a few more days at most.

      Reply
  24. I want warm hands and feet! How long does it generally take a former Low-Carb/Primal/Paleo idiot to get warm and stay warm? I’ve been RRARFing close to a month now. Temp has come up some but still low at 97.6 on the days I check it. I’m 6’1″ and I’ve gained around 10 lbs. up to 170 now!

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • I would throw in some really calorie-dense foods like ice cream and pizza and only drink fluids with lots of calories. Also eat a carby, salty snack whenever you feel cold in the hands and feet – like between meals or right before bed for instance. When you get it right you should notice being much warmer in a matter of days. It can take a while before you truly radiate heat all the time though.

      Reply
      • I’ve been following Eat for Heat principles for a few weeks. I can stay warm and feel good consistently all through the day. But when I venture outdoors bam! cold intolerance! the hands get cold literally within minutes or even seconds if it’s freezing and windy. And that sucks

        Reply
  25. Hi Matt,

    I like the direction you are going in. As a recovering dieter, bulimic and health food fanatic, I recover when I listen to my body, not my brainwashed by the cultural obsession with thinness and “health”.

    We are whole beings, body, spirit and mind. Our minds are running the show here on earth and unite frankly, fucking things up pretty badly. I rarely swear online, but if there ever were a time and place for the f word, it is in this instance.

    Thank you for your insights into true and lasting health and sharing them with us.

    I hope the weight loss focus will begin to disappear from our discussion on health in the future.
    Those of us who have lost weight in pursuit of
    Health, happiness and attractiveness by ignoring our whole selves, know this is a dead end and can actually be deadly. It certainly deadens the spirit and cuts us off from living fuller lives. What takes it ‘s place is an excessively ego driven, empty existence. Your post is helping me walk away from that. Thank you again- : )

    Reply
  26. I’ve been following Dr. Kwasniewski’s Optimal Diet for the last 6 weeks and have at least 3 meals a day.

    I get cold hands/feet on that diet and it is because of the limited carbs? I followed exactly (low protein, moderate carbs and high fat).

    Should I stick to what Dr K recommended regarding to carbs (approx 40 – 60g) or up it?

    Reply
  27. Hi,
    I am new to all this RAAF’ing, temperature taking, etc and am looking for some reassurance. I feel like it is all muddled in my head and am trying to do the right thing but not sure if I am or not…

    I have been RAAF’ing for two days now, and I am SCARED!! I am already overweight by about 10 kilos (4.5 pounds) and to think I will put that on again is terrifying, with no guarantee that it will come off. I am already uncomfortable with the extra weight and I can see my mood just becoming more and more depressed the more uncomfortable I become. Is there no other way to raise metabolism??? I have PCOS (insulin resistance) and my thyroid has been “slowing down”. My morning temps are around 35 degrees C or 95 degrees F (it was actually 34.8 this afternoon!!) very low. I am also a serial dieter. I am scared this will not work for me and I will end up with 10 kilos extra and have to work hard to get rid of it. It is summer here in Australia – my hands are warm, but my feet are still cool, and it is hot here, around 35-40 Degrees C, or 95-104 degrees F (the other day it reached 50 (122) – yukk. Help!!

    Reply
    • Kay,

      How may times have you serially dieted off 10kg? And how many times has it come back? Do you feel hungry now as it is? Do you have robust energy, stable moods, a desire to move around and a craving for nutrient dense food?

      Dieting is not likely to help with all of those goals. You can RRARF or not, but in any event, weight cycling through serial dieting is likely to make you less healthy very time, not more healthy. Simply quitting the treadmill, even if you do nothing else, is likely to help stop the decline.

      The new Diet Recovery will be out in less than a month, most likely, and will go over more what to expect as you recover from these patterns. Good luck!

      Reply

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