Persistence Is Better Than Perfection

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By Rob Archangel, 180DegreeHealth.com staff writer

Last week the the Stoner and I caught up, and I mentioned the idea I’d been keeping close to heart recently, that “persistance is better than perfection.” I don’t know where I heard it first, but Google turns up plenty of hits for that or similar phrases. He liked it and suggested I share a few thoughts on that theme.

Matt has this great expression: “The perfect diet is very unhealthy.” I think you can read that a few different ways:

  • the belief in a perfect diet is itself unhealthy
  • a diet that is ‘perfect’ is immune from revision or criticism and long term leads to imbalances that we don’t adjust for so long as we remain fixated on its “perfectness”
  • a diet that may even actually be perfect for one person may not be for anyone or everyone else

And so on. It’s a provocative statement, and I like it because it prompts some reflection and reconsideration.

Anyway, I’d been thinking about it in relation to my own diet and health escapades. The major points were: skinny kid turned fat pre-teen, turned orthorexic teenage over-exerciser and undereater, turned ethical vegetarian/vegan, then Weston a Price-y locavore, then low-carb paleo devotee, and now creeping back toward normalcy with a Chief/180 style work hard, play hard, eat hard, largely intuitive and unrestricted diet and joyful movement-based exercise plan.  In the last several months since working with Chief, I’ve started to see some gains in strength and energy levels that are novel to me, though with regular fits and starts. I see a general upward trend in strength markers, in muscle gain and fat loss, and in general feelings of vitality, but the gains often come at a modest clip, and sometimes stall or even backward slide. A major difference between now and previous go-arounds is that I haven’t quit.

I first started weight training in high school, stopped, then re-started in college, stopped, and intermittently repeated the pattern in the years since. So much lost time because the gains didn’t come fast and hard and I thought it wasn’t worth it. No crying over spilled milk, but I now remind myself that real growth happens on a slower time scale than we’re accustomed to.

Matt’s been talking about television recently a bit, and one of the arguments against it that Jerry Mander takes is: the very nature of the medium demands action. You highlight the moments of greatest impact when you’re creating television shows, not the quiet, contemplative and inward-focused moments. Over time, those of us who watch TV become habituated to this dramatic action orientation; we crave it, are depressed when we don’t get it, and often create it in our lives so they don’t feel dull or tedious. It’s a huge shift to neurologically habituate from slower natural patterns to sped-up, modern-life, mass media (Matrix) patterns.

When it comes to our own health and fitness goals, our bodies still operate on that slower scale, and if we don’t adjust our expectations away from TV-style fast results, we might be inclined to quit as I frequently did. This is a mistake.  Don’t fall for it. That’s the  point of this post.

I’ve been playing lots of basketball recently and the pattern applies there- my vertical has gone up and down, my jumper has been more or less on target, and my ability to read the floor and anticipate action doesn’t get uniformly better every day.  But the trend line is moving in the right direction. Life is like that, and it helps us appreciate what we do achieve.

Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hours it takes to become really good at something. We don’t become great in a matter of minutes, even days or weeks, but months and years.  That effort is regenerative for us, is part of flow, that optimal experience; it incites neurological and cellular regeneration, and keeps us engaged and alive. It’s the basis for our sense of pride, satisfaction and accomplishment. That’s not to say: don’t be prudent when taking up a new practice, don’t adjust as needed, or definitely continue to do something you hate because you think you have to. But also don’t despair; when trying something new, consider giving yourself adequate time to see it through before bailing. Perfection is an avatar not worth chasing. Much better to keep going, warts and all, toward your goals.

95 Comments

  1. Hey Rob! I just wanted to say thanks for the post! It’s a hard process to get back to health! Two months ago, I had finally reached what I think was the peak of my metabolism capacity. Great sleep, regular period, stable moods (wow for me!), really high body temperature, nails and hair growing like CRAZY! I decided I was “ok” or somewehat “now cured” so I completely stopped paying attention to my food intake, eating much less, and two months later still waiting for my period, sleep is interrupted most of the time, I feel anxiety creeping back up, body temp seems lower. I spoke with Matt yesterday and realized that at the weight I reached, I should be eating more just to maintain. I will be more conscientious as of today to make sure my body gets the food it needs, but hope I haven’t set myself back too much! In your experience, did you ever have similar setbacks before getting back on board? I know what I need to do, I guess I’m just looking for examples and advice to help me fuel my own persistance! Thank you and congratulations for your improvements! :)

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  2. Oh, and I’d love to hear about what kind of physical movement and activity you do consider “work hard” and “play hard”, aside from basketball. I could use some inspiration!

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    • Hey Goosie- I do high intensity strength training, similar to Body By Science (http://180degreehealth.com/2012/04/body-by-science ) one day, bodyweight exercises another day (when I make time for it- I don’t always), and sprints (these days mostly just on the basketball court). I really like the high intensity weight training because of how infrequent it is (1x/week), which allows for recovery. In the past, trying to 3-5day/week standard just wore me down. This seems adequate to both see progress and stay motivated.

      And yep, plenty of set-backs as I started and stopped different plans. which helped birth the current mindset. I know well now that dropping a plan is not going to get me closer to my long term goals, having tried that repeatedly. So why not give persistence a shot, and recognize that I’ll have off days, but the key is to get to it and make it happen, and not talk myself out. Obviously, I use discretion and if I’m really feeling lousy or something I’ll make amendments. But I decided I wanted to trust in the program and see it through.

      And good luck to you. Sounds like you have a good feeling about going forward- eat that food and keep on trucking!

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      • Hey rob, this was your best post by far I’ll explain why in greater detail some other time… This comment should have been part of the post too! Hopefully people will be inspired by this and start small and stick with it. They’ll see the genius in less is more like you have. Workouts are successful when they can easily be integrated into your life instead of a life revolving around it. You should have put a pic of a bicep flex up on this post holmes.

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        • Thanks brother- less definitely is more when it helps you not burn out. I mean, at a certain point, I’m sure the hours logged and dedication matter; Larry Bird shooting 800 jumpers, rather than 700 a day might give him a small edge, but getting me shooting 100 jumpers a day up from zero will make a much bigger impact on my game.

          Did take a couple of “gun” shots- might post ‘em, or might just keep em for the training log. Haha. Thanks again though, amigo.

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      • Great post! I shall neeeeeva geeve uup. I don’t work out or anything at the moment, I believe I’m doing enough under temporary circumstances at work but I love the pump (“it’s as satisfying to me as cumming is” hehe} I can’t wait till I can go back to do some #beastmode. Anyone here used to like the Chappelle show? I don’t remember what skit but it’s funny when he just goes Yaaaaaaaaaaa! In his weird voice haha. UP THE DOWN STEROIDS > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLVkZtIfxHg

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  3. very nice!
    For the last two years I´ve been working on my healthand wellbeing, mostly (thank god) with the 180 approach. In that time I’ve seen a slow general trend forward. I’ve had my ups and downs, but I never though of quitting. A good thing to keep in mind is that progression usually had a “1 step backwards, 2 steps forward” pattern.

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    • For sure- thanks Franz!

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  4. Oh and I love this part: “over time, those of us who watch TV become habituated to this dramatic action orientation; we crave it, are depressed when we don’t get it, and often create it in our lives so they don’t feel dull or tedious.”

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    • @Rob I’m not entirely sure by what you mean with that statement. However lately I havent been watching any tv/dvd,nor listen to popular radiostations, at all anymore (partly out of anxiety and part bc I’m at the buffetrestaurant:s), I have to say I don’t miss it actually. I sometimes think I should sell my tv,dvd collection etc. (weeks worth of eating at the restaurant:s…however that’s something I still cant get done.Part of me misses ‘having the lazy xfiles marathons for instance’,yet other part of me wants to fill the time moving/exercising and spending on creative stuff/becoming this really crafting type like many folks on Etsy for instance(…if I’ll ever get over these weird cripling anxietymoods for no reason,moving/exercising and foodstuff/mealpattern down).

      However my family are always the ones making comments like :”havent you seen x or y on tv?!”mostly newsrelated stuff/politics etc. Its stuff like that ,that make me feel partly awkward “like I’m turning into this hermit,who’s completely out of touch with modern civilization” on the other hand I also kinda like it.

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      • Thanks- I like that section too. I definitely think the impact of TV on us is huge, though sometimes subtle.

        Dutchie- what I meant is that our nervous system actually speeds up to calibrate to the sorts of stimuli we’re exposed to. Watching TV creates expectations for our minds and bodies about when to anticipate the next “beat,” in story-telling terms. But since real life doesn’t play by the same rules, and the next moment of important storytelling action may not come quickly, we may not know how to respond in a healthy and satisfying way. Why isn’t life like in the movies? We go from NY to California 15 second on screen, but it actually takes hours (down from weeks or months in lifetimes past) in real life. Those hours are not necessarily tedious, but when part of our mind actually only accounts for it taking seconds, it might feel tedious. And so real life feels can feel like a let down. No bueno.

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        • Rob, Are you familiar with the Flynn Effect? I used to be anti-TV, anti-technology until I came across some of this research. Sure, TV has some negative impact, but I’m not convinced that this due to stimulation as much as the way images are transmitted.

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          • Hey Nira- just looked into it quickly. Fascinating stuff. Reminds me of a quote from Neils Bohr: “The opposite of a trivial truth is false; the opposite of a great truth is also true.”

            There’s definitely some adaptations that TV and modern technology have contributed to, and I think at least some of them are beneficial. Might be the way that the images are transmitted are more important than the stimulation. It’s a really new experiment and we’re just starting to understand it I think.

            My goal, I guess, is to figure out where and when ‘natural’ is better, and when ‘novel’ is better, and make informed decisions based on goals of our choosing. Living divorced from nature and natural rythms has consequences, but trying to live in a cocoon sheltered from modern life is also highly consequential. How to balance that, and live well? Well dang- that’s the question.

            Won’t steal any of his thunder, but I think Chief has some ideas on that, and plans to share at some point. More to come, I reckon.

          • I believe human intelligence is far more complex than reflected by IQ test results. Humans adapt to their surroundings, obviously it’s ‘smarter’ being adapted vs not being adapted. But in no way is the intelligence of today’s youth any sharper than that of older generations. As we’ve become increasingly geared towards mind-only pursuits, we’ve lost a host of skills over the centuries and even last decades which at least to my mind, reflects a loss of intelligence.

            I’m 34, when I look at kids’ shows from my time and compare with current shows, I notice a huge shift in pace. Old stuff is of a much slower pace, whereas new stuff like Nick Jr is fast paced and really sort of frantic. I think the reason we get bored by the old is because we’ve been habituated to the increasingly faster pace from the day we started watching TV as toddlers/babies. Life now is faster than before, and I’m sure TV programming simply reflects that.

            The Flynn effect theory has drawn a bit of criticism and I think it’s pretty valid. How can you possibly measure real intelligence using standardized tests? Even if, what does it tell us? That using visual media more makes us more adept at using visual media?

        • Thanx for clearing it up Rob:) I thought you meant something slightly different with it.

          As a child I was practically raised by tv/cartoons as I grew up in the city,no opportunity to play outside except when I stayed at my grandparents, and my parents worked in the store/bakery all day.
          It probably isnt the ideal circumstance for a child,however on a psoitive note….I’ve learned English from it which really benefitted me later in highschool.

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      • Its called balance :-)

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  5. Rob,

    Thank you so much…this train of though is truly something that I have had to remind myself of frequently as I go along this adventure of healing my body.

    Years of chronic stress (mother dying, two terrible heartbreaks, job changes, family dynamics) coupled with a flair for the dramatic, left me trying every diet known to man to try and get tge excess weight off. Also, living in a world that seemed to set healthy eating up next to faith in life nade the idea of eating pancakes and the other normal, healthy foods from my childhood seem to be almost a sin. And as a result, I found my BBT falling lower and lower with my periods (which I had always tracked for fun) growing farther apart. Finally, reaching all time lows when I began to pack up my life to move out of the country, my feeling of an oncoming nervous breakdown lead me back to Matt’s doorstep, which I had stumbled upon earlier in life.

    I started RRARFing February and was shocked by how fast I gained weight. Now, months later, I have only in the past two months seen my temperature finally come up to the 98 degree range. It is not consistent yet but I constantly remind myself that I am closer than I was and that healing takes time. I still have so much to work on and change (consistently is hard for me) but slowly my weight is decreasing…well, I hope it is, there are less stretch marks and my tape measure is encouraging.:-)

    Healing takes time I am learning. Both emotionally and physically. Be patient and wait it out. It took years to break myself and putting myself back together may take time as well…but I will get there. Perseverance is all that is required.:-)

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    • Thanks for sharing Christine. Perseverance really is where it’s at, and keeping in mind that it often takes about as long to recuperate as it did to descend into ill health is good. I think of it this way: yeah, maybe I could do some really dramatic crazy thing that would bring instant results. But those instant results are not inoculated against attrition the way slow and steady gains are. If it takes you ten years to add 15lbs of muscle, say, and you take off a few months, you’ll hold on to that much better than the dude who makes huge gains on a month long program and then takes off the same few months.

      Anyway, good luck and stay patient and kind with yourself.

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  6. I’ve been thinking about this a ton lately too, mostly because I go to a gym with some of the most gigantic beastly mofos on the planet. With an occasional appearance by some Wonder Woman-like lady. Aside from vitamin T being passed around like tictacs, you pick up on what is primarily responsible for the results these people get. And that is persistence. I’ve been going to this gym sporadically since November of 2010, and the same guys are in there every week this week that were there in November of 2010. Many of them have gotten noticeably more muscular and lean since that time. Others, who were already Gladiator-like, haven’t noticeably changed at all. But they keep at it.

    I hear voices of reason from people like Scott Abel, talking about how it takes a decade or two to attain a truly impressive physique. And no one has the endurance to do something for 10-20 years that they don’t truly like or is fueled by self-loathing. And the hormonal response to unwanted exercise vs. wanted exercise is totally different anyway.

    Getting regular activity, getting stronger, and getting fitter really isn’t even about how you look or even your health. It’s more about living a dynamic life and expanding your capabilities, both physically and mentally. It’s about self-development. Or at least, it should be if it’s going to be a success without doing your health in.

    Anyway, thanks Rob. Appreciate your thoughts.

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    • Back when I was successful at weight loss (not the past two years, I had a kidney infection, dreadful IBS, back injury, broken bones, and am finally starting to get better.) the trick was doing exactly what I wanted, just at a certain time of day. I would eat my carby foods between 8 am and 1 pm. I would do my workout in the AM because I’m a morning person. I would only do the workout that I wanted to do. It might be a run, it might be a interval workout, it might be boot camp style, it might be yoga, salsa, or hula. Just never more than an hour of work. If I want to eat chips, I eat chips, if I want to eat ice cream, I eat ice cream. If I want pasta, I eat pasta. I just don’t eat weird stuff (HFCS, red dye #5 etc.) I don’t eat a lot of rice it bothers my insides.

      Sigh, I miss my hot skinnier self. :( I am working on getting back into that pattern. I have finally recovered from my antibiotic induced IBS. I know now that I can’t handle too much protein.

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      • did you snort the red dye or inject it? Breaking Red!

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      • Hey Alisha, how did you heal your IBS? I have it too, for a few years now and have no idea what to do about it.

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        • I took an ayurvedic herb ‘Triphala’ for about 3 weeks. I ate very soft, well cooked, gentle foods like oatmeal and soft cooked veggies. The triphala helps heal the villi. Now, there is a side effect: you will poop and you may feel slightly nauseous because as the villi grow back you will feel them. Its ok. You don’t puke at all. Its just something to be aware of. Also, don’t eat flax (very hard on the intestines), don’t eat any molds (depends on the person), and do take a probiotic. I liked kefir. I do ok with dairy. It depends on the person. I took my probiotic capsules at least 3x/a day. You really only need to do this for about 3 weeks. This is not an ‘indefinite’ or forever thing. You may wish to skip berries because the little seeds can be irritating while you are healing.

          I found this one on my own. I was in terrible trouble, I wasn’t digesting anything at all. It would go in, cause terrible pain, and come out the same. It wouldn’t digest at all, completely whole little pieces of food would come out. (I don’t mean to be disgusting, I just wanted to make it clear what happened with me.)

          I am now pretty good most of the time. I avoid a lot of ‘pre cooked’ breads because sometimes I get molded. Mold is my enemy. I can find mold on nuts, seeds, legumes (peanuts). Its not the nuts that are the issue, its when I get molded that I hurt and it takes a couple of days to recover. I do well with berries now, I can digest food, I eat a lot of home cooked chicken (antibiotic free), sometimes beef, sometimes fish. I eat cooked veggies, I like stir fries with pea pods (I know its a legume but fresh I don’t get molded) and celery.

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          • I almost forgot: No kale. That can scour your intestines.

          • Thank you Alisha for the insight. What do you mean by getting molded? You mean that the molds on the food cause you discomfort temporarily?

            I more often than not also have undigested food come out. Lots of pain, cramps, weird bm’s. Used to have mad indigestions while re-feeding, but doing the 180 approach resolved those, it only happens once a month maybe now. I hoped 180 would resolve all of the digestion, but I think I need an extra something, or maybe just to wait it out.

            The herb sounds interesting. Where did you find it? Now that my metabolism is better as well my health in general including no more diet freakouts, doing the no dairy no gluten enzyme and probiotic approach that naturopaths usually advise. Apparently it’s temporary (few months), but would have to wait a while before trying it as I have to save up for it.

            Have you tried this approach before Triphala? Are your bm’s pretty normal now? And how is the pain? I appreciate your help very much.

          • Yes I mean mold that grows on food. You can find it in any health food store or online at vitacost. I prefer the organic but Nature’s way is ok too. I believe it is GF, dairy free. Triphala is not terribly expensive.

            I have tried the GF/dairy free/probiotic approach. Thats good, but it won’t heal your villi.

            Most of the time my BMs are regular. I do still avoid rice and cheese (causes pain). I do best eating larger meals, avoiding small snacks. Just 3 meals a day. Eat enough healthy fats (I prefer coconut oil or animal fats, but it depends on your ability to digest.) Unfortunately, earlier this week I was molded off of a walnut (doh!) that I had cooked myself (thought I was safe.) and voila a weeks worth of pain. But, at least the bms themselves are normal looking. I’m taking some triphala for a little while. The worst part is the burning. I hate that. You may wish to avoid ginger, some people find that to be terribly irritating to the gut.

            I hope that this helps you. I have had success with other ayurvedic medicines for other issues in the past. That is why I decided to give it a shot.

    • Thanks Matty- that Scott Abel line makes sense to me. Easy come, easy go, and conversely, well-earned is slow to leave.

      I remember moving some deadwood in the forests of the Shenandoah valley a couple winters ago, and it struck me that maybe the biggest part of exercise isn’t the calories is the adaptation it generates, both hormonally and also neurologically, psychologically, spiritually, etc. I mean, here I was moving around awkward pieces of downed trees, and sure, I was sweating. But I make up those calories in 5 minutes no problem when I eat. But I was learning to carry that awkward weight better, getting fresh forest air, and having the whole mountain terrain experience- adapting in all those ways mentioned.

      Same with basketball- I have a buddy who’s trying to get fit, and he makes these comments about how I should ride it out while it lasts, this experience of basketball not feeling like exercise to me. And I want to somehow convey that he’s missing the point- I play ball because I want to get better at it, I put in time not because there’s some number of minutes or hours logged I want to reach, but because I actually am adapting, am getting better, am getting smarter. That’s why I play. That dynamic life and expanding capabilities you’re talking about. It’s really incidental that I’m burning some calories or something.

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      • I think about the insignificance of the calorie burn a lot. Even if one did have to create some calorie deficit somehow to lose weight, it would still be better to do it eating above what would be maintenance calories (if sedentary) and using exercise as the primary tool to lose the weight – because you are providing a stimulus to the body to be lean, strong, toned, etc. Not so much when you eat 1500 measly calories a day or something like that. That’s been my experience too. The leanest I got with the least repurcussion was eating 4,500+ calories per day and exercising a lot.

        Also, you have to be in really good shape to even be able to do enough work to burn a significant amount of calories anyway, and that can take years to get to that point for someone who has been totally sedentary for more than a decade.

        But you’re right, the most important thing is that the enjoyment of the activity is safeguarded above all else. Otherwise you just won’t realistically stick to it unless you are just “one of those types of people.” And if you are one of those, you’ve got much bigger problems!

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    • Rob is also no stranger to calories. The boy can pack in some vittles. Another secret to his exercise success no doubt. Miss all my 180 peeps. We need a meat up Mattie.

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      • I nominate the hag house in 2013. SoCal is always nice- what do you say, Deb? :-D

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      • I have the power to alter comments. I changed your comment to “meat up” cuz I’m funny. I should make a bunch of fake Deb comments some day.

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        • Oh god, my reputation will be shot, wait, it already is! Hey that would be super groovy to MEAT up at my house! Let’s make a plan and make it so.
          Commence with the fake deb hag comments, I can take it :-)
          xoxoxo
          deb
          PS You are Funny and gosh darn it, people like you!

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    • Gotta love workout equipment you can dry hump on!

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      • I got a gazelle for Christmas when I was 16! I still have it. Don’t use it. It was 300 dollars for the one that can support the most. When I would use it, it would start to get painful to breath, and I would start producing phlegm really bad for a while. I was always under the impression it was some sort of exercise induced asthma. Does this sound accurate to anyone?

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        • Yeah. The ol’ exercise induced asthma has been a dear friend of mine for most of my life. And that’s how she rolls.

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    • Don’t know if this is meant as a joke,but for some reason I always was under the impression that Rob was a college student or just graduated.:)

      @Rob you talk about moving all day,playing B’Ball,lifting weights etc. How do you fit it in your day?….or what I mean,what kind of job do you do/what’s your source of income?do you have an active job or do you soleley live financially by writing for Matt?

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  7. Who is Chief?

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    • Chief Rok. You must read his blog and hear his rap. He is just Awesomesauce. http://www.chiefrok.com/blog/
      He’s a frequent commenter here on the ol 180.

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  8. A dude known to inspire testicular fortitude.

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  9. I’ve been through that whole orthorexic phase too, and now I’m kind of back where I started, but with some improvements in knowledge and such.

    When I first started returning to a more normal diet from low carb paleo, the benefits were awesome. A total reversal of the negative effects plus some really positive things!

    Then as my diet became monotonous again, I git a bit of plateau. Things were much better. Ate a little more, gained some more weight, was way more regular (verging on diarrhea most of the time though, unfortunately). I started drinking a crap ton more orange juice, I had noticed, so I tried adding more salt and cutting down my fluids.

    Over the course of two weeks, I didn’t realize how much salt I was taking in and how much fluid I was cutting out. I had diarrhea with cloudy whiteness in the toilet, and I was moving around in the sun all day drinking miniscule amounts of water.

    I think I hit rock bottom a month ago when my blood sugar would react VERY CRAZILY to all foods. Worst time of my life. I feel very sympathetic towards people who have to deal with crazy low blood sugar.

    I was actually speaking to Matt about 3 days after I started reacting this way to foods about what to do. I think I found out what happened. For reasons I’m not sure of, the experimentation with salt and fluid intake without regard for my natural cues for salt intake and thirst must have caused some fundamental mechanism in my body to fail to regulate blood sugar properly. My appetite was decreased during this time, I had all the classic symptoms of low sugar, and eating food made it worse.

    As I began experimenting to try and regain my health, I noticed that drinking water for thirst seemed to calm me down sometimes. But overdrinking seemed to aggravate it again. So I started to recognize that if I added salt and drank water/gatorade according to my thirst cues, my body would regain equilibrium again… What really helped was a poster on here by the name of “The Real Amy” detailing how her blood sugar became a rollercoaster when she fol lowed a strict RBTI schedule, so I figured that must have happened to me as well…my improvement in health seems to support that idea. Playing with salt and fluid and not paying attention to your body seems to fuck up your Blood sugar.

    Lo and behold, I didn’t afflict myself with reactive hypoglycemia like I thought (at least I hope I didn’t!) I just had to fix how much fluid and salt I was taking in. Still not 100% normal again, but my hunger has become somewhat normal again, and I still tremble sometimes. But I can’t hold down food again without breaking out in panic attacks or feeling like I was going to pass out.

    The only problem now is that if I drink to thirst, my metabolism seems to lower. My constipation has set in again, as well as the other downsides to a low metabolism. I’m not too worried, because I know that my chronic issues can be relatively solved…like this article says, Persistence is the key rather than perfection. I 100% agree.

    I guess my concerns come down to this…

    1. How important is it to be intuitive with diet? Naturally figuring out how much fluid and salt I felt like having took me away from the blood sugar rollercoaster, yet drinking to appetite seems to lower my metabolism to keep me constipated. Yet I’d much rather prefer constipation to panic attacks and fatigue.

    2. What happened to my body with regards to the whole blood sugar and salt/fluid intake thing? Obviously I was being very extreme, but I wonder if there’s a biochemical explanation?

    3. A big problem with my intuition is that this whole fiasco has led to a suppressed appetite more often than I’d like. I usually follow my instincts and don’t eat if I don’t feel like it…but the suppression makes it hard to eat intuitively. Are there any tips for regaining my appetite? It seems to be gradually coming back though.

    It is all about persistence, and this post is part of my persistence, haha.

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    • Few things to amend

      I wasn’t actually following an RBTI regimen, I was just saying how Amy’s experience and my own seemed to be similar because we both went against our natural intuition about how much salt/fluid to consume.

      I CAN eat meals without crazy blood sugar attacks now. So things aren’t as urgent anymore. But I’d like to get completely past this phase, haha.

      I don’t want to unnaturally reduce my fluid intake right now, simply because I’d rather trust my body to regain equilibrium than get in my own way until all this is done and gone. Any insight would be massively appreciated. Thanks!

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    • Hi Kamran, so glad that my posts were helpful for you! I don’t know if it will help, but I can tell you what I’ve been doing. I think it works pretty well. My temps are pretty good, although they could probably be higher. They are consistent which they were not a year ago, and my blood sugar feels very regular now. I totally ignore Matt’s advice on fluids for the most part. I do listen to the part about not pushing fluids when you don’t want them, and also about having a salty snack if blood sugar does feel low. However, I drink water first thing when I get up in the morning, and between meals. And before bed. I have water next to me now. I usually drink warm water because I think it’s healthier. I drink a lot of water. My pee is very rarely clear. I listen to my body on this and drink when I want to. I know I feel awful if I don’t drink enough water all day.

      I am VERY generous with salting my food. I think when you add however much salt you want to food (and I like a good amount), your body works it out. I just make sure to eat salty meals with adequate carbs (and obey my cravings in general). Makes a huge difference IMO, and I notice I have issues when I am forced to eat a low-salt meal (e.g., served at a friend’s house).

      I always say listen to you body.

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      • Hi Amy!

        I commented on a post of yours on a different article asking if you could email me because I wanted to discuss our experiences. It was just so freaky having those blood sugar attacks, and I thought having someone to discuss the experience with blood sugar and playing around with salt/fluid levels affected that. I can’t find anything on the internet, so just having someone else to talk to would be so helpful.

        But I suppose we could just as well chat on here, unless the conversation becomes super convoluted :)

        I know I shouldn’t blindly follow the advice of anyone on the internet, but I’m kind of glad to hear you say that you flat out ignore Matt’s recommendations with fluids. I learned the lesson not to trust anything anyone says on the internet 100% including Matt…but I trusted him so much because he says things that resonate with me more than most, so I kind of let myself be enveloped in his words…it’s no ones fault but my own, should’ve exercised my own critical thinking…

        Anyway, yeah, I feel more encouraged to drink to appetite and eat salty foods to appetite. Especially since you say you drink a lot, yet your temps are good…just another reminder on how things can vary from person to person.

        Initially adding a lot of salt to my whole foods diet was great, but then it became way too much salt and not enough fluid. I started riding the blood sugar rollercoaster. Did you find that your appetite was affected during this period? When I feel like my appetite is suppressed, I just leave it alone…I’m waiting for it to normalize so I can eat a whole bunch of food again and raise my metabolism.

        Reply
        • I would probably do the wait and see approach, too. I think the more we listen to our body’s cravings and signals, the better. I do think Matt’s advice to pay attention to urine color is good – clear is probably not great and neither is super dark. But I don’t agree with his ideas on how much we should drink.

          I actually never got to the point of too much salt and too little fluid for any significant period of time because any time I’ve gotten to that point my body rebels! And yes, it feels like high blood sugar, followed by a crash. And headaches. I don’t think it’s affected my appetite too much. My problems were always with too little salt (even when I was trying to restrict fluids in RBTI – it did not make up for salt restriction).

          For me, salt seems to be far more significant than fluids. If I eat enough salt (which is however much tastes good or is what I’ve craving), I just drink however much I feel like drinking and works out fine. I can see that some people might be the opposite, but that’s why I think listening to your body’s cues is probably the way to go.

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          • I’m writing all about this in my current book project. You need a combination of salt and fluid to build blood volume and hydrate the body in general. I don’t have any ideas about “how much we should drink.” Not sure I’ve mentioned how much a person should or should not drink, other than to say that if your pee is clear you need a higher ratio of salt and calories to fluid content. It’s funny though, as this brings up metabolism quickly, which increases the need for fluids dramatically. Many feel the improvements and get stuck believing that if they just keep doing what they did to feel better, they will stay feeling better. But the body’s needs change rapidly as the body changes. Flexibility is key which gets back to better interpreting one’s biofeedback. I discuss the negatives on the other end of the spectrum too – mostly a feeling of extreme lethargy and mad headaches.

          • Extreme lethergy and mad headaches – yup, that’s exactly what happens to me when I drink too little water.

            Glad it sounds like we’re actually on the same page. From your posts, I think a lot of people (me included, but it seems like many posters) think you’re saying we should all drink very little, and nothing between meals.

          • No, that’s more of a tactic for immediately resolving extreme cases. And requires swift adjustment as you warm up. If you drink too little in proportion to your salt and calories it feels so weird, like the force of gravity has doubled and your hands and feet are going to catch something on fire.

          • If I remember it correctly,Matt once said that if your pee is very clear/light one feels cold and should eat something dense….
            Funny thing is,that when my pee is very light almost clear I feel the warmest.

          • Monitoring my brix, I haven’t found that keeping my numbers up will prevent cold fingers. Like today, I had a temperature of 98.1 in the afternoon, a brix of 7 and cold fingers. I suppose you could argue stress, but I had the day off! So I don’t get it.

          • Yep, wait and see is my philosophy right now. It’s funny, I’m only 20 but I feel like I’ve gone through all the health problems of a middle aged man in the course of a year with my diet experiments, haha.

            For me, my blood sugar felt extremely low, and I had no appetite for foods. Makes sense, because eating any foods seemed to worsen the blood sugar attacks. I’m still confused, but thankful that following my instincts helped me get out of the worst of it. Hopefully I remain out of it.

            Dutchie’s comment below is helpful too. He feels the warmest when his urine is almost clear… Helpful reminder that we all are different and one rule doesn’t apply to everyone :)

            I never meant to project that Matt has made recommendations, he’s been very careful with his wording, but the problem was my own interpretation. He doesn’t like to apply one principle to everyone, but I was the one who turned it into a somewhat rigid recommendation.

            The one thing that is helpful from all this is indeed learning to not drink excessive fluids when I’m not thirsty. That actually used to be a big problem.

            Also, since I’ve started drinking gatorade with meals again, I have WAAAAY less of an urge to pee. I drink a pretty significant amount, but with food, I only have an urge to go like twice a day. There is only a small amount that gets released too. I don’t feel anything unusual, just the bathroom schedule is a little off.

          • Urinating twice during the day – relatively evenly spaced, plus one in the morning and one at night before bed is roughly the best pee schedule for me personally. Once every 4 hours is probably a decent target for most people, with consistency there as well. Peeing 3 times in 2 hours and once in the remaining 22 hours of the day would probably be worse than peeing precisely once every 2 hours, as consistency and stable interior environment is a whole other issue of great importance.

        • “I know I shouldn’t blindly follow the advice of anyone on the internet…”

          Funny that I read this about 5 minutes before shitting my pants. Reason: Gave Ray Peat’s ideas on Aspirin a 2nd chance and didn’t fare too well. I got RayPed!!!

          Reply
          • what are ray peats Ideas on aspirin and …poop raype really? ? details details !

          • Ray loves that aspirin. Aspirin hates me though. Tears my stomach to pieces and causes tons of pain and bloating and anything I eat just irritates my stomach. Then, evidently, I run the risk of sharting – something I discovered a moment too late.

          • Chief, Ray thinks many things about aspirin. He thinks its anti-inflammatory and anti-estrogen. In fact, he thinks that it is very good and cheap way for me to bust aromatase.

            People need to be very vigilant when implementing his supplement suggestions. I screwed myself with them and know of other people who did as well. I really screwed myself up with his T3 suggestions. For other people the T3 is a godsend. Different strokes for different folks!

          • Thomas, what kind of reaction did you have to T3? Did you support the adrenals? I think Peat’s recommendations against adrenal support in the form of cortisol are not always wise. If your adrenals are weak (due to being hypo), it can be downright dangerous to raise thyroid function. Broda Barnes wrote about it already; I don’t think it’s a controversial issue at all. Now certain Peat followers think adrenal fatigue is total bunk and it’s even good to have low cortisol, and that everything will sort itself out after thyroid is working properly. It will perhaps, but while raising thyroid function things are not in balance yet.

            I think it might be a similar situation with aspirin and caffeine as well – if your glycogen stores are low, by increasing metabolism you quickly exhaust them and get hypoglycemic symptoms. I think it would be good if this was mentioned more often.

          • I didn’t get hypoglycemic symptoms from aspirin. But I did get hypershitting symptoms.

            Caffeine, especially in beverages like coffee, has always been known to cause problems for those in a compromised condition. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but I don’t think anyone should take up drinking coffee for health.

          • Beautiful Rob. Your kindness abounds!

          • Blob, you may be right. I don’t know. In any case, I think the problem is that I don’t need the extra T3. I got heart palpitations from taking the stuff. Not going to experiment with it again. Cortisol is not the solution. I took a small dose of some one time and felt like I was going to die. Even the small amount of cortisone in those anti-itch formulas will keep me wired.

          • For the record Matt, I hope it didn’t sound like I was taking any shots at you. I still think your information is awesome and you’ve got a great philosophy (and you’re hilarious!) but it was those qualities that made me take some of your finer details that you apply to yourself really seriously. It’s my own damn fault, lesson learned.

            Yeah, your reply to my comment about fluid intake was spot on. I didn’t realize my need for fluids went up so I just kept doing what I was doing. As I was starting to climb the stairs again, I fell right back down, haha.

            With my blood sugar rollercoaster, it started to normalize at a decent rate once I started following my own instincts about drinking water and having salt. It works much better for me to have salted food too, instead of trying to put salt in my fluids. I think it would kickass if you wrote about possible connections to electrolyte levels and blood sugar… they seem unrelated but given the experiences i’ve read (good and bad) about RBTI and my own fiasco recently, it seems like they probably have a lot to do with each other.

          • I don’t think it’s blood sugar fluctuations but blood salt concentrations – or variances in the strength of all the extracellular fluids.

          • Yeah, perhaps. I had classic low blood sugar symptoms though. Shaking, lightheadedness, inability to focus, depression (it was extremely easy to just start bawling). The one thing that was weird was that eating sweet foods did not help (not even for a little while) and it seemed like pretty much all foods did the same thing to me.

            Drinking water helped immensely initially, but I think being overhydrated after a little while aggravated something. Sipping on gatorade when I wanted, sipping on water when I wanted, and eating salt when I felt like it worked the best to gradually get me feeling more normal again. It’s weird, sometimes having water instead of gatorade helps and vice versa. Don’t know why, but I’ll respect my body’s urges.

            But I think it seems like some fundamental mechanism was skewed in the face of dehydration and hypernatremia, for sure.

          • There is a lot of overlap between dehydration and overhydration – many of the symptoms are the same. It’s strange. Likewise, there is much overlap between the symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyponatremia. I was surprised to learn that what most people think is a hypoglycemic episode may very well be a hyponatremic episode. Symptoms of hyponatremia are listed as…

            Symptoms of hyponatremia include nausea and vomiting, headache, confusion, lethargy, fatigue, appetite loss, restlessness and irritability, muscle weakness, spasms, or cramps, seizures, and decreased consciousness or coma.”

          • There are a lot of variables in my experience for sure, so I can’t say with accuracy that “it was definitely this”…but based off what happened. The hypo/hypernatremia doesn’t seem to explain why I had tremors or it was so easy to make me cry.

            Yet having salt and fluids in accordance to what I felt like having did seem to gradually clear up these attacks. I’m kind of bummed that I never properly tested my BS levels to know for sure if it way my blood sugar :/

            I hope I recover completely in time. However, my metabolism has taken a turn for the worst again. Constipation, hair thinning, and loss of appetite are rampant.

            Anything I can do about this now? I mean, I would love to eat but the suppressed appetite makes it hard to know what I really want to eat and thus harder to get out of this rut. Suggestions? I was thinking that maybe a bit of thyroid supplement to try and give me a boost and then get off when my health has returned…but another part of me wants to slap me for thinking that haha.

            In any case, thank you for the replies Matt, Amy, and anyone else I may be forgetting, this has helped a lot.

          • @Matt “there is much overlap between the symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyponatremia. I was surprised to learn that what most people think is a hypoglycemic episode may very well be a hyponatremic episode. ”

            Yes, this is exactly what I learned myself. After suffering from “hypoglycemia” for years, and then worse than ever during the RBTI experiment while restricting salt big time, I finally figured it out on my own. I couldn’t figure out for years why eating something sweet didn’t fix the problem. Finally connected with me that eating a really salty snack fixed it. I wish this were publicized in the mainstream media. It would solve the “hypoglycemia epidemic”!!! I try to tell people I know now (and they think I’m crazy usually) but it’s totally unknown even in alternative health circles. Salty food is great for hangovers, too, haha (lots of salt and lots of water).

          • Oh, and its best if it’s starchy carb + salt – like salty potatoes or potato chips, or crackers with a little butter and lots of salt, etc. I don’t think eating salty meat as a snack would be as helpful, at least for me.

          • You need carbs for the glucose transporter, allowing sodium to be picked up properly. That’s why they put glucose in rehydration beverages. Without it they don’t work.

          • Well my book will clear lots of that up. Don’t know if enough people will read it to wipe out the epidemic though. Was just writing today about the original works on hypoglycemia back in the day stated that soft drinks, coffee, and alcohol were the biggest triggers of hypoglycemia. Hmmm, liquids consumed in excess of thirst demands anyone?

            I always had trouble reconciling why fruit and juice would trigger “hypoglycemia” back when I was hypersensitive to such things but white sugar didn’t. Anyway, lots of interesting stuff there.

          • Are you speaking of constipation? omg I was taking aspirin frequently last year for something don’t remember, but then I was on a camping trip, and about blew blood vessels in my exTReme Turdscapades.

  10. I’ve been experimenting with fluid quantity and salt intake since reading Matt’s post and I found that after an initial warmup and other signs of increased metabolism from 1-2 weeks of restriction, I couldn’t resist increasing fluid intake anymore. I had a couple of episodes of the shakes which I couldn’t tie to anything specific, but the comments here now lead me to believe it could be related to fluid restriction. I think the best discovery for me out of all of it is that I had developed a habit of drinking water all day whether I wanted it or not, and I’ve put a stop to it and think I’m reaping ongoing benefits from this, as well as from plenty of sleep, eating first thing in the morning.
    With persistence :) and reading (ie: not ignoring) biofeedback (which currently tells me no grain and stop it with the the freaking dairy), I hope to alleviate the annoying pressing feeling in my throat – possibly an early Hashimoto’s symptom that I might have triggered accidentally a couple of months ago with iodine supplements. I hope I can clear it, and eventually add it to the list of other seriously stupid health mistakes I’ve recovered from. Meanwhile, I keep the post-it of an Adyashanti quote taped here to the keyboard of my laptop “You’re never going to reach your mind’s idea of perfection on any level.”
    Thanks for your diligent research into thyroid matters, Matt. There really seems to be something to the idea of metabolism underlying digestive and food intolerance issues. It’s so interesting to me the undeniable energy increases I am experiencing with a couple of weeks of the few simple adjustments you recommend to support thyroid healing, even while eating dairy and suffering the side effects, and still having Hashimoto symptoms. It makes me think of energy medicine and the missing energy element of the equation in the scientific method for nutrition research. Margaret Wheatley’s comment about our current scientific explanation of events is useful here – she says it’s like attributing the movements of fish in a tank solely to the fish without regard to the water. That’s what we do – we blame the food when it may an underlying issue in the system. I hope a paradigm shift will someday change the current crude way we deal with food allergies and intolerances (namely, restriction).

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    • omg…I never even thought of this…(most important thing I have to say is at the bottom haha) But my brother was diagnosed with Hashimotos a long time ago and used to be on synthroid. Since he’s been an adult (2 years younger than me) he hasn’t taken it. Back when I was learning about gluten intolerance and how that can affect hashimotos and blah blah blah, I started to avoid most grains myself cuz I thought maybe it would help my hair come back and god knows what other miracles. My brother doesnt read about this stuff at all, but he listens to me when I talk about stuff. Finally, he started to avoid gluten himself. He still doesn’t have it. He can’t pinpoint it, but he still has bouts of IBS like I used to (if you’ve read any of my stuff, you know that I still get it if I’m too stressed I guess, but very rarely, and I hope to conquer it completely) and I really don’t think he eats enough to be honest. But I think he is doing better since he goes to buffets sometimes with me. Last night I was at one my myself =( and I think I’ll be doing that much more often now, cuz I’d usually just spend more money and get like subway or something, or ATTEMPT to make variety at home, but I’m just not good at that yet, and the intuitiveness of the Roky way is not attainable with those measures. ANYWAYS, it’s funny that I now eat gluten and dairy (which I’m sure still gives me issues, and one of the reasons I still use acne medicine) and can handle it wwway better than I could before (I think my brother, and even I and some points in time in the past, is lactose intolerant, my family just has shitty intestines Mmmkay, sister has fibromylagia, whatever that means..) He talked about this weird feeling in his throat, after he would consume something with gluten. I never knew what the hell he was talking about, but he told me himself that he really thinks its something to do with grains. and I’m sure all of you have read about gluten and blah blah resembling proteins in the thyroid. So I’m wondering if increasing the metabolism really can stop the autoimmune response or whatever is happening for my brother? Chief says those of you with the hashimotos he will give a higher priority so perhaps its time my brother jumps on the bandwagon and maybe I’ll have a frequent partner in crime as far as buffets go. And hey, maybe he’ll have more energy and help me with something around the ferkin house! Off to work I go people I love all of you. Good luck, and eat that cake, and don’t chug that water!

      Reply
      • It’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? It sure is a help for me to think maybe, just maybe, I won’t have to live without pizza, cake, and ice cream forever :).

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      • When I cut out gluten, my Hashi’s antibodies disappeared after several months. HOWEVER I felt completely the same. I had no health improvements from going GF and so I started eating wheat again. I assume my antibodies have gone back up but I haven’t checked.

        I also had a great reduction of antibodies before ever going GF, with low-dose naltrexone. I stayed on LDN for almost 2 years because I never got sick while taking it (I mean no colds or viruses, etc.) The swelling in my thyroid was reduced too. I quit taking it maybe 6 months ago just out of financial concerns (even though it is very cheap, I was trying to cut out all the supplemtns I could to save money) and I finally got my typical virus attack again so I’m going back on it again.

        You know you can test your TPO antibodies yourself through a place like saveonlabs.com, so you can do a lot of experimentation to see what makes them go up or down.

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        • My TPO is going down, so I think I just need to sustain the habits long enough to experience the symptom reduction.

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        • Tierney: Does the naltrexone cause sleep problems for you?

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          • No, of course I always have sleep problems, but LDN doesn’t change it one way or another. I take 3 mg, I notice if I go up to the 4.5 considered to be the max that I do get kind of spacey/headachey and don’t feel quite as good. 3mg seems to be the sweet spot (for me).

            Did you have sleep issues with it?

          • I have a bottle of naltrexone at home and have been tempted to experiment with it. I have NEVER taken it. I hesitated starting my experiment, when I heard that it can cause sleep problems. Like you, I tend to have sleep problems, waking in the middle of the night, so maybe it doesn’t matter.

            Any other benefits besides the anti-viral properties that you’ve noticed?

          • The anti-viral action was the biggie for me. I had this chronic thing where about 1x/month my lymph nodes in my neck would swell up and I would be totally fatigued for about a week. This is on top of my other regular fatigue, sigh. So LDN totally took care of that for me. (By the way I re-started it 2 nights ago, in the middle of one of these attacks [my first one since going off it] and I already feel better….) I noticed a few other things like hair and fingernails grew faster. My husband takes it too and he thinks it helps his overall mood as well as cuts down on his desire to smoke so he smokes a little less.

            And like I mentioned, my anti-TPO antibodies came down to under-range on it, but I never tried to cut back my levothroid or anything. Maybe I should try, this time.

            The sleep issues, from what I remember from the forums, are usually limited to a few nights in the beginning. You also may get a slight cold in the beginning as your immune system shifts. Also it may react with alcohol. I remember some people saying they got violently ill if they drank with it. I don’t drink,but my husband typically has a few beers in the evening and it causes him no problems.

            If you already have it in hand and have a reason to try it, don’t hesitate. It’s amazing stuff. Even if you just take it to get through the winter without a cold. It’s really safe, almost no one on the forums reports side effects. I felt good enough about it to take it all through my last pregnancy (and yes my kid turned out normal… so far… lol.)

      • Unfortunately wheat/gluten don’t make me feel warm/burn. So,I think they still suppress my metabolism,more so the thyroid. (Apart from the fact that I stil don’t digest them well)

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  11. Does anyone have some tips on how to eat enough calories to keep metabolism running without it being a full-time job to eat? When my metabolism had all the symtoms of a high metabolism from Matt’s older post…I was literally eating and sleeping. Most of them have vanished in just two short months by stopping the effort. By eating, I mean I was eating almost all day non-stop. And sleeping like 10 hours a night, barely working, barely stressing. How do I now manage two full time jobs now, one including eating, to get my awesome metabolism back? Any tips?

    Reply
    • takes me about an hour a day to eat enough like seen here http://www.chiefrok.com/blog/?p=540
      that might work for you.
      maybe you need to workout doing something “non cardio” for a few minutes daily. Perhaps your muscle mass is low, perhaps your electrolytes/fluids are out of balance hard to say with just : ” it went away after I stopped eating all day”. I would say calorie density was most likely low as a shot in the dark.

      Reply
      • Or maybe just make sure you have 3 good meals eating to appetite and try to keep your stress low. RRARF is supposed to be temporary, and then you get a real life back! (Not to be down on Chiefs methods, either – sounds like he knows what he’s doing. As a former ED person, I could never do the fasting/eating in one spurt stuff, though. The three meal thing works well for many, eating at the same time every day.)

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  12. Thanks Chief. That’s some epic eating! The thing is, I have trouble eating large amounts of food at once, so I eat as much as I can, then a little after, I can eat again. I can eat a normal meal no problem, but at some point I just can’t stomach it (maybe IBS is the cause?).

    Also, you might be right about the muscle. I used to have great muscle mass ( did track and field, cross running, frisbee) and was in perfect health all over, but lost the health and the muscle with an eating disorder and haven’t really exercised for a year, to recover. So I’m guessing I’m better off building the muscle and simultaneously eating more calories to get the period back?

    I also started off re-feeding with calorie-dense foods upon Matt’s advice, but now I never even think or look at junk foods. I was raised on whole foods, so it’s really hard for me to eat really sweet, or really fatty things unless it’s pretty wholesome. I don’t think it’s mental because initially while re-feeding, I was fine eating pizza, brownies and ice cream. But after so many months of eating (have been at it since January), my body just doesn’t seem to want those foods. Is their a way to make wholesome foods calorie dense? I do eat a lot of cooked veggies, fruit, potatoes, fish.

    I don’t drink lots of fluids either – but did drink more in the past 2 months because of the summer weather. I’ll try to keep that in check. I’m also 60 lbs over what used to be my healthy weight. I’m not too down for more, though I managed to overlook it for the sake of getting my health back. At this point, though, things function well overall, perhaps my body won’t store every gram!

    Thank you Chief.

    Reply
  13. If I would eat like the buffet plates you have on your blog, but throughout the day as opposed to just in one hour, would it change anything?

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    • there is a lot of differences that occur eating in one shot as opposed to spaced out.

      is it possible to make wholesome food calorie dense ?

      first lets define Wholesome :Conducive to or suggestive of good health and physical well-being. might just be you mentally find baked potatoes and salads wholesome because of your upbringing.
      Personally I find brownies pretty wholesome myself lol mashed potatoes ditto… :)
      try some sweet potatoes and throw some butter on the steamed broccoli :P
      refining foods is not a real issue, we have been doing it for thousands of years without the issues we now face refined foods are what made us the successful species we are.
      . If I were you I would start with getting a little bit of muscle mass/activity going that in itself will create hunger that will bring in more calories and just disregard everything else for the time being.

      Reply
      • You gave me a few pieces to the puzzle I might have not been connecting. I do remember after track practice that I LOVED my desserts and brownies.

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  14. I have been doing some research for a course I am taking and came across something that I think is worth a little more research in relation to metabolism. I thought I would pass it along here and maybe someone else would like to pick it up or it might be useful in some way to helping to understand some of more complex issues someone may be going through.

    The course I am taking looks at movement and development in children. What was most notable, however, is that we are all born with what are called primitive reflexes. One of the first to develop is called the Moro Reflex. This is the infant startle response. Increasingly, more and more children are retaining this reflex. Basically, these reflexes appear for a short time and then they are supposed to disappear or are “integrated”. What I found most interesting is that if this reflex does not disappear as it should any situation that is perceived as even slightly threatening can trigger it. Too much in the visual field, too much noise, too many complex social situations, etc. can cause cortisol to be released from the adrenal glands and voila! you have a recipe for being way too stressed out about the littlest things and using up ones supply of sugar at an alarming rate. This reflex is really noticeable in children but many adults can have it retained as well. If it is retained it is not something that will just go away by itself.

    Happily, there are some simple movement exercises that one can work with to integrate this reflex. I went on YouTube the other day and found several little videos that demonstrated them. There is plenty written about this online as well–I just Googled “Retained Moro Reflex” and got lots of information–mostly about children but some about adults as well.

    I was just thinking that this might be helpful for some commenters who just aren’t able to get their temperatures up no matter how much they eat of calorie rich foods. Maybe it will help someone with one more piece of their puzzle…

    Reply
  15. Ahhh so interesting! I get startled by just about anything! While driving especially, if something moves unexpectedly, my adrenaline shoots up SO much. This happens LOTS in other situations too. I am always at a slightly anxious state, and get adrenaline shots when something moves unexpectedly, noises, etc. Just like you mention. I try to breathe and relax to help calm my nerves down, and try to convince my brain that the world is safe, but I sort of settled because I thought it just may be my normal state :P. I did manage to get my temps up, but it took many, many months.

    Reply
    • You might want to look into some of the Moro Reflex exercises. Many of them are simple to do and from what I understand after a few weeks, the reflex will have integrated and then you won’t have to experience those reactions. It could be fun! Maybe life changing? Who knows?

      Reply
      • Really interesting. I remember both my babies doing this in their sleep when they were infants and how much it worried me even though I had read what it was and I knew it was normal. It just looks scary.

        I have something that happens to me during sleep where suddenly in a dream I trip or fall and then I wake up with a jerk like that. I never connected it to what I saw my babies do. Maybe I should try these exercises. Thanks!

        Reply
  16. Long time lurker- History of chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, OCD, massive intolerance to exexercise.

    Like many here over the years I had become obsessed by diet , reading and practicing this and that diet, no diet helped and I got worse because of my obsessive nature worrying all the time what i was eating. I am now currently about 30 lbs over the weight i feel ok with. My temps are generally low and I have a few baths a day to warm up, although last year it was at its worst as I was freezing all the time, now peridodically i get some heat.
    These days i just eat everything- as soon as i think i shouldnt eat this or that i become stressed out and of course as many have mentioned it makes symptoms worse.

    Reply
  17. Honestly, I feel like I’vd won the lottery finding out all of this info from this site & Matt’s ebooks.
    I studied nutrition at college and went on to follow modified versions of the Body Ecology Diet and Perricone Plan…..i managed to screw myself up. Yep, even with some carbs added in there, those diets don’t allow you much. I lost weight at first, yet didn’t need to. Gradually I developed food allergies & adrenal malfunction……usual story!

    Fast forward several years and I’m now here. Wish I found this site way earlier….before all the damage was done.

    Now at 30, I’m dealing with major adrenal fatigue, low estrogen/progesterone, enlarged ovarian cysts, have had several sinus operations, allergies, low basal body temp…..struggling to work & live life.

    RESTRICTED DIETS DID THIS TO ME…plus i guess a few bouts of life’s stresses along the way.

    My hormones used to be normal and I was energetic……before reducing salt and carbs. I actually worked with sport teams and clients full time as a registered Remedial Massage Therapist, but the adrenal fatigue set in and I had to find an office job. Now my health is so bad, I struggle to get through each day at a desk.

    Looking ahead, I’m positive though, now I have learned so much from Matt’s books and suggestions.

    Not only does adrenal fatigue impact on how I feel, but it also robbed me of my youthful looks. I used to have attractive, big, healthy eyes. Now i look drained and much less feminine. My eyes sunk back into the socket in 2009 and have stayed that way as my health got worse. Ophthalmic specialists confirmed i have orbital fat atrophy like a really old person (or like a fractured eye socket) and that each globe has shifted back, but they can’t do anything for me. Surgical risks outweigh possible benefit. I also live with eye strain and dry eyes as a result. I’m 100% sure that a restricted diet caused this!

    Anyway, what a rant that all was. Here’s to RRARFing (day 2 currently). I’m in better spirits just knowing why things fell apart….reading other experiences helps you to feel less isolated.

    Thanks again so much for this site!

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  1. Do you need to focus on the time scale and not the weight scale? | Questioning Conventional Wisdom - [...] Persistence is Better than Perfection This entry was posted in Uncategorized on October 11, 2012 by admin. …

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