The Healing Process

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A few days ago someone contacted me about weight loss. She had a lifelong history of dieting, beginning of course with low-calorie and low-fat diets, a lot of exercise, etc. She also had a few years of methamphetamine addiction to throw in the mix (caused, in part I’m sure, by a lifelong history of dieting – I HATED stimulants until I starved myself, then found them strangely irresistible). At 100 pounds overweight, she still could not lose additional weight (down 100 pounds already). Even meth use didn’t cause weight loss. Now that’s a body holding dearly onto some fat!    

I didn’t know what to say really. Doing the healthy thing (taking the steps to healing her metabolism) is going to make her gain some weight initially, which is her greatest fear. To put it all into perspective, this is exactly what this person wrote to me. This is obviously highly confidential. I could not help but to share it though, because this is the result of the health establishment’s sick, twisted, and metabolically-destructive health advice: 

“Yesterday morning my waking temperature (under arm) was 95.9 degrees, this morning it was 95.6 degrees. This is pretty low I am guessing. So where do I go from here. My “fat” problems started when I was just about 5 years old and I was a little bit fat so my Mom rushed me to all sorts of docs that put me on low cal fat free diets. In the mean time, all I would drink was sodas and eat crackers and all those other “healthy” fat free foods. I know soda made me fat. So then I really blew up while yo yo dieting. When I was 13 I went on a year long 800 calorie a day diet and lost like 100lbs in a few months and then plateaued. After that year I gained all back and plus some. Many diets after that, always losing, then gaining with some extra. At age 21, depressed as hell and weighing more than 300lbs, I became easily addicted to crystal meth and stayed there for 3 1/2 long miserable years. While most people lose weight doing meth, I gained weight. I finally quit and never turned back. After I quit it was a month long eating spree. Anyways, my weight at this time was 375lbs. I felt like a monster. I started dieting and exercising and somewhat following Tom Venuto, which is the reason why I included fat in my diet. It was low cal, around 1500 a day, but a hell of a lot better than my previous 800 calories/very low fat a day diets. I lost weight quite quickly, 100lbs, but after that have not been able to lose any considerable amount of weight. It’s like my body just plateaued there permanently. When I had a baby I gained some weight, but have lost that weight pretty much and am back to my “normal” 275 lbs. I cannot budge from this weight. It seems my body will not let me. I even tried the Atkins diet for several weeks eating less than 20 g carbs a day and still did not even lose 1 pound. It’s not like I don’t try and work hard. When I diet I do not cheat, I work out, I do everything they say I should do and STILL nothing. Am I just doomed to be fat forever? My biggest fear is to again lose weight and then regain and plus some. Being 275 is no picnic, but I can live like this at least. Compared to when I was 375 lbs, I feel like a super model.

So, I’m a bit frustrated and confused. Just searching for another diet seems so pointless cause they don’t work. That is why I like your ideas, because they are anti-diet.”

 F%$! yes my “ideas” are anti-diet. Is anyone getting any of this? In the name of getting healthy, and the best of intentions from her mother I’m sure, a slightly overweight 5-year old has become a metabolic mess.

For advice on this, I defer to Diana Schwarzbein. As you know, once a year I like to revisit this video. It seems that each time I watch it I get something out of it. As it pertains to our beloved “lifelong dieter,” Schwarzbein’s bold claim that you must go through a healing process and get healthy to lose weight is the most important concept this person can absorb and integrate. What do you guys think? Is there hope for her? It she in better hands at 180degreehealth than elsewhere? God, I hope I can compete with the advice she’s been given thus far in life. Please share any encouragement that you might have. And watch this video. Even if you’ve seen it already! 


  1. First thing I did when I found 180, was read every single post and all of the hundreds and hundred of comments. I then went and bought all the Scwharzbein books. Doing this will really help you understand all the ideas Matt has researched and put forth for us. You will also see all the anecdotal posts from followers, that will help you along. The 180blog is so full of info, it will take time, but I really recommend getting the reading glasses on and start participating in the comments as well.

    Note you can subscribe to the comments rss feed to read all the new comments posted in Matt's new articles.


  2. I've gained a bit of weight so far, but the health improvements have been so dramatic that it doesn't bother me (much). After ten years of coffee addiction I've finally been able to give it up (three weeks now without caffeine of any sort); my body temp is up; I need less sleep by am more rested; I'm mentally more focused; and recently I have had so much energy I am literally driven to exercise (rather than forcing myself to because I "should").

    The new pants I've had to buy are a small price to pay, an with the daily (low key) exercise I'm getting I'm sure I'll be giving them away shortly.

    I wish the lady who wrote this email the best of luck. It might take a while to heal from the damage done. Maybe the milk diet? But it's so worth it.

  3. Thanks guys. I think our beloved dieter just needs to start over from a clean slate. Counter lost decades and lifetimes of poor habits that came before her (determining her heredity) with profound and healing nourishment. The milk diet is probably too extreme for someone that is thirsty to be off of a diet, but a good thought. I am seeing everything the milk diet is touted to do on HED, just at a slower pace.

  4. ^^ It seems like you people always have to bring up the milk diet.

    It's gonna be really exciting to see how Matt's diet experiment turned out with that, in case he actually plans to do it. Would be the very first time, I'd be able to read about one of tose experiments in "real time".

  5. Well, ya can't blame us. The milk diet basically is the HED on steroids – allowing someone to metabolize even more calories and nutrients than one could ever hope to extract from a mixed diet. I will get around to doing it one of these days though. Won't disappoint cha.

  6. Excellent video. Would be nice if Scwarzbein kept a blog, her site is pay only.

    I'm sure she would appreciate all that is going here at 180!

  7. I can relate to her story. I got really fat at puberty and always felt awful around all my thin friends. I ended up becoming bulimic and anorexic and really damaging my body, especially my teeth and my metabolism. After I ended the eating disorder, I gained about 100 pounds that I have not been able to keep off.

    I have been doing HED for about a month now and have actually lost a little weight even though I'm eating a ton of calories (no sugar, refined flours or pufas). I don't even let myself think about getting hungry before I stuff my face again. I've also been taking one to two thyroid pills a day. I think the thyroid pills have kept me from the having the initial weight gain that you would expect. Even if I don't lose all the weight, I feel so much better that I don't think I will ever go back to starving myself.

    My advice would be to get some of the dessicated thyroid pills and take at least a couple a day (no more than 5) while starting to eat a crap-load of food (obviously no sugar, refined flour or pufas). Don't let yourself go hungry ever. You may gain weight at first but you will feel so much better and eventually your body will drop the pounds. Keep coming to this website for encouragement.

  8. Yep, when I go to Santa Barbara in April I hope I can talk her into meeting me for a Double Double at In n' Out burger.

    April – Preach on sister. 180 is not just about being healthy, losing weight, or even feeling good. It's about throwing the dieting industry to the ground and pounding it with Chuck Norris-esque fists of fury! On the topic of thyroid, it may be possible to take tons of iodine instead of live hormones, which I'd feel much more comfortable with. More on that in the months ahead.

  9. ..oh the glorious In n' Out Burger!

    Going back to Cali……

  10. What?! Anti-diet? And I expected to find some cool new calorie-counting and single food diets here to lose weight fast and forever finally…

    At least you mentioned Chuck Norris.

  11. watching the video and i like this lady already…and only 3 minutes into the program.

    glad to find your site through mercola's comment area! i also like that you share without making a buck from annoying ads. ;) thanks.

  12. Matt,what do you think about two days HED and 2 days with all carbs removed.This will bump the metabolism on HED days and then cause fatloss on low calorie days.

    I can relate to this girl since I was addicted to meth also.I was also obese and at my heaviest weighed 300 pounds.While on meth,which I abused for yrs,I was also fat(not 300 though)compared to friends of mine who were ripped to muscles,bones and skin while addicted.

    I am clean now for 6 yrs and have a very damaged metabolism.I start a diet and lose for a few days and my body tanks.This happens in a few days for me.Extreme dry skin,always freezing etc.Even with lots of exercise I just am stuck at that last 15 pounds.

  13. hamburgers!!!!!!!!!!!!! the perfect food!!!


  14. Ah, The Bear, interesting ideas, flat out wrong assertions that can't be challenged or else you're being unhelpful and loads of science that proves everything if I could just find these poapers I'm sure they're around here somewhere, nope not here, no stop challenging me with your logic you evil vegetable eaters!!!

  15. so….where is a fat girl to go from here? i just found this place and haven't figured that out yet…so much interesting stuff to read. do you just recommend Diana's plan???

    P.S. I recently heard about Ayurvetic doshas and such…have you researched about that? Thanks.

  16. Anonymous,

    "[…] have a very damaged metabolism.I start a diet and lose for a few days and my body tanks.This happens in a few days for me. […] Even with lots of exercise I just am stuck at that last 15 pounds."

    Exactly. That's the essence of diets: diet + exercise = weight stagnation or weight gain and/or severe damage.

    Diets or your body or both are designed to function just like that. It's the reason some people call themselves "anti-diet".

  17. * I should have been more specific. I used "exercise" for the common high-volume, low-intensity exercise. I did not mean high-intensity, low volume, exercise as in interval and weight training, both of which actually support weight loss.

  18. Am I the only one who felt a great urge to stop reading theBear's post after the words "I have been eating the natural human dietary regime"?

    (Emphasis added.)

  19. i, the place to go from here is to read as much on this site as possible. If you feel too overwhelemd at least read all the 2009 blog entres AND COMMENTS. Also if you have any extra cash i would recommend reading Matt's ebooks at least his new one about Diabtetes (Which is relavant for all of us). This place is all about restoring our metabolisms and health ;)

  20. Matt I think you post that video at least once a year because you have a not so secret crush on the good doc.

    Can't say I blame ya! :-)

  21. I frequent Marks Daily apple and really enjoy the forums there. However I have noted of late there is quite a trend to write about how sick people get when eating non primal whole foods. Yesterday someone ate 4 beans and two moutfhfulls of corn bread and had this reaction "My belly felt like someone had a straight edge razor inside slashing away. The cramps were incredible.I was nauseous and couldn't sleep. I am just in shock over the reaction.Okay I am done with beans, now, and forever and ever." I am just amazed each time as when i was eating primally and had some rice or beans etc I had absolutely no reaction wahtsoever and the person above after just two weeks eating primally is mega sick, what gives?

  22. Matt, I love coming here to read your blog, there's a lot of great stuff here. I have recently come off of my LAST low carb excursion. It always makes me feel so horrible. I have been eating lots and lots of whole foods, fats, carbs and adequate protein. Man, I feel so much better. The benefits of good sleep, good mood and high energy are so uplifting. I feel like a different person. For the record, I gained back all of the ten pounds I lost on low carb, which happens every time, but I don't even care I feel so good. I haven't cut anything out, yet, and am working on the sugar thing. It's like giving up my best friend. Anyways, thought you might like to read Tom Venuto's latest blog post, I call it "Diets don't work, except for mine!"

  23. The comment about intermixing zero carb and HED is basically what I am doing with carb cycling. I found it pretty easy to do and I don't have to cut out any foods, so in a way, I'm eating HED. I lost about 20 or 25 pounds and about 5 or 6 inches off my waist. And yes I started with a screwed up thyroid and after a few months of straight HED, I was porking up, so this was the best of both worlds for me. Here is the article that I used…
    There is also something called the ABCDE Diet…
    Although I have never used this second one, it would explain why I looked so muscular for the two weeks of my vacation last year, upping the calories for those 2 weeks. It would seem that constant low calories, or low carb, or low whatever, shuts down the metabolism…it might not happen for a few months, or it might happen after a few days, but it is gonna happen. I know that this isn't "true HED" but for someone that is very overweight and just can't face gaining more, this may be an option for them to start losing weight regularly and consistently without giving up any real food or macronutrient. jmho.

  24. That video is a great introduction into the Schwarzbein series (doesn't the fact that I can spell that name without double-checking illustrate what a fan I am?). I think the basics of the Schwarzbein principle are so crucial. Heal your body with a balanced, whole-foods diet. don't starve, don't wear yourself out, don't ingest toxic foods and chemicals. Simple. Natural. With all the nutrition information I've been knee-deep in for the last year, I still reference Schwarzbein regularly because the foundational principles are so important.

    My advice for someone battling with their weight is to slow down and work on healing your body with the right stuff. Forget about your weight for a little while and just focus on healing. It's an incredible experience and so necessary if you ever want to achieve permanent weight loss.

  25. I'm doing well on 180. I don't weigh myself in order not to get discouraged, but I'm feeling great being able to eat food again. I know I've gained weight, but I'm trying not to focus on that.

    The one big challenge for me is that my craving for alcohol hasn't disappeared and seems to have replaced my desire for sweets. I don't crave sweets, ever, but I crave alcohol almost every day. I was expecting all my addictive cravings to be gone by now, but not so much. I've been doing 180 for about 6 months.

  26. how do you carb cycle with the HED approach… if you eat lots of saturated fat and carbs for 2 days…then eat tons of protein and fat for 5 days…it sounds like a recipe for weight GAIN… do you cycle and cut out fat and do 2 low fat low protein high carb days? i dont think a plain potato is to appetizing

  27. Excellent commentary amigos.

    Will –
    You may be onto something. Although I'm hesitant to even go there, it's application for shedding weight may be appropriate for someone that is truly very overweight.


    Right on. And I'm surprised you read that far in the Bear article. Even if Bear was 120 years old and hadn't had cancer and heart disease, I would still be disinterested in eating nothing but meat. Cult-tastic! I also apologize for the lack of calorie counting tips. It's just, most people around here eat so much they lose count at about 3,000 calories.

    Glad to have you around. All we can do is focus on health first. When that's restored, then, maybe we can pursue weight loss conservatively and intelligently – not at the expense of our health.

    As to Ayurveda, I've found that I've been every dosha at some point. In other words, it's highly mutable. We're seeking to all be a balanced blend of the 3 doshas, which is really what Ayurveda seeks as well – systemic balance.

    Schwarzbein is great. I do think she has some misconceptions about carbohydrates that has been too heavily influenced by low-carb "science." Fasting and postprandial insulin and glucose levels can be reduced eating more carbs. Perhaps via stimulating the hormone leptin, which improves insulin sensitivity dramatically. You'll notice she's all about building more than you're using. That's the theme here but to a MUCH greater extent. The rest is taken to a greater extent, the calories are taken to a greater extent, carbs are taken to a greater extent. I believe it allows for even more expedient recovery. Give the "metabolic recovery" thing 6 months of dedication. Worry about weight loss once you come out the other side feeling good.

    Jedi is right to endorse my latest eBook. That's really a comprehensive up-to-date collection of 180degreehealth. I'm also working on a total revision of 180 Metabolism which should be done by early March at the latest. I won't ever pimp you Mercola-style though.

    Are you drinking alcohol regularly, or craving it every day but abstaining? I guess what I'm saying is that cravings usually lessen on HED, but they won't disappear completely until you've cut the cord on the alcohol completely for at least a month or so. After 6 months of power-munching, I would think you'd be ready to take the plunge.

  28. I think he was saying 2 days on, 2 days off. The idea is that you lose fat during the zero carb days, but don't run into dead ends by doing it every day. That's still zero carb half the time. Sounds kind of brutal, but better than the metabolic suicide of going zero carb every day. I know I'm not up for it. More than 1 day a week of zero carb just wouldn't be worth it, but again, if I weighed 300 pounds, it would be a different story.

  29. As far as leptin and raisins are concerned, maybe that's true. The study sounds so random it's almost comical. But remember, there are 2 elements of leptin. One element is raising levels, the other is overcoming resistance to leptin. Most people's problem is leptin resistance, not leptin shortage, but we still are attacking both sides of the leptin equation by eating a low-fructose, high-calorie diet.

    But it's hard to compare raisins and HFCS. As you know, natural sugars and processed sugars share some properties, but certainly not all properties. For all practical purposes, each form of sugar must be examined individually.

  30. thanks for the fast reply.
    wise words :)

  31. Matt, I have a question. Why does everyone say that drinking juice is bad but eating the whole fruit is OK? Their reasoning is that the juice is locked away in the fiber, but if you eat an orange and you pop one of those wedges in your mouth and chew it, there is the OJ and it isn't locked away in anything anymore. Maybe that was the secret to the raisins and leptin study…when you chew a raisin, you don't have a ton of liquid fructose flowing around as if you were eating a grape.

  32. Yes, part of it could certainly be the pace at which you pound the liver. Eating dried fruit, and especially whole fruit, you're unlikely to get the same quantity of fructose hitting the liver at the same time. Plus, it has to go through a digestive process, is mixed with saliva and enzymes, etc.

    Probably a big difference there.

    Plus, I can easily drink a half gallon of orange juice in an hour. That's like eating who knows how many oranges. 30 maybe?

  33. Plus Will, it's thought to be a quantity issue more than anything else.

  34. On the carb cycling thing, when I say it is sort of HED, I mean that I eat all of the same stuff that Matt eats (just not as tasty, LOL!), just not at the same time. Basically the only 'rule' besides the actual cycling part is that you don't eat an abundance of fat and carbs at the same time. I'll eat chicken breast with salsa and a baked potato with a little butter for a high carb meal and then a steak and a salad as a zero carb meal…no big deal…I'm still eating a ton of fat and a ton of carbs, just not at the same time. My carb cycle is M,W,F=zero carb; Th, Sun=low carb; and Tu, Sat=high carb. A third of your meals are high carb on low carb day while the other 2/3 are zero carb. On high carb day, 2/3 of the meals are high carb and 1/3 are zero carb…makes it easy…the meals are either high carb/low fat or low carb/high fat. Hope that this doesn't sound like I'm pushing this on anyone…just explaining/clarifying what I do.

    There are different ways to carb cycle, this is just one version. Christian Thibideau who is a bodybuilder was an admitted carb-phobic but he carb cycled eating carbs EVERY day in some manner and he got into his leanest contest shape ever after being a low carb fiend for so many years. I'm thinking bodybuilders aren't the best examples of anything healthful but I just wanted to point out his turnaround to consuming carbs again and that you probably don't need to go zero carb at all to use it. Sorry, didn't mean to hijack the thread.

  35. Thanks for the clarification Matt. I know you can eat alot, but I hope you're hungry for those 30 oranges, LOL!

  36. And yes Michael, I have a not so secret crush on Dr. S. But whatever man, you totally have a crush on Darya Pino – or whatever her name is.

  37. If she has done Burn the Fat feed the muscle then she can do HED for sure! All you need to do is eat more fat, eat more calories and throw out the supposedly "clean" garbage like whey protein. Oh and dump the exercise in favor of rest and sleep. The good thing about BFFM for me was that it got me to start looking at refined carbohydrates as the source of my problems.

    I think it's really important to stop focusing on weight. Focus on health. Pick on your teeth, your skin, your body temps, your digestion as your health monitor. Forget about the scales and the fat calipers. Healing your body will heal your mind and then, eventually your body will dump the weight. But you need to give it a real chance by "risking" some weight gain.

    Also, sleep, sleep sleeeeeeep! And try to figure out a way to destress. These are things that are completely overlooked on diets. BFFM especially put me in a high stress low sleep place because I had to exercise so much of the time, and hold down a full-time job and take care of a toddler.

  38. Totally, you just to BFFM but do the exact opposite! Actually, stage one is like FFFM. And then, when you see that it's not working to burn your fat, you keep doing it over and over again hoping that it does (Venuto defines this as insanity).

    But no one around here is insane, is insane, is insane, is insane.

  39. Ha! not insane, just a little "touched in the head."

  40. I also think HED affects your epi-genetics; pushing your body to heal and turn your body into what your DNA wanted you to look like in the first place. To bad it won't re-align all our malocclusion'd teeth!

    Matt thought you might be interested in this, if you have not seen. Sorry for the off topic link:

    Spiral out!

  41. No, I'm not drinking every day, but more like once a week. Peer pressure (as silly as that sounds for a grown woman to say) is a huge factor for me. All my friends are big drinkers and think somethings wrong if I'm not joining them. I've talked about it before, but they're pretty unreceptive.

    I'll work on it.

  42. why wouldnt a basic low carb diet… with once a week HED high carb but lower fat and only accompanying protein be suitable for most people. if you simply eat a balanced lower carb diet during the week high in fat, and "hed up" in carbs (potatoes tubers, roots) on the weekends with low fat, wouldnt your metabolism, and leptin be restored? it makes more sense evolutionarily because a shit load of food all the time was not available. but once a week, i bet it was

  43. and matt, while your preaching about your HED diet, doesn't your girlfriend avidly low-carb? why isnt she doing HED??

  44. I just saw someone on yelp refer to sweet tea as "diabetes water." Hey maybe Matt's way of thinking is catching on.

    Yeah, I've been on a southern food binge, how can you tell?

    Speaking of which I wanted up bring up corn meal. Between polenta and grits I've been in a corn meal kinda mood lately. Refined carb or not?

  45. Does your girlfriend think that the universe revolves around your mental powers? Do everything you say? Bow down to your wisdom?

    Aurora is my girlfriend, not my obedient slave. She eats more food and more carbs than she used to, and cut out caffeine, most alcohol, oral contraceptives, etc. – which eliminated many of her health problems including amennhorea and an autoimmune disease. But you know how women can be. She went from anorexic looking to normal, gaining 10-15 pounds, and is blaming me for making her "fat."

    Don't sweat it too much. 180 is not about freaking and stressing over some drinks once per week.

  46. Jennythenipper,

    "Oh and dump the exercise in favor of rest and sleep."

    You say "exercise" is bad for your ill metabolism?

    One could argue it's only low-intensity, high-volume exercise that plays havoc and slows human metabolism. High-intensity, low-volume exercise could just do the opposite.


    "it makes more sense evolutionarily because a shit load of food all the time was not available. but once a week, i bet it was"

    You have been "there"? Oh, please, tell me more. :)

    Betting on what is healthy or not is impressively fearless. I admit it. I'm a coward.

  47. I want to second Markus statement and would like to know what you think about short bursts of high-intensity exercise. Yes, it very obviously is a stressor to a body, but if done correctly, it has so many benefits. Increased bone and organ mass, leading to greater organ effieciency, better insulin sensitivity and it's even supposed to notch up the metabolism as far as I'm concerned, as opposed to cardio.
    Currently I'm doing some weight lifting once or twice a week. It's high intensity, but also short duration. Like 15-20 minutes, but probably less than half of that time is actually spent lifting weights.
    Depending in how fucked up your metabolism is, even this can be too much, I experienced this, but now I'm stable enough that I don't have those problems anymore and generally seem to do even better after it and not just in the short term, even though I still need quite some time to recover.
    Apart from that I'm also doing sport in school once a week and some light tennis once or twice a week. I know this probably isn't beneficial, but I probably would become a total social outlaw otherwise.
    So, what's everybody's take on HIIT and that stuff?

  48. I still have a very strong preference for complete rest until the metabolism has made significant progress. When exercising, I actually fare much better from a health standpoint doing long-duration low-intensity exercise… hiking/walking.

    Weightlifting and high-intensity exercise always seems to be a huge net negative for me. In fact, it's hard for me to gain fat unless I do high-intensity exercise, especially to the point of muscle soreness.

    But, like HED, I hope to conquer that weakness as well in the future. Is it needed for metabolic healing and all that it's hyped to be? I don't think so.

    Like most things, I think high-intensity workouts will make you feel better while you're doing them at best, and if you return to rest you'll be worse off than before you started the program.

    Still, to this day, I've put on more muscle by eating than I've ever put on at the gym.

  49. Jennythenipper,

    If corn meal is a refined carb, I'm in big trouble. It's pretty much my main food group now. I've been tucking into a huge bowl of spoonbread every morning — here's a mess of Southern happiness for you, an old Virginia recipe.

    Boil 2 c water, stir in 1 c of cornmeal. Cook for a bit, stir in half a stick of butter. Take off heat and stir in 4 eggs and a cup of milk, and plenty of salt. Bake in a buttered casserole dish for an hour at 375.

  50. Thank you nell for the spoonbread recipe. I'll be making this tonight for breaky tomorrow. I was just wondering if you all had thoughts about stoneground versus steel cut corn, and nutirtion, or am I sweating the small stuff on that?

    Oh yeah, there's some weight lifters in here telling us about HIIT and how its the end all be all. Any exercise that you have to get up at 5:30 a.m. to fricken well do is a stress on my body that I don't need whether its running or HIIT cardio, or weightlifting. When my body temps are back in the normal range I plan to start enjoying hiking, snowshoeing and maybe even a little trail running now and again.

    Pretty much a life lived on massive amounts of HIIT is one that can never go back to a maintenance phase. There is no maintenance, there is only pushing further and further along, or crashing and going into rebound hyperphagia. I can tell you all about that.

  51. reading this site makes me want to go eat! love this healthy love of good whole food! :)

    matt, you are probably right about the doshas being like a revolving door. balancing the body is what's really important.

    you recommended focusing on health first. what i think that means is…enough sleep, stay away from chemicals in food, eat whole real food, low impact exercise….etc.

    am i missing anything?

    i really try to focus on real food, and when i do i feel great…even at 250lbs. i would like to loose weight too though.

    i just need to consistently eat well!

    p.s. if i drink milk and it makes my neck itchy, do you think raw would do the same to me? do you recommend any type of allergy testing?

  52. Thanks Jenny. And to you spoonbread fools, you are making me so proud. Cornmeal is fine as far as I'm concerned. Sure, it would be best freshly-ground like anything, but that's probably "the small stuff." I would cook that cornmeal in half cream or half n' half/half water though. Yippee!

    I think allergy testing is unnecessary for most. I think you shouldn't ignore your intolerances/aggravators in the early stages though. Raw milk usually is different and affects us differently than pasteurized.

    You got the gist here pretty well. The only thing I would add when I say "focus on health" is to actually undergo what Schwarzbein refers to as "the healing process." I think that is best done by actually overfeeding. That, in my opinion, along with more inclusion of carbs, is taking Schwarzbein up a notch… building on top of her foundation of ideas.

    And Jenny-
    That is really what I think exercise should be. Leisure activities. Sport. Fun. At least from an everyday health and happiness perspective.

  53. Increasing the fat-to-carbohydrate ratio in a high-fat diet prevents the development of obesity but not a prediabetic state in rats

    Abbreviations: a.u., arbitrary units; BMI, body mass index; CV, coefficient of variation; HCD, low-fat and high-carbohydrate diet; HDL-C, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; HFD1, high-fat and medium-carbohydrate diet; HFD2, very-high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet; HFD3, very-high-fat and carbohydrate-free diet; HOMA, homoeostatic model assessment; HOMA-IR, HOMA of insulin resistance; LDL-C, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; NEFA, non-esterified fatty acid.

    Correspondence: Dr Etienne Challet (email [email protected]).

    Metabolic disorders induced by high-fat feeding in rodents evoke some, if not all, of the features of human metabolic syndrome. The occurrence and severity of metabolic disorders, however, varies according to rodent species, and even strain, as well as the diet. Therefore, in the present study, we investigated the long-term obesogenic and diabetogenic effects of three high-fat diets differing by their fat/carbohydrate ratios. Sprague–Dawley rats were fed a control high-carbohydrate and low-fat diet [HCD; 3:16:6 ratio of fat/carbohydrate/protein; 15.48 kJ/g (3.7 kcal/g)], a high-fat and medium-carbohydrate diet [HFD1; 53:30:17 ratio of fat/carbohydrate/protein; 19.66 kJ/g (4.7 kcal/g)], a very-high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet [HFD2; 67:9:24 ratio of fat/carbohydrate/protein; 21.76 kJ/g (5.2 kcal/g)] or a very-high-fat and carbohydrate-free diet [HFD3; 75:0:25 ratio of fat/carbohydrate/protein; 24.69 kJ/g (5.9 kcal/g)] for 10 weeks. Compared with the control diet (HCD), rats fed with high-fat combined with more (HFD1) or less (HFD2) carbohydrate exhibited higher BMI (body mass index; +13 and +10% respectively; P<0.05) and abdominal fat (+70% in both HFD1 and HFD2; P<0.05), higher plasma leptin (+130 and +135% respectively; P<0.05), lower plasma adiponectin levels (-23 and -30% respectively; P<0.05) and impaired glucose tolerance. Only the HFD1 group had insulin resistance. By contrast, a very-high-fat diet devoid of carbohydrate (HFD3) led to impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and hypoadiponectinaemia (-50%; P<0.05), whereas BMI, adiposity and plasma leptin did not differ from respective values in animals fed the control diet. We conclude that increasing the fat-to-carbohydrate ratio to the uppermost (i.e. carbohydrate-free) in a high-fat diet prevents the development of obesity, but not the prediabetic state (i.e. altered glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity).


  54. And yes Michael, I have a not so secret crush on Dr. S. But whatever man, you totally have a crush on Darya Pino – or whatever her name is.

    Nice try. You are not having Dr. S all to your lonesome, so don't try and distract me. :-)

  55. BTW, I lost the most fat/weight when I wasn't exercising at all. I like lifting weights but I don't have the time for a structured workout regimen, so, since I work from home, I will just do a set every now and then throughout the day. During the period from around Thanksgiving until just after New Year, even that little bit throughout the day goes by the wayside, yet that was when I lost the most. Interesting.

  56. can someone give me a quick run down on a typical week….what do you eat for each meal? what exercise do you do?

    somehow this sounds crazy but sounds like it shoudl work

  57. Typical week:
    (For a 6' 180 lb. man and his pregnant wife)

    2 gallons whole milk
    1/2 lb butter
    2 dozen eggs
    5 lb bag potatoes (Russet)
    1/2 gal Orange Juice
    6 oz. coconut oil
    8 c white Basmati rice
    1 lb. cheese
    1 lb whole milk yogurt
    8 apples
    6 bananas
    1/2 loaf sprouted grain bread
    16 oz. (volume) canned beans
    1 lb. ribeye steak
    2 lb. chicken legs with skin
    32 oz. chicken broth
    plus more cheese, butter and eggs, hard to figure how much per week, but it is A LOT!

    We spend about $125 on groceries and usually another $50 eating out on steaks and burritos.

    Eating good food is the best thing ever. I love how I can be healthy AND eat a shitload of grub!


  58. "And Jenny-
    That is really what I think exercise should be. Leisure activities. Sport. Fun. At least from an everyday health and happiness perspective."

    Matt instinctively I believe this

    "Still, to this day, I've put on more muscle by eating than I've ever put on at the gym."

    Matt I don't know whatt to do with you as you are exploding all my dearly held beliefs. I actually have lost muscle from not weight training the past 3 months but hopefully that will change. Once again I did lots of very heavy lifting the past four years (squatting 100kg etc)because everywhere i read how essential it is so as not to look skinny fat (I am naturally very muscular by the way) but i was doing it from fear not from great pleasure, I far prefer hiking, snowshoeing, walking, tennis, squash, kayaking etc i wonder if i dare let go of the weightlifting??

  59. Two points…One, in a study on centenarians, it showed that most of them performed lots of "natural movements" but did not do an actual exercise workout. For instance, the Okinawans sit on the floor and they got up and down off of the floor hundreds of times a day. They gardened, cleaned, carried stuff, etc. Jeanne Calment (the oldest recorded person that ever lived) was said to be an avid bike rider but that she wasn't an athlete, i.e. she rode for fun.

    Point two…I don't think that the process of losing weight is healthy. Healthy groups were never fat so they never had the need to lose weight. If you think about when the human body loses a ton of fat, think about famine, starvation, concentration camps. It isn't a good situation for the body to be in. I think of the body as a rich miser and fat as his money. He'll hoard as much as he can and spend as little as possible. So if you are losing fat, according to the body, something is going wrong. I remember David Letterman saying something like "Lose weight without diet or exercise…that pretty much leaves disease". Just sayin.

  60. If centenarians do have one universal thing in common, it's that they are at peace with how they live. They do what they want, and they eat what they want. That may not be true for Jack LaLanne and some others who have clearly worked very hard for their health and longevity, but centenarians clearly don't engage in battle with themselves and their natural desires and urges on a daily basis. They are light. Easygoing. And engaged in life on both a physical and mental level.

    If you've done a lot of weighttraining, you probably won't gain that much muscle eating and resting. But for those that haven't already reached or exceeded their normal genetic muscle-building potential, eating is more anabolic than weight lifting.

    As for losing more fat without weight training, amen. My experiences exactly.

    Anonymous rat study nerd,

    Let me guess, the rat's source of fat was corn oil, and the source of carbohydrate was sucrose, frutose, and/or maltodextrin or some other highly-refined and "controllable" carbohydrate. We know that causes prediabetes, obesity, and health problems chisel chest. Try it with milk (which fits that macronutrient profile) and tell me what results you get. Prediabetes? Obesity? Fuhgeddaboudit!

    Anonymous interested in what we eat:

    Each week I eat at least 5 pounds of tubers – sweet potatoes and potatoes
    Occasional homemade rye bread
    A breakfast or two of oatmeal
    Curry with rice, sometimes brown, sometimes white
    Popcorn twice a week
    Lots of vegetables: spinach, bok choy, salad greens, carrots, cabbage, etc.
    Burgers, pizza, or Mexican food out, usually twice per week
    1/2 pound bacon
    4-6 cans of coconut milk
    10-20T refined coconut oil
    1-2 pounds butter
    1 quart half n' half
    1 pound wild salmon
    1 pound chicken
    Beef or lamb on occasion, usually in spurts (like I'll eat nothing but red meat for several days and then get tired of it for a month)
    1/2 pound-1 pound cheese
    A few nuts and olives + a few T of peanut butter
    Something sweet, like a couple of apples or a small, low-pufa dessert, once per week or less
    An occasional beer (maybe 1 per week)

  61. Lawd a mercy y'all my spoonbread breakfast was just de-vine! As a southern girl I just love me some cornmeal. I hadn't had that in ages and we just tucked into it as nell said. And yes I do make mine with 2 parts whole milk to 1 part water.

    To Will's point about natural movements, my grandmother was a big time gardener but never exercised like we think of exercise. She could put both palms on the floor without bending her knees when she was 90! She was a large woman, not fat, ate a HEDish diet and was healthy all her life, mind sharp, good disposition and energy. Truly an inspiration for me.

  62. Cue 2 favorite southern sayings:
    "Oh my word!"
    "Bless her heart!"

  63. "I think of the body as a rich miser and fat as his money. He'll hoard as much as he can and spend as little as possible."

    I highly disagree here. As long as you are in homeostasis, good (metabolic) health and eat real food, I doubt that you will ever be able to put on a significant amount of fat regardless of how much your eating.
    The human body is an incredibly efficient regulated system and tries to stay within homeostasis all of the time and as long as we are not pushing too much (pretty much the equivalent to the modern day lifestyle) it will stay in homeostasis. The idea of a body that tries to store fat whenever it can is the main cause that brought us to the conclusion that a hypocaloric diet is a good thing.

    Now, Matt you really are 180 to all mainstream advice. Your idea of exercising sounds compelling, but I don't know if I'm able to give up weight lifting just yet.

    Oh, and how does corn rank in the anti-nutrient ranking? On the one hand, it's a grain, but it's certainly unlike any other grain.

  64. So coconut milk is ok even though it has the natural sugars? Also, is refined coconut oil just as good as the unrefined? I use unrefined but not as much as I'd like cause I just can't stomach the flavor sometimes.
    Is sprouted grain bread ok? It is pretty low carb.

  65. Anonymous,

    Here is a typical day, only exercise is walking, and trying for 8-9hrs sleep per night

    Daily food example:

    4 eggs scrambled, 1TB butter, sea salt
    1 cup steel cut oats (soaked 24hrs), 1TB heavy cream, 2TB raw milk, 1TB coconut Oil, 1TB butter, lots of cinnamon

    First lunch
    Few ounces protein, usually chicken, grassfed beef, sockeye salmon (chicken and beef will include bone broth)
    2 Cup brown rice pasta, 2TB heavy cream, 2TB butter, 4TB unpasteurized Parmesan cheese, 2 pastured egg yolks, sea salt
    1 Cup broccoli w/butter

    Second Lunch
    Second portion of lunch #1 same size

    Few cups of beef stew; grassfed beef, potatoes, carrots, celery, tomato, turnip, bone broth with marrow, 2TB butter
    1 cup grassfed raw milk

    2 cups fresh popped popcorn, lots of butter and coconut oil
    few ounces of hard or soft cheese

    Hope that helps

  66. MadMuhh,

    You are right. I think the body will go nuts if fat levels drop below what it is "comfortable" with. Likewise, once you've reached a certain level, a healthy person will self-regulate so that some fat is stored, but not an unhealthful, counterprodutive excess. Even prisoners force-fed 10,000 calories per day while sedentary in Ethan Sims famous study – the majority did not gain significant weight. One man only went from 134 to 143. 9 pounds in 6 months of 10,000 calories per day! Now those are some powerful regulating forces!

    Refined coconut oil (expeller pressed) is much easier on the palette and the stomach. Sprouted bread is probably fine if it contains no added sweeteners (Ezekiel), as long as you don't notice too many stomach problems from it. But whole, intact grains like brown rice or quinoa is probably better in the grain category.

    And on the topic of corn – it is not a high-phytate kind of affair like wheat, rye, legumes, etc. Fresh corn especially is wonderful, but I can get down on some popcorn and cornmeal too.

  67. I just came across this which explains why calories in = calories out is a myth and tells about some experiments, like from Ethan Simms.
    It says eating more than the body needs elevates metabolism and eating less decreases metabolism. However, if you eat more to get your metabolism up just so you can then lose weight, won't your metabolism decrease again? Plus, this set point they are talking about, what does that mean? Can this set point be changed I wonder? Plus why do people seem to have much higher set points now than they did even just one or two generations ago? Interesting stuff.

  68. The 2 days HED 2 days calorie restriction works.The bump of metabolism causes rapid fatloss on low days.

    Yet I have decided to not care about my stomach area.My skin is looking superb,digestion is slowly improving and yesterday I came home and slept for 12 hrs waking up totally exhausted as if I didn't even sleep and had wicked dreams the whole time!!! :D

    I have decided that I really need to HEAL and can get into some calorie cycling later on.

    What I am noticing is severe hypoglycemia though.This doesn't happen when I follow a meal as per what Matt eats on a regular basis.But when I binge on carbs even being all starch like pasta I go way low in blood sugar.I notice people here getting amazingly stable BS levels even after high carb meals and wonder will I eventually heal myself to be like that??????

    Just amazing is all I can say…Viva la HED

  69. to (scott) Swede: how in the world do you only spend $125 on groceries a week for you and pregnant wife?! i haven't been able to get that much food for that little in years! i buy for 2 adults and a 4 year old who doesn't eat that much yet, and i spend AT LEAST $150/week if not over $200. and it was more when i was pregnant. maybe it's b/c i shop mostly at the local health food store, Vitamin Cottage and then some at Whole Foods, but still! my husband would fall over if i brought home a receipt from the grocery that was so little!

  70. Vida,I believe it really is all about calories.Its just that a depressed metabolism causes low calorie diet not to work….or rather to stop working after awhile.

    HED will cause fat gain if taken to excess.It also causes a body to rev up its metabolic activity so that when you do miss a large meal here and there the body does what its supposed to do and burns fat for fuel thru the harsh times.

  71. Team Smith-
    I plan to come out with a budget healthy eating eBook in the spring. Maybe that'll help, if you need it to. Your escapades at Health Food stores is probably worth the quality though if you find you can afford it.

    People believe that set point is stable. No way! Dieting raises the set point. I believe the set point, for someone who is truly overweight, can be lowered by doing the opposite (a 180, wink, wink). Typical dieting drives weight down and set point up. This must mean that the mirror physiological response is weight up, set point down. At least, that's the working theory.

    Ethan Sims study along with a book I have on my desk right now (Biology of Human Starvation) have shown me one thing clearly. Calories only affect the body weight temporarily – then key mechanisms kick in to bring the body back to balance. So the first question to ask is, why not eat until you're satisfied? But it's more than that. Eating well raises the metabolism, triggers muscle-building and fat burning hormones like testosterone (controlling leanness and libido in both men and women to a large extent, hint, hint). Fat can be lost at the top of our metabolic range while eating abundantly if there is truly excess fat to be lost.

    You'll get there. Even I still get a little hungry and have some cravings if I get that ratio of carbs to protein too high (like more than 5 or 6 to 1), or if I eat too much refined carbohdyrate such as white flour or white rice (and to a much greater degree of course – refined sugar). Glad you're noticing some good things.

  72. While I love the idea of HED and am trying to implement it, I'm not sure how to go about it because the majority of the time I don't really feel hungery. I seem to have almost completely lost my appetite. Still, eating constanty and in large amounts when I'm not hungry doesn't feel right- reminds me of the days when I used to use purging to maintain my weight. One of my biggest fears when going back home over the christmas break was that I'd get so hungry from all the carbs that I'd been denying myself of for all these weeks that I'd go crazy and binge on everything in sight, but strangely enough the opposite seems to have happened. Sometimes I realise that I should eat because I feel more grouchy or realise I've got stomach pangs, but I don't feel the hunger in my head anymore. If that makes any sense at all.

    But in the same way, because I can't tell in my head when I feel hungry, I also have lots of difficulty telling when I'm full and occasionally won't stop eating until my stomach physically can't handle any more. Can't help but wonder if a few months of almost zc eating with IFing stuffed up my sense of hunger/satiety.

  73. "Beef or lamb on occasion, usually in spurts (like I'll eat nothing but red meat for several days and then get tired of it for a month)"

    Sorry if I have to bring this up again, but that sounds very primal to me. Our ancestors certainly didn't have access to beef all the time. When they were lucky enough to hunt a bison or whatever down, they probably ate until it was all eaten up and then went back to smaller game until they were able to track more large game down.
    Is there any reason why you do it like that, Matt? Small animals like chicken seem to have more PUFAs as far as I'm concerned. So is there any reason why you still eat more of those? Or maybe it just seems like that. Is it the ourine, some other reason or non at all?

  74. Oh, and I meant purine btw, not ourine and certainly not urine.

  75. I do that too, I will eat chicken only or have a vegetarian day when I feel like I've been eating too much red meat (whatever that means.) However, when I don't eat meat, I feel like there is something missing. I think even if earlier folks did not eat red meat all the time, does not mean that they did not want it. If it had been available everyday probably that would have been chosen over the birds.
    I think there is a huge mind/body connection too. The argument that our ancestors did not eat grains and starches makes sense if they were not available. Since they were not available, they didn't want it cause they didn't know about it. Now that it is available our bodies do want it. Doesn't seem to mean it is wrong or right. Plus, I don't know all that much about the paleo diet, but were these people in optimal health? Did the absence of certain foods promote or demote their health? Just wondering.

  76. Sarah-
    Sounds like ZC and IF definitely short-circuited something. Don't worry about scarfing up tons of food if you are uncomfortable with it. I will say that there have been many instances where people have gravitated to this blog that have really gotten themselves into metabolic hole. Hunger, and the ability to eat are minimal. Just try to make a little progress, slowly. Move in the right direction.

    I don't know what it is about red meat. One day I'll get this craving for it, cherish every bite, and then want to eat nothing but red meat for several weeks. Aurora is the same. We just go on these red meat tears sometimes. So satisfying. Then one day, it sorta becomes undesirable. I don't do this intentionally for any kind of health purpose, it's just how my natural tastes ebb and flow throughout the year.

    As far as chicken goes, I've actually been eating skinless breasts most of the time (like 2-3 times per week in curry or fajitas or something like that). What increasing my ratio of saturates to polyunsaturated in my diet has done for me I couldn't tell you, but I follow the logic of doing so. It also makes that hunk of salmon I eat a couple times of week more substantial when it comes to balancing those omega 6 to omega 3 ratios.

  77. My story is almost identical to hers. I was put on skim milk at 5 years old, have been on countless diets since then and have had 3 weight loss surgeries. I'm still around 280 pounds (highest weight was 400+). Instead of meth I was addicted to Ritalin, caffeine and energy drinks. I started eating a WAPF style diet about a year ago. I'm off stimulants completely. I still drag, feel like crap and am balding but I have faith that I will heal with the right foods. The recent weight regain (I was down to 240 and am now up to 280) has my family in hysterics, yelling and blaming me for not doing my weight loss surgery diet correctly. I'm a metabolic mess but have faith that I'll heal.

  78. Lisa,

    So sorry to hear about your difficulties. I was a skim milk kid too because of the weight. No surgeries ever though, thank god.

    My wife gave me crap too for gaining some weight on HED. She insisted it wasn't working. It was tough ignoring someone I love that much but I stuck to my guns. As if weight was the end-all and be-all of health. It's not.

    But I just wanted to let you know that after months of never feeling like I had enough sleep and dragging through the day, my adrenals seem to have finally healed around the New Years, and I'm starting to lose the weight I put on during HED – without excessive exercise or starving myself. My body has finally turned the corner of health and is seeking its natural (healthy) weight.

    Also, my Mom (who was much, much heavier than I ever was) is losing a ton of weight too. She won't tell me what she weighs even now, but she's literally half the woman she was two years ago. She's on the WAPF/Optimal diet, and it took her a while too. What really did help her accelerate her progress though was diagnosing a case of Hashimoto's and getting a prescription for that. Something to think about – some endocrine damage (like Type 1 diabetes) is too far gone for good food alone to heal.

    Regards, and Good Luck!


  79. Lisa, I have faith too, and you're in the right place baby. Glad I've got a ringside seat to watch real food kick bariatric surgery's ass in the battle of health and happiness.

  80. "Your metabolism may be damaged if you have spent years dieting to lose weight, consumed large amounts of alcohol, tobacco, sugary foods, processed foods, caffeine, prescription drugs, have a stressful life, or have continually abused your body with too much high-intensity aerobic exercise."

    OMG I have done every single one of those things! No wonder I am so out of whack. I have gone practically a decade being depressed and having no energy because I keep making it worse by trying to diet and exercise to lose weight. I gained all the weight after losing the other bad habits. That's it I am never never never going on another restrictive diet again!

  81. If restricted diets were worth the pain and suffering, it would be one thing. But they achieve the opposite of the desired effect.

    If someone marketed a health and weight loss pill that promised to:

    Slow down your metabolism!
    Make you depressed!
    Decrease your body image!
    Lower your libido!
    Eliminate your energy!

    Increase hunger!
    Burn muscle, not fat!
    Make you gain weight faster than ever before!
    Increase cravings for junk food!

    Would you buy it? No. But those are all the long-term consequences of restricted dieting. What happens in the short-term is almost always the opposite of what happens in the long-term.

  82. Brock,

    That is great news about your healing! Meant to post this sooner, but when did you start anti-diet / HED? Curious of your time frame? Do you feel you were deep in a metabolic syndrome hole?

    I am feeling better, and my appetite is really starting to wane (still forcing some large eating though :), but it looks like it will take me until next Xmas for my basal numbers to come up and eventual weight loss. Thats just my guess, although things could accelerate..


  83. I started no-sugar/vegatable oils in November '08 (after reading Weston Price). Started HED around July '09. That was after 10 years of yo-yo dieting (all low carb) and bad caffeine addiction. Basal temp was low 96 at start. I'm still not at 98.6, but much improved.

  84. Dan Holt

    Diana Schwarzbein is by far the most attractive modern nutritionist. She's not a twig like many of the modern females. I like it because you know she's not anorexic. She has a very attractive natural beauty to herself. She follows some solid principals. Can't say I have a particular nutritionist I identify with 100% in views though.

    I've heard this a couple times and would like to know if it is true. Should we consume 5 meals a day 5 hours apart? It's been popular for some people to recommend 5 meals a day and I believe even Diana recommends it in her video. Aajonus recommends eating a protein source five hours into sleep otherwise your body metabolizes a tblspn of your own blood. You then wake up groggy and tired. I came to the conclusion you want to consume protein every 5 hours but don't have any scientific sources to help me to see why, if it is true, and to get more clarification on it. Do you know Matt?

    Thank you

  85. I tried some meal frequency before. It was okay. Nothing special. Seems much easier on digestion to eat 3 meals a day.

  86. Dan Holt

    I've also heard the recommendation of just eating two big meals a day. However, you would want to eat a lot of meat with that as meat takes 5-8 hours to digest. That might be the trick, just finding a slow digesting protein source to over the span of several hours. Then you would eat every 10 hours. Maybe a big meal in the morning, a big meal a little later in noontime, and a small meal before you go to bed. 6AM, 4PM, 10PM small snack.

    Or if you were to have cow meat with every meal you could just eat twice a day. It takes 8 hours to digest. 6AM, 9PM

  87. Dan Holt

    Or with cow meat maybe you would want to eat three times a day as it is completely digested every 8 hours:

    6AM, 2PM, 10PM

  88. Currently following the Schwarzbein Program coupled with the HED plan in your metabolism book after extreme low calorie dieting and anorexia in my early 20's…She is so kick-ass!

    Now if only I could pass on this good news to girlfriends and female family members without seeing a look of sheer horror on their faces.

  89. But the look of sheer horror is the best part! Good luck sister.


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