Weight Watchers Fail

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The other day I posted a nice message sent to me about epic diet failure. Well guess what? I got another message from a lifelong dieter early this morning. The story is the same. A little weight crept in during the early years, which was met with swift Weight Watchers catastrophe. All diets suck, but calorie restriction in which foods of all degrees of quality or lack thereof are on the same playing field is sheer metabolic suicide. Here’s the e-mail, and what I believe is a pretty decent response from cap’n 180 himself…

Hi Matt,

I recently found out about your blog via Free The Animal.com (I clicked on your name after reading one of your comments). I have been perusing the archives of your terrific blog for the last couple of days. I have a couple of questions, though. Before I ask them, I would like to briefly describe my situation. I am a 33-year old caucasian male. I am 6’4″, I weigh 415 lbs and I have very little lean muscle mass. I was a normal weight until puberty (13), when I started gaining a lot of weight. My Mom took me to Weight Watchers, where I lasted two weeks – the tiny portions left me ravenously hungry all the time. By the time I was 17, I weighed 330 lbs. I went on a low fat diet and started excercising a lot – mostly cardio (walking, the stairmaster, swimming, etc.). Sometimes I would spend 3-4 hours a day excercising. After eight months I lost 120 lbs., but I would often feel really hungry, I lost my zeal for excercise and my weight slowly crept back up to 330 lbs. (and over the years has surpassed it). In short, I am a giant blob of fat with little energy and – not to get too personal – the libido of a eunuch.

Recently, I have decided to lose weight but I am unsure of what to do. There’s so much information out there: Vegetarian, raw food, low-carb, low-fat, etc. I will not go vegetarian because I like meat too much (and most vegetarians look weak and sickly to me, i.e. they’re thin versions of me). Low-fat is out of the question because of my previous experience and because I don’t want to spend my life starving, chained to a treadmill and eating food that tastes like crap. Also, I discovered Mark’s Daily Apple, PaNu and Free The Animal at about the same time and became convinced that saturated fat is not evil as I had been taught for many years. However, I am leery of going low-carb (i.e. giving up grains) because I have read many stories of people suffering constipation and other symptons associated with such a diet. The only steps I have taken to lose weight and improve my health so far are to kick my Diet Pepsi addiction and to stop eating white bread. I am very frustrated because I desperately want to lose weight but I do not want to compromise my health in the process. There is so much contradictory information out there and I just don’t know where to begin. My question to you is: What are some small steps that I can take right now to start losing weight in a healthy manner?
 
My Response:
 
At least you haven’t lost your sense of humor. That “libido of a eunuch” thing almost made me fall out of my chair.

If you retrace what you just wrote, you can see that each attempt at weight loss in your life thus far was really various successful attempts at metabolic suicide. Dieting, quite frankly, does not work. Even if you were to lose weight on a low-carb diet, you would be imprisoned in low-carb once you lost that weight, and would be likely to gain it back – even if you remained, with steel will, on a low-carb diet. Even Jimmy Moore, who is the same-sized guy that you are (he started low-carbing at 410 pounds), has gained 30 pounds back in the last year. Outlook doesn’t look good. Almost all diets have long-term weight loss curves that look like a Nike Swoosh on a graph.

Before you even think about losing weight, you’re going to have to cultivate some patience. Quite frankly, to lose any weight whatsoever without negative consequence and burying yourself in some dietary prison at the end of the line – you’ve got to get healthy first. You have to heal your metabolism. It should be no surprise to you that in order to heal your metabolism you must do the opposite of what ruined it. Hence, “180.”

Watch the Schwarzbein video I posted in my most recent blog post very carefully. What 180 is all about is performing what Schwarzbein is trying to accomplish, but I believe, with greater expediency and to a more thorough degree. Schwarzbein on steroids basically.

So before you do anything, eat. Eating does not cause, at the core, the problems that you have. Eating is not inherently harmful or sinister as the weight loss industry (all arms) has led you to believe. Your body got hungry and sick and tired of exercise because the actions you took invoked that response. What I am almost 100% sure that you will see following the “high-everything diet,” is the creation of a ceiling in your weight. Then it will slowly and effortlessly creep downward. It may take many months to really get there, but it’s the only destination.

Other websites, health nerds, authors, and gurus are willing to do anything and eat anything in order to be healthy. They seek to find what that is that will achieve that. Here, the focus is simply, “what can we do to improve our health eating and living normally?” It’s a huge fundamental difference once you think about it. A human being is not healthy if they depend on a low-carb, or low-fat, or vegetarian, or low-calorie diet to keep weight off. Allow some time for the 180 thing to sink in. Tiptoe into it. Read what others are saying.

What I’m trying to offer is getting yourself out of dietary hell once and for all – forever. Battling yourself is not the answer. You’ve spent 20 years dieting so far and where has it gotten you? Join me in saying, “fuck diets!”

Really glad to have you along. I hope you replace your mindset of “what diet next” with “never diet again!”

Hit me with questions as they come up. I’m busy, but not swamped, and this is not work for me. This is fun!
 
 
 

57 Comments

  1. Fuck diets. I couldn't say it better. Though it sounds far more vulgar when it comes out of my mouth than yours. ;)

    I love real food, and I know my body underwent the most healing when I allowed myself to eat a liberal amount of real food, with an occasional splurge in the mix as well.

    But… I am a typical girl in some ways, and as much as I'm leaving behind the desire to be a "skinny fat" supermodel, I still like the idea of looking awesome in a bikini. So I have to watch myself or I get pulled into another unhealthy diet regime sleekly disguised as a "lifestyle" or "way of eating".

    I started Schwarzbein seriously in June 2008, dove into saturated fat in Oct 2008, and then sprung for real foods ala WAPF in Jan 2009. I gained 17 lb initially on the diet (oh, what a blow to my ego – I was so proud of finally being a size 4 thanks to a very damaging low-fat, low-cal diet). I've lost about 3 lb since (though by my numbers I've gained between 6-8 lbs of lean body mass, very glad about that), and am learning to live with the rest. But I still harbor a fantasy of fitting into my old jeans.

    I recently commented on my 2 month low-carb disaster that didn't do much for my weight but ruined my moods. (Yes, I'm totally off of that bang-wagon now. Back to balance for me.) Is there any hope for me and my old jeans?

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  2. Everyone tends to become infatuated with the leanest they've ever been. I once made the typical male model (or Mark Sisson) look like a lard ass by eating 2,000 calories per day and exercising 4-5 hours a day. Six pack with veins popping out of it. Chiseled muscles from heaad to toe (and visible vertebrae, ew). By my best guess, my body fat percentage was 3-4%.

    I will never be that lean ever again. Nor will I ever be that miserably starved, neurotic, cold, constipated, emotionally unstable, impotent, or unhealthy. Lean sure, but I woke up every day to a pillow covered with fallen hair for a year afterwards. Not a good sign.

    You've gained muscle and lost some of the initial fat. That may continue. You may get to size 4, you may not. But size 4, size 6, size 8 – it all sounds pretty hot to me.

    Plus, your purdy eyes peering over Nourishing Traditions is enough sex appeal to impress anyone here. I might've once found skinny models attractive, but now that I know better, I just wanna slap 'em (in a constructive kind a way… of course).

    Just keep on the path. See where it leads. I will do the same. If I find tricks to get stupid lean without sacrificing health, I'll certainly report back.

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  3. Encouraging words, Matt. I appreciate them.

    I am a totally different person than I was two years ago, that's for sure. I never got to the hair-falling-out stage (thank goodness!), but I had the neurotic, rageful, depressed thing down pretty well. I thought I was going nuts. I'm way more stable now. That was really what hit me when I tried low-carb: all my old symptoms came rushing back!

    I refuse to trade a few pounds for my mental well-being and a true sense of joy. People would pay millions for that and all I had to give up was a couple inches around my hips. Totally worth it.

    Besides, I have to say I have a much better body image and sense of self-confidence at this weight than I ever did at my thinnest.

    But I'll keep my size 4 jeans around just in case, someday… ;)

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  4. Eliabeth, you and I are in the same boat! I want my size 4's back too, unfortunately I gained way more than you (a testament to how much I screwed up my metabolism I guess). I'm a 12 now, but the funny part is I felt more insecure at a size 4, It's nice to feel confident and balanced and stable. -Sarah

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  5. Apparently I still can't spell though….finger and brain don't always work in unison. Sorry about misspelling your name!

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  6. For most of my adult life my diet was mostly "starve and binge". I've done WW twice (ya know, paid for it) and countless times on my own. Every time I gained. At first I'd feeel uncomfortably full if I ate all my points, more food than I was used to, but then I would be hungry ALL THE TIME!

    2 years ago, I went low carb, fanatically under 20 carbs a day. Lost a bunch of weight but totally fucked up my already fucked up self. Now I'm back to where I started weight wise and yes it pisses me off, but I'm trusting Matt. Something is happening, temps are no longer all over the place, my hair has stopped falling out and with a little HRT since I'm in menopause I can sleep all night.
    Elizabeth, I have a pre-baby smallest I ever was pair of jeans I have held onto for I kid you not, 30 years. Yes I too have longed to be that little again but I was a miserable bitch then. Like you said, joy, that's where it's at!
    And Matt even if you can't find the path to skinny jeans, I think you are onto something.

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  7. I am the same Elizabeth, gone up from my size 4 Jeans to a size 7 over the last 2.5 months and still going. It took very low cals and carbs to get there :) but have to say I felt and looked awesome and confident. Like you guys I would like t get back there one day but am preparing myself for it not being the case ;) I have kept those thermometer jeans though (a pair of Calvin Klein jeans I got in a thrift store about 4 years ago for $7 :))

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  8. Bless you Susan. You ladies are all over the theme here. Thanks for your support and be happy. I hope my work continues to empower you, size 4, size 12, whatever.

    Any guys want to chime in here and tell these women that a few extra pounds doesn't have any bearing on how sexy a confident, calm, emotionally stable, and happy woman is?

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  9. I for one like a girl with curves!

    Happy and stable at a healthy size, go a lot further in my books, then rail thin gaunt and emotional rollercoaster rides!

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  10. and Undertow, there is no doubt that HED goes a long way towards "happy and stable" :)

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  11. For sure Jedi!

    I have a growing corti-lepti-insuli-belly, before this would have freaked me out, but now its all good, knowing that I am healing and improving in other areas! And eventually that belly will be gone, just have to keep this up!

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  12. I know this probably won't make you feel better, but I wish I could actually GAIN some weight. Was thin before low-carb and got even thinner doing it.
    But I think I've already gained some mass back. That's very good since I actually think I was losing muscle at the end of my low-carb period. I do think that most of the gains are fat and I'm still looking pretty much the same, thin as a stick, but I think I'm moving into the same direction.
    Now if my hands just weren't that damn cold. And I also would appreciate it if my hair loss would slow down. Nothing too drastic, but if I continue like that, it might start to get noticeable by others.

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  13. Matt what do you think about us being somewhat adapted to the foods of our cultural heritage? I have a lot of Irish ancestry and so was looking at early Medieval food in Ireland and just read this "Milk, "good when fresh, good when old, good when thick, good when thin," was considered the best food."
    :) Guess they already knew about the milk diet in around 400 AD ;)

    MadMUHHH grrr yes we are all jealous :) glad you seem to be gaining if slowly ;)

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  14. I don't know how big a size 4 is, but its probably too small! A healthy female should have a decent amount of body fat, I would think somewhere between 20 and 30%. I've known several woman who were very skinny and had spontaneous abortions. I assume because their bodies were not able to handle the stress of pregnancy.

    The modern obsession with being thin and skinny is ridiculous. Especially for females. Look at artwork and sculptures from the past, woman were pleasantly filled out and had womanly curves in all the right places!

    It's damaging to both the body and the mind. I don't really know what can be done about it. Popular media seems to think that people only want to see skinny models. I can't stand the pictures in magazines like Vogue, blech.

    As they say, real woman have curves!

    All my buddies would prefer a Kim Kardashian or Jessica Biel type body over an Angelina Jolie type body.

    Scott

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  15. Madmuhh,
    I don't think you'll have any problem gaining weight over time. Once the metabolism kicks in and those hands start warming up you'll get a good jolt of anabolic hormones to the rescue.

    Yes, leanness in women is associated with ammenhorrea, inability to conceive, autoimmune disease, giving birth to an autistic child, and so on. This says nothing of the chronic injuries incurred in the process of getting that lean, such as knee, ankle, and hip pain from lots of running and what not.

    Speaking of leanness, I just received Ancel Keys famed Biology of Human Starvation from Interlibrary loan. This is like a frickin' birthday gift. It's like 1300 pages and looks more in depth than I ever could have imagined, with detailed data on vitamin, mineral, lipid metabolism and so on. The pictures are friggin' breathtaking. And I'm not just saying that cuz these dudes are naked in the photos.

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  16. MaTT when you became very lean were you eating really low carbs? HOw many carbs?

    I personally like eating more carbs in the winter and bulking up (gaining muscle) and i like getting that really lean cut look during the summer which is where i reduce my carbs and calories (still getting at least 150g carbs day )

    what you think? i feel amazing when im ripped to shreds

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  17. "Plus, your purdy eyes peering over Nourishing Traditions is enough sex appeal to impress anyone here. I might've once found skinny models attractive, but now that I know better, I just wanna slap 'em (in a constructive kind a way… of course)."

    Yeah, I thought the same thing. OMG! So cute! Awesome avatar.

    Sometimes I look at pictures of myself when I weighed a lot less than I do now and wonder why, why, why I ever started dieting! I think it had to do with feeling pretty crappy about myself. Losing weight did nothing to fix this. That happened really when I got my head together. The problem is dieting just makes this whole fixation with the size clothes you wear, etc. so much worse.

    To choose an ideal weight, I'm not picking the smallest number, but rather a number where I've probably spent the largest portion of my adult life. I think it's the place where my body is happiest. Unfortunately it's about five pounds less than what I weighed when I first started dieting.

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  18. i appreciate the encouragement from the men here on women's bodies and shapes. all of my life literally until i was in college i was the same size, or about, 8-10 and i never worried about weight. then of course with my vegan stint i dropped a bunch of weight and went to a 6. (but i am 5'10" so not a healthy size for my height) i thought i was pretty hot and i loved being that thin b/c i could wear anything the designers put on the market. i got into latin and ballroom dancing and i was a hit b/c i was the youngest, the thinnest and dancing came naturally to me so i excelled above the other students. but i was messed up! holy depression, anxiety and freezing-ness! when i got married i was still a mess, but thought i could will my issues away. then i had my first baby and lost all of my baby weight within 8 weeks. still messed up in the head, but getting slightly better b/c i discovered the WAPF and key supplements.

    i just had my second baby 5 months ago and i was at my heaviest ever while pregnant and i was pretty hard on myself about it. i felt miserable, though. but i had been seriously low-carb before and during pregnancy up until the last month or so. i couldn't even fit into my large maternity clothes by the end. i was not losing the baby weight like i had the first time so i became very self conscious and it was very hard to accept the size 14 i was. now i am probably a 12. i don't fit into jeans of any size very well b/c of the baby belly, but i am hopeful that it will firm up one day and that i can find a pair of jeans that makes me feel good about myself. for now i stick to skirts and Victoria's Secret lounge pants. :)

    i gotta tell you, it is extremely difficult as a woman in this day and age to wrap my mind around the notion of it being okay to be "bigger" and curvier. the social pressure is immense. and the media is ridiculous. i had to tell myself over and over that it was okay and even good to have the extra weight b/c then my body would make good milk for my baby and that food was the best thing i could do for myself and her. unlike with my first when i was so thin and hardly eating anything at all and consequently making very poor milk.

    i also have been discovering a much calmer self since i added in loads of carbs over the last 6 months. before i didn't realize that i really didn't feel that great with the low-carb, but i was forcing it and miserable. i like that i don't have any hard and fast rules anymore about what i eat. i actually enjoy eating (well, as much as i can) and have noticed that when i don't worry about the pizza we have almost once a week i feel super!

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  19. Anonymous-

    I was eating a very large amount of carbs (400 grams per day), which was part of the problem. Starving on low-carb is bad enough. Starving on low-fat is just heinous.

    I got pretty damn lean on low-carb (150g per day out of 5,000 total calories per day) in the summer of 2007 combined with very large amounts of exercise (7+hours per day). Even before the summer ended I was already showing clear signs of metabolic problems (backne, mediocre erections, indigestion, return of cravings). Payback lasted for quite some time. Took me 6-9 months to recuperate.

    Jedi-
    I think the human being, and all mammals are extremely adaptable. McCarrison fed wheat to monkeys for crying out loud and they had perfect health to the point where they were immune to virulent strains of bacteria. Give an organism all the components it needs, and it can thrive. Some forms may be better than others, but to think that humans are better on dairy vs. coconut or something like that because of ancestral heredity is a really, really far-fetched, nebulous, unsubstantiated belief.

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  20. Yay Team Smith,

    Funny you should mention that though. A recent article I read (can't remember now where I read it) polled men and women about whether or not they wished their spouse would lose some weight. Surprisingly, a greater percentage of women wanted their husbands to lose some weight than husbands wanted wives to lose weight.

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  21. re: Sir Mix Alot: I've always thought it would be awesome to have a skit with an actress posing as the Queen actually knighting Sir Mix ALot.

    Queen: For preserving the booty of this kingdom and for uncommon valor in saying what needed to be said, I dub thee SIR mix alot. Rise Mr. Alot and accept this favor of Knighthood.

    White boys: WOOOOOOH YEAH!!!!

    Queen: Hollah back, you all.

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  22. I gotta say it feels good knowing I'm not the only one out there going through this. I agree with team smith, the pressure to be super thin is really intense, it takes a lot of gumption to kick out the idea that rail thin is beautiful. Of course, plenty of real food makes for a strong mind, so that's easier now for me than it used to be.

    Great video, Matt. I needed the laugh.

    Jedi, I have a lot of Irish and German heritage, and I wonder if that's why I love raw milk so much. It seems really natural and satifying to include a lot of dairy in my diet. We go through multiple gallons of raw milk here each week – and we love it!

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  23. when you were doing 5000 calories 150g carbs a day, do you think you would have been able to get lean and avoid getting "sick" if you were doing 250-300g carbs?

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  24. "leanness in women is associated with ammenhorrea, inability to conceive, autoimmune disease, giving birth to an autistic child, and so on…"

    I've been thin all my life and never had amenorrhea, never had a problem conceiving (I have 3 healthy kids/now adults), nursed all three for a pretty long time and they gained weight normally, I never had an autoimmune disease….or cold hands.

    Those generalizations may apply to someone who is 'big boned'…or with a naturally larger frame…my son's 29 yr old girlfriend is probably naturally larger than she is now, and she weighs at least 10 lbs or more than I do, very large breasts and smaller hips (I am more pear shaped)…she does have chronic amenorrhea…I wonder if she will be able to conceive some day. I think she skips lots of meals and isn't convinced about SFA…drinks low fat Activia or Dan Active…and I think she is somewhat watching her carbs.

    I am almost 57 yrs old, 5'7, 120 lbs, 35-26-36, I usually wear a size 2 or 3 jeans (though I have size 1 Levys that fit (note that sizing has changed over the years-vanity sizing) when I weighed less I sometimes wore size 5 jeans….I used to average about 10 lbs lighter when I was younger. I didn't like how I looked at 125 lbs a few years ago…I was lumpy and bumpy in a way I thought was unattractive…maybe people thought I looked 'healthier' at that weight…don't know…the idea of what 'normal' is has changed.(heart scan blog article)

    We all have different body types and have to find our own healthy set points. The generalizations don't work.

    I am of Italian descent and I miss eating pasta since we've been trying to avoid eating white flour (I've made some brown rice pasta which is ok)…my 60 yr old husband has gone from 185 to 155 lbs since August or so. He is 5'8" and still has some love handles…so he thinks he will go down a little lower before doing some muscle building (he hates push ups and sit ups) He has cut his carbs some…but we still eat a about a slice a day of homemade sourdough bread, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, and brown or white rice.

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  25. Bingo Trix. The association stems from what lean women typically have to do to get lean (combined with nutritional heredity). Your leanness is not a result of starvation or overexercising. But those that really have to "work at it" to fit into such sizes have serious complications.

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  26. Well, this has been a really great thread of comments…very encouraging to be with so many people dealing with the same stuff, sharing both problems and successes.

    I dieted and exercised myself to the fatty little middle-aged blob I am right now…via slender, skinny, curvy, highly muscled and everything in between. I'm so grateful to have discovered all this SANITY!!! Most of my dieting attempts were about being 'acceptably' slim/thin.

    With the coming of the middle years, I've found sense and patience – I gave up all dieting and exercise four years ago and let myself eat anything and everything, including sugary crap. I believed that over time I would find the right level and wanted to just let my body off the hook once and for all.

    I'm now on a wonderful mixed, real food regime – saturated fats (what an absolute fucking BLAST to discover the truth about those delicious little babies!),animal protein, carbs and veggies and managing pretty well without sugar as there are no cravings on this type of diet.

    I discovered Matt's blog about two months ago and have adjusted everything accordingly, experiencing initial weight gain, which I am going to laugh in the face of, and I just feel more and more positive that this is the way I'm going to get my health back.

    I've just started adding in some exercise, but that's more to do with enjoying a hobby as it's of the variety that I truly love (although I did used to exercise ridiculous amounts, I did always enjoy physical activity and have a natural inclination for being sturdy, active, strong and energetic, so I shouldn't ever face the dilemma of needing to push myself into moving my body as it will be done for the pleasure.)

    Anyway all you guys and gals, the only other thing I'd say is I think we all know that excessive slenderness, unless it's absolutley natural for us and maintained effortlessly, is not the way to go. The happy, shiny, mature confidence that inhabits a body is what we really all go for in the end, is it not, and the eye candy element has a short shelf life overall if the price is too high.

    Lots of love and encouragement to every one of you!!!

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  27. I lost 12 pounds in 3 months by not eating bread and wheat. I replaced it with Tacos and tamales. Man, what a revelation. I love that stuff.

    Cornbread

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  28. I also walked a lot and played with kettlebells 2 a week!

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  29. Hi irene, great to see all these people following HED ;)

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  30. For me one of the best things about HED is that I've discovered how it feels to be really fed. I've never been a dieter, but in my 20s and 30s I really overexercised and wasn't eating enough food. Now I see I was chasing those endorphins — and given that I had a few years of drug use in there, the strategy wasn't working very well.

    So on the outside I was a hot babe and on the inside I was wrecking myself. I had 2 babies at 39 and 41 and that just pushed me over the edge, metabolically. I sure wish I'd had those babies when I was younger, and I really wish I'd known that eating twice as much food could have given me the happy mood and muscles I was looking for.

    Off to have some Thai fish head soup for breakfast……

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  31. So if you lose weight on the HED what does that mean? Is your metabolism still going down hill? Or are you just not eating enough? I feel like I really can't eat much more, I'm eating 3x a day plus snacks whenever I want (usually nuts of some sort.)
    I'm very pleasantly surprised to see that even though I am eating starches that I am not having sugar cravings at all…yay!
    Days when I used to eat sugary stuff like cookies or candy, it would trigger something in me that made me eat all day long. I'd turn into a bottomless pit and could never get that full feeling. Very strange. When not eating sugary stuff I feel full very easily.
    Anyways, I'm glad my calorie counting days are over. Now I know it was destroying my body and my mind. No more guilt, I feel free and happy, and my skin is looking better.

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  32. I know what you mean, Vida, about not having to count calories any more. Right before Thanksgiving I had bought a kitchen scale because I was going to start weighing my food so every little calorie could be accounted for. Then I stumbled across Matt's site and it all just made sense. I never even opened the scale and took it back to the store the very next day.
    It was a little hard at first to accept the fact that I was going to gain weight in the beginning. Especially since I had just lost 11 lbs. by only eating 1000-1200 calories a day and exercising. But I was tired of starving myself and even though I wasn't having any health problems I knew I would sooner or later if I continued with the starving.
    I've dieted since I was eleven. Mostly starvation diets. I even had my stint of meth use in my early 20's to lose weight. I've been everything from a size 4 to a size 16. I'm currently a 12 and not thrilled about it but looking forward to it dropping. I don't know how long that's going to take, all I know is that I'm never going to not eat again!
    I've gained 10lbs since I found 180 and HED but it seems to have stabalized. My temps are up too. Average is 96.4 when it used to be 95.7. My husband is being very supportive (especially by saying he doesn't notice the weight gain!) and is even trying to eat better with me.
    I don't feel alone when I read everyone's comments knowing that we're all going through the same thing. I'm positive that some day I will finally acheive my ideal body composition.
    Thanks, Matt, for 180. You truly are changing a lot of peoples lives.

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  33. Damn guys. If I had eaten a bunch of sugar last night I would be weeping at what I just read. Really inspiring. Truly beautiful.

    Irene, what you just wrote was one of the best snippets ever written in the comments section of this blog.

    Nell, the term "chasing those endorphins" is really fantastic. Speaks volumes.

    Vida-
    There are 2 forces going on, battling for position. It's calories vs. metabolism. HED raises both. If it raises metabolism more than calories ingested, it triggers weight loss. If it raises calories more than metaoblism, it triggers some weight gain. Either way, in the end, the metabolism wins in the long run, as eventually HED leads (for most), to a state of high metabolism and low-calorie ingestion relative to the initial stages (eventually the hunger switch starts to turn down – just like dieting tends to eventually turn the hunger switch on). It is totally possible to lose weight on HED. That doesn't mean you're not eating enough.

    And brother James (Cornbread)-
    Please to have you here. (James is an old food buddy of mine – we worked together at a fishing lodge in Alaska).

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  34. Emily-
    Thanks to you too sister. If starving oneself really worked to keep us thin, then that would be one thing. But it doesn't work. It pushes the set point up, the metabolism down, and takes a toll on our health and happiness. So step 1 is to STOP DOING IT! I hope this is a really nourishing experience for you. I know, long-term, you won't regret it.

    Okay, I pretty much am weeping now. Even without the sugar :)

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  35. A guy that calls himself Cornbread is my kinda guy!

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  36. Throwing out my scale and not tracking my food in a diary have been the two most important steps I've made, health-wise, in my life. I weighed and measured both myself and everything that went into my mouth, obsessively, for 23 years. I'm only 32.

    My diet nightmare started with a doctor's advice, too, at age 9. And my mother taught me all about calories and restricting, so there really was no escape. I can only hope to undo some of that damage now, while I'm still young.

    Even though I'm still overweight and always have been varying versions of fat, even when I was starving myself at 600 calories a day and even though I've gained weight on 180, I'd rather be happy and healthy than miserable, hating myself, denying myself any pleasure, but slightly less fat.

    As a food professional, it's especially ridiculous to be constantly dieting. It's like being a celibate sex therapist. It's nice to return to a loving relationship with food, rather than that 'love/hate' bullshit.

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  37. Annabelle-
    I got my first doctor presrciption to cut down food intake at about that age too. "Don't eat snacks" my doctor said. Hmmm. Luckily, I was saved by puberty. Testosterone is a powerful thing. Although many chubby young guys were not so lucky.

    23 years is a long time to have focused on that crap. But think about how much more you'll get done and experience in life for the next 23 years now that you're done with that. I love it!

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  38. Hey all, Starting to track my progress here, by no means a prolific poster yet, but will track some numbers; basal, gains, blood glucose and my experiences.

    http://metabolicdrift.blogspot.com

    Thanks Matt!

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  39. Atta boy!

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  40. My mom put me on my first diet at age 11. 600 calories a day. I was MAYBE 10 lbs. overweight. She signed me up for ballet, tap, gymnastics, soccer and softball in attempts to get me to where she felt was a normal weight for a girl my age. Her constantly telling me that I needed to lose weight damaged my self-esteem (to the point of no return I sometimes think) and managed to manifest in me an obsession with food that consumed my each and every thought. I would dream of food, wake up thinking of food, sneak food and actually be ashamed to eat food.

    When I was in high school I was actually jealous of girls who were anorexic, I wanted to be just like them. I envied their willpower (I know now that their problem was psychological and had nothing to do with willpower). So I thought I'd give anorexia a try. I went two weeks with just 200 calories a day before I collapsed at home one day. When my mom found out what I'd been doing she felt horrible. She never put me on another diet again. She made some mistakes and she's my mom, so of course, I love her to death, but I promised myself to never let my own daughter think that there was something wrong with the way she looks. The problem is trying to keep the media from getting to her. She's only 7 and I've heard her say she's fat (which she of course isn't). It's really frustrating.

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  41. I guess I'm just going to have to infiltrate the media. I will rule ze vurld!!!

    This crap has gotta stop though. Seriously.

    And I believe anorexia/bulimia could be called physiological just as much as it is called psychological. It's an endorphin addiction if anything. Like a heroin addict. Maybe that's why they look the same!

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  42. I fucking love eating food!

    My family thinks I'm crazy. I was almost a registered dietitian and I worked for many years in the nutrition advice industry. Now I'm telling them to forget everything I have ever said over the last 10 years and just eat a shitload of healthy, quality food. People are very skeptical of this approach, but I can say that after 4 months so far, I truly feel like a new person, a new perspective on life and eating. Eating healthy food is good, eating even more healthy food is even better. The results will speak for themselves.

    My mom asked if I had been working out again. No, just the result of eating 4000+ calories per day.

    Hopefully the tide will turn against woman feeling so much pressure to be thin, they are the ones who create the next generation.

    Scott

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  43. Man this is fun!

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  44. Totally off-topic, but whatever.
    Thinking of all the foods man has created so far it kinda surprises me that I haven't seen a soup where the liquid part is 100% butter. Now that would be cool…or maybe not, who knows.

    Mmmmhh…Butter.

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  45. Hey, you could just take some Hollandaise sauce and drink it out of a bowl and call it soup…man that would be good. Love the stuff, now maybe I will actually make it some time. If only butter were cheaper :(

    I wanna say thanks to the Mercola website cause this is how I found Matt and 180.

    And hey, has anyone ever read A Life Unburdened by Richard Morris? It's about this 400+ pound guy who goes through tons of diets (low carb, vegetarian, etc.) and never gets anywhere. Then he finds WAPF and starts eating whole foods again. Even though he counted calories and exercised, he still got the weight off and became a lot healthier. Anyways,this book is hilarious too, real funny guy and I think very overweight people will relate to it a lot (like the fear of restaurant booths.) You guys should check it out.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/097920951X/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=3454467827&ref=pd_sl_747r2o4vm5_b

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  46. Morris's book is decent, but not on my top 10 list by any means. He's come a long way though. Thanks Vida.

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  47. Sorry that's Michael's site!

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  48. wow, i have tears in my eyes reading these testimonies especially the ones where mothers (and not to mention doctors!) made their young children start dieting and focus so much on their weight/looks. my own mother has been "trying" to lose weight for many many years, but always says she likes eating so much she just "can't." she always had low-fat and diet books around when i was growing up so i was influenced. i never truly "dieted" except when i would get a new fashion magazine and there would be some crap new diet and exercise regimen guaranteed to get you ripped and slimmed in 6 weeks and ready for the beach! but i never lasted more than 3 days and i always felt bad about myself for that. i was told by my mother that i needed to "firm up" my lower buttocks when i was a teen trying on swimsuits and i was forever haunted with the thought that every single person who saw me in a swimsuit would think the same thing. i vowed never to say anything bad about my body or anyone else's or talk about dieting within my children's earshot. it's sick and twisted that we as a nation are so warped as to condemn children for eating, but at the same time feed them utter rubbish that does nothing for their health.

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  49. Amen Team Smith. If you wanna see something really f'ed up, get your kids one of those Wii Fit things. The anorexic trainers actually read you the riot act if you take too much time off. Plus, it makes you enter you weight loss goals and gives you calorie counts and all that crap. The weight loss world is like the frickin' twilight zone sometimes.

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  50. Wow, it's really unbelievable how many people started dieting during childhood. I started at 13 when I gained some weight, have been on and off ever since. I can't imagine what it would be like to start earlier than that. Talk about stealing someone's childhood.

    One of my biggest commitments now is raising my kids in a world without dieting. My kids are young and they eat like horses every day. They look so much better eating an abundance of real food than they ever did when our house was full of skim milk and low-fat buttery spreads – oh, and tofu. Man, do I regret that one.

    I really try to keep the word "fat" away from the kids. In fact, they mainly understand "fat" in the context that they should eat a bunch of it. They know butter is healthy because it has lot of fat. Hopefully that's the context they'll always see fat in.

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  51. Elizabeth, what you are doing with your kids is the best thing. You're lucky to have learned this stuff when they are still young. My kids are now teenagers and have definitely been inflenced by my dieting, restricting, bingeing and body image issues. Especially my daughter. She is very conscientious of her weight and has become a vegetarian. The good news is if I make healthy food, they both will eat tons of it, so all is not lost.

    I remember as a kid feeling fat, feeling guilty for eating sweets and feeling ashamed of my body and I wasn't even fat. And it didn't come from my mother that I can remember.

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  52. Yes, the dieter's mentality seems to infiltrate almost everyone. Even when I was a lean 18-year-old collegiate athlete I still was trying to eat less and exercise more.

    This caused cravings that I gave into and a lot of subsequent guilt. With each of these cycles the self-war mentality strengthened.

    Plus, my weight set point crept up about a pound a year and my ratio of muscle to fat steadily eroded.

    Then one day I quit worrying about it, quit trying to force myself to "eat less and exercise more," which was something I tried to do every day of my life for a decade.

    Then, you guessed it – the opposite happened. My set point dropped steadily back down, my ratio of mucle to fat increased, and my cravings for unhealthy foods were steadily eliminated.

    A major key to metabolic and psychological health.

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  53. Hey,

    Sorry I've been so out of the loop lately. I'm going to catch back up on this blog one of these days.

    You know, Matt's approach really does make sense. Dieting is so dumb when you look at what it really does. It's not as simple as eat and lose weight always, but the concept of calories being a necessity never fails.

    I won't write my whole story here (I think I have in previous comments though), but I lost about 50-60 pounds in 2.5-3 months eating about 500 calories a day (as a 13 year old caffeine junkie almost 5 years ago). I've been very underweight and undernourished for a while and felt miserable. It doesn't look healthy or attractive compared to what real eating does. I think for women and men, when truly healthy (part of which meaning they can eat 2.5k or 4k calories a day and not gain weight), will look their best. I used to be skinny and bloated. I'm medium and less bloated now, but I feel far better. People can actually look fatter starving than healthy sometimes, like in my case. Bloating only worsens when you slow your whole body down starving it.

    My girlfriend has lost a very noticeable bit of weight eating more consistently and larger meals. Interestingly, when I was with her in Canada making high-calories meals she seemed to lose weight the fastest. She's just a touch overweight now but doing very well. When she met me, I was recovering from my raw foods suicide diet, and had the coldest hands ever. Unfortunately I've gained about 25 pounds, but I don't think I look like I gained 10. My hands are warm now, I can down 1.5k calories of mashed potatoes in a single meal, and my cold tolerance is quite reasonable. My muscles have also grown with zero exercise, and I've stayed flexible without stretching at all (but I don't advise that).

    I guess my main thing is that I think the human body looks best at its natural, healthy weight. It's just like the fat, muscle, water retention, and bloating balance out into something beautiful, even if it's a dress size more or a few pounds heavier. You'll feel, act, look, and sound 10x better than starving yourself.

    Calories are good!

    –Teran

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  54. Poetry homeboy.

    I'll draw special attention to the fact that the underweight are more likely to gain. The overweight are more likely to lose. Either way, it's about getting back to that "beautiful balance."

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  55. Excellent attitude! Love the high-everything aspirations. I'm more moderate everything, being a middle aged woman and all. Low-fat was a huge disaster for me, I just kept eating, got big. Still not a big meat eater (I don't like), but the only thing I really try to restrict (not too strict) is refined carbs. I've lost almost all my extra weight, but i exercise a lot as well.

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