What is the Healthiest Diet and Lifestyle?

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By Julia Gumm

I’ve spent so many years of my life trying to figure out “how to live.” As in, how are human beings meant to live? It’s no secret that the way we exist nowadays is about a million miles away from the lifestyle of the original model, and so many of us have a pervading sense that something is, well, kinda off. It hits us when we take the time to read ingredient labels and wonder what the hell TBHQ is and what exactly it’s doing in our crackers. It hits us when we feel our palms sweating against the steering wheel in the midst of a long and nerve racking commute to and fro the job we’re not especially passionate about, anyway. It hits us when we regard the mushrooming muffin swelling o’er top of our jeans and wonder how the heck another diet has failed us- again.

For the brave pioneer, these experiences set your feet upon a path in search of answers. How we are living is not optimal- that much, we think, is certain. So the question is, how should we live? What is the optimal lifestyle for a human being, and how can we attain it?

You had to ask, didn’t you?

By now you’re months, maybe even years into your search for answers. Lucky for you, this is the age of the internet. Now that you’re unable to use the toilet without bringing your smartphone along for the ride, you’ve got a lifetime of health related facts, factoids, and total utter bullshit to sift through- all at your fingertips. Now, this is no doubt a good thing. Information is empowering and the more of it you have, the better choices you can make for yourself. But it does have it’s downsides…

Remember how the “news” used to be that show that aired around dinnertime on one of the major networks? The events of the day were pre-digested by the powers that be and spit out onto our plates by a handsome, trustworthy anchorman. And we believed him! Why wouldn’t we? What else was there to think? Things were so easy back then. Now we have cable news networks that all hate each other, online newspapers, blogs, Twitter…it can be overwhelming, and hard to know what’s true and what’s false.

In much the same way, we’ve traded our implicit faith in USDA nutrition guidelines and the advice of medical doctors for an online chorus of voices belonging to people we’ve never met, some without any training whatsoever. And this is where things can get tricky. In my Facebook newsfeed alone I am bombarded with health advice from all angles. One self-assured gal implores me to eat a vegan diet, heavy on greens, seeds and soy cheese. Another insists we are born to eat fruit, fruit and more fruit…look at us for pete’s sake, we’re primates! We should likely be swinging from tree to tree to procure said fruits! Yet another amateur guru is certain we should be burning 1,000 calories at a time during regular cardio sessions at the gym while subsisting on miniscule portions of primal-style fare. Then there are those who are sure I’m destroying the planet and offending my northern European genes by indulging in coconuts and avocados all the way up here in the northeastern United States. And I can’t forget to give a shout out to all my homies eating a pound of butter fat per day, just like the good dentist of yore, Weston A. Price, suggested (not).

Ok, so there are different diets to choose from. No matter, maybe you can just pick one and see how it works for you. So let’s see, let’s read up on veganism. Says here that meat and dairy is clogging my colon, ruining my heart and making me fat. Says I ought to eat a lot of green leaves like spinach and fake meat made out of processed soy instead. Okie dokie, can do. But say, that reminds me, didn’t Weston A. Price discover that tribal folks in Africa who get the majority of their calories from dairy fat had virtually zero incidence of heart disease? And really great teeth to boot? And I just read that spinach is so high in kidney stone and autism causing oxalates that it should really never be eaten. Wow! Thanks for nearly killing me, Popeye!

Ok, let’s look at something else then. Let’s try Paleo. So the idea is that though we may be living in a condo a stones throw away from a Winn-Dixie, our digestive tracts are still back in the cave. Looks like dinner tonight is going to be raw venison, a handful of bitter greens and a pint of warm blood to wash it all down. Then in the morning, Wilma and Betty can brew up fresh coffee with half a jar of coconut oil melted in it, just like our ancestors used to drink! Though, coffee and oil hardly seems like a suitable replacement for the time-honored most important meal of the day. But it says here that my usual toast or bowl of cereal is not only going to wreck my diet, but is going to kill me as well. And a mug full of caffeine and saturated fat will not. Who knew?

Funny thing, that reminds me of the Pritikin Diet. Remember it? It’s old school, but it was pretty much all grains, all the time. And many followers successfully reversed their diabetes, obesity, etc…all by eating today’s much maligned whole grains. That could be why your grandfather looks at you like you’ve lost it when you give him one of your well-meaning anti-carb lectures while he’s trying to enjoy his bowl of oatmeal, thank you very much.

And here we come to an impasse, friends. Not only are there endless diets, or excuse me, “lifestyle changes” to choose from, but each camp is staunchly opposed to the other and dead certain that adherence to the principles put forth by a competing dogma will surely doom you to hell for all eternity. Oh wait, I think I accidentally started talking about religion. What I meant to say was, proponents of each dietary creed are all very sure that eating in a way other than what they prescribe will damn you to an existence riddled with cancer, acne, heart disease and in general, not a whole lot worth living for. And the enlightened ones will look pitifully on the poor wretches who haven’t yet understood the truth, and evangelize through blogs, books and television shows. Hmm. I guess I’m talking about religion after all.

You’ll meet fellow seekers along the way. You’ll recognize them by their inability to eat anything without first scanning the ingredient label and consulting with 8 different gurus online. You’ll meet people who swear that a diet that saved one person’s life almost ended theirs. The most obvious sign that a person is on the path to dietary truth is signaled by their ping-ponging between absolute certainty and bewildered confusion. They thought juicing was the best thing ever (and made sure everyone else knew it, too) until they understood that the body needs more than water and a few scant micronutrients to live. They thought gluten was the worst thing ever until they gave in, had a pastry and felt great. They arrive at every holiday meal with a new restriction, as their disdainful glance shifts from the turkey to the potatoes, then back to the turkey again as the years go by. You’ll see them plead in the comment section of popular blogs “But I thought you said sugar was bad!” or “You said if I fermented the cabbage all the thyroid inhibitors would be neutralized!!!” or “I used to respect you but now that you’re promoting THAT, I feel far superior to you and will never take your advice again!”

Guys. This is crazy.

Leafy greens have some bad stuff in them, but they have good stuff in them as well. Don’t avoid them. Don’t over eat them. Eat however much you feel like. Don’t overthink it.

Dairy tastes good. If it doesn’t give you an upset stomach, go for it. It’s full of powerful nutrients. Heck, even my cats and chickens love cow’s milk and I bet their genes have no clue what in hell it is. And if it does give you a stomach ache, don’t eat it. No matter what some tribe in Kenya eats.

Grains are relatively new to the dinner plate in terms of human history, this is true. But it doesn’t mean we can’t digest them. Our bodies are more intelligent than we give them credit. Besides, look at all the long-lived rice eaters in Japan and the baguette eaters in France. Or even the pasta eaters in a village down the road from me, Rosetto Pennsylvania…

The “Rosetto Effect” was a study done over the course of fifty years that compared the rate of heart disease between the people living in the homogenously Italian-American village of Rosetto PA and the neighboring village of Bangor. These villages lie in the Slate Belt region of eastern PA, and all of the men in these communities did back-breaking work in the slate pits for a living. In Rosetto, most households contained three generations and every week the meals were the same. Spaghetti and sauce on Mondays, roast chicken and vegetables on Tuesdays, veal and peppers on Wednesday, and on and on into perpetuity. Well, almost into perpetuity. More so into the mid 1960’s. In spite of eating all these rich foods and many folks being “overweight,” the incidence of heart disease in Rosetto was almost non-existent. “Olive oil” you might be saying knowingly. Nope! Since olive oil wasn’t an easy find here in Pennsylvania in the early 20th century, almost all cooking was instead done with pork fat. Despite working hard and eating a high fat, high carb diet, the people of Rosetto enjoyed far better protection against heart disease than their counterparts in neighboring Bangor. That is, until the mid 60’s, when modernization came to Rosetto. Young folks grew tired of village life and packed up and left for the ‘burbs. Families were split up, the old routines and familiarity were traded in for new opportunities and conveniences. It didn’t take too many years of that for the rate of heart disease in Rosetto to climb to and match that of folks in Bangor.

Maybe what we’re doing then, in our search for the right diet and lifestyle subconsciously has less to do with choosing the perfect foods and more to do with trying to find a place where we fit and a routine we can count on. The conclusion of the Rosetto study was that the familiarity, routines, certainty and sameness of daily life that those villagers experienced was the most likely reason why they remained so healthy. It was their sense of belonging that gave them meaning and calm- not veal fried in bacon grease. Humans are always looking for certainty. We want solid ground to stand on and the assurance that we are going to be looked after. When we find an internet guru with all the answers or a compelling diet program boasting convincing results as well as a supportive community of fellow followers, it’s easy to see how those things can be seductive and comforting. It’s equally understandable then, how deep the disappointment and resentment can be when those diets fail us, or the people we look up to don’t turn out to really know it all. It pulls the rug out from under us.

The age we currently live in is quite a bit different than Rosetto in the 1950’s. And it’s a hell of a lot different than the cave in 30,000 B.C. I believe the key is adaptability. When people look backwards in time for the answers to today’s troubles, I believe they are missing the point. History is not over. Through the ages we adapted from eating one diet to the next, always taking advantage of what was around us and seeing what worked.The strength of human beings is that we are opportunists. We figured out how to eat grains and boy howdy did we fill up the store house and live easily through the winter, finally. We figured out how to milk a goat and good thing because without chevre, beets aren’t much fun to eat. We’ve done all sorts of things to change life as we once knew it- from learning how to wash our hands to flipping on a light bulb. These are certainly different times than the ones our predecessors lived through, that’s for sure. And that’s not a bad thing.

After many years turning my nose up to the so-called perils of modern life, I’ve decided that there is no way we are “supposed to live.” There are only ways in which we can live, and true progress means keeping the good ideas from the past, discarding the outdated and unnecessary aspects that will not survive in our current landscape, not getting hung up on the details and bravely pushing forward. We can’t go back to the cave anymore than we can go back to living in Rosetto PA in the 1950’s…and really, would we want to? I don’t know about you, but I like the Internet. I like knowing what’s going on in the world, not just what CBS evening news feels necessary to report on. And I like that I live in a village about 15 miles north of Rosetto and that I can order Thai take-out whenever I damn well please. Let’s take advantage of the fact that more resources are available to us now than at any other point in history and live wisely. Let’s realize that there is no “perfect” way to live, disease can befall any of us and the way we feel is at least as important as the way we eat. Let’s listen to the voices of others but take it all with a grain of salt and trust our own intuition above all. Let’s adapt with grace.

Though, fear of TBHQ might not be ill placed.

207 Comments

  1. This is radical self distructive thinking. I like it.

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  2. Ok, fine, but what are we SUPPOSED to eat?! Just kidding :-)

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  3. I just gotta say the Vegan “THEY’LL FUCKING TELL YOU” pic is hilarious :)

    Not a shot at vegans, i have vegan friends, etc.

    Anyway, good article!

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    • Yeah I loved that one too. Julia’s pic-hunting went well.

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    • Thanks! I’m good with vegans until they refuse to talk to me after I point out all the little baby bunnies the tractors on their beloved soy farms are taking out, needlessly. Those vegans suck.

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  4. This article confuses me. Can you put together a meal plan for us Julia?

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    • Well that’s the trouble Matt, I can’t. It appears nothing is safe. Looks like tonight’s menu is a protein shake or starvation. Eat up!

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      • Julia,

        Starvation may be the only option then, that protein shake may have been processed with toxic chemicals…sigh…

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      • Awesome, I get to IF!

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        • Yep, and I hope you’ve had your bulletproof coffee because it may be a long wait for the Soylent Green.

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          • Thats the equivalent of eating pork, so too much omega 6 fatty acids I’m sure. . . .(tongue firmly in cheek.)

    • Hilarious!

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  5. I wanted to say too that Rob and I were just discussing the burden of choice the other day too. Having lots of choices can be confusing and stressful and overloading to the human psyche. Not that I would trade having too many choices for too few, but if ping-ponging around is a big part of the problem, choice and information overload is certainly to blame for that loss of regularity.

    I had Thai food today too, for the first time in nearly a year. Coincidence? Probably.

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    • Absolutely. Life today is defined by too many choices. It’s what we have to adapt to, because their ain’t no going back. And that can be a good thing. Just gotta keep your head. I have faith in us!

      I’m craving Thai food for the maybe 200th time in a year. Coincidence? More likely just odds, I really like Thai food!

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      • Have you read The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz? It talks about how we get more anxious/confused/unhappy with the more choices we have.

        Wonderful article and perfect timing…I’m sick of all the diet advice and I remember when I was normal and healthy I didn’t give two shits about what I ate, so it makes me think I should just stop reading blogs and stuff on the Internet…but it’s hard to give it up!

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        • Maybe don’t give them up, just cut back. Information is great but no one knows everything and no one knows what you need better than you.

          I haven’t read that book, but I’m well aware of the anxiety associated with increased choices! Almost my entire life has been lived without structure or discipline of any kind and yes, it can make you anxious. I suppose it’s why so many of my anti-establishment, non-patriotic friends growing up ended up joining the military. They just had no clue what the hell to do because they could do anything. So they decided to have their choices made for them. I’ve considered applying myself to similarly rigorous disciplines, but I dunno, I’d rather struggle with freedom than lose it.

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        • One of my local Thai restaurants has something like 90 items on the menu — too many choices! My mind goes blank and I order pad thai…

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          • With Thai food, I am unable to see past red, green, yellow, panang, and massaman. I hardly know what else is considered Thai food other than curry.

          • Tamarind Duck and Drunken Noodles are well worth going off the curry menu for. Oh god I’m hungry.

    • What do you all think about limiting foods to those of the season?

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      • If you want to eat seasonally for freshness, value or environmental concern, that’s great. In the summer time I eat whatever fruits and vegetables are coming in from the fields because they’re ripe and delicious and I enjoy cherry season and apple season and waiting for pumpkins and all that. But now that it’s winter I buy whatever I want from the grocery store. I do not think there is an intrinsic value to eating foods in season, or some kind of voodoo nutritional advice being offered to us by the planet. Anyway, the only “seasonal” food available to me right now would be snow, bark and venison. Sounds like pretty shitty health advice to me.

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        • And just to add to that, I get that I could can and freeze a bunch of food in the fall to get through the winter on, and I’ve done it before. But there’s nothing seasonal about eating mealy apples in February or boiled tomatoes in March. Preserving and freezing are just examples of human ingenuity and how we have rejected being at the mercy of the seasons in order to survive. From a “the way things are supposed to be” standpoint, it’s not different or better than eating a frozen pizza or a box of spring mix shipped in from a greenhouse somewhere.

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  6. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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    • Aw. You’re welcome, from the bottom of mine:)

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  7. Yeah, so what would you eat to heal?

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    • I guess it would depend on what I was trying to heal and what I felt like eating.

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  8. Wow I loved this so much. The idea that we are meant to eat and live like our distant ancestors/ like cavemen totally negates the fundamental truth that man has an innate need and desire to grow, to learn, and to experience new things. Yes I may be a WASP with a weak immune system, but I pretty much live to travel and try as many new things (and cuisines!) as possible. Man is incredibly adaptable and I think we all need to rejoice in the fact that we do have the ability to constantly improve ourselves and society and not be held back by absurd dietary and lifestyle dogma.
    (Don’t go hatin on religion though. Not judging any non- true believers but there is also no doubt that man has always searched for truth ie God and the pursuit of having a relationship with the creator can be extremely enriching and nourishing to the soul. And people who pray live longer, giving you more nights in which to indulge in Thai takeout ;))

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    • I’m not trying to pick on religion, but you bring up a great point: the certainty of religion and faith and the comfort of prayer and all that is actually health-promoting. To me that doesn’t necessarily mean then that whatever you have religious faith in is necessarily true, but it does fulfill that basic human need to feel certainty, comfort, timeless truths, routine. Just like what I think we’re doing when we try and lock into a dietary dogma. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be a limiting thing. No beefs with the man upstairs though, or at least none that I intend to discuss here:)

      Thanks for your feedback, I’m so glad you liked it.

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      • Did anyone ever see ‘Adaptation’? There’s a line in there like: ‘The purpose of passion is to whittle the world down to a manageable size.’

        Like Matt mentions above from our conversation, too many choices bugs us out.

        As others have mentioned, I think that’s part of the benefit of faith and the desire for it, even in ostensibly non-theistic belief systems, like dietary ideologies. If you can find a framework to interpret events, you have a big leg up on problem solving and making choices.

        In my mind, dynamic paradoxicalist and theologically polyamorous as I am, the key is not to throw out the idea of belief, but to develop the meta-skill of knowing when and where a mindset makes sense and when it doesn’t, and use it accordingly. A utilitarian perspective of sorts.

        Also, this makes me laugh: Moderation? NOT EVEN ONCE!

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  9. After letting go of worries about what I’m eating and the “high” of binge/purge cycle along, I have been left with LOTS of time to fill. Time I used to spend trawling cyberspace for answers. Time I am now trying to find something meaningful to do with.

    Its tough, but I guess its less destructive than constantly over analyzing my “macro intake”. But I must admit there just isn’t any point to anything any longer. I’ve been in this “funk” for nearly a year now and had hoped life would have got more meaning to it than the daily commute and watching the clock tick, but hey, I’ll struggle on. What other choice do we have…

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    • Infinite choices, Tom! Whittle wood! Volunteer at an animal shelter! Take up baking! Go on a road trip! Research your family tree! You must have a desire to live vibrantly if you used to spend so much time online seeking answers. Make your own answers. It won’t just happen, you gotta get on that yourself. What do you love? What makes you feel joy? If it’s nothing, then maybe you should drastically change your life and seek out totally different experiences. I dunno dude, watching time pass cannot be the best choice.

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    • I am in the same place, and embarking onto year two, things do get better…part of it is the body still recovering. I still have exhaustion, but not extreme. The first 6 months, I worked 20 hours a week and each one made me want to cry, I didn’t want to walk around the block, I couldn’t watch a 20 minute episode of The Office, and I hated reading.
      One year later, I’m at a fairly prestigious university, dying for my brain cells to be used. I still can’t ‘work out’ but am grateful for the energy to walk up the hill to my little apartment. I need 2-3 hour naps sometimes, and still kind of loathe my new ‘shape’, but I’ve made a couple friends and think I’ll finally finish a degree I care about 10 years later, simply because I want to learn and not because I think I’ll get some job out of it.
      My main point is, coming off of that 10+ year high of ED, it’s going to take awhile for the depression to even out. It’s why we crave that cycle…to feel good. Chances are, you’re still extremely tired. And yeah, I totally hate it when people ask: “have you tried yoga?”
      Yes, I’ve f*cking tried yoga.
      Keep plugging on, it will be for a good reason. Or just keep telling yourself that until you die, and then you won’t know the difference. ;)

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      • Yea…but have you tried KUNDALINI Yoga? ;-)

        (I kid…)

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    • I also was pretty ok, healthy…then started to read health and fitness blogs, it brought lot of stress to my life that I didn’t see at first. I also had that fantasy of muscular body and how it would improve everything…tried Paleo, Very Low Carb (disaster), IF, and some training methodologies, but got addicted to fitness info, and stressed by dietary choices.
      Now, I slowly leave the blogosphere, reading only about 3 sites, because i still like sciency stuff about exercise.
      What I take away: Eat what you want, mostly real food, forget about it and go with the flow. Walk daily, resistance train once or twice a week, enjoy recreational activities. The only benefitial supplement for my needs is creatine, but it’s not necessary. Sleep is crucial. SOCIAL INTERACTION makes a difference in everything.
      I just came back from France, skiing the entire week with people who quickly became great friends. My level of happiness was extremely high, it was fantastic, I felt immersed with nature and alive. If one is alone, there is always time to think too much.

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  10. I think we have the same newsfeed. I recognise quite a few, especially the coconut and avocado guy.

    I am years into my ‘search for answers’ and there are times I wish I could unlearn everything and go back to trusting my instincts, but alas I can’t. So now I just eat the food, but I avoid excess PUFA, artificial sweeteners and too many fluids. That’s it. Five years of in depth nutritional self-education and that’s what it has all boiled down to.

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  11. It’s taken many years to try and figure out what to eat.. 3 years raw-vegan, about a year of 811 style merged with ultra running. Then my teeth started to chip and gums receed so more changes to follow. I drank raw milk and felt alive for the first time in years. Then I quit running so damn much and went from 145-175 pounds. I have finally found balance more then anything and feel the best i have in year, and I don’t feel so uptight about eating anymore. The worst is people dissing you for giving up being a vegan, especially if in the quest for health. Anyways, I appreciate the article, it’s rather refreshing

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  12. Sounds good and I do agree with a lot of this but there is a reason why many of us look for solutions in these diets and it’s because they are not happy with themselves. If the reason they are not happy is because they really are sick or overweight then it is legit to change your diet.

    For me, if I just stop over thinking it then I tend to gain weight and feel like shit. So file a lot of us we do have alter our diet. What do you recommend for them?

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    • One thing that can be useful is trying new foods. Honestly, I crave light foods like rice, seaweed and fish really regularly. Only because I tried sushi. On their own, those foods would not appeal to me, but when put together well, they’re delicious and satisfying. When I was a kid I ate the SAD of chicken tenders, ranch dressing, fries, etc until I started working in a cafe that featured a lot of funkier foods on the menu. I was eating foods in combinations I would have never imagined like apples, walnuts, brie cheese and raspberry vinaigrette on a croissant or bacon, apples, blue cheese and onions on a pita pizza. It was awesome, and forever changed my tastes. I would probably have never craved walnuts on their own, but I could totally go for a Normandy (the name of the sandwich), anytime.

      That’s just something that works for me, personally. When I don’t make an effort to eat well, and by well I don’t mean strictly, I mean simply good, fresh foods- I gain weight. If I stop getting excited about cooking new combinations or trying new restaurants, I gain weight, I would imagine because I still crave the satisfaction of a good homecooked meal or an exciting new cuisine, but since I’m not doing that I go for the dopamine boost from the old stand-bys instead. Chips, chocolate, ice cream.

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      • Oh no! You said the “s” word and now my mouth is watering! I want sushi!!!

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  13. HOW true. I love your writing on here, Julia!

    And I agree that the Religionization Effect of Diets has made led to constant “We’re Right They’re Wrong” -and doesn’t allow for gray areas and sheer joyful eating.

    Thanks for keeping it real :)

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    • It’s what I’m best at. Thanks, Caroline. And I think you’re right. Everything really is grey area but people can’t deal with that.

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      • Great link! I’ve actually always been a snot nosed little know-it-all, that was just the TED talk for me. I loved it, thanks!

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  14. I also researched diets. Coconut oil or not? I have 20 # of bones in the freezer for broth. I just ordered starters for ferments. Kefir, Kombucha and such.(That is all from my diet research.) In my search I have found my happy place. No processed foods and nearly everything comes from within a few miles of my home. My farmer feeds his cows grain. Not all grassfed but it still makes me feel good to know the animals. Real food real close is my diet .

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    • Sounds good to me. I love knowing the animals. After having my own chickens I feel really kind of gross about eating store bought eggs…eggs are a pretty personal thing! I don’t mind eating the eggs from my feathered friends, but really, eating the released ovum of some bird I’ve never even met?! Seems kind of gross. Almost like I’m cheating on my girls. Ha!!!

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      • Very cool that you have your own chickens. That’s something I still haven’t had the will to take on.

        Have you noticed a huge percentage of chicken owners/maintainers are women? I literally know 5 “egg ladies” within 15 minutes of my home. (Maybe that’s why I’m ok with not having my own…)

        Very good article too, btw. :)

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        • Yeah man, I think it’s the new “cat lady” thing, which makes sense because I’m already well on my way to becoming one of them, too.

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  15. One of the best pieces i have read in a long time, thanks Julia.

    *unplugs internet for awhile*

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  16. We may not know what cavemen ate, but we no for damn sure they didn’t eat HFCS, canola oil, and big fluffy loaves of enriched white bread!

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    • Jack K? Is it….could it be? Dr. Carnival Cruise, I mean Dr. Kruse??????

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  17. I know this is off-topic but I wonder if the community can help me. I’ve been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and have been having weird episodes where I lose the ability to co-ordinate my body properly and can’t string a coherent sentence together, having terrible brain fog at the time. Also, I’m very affected anytime I have a sizeable portion of sugar – my mental state becomes unstable and my energy goes south. Even having half a glass of apple juice can do it. I’m super-skinny and struggle to maintain my weight. I tried Eat for Heat and didn’t see much improvement. I’ve tried going heavy on the 4 S’s but that made things worse, especially the sugar. In the last few days, I’ve been swapping my breakfast and dinner – so eating a decent portion of meat for breakfast and no meat or protein for dinner. I’ve had better energy and a much more stable mental state than usual. I still find myself becoming unstable when I have more than a few grams of sugar at any time. I seem to have the classic ‘hypoglycemic’ pattern going on (I realise Matt doesn’t believe in hypoglycemia). Swapping breakfast and dinner and avoiding sugar forever is the obvious solution, but that’s just a dietary prison. Has anyone found a less restrictive way to manage sugar sensitivity issues like the ones I’ve described? I’ve tried going heavy on the salt (which I love the taste of) but despite this, it hasn’t helped keep me stable.

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    • Don’t believe in hypoglycemia? I do. But having it isn’t an excuse to avoid carbohydrates because carbohydrates are required to overcome the condition.

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      • Hi Matt, for brevity’s sake, I didn’t explain myself right. When you were heavy into RBTI, you said it’s not about ‘low blood sugar’ but rather about too little sugar getting into your cells. BTW, I haven’t been restricting starch at all. I’m a starchavore through and through!

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        • I think RBTI’s definition of “low blood sugar” is more likely to be low blood salt. However, cortisol is a diuretic, so if you become hypoglycemic and cortisol skyrockets it will make ya pee and have “low blood sugar” in the strange world of RBTI.

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    • Have you ever thought of checking your blood sugar with a glucometer? You can pick one up for $20 at a pharmacy. The test strips are expensive, but perhaps you should check it out. I say this because a few of the symptoms you described actually strike me as hyperglycemic, not hypo (the inability to gain weight, the brain fog, the lethargy).

      If you’re also constantly thirsty and peeing a lot, I’d definitely recommend that glucometer.

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    • Thought I’m not an expert or a doctor, I would suspect either gluten ataxia or shortage of B12. Brain fog and hypoglycemia also totally fit in with gluten issues. On the other hand, I also get brain fog from sulfited ingredients (corn syrup, maltodextrin and others).

      I know Matt’s on the ‘gluten is not a problem’ bandwagon, but unless or until my metabolism gets up to where it should be, I avoid it completely. And I’m making progress!

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    • I overcame my hypoglycemia with tapioca pudding about 14 years ago, it was suggested to me by a Chinese doctor. I used to have a terrible time with it. I prefer homemade tapioca, but the premade stuff will work too. I don’t know why it works, but it did. You need to eat a cup in the morning everyday for a while. In addition, try eating some everytime you feel bad. The little premade cups work for that. I know that they have some bad stuff like HFCS, but it helps in an emergency.

      Other kinds of pudding will not work. You need the yam.

      Reply
    • I had the same thing in terms of any form of sugar (such as bread or rice or fruit) causing me to practically go comatose, however this only happened during the middle of the day. I could eat things like museli for breakfast with no problem whatsoever, and sailed through a fasting blood glucose tolerance test at 9am. I nearly lost my job over it because I could not stay alert.
      In the end I did what you did, eat the carbs when their effect did not impact my daily life so much, stick strictly to proteins and fats during the middle of the day (such as steak and butter), don’t attempt anything like fasting or avoiding food during the day, and after a year I am ‘cured’. Work function sandwiches – no problem.

      Reply
  18. Haha. I went to the bathroom today and forgot my phone.

    Reply
  19. It’s still a blog piece about “food.” It’s all poison. Now, breatharianism…that’s a diet that I can really sink my teeth into! When I come up for air, I always want more….

    Reply
  20. I completely agree with you Julia, that our quest for the perfect diet has everything to do with our desire to live a meaningful, connected life. But… “Let’s take advantage of the fact that more resources are available to us now than at any other point in history and live wisely.” I can’t work my way around this one since the way I look at it, the only reason we have more resources available to us is because the rest of world (the poor masses outside of the western world, and those within it) has less resources available to them (we wouldn’t have the foundations of this civilization were it not for slave labor). Also, with more choices and great, entertaining technologies, comes less contact with what really matters–community.

    While I stopped listening to diet gurus a few years ago, I can’t get all excited about our modern marvels and conveniences of today (though they please of course, in an unsatisfying kind of way). For example, I still avoid chemical-laden foods, because one they taste disgusting/flat and two, advances in food preservation technology don’t make me jump up and down in excitement. I get your message and I think it’s good for many people to hear it, but there’s something about the pendulum swinging back and forth a little too briskly and I’m feeling that what comes out of this blog at times is leaning towards the other extreme. Personally, I don’t think that’s necessary to get people to start thinking for themselves.

    Reply
    • But you know what? Ignoring things doesn’t make them go away. Look, I’m typing this to you from the very fist computer I have ever owned. In fact, my foray into technology has been entirely facilitated by my boyfriend. As late as 2010 I was watching VHS tapes on my 13 inch television set and didn’t use a cell phone. I too, bemoaned the loss of real community in favor of the virtual. Even this conversation frankly weirds me out a bit, almost as much as shopping online instead of going to a store and dealing with real people does- if, hopefully, actual humans are operating the check out line. I feel you. Also, I’m no cheerleader for processed, industrial foods. I eat almost entirely organic, everything. In the summer, whatever vegetables and fruit I don’t grow myself are purchased from local friends and farmers. I have my own egg laying hens- in fact, I’m such a sucker and so against the exploitative nature of modern farming that I rescued my hens from an organic, ethical farmer who was going to send them off to be made into chicken soup. These fucking hens cost me 20x what they earn me in eggs because they’re old and I feed them a special, homemade diet because I distrust industrial chicken feed. I’m as against slave labor as they come, having gone years at a time refusing to buy any clothing that wasn’t second hand. But eventually I needed some new shoes that weren’t busted up already and sometimes I go out to eat and order a steak, even though I’m pretty sure it was raised in one of those awful feedlots.Sue me, I live in America. It’s not about burying my head in the sand, nor is it about swinging so hard the other way that I’m now shopping for heavily discounted Doritos at Wal-Mart at 3 in the morning. It’s about being balanced, appreciative and remaining sane.

      I found a poem I wrote when I was 18 where I’m going on and on about how much the world sucks, destruction, death, war, etc…but then at the end I realize that I’m awake at at 2 in the morning, eating leftover Thai (incidentally), sitting on a comfortable bed and enjoying the privilege of pouring my little heart out on notebook paper by incandescent light. I think what I’m driving at when I say we should take advantage of the many resources at our disposal and use them wisely is just that. Be grateful, but not gratuitous. Make wise choices based on your own code of ethics, your needs and what brings you joy. I guess I think there’s no sense in ignoring what’s available. You can make conscious purchases and vote with your dollar and do whatever good works you can in your life to shift the paradigm to a more healthy balance for all beings on earth, and actually, I’ve come to think that the Internet is already helping us to do that. Sure, we’re too glued to our screens, but now information is available to all. There is no premium on truth, the internet really is the great equalizer. Look at the role it played in toppling middle eastern dictators, electing the U.S president and just making change more possible and knowledge more spreadable. I like it. It was a long time coming for me, but I’ve embraced it. So. Just sayin’, I don’t think I’m so far on the other side of the spectrum as you may think. And I didn’t think I appeared to be, actually.

      Reply
      • At 27 I would have immediately lobbied to replace your boyfriend after reading this, haha. But I’ve gone to the other side now. I’m gratuitous and not grateful. Chips Ahoy FTW!

        Reply
        • Maybe you’re just making up for lost time spent starving yourself in the wilderness or whatever ridiculousness you engaged in in your youth. Chips Ahoy? Come on man, they aren’t even good!

          Reply
          • Gotta agree on that one, Matty. Chips Ahoy are pretty shitty- I’d know, I tried ‘em again recently.

            Homemade chocolate chips, though- that’s another story…

          • WelI I mean, sure, they’ve got good mouth feel, a memorable aroma, and they satisfy the appetite. But are they really quality? Do they really hit all the chords that a homemade, delicious, chocolate chunky cookie, made with the perfect quantities of pure vanilla, salt, butter and brown sugar does? I dunno.

          • When I’m a bajillionaire I’ll hire someone to make me quality food, take care of the chickens, milk the cow, tend the garden, and bake cookies. I’ll get one for you too Rob!

          • Tending to the chickens, the garden and making the food is pretty cheap. I should know, I’ve only spent maybe two or three years of my life over the poverty line. As far as tending the cow goes, man I wish I had more money! I would kill to have my own dairy herd!

          • Alright, make me an offer.

          • Are you offering to pay for my dairy herd? I’ve got the land! Or are you offering to hire me to be your gardener? I’ll trade you one wildly popular blog post per month from here to the horizon for five Brown Swiss cows. And if you want me to be your servant, shit, that’s gonna cost you. I’m really lazy.

          • They are cheap, instant, and don’t require any baking. My taste buds can learn to love ‘em.

            I don’t eat them regularly. Just yesterday. First time I have had them in a couple years. I had exercised a little too hard and was stricken with a rare craving. I obeyed fully. I’m still alive today to tell about it. Phew! That was close!

          • Why fight it?

            The animal wants what the animal wants. This is at least my guide for what goes into my tummy. And if it’s Chips Ahoy? why not?

          • Not eating them regularly and satisfying a rare craving brought on by over exertion sounds like a balanced, appreciative and sane approach to me. For instance, I was just at brunch and stuffed myself to the gills on all you can eat doughnuts because they were awesome, and as I mentioned, it was a buffet. Reasonable enough!

          • Exercised too hard? WTF, Matt??

      • “…do whatever good works you can in your life to shift the paradigm to a more healthy balance for all beings on earth, and actually, I’ve come to think that the Internet is already helping us to do that.”

        I happen to have a shining example of just that today. A little boy… and orphan in fact… somewhere in a 3rd world country has an ENORMOUS tumor covering half of his head and face. I have watched the WORLD come together to raise over $40K in the last 3 days for this child’s $100K surgery, which just so happens to be scheduled in THIS country where it is available. The internet (and I’m sure cell phones)has made it possible to move MOUNTAINS to make this surgery possible for this sweet little guy. It will change his LIFE! Now, I don’t see anything negative about that!

        You can check it out yourself here: http://www.lwbcommunity.org/be-a-part-of-yongs-story in case you’d like to be part of his story.

        What a JOY it would be to see him eating Chips Ahoy!!!!!!!!!!

        Reply
      • LOVE THIS!!!!!!! Thank you!!!

        Reply
      • I take full responsibility for how I perceived your message and obviously, without having a face to face conversation with you, I can’t even begin to know the exact outline of your thoughts on this! The beauty of the internet;).

        I’ve been on the other side, then the opposite side, and back again, and in between and god knows where else. For years I didn’t buy any clothes made with synthetic fibers, and although I still can’t stand the feeling of sweating while freezing in a 100% polyester sweater in a 0 degree MN winter, I just got sick of having such few options within my budget. So, I’ve accepted the mediocre conveniences of our modern day because I have other things to worry about, but they don’t make me happy or content. I think I might have gotten the idea that you were urging people to feel happy about ‘these things’. And I’m feeling a little left out that no matter how hard I try, I can’t get excited about it. If I were still typing away on my first computer, I might have been able to. Kind of like how moving to the big city again had me excited for the first year or so (near cool friends, activities etc), and then for the remaining 4 before I headed out again, all I could think was how do I get out of this concrete jungle.

        I guess what I’m saying is that it’s easy for me to accept, maybe all too easy, but to actually enjoy and feel whole about, not happening. I use the internet mainly for finding information, about all kinds of things cause I love to always be learning something new, and to discuss with people. But it always leaves me a little empty, wishing I had actual people to talk to and ask questions.

        Reply
        • I hear you. I gotta say though, even though I personally didn’t purchase my own cell phone and computer until very recently, I, like all of us, have been using these things since the late 90’s. I’m pretty used to it all. And I’m not telling people so much to jump for joy over all our advancements so much as I’m suggesting that we come to grips with the fact that we are in fact, living here and not a long time ago in a cave far, far away. Or the 1950’s, thank Jesus. Are there downsides to the way we live? You bet. Big ones. But here we are, regardless. There are downsides to every way we have lived before and no doubt every way we could imagine living in the future. But what about the good shit we’ve got going on? I think there’s a lot of it.

          Also, I would say that real live human connections and virtual human connections do not have to be mutually exclusive. Real people still exist! We can still do that whole thing:)

          Reply
  21. I realized after reading this just how much I’ve been over thinking food and eating lately. I prefer to cook my own food and prepare my own dishes, but sometimes it’s nice to get something exotic or more interesting for lunch or dinner.

    I still avoid as many of the nasties as I can, but I eat pizza a couple of times a week and eat ice cream I make myself. Häagen-Daz doesn’t exist in Australia, which is a bitch, lol.

    I find it interesting that I can digest store-bought things a lot better than identical recipes I make on my own. What’s with that? I’ve decided it’s time to go out to restaurants regularly as well in order to keep my appetite firing (something I’ve really been struggling with lately).

    Can’t wait for the new book Matt, and Julia, thankyou for a great post. Chief Rok, Matt, and now you are providing some light in my journey.

    Reply
    • I would love to know the answer to this – or at least an educated guess. I too digest store bought or even some fast foods much easier than things I make myself, whether my own recipes are “healthified” or not. It’s always been really confusing/frustrating for me to understand.

      Excellent article Julia :)

      Reply
      • There are probably several reasons store-bought and fast foods digest better. They are usually softer, broken down into smaller particles, contain more salt which can be a strong digestive aid, and the sensory experience of eating foods in a restaurant away from home probably fosters stronger gastric secretions.

        Reply
        • I have a hard time digesting anything elaborate I’ve made the first time it’s served. Leftovers go down a lot easier. I just think I’m too keyed up from the creating aspect to switch over to taking in. Going out to eat is such a pleasure because I just get to sit there and be served. I definitely eat more at restaurants, or even if someone else fixes me dinner at home- which is an unfortunate rarity!

          Reply
          • I agree with both of you. For me, there are too many emotions and expectations centered around preparing a meal. Any feelings of stress or disappointment or even pride definitely affect how my body freels.

            Really, really, really looking forward to the Diet Recovery rewrite, Matt. Not going to lie, I’m struggling here. I basically RRARFed for the past year (not a very clean RRARF though), overcame crippling orthorexia (yay!), gained some weight all over my stomach, but my health never improved. Got fed up from feeling sick and fat, and now I’m taking Dr. Schulze’s poop products and Superfood and being lured down a path to raw veganism to heal my body. I just can’t seem to “get” it. I’ve read and re-read your books and posts and comments so many times and am either missing the point or doing something wrong here. I just have this guttural, intrinsic feeling that what you’re saying isn’t all too good to be true, and I keep coming back to 180 while I’m trying to plan vegan/raw menus.

            Yea, I need to scrounge up some money and have a consultation. I’ll be sure to do that soon – just started a new biz and have had to pour all of my income back into startup fees :(.

          • For me it’s the opposite. Pre-packaged foods and restaurant food generally make me feel pretty horrible digestion wise and that’s why I’m always spending time in the kitchen. However, when I was pregnant last time with pretty severe nausea, I had a very difficult time stomaching my own prepared food. Only restaurant food enticed me enough to eat a whole meal without gagging and waves of nausea. But afterwards, I’d always get a stomach ache, like severe stomach ache. So I ate at home even though I had a hard time getting it into me. At least there was no cramping afterwards.

            It’s very interesting to hear that others tolerate fast food so well. Could it be that those of you who do were raised on this food (at least partially)? When I grew up there wasn’t a whole lot of pre-packaged foods around yet (80s in Sweden) and I’ve never grown to like such foods after moving here.

          • Josefina – nope, I was not raised on fast food, nor did my family even eat out or even go to restaurants often. I’d say overall we ate balanced meals 90% of the time, though I sometimes ate the crappy high school lunches like nachos and stuff. I really only started eating more junky stuff in college. I have no idea why I have such difficulty and discomfort digesting food. I have had pain, bloating, fatigue and constipation since childhood, regardless of what I’ve eaten. And trying every digestive aid and going to every gastroenterologist and have thousands of dollars of testing done has yielded no diagnosis. But I DO know that I can eat 1/2 of a pizza easily with no stomach pain, while a cup of mixed greens could sideline me for the rest of the night, lol

          • I think that it may have to do with what goes into the food. I find I feel fine at most restaurants that serve pretty “real” food (I’m sure they use GMO soybean and canola oil and the like, but they don’t add chemicals). But at chain restaurants like TGI Fridays or the like, or fast food restaurants, where they serve chemically preserved and enhanced foods, I often don’t feel great after eating (stomach issues usually).

            Ech, pizza is a pretty digestible and refined food, assuming you’re not allergic to dairy or anything. It’s actually super, in my opinion – all the macronutrients included, nutrients from the cheese and sauce, and very digestible, not many anti-nutrients. A cup of mixed greens is a rather undigestible food, even if you’re raised on it, with several anti-nutrients.

          • I found that I was intolerant to those strange sugar alcohols that some restaurants use instead of sugar because they can be less expensive. So, maybe its some strange sweetener that is biting you.

  22. Question, Matt. Do you feel this information still applies to those of us who are at the place where we’ve healed our metabolism, but don’t know what step to take next? I was digging around in your archives trying to find help for myself and found this article that you wrote on calories and digestability. This sounds like the way forward; allowing the body to self regulate calories without self-imposed restriction. I know you’ve said before that information too far back in your archives might not be up to date with what you’ve learned and believe to be true at this point, but this makes a lot of sense and seems as though it still applies and would be helpful to those of us who are at the final phase of learning how to eat normally again. If so, I would like to post the information on my blog. I know it would be helpful to many who are at this place as well.

    http://180degreehealth.com/2011/12/the-calorie-myth-part-2-%E2%80%93-digestibility

    Reply
    • Generally, yes. Although this idea can’t be taken too far without causing a drop in metabolism due to inadequate calorie consumption. So it has to be implemented in small doses and be 100% sustainable. A focus on fitness and physical activity is equally if not more appropriate than tinkering with diet though, for many.

      Reply
      • I agree, and I was thinking that a combination of lots of easily digested foods and raw food/harder to digest protein would be a good balance. I still plan to eat lots of food to keep calories high, keep checking my temp to make sure that my metabolism is staying high, and finding that balance for my body. Naturally, that whole balance will shift according to activity level. I’m just trying to get a grasp on the big picture so that I can teach my body to start listening to body cues again and naturally begin to make those types of adjustments on its own. The voices in my head still try to get in the way, so I need a concrete concept from which to teach my body what to do while I’m learning to ignore the diet voices which still try to creep in and take control. I can’t wait for that shift to happen where my body takes over again and my head stays out of the way. It’s more of a delicate balance and shifting of power (from mind to body) than I realized it would be. Now that I have a focus, I know what direction I can go in and be confident in telling my mind to shut up because I know what I’m doing. That makes a big difference mentally.

        Reply
        • Would a meditation practice help reprogram you? I used one to a great effect. Now, I don’t worry about when I’m going to eat or how much, I just tell myself to relax and eat when I’m hungry. The only trick is to make sure I always have something to eat on me (or in my handbag which is more reasonable than wearing food.) I also make sure that its tasty food. I won’t eat something that tastes off. I never deny myself something that I really want to eat either if its a pint of ice cream, its a pint of ice cream; if its just white rice with soy sauce and corn, thats what I eat. I don’t know if such a thing would help you.

          Reply
        • Emma, I don’t know if this will help you get past those voices, but it’s helped me a lot: I only eat for as long as something tastes good (that’s my drinking rule too.)

          At first I’d go past that point a little, so don’t worry. I think the awareness helped to get me there. I was especially encouraged when I went to a friend’s house and brought her some great lakes gelatin. One of her cat’s went crazy for it.

          So I figured if it tastes good to the body, it probably is.

          Reply
  23. Wow. I identify with this post. I have been working on the “screw diets/methods and eat the food” mantra for a couple of years now. In 2010, I gained several pounds, moved to a new state, started a stressful job and tried to grin and bear all of it. Within the last year I’ve added minimal exercising and have lost weight in the past couple of months. In fact, I can’t seem to keep up with it; however, no matter what I do (mainly eating tons more carbs and signifcantly less meat because my body craves carbs), I cannot get rid of pesky keratosis pilaris. So, the question then becomes what happens when you try to ignore all the mess and still have unresolved issues?

    Reply
    • Keratosis pilaris!
      I had this most of my life to some degree.
      It has been the biggest pain in the arse.

      I see my neices and nephews have it even at a young age, and my son as well- though it goes away with exposure to a bit of sun for him.

      I still had it on my arms right up until a few yrs ago (I am 44 now).
      I have tried so many things on it over the years,
      but finally found something that works for me:
      just scrub a bit of baking soda over the skin while in the shower,
      then put coconut oil on after the shower

      This has worked amazingly, like nothing else- I dont have to do it every day either- maybe only every second day. Pretty easy too!
      It may work for you – I dont know, but I seriously bent over backwards over the years trying so many things to no avail,
      and this has been a miracle solution for me.

      Reply
      • The severity of my keratosis pilaris, which I’ve had since age 9, varies in proportion to the ratio of carbs to muscle meat in my diet. I haven’t had any for years. It flared really bad during my low-carb years. That’s my n=1 on the subject.

        Reply
        • Mine is going away now that I eat less muscle meat and tons more table sugar! First time I’ve ever had it start to heal!

          Reply
          • I never noticed that any of the multitude of various diets that I tried over the years made much of a difference to the Keratosis Pilaris for me for one way or the other.

            It is interesting what works for others though.

            I read of some that did oil pulling and that worked for them – I did it for months and noticed no difference.

          • I just looked up what this was. I have it on the back of my arms. I had a dermatologist tell me what it was once, but I was in junior high and never bothered to remember what she called it. I just remember her saying that there was nothing that could be done for it, so I went on about life. I’m glad to know now what it’s called. It would be interesting to see what others have done that worked to clear it up. I remember when I was eating gluten free, I had the hope that not eating wheat would be my answer. Nope.

          • The only thing I have done that is worked to clear it up is the baking soda scrub and coconut oil.

            No dietary interventions seemed to make any difference,
            and other stuff I tried was unsustainable, temporary, and helped only to a degree.
            Things like tea-tree oil, iodine, acne preparations, etc all helped temporarily and to some degree ..

          • I’m going to give that a try, thanks.

          • Emma, go to a site called http://www.cosmeticscop.com Paula Begoun is the best. She has a few products that may help with your skin condition. Just do a search on her site. I believe that the best product that she has that works with your skin problem is a body lotion that contains salicylic acid 2%. I don’t work for her, I would gladly sell her products. I live in Canada and you can’t sell them from here. She is so honest and amazing. Money back if you aren’t happy. Take care, Lita

          • I don’t know, I’m not a huge fan of Paula Begoun. I’ve found her to be somewhat off-base on a number of things. If you use chemical products you are always pretty much suppressing the symptoms and ultimately making things worse.

            You may want to look at what Evan Healy (a totally holistic esthetician) has to say http://www.evanhealy.com/blog/show/32. I don’t actually use her products, but they get rave reviews, and she seems to really know her stuff. Everything I’ve read says it’s all about vitamin A, which is probably best to get internally.

      • My Keratosis Pilaris from early childhood first started clearing after hysterectomy in 2007 (I was then 52 years). Actually, it had worsened in my late thirties to include forearms and lower legs so basically went back to ‘normal.’
        What cleared it up was drinking coffee laced with two tablespoons gelatin every day since mid October 2012. Sometimes two or three cups of coffee with the gelatin and cream. In November or December I started adding 1 T coconut oil and 1 T butter to that same coffee drink. And eating raw carrots with the morning coffee, too.
        Skin became clear and soft unlike I have EVER experienced in my life…now 57 years. Took a couple months to notice a difference.
        Hair thinning is growing back just recently (from late thirties…low carb diets, etc. hormones in general.)…I think. My hair dresser said she could see new hair. Nails are stronger and cuticles less dry.
        Even my knees are soft. I’m thinking it is the gelatin. Helped my digestion as well.
        Still working on getting over decades of food fear, but added sugar back in at the same time…gained 20 of 30 lbs in 3 months what I had lost on low carb diet April to October 2012. Did not gain back all the inches, though. And I feel stronger and no more racing heart. (Adrenaline kicking in for lack of energy from food/carbs.) I bought my gelatin in 25# bulk as I use so much.

        Reply
        • Thanks for sharing that Ann.
          I have been wondering whether to add gelatin back to my diet.
          it sounds like it could be worth it!

          Reply
    • Isn’t it supposed to indicate a vit. A deficiency? I’ve heard cod liver oil has cured kp for a bunch of people.

      Reply
      • Lots of vitamin A in my diet did not seem to help mine.

        But maybe my body has issues with utilizing vitamin A and that is more the problem..

        Dunno..

        Reply
  24. Ok, so this is a bit random, but I have posted this in the vegan thread and am posting it here because I want it to get noticed.

    I am in a bit of a questioning depressed mood today. I have started eating lots more calories over the past two plus weeks, and am afraid I am just going to get fatter, and thats it.
    That there will be no good ending and no solution to maintaining a lean natural weight without resorting to calorie restriction and hunger.

    I like this post – (the one from AaronF on the vegan thread)
    “You cannot operate from a place of fear”
    It is damn scary when u are gaining weight and dont know if or when it will stop!
    It is all experimental what we are doing, there doesnt seem to be any tried and true path as far as can see.

    I was looking through more of Billy’s website and found this section where it described more about what he did in his 6000 cal year.

    http://www.billycraig.co.uk/1/post/2011/06/weird-diets-concentration-calories-masturbation-and-more.html
    “So, after having worked out a rough figure for the daily calorie consumption for someone of my weight and activity levels, I set upon eating 3500 calories a day, ignoring the rational to drop the figure by 15-20% or 200 kcals. My ideas stemmed from the understanding that the thyroid controlled metabolism (the rate at which we produce energy), by producing thyroid hormones. So, it made sense that the thyroid would prefer a stable, reliable amount of energy which would allow it function fully. Weight rapidly fell from me and I went more extreme with my research. For the final 6 months I ate 6000 kcals a day and ended up at 10st. I’d made my thyroid hyperactive and it was burning energy at a rapid rate. ”

    So it seems he started to lose weight fairly quickly, and continued to lose after increasing to 6000.
    But how many of us have increased calories and gained and gained.. and not lost .
    Is absolute consistency of calories/food really the only missing key? Is going higher and higher in calories a key? What is really the key in getting this stuff to work for you?
    Billy says;
    “you dont have to cut calories to lose weight”
    and
    “you dont have to go hungry to lose weight”
    Well,
    always in my experience I have had to cut calories and go hungry to lose weight.

    So how do I get from that experience, to his experience?!
    Is it truly just picking a higher number of calories and sticking to it day after day until (probable) gain has stopped and weight loss begins???

    Anyone have a blueprint for making it work?

    Reply
    • Nola,

      I don’t know if this helps, but according to Billy you don’t need to nor should you go as high as 6000cal. Billy actually recommends 4000cal and it must be consistent day in day out whether or not you are hungry. He recommends doing it while eating multiple meals at roughly the same calories. For example, you can do 5 meals at 800cals each (5 x 800=4000), so if you pick that it must be done that same way everyday.

      Reply
      • Thanks JonO
        I have been intaking 4000-4500.
        I find it hard to be completely consistent about exact times and amounts.
        I eat at roughly similar times each day and roughly similar amounts, and am wondering how precise one has to be!
        It can be a real bind tied to an exact food schedule each day.

        Reply
        • By the way, JonO,
          are you doing it too?
          ie Billy Craig style- lots of cals, consistency etc.

          Reply
          • I have increased my calories and am being more consistent, but I do not believe I have been getting up to the 4000 cal level yet (I think I have some “mental blocks” leftover from my many years of watching calories/keeping them low). Actually, I have been gaining a lot of weight lately, so I ‘m going to decrease my junk foods and focus more on whole foods, something like the HED diet Matt wrote in his Diet Recovery book (concentrate most meals in early part of day up until 2pm, eat a light dinner etc.). Please keep us updated on your progress and I hope it works for you Nola.

          • I will keep you updated .
            I hope it works for all of us!
            Its not easy to go through the weight gaining process, its very tempting to jump ship at that point.

          • Hey Nola,

            I am a 22 yo woman and, from my experience, you will gain weight by eating that many calories, unless you exercice like crazy. But, in my case, increasing food intake has been linked with some positive effects : my acnee cleared, my digestion is much better (I suffered from constipation since I was a child, and now I poop 3 times a day), I am less anxious, have more energy, etc.

            Now, does it outweigh the weight gain ? You be the judge of that.

            If i can give you an advice : don’t follow Billy Craig. He’s a big talker. focus on eating to satiety. Don’t try to overdo it. And if you are not hungry, do not force yourself to eat. I have come to realise that creating a relaxing environment around food is almost as important as what you actualy eat.

            Good luck! there will be ups and down, but the most important is never to give up, and to be able to turn around when you realise what you are doing is not working.

          • Why do u think Billy Craig is a big talker Fleur?
            I have not seen evidence of this to this point.
            His advice to me was moderate and conservative, more than anything else,
            and to eat to appetite.. lol

          • Anyone that will tell you that you can lose weight by eating 6000 calories a day brings suspicion. His claims contradict my own experience of weight loss and do not seem to be backed up by any good science either. But then again, I base my judgment on what I have read on his blog. Maybe his ideas are different when you adress him directly.

            Good luck anyways!

          • Thanks Fleur

            I just have not had luck with calorie reduction – except for short term gratification which then reverses into a gain again at some point,
            so I figured if calorie reduction doesnt work- then maybe calorie increasing might! – over time that is..

            Who knows.. it is experimental.

            Cheers..

    • I don’t know if we’re going to get the answer to that question, Nola. Nobody seems to really know. Did you see my question and link to Matt just above your question? I think that’s the closest answer we are going to get about finally reaching the other side of this process.

      I can only imagine that it’s discouraging to lurkers who are waiting to hear answers to our questions and wishing to hear from others who have ultimately lost weight by the end of all this. There are many people who will refuse to venture on this journey if there is not any hope whatsoever that they won’t end up with extra weight that won’t go away despite having an improved metabolism. I’ve heard Matt and a few others say that people have had success, but where are they? Why aren’t they giving us a shout out to assure us that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. If I was a success story, I wouldn’t be reading these conversations and say nothing, unless all of them no longer read Matt’s blog anymore??? So, either there are a lot of success stories out there but, for whatever reason, they are not piping up to give us encouragement, or there really are not that many success stories of people who gain and then lost weight while healing their metabolism…or, there’s another reason I haven’t thought of.

      Regardless, I’m never dieting again so I continue to search for that answer myself as well. Like you, I dig. I’m also not the type of person to just sit back and wait for people to give me answers because we are, after all, responsible for ourselves, but a little help is always nice. I just feel badly for those who need encouragement just to begin this journey but aren’t getting it. Hopefully the link I posted above will help you figure something out for yourself as well. I’m still waiting to see if anything will happen at that “33 week turnaround”. I’m almost there; only a few more weeks to go.

      Reply
      • Hi EmmaW and Nola – I’m in the same boat as you two. I think one resounding success story who is very public is GoKaleo (Amber). You can also check out the blog and forum on Eat More 2 Weigh Less. There are some good success stories there, some frustrated people not getting anywhere. The ones who are successful seem to embrace the concept and not get so obsessed with the number on the scale (as that’s really a useless tool for knowing what’s going on inside metabolically and in terms of fat/muscle/organ/bone tissue). That’s why I like Matt’s focus on body signals – warm hands, temperature, pulse, hunger/saiety, cravings, sleep, etc.etc.Amber/GoKaleo had an amazing turnaround from overweight/PCOS. But it took years, i think the full progression was 3-4 years of very consistent work.

        Reply
        • Yes, I know about Amber, and have read her here and on her blog. That’s my point though, there’s not many people out there that are saying/sharing that they’ve been successful to the point of naturally losing their excess weight. There’s a person here and there that share their story, but having such a minuscule amount of success stories is not going to be encouraging for those who are trying to decide whether or not to take that first step when looking for evidence that it’s successful. And, not everyone is capable of exercising to the extent that Amber and others can, what about them? I’m not speaking of myself because I don’t have any physical limitation, but for those who do, there has to be an answer. Speaking of exercise, I believe Nola said she does weights and is doing the exercise program with Matt that he started with a small group of people, yet she’s still struggling.

          Please understand that I’m not discounting the success of Matt’s protocol, and I no longer weigh myself because I, like you, agree that the signs of body heat, sleep, bathroom patterns, etc. say more than a number on the scale, but the reality is that most people gain weight in the process and want to know what can be done about it. I think when starting out, the natural assumption for most people is that when you get your metabolism up, that increase in metabolism will take care of the extra weight and you’ll start losing, but when that doesn’t happen, then what? I think people are frustrated by that part of it, not the rest.

          I’ll check out eat more 2 weigh less. It would be nice to hear more success stories. Thanks for sharing it.

          Reply
          • I think there are not many who even try this approach let alone do it correctly and see it through for a length of time.. Too much indoctrination about eat less exercise more and too much diet-hoping for any consistent approach. perhaps that’s why. and there’s not a ‘short-term’ success with long term rebound on this approach, more like mid-term weight gain with possible long term fat loss. :-)

            I hear you, though. I really want this to work because after 25+ years of eating disorders, and trying pretty much every diet in the world, there’s nothing I haven’t tried and if this doesn’t work than fuck it. Personally i’m getting close to being able to accept that this might be my body forever. it might not be as athletic looking as i want it to, but at 5’7” and 175 i can’t complain; i’ll just spend some time learning how to kill it with my confidence and slightly larger sizes than my ED brain really wants.

          • Jessica, it is a long term process, and I’m willing to see it through. It’s just a little discouraging when others say that they only gained the first few weeks/months and I’ve gained for nearly 7 months and I seem to be among those who’ve gained more as well. I suppose my metabolism was more screwed up than I initially realized. I would just enjoy some sort of reassurance that things will turn around for me because I don’t seem to be the norm, and I can’t help but wonder if I won’t be in the norm for results as well. Even the testimonials at EM2WL were discouraging for me to read instead of being encouraging like I was hoping. The majority of the people either gained little with their calorie increase, or actually lost.

            This is not me throwing in the towel by any means. I’m just frustrated with the feeling that I’m going this alone. I know everyone’s path is different, but my path feels like a variety all its own; know what I mean? Thanks for the support, I really appreciate it.

          • Are you eating above your TDEE? I can’t remember.

            Billy Craig did his experiment while doing all of his regular training and teaching spinning 3x a week, so movement was definitely part of the equation. I don’t think Matt would recommend eating beyond appetite for much longer than a few weeks. If you’ve been at it long enough and you feel the warm hands, good temps etc. why not give it a try (backing down to TDEE) and see what happens? (and some activity that you enjoy?)

          • Well Billy Craigs idea was also about eating more calories to lose weight, as I understand it.

            ie, eating a very great deal of calories (6000) put his metabolism in hyperdrive and he lost weight while eating this amount.
            So while most of us dont want to eat 6000 cals (that is hard work),
            taking the principle or the idea, should work?
            ie, eat well over your normal calorie intake, consistently,
            to heighten metabolism and trigger weight loss sooner or later?

            Conversely- he exercised 4 hrs a day for 395 days and gained weight! So there must be something in all this that is beyond calorie intake and energy expenditure,
            and trying to lessen calories to avoid weight gain or lose weight.

            That is the whole point for me- to get out of endlessly limiting calories to maintain weight control.
            To find a way to eat abundantly and freely and normally, and to satisfy hunger without having weight gain happening as a result.

          • Jessica,

            Out of curiosity, I checked to see what my TDEE would be, and it’s well under the minimum 2500 calories. I really don’t feel comfortable eating less than 2500 at this point. So, yes, I’m eating above my TDEE because my TDEE calculation is too low. I’m guessing those calculations are not accurate but are rather based on a weightloss framework. Gwyneth, and others, say that no less than 2500 is the amount of calories needed just for our body’s day to day needs. http://www.youreatopia.com/blog/2011/9/14/i-need-how-many-calories.html

            I trust that more than I do a calculator from diet websites.

          • Have you tried this one: http://www.health-calc.com/diet/energy-expenditure-advanced

            I think it is pretty good. Gives my TDEE as 2543 on regular days, up to 2800+ on exercise days. Most studies with double labeled water show most women’s TDEE around 2400 – yes I agree less than that is too few.

            But Billy Craig was able to get his metabolism up in just a few months of eating 3500 (what he calculated his TDEE to be), and that was after a year of 4 hours of cardio a day. He went up to 6000 after things were already revved up.

            He also says he ate to the calorie and to the second (setting alarm clocks for regularity). So I guess I don’t necessarily see that you have to go significantly over in calories, unless perhaps you’re coming from a severely underweight situation (like many at Eatopia).

          • Thanks for the link. That calculator seems much more realistic than the typical ones you find online. This one had my TDEE at 2600 for an average day, which seems about right.

            I did not start out underweight, but at a normal weight. I had just lost a bunch of weight when I found Matt’s site, ditched the diet, and began re-feeding. I’m guessing that because I came from a place where I was dieting, I started out with a lower metabolism than if I were between diets and had been eating more. I think that’s why my weight gain is bothering me. It’s more noticeable and uncomfortable than if I had gained less or had been at a lower weight to begin with. Although, no matter what weight someone starts at, gaining 20-30 lbs. will make then feel 20-30 pounds bigger, even if that brings them to a normal weight. Adjustment is just hard, but I’m mentally at a place where I refuse to be a slave to calories or scales ever again, so I just have to make my way through this.

          • Emma,
            yes, if you have come straight from a diet, you are in a prime position for rapid weight gain upon refeeding.
            I dont thing you have gained so much, from an overall perspective.

            I started at a lean weight, and have gained 20 pds.
            Some of that I started regaining while I was still dieting!- which drove me crazy.
            I only had a short somewhat reserved refeeding time, then went back to a low level calorie restriction.
            So I gained 20 pds without even going all out in refeeding or anything, and also gained some during periods of hunger and restriction.. argghh

            Adjustment is hard, I am now at a weight I find hard to accept, any more is ouch beyond words.

            I just dont know if I have any choices at the end of the day, I am pretty much at the end of the dieting road, and dont know if I can ever go there again:
            one – it always ends in despair and failure at some point,
            and two – my body has very little tolerance for going hungry these days, it just hurts too much to go there.

          • Hi Emma and Jessica

            I did check out that link Emma- I have gone down that path a lot in the past;
            – eating those kinds of whole foods for greater fullness and less digestability, in order to be able to eat less calories without feeling completely starving.
            So for me I am avoiding that right now and am going more to the opposite side- just eating high calorie easily digested food.
            I think though, that there comes a point where you naturally swing back to more whole foods with less calories, and harder to digest etc.,
            and that comes when the body doesnt need the concentrated calories anymore-
            ie, when it is in a well-fed satisfied state.

            I do exercise, quite a fair amount, though I have dropped the intensity over the last months. ( I was unwittingly overtraining)
            My body is fully adapted to and used to constant exercise –
            and I cant do more- because then I will be over training and creating stress for my body.
            So I cant look to exercise as a way to lose weight.

            I too will check out “eat more 2 weigh less”.
            It is a path not many seem to have navigated successfully.
            I have read some of Jean Antonelli’s stuff and her forum, (she writes “Naturally Thin” and “Breaking out of the Food Jail”)
            and it is similar there, a few have had success, a lot have not.
            Her method is to eat good whole foods whenever you are hungry, and to appetite, and accept the weight gain and expect the body to lose it and balance out at the end..

            I dont think I can diet again either- so I have got to find a way out of this somehow!!
            Because I dont want to carry excess weight around eternally either;
            I have spent too long in the gym and am too body conscious for that,
            and I dont know if I can ever get past that –
            whether I think I should be able to or not!

          • Ah yes, and I can fully identify Jessica- decades of dieting that havent worked,
            and if this doesnt work??!!!!

            I just dunno if I can accept a larger size though..
            Even my face loses its good look at a fatter weight.
            Maybe I am just too vain..lol

          • No, Nola, the goal is not to eat more of those foods as a way to fill up in order to eat fewer calories. You still eat a lot of calories/foods, but because the body has a harder time extracting all of the calories from those foods, less calories are being used. The lowering of calories, if you will, comes from the body not utilizing as many calories. You are not imposing restriction of food and/or saying no to your body when it’s hungry, so you don’t trigger that sense of fear for the body that food is not coming. Who knows, maybe that helps the body’s metabolism to increase even more because if it wants those calories, maybe it will work harder to extract them. :)

          • Hiya
            Well, I guess firstly, I have got to the point where I just want to eat the food that calls to me most at any given time:
            and the next thing is;
            this idea of Billy Craigs is about giving the body more calories so it feels safe and is willing to lower set point and release fat
            (ie, is not holding on to it for protective reasons because it knows incoming energy is consistent and abundant).

            So I guess at the moment I am thinking less of ways that the body will absorb or actually get less calories;
            and more along the lines of giving it as much freely available and easily available calories as it could want.

          • I interpreted Billy’s experiment more as a comment about ‘consistency with enough calories’ rather than just ‘abundant calories’. Because you can still take in excess calories in an inconsistent way that will not signal safety to your body.

            EmmaW and Nola have you had babies? My problems really started after 2 babies… female hormones :-/

          • Yes, I have three children. My problems began with my first pregnancy. My thyroid went south during pregnancy, but it wasn’t discovered until after my daughter was born. It’s been an uphill battle ever since. I think my biggest mistake was to immediately dive into dieting trying to lose the weight I had gained because of my thyroid. If I had known better, I would have simply started my medication and allowed my body to sort everything out and get my body back to normal on its own. Instead, I did what I think most women would have done, started medication and dieting/exercising. So, I put myself behind the eight ball right off, and I’ve been behind ever since.

          • I have had one child. But my problems started in teenagerhood, with my first diet at 12 yrs,
            after my mother commenting that I needed to lose weight
            ( I had gone from a lean child to having a bit of roundness) .
            After that it has been a battle ever since.

            I dont know about the consistency vs excess calories thing in terms of signalling safety to the body;
            the only way to find out for sure would be to do your own experiments.
            But I did think that excess/abundant calories was definitely part of the deal.

          • That makes sense. You have to do what you feel your body needs at this moment. I felt that way too, but I’m at the point now where I want to eat more normally, which includes eating raw foods as well as cooked. I was worried about taking a step in that direction because of my focus on eating easily digested foods during my re-feeding and healing phase. Now that I seem to be past that phase, I found myself asking myself, “Now what?”. Then I found that article, so I feel like I know what direction to go in at this point and what to watch out for to be sure that it goes well.

          • Jessica/Emma/Nola-

            Are you all experiencing other side affects of low metabolism aside from just the stubborn weight? I am about a month into trying to fix my metabolism with Gwyn & Matt’s methods and at this point am more concerned about my brain fog, lack of emotions/sex drive/period than the weight issue. I seriously feel like I am in a haze everyday, and am unable think clearly and even feel real emotions. These symptoms were there when I was dieting, but are getting worse now that I am refeeding (side note: I have completely normal blood work, doctors tell me there is nothing wrong with me, although I don’t feel like a functioning human being). I will say though, a month into this process, I have gained weight, but have warm hands and feet again– something I cannot remember ever having. My digestion has also greatly improved! So I think my body is changing slowly but surely. Only time will tell I guess

          • Hi Kr,

            yes, for sure. my hair was falling out in gobs, low temps and pulse, cold hands and feet especially at night, heavy periods with huge clots (tmi, sorry guys), low motivation, constipation, lots-o-peeing at night, lack of progress in weight training. been eat for heating about 6 weeks now, eating my tdee for about 3. my temps are consistently up, (always above 97.7 in the am and usually up to 98.8 after breakfast, holding steady through the day). My hair is falling out less, i’m more motivated and notice a huge increase in fidgeting and the way I move (instead of trudging along sometimes i jump or skip or do other fun spontaneous movements), my mood is better, I feel happier, my period was less clotty this month. i don’t pee at night at all anymore. bowel output is really great on most days, although some days is still low. starting to feel like my quads are getting more solid. So a long ways to go, but lots of really good positive signs.

            I think the haze is normal. my personality is changing – becoming more gregarious and having more ideas and being more confident. seriously, food is fucking awesome :-)

          • Ditto just about everything all of you have said. I’ve had improvements in all areas but weight loss at this point. I know the weight loss takes longer though, at least a year. I’m nearly at my 7 month mark. I’m just feeling antsy being in-between healing and weight loss.

          • Girls,

            I caved and weighed myself this morning, even though I promised myself I wouldn’t weigh myself anymore until I’m past this weight gaining phase, but I could feel that my weight has gone up more and I just wanted to know what my real weight gain is at this point vs. guessing. I’m officially up 32 lbs. I was crossing my fingers that it was closer to the 25 lb. mark like I’ve been guessing it was lately, but it was higher. I’m on the verge of needed to get the next size up in clothes. My current clothes barely fit me at this point. I’m trying not to get discouraged, but why do I just keep gaining!!!? Matt says that people don’t just gain and gain, but I’m really feeling like the exception to that. I just feel like crying. I don’t know what to do to stop the weight gain. So far, the increased raw foods is not dropping my metabolism at all. My temp has actually gone up a little. The only thing I can think to do at this point is to increase them more. I think that I’m going to need to start tracking my calories again though because it will be easier to drop below 2500 calories eating more low calorie foods. I hate tracking food, but until I get a mental gauge for how many calories I’m eating with this increase in fruits and veggies, I won’t know if I’m hitting my target, or not. Oh, how I wish I had never gotten myself to this place.

            One good thing about this is that I had a good conversation with my daughter (20 yrs. old) about this whole issue and the struggle I’m finding myself in because of dieting. She shared with me that she refuses to diet because she came to the conclusion on her own, having gone through the peer pressure phase in high school, that everyone is different, including our shape/size, and we all need to love and accept who we are and the body that we are given because we are meant to be unique.

            She’s one smart cookie, and her attitude will serve her well. She eats intuitively, never ignoring her hunger or depriving herself, and her weight has always been stable. And she knows now, from my experience, if that changes because of thyroid problems, etc., not to try and diet her way back to normal, but to allow her body to heal itself and get itself back to normal. I feel so relieved that she’s sparing herself a life of misery and torture over this issue. It does this Mama’s heart good. She is a great example for me.

          • HI Emma,

            There’s no reply button on your comment below – but wow, what a great conversation with your daughter. Love that, you must be happy and proud!

            I can relate with the mental tailspin from the scale :-( It’s hard. Maybe it’d be worth a consult with Matt or Amber or Gwenyth for you, even for the reassurance of someone who is one step removed and has experience seeing lots of people and lots of patterns.

          • Wow Emma, your daughter is very cool!!

            Few have that kind of maturity, especially at that age,
            and in our culture of pressure around body shape and size.
            She is doing well, and maybe observing your own struggles have helped her to come to these conclusions too.

            Hang in there! I have had a few tailspins and freak-outs over the last few weeks as I have observed my face and legs looking a lot fatter, though my overall body size does not seem to be any larger.
            Weigh, I dare not.

            I read Billy Craig saying that many people dont make it through this process because they freak out in the weight gaining stage and jump ship (words to that effect). It is extremely hard not to jump ship at these times for some of us- and I still cant say that I wont jump ship too!

            However- dont castigate yourself for continuing to gain- many that I have read of over the years do.
            I think Lani Muelrath who followed the “Naturally Thin” process, gained 60 pds before her weight stabilized (it was either 40 or 60), and she naturally came back down to a lean weight.
            Naturally thin is a less agressive refeeding approach than RRARF and what we have been doing.
            But that is why I wonder if it is better to go all out , and plug the calories straight off, as I dont know if the moderate approach is as effective and may potentially take longer for the body to achieve a sense of safety and healing,
            leading to a longer period of gain??
            (It is all speculation, I dont know)

            I think a consult with someone who knows more of this path could be really reassuring, as Jessica has said. It is hard when you are flailing around, feeling like you must be doing something wrong.
            But regardless, we can all understand!

          • Hey Nola,

            In the new book, Matt makes a similar point: it may be worth it to just get on with the fat gain if your body is primed for it already, so you can continue to the next steps in the recovery process.

            The key in my mind is: you’re likely to gain that weight anyway if your body is primed for it, and we know that deliberate calorie restriction works in the short term but not in the long term, and has negative consequences to boot. Better to get the rest of your body working well by eating adequately and abundantly, max out the gains, and continue the process.

            Eating more, freaking out, then cutting calories again just repeats the binge portion of the yo-yo cycle, and will probably lead to further gains again over time, likely in excess of the gains you’d have seen if you saw the recovery process through.

          • Thanks for the encouragement and support, Girls. I am feeling much better now that I’ve calmed myself down.

            I agree with the idea of just gaining the weight and getting it over with. I wouldn’t want to draw this out any longer than necessary. If I were to do it slowly, it would provide more time and opportunities to give up. I have been “okay” so far with my weight gain, but I’m starting to cross a threshold that I’m not comfortable with at all which is causing me to have anxiety attacks. I’ve never been an anxious person, or have anxiety attacks, so the fact that I’m starting to have anxiety attacks tells me that I’m a lot more stressed about my weight at this point than I realized. It’s difficult to have your emotions and dieting mind doing battle with your logical self. Just about everyday now I’m finding myself having to talk myself through the process. I didn’t realize it would get this hard, but I don’t want to throw away 7 months of progress, only to have to start at the beginning again. I know I can get through this. I just can’t give up, I can’t.

            I’ve decided that I’m going to go to the thrift store and buy myself some larger sized clothes. I’m up three sizes at this point, this includes the size I need to buy for myself at this point, which I have been putting off as long as possible. I only have one pair of pants that fit me comfortably at this point. I wore them today and realized that a larger size would be less painful to deal with emotionally and mentally than continuing to wear my clothes that don’t quit fit and is causing me to have a muffin top that just makes me feel worse than I do when I wear pants that fit and don’t create a muffin top. Even though I’m obviously the same size today as I was yesterday, I felt so much better, and less fat, wearing those jeans than when I wear my tight pants/shorts. So, I just need to bite the bullet and buy clothes that won’t make me feel like a stuffed sausage in them, and have the fat constantly reminding me it’s there as it tries to escape at the waistline.

            Thanks for the kind words about my daughter. I am proud of her beyond words. She has grown into such a well grounded, level headed person. She is my source of inspiration at this point. I witness daily how she eats, and I look forward to the day that I can be in that place again.

          • Thanks Rob
            It is good to have that point of view, and support,
            I do think it is right too – from experience;
            when the body is primed to gain fat it is going to do it anyway, sooner or later,
            and maybe its better to just go through it once and for all, no matter how painful it is.

            Emma,
            I gave way and sewed a new wardrobe a couple of months ago, I felt better for it.
            I get very upset, depressed, anxious, and stressed with weight gain – and more..
            I have to work with it on a daily basis too.

            Today I had the thought to focus on the inner more than the outer.
            ie, to find the place to feel good within myself,
            even when the outer seems to be going in a way I do not prefer!

          • I’m jotting down occasional notes about amount of hair loss, nails, temps, moods, my period, my motivation, bowel movements, fidgeting, etc. because even though my weight is still going up or starting to level off, i see lots of improvements in those areas which is encouraging. Maybe that would help keep you going, too, if you need encouragement? Or maybe that’s too obsessive. i don’t have the Ancel Keyes study, but I wonder if the progression back to normal was documented as well as the path to starvation.

          • thanks for your experience Jessica! I am absolutely going to keep going. I had a consultation with Gwyn and she said that feeling worse right now is completely normal as your body is readjusting to normal amounts of food and it takes awhile to get out of starvation mode. I did almost 3 years worth of undereating and over exercising so I really shouldn’t expect to see results overnight. I just want to feel like myself again, and its hard to be feeling bad about your body and not even have a clearer head. I also feel like my family & friends just thinks I’m just a hypochondriac at this point since there is “nothing wrong” according to doctors, which is so frustrating. Thanks to Matt & everyone who comments on this site though– its so nice to know I’m not alone!

          • My symptoms of low metabolism,
            thinning hair, low energy, crashing out at times, irritable,
            brain not functioning well, end of eyebrows nearly gone (thyroid sign), feeling the cold big-time,
            peeing a lot and at night, low temps..

            With refeeding though, I only feel good, ( energy is good , my head is clearer- less susceptible to fog and headache);
            so I think my body is in a not too bad a state.
            I just hope my eyebrows will return (Billy Craig says his did), and hair will thicken , and all other things will heal..

    • That’s a great article JonO

      Reply
      • Hey Matt,This may be a little off topic, but I purchased and read Eat for Heat and Diet Recovery. Both were quite good and enjoyable to read. Diet Recovery mentions eating 3 meals and to preferrably concentrate your meals/calories before 2pm, but a person can have a light dinner of soup or a salad etc. Does the light dinner count as the third meal? Or should someone eat their three big meals before 2pm and then eat a light dinner? Thanks Matt.

        Reply
  25. This is really great, Julia. Great comments, too. It reminded me of everything I learned from a book called “French Women Don’t Get Fat” that came out in the mid-2000s. The author really emphasized regular meal times, balanced meals, the importance of routines and rituals, and mindfulness in eating, and also the importance of community, but most of all enjoying your 3 meals a day and eating healthily but what you like. This little book made such a difference in my relationship with food, I still recommend it all the time. I think 3 balanced meals a day of enjoyable food can make all the difference in the world for a person.

    As a personal story that I feel kind of relates to this whole discussion for some reason, or maybe I just want to share, I had fallen into the habit of buying a lot of prepared meals because I’d been under some personal stresses and low energy lately. Well, that caused me budget stress, so recently I decided I was going to stick to my set food budget no matter what. Which requires me to cook basically every meal (no purchased lunches at work), except for 1-2 budget-friendly meals with friends each week, and be really careful about sticking to a shopping list and using everything I buy (no waste). You would think this might make me feel deprived and stressed. But exactly the opposite has happened. I like buying unprocessed/organic/local food because of the effects on the world, farmers, my own health, my taste buds, etc. So now, I am eating pretty much 100% this type of food which I feel really good about on an emotional level, I’ve been experimenting with new recipes, having really delicious stuff and feeling a great sense of accomplishment about sticking to my budget that I can enjoy the other things I spend my money on and save. And I’m spending more time cooking instead of watching TV, which is probably good for me. I’ve felt more energetic for whatever reason. This period of “deprivation” has brought me a richer experience than what I had before. It’s amazing. Sometimes you can surprise yourself.

    Reply
    • I’ve never read that book, but I’ve heard enough good things about it that I probably should. And thanks for sharing your experience, I totally relate. I feel a million times better when I’m fixing my own meals, keeping within a budget and maintaining a certain amount of discipline like not doing anything other than eating when eating and eating meals at regular times each day.

      I had been eating a lot of prepackaged food lately as well, mainly because I got behind on housework and I didn’t want to add to the dishes. But as much as I loathe doing the dishes, doing them and then having a clean kitchen in which I can create meals is much more satisfying than saying fuck it and going for pizza. Sometimes you should do that, of course. But it’s when things that are delicious because they are special (like forgoing chores and eating take out) become routine that they lose their specialness and throw us off our axis. There’s a certain necessary magic in the mundane.

      Reply
      • Totally!

        Reply
    • I’ve read French Women Don’t Get Fat, and I agree that it has some very good points and I like the general way of life the author promotes, but she does also suggest a weekend ‘leek soup’ diet that isn’t much different than a very low-calorie fast- not a good idea for someone trying to recover from an eating disorder. Also I think we shouldn’t glorify the French diet too much, since we live a completely different lifestyle in the US. Anyways, I don’t mean to bash the book since its a much better option than most other ‘diet’ books out there. I just wanted to point out the drawbacks.

      Reply
      • Yeah, definitely not everything in it is perfect. I agree mostly on the fasting – although I actually think fasting for a day or so a couple of times a year is probably healthy, but not if you’re all messed up metabolically. She does emphasize that you should not be fasting regularly for weight loss. It’s just the first weekend to “recalibrate” your appetite and senses. She also pushes a lot of water, etc. So people should take all with a grain of salt, but I think the overall lessons about enjoyment of life and food are pretty valuable nonetheless.

        Reply
        • I agree- I don’t see a problem with a short fast once in awhile if you’re healthy, but I just can’t imagine doing it at the point I’m at right now- I’ve just re-learned how to eat like a normal person! You’ve mentioned before that you’re recovered from an ED- how long did it take you to feel normal again? I’m 6 months in with no relapses and I eat normally now, but between the weight gain and hair loss I still find myself thinking about being thin wayyyy too much (and I was never underweight, I just think about weighing 140lbs again, I’m probably 160 now).

          Reply
          • How long did it take? Well about 4 years, but I had relapses. My nutritionist told me it takes a year of normalized eating to heal the metabolism, but my relapses slowed things down. I do agree that 1 year is probably about right (that’s what the Ancel Keys study indicated, too).I didn’t feel totally normal until after RRARF. I actually credit Matt and this site for totally shedding the ED for good – it got me over the last few humps. To be honest, I still am probably more weight-sensitive than the average – I am lucky that I have balanced out to a thin body comp, which is what I always had growing up, but I don’t know if I would ever feel ok being overweight. I still worry about my weight more when I am stressed. So maybe I’ll never be totally “normal” but I think I’m fairly well within the healthy range now, and I no longer restrict, even if I am stressed. You probably have a head start because of this site, but I would accept that it may take another 6 months. You’ll probably start losing soon enough, though, I would think. And I went back to my pre-ED weight, so I expect you will, too.

            Do not worry that you will keep gaining and not stop. I used to think that the only thing keeping me from 300 lbs was willpower, but I now understand that that is ridiculous. I stopped at 130, and now am around 120.

          • Thank you so much for responding. I’m trying to accept my body at this size but its very hard, as I’m sure you know. I’m okay with it taking another 6 months, a year, whatever. But like you I would have a hard time accepting myself at this weight if it didn’t normalize at my pre-ED weight.

          • I know it’s hard to have faith that the weight will re-stabilize at your natural size, but try to believe and trust that it will. The body has a normal set-point that it prefers to be at, and once it realizes you are not starving, it should return there again. The tricky part is you do have to go through the weight gain period which I know is really, really hard. But the only way through is is to go through it, unfortunately.

          • What if your body’s normal setpoint is a weight you find unacceptable and unattractive!!!
            Or is an overweight state, to some degree or other?

          • I don’t really believe anyone’s set point is to overweight. It may end up there from stress, but humans were not created to be overweight. In addition to RRARF, meditation and Jon Gabriel methods might help here. Also, some people may be more “robust” or “stout” than others, and I don’t think that can be fought.

          • Yes, I think some peoples set-points do end up higher because of stress, and dieting.
            I guess that is the trick- how to lower your setpoint if it has become elevated from your life experiences-
            to a point that it is not a good natural weight.

            From what I understand, people like Billy Craig and Chiefrok are advocating good solid consistent eating ,
            until the body no longer needs to have the elevated setpoint as a safety net.

            I have worked with Jon Gabriels stuff, meditation, EFT, inner work etc, ad nauseum.. sigh..
            Though I cant say it has been completely useless, it has still not got me to the point I want yet.
            I would still like to believe there is hope though.

            So even though I sound negative at times, I appreciate your voice here on the boards encouraging people through this process ,
            and to trust their bodies.

          • Hey Nola, from poking around some fitnessy-eat-more sites today what I have noticed is that a lot of fit people with amazing bodies have “number on the scale” weights that are almost unfathomable, because they have so much lean mass. They all seemed to be doing weight training. Now I’ve been doing WT too, but maybe a half ass job of it, and I can totally feel a LOT of muscle under the layer of fat I have. I have never weighed this much (about 180, used to be 157 before the last pregnancy). So I am kind shocked too, but I fit in the same size pants I did when I was 10-15 lbs than I am now. I certainly have no answers, but I have a hunch that eating enough, consistently, plus heavy lifting (not frequent, but not wimpy weights) is going to be a SLOW long term way out of fatness for me, and maybe for you too.

          • Should have been: 10-15 pounds LESS than I am now. And it is SO HARD but I think once I am able to eat enough (I’m shooting for 2500 now, but my TDEE looks to be closer to 3000) I want to be free from any obsession about food. I’m pretty free of it now, but I don’t eat enough if I don’t make an effort to, and that is fricking unbelievable to me. And i see how this all started when I stopped just doing what came naturally and tried to manipulate my body (around age 14-15)

          • Hi Amanda
            I do heavy weight training;
            and have for many years.
            I do think it is a key to helping improve body composition,
            and I like the look of muscle on a physique.
            Unfortunately I have probably got about as much mileage out of that as I can, since I having been doing it so long and am now towards the top end of my lifting capacities!

            I have no problem eating a lot of food-
            currently I am at 4000 cals .
            At 3300, I was still on the hungry side.

            The other side of weight training is that I think it does make you hungrier!

  26. God, I needed this blog today!! I’m 40kgs overweight and so confused!! Have been swinging between paleo and non-paleo but counting calories on almost a day to day basis lately and it is exhausting!! The thing is I’m also too scared to just stop “dieting” because I don’t want to get any bigger! It’s a really had place to be in. The thing is that in the past the times I’ve been mos successful in losing weight I just ate sensibly and got some exercise – but I can’t seem to get back to that either! I’ve read diet recovery but the idea of re-feeding scares me! I feel trapped :( any advice?

    Reply
    • No advice!
      That is a hard place to be in.
      Just keep reading and make a decision as to which direction you are prepared to go at this time.
      Refeeding does involve weight gain for a lot-
      especially if you have just come from a period of dieting or food restriction.

      Be kind to yourself, eat what you really feel like eating, and do some exercise when you feel like it.

      Reply
    • I’m sorry, Lauren. I know exactly how you feel. I’m having a hard time hanging on myself because I’m one of those that just keeps gaining and I don’t know if I can handle any more weight gain. One thing I know for sure though, I’m not dieting ever again because I hate being a prisoner to that world. This whole issue is forcing me to dig deeper to find the answers because it’s not normal to be on a perpetual diet. Hang in there. We’re all trying to figure it out.

      Reply
  27. I just want to express a few thoughts before I finally decide to say goodbye to health blogs mostly for good.

    I’ve had such a unique experience with all this diet stuff, learning what I’m made of, reaching the end of my rope many times, breaking down and building back up. Feeling so alone and then learning to really accept with that and transcend it. Generally becoming stronger through all the bullshit. This stuff has built me up and broke me down in more ways than just how or what I eat.

    I was reading Danny Roddy’s blog today about how simple sugars are much better than starches, and then confusing myself into thinking I’ve been doing things all wrong, being afraid of starches, being afraid of sugars, being afraid of too many fats… It’s amazing how the orthorexia can kind of sneak up on you.

    I’m very fortunate to have realized that my issue has just been not eating nearly enough and that a lot of my problems are resolving by upping my calorie intake and being very free with what foods I eat. Then i’ll go and read health blogs and see people’s comments about how they have so and so issue when they eat this, this food item does this to you, etc etc.

    Then I get scared and sort of put a limit on myself on how much I should consume of a certain item. I read the nutrition facts on a package of Naan bread to see how many calories they were (out of curiosity) and saw one piece of bread had 150 or so grams of carbs. I became scared of eating too many carbs and then getting diabetes. After one meal. Then I remembered how some people say they feel funny with too many carbs and not enough of something else, blah blah blah.

    Already I’ve mentally put a limit on how much fat, starch, and sugar I should or should not be consuming in the course of about a month of refeeding even with the small amounts of nutrition reading that I still do.

    So no more. I can’t restrict anything. I don’t need to. I’m very very fortunate that I don’t have any major issues with a lot of food. I may have to learn to find a medium of being able to eat what I want and not support my orthorexic tendencies… I feel like I’ll find the way. I’ve already had times where I really wanted fruit, or to eat a wholesome home-cooked meal. Maybe all I need to do is trust.

    Honestly, since refeeding and starting up meditation again, I’ve been so warm and toasty, I’ve had days of amazing skin, libido is coming alive again, my brain fog lifts, my muscles are coming back, and I am very very relaxed a lot of times. I’ve woken up from an uninterrupted nights sleep feeling like I slept for years and just being so dang calm, it was almost like I was on drugs. Even now where I’m a little anxious about the things I’ve been reading about food, I feel mostly really calm. I just came back from an awesome thai food dinner with some friends, and I’ve been feeling less awesome than normal, but I know it’s just one of those random little regressions that happen as I recover from that period of restriction, and not some sign of imminent death and destruction.

    I just can’t read these health blogs anymore for my health’s sake, at least not for a long while. I figure if I keep up those awesome signs of health and my stress level is usually very low, that’s really all I can do so I gotta learn to stop worrying and just go with it. So here it is, i’m unfollowing Matt Stone, Danny Roddy, and the many others that I’ve subscribed to on FB for my health’s sake. I’m sure i’ll consult with Matt another time or two as time goes on, but for now, it’s adios from me.

    To those of you who are still working diligently to find their way, you seriously are all in my thoughts at least once a day. From the bottom of my heart, I’m rooting for you to get past all your issues. Sending good vibes your way always. Your stories have broken my heart many times, and I want to do something with my life that really helps people as best as I can.

    To the Matts, Dannys, Julias, Robs, and others, thank you for doing what you do and being strong enough to do it!! I wish there was some way to show you really how much I appreciate everyone you’ve done for me, I would do it. Thank you so much <3

    Reply
    • Good for you, Kamran! Good luck!

      Reply
    • Atta girl. Or boy. I can’t tell from your name. Eat the naan and we’ll see you on the other side. Onward, brave soldier! Relax and enjoy!

      Reply
      • Thanks Amy, you’ve been awesome!

        Julia, I’m a dude, despite the use of my unmasculine heart at the end there. Haha, jk.

        I came back briefly to see if anyone read my spiel, and I’m glad you guys did :) Thanks for everything!

        Reply
    • Thanks for writing this, Kamran. I really sympathize with a lot of what you wrote. I get pangs of guilt or anxiety just like you describe–I’ve had the diabetes fear myself. I’ve gained weight since ETF and I get bad anxiety over it sometimes, despite the obvious improvements I’ve experienced. I have two kids and sometimes I get really afraid that letting them eat unrestricted is going to make them obese. I listened to the so-called “diet mom” Dara Lynn Wiess on the radio the other day (she wrote an article for Vogue and then a book about putting her seven year old supposedly obese daughter on a very calorie restricted diet) and I was literally freaking out after. Funny thing is, my kids are not at all obese, they are strong, sturdy and resilient. And everyone is happier when I let them eat what they want with no commentary from me.

      Reply
    • Good luck, Kamran. :)

      Reply
    • A-MEN! A-MEN! A-MEN!! You just wrote so much of what I have been thinking and reasoning for myself lately. I am already healthy – blessedly so – and not overweight at all, yet I keep reading to try to find a way to be “more” healthy. Healthier than friggin’ what?? I need to enjoy the health I have, rather than wasting my life trying to tweak it a little, if that’s even possible. And NOTHING has been proven – not low fat, low carb, paleo, vegan or any of it. Equally conflicting information is available on all, so I just give up trying to decide what is right among them.

      I am realizing health is WAY more than bodily health habits of diet and exercise. We are not just our bodies, and if our hearts and minds are ignored, we suffer. My heart and mind are crying out to me to stop this incessant reading about health. I get it. Eat just enough of a variety of foods, move some every day, and then get the hell on with life.

      Thanks, Kamran for putting it into words. I don’t have any feeds or likes or anything to “un” from, but I can delete bookmarks and go on a new elimination diet: no google searches on health and nutrition blogs. Many have been entertaining and sometimes helpful – as this one is right now! – but mostly they have become a big vampire of my life hours.

      Best of luck to you all, in all endeavors and all dreams.

      K

      Reply
  28. I just have to say something .. Matt tells people to take body temperature measurements from the armpit.On the other hand ,I read that armpit is the least reliable source of body temperature calculation and it actually indicates the lowest of body temp measurements.I don’t know if what matt says is unbiased.I mean the difference between armpit and mouth was for me 0.4 C
    and armpit-anus was 0.8 C .
    Just throwing this out there

    Reply
    • I don’t recommend armpit anymore.

      Reply
      • I apologise then,I read something that was probably old.Would you mind saying what you recommend at the moment?

        Reply
  29. Great article Ms. Gummibear.

    So we can sum this up in a few words.

    Lifestyle matters more than food.

    Right?

    I really like the way you live, by the way. Someday when my kids are grown and out of college, I plan on building a simple, sustainable concrete home on a big piece of land, preferably with an orchard, and raising chickens and goats, and having a huge garden.

    Until then, its the 9 to 5 grind.

    It would be cool to read more articles like this here. Maybe stuff about finding/creating a sense of community and belonging. As a way of finding peace of mind.

    For me, daily meditation and having an early morning routine that is slow, deliberate, and low key goes a long way to creating peace of mind.

    Reply
    • Hell yeah. I’m getting into a slow, deliberate morning routine that includes a shit ton of food. It is so true that eating a lot early on makes you feel better. At least, for me. I wish I could afford to go out to Sunday brunch every day of the week.

      Reply
      • Julia, I’ve been craving cake in the morning! YUM. But I keep forgetting to buy some when I’m in the store hours and hours after I’ve woken up. Sounds so good though.

        Reply
  30. I’ve come up with a new diet called LCBSDWIO ( Low carb but semi dwarf wheat is ok). It’s fantastic.

    Reply
  31. I would like to point to that Leigh Peele’ s “Metabolic Repair Manual” has been rewritten and is going to come out in March. As it, from what I understand, isn’t written for those suffering from severe EDs but more the dieters/over-exercisers her approach isn’t as “aggressive” as Gwyneth Olwyn’s and aims at a gradual increase in calories (as opposed to eat as much as you can) and minimize fat gain. I do not know the original version of the book but Leigh definitely know what she is talking about, so her book might be a nice addition to those seeking a more formal approach BUT you probably need to calculate (calories in/out)!

    Reply
  32. Came across this site yesterday,lots of recipes and I like the reason this guy started prepping and his carelesness regarding foodgroups/Macro’s etc.

    http://www.closetcooking.com

    Reply
  33. Your article is SPOT-ON! There is no one diet for everyone. But there is one thing that does impact every diet: Stress.
    Although Dean Ornish is very insistent upon his vegetarian, low fat diet, his book “Love and Survival” is probably the most important information about how to sustain life, regardless of diet. It’s by connecting with others – even if that other is a pet..
    Love (in the agape sense) overcomes gluten, dairy, meat, probably even PUFA’s!
    Thanks Matt- for making sense out of the nonsense!

    Reply
  34. The best diet is no diet. Someone in my office has a desk plaque that reads “Eat right and Exercise…Die Anyway.” :)

    Reply
    • My daughter has a sign that hangs on her bedroom wall that says,”Don’t take life too seriously; nobody gets out alive anyway.” I love it!

      She recently bought me a sign, that I have hanging on my dining room wall, that says, “Things to do Today: Wake Up, Eat Ice Cream, Take Nap, Repeat.” It’s such a perfect reflection of where I’m at in my eating journey right now.

      Reply
      • Nice! What’s your story?

        Reply
        • The short version is that I developed Hashimoto’s during my first pregnancy, began dieting per common “wisdom” to lose the weight that I gained as a result, and I’ve been on a 20 year journey of dieting and trying to perfect my diet to be as healthy as possible (Atkins, low carb, Primal/Paleo, gluten free, Weight Watchers, GAPS, calorie counting, etc.), which left me worse off. I found Matt’s site and immediately dropped the diet I had been on at that time and began re-feeding myself. I’m seven months into re-feeding and have had marked improvement in all aspects of my health/metabolism. I’ve gained 32 lbs. re-feeding at this point. The weight is the last thing that I’m waiting for a turn around on. I know it can take up to a year or more for the weight to stabilize, and I’m being as patient as possible waiting for that to happen. :)

          And you, do you have a story?

          Reply
          • Don’t we all? :) Glad to hear you are on the mend…I’ll look up Hashimoto’s…have no idea what that is but sounds like a great place to get some Asian food. :)

            I pretty much starved myself for a year, eating only Paleo food. I lost 188lbs but felt awful. Dizzy all the time…cold (and I am known as the guy who wears shorts in the winter), semi-depressed. I would stand up and feel like I was going to pass out but figured it was justified in the name of weight loss. Sad. I was doing the no-carb Paleo, and toward the end was weighing all my food (calories in vs. calories out right? HAHA). I was also working out 7x a week. I knew something was wrong when I started having intense cravings…like keep-me-awake-at-night cravings. I ended up binging in shame in the basement of my house of whatever I could get my hands on…it was like I had NO control over what I did. Through luck, I came across Matt’s site and started devouring his blog, reading his books, and reading the comments. I also met Chief on here (who I work with now and consult with) and we have turned things around over the last year. I am slaying down huge meals, hitting the weights, and feeling BOSS. Still have work to do, but this last year with Chief (and Matt!) has seen huge improvements over 2 years ago.

          • Wow, cool John.
            Let us know how you go as it goes on-
            there are a few of us here wanting to know the end of the stories, and how to get there successfully!

          • That’s fantastic, John. It sounds like you’re doing really good now. I look forward to hearing about your continuing progress as well.

          • Thanks, Of all the diets you’ve tried, which was the easiest to deal with?

          • Ummm, probably WW/calorie counting because I could still eat what I wanted as long as it was within my points/calorie range. The others were much more difficult just based on the fact that so many foods were eliminated and it was harder to find things to eat, which made it harder to stay on the “wagon”. I’m so glad I don’t have a wagon that I need to stay on any longer; that trail was a bumpy one.

          • Man I hated counting calories…I look back and want to kick past John. Present John knows better. I would weigh out my lunch the night before, etc. Going to resteraunts was so hard. I still have a spreadsheet where I recorded all my meals and their calores. I am 6’2″ and was eating 1,000-1,500 calories a day. I was losing 3-4lbs a week though so I thought that was great. How do you do WW when you go out to eat?

          • I would just go online and check the restaurant’s nutrition facts and figure out the point value before I ordered. They also have a book that contains a large list of restaurants and the points value for the food on their menus. It was relatively easy, but it didn’t leave much room for spontaneity.

  35. What my research has led me to so far: 1. Different diets, exercise plans and approaches to planning meals work for different individuals. I’ve seen a few people blossom and a larger number fall to pieces (including myself) attempting veganism. I’ve seen a few fiber-craving folks (I guess that’s what’s going on with them) glow on a lacto-ovo-veg diet, and at least as many who need more protein get flabby and puffy on that much dairy and eggs. I’ve seen so many it blows my mind become half their ages and twice as alive on paleo, and a few get fat, sick and covered in spots on it. I’ve seen the current government diet work for a few but not many. I wouldn’t be able to live long on it. And I’ve seen some do fine on SAD, convenience-store version. Not me. 2. The obsessive, extreme phase of a diet is just the beginning phase. Soon it’s supposed to settle into a more stable, moderate, less time-consuming form. I don’t know anyone who tries, say, Atkins induction for a year on end. You can’t. You’re not supposed to. It’s just a couple of weeks. You only have one liver and two kidneys, and anyway it’s expensive. But it kicks up some people’s metabolisms and helps them get started exercising. 3. Of course the way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. But we’re living organisms. If we add less fuel, we have less ability to exercise. The diets are trial-and-error attempts to get enough energy to exercise more even while eating less. It’s not simple. 4. Our food has changed faster than we can. In history, when people have been forced or have decided to change their diets faster than their bodies can adapt (say, within a millennium or three), they don’t become healthy. They usually become very sick. Today’s SAD is the equivalent of dessert three times a day, chemically, from a historic perspective. Yes, it’s better than starving. Yes, we developed it when the alternative was to starve. Of course it’s great that we didn’t starve (and the number one reason for hunger in the world today is governmental corruption and economic distortion by government interference, not lack of land). Sure, a treat once in a while won’t hurt most people. But we got into nutrition because we noticed that we don’t have the stamina to do the work to meet our responsibilities, and we have to get in shape to correct that. 5. Overwhelmingly, the people I’ve heard being dogmatic about diet are either a) in an induction/introduction phase at the time and hungry or cranky, that’s all, don’t take it personally, or b) really talking about something else, such as animal rights, with nutrition only as a secondary purpose, or c) new and not aware of the counter examples yet, thinking that what worked for them would work for everyone because they haven’t been around the debate long enough to know better. They’ll catch up.

    Reply
  36. i think you just read my mind and thoughts over the last few years!! i have looked into different diets and philosophies and for a while it’s ok but then it’s not……. and i did start to wonder what it is all about! i do believe as close to nature as possible, and less processed the better, but every now and then it’s not gonna kill me, and if it makes me happy (and i mean emotionally than due to physiological hormone release) then i am gonna eat it. if it starts to become too much and i feel iffy – guess what, i’ll back off it for a while.!!! overdosing (for me anyway) on gluten does send my head funny, but i can still eat it at times. it really is a case of how we view the food we eat and stop labelling good and bad… anything in excess is no good for us and that is maybe the problem with most diets nowadays – extreme??… and the same as exercise too (and i used to do long distance triathlons…) – so so glad i read this today – thanks and for the comments from all too!!

    Reply
  37. I came to the world of the “perfect diet” by way of my son’s autism. I loved “the food” before-but suffered with 20 years of migraines before I went GF only to support the diet I put my son on. Ridding of the migraines was a by-product.

    Now, three years deep, I am sick of the damn diet. Just over the weekend, I went to a friend’s for pizza. We reintroduced dairy a few months back without question or issue. My temps are up…98.8 most of the time…

    But gluten…I’m scared, Matt. We have negative celiac tests, but there’s something still holding me back. It’s the damn migraines…I don’t ever want to feel those again. Plus, the choke-hold of the GF autism thing…well, I don’t want my son to get worse…

    If all of you on the thread have had this…lmk.

    Matt, I’d love to pick your brain on this.

    Reply
    • If you’re stressing over it and you definitely notice yourself having a reaction to it, then don’t eat it. That’s my advice. If you’re not stressing over the dairy, great! If you are over the gluten, leave it out. It’s no big thing. In terms of ease of daily living, eating gluten free has never been more accessible. Maybe someday if you want to give it a try, go for it. But don’t press yourself into it and don’t make yourself feel bad about getting migraines from something. We’re all different.

      Reply
  38. Nicolette,

    I have a problem with whole wheat, but not refined wheat. Maybe the same is true for you. Try eating just refined wheat products and see if you get any migraines. Others have mentioned this is true for them as well. It seems to be more common than I had initially thought. I was the only one I knew of that had this problem until I mentioned it, and others chimed in that they had the same issue. Good luck.

    Reply
  39. Loved the article and the attitude!

    Cracked up about the Roseto thing – I grew up in East Stroudsburg, so knew all about that one!

    Reply
    • Sweet! I live just outside of Stroudsburg! If you ever see this, I hope you reply! Did you go to Eastburg high?

      Reply
    • And I’ve been kicking myself for adding in the extra T in Roseto, I was so dead tired when I wrote the thing. But I figured no one else probably heard of the place, but whaddaya know, a local boy!

      Reply
  40. I guess Organic Raw Vegan is the only way to escape the madness.

    Reply

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