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180 Degree Failures

Blog Forums Raising Metabolism 180 Degree Failures

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    I’m interested in metabolism-related explanations of cases such as my own where Matt’s broad explanations either do not work at all, or have seemingly anti-metabolic consequences (and I don’t mean weight gain or fatigue).

    First of all, I have never intentionally restricted calories, ever. I have never gone vegetarian. All of my life I have eaten huge amounts of food. I played sports growing up (healthy stuff–NO distance running) and have been sedentary since college. And all of my life, I have been underweight and chronically constipated (and I mean real constipation–like I have never had even one week of regular bowel movements, ever), and have lacked any sex drive for basically my entire twenties (I’m 29).

    As far as I can tell, Matt’s advice to the average person here is to follow the same protocol I got sick on.

    I have not eaten much sugar for several years now, though I continue to liberally eat starch, and I have experimented with everything from high and low protein and fat while always keeping overall calories as high as possible. My hands are warm, my temps are decent, my urine is not dilute, yet I experience none of the improvements “eating the food” is expected to yield: I remain constipated, underweight, with no libido, and poor hair growth. I am never hungry because I eat enough always, and feel no need to snack between meals.

    I have tried adding honey and orange juice recently, and this only worsened my constipation.

    Facile suggestions like drinking more water, eating prunes, cutting out fiber, adding fiber, eating food that is “easily digestible,” exercising, not exercising, fermented foods, etc. have been tried and failed. Stuffing myself even more than I already do also tends to be counterproductive and lead to diabetic type symptoms.

    The main thing that seems to get me anywhere is doing the opposite of Matt’s general advice concerning trying to control every dietary variable possible. For example, I think Matt said once he couldn’t imagine anything less important to health than the kind of salt one uses, but it seems in my case, I become more constipated after using sea salt as opposed to additive free table salt. Pretty much everything works this way for me. The same meal eaten at the same time of day in the same weather with the same mental state can have noticeably different effects for me if just one variable is changed, like whether there was a bit of chili spice added or not.

    Anyway, I appreciate Matt’s work, open-mindedness, and charitability with his time, but more and more I question the validity of this approach and its attendant explanations. Given enough time, my experiences have generally turned out as counterexamples to just about anything he (and every other health authority, in fairness) has advocated as efficacious.

    Matt Stone

    Mike! The enigma!

    Well I hope you find some company just for reassurance that you are not the only person on earth who can stuff themselves silly and remain libido-less and constipated.

    There is the typical response to certain things and the atypical response to certain things. Your response has remained atypical and rare. Not saying that everyone experiences miracles and you were just unlucky. Everyone has varying degrees of success or lack thereof by implementing various dietary strategies, mine or otherwise. I’m not the least bit delusional about that.

    Good to hear from you and hope you find your way. Whatever that is. If I ever come across anything that I suspect might help, I’ll certainly let you know.

    The Real Amy

    Mike, have you ever been tested for celiac? Sounds to me like it’s some sort of absorption issue.


    Mike, I would like to suggest coconut oil to help with constipation. I don’t know what to tell you about the other stuff, but the coconut oil should really help.


    @MikeJ I’ve also for years struggled with constipation issues,bloating,slow/infrequent bowelmovement etc. (and it really seems to effect my moods&feelings).
    Eating the easy-digestible foods such as whiteflour,white rice etc. for instance all didnt do me good either.
    I also find that I have to drink a lot,also during meals in order to move some bowels,yet I’m also battling with some edema at times despite eating generous amounts of salt.
    And sadly,I also seem to notice that I can’t get away with ‘being lazy/sedentary”,it seems like I constantly have to keep on moving to keep digestive tract somewhat stimulated or else food just stays in my stomach&gut like a big cementbrick.
    So,you’re definitely not the only one where typical advises,just ETF etc. don’t seem to work for.


    I’m with you Mike J. I mean eating the food does some good things, but it also has negative consequences. I think this site is like virtually every other health blog out there. You’re going to have people who do really well, and some who do not, and a bunch of fanatics who swear “you’re just not doing it right!”. I think whichever one of these sites you are brought to is just a culmination of your experiences up until that moment. People want to feel better. They will continue to seek out information, people, places, and things until they get there.


    have you tried eating fruit? Eat 10 ripe bananas/day and see if it helps.


    Let me share what I eat that helps me stay warm and create that lovely soft poo poo :-)

    8:00 AM – Large bowl of Oatmeal (pre-soaked in Lactose-Free milk) with 3 heavy pinchs of salt (pink salt). Slice of Rye toast with grass-fed butter. Finished off with a piece of fruit, usually a ripe peach, bear or banana. NO DRINK!

    11:00AM – Snack consist of an apple with maybe some full-fat greek yorhurt on it.

    2:00PM – I usually have a double-cheese burger or Cottage pie with some fruit like an apple and a drink (1 cup). The drink is usually a sport drink.

    4:30 – 5:00PM – Maybe a snack. If not just a mouthful of sport drink.

    6:00 – 7:00PM – Chicken Saag, rice and some dark chocolate. Finish off with a cup of herb tea.

    Before bed, usually a small bowl of full-fat greek yorhurt.


    Thanks, Matt.

    Amy, I have not been tested for celiac. However, I rarely eat gluten grains and have often gone many months at a time without any at all.

    Linda, I have tried lots of coconut oil in the past. I may try adding it again, since other variables within my diet have changed since that time. However, I have generally never found fats to aid with constipation like so many people think they do. Usually the contrary. One thing I am pretty convinced of at this point is there is no single magic bullet food whose addition or removal will magically resolve a problem like this. If there were, I would have found it already, because I have tried them all. I think what has to be focused on above all else is the whole system: the combined effect of all the elements of one’s diet and lifestyle and their interactions in the specific context of a body with a particular biochemical makeup. This is much harder than finding one’s alleged “superfood,” because there are infinitely more variables to consider and you are always chasing after a moving target.


    Dutchie, I sympathize. I’m getting edema now too in spite of generous use of salt.

    Thanks, Vizzy.

    Jussi, I have been constipated my entire life. That is not an exaggeration. So, of course I have tried fruit! :) I stuffed myself full of it last summer in the context of a non-vegetarian, high-calorie diet and was freezing cold all the time, developed an even lower libido (as in zero whatsoever), and had absolutely horrible yeast patches break out all over my trunk. I pooed reasonably often but they were not well formed at all. Bananas (ripe or unripe, doesn’t matter) are complete poison to me. They are one of the most constipating foods I know of. Seriously, anyone who thinks they help are from another planet as far as my experience goes. Plus, they make me feel awful mentally and energetically, too, which few single foods ever do.


    Mr. Roberts, that sounds like a great diet for a healthy person who maybe experiences constipation once in a blue moon. I ate that way for two years. The problem is, I am not a healthy person. Eating that way did not help my constipation much at all. What sustains the average person with no serious digestive problems is not the same as what will heal someone who has never had a week of regular bowel movements in their life.



    Hey, I completely relate to the constipation issue. Some things that
    have helped me; Taking large doses of vitamin C, eating lots of white
    rice, avoiding or, severely limiting fruits and veggies. You might like
    to read the book “IBS-FREE AT LAST” by Patsy Catsos, MS, RD, LD This
    book helped me figure out my threshold for fruits and veggies. I
    eat (maybe) one serving of fruit per day and, one veggie.

    Too, supplementing with magnesium can help. But, it tends to make
    me feel draggy. Less water, more sugars, white rice, walking and,
    a hot cup of coffee in the morning, these all help me. I hope you
    find something useful here. I have lived my life with constipation.
    It is still something I have to think about daily.

    I should add tea. Tea constipates me.


    Try using very dark brown sugar on Oatmeal, toast with butter and a cup of low-fat yorgurt with Maple juice.

    That’ll make you go no problem.

    The Real Amy

    Mike, not sure if you’re open to homeopathy or Chinese medicine, but those might be worth a try since it sounds like dietary interventions have not worked. I’ve seen personal success with both, especially homeopathy.


    Thanks, Betty. Every case is so different. I’ve been eating a lot of white rice, but it seems like I get better movements with whole grains sometimes. While at other times, whole grains seem not to help at all. I’ve supplemented vitamin C to no avail, definitely agree on limiting fruits, but have the opposite experience with vegetables. If I don’t eat well cooked vegetables, I don’t go. Nightshades are definitely constipating for me, though, so I avoid those.

    Drinking less water is probably the number one practice guaranteed to keep me constipated. I never drank water daily until I was 27. It definitely helps me, but it’s tricky to find the balance between staying hydrated with the right amount and crashing blood sugar with too much (this is another target that moves daily). Sugar constipates me, too. It’s what I grew up on. Never helped me then; and aggravates things now, though I will continue to experiment with honey while cutting out all fruit.

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