March 13, 2014 at 7:25 pm #15858DavidModerator
@mmmfood- I remember your posts from a few months ago, and you may remember me too because I think I left some comments for you. The weight gain you just reported isn’t really a mystery. It’s the natural result of eating too much and exercising too little.
It’s true that maintaining a healthy weight is easier for some people than others, but no one gets to break the laws of physics. Calories are important.
There are people who ruin their health eating a whole foods diet, and there are people who regain their health eating fast food–and it’s all because of calorie balance. I have lost 40 pounds since last August–and more importantly, regained my health and energy levels–just by making sure I burn more calories than I consume. I eat “junk food” like pop and potato chips literally every day, and I don’t eat many vegetables or whole grains or expensive health foods or supplements. I just plan my diet and exercise at the beginning of every week, and I follow through with the plan.
You might disagree with me, but the fact is that I’m getting results. I had been very sick for many years. I had tried every restrictive diet you can imagine–cutting gluten, cutting processed food, cutting sugar, cutting dairy, etc., etc., etc. I tried that shit for years, and I thought I had tried everything. In the end, all it took was following orthodox advice–eat less, move more–and following that advice with serious dedication.
I truly believe that, except for the unlucky minority with serious diseases, health is possible for everyone. It just takes a lot of work.March 13, 2014 at 8:32 pm #15861DellaParticipant
Awesome David love this post. Good for you.March 14, 2014 at 4:59 am #15863piranhaParticipant
@Linda — yeah, you got it already! do the exercise that seems fun to you. if you feel like running, why not start? do it slowly, like with one of the couch-to-5k programs, which start you out walking with very short intervals of running, and slowly increase those intervals until you can actually run 5km (which seems unimaginable at the start, but the intervals sneak it up on you). and sure, bellydancing, why not? don’t worry about how well you do it, just do it cause it’s fun (and in the privacy of your own home, nobody can judge). i love watching video of people on youtube who have the courage to share acquiring a new skill; that is very instructive as to how long it actually takes to become good at something, and it shows that none of us are ever good at something we’ve just started doing. consistency and practice make you good, and fun so you stick it out through the rough patches.
and primarily: be good to yourself. replace the old scripts that tell you you’re slow and not very good with positive affirmations. that sounds like new-agey baloney at the start, but there is a lot of proven psychology behind treating yourself well, and thinking positively about your own capabilities.
@mmmfood — it sounds like you’ve made a very good first step, which was important at the time. i don’t really agree that matt promotes junk food. what matt does IMO is tell us that restricting foods is detrimental, and eating junk food for a while is meant to get you over the restrictive mindset, and to get your body used to being fed reliably all the time, so it stops feeling starvation is just around the corner. it sounds to me like you did get over that, but that maybe your metabolism needs more help getting into equilibrium — matt’s latest newsletter acknowledged that this might be a multi-year process for some people. i am not really surprised because you were dieting already while you were still a child. but maybe it’s time to change it up a bit — without falling back into the restrictive mindset. so your doctor gave you a diagnosis of “fatty liver disease”, which is associated with metabolic syndrome (and that right there could explain much of your weight gain, whether or not you actually chowed down on way too many calories and moved way too little). there are a lot of risk factors that go into that, and frankly, medicine doesn’t understand it all that well because our metabolism is a very complex system. did your doctor also tell you what they think your treatment should be? it sounds to me like you’re under massive amounts of stress (anxiety, PTSD, now worries about your weight gain). and here comes the really stupid-sounding advice: try and get that stress down. i know, i know. that is so much easier said than done. but i strongly believe that stress is quite possibly the major factor in all sorts of disorders. my own problems have let up considerably since i started managing stress better.
do you have support for what you’re dealing with? are you in treatment for the anxiety and PTSD? is it helping?
don’t let the weight gain get to you too much — you put it on, you can take it off. really. i’ve put nearly that much on and taken it off again. several times, *wry grin*. what i’m saying is that it’s not the end of the world; it’s just a symptom that something is a bit out of whack with you. i’d say continue with what you’ve been doing lately because it’s making you feel better.
incidentally that’s also what’s working for me — no diet, no restrictions, no calorie counting, no obsessing about sugar or fat or salt or gluten or carbs, but more wholesome foods in decent portions, and moving my body more — because my body is kind of amazing and it feels good, not to “work off calories”. if i feel like eating ice cream because i’ve been miserable (i eat for comfort), i eat that ice cream and do NOT rush out to “work it off” right away. but most of the time i eat pretty decent food now, and i walk, and work out with weights (to get stronger). and while weight loss is not a goal anymore (i decided i’d rather be fat and happy than yoyoing and feeling like shit), somewhat ironically i’ve now been very slowly but steadily losing it for ~3 years. maybe look into “intuitive” eating? that got me started on dealing with food in a more sensible way. matt definitely has it right when he encourages us to not obsess about eating and weight.March 15, 2014 at 1:40 pm #15891mmmfoodParticipant
@David – I’m not doubting what works for you, I think you’re right that calories matter. But, isn’t a “whole foods” diet lower in calories by design because the foods are less calorie dense and more filling?
And if calories are so important, why does Matt seem to think that the more calories you eat, the better? Here’s a quote from his Diet Recovery 2 book: “Some people report eating over 8,000 calories per day consistently, without gaining weight, and without going out of their way to forcefully burn calories. Even a 120-pound woman wrote in the week I’m writing this paragraph about consistently eating 3500-5000 calories per day and maintaining a rock solid 120 pound body weight with no fluctuations” (Page 80).
He doesn’t openly state that huge amounts of calories will not cause weight gain, but passages like the one above definitely imply that calories don’t matter and an excess is even better.
@Piranha- As with calories, Matt never makes a definitive statement that “junk food” is good, but he implies that it is just as nutritional as “whole” foods. Here’s another quote from Diet Recovery 2 “I would also encourage you to get real about what is and isn’t nutritious. Ice cream has the same nutrient content as human breast milk almost exactly. Pizza is extraordinarily nutritious. It’s almost a calcium overload. Cheeseburgers have lots of nutrients. I squeeze an egg and 2 ounces of milk into every slice of French Toast I eat at home” (Page 58).
I agree with Matt that being OCD about diet does way more harm than good, we should not feel stressed about the foods we eat. Health is not dependent only on our diet. But Matt’s stuff, in my opinion, is too open to interpretation. I came away from his books thinking that Ice Cream and Pizza were ok to eat in gigantic quantities. You could see how by reading both of the quotes above. He, in my eyes, is implying that excess calories will not make you gain weight, and that Ice Cream and cheeseburgers are perfeclty healthy foods.
And yeah, I might be different from the rest of you guys on here. I do have PTSD and anxiety disorders, but I have been in therapy for 3 years consistently and in that time been reading self help books and articles consistently as well. My level of stress and worry has gone done tremendously. My way of viewing things has become increasingly positive and easy going. I am probably more stressed than everybody on here, but I don’t think by much.
Is metabolic syndrome something induced by unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits or is it something that you are born with?
And again, I am grateful for Matt’s work because it really helped me to stop stressing about food and maintaining a certain weight. I just think that it is too vague sometimes and the reader is given the oppurtunity to decide for themself what he means. Maybe that was intentional so that people would just eat what they were craving. But I took it to mean that I should be eating an excess of calories from fast food and sweets until I hit 98.6 degrees. I think a phase in which I ate calorie dense refined foods was necesarry for me, but it should have been supplemented with whole foods and fruits much sooner than it was.
Maybe some people just strive on refined foods and others on whole foods.
Thanks for the responses, I enjoy hearing your input.March 15, 2014 at 5:01 pm #15897The Real AmyModerator
Mmmfood, are you on any sort of medication for your anxiety and PTSD? I ask because people on various psychiatric meds can expect massive weight gain if they try RRARF.
I agree with the need to eat mostly whole foods, and also think sleep and stress maintenance is of the utmost importance.March 15, 2014 at 9:05 pm #15901DavidModerator
@mmmfood- What weighs more, a hundred pounds of feathers or a hundred pounds of lead? In my opinion, the same distinction exists between refined and whole foods. It’s really just a matter of preference.
Granted, it’s easier for some people to control calorie intake when they eat whole foods, but that doesn’t mean a whole foods diet is inherently lower in calories. McDonald’s doesn’t cause weight gain; calorie excess causes weight gain. You could lose those extra pounds eating every meal at McDonald’s, if you put your mind to it. People have done that.
I agree that some of Matt’s writings imply that a person should eat excess calories in order to increase metabolism. You learned from firsthand experience that the calories led to unwanted weight gain. Does that mean you made a mistake? As it happens, I made the same mistake, though I didn’t go quite as far as you did.
what do you do now? Matt didn’t make you eat all that food. I know you’re still young, but no one is going to take responsibility for your actions but you. You have plenty of time in front of you to turn your life around.
Metabolic syndrome is an umbrella term for the “diseases of civilization” that lead to heart disease and diabetes. High blood pressure and high liver enzymes are early signs. I personally started having high blood pressure when my BMI got into the obese range, but it went back down to normal after I lost the weight. These are diseases that, for the most part, you have control over.March 16, 2014 at 11:55 am #15905piranhaParticipant
@mmmfood i am glad to hear you’re doing much better than you were 3 years ago! you must be generally on the right track then. so are you basically just struggling with the weight gain? did you have any blood work done before you started refeeding?
we don’t actually know exactly what brings about metabolic syndrome — it’s a set of conditions that seem to present higher risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metabolic_syndrome under “etiology”; it’s complicated. look up “fatty liver” too — it always helps to be informed about what one’s doctor diagnoses, because you are the best person to be the steward over your own health.
i am not gonna defend any part of matt’s writing — i’m new here myself, and am not actually doing anything according to matt other than measuring my temperature and checking my urine so i get a baseline on those. i came here to see how other people are doing with putting his ideas into practice, and whether they’ve had success in dealing with issues other than weight loss (that’s what i am interested in).
i agree that matt’s writing is very open to interpretation. i think that’s largely because matt is writing as he goes along researching. i view it as more of a guy sharing “hey, look, i’ve found this really interesting thing” than a prescription. i think he’s mostly trying to impress on people that eating what they like, eating more than the meagre portions of most diets, is not the boogaboo they’ve been told by thousands of messages everywhere, and that to fix their metabolism it helps to throw those messages out the door and just eat whatever they feel like for a while. i’d pretty much arrived at the same conclusion before reading matt’s work. i never did go through refeeding the way he recommends, and i am not gonna do that now either because i am past those messages already.
just like matt knows people who can shovel in tremendous amounts of calories without gaining weight, i do too. i also know people who go constantly hungry and don’t lose any weight. i know people of every weight whose diets are what is seen widely as pretty darn healthy. many of those people are healthy overall, some are not. i know people of all weights whose diets are junk. again, some of those are healthy, some are not. i think it’s therefore largely irrelevant what some random other person tells you about their weight and the calories they take in and their health, because it’s likely not going to work the same way for you.
FWIW, my blood pressure was sky high when my BMI was far from obese (after dieting; i was under constant stress then), and it’s at the upper range of “acceptable” now that i am again categorized as obese — and without meds. i’ve gone from “pre-diabetic” to the “normal” range in blood sugar as well — yup, still obese. nothing majorly wrong with my blood work either. my previous GP (who’d done a whole lot less reading on nutrition and obesity than i) just couldn’t wrap his head around it. it’s actually pretty simple: obesity does not per se cause health issues, but it is instead a symptom of a whole slew of factors that all together also create risk factors for disease. we’re starting to see more studies now that dig deeper than the obvious OMG fat. just because you can see fat does not mean it’s the cause of anything underneath it.
i think that’s where matt’s work is useful — to let go of all the inane messages about food that come from people who are not actually even experts at it, or who have a vested interest in pushing their specific message. i do wish he participated here. does he ever? did he use to?March 16, 2014 at 1:50 pm #15906
I watched this study on weight on BBC and they went into why people gain a lot of weight. If it’s eating too much, exercising too little or low metabolic rate… Many of the study participants thought they eat just as much as their skinny friends but get fat. Turned out that once monitored, they actually ate 50% more than the thin guys, didn’t have a low thyroid or low metabolism like they imagined. I also know people that eat everything and are thin. But they are either those energizer bunny types that have nervous energy and probably burn the calories like crazy or they eat small portions.
Another observation of mine, is, that stress, tensions and depression leads to eating for comfort and if that person is insecure they might every so often go on a really extreme diet and lose weight. But they haven’t worked on their inner life and end up eating lots again after restricting. I also think that stressed people are cold a lot because tensions constrict blood vessels. I do think that extreme diets cause even more stress because the body gets the message that you don’t eat when hungry and therefor does it’s hormonal thing and gets you to pig out later and store safety fat for the next starvation. But I don’t know if it’s ever a good idea to eat more than hungry for. Or even force oneself to exercise a lot. I live in southern california and people are obsessed with eating healthy and staying active. But guess what, there are lots of gorgeous slim people here, too. So maybe it’s a good thing. I don’t know. But supposedly people who hang around active slim people are more likely to be like that, too.
I might be wrong and eating lots can eventually lead to a healthy slim body. But I don’t really see proof on this forum. Most of those who lost the weight again went back to eating moderately, say they are sorry they took rereading so far and gained a lot, even counting calories to lose it. It seems that some of the testimonials do claim, that they ate a lot and lost weight. And soon after starting, too. I don’t know what’s going on there. Maybe they are very young. I don’t know. And I don’t see any such person here, which might mean that they ended up gaining and might not even be on the plan anymore.
I’d be happy to see those who ate a ton and lost the weight. And I don’t buy that anyone is genetically meant to be chunky. Healthy, to me, means filled out (not bones sticking out) without a bunch of jiggle or rolls. And looking solid but good naked.March 16, 2014 at 4:51 pm #15908AmoebaParticipant
Yeah I just had to buy a bunch of new shirts and pants because I have ballooned over the past month or so. I am thinking of going back to the tried and true portion-controlled way of eating. Like my uncle, who lost 100 pounds and has kept it off for more than 30 years.March 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm #15913
Jessica Alba once stated in an interview, that she comes from an obese family and decided not to eat the way they did at a young age (junk food, rich, large portions?)and she is on a whole foods, portion controlled diet. And she stayed slim.
I like the idea of eating 1-2 fists of whole foods that I like when hungry and then wait until true hunger shows up again. And not sticking to strict times. What if I am only hungry before or after that time. I think that leads to problems/obsessions. This way I’m mentally at peace and enjoy the food. I might have a couple of days before my period when I “eat for heat” lol and that never made me fat. But eating like that every day would and it’s a leap of faith to think that the weight will come off after a year if it hasn’t for most.March 17, 2014 at 12:42 pm #15922LindaParticipant
Piranha, When Matt first opened the forum he did participate. I guess we all thought he would continue. Since he hasn’t. I guess he is too busy with other stuff & doesn’t have time to stick with it.March 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm #15928LeightonParticipant
This is so far down in the post, I’m not sure if anyone will see this, but here we go.
Please don’t ever look at the results another person attained and think it will directly relate to the experiences you will have. The best financial advisor I have ever had was broke, and the best personal trainer I have worked with was heavy. I don’t care. (My friend gets the most amazing eyebrow waxes from a women with no eyebrows!)
Regarding the following; this is not advice, it was only my experience. I started playing around with this about 7 years ago, even before I found this website. I had never been on a diet before, I have never had an eating disorder, nor have I ever had issues with overtraining (I grew up an athlete; that shit is in my bones).
I started overfeeding (and I completely stopped all exercise) because I broke, both physically and mentally. It was absolutely not on purpose. The first 4-8 weeks I had the most beautiful, restorative experience you could imagine. I will forever treasure that time. I was living in Miami and I played for the first time in a very, very long time. I spent time on the beach, ate “unhealthy” foods, drank my weight in rum, and I had whole bunches of sex (WHOLE BUNCHES!). I also put on a few pounds, to my delight. (I was not working at the time so that was also part of goodness.)
I got to a point, about 4-8 weeks in, where my body was like, “And you’re done now.” I swear I actually felt and heard that. The problem was, I didn’t quit. I had started using food as a tool to deal with everything that was wrong with my life; something that I had never done before. Then I became adamant that I was going to raise my temperature. (My temperature was terrible, and it still is.) I essentially spent a few years eating until it hurt, not exercising when I wanted too, waiting for my temperature to increase. I sacrificed everything with the hopes to gain one thing. I did this because I was wondering if an increased temperature would improve a few health issues I was experiencing…it never fucking happened. Although, I did develop some new problems because of my new lifestyle.
Anyway, I am finally piecing things back together and everything is going fine. I essentially lost several years of my life because I took things too damn far. I was my fault, and ONLY my fault. I screwed up.
Long story short: I am incredibly grateful for the work that Matt has done, and the work he continues to do. For me, in the beginning, this was not only helpful, I actually feel it was necessary. However, as a lifestyle, it almost ruined me.
All the best! I sincerely hope that everyone here finds what they are looking for.March 17, 2014 at 2:51 pm #15929
I don’t get how it’s a good thing if it ruined several years of your life. You might have needed to eat whatever but still only when hungry. THat way you maybe would have saved yourself a lot a trouble. Food doesn’t fix most mental, emotional issues.March 17, 2014 at 2:59 pm #15930LeightonParticipant
Sorry, if I was not very clear; I unsuccessfully tried to make that as short as possible.
The first 4-8 weeks were amazingly helpful. It was the part that came after that where things went to pot. I should have also clarified that no one ever said this should be a lifestyle. I just took it there.March 17, 2014 at 3:03 pm #15932
Binging also give an eating disordered person relief. They are so tense that the sugar and high calories have a relaxing effect. But it never solved the problem and ends up being addictive. Just because someone gives permission to binge doesn’t make it any better.
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