I must agree that eating like a fiend cuts out all cravings -and- I’ve lost 100 pounds over the last year eating like a fiend. The weight is coming off naturally and I’m never deprived and I don’t waste hours at a gym. People think I’m lying to them when I tell them how I lost the weight. :)?
This week 100% organic Sasha is on the menu. Pure, unadulterated, unprocessed Sasha.
Since the beginning I’ve known that dieting in the traditional sense is a counterproductive measure. Even if you do manage to starve yourself thin, your body and mind do not work properly. Libido gets wrecked. Hair falls out. Neurosis sets in. All the parallels to starvation and eating disorders are laced in there, even if you are still overweight after your weight loss.
So I knew there had to be another way. I knew that it had to possible to lose body fat without going into starvation. And I knew that, theoretically, neither fat nor carbohydrates nor protein needed to be restricted. After all, no macronutrient is inherently fattening. Healthy bodies of all species maintain weight equilibrium on any number of macronutrient blends.
And Sasha Garcia Degn and her husband have, and are, achieving that. The pair has lost more than 215 pounds combined without hunger, without counting or cutting calories, without intentionally cutting carbs or fats or going on some extreme diet, and without doing any unwanted exercise. This is the Holy Grail of weight loss.
Of course, not all that stumble across my information have magically had body fat pour off of them. Many have, but many have gained weight before the fat gain stopped, and then, despite feeling better in numerous ways indicative of a restored metabolism, adopted a small child that never made it to the delivery room (okay, that was kind of a weird metaphor ? I’m talking about that swollen belly pregnant look thing ? kinda sexy if you actually are pregnant. Otherwise not so much).
Anyway, I thought it was worth taking a close look at what Sasha did specifically, and examine what diet, mindset, attitude, exercise, etc. that she felt was the key to her success. I think we all have quite a bit to learn from her. Here is the first part of the interview ? to be continued throughout the week?
Me: Sasha, many people have tried to follow the basic 180DegreeHealth approach to eating – that is, eating to appetite of nutritious foods, not exercising too much, and not restricting calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat – or any food group. Just eating basically, and letting the body “do all the accounting” as author Jon Gabriel says. To date, you have had the most successful weight loss, well over 100 pounds, with that approach since the idea of rest and refeeding originally?debuted three years ago. We’ll get to why that might be, and what you did differently than others in a minute – but first, can you tell us how you got up to 375 pounds, and where you were when you first came across 180DegreeHealth?
SASHA:? I think I can speak for many people when I say that I don’t know exactly how my weight got up to its highest. Generally, a person with that much weight will know in retrospect that they were consuming high numbers of calories, probably spending a lot of time on the couch and let’s throw some heavy stress in for good measure but ultimately we don’t know anything specific. One day we see a number on a scale astonished and think, “how did that happen?” That seems odd, but the part about not exactly knowing really is how it happens. For myself, I do know that my weight started going up just before I got married, eleven years ago. A lot of processed and fast food and little physical activity and later, taking care of my ill, elderly mother all by myself. After a few years of caretaking of my mother, a lot of stress and overeating, my mother passed away and the weight stayed. By that point I was well into the 300s and my metabolism was so completely bonkers that being that overweight felt almost natural.
Two years after my mother passed away, my husband and I moved from Los Angeles to Washington state where I spent four more years, not only suffering from my morbid obesity but from a severe vitamin D deficiency as well. After self-correcting the vitamin D deficiency, I felt much improved and also dropped about 20 pounds without any effort. Taking a clue from my vitamin D experience and tired of not being able to climb a flight of stairs or walk more than a quarter of a mile, I started to think that the body, when given the right things, might be able to correct itself. I knew the diet culture was a sham so this time was going to be different. I was going to fix my body so my body could fix itself.
First, I needed to know what a semi-normal daily calorie intake would be for me. I know that seems anathema to “eating to appetite,” but a morbidly obese person, trust me, has no clue as to what anything close to normal is especially where their own appetite is concerned. There had to be some guideline for me. I still use that guideline, but now I use it to make sure I’m eating enough, which most people don’t do while they’re preoccupied with eating too much. I do not track fat, salt, or protein. My body tells me what it needs. I also started to gather as much knowledge as I could online. Weight Watchers, gastric surgery, Medifast, all of these were already out of the question, even Eating Clean was off limits because I knew the idea of eating only lean meats was not a sustainable way of eating long term. I was looking for something else even though I had no idea what that was. Eventually I stumbled onto the whole foods way of eating, including my personal choice, Weston A. Price Foundation and then, the site that was truly the catalyst of physical change for me – 180DegreeHealth. By this point I’d lost close to 45 pounds and was still well over 300 pounds.
Hi Matt – thanks so very much for posting this interview series. I am so interested to hear what Sasha has to say about how she is losing her weight. Would it be possible for her to talk about what her average weekly food "plan" might look like? Can she talk more about how she knows what foods her body wants? Thanks so very much.
Breaking it into multiple parts is cruel…. *sniff*
Haha Michelle. There's a lot to it. We went on and on and on and on.
The interview has already been done. But does get into more details about what she eats and her general attitude about food and nourishment – which I think ultimately was more important for her, later on in the interview.
Can't wait to hear the rest. Thanks, Matt!
So cool! As she continues to drop in weight it will be interesting to see how the progress continues/slows and if she needs to adjust her approach at all. My opinion based on what I've seen is that people can do well to lose the first bit of weight by being smart but at a certain point, maybe sub 20% bf for men and 24% bf for women, things really slow for most, and then a decision comes to either be content, double up on existing strategy, or modify current strategy.
Very interested to hear the rest in this series. I've believed that it must be possible to lose body fat without causing starvation as well.
Yusuf, I would think that the body could get to pretty low body-fat levels without being forced… on the level of a "naturally lean" person. It probably takes getting a number of things right though.
Maybe one of the reasons more body fat correlates with better health as people age is simply because the body is protecting itself from accumulated effects of poor diet, stress, toxins, etc.
Or perhaps older people with lower BMIs are more likely to be dieting and exercising.
Just my thoughts…
Haha, yes Matt, you are the father of many unexpected and undelivered babies. I look like I'm ready to give birth, and I've never had a belly before 180. I even rub it like when I was pregnant.
Sadly for me, I haven't had that turnaround point… and until jumping on the RBTI no-no bandwagon, restricted nothing (but processed food). Even now, with significantly fewer calories thanks to having to fit them all in before 2PM, my weight and waist haven't budged in over a month. Calories in does not equal weight! On the downside, my leptin must be having issues again because I feel constantly hungry despite eating plenty, just like when I started RRARF.
But then, despite the 50% increase in body weight (OMG that's alot), I have such better health than before. So I don't hate you too much.
Can't weight (haha) to hear more about Sasha's story. Go Sasha and hubby!
Lorelei, did you just say that you have gained 100lbs or more on RRARF???
50% increase! I was 120, so… 60lbs. I'd have to have been 200 lbs to gain 100! BUT I was stable for months after an initial 30lb gain. Then I had to take fluoridated antibiotics (or lose my kidneys), which caused another 30lb gain in less than a month, plus other health issues. So it's not all Matt's baby!
I can't believe you cheated on me! And all this time I thought it was my baby!
That's pretty crazy you gained that much weight in a month with the antibiotics.
As far as the RBTI stuff, I suspect that something you are doing is a little bit off. Hopefully getting a cheap refractomter will clear up some of that stuff. I know 180 pounds on a small frame don't feel so nice.
This is shaping up to be a good read :)
Thanks to Sasha for sharing this with us.
NOOOOOO, Hawaii Girl!! WTF! Did you have to steal my pun?!-jk lol ;) I'll need to be quicker on the draw next time.. lol… so hawaiigirl, would you say you feel Leptout?! .."get it?".(in dark, new version of Batman voice)… ..godamn, im cheezy sometimes.. sorry, guys..
Matt, killer, dude! I can't wait (.grr……) either!
… a cheezy GENIUS that is!!!
PS Matt, your narcissism (or Geddy Lee like level of self esteem.. whatever) is really rubbing off on me these days, bro! -lol ;)
Awesome! I'm so excited to hear the rest of the story.I did attempt the rrarf thingie, but I noticed more weight gain and it sustained and didn't really budge, so I stopped somewhat. I have a baby belly, but it's leftovers from the 4 babies I actually birthed!
I also put on 30 pounds RRARF'ing last December. I am excited to read the rest of this interview.
@ Hawaii Girl- not to bring up RBTI on this article, but Matt could be right about some "no" food you are eating….butter maybe?
I started a food blog (mainly for me) to keep track of my RBTI recipes. You can check it out. I am not interested in any debate ( don't have much time), but I had a butter bad today……and now I'm thinking my big butt is made out of butter.
This is really far fetched, but could there be any palytoxin in Hawaiian sea salt? I know there are some Hawaiian legends that deal with the substance, and I doubt it; just some food for thought i'm bringing to the table (..get it?)…
Palytoxin is a cool molecule; C129 H223 N3 O54…. lol!
I RRARFed in August and gained 7, and have lost 8 in Sept. New commenter, Matt, thanks for all your study, do you have an opinion on Ionized water that many are associating with RBTI?
OFF TOPIC but interesting (I think).
Either my Brix-o-meter (as the littlest kid calls it) is broken, or every single food we test is worse than poor. For science today we juiced produce from many sources (different farmer's markets, costo, grocery store, health food store, etc). Most produce was within a few decimal points no matter what the source. The exception was mainland tomatoes (at 1.5) being far lower than local tomatoes – which were still a 3 (poor is 4).
No wonder I'm hungry allllll the time. Need to get me some RBTI vitamins.
Probably not broken. Produce really is reliably that poor. I lived with folks who were remineralizing (not with a specific and focused approach) and it sometimes got to mid or high average range, nothing consistently good and nothing at all excellent.
From here: http://www.crossroads.ws/brixbook/BBook.htm
A Gentle Warning
A first natural inclination for many people is to test the fruits of their labor from their garden. Bruised feelings are common when their personal pride and joy indicates less than high quality.
Matt, can vouch for me, because he has seen me and my tranformation!! took me three years to get back to my 20 year old weight, before all my crazy ass diets!!! He said i was fortunate, some people never make it back… with Rbti, i am working out some of my last kinks…
I'm also looking forward to the rest of Sasha's story.
What I'm wondering from thus far is whether this shows that RRARF-style approaches work best for someone who has been overweight and hasn't already wrecked their metabolism with starvation, etc.
Which means that someone like myself, at the opposite end of the spectrum (longterm starvation dieter, amenorrhea for a decade, etc) would end up with the 'adopted stuck baby' look?
Interested to hear your story as well. You should be the next interviewee.
I think I helped heal my metabolism with Rrarf. I gained about 5 pounds and then lost it. But I ate the appetite, not past it. Granted, it had been healing for almost 4 years at that point (post-eating-disorder). My metabolism is pretty solid now, and my health definitely improved. In fact, it's one reason I'm proceeding with caution on the RBTI front. Don't want to mess up the gains I've made by being overly restrictive.
This is a pretty fascinating article from an endocrinologist (dealing with post-eating disordered patients):
Edema might be part of the Booda belly, at least in the short-term.
"We suggest that patients try to keep the amount of fat in their diets at the daily amounts recommended in standard dietary guidelines, or up to about 30% of daily intake. When fluid retention is a problem during the recovery phase, it doesn't hurt for a patient to get 35% or even more of their calories as fat. Most anorexic patients don't want to eat fat, but if they try to bring their metabolic rate up with carbohydrates, the carbohydrates will cause increased insulin secretion, which will only exaggerate the edema. I also suggest trying to limit simple sugars; they are high in carbohydrates, which can be every easily absorbed and require a surge in insulin, which makes the whole problem of fluid retention worse. One type of complex carbohydrates, those that contain beta-glucan insoluble fiber, slows the absorption of sugar. Also, there is nothing wrong with eating eggs. It's also important to try to establish an eating pattern where you get enough food at each meal and thus don't crave food between meals."
Meh. I gained 70 pounds in 4 months of rrarfing but got completely off thyroid meds. RBTI helped with that a bit as well. At least RBTI has helped me stop gaining, sigh.
I think eating disorder recovery findings would be very useful in figuring out how to fix metabolism. Interestingly, when you're recovering you are told (or at least I was) that you will gain weight while your metabolism heals. A decent amount of eating disorder patients get a bit chubby (and puffy) while healing. Riding through that is torturous, although I didn't get chubby ever – but I probably took longer to heal my metabolism because I never let myself get to that point.
Either way, my body composition got better once I did get unrestrictive with eating (eating more fat was a biggie – I think veiled glory's snippet is probably correct, and 30% actually isn't that high for fat intake, more like what a normal diet should look like). My stomach totally flattened out, for one, and my face filled out (in a good way).
The quote directly that snippet is also good:
Some patients complain about regaining weight right in the abdomen. What can they do?
Dr. Callaway: If they are getting lots of calories during refeeding, most of the calories are going to end up right in the abdomen because there is also a large release of steroids, which makes the insulin level go up, and this gets stored as fat in the abdomen. My goal for patients like these is to allow them to build back their muscle tissue, and to some extent their fat storage as well, while bringing their metabolic rate up.
That's a really interesting article, Veiled Glory–thanks for sharing.
On the abdominal fat storage thing, my ND also points out to me that that's where fat's stored when you have excess cortisol (which also negatively impacts progesterone production). So all the anxiety over refeeding that raises cortisol also has that negative impact on belly flatness.
Amy–I so envy the apparent grace with which you have returned to healthy metabolism and attitude to food…
Hers is way more drastic than my change. Hers is freaking amazing!
This is unrelated but when making some changes according to rbti I regained an old health problem that I had for a long time: heavy upper legs, as if my blood flow is constricted there. It's very annoying in the evening when I'm trying to sleep. It might be something called restlesslegs I've heard about.
Anyway in the past it went away when I dropped regular salt and started using himalayan salt and sea salt instead. Now I started using regular salt again and its back but now it doesn't go away anymore when I changed salts again! (lowering salt intake doesn't work either)
Anybody any idea how to overcome this? Most of what I read suggests Its a mineral related problem.
There is a magnesium product called Natural Calm that really helps with the restless legs you speak of. Hope you get some relief.
You really shouldn't have presented her way of losing weight as being "WITHOUT cutting or counting calories." She uses LoseIt, and as far as I can tell, the way most LoseIt members do: by cutting calories a moderate amount (no more than 500-1000 fewer a day than your maintenance level) and logging in your foods. Logging the foods automatically counts the calories, and it makes sure you don't go over your budget.
LoseIt is a great tool to easily monitor your intake without having to add up the calories on your own, and has worked well for many (as long as you don't expect instantaneous weight loss), but it IS still counting and cutting calories.
I do look forward to reading the rest of the article, but please consider rephrasing and not misrepresenting exactly what Sasha has done to lose this amazing amount of weight. It isn't easy, but others who are looking to lose will be best served by knowing what she ACTUALLY did.
Thanks, Ela. I'm not sure how graceful it was :-) 4 years and several relapses, and a lot of hard work (emotionally). I do feel like it's working well for me now, but I still think my body is demineralized, which I'm hoping to fix (the pseudo-RBTI hasn't really worked for me, so I'm just doing a proper eating schedule to keep my blood sugar stable, with no meat or sweets after 2, though I will have the occasional fruit, and doing supplements – that seems to be ok so far).
For me, the biggest keys have been dealing with my childhood issues with therapy, and being pretty nonrestrictive with eating (whole foods, though).
Great stuff, veiled glory!
Thanks Lisa, I could try that.
I do not know what Loselt is and Sasha never mentioned this to me in the interview.
I do think it's clear that she ate considerably less, which happens spontaneously if you are eating an unprocessed food diet and eating very light in the evening (which you'll see in future interviews).
I do know that she tracks her physical activity, but it seems like more of a fun game for her – not a calorie-counting affair.
I'm very sorry she didn't mention that, then. Sounds like she left out some of what she was doing when she talked to you.
LoseIt is similar to DailyPlate or MyFitnessPal or Livestrong, or one of the many other websites and apps that lets you enter in your weight, age, etc and weightloss goals, and it generates a "calorie budget" for you to eat at to meet those goals. You then enter in your food and it tallies up the calories in them for you.
A quote from Sasha from the LoseIt forums says, "yes, I do use LoseIt but it's a gage, it isn't about over-restricting calories. Mostly I use LoseIt now to make sure I eat enough rather than the other way around. Anyone who's gained a significant amount of weight knows that we need help knowing what comes close to a normal calorie budget."
There is a difference between over-restricting calories and cutting down on them to lose, and then keeping track of them to make sure you don't gain. However, cutting down and tracking is STILL counting and cutting.
If you visit her blog, as well, she does suggest to count calories there as well.
She does qualify not obsessively, but it is still counting.
Again, I just want to make sure you and your followers are getting an accurate depiction of what she did. To say there was NO cutting or counting of calories would be inaccurate.
it looks like she says she doesn't count protein or fat, but she doesn't mention whether or not she counts carbs. the food she mentions in the last post seems pretty carb lite. just saying.
So, how is Sasha now? :)
Very interested to hear the rest in this series.I started a food blog (mainly for me) to keep track of my recipes. Mostly I use Lose It now to make sure I eat enough rather than the other way around.I think eating disorder recovery findings would be very useful in figuring out how to fix metabolism.I am trying to less my weight .
I am so interested to hear what Sasha has to say about how she is losing her weight. As she continues to drop in weight it will be interesting to see how the progress continues/slows and if she needs to adjust her approach at all. On the level of a “naturally lean” person. It probably takes getting a number of things right though. I haven’t had that turnaround point? and until jumping on the RBTI no-no bandwagon, restricted nothing (but processed food). I had to take fluoridated antibiotics (or lose my kidneys), which caused another 30lb gain in less than a month, plus other health issues.