After enjoying some “contraband”, I got back on track and my weight continues to drop off. I’m down another 15 pounds in the past month, and a total of 72 lbs off my peak! The really cool thing is that at this point, merely reducing the amount of high-glycemic-index carbohydrates is enough to keep my appetite under control, allowing me to eat “plenty” but it only totals to 1400 calories/day.
The interesting thing is that I used to tell people that I was eating 2000 calories/day, but I was deluding myself. My estimates were off– probably unconsciously driven. I was eating closer to 3000 calories/day! I started this eating plan in earnest on July 18, 2011, and averages 1200 calories/day. After indulging “contraband” during the holidays, and being 100% sedentary, my appetite returned and now I am eating 1400 calories/day. If I eat 1200, I will have to reduce my refined carbohydrates more so that my appetite goes down, but for now, I am OK with 1400 calories/day, particularly because I am more active now, playing golf, walking, just moving around and doing things.
A friend who ignored my advice, went to a doctor, and was put on a similar low-carb diet said, “You were right– my appetite is down”. Yes, it works, and works well. Atkins knew it. Eades knew it. Hellers knew it. Many others too. This is not new stuff, but I wonder why the addictiveness of carbohydrates is not more mainstream knowledge. Maybe food manufacturers do their best to suppress it. Most “dieticians” will suggest cereal for breakfast, starting the day with a blood-sugar spike. I recommend fruit with whey protein and/or cottage cheese, eggs, cheese, meats, omeletes with meat and veggies, and so on. I avoid breads and potatoes. Unrefined grains are OK in smaller quantities, especially with meals containing fiber, fat, and protein. Anyone understanding all this would avoid the classic burger and fries, NOT so much for the overall calories (which are high, to be sure) but because the buns are so ultra-refined that they’re like speed for your blood sugar. Besides ultra-refined flour, starch and high fructose corn syrup are usually added. Has anyone else noticed that our “Obesity Epidemic” correlates closely with the increased popularity of high fructose corn syrup foist on us by food manufacturers. And you can’t blame them– it’s good for business if we buy more and eat more, never mind what it does to our health and waistlines. Cigarette manufacturers spike their tobacco with ammonia, to make it absorbed more quickly by the smoker for the same reason– it makes the product more addictive and more sales result– good business!
Eating refined carbohydrates spikes the blood sugar, releasing serotonin in the brain. Fats cause dopamine release, but since fat is more slowly absorbed the effect is less. Guess what? If you use heroin, alcohol, or any other addictive substance, these same neurotransmitters are released. Ditto with having sex, or doing anything that feels good. Nature rewards us for eating, staying alive, and procreating– all necessary for our survival at one time, but Mother Nature didn’t plan for an abundance of manufactured foods and sedentary modern life where hunting and gathering are no longer necessities for most of us. Instead, we drive to the supermarket or to a fast-food drive-up window and don’t even get out of our cars, yet we buy and consume 1000-calories meals in one fell swoop.
The mystery behind why food addiction is not mainstream knowledge is because we have to eat. We can’t cold-turkey eating for very long. And, because not everyone is a carbohydrate addict, experts overlook this and assume it is simply a matter of willpower. Well, I won’t lie to you– willpower IS an important factor, but a helluva lot less of it is needed if you avoid refined carbohydrates! The carbs to avoid are sugar, flour, white rice, potatoes, and corn. Bananas, winter squash, brown rice, and other starchy foods may be a bit lower than the first 5, and can be eaten in modest amounts, but it is best to avoid ALL of these during the first 2 weeks of following the Weight Agency Method. Now, of course this is a plug for my book, but the key points are mostly contained in these blogs, so your take from should be that carbohydrates modulate appetite! This is key! If you are eating too much, if you are hungry or “starved” before a meal, it means that your previous meal(s) contained too much refined carbohydrate. Reducing the refined carbohydate reduces appetite! So, you eat what you want, when you want, but you control your appetite through your food choices.
My booklet explains it all in detail, but the above is the heart of the plan. The Weight Agency Method also consists of implicitly educating us to recognize proper serving sizes and to estimate their caloric and carbohydrate loads. Restaurants usually serve us twice as much as we should be eating, because they don’t want you to feel deprived but to feel full, satiated, and feeling like you got a good deal for your money. I usually divide the servings in half and take half home for another meal. Of course, I still CAN eat the entire dish, but no long feel the need, and no longer have the craving.
When we eat refined carbs, our blood sugar spikes, insulin is produced, sequestering the stored fat in our bodies and storing the carbs in our liver as glycogen. But, what goes up, must come down, and it sure does. Blood sugar begins dropping, so we begin feeling hungry, tired, starved, and mentally dull and even depressed. Eating more carbs spikes the blood sugar, giving us the sugar rush, making us feel better, but the cycle repeats. Instead, when we avoid these carbs, our body metabolism changes to lipolysis– burning our stored fat for energy. Our appetites no longer intensify but remain calm and mild. Whereas before, you might get hungry at 4PM, “starved” by 5PM, and ready to kill for food by 6PM, when your body is in fat-burning mode, you may still get hungry at 4PM, but if you don’t eat, you will only be slightly more hungry at 7 or 8PM, because your body is burning stored fat. If this process was as efficient as carbohydrate metabolism, we would not be hungry at all until our fat stores were all used up.
So, if you want to lose weight, make it easy for yourself. Reduce the amount of brute-force willpower required and make your body metabolism change to fat-burning. This means a tough, week or two withdrawal period while your body switches, but you can do that because your willpower is fresh and you know that you don’t have to endure the hungry feeling for very long. Once you get past this hurdle, you will be on your way to becoming slim. And, yes– you can eat too little once your appetite is tamed, so don’t overdo it. Be sure to eat 0.8g of protein for each KG you weigh. To make this easier to calculate, take HALF your weight and eat that many grams of protein– complete protein, as in whey protein isolate, else some of the weight you will lose will be muscle, and we don’t want that. Also, we need vitamins and minerals which become more scarce as our food consumption goes down. For that reason, I ate an average of 1200 calories/day and, despite feeling satiated on as little as 600 calories some days, I made myself eat more to assure adequate nutrition.
OK, off my soapbox for now. What you just read is the core of the Weight Agency Method and is enough info for you to get started. Why repeat past failures and “diet”? Instead, understand your eating, understand what causes appetite, and you can stay on this plan forever, adjusting to maintain your desired weight. Yes, as I’ve shown in past blogs, if you indulge in “contraband”– foods you know you shouldn’t be eating– you will find your appetite increasing and can do something about it before it gets out of control again. My point is that you can eat almost anything you want ONCE per week and get away with it, but if you try it twice, your appetite will take a big step up, and no one wants to endure feeling hungry for long, especially if they’re “starved”.
Have fun and good luck. I can’t describe the elation I feel from finally (after 50 years) gaining control of my eating and understanding what’s behind my appetite. You will feel it too with YOUR success.