Saturday, September 19, 2015

Some things about weight loss I learned so far.

Some of them will be like quotes and small explanations, something to focus your thinking into, mantras. Let's get over with these first.

  • What is weight loss? It sounds naturally good because it's all about what you do to go from the obese/overweight state to natural. But it's not natural to your body. Your body will resist to the weight loss. We are not meant to lose weight as we weren't meant to gain it in the first place. I guess, you need unnatural means to correct the unnatural causes that brought you here in the first place. So, merely eating healthy food might not always work. That would be the thing you should have done in order to not reach the unhealthy state you are now. So, you may need to do a little more, something which will make your body scream "unnatural". Or is it?
  • Health freaks and gym goers are not the first people you should listen to if you are obese. Many people would say that these guys are the good examples, so they might know better. Many of them never had a tendency for metabolic syndrome, diabetes 2. Also, they are health freaks. Their personality says "My body is the most important thing and I want to show it off!". Your personality might say "Mind over body" or "Gym is boring like hell". Better seek for obese/diabetic people who somehow managed to get over their condition.

Some of the facts I learned, some are untested or I am not sure about, some I believe and make sense, some I want to research more.

  • High fat/low carb is the most trendy diet/eating philosophy nowadays. I do generally believe in it because there are a lot of scientific papers showing better diet success rates than traditional low fat/high carb diets. Could I test it truly? I never did fully low carb (like 20g or less) because I found this excessive. Even if I avoid the many carb/sugar foods and do fat-centric diet, it didn't seemed to work much. Maybe I didn't stick to it or eat some more hidden carbs? I became a maniac of reading labels about carbs and preferring fat and protein though. I am still doing it sometimes. My diet is fat-centric but not so carb restricting. And yet I always went yo-yo no matter if it was traditional diet or fat-centric diet.
  • They say that if you eat carb foods like for example bread, prefer high fibre stuff. The logic behind it is that fibre slows down the sudden increase of insulin or sugar levels from carb eating. I can't test this but many doctors say that and I believe it. Preferring fibre foods during my fat-centric diet was fine (My taste is fine with black bread) but still didn't produce miracles in my diet, still yo-yo.
  • There is also protein in salads and chicken or fish. Something I learned recently is that even protein can rise your insulin levels enough. Even fat minimally rises insulin. Protein may rise half the level than carbs, which are the worse offenders. Which makes sense, in fact we need insulin to convert food into energy, so why is this bad. Because there is a catch with diabetics type 2 (also you might not be officially diabetic yet, but start developing metabolic syndrome which might lead there if you don't learn to control your insulin with what you eat naturally).
  • Insulin is not bad. It's the hormone that naturally rises when you eat food, so that it can help in the production of energy from it. But there is a developed problem in people with diabetes type 2 called insulin resistance. It means that insulin has a bad time converting the food you are sending into energy, thus driving away more of the glucose that accumulates as fat, while still producing more insulin than the body needs. It's a vicious cycle. The result is high blood sugar but one should think of it as the after-effect of the problem. The real culprit is the high produce of insulin.
  • That's where fasting comes in. There is this theory (I will post video links at the end) from few doctors that in order to treat the diabetes you have to lower your insulin by letting it dive down during a bigger fasting window. 12-14 hours can still be considered "fasting", so if you don't want to go extreme at first, you can try to not eat anything after 6pm so it's 14 hours till breakfast at 8am in the morning. Alternatively, some days you can try to skip breakfast (I know that some of these are considered big no-no's by conventional dieting, but why not try something alternative if nothing worked for you before?). At more advanced levels you can try 20-24 hours fasting. Or maybe if you had a day with friend where everyone ordered a big pizza, just think that you just ate more than 2000 calories (I checked the numbers on the internet for large Domino pizza) so even if your body says it's hungry in the morning, just visualize that and try to keep the fuck you (that's a phrase I tell to myself, originally from Pouet :)
  • Maybe my persistence kept me focused on this finally (while I failed to stick to any other diet after 2 weeks) but also the very relevant science to my diabetes type 2 case might fit and helped see results so far, both in my lower blood sugar levels and steady 0.5kg per week weight loss for about 7 weeks so far. And I am happy with it. The only peculiar thing is that my fat-counter doesn't show any drop in my fat levels for all this period, something that worries me a bit (Could it be liquids or muscle loss? Usually liquids is when you suddenly loose 1-2kg in 2-3 days that doesn't make sense, while here the loss is steady and gradual, so maybe it could be muscle loss or maybe my fat-counter is not accurate. But as I have big success with blood sugar and confidence in this diet, I will keep on and see)
  • Also, if you have a big feast in the evening (like our pizza nights) and the insulin raises fast, somehow the next day you might feel hungry. And I've heard this is not a proper hunger signal. Since you are aware you had the 2400 calories meal, you know what you have to do. Fast for a big period of time and ignore this hunger. There is although another kind of hunger I found out, when there is a daily calorie restriction (traditional diets) and you start having headaches. Maybe that's a sign that you are eating less than you should. I don't get these much in a fasting diet.
  • Someone would argue, isn't then fasting a calorie restriction diet? And I would argue too because I sometimes am confused. But in the same videos I'll post link about, I read about some studies of conventional restricting diets (like everyday the same amount of 1600 cals for example) after a while don't work well, since the body knows that you give it less energy for every day passing, then it drops the metabolic rate thus making you very tired, burning less, also trapping you into gaining weight at the end if you are fed up with it and eat a bigger meal next day. I know about this, I have been there, counting calories, eating about 1600 cals and even trying to do it with every day salads and some chicken, healthy stuff. Sometimes, I felt like I had less success with these restricting diets than the days where I was fed up with diets and eat normally. The difference with fasting diet is that it comes into cycles of eating normally and then restricting the eating window (not necessary the calories) the next day. I mean, normally a 5:2 fad diet tells you to eat normally at 5 days and then eat 600 cals in 2 other days. I haven't even gone there and still have success! I did my 24 hours fasting after I eat a big fast food meal ffs! Then be careful to not overeat later. And sometimes just skipped breakfast randomly. But no controls or awareness of calories except of visualizing of my head what I ate today to know if I accidentally overeat. It's still unplanned and it works, just because of creating some smaller eating windows!

So, there has to be something about it in my own case. And maybe obese or diabetic people or people with evolving metabolic syndrome who are currently overweight but it might get worse. It's good to know and consider learning more if you are into that category.

Now, random facts about psychology:

  • Rule number 1, your whole weight loss attempts are very much entangled to your personality and emotions about it. You can be very demotivated if your ego tells you "I must do this. I must prove them that I am not a fat idiot. If I fail, I must prove I am not lazy!" and that hurts you and makes you quit and/or overeat. A friend told me that I should see the weight loss diet as a game, but I digressed because if I saw it as a game I wouldn't take it seriously and then fail. Meanwhile, diets are not my thing and I love food and I still believe it's natural to love food. Anyway, one day when I decided to try the fasting diet, since it was my n-th attempt, I kinda had this not-caring attitude like saying to myself " Just do it so that you try another thing. Don't expect results immediately. And even if you fail, you tried another experiment. Afterall it seems more enjoyful to eat normally, then test yourself by skipping a meal, then eat again rather than traditional calorie restriction diets. Or allowing yourself to eat something big so that you fast for 24 hours.". And thus I took it non-seriously.
  • Rule number 2, because of your seriousness and your ego hurt, you get angry about every random thing you hear. And nowadays everyone is a "health expert" and "diet specialist", everyone has strong opinions and there are even confusing pro-vegan VS traditional diet VS low-carb VS other nutrional dogmas. You might read about something that tells you not to eat your favorite food and thus you are doing it wrong, you might discuss it on youtube or a message board and someone is gonna tell you that you are wrong or even worse that it's all about calories in-calories out and how fat ass lazy you are. You might even engage in such discussions and lose a day and not feel good later on. I've done it and I do it. But it's all bullshit. At least I feel like this because now I've found my way, so I can just ignore them. And that's the hardest part, I can only say that I don't respond anymore because I think I solved it with fasting, so no more need to feel bad with my failures anymore. But few months ago when I was beating myself about this, I would read a comment at youtube about lazy fat obese people and it would drive me mad (it still does, with their insensitivity, but now I can prove them whatever I want).
  • So again, what are the motivation forces here? First you need the initial start. You already had some initial starts. That moment/day when you say "This is it! I am starting from today with this new diet plan and I will win this time!". We all had these. And the problem is that when another attempt fails (after 2 weeks or you get bored after a month) you decide to forget about it for few more months. So there are very few "motivation spike windows" where you can retry something different that might work this time. I think now, that this has to sync with a better strategic diet that somehow is more easy to follow and leads to more predictable results, giving you the feeling that you can finally control your weight or sugar level or fat percentage, any of these, and this will lead yourself to believe in this new attempt/maybe the new diet strategy, creating a positive motivation/feedback loop that gives you courage to continue for more weeks. This is what happened to me with the fasting strategy (and I wasn't even doing a precise diet then, I was almost randomly fasting and not fasting, depending on how I feel the particular day, testing myself). One thing to be careful off. Maybe what you are attempting is a good thing, but you need to try it for at least 3-4 weeks to be sure. And that's the hard part, to not stop after 2 weeks. Basically, I think I had some results even in the first 2 weeks, I even had a bump in the 3rd week, but then I thought that maybe for 1-2 weeks it's a false alarm, so if I don't see what happens for after 4 weeks I can't start believing it much, which I do, which feeds the positive motivation/feedback cycle.

Random last things I don't know about:

  • I am not really sure at the end if carb-centric or fat-centric or caloric restriction or full vegan is better for you. I sort of tried every one of them through the years, maybe some will accuse me I wasn't precise in my attempts, maybe I ate more carbs or I cheated on counting the calories, etc, etc. According to their healthy eating religion of course, if your results deny their philosophy on this, they will think your data is wrong. But if it's supporting their beliefs they won't even question my results. My new fasting attempt also suffers from not precise planning, not strictly counting what I eat, and making a lot of no-no decision and eating fast food during 1/3rd of the full fasting Saturdays. I had made a lot of mistakes (like eating the candy in the office the way I used to overeat such treats before even starting) but of course also some good choices and slight policing but not obsessively, and definitely my eating is still very random with only some fasting strategy for few of the days. So, my new attempt is as sloppy and unscientific than all my old attempts in different schools of thought. And it fucking works even in this form! That surprises me. When one of the old attempts failed, I was telling to myself "Maybe you ate more calories than you counted" or "Most probably even restricting to 50gr of carbs is not enough and you have to do the 0-20gr people propose" or "Maybe you also need to hit the gym at the same time" (which I did, even during my many salads and some protein meat plus calorie counting days). Now I don't even visit the gym and I am the same sloppy as all these other diet strategies, but it shows promise! 
  • Although I want to make an experiment now that I have control. My fasting strategy is currently close to my last habits, more fat-centric. What if one or two of my next weeks where carb-centric fasting weeks. Or vegan-centric fasting weeks. Or even fastfood-centric fasting weeks. How would that affect? Would the carb-centric somehow help me lose the fat which is the only thing stuck? Would it reverse the diet and suddenly carb-centric fasting techniques will make me not lose weight or even gain? Or would it make me lose weight faster? How about the other ones? A week of fast-food everyday might be bad for health regardless success (I will wait to drop a lot of weight before I try this one, just to not destroy what I have gained so far) but I want to see as an experiment how the same fasting strategy (which clearly controls my weight/sugar well) will change things. I could have done such experiments without fasting, one would say, but technically I might have done them in traditional ways, but couldn't clearly notice changes, only yo-yo dieting (and calorie restriction was the worse, dropping my metabolism, not loosing weight and being pissed about and then gaining it). It always seemed random to me, nothing made sense. But since I now have some initial conditions (fasting with fat-centric) with clear observable non-random results and I can make some conclusions, what if I tried in the same framework the other schools of thought? Maybe what I find says some things about me, maybe it's not the truth for everyone and every diet works different for each person. But the framework is also something I can follow so that I don't think my experiment didn't worked because I failed to follow.
  • I really don't about gym. I do walk sometimes. I don't feel like running or going to the gym and it's hard to do it if you don't like it. I'd rather find some other activities that I want to do. Or maybe at this current time I don't need to, because I am happy with something that is working. Unless I realize that lack of fat-dropping means my muscles are dropping, so maybe I'll have to do something about this soon. But there is this theory from some doctors discussing obesity that gym doesn't make you burn much calories. The body, just by existing, burns the majority of calories. I think for the internal organs to work and to maintain body temperature. Other say that if you spend too much energy on the gym, the body will say "Hey, you are not feeding me enough" and get you again into lower metabolic rate (or maybe you just want to either eat more food or go to sleep after coming back from gym). I don't know enough about it and many people will disagree and be angry about these (ahh these lazy obese people, our society gets worse). But it didn't worked with me so far and I quit (if something doesn't work, no positive motivation/feedback cycle). In case you say that I didn't go to the gym very frequently or I preferred cardio to weights or the opposite, there was a time where I went for at least two months in the gym with my brother, almost daily, doing one and a half hour program of both cardio and weights (I did hurt my muscles the first days) and all I was thinking at the time was "Fuck! If I am doing it so heavy for such a long time, I must finally see results, even if they come after the first few weeks". And it fucking didn't work! Maybe I yo-yo'ed a bit but no steady results. I don't remember my eating habits at the time, but I don't think they changed much (so I wasn't overeating as an excuse because of the gym). Of course one would think I should do both diet and gym, but that hits me already in the willpower balls, I usually have the problem to motivate me start with one of the too, how about both? And since I believe more on solving the problem with changing eating habits rather than gym, and it starts to be proven with fasting, I just quit with the gym again (I was paying empty months for nothing). Although even doctors who are not supporting gym for weight loss, say it will be fine for you but don't expect weight loss, I am not saying it's a bad thing but all I am saying is I stopped doing something when I don't feel like, even if people would argue I am not gonna lose any weight if I also don't go to the gym (or do other activities).

And thus, those are the "little" things I had to say. Of course my adventure into this new fasting strategy continues and I just need few more weeks to continue observing how it goes and hopefully everytime hoping it's not a false alarm (but I went beyond that I think). Maybe I'll do the carb-centric / scared of fat switch after my 8th week. Or maybe a bit later to keep a safe distance (I don't want changes to my plan destroy the good things I achieved here, although even if I gained weight with carb-centric, I would still learn something at least). I will keep you informed if I find something.

p.s. Forgot the links. These rather lengthy series of videos where my induction on what makes the insulin spike, how important a fasting window is to reduce the excessive insulin and how this really works with his diabetes patients.

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