Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Obesity Code - is it really new?



"The Obesity Code", a new book out, while saying it's the final solution to weight problems, is nothing new. And, people, tired of dieting, are buying it rapidly off the shelves, over the internet, or whatever.  I read a few reviews of it while deciding if I needed to add it to my always growing library on Weight Loss.

From what I can see, the meat of "The Obesity Code", pun intended, is intermittent fasting. You can fast...water only, or liquids or a bunch of ways. While I don't know what type of fasting is suggested in the book, it all amounts to basically no food... one day a week or one day a month or ?? 

That's supposed to keep off the weight forever. It's not new because I tried it in the 1970's. I lost about 25 lbs but eventually, I got horrendous cravings, couldn't stomach the fasting part anymore and regained the 30 lbs I'd lost and another 70, probably a result of a lowered metabolism and being really, over, fasting! :)

The only thing that really works to lose the weight and keep it off, is calorie restriction and portion control - for life. Staying away from calorie dense stuff like fast foods is a good idea or use the Gwen Schamblin method for fun foods, (from the book, WEIGH DOWN). That is, take one bite of a fun food, and chew it slowly, savoring it. Because as she rightly, points out, the first bite tastes the best and if we slow down enough to experience this, we can find out that this is very true.  Gwen has kept several pounds off for many years and she enjoys her fun foods also.

We all have to experiment with things and see what works the best for us. 

After trying just about everything else, I realized that calorie restriction and portion control is the only way that worked for me, to lose and keep off weight.  

 In 2008-2010 I lost 112 lbs, and have kept off 107 lbs ever since. I count my calories every day on My Fitness Pal, a great website which offers a free  calorie counter and found that a small bite of treats or even programming small amounts into my day, keeps away the cravings monster.

Eating big portions of veggies with no butter etc, fills you up and no one ever got a weight problem from too many veggies!

Every "diet book" claims it's new and revolutionary because the diet-fatigued, overweight public craves an answer that is easier than daily calorie counting or restricting food amounts in some other way... but in reality, "there is nothing new under the sun".

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Surgery for weight loss



A sad thing for me is when weight loss surgery post ops come back and say "Oh Sue, I wish I'd listened to your warnings".

The warnings I've posted can actually be found on most weight loss surgeons' websites but they aren't in a very prominent place.

Moreover, people want to believe there is a quick way to doing this weight loss thing - so maybe many folks don't look for the small print like 1-2% of gastric bypass patients die within 30 days of surgery or like undermining the delicately balanced system we have for nourishing our bodies with the hundreds of nutrients we need on a daily basis, isn't a very good idea.   As one doctor put in it in a book I read in the 1970's, this type of thing is similar to trying to run our cars on French perfume... how long would they run? Sadly, we often treat our cars better than we treat our bodies! 

The body adapts in a way to various forms of starvation, but of course does not last very well in the long run as it starts to consume protein and macro nutrients from itself, like the brain, the heart, calcium from the bones etc.

It's meant as a short term way to survive a starvation period and not for something in the long term.

I remember when I started studying this stuff in 1990.  I called a medical provider, an intelligent well educated one, and asked him to tell me what he knew about the GI tract. He gave me a short basic explanation.  I asked for more details but he said that was all they got in medical school!

I ended up reading bunches of books and medical journals to get the rest of the information, a research which took more than 10 years of study (not counting the many books etc I read before my specific study on weight loss surgery - I'd been studying weight control since the 1970's and still am studying it).  Sadly, this is not easily available to the public and apparently many medical providers don't have the time or ? to study this in more detail.

Eating healthy and exercising at least 5 days a week (the only thing which strengthens our hearts is cardio exercise or as it was formerly called, "aerobic exercise") is the best way to go.  That's what they say if one studies the subject and I can attest from personal experience, it works.

Eating healthy usually means avoiding fast or fatty foods and eating mostly veggies and some fruits.

Not eating healthy and exercising raises our risks for heart disease, stroke, thrombosis and more.  I've lived through this thing of heart disease and clogged arteries - not in myself but in my hubby who never heard from a medical provider about a heart healthy diet or how important aerobic exercise is. I made him exercise daily but he only did 20 minutes most days.  Never-the-less, that 20 minutes is probably the reason why he's still living albeit required five major surgeries to fix his heart and clear out the clogging from his arteries. 

And all this, while seeing medical providers regularly and paying lots of bucks - where were the warnings he should have gotten?  

And basically, not looking for the quick way out of a weight problem because there is no quick way that is healthy and works.  Terminal cancer patients don't have a weight problem but I suspect most of us would not want to go there.  But having one's stomach and bowels cut up and/or rearranged in a very unnatural manner, as done in surgeries for weight loss, isn't a good idea either.

As Beverly Sills has said "there is no quick road to a place worth going!"

Friday, August 12, 2016

Dominique Lanoise - an American Tragedy



Recently, I watched the Dominique Lanoise story...this was a lady, bed fast from her weight (over 600 lbs). The doctors kept saying about how she "needed" a gastric bypass. How modern physicians could buy into the myth that there is anything lifesaving about a surgery which interferes with the digestion of the many nutrients we need on a daily basis, I will never understand.  Understandably Dominique's life (she was in her 40's when the show was made) would have been cut somewhat short by her weight and inactivity, but it's significant to point out that she died, only a couple of weeks after what the TV show called, the "lifesaving" surgery. 

How sad that ignorance, hers and perhaps the medical providers who had bought into the myths told about this surgery, ended up killing her prematurely. As her daughters, who missed her after she died, said, "even in bed, she sang songs with us and talked to us."  The medical profession denied Dominique's children, the few years they would have had with their mother. How sad. :(

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Eating Coleus for weight loss? Not a good idea! :)



Coleus is a lovely plant. I used to have Coleus plants years ago.  But there is one thing to remember about Coleus. It's highly poisonous.  Best to keep it away from kids (I had a toddler in those days) and pets, and handle it carefully.  It also likes showers about once a week.

Imagine my surprise this AM when I was flooded with ads for coleus extract claiming it causes weight loss. I've heard of a lot of crazy schemes to lose weight but this one seems one of the more insane variety! I found out about this product because they put a bunch of ad links in the comments of one of my blogs (and since I have moderated comments - these never saw the light of day!).  But curious because I was familiar with this plant and it's poisonous aspects, I visited their website.

Not sure what this group is about but you might receive mail from them (or comments on your blogs). If you have a blog, I highly suggest moderating comments - that way, comments which are inappropriate never see the light of day.

I suppose if you eat poison (like Coleus), you might lose weight but ... isn't that getting a bit uh...over the top?  My suggestion is that you enjoy the beauty of the Coleus plant but keep it out of reach of animals and kids and please - don't eat it or "coleus extract". Losing weight eating something poisonous, just isn't worth the trouble.  Just saying! :)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Latest questionable study on obesity



Obesity signifies a lessor brain, states the latest - shall I say - questionable study.  The cohort was 32 people both men and women and claimed to not included people with known brain damage.  The researchers concluded that (after imaging the brains of the cohort) that people who are overweight have "less gray matter" in their brains and thus lack the mental capability to make good food choices.

Now true, the study was reported in the UK Telegraph (which is the UK equivalent of the US "National Enquirer") i.e. not a real reliable source, but it appears to be a real study.

I really don't have to say much about this study because it is so inane. But I will remind, that some of the greatest brains of this and former centuries, happened to be very overweight i.e. GK Chesterton is one example.  President Taft was so overweight, he got stuck in the bathtub one day. And there are numerous other examples.  Attend a meeting of the high IQ group, MENSA, and you will see many overweight folks, suggesting the opposite of this study i.e. that overweight people might have more powerful brains on the average.  This would be a no brainer (pun intended) - overweight folks are often better nourished than slim folks.  But I would also, know this from experience - there is a lot of obesity in my family.  Mother had a Master's degree, Dad, a PhD and so forth.

Whether a person was obese was decided by BMI (in this study) and we all know BMI isn't an accurate measurement anyway - because it fails to take in consideration, bone structure, musculature and several other factors.

So, where did the researchers go wrong?  Ironically, intelligence cannot be judged by brain imaging - the brain turns out to be one of the last frontiers in medicine and can be a real fooler.

For example, when David Snowden reported on his famous "nun's study" (he actually forensically examined the brains of several Catholic nuns after they died - he had permission, of course), he found rather surprisingly, that nuns with dementia might have large good looking brains. But his greatest surprise came when he dissected the brain of a nun who lived into her 90's.  She was mentally sharp and functional until the date of death and Dr. Snowden was anxious to examine her brain.

To his surprise, her brain was small, less convoluted and more shriveled up than some of the nuns suffering dementia.  

Enough said.  Obviously, one cannot judge intelligence from what a person's brain looks like.  (Photo is of Cheryl Hayworth, gold medalist Olympic weight lifter).


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Misleading study finds that gastric bypass is a good idea?



Most people only read the first paragraph of a news article and the media takes advantage of that fact, assuming most folks will not read the rest of the article and only a very small percentage will research the article.  Therefore, the news media can inform the public of anything they want to sell, pretty much assuring that their disinformation will hit the target audience.

The first paragraph of a recent Reuters news service article reads: 

"Ten years after gastric-bypass weight-loss surgery, patients in a recent study had managed to keep off much of the weight they'd lost."

That sounds impressive but even reading the rest of the article raises rather large doubts - for example they were only able to contact a little more than half the original patients who got RNY between 1985 and 2004.  The cohort was 1087 patients and they were able to contact 651 of them.  That raises the big question of how hard did they try to contact the cohort - did they, for example, check and see which ones had died?  (Obituaries are public domain and easily searchable on the internet).

And despite the impressive sounding first paragraph, 10 years after an invasive surgery which is known to cause malnutrition etc, patients contacted had only kept off 25% of their excess weight.  That is, if the excess weight was 100 lbs, then at the 10 year point, they only were 25 lbs lighter than when they had the surgery - hardly worth an invasive surgery which has a higher mortality rate than open heart surgery.

Another questionable thing, is, this was a contact by phone - in other words, the patients they did contact, self reported the results and it's common knowledge that patients when self reporting, especially after elective surgical procedures, can be extremely inaccurate or leave out very pertinent facts - like for example, it appears non of the patients were asked if they had metabolic bone disease, a common repercussion of gastric bypass surgery.

At the time of their surgeries, 59% had high blood pressure... but 10 years later, that percentage had only gone down a few points i.e. 47% still had high blood pressure, a risk factor for many things including stroke.

It appears that many surgeons are, for some reason, not learning the newer procedures like gastric sleeve which are safer than gastric bypass.

And one might question whether surgery is any longer a viable option since newer research suggests that the appetite centers are in the brain and not in the GI tract.  It should be noted that Dr Nowzaradan of TLC TV fame, admitted in an honest moment, that 5 years after a gastric bypass the surgery is no longer effective as far as weight loss.

Sadly most folks who read the Reuters article will only read the first paragraph and thus be impressed, perhaps making a life changing decision which while a questionable treatment for obesity, might endanger their health for life.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Losing and regaining weight



So there is this lady I know on the internet. She lost over 200 lbs and attributed it to Weight Watchers and dancing.  I followed her as she posted a video of her getting her lifetime membership award at Weight Watchers and as she started to lead a dance class at a local gym.  She was a real inspiration in my own weight loss journey. And she was even featured in a TV story.

That was in 2009 and I saw a recent video of her - she's still dancing and is fit, but she seems to have regained at least 100 lbs or more.  I starred at her, astonished,  because somehow, I guess I thought she would never again, regain.  I do admire her for still getting out there and teaching dancing though.

In truth, damaged metabolisms can happen for all reasons, including too much dieting. Experts have said that, with every diet, our metabolism shrinks down a few hundred calories a day. And those like me, who had tonsillectomies in the 1950's and 1960's often, got damage to the pituitary gland which tends to greatly lower the metabolism. Bottom line, many of us do not have to really overeat, to gain back the weight.  In fact, if we eat the "normal American diet", even on a moderate basis, we can easily regain the weight and then some, as I found out in my numerous attempts to diet.

This time, I have kept off the 106 lbs for over 6 years. How?  I count every calorie that goes into my mouth.  (we joke that "if it goes internal, it goes in the journal").

What is sad, is that no medical provider has ever told me that I might have to count calories for the rest of my life if I wanted to keep off the weight.  Neither did they tell me that some folks become overweight just by eating normally.  (Society's image is, that if a person is fat, it means they do nothing but sit on the couch eating bon-bons and medical providers, many of them, seem to agree with this image).

Is it worth it to me, to count my calories to keep off the weight?  Yes it is to me,  because I am healthier at a BMI of 27 than I was at a BMI of over 40 and I fit in auditorium chairs and other places better and I don't have to have a wardrobe in 3 sizes and I do not get any negative feedback from medical providers... but it's a matter of preference and lifestyle and anyway, I think we should all accept each other for the beautiful humans we are and not quibble about weight or other superficial things.

That being said, I think that medical providers should give better advice on how to lose weight and keep it off (I suspect it usually requires counting calories, measuring and journaling food intake for those of us with pituitary damage or "those genetics") instead of blaming us for being overweight.  Experts say that our size is 60% genetic and there may be some 40 genes involved  (Dr Rudy Leibel, obesity expert for example).  Bottom line - who we are should not be determined by our size!