A 45-year-old fat man trying to find his inner skinny dude.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


So, I was talking to my stepson earlier, and I told him that I was frustrated that my weight is the same now as it was in October.  He gave me a gift--pointing out that I've had a lot going on (including the holidays) since then.  I told my wife about it, and she said I've said the same thing several times.  I guess I forgot.

I keep trying to remember that in my world, not gaining is a win.  So I guess I'm winning.


I got a copy of Barbara Berkeley's book, Refuse to Regain:  12 Tough Rules to Maintain the Body You've Earned.  Her website is linked at right.  This book and website are really geared toward maintenance, but I figure it can't hurt to see what the future looks like, especially since I'm basically maintaining right now.  She thinks--and this is probably somewhat controversial--that weight loss and gain are not limited to calories in/calories out. 

Her thesis:
"...Foods that stimulate insulin [cause problems].  Insulin causes fat storage and traps fat in the fat cells so that it cant be released.  Cutting out all carbs except for vegetables and low sugar fruits is essential.  That includes whole grains.  And by the way, the weight you lost will come back if you reintroduce these foods!"

Dr. Berkeley is a weight loss physician with the Cleveland clinic.  She's no slouch.  She advocates what she calls a Primarian diet for weight maintenance.  This is a diet based on human genetics.  We did not evolve to eat most carbs--grains, sure, but also beans, tubers, and other starchy foods.  These cause insulin resistance in fat people or previously fat people, and lead to gaining weight.  That's the simple explanation, but the full discussion is not much more complicated than that.  Just as you'd feed a lion only raw meat, you should feed yourself what you evolved to eat.  This is a pre-agrarian thing.  Agriculture is only 10,000 years old.  We have not had time to evolve to eat post-agriculture cuisine.  Eat only what you could find in the woods.  Lean meat, fish, fowl, nuts, veggies, most fruits. 

Well, that's limiting.  But I've been reading about the glycemic index for years.  I can see the connection.  So I'm going to try to eat in a Primarian way.  But not stupidly.  I still think you have to eat enough (at least your BMR, and probably a bit more).  Here's the thing.  If you don't eat carbs (or not much), it's HARD to eat a lot of calories.  An eight ounce chicken breast is 260 calories.  If I am supposed to be eating 2700 calories, it's going to be a trick to eat a lot of clean food.  I'm going to give it a shot.  That's a lot of veggies and chicken.  But what else am I doing?  (And I think I'm feeling better, so the gym beckons.)


  1. Skip, I've been eating sort of "primally" for a couple weeks, though I haven't been super-strict with it. If the only thing I have time/supplies to make is a sandwich, I don't freak out about the bread. But I've cut out a LOT of grains and dairy. I'm hopeful but it's too soon to report results.

    You're right about it being hard to eat enough calories just on chicken and veggies. However, I think most Primal or Caveman diets include all kinds of meat (and eggs), so you can eat a higher-fat diet than what you have now, it's not all lean chicken and canned tuna.

    I kind of disagree about the tubers, though. Seems to me that roots would be standard diet for the paleo-person.

    Anyway, I don't know. I've eaten low-carb in a variety of ways and haven't seen any miracles from it. But I'm usually willing to revisit methods, because sometimes other factors have changed in the meantime.

    Will be interesting in reading about how it goes for you.

  2. Well, shoot. I wrote a comment here earlier, and it apparently didn't take.

    You're right about the fat content--the percentage of diet goes way up. But if it's from fish and nuts (and some lean red meat), I'm not too worried.

    What worries me is that it feels a little gimicky. A little Atkins-like (which I think is weird and potentially dangerous). But I want something to jump-start me, and I don't feel hungry or deprived, so what the heck.

  3. My feeling is that EVERYTHING seems weird and gimmicky! There's always science and studies backing up every theory, and others that refute them. So really the proof is in the pudding, as they say. If it works, it works, all you can do is try it and see for yourself.