Saturday, June 23, 2012

Things Have Changed

Things have changed.

My body simply does not tolerate the level of carbs it used to tolerate. I know this because, after re-introducing lots of fruit (3-5 servings/day) and small amounts of wheat (pizza crust, a slice of bread, a whole grain waffle, a few Wheat Thins) I see a big difference in how I feel. Back in 2007 - 2009, I ate that stuff and more and felt fine as long as I also got enough protein, especially in my breakfast. I felt well and lost weight. Thinking this over, my history is

pre-August-2007: lots of junk, processed crap, tons of fast food, packages of cookies, homemade cakes and brownies several times a week, lots of hot dogs, chips, candy bars, donuts, and pizza. Why? Crisis. My rise to 283 pounds had a lot to do with the traumatic health issues during my last pregnancy and the extreme stress of my little one's health issues. When she began to stabilize, I began to snap out of it a bit and be capable of caring about my food choices. I am not at all placing blame, here. I am saying I was in a very, very bad place and food was both a coping mechanism and a convenience. Look back on my early blog posts where I describe the way I used to eat. Thousands and thousands of calories every day and almost none of it was nutritious. I am frankly shocked I was not diabetic with the way I was eating. How can a person eat 5 candy bars in a sitting and not be sick from that? I dunno, it was crazy.

August 2007 - March 2010: I ate very much like the menus I posted the other day from 2008. I ate what I wanted within my calorie budget. I still ate plenty of whole wheat, oatmeal, crackers, and boxed cereals. I ate tons of fruit, sometimes 8 servings a day. I was putting sugar in my tea and coffee, and if I wanted a candy bar I had it and fit it into the calorie budget. I no longer ate TONS of junk, and didn't eat a whole box of cookies in a sitting, but I was eating plenty of carby stuff and I felt really good.

March 2010 - recently: Low carb, starting with Medifast. Most of the time, I kept my carbs around 85 grams a day, sometimes going as high as 100 or 105 grams in a day. I felt AWESOME when sticking to Medifast and out of control when I went off and ate extra carbs. For two years I kept the carbs low *most* of the time. I ate almost NO grains of any kind and almost NO fruit. No sugary stuff. This is when I discovered that a lot of my joint/arthritis pain is aggravated by eating sugar. No sugar, no pain. Sugar, pain. (Apparently plantar fasciitis and bursitis pain are *not* brought on by eating sugar, because I had those flare ups even when eating none).

And now, I let myself eat lots of fruit and a few servings of grains, and I don't feel as well. In fact the scale has gone UP (which could be because an average of 1800 calories per day is too high, which I get, but still that level of eating should not result in a 4-pound gain in 6 days). I think there is inflammation and water retention going on. I am also more tired, hungrier, and less satisfied with my food.

Part of why this first week of calorie counting did not restrict specific food is because I have often wanted to TRY to go back to a moderate carb intake. I have these fond memories of waking up and making smoothies for breakfast or eating whole grain waffles with almond butter, and feeling great. But this week I tried those breakfasts and felt horrible. I could actually feel my blood sugar being out of whack in the mornings after I ate those things, and all I wanted to do was eat a couple of eggs. And now, those old food dreams have lost their appeal and I am moving on to better breakfasts... higher protein ones that I know help me feel my best.

I am 42 years old. I am not sure if age or hormones has to do with it, or if two years of low carbing changed the way my body works. But I know that if I ate the way I did pre-2007 *now*, I would end up in the hospital. And if I ate from the 2008 menus that I felt great on back then, I would be absolutely miserable.

Week 2 of calorie counting is going to lower the calorie bar to 1600 and cut the fruit down to a max of 2 servings per day. I'm also cutting the grains back out and will keep a closer eye on my carb levels each day.


Margaret said...

Sounds like something has changed Lyn. Have you had your thyroid checked?

This sounds vaguely like hashimoto...or one of those conditions. I can't keep them straight. But they can be very tricky to diagnose because they are cyclical. Sometimes the hormone levels are fine and sometimes they are not. Just a thought.

Reading with interest,

Nellie said...

Long time reader here! I started my weight loss challenge at the beginning of the year and have lost about 30lbs. I have found the same problem with carbs, and I too never used to have this problem. i hate to say it, but I wonder if it is an age thing! I love fruit, so i eat it in combination with seeds or nuts, and then I don't see the weight gain spike. Bread however, has gone from my life forever....
Stay positive!

Roz said...

I was told by my Doctor, that for every year of dieting and restriction, your body takes 3 years to come back out of the deprivation mode which of course means a slower metabolism and it stores fat quicker. He said that when starting to maintain, I will have to eat 300 calories a day LESS than someone of the same weight who hasn't dieted recently. For the next 3 years.
You have been on this journey for so long, and done so well, but it sounds like you body has started to rebel a little. Which is ok, if you know about it and make allowances for it. Good luck!

Jac said...

It's possible that after the success you had with Medifast, that your body actually became what Mark Sisson refers to as "fat-adapted". That instead of relying on carbs/glucose for a primary fuel, it learned to burn fat first. If that's the case, it makes sense that upping your carbs would cause issues for you. There is NO way 1800 calories/day would cause you to gain weight like that, the math just isn't right. There is obviously SO MUCH MORE than just calories in vs. calories out!

Consider this post - It might help you figure out where your carb level needs to be. (But I still really think that *your* body may really benefit from the higher fats, screw-the-calories approach.)

Have you ever read this success story? I just love Stacy!

Anonymous said...

The weight could be water coming back with the glycogen. Remember how when you first went on Medifast you felt a bit headachey, etc. maybe it works in reverse too.
Fruits are really good for you. Maybe give it another week. Thanks for reporting on this issue as I am very interested (being a current MFer.)I worry what will happen when I go off. My plan was to use their transition and then go to a nutritionist for help with my maintenance. In the past I have lost and gained 70 pounds about 7 times. (Not on Medifast. This is my first time.) I am 52 and thus far dieting has not screwed with my metabolism. But there's always a first time....

Anonymous said...

I bought Bob Harper's new book. It advocates, among other things, not eating carbs after lunch. That might actually be do-able for me. I've tried to cut carbs before and have failed miserably, but it sure would be nice to whip this disease at some point in this lifetime. Good luck, Lyn!

Vickie said...

Sodium can also be a huge factor. Both in the scale, symptoms and WANTS.

I personally, eating at the percentages I talked about in past comments, do NOT consider myself to eat "low carb". I think I eat proportional carbs ( and most of the rest of the country eats very, very high carbs).

Again, quality heathy fats are super important to mix. As is
Protein (lean).

I did not read comments, but noticed how many anonymous ones you have, are you sure you do not want to adjust settings? I realize you use moderation feature, but still is creepy.

Leslie said...

Hi Lyn - I can sure relate to this. You're at an age where even if you aren't experiencing symptoms of perimenopause, you can rest assured it's starting to affect your body. In general, just dropping pounds becomes harder - it's like our bodies really want to hold onto extra pounds.

The other change I first noticed was how my genuine pear shape gradually has turned more boxy - not so much apple shaped as simply thicker through the torso and waist. Ugh. Anyway - this is to say that biology definitely plays a role, and so we have to be much more vigilant. I do think that when you're able to increase your physical activity, it will help.

Finally, when I was doing a 12 step program a long time ago, one of the few useful things someone told me was that when you have those intense hunger pangs and empty stomach days, your body is doing necessary work to really lose weight. Maybe that's silly but it helps me when I'm endlessly hungry to not cave in. At least sometimes...

Anonymous said...

I'm so impressed with your thoughtfulness and envy your years of journaling/blogging that has kept track of things. Keep tweeking, keep observing and I'm sure you'll find what works best for you. I had a friend ask in disbelief the other day, "You're never going to eat pasta or bread for the rest of your life?" I had never thought of it quite like that...but I can only eat it as a "treat" or I will find my weight climbing and my cravings out of control and I don't want that either. Good luck!

CatherineMarie said...

Lyn, go gluten-free for a month, see if that helps...

Brown rice isn't bad, maybe you just need to add the right kinds of carbs... and good for you for noticing this...

(if you go g-f, though, you have to go whole hog. Including soy sauce which has wheat)

Lyn said...


my doctor checked my thyroid when I had bloodwork done a couple months ago and a few times in the past 4 years, and it has looked good. I know it is tricky to diagnose though.


at one point a year or so ago I did turn off anonymous comments, but got many emails from folks who for whatever reason could not or didn't want to post comments otherwise. So I turned them back on. I don't mind them. I like getting feedback :)

Anonymous said...


I know you are not going to like this and are probably not going to listen to it but in regard to the weight gain, it would be a good idea to double check your calorie counts.

What you posted recently for calorie totals has seemed to be significantly lower than reality. Either Sparkpeople (which I believe you use) is inaccurate or you are underestimating somehow? If you have been eating over 1800 per day that would help explain the weight change.

I am not totally discounting the carb theories but am glad to see you are going to try lowering your calories to 1600 also. I think you are on the right track!

Anonymous said...

I am in the "older and less tolerant of carbs, wheat and too many calories" category. I'm 54. I am not a fan of Oprah, but years ago I did see one show about food and diet and Oprah said that she could not eat as many calories than she used to, and rather than make excuses or try to fix the game that isn't going to change, we must accept the fact that older adults burn less calories.

When I was overweight, and gaining weight, I believe I easily ate an extra 1000 calories a day to be in weight gain mode. It's not that hard to do. So now I believe that if I want to lose weight, I really need to be in a negative 1000 calorie range to see a consistent loss. It's just a fact of life, moving food around in our minds, on our plates, in our pantries or our blogs is not going to change the facts. What did Einstein say about insanity?

Karen said...

I had to completely go against conventional advice when I switched off Medifast and onto regular food for weight maintnence .

Gluten, bread , grains, processed sugar in most forms, and more than 2 fruits a day all cause me to regain the weight. I had to switch to Primarian/Paleo right away to avoid regain. I did the 90 day opt out from the Refuse to Reagin book. And I'm still opting out of processed foods to this day.

Maintenance offers more choices but within a very strict set of rules or structure, for me.

That being said, I love it. Food tastes great and for the first time in 40 years ( I'm 46) I can comfortably maintain my weight. It's a lot of work day in and day out , not easy, just do-able. And so WORTH it!!!!

I think that you know what works. Is there anything that you are avoiding doing, say like working with a counselor, setting limits with people in your life, including all of US giving you advice. Whatever is in your way, you'll have to tackle it. IMO

Long term maintainer bloggers are a great resource. Spend some time reading and interviewing them and borrow only what works for you, because you know what works for you. Only you can do that.

But I'll bet all of the long time maintainers have commonality about their loss and maintenance efforts. Build your own loss plan and maintenance stragety based on the common tasks or structures they put in place that fit you.

Good luck. As your life changes , so must your weight loss/ weight maintenance strategy. I think that's prorbably true for all of us. Karen P

Theresa said...

I know this is a Canadian link, but I doubt the US is too much different.

The general gist of this post echos the last few, we're being take for a ride when we are told about calorie counts! If we dropped to 800 calories we might really be closer to the1400 we need....... I am in the exact same boat as you are, frustrated, angry and unable to get back to the weight I want to be! I've known for years that eating a pasta meal is an automatic gain week for me. A calorie is ever just a calorie...... Orebodies burn fuel differently and uniquely. Keep plugging along Lyn!! Have you considered a part time job outside the home? It might break the focus enough to distract you and bring in a bit extra cash for those extras that crop up. :)

Lyn said...


yes, actually, that is on my agenda for this fall when the kids go back to school. I have an application in. That's more about the money, though, and not the focus... while it might *seem* I only write about food issues, that's because that is the focus of this blog. My time and focus is overwhelmingly spent on my kids and pets and my dog sport activities, which I LOVE!

katie said...

Check your BMI..I think your daily calorie intake is too high. I am 5"11" tall and 225lbs and I don't eat 1800 cal/day..more like 1400. And that is enough for me to feel good and to slowly lose 2lbs week with little=mod exercise.


Theresa said...

Goodness, I didn't mean you had no other interests lol!! I just know its harder when I'm home all day..... It's easier to stroll past the kitchen and stop for a visit ;-) I know what a talented writer you are and that blogging actually provides an income, I just thought an out of the house job might break the day enough to make a positive difference! I'm brainstorming for both of us! :)
If you were to work more from home it might be harder. Just some random thoughts.

Anonymous said...

If I ate 1800 calories a day for a week, I would gain 5 lbs in that week. Calorie allowances are too high in this country, from what I have personally experienced.

I watched what my mother in law ate, as a "naturally" slim woman a few years back and realized that even the diets I was following were advocating more food than she ate in a day. She is healthy and eats everything, but her portions are what some would say are very small. Small to those of us that have gotten used to glutenous portions. She is not obsessed with food, is healthy and strong but slim. I started to think of "what would MIL eat" with every plate I took and I also became used to the smaller portions, like we used to eat back in the 70s.

Anonymous said...

Carbs are not the enemy, they are the primary source of energy your body uses for the day.

Protein is for muscle maintenance and structural integrity of the body, not energy.

Fats, well fats are storage and are necessary to build things like cell membranes and proteins with lipid parts.

If you lower your carb levels too much, what are you giving your body to run on through out the day? Protein? Fat? Your brain relies on glucose for food. I strongly recommend that you reconsider this low carb diet.

You cannot be allergic to "carbs" - you may be allergic to gluten or components, but carbs like fructose? glucose? impossible. You absolutely need them.

Low carb is great for a short term weight loss, but certainly not for long term slow weight loss.

Set a session with a nutritionist/dietitian or just pick up a non-diet book about basics of nutrition and read through.

I'm also wondering about your totals for the day. How are you measuring/estimating your calories? I would go with the Nutritional Facts that are on the package, not what's online (anyone can enter this data). For veggies/fruit try using only confirmed sources.

Princess Dieter said...

Two fruits a day and one serving of starch is what the registered dietitian put me on when I was doing Allan's challege of 1200 calories. She did state that--contrary to what even her own dietary organization espouses--in her PRACTicE and personal experience (she was a former tennis athlete but is now middle-aged), women are less carb-tolerant with regards to weight in middle age and senior years. It was funny how she sounded almost like, "Well, my organization wouldn't want me admitting this, but...." hahahahah

I've regained a few pounds, which I do think is the added water when I increased carbs and some real fat when I increased calories. I'm fiddling with maintenance, and am wobbly. But I probably should just face it that one serving of starch is my daily limit and as much as I can eat 12 fruits a day, and summer is a huge temptation, I need to stay at 2-3 to see maintenance success.


Anonymous said...

Lynn, you have made my day! Thanks for not ban ishing us anonymous posters. One of the reasons for my timidity in posting with a name/pic is because of what you're seeing here now. An almost religious like devotion to foods that some seem to feel almost sacred about. I have been put the ringer backwards and forwards regarding my ketogenic diet. I've lost tons of weight, maintained it, have healthy labs for the first time in my life (yes even my lipid profile!) My blood pressure , blood sugar and energy levels are the beat of my life and still people fear for my life since I eat my beef, butter and coconut milk, nuts ect everyday. When you depend on a woe for your very life, and others you admire seem to get almost angry about it , it can compel you to use the anonymous button! Lol! Not sure where on the spectrum you'll dfind your carb sweet spot or which foods will or won't be cut out or focused on, but reading the variety of experiences and keeping an open mind can only help in your journey. Everyone has a varied endocrine system, everyone has different food tolerances so doing your own due dilagence is very wise. I take no offense when someone finds health and happiness eating grains , sugar. Im super glad you take no offense to those of us who are forced to find a different path!

Anonymous said...

Something interesting I have noticed is that pre-packaged items like yogurt or a whole wheat pita bread pocket or a granola bar are heavier than than serving size listed on their nutrition label by about 30-40% a LOT of the time. I have a gram/ounce electronic scale and started weighing for example the pita bread pocket. The serving information would say (example) 100 gram pocket = 105 calories. When I would weigh the pita bread it would be a 135gram pita pocket (not 100 grams as listed on the label). The calories would thus be 105x1.35=141 calories instead of the 105 calories noted on the label. 36 calories overage isn't a lot, but most items were like this when I measured them! So if you are counting and shooting for 1800 calories you could be actually getting around 2430 (1800*1.35). It definately accounts for some error. Apples over-weight by 35-60% is normal (average fruit is huge compared to what the calorie sites etc claim). I will see something like 1 tbsp of almonds of slivered almonds listed on your meal list. 1 tbsp? Have you seen a 1 tbsp spoon? Use an electronic gram or ounce scale (that goes to 2 decimal places on the ounces), (available at walmart in the kitchen section for like $13).

Anyway - people count calories and then do crazy stuff like visually estimate the amount of olive oil they put in the pan to cook their eggs or green beans or fish and the olive oil makes up more calories than the fish does!

Anyway - good luck. My $0.02.


beerab said...

I have found over time that my body tolerates carbs much worse than it used to, I have to eat as low carb as humanly possible to feel okay and lose weight as well. I have just come to accept that fact about my body. Bread and fruit are things that I have come to accept as treats.

Anonymous said...

Carbs cause water retention in normal, working bodies. That's just how glycogen is stored. My rule of thumb is that 400 calories of carbs (not fiber) make 1 pound of extra weight. Since extra carbs usually means extra salt as well, it's not unusual to have 4 pound gain overnight from a "carb reload" (aka pizza night), even though I'm NOT on a low-carb diet. For me this maxes out at 6 pounds even with pms. I exercise a lot, so I need the carbs for fuel. But even otherwise, I seem to feel better on a lower-fat, higher-carb diet.

Anonymous said...

I know one thing for sure: all these comments are scaring me away from any low carb eating plan (although as an endurance athlete, it is not really feasible anyway).

The idea that I could permanently impair my body's ability to process carbs properly (as posters have said) is a huge disincentive. If I need to lose weight I guess I will do it the old fashioned way, through calorie counting (I can't really increase exercise much).

Obviously everyone needs to do what works for them, but I'm glad to have read these opinions. If low carb is the way for you, Lyn, then more power to you and I wish you the best!

Lyn said...

Anonymous (Jo)~

Good point about things like breads and prepackaged bars etc weighing more than the label says. I don't weigh those things but trust the label; I am going to start weighing them to be sure.

But yes, I have measuring spoons for cooking, and I always measure (like the slivered almonds) with a level, accurate measuring tablespoon.

beachteacher said...

Read the book, Wheat Belly. Life changing.

Anonymous said...

One thing I find curious, and I'm not trying to be mean or snarky at all, I've just fought the good battle myself as well, over the years.

If you were losing weight on 800 calories a day with Medifast (I think that's around what their plan calories are.), then why do you think you will lose weight at 1600 calories? 1600 is more of a maintenance level for me, although I know younger people can handle more. At 800 calories you were losing at a pace that wasn't huge, not like 30lbs a month or anything carbs or carbs, 1600 is a lot. The carbs will just come into play with joint pain, inflammation and all that. From my experience the "holding on to water weight" flushes out quickly and is not a real excuse, it shouldn't last more than a day or so and should just be motivation to eat less and skip the salt/wheat/sugar more for a day or two.

With my years of working on this, I really don't feel that metabolism is "shot" by low carb or anything, it's just a fact of life with growing older that a woman's body gets out of the "baby making" mode and settles into a "what do I need to live just on my own" mode. And we need less, as our bodies are doing less. It's kind of freeing, in a way, I did the good deed and had wonderful healthy babies, now it's my turn to just think of what I need to be strong and healthy for me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lyn,

I understand your struggle. May I recommend that you buy the book The Skinny by Dr. Louis Aronne? It features a lower-carb diet that still allows you to have fruit and some starches (in addition to veggies and lean protein of course). I also have gone up and down (and am using Medifast right now), and I find the The Skinny's diet plan to be VERY easy to follow and satisfying. I am sure you get recommendations all the time, but it really is a good plan. I plan to transition to it when I am finished with the weight loss phase of Medifast.

Good luck!!

Michelle said...

Have you read the book Wheat Belly? You may be wheat intolerance. Thats why when you have have grains you eat more.