Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Level Headed Plan

Well. After a lot of thought, some cooling down time, pondering all the thoughtful comments left on my last post, and truly looking inside myself this weekend, I have come to *some* conclusions about this whole weight situation here. This might sound rambling but bear with me.

1) I am not going to cut my exercise back. I went for a very long time while I was doing Medifast *without* exercising (because 900ish calories a day is not really enough to sustain much exercise) and I got very out of shape, and I want to remedy that. I remember last summer when I hiked and was *weaker* and more easily fatigued at a lower weight than I had been before, at a higher weight, when I was exercising. I do want to lose weight but not at the expense of being fit and active. I am tired of being TIRED from the simplest of activities. I want to rebuild my stamina and strength. I believe that my physical strength translates to a sort of mental strength, too. So I am going to *increase* my activity, continuing the strength training 3 times a week and adding a few new exercises to that, bringing it to about 45 minutes/session (up from 30 at first and 35 this week). I am going to try to get in there for a swim a couple of times a week. This week I am going to add biking back to my schedule, which I had said I was going to do earlier but never "had time" for it. I am going to MAKE time even if it is only 10 minutes a day in the evening. If and only if I have some kind of injury/pain from biking, I will increase the swimming instead.

2) I am going to start logging calories again. I hate even typing it. Part of me is screaming NO NO NO... DELETE THAT!! but it certainly can't *hurt* to count calories and might help. I am not saying I will count forever, or for months or even weeks but I am going to count for "awhile," whatever that means. "Just for awhile" is easier to accept than "for x amount of time" or "forever" so I am going with "for awhile." I am not setting any specific calorie level right now. I am just logging to see where I am on a consistent basis. I am sticking with the same eating pattern at least for now... very limited grains, sugar, and artificial sweeteners, eating plenty of protein and produce and healthy fat. I want to make logging as successful as possible, so I am not changing what I eat right now. I might make some changes later, we'll see.

I do know that with my current level of exercise I *cannot* cut back to 1000 or 1200 calories per day. I end up famished. I feel like crap. I get a little food obsessed. We don't want that. I am not saying that I feel justified in eating more when I exercise; I do not add "activity calories" or anything like that. But I am darned hungry on days I work out hard. I do focus on eating healthy fuel... not junk. But I do need fuel.

When I count calories, I am *always* meticulous about it. I do not guesstimate or use regular spoons to measure things or guess about how much meat I am eating. Why? Because that feels like a huge waste of time to me. If I am going to bother counting calories then I am going to be accurate. Otherwise I won't bother. I use a digital scale and accurate measuring cups and spoons for my food. My career has a lot to do with accuracy, so when I count, it is as right as it can be. Of course, I have no way of knowing if the Nutrition Facts labels on food is accurate or not, but I just have to trust that they are at least close.

3) Staying off the scale, balanced with getting on the scale, which probably translates to weighing once a week and no more than that for now. When I am in the groove and doing well, I like getting on the scale daily. The fluctuations don't bother me. I like to chart them. It's fun. But when I have smoke coming out of my ears I do better to stay away from the numbers that are causing me stress. When things calm down, I'll probably get back to daily weighing.

This whole thing takes time. It is maddening, frustrating, pushes me to my limit. But when I get results, it is euphoric. I love it when I finally get it right and see my body getting stronger and smaller. I love it when I get that confidence that what I am doing is working and I can see that my path is leading to my goal. Right now I feel more frustrated and confused, annoyed and exhausted, like I am in a fog and not sure whether I am heading towards the goal or off the edge of a steep cliff. I feel blindfolded and spinning, spinning, spinning sometimes, but I have to have *some* faith in myself and in the process and believe. I HAVE to.

Some days it is like a giant stumble and a prayer: "Please God let me get this thing right." Some days I sit on those weight machines and push and push and push, wondering why the heck I am even there. I swim in doubt, stroke after stroke at that gym, wondering if I am making progress or just treading water. Time will tell, just like it always has. This will either get me there or not. We'll see.


Anonymous said...

I'm just curious, Lyn--I don't really understand why you hate tracking your food intake so much? With the online tracking tools these days it's so quick and easy.

I use MyPlate and with their "Frequently Eaten Foods" and "Meals" features you never have to enter a food you've eaten before or even an entire meal twice. It takes me seconds, literally, to track my intake. In fact, I'm at my goal weight and I'm still tracking. It's painless and it gives me a feeling of confidence to know I'm eating the proper number of calories to maintain.

I think it's really helped my stay at my goal weight versus winging it.

LHA said...

Good for you on every count! Your plan sounds terrific. As far as your "doubting" moments as you are exercising or thinking about things, remember how far you have come and how much weight you have succeeded in keeping off. They say nothing succeeds like success, so relish yours!

Lyn said...


hmmm. Well, mainly I hate it because I love to cook, and don't usually measure when cooking. I wing it a lot. Throw in some extra condiments or more beans or veggies, that kind of thing. It is hard to eyeball a recipe and cook by taste and texture (for me) if I have to measure stuff every time I add to the pot. So I have to measure it all several times, then measure the whole pot somehow, then put it in the recipe calculator and divide it by servings. I hate that. I also hate trying to log when we eat out at restaurants.

Other than those two things I don't mind tracking. It is easy to add things that are already in the databse or just add them once and they are there.

Anonymous said...

According to Gary Taubes in Good Calories, Bad Calories, exercise - while healthful and worthwhile - does not help us lose weight. Because we get hungrier due to the calorie deficit, as you've discovered. Not saying to modify your exercise plan, just validating your experience.

-Kathy A

Taryl said...

Just be consistent and persistent, Lyn. I sounds like a good plan and not different than what you're doing now, except the logging. That's good, because you're doing well with your current plan. Keep it up and don't get discouraged :)

Lyn said...


logging, and increasing exercise again (adding more weights plus biking). Will readjust if necessary, but trying to take it slow. :)

Anonymous said...

Part 1:

I read all the comments to your mad post and I just wanted to comment...

People forget (or don't understand) that the following can be the situation for someone suffering from pre-diabetes/syndrome x/ insulin insensitivity:

They eat a high carb food (an orange or piece of toast) and because their body is not sensitive to the insulin they produce, they pump out 3X,4X, maybe even 6X the insulin a "regular" person does, to bring their blood sugar down to normal (75-110) levels. The very very very important part to remember, is that even though the body has been able to bring the blood sugar level down (if you test at this point, you will say, "that looks good! I don't have any blood sugar problems!") you have to remember that you have WAY higher amounts of insulin in your body. What does this insulin do???

Two hours later (after eating the orange or toast or whatever), you still have high levels of insulin flowing in your system (but your blood glucose lever is still great!) and you are less able (or unable???) to access you body fat stores for energy. Thus you get increased hunger, lethargy, lower-body temperature than a person who has a sensitive response to their body's insulin.

Technically, a person who is fasted (has no food in their belly or intestines) who is in a good hormonal situation, should be able to access their excess fat stores readily or be able to operate on those fat stores. People who are fat, routinely CAN NOT access those body fat stores (even though they may be carrying an extra 50,100 or even 200lbs on their frame!). If you think about it, you will remember being a little kid and going without food and still having plenty of energy. You might think in a off-hand manner that you were hungry, but it wouldn't be enough for you to quit running around, or want to sit down, or bring your body temperature down.

Fat people get this "lazy" label slapped on them all the time. The truth is though, if you are hormonally unable to access your fat stores like a healthy person can, you will feel lethargic/lazy/tired because your body doesn't have any energy to operate on.

I would love for you to take your temperature every morning (while laying in bed, within 10 minutes of waking) and then once a day, during the normal course of the day and report it. My guess is that you have a lower than normal body temperature. I would also guess that you have a higher insulin level (despite having normal blood glucose readings) than normal as well.

All this to say, if you've got impaired insulin sensitivity, you are fighting a very difficult battle. Everything you eat will produce more insulin in your body than it should (carbs as well as protein, as well as a head of iceberg lettuce!). Your body in that state will have a heck of a time accessing your body fat stores for energy. It will FIGHT you back hard by lowering your body temp and increasing lethargy, because from your body's perspective, it is STARVING (if it can't access your body fat because of high insulin levels and you haven't provided it enough food in your belly, it really is starving, isn't it?) The response to this perceived starving is decreased energy, increased lethargy, decreased body temperature.

Anonymous said...

Part 2:

A lot of older women will attribute this to a "slow metabolism" or decreased muscle-mass, or just getting older when it is in fact consistent high levels of insulin coursing through their bodies (with corresponding "normal" blood sugar readings). The body will often in response to it's perceived continual starvation down-regulate the thyroid, which in turn just makes it that much harder.

You'll hear about women who are in their 40's and 50's who are eating 1000-1200 calories a day and aren't losing weight... why is that? Because their insulin is high, their thyroid is low, their body thinks it is starving (because it IS from the body's energy perspective). Add in lower estrogen levels and you've got the perfect storm of hormonal issues that make it REALLY difficult to lose weight.

Anyway - I hope these thoughts help you come up with your plan. Please remember, that just because you have a normal fasting blood glucose level, it does NOT mean that your insulin/pancreas/liver are doing what they should.

Slow and easy exercise can improve insulin sensitivity.

I would bet quite strongly that your insulin sensitivity is not good (just based on the fact that you were even able to get up to 279lbs to begin with).

In a healthy individual, an extra amount of calories consumed in a day is burnt off through increased desire for activity (having a lot of energy to do things or even foot tapping) and increased body temperature.

In a healthy individual, a low amount of calories consumed in a day is not a problem. They can easily transfer over to using their body fat stores for 100% of their energy needs without experiencing lethargy, intense hunger, and body temperature reduction.

Obese individuals will often report experiencing much greater hunger than they did as a thin person. This is because they can not access their body fat for energy (despite having LOTS of it). The body is trying to function on a much lower energy availability than a normal thin person is (because they can easily access their body fat stores). The body reports greater hunger, not because of some weird food addiction, or because the fat person is a pig, but because the person can't access their fat stores (because of high insulin levels).

This is why it is soooo important to get those carb levels down. So you can get the daily free flowing insulin levels down. So you can access those body fat stores.

Good luck! It is impressive to see you persevere.

Boysmom said...

I'm looking back and we appear to have been/be on similar journeys. I didn't go as low as you, but regained about 25 lbs. I've lost 10 and now am working on the next 15. I'm also eating low carb, but I track calories as well. I'm having trouble trying to exercise as I'm a grad student and a mom of 4 and started student teaching 3 weeks ago on top of it all. I'm curious as to how tall you are, I'm 5'11" and wondering if we are similar, I'm kind of guessing maybe based on your pics.

Lyn said...


THANK YOU. That is a lot of excellent information and it has my wheels turning. I very much appreciate you taking the time to leave that comment.

Lyn said...


I am 5'6" tall. Sounds like you are super busy! It is hard to fit everything in for ourselves as mothers, with the needs of the kids.

Wishing you the best with grad school and all you are doing!

Anne said...

Hi Lyn,
Just delurking to say I really admire you! I *know* how frustrating it can can be to do all the "right" things, and not see any movement on the scale. It sounds like you have a good plan moving forward. Keep up the awesome work!!

timothy said...

it's true we get thin in the kitchen and fit in the gym, combining the 2 equals HEALTHY! sometimes you just need a regime to be in and feel in control. i too HATE tracking food, counting carbs/calories/points but it's a neccesary evil otherwise my taste of this bit of that thwarts my goals every time. just stick to your plan as it sounds quite sensable and i'm sure you'll do GREAT!

Anonymous said...

Have you considered tracking your food intake without being that meticulous? If you're at the point where you're weighing your basil or even vegetables, no wonder you hate doing it. As long as things are "on track" I ballpark it and assume that one medium banana (or any starchy fruit or veg) is about 100 calories and something fibrous is closer to 100 for the meal. You can certainly make yourself crazy trying to figure out how many calories were in a serving of fresh broccoli, after peeling it, before boiling, what about removing fiber calories etc. Since I'm never going to binge on broccoli or salad or even tomatos, I pick a nice round number and move on.

It's worth weighing anything fatty, using measuring cups on grains, flour, sugar.

I also throw in a 20% "fudge factor" - assume that I've underestimated calories by that much. Especially with nutrition labels and meats, where manufacturers prefer to err by giving you more food or fat than less.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a bad plan. It seems to take exactly what you are doing now and expand on it. Aren't you weighing yourself once per week now?

You are going to log calories. As was mentioned, calories are made up fake numbers that may or may not have any relation to what happens to you. Calories have not been sucessful in providing any information for you in the past. As a unit of measure for you they are meaningless.

It would be far more effective to skip a meal for a week and see what happens. You admit you do not want to cut back on food because you don't want to be hungry and you like to cook.

Exercise, has been proven not to make much of an impact. And in your history on this blog it has not. So the solution is not adding 20 minutes more and suddenly the weight is going to come off.

I realize your confused by all the bad information out there. But I would urge you to critically examine what you have been doing and not be level headed anymore. Being level headed has you here.

Lyn said...


well, okay, I am not *that* meticulous! I don't weigh basil or other herbs that have pretty much no calories or try to subtract fiber. But yes, I do measure all my fruits and vegetables and other things (I just measure them in the state I eat them in... cup of cooked broccoli is in the database separately from a cup of raw broccoli). Really the thing that bugs me is the recipes/home cooking and eating out.

Tonight for example we are having sloppy joes. I don't usually measure anything for that, I just throw it all together. But if I want to have any of the meat (which I do, over salad, no bun) then I have to measure each thing and figure out how much is a serving out of the pan and calculate the calories for it. I'll do that and save it on a recipe card so I don't have to measure next time, but it does cut down on the tweaking a recipe (which I enjoy). I won't be obsessing about whether the fat content of the meat is what the label says it is, though. Some things you just have to trust.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, who wrote:

"I would bet quite strongly that your insulin sensitivity is not good (just based on the fact that you were even able to get up to 279lbs to begin with).

In a healthy individual, an extra amount of calories consumed in a day is burnt off through increased desire for activity (having a lot of energy to do things or even foot tapping) and increased body temperature."

This totally ignores people with binge eating disorders. If someone consumes 5,000 to 10,000 calories in one sitting, the body cannot possibly burn off those excess calories through foot tapping or increased body temperature.


Anonymous said...

Well, the meat I buy comes with a label on it as to weight, so I just divide the total meal by how much I ate. I cook for myself so if I just divide by 3 it evens out since I'm eventually eating all three portions. The fat content of the meat (and how much of it drains off if you attempt that) is really the bigger variable. Even chicken breast can be variable based on whether it was cooked with the skin on (rotisserie) or not.

Vickie said...

I hate tracking too. I know some love it. I don't. BUT as I said, if you write down what you tend to eat all together as sets/meals. You will not have to keep figuring it out, you can just look back at the same numbers.

I liked all that you said and think it is a good plan.

I would push the swimming and save the legs so you do not throw a complication in with your other factors here.

I think you want as much running smoothly as possible so that you can figure this out and move forward.

once a week using scale data as a tool sounds good also.

Vickie said...

I am going to log along with you.

I haven't kept track in years. It is good to take a look every once in a while. I have let it go on automatic pilot too long.

My exercise has been kicked back up to my normal these last couple weeks (transitioning out of boot).

I have an appt with a woman's doctor after the first of the year and it would be nice to go in with data.

She does not replace my gp or obgyn, she simply looks at the big picture and specializes in sleep, stress, nutrition, exercise.

The first thing she will do is major blood work and then look at what I do on a regular basis.

So, I am going to log for a while so I have concrete data to show her.

you are not alone. someone else who does not like to track, is tracking.

Anonymous said...

You probably know this, but if you look up chain restaurants online you can get calorie counts of things.

In my state, restaurants are required to give the calorie counts on the menus.

Good luck!

Vickie said...

Anonymous with the part 1 and part 2 did a most excellent job.

I am posting the whole of her comments on my blog tomorrow. I wish I could give her credit or link to her blog.

(Lyn, I wish your Anonymous people would put a name at the bottom of their comments so we could tell who was who. Even if it is a made up name, but used consistently, it would be very nice.)

I had a couple thoughts to add on insulin resistance:

I was lucky enough to have someone explain insulin resistance to me at the very beginning of my process and that has made all the difference.

Each time we put something in our mouth, we are triggering the production of insulin. So for the people who just a bit/bite all day long, they are producing insulin all the live long day.

My understanding is water does not produce insulin. But those individuals adding flavors to their water, even if there are few calories, are triggering insulin resistance.

Lyn said...


re: "bad plan"...
No, I haven't been weighing once a week lately. I was staying off the scale because the scale went up when I started at the gym. As to the rest, you can go back and read the first 8 or 10 months of my blog if you like and see that I lost the first 60+ pounds by calorie counting and exercise. This time I am exercising more than I was then, so hopefully it will help get the ball rolling in the right direction again.

I won't be skipping meals, though. That usually ends with me being so hungry I can't think straight and will eat whatever I can find, and then regretting it. I try to keep my blood sugar stable with regular meals.

Other anonymous~
re: calorie info online. Yes this is true and very helpful! I usually don't go to chains, though, so when we eat out it is some small local home cooking place or something similar with no calorie counts available. Then I have to eyeball, which means no sauces etc. It is hard to guesstimate things like soups or anything with marinades or sauces.

Kristine said...

How about this....
Lets stop dieting and counting or even thinking about every little thing that goes in to our mouths. Eat healthy homemade meals with no crap. Exercise. Stop blogging about weight. Or how much you ate. Throw away your scale. Stop stressing. Live life and be happy. If that means you are at your current weight then so be it.
You have been in this same pattern since I started reading your blog years ago. It is really sad and I hope you realize that life is going to pass you by before you know it and you will look back and realize all you ever did was worry about your freaking weight. You are a beautiful woman let yourself be beautiful and happy. You owe it to yourself to stop this cycle you are in. Best of luck!

Margaret said...

You know what is ironic? The recommended treatment for people with insulin resistance is to lose weight.

Anonymous said...

I want to echo comments made on your last post - if you are insulin resistant (and as a long-time reader of your blog, I think you absolutely are) even one piece of fruit a day and/or yoghurt is detrimental. It will just send your sugar levels sky-high. You should look at doing something like Atkins induction stage to get rid of your glucose dependence. Until you accept a life without ALL sugars (i.e. including lactose and fructose), I think you are going to struggle to eat less and struggle.

Lyn said...


my life is far from weight-centric. The *blog* is weight-centric, so some might assume that represents my entire focus. Not so. I *do* enjoy life and have wonderful times with my children and friends. But it does take effort for me *not* to go right back to 280 pounds. Not just exercise, but some attention to my eating. Without the work I am doing I would be over 300 pounds within a year. I am not willing to let that happen. This work is *for* the enjoyment of my life, which is being lived and not passing me by. The stronger and healthier I am, the more I enjoy living.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this will post accurately, but here's a table on ground beef calories depending on how you cook it, how well you drain it:

Ground Beef - 73% Lean/27% Fat Calories Fat (g)
Pan-broiled patties* 248 18
Pan-broiled patties, after blotting 230 16
Pan-broiled crumbles, after blotting only 195 12
Pan-broiled crumbles, after blotting and rinsing 135 6

That's for a 3 oz portion, you might be eating 2-3 times that amount. The variance in one meal will be 450 calories depending on how much fat is left. Compare that to broccoli, which has 20 net calories in a cup chopped - or 22 if it's cooked broccoli or 34 if you're not netting the fiber, but either way - you don't need to put it on a scale to get plus/minus 10 calories.

Anonymous said...

I got rid of my excess weight, first cutting carbs...5 net carbs every 5 hours max and then up to 11-25 net carbs. I eat as soon as my feet hit the floor right thru l bedtime. Somewhere in that process, I wasn't losing as I wanted and started counting calories too. Let's face it, we all know how to do this, we have been doing it so long, we know just about what every food calorie is. I still eat like this now 4 years later....I round up calories, I am NOT meticulous, there is no need...a hundred calories, here and there is NOT going to cause you to gain weight. I execise daily...half hr biking, some weights and throw in some walks during the week when I can and when I feel like it. For me, it is the carbs and it is all about keeping my blood sugar steady throughout the day, no highs and no lows, in order to maintain. Steady blood sugar makes you think twice about what you put in your mouth because you aren't hungry, you KNOW you aren't. I DO, repeat DO, have days where I eat the pint of ice cream! Doing that once or twice a month does not cause you to gain 40 pounds, it just doesn't, doing it daily and not watching what you eat daily does. I ate aout 20 small reeses pb cups guilt, no nothing, I wanted them I had them and it was over, NOT to be repeated today though! Sugar, in any form, whether that is fruit, candy, cake, or pasta, yes pasta, that carb is processed as sugar, causes binges, causes you to want to eat more of those foods and causes weight gain not to mention all the other unhealthy aspects. I think this is true of most women, it is true of me and when I realized this and someone educated me, the weight came off and has stayed I do believe process these foods differently to a certain degree. Ive maintained for 3 and half years, I drink wine, I go out to dinner at least once a week, I eat ice cream, I eat wings watching the football games BUT I balance those things out in other ways. If I don't, I will gain 50 pounds in 3 months, easily!! Keep at it, DO whatever you find works, and keep doing it, forever!

Anonymous said...

anonymous...Part 1 and 2 are SPOT ON Ladies! Spot on:))

Anonymous said...

The scale is hugely stubborn for me, too. No change regardless of what I'm doing, then all of a sudden, 5 pounds gone. Then, again, nothing for months. It annoys me, however, this is a lifestyle change, and this is how I'm going to live, whether the bloody scale budges or not. I couldn't imagine tracking my food, at least not closer than within 300 Cals or so. My cooking method also consists of "throw a handful or just a little bit in", and many of the ingredients that I get from my very awesome farmers market aren't listed, if they even have an English name. This is my life, now. julie

julie said...

One more thing, I believe that I used to be insulin resistant (I was about your weight when I began to lose, also close to your height and 43 yo), but I believe that exercise has brought that down. I DO lose weight by skipping meals, and I rarely eat a meal within 6 hours of the last one, and if I make them just a bit larger, I can spread them more, and will not mind if I skip one, or replace it with a salad or a bowl of cereal, or some fruit (very insulin sensitive - exercise?)

Bec Z said...


Anonymous said...

Part 3:

Hi again (I am Part 1 & Part 2 anonymous). (I meant to sign in, but blogger wouldn't let me post the whole comment and in the course of splitting it up, I totally forgot)...

Anyway, a couple additional things I wanted to say in regards to low carb eating.

If you have insulin resistance (meaning you aren't sensitive to your own insulin and therefore pump out copious amounts of insulin to control blood sugar for all carbs, protein, lettuce or ho-ho eaten (EVERY thing you eat causes an insulin response), the fact that you are pumping out extra insulin all the time not only makes it very difficult for you to access your fat.... but also remember that you are most likely burning out your pancreas Beta cells as a result.

The human body makes a long acting insulin as well as a short acting insulin. (Similar to how type I diabetics take a daily bolus long acting insulin and then take fast acting insulin before each meal/snack). The body's fast acting insulin normally burns out first. The body will be less able to bring blood sugar levels down to normal quickly after each meal/snack. The long-acting insulin can usually compensate for the lack of fast-acting insulin and bring the blood glucose down to normal levels, but it takes a lot longer to do so. Any time your blood glucose level is over 140, your body is being damaged at the cellular level.

At some point on this syndrome x/insulin resistantance/pre-diabetic pathway, people start to experience problematic gluconeogenesis pulling their blood sugar numbers up. The liver generates glucose from glycogen stored in the liver. This is how it is possible for fasting diabetics upon waking to have a high blood sugar # despite not eating since their last food of the prior evening.

Now imagine the horrible situation the pre-diabetic person faces.

The pre-diabetic is pumping out a lot of insulin for every carb they DO eat (because their cells are not sensitive to the insulin they make). Their liver is generating glucose via gluconeogenesis that the body in turn has to make MORE insulin to cover.

Low carbers in this situation will often be incredibly frustrated with their weight loss efforts. They have high levels of free flowing insulin. As a result, are not able to readily access fat stores in their fat cells. They may have a higher than they should morning fasting blood glucose reading, because of dawn phenomena gluconeogenesis. Despite eating low carb, their body is generating excess glucose from liver glycogen, which results in higher insulin levels. It's like this horrible circular loop that the pre-diabetic person can't escape.

It can become VERY difficult for the pre-diabetic to lose weight at this point, because of the high insulin levels (despite eating a VERY low carb diet) and high glucose levels caused by gluconeogenesis.

The pre-diabetic might eat very small quantities of food at this point (all very low carb foods) trying to lose weight, but because the body is still producing LOTS of insulin, the low energy availablity to the body results in lethargy, low body temperature, ravenous hunger and minimal to no body fat loss (because the body again, can't access the fat stores).

The pre-diabetic at this point must realize that the weight loss efforts are going to be MUCH harder than it would be for a healthy individual to lose weight. BUT, weight loss will bring sensitivity back to the body in regards to insulin, so it is even more important than ever that excess body weight is lost.

A person in this situation must not kid themselves that an orange is in any way "healthy". It might be healthy for another individual. But for the pre-diabetic with the pancreas that has already burnt out 60% of it's beta cells, that orange is poison. Instead of eating an orange with 95mg Vitamin C and 16 grams carb, the pre-diabetic needs to choose to eat brocolli which will provide 81 mg Vitamin C and 4 grams carb. Then eat a sugar-free jello make with liquid sucralose for the "treat" aspect.

Anonymous said...

Part 4:

For a healthy person, I would recommend the orange. BUT, the pre-diabetic is not a healthy person, and must make choices that will improve their disease.

Someone above mentioned the binge eater. Personally, I think there MUST be a lot of physiological causes of binge eating. I do not believe that binge eating is an emotional problem any more than people choose to be depressed. That these diseases are not well understood, does not place the blame back on the afflicted. We are still in the infancy of understanding the human body. It is so complicated. Each of us suffer from different variations of this insulin/thyroid/serotonin/estrogen/leptin blah blah blah blah blah problem. All one can do is to trial and error and meticulously record what you eat, how much you exercise, how you sleep, what you weigh and try to come up with a solution for your own issues. We all have such passionate ideas, because we have each struggled and tried to come up with a process that works for ourselves. When we find something that works, we want to share it with everyone. =) I think that's a good thing.

Anyway, my own struggle continues. I think I have finally found a way to eat that will work for my own weight-loss. I have woke up every day of my life since the age of 9 thinking about my weight as much as a man supposedly thinks about sex! I fight it every day. A lot of us do. I finally understand though, that it is a physiological issue, not a personality defect. I am NOT lazy. I am NOT a glutton. I simply can't access my body-fat stores in the way a healthy individual can. That this situation has made me gain weight and feel lethargic and hate to exercise is no surprise when you understand the underlying problem.

Keep looking. You will find your own answer. Or at least be in a better place than you otherwise would if you gave up the fight.


Vickie said...

I dug out my old excel sheet and did track my whole day.

NOT AT ALL LIKE IT FELT in 2005 and 2006 when I last tracked.

My educational viewpoint is entirely different now.

I enjoyed seeing the numbers.

I track -

Total calories;
protein, carbs, fat percentages (taking fiber out of carbs);

Anonymous said...

I think you eat too much fat and cholesterol, I'll be blunt and honest. The crack slaw would be a good example of that. Not everyone does well on a higher fat diet. I would say aim for balance-not over-indulging in carbs, not eating huge servings of red meat, not adding oil to already greasy foods, etc. If traditional carb sources like, say, pasta, do not agree with you, eat more vegetables with lean meats or beans. I've noticed over the past year or so, maybe longer, you seem to be eating a lot of dairy and meat and I think your results are reflective of that.

Taryl said...

Heidi (who is a most excellent anonymous commenter) - one great tactic to keeping blood glucose levels lower, in addition to carbohydrate and calorie restriction, is intermittent fasting. Having those insulin levels lower for longer periods of time is quite beneficial when the other dietary factors are in line.

And I agree completely with your earlier posits that most folks who get to morbid obesity (adipocyte hyperplasia AND hypertrophia) tend to have at least some degree of metabolic resistance and should treat themselves as such. Yogurt and fruit are fine for many folks, but they can be frustratingly detrimental to someone with undiagnosed leptin and insulin issues.

Lyn - some great additional reading on this topic, besides the old and excellent sources like Dr. Bernstein and Dr. Atkins, is a blog called The Scribble Pad (by a blogger named ItsTheWoo). She's sarcastic and somewhat inflammatory, but a most well researched and informative gal. Her posts are a goldmine of information if you can get passed the tone :)

Anonymous said...

Anony 1,2,3,4 question if you dont mind : what are your thoughts on metformin for a weight loss tool for someone with vert high postpradials when eating carbs? I have no problem maintaining on low carb/keto, but shedding fat is very hard no matter what I do. You seem so educated and reasonable. (Sorry Lynn ;)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1-4 writer:

Do you have a blog by any chance? You are so informative and a good writer. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

In response to Anonymous,

It is funny you bring up Metformin, as it is something I have only just decided to start taking. (Yes, I have decided to take it on my own, and have ordered it out of India). Metformin works in the following ways:

1) it reduces the glucose the liver produces via gluconeogenesis from liver glycerol stores

2) makes insulin receptors more sensitive &

3) it also decreases the amount of glucose absorbed from carbs you eat

I thought long and hard before deciding to order it. (It was ordered 2 weeks ago and is currently in New York Customs on it's way to me). I decided that all of the mechanisms by which Metformin works are beneficial to me. (I test higher fasting blood glucose levels than I should, I have seen as high as 165 on the meter after a meal, but do not test high enough to get a diagnosis of type II diabetes. I regularly get readings of 105-110 morning fasted despite being ~35 grams carb per day for the last month solid). Re-reading Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution was what really convinced me that I should take that step for myself. IF I can prolong/preserve my existing pancreas beta cells by taking Metformin (thus decreasing my body's output of insulin and thus decrease strain on my pancreas), that is a GOOD thing in my opinion. Dr. Bernstein's opinion seems clear that you want to decrease carb load, lose weight, exercise to improve insulin sensitivity, and preserve whatever pancreas health you have if you are pre-diabetic or diabetic. This makes 100% sense to me.

I understand that as with all medications, Metformin has side-effects (namely stomach upset and bathroom issues). It is NOT a diabetes medication that causes your body to pump out more insulin to lower blood sugar levels. (These are not a good idea, as they cause you to burn out your pancreas even faster!)

(I currently order my birth control pills out of India and have for the last 2-3 years, and so felt comfortable doing so for Metformin as well). I am part of the uninsured masses and was able to buy a years supply for ~$25+shipping).

I believe that "most" doctors would not prescribe Metformin for me until I had further damaged my pancreas and was a little further along the type II spectrum. Finally understanding how serious it is that I lose weight now, commit 100% to a life-time of low-carb and recover my insulin sensitivity has convinced me (that for ME) this is a good decision. I will see how my body reacts to it. I have read that many people take weeks to lose stomach issues that it causes (and some never adjust to it and have to discontinue). I have been testing my blood sugar levels for about a year and a half now, and feel confident that I have pre-diabetes. (Note I also have a brother with type 1 adult onset, both my parents have weight issues, all of my mother's siblings and 2 out of 4 of my father's siblings and my fraternal grandparents all were type II diabetics (either controlled with glucophage or later insulin). My family tree is FULL of diabetics). I have been thinking on this for a LONG time and did not make this decision to self-medicate lightly. (In general, I believe in doing through diet and exercise whatever one can).

I am the classic yo-yo dieter. Have been up and down and up and down the scale. I can lose weight with low calorie, but eating carbs makes me have an out of control appetite and consistently put on more weight.


Anonymous said...


Having said all that, if you have very high postprandials (when eating carbs) I would take that to mean that you have already burned out *some* of your fast-acting insulin beta cells in your pancreas and your body is not creating enough fast-acting insulin to counteract a high carb meal OR you body is sooo insensitive to the insulin it produces that despite pumping out buckloads of insulin to counteract the rising blood glucose levels, your body is unable to bring the levels down (due to insulin insensitivity). If you find shedding fat quite difficult no matter what you do, you could either have low thyroid or insulin insensitivity (thus high amounts of insulin to try to bring your blood glucose # down). This is of course something you should discuss with your doctor.

My sister-in-law was prescribed Metformin in conjunction with phentermine by her diet doctor a few years ago, which I found very interesting. I have also found online that many fertility doctors prescribe Metformin to lower insulin levels and increase fertility...

My thought would be, if you have insurance or a regular doctor or whatever, that you would talk to your doctor about it and try to go that route. If you are unable to get the prescription that way, you can always try a foreign pharmacy if you want to try it without a prescription. Medications will work for some people and not for others. You have to judge for yourself whether the benefits outweigh the risks and side-effects.

I personally feel like doctors can't solve diabetes for you or me. You have to make the lifestyle (food/exercise/proper amounts of sleep/low stress/etc) choices that will improve your health. Those choices have to come first and then I look to medication to help if it can.

Diabetes AND low thyroid both can make it almost impossible to lose weight. It would be good for you to get complete (see for more information on complete versus incomplete) thyroid tests as well as fasting & PP blood glucose tests to know from where you are starting. If you have been low carb for a long time, these numbers will probably look good though (blood glucose, not thyroid) and your Dr. will poo-poo any request for Metformin based on good fasting, PP & HbA1C test results... all of which won't tell you how high your insulin levels are after each meal (how insensitive you are to your own insulin).

Anyway, I have spent a lot of time since this spring reading all I can to hope to understand my underlying condition. Calories in, calories out doesn't seem to be all there is in regards to weight-loss for a lot of us.

In a lot of ways, we are on our own. Doctors don't generally believe in treating diabetes until the pancreas has pretty much stopped functioning (average beta cell burn-out at diagnosis of type 2 is 50-60%) and then the recommendations are still a high carb diet (without refined sugars, but with plenty of complex carbs) with increasing oral medications until that no longer works and then increasing amounts of insulin. The standard advice to lose weight is easier given than achieved for most people in this situation, as they do not understand how what they eat, how they exercise, getting enough sleep etc, etc impacts them hormonally.

From what I have read (personal accounts online), it seems as if it takes most people who go low carb from a pre-diabetic/obese starting point months to even a year to get their body to quit producing so much insulin. It looks as if it CAN take quite some time. (I thought my fasting blood glucose would be 90-95 by now, for example). All you can do is to continue making the best choices you can and give your body the opportunity to heal itself. (Pancreas beta cells CAN regenerate IF there are some remaining!)

I would recommend you read all you can about diabetes and Metformin and then see your doctor. =)


Anonymous said...


I have briefly tried fasting in the past. Unfortunately it did not work for me at that time. Now, I am sticking to a more Dr. Bernstein plan in regards to consistently eating 6-12-12 (or so). I am hoping that as I bring my insulin sensitivity up (by low carb eating and losing weight) that I will be able to try it again. I don't feel as if I am currently able to go that long without food. (I exhibit yucky feelings of being hypoglycemic despite testing at normal 90-100 levels). Dr. Bernstein says that this comes from having moderately high blood sugar levels for such a long time that normal 90-100 levels start to feel really low to a person. As my insulin levels come down and my numbers improve, I am hopeful that I could use intermittent fasting without *feeling* hypoglycemic.

Anyway, I did not mean to override Lyn's comment section. I have no blog, but was flattered anonymous asked. =)

Lyn - I have followed your blog for a very long time and have read ALL of your posts. Your perseverance is admirable. =) You WILL lose the weight, because you don't give up.


Anonymous said...

THANKS ANON 1,2,3,4,5,6! Wow! Keep us & Lynn posted on your metformin experiment if you can, N-1 's are so very valuable. I have ordered through India as well and my medication was top quality and the staff I dealt with were amazingly helpful and professional. May I ask what dose you intend on starting with? My postprandial after a day of total fasting followed by a plate of fries and a dinner role (no protien granted) was 259,,,,,THREE TIMES! My RN roommate couldnt believe her eyes. She at the time didnt believe the carb/diabetes connection. Boy, I sure showed her! I had for a week kept my b.s. in the 80-100 range through low carb/exercise. Once again , I apologize Lynn.

maryland said...

I wonder how much easier this would be if you [and I] did not need to feed others every day. I like to cook too but it would be much easier if I only did meals occasionally. It's like I'm alcoholic and forced to work in a bar. This business of food = love has a lot to answer for!

Lyn said...


Thank you again. I did some further reading last night and 'get' what you are saying and will use some of it to help heal my body :)


absolutely. I would never make muffins if it was just me. I bake "healthy" muffins for my sons to take with them and have a portable breakfast/snack, and they are so tempting. Even with them being low sugar/high fiber with veggies and fruits in them they are not something I need to eat. Cooking for others every day can be a challenge for sure, especially when you have kids with special dietary needs (kids who need high fat, or higher carb, or have textural issues etc).

Anonymous said...

Lyn- I hope what I wrote can help you or some of the many people who read your blog and it's comments. I strongly believe that many different plans can work for any one individual IF they can stick to it. (Those low cal HCGers are producing a lot less insulin from simply eating so much less than normal for example - and losing the weight increases their insulin sensitivity). Pretty much anything you do (low cal, low carb, cabbage soup, Jenny Craig, Medifast, Paleo, raw, etc., etc.,) is going to be healthier that remaining obese, so it is simply a matter of experimenting to find something that you can personally stick with for the long haul and feel healthy on. I think a lot of us will proclaim a method to be "right" just because we've finally found something that works for us (after years/decades of weight struggle) and so will feel really strongly about that method. Every person is different though. I applaud you for continuing to experiment and work towards you goals. EVERY time I have regained the weight, I have felt less sure of my ability to ever take it off and keep it off. What follows is months/years of eating whatever the heck I want and feeling like crap (low energy/lethargic after carb laden meals/disgust with myself for not being able to lose the weight). I think you've learned some very important things about your body by using Medifast, so that was worthwhile, whether you were able to lose (and keep off) all your weight from it or not. I hope that you will look at recording your calories as not just recording you calories, but as record keeping to try and find out what makes you feel best (less hunger, satisfied with food, less joint pain, no hypoglycemia). Meticulous records can then feel like a good scientific project that will give you a concrete solution, instead of a throwaway chore that you are simply trying to stay under a certain final caloric number. You have to be your own scientific experiment, because what is going on in your body is different than what is going on in someone else's body, despite a lot of us having some similarities. There IS a way to eat that will make each of us a healthy weight and not experience chronic hunger for the rest of our lives in order to keep the weight off. =)

Anonymous - 259! Yikes. That's scary. It sounds as if you have found your answer. It is unfortunate so many of us have to get so far along the type II diabetes spectrum before we start to understand what is going on in our bodies. I cry for my teenage self who ran all the time trying to lose weight and then would come home and eat white flour pancakes with syrup on them. =( If only I had known better back then.

Anyway, I will try to report back after taking the Metformin for a while. I ordered the 1000 mg Slow Release Metformin (supposedly causes less stomach issues). I decided on that amount because my blood sugars have never been crazy (not high enough to get diagnosed as Type II), just elevated. Anywhere from 500-2000mg (and up) is a "normal" dose, so I thought I would start at 1000mg and see what it does. I will report back with my n=1. =) I expect to have stomach issues and to question my decision, but hope to be able to persevere through that time period.