Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Emotional eating and extreme calorie restricting: obesity and deprivation links

Let's talk about obesity. In my nearly 58 years on this planet, I've been overweight, obese, normal BMI and even underweight. Obesity hit its worst, for me, in 2012 and how I lost 100 pounds, without gastric bypass and reversed that has a lot to do with TLC "My 600-lb Life." This gastric bypass reality TV show offers remarkable insights, not only in weight loss but in weight gain and obesity. 

Participants on "My 600-lb Life" usually act childish and immature. And Dr. Nowzaradan explains why: because they are adult children. They stopped developing emotionally the more obese they became. Research shows that an alcoholic's brain stops growing at the age they began chronic drinking. And the same seems true with morbid obesity. The age at which a person stops eating to live and begins living to eat (also called comfort or emotional eating), is about the age maturation stalls. 

"My 600-lb Life" backstories (and to some extent my own weight gain and loss) have roots in emotional eating. Many of the show's participants tell of hunger, poverty and deprivation as children. They never got enough food to feel satisfied. So when they could, they overate to compensate. I recall those feelings. I remember going to potlucks and just wanting to eat everything there. I recall taking, and eating, 6 desserts at a church function, to the shock of my friends. They probably thought I was a pig but I realize now, that deprivation made me food insecure, anxious and always hungry. 

When I was 8, I was put on a 1000 calorie diet because I was "overweight" (see top left picture). That was far too much calorie restricting for an adult let alone a prepubescent child. Even gastric bypass patients on "My 600-lb Life" are only put on a 1200 calorie diet. And our family history proves that we start as chubby children but lose weight in puberty. So my brain was literally starving for food. This is not to blame anyone. It's how they did things in the early 1970s. Thin was in and obesity was virtually unheard of. 

But we can learn from those mistakes. Extreme calorie restricting is NOT the way to lose weight but it is a good way to lose muscle tone and get or stay sick. During our Covid 19 illness, my husband lost 17 pounds in a week because he couldn't eat. He's not overweight. Now he is struggling to replace muscle tissue. Covid 19 taught us many lessons and the biggest was how deprivation defeats the purpose. 

Deprivation, hunger and weight loss make the body retain fat to protect itself (see my post on the many dangers of extreme calorie restricting). How I lost 100 pounds was with a 1200 calorie diet, moderation, portion control and mindful eating. I've kept my weight at a reasonable place. 

Thanks for tuning in! Left is me now and right was in 2008, before I lost weight. Subscribe to this blog for more helps and tips. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

How I lost 100 pounds being a heavy drinker: fat flush for weight loss

Hi pals! As you may know, if you've followed this blog, that my husband and I got very serious Covid 19 infections early in 2021 just prior to getting vaccine. (Yes, we social distanced, masked, sanitized, etc. Covid is a crazy illness that doesn't follow rules). We are long haulers and still struggling with "Covid brain" and exhaustion. And one MAJOR takeaway from this is the disastrous nature of long-term fever and cellular dehydration. 

You'll also know, reading this blog that I share a lot about  how I lost 100 pounds in 2014 (and kept most of it off). I have been exploring links to dehydration and obesity and discovered that part of how I lost 100 pounds was by being a heavy drinker. 👀😁 Not alcohol (though I do drink wine and have done throughout my weight loss process). Alcohol is dehydrating. And so, believe it or not, is plain water. 

Lemme splain. Now I do drink a LOT of plain water which is good for weight loss as it is a fat flush. However, alone, without electrolytes (particularly magnesium and potassium) it will actually dry you out. And that will cause water retention or water weight gain, the thing that people on "My 600-lb Life" so often blame their obesity on. True water weight gain, from dehydration, is completely different.

My MIL weighed 100 pounds soaking wet. She became dehydrated because she drank too much water and flushed out all her electrolytes. She collapsed and was hospitalized with delirium (another symptom we experienced in Covid 19 fever). The staff could not figure out why, until I mentioned that she had what looked like belly fat which she has never had. Turns out  it was pooled water that she couldn't expel, due to low potassium and magnesium (electrolytes which help the body utilize water efficiently). 

 So the solution to avoid dehydration, fat flush and lose weight is to consume proper amounts of electrolytes: sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium. The first two are easy, the last two, not. I became a label reader. And I found Gatorade, Powerade and other "hydration drinks" contain little to no magnesium or potassium. My drink of choice is BodyArmor (sugar-free kind, cuz sugar dehydrates too). Other coconut water works well too. Coconut water not only hydrates, the fatty acids fat flush too. 

So Slainte! Bottoms up on the coconut water, for weight loss and just general feelz goodz! Subscribe to my blog for more on how I lost 100 pounds and other happy pills. Love, mar and Emmett (top left, newest baby grand, isn't he handsome?) Top right is me in 2008 before weight loss, with lots of inflammation  in face (another sign of cellular dehydration). 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Fat-shaming or obesity entitlement, Reddit AITA wants to know

Hi fwiends, I've been seriously AWOL for quite awhile, so just popping in to update on weight loss (kept off most of the 100 pounds I lost 8 years ago, top is then, --> is now), long hauler Covid 19 (still lingering aftereffects) and to ponder a question that's been nagging me and apparently readers of Reddit regarding obesity. 

I've become addicted to Reddit AITA (Am I the A$$whole?), where readers ask, in moral/ethical dilemmas they've been encountered, whether they or someone else (or no one or everyone) has made bad choices or harmed others. Recently, a Redditor inquired whether she was fat-shaming by asking her obese SIL not to sit in a swing made to hold only 250#. And then to get angry when her 420# SIL sat in and broke said swing. 

I didn't weigh in (pun) on AITA but I will here. I agree with the consensus that the OP was not fat-shaming and that the obese SIL knowingly overtaxed the swing, was liable for the cost of replacing the it and should not even have had to be asked not to sit in it. She knew she was far too overweight for it to hold her. 

This is a case (which is becoming alarmingly more common) of what I call obesity entitlement. Instead of changing themselves to fit the world, more people are expecting the world to fit them. They expect that "handicapped accessible", "disability friendly" other ADA type goods and services should be made available to them, merely because they are so large that they can't utilize items made for average size people. They are not disabled, except by weight, or the effects of being overweight. 

And it comes at quite a cost to others. Many more establishments are having to make accommodations in the form of larger seating, more handicapped parking, etc, just to make room for larger clientele. This drives costs up. I'm in stores all the time as part of my Shipt job. And increasingly, store-provided mobility scooters are being used by larger people than by disabled or elderly people they were designed for. But if anything is said, or accommodations withheld, the fat-shaming card often comes out. 

This post itself may read as fat-shaming. Even as I write this, an inner voice is worrying that I sound insensitive, crass, etc. But be assured, I know, firsthand what it's like to be obese. Though I never expected nor needed accommodations, I can say that obesity is debilitating. My blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure shot up with my weight. Then I lost 100 pounds in 2014. I know that weight loss is challenging. But enabling or accommodating only makes it worse. Stay tuned for more on #howIlost100pounds. 


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Covid 19 update: a weird and scary new aftereffect

 Hey guys, just checking in to let you know what's going on not only with weight loss but also Covid 19 (coronavirus) recovery. We had Covid 19, with all the trimmings in May. We got the Pfizer vaccine in July. I'm still struggling with exhaustion, depression, metabolism and lethargy. My husband is working to regain his 17-lb (in 10 days) weight loss. So we're what they call "long-haulers" in that it's taken months to shake the effects of Covid 19. And most recently, I discovered a new post Covid surprise that's both weird and scary: hair loss. 

I've been noticing that clumps hair come out when I wash or brush my hair. There are masses of hair on the pillow each morning. I thought it was because I haven't been hungry or eating much. So I Googled "coronavirus hair loss" and sure enough, about one third of us "long-haulers" are experiencing effluvium (aka hair loss). I'm relieved to know what it is, but worried because this may be permanent, says the CDC.  It doesn't help the depression. 

The CDC explained that fever and stress of coronavirus is what causes the effluvium.  Both my husband and I had "revolving door" fevers that came and went for almost two weeks. Fever induced dehydration was a problem and that caused both weight loss and metabolism issues. We're working to rebuild electrolytes, particularly magnesium and potassium. But in the meantime, I keep shedding hair by the hands-full. 

As one of the long-haulers, and not a statistic, I'm lucky. If exhaustion, depression and effluvium are the worst that happens, I can deal. My breathing problems didn't get to full-blown pneumonia, just bronchitis. But the death toll keeps rising. My prayer email box has new Covid 19 cases and losses, daily. Please, get the vaccine. And wear a mask. For the health of it. You're too precious to lose. Love mar.  


PS, the short side of my hair isn't from hair loss. It's my new retro punk look, LOL. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Calorie restricting alone won't lose weight: study offers #1 weight loss tip

This blog is about how I lost 100 pounds, (top photo is today and bottom is 10 years ago) without gastric bypass or a "packaged" diet program. To lose weight, I wrote my own program, using elements of keto, intermittent fasting and a 1200 calorie diet like that used by gastric bypass patients with morbid obesity, on "My 600-lb Life." I also follow current weight loss research and trends. And recently, "Eat This Not That" shared a study that found that calorie restricting alone won't lose weight. Calorie restricting can actually keep a person overweight. 

The study in "Eat This Not That" revealed surprise links between extreme calorie restricting such as the 800 calorie diet, intermittent fasting, obesity, and even the more generous 1200 calorie diet (which I used to lose weight). The findings show that overeating alone is not what makes us overweight. It's WHAT we eat and not just how much. 

This should come as no surprise to anyone who is working to lose weight. However I see one problem: it presumes a dichotomy: that weight loss means either calorie restricting or eating certain foods such as a keto diet plan. The two are not mutually exclusive, as "My 600-lb Life" shows. The path to obesity is paved with overeating AND poor food choices. The 1200 calorie diet Dr. Now puts patients on, is very clear about what to eat and what to avoid. For example, it nixes "white foods" (potatoes, rice, white bread and pasta). 

The problem is further complicated by the fact that our bodies do not want us to lose weight. The innate survival instinct is to prevent weight loss, even with "My 600-lb Life" type obesity. The keto diet promises weight loss by restricting carbs and eating fats, fiber and protein. But keto is also not a very sustainable diet and calorie deprivation, regardless of kind, can also cause the body to store fat and stay overweight. Having said that, calorie restricting and eating a low carb, high fiber and protein diet is how I lost 100 pounds. 

So what am I saying? That weight loss requires moderation, of eating and over-indulging in overprocessed, calorie-dense foods with low nutritional value. Stay tuned the daily meal plan that helped me lose 100 pounds. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Lose weight (I did!) with keto diet and calorie restricting food swaps for BBQ and pulled pork

Hi I'm mar and I'm a BBQ ribs and pulled pork addict! I was also very overweight and needed to lose weight. So I wrote calorie restricting 1200 calorie diet food swap recipes to satisfy my BBQ addiction. Here's how I lost 100 pounds (without gastric bypass) while still enjoying pulled pork, BBQ ribs and other smoked meat favorites! Oh, and these antioxidant rich fat burning food swaps boost metabolism, help prevent obesity and are keto diet friendly, too. You not only could, but should, eat these BBQ entrees for weight loss! 

First a little background. I follow the gastric bypass weight loss show "My 600-lb Life." The overweight participants on "My 600-lb Life" are shown, before (and sometimes after) gastric bypass, eating very non-calorie restricting foods. And though "My 600-lb Life" shows very extreme examples of obesity, they are nevertheless, not uncommon. 

About 75 percent of Americans are overweight. Obesity is a problem in others countries that eat the "western diet." The foods "My 600-lb Life" folks crave are the same foods that have led so many of us to obesity, so that's where I've begun with my calorie restricting 1200 calorie diet food swaps. And BBQ ribs and pulled pork are major favorites. But happily, these foods aid can be made to aid keto weight loss with antioxidant metabolism boosters, fat burning fruits and high protein meat.  

Begin with leaner cuts of meat to lose weight. I actually prefer pulled chicken to pulled pork. But if you want pulled pork, use pork loin. If you crave BBQ ribs, trim as much fat as possible and stew them in a slow cooker to "melt off" fat. Yes, keto encourages fat, so if you're hardcore keto, skip this step. If you're calorie restricting (how I lost 100 pounds), this alone will lower calories and make them more 1200 calorie diet friendly. 

Next, make sugarless BBQ or pulled pork sauce with erythritol or monkfruit sweetener instead of sugar. Erythritol is actually keto-approved. But my preferred way is to skip erythritol or any sweetener and sweeten BBQ sauce with fruit, to get fat burning, metabolism boosting antioxidant goodness. I've used all kinds of fruits in BBQ sauce: berries, peaches, mangoes, apples, pineapple, lemons, limes, even grapefruit! I chop fruit and add a little chopped bell pepper (rainbow preferred), simmer in water, add Worcestershire sauce, a dash of molasses, smoky chipotle (or liquid smoke), garlic powder, onion powder, celery seed and coriander. 

Braise ribs or simmer pork or chicken in sauce. Enjoy (and lose weight!) These diet food swaps are how I lost 100 pounds and am still keeping it off, seven years later! 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

How I lost 100 pounds eating out: Weight loss tips for restaurants

In yesterday's post on how I lost 100 pounds eating out, I got sidetracked on salads and didn't address the many other diet pitfalls at restaurants. The gastric bypass reality TV show "My 600-lb Life" demonstrates the link between obesity and dining out, especially on fast food. It's difficult to find diet food swaps and a lot of menu items actually create the cravings that make us overweight. But you can dine out and still lose weight if you follow these 25 weight loss tips for restaurants. Part of how I lost 100 pounds (without gastric bypass) was learning to navigate such calorie restricting unfriendly situations with diet food swaps. 

1) This step is crucial for restaurants in particular and fighting obesity in general. Order water with your meal. Not drinking enough plain water is a big part how we get overweight. You can see the results of this on "My 600-lb Life." The morbidly overweight participants are always drinking soda or other sugary beverages. And water is an appetite suppressant because it fills the stomach. 

2) Ask for lemon with your water. Lemon is a good salt substitute, fat burner, system cleanse and antioxidant metabolism booster. It will help your food digest better and prevents dehydration which, believe it or not, you can get from drinking too much water without electrolytes. (Learned that in my recent bout of Covid 19). 

3) Skip the alcohol and caffeine before or with meals, or if you do, order red wine. I lost 100 pounds and drank red wine (in moderation) throughout the process. I just factored it into my calorie restricting 1200 calorie diet. Red wine has resveratrol, an antioxidant fat burner which increases metabolism. It's also, however, an appetite stimulant like caffeine so drink very sparingly. Green tea, an appetite suppressant, is the exception. Drink coffee or tea after meals because they do increase metabolism. 

4) Eat out at restaurants where meals are served in courses. Fill up on soup and salad to lose weight. Most friendly to the keto diet, calorie restricting, 1200 calorie diet and even intermittent fasting. 

5) Ask for salad dressing served on the side and use less. Learn from "My 600-lb Life" Penny Seager, who drowned her salads in dressing then wondered why she failed weight loss after gastric bypass. Yes, keto advises eating fatty foods, but balanced with fiber, fatty acids and protein. Eating too much saturated fat and transfat was how many of us got overweight (diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol) in the first place.  

6) Choose vinegar and oil dressing instead of creamy dressings to lose weight and hypertension.

7) Choose broth soup or consommé over heavy creamy soups and chowders for weight loss. 

7) Order grilled, baked or broiled entrees instead of sauteed, fried or deep-fried options. Along with sugar, fried foods are a direct cause of diabetes

8) Choose vegetables or baked potato instead of French fries, mashed potatoes, scalloped or hash browns. Ask for light butter on the side. Baked potatoes make pretty good diet food swaps. They aid weight loss by filling you up and providing electrolytes.  

9) Skip bread or rolls if served with the meal. Ask to swap a serving of veggies like cooked broccoli which is high in antioxidant electrolytes. 

10) Try vegetarian or vegan food swaps. Eggplant Parmesan is just as good, if not better than Veal Parmesan. 

11) Trade mayo based salads for vegetable salads. 

12) Pick keto preferred parmesan cheese instead of cheddar or saturated fat cheeses on your salad. 

13) Skip croutons on salads. 

14) Go easy on sauces, dips, condiments and spreads to lose obesity and diabetes. Skip the sour cream on a baked potato. 

15) Use lemon or malt vinegar for fish instead of tartar sauce. Lemon can actually reduce hypertension by simulating a salty flavor in a healthy way. 

16) Choose broiled instead of deep-fried fish. Diet food swaps # 15 and #16 can can cut calories by 80 percent alone. 

17) Trade high saturated fat ranch and sugary BBQ sauce dips for mustard or marinara sauce dipping sauce. 

18) Use lemon as a salt substitute. 

19) Opt for Splenda or keto approved erythritol for iced tea or coffee.  

20) Eat slowly. Do not rush through the meal. This will help you feel fuller. 

21) Order from the ala carte menu instead of the full dinner menu; portions tend to be very large in restaurants and it's harder to stay on that 1200 calorie diet. 

22) Choose restaurants which post nutrition data on the menu. 

23) Vegetarian fish and seafood are sometimes better for weight loss but not as filling. Better grilled fish choices are: marlin, swordfish, grilled yellow-fin tuna and baked salmon. 

24) Order sorbet, sherbet or fruit with non-dairy topping for dessert. 

25) Choose fresh fruit from the salad bar for dessert! 

For more on how I lost 100 pounds, stay tuned!