Archive for January 2006
You may have heard recently the story of Dr Hwang Woo Suk of Seoul National University, South Korea, who admitted to fabricating his data in papers about human cloning. Further papers have now been found to be faked, and as it stands, all published evidence of success in human therapeutic cloning has now been wiped out.
“Worst of all is the damage done to science itself. Science runs on trust. Governments give researchers money on the understanding that they will use it fairly, and honestly report their results. Peer reviewers assume that what they are judging is a fair account of what happened; they are not yet charged with policing dubious data. Without trust, the whole scientific project will collapse.” (New Scientist editorial, December 2005)
After describing another couple of high-profile cases of fabrication, New Scientist goes on to say:
“[A] certain amount of low-level bad behaviour seems to be endemic. Earlier this year, Brian Martinson and colleagues from Minneapolis published a survey of more than 3000 researchers funded by the US National Institutes of Health. (Nature, vol 435, p 727). They found that 10 percent or more admitted to withholding details of methodology or results, inappropriately assigning authorship credit, and dropping observations or data points based on a gut feeling that they were inaccurate.” (New Scientist editorial, December 2005)
Compare the misbehaviour and disgrace of Dr Hwang with the fate of poor Dr Árpád Pusztai. Dr Árpád Pusztai is the world renowned scientist whose work on feeding GM potatoes to rats revealed that the snowdrop lectin in the GM potatoes caused pathological tissue changes in the stomach linings of the rats. Dr Pusztai was surprised by his own results, but being a good scientist he checked his numbers and his methodology and finding it correct, he announced his results. In spite of his work being scientifically sound, a campaign by vested interests in the GM industry was launched against him that then led to him being unfairly sacked. It is widely known that lectins have deleterious effects on human beings. But when big business didn’t like what poor Dr Pusztai found, it had this well-behaved and respected scientist silenced.
Coming from the perspective of someone who rejects the cholesterol hypothesis, I find myself continually aware of and continually disturbed by the distortions and even the fabrications of data in scientific papers, the wrong-headed conclusions scientists sometimes come to, and dumbing down of subsequent advice when it is meted out to the general population via the media. The less than perfect trust I feel able to give science leaves me subtly disturbed.
In sociology you learn about paradigms. A paradigm is a set of ideas, theories, opinions, or beliefs held by society which are taken as fact and pretty much universally accepted. In truth they are not necessarily true. Take palaeontology. Twenty years ago the idea that a giant meteor wiped out the dinosaurs was scoffed at by most reputable palaeontologists as fantasy – until compelling evidence came from a different area of specialist knowledge; geology, in the discovery of a layer of ash in the rock found the entire world over. It then took the next twenty years for all or most of the palaeontologists to climb aboard the bandwagon and decide that this theory was probably true. Both sides represent paradigms – just like political beliefs and religions are paradigms – and ultimately there is no way to be completely sure of the truth. When people state something as true because they ‘just know it’, not merely that they see a possibility or a likelihood, it frightens me because it speaks of faith, not science.
Duck and Cover to avoid a nuclear blast? Painting one’s face white with lead? Using leeches to “bleed” a patient? We may laugh at the past, and ten years ago we did laugh at the idea of using leeches to “bleed” sick people during pre-modern times. But it turns out that leeches provide endorphins that block pain, and the anti-clotting substances in their saliva are useful for a variety of ailments, from deep vein thrombosis, to strokes, to heart attacks. The point is, we don’t always move forwards in science, sometimes we move backwards or sideways too, as we did when we dismissed the age-old remedy of “bleeding” as groundless. I imagine there are quite a lot of age-old remedies currently dismissed as pure quackery that are still waiting to be vindicated as having minor usefulness. Certainly there are a large quantity of traditional herbal medicines that have barely been studied for their worth. The reverse is true too – some alternative remedies that many people accept as fact – like crystal healing or homeopathy – have been found to have no more effect on people than that of a placebo. Yet the placebo effect is real and useful too.
Students of the psychology of advertising are well aware that once you are over a certain age (coincidentally the age that a typical PhD student graduates), you are unlikely to revise your preferences or opinions. Advertising companies regard marketing goods to people over the age of thirty-five as pointless. The beliefs that you formed in your younger life are now fixed, you no longer move with the times, and you become more and more out of touch with new ideas. My parents often complain about how “set in their ways” my grandparents are. Predictably, I find myself saying the same about them to my contemporaries, though I too am approaching the critical age!
The same is true in science. It has been said that science moves forward funeral by funeral. People, especially respected people like scientists, don’t like changing their opinions about things: if one invests a lot into one’s opinions it puts one’s ego at stake; it’s embarrassing to admit that one is wrong, it undermines one’s authority and also damages one’s commercial ability to earn money. So science grinds forward reluctantly, only as one set of people are replaced by another, and one paradigm is able to be replaced by another.
Most people cannot accept observed fact as knowledge unless they have an underlying theory to explain the facts too. It has never been enough to observe that the sun rises in the morning and falls in the evening, people have to understand why. In pre-Enlightenment times the undisputed belief was that God had made it so. Today we point to the spin of the Earth. It is this gap between fact and theory that turns a paradigm into either a science or a belief, and sometimes the dominant theory about why or how something works comes to overshadow the evidence, and as New Scientist says, that bad behaviour of “dropping observations or data points based on a gut feeling that they were inaccurate.” Gut feelings are just feelings. They are not science. Only controlled, factual observations are science.
When I was a teenager we were set to do an experiment in our science class. The experiment was to monitor the temperature of a beaker of boiled water every few minutes until it cooled down. For the first few minutes, I was in control of the observation. I wrote down the temperature, but as I had particular ideas about what the water would do, I rounded the temperature up or down by a couple of degrees. I dropped observations based on a gut feeling they were inaccurate. I made a beautiful straight line on the graph. Then my friend took over from me, and very soon it became clear that the temperature of the water had not been making a straight line, but a curved one. I had innocently been fabricating my data. When I realised what I had done, I learned my lesson and I promised never to repeat my mistake.
Good science is work based on the scientific method. The scientific method is this: form a theory based on previous observations; find a way to test your observations; record the observations without prejudice; use the observations to disprove your theory (in philosophy, you can never truly prove your theory). There are numerous crucial points where science can go wrong: flawed premises, shoddy research methods, manipulation of data, inferring proof based on statistically insignificant figures (this is most usually the method used to ‘prove’ the cholesterol hypothesis), downright lying, and money.
A lot of ‘science’ today is carried out by people who have vested interests in the outcome of the research. The testing of new medical drugs is entirely self-regulated by the medical industry. People who have vested interests in getting results all too often are the people who are making the results. This is a serious conflict of interest. It is too easy to be so convinced of the truth of a theory so that one distorts or covers up the evidence in order to prove that theory. It is too easy to blind people with science. It is too easy to establish a paradigm with given facts and causes that may have little relation to the reality. The matter is that if you say something for long enough and loud enough and add enough scientific terms into your sentences, people will start to believe you. Science really is based on trust, and the people who run science are not necessarily trustworthy one hundred percent of the time.
I have this nightmare sometimes. In my nightmare I am in a world where people are blinded. They have their paradigm – their beliefs – about the way the world works and they refuse to change them in the light of reason, logic, and evidence. Sometimes they hang on to these beliefs because the beliefs make them feel secure, or they feel their observations of the world should align with their moral code, or they don’t like to be wrong, sometimes because they like to feel ‘spiritual’ or ‘intuitive’ or ‘mystical’ or they believe in God, or because they just don’t understand what they’re being told, and sometimes merely because they don’t like change.This is a nightmare world, a place of the dark ages, of drunkenness and faith. It is indeed a spiritually bankrupt world, for what is spirituality but a quest for the truth?
The Story So Far…
A long time ago in a kitchen far, far away…
- The Porker Diet: How to Fix your Chronic Fatigue
- The Porker Diet Update
- The Porker Strikes Back
And now, Episode IV, “The Return of the Porker,” Phase V, “The Fat Fast.” Can The Porker defeat the Forces of Insulin and lose weight before she runs out of clothes that still fit?
Phase V – The Fat Fast
Come September I felt pretty strong and healthy. Never cold, rarely fatigued, I hadn’t had a missed heart beat in weeks. Due to stress and lack of sunlight, my eczema started to flare up more. I’d been on two more holidays and each time had been forced through circumstance to break with the diet and had put on a couple more pounds (but thankfully not five like I did in Mallorca!). I felt that my body had recovered sufficiently for me to start assaulting it again. What a mean person I am. So I decided it was time to go for another Xtreme Diet.
Moderate calorie restriction leaves me feeling uncomfortably hungry and headachy. It doesn’t matter what kind of macronutrient proportions I am on; if I restrict calories I never get through the hungriness. I’m permanently hungry with all the symptoms of unstable blood sugar and poor thyroid function, I get confused and irritable and fatigued and cold. But what about extreme calorie restriction? I had always assumed this would have the same effect or worse, but thinking back to when I first did Atkins, I employed some pretty extreme calorie restriction during the first few weeks, without even thinking about it, and I’d felt great. Could it be that I needed to get into that extreme ketosis to get past all the problems I was experiencing with moderate calorie restriction? Is it possible to stay warm, healthy, and support the thyroid whilst burning off one’s own fat?
Dr. Kwasniewski’s weight loss ratio formula works like this: Protein: 1 ; Fat: 1.5-2; Carbohydrate 0.5. For me that translates to: Protein: 56g ; Fat: 84 – 112g ; Carbohydrate: 28g ; Calories: 1092-1344. Now I know I am never going to lose weight on 28 grams of carbohydrate every day, even with calorie restriction. Been there, done that, failed: appetite out of control.
The Atkins Fat Fast is a 1,000 calorie per day diet of 90% fat, adequate protein, and virtually no carbohydrate. Dr. Atkins devised it for those with extreme metabolic resistance. I’ve never tried it before, in fact I’d almost forgotten about it and didn’t consider myself valid for it until I remembered how much trouble I have losing weight. So maybe it does apply to me after all.
So I’m going to shoot between the two: about 1,200 calories a day (below this amount supposedly may damage the thyroid), virtually no carbohydrate (no more than 20 grams per day), and adequate protein.
Here is my weight loss diary (I feel like a cross between Bridget Jones and David Blaine). Bear in mind you are reading the diary of someone who hasn’t had a physical ache or pain or the slightest thing wrong with her apart from the mild facial eczema since going on the Optimal Diet.
Vitamins taken throughout
- 500mg L-Carnitine
- 400i.u. Vitamin E (for eczema)
- 25mg Vitamin B6
- An RDA multivitamin
- 2-4 capsules Cod Liver Oil
- 2 capsules Evening Primrose
- SOD (superoxide dismutase, for eczema)
Day 1 (Thursday 1st September)
Weight: 9st 5.8pounds (131.80 pounds)
Eat very few carbs. Late breakfast, don’t bother with lunch. Strange kind of hunger all afternoon. Get awful headache: caffeine and aspirin don’t work. Take L-Carnitine and five minutes later have a rush of energy and no more headache! Drink gallons of water and feel positive.
Day 2 (Friday 2nd September)
Weight: don’t know, 9st 4.8 pounds? (130.8 pounds)
Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs with butter, 3floz cream
Snack: 1-2oz cheddar cheese for each snack
Tea: chops & broccoli?
Drink less water. Hunger (leptin?) catches up, carbs still very low but find myself snacking mid morning, having lunch, snacking again mid afternoon. Bowels start moving. Am not constipated like on Atkins, rather, the opposite…
Day 3 (Saturday 3rd September)
Weight: 9st 3.8pounds (129.8 pounds)
Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs with butter, 3floz cream
Lunch: v. small amount of pea soup (from a cafe so don’t know what was in it), 1.5floz heavy cream in tea
Tea: stewed lamb shoulder, broccoli
Took 0.5 gram l-carnitine.
Not hungry at all. Bowels dodgy, some cramping. Very energised and clear-headed though. Not hungry at lunch so eat very little. Go down a cave on a tour! Feel very positive. Don’t drink much water. Stomach very flat today, to be expected as it is very empty!
Day 4 (Sunday 4th September)
Weight 9st 3.8pounds (129.8 pounds)
Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs with butter, 3floz cream, 1/2 oatcake with Philadelphia spread
Tea: stewed lamb shoulder, cabbage, carrots. 1floz cream with 1tbsp honey. 5 grams of green & black’s chocolate
1 gram l-carnitine.
Start taking b6 again for first time since fast started, as I wonder if the terrible aches are associated with not taking it.
Feel sick in the night. Stomach cramps and dodgy bowels (l-carnitine can do this as well as ketones). Feel sick in the morning. Have to force-feed myself breakfast. Have half an oatcake because my blood sugar is low: throat constriction, weakness. Feel blurry. Thyroid is rebelling as I have cold hands and feet. Eczema is very good, not at all red. Skin not secreting so much sebum, don’t have to wash my face. Shoulder and neck pain, quite clicky. Drink two pints of water, take gram of l-carnitine and 25mg b6. Go and sit in sunshine. Takes about 10 to 15 mins and my hands and feet are warm! Shoulder pain gets slightly better. Drink water with lo-salt for potassium. [Later] Sat in sun all day, didn’t feel too bad just achy like I had the flu. Didn’t eat lunch as not hungry. Got worse at tea time, just wasn’t hungry and had to force-feed myself again. could barely chew food and didn’t finish. Resorted to drinking a cup of watered down cream mixed with a tbsp of honey in the hopes it would stimulate appetite. I have all the symptoms of my teenage fibromyalgia! This is totally about calories and the thyroid! Eczema is not at all red now. Feel slimmer.
Day 5 (Monday 5th September)
Weight 9st 3 pounds (129.0 pounds)
Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs
Lunch: 1/2 oatcake with Philadelphia spread, 1 chicken wing, 2floz cream in tea
Snack: 10gram cheese
Tea: coconut chicken Thai curry, courgettes
1 gram l-carnitine
Terrible diarrhoea in the night. Ugh. Honey did nothing for my appetite. Am I actually suffering from the flu, or going through some horrendous detox? Could it be Candida die-off even, though I’ve never had symptoms?* Am not entirely convinced by all of that stuff. Could it even be b6/progesterone deficiency related? Eczema looks great. One eye is fine, the other barely has anything under it, chin not red and bumps are fading. Itches after lunch and goes red.** Damnit! Not cold today though. Almost have a headache, slight ear pain, but no flu-aches. Much more energised instead of weak like yesterday. Tender belly. My teeth hurt. Feel slimmer. J says I look slimmer. Bit of weakness before tea but generally not too bad. More diarrhoea, not good. Realised it’s the l-carnitine! Doh! Cutting back tomorrow. Took 1 gram of calcium to control diarrhoea, it worked immediately.
Day 6 (Tuesday 6th September)
Weight: 9st 1.4 pounds! (127.4 pounds) Fair bit of water loss there…
Body Fat: 28.8 ? = 36.6912 fat pounds.
Evening Weight: 9st 3 pounds, (129.0 pounds)
Evening Body Fat: 27.2 = 35.088 fat pounds.
Breakfast: 1 hard boiled egg and coffee with 1.5/2 floz cream, 1/2 oatcake
Lunch: 2oz cream cheese, 1/2 oatcake, 1oz Parma ham, few olives
Tea: small chicken thigh, 1oz Parma ham, 1oz cream cheese 1/2 oatcake, few olives & pickled pepper
Night Time Snack: small piece of cheese
1 gram vitamin C
Took 350mg calcium. Still have cramps but much less so. Feeling bright and chirpy and energetic today. Actually experiencing hunger. Might be the calcium, might be the carbs or the lack of l-carnitine, or might just be the leptin levels plummeting. Should have had 2 eggs for breakfast after all! Went to Sheffield. No more cramps from about 10am. Had lunch in the park, very hot weather. Felt ok all day though slightly hungry. Got aching shoulders in the evening. Eczema still looking good!
Day 7 (Wednesday 7th September)
Weight: 9st 2.6 pounds, (128.6 pounds)
Body Fat: 28.8 = 37.0368
Evening Weight: 9st 3.8 pounds, (129.8 pounds)
Evening Body Fat: 25.6 (after drinking quite a bit of water) = 33.2288 fat pounds
Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs and a bit of butter, espresso
Lunch: 1oz cheese, 1/2 oatcake with cream cheese
Snack: 1oz cheese
Tea: 3 meatballs in passata, with onions, lots of olive oil, courgettes, 1 small coffee bean and a piece of chocolate
1 gram vitamin C
Regained the water weight I was expecting to from the diarrhoea. Felt great all day, was on feet most of day too, lots of energy. Cleaned kitchen, did errands, went to farm shop. Even filled in pesky forms that have been hanging around for ages! Broke a nail though, indicator of mineral imbalance. Eczema looks great!
Day 8 (Thursday 8th September)
Weight: 9st 2.4 pounds, (128.4 pounds)
Body Fat: 28.5 = 36.594 fat pounds
Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs, decaf with 1-2floz cream
Brunch: espresso with 1floz single cream
Lunch: 100g mascarpone, 50g Serrano ham, 1/2 oatcake
Snack: 15g cheddar cheese
Tea: meatballs and courgettes, chocolate coffee bean, 10g chocolate
No vitamin C
Feel pretty damn good. Loads of energy, pretty clear-headed. Eczema not as good as yesterday though. Strange sensitive patch in side of mouth like I’ve bitten it. Used to have weird ailments like this all the time before going on Atkins. Feel great all day though! But hungry too. Quite a few calories today. Did stop taking vitamin C, which might explain it. Yikes, had my first tachycardia episode in months.
Day 9 (Friday 9th September)
Weight: 9st 2.6 pounds, (128.6 pounds)
Body Fat: 27.8 = 35.7508 fat pounds
Evening Weight: 9st 2.8 pounds, (128.8 pounds)
Body Fat: 27.9 = 35.9352 fat pounds
Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs, 20g butter, 2floz cream in caffeinated coffee
Snack: 1.5oz dressed crab (!)
Tea: 4oz lamb chop, 2oz spinach, 1oz corn on cob, chocolate coffee bean, 10g chocolate
Snack: 1oz cream cheese on 1/2 oatcake, cup of tea
One of those days where scales stay the same but the body fat seems to go down. Ate quite a lot yesterday anyway so to be expected. New eczema bumps around my eye. This continues to confirm my theory that excess protein is the cause of the problem, as I ate about 75 grams yesterday.*** I think it’s autoimmune, and I think the culprit is histidine. The fact that I also had a missed heart beat on the same day after months without implies the same cause. Feel very bright, positive, and energetic. I think I’m recapturing those first two weeks on Atkins! Realised that until about 3 days ago the caffeine and aspirin I was consuming all the time meant I was almost doing the ECA stack! Aspirin works by inhibiting certain prostaglandins; fish oil has the same effect. Inflammation causes weight gain. Wonder if the autoimmune inflammation of my eczema has caused me to gain weight? May consider doing a carb refeeding if not lost significant weight tomorrow.
Day 10 (Saturday 10th September)
Weight: 9st 1.6 pounds, (127.6 pounds)
Body Fat: 28.9 = 36.8764 fat pounds
Evening Weight: 9st 2.2 pounds, (128.2 pounds)
Body Fat: 28.6% = 36.1524 fat pounds
Took vitamin C
Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs, 15g butter
Lunch: 4oz cream, coffee, 1/4 avocado, 1/4 red pepper, 1/2 tomato, 2oz goat cheese
Snack: 10g cheese
Tea: prawn curry: 2 small onions, 12 prawns, spinach, 1oz brown rice, decaf coffee, 1 coffee bean, 5g chocolate
Didn’t know it was possible to feel so good eating so little. Rather too alert though, may act like a startled herbivore and bolt at any second. Had weird symptom last night that I haven’t had for ages: weakness and muscle pain in my left arm and tingling like my circulation was being cut off slightly. I used to get this all the time when I was on warfarin. My ring finger still tingling in the evening. Thought I over-ate today not due to hunger but due to going out for lunch and then J. cooking a curry. Felt fatigued in the afternoon. I actually feel better when I eat less! I think there’s something weird going on here. The act of eating in itself flares up my eczema. Maybe I should stick to two meals a day? Checked my calories and they’re not really that high. Feel so full. I don’t get it: possibly because I managed 32 carbs.****
Day 11 (Sunday 11th September)
Weight: 9st 1 pounds, (127 pounds)
Body Fat: 28.7 = 36.449 fat pounds
Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs, 15g butter, 2oz cream in coffee
Lunch: lettuce, 1/3 avocado, 1 tomato, 1oz liver pate
Tea: 4oz pork belly, 1/3 apple (sauce), 1oz squash, spinach
Snack: 1/2 oatcake with cream cheese
Decorating bathroom all day. Not hungry. Think big breakfast definitely makes a difference. Today’s weird symptoms: trapped nerve down left side of neck, and itchy bum cheeks whenever I sit down. Carb-craved from 8pm onwards. Had to snack as got very hungry. Also went cold this evening. Starvation mode? Thyroid slowing down? Body probably not happy about being so active and not eating much. Eczema not so good.
Day 12 (Monday 12th September)
Weight: 9st 1.4 pounds, (127.4 pounds)
Body Fat: 27.7 = 35.2898 fat pounds
Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs, 15g butter, 2oz cream in coffee
Lunch: 1oz Parma ham & chorizo, 7 olives, 1/6 pepper, 1/2 oatcake, 1oz cream cheese
Snack: 1/2 oz chorizo
Tea: 100g passata, 1 carrot, 1/4 pepper, 1/2 onion, 6oz belly pork
Snack: 1oz cream cheese, 2oz cream in coffee
No vitamin B6 today
Took vitamin C
Eczema downright awful.***** Not discouraged by slight gain as body fat is still reducing. The great thing about keeping a record of what you eat and plotting your weight day by day inFitday is that you can see the overall trend. The carb craving I experienced last night means I dropped out of ketosis from eating too many carbs the day before, but I’m climbing back on the wagon straight away. Notice the correlation between eczema and dropping out of ketosis? J thinks it might have something to do with tomatoes too (nightshades), wish I could figure out which foods I was allergic to but repeated attempts at elimination diets have not yet yielded results.
About fat fasting:
“British researchers Alan Kekwick and Gaston Pawan developed it, and Frederick Benoit and his team confirmed its superiority in burning off fat, compared to an absolute total fast.”
I should expect to lose an average of 3.7 pounds per week. Fitday says I am losing 4.4 pounds, though obviously this is accelerated at the start of the diet due to glycogen and water weight. I’ve only lost a couple of pounds in the last seven days, but that’s still on target. You can’t expect to lose more than 2 pounds a week on any diet: I’m convinced my body doesn’t calorie-waste anymore on a low-carb diet anyway! The great thing is the alertness I feel and the ability to control my hunger: I would never be able to do this on a high-carb low-fat diet.
Felt pretty blurry for most of the morning due to taking magnesium? And lack of B6? Carb cravings and coldness again this evening, resorted to a lot of cream. Ate over 2,000 calories and still hungry. Should I do a refeed?
Day 13 (Tuesday 13th September)
Weight: 9st 1.8 pounds, (127.8 pounds)
Body Fat: 28.2 = 36.0396 fat pounds
Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs, 20g butter, espresso
Lunch: 100g crème fraiche
Snack: 3 slices chorizo
Tea: Parma ham, ball of melon, 2oz breaded Camembert, dab of redcurrant jelly, salad, 1oz broccoli, 1oz carrot, 4oz duck breast, 2oz cabbage, coffee with 2oz single cream, 1oz chocolate.
Took vitamin B6
No vitamin C
Definitely out of ketosis. Face is a mess, possibly from me using calamine lotion on it: zinc has affected me negatively before, just causes awful flaking, which I then stupidly had to scrub off! Determined to get back into ketosis today, but going out tonight as it’s our anniversary.
Day 14 (Wednesday 14th September)
Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs, 20g butter, espresso
Lunch: 7 olives stuffed with garlic, 30g Parma ham & chorizo, 100g crème fraiche
Tea: can’t remember?
Took vitamin B6
No vitamin C
Eczema much less inflamed though horrid and dry. Have been using hydrocortisone for the last few days, may be making it worse by making it peel in the same way as the calamine. Who knows? I’m going to try to eliminate nightshades too.
Day 15 (Thursday 15th September)
Weight: 9st 0.8 pounds, (126.8 pounds)
Body Fat: 25.5 = 32.334 fat pounds
No pain today.
Day 16 (Friday 16th September)
Weight: 9st 0.2 pounds,
Body Fat: 27.9 = 35.2098 fat pounds (126.2 pounds)
Day 17 (Saturday 16th September)
Weight: 9st 0.6 pounds,
Body Fat: 27.7 = 35.0682 fat pounds (126.6 pounds)
Day 18 (Sunday 18th September)
Weight: 9st 0.6 pounds, (126.6 pounds)
Body Fat: 27.6 = 34.9416 fat pounds
Day 19 (Monday 19th September)
Weight: 9st 0.8 pounds,
Body Fat: 27.8 = 35.2504 fat pounds (126.8 pounds)
Day 20 (Tuesday 20th September)
Weight: 9st 0.8 pounds,
Body Fat: 27.3 = 34.6164 fat pounds (126.8 pounds)
Feeling pretty good for the last few days though something going on with my chest yesterday – either breathing (asthma) or heartbeat, I couldn’t figure out. We have been in front of a coal fire all weekend though which can’t be helping. Have eaten more calories and carbs than I intended the last few days as I’ve been more hungry. Worried about this painfully slow plateau when I’m still eating so little.
One week later
Day 29 (Thursday 29th September)
My eczema has been so good over the last couple of weeks that I have been able to pinpoint definite, almost immediate reactions to what I have been eating. Before I was just red all of the time, now I’m not. Itching and redness sometimes do not occur at all after a meal, and other times they do. I can state with absolute 100% certainty that I have an awful reaction after eating steak. I have a pretty bad reaction after eating cheddar cheese. I have a mild reaction after eating cream cheese and cream. I seem to be okay with butter. If a meal does not contain any of these elements, I don’t react at all. In all my experiments and elimination diets I never considered doing something as stupidly obvious as cutting out beef AND dairy at the same time. My brain just didn’t connect the idea that COW PROTEIN might be the allergen involved. From all I’ve read, beef allergy is pretty rare.******
I’ve avoided cheese and beef for a few days now (not even a week). I’ve still been having cream or cream cheese but I’ve limited it to once a day at breakfast. It’s been very difficult to stick to Optimal Nutrition without the aide of cream but I’ve managed it (I’ve been eating a lot of pork dripping and pork brawn).
I’ve noticed that on days when I drank a lot of cream I had worse eczema. I’ve noticed definite flare ups after cream that I didn’t notice before.******* This is gutting. I’ve never had a problem with dairy before and I love dairy foods. How come my eczema cleared up a couple of years ago when I still ate dairy or beef almost every day? I thrived on dairy for most of my teenaged years – I thank goodness I drank so much whole milk when I was a vegetarian, or I might have been sicker than I was. On the other hand, I am not at all bothered about cutting out beef. I’ve never particularly liked beef. We don’t eat it more than once a week and I’ve always eaten it with a mild feeling of dread because I’ve always known that whilst too much of any meat causes inflammation (due to it containing some inflammatory compounds and histidine), beef always seemed to cause a worse reaction. I always feel terribly hungry after eating beef. I have a theory now that a beef allergy may be causing mild pancreatitis, because the “hunger” I experience after eating it can be accompanied by slight discomfort and burping.
The result after one week? My eczema is better than it has been in months. It’s almost invisible at some times during the day. I think I must have found the answer or a big part of the answer and I’m looking forward to getting better. I just have to be more inventive with my breakfast now! Watching the patches fade day by day is so fantastic, it’s better than watching the pounds drop off. My weight loss seems to have accelerated too! I’m wondering how much food allergy had to do with me gaining weight in the first place. I used to eat cheese every day, at least twice a day.
After experiencing several plateaus on a ridiculously small amount of calories, I’ve settled into a bit of a strange routine but one that works for me:
I don’t eat any carb foods at all throughout the day apart from incidental ones in cream. I eat carbs only at one meal in the evening as it is easier to quantify and control, and prevents unnecessary insulin spikes. I have a pretty big breakfast of at least 50g of fat and about 10-15g protein (eggs and cream, or chicken/coconut soup).
Day 1: Moderate carbing up. Eat about thirty grams of carbs as higher GI foods with a meal in the evening, though overall eat less fat than normal but adequate protein (a 1:1 or 1:1.5 ratio of protein:fat), so calories are not excessive. (Carbs: carrots, parsnips, apple, banana, but avoid bread at all costs).
Day 2: Morning weight will be the same as the previous day but some fat loss may have occurred. Occasionally water-weight will increase overall weight. Don’t worry about it. Pig out on anything except carbs. Eat three meals, snack if I need to. Stick to ten carbs at tea time. Experience possible carb cravings if the difference is too great between Day 1 and Day 2 carb quantities. By evening, my thyroid will rebel and my body will go cold. Eat a fatty snack to warm up again. Get through it.
Day 3: Morning weight will be slightly lighter than the day before by a fraction of a pound. Appetite should be nil. Think “Fat Fast” again. Have breakfast. If not hungry, don’t bother with lunch. Eat no more than 10 carbs at tea time.
Day 4: Massive weight drop of half a pound or a pound. Eat as previous day, skipping lunch if not hungry, eating it if hungry.
Continue for one or two more days until weight stalls or thyroid starts to rebel again. Then begin the cycle again by carbing up.
The idea is to keep forcibly stimulating the thyroid with carbs and calories every few days after your glycogen runs out and your thyroid rebels. Carbs on Day 1, fat calories on Day 2. I don’t know whether this particular routine works for me alone, or whether it would work for everyone. All I know is it works for me and it has stopped the plateau I was getting into. It is based vaguely on the “Anabolic Diet” used successfully by many bodybuilders, and the advice from Dr. Atkins first book where he suggests carbing-up to kick-start weight loss again (he dropped this from the later book due to recidivism). I do need a bit of self-control to cope with the cravings on Day 2, but seeing the results on the scale is motivation enough for me.
I took a couple of weeks “holiday” from the fat-fast during October, and finally stopped fat-fasting altogether on the 31st October when I briefly brushed 8 stone 9 pounds. I have been at 8 stone 10 pounds ever since, and am planning to start another fat-fast some time early in 2006. Total weight lost: ten pounds in two months, including two weeks holiday. Not bad for someone who can’t lose weight.
Notes from October 2007
* Hahahaha it’s really funny reading something like this now I know better.
** I ate some cheese at lunch time, that’s why my eczema went red.
*** Actually, had I known about food chemicals, I would have been able to trace the eczema really easily to eating aminey foods and taking aspirin.
**** Poor me, I had no idea that aspirin had put me on a happy-high or that all of these weird aches and pains were related to taking it.
***** My eczema is awful because I’ve been taking aspirin for four days in a row and I’d eaten a load of tomatoes the day before. I blamed it on dropping out of ketosis!
****** Beef allergy is indeed extremely rare – because I was reacting to beef and cheese, I assumed I had an allergy to cow protein. It would be around another six months before I realised I was reacting to amines and glutamates.
******* I really WAS reacting to cream, but I have no clear idea why – just that I stopped reacting to it when I went on failsafe. I wondered whether it might be due to the amount of arachidonic acid in it, or whether I have an opioid issue that was affecting me much worse by interacting with other food chemicals.
It’s been a long time since I wrote a porker update. I was worried about boring people by harping on about diet, but as I’ve now had several (very pleasing) requests from folks I don’t even know, I think there’s enough demand out there for a follow up! If you’re new to the porker experiments and you’d like to read more, you’d better back track and read from the start!
Phase III – The Ketogenic/Optimal Diet
Back in April I was doing well on the Ketogenic/Optimal Diet, I was eating about 2,000 calories per day, less than twenty grams of carbohydrate, and about 50 grams (my RDA) of protein. The rest of my energy was coming from fat, fat, and more fat. Butter, coconut oil, olive oil, lard, tallow, bacon fat, goose and duck fat, dripping, double cream, you name it. It’s amazing how many recipes you can make with a little extra fat.
Two weeks into the diet, and with the aide of some natural sunlight, my eczema had gone. Gone as in G-O-N-E, completely, utterly GONE. It was gone for several months. My weight loss stopped a week in, as I’d predicted. I’m just too lazy to exercise so I let things be for a while. My mood was fairly stable, though I would still get tired and irritable sometimes. I still suffered from low blood sugar mid-afternoon and it made me stupid and unresponsive. At the time I was learning to drive, so this was pretty problematic. Then I blew it. We went out for a few meals during the spring. I was thrown out of ketosis in spite of being careful and I felt horrendous trying to get back into it. (I hadn’t obtained a supplement called L-Carnitine at this point, if I had things might have been very different). So I didn’t get back into ketosis.
Phase IV – The Optimal Diet
Instead I opted to go on Polish Atkins, Dr. Jan Kwasniewski’s Optimal Diet. I stuck to between 30 and 40 grams of carbohydrate per day and 50 grams of protein. I ate about 2,000 calories a day. I didn’t cut anything out of my diet, I ate pretty much the same things, but added in some berries and the occasional slice of sprouted wheat bread or sourdough rye, or a glass of milk or some root vegetables at tea time. I felt really, really calm and chilled out, not at all stressed. My driving got much better and I felt more alert, I regularly felt energetic and I didn’t feel the need to overeat. My problems with tachycardia lessened and lessened and shortly my skipped heart beats were gone completely! I felt very strong. I had absolutely nothing wrong with me at all. No mysterious aches or pains or freakish symptoms. I put on a couple of pounds again, regaining glycogen from the carbohydrate which is to be expected. I occasionally dropped a pound when I had a physical day of walking or shopping, and put some back on if I ate out. I went up and down for a little while and landed firmly at 8 stone 13 pounds (125 pounds).
I finally got around to buying a blood glucose monitor and gave myself a fasting blood sugar test every day for a week. It was 5.6 mmol/l (100.8 mg/dl) most days and never below 5.1 mmol/l (92 mg/dl). 5.0 mmol/l or 90 mg/dl is considered “normal”. Dr Bernstein considers 4.6 mmol/l or 83 mg/dl to be the ideal normal. So my measurement is high but within the normal threshold; over about 6.0 mmol/l or 110 mg/dl is considered diabetic. So I’m not overweight, my stomach is flat, but my blood sugar is ever so slightly too high? How does that work? Can I be of normal weight but still insulin resistant? Halle Berry is a type II diabetic but she’s as thin as a rake. How? And I have a hell of a time losing weight, as you can tell from these posts.
So everything was going great. Then we went on holiday to Mallorca. Everything got blown to shreds: there is nothing to eat on Mallorca! The hotel food was inappropriate, the national dish is Paella. Because of the heat, the only cream available is UHT and it tastes foul. My way of coping was to take a small croissant for breakfast and heap it with a couple of ounces of butter, and have a couple of boiled eggs and some sort of cooked meat for breakfast. I found myself picking at the constant supply of fruit the hotel kept in the dining hall, which was full of fat Germans eating entire bunches of grapes. I didn’t have as much energy after day three of this routine. Soon I was always snacking on fruit and nuts and ham and cheese and the Danone live yoghurt that seems to be big on the continent (yoghurt has never done me any favours with regards to weight because I can never stop eating it). I swam in the pool every day. The chlorine really irritated my face, and all of a sudden despite all the sunlight, my eczema came back and was a raging inferno! I only realised that I could swim safely in the sea two days before we left, what a shame, I loved swimming in the salt water, which seemed to ease my eczema instead.
It turns out one small croissant per day is one small croissant too many. I put on five whole pounds on holiday! Damnit! I did not eat five pounds worth of calories! So I stopped to have a think. I didn’t really want to stress myself out by trying to get into ketosis again, especially as I was still having driving lessons and had my driving test coming up. I wanted to be as clear-headed and healthy as possible. I also wanted to let my body rest and heal, as I’d been putting it under a lot of pressure. I loved eating the Optimal Diet way, as it kept me so incredibly calm and peaceful. On the Optimal Diet I felt like I could cope with anything. After about two weeks on the Optimal Diet I had discovered that I was able to skip lunch occasionally without noticing or feeling hungry. So I stuck to the Optimal Diet and felt great, and I lived with the eczema on my face which was not getting better but not getting worse either. I neither lost nor gained weight, and I passed my driving test and coped with the stress of having our house sand-blasted.
I had finally returned to the weight I had been for most of my teenage and adult life – nine and a half stone (132 pounds). But I really didn’t mind being plump! The weight had gone on to my hips and my breasts, and my stomach was still flat so my figure was just intensified into a more exaggerated hourglass, and I felt quite sexy and mature. But sexy and mature isn’t enough for a girl who still wants to look ten years younger than she is, and doesn’t want to fork out on better fitting clothes and yet another set of new bras. So when it came down to it, how the hell was I going to lose all of this weight I’d put on during my holidays?
Notes from October 2007
Isn’t it amazing that I was eating this diet for so long, then as soon as I go on holiday and touch fruit, cold meats, croissants, and let my macronutrients slip that I suddenly gain five pounds and my eczema comes back with a vengeance?