Tuesday, May 20, 2008

When You're Low-Carbing Perfectly And Producing No Weight Loss--What Gives?

I've been guilty of it and now I realize it was just plain wrong.

Here's the scenario: somebody sends me an e-mail and says, "Jimmy, I'm doing everything exactly as I am supposed to on my low-carb lifestyle and I'm just not losing weight." Okay, the first inclination that most of us, myself included, have is to suggest that person seriously evaluate what they are eating to look for hidden carbs and sugars, reminding them to follow their chosen low-carb plan exactly as the author prescribes, and then to determine if they are doing anything differently since the scale stopped moving downward. This should do the trick.

It certainly sounds like good advice, right? Well, maybe not.

Certainly, there are people who allow some old habits to slip back into their routine again and they experience the dreaded "carb creep" that has haunted many an unsuspecting low-carber as they live this lifestyle over the long-term. It's usually easily remedied simply by bringing your carbohydrate intake back down again to a level where you can still maintain or lose weight. I went through this myself a couple of years ago and it happens. But you get right back on plan again and all is well.

So, let's say you are low-carbing perfectly and yet you are producing no weight loss. Aside from the occasional weight loss stall that can hit anyone at anytime, I have told people that the absence of weight loss while livin' la vida low-carb should make you very suspicious. You just never know what's going on inside your body that could be related to your weight refusing to go down or, worse yet, going up despite being on a low-carb diet. Even when you have that steadfast resolve to make better choices for your health, this can easily befall you.

And I should know. It's exactly what's been going on with me this year and I'm baffled as to why it is happening. As my regular readers are already aware, I started lifting weights for the first time in my life beginning in December 2007 and was excited about getting stronger and firming up areas of my body that were still plagued by loose skin from my 180-pound weight loss. A trainer friend of mine suggested I start taking creatine to supplement my resistance training in the first couple of months to help get me going. He warned me that I'd gain some weight taking it, but that the weight would come back down again after I come off of it.

After loading up for a few days on the creatine, I religiously took that stuff daily for about six weeks. When I started working with my personal trainer in mid-December, my weight was 235 pounds. Six weeks later, I weighed 260 pounds--A 25-POUND INCREASE! Holy cow! My trainer friend sure wasn't kidding when he said I'd gain weight on creatine. It was at this point that I decided to come off of the creatine in early February since that weight gain was sorta freakin' me out a bit. I fully expected the weight to come back down some (but not all since I was building up some good muscles especially in my upper body).

But it didn't happen and it hasn't happened. In fact, although my diet didn't really change from what I was doing before I started lifting weights (except for maybe a little more protein since I was trying to grow muscle mass), I have been hovering around 265 pounds for nearly four months in a row. It has been so disconcerting to me that I went to see a low-carb doctor earlier this month about it to see what was going on. What was I doing wrong, if anything, and how can we get the weight to come back down again? I was adding muscle to my body, yes, but my waist has also increased by a few inches. What gives?

Of course, when I started sharing about this recent weight gain at my forum and at my menus blog, the typical responses started pouring in from people trying to offer their own guidance about what I should do: you're eating too much food, your calories are way too high, you consume too many low-carb "products," you aren't eating often enough, you don't exercise enough, yadda yadda yadda! I know everyone means well and I sincerely appreciate their suggestions for my diet. But I wasn't convinced I was doing anything at all wrong with my low-carb lifestyle and I still don't. Nevertheless, I'm stuck.

That's why I went to see this low-carb doctor. Perhaps he could pinpoint exactly what's going on with my weight. He ran a series of tests on me, examined my dietary choices, looked at the supplements I am taking, and asked me about any changes I have made since the weight gain took place. I told him about the weight lifting and adding more protein to my diet. I also switched brands of fish oil since then as well as adding cinnamon to my daily vitamins.

His proposal for me was to put me back on a very strict Induction diet for two weeks and to cut out all of my supplements as a temporary measure of seeing if they are the reason for my inability to lose these 30 pounds. Additionally, I reduced my diet soda consumption voluntarily to make sure that wasn't a culprit as well. The two-week Induction period began on May 7th and ends today. Wanna know the grand total of the amount of weight loss I've experienced since cutting out all the low-carb "Frankenfoods" (which have never been a MAJOR part of my diet, just some chocolate and the occasional treat), eating strictly low-carb Induction for the past two weeks, and never wavering or cheating at all during that time? Zip, zero, nada! That's right--NOTHING!

And, in case you are wondering what I ate these past two weeks, see for yourself:

May 7, 2008
May 8, 2008
May 9, 2008
May 10, 2008
May 11, 2008
May 12, 2008
May 13, 2008
May 14, 2008
May 15, 2008
May 16, 2008
May 17, 2008
May 18, 2008
May 19, 2008

My diet could not have been more perfect following strict Atkins Induction. I did it even more strict this time around than I did in 2004 when I lost my weight the first time. I checked my ketosis levels using Ketostix every single day and I was DEFINITELY excreting ketone bodies. My carbohydrate intake remained at or below 20g daily and I basically did everything exactly right. I didn't even have any one bite of my low-carb chocolates during this time which was a BIG sacrifice for me. The net result of this effort was NO weight loss. COME ON!!!

It's at this point that most people would be ready to just throw their hands up and give up on this stupid low-carb diet thing. I mean, you follow it like you are supposed to and this is the reward you get for that dedication?! AAACK! But I'm not looking at it that way. The way I see it, even if for some odd reason the weight NEVER comes back down again (I know it will, but let's just pretend it won't), the low-carb way of eating is so incredibly healthy that I wouldn't dare think of eating any other way.

Remember, even if the scale isn't moving, your healthy is still improving. I'll be sharing some exciting numbers with you about my health soon that will both shock and inspire you as you continue down this journey to better health the low-carb way. Even my low-carb doctor was amazed at my numbers, but he said I am exactly where I need to be to keep my risk factors for cardiovascular disease at bay. That's a sweet sound to hear especially in light of my weight concerns! :)

So what now? Beginning this afternoon at 6pm, I will begin something that I swore I'd never do again--the intermittent fast. If for some reason I am consuming too many calories even on my low-carb lifestyle as some have proposed, then this should do the trick. The last time I did it, I lost 4 1/2 pounds in a week although I hated it. But if we can get those few stubborn pounds to start moving again, then it'll be worth it. I'm ready to figure out what's going on and I'm certainly doing everything I can in my diet to make that happen.

My doctor says there may even be a non-diet related reason for my weight gain which intrigued me. Yes, some of the weight is indeed muscle as my biceps, triceps, shoulders, neck, chest and legs are all noticeably bigger now five months after beginning my weight lifting, the fact my stomach has gotten bigger is the greatest concern. There may be an underlying internal issue going on that could be the culprit in my abdominal weight gain.

Even before my low-carb lifestyle began in 2004, I have had trace amounts of blood in my urine during routine physical exams. I've been to see a urologist before, they've performed an IVP (shooting dye through me) as well as a very expensive 30-second cystoscopy test only to be told there is nothing wrong with me, and to take an antibiotic. After I take the antibodies, the blood goes away for about six months and then it comes back. When I go back to the urologist, they want to do another IVP and cystocopy followed by antibiotics again. UGH! Obviously, something is going on, but heretofore nobody can tell me what it is.

That blood in my urine may indeed be the reason why my weight is increasing. I'm aware of two other prominent low-carbers who have been through similar strange and unexpected weight gains over the past couple of years. I won't share their names because of privacy concerns, but one gained about 50 pounds and ended up eating just chicken and pickles for a year trying to get the weight back down again. It turns out, there was a cyst pressing up against the pancreas causing constant insulin to be released. And we know what that does! Since the cyst has been removed, the weight has come back down again in short order.

The other person had another strange issue with the development of a fibroid in the stomach. Although the body was normal elsewhere, this person's belly was protruding out. When the doctors found the fibroid, this person was relieved that nothing was seriously wrong. Of course, the naysayers pointed to this well-known low-carber and claimed that they can't seem to follow their own advice. You get that when you put yourself out there, so you learn to ignore it. This person now faces a pretty major surgery to remove the fibroid and is putting it off until the end of the year.

And that's the other issue with all that's going on with my weight right now. I've become more self-conscious about how I look again. Are people looking at me judging that I must be letting myself go again since I've gained weight? Do people nervously say to my face that they're happy to see I'm still keeping the weight off after all these years while simultaneously thinking, "Oh boy, here he goes gaining it all back again! I knew it would happen eventually!" These psychological games are virtually impossible to ignore, although I'm trying very hard to do just that--IGNORE THEM! It just adds another layer to this developing story.

What exactly is happening to me right now, I don't know. I wish I did so I could help others going through similar circumstances. We're getting closer to knowing than we did before and that's a good thing. Rest assured you will know when I know and I covet your thoughts and prayers as we try to figure this all out. I'm not worried at all because I know I have a plan of action that will put me in position to lose the weight I've put on since December.

I am very pleased that my weight has NOT increased since February. I've been right around 265 for the past three months although my muscles continue to get bigger and bigger. So, in essence, I have been losing some weight while gaining the muscle, but it has been offset. That's encouraging and I wouldn't mind seeing my muscles continue to grow in size as long as my weight remains where it is. A 6'3" man with big muscles could easily weigh 265 pounds, right? :D

Let this be a gentle reminder that low-carb living is always a work in progress and we should assume anything about anyone who is following this lifestyle. There are just too many underlying issues at work to make judgments about someone who is not losing weight while following low-carb. Yes, some are preventable...but others like me are not. This has opened my eyes to a new level of appreciation and compassion for anyone who is struggling with their weight and health and concerned about what to do. You are NOT alone.

THANK YOU again to everyone who has offered advice and support during this time and I will report back to you my progress on my intermittent fasting experiment for the next two weeks. It certainly can't be worse than what I've experienced the past two weeks on strict Atkins Induction. You can see what I'm eating at my menus blog and provide your continued feedback. I will likely add back in some low-carb chocolate again on the days I'm not fasting and staying low-carb the rest of the time. Let's see what happens!

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Blogger Unknown said...

Like i wrote in an earlier post I am with you on the IF!

5/20/2008 2:38 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

good luck Jimmy, never give up!

5/20/2008 3:21 PM  
Blogger Kent said...

I just also wanted to wish you good luck Jimmie in finding something that would jumpstart the weight loss again. It will happen.

5/20/2008 3:44 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

didnt I mention something about calories a while back, heh heh?

good luck with the IF. I find that, for me, the fast-5 version is the easiest. You can start slowly, or go cold-turkey if you want. You eat during the same window every day, so you get used to it. It's very rought at the start, but gradually your body adjusts and it's a breeze. It's second nature to me by now, although I will eat earlier if I get too hungry and cannot concentrate at work (gotta pay the bills, ya know).

all that said, the weight loss payoff is kinda small, I am about 7-10 pounds lower than I was maintaining on the eat all you want low carb plan. I still need to drop another 15 or so. Only one way to do that, imho-drop the calories. So far, I'm not willing to do that, so the weight stays right where it is. At least it's not climbing.

anyway, best of luck, whatever route you take.

5/20/2008 4:07 PM  
Blogger Me said...

I've gotten over a stall doing two things at once so hard to tell exactly what's happening. But here are they are:

(1) I had my blood levels of Vitamin D tested. It turned out that even though I live in a sunny area and was supplementing with 1000 IU a day, they were only half the new minimum recommended healthy level. So now I'm up to 3000 IU a day and having an easier time losing weight. Vitamin D can affect weight loss so this is something to ask your doctor to check.

(2) I read an article (will try to find the link) that suggests that drinking tea can keep your insulin levels up. Yeah, I grew up in NC so I know about drinking ice tea all day. However, replacing tea with coffee for a few days jumpstarted some better weight loss. Now I just have hot tea in the morning and coffee if I want more caffeine.

Good luck!

5/20/2008 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jimmy,I hope you find the answer soon. I was wondering though how much of the new weight is actually fat? Did your trainer measure your body fat before you started working out? How does that number compare now? Good luck. Evainemage

5/20/2008 4:49 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Hi Jimmy. Have you had your fasting insulin tested?

5/20/2008 5:17 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Another thought: it may be better to track your body fat % instead of weight. That will rule out weight gain due to added muscle from your workout, water weight from taking creatine, etc.

5/20/2008 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jimmy,

Good job on the induction. I was one of the ones who would have bet big bucks that once you laid off on the "products", the weight would start moving in the right direction. Apparently I was wrong! The only thing that stands out from your recent menu is that you are only eating a couple of times a day. Rather than trying an intermittent fast program, I think you should stay on strict induction, but switch to eating something every couple of hours. But, I've been known to be wrong before...... Please keep us posted.


PS I just received my Perfect Body Diet book and look forward to trying some of the recipes it contains. Thanks again for sponsoring such a great contest.

5/20/2008 5:37 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

I just really appreciate how honest you are about your struggle. Thank you for that, and good luck. I honestly don't see anything that you are doing wrong. ???

5/20/2008 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the low-carb way of eating is so incredibly healthy that I wouldn't dare think of eating any other way.

thats such a good point.

I admire you.


5/20/2008 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jimmy, I hope you are able to figure out what is causing your stall.

Do you drink any diet sodas? Or did you cut them out completely for this 2 week test?

Maybe it is the added sugar and msg in the sausage patties you eat?

Also I know you don't have a problem with artificial sweetners, etc, but perhaps these are causing the blood in your urine.

Over time they can be very harmful to your health. It is worth checking out. I hear there is a good video called Sweet Misery that gives the low down on artifical sweetners, etc.

5/20/2008 6:47 PM  
Blogger Taraneh said...

I myself LOVE eating high fat, but just to throw this out there as a shot in the dark - if you cut back a bit on your fats, it will probably work.
For example, use olive oil, turkey bacon, and either eat smaller amounts of high-fat foods like sour cream, or use low-fat versions.
I personally prefer natural whole foods like full fat dairy, but I think that after a person cuts out carbs and loses weight, going a bit lighter on the fats seems to help keep it off.
I know that this is not what Atkins says (and I love him), but just experiment to see what works for you.
The other thing is check your sodium intake and maybe try reducing it just a bit if it seems high.
Well, just more advice to add to the long list!
Thanks for sharing!
You are doing great on the exercise and continuing to inspire me to stay active!
Also, it was inspiring to see your super-clean induction menu, as I have been eating quite a few "products" myself. :)
Oh yeah - another thing you can try is cycling 6 days low carb, and one day higher carb, but with mostly veggies.
Just keep experimenting and you will find what works.

5/20/2008 6:53 PM  
Blogger Taraneh said...

Just wanted to add that in traditional medicine like Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body goes through cycles of building, storing, and cleansing.
For example, people would eat more fattening foods in the fall, and lighter foods in the spring.
So it's natural for people to weight a bit more in the winter, and OK to eat more veggies and lighter foods in the warmer times, naturally losing a bit of weight.
Just wanted to throw that out there to say I think it's OK that you had a gain this winter, and also fine to change up what you eat to follow the natural cycles of the body etc...

5/20/2008 7:01 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

One of the comments in a previous post pointed out that the amines in cheese might (do?) raise insulin. I noticed your menus tend to contain a lot of cheese, so that's a thought. When you first started your weight loss journey, you were probably very insulin resistant. Having followed a low-carb diet for so long, your insulin sensitivity is likely considerably higher. So small changes in insulin could have much larger effects today than when you began low carb. Another reason to have your baseline insulin checked.

I stalled out at about 265 for a long time, then curtailed my diet soda, which seemed to kick-start things again. After reading that comment about the possible effect of cheese and nuts on insulin, I cut back on those as well (used to eat a LOT of nuts for snacks). Today I weighed 252.

That's not a very scientific experiment, but we know that it's insulin that ultimately controls fat storage. An individual's sensitivity to insulin (at least partially genetic) will determine how efficiently fat gets stored (that's an oversimplification, because other hormones play a role, but insulin is the big kahuna). Carbohydrate consumption will certainly adversely affect insulin levels, but I believe we're learning other foods may have some effect as well.

I suspect the science isn't really mature yet (plain old low-carb is just now getting caught up), but what we probably need is a low-insulin diet; or more precisely, a "balanced hormone" diet, one which promotes appropriate levels of hormones such that fat metabolism is maximized and fat storage is minimized.

5/20/2008 7:46 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Jimmy -

Hang in there. My husband lost 80 pounds in about 11 months but there was an entire 5 weeks when the scale did not move at all - in fact it did go up a tad but not down like it should have.

He was becoming discouraged during that period and I told him to just hang in there because the weight will come off again.

He remained faithful to his 5 carbs a day and sure enough at the end of that 5 weeks, the weight started to come off big time! It was almost like it had received a signal from somewhere that it was okay to come off now :-)

Another thought --- I am wondering about your stress levels during this time. You know that stress creates cortisol which triggers insulin production to rise.

So hang in there. Remain true to what your doing and the weight will begin to come off again.

And remember if you think you can you're right and if you think you can't you're right.

You're the best, Jimmy!


5/20/2008 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do Not Do an IF you will loose the muscle that you gained and will slow down your metabolism. Visit this forum they have free diets and also a very good dietitian if you want his services

5/20/2008 10:42 PM  
Blogger Me said...

I have one other idea.

Seth Roberts, the developer of the Shangri-La Diet, believes that in order to lose weight, you need to eat in such a way as to lower your setpoint. One of his main rules is to avoid what he calls "ditto foods" -- foods that taste exactly the same every time. Apparently "ditto foods" cause your body to maintain its setpoint and thus limit weight loss.

Whatever you think of this idea, it certainly couldn't hurt to try to vary your diet more by, say, not eating the exact same food more than once every four days.

This doesn't mean eating sausage just once every four days so much as avoiding sausage that tastes the same each time. Try maple-flavored pork sausage, sage-flavored turkey sausage, home-made sausage with your own spices, etc. Or add different condiments to change the flavor.

5/20/2008 10:49 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Jimmy, I wish you the best in your task in losing weight.

Since you went to a medical doctor, I bet he or she did not mention or test for the possibility of having a food allergy. Thus, having an under-active thyroid. Cauliflower and broccoli are two common culprits causing an under-active thyroid. This may have developed relatively recently

Also, I doubt that nutritional supplements can cause weight gain. If you are taking some prescription drugs, then that's a different situation.

As a side-note, when anyone takes antibiotics, they need to take probiotics at the same time. Because the antibiotics kills the good bacteria.

5/20/2008 11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


First off, let me just second the motion that I admire you for putting yourself out there so honestly. Now, let me see if I can contribute anything useful. Here are some ideas I'll add to the mix that you might want to consider.

I've read about something called the cephalic phase of insulin response. This occurs prior to the food actually reaching the stomach and causing a blood sugar rise. It's an anticipatory response by the body to start getting ready before the food actually gets there, so as not to fall too far behind in the battle to keep blood sugar in line. So when we smell something good, like donuts baking, or eat some artificial sweeteners, the body can release insulin even without any food in the stomach that would physiologically trigger insulin release. And we all know what insulin does to hunger and fat storage. I've not studied up on it, beyond the basic concept, so I don't know how much individual variability there is, or if there is much research out there on it. But I've often wondered about this response, particularly with artificial sweeteners in drinks, since many people consume these types of drinks many times per day. Same would go for artificially sweetened foods. Presumably there is some individual variability in this. So, perhaps talk to your doctor about this or experiment with cutting out the artificial sweeteners (don't imagine you're baking any donuts anyway, so that shouldn't be a problem, unless you live next door to a bakery!).

Another idea is certainly something you've heard before, and that's a slow-burn type exercise program. I have found that when I added this type of resistance training, and mostly eliminated cardio (makes me hungry), my weight loss accelerated. I believe it jumps up your baseline metabolism, to rebuild the muscle you stress in your workout, as well as maintain muscles previously built, without adding significantly to hunger. It's basically a one-set-to-failure type program, one or two times per week. It’s the intensity of going to failure that drives the muscle building. And when it's that intense, you don't need a lot, so it's very time-efficient. And machines with eccentric cams are actually the preferred means, versus free weights, since they maintain a more constant resistance throughout the range of motion. But the old-school free weights guys (e.g., many trainers) don't like that, even though it makes perfect sense for normal people. So you’re bucking the status quo with this type of program (sound familiar?). And rest is an important part of the program. Here's something I learned much later, but adds to the program's credibility. Ask very serious bodybuilders how frequently they do heavy training on a particular body part. Answer: once per week. That much rest is necessary if you're working that hard. My particular guidebook of choice for this is "Power of 10," by Adam Zickerman et. al. I especially liked it, compared to other books on this topic, for the simplicity of the exercise program and the concise explanations of the theories behind it.

Last idea is sleep. You've got to be a busy guy, but everything I read about the hormones involved in sleep (or lack thereof), tell a story of impeding weight loss, due to everything from lowered metabolism and increased hunger, to hormonal imbalances. This is another area where I've noticed the effect personally on weight loss from lack of sleep. Easier said than done, of course, in modern America, and again individual mileage may vary, but there's no fooling the body.

I know you'll find the answer(s), so hang in there!

Steve L.

5/21/2008 2:13 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Jimmy,
Probably you already know him, but I see Art de Vany as THE authority on Intermittent Fasting, which is just a part of his whole concept and way of living; Evolutionary Fitness
There you could look up – among other things – that you should NOT take protein powder after resistance training. He doesn’t recommend creatine either. And he has very good explanations for that (like gene expression and not blocking HGH).

Another thing nobody comes up with is this: Looks and the amount of weight are arbitrary paradigms. Suddenly BMI 25 plus means overweight, who invented that? It has never been proven that 25 plus is really unhealthy, but it feeds a whole industry of diet authors and developers , diet products, like pills, but also those supplements etc etc. Nobody seems to realize that we are hypnotized by some kind arbitrary body ideal, covered by photo shopped models in glossy magazines.

According to Udo Pollmer (a very famous nutrition scientist in Germany)weight gain is NOT due to (the amount of)food, but due to factors like stress, not getting enough sun into the eyes (so you shouldn't wear too often sunglasses)and on the skin, too much TV and other screens (not because of the content while eating food on the couch, no, because of the stress of the screen it self). Stress is also caused by diets. He says that the food intake is evolved in man, BEFORE the development of the conscious will and control...if you would leave it alone and it wouldn't be disturbed by following all those diets, your appetite would regulate perfectly your food intake. Your body knows exactly what it needs. He also criticizes the exaggerated weight ideal these have to look like non existing photo shopped models, well that's all adding up on stress...Stress regulates all kind of hormones and those hormones regulate your food intake and weight. If you the body alone, it gives you the weight and looks as YOU are.

I wished you could read German and read his best selling book in Germany: The anti-diet book; Eat normal! And other books…like the one about the ridiculous supplement recommendations
Maybe you can have the quoted websites translated by google… opened my eyes, and here is another author who asserts that eating too much food is a effect and NOT a cause (like Taubes).

5/21/2008 7:01 AM  
Blogger Nina said...

For whatever it's worth, and I know that you've had a billion suggestions about this, for both of us, eating an induction level of carbs and high fat caused, after an initial weight drop, basically no weight loss at all. To lose weight, which we've been doing pretty steadily now, we had to actually up carbs a little by adding moderate amounts of legumes and low-glycemic fruits, PLUS watch the portion size on proteins.

The trouble is that anecdotal advice like this is worth just about nothing, because everyone's metabolism is different. But I have to say that everyone who says stay off the Frankenfoods had the right idea, IMO. Surplus chemicals are just about never good for anything.

5/21/2008 9:53 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for all of your encouragement and support everyone! :)

5/21/2008 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck Jimmy and great job leading from the front yet again.

Did your low-carb doc check for cortisol levels? Your intuition is that it's not the diet. And what is new is the exercise.

Belly fat is also a marker for excess protocol.

Could it be that your exercise protocol, plus your history of catabolic cardio, plus your life stressors, is adding up to a "hormonal lock on fat stores," as Taubes writes?

Schwarzbein talks about this some.

5/21/2008 7:35 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Jimmy, I hope you find the cause of the loss and it turns around soon. I'm really concerned though, you're getting more medical tests... right? Lots of things can cause weight gain from chemical imbalances to tumors. My thoughts are with you.

5/21/2008 8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jimmy!

Well you know I'm pretty open to many different ways to lose weight...but I figured I'd chime in a little here, as it seems like you are struggling to pinpoint the problem with your weight loss! Just some thoughts, take 'em or leave 'em!

- While your low carb approach has definitely worked for some time, at some point I do think you have to look at the amount of calories you consume. Your body will get to a point, where if you want to drop more weight you have to consider energy balance. While you may disagree, this idea comes from my personal experience working with many individuals -- in relative terms, your diet may be better than when you were heavier, but now that you are struggling, it's time to give it a go, just moderating your caloric intake just a bit -- not a ton, but scale back a little on the higher calorie dense foods -- use less butter, substitute higher fat meats for lower fat meats -- primarily to reduce the overall calories you are consuming - not so much the fat, but you know that fat is more calorie dense. If you choose the dogma that calories do not matter at all, you may continue to struggle a bit...even though you may ultimately find some way around it with the IF technique. I'm not saying to go on a VLCD -- but just reduce here and there...and spread out your calories a bit more than you may do. Sometimes I notice you only eat a couple times a day. While you may disagree with this notion, I believe that your body does better if you give it food over the course of the day, instead of just a couple of bigger feedings.

- Mariah and I do follow a fairly low carb diet, but we do also see the great number of factors that also relate to weight. As we are pretty close to our goal weight for most of the year, the things we do have to watch out for are cumulative. So only going low-carb will not do the trick in terms of staying very lean for most of the year. That means, we do cardio nearly every day. An it's not a walk in the park while Gary T. doesn't agree with it, exercise is without a doubt, a way to break through your plateau. So whether you want to work out 7 days a week or 4 or 5, adding moderate to intense cardio to your routine WILL make a difference. I know, this is bad news...

So...while it's been a long time approach not to worry about calories, just take a couple of weeks to tally them up, reduce them by about 100-300 calories per day, and up your cardio frequency and consistency (and intensity). It would be an interesting thing if you entered your foods into FitDay and took a bigger picture look at your caloric intake as well as your macro nutrient breakdown. There is in everyone's diet (including mine), much room for improvement. Maybe some day if you are back in town we can hook you up to our metabolic rate machine and you can see an good estimate of your RMR.

Muscle gain is normally far slower than you think, most people may gain a few pounds of muscle every 2-3 months, often much less with causal resistance training. The best way to really measure this is to get your bodyfat taken at a hydrostatic tank (no bioelectric or calipers in this case). There is a mobile truck in Atlanta if you ever are in town again, and it only costs about $45.

I am not suggesting this is the only answer, but it is a clear way (in my mind) to get past your current plateau -- but feel free to choose another way!

Caloric Intake - Macronutrient Ratios - Meal Frequency - Exercise Frequency - Exercise Intensity

All factors that make a difference (IMHO). All the stuff related to sleep is probably true to -- for me, when i go to bed earlier I don't snack at much at less calories when I am sleeping are consumed. So in some ways this is true...but ultimately there are bigger factors at play here I believe...

Anyhow, hope you and Christine are well!


5/22/2008 12:13 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Steve - you make several points. Why do you believe these to be true?

5/22/2008 1:44 PM  
Blogger Inspired: The Movie Blog said...

Hi Dave - I believe these things to be true, not only from my own personal experience with weight control, but also through my experience working with others on the same thing. People do not always need to pay attention to calories, especially when they have a lot of weight to lose -- but from my experience, there is no single best solution -- it's always a combination of factors that if we use in moderation, we can make progress without doing anything extreme.

From our experience working on our documentary ( for 3 years, it's pretty common for most people to overestimate their caloric intake, and underestimate their workout well as their level of consistency with each. There are so many shades of gray in this topic, that if you look on the extreme end of looking fit -- look at what bodybuilders and fitness competitors do -- their exercise routines are far more demanding than the average person -- leading up to contests they may to as much as 3 hours of cardio per day (although often it is pretty low intensity). So we are not trying to find the single answer, but a balanced answer that gives everyone a chance to find the factors we can live with, and get our bodies to the shape we would like to be in.

It is a constant process, where all of us may be experts at our own bodies...yet we will continue to learn more about ourselves until we die. We still learn new things each day about how we manage it all better. Whether it's related to our motivation to go to the gym, or our motivation to GO FASTER on the treadmill...or cut back a little on something we enjoy eating - this is a process of finding the right balance for each of us.

While it's true that all calories are not equal, it is also my belief that total calories will always have something to do with our bodyweight.

Just my opinion on it!


5/22/2008 6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi jimmy
an admirer from belgium...
I lost 50 pounds with yor help since 2006 and i have also a stall since 2 months...
A suggestion...does your scale gives you your weight and your percentage of body fat?maybe you are losing fat and not weight for the moment?
good luck


5/23/2008 11:05 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I am checking BF%, too, and it has remained constant as well.

5/23/2008 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why bother with Intermittent Fasting when Dr. Eades clearly came to this conclusion ...

" The one question that remains unanswered is whether or not the intermittent fast followed in a low-carbohydrate way will lead to these same problems. To me, that point is kind of moot. Why? Because I looked at the IF as a strategy that allowed me to eat a lot of high carb foods that I would normally avoid and not pay the health consequences for it. If I’m going to limit myself to low-carb foods, why go on the IF? I can get the same results just following a regular, whole-food, low-carb diet without having to eat only every other day.

It’s looking like the intermittent fast is another of those ideas in science that looks good in animal studies then not so good in human studies, proving once again that rats and mice aren’t simply furry little humans. And it appears - for humans, at least - that the intermittent fast is indeed beginning to look like the reality of a late-night gimmicky infomercial: long on promises, short on delivery. I suspect that it is also a cautionary tale about the applicability of caloric restriction studies to humans.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s the way science sometimes works. Lab results and reality are often two different animals. "

Cheers ... Dom

5/23/2008 2:54 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS Dom! I had tried two weeks of strict Induction with no products prior to this IF attempt and ZERO weight loss. That's why I decided to try this now. It's been four days and I haven't lost any weight yet. I'll stick it out for a few more days to see if it is worth it. At this point, I'm beginning to become suspicious that something else is going on other than diet.

5/23/2008 2:58 PM  
Blogger Jonny D said...

Hi Jimmy,

Hope you find the solution to your concerns soon. Do you know of a medical facility near by with a DEXA machine? This could accurately record your body fat, muscle and bone densities perhaps outlining some answers. Just a thought.

Anyways best of luck and Hi to Christine :o)

Keep up the good work :oD

5/23/2008 5:14 PM  
Blogger Alcinda (Cindy) Moore said...

hay Jimmy, I've been following your posts on the forum. I've never gone thru this, but I can imagine it's incredibly frustrating! Good luck!!

I find IF quite easy, once I get into it. I like the 24/24 method. Eat until 7pm, then eat nothing until the next day at 7PM (or 8, etc). At least you're eating every day. I am also one that can go without food as long as I don't eat. Back in my 20s I maintained my weight by fasting 2-3 days every month or so.

Have you looked into Dr A's fat fast for stalls?

Oh yea....your doc in Durham? Nice guy, huh? He gives me articles to read from time to before it was published!

5/23/2008 11:50 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for your encouraging support, Cindy.

I had to quit IF was just too much for me. I don't like hunger at all, so it was not for me. Plus, I hadn't lost a single pound on it which was one of the purposes.

The fat fast I have avoided primarily because that is for people who are especially resistant to being able to lose on a regular low-carb diet. Since I've lost before on low-carb, I didn't think it would apply. But I'm getting very close to trying it possibly soon just to see if we can get this weight down.

Of course, I STILL believe there is some sort of underlying issue that has not been figured out yet which is very likely non-diet related. This is just too coincidental that I'd gained 30 pounds in about two months and then just hang on to it no matter how much I low-carb. We'll get to the bottom of it and you know I'll be blogging it when we figure it out. :D

Dr. Westman is an amazing doctor. But even more importantly, he is an incredible human being who really genuinely cares for his patients and for anyone with a thirst for knowledge and truth. I'm honored to call him a friend.

5/24/2008 10:48 AM  
Blogger ellamontgomery said...


I saw results to speed up my metabolism by using the sauna after my gym workout. I go in directly after lifting weights and stay for 15-25 minutes, it is a great detoxifier and revs up a sluggish metabolism. Remember to drink plenty of H20!

Hope that helps,


5/24/2008 11:10 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

The fat fast would make sense, given that you are probably much more insulin sensitive than when you started. Fat storage is fundamentally controlled by hormones (and of course the cellular response to those hormones). Your body is very likely different now than when you started, and so may require a different approach.

5/24/2008 12:50 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Hi Steve. The reason I asked the question was that I'm trying to find out if anybody has a detailed metabolic reason why "calories count". I'm pretty convinced that there isn't one, and that fat storage is controlled by hormones, mainly insulin. A Type I diabetic can have an arbitrarily high caloric intake and will continue to lose weight. Conversely, you could starve an obese person and give them large injections of insulin, and they'd starve to death without losing an ounce of fat (well, at least it works that way in animal models).

Calories do have some correlation with hormone levels, but of course the type of macronutrient matters a lot. I think the idea that "calories count" is actually due to a confound with the average diet composition in the West. Suppose one eats the food pyramid, with about 50% of calories from carbs. Going from a 2400 kcal diet to 1600 cutting all macronutrients equally means carbs get cut from 300g to 200g. That will have a significant effect on insulin, particularly considering that people dieting tend to also cut out high-glycemic junk foods in favor of fruits and veggies.

Having said all that, I do think that low carb stalls require some sort of dietary modification. As I said in previous comments, low carb increases insulin sensitivity of fat cells, so at some point the fat just isn't going to flow out anymore at a given insulin level. I think this is an area that needs more study. Both the fat fast and IF approaches could makes sense; for that matter caloric restriction might do the trick as well, ASSUMING that carbs are kept extremely low to keep insulin in check. That last point is, I think, the key. Controlling insulin levels has to be primary in any fat loss plan.

5/24/2008 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jimmy, I have a six year hx of living the low carb wol and have lost significant weight (over 100 lbs)3x after preg. Since sept 07 I have been back on this wol and have pretty much stalled the entire time! I continue to eat this way because I feel better but I would really like to return to my bmi of 19-20. I am currently about 20 lbs from that. ugh!!

5/28/2008 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jimmy: I haven't read every single comment in detail, however it seems to me that no one has talked about a critical parameter: body composition, in particular percent body fat (%BF).
For people involved with weight training that is a much better gage than simple weight. Have you measured that? Did you measure it at the beginning of your weight program? Perhaps your trainer did it. There are numerous ways to estimate %BF, with various levels of accuracy. Do some homework on that.
It is entirely possible that most of your weight gain is muscular. Therefore, it is possible that, as a percentage of your total weight, your BF is less now than before, that is, you may now be "leaner" (even if a little heavier).
Yes, you said your waist has grown also, but do keep in mind that abdominal muscles can also grow like any other, and that may be at least part of it.
The bottom line is that, once the above factors are considered, you may have no problem at all (or a very small one).

7/28/2008 12:24 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS Virgil. My body fat has been measured and it remains relatively constant and maybe a slight drop. It's estimated that I've put on 10 pounds of muscle, but the rest is fat. I appreciate your thinking on this. I'm getting closer to figuring it out.

7/28/2008 12:45 PM  

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