Wednesday, July 2, 2014

temporal milestone recap

Wooo has finally posted again -- YEA!  I always look forward to reading new blog entries from her;  you can never predict what it will be, a rant or a detailed description of hormone or neurotransmitter function, but it's always either educational, entertaining, or both.  I disagree with her from time to time, when my experiences contradict something she learned in college or when her young-body observations are different from what this old body finds, but it's a good thought exercise nonetheless.

She speaks today of scales and calories and CICO....  All these things are red herrings in the world of LOSING FAT through dietary intake and physical behavior.  Mere "weight loss" IS illusory -- starve awhile, and you'll lose "weight" all right, including heart-muscle tissue.  No, I prefer to work on losing my subcutaneous FAT, not my organs and bones.

One thing she did NOT mention was the usefulness of the scale in keeping an eye on maintenance, as Karen finds valuable over at the Garden Girl blog.  We regain-control veterans find weight monitoring to be very useful -- we can see when we start to slip.  It's also helpful when those of us with food intolerances reintroduce something -- one easily-observed phenomenon is that some inadvisable items in our diets can manifest themselves through how much water they cause us to retain.  If scales do nothing else, they REALLY point out the amount of water we hold onto -- nothing else will make the reading fluctuate by POUNDS from day to day. 

When we feel waterlogged and bloated, losing superfluous water is a good thing, but by and large it's FAT we want to lose.  And fat-loss is indisputably hormonally regulated.  If there's too much insulin floating through your veins, your fat cells WILL NOT turn loose of their cargo (unless your metabolism is so FUBAR you've got bigger problems than mere swimsuit-readiness).  If your system is so malnourished or sick (think infection) it thinks it's starving or otherwise threatened, your thyroid WILL gear down to the point it MAKES you rest to conserve resources.  Leptin's actions are STILL being ferreted-out.  Intestinal microbiota, too, exert their effects in ways that only recently have been appreciated.  Innumerable other hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters et al are involved in this chemical stew, minutely adjusting uncounted processes all the time....

But certain simple, black-and-white minds all around us can't seem to get past that lowest-common-denominator concept that we abbreviate as CICO, or ELMM.  Eat less ... and your body slows down its processes so energy expended is reduced to match the fuel available!  Move more ... and your appetite increases, your cortisol rises, and chance of injury skyrockets, especially if you're like me and you have an aging body with accumulated damage.

No -- to lose FAT, you need to learn to manipulate the hormones that encourage fat storage AND usage! 

Lower fasting insulin.  Peter (at Hyperlipid) describes FASTING insulin as the leading partner in the fat storage/usage dance.  Lowering it is done through a continuing low-carb diet.

Encourage healthy thyroid function.  This means being vitamin/mineral/protein replete, eating ENOUGH (because low-CAL diets cause a slowdown) non-toxic foods, minimizing omega-6 PUFAs while maximizing saturated dietary fats, being as stress-free as possible, and ... a continuing low-carb diet.

An incredibly-huge flood of verbage has washed through recently, talking about feeding those good gut-bugs!!!  ... :-P  I think all those starch-lovers need to go back and read Peter's series on FIAF!  "Whose fat is it, anyway?"  Theirs, when it comes to allowing YOU to burn it or not.  What makes them send the signal to let it go?  You guessed it ... a continuing low-carb diet.

While "what makes us fat" AND "what makes us lose fat" are intensely complicated formulae, there's a simple work-around -- a reduced-carb diet.  HOW reduced is a purely individual thing -- some do great if they drop carb grams to under 100/day, and others need to be much more restrictive.  It depends on activity level, your sex-hormone status, the condition of your mitochondria, your genetic heritage, your liver's capability of gluconeogenesis ... LOTS of things!  "One size fits all" is the epitome of the bad joke, in clothing as well as dietary regimen.


  1. I agree with using a scale to monitor creeping weight gain. I wouldn't have gained 10 pounds if I'd been weighing myself for the past few months.

    1. some people prefer waist measurement, but I find weight easier to monitor.

  2. Yep, that's what I use it for, and to see if my bloat is caused, like you said, by some histamine reaction! actual fat loss is a difficult thing for most sedentary people and our lifestyle is very sedentary by any means. We sit a lot! More than we think.
    Hormonally this is a big determinant for our ability to use the stored fat.
    I'm not saying to exercise to lose weight but moving around is what triggers our activation of the larger fat store. Walking, sweeping, gardening, etc.
    I was looking forward to Woo's post as well...she's a pistol!

    1. i usually say that taking care of a three-story house is enough exercise for any reasonable person.... ;-) we walk, too, of course, but every time i start a new activity, i manage to hurt myself, dammit.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hi Tess

    As you say there is no one size fits all, but ! I beleive the control of insulin whether natural or injected is key, not only for weight control, but for a myriad of health conditions. As for CICO the equation for good health and control of weight goes way beyond that over simplification. My old side kick graham who you know of, is as slim as a whip. We both consume around 50 carbs per day, we are around the same age and both physically active. Both type two diabetics. Graham consumes at least 1000 calories per day more than me, yet I am around 10 lbs over weight. For Graham to become overweight, he would have to turn eating into a full time job I reckon, and I doubt he would put on much weight. As I have said, there is far more to weight control than CICO.

    From our website

    “Insulin is often referred to by biochemists as the fat building hormone. In fact, the body cannot make body fat without insulin. It is very unusual to find an overweight individual who doesn’t also have elevated insulin levels. Type 2 diabetics, at diagnosis, will often be over producing insulin.

    Insulin also inhibits the body’s use of stored fat as a source of fuel. Lowering insulin levels is extremely important, perhaps essential, for weight loss to succeed. This is one reason why low carb diets are particularly successful in weight loss since the fewer the carbs, the less insulin is required.

    Some may also find that they consume fewer calories without feeling hungry because their fat metabolism begins to work properly once more, allowing the body access to energy reserves in fat stores which were previously inaccessible.

    In broad terms, carbohydrates have a large impact on blood glucose levels, protein much less, and fats have little if any effect.”

    The worst possible combination for bringing about weight loss is a meal high in carbohydrates and fats.

    Kind regards Eddie

    1. Tess

      I don't want you over taxing yourself with a lengthy reply. LOL.

      Getting my coat.


    2. :-) you should be used to me by now, Eddie! some days i can't shut up and some days the words don't flow. besides -- you said it all!

  4. I have to admit I am rather obsessive with my scales, but hey it works for me and keeps me on the straight and narrow. If they start creeping up and getting out of control I switch straight to clean eating for a few days (lean meat and veggies). This is the only way for me to maintain. I have also seen a pattern; smoked pork/ham = inflammation, whether sodium or the dextrose etc used in the curing. Nuts also bring about inflammation (except almonds).

    1. there are SO MANY possible sources for stalls and gains! they're as multitudinous and varied as ... we are! :-)

  5. Hi Tess

    I noticed you posted on Woos blog but this may be less hostile environment when it comes to those whose ideas may clash with those whose blog one is posting under.

    If you have any questions regarding exercise feel free to ask especially in regards to weight loss if that is a concern of yours.

    To answer your question you posed in Woos place, I work for as an independent personal trainer and also work at Retro Fitness.

    Woo has a lot of ideas and theories, some spot on and some off the wall to be fair.

    It's up to her readership to disseminate.

    As far as exercise, protein requirements, effects of resistance training for special populations...I'm afraid listening to her advice would be akin to asking an auto mechanic about stem cell research...hey .there's a shot they may have some insight...but not too likely.

    1. Honestly, that was a trick question -- I wanted to make sure you ARE truly a professional, because there are so many people who claim to be what they aren't in the blogosphere....

      Those of us who have been reading Wooo for a long time know that HER dietary necessities are particularly individual -- protein seems to set off neurotransmitter issues, and she copes better with wheat than most of us. In return, I require MUCH more restriction than most, in what vegetation I can eat without unpleasant repercussions. I feel really good eating a pound of beef a day and not much else ... but others don't.

      But if you haven't been with Wooo from the early days, you may not know that her language is frequently hyperbole -- when she feels strongly about something, she expresses herself in an over-the-top manner. When she says she "gets no exercise" that absolutely is not true -- like me, her exercise is that of everyday living. We walk, we lift, we bend and stoop and squat -- we just don't do it in a dedicated facility.

      So advising her to eat more meat is not going to help, though it will most people. Just like advising me to eat more vegetables wouldn't be productive of good results. :-) People with accrued metabolic damage -- which can come from a variety of causes -- have to learn what will work for THEM SPECIFICALLY, because what works for the average person CAN be a disaster.

  6. No issues with your comments above, in full agreement however both of your exercise as it is.."everyday living" is not going to enough to ward off the perils of older age complexities.

    And no, you don't have to go to a dedicated facility .

    However it behooves us to do resistance exercises that compliment our functional daily activities such as the the ones you touched upon....bending and lifting, pulling, twisting, etc.
    But it must be done with resistance to ward off or delay the natural degeneration of our bodies as we age.

    Two clients of mine are nurses in their 50's who are dealing with back issues because they have been put in a situation where they needed to physically hold down patients of theirs.

    Had they engaged in body strengthening exercises with consistency there would be a good shot that these injuries might not have occurred.

    BTW... A recommendation to consume more Protein is not saying to exclusively eat more meat although meat does contain the essential amino acids that plant protein lacks.

    1. resistance work does have a good track record. i should do more planks, etc, myself but i find that kind of thing so damned boring! i content myself with doing all my lifting and loading at events (a full water-keg IS something to heft...), carrying "stuff" up and down my three staircases every day, and doing all the dog-lifting (cuz "white dogs can't jump" -- at least not 30" when they're 14 years old).