My Diet and Plan (Updated)
This is about 10-day’s worth of LCHF (low carb, high fat) groceries for one person-me, for 2013.
This section gets a complete revision. I was posting some diet stuff on a forum and someone noted that “What you say now doesn’t sound like what’s on your blog.” I go look, and sure enough, it’s true! The old “What to eat” was protein-driven and I’ve drifted to fat-driven (Paleo). I left the old version up because it’s worth comparing the diet that worked fine for losing 100+ lb in the beginning to what I ended up doing 4 years later to keep it off. I had to refine it past the “this doesn’t work as well once you get there” point. There will be more on the blog about that. The stuff about supplements is about the same.
To answer the question “Sheesh, what do you eat then?” I thought I would toss up a pic. This is the end result of abut 4 years of trial and error starting with a protein-driven South Beach approach that worked very well in the beginning, to this more Paleo/LCHF (fat driven) approach which is working better right now.
How’s it working? 2011 was a disaster due to an extended illness, and I backslid to over 220 at one point, not good. The old approach below wasn’t working. I cut out some sources of just lean protein, like tuna in the morning, added fat to breakfast (two thick slices of bacon and 1/2 avocado), and cut out my favorite low carb soda with the so-called better fake sweetener and added green tea. As of this writing, I’m at 185 and it’s still going down.
Start older version here-
[Updated 6/11/2011 to change a few things.]
Here is a cut-and-paste of an entry on diet and supplements that I have been running on my personal website since April 2010. I got so many requests about “what did you do/what do I do?” that I decided to just write it for everyone. [Note-I changed things quite a bit to work down well past 200 lb, but I'm leaving this old stuff up because this is what worked when things were getting sorted out. The more current section above is what is working best right now (less protein, still very low carb, more "Paleo.")]
It should be noted that not everyone needs to make such drastic changes! One of the goals of this website is to help explain why some people should, or may not have to make changes like this. I would also note that since writing this, I ran across Gary Taubes excellent research and he is basically saying the same things, and doing a much better job of it!
April 3, 2010, (edited 3/18/2011)-
I still get a lot of questions about diet and health, since most people knew me for years as the huge guy at the (motocross) races, and in about a year, I lost 120 lb and a lot of problems went away.
I owe many thanks to the Holtorf Medical Group in Torrance, Ca. This page is a summary of what I learned after seeing them in August 2007 and a lot of stuff I picked up since.
Getting to the Point, What to Eat, What Else to Do:
Everyone is different of course, but I’ll start with what I have been doing since August 2007 [did this until 2010]. This is advice for people that are big and nothing seems to be working:
-Do the South Beach Diet, or a Primal/Paleo (caveman) diet.
South Beach was developed by a heart doctor that was getting better results with the right diet than with pills. The more severe the weight problem, the longer you should try to stay on Phase 1. Get to know the glycemic index and stick to things with a low GI. I would consider South Beach a more healthy approach that something like Atkins. Another approach, which is pretty much the same as South Beach Phase 1 are the “Primal/Paleo” diets. These are gaining in popularity and make a lot of sense. I really like Mark Sisson’s “Primal Blueprint” version, and his website “Mark’s Daily Apple.”
Sisson takes a logical, balanced approach to “eating like a caveman,” and also has a lot of good advice for people that want to do this and stay active, plus it’s a lot of fun.
Even if your health is way out of whack and you are on cholesterol meds or blood pressure meds, things will get better with South Beach/Primal/Paleo and you probably will surprise your doctor when you don’t need them anymore!
My own version:
Based on my dr’s advice, here are things I cut out entirely-
-Bread of all types
-Anything with sugar
-Butter and margarine (Edit, added butter later, but still avoid margarine due to unhealthy fats in it.)
-American cheese (over processed and US milk is contaminated with hormones)
I also avoid-
-Just about anything processed and in a box or a can
-Anything with partially hydrogenated oils (read labels carefully!)
-Wheat products (A lot of people don’t tolerate them and don’t realize it)
-Red meat (A lean steak once in a while won’t hurt)
-Fruit (The good things do not make up for the fact that it’s still candy from a tree)
What’s left to eat?
Not much! I just stick to what has been working-
-Walnuts, fish, eggs cooked in olive oil, a bit of Romano cheese, or veggies.
-Snack on tuna or salmon mid morning to keep from being hungry later.
-Almost always a salad, be carefull with salad dressing.
-Any of the above, plus celery and natural peanut butter or hummus, grilled fish, fresh chicken or turkey, veggies with a low GI (no potatoes or carrots). I like to get a package of fresh chicken or turkey and grill enough for the week.
-Healthy spices- A lot of specialists recommend basil, turmeric, and paprika. I also don’t hold back on black pepper, curry, cumin, chile, and ginger. The main spice to avoid is MSG! MSG is literally fattening because it upsets your leptin signaling.
That is just about everything in the cupboard or fridge. You don’t need to eat much in the evening and won’t want to if you stick to the above.
A lot of experts say you don’t need vitamins or suppliments, but a lot of experts are stupid too.
What I’m doing:
-Omega 3 Fishoil (At least 6 a day)
-Vitamin D3 (10,000 IU) Most people would be fine with 2,000 IU. (Boosts the immune system and is an effective anti-inflammatory.)
-B Complex with Iron. I get a strong mix from my dr that also has Vit A, C, and a good mix of minerals like magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, and chromium.
-Maitake D Fraction (360 mg) This is a mushroom extract that assists the immune system.
-Maitake SX Fraction (about 3,000 mg) This is a custom blend mixed with green tea that boosts insulin sensitivity.
12 mg Melatonin with GABA, 5-HTP, and L-Theanine. This is to sleep better and wake up better as well.
A note on supplements: My list here is not for everyone. Some of the amounts, like Vitamin D, are way past what people should take without a dr’s supervision. My doc does 3-4 blood tests a year and we go through them line by line and make adjustments. A lot of people can do better with some supplements, but without some tests to verify what you need and what is working, you may be just guessing. Finding an understanding doc is better than guessing.
Medicines: I don’t want to specify too much on prescription meds because they are hormones that no one needs to be copying. There are enough people buying that stuff on the black market and bodybuilding sites already and it’s not something anyone should be messing with without a doctor. The main difference between meds, before-and-after was that I was taking Synthroid, a synthetic T4 hormone, and will never do that again. My doc uses natural T3 instead, and it works much better.
Note..This is just for reference. The website will be digging into all of this in detail, eventually.
Me shooting the Daytona Supercross in 2006. Weight is completely out of control (about 300!), and I am taking a lot of Synthroid. I don’t eat that much, but no one believes it. I was pretty active but it didn’t help. I wear 4X shirts. Things actually got worse after this. By the next summer, I had put on 10-15 lb more, and was starting to “hit the wall” at events.
Here’s another pic from 2006, so you can see what a hormone wreck looks like. What was it? It took years to unravel why this happened, but the root cause was in 1991, after 5 years of ulcerative colitis, drs took me off Prednisone, a strong steroid (hormone) after a surgery. This caused a complete breakdown called adrenal shock syndrome. Weight started piling up steadily and other things started going wrong. Weight went way past what I ever weighed before, and nothing seemed to work to slow down steady weight gain, all the way past 300 lb eventually. I was still pretty active, and had good endurance until 2007, then it caught up with me and I had to find a dr that could sort this out.
After getting things on track thanks to the Holtorf Group, it took about a year for weight to level off at about 200 lb, and was steady around 200lb for a few years, then down to 185 (Paleo switch). This pic is about Summer, 2009. This was done with no exercising at all. In fact, when I tried exercising, it slowed down progress. Anyone who thinks big people are just not active enough is an idiot. Blood chemistry first, exercise second!
A side benefit of getting your hormones and low carb diet sorted out is killer blood tests. I ate more bacon, coconut oil and leaned in the Paleo direction early in 2012, and even my dr was skeptical. “What about all that saturated fat?” One thing low carbers have learned is that if you become adapted to eating fat, you burn fat (keto-adapted, aka nutritional ketosis). My total cholesterol is 124, one point below minimum. There are no drs that will argue with that number and very few that would believe that half my calories are a big bacon breakfast. Keto-adapted people burn saturated fat for fuel, and sugar-burners store it, gain weight, and get cholesterol medicines later.
-Low Carb High Fat, or Lean Protein?
Since there are two different ways of eating outlined above and both worked, I should comment on some observations about the two that I’ve seen in practice.
“Lean Protein-” Call it South Beach, Leptin Diet, Thyroid Diet, or any of the other names, and you have the diet I see thyroid, adrenal, leptin, and T2 diabetes experts pushing the most. My own dr uses South Beach (low carb, low-moderate fat, and lean protein) to get patients with thyroid, fatigue and adrenal issues sorted out. The “Leptin Diet” looks about the same, and so does the diet section in every health book in my Kindle that deals with getting real problems sorted out.
I don’t see a lot of the drs that write about the above problems (all hormone problems) pushing the full-on Paleo, or a LCHF (low carb, high fat) approach. I made the switch to break a weightloss stall at a little over 200. I put away the morning can of tuna and added 2 big slices of bacon instead.
“Paleo/LCHF-” I probably should just call this “Primal,” which is what Mark Sisson calls his own brand of Paleo, because I had the best luck in the most recent past following his advice. It did what it needed to do when I needed it, to lose a bit more weight and not screw up blood tests in the process. I don’t know how well it would have worked if I did it the same way in 2007 when the hormone fix started though. But, in 2012, starting at a stubborn 207 lb, it only took about two months to make it to 183, the lowest i
Paleo/LCHF is not popular with drs that write books on thyroid, leptin, adrenals, etc, but it sure is popular with people that just need to get away from eating the standard crap and suffering the standard results from it- weight, inflammation, gut problems, cravings, all that.
I wonder if a good guideline would be go slow with Paleo/LCHF if you know you have some real hormone issues to deal with and work those out first, or maybe it is just a coincidence that so many drs with good books are just scared of fat themselves.
Steve Bruhn, 2012, www.dietforhumans.com