An acquaintance called me recently to say she had been talking to a mutual friend who had said that I had helped her lose 30 pounds (and 2 bra sizes!), by eating low carb. LOL. She (the acquaintance) wanted to know how to do it? Well, my friend suggested, she should call me and ask. So, she did, and I was glad to help.
I am always pleased when my low-carb, moderate-protein, high, healthy-fat message is heeded. I offered to lend her my favorite books to learn the physiology of low carb eating, suggested the best websites for a neophyte to visit, and offered to mentor her, answering any question she had, as I had for our mutual friend.
It turns out that the acquaintance – let’s call her Pam – is a very busy woman and doesn’t have time to learn about the science. She just wants to know what to eat, and what not to eat. Apparently Pam had read that I had lost 60 pounds in 9 months 15 years ago, by following “Atkins Induction” (20 grams of carbs/day). Then, a few years later I had lost another 110 pounds following Dr. Richard K. Bernstein’s “6-12-12 Program,” in which you eat just 30 grams of carbohydrate a day. For some reason, Pam decided she wanted to try Bernstein.
So, I loaned her Bernstein’s “The Diabetes Diet” and his encyclopedic “Diabetes Solution.” I also told her I had recently become an acolyte of Dr. Jason Fung, fasting advocate and author of “The Obesity Code,” about Intermittent and full-day fasting. I had unsuccessfully tried 16-8 for about a year, in which I ate basically just one meal a day, or a small lunch and then supper within an 8 hour window, thus fasting 16 hours a day.
More recently, because I eat Very Low Carb and am therefore FAT-ADAPTED, I transitioned to full-day fasting. So far I have lost about 50 pounds since early February. Concerned that I would be hungry or lacking in energy, I started off with alternate day fasts (Tuesday and Thursday). But because I am FAT-ADAPTED, I was neither hungry nor lacking in energy. My body transitioned easily from fed to fasting states, using glucose from the fed state and then fatty acids from body fat and ketone bodies, the by-products of fatty acid breakdown, for brain food during the fasting state. Because of that smooth and natural transition, my metabolism continued to run at full speed. In fact, my sense is that I am actually more “pumped,” more energized, in my fasting state.
I then described what I put in my mouth on my 300 kcal/day Fasting Regimen: Coffee with heavy cream for “breakfast” and a wine spritzer at the supper hour. Pam asked, “Don’t you drink more water during the day?” I said, “Only if I am dehydrated from working outside on a hot day.” “You should, you know,” she admonished. I said, “I also drink some brine from the pickle jar” (to maintain my electrolyte balance). Pam was apoplectic.
In a later email exchange, I told Pam that she would have to cut way back on fruit to eat Low Carb. To eat Very Low Carb, she’d have to virtually eliminate fruit. Fruit is basically just sugar. Fruit juice is worse. It’s nature’s candy. Pam replied she had a serious problem with constipation and didn’t want to give up fruit on that account. I replied that that was a rationale that I did not understand, but she didn’t explain how they were associated. I suggested it was an irrational justification, a rationalization, if you will. The subject was dropped.
I then suggested taking magnesium as a mild laxative and sleep aid. Most older adults are deficient in magnesium and should probably take a supplement. Pam then said she currently takes 400mg a day and her cardiologist doesn’t want her to take more. Her cardiologist! That’s new information to me. I replied that I take a full gram a day: 400mg morning and night plus 200mg in a multivitamin. And I had never experienced constipation on a Very Low Carb diet, even before I added a magnesium supplement morning and night.Finally, I suggested increasing her fat consumption to ease her bowels. She said, “Thank you” and signed off. I guess she, and maybe her cardiologist, think the US Dietary Guidelines still limit dietary fat to 30%, or worse, cause CVD. Not true! Change is a slow process, starting with curiosity and intrigue, with a lot of resistance throughout. Sometimes intransigence shuts down the process completely. “Intransigent Resistance” (IR).