I've picked up "Refuse to Regain" by Barbara Berkeley M.D. at the library, because of KANOE10's enthusiastic reviews:
It's terrific! I'm amazed at how many of her "Twelve Tough Rules" I'd evolved for myself over the years. And I'm very interested in her approach to "Primarian" eating: basically "Paleo" but with a little more flexibility, She recommends ancient "hunter/gatherer" lean protein, veggies and fruits, but with some low fat dairy, and pretty much eliminating the "S" sugar/starch foods: yes, even so-called complex carbs from whole grains.
That's so close to the way my own maintenance eating has developed over the years. I have included some whole grains -- whole wheat couscous or breads, brown rice, oats -- in small quantities, such as in my supper soups. But I have also noticed that even complex carbs seem to have more of an impact on my weight than their calorie counts signal they should. And that I have more trouble with hunger when I'm eating these foods. (Me and refined flours and sugars parted company a loooooong time ago: very rare and very spare indeed.)
What's a POW? A "previously overweight person". That's me.
And POWS, she says, will always have more of a problem with starches and sugars than NOWs: "never over-weight" persons.
That's because the very fact of a POW's previous overweight signals a heightened sensitivity to those foods which weren't part of our evolutionary diets.
If the entire period of human history were compressed into just 24 hours, it's only for the past 6 minutes that we've been eating "farmed" grains, potatoes etc. at all . . . and those original grains were not the kind of grains available now.
And of course the grains available now have been further processed to the point where they're very inimical to our digestive systems. POWs have "pure" digestive systems (sob sob sob) less evolutionarily evolved than those very few people (mostly young, highly active males) who seem to be able to eat S food sugars and starches without significant consequences . . . at least for awhile.
Not everything Dr. Berkeley recommends would work for me. I'm never going to be eating as much lean meat as she recommends because I have problems with animal cruelty. Not a vegan, not a vegetarian either (although I have been): but for me presently, the compromise which has worked is chicken and fish, and not much of that.
And meat issues mean I will continue to eat more legumes than she thinks appropriate: they're good sources of protein but higher carb that Dr. Berkeley considers advisable. (Although some of the research I've checked indicates legumes are "glycemic resistant" carb . . . with less impact on blood sugar levels for that reason. Although relatively high calorie . . . ).
Interestingly enough, although she says one of the rules of primarian eating is to avoid "packaged foods with long complicated ingredients lists", she's also a big fan of Optifast meal replacements both for initial weight loss and for quick "reversals" when weight creeps up. I checked out Optifast: it's not readily available in Canada, but in any case, it has quite the ingredient list!!
Takeaways for me? Although I'm doing a lot of stuff pretty much "right", according to Dr. Berkeley, she's given me some new ideas which I'll be trying.
I'm cutting back on the peanuts (legumes) and dried fruits: less trail mix, which tends to have some sugars and salts added, and more raw almonds and walnuts. Keeping quantities small because they are so high cal.
I'm stepping up the veggies and fruits even more, and going to use a bit more fish: tuna, salmon are easy salad additions (and I've been using mostly chicken and shrimp). Maybe some turkey burgers??
I'll keep up with the exercise at least 5 days a week: cardio and ST. Not much of "Refuse to Regain" is devoted to exercise: but she does point out that almost nobody who stops exercising keeps weight off. (And of course there are so many other benefits to exercise: she recommends that we quite deliberately fall in love with it, akin to an arranged marriage where the emotional commitment evolves!)
But -- even though Dr. B doesn't think it's necessary or accurate -- I'll keep on tracking my calories and other nutrients on the nutrition tracker. Why? Because it works for me.
Biggest reinforcer for what I'm already doing? Knowing and accepting and never forgetting that I'm a POW.
Even if others may think my ongoing attention to calorie restriction and optimal nutrition (CRON) is unnecessary or obsessive because I don't "look" obese", I'm not naturally thin. I'll never have the biological response to starches and sugars of a NOW.
There is always going to be the potential for me to regain weight.
I did it so many times before.
My obesity is only "in remission"!
Eternal vigilance! POW! Take that, you starches and sugars!! POW! POW! POW!