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POW! With Thanks to KANOE10!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

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!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    OK -- here it is! And I skimmed those that followed as well. R2R is provocative and useful, not to mention that much of it is experience-driven for me as well.

    I definitely do NOT agree on the complex carbs front. For me whole grains will always be an integral part of my intake...quinoa, millet, brown rice, polenta (all organic, no GMOs). And, as I think you know, I am a vegetarian, and do not personally support or participate in the killing or eating of other animals.

    I appreciate and resonate with much of your commentary on the book. Optifast? I don't think so!!! Tracking is also essential for me, even if I don't do it daily, when life gets in the way.

    Thanks as always, for your thought-provoking, extremely helpful input in the lifetime process of opting for Refusing 2 Regain, from this Prviously Overweight Person!!!
    2400 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/1/2013 12:28:47 PM
    So much wisdom here... and it matches my experience, too. I have to be careful with food choices, and I have to remain vigilently active. There is risk. So glad to have among my friends a wide variety of folks with various perspectives willing to share them.

    The solution is not a one size fits all... it truly is "an experiment of ONE" for each of us. But there is a lot of common sense in gathering information about what has worked for others in crafting that careful solution for THIS "one".

    Spark on. Be vigilent!
    2419 days ago
    I'm thinking that cheese is "off" her list tooo!
    2419 days ago
    Thanks for another enlightening blog! Yes, I am a POW. POWs are at risk of regain, although the longer we've had it off the better are our odds of continuing success.

    Hey, I like that "arranged marriage" relationship with exercise. I'm definitely in that camp. Exercise and I started out as more enemies than strangers but then evolved into best friends and we may be flirting at this point!!!

    I do love those freggies and definitely restrict sugar and refined starches. Not ready to give up my oatmeal and whole grains and all kind of beans and brown rice. Appreciate the book review. Interesting, but probably not the food plan for me.
    2420 days ago
    2420 days ago
    2420 days ago
    I loved that POW, POW ending! I noticed the same discrepancy..she promotes primordial eating as being the healthiest, yet lets people revert to Optifast products on reversal days. I believe that her clinic uses Optifast to lose weight as well. Also treats are commercial ice cream bars or ice cream.

    Nonetheless, her steps are good ones to follow. I was surprised to note that peanuts were starches ..legumes..also. I also think legumes are healthy to eat.

    You are so right about the POW focus. We can never forget about the fact that as POWS we are extremely sensitive to sugar and carbs. They definitely affect me!

    I also need to track and weigh daily. It keeps me accountable and focused.

    I agree with her step that exercise must be a main focus in your life.

    I am so happy you found the book helpful. I did also. I am trying the approach of eating a low carb starch in the morning and then no starches for the rest of the day.

    Thanks for an excellent review and further insights into that book.
    2420 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/12/2013 9:18:22 AM
  • NANCY-
    You know what I like about this blog... is that you mentioned that you do what works for you and are open to finding more tools for your toolbox to have a sustainable lifestyle.
    2420 days ago
    What a great concept - emoticon for sharing!
    2420 days ago
    Very interesting blog. It does make a lost of sense to me!
    2420 days ago
    I loved Kanoe10's blog too! I'll be heading to the library in the fall....

    I AM SAD about those carbs though....I did love them, however, we must live with the cards we've chosen.....

    2420 days ago
    I too find that too many carbs 1) fuels my hunger and 2) limits the amount of weight I can lose. Too bad, I love them!

    Thanks for sharing your take on the book -- I'm going to look for it.
    2420 days ago
    Very interesting-
    makes a lot of sense.
    I can't wait to join the POW club!
    2421 days ago
    Very interesting, the POW sensitivity to sugars / starches...makes LOADS of sense as although I'm not one for universals, however it does appear to me that anyone struggling with obesity has particularly difficult "issues" with the sugar / starch and finds it necessary to be overly restrictive of them in order to lose weight and maintain that loss. Another interesting puzzle piece is the extreme care bariatric folks have to exercise to avoid carbs at all costs. Perhaps unrelated, but curious...


    es, it was.a lovely ride, perfect weather, shame not to have others joining me, tho...
    2421 days ago
  • DALID414
    It's hard to have to keep explaining to people that we are POWs, the disbelief on their faces. But as long as WE know it, we'll be fine.
    2421 days ago
    wonderful blog!
    2421 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    WOW !!
    2421 days ago
    Right now, I guess I could call myself a PMOW (previously more overweight) person.
    It looks like an interesting book, rich with ideas and resources.
    I will keep it in mind for when I reach maintenance.
    Thanks for the info.
    2421 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Very interesting summary. When I was in weight loss mode, I had all but eliminated grains as they would bump up my calories too quickly and made it hard to fit in my calorie range. In maintenance I will have them but very limited. I simply prefer to eat mostly raw fruits and veggies. My struggle has been with the fiber content as its usually way over the recommended range and probably a good reason why I have ongoing GI tract issues. Meat doesn't make an appearance in my diet unless I am at Mom's or the occasional meal out. Fish happens very rarely unfortunately. I too, will always track my food and fitness because that has worked for me.
    Here is to my fellow POW, happily maintaining in our own way!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2421 days ago
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