Welcome all seeking refuge from low carb dogma!

“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact”
~ Charles Darwin (it's evolutionary baybeee!)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Ancestral Weight Control Registry ~ This is a joke, right?

< gloat > LOL! I scooped Gary Taubes  on the
 announcement of the "Insurgency" < /gloat >

Hee hee hee ...

But onwards and upwards.  Apparently a medical student is getting tired of reading about the National Weight Control Registry, NWCR, and is bothered by the fact that the vast majority of registrants achieved their success with more traditional calorie restricted programs.  You know, that Eat Less Move More, ELMM,  that "doesn't work" (just don't tell those prospective JumpStartMD clients). Gary gushes: 

The next order of business is an exciting and promising project. My friend Larry Istrail is a medical student at Virginia Commonwealth University. He’s recently created the Ancestral Weight Loss Registry, to collect and publish data on individuals who have tried to lose weight with a paleo/carbohydrate-restricted diet. He’s also spent much of the last few years compiling clinical data on many aspects of carb-restricted eating in the related science section, such as the efficacy of such diets for weight loss or the effects of saturated fats and cholesterol intake on heart disease. Tara Parker-Pope’s article in The New York Times claimed that the National Weight Control Registry (about which I could easily fill up a few blog posts with criticisms) has some 10,000 people registered in over 15 years. We’re hoping that the  Ancestral Weight Loss Registry will beat that in a few months. Using this kind of self-selected data to do good science is tricky if not perhaps impossible, but it will be interesting to see what happens.
Let's start with that last sentence, shall we?  Yes, it sure is "tricky" to use self-selected data like this.  The only interesting thing here is that someone who supposedly knows better than anyone else what constitutes good science would even tout this joke.  Let's go look at the website. 
The Ancestral Weight Loss Registry is an international assembly of people who have tried a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet to lose weight or improve their health. Whether you lost 100 pounds or gained 20, we want to hear about it.
And I'm an internationally known blogger.  They want to hear if you've gained weight!  Yeah ... right ... LOL.
Why Join? Share your experience and help those beginning their new way of eating. As thousands register from all over the world, we hope to uncover the most effective practices for losing weight on a diet high in vegetables, protein and fats.
Fred Hahn already knows the most effective practice.  Why is Istrail even bothering?  Do you see anything missing on this appeal for membership?  How about the real focus of NWCR -- MAINTENANCE.  Nothing about that anywhere on the front page.  The NWCR, on the other hand:

The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), established in 1994 by Rena Wing, Ph.D. from Brown Medical School, and James O. Hill, Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, is the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance. Given the prevailing belief that few individuals succeed at long-term weight loss, the NWCR was developed to identify and investigate the characteristics of individuals who have succeeded at long-term weight loss. The NWCR is tracking over 10,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time. Detailed questionnaires and annual follow-up surveys are used to examine the behavioral and psychological characteristics of weight maintainers, as well as the strategies they use to maintaining their weight losses.
Let's see what we need to join NWCR.  For one thing, you have to have lost a minimum of 30 lbs and KEPT IT OFF for at least a year.  The criteria for joining the AWLR?  Laughable -- we don't care how much you've lost or gained, we want to hear from you?  This IS a joke ... right?   At right (you can click to enlarge) is the preliminary survey you fill out to join NWCR.

Note:  "If you think you may be eligible to join the registry, please complete the form below or call us toll free at 1-800-606-NWCR (6927). To receive information on participating in the registry, you MUST provide us with a mailing address (we cannot send information to you via the Internet)."

I completed this first step a couple of years ago and received a packet in the mail.  It was a thick pamphlet in a large envelope  (8.5x11).  Yes detailed and quite long.  I still have it here somewhere... it came at a busy time so I never filled it out to send it back.  (Thus it got put "somewhere safe" never to be seen again ).  In any case, as I recall this was a very detailed survey with lots of accountability, and you will be sent follow-up surveys and such. In a word, there's a lot of ACCOUNTABILITY.  You have to give them your mailing address, and as memory serves you must provide some visual verification of your weight loss.  Not a lot of optional there.

Look, I have an email in my possession that one of the weight loss success stories in The New Atkins has not kept her weight off.   If there's no accountability to be included in a prominent diet book such as that one, what are we to expect with the AWLS?  Let's take a look at their Join page, shall we?
Your data on carb-restricted eating is priceless to us. Please answer each question as completely and accurately as possible. All information will remain confidential. The aggregate anonymized data may be used to discover trends and commonalities among all registry members.
Before and after pictures preferred but not required.
You can upload before and after pictures at the end of the questionnaire if you lost or gained weight. The data we receive with these pictures will be analyzed separately since it is is of higher integrity.

The truth will set you free.
Please do not enter false data. This is a medical student's quest to illuminate the truth about diets high in meats, vegetables and fats. We also have some clever statistical methods to detect falsified data, so please be honest.
ROFL -- Instead of relying on some basic time tested means of verifying information, they'll be using some clever statistical methods to ferret out false info.  Real scientific, eh Gary?  You should be embarrassed!!  Moving on. 
  1. Name (optional)  WTF?????   Name is optional?  
  2. Email - the popup promises no spam, cautions only one registration per month per email
  3. Demographic info
  4. Address?  The closest they get is country, state and zip code.  Oooh!
  5. Before, After and duration of weight loss
  6. EDIT:  It has been brought to my attention that the original "How long to lose 10% of BW" was incorrect.  The question was if you've lost 10% how long have you maintained that with LC. 
  7. Is your family fat?  Because we really need to get to the bottom of this genetics/environment thing
  8. Why did you go LC or paleo
  9. What plan
  10. How many grams carbs per day
  11. Did you count calories?  If so how many did you consume per day
  12. Percent cals from protein and fat
  13. Exercise .... type and frequency
  14. How often did you weigh yourself
  15. Did you transition into LC?
  16. Side effects of the diet ... initially, after first week
  17. Other health improvements
  18. Blood panel changes
  19. Hunger and appetite
  20. Did you try low calorie diets in the past?  Compare hunger and energy levels
  21. Types of foods:  Protein sources, Veggie choices, Grains & Starches, Fat types
  22. Would you like to be featured on our blog?  Tell us your success story!  (Don't we have enough of these already??)
  23. Biggest challenge
  24. Advice you have
  25. Before & After pics -- OPTIONAL
Ahhhhh .... very scientific.  Here's the last part:
Can we follow up with you every 3-6 months to see how you are doing? (If you choose yes, please make sure your e-mail address in entered correctly above.)
You can answer NO.  But if you answer yes, please do make sure the email is correct.  Otherwise, don't bother because we're not even going to be bothering to verify email addresses.  Feel free to fill out this survey from each email you own or don't own.  Make shit up all you want ... just beware, we have very special double secret statistical methods to catch you if you lie!  Really!!  No ... really really!!  Don't lie or we will send out the fraud patrol to spam your fake email address.

What a JOKE.  

Notice ANYTHING missing here?  They don't even ask the key question:  
How long have you kept your weight off?
EDIT:  It's been brought to my attention that I read one of the survey questions wrong so the above is a misstatement.  I'm human and sometimes I misread when reading nonsense too fast.  The weight loss to qualify for the NWCR is 30 lbs minimum for one year.  So accurate answers to this question would only be relevant to folks who weighted at least 300 lbs to begin with.  And I guess if someone transitioned to a higher carb diet they would be disqualified from AWLS.  This also doesn't address the greater point, NWCR is about maintenance of significant losses, AWLS is more interested in touting the weight loss w/o accountability.  /EDIT

The NWCR asks that question and then some, because they are interested in knowing if their 100 lb success story has regained and relost 400 lbs over a period of five years.  And more importantly, the whole purpose of the registry is to study effective means of truly successful meaningful weight loss.  In other words, as even Tara Parker-Pope admitted, weight loss is relatively easy.  It's keeping it off that's hard.  THAT was the point of the article, no matter how defeatist an attitude Tara had. 

Mr. Taubes:  There's a reason the NWCR has so few members in 15 years.  Because they VERIFY the info and, sadly, few qualify once you put that "kept it off for at least a year" qualifier in there.  Atkins sold millions of diet books over four decades.  There is NOTHING stopping all of these internet weight loss wonders on low carb plans from joining.  Indeed if memory serves, Atkins website used to have a link to the registry encouraging folks to join to promote the lifestyle.  

If you are a genuine weight loss success and maintainer and have used low carb or paleo to achieve that, JOIN THE NWCR.   Don't waste everyone's time with this idiotic exercise.

Maybe Schlock & Flaw should be changed to Schlock and AWLS.  Sheesh ... I really didn't think Taubes could get any more ridiculous.   I'm eagerly awaiting his several part criticism blog about the NWCR.  They put too much emphasis on maintenance and verifiability I suppose ....


Susanne said...

Ha. I have one of those NWCR registry forms too, all filled out, but getting dusty under a pile of papers on my desk -- because the printer doesn't have any ink in it, so I can't print out the "evidence" photos. (I think another option is to provide contact information for a physician who has your records, in which case you also have to initial something extra on the HIPAA form.)

I don't understand why a new registry has to be started for this purpose. Does he offer any rationale for why low carbers shouldn't just JOIN THE EXISTING REGISTRY, so they can be evaluated using the same variables? Does he think they're going to be biased or something?

(Off topic: saw this via CalorieLab and keep meaning to send it to you: "Saturated fatty acids lead to mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance"
Haven't bored down to the original article, but it sounds like they've actually established a causal chain, not just a correlation.)

Beth@WeightMaven said...

You didn't mention the cheap ploy of using the "ancestral" name while only promoting low-carb "science."

Ugh. Run away, run far far away!!

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

VERY good point. Lots of paleos, and likely even more who fall under the broader ancestral umbrella are not low carb.

Susanne said...

I just looked at the the AWCR page, and there is no sign of a HIPAA form, plus several mentions of anonymity. I wonder if the "optional" name is partly a way to avoid HIPAA requirements. And if HIPAA forms aren't involved, I wonder if the "medical student" has gone through his institution's proper procedures for studies involving human subjects. (Would any reputable journal publish an article derived from a study without that documentation? I don't know those details.) One reason the NWCR envelope is so thick is that came with reams of legal paperwork, including the full evidence for compliance with the parent institution's policy on human subjects research.

Beth@WeightMaven said...

To be fair, the AWCR could be well-meaning ... sorta like Stephan Guyenet and Chris Kresser when they came up with their flawed plan to test low-reward diets.

Ben said...

Um, q6 isn't 'how long to lose 10% of body weight', it's 'If you lost more than 10% of your body weight (i.e. 15 pounds for a 150 pound person), how long have you been able to maintain this loss with a carbohydrate-restricted diet?' ie the question you say is missing. Unless I'm missing something myself?

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Welcome Susane (I don't believe you've commented here before)

I'll take a look at that paper, thanks.

The NWCR came up a number of times on various forums I read and LC'ers seemed to claim just that -- some sort of bias. Only there are Atkins folks on it, just not a lot. Someone pointed out once that the Atkins website linked to the registry to encourage people to sign up (I don't think they do that anymore ... wonder why?).

The purpose is not to drive any agenda other than to analyze what the most effective strategies are for maintaining significant weight loss in the long term. The predictable names are popping up in Gary's comments, as are the "I lost a gazillion pounds in two weeks" comments on the petition. If you have discovered the holy grail, why not sign up then. There's nothing stopping anyone, except that the NWCR will do its best to verify your claims. Why waste time on a bogus survey. Spend it on joining one that will count.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Oops, thanks Ben, I stand corrected. I'll leave this here as proof that I'm honest and not editing w/o accountability and change that now.

Beth@WeightMaven said...

Hmm. I actually thought the question was how long to lose 10% too. But our AWLR friends aren't off the hook -- check out the responses to how long you've maintained.

Dr. Istrail may be well-meaning, but I think he really, really needed to talk to someone more well-versed in statistics, surveys and weight loss! Four options for maintenance of less than a year and only one for more than a year?


Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

I don't see any comparison but I could be biased ;) There were problems with that effort but more regarding the IRB and such. I'm sure there would have at least been verification of the participants. I could sign up under various proxy IP's and emails real and fake 1000 times today on the AWLS. Are they even verifying those emails? Apparently not. Although they say they'll give more weight to those entries that supply before after photos. Since I look younger "after" than "before" that can't be used as a measure. So many could send their photos in reverse. And there's always Kimmer ;-)

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Thanks for fleshing out some of these details. My recollection of all that was in the packet is sketchy. You are correct ... what meaningful could come out of this? Heck, that Dreamfields study that was done by a reputable group with tens of peer review journal articles to their credit -- if not hundreds -- had to be withdrawn because SOME data was collected prior to receiving all necessary approvals.

You would think Gary would think on these things a bit more deeply as well. What does he plan to criticize about NWCR while promoting this AWLS? There's not even an apples and oranges comparison here. We're talking more fruit to dairy or something.

Nance said...

I have to admit GT has managed to shock me here. I am not a scientist and even I know this is hopelessly invalid. If Gary hopes to continue milking his "founding father" niche in the community he needs to be more careful--stunts like this are going to nudge him into the "former guru" category.

Tonus said...

"Does he think they're going to be biased or something?"

He doesn't. Which is why he would rather not use it. :)

Galina L. said...

I read some claims by LCarbers that it is difficult to describe their diet using the questioner sent by the Weight Registry (how often do you drink an orange juice?; how many servings of whole grains do you eat?; Do you avoid the company of fat people?). Sure, it is a big difference between the loss of 20 lb and 30 lb. Loosing 20 and keeping it of on LC is a piece of cake (usually it is a plateau). It took me probably 6 - 8 months to loose 20 and 3.5 years to loose 30 lb(additional 10).

Karen said...

Im on the national registry! How I happened to not put it somewhere safe never to be seen again I dont know but I did get it in. I dont remember a HIPPA form but they did assure over and over no one else would have my info but its such inocuouse (sp?) info it wouldnt matter. Just I was fat now Im not so fat. Somewhere I read the NR doesnt have much on those who lose on low carb because they seem to not be able to keep the weight off. Their "hints" arent used because they dont allow them to keep the weight off. CICO is more able to maintain. According to them. Now if only I could get away from my fear of carbs. I feel I kinda know how an anorexic or bulimic feels. Kinda not all the way for those plagued with the syndrome!

Karen said...

@Galina I didnt find it hard. there was a -0- to mark.

bentleyj74 said...

What next...a sign up sheet at the gas station?

"Now if only I could get away from my fear of carbs. I feel I kinda know how an anorexic or bulimic feels."

No kidding. I was ticked about that. Not looking to add to my list of irrational fears ;P.

Princess Dieter said...

I've kept 30+ pounds off for more than 2 I guess I could join, but I'm waiting until I decide the weight I WANT TO MAINTAIN for life (I'm pretty close to it, now, and it's not skinny, neither) and then if I hold it (please, Lord in Heaven) for more than a year, THEN i'll join the NWCR...cause I'll feel like I'll have something to add...being a real maintainer.

I suggest folks doing Paleo/Primal/Primarian and even Atkins/Protein Power/Low Carb just fricken join the NWCR. They don't discriminate. They'll take the info from any maintainers using any plan doing or not doing exercises. It's just a data base. I think a valuable one, so I hope everyone who is successfully maintaining a significant loss (especially for that mangic number of 5 years plus) will join and give their info. I plan to in future (yes, let me be one of the FEW, the PROUD, the MAINTAINERS!)

An ancestral registry is redundant. Ancestral eaters can just join the NWCR, but hey, as long as they follow the successful maintainers and give us the info, I'll read it , try to learn something, like I do with anyone trying to figure out this weight thing.

Sanjeev said...

How would this further Taubes' cause?

The DIET was known effective before Taubes[0], it's his theoretical explanation that's disputed.

[0] the powers that be probably had an easier time suppressing popular uptake

Sanjeev said...

[1] If Gary Taubes wants real science, IMHO he should START WITH HIMSELF,

Including full disclosure that he's an axe-grinding partisan and a cherry picker extraordinare, and most definitely NOT a journalist presenting a fair look at the available information.

We don't know how long you've had one, but you do now. Enough with the
"I am a journalist"
"with no agenda"
"all I knew was ... worst scientist I ever knew of supported low fat"

And stop the unending stream of long winded argumentation and story-telling [0] (that IMHO lulls people into a hypnotically gullible state) and "articles" full specious arguments.

>> [0] the powers that be probably had an easier time suppressing popular uptake

caveat: Atkins had already "broken out". When I first did Atkins in 1993/94, no one else I knew had done it, and the popular literature had zip on it. the zeitgeist had already shifted when GT's NYT article came out. I don't know how big an effect Taubes really had. Probably some, but not quantifiable.

[0] why is THAT needed in scientific argumentation? It's not; it's there to emotionally hook readers

[1] don't ask me how I REALLY feel.

Sarah Barracuda said...

Ancestral circus shows apparently ain't waiting for AHS'12 (which may possibly save it?). There's this AWCR, which will probably be massively gamed by LC boors (sorry, good netizens) in support of their 'science'/WOE/gospel. And then there's this:

L.Ron? Check.
LeptinMan? Check.
Wee Bee? Check.
Nora Goodgawdshesagenius? Check.
JM? [pen running out of ink...]

Karen said...

Im sorry bentleyj, didnt mean to offend!

bentleyj74 said...

Offended? Not at all.

Karen said...


King said...

Hasn't there been studies showing how lowcarb damages the brain? I think the move from lowcarb to paleo and now to *Ancestral Health* makes the case all on its own. No need for further studies.
And you're on fire Evelyn :D

gpc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gpc said...


Muata said...

When I first received my packet, I was excited so I powered through half of it before setting it aside. Long story short, I should have completed the whole packet and mailed it back the next day because I could never find the time to complete it. Even with friendly reminder emails from the NWCR that I hadn't completed my packet, and was not in the registry yet, didn't motivate me.

I've moved twice since receiving my packet, so it's long gone, but even as someone who was sipping the stevia sweetened LC kool-aid at the time, there was always a -0- option as Karen mentioned. So, it wasn't difficult filling out at least the sections on diet/nutrition that I did complete.

Galina L. said...

Now I read that so many people just don't bother to feel the form, I sort of think it makes me look stupid that the idea of joining the NWR was a very strong motivator for me. However, it may be not the worst goal. Probably, trying to loose more weight on a plateau it the best thing could be done for a weight loss maintenance.

Tonus said...

Not much in the way of a response, in my opinion. That's a lot of paragraphs just to say "IS NOT!!!"

I suspect that the comments section will provide ample entertainment, though.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Welcome gpc, and thanks for the heads up!

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

I don't think you "look stupid" for using the NWCR as a motivator at all! I think it's important to do the prelim stuff when you have time in your life and are prepared to provide pics, etc. Because if you don't sit down and fill everything out in one or two sittings, you probably won't do it. It is not a 10 minutes on a website deal. So I think Muata tells a familiar story. On the bright side, it's not quite as abysmal as Taubes likes to make everyone feel ... maintenance is rare, but far more than 10000 people are out there in the 15 years of the registry.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Gotta love the array of out-of-date mugs they're using. Sigh. AHS 12 would make a nice little road trip to meet some folks I've been interacting with online for a while now. But if things keep going as they are ...

Goodgawdshesagenius ... ROFLMAO I call her Goodgawdhelpus if anyone listens to her! :)

Galina L. said...

@ Evelyn,
Pictures could be problematic for me. It was the reason I didn't listed myself in the Atkins site when they asked. I have some pics where I am heavier that right now, but when I was my heaviest, I successfully managed to avoid photographs. However, I have my highest weight recorded in my GP or OB office.

bentleyj74 said...

I would think anything would do though even if it wasn't the absolute top number. Still...not sure how much a 15 pound loss would show up on camera for most people unless it's a bikini shot so what's the purpose aside from torture? Hmmm.

Sarah Barracuda said...

Kudos to Beth/Weightmaven for bringing some sanity to that comments section 'discussion' :)

Though someone's subsequently bringing up a Colpo link seems to have sent the LC'ers running....

bentleyj74 said...

You could always have one of your own :)

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

I don't recall, but from what Susanne said, the doc records would be sufficient.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

P.S. Since I never weighed, I have the opposite problem :)

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Congratulations Karen!!

Regarding the fear of carbs, have you tried logging a few weeks of your LC diet and then replacing, say 10-20% of cals from fat with carbs for several weeks while monitoring calories and NOT weighing?

Galina L. said...

@ When I was my heaviest I would be gladly never weighted (like I avoided being photographed) , but because I have to renew my thyroid prescriptions every 6 months, I have to visit my doctor 2 times a year and do a blood test. Usually they check one's weight right after entering. My gynecologist office does the same ones a year. I remember postponing visits several times because I knew my weight was on the rise. My doctor stopped checking my cholesterol profile, though.

I just filled GT's form. I am for collecting a data. I found an appropriate space to express my personal opinion about a proper application of a LC diet as a tool to eat less, not an excuse to eat more.

Sanjeev said...

the scientific world won't take my ideas seriously so I'm STARTING MY OWN REGISTRY;
the Philipino psychic surgery registry.

If you had a tumor removed by a Philipino psychic surgeon[0] please sign up. Anonymously, if you want. I understand you want to spread the word about this wonderful treatment with the world but I'm saving you from yourself ... you'll thank me later. Probably posthumously, but hey, I'll take what I can get.

[0] I'll make ONE exception for the Philipino rule - that's for chOPRAH's personal friend, John of God. Hey , it's chOPRAH. Huffpo can't possibly be wrong, can they?

Sanjeev said...

chOPRAH being Deepak chOPRAH Winfree, a hybrid whose production created lots of new proteins.

Sanjeev said...

> What next...a sign up sheet at the gas station?

Naahhhhh ... in the gas station's toilet stalls

"for a good scientific time sign up for ... @www ..."

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Here's a thought! Mary Vernon has been treating patients with LC for over a decade. Surely she has some patients eligible for the NWCR -- encourage them to sign up? The various spin-offs for Atkins' practice? Fred Hahn's clients? The Eades' patients? Eenfeldt, Westman, Shanahan, all the rest of the docs who signed the petition, all of those MD's who signed the petition ... THERE'S NOTHING STOPPING YOU!!!

Tonus said...

Based on anecdotal evidence, LC has helped hundreds of billions of people lose weight and feel MARRRRRRRRRRRRRVELOUS. In just the last few years alone! =D

Beth@WeightMaven said...

Thanks Sarah!!

bentleyj74 said...

I've been giving the LC benefit a lot of thought lately because I do still think it differs from other methods via appetite suppression to a certain degree...and that measure is probably the sticky wicket for a lot of people.

I do hear a lot of "never have to feel hungry" dialogue and that got me contemplating what exactly we are talking about when we say "hunger"?

Pervasive, uncomfortable, can't sleep at night hunger? I wouldn't climb aboard that train either but what about know..."Say, it's almost time to eat" hunger? Is that to be feared and avoided as well and if so, on what premise? What creature on planet earth doesn't experience hunger EVER and how do we know it's not involved in the various and sundry feedback loops and neuro processes and ...stuff like that [she said making a mental note to revise this last bit after a few more biology classes].

Being in a calorie deficit should produce hunger and eating to maintenance should feel different. It seems like it would be sort of dangerous frankly to be in calorie deficit but NOT able to perceive the difference. The appetite suppression will only take people so far especially when people who are eating for reasons other than hunger learn to tweak the system and press up against the boundaries in their attempt to make deficit eating FEEL just like maintenance eating particularly when their notion of maintenance has caused obesity.

This is not to imply that there aren't people who take the ball of low appetite and run with it, obviously there are. Their experiences may unconsciously change their habits kwim? Those people adjust their perceptions of portion [2 eggs and a slice of bacon done and dusted till dinner :)] and satiety and desire and just hunger cues in general. They don't seem to be in the majority though and especially not long term.

Deficit eating is slightly uncomfortable, but is eating to excess. Maybe even more so and people are willing to do it day after day for years. No one talks about eating yourself self sick or makes a boogeyman out of it. Why not?

bentleyj74 said...

Cont for html compliance...

I certainly grew up accustomed to periodic hunger. There were absolutely times that I was ready for my next meal hours before it arrived but I wasn't in any sort of anguish about it. No hand wringing either. The external circumstances were setting limits on my behaviors and shaping my perceptions of what FEELS normal. That makes it very hard to have meaningful dialogue. Perception is reality as far as individuals are concerned, right? If you and I have the same feeling and I call it "hungry" but you call it "starving" we are not going to be on the same page about priorities and decisions.

Let me give an example using another medium. My H and I both love to go to the movies. We have completely different standards for what constitutes a satisfying experience though. In order for him to enjoy himself he needs all the bells and whistles. Big bucket of popcorn, at least one other side, large drink, certain time of day, etc. That is PART of the experience for him. It's what he's accustomed to and he'll feel ripped off if he settles for less. I on the other hand was raised to view those things AS a complete rip off and eschew them. I'm happy and satisfied to see a matinee sans extras. I'm accustomed to appreciating DIFFERENT things about the SAME medium. Does that make sense?

Likewise I expect to experience periodic hunger and do not consider it to be miserable or avoidance worthy at all. If I did I'd likely have to set some of those external limits on myself by calorie counting [or something] if I wanted to be lean because I'd be always working against my OWN perceptions including whether or not I am happy right now this minute. Something would have to concretely challenge them or I'd naturally fluctuate between full and fuller giving hunger a wary eye on the distant horizon and I promise you I'd fight and resent that challenge. Anything that ruins my day is no friend of mine. This is why I think that the most relevant obstacle to overcome is perception. Not because overweight people are either stupid or crazy but because it sets them up against themselves. Their goals and desires are at odds, house divided and all that. I prefer to bask in the soft glow of inevitability that is created when my goals and preferences support each other rather than conflict. It's possible I'm rambling.

rodeo said...


I think that in Sweden at least it would be if not against the law then at least questionable for a MD to contact a former patient and ask them to participate in a non-sanctioned study such as the NWCR.

So I wouldn't blame Eenfeldt for that.

Muata said...

@bentley - No, you're not rambling at all, and I get what you're saying. An individual's perception is crucial in maintaining the lost weight.

Most folks are so desperate to either lose or to keep from regaining (which is totally different from maintaining BTW) that they seldom take the time to actually determine the difference between starving, hungry, full, or stuffed as it relates to them because they're using someone else's definitions, and not listening to their own bodies!

Galina L. said...

The thing I appreciate the most about LC is being free first time in my life from uncontrollable impossible to tolerate hunger. I do feel hungry now from time to time (especially on evening and during the 22-24 hour fast), but I know I will go away in time if I don't eat.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Perhaps I should reword -- these docs have been at it for a while, and in the case of some who no longer practice, the NWCR was around for a while during the time they did. I don't think it would be illegal or unethical to tell your current patients about the NWCR if you're in the "diet doctor" business! So I guess I wonder why all these people at all these LC weight loss places haven't been told about this secret.

For that matter, here in my neck of the woods, I just checked and there are five Weight Watchers meeting places and two Jenny Craigs within 5 miles of my house. I live in a diet mecca. Probably every woman with a weight problem, real or imagined for that matter, has tried some sort of low carb plan, likely Atkins. IF it is the holy grail of weight loss, there should be no weight problem and there would be Atkins or Eades or whatever franchises all over this country now some 40 years after Atkins first published his book. Why did the Eades invest in a fast food Mexican restaurant franchise and more recently try to change the world with Sous Vide if their diet is so effective? Why not Eades weight loss centers? Where are the weekly Protein Power Hours! Forget this BS that the governments and medical establishments have kept the low carber down. That is total BS. When I presented at my doctor's office after losing 60 lbs on Atkins stint #2, after I pointed out the weight loss my doc did ask me how I did it. She did also sneer disapprovingly at the low carb, but when my lipids came back she had no problem with it. So I don't know what the problem is. I would LIKE for my doctor to embrace it as a valid dietary option, but these hucksters with their half-arsed theories undermine that from ever happening. As close as you get is The New Atkins, but still they stretched that quite a bit and sold out to the Atkins name. I can't see giving any of the books out there to my doctor and if I were the doctor I politely decline such offers from a patient.

Sorry ... didn't mean to rant at you specifically there ;)

rodeo said...

@Evilyn (reply not working for me in google chrome)

I'm not a low carb-enthrallad MD so I didn't feel targeted in your rant :-)

I confused the acronyms and thought NWCR was the place to where one should only report if one is a succesful lc-dieter. I agree that Eenfeldt could recruit patients to such an instant if it existed in Sweden.

Sarah Barracuda said...

"I certainly grew up accustomed to periodic hunger. There were absolutely times that I was ready for my next meal hours before it arrived but I wasn't in any sort of anguish about it. No hand wringing either."

KGH likes to say that the enjoyment of overeating is the elephant in the room re: weight loss. I don't exactly disagree, but I think the (bigger?) elephant is that the overabundance of food means that we've lost sense of food as a finite resource (within our individual means). I grew up having to finish all my meals (or having a family member finish for me) because food was *valuable*. Food was never thrown out unless it had gone bad. Nowadays in the US, very few people actually have to worry about literally 'putting food on the table', and any non-feeling-full-ness is easily remedied by just buying more food. No pecuniary need to ever feel a strong appetite, never mind real hunger.

And please no one tell me about how 'expensive' it is to buy quality food. Harry had some brilliant comments over at WHS re: affordability not truly being an issue wrt. real/whole foods. My mother has shopped for and cooked a good number of meals in the US. Once, when she was stranded in the city here for lunch, she stopped by McD's for a fish filet sandwich. I was hearing for weeks afterwards how that $3-4 sandwich was the cruellest injustice that'd ever visited itself upon her pocketbook. Fast food is fast, and an answer to laziness. It's not actually cheap.

Sarah Barracuda said...

OK, that's it. From now on, you must comment only after providing an appropriate advisory.

My brain just experienced the world's most painful hernia in visualizing Deepak chOPRAH Winfree. One that any psychic surgeon, Filipino or otherwise, would have a devilishly hard time fixing.

Sanjeev said...

I thought you might have come across it yourself. It was very popular on some of the skeptical boards for a while.

Alina said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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