I frequently read folks wondering out loud why I spend (waste?) the time that I do to post on various low carb gurus and personalities. It doesn't seem like a worthwhile endeavor at times ... and I must admit I occasionally wonder if it's worth the flack and time either. And then along comes another LC'er "helping others" with their wisdom. Some of the people I've written about don't "get me" ... after all they are just every day folks sharing their experiences trying to (selflessly) help others. That "selflessly" is often silent, sometimes strongly implied in their repeated reminders that this is their goal, and sometimes shouted straight out, lest you not notice the generous benevolence in their actions. They may even go so far as to remind you of the expense they've endured to bring you the free service you're using .....
For all the touting of how any day now the Insurgency will persevere, of how the low carb message is spreading, etc., the LC community remains a small niche in the wide wide world of dietary lifestyles and weight loss strategies. It seems to me that, because there are so relatively few, the internet presence is all the more inflated compared to other approaches. In real life, many who follow more traditional or popular approaches have buddies or support groups they can attend. Or there are TV shows they can tune into, etc. Low carbers don't have nearly the options, and in many ways these have dwindled rather than increased in the past five years or so. Yes, despite the best efforts of Gary Taubes, the drop-off of the Atkins boom was mostly staved a bit but not halted. It is because the community is so relatively small and intertwined, that the onus is all the more powerful to put out a truthful and realistic welcome mat.
At the same time, low carbers like to market themselves as health conscious and promoting a healthy diet. There can also be no doubt that many of these low carbers are only known for their weight loss "success story". For better or worse, folks just starting on their own path to LC (or encountering a hiccup along the way) look to others for what they can expect, and rely on those who have succeeded for advice on how they too can achieve said nirvana. I realize it is human nature to want to shout from the rooftops when you find something -- in many cases a long path to *finally* finding something -- that works for you. It's understandable to get a bit over-enthusiastic in promoting it. You gotta try this!! But the problems begin when enthusiasm turns to romanticizing. Compound this with the air of scientific/medical righteousness that abounds in the LC community, and a dangerous mixture congeals. Many seem to no longer see it as even possible that (a) LC might just not work for everyong, and/or (b) anything else might just work for others, even if it didn't for them ... and worst (c) LC isn't working too well for even them anymore.
In any case, when a person turns to the internet to seek advice, because there's nobody in their circle of "real" friends and family that has any experience, chances are they use Google or some other other search engine. Who are they likely to find? Although it's not as popular as it once was, one site is About.com -- Laura Dolson. Another, although no longer occupying the first several links, will be something from Jimmy Moore's Livin' la Vida Low Carb webpire. This is how I found Jimmy's forum back in '09. There are others of course. When you're in this stage, you find a blog or a discussion group, etc. ... you poke around a bit, some don't even bother, but I go read the "about" and if there's time to poke around to find the person's deeper story (just a suggestion, link to this in your short profile!). Obviously one can't be expected to go back through every blog post or discussion board journal entry to get to know the person or they'd never get around to doing what landed them there in the first place.
So this is why I feel so strongly about bloggers using waaaay outdated avatars and the same success story blurb that went with it. This goes to the point I was making about the AWLR -- it's just another unaccountable success story registry. Even if the pictures are provided, who knows when they came from and how closely a person resembles them now. Which is not to say such are useless, but it is to say that they are of limited use to all of us ... and yes, I'm not exempt from such cautionary disclaimers. Still, you look to those who have succeeded at least for possibilities as to how one might be able to follow in their path, and for inspiration that it *can* be done. But the elusive holy grail is not weight loss. Heck, Gary Taubes goes so far in a recent interview as to call losing 100 lbs "easy" (spoken as only someone who's never had anything close to 100 lbs to lose can ... offensive really). But whatever the barriers and difficulties to losing weight, maintaining the weight loss IS the real prize so many seek but cannot seem to achieve. After some period of time, your LCWLSSC needs to become a LCLWMSC -- from LC Weight Loss Success Story Celeb to LC Lost Weight Maintenance Story Celeb. And if that's not the case, they need to be up front about their current state of affairs. Because people who find you now, who read your columns and blogs and FB posts and tweets and emails, etc.etc., are only being treated to the LCWLSS that garnered you come degree of celebrity. And even if the truth is there somewhere other than your current bio, it might as well not be there because you and I know folks ain't going looking.
If you were only spouting off with your opinions and advocating LC to a larger audience, it would be less offensive. But when you give out individual advice these days, that's where you cross a line. Up at the plate: Jimmy Moore as The Thinker circa 2005. (I'll squeeze down the spaced out format)
I need some help - ?????? - Yesterday 12:51 PM
Brand new to the forum. i have been low carbing since January 3rd. Within a few days of starting my ketostix were showing purple and they have been permanantly purple since, i am thirsty etc
every day i have:
breakfast - plain 2 egg omelette - with a little whole milk
lunch - 3 rashers of bacon
dinner - good portion of steak/chicken breast/pork loin with either
salad ( 2 slices of tomato, 6 slices of cucumber and a small cup of lettuce) or 4 florets of cauliflower (sometimes with a little melted cheese)
i dont drink carbonated drinks but will have 2 cups of tea per day but drink water during the course of the day. in the evening i may have 45g of peanuts ( once in a while) or maybe a boiled egg
but i have not lost any weight at all any advice?
RE: I need some help - Jimmy Moore - Yesterday 01:33 PM
Ketone production isn't the goal...fat loss is. Welcome to my forum Jen and I hope you find the support you need here from the good people who call this their low-carb home. Looking at your menus, here are some suggested changes I'd make: switch out the milk with heavy cream and cook the eggs in butter or coconut oil, add some green leafy veggies and perhaps some cheese to your bacon at lunch, make sure you are cooking your meat in lots of fat at dinnertime. The calories seem low on this meal plan, so maybe increase your calories by adding in the extra fat as I've suggested. Remember, livin' la vida low-carb isn't a low-calorie plan where you are hungry. Hunger is a sign you should eat MORE and fat calories give you the best bang for your nutritional buck for satisfaction in your meal. YOU GOT THIS!
RE: I need some help - Jimmy Moore - Yesterday 01:34 PM
Oh, one more thing--ditch the peanuts for almonds or macadamia nuts instead.
The respondent goes on to say that they cook the meat in fat and use parmesan on the omelette, that they're not hungry and during the day and the peanuts are not a regular thing. That's not really important, Jimmy's advice is. First of all, I don't care that he's no longer 410 lbs. His 280-290 lb weight and girth is only considered "acceptable" for a health advocate because he used to be more obese, but he is obese (and frankly should lay off criticizing the weights of the likes of Paula Deen or consider himself very lucky that his weight and diet hasn't yet impacted his health seriously). But this person sees that "after" pic, reads Jimmy's inspiring 180 lb weight loss story and think he's in a position to offer advice.
Funny, isn't it, (sad really) how calories only seem to matter to Jimmy when he thinks they are too low? If this woman isn't losing weight eating (admittedly) what she is stating, adding fat -- "lots of fat" -- and thus calories ain't going to do it. Indeed I think Jimmy's big wrong turn can be traced back to the summer of 2008 when he went to see Dr. Westman for his "reactive hypoglycemia" and had what he calls a glucose tolerance test done. It wasn't an OGTT, it was taking the measurements common for an OGTT following a 5 eggs and a chicken breast breakfast. It was after that when Jimmy took to ADDING fat to everything to keep the protein content down, and basically paid lip service to the advice on portion control he received from Westman. (I plan to blog on this at some point because I believe serves as an important lesson of what not to do, and how even the low carb doctors aren't really saying the take-home message one Jimmy Moore seems to get and disseminates through his various outlets). The only thing missing from this advice was to see if this person were falling prey to chronic cardio by walking daily or some such nutty enterprise. ;-)
Usually early on in LC, if a person is not losing weight, one can bet their bottom dollar that eating too much is the problem. That does not seem to be the case here. And yet somehow when you put people in metabolic wards, even those who would give you their last dollar rather than admit they might actually be eating more than 1000 cal/day invariably lose weight when put on supervised caloric restriction. It's far too early in the game for this person to blame or be worried about metabolic compensation in the face of "starvation". If someone is not losing weight, it's not ever because they're not eating enough. Their body may be temporarily checking up, shuffling fluids around, etc., but all the insulin and cortisol in the world cannot override the energy deficit for long ... and this person stated matter of factly that hunger was not an issue.
So, the next time you find yourself wondering why this CarbSane chick, who achieved considerable success eating a VLC diet herself, seems to motivated to expose the truth behind low carbers, come back to this post. Jimmy provides a perfect example of why.