(Not really a science post, but not really specifically personal either, so posted here).
I have been a somewhat regular follower of Dana Carpender's Hold the Toast blog lately. Some might consider my occasional mentions of Dana as being critical, but really that is not my intent. I look to her, as a long-term, seemingly consistent low carber, who is not all that much older than myself, as an example of possible LC outcomes. Where else should I be looking to move forward from here? Those who follow other approaches have their Denise Austin's out there. For better or worse, we don't really have too many such role models.
When I first discovered her, I was looking at pictures of a woman who, frankly, more closely resembled a "before" picture than an "after". Sorry if that sounds blunt or cruel, but at the time I was coming from the viewpoint of a long stall and/or slightly regaining (or feeling like I was), and Dana had clearly regained some of her weight. So there I was looking for answers and Dana was but one of the prominent females in the public eye in this realm.
FF to more recent months, I was pleasantly surprised to note that the more recent pictures from JM's LC Cruise early this year and other events evidenced a slimmed back down Dana. She looks great! And yet in reading her blog I see some disturbing things. Comments how one or two glasses of wine really influence her weight are one thing. But more disturbingly, that she's gained eight pounds while writing her upcoming slow-cooker cookbook. Say what??? Now, eight pounds doesn't sound like a whole lot, but considering that (and please correct me if I'm wrong) Dana's initial weight loss totaled ~40 lbs, we're talking 20% regain there. And, were I to gain 8 lbs of "real" mass (I don't count water weight gains) I would honestly begin to panic.
Now, I am aware that many LC critics will point to the "fake stuff" in LC recipes as a potential culprit for why some low carbers (the non-paleo types) seem to be a bit plumper than most. So I would not be surprised to see her report gains while testing lots of LC desserts. (Although, still, if LC theory holds, there should be (a) no need to overindulge so (b) small tastes should not contain all that many carbs). But desserts aside ... slow-cooker recipes should be mostly those sort of "real food" type meals favored by paleo crowds, no? Meat and veggies ... OK, so perhaps a bit more starch in some of those veggies. Still, am I the only one who finds this disconcerting? In a more recent post Dana describes herself as "fighting to keep her weight off" while continuing to develop recipes for this cookbook. WHY should this require a fight?
So ... it seems like recently Dana has been searching for a "tweak" to add to her LC base. She's given IF a try, looked at Sensa, is taking gelatin and growth hormone releasers, and recently posted about the Shangri La diet. Again, what scares me somewhat is seeing this woman struggle so. Yes, I think weight control for the formerly overweight/obese will likely always be somewhere more on the front burner of attention, but shouldn't it be somewhat less so for the low carber if all we read is really true?
In her words, however, we see that which so many LC "gurus" vehemently resist admitting:
I am not looking for a reason to stop low carbing; I assume this comes as no surprise. On the other hand, I'm living proof that you can, indeed, eat enough on a low carb diet to actually gain weight. Despite hopeful claims, and clinical evidence of a very real metabolic advantage to low carbing, one cannot eat unlimited quantities of food on a low carb diet and still lose, or even maintain, weight. Sorry.
I don't agree with the "very real metabolic advantage" part, but ... there you have it folks!
What to do ... what to do?
I wish I had answers to all this. This is, whether anyone believes me or not, part of the purpose of this blog. To look at the scientific evidence to find answers. The more and more I look at those who follow LC (and I mean the <50 or even <20g/day types) lifestyles, the more I become convinced that it can be a self-imposed dietary prison of sorts that makes losing more or just plain maintaining ever the more challenging. Couple that with the natural slow-downs of aging and, for us women, menopause, and it can be quite frightening. Often times we're talking about those who have shed their weight years ago and should be somewhat "cruising" by now. Again, I don't expect to ever take my "weight pot" entirely off the stove, but I have been able to successfully put it on that warming surface I have between the back burners on mine. Should not an optimal WOE allow most of us to do this? If not, why?