The Death of Critical Thinking in the LLVLC World
A little history for those who haven't been following along here for very long. I did my "planned cheats" and VLC plan from sometime in the summer of 2007 through spring 2009 doing essentially Atkins Induction with a few tweaks on VLC days from memory. I did not tell anyone. I did not seek any support. I just went about my merry way. I lost most of the weight in the first 10 months or so and lost very slowly to where I'd plateaued (and perhaps started to regain?) out in 2009. It was then that I looked to the internet for answers. I had never heard of other LC plans (e.g. Eades & Protein Power) or the Messiah himself Gary Taubes.
At that time, Jimmy Moore's LLVLC Discussion Board seemed to match my fancy more than others, although I have registrations and read at Active LC'ers and Low Carb Friends, as well as following the goings on at a number of LC blogs. If you're not a member of the LLVLC "wing" of the LowCarbOSphere, perhaps you feel that I'm unfair here at times pinning the goings on of this community and it's satellite friends on the whole "movement" such as it is. That is fair. Perhaps this post will serve as a wake up call to all of you who feel passionate to up your own volume and be heard.
Because nobody needs to be around very long these days to realize that the message is being dominated by one "voice" -- parroted by many -- and the days of any sort of critical thinking are gone. All, of course, in the context of being smarter than the rest of all those dumb researchers when it comes to the causes and treatments for obesity.
Anyway, I joined up and became a rather prolific poster over at Jimmy's forum. Almost from the outset, however, I was reading certain "drone mantra" like posts about insulin and calories not counting and all that. These didn't jive with my recollections from Anatomy & Physiology classes or my understanding of the basic laws of physics such as conservation of mass and energy. I think the first thing I ever asked to get some critical thinking going over there on these issues was "where does the fat go?" To this day, there has never been a satisfactory answer given though others besides me have posed the same question. This remains the defining problem with Taubes' theories. It wouldn't be all that important were it not for legions of low carbers who remain overweight/obese or worse yet are gaining despite "doing everything right" (except for eating less) who are now being duped into believing this is the best they can do with their "damaged metabolisms".
In any case, one of the reasons I started this blog was because I got tired of the continual strife over at Jimmy's any time someone would post something incorrect and -- cuz I yam who I yam -- ol' CarbSane here (aka Low Carb Cheater) felt compelled to weigh in with the truth. Since the inception of this blog, and certainly over the last months or so, my contributions there had dropped off quite a bit. Most of the time I just read a few personal journals of those to whom I related and wanted to try to help "make it to the other side" as I feel I've done. Still, I would not avoid scientific discussions when they came about.
Where am I going with this? Well, for the past few months weird things were afoot on Jimmy's forum. I'll blog on that at some point as I think it provides insight into a degree of collusion that exists amongst Jimmy and his friends to dominate the agenda. This was first made evident to me back when Fred Hahn went out on patrol to shout down anyone who dares question the great Gary Taubes, and landed here around a year ago.
I think it was around a year ago, perhaps longer, that one of my comments on Jimmy's blog never made it to publication. I think it may have been a little critical, but it was civil and well intended so I wrote Jimmy about it. In his response he said he didn't know what happened because he only rarely censors highly inflammatory posts. I began noticing that in the past few months, more of my comments were getting "lost". Those specifics are also a subject for another day, but what inspired this post is that it's obviously not just happening to me.
This much has been clear for a while now. If a thread gets contentious on his LLVLC board, it is the non-LC dogmatist who is inciting things. If it's on his blogs, he occasionally even highlights such posts and calls the commenter an ignoramus or other such unflattering descriptive. Everything's all fine and dandy when Jimmy's in the midst of his latest weight loss scheme. Go Jimmy! You inspire! Congrats! Hip hip hooray!! Such was the nature of things when Jimmy did a (yet another) CHALLENGE ACCEPTED in January. He vowed to eat nothing but beef, coconut oil and eggs until April 1 in his (lost count how many) latest quest to re-attain his goal of 230 lbs (even though he had reached the low 210's at one point). All was going swimmingly though Jimmy bent his own rules adding in "a little" dark chocolate. Go look at one of those big Cadbury bars, or a baggie of my favorite chocolate treat, Lindor Truffles. Some days he was eating 6oz, that's more than a whole bag of those aforementioned truffles my friends! As March rolled around, Jimmy veered off course and basically ate off plan more than on that month. April 1 came and went like April Fools Day with nary a mention of what was going on. At least Jimmy was still posting his weights but he missed his goals both in outcome and implementation. Later that month he went on a 6 day fast that yours truly and many others tried to discourage him from doing. Why? Because we knew what would happen. EVERY one of Jimmy's extreme schemes for weight loss have resulted in a rebound. Many have tried to save Jimmy from himself but he'll have none of it. After all .... he's still not convinced that calories have anything to do with weight loss!
FF to his return from the cruise. His ever less frequent weight reports ceased as did the running weight log for the past several months. That was expunged from the menus blog. The "it's for my health" thing was brought back with a vengeance which sparked me to write my LC Morphing to HAES series. Somehow, nobody commented on these changes there. Really? It seems rather more likely that many commented and Jimmy just sent them to the trash bin.
Now, let me be clear. Every blog owner is within their rights to publish or delete whatever they want. But don't claim to publish all but the most derogatory comments and then censor negative commentary. Or, worse yet, commentary that is intended to be helpful but counters your myopic view.
So ... what sparked this post? Oh ... it's been brewing for a while.
Since well before I was summarily "dismissed" from his forum I've noticed an increase in the circling of the wagons, cult-like repetition of mantras, and outright shouting down of any so-called dissent. Speaking of my banning from his forum, it was not for anything I ever said there mind you, but within hours of pointing out what he himself has addressed on more than one occasion: that many LLVLC'ers are still heavy. Can't have any truth get in the way of all that selfless "helping people" stuff I suppose.
So it was the other night that I was up in the wee hours (not from insomnia thankfully but b/c hubby had to be up at that hour) that my Google Reader notifier registered 2 new comments over at Jimmy's blog. As the man continues his crusade against the USDA recommendations -- because as you just know they are the cause of his obesity -- and questioning the motivations of one member (I seem to remember that it's "unprofessional" or somehow otherwise unseemly to do that) of the panel based on comments she made in Israel we have the rah rah crowd joining in on their criticism. Just about every comment on his blog these days is the choir chiming in. But I had to check those two that flickered across my screen ...
I was rather shocked at the time -- rubbed my eyes and pinched myself to make sure I was awake -- that Jimmy would even publish Fred's comment here. Gotta love the flippant response. But sometime after this Jimmy had a change of heart and deleted the exchange. Too bad because Fred had a very valid point. Why is it so many are so ardently advocating for a change in nutritional recommendations when these are NOT working for them in the long run? This was my issue with Amy Dungan because she has not just the one, but two sets of before and after pictures floating out there on zee internet with her "success story". All the while it has been many years -- probably the bulk of the decade she claims to have been low carbing and loving it -- since she's weighed in at or below even her initial before weight. (This, BTW is what happened to me after my first success with Atkins and I wouldn't in a million years have thought of advocating the diet to anyone when I was heavier/larger than when I started).
In the midst of turning tides in the paleo movement away from the high fat/no starch or sugar model, LLVLC is hunkering down, trying to co-opt as much of the remaining VLC/HF faction of paleo out there as it can, and doing everything in its power to promote a monolithic view of the "proper" way to eat a low carbohydrate diet. In the absence of weight loss success they are moving the goal posts towards the health paradigm in cult-like fashion and anyone who doesn't buy in is extricated and intimidated.
One has to ask themselves why this might be. Me thinks it's the whole painting oneself into a corner thing at play here.
Although I'm much more liberal with my carbs these days, I still consider myself to generally be a low carber. I also would not rule out another stint doing the VLC diet that brought me the success it has thusfar because it might just work its magic again after this prolonged stint of loosening things up. We'll see. Or ... I may even experiment with becoming a bona fide ex-low carber! There's no room for people like me in the LLVLC world even though I remain "high on" low carb diets as one potential strategy to shed excess weight.
I know I am not alone. In the coming days I hope to provide a place that will foster a change in all of that....