From wants to demands
I was obese for several years. There were two phases to my weight control journey. Though it is a single person anecdote, I wonder if it is replicable. Two different people gave me advice 1 and advice 2 and both tell me that people who followed their advise lost weight and kept it off for several years.
Advice 1 (from medical doctor - cardiologist) : Stop trying to pick WHAT I eat. Eat whatever I craved but HALF of what I used to. I clarified that I craved oily fatty foods. Literally my favourite dish at the time was pork belly claypot rice (this is not a rare dish here). High fat high calorie food. He replied "Great. Eat that as often as you want. But share the portion with a friend or pack half home for your next meal.". It was tough at first but I got used to the smaller portions and lost a lot of weight. Then the weight loss plateaued. I was still considered obese (by medical charts).
Advice 2 (from friend who was obese, diabetic and had cardiovascular problems but managed to turn lean fit and no more need for chronic medication of any kind): Intermittent fast. STOP calorie intake from 8PM to noon the next day. NOTHING ELSE. The first two weeks of this were horrible. Not eating breakfast made me feel weak, brain fog and miserable. Then it started getting better. Then I didn't even need my first meal at noon... even 3,4 or 5PM was fine. Then I noticed my food cravings were disappearing. I still love good food and will enjoy food but I seldom CRAVED food. I also noticed that I was more conscious of how I felt after eating and eating too much actually made me feel worse so I naturally developed a desire to eat the right amount.
I wonder if "dysregulation is for life once it starts" is true. I am certain I WAS badly dysregulated but I feel kind of "regulated" now. Would really appreciate your thoughts Walter.
If I may Walter, respectfully.
You should go through Andrew Huberman’s work. I guess, his podcast, cuz he talks about many studies that are very much in line with your argument. I don’t think anyone that he mentioned has put it as straight forward as you are, but he very much focuses on the brain aspect of obesity/diet. As a layman, his podcast is often mind blowing, but also has that “click” factor, where it immediately makes sense, kind of like this hypothesis. Anyone who struggled with any substance misuse, be it food or heroin, can feel in their bones that you’re on to something.
Much love, as always.
Snacking multiple times a day keeps insulin levels elevated, not allowing us to access our fat reserves. We become increasingly resistant to insulin, leptin, and ghrelin, and our fat takes on a life of its own. Frequent extended fasting (36 to 72 hours) allowed me to break this cycle, greatly decreasing hunger because my body can finally access stored fat. The "disease" is caused by modern grazing and processed foods. Right now I eat three days low carb, then Day Four is a fast (36 to 40 hours), and Day Five I add some carbs. Rinse, repeat. Ask me in five years, but for now I am convinced this is my obesity/hunger cure. The Fasting For Life podcast is a great resource.
Walter, thanks for your wonderful work.
I switched to a carnivore diet andl lost a lot of weight and kept it off. I'm still 10kg overweight 4 years later, but I haven't regained the lost weight. Recently I started adding liver to my foods and I'm now never hungry and I've started losing weight again.
I think obesity is at its root caused by eating food that is so low in minerals, vitamins and protein that hunger is permanent. The entire calorie concept is a red herring, it's an abstraction which distracts from the root cause.
Dr. Jason Fung - it’s a hormonal issue caused by the type of food we eat and how often we are eating. It starts a cascade of hormonal issues that increase hunger, decrease satiety and tell our bodies to pack on the pounds. Intermittent fasting and low carb high fat is the answer. I think your idea that obesity is incurable is a dangerous phrase. Almost everyone can become obese and everyone can starve to death. It is just part of the human condition. There is no perfect state as we are designed to adapt to a changing environment.
My mom always made us put one handful of chips on our plate (we could not eat from the bag) and we had a 2-cookie max rule for dessert. I guess she instilled portion control instinctively, and it worked out well for me and my siblings. We owe her a thank you!
As always, thank you! How about the potential role of human adenovirus 36 in obesity?
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20440297/Int J Obes (Lond). 2010 Sep;34(9):1355-64. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2010.77. Epub 2010 May 4 .Human adenovirus 36 decreases fatty acid oxidation and increases de novo lipogenesis in primary cultured human skeletal muscle cells by promoting Cidec/FSP27 expression------------------------------------------------------------------
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20440297/Review J Clin Virol. 2012 Oct;55(2):95-100. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2012.06.009. Epub 2012 Jul 6.Adenovirus 36 infection and obesity
Susanna Esposito 1, Valentina Preti, Silvia Consolo, Erica Nazzari, Nicola Principi
I don't doubt that you're on to something here. People I know have got themselves seriously overweight and then lost it through a sustained effort and look great but have put it back on again a year or two later perhaps because of some disfunction or stress in their lives (COVID lockdowns have done this for a LOT of people) which means they simply cannot control their cravings. That said, if you can induce epigenetic changes through poor diet you can probably do so through a good diet and smart use of exercise. I don't see why it would work only one way. We pretty much know that a ancestral style meat based, low carb un-processed food diet combined with time restricted eating and high intensity exercise (weight and sprints etc) will do wonders for the metabolism and I'd be very surprised if it doesn't induce positive epigenetic effects that make you more resistance to becoming obese even if you deviate from the programme.
You are 100% right as always imho. That mindshift you are supporting is of critical importance and is supported by all the recent neuroscience research into addiction pathways.
I don’t eat rib eye twice a day and I understand that. The key for me is the fat as that’s also a laxative for bowel movements. Zero issues there. I have some rib eye every day and a half or two days. I eat eggs, bacon, butter, Costco rotisserie chicken and frozen Costco chicken wings I bake in the oven. I also occasionally eat salmon and sardines. The other big one is fatty burgers. Pork chops I did once but need to find fattier ones.
I hope that helps
The CICO explanation is wrong because obesity is ultimately caused by Energy loss!
A thermodynamic system attempts to conserve energy - when stresses place a drain on this energy, it responds with protective measures such as Leptin and Insulin resistance.
Obesity is a non- linear thermodynamic systems problem.
To an aerobic diurnal organism it is vital that oxygen/energy supplies are linked to demand.
Therefore, communication systems are in place to allow for efficient supply of energy to meet demands in a Time dependent manner.
This is why we have clocks in every cell and a master regulator called the SCN in the brain which connects to the retina.
Light, oxygen and electrons are the key - not calories.
The “system” does not count calories!
This is where I believe the type of food makes a difference. Binge eating is mainly due to excessive sugar cravings. A lot of weight loss diets are still carb heavy on the macro scale. This is why I believe Keto would be good diet to work on. Have a behavior therapist or coach work alongside with and guide into a new lifestyle. Keto is flavorful and it’s a great way to get rid of sugar cravings completely. Stevia is a great alternative with neutral effects. Usually takes a few weeks to dial people in. Once they see the pounds come off it motivates them to get through the sugar craving phase, which is 1-2 weeks. Sometimes could be longer. Also, people feel more satiated on a Keto diet and it’s also a cleaner way of eating. I do this for a living so this is anecdotal.
When I was eating a low-fat, high-carb diet, I felt hungry almost all the time. Sometimes even five minutes after eating. So I did binge in those days, a lot.
Now that I'm eating keto and getting most of my calories from fat, I very rarely get hungry. Fat is incredibly filling. It is almost impossible for me to eat too much, because my body actually now accurately tells me when I'm full. That's why I've been able to maintain the weight loss.
I find that being keto-adapted also makes it really easy for me to do intermittent fasting. In my case, that means skipping breakfast, eating only lunch and dinner. I rarely snack, because I rarely get hungry between meals.
Now and then, I'll attend a birthday party, or some other celebration, and have too many carbs. No biggie. When I eat a lot of carbs for days on end (say, when visiting my parents or going on vacation), I do have to fast when I get home again, because I rely on lifestyle changes instead of medication to manage my type 2 diabetes. I usually fast until my morning fasting glucose reading is no more than 5.5 mmol/L (99 mg/dL). How long I have to fast depends on how long I was off keto, but generally no more than a week.
Edited to add: I don't think of my lifestyle changes as a treatment. Most things in life require maintenance. Just because my dentist didn't find any problems during my last check-up doesn't mean I can stop brushing or flossing. Same with eating well (keto works for me, but not for everyone), getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. If I stopped any that, I'd regain the 60 pounds I lost and have dental issues.
I'm grateful for your work here. I don't personally have this struggle, but so so many people do. And I always suspected there was more to obesity. This is fascinating, and what a good use of your many researchy strengths.
Isn't high fructose corn syrup, used as a sweetener in Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola a significant contributer to obesity in young people. I'm thinking of a lecture presented by a U-San Francisco endochrinologist
who said in passing that the CDC doesn't call high fruc corn syrup a poison is because it is slow acting.
Sorry Walter, CBS proved It’s Climate Change