Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weight Loss Update: 09/09/12 - Taking It To The Next Level

Today's number is:

The scale reports I've lost 13.5 pounds since the last weigh-in period 2 weeks ago, bringing my current weight to 265.5 pounds and my total weight loss to 220.5 pounds.  This is my largest 2 week weight loss yet, which follows a period of weight loss that was below my goal of 1% body weight per week and which was nearing a plateau.  This brings my weight loss to within a half pound of that goal of 1% weight loss per week as measured from February 8th, 2012, when I decided on that long-term goal.  Since that date I've lost 95.5 pounds.  To be within a half pound of that goal after 95.5 pounds and 7 months is, to me, quite remarkable, and a testament to the sustainability of the McDougall Diet.  Anyone not familiar with the McDougall program should visit Dr. McDougall's website at and I particularly recommend his video found here: The Starch Solution, and as always, I recommend his new book, also titled The Starch Solution.

 Much has happened in recent weeks. For those of you who only check in on my blog for my Weight Loss Updates I suggest you read my last blog post found here:  A License To Eat: Part II

 A short summary:  It is time for me to address my volume eating, or compulsive overeating, or whatever you and/or your psychologist calls it today.  That is what I've been doing the past three weeks.  I am attacking the problem in the most direct manner I know, and that is to significantly reduce the volume of food I eat in an attempt to let my body and brain learn on it's own what it should have learned decades ago, which is to stop eating when I've eaten enough food!

The Results:

My weight loss is back on track,the volume of my eating is considerably less, and I am making significant progress towards my goal of overcoming my compulsion to overeat.
 The first week was the most difficult and was, to be honest, painful.  I had to exercise extreme diligence at all times and literally had to go for a walk of a mile or more after eating each and every time, which was the only thing I found that would reduce the gnawing sensation of needing to eat more food to a tolerable level.
 The second week was easier, though I still had to walk after eating and maintain diligence in not overeating.  I was quite irritable, especially during the first week, but still into the second.  My wife claims to have not noticed. She is such a dear!
 The third week I'm finding to be easier.  I'm less irritable.  My stomach has shrunk quite a bit.  I feel when it's full and know I should stop eating at that point.  I still have the urge to eat past that point, but in all seriousness, can I expect to be rid of that this soon?  I've been eating that way for decades.  It will take time.  What I'm learning is that if I stop eating at that point, I will not starve.  I may or may not have to go for a walk to ease through the urges.  I am not hungry come bedtime and I do not wake up starving.  It is bearable.


One.  I haven't the slightest clue what hunger is.  I don't think I ever have.  All I know is the compulsion to eat and I've always done so until I was stuffed full enough so that another bite brought discomfort.  Anything less I equated with being hungry.  I don't know if or when I'll learn what hunger is.  For now I'm simply learning how much food it takes to fill up my stomach now that it's shrunk some, and not eating past that point. I believe the compulsion to eat past that point will diminish and go away entirely over time.  After only three weeks I'm seeing a reduction in that compulsion.

Two.  I've been losing weight faster than I care to.  My goal is 1% body weight per week, which at my current weight should be about 2.6 pounds per week. My first week I lost 5, my second I lost 10, and my third I lost 3.5.  A very wide fluctuation, all of them exceeding my goals and desires.  But I've tapered that off in this past week.  I've done that by adjusting the calorie density of the food I'm eating.  Since my decreased volume of food was causing such rapid weight loss I added in more calorie dense foods.  Pizza, bread, nuts, dried fruits, and even some much enjoyed beer!  I did not want to reduce my weight loss by increasing the volume of food since the point of what I'm doing is to learn to eat less food and allowing my stomach to shrink to it's smallest natural size is important towards that goal.  I will continue to eat these calorie dense foods this week (minus the beer), and see what the results are.

Three.   I do not consider what I'm doing to be the same as portion control.  That is a concept that goes against how all of nature, except man, eats.  I do not count calories.  I do not eat pre-determined amounts of food.  As Dr. McDougall teaches, these things are not needed for most people when they eat the food nature intended them to eat.  But I am not normal people.  I have a lifelong compulsion to overeat that had caused me to balloon up to almost 500 pounds. Even following Dr. McDougall's advice on How To Help The Volume Eater I was fast approaching a plateau that threatened to stop my weight loss.  No, my eating and compulsion to eat could not be resolved merely by limiting myself to specific foods, even if doing those things allowed me to lose over 200 pounds.

Four:  I'm paying very close attention to my progress in all of this. So far I'd say I'm being very successful, but I want to keep track of any setbacks or failures as well.  I want to be able to help others who choose to follow the same path.  For example:  Why is it that I can seriously restrict the volume of food I'm eating, yet not go to bed hungry or wake up starving?  Every attempt in my life to eat less food has resulted in these feelings.  Not this time.  The only answer I come back to is that every other attempt at this was while eating an otherwise unhealthy diet.  Sure, it was the healthiest diet I knew of at the time but included a lot of meat and dairy and avoided all the fiber-laden starches I've come to center my diet around.  Could the fact that I'm eating the exact foods my body needs the most be why it's not screaming as hard for MORE, MORE, MORE??   I believe so, and I believe that without knowing it I've set myself up for success this time where I've had nothing but failure in the past.  

 I'm in the very early stages of formulating a strategy to help others overcome their own compulsion to overeat.  Many would say it's way too early for me to be thinking of that since I haven't even shown that this is going to work for me yet, let alone someone else!  But nevertheless, I think I'm on to something here.  The first step in the process has to center around WHAT to eat.  Not Why, not How Much, but WHAT.  By focussing for the past year on WHAT to eat I've allowed my body to adapt to and learn to love and thrive on the food nature intended for it to live and thrive on.  By firmly resolving that issue I am now able to approach the HOW MUCH issue from a position of strength.  
 It's about what nature intended.  I love and thrive on this diet because it is much closer to what nature intended than the way I ate before.  Even though I didn't think I could overcome desires, cravings, and addictions to certain foods I ate before, it turned out I could, and rather easily, just by replacing them with foods nature intended.   In the same manner, now that I've got the WHAT to eat nailed down firmly, I will find it much easier to learn the HOW MUCH if I just let nature take it's course.

 Can it be that simple?  I'm inclined to think that yes, yes it can.  Every attempt I ever made to decrease my volume of food resulted in it becoming harder and harder to stick to the longer I tried.  This time it's getting easier and easier.  Something is most definitely different. As Dr. McDougall is forever saying, "It's The Food!"

 Happy Eating

-Norm  aka John Smith


  1. Norm, your self-awareness towards your eating ... I'm going to say "habits" ... is wonderful and it's thrilling to hear your efforts to change them are working.

    I ran into a habit, and its consequences, yesterday that was an eye opener for me. After weeks of hardly eating any fatty foods, I greedily scooped up way too much guacamole for lunch. I've done that before in the past and the only consequences I suffered were slower weight loss.

    Not so yesterday. My cleaner system rebelled against the onslaught of fat. It made me realize that, like you, I've got to take steps to change what may have been my normal behavior in the past, even if it initially is contrary to what I'm used to. I wasn't hungry for as much as I took but I ate it anyway.

    Thank you for continuing to inspire me and others with your journey.

  2. Norm, I have been following your journey here and on the McDougall boards. I have been eating McDougall-style for a year now and haven't lost an ounce, ostensibly due to the same thing you've posted about --- volume eating. (It must be, because I *do* stick to the plan!) Wow, I'm so impressed with what you've done. I don't know if I can cut my food intake enough to make a difference the way you have. The very idea reminds me so much of limiting my food in Weight Watchers or the other "diet plans" I've tried in the past. I truly don't know how you can do it. Anyway, I just want to congratulate you and tell you that you are an inspiration to many people.

    1. I've tried and failed too many times to mention. What's different this time? The food. If both your mind and you body are screaming that it's not happy then you don't have much of a chance. But if you're feeding your body the food you know it wants, that's half the battle. No matter what my mind tells me I know my body is happy with the food it's getting. So far so good.