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13 Weeks: Sometimes the Bear Eats You

Even when you're doing everything right, things can still go wrong.

by
Charlie Martin

Bio

March 23, 2013 - 11:28 am

Week 7 of my second 13 week season: low carb diet and more exercise, tracking my weight, blood glucose, and body fat. You can follow me at my 13 Weeks Facebook page for daily updates, and you can join Fitocracy (free!) and follow my daily exercise, and maybe even start tracking your own.

You know, sometimes it’s just not your week.

Last week I was happy about breaking through the 270 pound barrier. This week was, well, weird.

I was diligent about the carbs again, averaging something like 15g a day. I ate plenty of protein, and I was oddly hungry all week, but no interesting carbs; my big splurge has been corned beef and cabbage. But nonetheless, my glucose spiked up to 130 one day, my weight went up to 274, even my body fat bounced up.

Oh, and I felt tired and achy all week; I only got like 450 Fitoccracy points all week. All in all, as far as scientific method and careful record-keeping, I’d have to say that this week, I just don’t know what was going on.

Now, the news wasn’t all bad. I’m down to a 42 inch waist — that makes it 6 inches off my waist and 2 off my neck. By the Army’s method of calculating bodyfat, I’m down to 25-26 percent. Interestingly, that corresponds to what the Withings scale shows me at in the evening. I am definitely noticing that the impedance method from the Withings scale is very sensitive to what time I weigh — in fact, body fat on the Withings scale can drop as much as 4 points between 8 AM and noon.

The answer, I think, is I need to get my body fat done using one of the extremely accurate methods, probably the body scan, in order to get an idea of what really is happening. But in the mean time, there is another lesson. Bodies are complicated things, and as the Harvard Law says, no matter how rigorously you control the environment, the organism still just does what it damned well pleases.


Date 7 day Weight 7 day Glucose 7 day Bodyfat Sum Fitocracy Points Weekly Fitocracy Points
2013-02-01 272.50 116.43 33.1 447 447
2013-02-07 272.63 114.57 30.79% 1881 1881
2013-02-14 271.91 110.43 30.36% 2606 725
2013-02-21 273.79 115.29 29.16% 3775 1169
2013-02-28 274.44 104.00 30.00% 4929 1154
2013-03-07 273.11 115.86 30.24% 6022 1093
2013-03-14 269.86 101.86 30.10% 7233 1211
2013-03-14 272.08 112.25 30.64% 7681 448
Δ since 2-1 -0.43 -4.18 -2.46% N/A N/A

Charlie Martin writes on science, health, culture and technology for PJ Media. Follow his 13 week diet and exercise experiment on Facebook and at PJ Lifestyle

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All Comments   (27)
All Comments   (27)
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Charlie,
I don't think my last comment arrived.So,a repeat.Apologies if it did arrive.First, I sent you the cinnamon/diabetes article.Secondly, I've found the metformin/solid tumor article It's at home and I'm on the road. Third,the patient I started on the cinnamon/metformin/low dose victoza is down to 253 form 263 (2 1/2 weeks) I thought he'd lose a bit more.AS mentioned,he's no longer checking his blood suga..And hasn't seen the dietician.I'm very interested in his A1c drop Normally,it's checked every 3 months. I'm going odo it at 6 weeks
FI nally Tim Ferris' "The Four Hr Body" has a good section on adiponectin/wt loss.he uses a diet to do what I do with meds And,why I lie meds. My patients rarely stay on a diet.
Certianly insulin is a necessity,but it was isolated in 1923.
NOte.Am meeting with the Novo people tomorrow. If I agree to do a cpl of clinical trials, I will state here if getting a fee.
Corwiin
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Charlie, I e mailed the basic cinnamon article. I have the metformin/cancer article at home (i'm on the road) and will ge you that in the next couple of days
IMy patient who started at 263 is down to 253# (2 1/2 WEEKS) Frankly, I thought there'd be more wt loss.His waistline is down 6 inches also.He seems allergic to exercise and hasn't seen the dietician.AS mentioned he is on the low dose Victoza.
and a good overview of adiponectin/weight loss is in "The 4 hour Body (Tim Ferris) I'm using medfs to do what he does with diet
Best,Corwin
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Charlie,
A couple of thins that might contribute.Feces and feces.Cinnamon acts as a mild constipation agent. I'm more interested in neck/waist circimfrence.My patient who I started on teh VZ and Cinnamon dropped from 263 to 258 the first week He quit taking his rbs whn it dropped to 109 .Declined 12-15 pts/day.) My yahoo email is elliottmd@sbcglobal.net if you didn't get my reply tp you . Corwin
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Corwin, I've tried mailing that address a couple times.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And that's interesting, I definitely have been a little plugged since I started the cinnamon on Thursday or so.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thanks Corwin. Yeah, my neck has gone from 20 to 18 inches and my waist has gone for 48 to 42, which puts me at 25% using the Army's empirical.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Charlie, you might check with the colleges and universities near you. Many will have a lab where you can have your bodyfat percentage checked in a hydro tank. I did this last year, it cost $50 and took an hour or so but gave me a solid baseline.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That's an excellent idea. The radiological version is about $500 -- not impossible, but $50 is better.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Corned beef has a good deal of elaidic fatty acid (trans-octadec-9-enoic acid, a n-9 poly-unsaturated fat formatted with carbon chain C18:1 fatty acid). Compare C18:1 content of corned beef at 15.02 gr./100 gr. to beef stew at just 1.73 gr./100 gr. & note variation in eladic acid content in the form of beef.
Elaidic fatty acid out-competes other fattty acids for the chance to utilize the body's de-saturase enzymes. The result is not that excess elaidic gets made into cell membrane phospo-lipids, but rather that elaidic displaces oleic acid (& palmitic acid) from getting incorporated into fat cells.
Fat cells "leak" fatty acids in Type 2 diabetes insulin resistance at the fat cell doesn't properly stop the lipo-lysis that liberates stored lipid "fat" molecules. This perpetuates the common obesity condition of elevated circulating free fatty acids. Elaidic acid is more provocative of fat cells freeing up fatty acids for release when there is no ability for the body to use all that "fat".
Excess fatty acids reaching other tissue cells is involved in those cells insulin resistance. Add to this poorer control of freeing fatty acids the dietary intake of palmitic acid (which is not getting a chance to be stashed in fat cells so) that is reaching peripheral cells. Palmitate & free fatty acids interfere with insulin sensitivity in peripheral tissue & then blood glucose rises (since unable to move glucose into cells, like skeletal muscle).
This is the same phenomena of other foods high in C18:1 that people eat who are overweight; consider potato chips at 7.88 gr/100 gr & mayonaisse at 26.49 gr/100 gr. Pacific islanders developed obesity when entered market economies & their canned meat has 15.02 gr C18:1 per 100 gr.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Jay, this isn't very consistent with what happened either. After all, I'm still not eating enough of *anything* to account for a 5-7 lb gain in a day or two. But as the Other Barton notes below, the weight losses seem to come in spikes. I plateaued at about 274 lbs for quite a while with low days at 270-271, then I dropped down as far as 267; then I bounced to 273 and I'm spending a lot of days at about 270-271.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Elaidic acid is trans-fat; all "fat" is not the same.
Here's a 2007 "Discussion" quote which I have partially highlighted in caps. Fat molecules are not passive, but involved in signaling cascades that go beyond whether one may not be "...eating enough of anything to account for a gain..."
Abstract's Quote:
"...TFAs enhanced intra-abdominal deposition of fat, EVEN IN THE ABSENCE OF CALORIC EXCESS, and were associated with insulin resistance, with evidence that there is impaired post-insulin receptor binding signal transduction...."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17636085
I do realize this study dealt with monkeys & not merely 2 days. Bear in mind our adipose cells are constantly shuffling "fats" in & out & about as respond to individual's circumstances in real time - not on a 24 hour schedule.
The interference of specific levels of distinct fats with insulin signalling is part of why those with insulin resistance can see blood glucose swings ( like going to 130 instead of average 110s) even though they are eating very low carb. The side effect is a few more lbs. gained in short term & keep ratio of trans-fat intake the lbs. stay on even if no "caloric excess."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Jay, there's still the whole conservation of mass-energy thing. If I've only eaten a kilogram of food, I can't put on 3 kilograms of body fat.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We bio-synthesize tri-glycerides in a different way than we make tri-glycerides into lipid droplets. Inside the endoplasmic reticulum the tri-glyceride droplet one can the store as "fat" weight is made.
The Fat Storage-Inducing Trans-membrane protein (variant 1 found mostly working in skeletal muscle & variant 2 predominates in adipose tissue, as well as other tissues to a limited degree) makes use of the endoplasmic reticulum enzyme di-acyl-glycerol-O-transferase to process DAG (see below comment of why DAG significant) into tri-glyceride building block.
Since about 1% of the human genome is related to the bio-chemisty of lipid droplets it's possible to for a while make more "fat" into form you can then hold on to than previously were doing. This provides a higher level of leaked (free) fatty acids from adipose stores that in turn exasperates insulin resistance (see below comments).
The attendant incident(s) of relatively more insulin resistance leaves more insulin unused. The higher insulin circulating then itself causes the kidneys to pull back into the body more sodium, which in real time allows the body to hold more water. (2 pounds of water is equivalent to about water volume of 1 liter/quart).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The interference with palmitate (kept out of adipocyte, kept in circulation) by elaidic acid works to affect the voltage sensitive Calcium ion channels. This involves depressing the way Beta cells should secrete insulin in timely manner.
It is because excess palmitate does allow it to naturally oxidize in metabolic processes but the palmitate esterifies. It is esterified palmitate that gets synthesized into di-acyl-glyceride (DAG) as distinct from tri-acyl-glyceride (a.k.a. triglyceride). We stash DAG in among our skeletal muscle fibers & there it affects voltage dependant Calcium channels.
A high fat diet (irrespective of trans-fat content) is notable for surges in palmitate & part of why there are fluctuations in weight. It's partly the signalling phases of insulin resistance altering dieter's response, even if by morning fasting glucose may look good.
In a similar vein it is the overweight & Type 2 diabetics with varying degrees of insulin resistance who continuously leak out free fatty acids from their adipose cells despite having plenty of calories from food to "burn" for running body. Their churning adipose cells put into circulation a lot of palmitate, they can't oxidize ("burn") it all, too much esterifies in DAG, skeletal muscles pluck palmitate enriched DAG, this stymies the largest tissue group that can use (clear) blood glucose & hyper-glycemia prevails leading to body forming tri-acyl-glycerides which lay up as stored "fat."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Charlie's low Fitocracy performance fits in this way. DAG's impingement would have been ameliorated since exertion/endurance exercise raises intra-myo-cellular enzyme di-acyly-clycerol transferase 1 DAGT 1).
Up-regulating this enzyme (DAGT 1) peels an acyl-CoA fat away from the DAG molecule to make up a tri-acyl-glyceride (triglyceride) which can be "burned" in a muscle. This makes the degree of insulin less.
Complications with load of certain "fat" molecules (ex: rising circulating palmitate) can lead to incomplete Beta-oxidation funtioning. Then the metabolites acyl-carnitines are formed & these then add to the incidence of insulin resistance.


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
edit:
previous 2nd paragraph, last sentence should read:
"... degree of insulin resistance less>"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I see a lot of posters here talk about their exercise and attribute some of their weight loss success to it. I disagree. (An exception might be if the time it takes them to do it takes away from their time eating trans fat fried sugar coated donuts) Apparently the real world evidence is that exercise really doesn't work for weight loss. A good summary of that evidence is in Chapter 3 of science writer Gary Taube's latest book "Why We Get Fat". Just look around you folks. When I was a kid hardly anyone exercised and very few were fat. Now days there is both exercise and obesity epidemics. Surely if it worked, we would see at least some long term results. Instead we get wide spread obesity. I know it goes agains everything you ever learned and is counter intuitive, but the short answer is that the body regulates weight and fat like it does body temperature. If you exercise your body tells you to eat more to compensate. Obesity on the other hand is a fat metabolism disorder caused by carbohydrate over consumption and has nothing to do with exercise. That is why we can have both exercise and obesity problems at the same time. Did you ever watch a marathon and see a few fat people running? I have. How could this be? This is not to say there may not be some beneifits to exercise. I sometimes do it myself for enjoyment and also for strength building in my old age. It works for both of those. I never gain weight anymore though because of my no/low carb diet and my limited exercise has no effect. I suspect though if I exercised a lot more I would weigh more. Have you ever seen a lumberjack? Large muscles weigh more than small ones like mine.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Tom, I'm generally a big believing in Taube's stuff -- if you go way back to the start of this, Good Calories, Bad Calories was one of the firast books I recommended. On the other hand, while I don't think exercise has a lot to do with weight loss, when I added exercise is when I started seeing lots of fat loss -- 4 inches around my waist in 7 weeks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As someone who has been a successful low carb/paleo/ancestral health practitioner for a number of years now I know what your problem is. I went from about 230 to my my high school weight of 185 and have not budged from that for years. I can now eat as much as I want anytime I want. If you do it right and really want to lose weight you should not be fluctuating. The answer is to quit eating all carbs until you start losing weight in a straight line drop. Contrary to the government/medical/nutritional conventional wisdom establishments carbohydrates are not essential nutrients. In short they are not needed by the human body to function perfectly well. If your body needs glucose it can make its ownp You can actually thrive sans all carbs. Proof of that are the pre white man contacted Eskimos (aka the Inuits) , wintertime in the paleolithic era, Vilhjalmur Stefansson experience with the Inuits including the controlled diet study with him at New York's Bellvue hospital, etc. (link: http://inhumanexperiment.blogspot.com/2009/09/two-brave-men-who-ate-nothing-but-meat.html). I don't use the word proof lightly here. I know what it means. By your own experiment with low carbs it is obvious you are very carb sensitive. That means you get fat very easily from eating them. After you have reached your goal weight, you may reintroduce some carbs in your diet and see how you react. If you get fat again, stop eating them or at least the ones that make you fat. In all probability your body will adjust and you will be able to tolerate some after your body completely readjust to normal weight. I can imagine you or most readers will no believe this advice but it is true non the less. Just look up the three references I mention and look at the evidence. Having said the above, it is though important to get proper nutrition during this period. I see you mention the protein you eat. The most important thing you eat is fat, not protein. You need to eat quality fats, which means saturated fat and no vegetable fats. Coconunt oil is also a good source, but only extra virgin cold pressed. You should eat lots of fatty meats but only from grass fed animals and from wild caught fish. To insure proper nutrition you should also eat organ meats like liver, bone marrow and sweetbreads which are filled with essential vitamins and minerals. You can also supplement with vitamins if needed. I also recommend making sure you have a proper Vitamin D level which is hard to get if you don't have lots of sun exposure. You can supplement for D but be careful how you do it for doing it improperly can cause metabolism problems. The secret is use with Vitamin K and A at the same time. This will work. You will be at your late teenage weight in no time. The cool thing for me about not eating carbs is like the people surrounding Stefansson you soon realize that you don't even want carbs anymore. You have clearly not reached that point with your descriptions of your hunger, etc. The hunger thing is clearly a carb caused phenomena. Stop them and the hunger will stop. Give it a week or two though to take full effect. I also forgot to mention you can eat all you want starting today on this advice.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It would be extremely hard to cut carbs much betlow where I am right now, running generally 15-20g a day. Completely cutting carbs would mean cutting things like egg yolks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Starting at 180 lbs, I've been steadily losing weight over the last 4 months, at a rate of about 4 pounds a month. I've noticed that the weight does not come off incrementally. What happens is that I plateau for a couple of weeks, maybe losing a pound, then suddenly drop 2 or 3, at which point I plateau again. Sometimes, with or without reason, I gain 2 or 3, but those fall off in about a week. So it's a kind of jerky progression, at least for me.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As I mentioned above, that seems to fit what I'm seeing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yeah, interestingly, here's today's scores:

weight 270.8
glucose 117
bodyfat 29.4%

making me suspect that perhaps whining is an essential requirement.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I know what's going on: you're doing just fine. You can't reverse years in weeks. Stay the course. It's happening for you. Sometime when you climb a mountain there's level spots but if you keep climbing the top comes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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