Conclusion: CW Doesn’t Work For Me

Well, after about 11 days of exercising every day and maintaining what should be a calorie deficit I have essentially lost no weight.  I did get as low as 200.4 (a net loss of 2.6 pounds) on October 1st, but then I regained a pound and I’ve been stuck at 201.5 for the last 4 days. My calorie intake over that time averaged 1769 calories per day, and I recorded EVERYTHING.  If I was unsure about the calorie count of a food I rounded up.  I did 30 minutes of cardio (biking) on 10 out of these 11 days.  My heart rate (measured via monitor with a chest strap) during those sessions stayed between 130 and 140, which is 73%-79% of my maximum heart rate (60%-80% is generally considered an appropriate zone for aerobic fitness conditioning and health).

The only positive effect seems to have been on my blood sugar, and for that reason I may end up keeping up the biking.  I’m going to stop counting calories though.

New plan.  Based on my Thyroid labs a few months back I decided to experiment with thyroid hormone, and I ordered some T3.  My T3 and T4 were both within range but on the low end.  I could have either tried T3 or Natural Dessicated Thyroid (NDT), but decided to go the T3 route to start.  I received the T3 yesterday, and am going to start this today.  Just took my first very small fraction of a pill – about 4 mcg. I’m going to see how it affects me on this dose for now and increase very gradually to avoid hyperthyroid symptoms.

The timing of this is interesting.  Within 11 days of diet and exercise my resting heart rate dropped 12 points (from the low 80s to the high 60s).  I know that a lower heart rate is generally associated with good physical condition, but it is also a sign of low thyroid.  It’s hard for me to believe my cardiovascular health improved that much in 11 days…the more obvious reason for the drop is a change in thyroid function. See this article for some of the ways hypothyroidism can affect heart function.

Yesterday I felt depressed and lethargic and craved sugar all day (very unusual for me…I can generally take or leave sugar).  And this morning for the first time I checked my basal body temperature.  It was 96.9 – pretty low.  These things too can indicate hypothyroidism, which can be exacerbated by diet, exercise, or other forms of stress the body endures.  I’ve been reading Ray Peat’s blog (with translation into practical steps thanks to Danny Roddy).  Peat focuses extensively on thyroid health, from what I gather so far.  I have a lot to learn and a lot to read but it’s a direction that may prove helpful.

I do know this: when I lived in California almost no one around me was fat.  No one I knew there exercised or ate a particularly healthful diet – but no one was fat.  Here in Wisconsin everyone is fat.  There’s something different about the environment – maybe a lack of iodine in the local soil? – that has a massive effect on the health of the population.

And I can’t forget…my own sister had her thyroid removed after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s.

So for now I’m busy learning.  And trying T3.

11 thoughts on “Conclusion: CW Doesn’t Work For Me

  1. Why not give it time before deciding it doesn’t work for you? That’s what my previous comments have been about. You seem to be doing well in this. Quick results are not the only defining factor I hope for you to buy into anything.

    I think there is good value in you tracking your calories. I believe you said you were not focusing on specific foods, just staying within a set calorie range. If you make any adjustments, how about focus on figuring out what ratio of protein/carbs/fay works best for you within your 1700 cals?

    I hope you can figure it out, but I’m afraid of the rate you change plans doesn’t really allow you to see what is really working.

    Another thought may be to wait a while before you count your exercise calories as food you can eat.

    If you do have thyroid issues, you may see the results in body measurements and clothes size before you see it in the numbers on the scale. At least that is how it is for me.

  2. I just left my comment in a different place, and I feel it would suit here.:

    As most people with under-active thyroid, I have such condition because my immune system attacks my thyroid. It looks for me in US it is not routine to test for thyroid anty-bodies because it doesn’t have any practical use for a doctor, whose job is to prescribe the amount of a thyroid replacement which will make your TSH number within recommended range.

    After I started a LC diet many of my autoimmune issues got better or disappeared, and I am still on the same dose of the natural desiccated thyroid, which works way better than Synthroid because it contains several thyroid hormones, not only T4 (part of which is supposed to be turned into T3, but many bodies are not efficient at that ).

    Sorry, if my comments about low thyroid sound like a repetition, but I am outraged about the amount of people who suffer from the issue – doctors ignoring the autoimmune side of it, prescribing an inefficient medicine, and I hope my comments could inspire others to get more help.

    I think that in my case avoiding grains, especially gluten , and eating a LC diet in general, made the most of positive impact. Right fats are important, but if I had to choose between (1)avoiding gluten/limiting carbs and (2)avoiding O6, I would choose #1.

  3. Have you started the iodine yet? I know you had bad detox symptoms before and that is hard. I agree with you that there’s something about the soil in certain places, or the water? Since (most) people don’t really eat food from the soil of their own towns, but do wherever the industrial food is grown. Thanks for triggering my thoughts I’m learning a lot!

  4. LOL…when I decided to switch to something else I thought to myself, “Dan’s not going to be happy about this…” haha.

    I don’t want to stick with this any longer because I’ve been down this road many times and I know what’s coming. Binge eating and depression is already starting to show up, and it’s likely to get worse. I white-knuckled it for 11 days because I’m determined to give things a chance, but every day I felt deprived and a little burdened. Life shouldn’t be like this. Animals in their natural habitat eating the appropriate diet for themselves don’t become obese and don’t develop metabolic syndrome. I’m trying to find something I can live with (meaning, I’m not thinking about food all the time) which will afford me the energy to live a full life. I doubt myself sometimes, get frustrated, and come back to conventional wisdom because there’s a part of me that says “There’s no way everyone can be wrong.” I still think everyone is wrong. I’m going to find what works for me. Thanks for hanging around here, and for speaking up!

  5. Galina – thank you for your comment. My sister also has autoimmune thyroid problems. I’ve been tested and I don’t have the antibodies, so at least I have that going for me. I agree that avoiding gluten is a good idea, given that eating it has been shown to increase zonulin – in everyone, not just in people with “gluten sensitivity” or celiac disease – which makes the intestine more permeable and opens the door to numerous health problems. I haven’t had luck limiting carbs so far – my fasting blood sugar has remained high even when I eat fewer than 10g of carb per day, and it leaves me feeling low-energy. I know that works for a lot of people though, and I’m glad you’re one of them. I did feel better limiting carbs compared with eating a standard American diet, but I really think that’s just because I stopped eating gluten. Thank you again for your comments about thyroid – if most people knew what you know, there would be a revolution in thyroid health.

  6. Hey Kim – I haven’t started iodine again, but it’s very much on my mind. I think I know what my problem was with the iodine last time. I was sort of skipping over that whole “eat a lot of sea salt every day” thing because my blood pressure was high and I didn’t want to make things worse. I’ve since learned that to detox properly you really need that 1/2 tsp of salt a day (sodium chloride) because the bromide attaches to the chloride, facilitating elimination of the nasty stuff. I was salt-phobic, so the bromide probably had nowhere to go and wasn’t being eliminated effectively. My blood pressure crept up with my weight – after I lose a bit and it lowers again I’m going to try iodine again. I think it’s one of the smartest and least expensive things to do for your health. Re: the iodine-poor soil…yeah, I don’t know exactly why folks in the Midwest look like they do compared with other parts of the country. I do know they call this the “goiter belt” which suggests people around here get less iodine. Worth learning more about. 🙂

  7. I can see how you would feel deprived. It’s s fact that we (you and I) can’t eat any way we would like. I am not saying you should continue a plan that us not working for you. I’m saying before giving it up, try making adjustments. Just a guess, too many of your calories are going to fat. That’s not hard to be dissatisfied since your fat calories won’t be as bulky or filing as your carb and protein calories.

    So instead of absolutely determining it doesn’t work, what would be the harm in increasing your veggie intake to see if that helps to keep you from feeling life you’re not eating enough. I don’t have a problem with healthy fats but I can see how you would reach your calorie limit quickly with a higher fat diet.

    I definitely don’t want you to go down the path of depression and binging. I hope you figure this thing out. Really, I do.

    I don’t know what that says about me that you already knew what my reaction would be and you don’t even know me lol.

    Bottom line is I know you’ll do what makes sense to you. My hope is that you find a way to adjust your plans rather than start over because it feels like you can declare any plan as unsuccessful if you try hard enough.

    I struggle with removing gluten from my diet completely (seems when I crave teriyaki chicken I can easily forget it’s not gluten free) so the fact that you have been able to do that is impressive to me!

  8. Dan – Thanks for your compassionate note. I know you want good things for me and I appreciate you’re willing to challenge me to see things a different way. I spent about 20 years trying to follow TRUE conventional wisdom – low fat, low cal dieting. It doesn’t work. Nutritionally, people are designed to eat fat. When low-fat dieting for long periods of time my nails, skin, and hair become dry and I become depressed. I’m sure it’s possible to bear down and force oneself to cut out an entire macronutrient and lose weight (I’ve done this, over and over) but I’ve immediately regained every time because I feel completely DRIVEN to overeat – for weeks at a time. I suspect that’s biology trying to get badly needed nutrients into the system. I don’t binge eat if I’m not restricting access to food and nutrients. For me, at least, bingeing is not emotional – it’s biological.

    I’m looking at this from a bigger picture perspective now. Why are 2/3 of Americans fat now? Why are 1/3 obese? Why does the rest of the world see Americans as a bunch of fat people with guns? (<–slightly off topic). Why don't other species get fat? Don't they like food too much too? Humans – and specifically Americans – are doing something wrong. Do we all have emotional problems that cause us to overeat? I doubt it. The rest of the world is emotionally screwed up too.

    95% of low-fat low-cal diets fail. We're doing something wrong, and I want to find out what the right thing to do is!

  9. I am not suggesting you remove fat from your diet. I thought it might help you to work with the ratios to see if you can come a happier place as far as being satisfied overall. I know I have heard people say that increasing your fiber intake helps but for me it’s protein. I don’t think my way with absolutely work for any random person, that’s why I was suggesting you change it up a bit before giving up totally. In my eyes, your feelings about this plan setting you up for a binge makes me think you would benefit from lower calorie items that are more filling. Higher fat items wouldn’t fit that category but that doesn’t mean you have to competely eliminate them.

    I am not trying to force the issue with you but I did want to make it clear that I’m not just suggesting you cut out fat and all your worries will go away. I was just thinking that whatever plan you try, it doesn’t have to be black/white or off/on.

  10. I didn’t quit the plan because of my feelings about bingeing. I quit because my body is showing signs of a slowed metabolism – low body temp, lowered heart rate, not losing on less than 1800 calories per day, sugar cravings (which I’m learning can indicate poor energy metabolism). These factors plus my labs indicate a compromised thyroid. I’m addressing the thyroid problem now. I’m not going to continue doing what pissed off my thyroid (low cal dieting and cardio). I hope that’s more clear.

    I’ve been on this diet rollercoaster so many years that I know when things aren’t working. I’m just not going to stick with a plan that is further screwing up my health. That’s diet industry insanity at it’s finest.

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