It only matters what works for you.

Archive for May, 2012

A 3 cat study

Note: Sometimes you have a lot to say, and on days like that bloggers stock pile blogs for other days. This one was in my draft pile, finished, but waiting for the right time to post it. Since I wrote this, my beloved Tesh has passed on. She is much missed, and I am now down to 2 cats, but the data are still valid, and so is the conclusion.


No rats today.

I currently have 3 cats. They are genetically completely unrelated and of very different ages. They live together and all have access to the same foods.

Tesh is my senior, 18. She currently weighs 5 lbs, down from 6. Her weight has been stable her whole life. She has never been particularly interested in food. If her sisters crowd her at a dish, she’ll wander off and ignore it until later. Right now she gets a lot of extra offerings of high fat treats because its important to keep your senior cat eating, but she hasn’t gained any extra weight.

Neeka is 4. I think she’s an expensive pure bred, but there is no way to know for certain as she’s a rescue. When she came to live with us she was thin, but not starving. Her fur was skraggly and dry. Almost 3 years later she’s energetic and healthy with glossy fur and a probably an extra pound because she really likes to eat the treats her sister Tesh doesn’t finish. I think without those she’d probably settle to a slightly lower weight.

There there is Isis. Isis is 6. Isis could stand to lose 2 or even 3 lbs, a significant amount for someone who only weighs 10 lbs to start with.

Isis has a food allergy.

When she was a very young cat she often had…litterbox trouble. Not misbehavior but rather an upset tummy. Which becomes quite noticeable on a long haired cat. Sorry if that’s a little graphic. Can we say Ewww? But it did make it obvious so I could track the problem.

Because I have my own food allergies, after the 2nd call to the vet to treat an extreme problem I started tracking what she ate and when and what caused trouble. I eventually tracked it down to chicken.

Yes, my cat is allergic to chicken. Do you have any idea how challenging it is to find chicken free cat kibble?

That isn’t the point though. The point is the conclusions it encourages.

I have 3 cats with an identical food supply. One is thin, one could ‘stand to lose 5 lbs’ (like most adults), and one is much heavier than she should be. The heavy one has had her digestive tract compromised with antibiotics and inflammatories and steroids, and foods that made her sick.

Isis doesn’t eat nearly as much as Neeka, but Neeka isn’t nearly as overweight.

How much of her weight problem was caused by her exposure to food allergens and subsequent possible damage to her intestinal  tract? How much is just genetic? (I know her biological mother is thin with a small frame, but her other parent is a nameless one night yowl.)

Does any of this correlate over to humans, with a damaged digestive tract causing truly excessive weight gain?

I think so, but I don’t have any proof to offer. Anecdotally, I know a lot of overweight people. Those who are most seriously overweight often turn out to have an undiagnosed food allergy, like I did. I think this is a much bigger problem than western medicine would like us to believe.

As an interesting aside, Isis *knows* that she is allergic to chicken. She will not eat it. If treats or raw meat are being offered she will smell and if it is chicken I get a dirty look and she flees the scene like it might be a contact poison. Even if it means she goes hungry instead.

Would people learn what was bad for them if we could listen to our bodies rather than external voices?


HCG-sometimes less is still more

On each round of HCG I’ve done, I’ve been hungry.

I could control it, and it wasn’t nearly what you’d expect from the extremes of the program so I just worked through it, assuming that it was normal.

Then I talked to some people, and read a lot more, and realized that really, hungry at all isn’t supposed to happen.

I contacted my doctor, but that can take a while, so I got online, because that’s what I do when I want to find out something, and did a lot more reading.

The thing about hcg is, like any other drug or supplement, they have a dose that works for most people, so that’s what they usually prescribe.

That should have been my first clue. If its what works for ‘most people’ you can be dead certain I’m not going to be one of them. Fortunately my reading showed I was far from the only person to have this problem, so I read the solutions.

The problem is, too high a dose and too low a dose can have the same effect, which is hunger and less than optimal weight loss. There isn’t really any way to decide which is going to be which, but from my reading, I think I might have seen a small bias towards people needing less, more often that more.

I already tend to be sensitive to hormone supplementation. My T3 dose, which keeps my body temperature right where it needs to be, is much lower than most people who use the same supplement, even if they have similar preliminary blood tests. Its all about figuring out what you, personally, need. Since I know I have a tendency towards being more sensitive, and because I thought I remembered the last few days of dieting, when you’re getting off the hcg anyway, to have been relatively easy, I decided to¬† try down instead of up. I actually skipped a day completely, and did really well that day, then went with a drastically lower dose, which is what I’d read about.

Yes! Soooo much better.

The day after that I heard back from my doctor and he recommended that I take my dose up.

The moral of this story is, as always, listen to your own body, your own experiences, and don’t be afraid to try judicious adjustments based on your own intuition.

HCG review-the second part

I did my first round of hcg in February after a scare with edema. I planned then to do 2 more rounds . The plan is going pretty well so far.

My last round didn’t work quite as planned. But I learned a lot. I should have spent 3 weeks after I finished injections doing a strict low carb protocol to reset my hypothalmus. I got my weight stabilized in 2 weeks, but in the 3rd week we went on a long anticipated trip back to my former home in Colorado and I didn’t even bother to try. I went to all my favorite eateries and ate whatever I wanted because it is likely to be a very long time before I get back there.

My weight was up when I got back, but not too horrifically. If I’d gone on with eating like a sensible person from there on, I think I’d have easily kept up my losses. Unfortunately it didn’t happen that way.

I wasn’t really ready to eat sensibly yet. That’s the truth. I got scared into the diet by circumstances. I don’t think it was a bad thing, but I got right back into some bad habits. I didn’t quite gain back everything I lost, so I consider it a net victory.

Plus, I learned some things. I learned I have to actually be ready, and I learned that the fear that is such a popular motivation tactic in our world doesn’t really work very well. Its great for the initial kick, but it has nothing that will hold you to your path once the fear fades. And fear always does fade. Its too intense to hold on to long term without constant reapplication.

Motivation based on what you do want is usually stronger than motivation based on what you don’t want.

For a while a few years ago I was in pretty excellent shape. Going to the gym, at my lowest adult weight. I felt really good, right up until my adrenals tanked and I was too exhausted to care. I want that back, only without wrecking the adrenals this time. I think this round of hcg is seeing me well on my way. I’m getting closer to my old ‘set’ weight, and more importantly, I’m having an easier time with my limited choices this round, and I’m much more interested in planning how to stay on a lower carb program through the summer. Not the strict low carb or paleo that I’ve done in the past, but definitely some guidelines that I think I can handle long term. I do not suffer from a lack of will power once I really know what I want to accomplish.

I still have a few more days on this round. Its a little disappointing that I’ll be restricted over this holiday weekend but not enough to lure me into changing the schedule. Anything I want to eat this weekend will be there some other weekend after all. Or next Memorial Day. Then a few weeks of no-sugar no-starch, which is usually a good thing anyway, then another attempt to eat sensibly until August. I think I’ll do much better this time.

Because I have a really positive goal. A winter holiday that involves a lot of walking and a readiness to put in a little extra effort now so that when the cooler weather comes back around, I’ll be in better shape to explore all the really great things about my new home in DC. Its going to be great.

How are you feeling?

I haven’t been posting regularly for a few weeks.

I’m grieving.

We don’t talk much about grief in this country. Or much in the western world really. We only seem to want things that are happy and easy. Grief has to hide in the closet.

I don’t know how we got to this point. We used to have grief rituals. Wearing black, receiving visits, certain behaviors that would give visual expression and allow our community to know we were in a grief process so they could offer support. Now the best you can really do is make a post to facebook. Perhaps your church community will bring you a freezer full of meals if it was a close family member.

Nothing helps us understand how to adjust to a dramatic world shift.

Is this because of modern medicine? I wonder. Everything is about quick fixes and extending life as far as possible. I have heard it said more than once that the medical community views death as a failure. Is that why its been shuffled to the side?

Maybe I’m just feeling a little bitter because I’ve personally felt isolated and its not like that for others.

Since my training doesn’t really include how to manage grief, I’m just muddling through as best I can. Society seems to prefer that we just get on with life and feel better. I’m sorry, but I can’t do that. I’m trying to rest, and think, and actually allow myself the grief that I feel. In the long run I think that will work out better, but I really have no idea. I’ve never actually seen it done. Which I think is sad.

Who died?

Actually, 2 very significant deaths happened within a week of each other. How’s that for not fun?

L’Eggo my Eggo waffles, blue yogurt, and scrambled eggs.

Its another TED episode.

Robyn O’Brien was a Wall Street food industry analyst turned mom who had a Life Event when one of her small children had an allergic reaction to her breakfast. Then she turned her professional experience to benefit her family and started doing research on “how can kids be allergic to food”. She’s a good speaker with a compelling personal story, well worth your 18.27 minutes.

The point that really hits home for me is that Europe and many other countries looked at the new farming options and the new genetic engineering and the new hormones that increase yields and said “There aren’t any studies that show they are safe, so lets wait a while.” The US went the other way and said “There aren’t any studies that show they aren’t safe, so we’re going to go ahead.”

Doesn’t that make you feel warm and fuzzy and safe?

Me either.

The US didn’t even suggest that maybe we should do some studies on the safety of this stuff. We’re a number of years out on using GMO and hormones and if good research is being done on the effects this is having, it isn’t making news headlines.

Still not getting that warm fuzzy feeling.

How much of the bad health in the US has nothing to do with the effects, like obesity and heart disease, and is actually attributable to a completely different cause, say the horrific, intentional, adulteration of our food supply?