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I Eat Real Food, Why Can’t I Lose Weight?!

Read a recent comment at the blog from a reader, Amanda, who is struggling to lose weight even though she has been eating a Real Food diet…

I want some help or advice–I fully agree with what you talk about and we’ve made some major changes so that the majority of our diet is real food, however I am quite overweight (I’m obese, really–300 lbs). I was large as a child despite being HIGHLY active (we ate a very fake high carb, low nutrient diet), but then I lost weight on Atkins for a few years at the end of high school and kept my weight to a very active and muscular 180. When the doctors said Atkins was bad for your kidneys, I stopped doing that and returned to fruits/vegetables, real food, but the weight flew back on in about 3 years. I am not overly active (my job and school both require sitting), but do speed walk uphill (treadmill on full incline) 3-5 times a week for 30-45 minutes in addition to walking across campus twice a week at school and trying to make our weekends active–like lawn work or walking at the beach.

Do you have any suggestions on how to lose weight? Of course people think I’m crazy when I support real sugar, not the fake stuff, or full fat milk and real butter, etc. because I’m obese, but most importantly, I want to know how I’m eating healthy and still so big! To be sure, we do not eat large portions or overdue the rich foods. (Sample day: free range egg, boiled or over medium and half bagel for breakfast with in season fruit, snack of organic yogurt or cheese stick, lunch-leftovers of a small container usually couple pieces of free range chicken/beef and a vegetable, snack-banana, dinner-piece of grilled free range chicken with vegetables sauteed in olive/coconut oil, or grass fed beef with vegetables in a tortilla.) I’m allergic to pork, so we have mostly chicken with beef about 2 times per week, sometimes seafood one day (hard to find any good wild seafood so we avoid it often).”

My reply:

First of all, have you seen this post on low-carb diets & the kidneys?

My first inclination when I saw your comment is to notice the half bagel, breakfast fruit, banana, and tortilla – all quite a bit of carbs, not to mention the others that probably sneak in if you’re like I am! Keep in mind that many people insist that low-carbing isn’t the answer, but I do still lean that way because I’ve seen so many achieve better health eating lower-carb diets. It’s something that each person needs to figure out for themselves.

Another note, though… Someone very close to me is in your same boat, but even with very low carb (and high healthy fats), she’s not able to lose weight. I wish I knew how to help her, my guess is that it has to do with her occasional inconsistency with it, but also I think it’s because of her years and years of low-fat dieting that drove her weight up and now her metabolism is just messed up. (She also still eats conventional meat, this could have a lot to do with it, since those animals are fed in a way to increase their weight, which does the same to us when we eat it – read about healthier meat choices.) I wish I knew how to help her somehow “reset” her body. My next suggestion for her, and you, is to go see a naturopath or holistic healthy practitioner who can look at some deeper issues, as there very well could be more going on that we don’t know about.

We need you!

Are you or someone you love struggling with the same problem? Even better, I’d like to hear from those who have struggled with this, but did finally figure out how to lose weight. Help!


  1. Fermented foods? Perhaps she needs to add probiotic (in food, of course!) to her diet so that she can digest/process/heal.

    I too, would go back to low carb. I am assuming the only reason she eats the carbs she does is for her kidneys, so since it worked before, and the proof it is bad for you kidneys is slim at best, I would do a whole food atkins/paleo kinda diet.

    It might also help to cut out dairy (but keep butter!) I notice I loose weight faster when I am off dairy, although I usually do not gain back once I reincorporate.

    Good luck! Let us know if any of this works!

  2. I too would do low carb and do real foods. Carb count, to be specific, is at 130 g per day. Not Atkins low, but much lower than the “normal” american diet, that’s for sure. I’ve been able to lose weight with moderate excercise 5 times a week. When I find I gain or maintain is when I’ve not tracked what I’ve eaten and I know my carb count is way to high. I was given this guideline by my RD and with guidance to eat like a diabetic (although I am not one) HOpe this helps!

  3. I am not overweight so I dont know why I’m jumping in here, but I agree about cutting out the bagels and even bananas. I am having a hard time maintaining my weight where I want it to be, and have to pretty much cut out all grains and dairy (except butter and some shredded cheese in otherwise protein-rich dishes) and all sugar. And rarely snack. If I let any of those things creep in, my weight just will not budge. It’s frustrating to say the least.

    Also, I wonder about acupuncture, as it probably is a metabolism issue.

    Best of luck!!

    • I agree. Look for those underlying issues with a physician. Both my mom and sister have thyroid issues and that messes up their weight big time :(
      For Amanda, I hope you can find some relief. I can imagine how frustrating that is! I really hope the best for you!! Let us know how it works out 😀

  4. I do well when I eat more fats. If it’s not a case of something lie adrenal fatigue, Amanda, you may want to try the four hour body diet. It’s slow-carb, meaning very low carb for most of the week, then one “binge” day where you can have all the carbs (sugar and grain) you want. Cheeseslave has been doing this for a while and is reporting success.

    • That Four Hour Diet thingy was given a thumbs down by WAPF. I just read it in the most recent edition of the WIse Traditions Journal. It will probably be in the online archives in a month or two.

  5. My suggestions would be to eliminate bread and sugar; eat more vegetables; and include strength training! You have to build muscle….

  6. As a Holistic Health Coach I have had several clients with a similar situation. A couple of things may be contributing. One may be food sensitivities. Even if you are eating real food, if your body is sensitive to one or more of them, it can contribute to the difficulty losing weight. I had a particular client that I worked with to determine her sensitivities, which she later confirmed with a blood test. Once she removed those from her diet – one of them was actually beef – she dropped weight quickly and her PMS lessened significantly. A good resource is The False Fat Diet by Elson Haas. Don’t agree with his diet suggestions, but he explains how sensitvities can be the problem. The other issue is metabollic typing – you may be eating the wrong foods for your metabollic type – protein, carb or mixed. Even if you’re a carb type, majority of carbs are best from vegetables. A great resource for this is – search nutritional typing to take a quick online ‘test’ to point you in the right direction. Hope this helps – keep the faith!

  7. I’m in the same boat, and it takes LONG time for me to lose weight. I gained it almost overnight as a reaction to depo provera (nasty stuff) but it’s taking me 5 years of yo yoing and it’s still not coming off as fast as I’d like. I have to make a real effort at counting calories plus eating real food, low carb as in one serving of starch a day (I don’t worry about the carbs in green vegetables, for example). In terms of counting calories, they need to come from real food and I need to stay within a specific range. Too low and I actually gain weight.

  8. I was not hugely overweight, but felt rather unhealthy in general. I have had great success with the primal/paleo way of eating, so my carbs come from vegetables & fruit.
    Good luck Amanda! :)

  9. Adequate sleep is very important. I’d also look into adrenal/thyroid tests to see if there are issues there. After those two, if she has the energy and wherewithall I’d start lifting weights/interval training. Cut out sugar too – sure fire way to lose weight and overall better health!!

    Good luck!!

  10. Well this is one area that I work with a lot of clients on. I’m still on my weight loss journey, personally, but I’ve lost about 120 lbs so far. (YAY!)

    There are certainly underlying issues here- I’d love to investigate gut issues (dysbiosis/candida, food allergies, etc), endocrine issues (adrenal/thyroid, etc), digestion, and toxicity (especially our friend the liver). I can’t get too specific without really looking at what’s going on with this woman at a clinical level, but there are certainly some other factors at play. Cutting out those carbs/sugars is extremely important, because I absolutely suspect some underlying blood sugar imbalances.

    To illustrate how complicated this can all be: My personal struggle has been with healing the gut, liver, adrenals, thyroid, food issues, candida, lymph problems, poor digestion (protein and fat) after years on SAD and over 7 years of constant antibiotics (constant) and steroids as a child. Not to mention a whole lot of “conditions” and “illnesses” piled on top of one another- fibromyalgia, CFS, migraines, blah blah- the usual laundry list that boils down to poor diet and mistreated body! :)

    • Where are you located? I’m in Virginia so if you’re not near me, do you know anyone in the same line of work and thinking for me to start working with? I had taken many antibiotics multiple times per year for chronic sinus infections and suffered with gut issues, but I think I found a good probiotic (plus a yogurt or two a day, no sugar added) that really keeps that well now. I do suffer from ovarian cysts, I don’t know where that could play? Please email me if you have anything else to ask, etc.

      • Amanda,
        Not sure if you are the same Amanda Kelly is writing about; however, it sounds like you may have Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrom (PCOS). If this is the same Amanda this would completely explain your weight issues. There is still much unknown with PCOS, it is a metabolic disease and at the heart of it, it is a core problem of insulin resistance. I have PCOS and have been overweight in the past. Basically your body is always fighting you rather than working with you. Women with PCOS are more inclined to have thyroid issues as well. Personally I lost my weight by doing elliptical nearly every single day. I lost it slowly, but personally I think weight is more likely to stay off when you lose it slowly. You have to develop a way you can eat healthy every day of the rest of your life. Not a “diet”, but a lifestyle.

  11. I was like this. We had done a lot of diet changes and I lost a little weight but not a lot. I would loose weight and then gain a lot quickly. It was a crazy cycle. I went to a doctor who addressed thyroid, adrenal, and hormone problems and treated them using bioidentical hormones. He put me on a very strict diet. Basically an anti-candidia diet and the first month. I was on it for the first month and he called to check on me (not your normal doctor) to see how I was doing. He did not want any negatives. I asked when I was going to loose weight and he said I had to balance my body first. I also had a book called the Fat Flush diet and she talked about why it was important to loose inches versus the weight. If you were significantly overweight you probably had a fatty liver and you would be loosing the fat from the liver. I did not loose any weight for over a month. I lost six inches in the waist. The doctor does not want me to have any grains. Even rice, corn, or oats. It has been another lifestyle change but I have lost 8 dress sizes and 35 pounds. I no longer have to take blood sugar meds or blood pressure medicine either. It can be overwhelming when you have that much weight to loose but you can do it.

  12. My first thought is that you have some hormonal imbalance going on, possibly thyroid. My MIL was unable to lose weight, despite eating tiny portions and frequent exercising. Until, that is, she started on some natural thyroid treatments and began to explore fermented foods and additional fats, especially coconut oil. She also went off all grains and sugars. Suddenly the weight flew off and she was almost worried she’d lose too much at one point!

    I would seek a qualified naturopath in your area to assess your hormonal situation and see if a special diet (esp. no sugar/grain) is appropriate for you. Additional probiotics, especially from food, are good. More fat, especially coconut oil and real butter. I’d even recommend GAPS. It’s the only way I know to try to solve these problems. A naturopath could check your vitamin levels too and recommend if you need supplements, and also possibly herbal preparations you could take.

  13. I understand your problem soooooooo well. I spent 6 months on GAPS diet(which is very low carb) and did not lose a pound – actually, I gained weight! I recently went and had a hair analysis which showed I had adrenal fatigue and a very low metabolism. It is so frustrating because I really want to lose the baby fat from my last pregnancy ( 2 years ago). Right now, I am trying a low carb high fat diet where I count my calories. If I don’t lose weight this way, I am just going to have to be patient. Maybe my adrenals will heal and my metabolism will speed up. I don’t know. it is very frustrating, especially as I am only 26.

    • Hey Andrea…where did you have hair analysis done? Was it terribly expensive?

      I went on a Cuh-razy “doctor supervised” 550 calorie a day protein shake diet about 4 years ago. I lost weight FAST and looked FANTASTIC….and the second I started eating normal…I put on MORE quickly :( I think I messed my metabolism up really bad that way too because losing weight has been a real struggle ever since.


  14. The advice to seek out a natural health care provider who can investigate with you your adrenal/hormone/thyroid/ and gut health sounds very wise to me! I also agree with the no-grain (and no starchy vegetables like potatoes) thing as well as investigating food sensitivities. My daughter has multiple food allergies that were discovered about 1 1/2 years ago. Cutting out those foods made a big difference for her in her skin (acne), energy levels, and weight (she was not very overweight, but sort of “puffy” and her body has always leaned towards wanting to put weight on). She started the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet a couple months ago (which focuses on healing the gut/dysbiosis by cutting out grains, starchy vegetables, and complex sugars while supplementing with a high quality probiotic) and has seen even MORE improvement. The cool thing about GAPS is that if there are food sensitivities/allergies, it will generally correct those as well.

    As far as healthy fats go, I will add that coconut oil has been proven to help people lose weight. It is very good for thyroid health, speeds metabolism, and is “burned” very efficiently as fuel. Plus it is anti-microbial so it helps to fight candida too.

  15. I’ve not seen any comments related to this yet, but another issue to possibly address (not saying this is specific to you, Amanda–just wanted to throw it out there in case it helps!) is overeating.

    No matter how healthily or wholesomely one is eating, if you’re eating outside the boundaries of hunger, you will gain weight.

    I bring this up from personal experience as I struggled with disordered eating for most of my 20s. For many years I ate to satiate my emotions rather than my appetite.

    Two years ago I discovered Kelly’s blog, Weston Price, etc., etc. and I began changing the kinds of food I ate, in hopes of losing the extra 15 lbs. I couldn’t shake, and to feel healthier. However, I was still very much in a pattern of emotional eating, so no matter that I was eating healthy coconut oil, raw milk, pastured eggs, etc., I still wasn’t listening to my body’s hunger signals and was eating more than I needed.

    After 6 months of counseling with an eating disorders specialist last year, plus reading Geneen Roth’s revelatory Women, Food & God, I’ve reached a place where I simply eat intuitively, meaning what my body wants, when I want it, and stopping when my physical hunger is sated. And I’ve lost about 8 lbs. in the last 4 months by not abusing food to deal with emotions.

    The other commenters are certainly right to point out the need for testing metabolism, adrenals and thyroids, but my own personal opinion is that for a lot of women, food is closely tied to emotions and mental state, and so I wanted to bring up the possibility of examining one’s relationship with food, too.

    Good luck, Amanda!

  16. As always, there’s not just one thing or one change a person can make in order to loose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Eating REAL food is a great start. By consuming less foods with the additives, hormones, and chemicals that are designed to mess with your Hypothalamus and thus your metabolism as well as other hormones, a person can begin to gain the necessary micronutrients that would be lacking otherwise.

    There is something to be said about a ‘lower-carb’ diet. Often a person who starts this style of diet ends up consuming less calories due to the lack of grains, legumes, breads etc, and therefore loosing some weight. THose who choose eat nearly NO carb foods (ie lots of meat and protein no fruit and few veggies) worry me for a few reasons: renal problems, lack of fiber and other essential nutrients. By consuming a nearly NO Carb diet, one will loose weight initially due to loss of retained water- nearly everyone who attempts this diet will gain weight shortly after it is lost because fat has the highest amount of Calories per gram of all the macronutirients ( 9 Calories /gram compared to protein and carbs which both have 4 Calories/gram).

    With all that said, here are my tricks that have taken my BMI from 39.9 (gasp!) to 28.3 since August of 2010.
    1. I NEVER expected to be a calorie counter, but I find it to be nearly #1 in helping me eliminate so much weight. If you take in more than you are putting out, you will gain weight.
    2. Eat REAL food- whole food- Organic and Local as much as possible- you will get more don’t eat out- you will ALWAYS know what you are getting from your own home cooked meals. Eat fresh caught fish when possible- When choosing meat, buy grassfed, hormone free, free range, local, organic, following that criteria will not only support your local farmer, but provide your body with more Omega fatty acids than meat from conventionally raised animals.
    3. Make veggies the largest portion of meals. This gives the body important micronutrients, enzymes, and little bit of fiber to help keep the digestive tract healthy and clean. Filling up on veggies is not only low Calorie, but will trigger the release of the hormone leptin, telling you body you are full and decrease the ‘hunger hormone’ gremlin. Keep cooking to a minimum this will save time (who doesn’t like that?:) and anything cooked has an increased glycemic index which your body will use up faster possibly causing a bit of a crash and thus need for more(food) resulting in excess Calories consumed.
    4. After living Gluten free for many years, I stopped eating all grains, sugars (besides what is in my fruit), and most processed foods with the exception of a little dairy. I get most of my fiber from my veggies, nuts and seeds. Sometimes I will add about 2 TBS of garbonzos or red lentils on my salad which seem to have a more positive effect on the wellbeing of my entire body than do grains.
    Grains are quite dense and often high on the glycemic index. When I consume them, I find I just want more, and more – often causing a crash or hangover-like symptoms.
    5. I have always had a love affair with cheese- sigh- it’s my vice :) I choose lowfat cheeses only like feta and fresh mozzarella. I limit my intake to about 30 grams /day. Raw organic cheeses are more ideal I have a bit of trouble with hard cheeses, as they seem more addicting and tend to cause mild constipation than those soft low fat cheeses. I do believe dairy of all kinds should be limited to a few times a week- not an everyday item as the Food Pyramid and the most recent Food Plate (?) recommend.
    6. Cultured dairy is a great may to get those wonderful probiotics to keep your digestive flora flourishing to ward off any ‘other’ bacteria or avenue virus’s. Choose lowfat or nonfat cultured yogurt instead of sour cream. I use Greek yogurt- it’s soooooo thick and full of more protein than regular yogurt since the whey is removed. It’s also a GREAT ice-cream replacement. I haven’t ever really been an ice-cream eater, but I love my new dessert: Greek yogurt, frozen berries (or fresh when in season), and a little bit of powdered stevia leaf. Greek yogurt parfait anyone?
    7. Cultured foods like Kim-chi, raw vinegar, sauerkraut (mmmmmm Bubbies makes a yummy one and pickles too!) and miso are another way to get increase intestinal flora.
    8. After following these things (and more), I felt zoo much better after only a week or so, that I was able to MOVE! I wanted to move. I found myself running around in my house just doing simple tasks. I would run down the hallway to get to the next room. It seemed CRAZY at the time and I would often surprise myself each time I would get up to get up and run as I have never been a runner. Now obtaining regular exercise is much more feasible than before and I look forward to my sweaty Bikram yoga class- which just increases my energy ever more- and on the contrary, helps me get regular sleep!

    This exact lifestyle has been a long process filled with years of ups and downs, lots of reading, trial and error and now Holistic Nutrition School. It takes time and commitment, but after a while, it’s like second nature and it’s easy to say ‘no’ to chocolate bars, pasta, and other items, even if they are organic. This may not work for everyone, and modifications may be necessary based on each individuals needs, but this works for me, and I’m stickin’ to it!

    • I forgot to mention, like the above poster, I have struggled from eating disorders and disordered eating for half my life- about 17 years- and I have my job, and my classes in Nutrtion and natural health to thank for ‘curing’ me. Although I still hear the weird little ‘voice’ of gluttony and self sabotage, it’s much easier to say ‘no way! Go away!’ with all the things I have learned in regards to nutrition and Food politics in the past 10 years.

    • According to my doctor, lowfat cheese, yogurt etc isn’t natural real food. The fat has been removed from the milk before these foods are made, therefore it is no longer REAL food. I’m controlling diabetes by diet only and he told me to eat low carb REAL natural foods. Last week I asked him about eating some low fat mozzarella (I wanted it for a cracker recipe that is too greasy), but he was against it for the reason I stated above. Sadly I can’t go as real food as I would like to, but I try to where I can. The closest raw milk farm is 100 miles from me and I can’t find any local beef or eggs that are from grass-fed either. For awhile I was getting cream that was more processed than I would like, but it wasn’t ultra-pasteurized. I got my store to stock it. However, in December they quit carrying it. I have since found out that it isn’t even in the warehouse anymore, so the store can’t get it. I was buying about 6 bottles a week. I added it to regular milk to lower the carb count. My blood sugar has gone up some since then, my strategy was working.

      • Wow, what a great doc you have…

        On the cream, can you get on the phone and just start calling ALL over? I’ll bet you can find some.


  17. Thanks for a great post! I am with Amy Love @ Real Food Whole Health. There are so many systems I have screwed up with my years of dieting and so many different changes in the way I eat. With WAPF, I feel like I’m finally on the right path. I’m working on adrenals, getting my nutrients from food (what a concept), insulin resistance (huge, huge issue), hormone balancing (critical not just for weight loss but for overall health).

    Re. insulin resistance, I cannot eat sugar or grains if I don’t want to be fat. Period. My system is too messed up for that.

    Re. dairy: if you are eating pasteurized, definitely cut it out. Pasteurized is poison and contributes to ill-health (what a word, eh?) If you can eat raw, particularly raw butter, I’d keep that for sure!!!

  18. Amanda,
    Try the 30 day primal/paleo challenge–I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what can happen to your body in this short amount of time. Eat lots of protein–eggs, bacon, sausage, poultry, red meat,fish, seafood, etc and plenty of fresh vegetables (avoid corn and potatoes). No grains–that means all wheat, rice, barley, etc. No sugar of any kind–even try to avoid honey, maple syrup. Stevia is good though. Nuts are good, though don’t binge on nuts. For fruit– blueberries and blackberries. Full fat yogurt (I love greek) and full fat sour cream. I like to make a dessert using greek yogurt with coconut flakes and some chopped nuts with a little “sweetleaf” brand of stevia (vanilla creme flavor) and then topped with some blueberries or blackberries. My husband and I tried this and we feel so great–I have never been able to stick with any kind of regimen –but this is more of a lifestyle. We are sticking with it! After 30 days we have tweeked it a bit, and on days that we “go off the diet” there is no feeling of guilt or giving up. There is something about protein and fat that our bodies need–and getting away from sugar will heal your body. We are a nation of inflammation due to the haywire insulin levels in our bodies. Hope this helps–it is helpful to read up on it for recipes and ideas–I like

  19. The human body is absolutely amazing. I am a thin girl who has always struggled with yo-yo-ing up and down. But I’m unable to ever move even a pound without very consciously eating and paying attention to my body’s signals: Hunger and fullness. Even if you eat all the “right” foods, it will store what it doesn’t need at the moment for later use. There’s a great book called “Thin Within” that addresses the spiritual/emotional issues behind weight gain and teaches steps that help learn to enjoy eating within the boundaries of hunger and fullness. Combine that with real food, and you’ve got a plan you can actually use and RELAX with. One of my fav quotes from a different author is “You will never be free from something you focus on.” Thus, if you focus on being overweight, eating, or being confined to rules, you will probably be stuck there. That being said, there is always the list of physical issues also: thyroid, hormones, etc. Always worth checking out through a naturopathic doc, too. Best of luck in your journey!

  20. I second the primal/paleo approach. It could be that you are sensitive to grains and sugar (in fruit, as well as in other forms). Removing these from my diet has changed my life, honestly. Without the grains and sugar, you will significantly drop carbs simply because it’s pretty hard to consume enough veggies and fruit to raise carb levels to what they would be eating grains and sugars. There’s a 30 day challenge starting at Whole9, as well.

  21. It is a myth that a high protein diet causes kidney damage. People with kidney disease are usually given a protein restricted diet, but even that is being debated. Some clinicians wonder if the protein restriction actually contributes to the patient’s deteriorating status.

    Masai and other high protein eaters don’t have more kidney disease. Healthy kidneys are able adapt to a wide range of food intake. Our bodies are really quite remarkable.

    You already have some sense of what works for you. Would you consider complimenting your approach to eating real whole foods with a lower carbohydrate intake? There is room for some fabulous vegetables, beans, legumes and fruit to compliment healthy fats and protein. Probably not so room for many grains.

  22. I struggle with the same thing. Thankfully I’ve come to this realization relatively early in my life, when I haven’t completely messed up my metabolism, but it’s still a lot harder than it would have been had I made this change when I was 20, and it’s one of the biggest reasons I encourage my own daughter to eat this way- she is built just like me; short, stocky, and short muscled. I agree with the recommendation to see a naturopath or some sort of natural nutritionist (who is on the same page with you, nutritionally, obviously). In the mean time (and I hope this isn’t repetative, I’m on a schedule today so didn’t read all the comments) would be to start eating fermented foods, or eat more if you already do (other than the yogurt). ESPECIALLY kombucha, which is particularly noted to help loose weight. Further, and this would depend on your view on caffeine (I choose to think it’s fine), but you could also start drinking green tea daily, which is known to boost the metabolism (and I just plain love a huge glass of unsweetened green tea… yum). A little lemon wouldn’t hurt in your daily tea or water, and it’s another thing some people say helps them loose weight. I also remember reading that there is something in carrots and flax that helps reduce inflamation, and that a lot of middle aged women carry weight purely from inflamation (although on a whole foods diet, this shouldn’t be as much of an issue). I also agree with Kelly on the low carb thing.

    Another (relatively controversial) idea may be to do a lemonade fast for a few days. Even NT approves fasting if done for short periods in the spring (because we are meant to eat lighter, fresher meals in the spring but would be seriously unsatisfied by the same regimine in the fall or winter). I have done the master cleanse for 3 days before and it flushed out a lot of gunk, so to speak, and I felt amazing afterwards (not to mention lost 11 lbs, which was probably mostly toxins, inflammation, and bulk from my intestines… and the weight stayed off for at least a year). It’s called the Master Cleanse- I have the book, which is more of a pamphlet, but it’s also out there on the net. There are a lot of fad diets out there, and many write the Master Cleanse off as one of them, but I think there is something to doing a body cleanse once a year or so.

  23. I too am in the same boat, and it feels like I have no oars.

    I lost 70lbs using a higher protein lower fat diet, and did pretty well on it until it didn’t work any more. Despite strict “calorie counting” and continual exercise (and tracking both using a Body Bug which measured my calorie burn and TheDailyPlate to track food intake – yes, using a scale, and measuring each bite) and having a negative intake of calories of over 500 most days my body refused to let go of one more drop of energy then it had to. If I had ONE thing that was off plan, I would easily gain five pounds and I could not get it off. as a result in the two+ years since my “diet” I have gained almost 50lbs back.

    I’ve been to my own doctor, had my thyroid and hormones checked several times and told I was “fine”. I went to an endocronologist and more tests said I was “fine” and his recommendation was gastric bypass.

    My weight gain was followed with extreme coldness and almost extreme fatigue (I could go to work but not much else) I knew I wasn’t fine.

    I went to another dr. This one tested my adrenals.. they are a mess. They tested my hormones – those are a mess (according to her, and yet I got the same results from my previous dr) I’ve tried so many different supplements and diet recommendations that I’m overwhelmed. Trying to fit their suggestions of what not to eat (due to food sensitivity testing and a candida test) has left me with little more than chicken, beef, coconut oil and green vegetables (I don’t eat seafood, won’t eat tofu/soy and egg yolks are out due to sensitivities and egg whites just make me gag) and occasionally some oatmeal.

    I’m tired, I’m frustrated, and I can’t tell you how badly I want a piece of Naan..

    I’ve got another appointment coming up with an eye towards the genetic testing we did, and a few other tests. I have no idea what is left if what ever she comes up with doesn’t help me even a little… guess I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get there.

    I guess I’m rambling to let you know you aren’t alone. It is NOT always a matter of calories in vs calories out. (and don’t I really want to make someone who says that walk in my shoes for a while) and I think the most frustrating thing about this journey is that “conventional weight loss advice” is just so unhelpful to me. In fact I’m quite sure that it got me to the “mess” (my dr’s words) that I’m in.

    • Connie, high protein, low fat is a dangerous combo, especially if your are doing a lot of cardio as that will burn up Vitamin A. We need fat to digest and use protein properly. I’m glad you’re getting help with your adrenals. I’ve been through that and it’s tough but it is possible to heal. Best wishes.

  24. Please forgive the dissenting voice here. I’ve been “real food” for two years and have lost…not a single ounce. I’ve even been keeping to pretty close to 150 gm carbs a day, seriously restricting grains, and even then, eating them properly prepared.

    I can’t spend another minute wringing my hands about my weight. My blood pressure and “numbers” are great, I have the energy to exercise every day, I’m off all my meds.

    There are so many intricate ways the body works that there’s no “formula” that works every time. I spent decades dieting and I just won’t do it anymore. It wrecked my health in too many ways to count. If I never lose an ounce, I’m okay with that. I’m healthy (despite all appearances) and that’s what counts.

  25. Hi Amanda!

    While a relative newbie to the whole eating Real Foods movement (in some ways), I have been a health fanatic most of my whole life (funny, huh?) including a fitness/wellness consultant, aerobics instructor, fitness pageant contestant and avid learner of all things food, exercise, health, etc. I would love to help you. I am not a “professional”, but I have helped other people who have been in similar circumstances to yours. Please feel free to email me at I have some ideas that I think would make a big difference for you.

    Just remember that everything takes time, everyone’s body reacts differently and in different time periods. You body may need a period of healing before it starts responding to all of the wonderful things you are giving it now. Not to mention if you have been on a weight loss/weight gain roller coaster over the years your body recognizes the signs and responds accordingly. Here’s some food for thought, you may not be eating enough and your body may have gone into starvation mode. Our bodies are programmed for survival and because it doesn’t know any different it hoards calories when you start restricting them.

    All my best,

  26. I personally believe there are a lot of root causes for weight gain and obesity. For myself, nothing budges the extra 15 (20?) pounds except for some thyroid hormone (T3). It doesn’t matter what or how much I eat. My weight is incredibly stable. Exercise makes a small diff but T3 is really what it takes.

    However, I don’t think that will be the case for everyone. One thing I have noticed is that overweight people are usually eating way too much. They eat more than they think they do- huge portions and snacking both contribute. If I were in your shoes, I would start with calorie counting before I removed entire food groups.

  27. I’m surprised no one has mentoned this, but doing different types of exercise may be an important factor too. Walking is wonderful, and don’t stop, but you may want to also get some variety to increase your activity. Try swimming, biking, dancing, sports, or get involved with an aerobics class or martial arts. Our bodies can easily fall into an exercise plateau, and it is important to get a variety of aerobic exercise if you are trying to reduce. If you would like more information or are interested in some personalized wellness coaching, please contact me or visit my website at

  28. I’m with you on the thyroid thing: I think that is my biggest challenge right now, getting my thyroid, adrenals and hormones working right again. They are in charge of the metabolism.

    The salt loading is excellent for adrenal health, by the way.

    I take iodine, drink tons of raw milk when I can (I’m on the road a lot right now so not always possible), eat pastured meats/eggs, organic fruits and veggies, try not to eat grains (my husband makes all our bread… this is a tough one), eat fermented foods, drink tons of kombucha (we make it, so easy) and am steadily increasing the amount of good fats in my diet.

    I’m testing for my hormones so I can go back on the bio-identical. I believe that maintaining a healthy weight will happen when my systems are running smoothly. But I’m sure not going to diet or fret about my weight until those systems are in good working order.

    I also do some detox things: short fasts*, sauna, bikram (sweaty) yoga occasionally, 300mg niacin a day, ala supplements (100 in the am, 100 in the pm), diatomaceous earth (1T a day before bed).

    Fasts short and very rarely — the note about starvation mode is right on. My body is so used to starving and hoarding fat that I have to be very careful with this. I only do a clean out fast if I feel like I need it. Rare.

    Good luck — hope my experience helps someone.

  29. Hello there. First can I say that I feel for you and the struggle that weight loss often is. I too have struggled in the past eating well–low-carb and seemingly without effect. I recently started the slow-carb diet accoding the the book the 4-hour body. I like a lot of the idea behind the diet. I agree with another person about dairy being a weight loss inhibitor. Also if you use artificial sweetners that can be a major road-block to weight loss, as I have found this to be the case with me. THirdly, only second to the banana and bagel the thing that struck me most is that you aren’t really eating enough! That sounds counter-productive, but that is a main thrust of the slow-carb diet that your weight loss will stop or at least slow if you don’t consume enough of the right foods. (That was my problem the last time I went low-carb!) Is there a possibility that your body is in starvation mode? Try to eat a lot of protein (Tim in 4-hour body suggusts at least 20grams per meal!) and especially at breakfast! Eat beans for caloric load as you need them to keep you out of the starvation mode even if you do a lot of vegetables, as they are light on the calories.
    I hope some of these things help you and encourage you to keep at it.
    As a christian, I believe God will help us if we rely on him for wisdom and direction–He cares about this area of our lives as well. If you are christian please remember to go to Him with this struggle also.

  30. There is so much advice here! I haven’t even read it all, but I’ll add my story to it. I was about 220 pounds eating a very bad diet. I finally started working with a chiropractor who put me on a Candida diet which is like a GAPs diet, but a little more restrictive and a bit more straight forward for me. I could eat meat, veges, good fats, and a couple of pieces of fruits a day. No nuts or even fermented foods for a while. No grains at all and those will probably always be restricted because we have Crohn’s Disease in my family. I do better without grains anyway.

    At the same time, he had me on vitamins for my adrenals and my liver.

    I highly suggest that you find someone to work with who respects a traditional diet (Weston A. Price style) and who understands the importance of meat and fats in your diet and who can give you lots of support.

    Good luck. I really feel for you and understand how hard it is to have a weight issue. But, just take one step at a time and things will get better. My weight loss was slow and I still could lose more weight, but I’m so much healthier and happier.


  31. I just read Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes. It explains the mechanism in the body how fat is stored. “We don’t get fat because we overeat; we overeat because we’re getting fat.” We need to think of obesity as a disorder of excess fat accumulation, then ask why the fat tissue isn’t regulated properly. A limited number of hormones and enzymes regulate fat storage; what’s the problem with them?

    What a fascinating question! There used to be so few obese people that it was considered an abnormality that needed a cure. American scientists had decided in the 1920’s that it was the fat person’s fault. Prior to WWII, European scientists were still concerned with solving that mystery but many of them didn’t survive the war. Gary Taubes reviews the science (from then and now).

    This book helped me understand this a lot better.

  32. Ughh…okay, I just have to be a bit of a dissenting voice here…there is a lot of talk of low carb, paleo, etc., but if there is a metabolism issue going on here, which I would bet money on that there is, the MOST important thing is to first heal the metabolism. And sorry, but even though going low carb can initially have some good results, it is ultimately very hard on your body, and will probably only serve to further damage your metabolism.

    Amanda-you really should read some of the info Matt Stone has written on healing the metabolism: He has written extensively on why low carb is a bad idea, and although I don’t always agree with everything he says, I think he has a lot of great info on his site about this. Specifically, read the blog posts on body temps and how they are your best indicator of how your overall metabolism is working, and he even has a free eBook on his site with ways to increase your body temps (using real foods, to basically fire up and heal your metabolism). With your history of doing Atkins and “yo-yo” dieting, my guess would be that your body temps are pretty low right now (as are most people’s today).

    I am very leary of low carb lately, and I have a hard time understanding why “whole foods” and WAP are now intimately associated with going low carb. Yes, of course there are plenty of examples of people who have done well eating very low carb (like the oft-cited Masai), but there are tons of examples of people doing very well eating tons of carbs (like Asian populations who eat tons of rice and carbs and have almost no weight issues). My point being that when I first learned about Weston Price and whole foods and the light bulb clicked on in my head, it was so freeing to realize that it’s not the carbs, the fat or protein, but just eating real food that matters. However, because of the way most of us grew up eating, the obesity issues in our culture along with lots of dieting, etc., I think that the issue becomes much more complex, as our bodies probably aren’t working quite the way they should which makes it not quite so simple as that, but still, again, I would definitely recommend doing some reading at 180 Degree Health, specifically the posts on low carb, healing the metabolism and body temps. Very enlightening, for sure.

    • Hi Robin,

      As always, I love and appreciate comments that make for well-rounded discussions, but I just want to reply to one thing you said:

      “I have a hard time understanding why

      • Amen to that… “low carb” is pretty vague. Some people think of that as the induction phase of the Atkins diet — 20 grams of carbohydrate a day! Some people aim for zero carbohydrates. I think anything that extreme has the potential for serious rebound. Some people in the low carb community such as Jimmie Moore are talking more about “controlled carb” consumption now, the idea being you figure out where your body needs to be to stay healthy and energetic. The level will be higher and lower for different people — and may change for different circumstances and life stages as well. On that note, “Paleo” and “Primal” diets aren’t necessarily ultra low in carbohydrates, it depends on the daily food choices. They will probably be gluten-free, may be dairy or at least casein free, usually sugar free, sometimes legume-free, depending on individual interpretation and tolerances.

      • I agree with Robin. Kelly, even though you may not be low-carb, per se, you do seem to promote that way of eating and offer it up as a solution to weight issues.

        What concerns me is that low carb can CAUSE long-term metabolic health issues. Low-carbing leads to thyroid issues, drops in metabolic rates and adrenal issues. Also, fact is, it simply is not a sustainable way of eating. I can think of a very small handful of people who are actually able to stick it out long-term.

        You’re much better off doing some real investigating as to the cause of your metabolic problems. Maybe you have a low-metabolic rate and need to add more carbs in and take thyroid medicine. Maybe you have celiacs and need to avoid gluten. Maybe your stress levels are sky-high and you need to address them.

        To offer up low-carb as some health panacea is just not accurate. Personally, I do great on a high-carb diet. I’m very thin and I even eat grains. Wheat even. The truth is, most people do just fine with lots of carbs (look at the majority of the world’s population that eats a starch-based diet).

        It speaks to the pervasiveness of the low-carb mantra in this community that in this huge scroll of comments there are only 2 voices pointing out the negatives of low-carb, and pretty much everyone else is singing its praises.

        • Yikes, I’m realizing this sounds angry and preachy. It was not meant to come across that way, I’m just trying to add a viewpoint from the other side.

          I do appreciate that you’re open to dissenting voices, Kelly, and this was not intended to be a criticism of what you do. I appreciate your insights and work and know you are trying to find the right answers to what makes us healthy. I don’t know that I’m right, either, but I like to share what I’ve seen as the downsides to low-carb and the positives of a balanced diet that is fairly high-carb.

        • I’m not denying that I tend toward the low-carb way of thinking (although I always suggest people find what works for them and also see a naturopath to find out if there is more going on that they may not be aware of that’s causing weight or health issues), but what I’m debating is that low-carb is necessarily a WAPF thing. They promote properly prepared grains (yes, less than the USDA recommends, but that diet is just nuts and a prescription for illness), and high healthy fats, but not so much “low-carb”. Just because myself and many of my readers may talk about benefits we’ve seen from low-carb diets in ourselves, it doesn’t mean that it’s from the WAPF.

          Again, I don’t claim that low-carb is right for everyone, just that *less* carbs, especially the bad carbs like sugar and refined grains, is always a good thing, which I think you’d agree with, and for others less of even the good carbs may be necessary.

          I don’t think our line of thinking is that far from each other!


          • Amy,
            I was writing my reply when your last comment came through, and no, I didn’t think you sounded critical at all! I don’t get offended easily, I just like chatting about all this and if everyone always agreed with each other it would be boring anyway. :)

            • Very true, Kelly!

              When I talk about WAPF and low-carb, I have been referring to the bloggers following WAPF principles. I agree, the foundation itself is not low-carb, and Weston A. Price himself was most definitely not low-carb. A lot of people following WAPF ideas seem to get pulled into the low-carb direction, though, and it gets wrapped up in the same message. In fact, that’s often when I point out the irony: WAP himself never ever carbs cause health issues of any kind. Refined, devitalized foods in general (including carbs), yes. But most of the people he came across ate lots of unrefined carbs (the exceptions being the Masai and Eskimos, and I believe he commented that the Masai’s higher-carb neighbors had better body composition).

              • Here’s what I wonder though… Were the carbs back then, whole wheat for example, still more pure? And now the crops have been changed so much, that many can’t handle it and don’t do well eating it? I know a lot of people who can’t eat any wheat (even soaked, whole grain) but can tolerate spelt fine.

                Also, had Price seen the number of diabetics that we do now (or all those with pre-diabetes walking around with no clue), I’ll bet he would have suggested lowering the carbs for sure.

                Just thinking ‘out loud’. :)


                • But I think the point is that he DIDN’T see those diabetics, even in high-carb cultures.

                  Lowering carbs may be a reasonable strategy for someone with diabetes, but that does not mean that carbs *cause* diabetes.

                • Kelly,

                  Wheat has a lot of potential problems with it biochemically. I’m working on a big post to summarize them on my blog, but many you’ll be familiar with already.

                  Amy (currently experimenting with wheat)

  33. Low body temp is an indication of your thyroid condition which is an indication of your adrenal condition. Dr. Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome website is another good repository of info on this topic as well: I found it after my near-death experience last year and all my hair falling out. I started taking my temperature and was shocked to see it around 95 some days, never above 97.2. A year later on iodine therapy alone, my temp is 97.9 and my hot flashes have returned. I am thrilled. A low temp means low metabolism and fat storage for warmth!

    Btw, 3 days after starting iodine, my hair stopped falling out (it was falling out by the handfuls before that — every day… my hair was everywhere but on my head!!!) I have a lush field up there now.

    • My temp the SAME way until I started eating whole foods. It would run around 97.1. Then after a few months on whole foods I took my temp and it read like 98.2 I thought I was seriously SICK. Bwahahahhh – then I started googling and realized I was almost back to where i need to be! YEEHAWWWW!

  34. I concur with a lot that’s already been said. In my personal experience, adrenal fatigue and slow oxidation (metabolism) kept me from losing weight. Yeast can also be a factor. I worked with a local naturopath for a few years and now have consulted for a couple of years with someone who is WAPF-oriented and works from hair-mineral analysis. One thing that finally got me over the hump was finding out with foods my body reacted to. Even if a food is on a “good” list, your body might not tolerate it. If your body reacts, you become inflamed, which results in extra weight. One key for me has been the elimination of all sugar (fruit, natural sweeteners, etc. — everything except stevia). My body cannot tolerate sugar even from fruit, although I’m getting better over time.

    Last year, my family did an elimination diet, eliminating everything except a couple of meats and a few vegetables and then adding everything back in one a day until we knew what was causing trouble for each of us. The first phase of a elimination diet also is no sugar (including from fruit), which will help you see if you have a yeast issue. Yeast feeds off of sugar, so if you take it away, the yeast will die and you’ll experience some die-off symptoms that show you have yeast. Anyway, as we progressed slowly, we were able to identify foods that triggered each family member. Now we can either avoid those or choose to suffer the consequences.

    There are a couple of quick ways to check a particular food. One is to weigh yourself the next day after eating something different/new. If you’ve gained 2-3 pounds, your body is likely reacting to the food. It can take up to 4 days to get out of your body. The other is if you heart rate rises after eating it. If you pay attention, you can eventually see/feel this without counting, especially if you eat something you know is bad for you.

    Here is more information about the person I work with:

  35. Interesting. Watch your sugar/carb content (like a hawk) and up your fats. Have a positive attitude and move every day. It worked for me :) Get your thyroid tested too! TSH, fT4, TT4, fT3, TT3. Your fT3 levels are the most important, if those are low you NEED some thyroid meds (go natural) or you have another hormone imbalance (check est/prog and adrenals) which will correct the thryoid when properly balanced.

  36. I agree… the bagels, bananas, & tortillas need to be cut back, plus the snacking b/t meals. Snacking keeps insulin levels up, which prevents fat from being burned. A sluggish thyroid may be part of the problem, too. Also, when going low-carb, it’s important to NOT restrict salt (sodium), and get plenty of potassium from low GI fruits – 1 serving daily, & 2 servings daily if you’re NOT trying to lose weight – and lots of fresh veggies (raw and/or lightly steamed). You may need a magnesium supplement, especially if constipation is an issue.

  37. Wow, there is a lot of info here. I just wanted to throw in another thought. I don’t know if you have had any experience with anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds, but for some people (myself included) it can take a couple of years to overcome the side effects and with-drawl issues connected to those meds and one of those side effects is the inabilty to really lose weight. Many people have mentioned time. We have been eating real/whole foods for about 20 months and are still in a “recovering” mode. I often have tpo remind myself I spent 34 years trashing my body with bad food choices and doc’s recommendations it will take my body time to heal and readjust. Patience is key to improved health.
    Good Luck!

  38. Lots of great comments here. I’ve been reading a lot about paleo/primal/GAPS-type diets lately and would echo some of the previous suggestions. Also, as we age, our hormones make it harder for women to lose weight. Another key issue is cortisol. I was listening to a podcast of Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution, recently and he said that with high cortisol and/or lack of sleep it will be almost impossible to lose weight. Too much cardio can cause high cortisol (ironically, so can excessively low carb diets, so don’t by any means try zero carb! Unless you’re of Masaai or Inuit genetic background, it may not be suited to your genes), and that can cause sleep troubles. I’ve dealt with this before and have recently had this crop up again, so I’m reviewing all my choices to try to get the cortisol down. We can’t remove stress, but we can learn to manage it (meditation, prayer, gentle exercise like yoga). The combination of too much OR too little carbohydrate in the diet and too much cardio (what Mark Sisson calls “chronic cardio”) is deadly and makes you exhausted and hungry and even wired and unable to sleep. (I trained for and ran a marathon a few years ago to cope with overwhelming grief, and I caused adrenal exhaustion. Trust me, you don’t want to go there.) Being active is good, and lifting some heavy weights from time to time (not too often), and walking is good, but the “deadmill” may be doing you more harm than good. Check out Robb Wolf (website, book, podcasts “The Paleo Solution” ) and Mark Sisson ( and “The Primal Blueprint”), as well as the “Healthy Mind, Fit Body” podcasts.

  39. I have always struggled with weight. My solution was a low calorie/low fat diet and lots of different types of exercise. That helped keep me 10-50 lbs overweight most of my life. A couple years ago, I gained 60 lbs in 6 months while eating 1200-1500 calories a day and exercising many hours a day with marathon training, weight lifting, swimming, kickboxing, biking, etc. Obviously, for me, calories and exercise had nothing at all to do with weight. It may be the same for you.

    Then I got sick, bedridden for almost 6 months. I started eating a WAPF diet. I found I had a number of autoimmune diseases. With thyroid and adrenal fatigue treatment, I am much better. BTW, if you get your thyroid tested, get a Free T3 test, not the test your doctor will probably want to do. The FT3 actually tests your thyroid hormone. It should be top or the range or a little bit higher or you’ve got a thyroid problem.

    I stopped gaining weight, but didn’t lose any. Then I did the HCG diet. I’m not recommending it. It is very extreme. But I am absolutely convinced it fixed and reset my broken metabolism back to normal. I eat a normal, even large, amount of food and I don’t gain weight. Following WAPF principles helped get me healthier and will help keep me healthy, but HCG reset me. And I don’t do low carb/no grains. That is on my list of things that helped get me sick and keep me sick. My body suffers without grains, but I know they don’t agree with everyone’s body.

  40. Another dissenting voice here. I wrecked myself on low-carb. Sure, i lost 30 pounds. Everyone told me I looked fantastic, but I had no passion for life anymore, and I viewed the world through apathetic eyes. I didn’t even want to get out of bed in the morning, and all the things I had previously loved in life, well, they were not worth the limited energy I had left.

    I have a graduate-level education in neurobiology and molecular biology, and I bought into the low-carb (very low carb, around 30g per day) craze going around in WAP circles wholeheartedly for 18 months. It was a huge mistake for me, and my family, too.

    Many prominent Paleo bloggers are adding healthy carbs to their diets. At least Ferris’ Slow-Carb diet includes a cheat day, but if your adrenals and thyroid are functioning sub-par, then you want to give them a rest before you start a venture like that. You can tell a lot through your basal body temperature and pulse. Low temperature and low pulse means something is wrong metabolically.

    I second the recommendation of checking out Matt Stone’s blog, but also definitely read his free e-book, RRARF.pdf (you can Google that to find it). Read the books on his reading list, too. Maybe something will resonate with you.

    I strongly believe (through my own experience) that the stress caused by “disordered eating” (which can include adhering to a strict “healthy” diet), can outweigh (pardon the pun) the effects of said healthy diet. Cortisol is a very powerful hormone, capable of inducing hormone imbalances. Obsessing about diet and exercise can be as health damaging as not doing them at all.

    • Hi Amy,
      I did a low carb Candida diet, and I think what you wrote is interesting. I felt better, but I had to deal with my eating issues. I ate when I was stressed and unhappy, and so when I had to give up sugar, I had to face those feelings. I’m not saying that’s what happened to you, but it is a thought that came into my mind when I read your post.

      I also realize that I did eat carbs. I had 2 or more pieces of fruit a day and I ate potatoes even though those were off limits. My Candida is in check and I did lose 40 pounds. Maybe going totally carb free is not good. I probably would have went nuts without my fruit and potatoes!

      • I was not eating any fruit except berries. I kept my carbs around 30g per day. And exercised regularly (3-5 times per week).

        I have gained all the weight back, plus some, but I feel a lot better. I had originally felt better on low-carb, but it didn’t last forever… about six months. I have had to take a break from exercise as part of my healing, too, but I can do moderate amounts of exercise now without being trashed the next few days. Just goes to show you that thinness does not necessarily equal health!

        Anthony Colpo wrote an interesting summary of the research on low-carb diets and thyroid function this week:

          • S. –

            That article is dated 2006. If you look at his blog, which dates back to mid-summer last year, everything on it is pretty much dedicated to debunking low-carb, but I bought his Fat Loss Bible in March of 2008. So, at some point he was having some problems on low-carb himself. I remember looking at the Low-Carb Muscle forum, probably sometime in 2009 (before I started low-carb), and seeing comments by him basically saying that strength exercise without adequate carbohydrate consumption could really hurt a person (so then I went on to test his theory personally, haha).

            Anyway, he still believes in the consumption of fat and the consumption of carbohydrate:


        • Thanks, Amy, for your story. I think it’s important to share these sorts of stories so people understand that there are real risks with low-carb.

          Personally, being an eating disorder survivor, I think a diet that nourishes you and keeps you happy and healthy is more important than just being thin anyway. I happen to still be thin because I was one of the lucky ones who was able to heal my metabolism (it takes time but can be done, at least for some people – although it required first gaining weight and then slowly losing it over time), but I think a few extra pounds as a trade-off for happiness and health is probably an acceptable exchange.

  41. first and foremost, get comprehensive hormone/endocrine testing done. And do not go too low on the carbs. You can damage your endocrine system further if you are already low, and you restrict your carbs excessively.

  42. it could be several things. if she’s eating real food, the top two things that come to mind are hormones being off, including things like the adrenals and thyroid. the other would be that her hypothalmus is off and needs to be reset with hcg protocol. there’s a lot of controversy, i know, with the hcg protocol, but take it from someone who had a similar problem, that sometimes, it is the only thing that works. i had a situation where my hypothalmus got off, not because of me, but because mainstream medicine gave me a huge overdose of steriods and it caused me to have cushings’ syndrome as well as messed up my adrenals and thyroid, and really taxed my hypothalmus and the ONLY thing that fixed the weight, after rebuilding my adrenals and thyroid, was the hcg protocol. it really has given me my life back. it’s also given me passion about helping others eat real food, lose weight, and find a natural way to get live and be healthy outside of mainstream medicine. hugs to your friend!

    • cherieann and others who did hcg,

      did you use actual hcg hormone or homeopathic formula? i think it is interesting that you say “after rebuilding my adrenals and thyroid”. thanks for that!

  43. The liver should be flushed out to be able to lose weight properly. If the liver is healthy and unburdened, someone can lose weight quite easily. I recommend the liver flush that is recommended by Doc. Kenneth Sutter (you can google him for his website. It’s easy, quick, and doesn’t spoil your daily routine much at all. These can be repeated often for a month or so, until you notice (and you will) a big difference in the way you feel (for the better) and notice that your flushes aren’t “producing” like they were. Hope it helps.

    • Hi Lisa,

      I have to go through all the previous comments since I was out of town over the weekend, but this is the first one I came upon in my email. I Googled this guy and he lost credibility right away when I saw that his liver flush includes drinking a can of Coke! There’s got to be a better way…

      I’ll go read the rest of the comments later today, thanks everyone!


  44. The coke is not a necessary ingredient. There are other liver flushes, but they all include ingesting large amounts of epsom salts, which if repeated often, could throw off one’s magnesium / calcium balance. That’s why he doesn’t recommend those types. If you google liver flush in general, you’ll get some of those other ones. The key ingredients that work so well in Doc Sutter’s liver flush is the phosphoric acid (ultraphos liquid) drops in the apple cider (organic tart cherry juice, diluted: 1 cup dissolved in three cups pure water with 90 ultraphos drops, can be used if apple cider is not wanted. You can dilute the tart cherry juice because it has several times more malic acid than apple cider. Apple cider has more good stuff than apple juice. It’s the malic acid and the phosphoric acid that soften the stones in the liver and gallbladder so they do not get stuck in any ducts on their way out. Doc Sutter says that the other liver flushes don’t include the ultraphos liquid drops and that he’s had calls from people who’ve done those types of liver flushes in the middle of the night where they were having pain, from a stone getting stuck. That’s not what we want. We want them to slip out easily, therefore the ultraphos drops. I don’t think the Coke has any medicinal benefit, but this is a very old recipe for a liver flush. I think it was just to mask the taste of the lemon juice and olive oil. It could be substituted with some more tart cherry juice, I’m sure. This guy has never taken a pharmaceutical in his life, and after Vietnam where he was poisoned with agent orange and was infected by parasites, then later, when diagnosed with advanced stage cancer, he saved his life due to doing these liver flushes. The liver is the king over all metabolism. If the liver is overburdened, from toxins or a former lifestyle of unhealthy eating, etc., the metabolism will stay “stuck” and no diet or exercise program will budge it. Hope this helps

  45. HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadatropin. It is the hormone that is produced by a fetus immediately after conception. It signals the body that there is now a life that needs sustaining. It triggers the substance around the developing fetus, called the corpus luteum, to begin secreting enough progesterone to help keep it embedded in the uterus safely and to build up the lining of the uterus to create the placenta, so that at 12 weeks, the placenta can take over with the protecting, nourishing, and progesterone secretion. It is also the hormone that home pregnancy tests are testing for the presence of, and if it’s present, the pregnancy test will come out positive. There was a doctor over 50 years ago, that experimented with giving HCG to some overweight boys and put them on a 500 calorie a day diet along with that, and they all lost weight. There is a protocol with this. There’s more detail, but this is the main thing.

    Colleen, I’ll post some info or a link soon, okay!

    • THanks, Lisa. I ended up googling it and realized that I’d heard of it before, didn’t recognize the acronym. Sounds like something NOT to mess around with.

    • I personally know of several people who are using hCG and having success. I worry about collateral damage from a program like that, however, because I’ve been there with something similar. I was on the Fat Flush program in the early 2000’s and ate a lot of protein powder shakes and junk. In 2003 I was diagnosed with both peripheral neuropathy (not diabetes related at all) and Sjogren’s Syndrome. I think the protein powder was directly responsible for creating this mess. I lost weight but at what price? hCG was too limited for me to try, since they allow no oils and no massage. I need both of those things and no diet is worth not using the things my body needs.

      Also, I didn’t have time to read through all the replies here so excuse if this is a repeat, but I know of several people who have had success using EFT for weight loss. A general web search should yield some good information if you’re interested. Could be something emotional, who knows?

  46. Colleen, I found a link where the full recipe is written out. It is on a guy’s blog called The Cure Manual. Hope this helps. :-)

  47. I tend to agree with you, Jeanmarie. I believe in freedom of choice, so I would not judge someone else’s decision to try this, but I agree with you actually, because this is a hormone, a very specific one at that. Maybe it wouldn’t do any harm, but maybe it might. :-)

  48. I would read some of Matt Stone’s stuff. He is a health researcher at
    He has programs developed for healing the metabolism- read his free ebook! Good stuff!

  49. Most people use the cookie cutter approach to weight loss. What this means is one size fits all. Unfortunately, losing weight involves more than diet and exercise. Each of are different and require different solutions or solutions designed specifically for our particular needs. There are other factors to consider: stress, life style, current health condition, food, water and air toxins, heredity, mental state, emotional state. Any of these would prevent someone from losing weight regardless of their diet or exercise regimen.
    It’s important to look at the whole person when addressing any health challenges. The body, mind and spirit all must be addressed.

  50. I’m a fat-loss specialist and I’ve dealt with this before and you’re right about the carbs; but I don’t want to come off as anti carb. Instead carbs should be viewed on an earned basis. If you live an active lifestyle and exert yourself(lift weights) then increase your carbs, if you are sedentary then keep your carbs in the 80 to 100 grams range.

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  52. I was diagnosed with PCOS a few years ago. At that time I was very thin, about a size 4. I lost my job soon after and started putting on weight over the course of a year. I went from a size 4 to a size 12 in a year. I have struggled for the last few years to even lose 5 pounds. The last few months now I have been doing something that I thought would be the hardest thing I would have to do. I gave up soda, coffee, and tea. I only drink water. The first 2 weeks were difficult but now I would rather drink water than anything else. You could drink black coffee or unsweetened teas if you like. With my water I found that during that first 2 weeks I would feel the need for a drink with sugar in it since my body has run on bad sugars for a long time. I bought MIO for my water which has no sugar no carbs no calories…nothing. I drink water constantly throughout the day. That is all I drink now. I lost 15 pounds in my first month and a half. I was averaging 3 pounds a week. But that wasnt all I was doing. I adopted this specific way of looking at my grocery store when I walked in. Try to keep your shopping on the outsides of the store. Meaning, DO NOT walk down the isles. Nothing down those isles but processed foods with high fructose corn syrup. Stay away. My regular shopping trip would be fruits, vegetables, chicken, yogurt, low fat cheese, almond milk, frozen fruit for smoothies, whole grain bread. Every so often I would go down the isle just to take a look at some sauce ideas for my chicken. I studied the ingredients on everything I picked up until I found the lowest carb, calorie, sugar, and fat I could find. I felt so full of energy and am actually happier than I had been in awhile. I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. I felt that going away too. I also found that letting myself have a “cheat” meal once a week or once every other week helped me. Having that cheat meal prevents your body from getting used to the way you eat and in turn your weight loss with plateau. Confuse your body by randomly hitting it with a pasta dinner or a dessert. Your body will burn it before you even begin to feel regret. I also did not work out at all. I work 2 jobs so I am constantly running around anyway. So if your job is sedentary try to find ways to get your heart rate going. Out of all of this though, my biggest word of advice would be that if you start doing this please dont eat any cheat meals for the first 2 weeks. Let your body get used to the great nutrients and healthy way of eating before tossing in a dessert. I hope this helps.

  53. I have to go through all the previous comments since I was out of town over the weekend, but this is the first one I came upon in my email. I Googled this guy and he lost credibility right away when I saw that his liver flush includes drinking a can of Coke! There’s got to be a better way…

  54. I didn’t read through the other comments, but I would suggest, especially with the diet Amanda grew up on, adrenal fatigue. She is exercising a lot and if her adrenals/hormones were in order, with what she eats, the weight should be flying off. I have to be very careful with cardiovascular exercise b/c I have lupus and easily slip into adrenal farigue. It’s frustrating bc it feels intuitive to push yourself physically, but your adrenals are in emergency mode. To help bring cortisol levels down, you need lots of rest, less stress (sounds like Amanda has a fair share w/work and school) and moderate exercise. I recommend walking, pilates and even better, yoga. You can get yoga on dvd if you’re like me and don’t want to do it with other people (and have a budget), but there are lots of classes ouy there. You can start with “slow flow” which will be slower paced and less intense. Yoga will not only provide exercise and toning, but will readjust body structures and help rejuvenate the adrenals, help your glands to drain and decrease stress. I also recommend seeing a naturopathic doc, and/or a chiropractor/kinesiologist.

    On another note, spiritual wellness is essential to our physical health. One of the pillars Western medicine omits is that the whole person needs to be treated to create true health. Spiritual turmoil causes our mind and body stress like nothing else can!

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