Jay Wright’s Weight Loss Journey

Jay Wright, who comments as “Jaybird,” has had a remarkably successful weight loss story. He adopted our diet in March at a weight of 250 pounds, and reached his normal weight of 170 pounds at Halloween, seven and a half months later.

I met Jay at Wise Traditions in November and can attest that he is now a handsome, slender man.

Jay’s weight loss was remarkably consistent at about 2.5 pounds per week. He agreed to describe his weight loss journey in a guest post; my questions are in italic, Jay wrote everything else. Welcome, Jay! – Paul

I would like to thank Dr. Paul Jaminet and Dr. Shou-Ching Jaminet for writing a great diet book and website!  You have been instrumental in helping me achieve the long elusive goal of great health and weight. For me, this truly is the Perfect Health Diet!

Before PHD

Paul: Jay, what do you think caused your overweight condition in the first place?

1. Ignorance and confusion. I believe I would have eaten the PHD way and remained at a healthy weight if I was taught to eat this way from the beginning. Instead, the government promotes the anti-saturated fat, pro-seed “vegetable” oil, and whole grains food pyramid. The belief formed from trusting the experts is a lot to overcome. I remember a decade ago during the Atkins’ hype that I thought that he must be crazy to recommend such a dangerous diet that would go against the “entire” medical establishment.  Then, even after I stopped believing the Lipid Hypothesis, I was still confused by all of the rest of the diet claims out there. While I was uncertain, I thought I might as well enjoy a “normal” diet until I can figure it all out.

2. Eating Habits. Besides the high carbs, food toxins, and malnourishment of the food pyramid diet, a few other factors may have affected my eating habits. I was a normal weight child growing up and I could eat anything and everything in sight and not get even pudgy in the slightest. When all foods have the same effect – none – you don’t worry about whether the food is healthy. Also, I spent my childhood playing one sport after another which might have actually worsened my eating habits. At least here with Texas football, we were constantly encouraged to stuff ourselves and put on more weight.  When sports ended for me after college, normal amounts of food looked like a starvation diet on a plate!

3. Carelessness toward health.  Was I careless because I was told “healthy” meant a yucky salad and “unhealthy” meant a yummy steak?  A young boy always chooses the steak especially when I was constantly hungry from 3 hour practices!  This all started to change after my dad was diagnosed with heart disease and started eating a “healthy” low-fat diet. However, the real wake-up call came when my mother was diagnosed and eventually died of breast cancer! To fight the cancer, she put up a courageous fight by being the most dedicated eater of an “alkalizing” vegetarian diet ever! Yet, even though I began to care more about health, I continued to allow myself to eat anything while I learned more and took breaks from trying different diets.

4. Lack of exercise because of a bad back.  I have had a herniated disc in my lower back for about 10 years now. When I changed careers and became even more sedentary, my back problem only worsened from bad posture while sitting. I should have at least continued to walk short amounts, but at the end of the day, I didn’t even feel like tolerating even a little pain after dealing with it so much during the day. The recliner offered relief.

5. Convenience.  As a single guy, I relied on eating out for convenience over the years and pre-made frozen dinners when I ate at home mostly. Starting a diet always meant making big changes to my routine and giving up a lot of time to cook.

6. Diets were Too Low in Food Reward.  Looking back, all the diets I tried were much lower in food reward than the “regular” American diet with lots of sweets that kept calling to me! All of the previous diets required a Herculean will power just to fight the temptations. It was mental torture being on a diet!

Paul: Jay, what were your experiences on the various diets you tried – and what caused you to give them up?

Here is my weight history:

After college sports, I struggled with my weight. I was a yo-yo dieter – I could lose weight but it always ended up even higher. I tried meal shake replacements, frozen dinners to limit calories, no meat/meat, no dairy/dairy, acid/alkaline, exercise/no exercise while dieting, no cash or credit cards in my wallet going to work so I wouldn’t stop at a fast food, punishment where I had to eat a raw tomato if I cheat (I hate raw tomatoes), and many other vegetarian leaning and mental tricks.  A pattern emerged with these diets.  I would starve with low energy for about a week or two until my will power ran out. Then, I would go eat something “bad.”  If I continued to repeat the pattern and managed to be “successful,” I stayed hungry even once I reached my goal weight.  I tried to transition to a “regular” amount of food to stop starving and just maintain but to no avail.  My weight went right back up even higher than before even without cheating on the diets.

Paleo was finally the exception to the starving rule, but only at first.  I felt great on a very low carb paleo for a couple of months.  I ate a pound of meat a day and mostly vegetables with a little fruit and nuts and a lot of coconut oil. The extra fat and meat seemed to enable me to lose weight and not be hungry. I lost nearly 40 lbs and halfway to my goal.  However, I started to not feel so well and hunger was returning, too. I had headaches and energy fluctuated throughout the day. I never liked the taste of vegetables and I began dreading the need to eat more vegetables than I had ever cared to eat in my life. Also, the sugar cravings never stopped just like on the vegetarian diets. Eventually, will power ran out eventually on paleo just like on the other diets.

Here’s what I looked like at 250 pounds. I’m the one on the left in the gray shirt; the one on the right is my brother Craig Wright:

I knew I had better find an answer when my family and friends would laugh each time I declared, “Diet starts tomorrow!”

Paul: Jay, it’s very interesting that on pre-Paleo diets you were always hungry, and when you ate to satisfy your hunger, your weight returned to as high or higher than when you began. That’s consistent with the set-point theory of obesity: your set-point hadn’t changed, and so when you reduced weight below the set-point, you got hungry; when you ate to satisfy your appetite, you were obese. The Paleo experience could also be said to be consistent with the set-point theory: it reduced the set-point so you lost 40 pounds without hunger, but weight was still above normal and hunger returned as your weight got below the new set-point.

An interesting data point, which I see as a challenge for the setpoint theory because it suggests an alternative view, is that on VLC Paleo your hunger returned at the same time you began to feel unwell. This suggests that hunger and setpoint are really an index of health, and when the body is not being properly maintained the brain manufactures hunger. When nutrients are abundant and the body has all it needs to establish good health, the setpoint is reduced to normal weight, hunger disappears, and weight loss resumes.

Perfect Health Diet

Paul: Jay, what was your experience on PHD? I’m especially interested in whether you experienced plateaus where weight loss stalled, and whether you experienced hunger as on other diets.

I recorded my weight every day from April 15 through November, and enough days in March and early April to give a clear picture. Here is what happened:

As you can see, there was no stall in weight loss until I hit my target weight of 170 pounds.

Here’s my after photo, again with my brother Craig. This time Craig is on the left in black, I’m on the right in green:

Interestingly Craig has eaten pretty much the same foods as I have throughout life, and always maintained a normal weight. On my recommendation he adopted PHD soon after I did, and he also experienced health improvements – psoriasis, which he’s had for 20 years and used to leave red scales over much of his body, is nearly gone.

Hunger

I followed the PHD weight loss protocols and felt virtually no hunger throughout the 7 months. Intermittent fasting with one meal a day worked best for my schedule; I coconut oil fasted earlier in the day and 1 day per week.  After the first month, I coconut oil fasted for an entire week since I figured I should clean out my system. Then I dropped the calories to only 1200 to get some faster results early on to help my back. I thought I would readjust the calories up or the eating schedule according to my hunger, but I did not experience any hunger and had great energy so I left the plan alone. What little hunger I did experience was very mild and just meant it was time to drink another bottle of water or swig a tablespoon of coconut oil before the evening dinner. Interestingly, I ate some birthday cakes toward the end and experienced stronger and more uncomfortable hunger the following days than the previous months. The lack of hunger was definitely a key to my weight loss success.

Food Reward

For me, PHD is a high food reward diet. It tastes great every meal! Even in the beginning of the diet, I enjoyed the PHD meal just as much mentally as thinking about eating my old food. Later, my taste buds changed and PHD became clearly the more rewarding food. However, at least part of the PHD was bland. The coconut oil provided calories with no taste and helped keep my calories low. Yet, I really believe I would not have lasted on the diet if the food was bland. Having a neutral taste reminds me of the very low carb paleo diet that didn’t allow the safe starches and even small amounts of dairy. The white rice and white potatoes enabled me to eat vegetables regularly by buffering the taste until my taste buds adjusted and I began to like them. Avoiding milk but having small amounts of other dairy also went a long way in the enjoyment of the food and menu options. The safe starches, dairy, and a little bit of fruit also seem to be responsible for satisfying my sweet tooth cravings. I’m not sure if the high food reward PHD would have controlled my calorie intake since I counted calories. Nonetheless, compared to the other past diets I dreaded to eat, I prefer the high food reward of PHD. I use to say, “Why does all of the food that’s good for you taste so bad and all of the food that’s bad for you taste so good?” I don’t say that anymore with PHD.

Plateau

My belief is that total calories do matter. I’ve always been able to lose the fat and get back to my original weight provided that I lower my calories enough to accomplish it. However, my will power usually ran out before I accomplished it many times. The constant hunger and low energy with lower calories exhausted my desire to lose the weight on previous diets. In contrast, I experienced the opposite on PHD. While the PHD food and supplements provided satiety and energy, I controlled my calories by exercising, counting calories, eating only a single meal, and having oil fast days. Even after only a month, I experienced such a surge in energy even on lower calories that I increased my exercise to 2 hours of walking. Having established such a low calorie amount in the beginning with a challenging exercise and eating plan, I simply had to maintain the routine until the goal was reached.

I believe the key was PHD enabled me to maintain low enough calories to not experience a plateau as on other diets.

Set Point

My experience might show some truth to the concept of a set point. For instance, prior to starting PHD my weight stayed consistently within a 5 lb range for about 2 years. During this period I was eating whatever I wanted. My experience on PHD could be construed as the resetting of my set point to my normal weight – 170 lb. I was never hungry on PHD as long as my weight was above 175 lb. I started feeling more hunger once I got close to my normal weight in the 170s.  Unlike previous diets, I was able to eliminate the hunger by eating a little bit more — just upping my calories slightly.

Although other diets could get me to this weight point before, I had to stay in a perpetual starving mode to remain at this level. Unlike on PHD, on other diets adding enough calories to stop hunger always led to a rebound of weight that leveled out at a higher level than before I started.

When I started PHD my intended target weight was 175 pounds. With PHD, I actually continued to lose a little more than the 175 down to 170 without planning on it. Then, my weight slightly increased with obvious cheats like some birthday cake. While eating the normal amount the following days without the cheats, the weight returned to previous levels without an effort to compensate. After the weight loss, my weight has become more stable. The last month I have had several repeating days on the weight scale with the same exact weight number to the tenth of a point. This occurred even though I ate more on a few of the previous days. My weight history shows a stair stepping up higher with each diet attempt until PHD stabilized my weight back to its original healthy level.

Closing Thought

During the middle of my weight loss, I was at a restaurant eating a salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing, 8 oz steak, and a baked potato with butter and sour cream and some water with lemon, but without a dinner roll.  I paused and proclaimed, “I can’t believe I’m eating this and still losing weight! This is the BEST DIET EVER!”

Leave a comment ?

133 Comments.

  1. If it is something without possible negative effects, which I don’t know, it could be something to try in case of Type I diabetes, however low its success probability: http://www.lef.org/news/LefDailyNews.htm?NewsID=11332&Section=Disease.

    Best regards.

  2. @Jaybird

    Jay, I’m inspired by what you’ve been able to do and want to thank you for sharing your story. I have a question. I just don’t understand how you see Anthony Colpo as being complementary to PHD. From what I understand, he doesn’t believe in fasting, Coconut oil or any kind of low carb approach. The only similarity I can see is his advocating saturated fats and his emphasis on calorie restriction. Am I missing something? Also, if you don’t mind sharing, I’d be interested to hear about advice he and Paul gave you to help you resolve your back issues.

    Best,
    Dalia

  3. Dr Jaminet, I am finding the book and its science fascinating and have some questions. You recommend 400 calories glucose, 300 calories protein, 500-800 calories fat. Somewhere you recommend mashing 3 egg yolks into potatoes. That is counted as 200 fat calories or protein? Jay talks about enjoying a steak often. Isn’t 300 calories of steak less than 4 oz? Or would a fatty steak be divided as fat and protein calories? It seems that if you are having more than one meal a day, it probably wouldn’t include protein since the protein recommendation is rather nil.

    I was one of those people that had some difficulty with the very low carb diet: insomnia, anxiety and some hair loss. Jay describes having incredible amounts of energy while doing the IF and 1200 calories. I’m wondering if he ever tested cortisol levels or ever had trouble sleeping. I could feel my cortisol levels rise every time I did IF and would always have difficulty sleeping on those nights. Any advice? I do need to loose some weight and don’t have any other difficulty with skipping meals.

    With weight loss, the science does seem to keep coming back to calories in, calories out although we are getting closer and closer to perfect health thanks to people like yourself and your wife.

  4. Hi k,

    Egg yolks are fat, the egg white has the protein. The calories in steak are majority fat, minority protein.

    To figure out macronutrient counts, the thing to do is to weigh a piece of food on a kitchen scale, then go to http://nutritiondata.com and look it up. They will tell you how much of each macronutrient there is in a 100 gram piece. Then just do arithmetic to see what it works out to in your piece of food.

    As you’ll see here, http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beef-products/7385/2, an 8 ounce steak may have 265 calories fat and 260 calories protein.

    If IF gives you trouble, don’t do it. Some people do have glucose regulation issues or infections / gut dysbiosis that prevent fasting. Often these conditions will resolve after a period of healthy dieting; when you get healthier you’ll find you can fast. Seek health first, weight loss second.

    Best, Paul

  5. Thanks Paul. That’s very helpful information.

    I’m still wondering if my reaction of boundless energy and sleeplessness to IF is and indication of ill- health or nature as intended. I can imagine that once-upon-a-time, the onset of a fast could possibly have triggered a reaction of heightened awareness, perhaps to find food? I am curious if others have had this reaction.

    I have been told that my blood glucose, although slightly high (90-120), is very stable. IF brings it down to a more optimum 80s, but only near the 16th hour.

    Have read somewhere that fasting too long increases cortisol levels. Is that not true or if it is, I will assume from your response, it’s not supposed to happen? Sorry for the questions.

  6. @Paul
    I have bought a glucose meter now and will start doing some testing and report back. I actually seem to do better eating something as soon as I get hungry, but I’m not sure it has always been like this.

    Here is a short summary of my time on the PHD:
    I have been on the PHD diet for over a year now. (I bought the draft version in September 2010). My health has improved a lot. I have lost about 25kg and I’m now about 87kg (i’m 185cm tall). I’m probably healthier than an average person on just about any performance metric. (Picture of me in summer of 2010 and 2011. http://blisunn.no/2011/07/min-brors-nye-livsstil/)

    But even though I look, feel and perform better than before I still believe I have some symptoms of underlying problems. Mostly based on your writing I have come to the conclusion that further improvements will come from diagnosing and treating chronic infections (or maybe healing wounds from pre PHD damage).

    Going from knowing nothing about nutrition and health to a good implementation of PHD did take some time: Getting the insight, changing habits, finding good food sources, learning to cook etc.

    Some mistakes I believe I have done while trying to implement the PHD:
    – Going too low carb. (Too many seemingly trustworthy people recommended it)
    – Going hungry, exercising too much/hard and ignoring signs of hypoglycemia. (Wanted to lose weight fast)
    – Didn’t start on the PHD supplement at once (started 2-3 months ago)

    I’m currently pondering if it is a good idea to start on antibiotics or if it is a better idea to at least initially go for an herb, spices and supplements strategy. With patience and some further diet and lifestyle improvements I might be able to fix all the remanding problems. Healing without antibiotics seems to be safer, but I’m concerned that without antibiotics the underlying pathogen might survive and flare up when I’m weak or when I get old. Getting diagnostic help and antibiotics from the Norwegian health care system is probably possible, but I assume it will be challenging and time consuming. My main concern is that the longer I wait and the better I get the more difficult it will be to get help from them. On the other side I am not sure I trust them enough to jump on the first and best antibiotics they put me on.

    I have tried to summaries the symptoms I have, but describing them are challenging. There is so much variability and so many variables. Most of the symptoms are based on introspection, for example “irritability”, and it difficult to assign a level to the feeling independent of the current situation. Feeling extremely irritated is sometimes a normal brain state.

    Symptoms:
    The symptom that worries me the most is that I get thirsty all the time; it’s definitely outside what is normal compared to people around me. I will estimate that I drink 5 liters of water per day, maybe more. For example: I need to bring a big glass of water to the bedside because I will get thirsty before I fall asleep or if I wake during the night. I also pee more than normal. I will normally pee at least once during the night. It feels like my body has a reduced capacity to absorb water. The problems started about 5-6 years ago.

    I seem to have an inclination to pull/twist my hair, but I don’t think I lost any hair because of it. I actually started losing some hair when I was very young, but so did my dad. I therefor believe the hair pulling is unrelated to my hair loss. The hair pulling also started about 5-6 years ago.

    I have some problems falling asleep at night.

    I have periodic irritability, restlessness and light depression. Bad sleep and stress seems to be triggers or amplifiers.

    Fasting can sometimes result in reduced ability to focus and light-headedness.

    Eating a too big PHD meal can also result in reduced ability to focus but in what I think might be a different manner, more like a noisy scattered mind.

    Coconut oil triggers stomach pain, low energy feeling and light-headedness

    Regards,
    Ole

  7. I forgot a couple of symptoms:
    I almost always have dry lips

    I sometimes can get red eyes. This very often happens in periods with a lot of stress and when I have other signs of hypoglycemia

  8. Hi Ole,

    Thanks for the update! Your after picture looks great!

    Improvements can continue for quite a while after you fix diet and nutrition. I probably saw improvements for about 2 years.

    It’s always hard to tell when the benefits of antibiotics outweigh the cons. My experience was that on a bad diet they were ineffective and caused all sorts of problems; on a good diet they were very effective and caused no problems. But that is n=1 in each case. Your mileage will vary.

    I had the same problem with symptoms that doctors didn’t recognize as adding up to a clear diagnosis. Mood impairment/irritability is a sign of innate immune response in the brain. What’s driving it? Could be a lot of things, but an infection is one possibility.

    Frequent/extreme urination suggests maybe a urinary tract infection – or possibly some dissolved compound the body is trying to excrete. Glucose excretion as in diabetes and toxins from an infection could be possibilities. There are other possible causes, have doctors looked into it?

    Make sure you are getting adequate salt and potassium.

    The last 3 symptoms might be symptoms of gut dysbiosis. You mention hypoglycemia – do you have actual glucose measurements? That could cause mood impairment, also dry lips and eyes.

    It seems like some sort of diagnostic steps might be helpful. It might be helpful to get a glucose meter and rule out hypoglycemia, and ask doctors to evaluate possible causes of the urination.

    Eating fermented vegetables might help with the bowel, or cause symptoms to flare, but is worth a try.

    I am not sure what to advise. You’ll probably need to experiment for a while.

    Best, Paul

  9. Thank you for taking the time to help!

    I did my first test of the glucose meter today. Glucose concentration was 5.1 mmol/L. This was 1-2 hours after a PHD dinner (fish and potatoes). I will do more tests the coming weeks and report back if I find something interesting.

    Regarding the urination, I did see a doctor about the problem a couple of years ago. He took blood samples and a urine test. He told me they found nothing out of the ordinary and that my symptoms were probably nothing dangerous. He then told me that if I really wanted I could collect urine for 24 hours and he could run more tests on it. I did unfortunately not follow through on this.

    Another clue is headaches. From the age of about 6 I have gotten headaches about once a week. The only thing that would stop them was a combination of painkillers and sleep. What triggered it was never clear to me, but I think a combination of sleep, stress and hydration was important. The neck was always very stiff when I had headaches and neck massage would give temporarily pain relief.

    About 5-6 years ago when the urination problems started hydration became a major headache trigger. If I performed physical activity that caused sweating over a long period of time (i.e mountain hiking) I would as a rule get a very bad headache that evening. When I got these headaches there was no amount of water that could satisfy my thirst. It felt like there was something wrong with the water balance and the capacity to hydrate.

    The headaches are almost completely gone now, but I can trigger them if I’m not careful with the water intake.

    I will continue to do try tweaking the diet and lifestyle.

    I have just added apple cider vinegar to the diet. I have been testing with adding a table spoon to some of the water I drink as well. Not sure of the results yet.

    After reading some of the articles over at bulletproofexec.com I have become somewhat concerned about mold and mycotoxins. I threw out all the old spices and bought new: Ginger, Cilantro(Coriander), Parsley, Oregano, Turmeric, Rosemary, Thyme. I have also ordered high quality coffee beans and will test if there is any difference.

    Another thing I will try to improve is my circadian rhythm. I already use f.lux, but I think further tweaking might help. I have just ordered “evening glasses” that block blue light http://www.amazon.com/Uvex-S1933X-Eyewear-SCT-Orange-Anti-Fog/dp/B000USRG90 (these are suppose the same as they sell for $80 at http://www.lowbluelights.com) In addition I ordered a sleep mask http://www.amazon.com/Dream-Essentials-Dreams-Contoured-Earplugs/dp/B000CCI4YU and a sun lamp http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003XN9ZQQ

    My next step will be to test fermented vegetables. Thanks for the advice!

    Regard,
    Ole

  10. hi Paul, just wondering about a recent fast i completed (40hours) where i was eating raw cream, sauerkraut, and coconut oil/palm oil. was basically buzzing with energy the whole time wanting to do physical things like gardening, home maintenance jobs, digging, etc it was like i was on a high with no feelings of hunger whatsoever. was that buzzing feeling some sort of survival mechanism? where adrenaline is released in preparation for hunting/gathering? was it a safe response i.e. not a cortisol/stress response?

    p.s. am having fun experimenting with all this stuff!

    james ardagna

  11. Hi James,

    I don’t know what caused that. Perhaps you were making an excess of ketones? If you total up the calories you were taking in, were they higher than usual?

  12. Jay, congrats on doing such a great job and regaining your health. Thank you for sharing your story. You have really inspired me. I have been lurking on this blog for a while. I just can’t seem to get the weight off with just a strict Paleo diet. It is now time for me to buy the book and just do this. PHD just makes so much sense. Thank you for encouraging me to do this!

  13. Question for Jay – was wondering if Jay drank any alcohol during the weight loss period, and if so, what effect did it have?

  14. @Dalia. Sorry I have not got back to you and the delay. My other computer got a virus awhile ago and I changed email accounts and did not subscribe to this thread thinking it was over. I was checking the PHD site and must have missed your comment.

    As for Anthony Colpo and PHD, I do see them as very similar. Mostly, the types of food are the same. Colpo a few yeas back was advocating a stricter paleo diet with no safe starches. So you have the saturated fat, meat, veg, fruit, nuts…same. I believe the fish omega-3 and omega-6 issues and levels are the same. Anti-grain approach is the same. Real whole foods and no processed foods is the same. Colpo doesn’t recommend sugar/HFCS. Fruit is about same levels. I thought he was fine with coconut oil and I’ve never read anything by Colpo against it. Then Colpo was a pioneer in paleo when he changed and started advocating what PHD calls “safe starches” way before most in paleo and PHD got on board.

    The differences are few IMO. Colpo recommends a higher level of carbs than PHD. Note that his email to me said he still recommends a low carb approach for diabetics and very sedentary people. Colpo is focused on athletes and recommends regular people to be more athletic which explains and justifies the higher carbs to burn it off. PHD says higher cab range for athletes and fertility. Both have same reasoning and might be off by about 10% or so for vast majority of people recommendations.

    Yes, he doesn’t advocate the intermittent fasting. Also, he doesn’t advocate dairy in any form like PHD’s distinction.

    When I was dieting at 1200 calories, I was eating the top end range of PHD carbs at 600 calories a day, which is 50% carbs. 50% carbs would be what Colpo recommends for someone exercising like my 2 hour walks in the hot summer heat.

    In the end, while dieting, limiting calories as both say to do, I ate carb levels that both would recommend. The only difference is the protein level. I ate mid PHD protein range whereas Colpo wants it at the upper end of PHD range like carbs. I could have increased to upper PHD and would have overlapped. I felt like the only real no-no I did according to Colpo was eat dairy fat.

    As for back recommendations, both emphasized the need to get more motion in the body to increase blood flow in the area and with a healthy diet then the body can start to recover. I was already using my teeter hang up or inversion table, which both encouraged to do more and regular daily.

    Paul emphasized whole body stretching and recommended the mobilitywod website (see PHD sidebar link)(motility wod got me to use tennis balls when stretching), static mid section crunches from a NYTimes article link instead of no lifting because of the normal repetitions aggravated the lower back (I then applied the static to my whole body area lifts…bench, squat, etc), I think mentioned or responded to my accupuncture questions, and had the patience to check out the science articles I linked to about the whole body vibrator machines.

    Anthony Colpo mentioned the McKenzie Method, which is the yoga position to lie on belly and push up from floor with arms. It is a inverse motion than hunched over curve you have when sitting. McKenzie method also got me to add a cushion roll on my bed to support my lower back as well as more sitting posture support. I woke with worst pain of the day in the mornings. I think I then got a shoulder strap to pull my shoulders back while I walk to maintain better posture.

    I would do about 1 hour a day of stretching and hanging a day the first 2 months. Then plateau improvement, then add tennis balls and it made a big help..then plateau after 2 months, then McKenzie Method with just on elbows for 2 months then angle and bed roll added led to slow continued improvement for …well still improving today. About 97% improved since 1 year ago.

    @??? somebody asked about my sleep. I sleep fine. Always have before when fat, during, and after diet.
    I have noticed when I tried wheat again that I slept longer in the morning. I mention that because there is a mention in Weston A. Price’s book that two Scottish(?) brothers, one ate wheat and other did not. The wheat eating brother slept later and hard to wake in the morning and the other woke up early and got up easily. I just notice a weird coincidence there. Any thoughts why Paul?

    @Caroline. I usually don’t drink much at all. I think against Paul’s advice in articles I drank a raspberry sweetened wine cooler (fructose + alcohol) maybe 4-6 times during the dieting. I counted the calories beforehand and did not eat any fruit other adjustments that day to offset the calories.

    Thanks everybody for the congratulations!

  15. @Gabrielle. Thanks for your post. Reading that is basically the only way I was talked into this since I hate having a fat picture of myself on the internet. There’s just so much junk diets out there. If I was going to stick my pictures and story out there it better be for a diet I believe in and want others to hear. Well, that diet finally came around and worked. Hope you give PHD a good try like 6 months. I know you won’t look back after trying it! Good luck!

  16. Hi Jay,

    I’d guess the grogginess after eating wheat is due to some kind of immune activity, causing disturbed sleep.

  17. Paul,

    James Ardagna wrote about his fast:
    “…was eating raw cream, sauerkraut, and coconut oil/palm oil. was basically buzzing with energy… it was like i was on a high with no feelings of hunger whatsoever. was that buzzing feeling some sort of survival mechanism? where adrenaline is released in preparation for hunting/gathering?”

    Sauerkraut is very high in histamines. High histamine levels can cause our bodies to produce ADRENALINE. Do you think it is possible that James’ histamine levels rose enough on the fast (with sauerkraut) to produce enough adrenaline that it was energizing for him but not so high as to cause symptoms of histamine intolerance?

    http://www.ajcn.org/content/85/5/1185.full
    http://www.histamine-intolerance.info/

  18. Hi Sweet,

    Yes, that’s a good idea. Could be.

  19. Hello, was using sauerkraut as my fibrous component of the fast. What i will do next time is replace the sauerkraut with other fibrous vegetables, ones that don’t have histamines?, and see what happens. will keep the raw cream, coconut oil/palm oil component the same. will report back.

    james.

    question for Paul – have just had bloods done and my ldl is 4.7, hdl is 1.7 and triglycerides are 0.7. my tsh was 2.89 which i know is reasonably high.

    have been doing phd for over 6 months and have implemented iodine supplementation as well as eating brazil nuts to improve thyroid health (not knowing anything about thyroid status). anti nuclear antibodies were 80.
    did the blood test after an echocardiogram showed a possible aortic aneurysm (family history) and was extremely anxious prior and during blood test.

    could cortisol (stress) contribute to high ldl?
    could high ldl be a sign of vascular injury (aortic aneurysm)?
    could high ldl just be copper deficiency? (have upped my calves liver intake after blood test)

    prior to heart test was feeling great and have no symptoms of heart problems and am physically active.

    thanks, james.

  20. Hi James,

    HDL and triglycerides are excellent. LDL is mildly high. I would say the most plausible explanation is a mild hypothyroidism, given your TSH. (See our hypothyroidism category, http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?cat=49, for why a TSH of 2.89 is high enough to indicate a health-impairing hypothyroidism, and why hypothyroidism raises LDL.)

    I wouldn’t do anything radical, just work on the thyroid issue. If you’re very low carb, add some carbs.

    The quickest way to test if hypothyroidism is the issue would be to ask your doctor for some levothyroxine (T4) at a very low dose and see if that reduces LDL or makes you feel better.

    High LDL is associated with vascular injury, but the directions of causation are not all that clear.

    It seems like you’re doing a lot of things well. That you’re feeling great and are physically active is a good sign. As the LDL is only mildly high I would focus on the hypothyroidism and any infections that might have caused the aneurysm.

    Best, Paul

  21. For James:

    A family history of aneurisms could indicate a genetic connective tissue disorder involving faulty collagen such as Ehlers-Danlos. Aneurisms, dissections, and organ ruptures are very common in the Vascular type of EDS with an average lifespan of only 48 years. These life-threatening conditions/events sometimes also occur in other types of EDS. Most people with EDS are undiagnosed. The number and severity of symptoms can vary drastically even within a family and often worsen as the patient ages. Doctors may wrongly think all EDS patients will present with freakishly stretchy skin, extreme hypermobility of joints allowing for body contortions, extensive spreading of scars, and/or severe fibromyalgia type joint pain.

    Paul’s comment (Thank you, Paul!) on vascular injury led me to research High LDL in EDS and sure enough, one small study found elevated LDL in:

    “…37/50 females, and in 10/13 males, whereas elevated total cholesterol was seen in 7/50 females and 3/13 males. Only three persons in the cohort had a BMI > 30”

    Interestingly, “The skewed pattern was most remarkable in the younger age groups: In the 12-44 age range, 50% of the patients had LDLs in the greater than 75th centile.”

    From: “Elevated levels of Low Density Lipoprotein are frequently seen in patients with Ehlers Danlos Syndromes. M. Burchett1, A. Gustafson1, B. Griswold1, N.B. McDonnell1, C.A. Francomano”
    http://www.ashg.org/genetics/abstracts/abs06/f569.htm

    Do not let your cardiologist perform invasive procedures especially with contrast without first ruling out the Vascular form of EDS. This video shows a non-invasive test which gives the best views of vascular irregularities in Vascular EDS:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMIXVZz6UOQ&feature=related

    More info on the types of EDS:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1971255/
    http://ednf.org/
    http://www.reumatologia-dr-bravo.cl/para%20medicos/crit%20y%20diag/DIAGCRITJHS.htm

    For info on EDS, POTS, MCAD see;
    http://www.prettyill.com

  22. Hi Paul,

    Jay’s journey and success with PHD has me all fired up to do the same, as I am at 198 right now and want to get to 170, just like he did.

    Questions, I love french bread. Must I give it up to successfully lose the weight? How much could I have?

    Thanks,

    palo

    • Hi Palo,

      It’s best for health to skip wheat bread and eat gluten-free breads made with rice, potato, and tapioca flours/starches.

      However, it’s likely you’ll still lose the weight even if you eat the bread.

  23. A Remarkable Weight Loss Story To Remember » virginiawaterman.org - pingback on August 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm
  24. Hi Paul! I have boatloads of respect for your work. I have a question about excessive thirst at night. I have been switching the past 4 days from a VLC ketogenic diet to the PhD, because I can’t take the steady weight gain, bathroom issues and mental stress any more. I have noticed the past two evenings that I feel excessively thirsty, and remember this from before vlc dieting. Do you know of anyone else who has experienced this sort of thing? I have been careful to get a reasonable size of starch with my meat at every meal, probably averaging 80-130 grams a day, and I drink homemade kombucha and water with ACV in it.
    Thank you for any insights we

  25. Hi Paul, just curious, has Jay continued to maintain his weight loss? Mark Sisson does long term updates of his primal success stories, and I was curious if you could provide one on Jay.

    Thanks.

  26. Hi there Paul. Can you confirm Jay’s current maintanance caloric intake? I’m just curious. Thanks.

  27. Dr. Paul, you said that you met Jay at a Wise Traditions conference. I’m wondering, did you base the PHD on the principles of the Weston A. Price Foundation? How did you determine the amounts of each kind of food a person should eat?

    • No, we developed PHD before we had heard of the WAPF. We were trying to develop an optimally nourishing natural whole foods diet. So we researched the optimal amount of each known nutrient, then worked backwards to a combination of natural whole foods that provided optimal nutrition. A secondary aspect of PHD was that, building on its Paleo foundation, we excluded foods for which there is evidence of toxicity or immunogenicity for significant numbers of people, such as peanuts and wheat.

  28. Leonie Rodarte

    It was mentioned in this thread that someone experienced sleeping late with the consumption of wheat…is it normal to experience this with rice? I am loving PHD, but I do notice that the move from VLC/keto, i want to sleep in! I am also experiencing a little stiffness in the early morning. I know that I have leaky gut…I am assuming that these are symtoms of healing? Advice appreciated!

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