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. Jay, that’s awesome. Congratulations on your hard work, and thanks for sharing it here.

    Paul, I’m really intent on losing the 40lb or so of fat I’m currently lugging around. I’m fairly weight stable on PHD at present – I’ve lowered my fat intake but have no weight loss. Do you recommend this one-meal-per-day, plus fasting, protocol for everyone who is basically healthy?

  2. Jay, Great work! I’m really impressed with your accountability through great record keeping. And I’m with you 100% on TT expeller pressed oil. An excellent neutral tasting oil.

  3. @Franco. Looks like BBS does a full range motion, which have inflamed my back in the past. Some of the videos like the leg press would have the back support pushing hard on my lower back for support? Static Hold seems to work well until my back improves with McKenzie. Everytime I think my back improvement has plateaud, I keep the daily routine up and a few weeks later it improves more. So I going to keep it up and see if like March it has improved enough for something like BBS. Thanks for the tip. I’ll look into it but I wonder what the difference is between BBS and Fred Hahn’s slow burn?

    @Jacquie. Thanks.

    @Kate. Thanks and TT exp. pressed is a major reason for the practical success of the PHD for me! I loved the homemade french fries on Friday!

  4. Not saying that Jay you lost muscle weight but think we should all be aware of it when on a weight loss phase.

  5. Jay, thanks for sharing your amazing story!
    Your experience that wheat stimulates your appetite is mirrored by my wife’s experience. When she first made mac and cheese and lasagna, two of her favorite dishes, with rice noodles she was surprised to find that she could only eat half her normal portion.

  6. @Sue. No I didn’t test for lean muscle. I lost weight the best way you can considering it was slow for about 2 lbs a week while lifting all be it very light but the best I could considering my back. I’m lifting more now with an improved back. I’m stronger now than the beginning of the weight loss. If I lost any muscle I can’t tell and besides it’s worth it to get 80 lbs of fat off. I’ll just have to work to replenish it. So are you saying I should have gone slower because lifting more during the weight loss was not an option??

    @Peter. Your welcome! I think there is something to wheat in particular. I’m hungrier with it and it is #1 as a high Food Reward leading to me wanting to overeat it. If I made a list of my favorite food that got me fat, wheat would be involved in the top ten, except soda. 🙂 Some have written about its ability to stimulate the brain like some drugs do and cause addiction. From my experience, I believe it. Do you think your wife’s experience was a FR reaction and she didn’t crave the taste to want to eat more?

  7. @Jay,

    the differences are miniscule. Either one could fit your needs. It’s also not mandatory to do a full range. If you read some articles on bbs you will find also something about static holds in pyramide fashion (called max pyramide). I’m quite a fan of static holds at midpoint with some rest/pause application myself actually.

  8. No Jay not saying you should have gone slower at all or changed anything. Your weight loss was fabulous and you look bloody great. I just wondered how much muscle mass you lost. I wondered if being ketogenic most of the day ensured most of loss was fat and not muscle. Also, I always just noted my weight on scale never bothered with how much muscle I had. As I am in mid 40s know the importance of maintaining muscle mass into old age. I did a VLA which recommended some muscle gain for me.

  9. Regarding gritty white rice flour, Authentic Foods rice flours really make s difference. They are ground very fine, and I’ve found it makes all the difference in baking. BUT! they are expensive, especially if you have to have them shipped.

    So another idea is to check out Asian grocery stores and see if they carry fine ground rice flour.

    I learned the hard way that the stuff you find at the grocery store is pretty grainy and just doesn’t work the way flour should.

  10. @Jay – My wife’s description of how she felt sounded like FR; she said the dish just didn’t taste as goode with rice noodles. And when she was full the dish unexpectedly became repulsive.

    @Steph – Gluten Free Mama makes two really nice gluten-free flours which are available on Amazon. They don’t contain any bean flour, corn, cornstarch, guar gum, or xanthan gum. She must fine-grind her rice flour because they aren’t gritty.

  11. @Peter. Interesting. While I don’t have a strong grasp of FR, I definitely think there’s something to it. Did anybody else see 60 minutes segment on the food scientist creating the different artificial tastes? They were exploring the “End to Overeating” book’s info on FR. For 2 days, I ate my rice and potatoes without salt or seasoning and there definitely a difference of not enjoying the food as much and stopping sooner. My only thing to not do it all the time is the healthiness of some salt and seasonings in the diet.

    @Peter and @Steph

    Thanks for the rice flour solution. I can’t wait to try this!

  12. That is very impressive!

    My experience is similar to yours. I started at about 110kg (242 pounds) in September 2010 and lost almost 1 kg per week until I was about 89 kg (195 pounds). (I’m 185 cm tall). From there on it has been much harder to lose weight.

    I learned a few tricks from your that i will test:

    – shangri-la style coconut oil fast in the morning. I did test this with MCT oil after reading the Seth’s book, but the MCT oil was not very agreeable with my empty stomach. I hope coconut oil will work better.

    – Weighing the food and counting the calories. I have never done this before and I think it will give me a better insight into the amount of calories I consume and a better change at optimizing the diet.

    Do you have a good source for learning about the McKenzie Method or back problems in general?

    thanks for sharing!

  13. @Ole. Good luck with the changes.

    My back continues to get better. Now realize fully that I have been doing the McKenzie Method everyday for 9 months now.

    I got the McKenzie book at my local library. This one:
    http://www.amazon.com/Steps-Pain-Free-Life-Rapidly-Relieve/dp/0452282772/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323116644&sr=1-1

    Here’s a newer edition. I don’t know the difference.
    http://www.amazon.com/Treat-Your-Own-Back-802-9/dp/0987650408/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323116644&sr=1-2

    Besides the McKenzie movement, McKenzie also recommends a lumbar roll to use while sitting and lying on it while sleeping. I think this has really helped too!

    Also, I strongly recommend the inversion table:

    http://teeter-inversion.com/

    Next, roll up two towels. Put one under your lower back and the other under the neck and lay on it for a few minutes.

    Then, stretch your body like an athlete daily.

    A big big help in stretching is to use a tennis ball. I used this for my back and I was so incredibly sore for a week after the first time I used it. Actually, I used 2 balls rolling around on the lower back.

    If I had the money, I would get deep tissue messages and acupuncture? 🙂 Curious about acupuncture since Chris Kresser explained it in western terms.
    http://chriskresser.com/acupuncture

  14. This is a really great story, but …

    Isn’t there like a bazillion calories in coconut oil?

    I want to lose weight too, but I don’t know how I could eat anything AND eat coconut oil without going over 1200 calories a day and not be hungry…

    Can someone explain?

  15. Hi syd,

    It’s not necessary to go as low as 1200 calories a day to lose weight. You just have to go below what you expend. If you are a reasonably active young man, like Jay who walked 1-2 hours a day, you can eat more than that.

    1200 calories a day is a minimum healthy intake, not a recommendation.

    Intermittent fasting can be a useful weight loss tool in those who tolerate fasting well. Occasionally people will get hungry during the fast. A tablespoon of MCT oil or coconut oil at those times can relieve hunger while not interfering with the benefits of the fast, which derive in part from ketosis which the oils accentuate.

    A possible benefit of this is that imbibing such “tasteless calories” in isolation has been shown by Seth Roberts (Shangri-La Diet) to assist weight loss in many people.

    So overall, it is a plausible strategy for weight loss. The 120 calories in a tbsp of coconut oil substitute for other calories and are an effective appetite suppressant.

    Best, Paul

  16. @Jaybird Thanks

    I bought all three:
    Treat Your Own Neck 5th Ed (803-5)
    Treat Your Own Back 9th Ed (802-9)
    7 Steps to a Pain-Free Life: How to Rapidly Relieve Back and Neck Pain

    The books are actually for someone in my family that has had back problem for some time now. My biggest concern is how accessible they are. I’m from Norway and reading this kind of literature in your second language can be challenging and even more so if they use Latin for all the medical terms. I’m hoping for lots of illustrations:)

  17. @Ole. The 7 steps book had so many pictures that reading is practically unnecessary. I do it everyday and its month 9, so remember to be patient for the results and stay with it but its worth it!

  18. Paul and Jay,

    I decided to experiment following Jay’s protocal (thanks to Paul) of only having 1 meal a day at dinner and the rest of the day drinking water and 1-2 tbl of coconut oil. I’m 5’11 and my weight has fluctuated between 220 to 200 over the last 3 years (mostly low carb). I started on Monday of this week at 219, this morning I was 214. Enjoying great PHD meals at dinner but most surprisingly have not been hungry on the water/coconut oil regimen during the day. I have tried IF before and at times been ravenously hungry during those times. I’m amazed at the lack of hunger with the Coconut oil.

    Question for Paul: Is this weight loss protocol too ketogenic? Over the last 3 years I’ve had annual bouts with kidney stones, is this a bad protocol for someone in my condition? I do have rice and/or potatoes with my meals and my uric acid levels have dropped with the PHD meals, but am concerned that the water/coconut oil regimen during the day till dinner might exacerbate the kidney stone situation? Thanks again.

  19. Piggy backing on George’s question, I wonder if ketogenic fasts are healthy for hypothyroid people? I did some IF last spring (with coconut oil first thing in the AM and a six hour eating window starting late morning) and found that I was cold to the bone constantly, and I became concerned that I might be messing up my thyroid more, so I stopped. So the question of IF and thyroid has been buzzing in my brain.

  20. Steph, good question, i’ve wondered about this myself.

    I also did some “oil” fasting a while back with coconut &/or mct oils & also got really cold.
    However, when i was doing this (pre PHD), i was probably not hitting the min 600 cals from carb+prot per day & the carbs may have been low as well, ie. less than 50g. I wonder if this may have been a factor.

    How about yourself, can you remember what you carb & protein intake was like whilst you were IFing?

  21. Darrin, I actually don’t remember, but it wouldn’t surprise me if I was low on the carbs most days, so that could have been a factor. Thanks!

  22. Hi,

    As someone who has remained weight stable after losing 45lbs doing a paleo-esque diet two years ago, I thought this protocol might jump start the next round of weight loss. I had already been IFing through to lunch and eating close to the PHD prescription.

    The transition to one meal was not difficult. Hunger was manageable, as were energy levels. To be honest, the huge meal was the biggest issue, just too much food at once. 🙂

    So what are the results after one week, weight stable still. I feel less bloated but no weight loss on the scale. Knowing that I did not share my meal plans and such, so you have limited detail to go on, does this indicate anything to anyone? As a 6′, 233lb male, I am not inclined to go lower than 1,200-1,500 calories.

  23. @Jaybird,

    Thanks for mentioning the McKenzie book(s); I’m going to check out the 7 steps one. I had never even heard of an inversion table. I MUST try one.

  24. I’m a 70-year-old woman, in good health, have lost and kept off 70 pounds, but would like to lose another 50. I have dieted all my life, from the age of 7, and the thought of eating one meal a day depresses the heck out of me. I’m not willing to do it.

    My book is on order, so I haven’t yet started PHD, but I’d like to know how best to bring about slow, contented weight loss. If I get 20 pounds a year, I’ll be happy. I am past the time when I am willing to go to extremes. My focus is on health, energy, longevity and weight loss, without stress, deprivation or pressure.

    Any thoughts?

  25. Hi PHD Fan,

    After one week there’s not much one can say about weight loss.

    The main key is to make yourself supernourished in micronutrients (so take our recommended supplements, and eat nourishing foods) and to have a balanced macronutrient intake (eg 400 calories glucose, 300 calories protein, 500-800 calories fat with some omega-3 and very low omega-6). Include a bit of coconut oil.

    You don’t need to eat one meal only. Two within an 8 hour window may be easier and more enjoyable. Find the way that best fits your lifestyle and food tastes.

    I wouldn’t worry about weight for the first month; rather use hunger as the test of your diet: you’re doing well when hunger is minimized. To do that, make sure you’re adequately nourished in every nutrient — don’t let carbs or protein get too low, and make sure the micronutrients are good; and try a spoon of MCT oil or coconut oil if you get hungry during a fast.

    If you can eradicate hunger and feel good on a calorie-restricted diet, then weight loss will come. If after one month weight is still not coming off, then next steps could include exercise, circadian rhythm therapies, or fighting infections.

    Hi Judy,

    That’s exactly the proper focus: seek health first and a natural weight will follow.

    It’s not necessary to eat one meal a day. We usually recommend two meals a day in an 8 hour window. Even that is not necessary, but it has some benefits and may be especially helpful to the elderly.

    The key is to be well nourished. On a low-carb diet, that should eliminate hunger and maintain stable blood glucose levels, enabling an easy daily fast.

    Let me know how things go for you!

    Best, Paul

  26. @Michelle. Your welcome! Glad to help. Wish I’d known certain things sooner. It’s so daunting today wit hthe internet to work through all the hype and mess that is out there and find what’s good and what’s not. I like to pass along anything of worth I can. My family and friends says too much. Good luck.

  27. Hi Paul,

    Thanks as always for the great advice. I am a proud owner of your book and long time follower of the site. Two meals within the 8 hour window is what I do most often and I have returned to that. I think my supplement routine is reasonably dialed in. I’ll keep good track of my eating and see how the results go. I suspect the ratios get out of whack a little more often than I would like…

    Thanks to Jaybird as well for the inspiring story!

    –Best

  28. When you say peas are allowed, is that just fresh or frozen peas, or are dried peas also allowed?

    Also, is rutabaga considered a veggie or a starch?

    Thanks.

  29. Hi Judy,

    Any peas are allowed. Rutabaga is a sugary root vegetable, nutritionally similar to carrots. Botanically a vegetable, calorie-wise more akin to fruits and berries. It’s a fine food.

  30. I don’t have a blog and this is my only outlet to help people so I wanted to add just one last note on this article that I believe will be helpful to others. I wanted to thank Anthony Colpo who deserves a hat tip for my success as well. It is the least I can do for his generous time responding to my emails and writing his excellent books! Everything I did was PHD compliant, and I am not taking anything away from Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet’s work at all, but I also wanted to give Anthony Colpo credit for my weight loss. I know Anthony Colpo has mixed reviews by people from his style but for a guy his style is great fun to read and hope others read his great work as well. Colpo was instrumental in my thinking for diet and health and was the first to send me on this path. I believe he has much information that is very complimentary to PHD. He is listed on the side bar as a recommended link for a reason.

    Per Anthony Colpo:

    First, without the “Great Cholesterol Con” book, I would have never eaten a saturated fat diet nor explored the internet and considered PHD.

    Second, without “Fat Loss Bible” book, I would not have held so strongly to counting calories and keeping them down.

    Third, I started with a low carb approach because I was very sedentary with a back problem. However I upped my carbs to 600 and had a 50% carb amount with 1200 total calories for 4 or the 7 months per Colpo and Jaminet’s advice.

    Fourth, Colpo was instrumental helping my back with the McKenzie Method advice. It was similar and complimentary to Paul’s recommendations.

    In undertaking such a big challenge of losing so much weight, having confidence in the approach your doing is very important. At different times about different issues both Anthony and Paul seemed to compliment the advice of the other, which gave me confidence to do it. To me, great minds think alike, which allowed me to focus on the task and not second guess everything and not change course. For this I am indebted to them both. Colpo and Jaminets are my trusted sources and I know they will help you too!

  31. @Jaybird again, thanks for sharing.
    I have been experimenting with your protocol, so far with good results. But I’m still trying to learn more about my optimal need of coconut oil during the fast. Sometimes a can get a “feeling of emptiness in the head”, a kind of dizziness, or loss of ability to focus. I assume this is because the neurons are starved for energy. Taking lots of coconut oil seems to help, but I’m still testing. I’m normally training fasted and I’m taking 10g branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) before exercise. This also seems to help.

    I can also sometimes get a feeling of pain in the stomach. I would say it’s a bit more concentrated and intense than the normal hunger feeling. Eating lots of leafy greens seems to maybe fix this. Still testing…

    Have you had any feelings of this kind?

    Regarding coconut oil consumption I assume when you say 1 table spoon you are using the definition of 1 US tablespoon = 14.7867648 milliliters. With 100ml coconut oil = 91.4 grams a table spoon of coconut oil would be about 13,5g.

    I just tested with my Norwegian table spoon and I could get no more than 9g of liquid coconut oil on it, even though it’s supposed to be 15ml in Norway as well, maybe I just go smaller table spoons than normal? When taking into consideration spilling and some coconut oil being left on the spoon I think I might be down in the 7-8g range. Anyway I have found the best way to measure my coconut oil intake is in grams using a scale with tare functions. I first tare the whole coconut jar, I then eat coconut oil and when I think I got the planned amount I look at the difference on the weight.

  32. @Ole.

    I just don’t seem to have any stomach problems like everybody else. I guess coconut oil agrees with me from the beginning and what roller coaster rides I had seem to resolve eliminating wheat/grains and fructose. As for the amount, your way too precise for me. I started using I guess a “US” measuring tablespoon. Then, I just estimate with a regular spoon scraping out a chunk from the tub.

    I would walk in the late afternoon before eating at dinner. I actually enjoy exercising on an empty stomach. Yet now that I’m lifting more I’m also adding BCAAs with the workout and eating a 2nd meal to have carbs before and after per Colpo’s workout advice. Do you take BCAA supplement capsules or a whey? I’ve just added Shane Ellison’s “The people’s chemist” whey with stevia sweetened.

  33. Hi Jaybird,

    I hope I haven’t missed it, but: Do I understand that you IF daily (having CO during the “fast”) and fast completely one day per week? So you’re perhaps eating 1600-2000 cal/day 6 days a week, and perhaps a few hundred in CO 1 day a week?

    @Paul: I’m troubled by this statement: Saturated fat is healthy, and all healthy foods can be eaten ad libitum (that is, to one’s taste) because the brain naturally leads people to eat in the right proportions, if they are given a selection of good natural healthy foods, and removes appetite when enough has been eaten.

    Umm … there are a ton of testimonials of people who gain substantial weight eating too much of healthy foods. Jay seems to apply some deliberate restriction and/or control over his intake to this day. Promoting this notion, IMO, will get PHD in trouble. It’s why there are so many reports about the net of low carbers transitioning to PHD and gaining weight. Also, one of the things I used to binge on in a pinch was rice with a ton of butter. The more butter the better, rice ain’t really all that appealing as a binge food.

  34. I take 10g of this 5-10 min before the workout.

    http://www.iherb.com/Controlled-Labs-Purple-Wraath-Purple-Lemonade-2-44-lb-1108-g/24683?at=0

    It’s based on recommendation from

    http://www.leangains.com/

    It did not like the taste at all in the beginning, but it has grown on me. Shaking it and then leaving it for a couple of minutes before drinking it helps on the taste.

  35. Evelyn aka Carbsane,

    I think binging implies you weren’t well nourished. That’s why your “Full” button wasn’t activated and you sought out rice and butter.

  36. Hi Evelyn,

    That statement does need qualification. For those wondering where that came from, it was in this comment, http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=5181#comment-40908, in reply to John. I was referring to the case of a healthy person, and what causes a healthy person to become fat. I don’t believe any healthy person will become fat from butter.

    “Healthy” excludes binging behaviors, pre-existing weight management issues, and so forth.

    Perhaps I misunderstood John, but I thought he was referring to the original cause of weight gain and obesity.

    I certainly agree that for best health, the various macronutrients should be eaten in the right proportions, and if your goal is to lose weight then you will probably need to intentionally restrict calories.

    Unbalanced food (carb+fat with no protein, low micronutrients and fiber) like rice and butter is certainly risk for weight gain in a person with weight management issues.

    Best, Paul

  37. @Evelyn. During the diet, it was more 1200 calories 6 days a week and zero to a few hundred calories of coconut oil until hunger satisfied on fast days. After the diet, it is closer to 2000 and once a week or two weeks a fast day with oil of varying amounts. And yes I counted the calories and did not rely on taste.

  38. @Ole,

    You explained how you have been experiencing “a kind of dizziness, or loss of ability to focus” during your fasts. I understand what you mean. I started the 16-hour ketogenic-type of fasting several months ago (fast for 13 hours, then start drinking coffee augmented by coconut oil and cream). The first 4 to 6 weeks I felt lightheaded and unable to concentrate during the final two hours of the fast. The workaround: I changed my web-browsing time window, as well as my software programming, to that final two hours; both activities help me concentrate. The good news is that the lightheaded feeling has faded away in recent weeks. I have no idea what caused it; my (probably flawed) analysis was that it was due to by-products of autophagy.

    My biggest puzzler now is how to increase tasteless consumption of coconut oil. I can add it to other foods, but when I take it by itself, it generally rushes through my system.

  39. Hi erp, yes, I’m sure my binging came about from self-induced malnourishment … but there was a whole lot else that added to the picture once I got into that spiral. I tend to think a lockdown in sweats, in a mirrorless room with sunlamps and unlimited nourishing foods would likely have cured me early on. But …

    @Paul: I grew up on a pretty PHD friendly diet. No crap in our household, and when there was bread or grains it was the Ezekiel type. If anything I was a skinny kid. I think IF someone is healthy in the metabolic sense, then ALL natural foods in mostly whole state should be equal in preventing fattening. But they are not. Before even the binging started after the ill-fated diet/weight loss, I would eat rice with butter. Lots of butter if Mom wasn’t around. Dairy fat in general is super palatable and can turn dirt into something tasty as far as I’m concerned. If adding starches in PHD is troublesome for many, I suspect this is the reason.

    I’m beginning to think that PHD is only for “healthy people” — and I’d hate to see that happen because I think you add so much to the discussion. Don’t give *them* this out, if that makes any sense at all. Please don’t fall into the trap that just eating healthy foods will cure a broken homeostatic metabolism. Too many people out there who adhere to paleo, PHD, LC, etc. … all the promised brass rings for re-establishing homeostatic nirvana … fall FAR short of expectations.

    Jaybird deliberately and consciously restricted not only food choices but calories. And he did it in a way that he didn’t feel deprived and gnawingly hungry all the time. There’s a lesson there. I hope it’s not lost.

  40. Hi Evelyn,

    I don’t deny that conscious calorie restriction is usually necessary for weight loss – certainly for anything close to the rapid weight loss that Jay experienced.

    I was only questioning whether there are circumstances in which a healthy, slender person on a good diet would need to consciously restrict calories to prevent obesity. I think that’s an open question.

    Obviously many slender people pay no attention to calories and don’t get fat. What disrupts the regulatory system so that things go haywire? For example, suppose an infection does it. Conscious calorie restriction might prevent weight gain but would not solve the health issue, but antimicrobial drugs might solve both infection and weight without calorie restriction. Is it proper to say that calorie restriction is needed to prevent the weight gain?

    Similarly with other causes: I don’t think the cause of obesity is an innate tendency to eat too much of healthy foods. I’m open to the idea that industrial, flavorist-designed foods can bring about obesity by an over-eating mechanism, at least in some people; but I think the appealing flavors may still need to be combined with malnourishing foods.

    I think it’s unlikely that Jay’s lesson will be lost, especially since his program is what we have been consistently preaching. He just implemented it with the greatest possible vigor.

  41. Evelyn, I didn’t mean to imply criticism. Paul has suggested that we first get on a healthy diet so we can better assess how to deal with problems, especially when doing something to help one thing, causes another to act up as so many commenters are telling us about.

    Some like myself have no doctor who’s interested in following through on tests Paul suggests, so we go through trial and error until we come to some sort of balance. That’s my situation and although I am still in pain from various mostly age related ailments, I have my weight under control, my diet is stabilized. I don’t have cravings and am never hungry. When I’m full, I stop eating. Sounds simple, but this hadn’t been the case all my life when I binged on carbs, mostly breads, crackers and cookies. In 15 mos. I went from size 16 to size 6. Taking those large size clothes to Goodwill was more cathartic than those who’ve never experienced that kind of weight loss can imagine.

    I hope you don’t give up on the PHD and that you get where you want to be very soon.

    Happy holidays.

  42. Hi,

    Congratulations to you, Jay, and thanks so much for sharing your success and methods!

    As far as the PHD only being for healthy people, I wanted to share my experience. I’ve lost about 60+ pounds on the low carb (mostly back in 2000). My low carb methods evolved over time and eventually I avoided all fake sugars including diet sodas and almost all prepared foods (including low carb products) and had to be careful of dairy and nuts – trigger foods for me which caused me to overeat. I also thought that low fat would bring me more success, so tried to stay low fat. Whenever I would stop doing low carb, I’d gain some weight back. But it was very difficult for me to stay low carb because I was doing low fat and also not getting enough omega 3. And when I did cheat with sugary foods, I’d eat a lot of it. Then I discovered PHD this year. I was afraid of “safe starches” and fat, but thought I’d give it a try. At first I actually gained some weight because I was adding coconut oil snacks and the plain Greek yogurt and my favorite safe starch – sweet potatoes – all became trigger foods and I couldn’t stop eating them. So I stopped the coconut oil snacking and the Greek yogurt and the sweet potatoes for a while and focused on getting enough Omega 3 and reducing my Omega 6. (My ratios were not optimal.) Now, I’m doing the Intermittent Fasting too (fast 16 hours, feed 8 hours – eating 3 times and eating coconut oil for my breakfast). It’s amazing – I’m not hungry and it feels great! I’ve reintroduced yogurt, kefir and a daily sweet potato, but now those 3 items that had been my trigger foods are no longer and I feel satisfied very easily and don’t overeat them as before. Maybe it was because my Omega 3/Omega 6 ratio was out of wack? Maybe it was because my body had to get used to safe starches after so long without them? Maybe the IF helps? Maybe after several months of PHD supplements that I’m finally not malnourished? I’m not saying that I don’t ever eat sweets and don’t ever eat too many. But it’s a lot easier and happens only rarely. And sometimes I can just eat a little taste of something on a rare occasion. But if I’m under stress, it’s right before that time of the month, or if it’s meal time and I haven’t had a chance to eat yet (usually all 3 factors combined) and I’m tempted with a sugary sweet, then it’s so much harder for me to resist temptation. And once I do, it’s hard to stop eating the sweets! The other key thing is to try to make sure the fat/carb/protein ratios are adhered to for each snack/meal. I know Paul has said not to just have a starch by itself and that is important advice.

    So, my problem of overeating isn’t totally gone, but my diet and weight maintenance is so much better and easier than ever before because of the PHD! And I feel better and happier and more satisfied than ever before!

  43. Thank you, Connie! Great story!

  44. Are Jerusalem artichokes safe starches, unsafe starches or vegetables? Thanks

    PS My book arrived today and I am already half-way through it. Start seriously tomorrow, after having been experimenting with PHD principles the past few days.

    Will let you know how it goes!

    Judy

  45. Hi Paul,

    First, thank you to you and your wife for sharing your insights and research with all of us. My husband and I have been reading through your website for the past two months and I started the PHD diet probably almost two months ago. I just wanted to ask a few questions and provide a little background on myself. I’m just not sure what to expect and not sure if I’m on the right track or not. So any thoughts at all you might have would be enormously appreciated.

    I’ve been a Type I diabetic (insulin dependent) for 10 years now. I’m a 35-year old female who has never been overweight and in fact when I got the diagnosis of diabetes, I was constantly exercising (in hindsight, I think I was over-exercising) and training for a half-marathon. Anyway, I used to question what happened to cause the diabetes and it used to drive me crazy and make me so depressed, but I’ve been accepting of it now for the past few years and just trying to do as good as I can with it. But of course I did read all (I think all of them?) your articles relating to diabetes- choline deficiency, rose corn oil trial, etc. which I found very interesting. How I wish I could go back 10 years and investigate as to what was going on in my body! But anyway, that’s another topic… So, I’m writing to ask about weight loss on this diet… I was thin before starting the diet, but now I’ve lost probably about 9 or 10 lbs over the past month and a half to two months. I did not necessarily want to lose any weight, I was just trying to see if my body would just heal itself of the diabetes by changing my diet completely (Previously I had been eating very little meat and only on occassion, no pattern; lots of black beans, oatmeal, grits with butter or cheese, apples, salads, lots of almonds or walnuts, olive oil; almost no butter; did and still do have coffee every morning with full-fat creamer and no sweetener at all, just because I like strong, thick coffee! yum!). I too, like many others, was in the fat-fearing camp, but then with all the praise of nuts a few years ago,I started eating lots of nuts for my fats, but still not much meat or eggs, and almost no butter. So, I was still somewhat anti-meat and butter because I thought that was the heart-attack stuff! And, though I really appreciate my doctor, there was and still is constant pressure from his office for me to go on statins just because I’m diabetic (even though my cholesterol wasnt high at all- these are my numbers from last fall- total chol: 176, triglycerides: 26, HDL: 86, LDL: 85, VLDL: 5.) I’ve never been pro-medication (well, except for my insulin!) so I’ve always politely refused to take any statins or ACE-inhibitors. Anyway, so, now I’ve been eating just like your diet says and I love it! It makes sense to me. The extra fat definitely helps even out my blood sugars after meals, but not always. That’s the unfun part, but I know that’s not because of the diet parameters but because of my own body’s broken systems. Anyway, because of my weight loss, my husband and I have started to worry just a little if there’s something else going on in my body that I’m not aware of. I don’t think I’m too thin yet, but I think I weigh less than I did in High School now! I was holding steady at 123 lbs, then dropped to 122.5, now this morning after breakfast I was 121.5. (my height is 5’6″) so I’m starting to worry. Before the diet I was somewhere around 130- 135. For the past week though, I have been having diarrhea occasionally, as I did this morning, so I’m assuming that’s where the weight loss happened this morning. Any thoughts? parasites? hyperthyroid? does it appear that I’m not eating enough? or does everything sound ok/ normal?

    Here’s an example of what I’ve been eating in a day:

    breakfast-
    -one over-easy egg cooked in olive oil overtop of a microwaved-baked golden potato with salted butter and thyme
    -2 cups organic coffee with organic half&half (prob 3 T. in each cup)

    mid morning sometimes-
    – plain whole-milk organic yogurt with nothing on or in it (1-2 cups)
    – or an apple or banana or orange, whatever i have here

    if my blood sugar ever drops low, im obviously obligated to eat carbs, so i carry raisins for that, so i eat those or fruit whenever needed, sometimes once a day or not at all.

    lunch-
    – whatever i made the night before, some combo of safe starch and some protein and fat (brown rice with indian butter chicken, or fried rice or potato and your yummy steak diane recipe, etc, garlic green beans, indian spiced cabbage, salad, etc)

    2-4 brazil nuts everyday, until I ran out a week ago. need to get more!

    dinner-
    same kind of thing as lunch, but sometimes I might not have meat on hand, so I at least try to mix either potato or rice with enough fat to counterbalance the carb effect on my blood sugar

    I’m not super-scientific as you can see, and I don’t really follow diabetic meals like many doctors recommend. My seemingly successful method is to eat as healthy as I can, and to simply test my blood sugar very often every day- I test probably 10 times a day and take small booster shots if needed. Even though most doctors would never suggest this to their diabetic patients, it seems to work for me because last fall my HbA1c was incredibly low for a diabetic- it was 5.8. (On the home test I did a few months ago, it was 6.3, I had been having some higher numbers here and there, but still not too bad for a diabetic.)

    So, I was just wondering if you might recommend some things I should check? I’m due to have my complete blood panel done again soon (but honestly I’m a little nervous as to where my cholesterol will be since my diet changed so drastically and since my doctor is so pro-statin!) Does my weight loss sound normal? Do you think, as a diabetic, I should be ok to follow the diet just the same as non-diabetics (of course with the exception that I’ll probably eat more carbs due to occasional blood sugar lows)? Any thoughts at all would be so helpful.

    Thank you so very much!
    Merry Christmas!
    KH

  46. @KirkC
    The problem with my brain fog is that I’m unable to write or program effectively.

    My typical morning routine starts with a cup or two of black coffee. I then wait with the coconut oil until I get hungry. I’m currently speculating that I’m waiting too long before take coconut oil or maybe I’m not taking enough. If I wait until I’m really hunger it seems to take some time before the energy from the coconut oil is available for the brain.

    How much coconut oil are you taking?

    Regarding stomach problems: I have been experimenting with raw carrots, leafy greens and berries to prevent the stomach problems from coconut oil. I’m speculating that timing plays a major role. If I wait until I have stomach pains before I take the fiber containing foods it seems to take some time before they help(if they help at all). I’m currently experimenting with different timings to test if that might help. For example starting the day with fiber containing foods and then some time later take coconut oil and do it all before I get really hungry.

    I’ll report back if I find something that works really well.

  47. Hi Judy,

    Jerusalem artichokes are vegetables – they are fiber rich, not carb rich.

    Please do let me know how it goes!

    Hi KH,

    Welcome!

    It sounds like you’re doing a tremendous job. I love your meal plans, they seem perfect to me. Your HbA1c is fantastic. Your strategy of testing blood glucose frequently is very helpful.

    Do NOT take statins! You need that cholesterol and your levels are already low.

    The diarrhea is concerning, if it continues. Yogurt, probiotics, and fermented vegetables may help.

    It can be hard for Type I diabetics to keep their weight up, but I wouldn’t consider 121.5 pounds worrisomely low. At a BMI of 19.6 that’s close to the minimum mortality BMI for women. Nor is the recent loss of 1.5 pounds outside the range of normal fluctuation, especially if you’re having diarrhea. I’m guessing you liked how your body looked or felt at 130 pounds? 130 would be a very healthy weight for your height too, but maybe tougher for a Type I diabetic to achieve.

    I guess I’d try to focus on adding muscle by doing resistance exercise and maybe taking a little extra carbs, protein, and insulin on workout days, but otherwise I wouldn’t be concerned unless the weight keeps dropping.

    You didn’t say if you supplement micronutrients, which I recommend. I’d probably do selenium supplements rather than Brazil nuts. A variety of other micronutrients are also important, especially magnesium.

    I think Type I diabetics should eat a little less carbs and a little more protein, but not dramatically differently. While normally people should eat more carbs than protein, diabetics will probably do best with a bit more protein than carbs. Maybe 200-300 carb calories a day and 300-400 protein calories, or in that vicinity, 600-700 carb+protein calories total. You might try weighing your food and tracking calories for a few days, to see where you are. Then experiment a bit to find what works best for you.

    Hope this helps. Keep me posted on how you do!

    Merry Christmas!

  48. Hi Ole,

    Have you tried MCT oil instead? Some people that don’t handle coconut oil well do OK with MCT oil.

    In general, people with glycemic regulation issues shouldn’t fast. So if you are getting hypoglycemic on your fasts, I would include a small breakfast, say a banana and two eggs.

    Another thing to experiment with is making your fast a protein-sparing modified fast instead of a ketogenic fast. When you start getting hungry, eat a single boiled egg for a bit of protein.

    Have you ever tried testing yourself with a blood glucose meter? It would be interesting to see if you are becoming hypoglycemic.

    Best, Paul

  49. @Ole,

    If I understand correctly what Paul has been saying, the body completes the consumption of stored glycogen reserves in the 12 to 16 hour range. After that, some coconut oil is needed to provide enough energy to keep the brain satisfied for several hours. Therefore, I fast for 13 hours, sometimes 14, and then take 1 tablespoon of CO in my morning coffee. I can definitely feel stress building if I go much past the 14th hour. The hunger signals at the 13th hour were somewhat strong in the first week or two, but eventually went away. Sometimes I will add a teaspoon of CO to hot tea at the 15th hour because my body says, ‘need more’, probably because I exercise several hours a day and perhaps burn through my reserves a bit faster.

  50. Re: intermittent fasting. I do the 16 hour fast with my window of eating from 2 pm – 10 pm (I work a later shift) with a tablespoon of coconut oil for breakfast in the morning. One time I forgot to take the coconut oil because I wasn’t that hungry and I started experiencing some mild hypoglycemic symptoms while driving to work. I won’t skip that again!

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