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WHEE (Weight, health, eating and exercise) is a community support diary for Kossacks who are currently or planning to start losing, gaining or maintaining their weight through diet and exercise or fitness.  Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated.  If you are working on your weight or fitness, please, join us!!  You may also click the WHEE tag to view all diary posts.

Turtle here... now that my diagnosis is in the can, now t hat I am no longer obese by the definitions put forward by the scientists themselves, and now that I have taken charge of my own health and fitness and KNOW THE RULES which are peculiar to my own body, I have accumulated enough information and research not only to direct my own health plan and convalescence, but also to offer some advice to those who have persistent underlying problems to help manage chronic issues related to health, weight loss, eating, and of course, cooking.

If you have a persistent "weight problem"then you have a persistent problem of an underlying cause.  Overweight is not a problem in and of itself.  It is a symptom of an unusual condition or circumstance which causes the body to be öff the charts.  Baseball players, due to their overall high aerobic capacity in their sport, are heavily muscled, and those short-to-medium-sized men who benefit from their brief height and large muscular legs and calves, slide into home base more often than the tall, lanky ones who seem to catch well in the outfield.  None of them have a "normal Body Mass Index."  The Body Mass Index, as Edward pointed out some months ago now, is a quick and dirty way of assessing whether you fit onto the scale of "normal"weight.  And I do mean WEIGHT, not MASS.  Mass is the actual material existing in gravity, and the mass of bone, the mass of muscle, the mass of WATER or FLUID inside the body, and the "lean muscle mass"of the skeleton and muscle in total can be far more accurately measured.  Athletes do these measurements to determine whether they are fit.  Geeks like Edward go in for a BodyBugg to determine what their efficiency rating on the machines that we call our bodies, yield each day in order to fine-tune a fitness program for their overall, long term health.

Nobody can use BMI to tell you that you are obese.  It just isn't accurate.  Trust me on this: the sheer weight x height values on my medical chart at Health Partners gave me an automatic diagnosis of 'morbid obesity.' That implies dangerous amounts of fat in my torso.

But I don't have dangerous amounts of fat in my torso.  And I am not at risk for heart disease.  OR stroke.  But there is no doctor who can take credit for that.

My point is, I am not alone.  And if you've read enough here to spurn the medical profession entirely, I also think that is a mistake.  Because once you take charge of your OWN situation, unflinchingly and without embarrassment, remember that doctors see it all.  And without them, without surgeons who intervene to save lives and restore function to the war fighter in Afghanistan and Baghdad, without primary care doctors who provide life-saving therapy in the E.R., without the intervention of research endocrinologists who discovered the disease from which I suffer - and which lies undiagnosed like a ticking time bomb in the population at large which is about to explode all over the new health care initiative as the working poor gain better access to insurance, wellness care and treatment for underlying risk factors, these men and women (and women make up the majority if new entrants into the medical profession every day) are our main line of defense against premature mortality.  They should not be spurned.  But we DO need to educate them.  Here is my advice from my own experience.  And I do believe, and will maintain despite my own lack of confidence in the average doctor who may never see a "rare disease"before, there are men and women who are open-minded and inquiring, and who will, if you follow some simple steps, work with you and help you solve your problems.

Be Your Own Database:

Use or another free online program, and generate your own statistics.  Weight, body measurement, food intake, food values.  IF NOTHING ELSE, recording a month of food diaries will confirm, or rule out, dietary sources of underlying health problems leading to over - and - underweight.  THEY DID IN MY CASE.

Food cravings are not a sign of Weakness, but they could mean HYPOGLYCEMIA:

Everyone has 'trigger foods' if they eat compulsively.  Or so-called "comfort foods"  They are rarely green beans, roughage, fresh fruit or high-nutrient whole grains - they are refined foods.  Why?  Because most cravings are easily satisfied with a blood sugar boost (refined calories from processed fats and sugar).  I had such cravings when I hit cortisol exhaustion, because the mild stimulant effect of sugar, caffeine and fats in chocolate snacks would give me a hit and stave off the exhaustion to help me keep going through the swoon and passing out that I often did at my desk.   It works for other kinds of weakness and malnourished condition as well.  If you have a craving for chocolate and are hitting the snack machine for that, and nothing else will do - then it is time to evaluate your fasting blood glucose with your doctor.  You might be having hypoglycemic reactions.  GET THAT TEST.

Cravings for Red Meat Aren't Politically Incorrect:  THIS COULD BE MALNUTRITION!!!

I had dinner with my brother - whose weight fluctuates wildly but has generally been normal all of his life.  He does, of course, have the same condition as me, undiagnosed and possbily only at "carrier"level, which means no overt symptoms of 11-beta hydroxylase deficiency.  He would have, however, some of the same malnutritive factors such as low intrinsic factor (or vitamin B-12 deficiency.)  And he would certainly have a low DHEA level in his serum lipoids.  And if he has any bumps, sores, coldsores or other skin abnormalities, non-viral in nature, particularly sores inside the mouth or recurrent sores, he is missing essential amino acids.

The combination of supplements I take are DHEA (and I take about 3 times the amount recommended), B-12 chewable (this will assist in food absorption), vitamin E - which is not a vitamin per se, it is an essential oil that nourishes the skin and nerves and eyes), retinol - otherwise known as vitamin A, which nourishes the connective tissues of the eye.  Most of these are fat soluble.  And for anyone who has fluid-retention, allergies, sensitivity to foods, celiac disease or absorption problems in their digestive tract, you could eat all day and get little satiety, store fat and/or fluid and gain nothing.  I suggested that he choose fatty fishes, which is what I eat.  King salmon, loaded with triglycerides and omega-6 oils.  Supplement his diet with daily megadoses of lysine and DHEA.  Hit the supplements counter for organic sources of E, which is absorbable through the skin.  

When he gets adequate amino acids - which are easily found in your nice fatty T-bone steak in abundant quantities, along with very high cholesterol of the bad heart-threatening kind but can be gotten in the fatty fishes and supplements - then he will stop "craving red meat"- because what he is craving, is missing and malabsorbed nutrients.


Don't go on a starvation diet.  Who are you kidding?  If you have malabsorption issues, if you have malnutrition, if you are overeating sometimes and abstaining at other times, you are putting your body at great risk.  Don't do it.  Bears eat like - well, bears - in order to hibernate in winter.  Humans do not hibernate - no not even in Finland.  You will not gain permanent fat loss and regain your fitness over the long term if you drink NutriSystem like Oprah did.  All you will do is give yourself the temporary giddy high that comes from dropping ten or fifteen or - in my case, 40 - pounds of retained fluid that will come back with frightening ease - since it's fluid - once you return to potato-chip eating chocolate-snacking normalcy.  Get to the root of the problem, look at what you really eat, write it down, and face the truth.  No doctor can help you rule out underlying medical conditions unless you comply with the rules of science, and that means the rules of nutrition science.


Taking vitamins and OTC drugs is not what I'm talking about.  I'm talking about drugs, people.  DRUUUGS.  Many people abuse alcohol for self-medication because it impairs cognition, is perfectly legal and is socially very acceptable.  But if you abuse alcohol for self-medication of underlying problems, you are setting your liver to an early expiration date, and without a liver you don't live long.

Same with street drugs.  Ironically, the narcotic pain relievers are among the least harmful of all drugs - when given in pure form or in aspirin compounds.  But recently, over the past forty years I mean, most all narcotic pain relievers, hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, thebaine and other semi-synthesized opioids, are in rampant abuse, and compounded with acetaminophen, are liver-destroying poisons.  DO NOT CHUG THESE DOWN IN QUANTITY!!!

Rush was right when he got scrips for oxycontin - why?  because it's got a very low amount of acetaminophen in it, and he may very well have saved what's left of his cold hard liver from his drinking days.  But the rest of you out there have a 2 gram per day hard limit after which the acetaminophen WILL KILL YOU.  

Drugs you cannot abuse safely:  Percocet.  Darvocet.  Vicodin.  Codeine cough syrup.  

Drugs you can abuse with greater safety but which are almost NEVER PRESCRIBED any longer:  Percodan.  Darvon.  Codeine with aspirin.  why aren't they prescribed?  Because doctors have pressed the FDA to consider aspirin, with millennia of safe use behind it, a danger to the stomach lining and the chief cause of bleeding ulcers.  Bleeding ulcers can kill you - if you happen to cause one by rampant abuse of huge doses of aspirin.  I mean GRAMS AND GRAMS AND GRAMS OF IT.

Not so with the "cet" drugs.  They will kill you, over the course of 24 hours, systematically, when you reach 2 grams.  Maybe four, depending upon your body size and metabolism.  For people like me, I believe the threshold is lower.  The maximum daily allowance of liver-destroyer I mean acetaminophen plunges as the age and body weight get smaller.  Thousands of children are killed each day by tylenol-lade cough syrups and unintentional overdoses.

Don't medicate yourself.  You don't know enough to know you can be killing yourself.


But mostly they are experts in what they are experts in. If you have a problem and they start doing a million tests and charging you fee for service, then it's time for you to consider your doctor is NOT a specialist in an area for which you need expert advice.  Find a better expert.  If you have gone back and back and back and keep getting contradictory advice, it is time to put a kind hand on that doctor's arm and say Ï need you to refer me to someone who knows more about it."  And if he/she can't, or worse - won't - it is time to hit and start the kind of research project I did.

Do the research.  That's why you were born with a brain.  Don't be a passive recipient of health care, because you will get the reward of that passivity: a wrong diagnosis, and you will not get your health back.

That's what I know.  I hope it helps.

Originally posted to louisev on Sat Dec 26, 2009 at 05:27 AM PST.


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