Meal Frequency - How Often Should I Eat?
- POSTED ON: Mar 29, 2011

The Frequency of Eating is one of the main issues in dieting, and many people disagree on that subject.

One viewpoint commonly held is that frequent small meals are better for weight-loss and for one's body in general than less frequent larger meals. 

The basic rationale for this is that smaller meals tend to raise metabolism because of the continual digestion process, and one is less likely to overeat
because hunger will never become intense.

Call me cynical, but I suspect that the recent popularity of this viewpoint may have something to do with food marketing.

Another commonly held viewpoint is that three medium sized meals are betterfor weight-loss and for one's body in general.

There are several common rationales given for this viewpoint.  

One of them is that it has been the Traditional "American" way for the past hundred years or so.

Another is that avoiding all snacks between three meals instills Habits of Moderation, and after the mind and the body adjusts to this plan, weight-loss and maintenance of weight-loss becomes easier due to the automatic no snacking habit.

Proponents of the Leptin Diet say that limiting eating to three meals a day, spaced 5 or 6 hours apart, helps the body's hormone Leptin to function better and therefore assists in weight-loss and maintenance of weight-loss.

Intermittent Fasting proponents, such as in Eat Stop Eat, and the Fast-5 Diet recommend eating less often than three times a day. They recommend long breaks between eating...i.e. frequent periodic fasts,  Their rationale is that this process helps the body's Insulin and growth hormones to function better and therefore assists in weight-loss and maintenance of weight-loss.

Other "Experts", including proponets of Intuitive Eating, say that people should eat whenever they feel hungry and stop as soon as they feel full.

Some advocate eating only two meals daily.  Some say skip breakfast. Others say skip lunch.  Still others say skip dinner.  There are also those who support eating only snacks with no actual meals.

The issue of eating frequency is actually an indirect way to restict the AMOUNT that one eats.

If one eats three "normal" meals and also adds in high calorie snacks...they will ingest more calories than their body uses as energy and will therefore gain weight.

A person can also eat three large daily meals without snacking and still ingest more calories than their body uses as energy and will therefore gain weight.

It one eats one very large meal every day, with nothing in between, that person can also ingest more calories than their body uses as energy and will therefore gain weight.

If a person alternates occasional days of fasting with frequent days of overeating, that person will ingest more calories than their body uses as energy and will therefore gain weight.

Feelings of hunger and fullness are subjective.
A person's body (physical) and/or a person's emotions (mental) can inaccurately report those feelings. This can occur whether one has a single meal each day or whether one eats small amounts of food all day long. In most cases outside an anexoric condition, inaccurate signals of hunger and fullness will cause a person to ingest more calories than their body uses as energy and therefore gain weight.

All of these positions have merit, and they all have flaws.  SO...what is my personal position?    My own viewpoint is that all of the various suggestions are acceptable.

I think people should individually choose to eat as frequently as is desirable or comfortable for them as long as they can get that plan to work for them.  Any food plan works if it causes a person to ingest the same or less calories than their body uses as energy, and therefore causes an obese person to lose or maintain weight-loss.

I find Gary Taubes' writings about insulin's effects on the body to be interesting and valuable. However, at this current time, based on my own experience, and my observations of others, my opinion is that, even if his Theories are true, there is MORE to the issue of weight-loss and maintenance of that weight-loss than merely controlling the carbohydrate substances that one eats.

A low-carbohydrate diet might greatly help with the issues of obesity, and one MIGHT be able to eat more calories, or better regulate their body's hormonal functions by following such a plan. H
owever,  I believe that physical issues are only one part of the obesity equation. 

Even if Taubes is correct, the basic position of calories in/calories out is still valid if one wishes to reach and maintain a body size which is smaller than one's body was genetically designed to be.

Consideration of calories in/calories out is also useful when considering eating issues that go beyond a person's physical requirements.
By this, I mean eating issues which involve personal appetites, personal habits and personal character.

The picture of the apple and cheese at the heading of this article
was taken as part of my latest recipe video Six Cheese and Sides, which is located in Tidbits, under RECIPES. 



Science Can't Prove What is True.
- POSTED ON: Mar 28, 2011


 I think one of the biggest and most common mistakes people make regarding food plans, diets, weight-loss or weight-gain etc, is the general tendency to think we are all the same... i.e.  "if that specific behavior works for her/him, it should work for me."

All of the "scientific rules" written by Experts are merely Averages. We are not only two different sexes, we are also different heights, different weights, different ages, and different activity levels.

On top of that, each of us has a different and unique Genetic imprint. Strong Evidence exists indicating that some people "handle" or "process" various foods differently than other people.

At times it seems like the body defies the "rules of science" with regard to weight-loss.
However, there are still many unknowns and variations between individual bodies, and many hormones and other inner workings of the body have still not yet been discovered.

 Science can't prove what is True,
it can only prove that a specific isolated fact
in a specific isolated situation is Untrue.

The current "rules" are based on conclusions from past Research studies, and are not the "ULTIMATE TRUTH" because:

"The purpose of Science is not to reveal the Truth but to eliminate error.
We can only approximate truth by getting rid of as many wrong conclusions as we can."

For those of you who are interested in my current Low-Carb Experiment-of-One which I last wrote about on March 21. I am several days into a planned pause of low-carb in order to assess my stabilized weight at 'normal'-carb in comparison with my stabilized weight at low-carb, so that I can make a personal evaluation of the process thus far.

At this point I have about a 3 lb UpBounce which is probably a result of natural increase in gylcogen (salt/water/waste) due to past six days of "normal" higher-carb intake. Right now, it appears that my stabilized weight with "normal" carb intake continues to run about 3 lbs heavier than my stabilized weight with low-carb intake. 

 Both stabilized weights are extremely resistant to any further weight-loss due to fat-loss. It is possible that this is because my body is currently at its optimal normal weight, however, whatever the reason,...based on my current data....
at the present time it appears that my body's inability to accomplish further fat-loss is consistent,
whether I'm eating low-carb or normal-carb.

I am also evaluating other issues, along with my weight. However, these issues are subjective, involving how my body feels, which includes the issues of levels of hunger and/or cravings, After another week of 'normal'-carb,....assuming I successfully follow through with low-calorie eating...., I expect to have better information on the subject,both objective and subjective.

Anyway, this is ALL part of my Dieting Hobby. I wanted to be certain to share this information here, because today I plan to shoot some more recipe videos, and you will see me tasting some higher-carb food.

I have also added a new recipe category entitled "Tidbits".I choose to do this because I feel that some people might find that many of my low-calorie "snack-type" very-easy-recipes don't really fit into their concept of a "mini-meal" category, and yet I want to avoid labeling them as a "snack".

Portion Control is gospel to me, and you will see totally consistency in that area.
However, all of my recipes will not fit into every single type of diet. Some of my recipes will be lower-carb than others, and some of them will be lower-calorie than others.  I will providing calorie counts, carb counts, and protein counts of my serving portions in every recipe.

My ongoing Personal Criteria for every Diet I choose for myself involves ALWAYS tracking all my food, while making my own personal food choices, based on my individual preferences.
That behavior is always a requirement for me, no matter
 what "Diet, Food-Plan, or Way-of-Eating" that I might choose to use, or to experiment with, during any specific time-period.

Diet Books and Reviews
- POSTED ON: Mar 27, 2011

I like reading, and I especially enjoy reading Diet Books. Reading them is part of my DietHobby.

Diet Books are written by medical doctors, and psychologists, and trainers, and nutritionists, and journalists, and lawyers, and housewives, and people from many other walks of life.

Most diet book authors say that they have personally lost weight while following their recommended diet, and/or have seen their clients, their patients, their fellow members, or their friends lose weight while participating in the diet presented.

This is also true of authors who espouse diets that aren’t officially labeled “Diet”, such as diets which based on intuitive eating principles like: “Eat only when hungry; Eat what you like: Stop when you’re full.”

Books are work products that are normally intended to benefit their authors financially, and/or bring them into the public eye…i.e. provide them with fame and fortune. Honest and dishonest people both exist in this world. Some people lie.

Authors can exaggerate or actually fabricate examples of successful dieters in order to boost the credibility of their diets. Their motives vary.  Some of these do this for financial gain, and others do it to benefit humanity. For some, it is a mixture of both.  Except for that fact, initially, I have no reason to doubt an author’s claims.

While reading a diet book, I charge myself with the personal responsibility of doing my best to keep an open mind to the author’s concepts, and while I cannot keep myself from factoring in my own common sense, my prior knowledge, my own life experience, and my personal values, I work to temporarily suspend my personal judgments about the concepts presented.

After a lifetime of reading hundreds of diet books, my belief is that just about every diet works for someone.

Every diet book I’ve ever read has benefited me in some way. Even the worst of them usually contains some useful kernel of Truth, and most of them contain recipes that I find personally interesting.

Each diet book has provided me with information, and sometimes… the information I gained was not what the author intended.

Over time, it is my intention to write here about a variety of diets, and about some of the diet books I have read. I’ll be doing this as the mood strikes, and in no particular order. My reviews of new diet books and old diet books will be provided at random. Which, I believe is appropriate…since that’s how I read them.

Occasionally, there will be a “diet” book that I judge to be particularly unusual, interesting, or outstanding. such as Gary Taubes’ new book, Why We Get Fat and What to Do about It (2011), and such a book will be featured here in BOOKTALK for a long-term Discussion.

Weight Loss Surgery - 18 Years Ago
- POSTED ON: Mar 26, 2011

A gastric bypass...or stomach reduction, is exactly that.

18 years ago, when I chose to take this option, it was still considered experimental
and there were only a couple of doctors in California performing it.
I was required to travel to San Diego, which is 6 hr drive from my home, for that surgery,
and stay at a hotel there for at least 10 days immediately following my hospital release
with another person.  My husband accompanied me.

In my case, over 18 years ago, this was before laser surgery was common,
and my body was cut open vertically from chest to stomach...somewhere around 12+ inches.
My stomach was then cut apart into 2 pieces.
The top piece being a relatively small pouch,
and the bottom being the majority of the stomach.
At the place of division, the bottom part of the stomach was closed off and stapled shut.

As Food intake comes in through the top of the stomach,
and leaves though the bottom of the stomach,
the intestine connected to the bottom part of the stomach was cut away,
then brought up to the bottom of the small top part of the stomach and attached there.
The bottom part of the stomach remained inside the body, unattached to anything,
while the small top part of the stomach became the functioning body part.

In some of these surgeries, ....but not in my case......,
the intestine is shortened before it is reattached to the smaller, top portion of the stomach.
This interferes with the natural digestion process, so that ALL of one's food
...both calories and nutrients....are not absorbed but therefore pass through the body more quickly.
HOWEVER, in my case, all calories and nutrients in food are still absorbed.

A gastric bypass is, of course, major surgery,
although now laser surgery is commonly done,
which avoids the long vertical cut through the body.

It is painful, but my San Diego gastric bypass surgeon felt
that potential complications from pain medication outweighed the benefits.
So he did not routinely prescribe it.
In fact, a day or two after my hospital release,  I lay on my hotel bed in such pain,
that my husband phoned the doctors office for a pain prescription and was given one.
My husband returned from the pharmacy with TWO pills....TWO single pills.
That was the only pain medication I received after leaving the hospital.

 As my stomach healed, for several days I could only tolerate small sips of water.
Then I added jello and broth for several days.
On about day 8 or so, I was able to eat 1/2 a poached egg and a couple of bites of toast.
Eating more was physically impossible.

In those days, bariatric surgery was uncommon, and there were no large clinics
with nutritionists giving pre-surgery diet requirements or even post-surgery diets.
My only contact was with my surgeon...who like many doctors skilled in surgery...
lacked a pleasing "bedside manner".

My surgery was the Monday after Thanksgiving Day, and my pre-operation diet requirement
was not to "stuff myself" the week before surgery, as this might make surgery more difficult.

Regarding my post-surgery diet, after the first 10 days,
I was told that I should eat three meals a day, with only water in between;
that each of  those meals should be one-half protein:
and within those restrictions I could choose to eat whatever my body would tolerate.

 In fact, my surgeon's words to me were:

"You really only need the protein,
but I let people eat other thing too, just to make them feel good"

All carbonated beverages were strictly forbidden,
Sugar, fruit juice, and starches were discouraged
on the basis that they activated Dumping Syndrome..
....and they did...
It wasn't willpower that kept me away from sweets and starches.
It was the pain of "Dumping Syndrome" that ingesting these foods
generated inside my body which caused me to avoid them.
Protein shakes were not required or recommended.
My only additional medication was one daily multivitamin and an additional B-12 vitamin.

For the next six months, my body would only eat small amounts of food at a time,
and the amounts I could tolerate varied depending on what food I was eating,
and what food I had eaten within the 24 hours previously.

By small amounts of food, I mean, for example, during the first several months.
a maximum of perhaps between 1/3 of a small container of yogurt up to 1 egg and 1/2 piece of toast
...or perhaps 1/2 of a small sandwich, even sometimes a small lean cuisine dinner.

When I say tolerate...I mean that at the end of eating that amount,
I would feel stuffed like I had just overeaten a large Thanksgiving dinner,
and could not take another bite...
sometimes I had to lie on the bed in pain for 1/2 hour or so until some of the food digested.

People lose weight after a gastric bypass because they physically cannot overeat,
in fact at first, they can barely eat.
The first 6 months or so my daily calorie intake was between 300 and 600 calories a day
...and I felt stuffed and ill much of the time.

After 6 months, my food tolerance level grew and 2 or 3 years later it  sort of "topped out".
WLS made me lactose intolerant which has continued even now.
Sugar-free yogart and hard cheese has never been a problem,
but I still cannot drink milk nor eat more than 1/2 cup of ice-cream.

For example, now I can eat a 10 inch plate of food and feel full, but not stuffed---
depending on the type of food...and how empty my stomach was before eating.
This difference is not based on fat or calorie content, but is based on volume inside the stomach.
I still cannot physically eat large amounts of food at one time..
That is why, for me, seconds is not a problem.
However, snacking is a very large problem,
because after the surgery, nibbling and grazing was the most comfortable way to eat,
and after a few years, this became a firmly entrenched habit.

At present I can physically take in a great deal of food, by eating small amounts of food at a time, for example, a couple of 100 calorie bags of snack food, or 2 or 3 cookies,
or a candy bar, or a couple of ounces of cheese, a small bag of chips, 1/2 cup of nuts...every 1/2 hour or so.
...even after having 3 small meals the size of a lean cuisine and small dinner salad.

My body, with an hour of daily low-impact exercise, burns less than 1200 calories a day.
My maximum physical calorie tolerance limit in one 24 hour period now is around 3500 calories,
where before my surgery there were days when I could take in over 10,000 calories.
I was a binge eater, and did not purge.

Prior to surgery I was aware of the process, the risks, and the after-effects.
It was a decision I did not make lightly, and in fact, a year before I had it,
my therapist and I together decided on taking that option in one year's time,
if I was unable to get back on some food plan that would drop some weight
or at least stop my weight from climbing further within that time limit.

I was around 47 years old at the time, and in good health
...except that I was 5'0" tall weighing 271 lbs....
after having lost over 100 lbs three separate times in my life,
and each time regaining that weight and more.
I had undergone many years of therapy on that issue (as well as others).
I had exhausted every effort, and I was ready for that step.

About 9 months after my surgery I weighed 160 lbs
and during that time I ate everything my body would tolerate without restriction.
ALTHOUGH, my doctor's instructions were to "eat 3 meals a day snacking...with 1/2 of each meal protein."
I found myself unable to follow those instructions.

My weight stabilized in the 160s for several years,
and then as my tolerance for food grew, weight began to creep back on,
and I had to AGAIN, begin making effort to watch what I ate.
So, sometimes dieting and sometimes not,
in September 2004, my weight was 190 lbs....and climbing.
It was at that point I discovered the software program, Diet Power, 
and I began using it daily, writing down every bit of food that I ate,
and working to eat around 1000 to 1200 calories daily.
I had extensive food knowledge from my life of dieting.
I had been successful by counting calories in the past,
but it had proved too hard to keep up long-term
while using a pen and paper and a calorie dictionary.

The computer food journal was an answer to my prayers.
I found it easy to develop habitual use, and as of today,
I've recorded all my food every day in Diet Power for 2379 consecutive days...
I know that, because it says so right in my Diet Power history journal.

 So, now I've been working on maintaining my goal weight of 115 lbs for more than 5 years.
I do all kinds of different diets and food plans,
and learning about them and experimenting with them is part of my Dieting Hobby. 
The one consistent factor since September 2004 and 190 lbs
has been that I've logged all of my daily food intake into Diet Power.

Okay,'s the thing...
I've described the Gastric bypass surgery, and its after effects.
Since my surgery, bariatric surgery, has gotten better
and some of the side effects I suffered aren't as much of an issue.
After my surgery, my adult daughter, my sister, and my adult nephew well as numerous friends....
have also chosen to have gastric bypass surgery with great success.
A negative is that my first cousin had the surgery, and died one week later from complications.

In the entire almost 18 years since that time, I have seldom regretted having the surgery,
and I would make the same decision again, if I were given the chance to relive the past 18 years.

What many "normal" people don't understand
is that, for many people,
the physical sensation of being empty or full
is not the real problem that causes overeating.

For some people, eating food is a successful device for handling uncomfortable emotions,
and there are also some people who simply enjoy the sensation of taste,
and the pleasant side-effects of eating far more than other people.

Personally, I've spent a great deal of my life feeling actual hunger,
and a great deal of my life feeling uncomfortable from being too full.
I find the physical sensation of hunger by far the most acceptable of those two feelings.

I hate being Fat.
I've been Fat, and I've been Thin.
Thin is better.

So as an intelligent being,
why would I choose to engage in behavior that makes me fat?
I've found I couldn't FIX that in myself... 

  • through a lifetime of dieting;
  • by my major surgery; or
  • by more than 20 years of therapy.

So what I've learned to do is ACCEPT
that the desire to overeat is a problem for me that isn't ever going away
...and since I want to be thin...,
I just have to deal with it every single

When I'm in a public place and I see an obese woman
eating a really high-calorie treat

.....I DON'T think...."oh, dear...they shouldn't be doing that".
What I intensely know from my own personal experience
is the HIGH PRICE they have chosen to pay for that food,
and therefore how valuable and desirable it is to them.

I say :

"Go Girl, you enjoy that food,
because you've paid a high price for it,

and you deserve to enjoy it
far more than those people who are naturally thin."

How Many Calories Can I Eat?
- POSTED ON: Mar 25, 2011


I am able to determine my personal current calorie burn
because of my personal data that is now stored
in my computer software food journal, DietPower.

Every day, for the past  six and half  years
I've entered all my food-intake into that food journal.
I've also entered my morning weight each day.

The DietPower program has functions which allows me to see my diet history.
I can see this as a list; or I can see a day-to-day detailed accounting
of my food and nutrition; or I can easily access a summarized accounting,
for... the past week, the past month, the past quarter, or the past year.

Today, the program tells me that
my past year's average calorie intake was 1115 calories.
I can see the amount of my stabilized weight for one year ago,
....which is my Starting weight. for that one year time period....,
by looking at the list of my average weights during the week of one year ago;

I can see the amount of my current stabilized weight (stabilized meaning average)
...which is my Ending weight, for that one year time period....,
by looking at the list of my weights during this past week or so.
By subtracting my ending weight from my starting weight,
I can see exactly how much weight I lost or gained during that one year period.

So...since now I am the same weight that I was one year ago,
I know that the amount of calories that I ate this past year
is the number of calories it takes to keep my weight the same...
Therefore, I can see that my current calorie burn is approximately 1100 daily...
(as of this EXACT date, 1105 calories...but the next week or month...
this total could be a bit higher or a bit lower, so I rounded it to 1100.)

 Along the same line, another function that I find interesting about DietPower,
is that I can also access the program's calendar, and go back in time to a specific date...
and see exactly what I weighed and what I ate on that particular day.  

From that date, I can also access a summarized accounting for the week,
the month, the year prior to that exact date.
For example.....should I wish to do so.....I could revisit Christmas Day, 12/25/2008
and see exactly What and How Much food I ate on that day;
exactly what I weighed on that date; and access a summary of my calories
and nutritional data for the month or year prior to that specific date.

This personal data is valuable and motivating to me,
both my ongoing present data, as well as my past data,
and as I continue in my weight-loss/maintenance journey,
I continually find new things to do with it.
This helps me implement various behavior changes,
and has become an enjoyable hobby for me.

Since I've been doing this so long, and this Habit is so well-established for me,
my daily food and weight input into DietPower takes only a few minutes of my day.
The only lengthy periods of time are when I "play" with my past data
to accomplish some personal agenda.

Here's a recent video about my Weight-Loss History.

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