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Restrained Eating: Willpower and Why Diets Fail (Why Are We Hungry? Part III)
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August 2, 2011
10:42 am
Ruby
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Hmm... interesting. I've been experimenting with Intermittent Fasting which has mainly worked out as me skipping breakfast. In my food spreadsheet (yes, I'm monitoring, but not necessarily restricting... definitely eating to satiation and eating lots of saturated fats), I began to note that in the mornings if I tried to ignore hunger for an hour or so after I felt it, I would start to have a physiological response similar to the feeling you have right before crying. I wasn't in an emotional state, so it was interesting to note that the sensations were similar. Finally, I would eat and then feel happy.

I'm experimenting with monitoring right now, but I also will see how I feel when not writing everything down.

August 2, 2011
1:11 pm
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Chris:

"Serving sizes" are a joke.  Tiny bags of chips contain two "servings", and people don't realize that meals at your average family restaurant contain over 1000 calories...sometimes over 2000 if you order an appetizer!

Ruby:

Very interesting!  I wonder if it's a cortisol spike?

Also, I'm not into pathological use of fitday, but it's definitely worthwhile to record and chart out a few typical days.  Often our perception of what we're eating is different from what we're actually eating.  It's like any other habit: being mindful of what we do, instead of simply going through each day on automatic reflexes, is very important.

JS

August 2, 2011
1:33 pm
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Gnoll
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JS:

Exactly. I don't believe so much in serving sizes so much as people knowing how much they're consuming overall. 

 

Plus, have you ever been to Cheesecake Factory?! Last time I was there, a few years ago, their 'chicken breast' entree could have fed three of me! (And that's saying a lot.)

August 2, 2011
3:16 pm
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Chris:

I eat out very infrequently.  Do I really want a parsimonious little pile of meat floating on a lake of starch and seed oil?  No, I don't.  There are a limited number of places I can even sate my hunger for actual food, let alone at a reasonable price.

JS

August 3, 2011
8:46 pm
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JS:

Definitely. I try not to, but not everyone likes eating the way I (we) do. Even if I offer to cook for them! Oh well. Like you, I don't eat out that much as well.

August 6, 2011
3:12 am
An extra 15 years...
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[...] by knightofalbion Other studies have repeatedly shown frugal eating to be key to longevity. Restrained Eating: Willpower and Why Diets Fail (Why Are We Hungry? Part III) this useful blog post explains why most people can't stand being hungry all the time. The key to [...]

August 13, 2011
5:38 pm
mem
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Yes, J. Stanton, you should be very proud of this, says the "Cortisol Queen" whose greatest hurdle in 90lbs of weightloss maintained for 9+ years, has been learning to manage the cortisol!

Excellent!

August 14, 2011
5:34 pm
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mem:

The mainstream underappreciates the role of cortisol in weight management.  Fortunately the paleosphere doesn't, as much: Robb Wolf emphasizes it in his book, for one.  It's rare to see a controlled study that so neatly demonstrates the relationship between cortisol and appetite.

Note that people with cortisol issues usually do better by eating protein soon upon waking, e.g. Kruse's leptin reset. (Although Jack is awesome, I find 50g of protein a suspiciously round number that is probably far too much for most people.)

JS

August 23, 2011
2:02 pm
Abundance « Pa
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[...] allowed to eat”. We fall back on will power and then it begins to get really tough because will power alone will always let you down. .  For me, eating paleo brings with it a profound sense of [...]

August 23, 2011
10:04 pm
Thursday 25th August
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[...] Paleo Corner – Restrained Eating: Willpower and Why Diets Fail (Why Are We Hungry? Part III) [...]

August 31, 2011
1:24 pm
majkinetor
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I think Vitamin C deserves a mention on this page. You can't burn fat without it, and the diet you propose is seriously deficient in C.

Here is just some of the papers to spark your interest:
http://goo.gl/OueXH

Also, check out how C supplementation goes nicely with low carb diet:

Ascorbic Acid and the Immune System
http://goo.gl/B8o21

September 1, 2011
3:53 am
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majkinetor:

How is the diet I propose deficient in vitamin C?

Also, there are major problems with vitamin C supplementation, especially if you're active:

"Antioxidants prevent health-promoting effects of physical exercise in humans"
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/05/11/0903485106.abstract

"Oral administration of vitamin C decreases muscle mitochondrial biogenesis and hampers training-induced adaptations in endurance performance"
http://www.ajcn.org/content/87/1/142.long

JS

September 2, 2011
5:35 am
majkinetor
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Because meats don't have C. Eyes, brainz, adrenals and such are the organs containing C, alas, nobody eat those. Then, since most of the fruit is out of the question and plants don't need vitamin C a lot, you can easily become seriously deficient. Other sources of C are probably destroyed via cooking or storage.

High fat diet also probably makes endotoxin load greater and endotoxins can be completely detoxified with vitamin C, etc.

Adrenals require Vitamin C a lot, and any stress during this diet, including the stress of the diet itself which is typical for the starters will remove all remaining vitamin C stores from the tissues.

I am aware of the few studies linking vitamin C supplementation and reduced response to exercise, but, there are hundreds other showing different results. Even if true, its more important to prevent injuries then to build muscles optimally. Also, excercise also produces endotoxin burden. You need to look at the whole picture.
I find it silly to question vitamin C in exercise to be honest, since all animals except humans and friends don't make it and I don't think natural predators are having problems in that manner :), all optidosing much higher level of C via liver or kidnies.

While I appreciate the source of your info (gettingstronger, great site for hormesis research) its highly biased in some moments. Most of the studies referenced in that page are rebutted multiple times so far and picking up few that are negative is nothing else but citation bias.

September 7, 2011
1:32 pm
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majkinetor:

As far as "meats don't have vitamin C", that's true...but 1) an
all-meat diet doesn't appear to result in deficiency (see: Stefansson), only a "mostly
meat" diet, and most importantly 2) I don't advocate an all-meat diet! 

As I've noted repeatedly, my vegetable intake has gone up since upping
my meat/egg intake and removing grains.  I don't push people to consume
vegetables, because you'll naturally find yourself desiring them once
the empty starches are gone.

Can you point me to rebuttals of the studies which show a blunting of the exercise response?  I'd like to see them, because they seem very solid to me.  The mechanism seems simple: exogenous antioxidants trick the body into not performing its own free radicalscavenging and damage repair...but I'm open to correction here.

Furthermore, I strongly disagree with your characterization of that blunting as unimportant.  It's not just building muscles -- it's improving our endurance via increased mitochondrial efficiency and capacity.  I don't just enjoy going out and doing long hikes or long rides because of the ride itself: I enjoy them because they make me more capable of going to even more interesting places in the future!  I'm not interested in just being alive a bit longer, I'm interested in being the best I can be and doing the most I can do.  And I know from experience that I'm dramatically less stressed when I'm accomplishing things than when I'm stuck in a rut.

Also, I think we have to be careful assuming that since most animals make a lot of endogenous vitamin C, that humans and great apes need just as much.  In order to compensate, we've evolved very efficient recycling machinery for the vitamin C we do ingest...so there's no direct dose equivalence between what they make and what we require.
Purely as anecdotal evidence, I had a doctor a long time ago that was into megadosing Vitamin C for all sorts of issues, and it never gave me anything but the farts when I hit bowel tolerance.  So while I agree that deficiency, including subclinical scurvy, may be an issue (yes, I follow and respect the Jaminets) I don't see a reason to destroy our body's ability to adapt to its environment for the putative health benefits of megadosing.  But again, if you've got references to controlled trials that show solid benefits to high doses of Vitamin C, I'm all ears.

JS

September 9, 2011
2:26 am
Restrained Eating: W
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[...] Restrained Eating: Willpower and Why Diets Fail (Why Are We Hungry? Part III) September 9, 2011By: J. Stanton Read the Full Post at: GNOLLS.ORG [...]

September 29, 2011
3:58 am
Ted Hutchinson
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The Impact of Weight Stigma on Caloric Consumption These findings suggest that among overweight women, exposure to weight stigmatizing material may lead to increased caloric consumption.

September 29, 2011
7:50 pm
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Ted:

That makes sense.  When pounded with negative stimulus, people will naturally seek out a compensating positive stimulus -- in this case, the reward of snack food.  People strongly seek out a certain amount of reward in their life...

...which is why I don't believe that "just eat bland food" is a good long-term solution.  Reward restriction has similar problems as calorie restriction: just as calorie restriction doesn't address the metabolic problems that caused us to become obese, reward restriction doesn't address the underlying problems that drive us to seek reward through food.

Thank you for the reference!

JS

September 30, 2011
1:05 pm
Martin Levac
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J. Stanton, in the paragraph "When willpower fails", you refer to "endless hours of practice" in an attempt to explain why our PFC isn't in control of our actions. I will attempt to point out why this is more confusing than anything else.

Practice is the act of repeating systematically for the purpose of developing, improving and maintaining skill. Have you ever seen pros practice their techniques in slow motion? They are not practicing old motions here, they are developing new ones. Everything with any degree of complexity like sports, music and martial arts require lots of practice, but most importantly require one to learn the motions slowly at first just to learn them, and to learn them properly. This is nothing to do with the activity itself but with how we learn new motions. We learn motions independently of speed. Rather, we can't learn new motions at full speed especially complex motions like playing the piano (multiple fingers and the feet work simultaneously) or the drums, fighting (legs, feet, hands, eyes, etc, all working together and simultaneously again) or basically any motion that requires more than the simple push of a button. When we try to learn those new complex motions, the old ones take over. This is probably why it gives the impression that we (our PFC) are not in control of our actions.

It occurred to me that our PFC might act in a similar fashion as flash memory. It's slow to put stuff in, but once it's in, it's quick to read it back. Rather, _slow_ means "to put stuff in", and _fast_ means "to read it back out". So when we try to learn motions at full speed, since it's fast, we default to "read back what was written previously", when what we really want to do is "overwrite what's already in there with something different".

Anyway, this is why I think that your reference to endless hours of practice is more confusing than anything else with regards to our PFC, willpower and hunger.

October 2, 2011
3:20 pm
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Martin:

As a musician and sportsman, I'm intimately familiar with the issues of skills practice.

I believe your point is that the PFC can maintain control if we move slowly enough, which is often true (although some motions can't be performed in slow motion due to the constant nature of gravity and the viscosity of air).  However, often even slow-motion isn't enough, and we need to break down motions into smaller and simpler parts that can be commanded by the PFC.  Even something as simple as hitting a drum with a drumstick involves a surprising sequence of finger motions that isn't obvious to the observer (it involves the little and ring fingers) and must usually be demonstrated and learned by parts.

However, the PFC isn't in control at real-time speeds.  What we call "muscle memory" is how we learn these new motions: whether hitting a drum, throwing a punch, or kicking a ball.  I don't think it's an issue of slow in/fast out: I believe that the structure of the brain (the forebrain is a thin layer on top of everything else, including the sensory and motor cortex), as well as the experience of millions, argues that motions are learned by these deeper brain structures and triggered/commanded by the PFC.

Further, I believe the "slow input" is a matter of retraining these deeper structures to respond appropriately: instead of cringing when someone throws a punch, we can train ourselves to slip it or block it.  But this takes time and repetition -- otherwise known as "practice" -- which proves to me that real-life skills are not under direct control of the PFC.

JS

October 3, 2011
2:39 am
Martin Levac
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That's partly my point, yes. I hadn't thought of a more appropriate example to use instead of practice, but now I do: Sex. I think it's a much more appropriate parallel for the point you were trying to make about willpower. In this case, "Why Willpower Fails When You're Hungry With Food In The Fridge" could as easily be replaced with "Why Condoms Are Useless When You're Naked And Ready And In Pleasant Company". It would require every ounce of willpower to resist indeed.

But my point was that the apparent of lack of control when playing the piano for the first time is a completely different nature than the lack of control found when hunger is involved, and so a parallel between the two can't be drawn so easily.

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