I have thought a lot a lot about Regina's Good Sense, as I call it. Her functional, beautiful dietary advice that included a range of healthy foods ought to be enshrined somewhere. Of course, being reasonable, it's impossible for me to follow, not the least of which is I don't like vegetables and eating the same thing constantly is the only thing that makes lowcarb possible for me at all and it's still a pain in the butt.
The point about getting nutrients seems important. But think about this for a minute. In today's world, with the limited food variety most people eat, with the dumbed-down nutrient version of produce we have now, and that goes for most meats as well (which often have toxic additives--my walmart chicken is 15% injection, sheesh!)--we [as humans] are not eating hearts and feet much anymore you notice--it seems incredibly unlikely that ANY person can truly get all the nutrition they need from food.
(And I don't believe the RDA is anything more than minimums. If I waited for the government to have a clue even about getting-old science, like on Vitamin D3, I'd just expire. I think some things do have toxic levels, like Vitamin A and potassium; most overdose levels like on Magnesium will just torque your elimination experience. But I suspect most things on the official list we need way more of than anybody currently believes.)
So even for average sized people, it seems very unlikely that they can even 'maintain' truly adequate nutrition -- especially when you add in the constant environmental toxins/stresses, and assume they're not eating a zillion calories in nothing but pure-foods -- solely on food.
So that food could possibly, in addition to maintaining, also "make up for" a very long period of extended cellular-level malnutrition seems rather unlikely.
And that it could do all that for a body supersized AND long-term nutritionally-deficient seems impossible to me.
In response to this idea-set, I am doing a brief period of what I call "hyper-nutrient". This is not about eating nearly everything in sight in the hopes of nutrifying (I think I just made that word up) the body. I don't think it's possible for a body my size to get enough food to truly nutrify and "remediate existing deficits" as well as current needs, without causing, long before that point, other horrible problems like more-fat, blood sugar issues, etc. just from quantity of food intake.
Over the last few months I have been buying, with all my spare cents, a ton of supplements. All of these are things that I have read about somewhere, and decided to try. Some are no-brainers with lots of science. Some are a few people on blogs raving about some obscure extract. Some are amino acids and some are 'alternative' at best. My idea is that I want to 'flood my system with opportunity', consistently, for a little while. Hopefully 90 days. I will be running out of most things long before that so some depends on money to buy more.
I have a second theory that my body will grab what it wants as it's passing through. That if my fat intake is high, there is ability for absorption if it is needed, and if my water intake is high, there is ability for flushing if it is unwanted. So a high and constant fat intake combined with a minimum of a gallon a water a day is a primary part of this effort. I am simply trusting that my body will do something useful with the opportunity. I don't have much choice but to do that.
Of course if this has any positive result, I will have no idea what might be having the effect (or if it's a synergy of 1 or more items). But I don't have 800 years to experiment with this. So I'm just dosing myself intensely, but briefly. These are vitamins; minerals; amino and fatty acids, herbs and extracts. They range from ordinary no-brainers like Vitamin D3, to some obscure Tibetan Mushroom. Heh. Let's just say that I figure the more the merrier, as long as I don't get any signs that it's hurting me. I expect that the sudden dosing of so many different things, plus the increase in my fat intake, will make my bathroom experience more interesting than usual, but I'm willing to put up with that for the cause.
Theories About the Hunger Reflex
Speaking of theories, I have another one. I think it is possible that my dissociative bare-connection with body hunger (where I ignore that I'm starving and undereat, or overeat when I'm not remotely hungry just because I like the food) is because at some point a big body of starving cells had some mutant effect on my hunger-reflex.
I might compare this to the ideas of Dr. Batmanjali (Your Body's Many Cries for Water) who theorized that chronic low-level dehydration gets to the cellular level and messes up the thirst-reflex, because we don't drink water but other, even mildly poisonous things which may worsen dehydration, instead, when that reflex acts up. Simple Extinction Paradigm in learning theory. Fortunately, biologically hardwired, so able to be revived merely by drinking a decent amount of water regularly for several days, after which your body starts wanting it, and specifically wanting water, too, which is pretty novel for most people who didn't even like it until then. He believes it takes drinking 'enough' water for about 3-4 months to 'rehydrate' fully. Note that in his world, things made with water usually don't count because as he describes and sketches, it changes the molecular structure of the water.
My theory is: Maybe cellular starvation messes up the hunger reflex -- making people overhungry, underhungry, or an erratic variant of both. Maybe that is part of what goes wrong with metabolisms that end up supersized.
I notice that the folks I know dealing with this issue are sometimes trying to figure out why the eating habits of big people are so bizarre. Some people are hungry all the time. Some people are seldom hungry. Some people eat totally without regard to hunger. It's a clear dissociation, or maybe 'random' association is a better way to put it. No matter what the individual detail, it certainly isn't "normal" so to speak.
Of course, this makes eating plans that say, "Only eat when you're hungry, and only until you're satisfied, and only what your body really wants," completely boneheaded for anybody with the hunger-dissociate effect going on, because those things mean absolutely nothing in that case. (And if you include grains/fructose in that eating plan it's doomed anyway for most folks, as those will trigger all kinds of stuff.)
Most onlookers, I realize, seem to think that people my size just eat constantly and hugely (I call that "the bon-bon theory" of obesity). It's just not true. For example, and this is not even unusual, Monday I didn't eat at all. Yes, I was hungry, but eating was inconvenient it so happened. Yesterday I ate three times and around 2100 calories (chuck burger, chuck burger, and eggs). Today I ate a ~9oz chuck burger patty and later a very small green apple. Tomorrow I hope to make the coconut-oil cocoa bites so that I can up both my calories and fat intake, using those little bites around whatever else I eat, in preparation for my "hyper-nutrient" phase where I need both fat and calories to be at a decent level. I have a hard time, when eating low carb, keeping my calories up, and little things of fat I can eat off and on help a lot.
Sure, it's true that right now my kitchen's being painted so cooking is a pain in the butt, and I might have had more like a few strips of bacon and some sauteed mushrooms if my kitchen were not in empty-chaos.
It's also true that if I eat carby food -- and that can be grains or fruit or legumes even at low-carb levels I might add -- my body seems "triggered" and historically, I find within a few days, 5 tops but usually less, I am completely off-plan and eating every carb in sight, and it takes me a few days to a few weeks to get my act together again. It is, as a friend once suggested to me, a lot like the problems newly recovering alcoholics have, when they keep letting circumstance or tiny quantities into their lives and end up under the wagon. So, had I been writing this about two weeks ago, I could say that I had eaten potato chips and a candy bar one day and pizza that night. (Felt like I was gonna die the next day just from the bloating!) Not from binging or upset, just from eating whatever sounded good. I am on lowcarb probably 85-90% of the time the last two years. The other 10-15%... you don't want to know.
So I'm not saying I eat impeccably all the time. What I've been working on the last couple years is how to eat more carbs (because VLC got to where I felt bad on it and had no energy, nor did I seem to be losing much weight any further), without those carbs triggering me offplan (and so far basically everything I have tried has, in fact, sent me face-down into the carbs offplan entirely). I have not yet resolved that problem. It honestly seems like if the only problem was ONE problem -- carbs/calories -- that would be so much easier than having food intolerances and other issues. I swear, if it isn't one thing . . . then again maybe the "combined complexity" of multiple problems is what determines who weighs 220 vs. who weighs 520, so I should just expect that whatever the answer for me personally is, it probably isn't simple.
So I do have to credit eating "mostly meat and no fructose/grains/legumes" for WHY I don't particularly have a problem with overeating most the time -- unless those things are brought into my diet of course.
Back to the point:
But despite all those caveats, you will note that despite the fact that I am lowcarb probably 85% of the time, I am not really any thinner than I was two years ago. Which at my weight, seemingly ought to happen as long as I am not ingesting a cow and a large pizza daily. Nor am I necessarily on a see-food diet during the times I'm offplan (like my worst-case example above), it just means I wasn't avoiding nearly every food in the world that wasn't "meat/eggs" is all. In theory... I ought to be thinner. But you know what theories count for when it comes to metabolism.
The Best Advice
Long ago a hypnosis/NLP group I was in had this slogan, "If what you're doing isn't working, do something else." I know this seems totally obvious. But it isn't what most humans do. If we do something and it doesn't work, we do it again. Several times. If it still doesn't work, we do it harder, pound a little and yell at it. It's kind of hilarious. Albert Einstein allegedly once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. So far, I have been looking at what I've done dietarily the last few years, and haven't done or couldn't do, and looking at what people around me have done.
This 'Hyper-Nutrient' phase (and there are a couple other details alongside this I'll get to below) is "something else." I don't have any indication it's going to help anything and if it does, it probably won't even show up except subtly and gradually AFTER that phase. But my goal is to lose enough fat to fit in a single airplane seat, to ride a bike and carnival rides, to be able to do much more intense exercise than I can now. So, for my goals, what I have been doing is not working. So I am doing 'something else'. The details of how well it works, or works for me, or its details that can be varied -- that's another story. Who knows.
Hyper-Nutrient or HN as I call it -- because damn I love cute names and acronyms, and this field is full of them -- has a variety of details that are simply custom to me and my beliefs, eating habits and idealism. Here are the overall points I am attempting to maintain as part of this plan/cycle.
1. Hyper-nutrition: supplementation of just about everything I can get my hands on. Consideration of not overdosing on some things (like Vit A or Potassium). Consideration of 'format'; I may have a few different types of a given thing that I trade off, or take one of each. I may have things I take 2-3x a week, not every day. Supps include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, herbs, custom blends, obscure extracts, etc. There are some offbeat other forms of supplement too. For example, I have a number of essential oils and am making a point to occasionally have them in the air, or massaged into my skin. Part of the idea here is that everything is synergy and the body's absorption of one thing depends so much on others, and much of that is still to be learned by science frankly. So I feel the best way to get the most nutrition fast is just to supplement with everything across the board.
2. Food intake: based primarily on fat, with some protein, so the body can absorb the nutrients as well as possible. Sufficient calories (for me that's at least 2000), fairly high fat (70%++), dominantly via coconut oil on days when I'm not eating a lot of chuck burger (which takes care of itself fat-wise). This diet may be very low carb ketogenic, simply because I'm more focused on keeping my fat up than my carbs up at the moment, but as I am trying to bring in more carbs for my kid and I feel better with a little more, it is likely to vary. I track my details, so oh well, I'll see what works. I want sufficient protein -- 80-140 is my range, I'm aiming for the low side during this period since fat is the focus. This eating approach mirrors plenty of existing lowcarb eating plans out there; I don't consider the details a big deal here, whatever works for someone, me in this case, at a given time. Obviously, foods with high problem profiles (grains or dairy for some people, and always 'chemicals' that aren't real-food) are usually better left out of any eating plan as much as is practical.
3. Liquid intake: no caffeine (because it's a diuretic; I want my body to vent water and nutrients as it sees fit, not be sparked/forced to that, which will only leave my supplements in the toilet before my body had a chance to decide about holding onto some of that); at least a gallon of water a day (this because of my size, it'd be less if I were smaller). In a perfect world, diet drinks and their chems would not be in here anywhere. I'm likely to have a diet soda once in awhile though, to be realistic, but not often.
4. Detoxification: to ensure the body can rid itself not only of old toxins it might be inspired to during this period, but new things it doesn't want to keep that I'm ingesting like crazy, some basic detox things are going on during this as well. (a) See #3 on water intake. (b) I'm using body/foot pads for 'alleged' detox. Like some of the supplements I don't know how legit this is at all let alone for me, but I don't believe it hurts anything but my wallet to try. I intend to try them in my other main lymph-detox area, right between underarm and breast. (c) I'll be taking a tablespoon of bragg's apple cider vinegar with mother most mornings (also in the alternative-maybe's category). I'm not doing much else for detox because I don't want to be flushing my system with anything but water during this period.
5. Exercise: I have no rules about exercise right now, except that I'd like to do some when practical and I feel like it. I think it's always good, and important. From my armchair, I think that.
That's about it. It's my first-draft of an idea and although I began my 12 week period last Monday, I don't start the hypernutrient period until this coming Monday. So I'm sure actually "doing it" will probably bring up things I hadn't thought about.
Measuring effects won't be easy, as I mentioned. This is more a hope that several months down the road, fat loss will be more efficient for me, probably for no reason I can put my finger on, but maybe something about this will have helped. As long as I'm not overdosing on the few known dangerous limited nutrients, I don't see how it could hurt.