I started a discussion in a healthy eating / diet group I’m a member of (Whole Foods Plant Based) and it generated a lot of comments. A lot! I tallied the opinions expressed, and thought my friends might find the results interesting.
As I have experienced in the past, a lot of the info is contradictory, so ultimately I need to use my best judgment and sort out what is practical for me and what is not.
The numbers are the numbers of mentions of that opinion. I’ve listed in the order of most comments expressing a particular opinion.
– Calorie limits (in vs out) and tracking are needed: 27
– Limiting starches is needed: 11
– Chef AJ is helpful (and her new book): 10
– No food limits are needed: 9
– Intermittent fasting is helpful: 8
– Everyone is different (what works for some doesn’t work for others): 8
– Calorie tracking/limits are not needed: 6
– More exercise is needed: 5
– Portion control is important: 4
– I’m eating too few calories: 4
– Greens are important: 4
– Dr. Joel Fuhrman is helpful: 4
– Weight Watchers is helpful: 4
– Nuts, nut butters, processed grains, avocados, etc. will hurt weight loss: 4
– Calorie density is key or all that matters: 3
– Avoid sugars, dairy, excess oil, processed food, fried foods: 3
– Adding more starches is needed: 2
– Eating fruits is good: 2
– Lots of beans and veggies are good: 2
– Fruit should be limited: 2
– Starch/carb calories don’t count as much as fat calories: 2
– Aging slows your metabolism: 2
– Following Engine 2 resulted in weight loss slowing down: 2
– WFPB is for everyone: 2
– Drinking more water is helpful: 2
– Crack and meth are bad: 2
– Salads are good: 2
– Gut health is important: 2
– Dried fruits and fruit juices hurt weight loss: 2
– Increasing fiber is helpful: 2
– Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson is helpful: 2
– RH fitness in the UK is helpful: 2
– Dr. McDougall’s Starch Solution is helpful: 2
– The time of day you eat is important: 2
– Going to a program center is helpful: 2
– Amla Green is helpful: 2
– WFPB is about healthy eating, not about losing weight: 2
– Gbombs are good: 1
– Chef AJ didn’t really help: 1
– Juice cleanses help: 1
– Smoothies are good: 1
– Nutritionfacts.org is useful: 1
– Keto is bad: 1
– Nutritionists and therapists can help: 1
– No exercise is needed: 1
– Never eat until you are full: 1
– Eat whenever you are hungry: 1
– Dr. Neal Barnard is helpful: 1
– Dr. Doug Lisle is helpful: 1
– Yo-yo dieting makes it harder to lose weight: 1
– Menopause makes it hard to lose weight: 1
– Humans are herbivores: 1
– Humans are omnivores: 1
– Keto works for no one: 1
– Keto works for some people: 1
– WFPB is a lifestyle, not a diet: 1
– Overeaters Anonymous is helpful: 1
– Barbara O’Neil’s Proper Diet is helpful: 1
– Strength training is helpful: 1
– Brightlineeating.com is helpful: 1
– Limiting high fats and adding starches is all you need: 1
– White rice is not good: 1
– Beachbody 21 day fix is helpful: 1
– Dr. Alan Goldhammer is helpful: 1
– I may be in starvation mode: 1
– Mastering Diabetes is helpful: 1
– The Pleasure Trap is helpful: 1
– The Power of Habit is helpful: 1
– Starches are just side, not main courses: 1
– Mindset breakthrough sessions are helpful: 1
– Calories don’t count: 1
The post below was removed from the Facebook “McDougall’s Starch Solution Group”. I’m surprised, because there were many supportive, informative comments in response to my post. The comments were useful, and no arguments were taking place. Many people are going through the same problems I experienced, and it seems short-sighted to try to cover that up.
Because the post was removed, I have left the group and am continuing my search for a workable diet. There were useful suggestions after my post and I did want to read them again. The messages about Chef AJ were particularly interesting. I hope the original poster gets back to me by private message so I can get more information. In the meanwhile, here is the which was deleted from the group.
Previously I had posted here about my first 15 weeks on Dr. John McDougall’s “Starch Solution” and the better results I achieved compared with Dr. David Ludwig’s “Protein Power.”
Unfortunately at week 30 I’ve regained about 1/2 of what I lost those first 15 weeks. I’m still down about 20 lb from when I started 30 weeks ago, but I had been down 40 lb, so I’ve regained half of what I’ve lost.
My blood tests remain good. My blood sugar HbA1c is now in the normal range, and my cholesterol is extremely low. All my blood tests are in the normal range.
But I think my blood sugar will start going up unless I can, yet again, get weight loss under control. I had dropped below 100 kg for a few weeks, and now I’m above it again. For the year I’m down a disappointing 11 lb only. I suppose you could say if my new year’s resolution was to lose weight this year I’ve technically kept that resolution, but still…
And I am still down 46 lb from my high in 2012. So I’ve managed to avoid a complete rebound so far, for the first time ever. So that part is good.
But “Starch Solution” just isn’t working anymore. I need to rethink again.
As I posted in the “Starch Solution” support group on Facebook, I appreciate everyone who gave constructive comments. Different diets work for different people I think. I don’t think there is a universal answer that works for everyone, which is why people everywhere are endlessly debating different kinds of diets.
Multiple people in the Starch Solution support group agree with what I wrote and say they have the same problems I do. So I know it’s not just me.
For now, I think the best way to get back to losing weight is to strictly count and control calories again. Just keep on logging everything in MyFitnessPal, which I’ve been doing for over 1,600 days now, through good and bad days, and really try hard to stick within calorie limits.
I know calorie counting works. And it offers the most variety. However, I also know it’s not sustainable after a couple of years, having done it many times and then rebounded. But to be honest I also feel that while Starch Solution worked at first, it too has turned out, for me, to be yet another diet that isn’t sustainable long term. Some things about that diet are not right, and some things Dr. McDougall, the author of the diet, has said also turned out to be hyperbole at best.
I do recognize that Starch Solution seems to work for some people and am not disputing that. Even low-carb ketogenic and near-ketogenic diets seem to work for some people (though not for me – too high calorie). I imagine even “Protein Power” works for some people, though I gained weight trying that.
The advantage of low calorie diets, where you take into account what you eat, and calories expended in exercise, and log everything, and are very careful to keep calories in balance, is that it always works as long as you can stay on it. And calorie-counting offers the most variety (no particular food is forbidden), and offers a positive, measurable encouragement to do exercise (the more you exercise, the more you can eat and/or the more weight you lose).
The premise with Starch Solution, that the starches would keep you satisfied and control your hunger, only seemed to really work for me for the first 10-15 weeks. And during that time I was also ill for 5 weeks with a bad summer cold and lost my appetite. So I lost an unnatural amount of weight during the illness. Since my first 15 weeks, though, It’s been rough and I just need to try something “different” while trying to figure this out.
So it’s back to “good old” calorie counting for now. And I’m not particularly caring exactly what is in the food I eat as long as it’s low calorie and seems to satisfy me so I don’t overeat. I honestly think everything else – cholesterol, blood sugar, overall health – comes with weight loss. After all, if you are on a low-calorie diet then it’s impossible to eat too much fat, or too much sugar, or really overdo too much of anything unhealthy. Calorie limits create a cap on everything. The fact there might be non-vegan ingredients in food doesn’t, by itself, really matter than much. For example, think of ordinary miso soup. The dashi in miso soup contains some bonito extract. I can’t believe that is going to make the difference between good and bad health.
Calorie counting also makes it easier when on the go, because calories are labeled everywhere, even in many restaurants.
Anyway, here I am going with yet another change of diet. And it’s a diet I’ve been on before too, so while I’m not exactly full-to-the-brim with confidence I am going to try it again.
All I can do is keep trying.