Thursday, July 31, 2008
Jimmy Moore Is Losing Weight!
Jimmy Moore is one of the "stars" of the low-carb movement. In 2004 he followed Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution and took his weight from 410 down to 230 pounds.
He wrote a book about it, Livin' La Vida Low-Carb, and launched a blog with the same title. Since then, Jimmy has started many more blogs, interviewed the movers and shakers in the weight-loss community and served as an inspiration for people who want to experience the satisfaction of losing weight successfully.
But all was not perfect in the world of Jimmy Moore. In December 2007 he began to do resistance training. Long story short--in the process of building up strength and muscle mass, Jimmy gained 30 pounds and couldn't seem to get rid of it. He has kept a current account of these adventures in his Low-Carb Menus blog.
Fast-forward seven months. Jimmy finally seems to have found a method that works. Here it is:
1. He has stopped eating desserts and low-carb products. Even though Jimmy always ate strictly low-carb, he counted net carbs. That meant that he subtracted insoluble fiber, soluble fiber, sugar alcohols, glycerin, maltodextrin, and similar low-glycemic-impact carbohydrates. He ate Atkins bars and Dreamfields pasta, as well as low-carb brownies, cookies, muffins, ice cream, chips and wraps. Except for insoluble fiber and possibly erithritol, eventually all of these carbs have to be dealt with as carbs. In order to store or metabolise them, the pancreas must release insulin. And when insulin is released, fat stays trapped inside fat stores and is not available for burning.
2. He is eating much less protein. Protein is important for building and repairing muscles. But eating protein also causes insulin to be released. It's important to eat enough protein to keep the body in good shape, but if too much is eaten, insulin levels stay high, and the excess protein can be converted to glucose through gluconeogenesis.
3. He is waiting about six hours between meals and is doing very little snacking. Eating low-glycemic-impact carbohydrates and protein every few hours keeps insulin levels elevated continuously. Eventually the insulin signaling system down-regulates itself, and the muscles, liver and brain gradually become resistant to insulin. Waiting five to six hours between meals allows insulin levels to decline to baseline or near baseline. This in turn permits hormone-sensitive lipase to mobilize fatty acids from fat deposits. The body can use free fatty acids for fuel while the insulin signaling system has a chance to reset itself.
4. He is eating fewer calories. One of the best aspects of low-carbing is that it's easier to count carbs than calories. In the initial stages of low-carb weight loss, the anorectic effect of ketosis and the satiety-producing effects of moderate protein and high fat all work together to limit the number of calories consumed without requiring much conscious effort on the part of the dieter. However, in the words of Robert C. Atkins, "I never said calories don't count." As weight is lost and as the body becomes more efficent at low-carb living, eventually it becomes necessary to become aware of the number of calories eaten versus the number of calories used for resting energy expenditure, activity energy expenditure and thermogenesis. The advantage of dieting the low-carb way is that when fewer calories are eaten, the body does not have to slow down its metabolic rate to conserve energy. Low carbs mean a low insulin level, which gives the body ready access to the energy it has stored in adipose tissue.
Jimmy Moore's experiences are his own, and may or may not apply to others who are trying to lose weight or maintain a weight loss. But they do provide real-world insight into how low-carbing works on a practical basis.
An Update (October 12, 2008)
Jimmy followed this regimen until the middle of August and took his weight down to about 255. He then joined Isabeau Miller's FitCamp for two weeks and began doing all sorts of vigorous exercise, which he has faithfully continued during the subsequent weeks. To avoid muscle weakness and exhaustion during workouts, Jimmy experimented with adding in healthy extra carbs. He also returned to eating his favorite low-carb products and began eating more often. Bottom line: On October 3 and again on October 11 Jimmy weighed in at 270 pounds.
It is commonly believed that increased exercise results in weight loss. In Jimmy Moore's case, increased excercise has twice resulted in weight gain. Some of the weight gain is undoubtedly muscle, but the correlation between significantly increased exercise and significantly increased body weight is surely a cause for concern. As Jimmy continues to use various approaches to return to his 2004 weight of 230, it will be instructive to see which strategies work for him and which don't.