...and, my recipe for successful fat loss.
1. Eat real food
2. Not too much
3. Stay away from [redacted]people.com
Ok, I stole the first two from Michael Pollan. And the third rule I never thought I would write. In fact, I put off writing it as long as I could. After all, I'm still on [redacted]kpeople, and I have lots of friends there, doing all kinds of eating plans.
But, I finally decided that I just needed to go out and say it, and not pussy-foot around with stuff like, "don't hang around with de-motivating people who don't like you...." blah blah blah. But, I do really feel that for anyone trying to lose weight, they do deserve a special warning about [redacted]people specifically.
When I first joined, hey it was fun. I started sending around the emoticons and spinning the wheel every day. I played some of the games in the evening to keep my mind off eating. I was constantly hungry on the diet plan. I was often one of the top scorers for monthly points and also for exercise points. I joined lots of teams, even vegetarian teams, and became a leader for several of them. Even though I wasn't losing weight, I kept plugging away, every day.
When I started to lose weight and eat lower carb, things were different. I started blogging about it, and I was finding more comments on my blog made by people who were less than supportive of my food choices.
Soon I joined several low carb teams, and there I met others who were having difficulty with the increasingly hostile attitude towards low carb diets. While many of the articles and sugary recipes started to get annoying, what really got my goat was an article by Coach [redacted] about a weight loss study. She had, in my opinion, completely mis-read the study, and I found I just couldn't shut up about it anymore. I wrote about it here. When I went to the original study, I found links to other studies, and I was shocked and disappointed to discover how badly they were designed, written and covered by the media. I realized that Coach [redacted] had probably written her misleading article based on the media blurbs about the original studies, which I now believe are oftentimes written by editors and others with the intention to mislead readers. The idea is to pull readers away from the actual content of the real study by pointing to an editorial with contradictory information. Many media blurbs quote from the editorial, not from the original study. I saw this over and over again, and it started to make me madder and madder. It is just a symptom of the state of nutritional research, with so much of it ethically and scientifically bankrupt.
I knew that the lower carb diet worked for me, and yet every time I saw a clinical study with information pointing to the validity of such a diet, I found an accompanying article from some other researcher or registered dietitian saying the opposite. So, I started blogging about it. (I still haven't posted all of those earlier blog posts on this here blog.)
Eventually, I started posting on the main [redacted]people message boards. Every time a poster would ask a question about a low carb diet, a handful of anti-low-carb regulars would swoop down and criticize the diet and anyone who chose to follow it. Stuff like, oh it'll kill you, it's a fad, you'll get kidney failure, you'll gain all the weight back. Then Coach [redacted] would get into the act, and make a post to re-assert her authority. When low-carb advocates posted anything, they would get attacked.
Before I saw this myself, I thought the [redacted] coaches were so nice. In fact, I made that comment to another low-carb friend who was having much difficulty with Coach [redacted] that I thought it was just a one-time deal, and had settled down, but my friend said that this was the typical pattern. And, unfortunately for people trying to lose weight, my friend was right. So, this is how it goes down:
1. Someone asks a low-carb question
2. They get attacked
3. Coach [redacted] makes a post to re-assert her authority
4. Others defend the original poster
5. Coach [redacted] does an end-run by sending threating e-mails to people who disagree with Coach [redacted]. (You can read them here, here, here here and here.)
6. These people eventually leave or get kicked out and all the other readers don't know this is going on.
Coach [redacted] messages on and on about gobs and gobs of gold-standard clinical research and how we must stick to the science, meanwhile her bouncer is taking a baseball bat to the knees of anyone who disagrees with her, even if they are quoting "gold-standard clinical studies form the top journals". This isn't science. This is thuggery and censorship and dishonesty.
Recently, a poster asked the question about different rules on one of the main message boards. The [redacted]people moderators have been silent, but several others have said that the original poster must be mistaken, that people would be censored only when they do something wrong. They implied that my e-mail was blocked because it was a link to a commercial site, or provided unscientific information. Well, I don't think that could be anything further than the truth in my case.
If you join one of these sites, and eventually you decide to try a low carb approach, here's what is in store for you. Your diet choices will be ridiculed by plenty of people. They will tell you that you are stupid, that it is dangerous, that it is disastrous, that it is unscientific, that you are crazy, that you will be bored, that you will gain all the weight back and then some. Yes, you will hear this from the coaches! If you speak up, they will take down your blog posts and your links. They will follow you around the internet and find reasons to censor you. You will be held to a different set of rules than the people who follow a high-carb diet. You will not be allowed to suggest to anyone that they might benefit from a low carb diet, you will only be allowed to share your own personal experience only if you do not encourage others to do it. Others can say all sorts of crazy stuff (as some moderators like [redacted] often do) as long as the diet doesn't disagree with what Coach [redacted] recommends. If you continue to be vocal about a low carb diet that is working for you, you might be kicked out. They'll tell others that it was for some sort of violation, but you know that is not true.
You will read rants about the low-carb advocates that are "trying to scam a buck" off you, when really the only people making any money off this website are "[redacted]Guy and team" and their advertisers. You'll read that they regularly accuse people like Dr. Mercola of "quack" writings and trying to make money off his website, while at the same time, large banner ads for Skinny Cow and Kashi will fill your screen on a daily basis.
Eventually, if you are lucky, you will find a site that offers support for your eating choices without all the nastiness and redactorship. You'll find other sites that have food, fellowship and tracking, and a place to post your success. Better to find those sites now than to get on [redacted]people at all. Enjoy your journey.