Kitchen > PrivateWebHome > WebLog > RealWorldMathProblem
04 Oct 2006 - 12:05

## real world math problem

After a 2-week plateau, Jimmy is again losing weight. 204.5 this morning.

Christopher is losing, too, and is, according to the CDC, officially "not overweight." (Which, translated, means he's at the 94th percentile for his age. The CDC defines anything from the 85th to the 95th percentiles as "at risk for becoming overweight." This is all pretty silly, seeing as how Christopher's height is at the 90th percentile for his age, but still. Having the CDC officially define him as "not overweight" is good for his motivation. I went through all the various websites and figures the other day, and decided that my goal weight for Christopher is 120. He's got 10 lbs to go.)

UPDATE 10-6-2006 10 pounds may sound like a lot for a child, and of course it is, but visually he's good now. He's "tipped" back across the line that separates "fat" or "chubby" to "normal." So that's good. If he didn't lose any more weight at all, but simply maintained this weight and continued to grow, that would be fine. Also, be sure to read the Comments!

Ed told Christopher his job this weekend is to figure out which one of them has lost more as a percentage of his total body weight to start.

UPDATE 10-8-2006 Jimmy is down to 204 this morning. (5'10" or 5'11")

UPDATE 10-16-2006: Jimmy down to 201; Christopher down to 129.5. I haven't been telling Christopher's weight - just the weight loss - because I didn't want him to be embarrassed in case any of his friends happened to come across the blooki. But now that he's into the 120s, I think it's OK. He is at 90th percentile height and roughly 92-93th percentile weight. None of the kids call him "fat" anymore, which in terms of the social issue of being overweight in middle school tells you all you need to know.

I've lost 5 lbs, but there's no way to "disaggregate" the causes, what with our mad-bad doctor-originated cancer scare over the past few weeks and all. (Haven't posted about it; it's happily resolved; mention it only to say that I can't reach conclusions about Shangri-La based on my own quite dramatic - for me - weight loss.)

I found Jimmy's weight loss chart from the last time I managed to put him on & keep him on a diet back in 2003.

July 25, 2003: 205 lbs
November 15, 2003: 198.5 lbs.
6.5 lbs in 16 weeks. Compared to 15 lbs in 11 weeks this go-round.

By March of '04 he was up to 208.5.

At some point in there (I think it was in '04) we were able to persuade our pediatrician to put him on glucophage, which stabilized the weight gain. He didn't lose, but he stopped gaining.

Then his liver enzymes (iirc) got screwy and that was the end of the glucophage. By this summer he was up to 222.

Taking Risperdal, he's been gaining weight every year, year in, year out, without growing taller. (Eric Hollander managed to get him off the Risperdal, but his new med, Depakote, which he must take for seizures, also produces weight gain.)

When I say he's been gaining every year, I'm talking about a young, strong male, much bigger than I am, who is ravenously hungry, screaming for food, and biting himself until he draws blood.

The diet we managed to do 3 years ago had to be constantly monitored and thought-through; we had to do everything in our power to feed him foods that would take the edge off his unceasing hunger so we could withhold food when his nighttime binge hour arrived and he started screaming and biting himself.

A nightmare.

The nightmare wasn't just that he was screaming, bingeing, and biting himself.

The nightmare was that Ed and I were chained to the refrigerator. To this day we have locks on every cabinet and a bike lock on the fridge. We can only buy side-by-side refrigerators, because those are the only ones you can use a bike cable on.

It would be 10 at night, or 11; we'd be dog-tired; and Jimmy would need to consume a thousand calories of parent-prepared food before the screaming stopped. This after an entire day of manning the kitchen because he was hungry all day long, too.

Dog-tired is wrong.

Bone-tired.

The Shangri-La diet has made all of that go away. All of it. There is no nighttime binge. There's not much daytime noshing, either. We have meals.

We got a little sloppy the last two weeks, and weren't always giving Jimmy his oil. Because you have to give the oil one hour after eating and one hour before eating, you can easily end up without that two-hour window of time, especially when a child has school or weekend programs during the day.

The nighttime binges came back.

I'm a believer.

Meanwhile Ed, who spends a lot of time pooh-poohing whatever my latest idea for self-and-other improvement happens to be, is a huge believer.

He's practically a Shangri-La acolyte.

I weighed myself this morning.

I gained a pound.

I don't think it's a real pound.

Since July I seem to have lost 2 stable, definitely-gone pounds on Shangri-La.

BMI 21.5.

I want a BMI of 20.5.

At most.

another olive oil diet

I went to see Erika yesterday.

We met Erika here in Irvington a couple of weeks after we moved in. She had been the on-call physician for the schools, and had a practice in a little house on Main Street in downtown Irvington.

She was wild. She was the original n-of-1 self-experimenter, and was then writing her book on energy and the mitochondria. She took one look at Ed & packed him off to an acupuncturist to treat his back.

The acupuncture didn't work, but everything else she said made sense and I've been seeing her ever since.

Now I have to trek into Manhattan to get to her office, but it's worth it.

Erika is a female Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I'm not sure how she'd feel about that, but if I had to bet I'd say she'd like it.

She's Austrian, and has the "Arnold" accent, but what's Schwarzeneggerian about her is the inexhaustible energy, the optimism, and the utter indifference to the received views of her betters. A massively publicized NIH study proving once and for all the mortal danger of hormone replacement therapy has no more dampening effect on Erika than a spring drizzle has on a Labrador retriever. She simply goes bounding along evangelizing her precious "bioidenticals."

When I say "bounding along," what I mean is that at the precise moment the NIH death-by-estrogen study hit the papers, Erika decided to stop being an internist and start being a full-time hormone replacement specialist. The mere fact that the entire US media universe is seething with stories of middle-aged women dying of breast cancer because they took estrogen is simply not a factor in Erika's decision-making calculus because, obviously, the study is bunk.

That's Erika.

The other Schwarzeneggerian thing about Erika is that she makes this kind of thing work.

Erika can decide that the NIH and the New York Times are wrong, and she can base a major business decision on the fact that the NIH and the New York Times are wrong, and, for Erika, this turns out to be a good call.

I lost track of Erika for a couple of years when her practice in Hawthorne disappeared. She had by then moved from Irvington to a suite of offices in the Dobbs Ferry Hospital, and then from Dobbs to another suite of offices over in Tarrytown, and after that she set up shop in a huge suite of rooms up in Hawthorne.

But suddenly I couldn't get them on the telephone. The number had been disconnected and nobody had notifed me about a new number some place else.

I felt bad about that. The practice must have failed I figured.

It didn't fail. She'd had some kind of falling out with the folks she was partnered with so she stopped practicing in Hawthorne and started practicing full-time out of the Manhattan office she'd had all along, unbeknownst to me. She is mobbed by patients.

Yesterday I told her the Wall Street Journal had just run an article (\$) on a new study showing that hormone replacement therapy is good for the brain (big surprise there) and Erika said, "In 5 years no one will talk about that NIH study any more. Everything will be bioidenticals."

That's Erika.

In 5 years all the bad, wrong ideology will be gone!

Because that's the natural fate of bad, wrong ideology!

I just wish I could train Erika's attention on Lucy Calkins.

Then again, Lucy Calkins is tougher than the NIH.

Or the New York Times.

wasn't I talking about olive oil?

Yes.

I was.

So I sat down on Erika's sofa and said, "I've found a diet that works."

"Tell me."

"It's called the Shangri-La diet."

She started laughing. "You're my funniest patient," she said.

I'm sure that's true.

Then again, Erika is my funniest doctor.

I started filling her in on Shangri-La, but she interrupted me.

She'd never heard of Seth Roberts, but for awhile now she's had 10 patients on an olive oil diet of her own devising and they've all lost lots of weight.

That's 10 out of 10.

Ten out of 10 patients using Erika's made-up olive oil diet have lost weight. She reports this like it's nothing.

Her regimen is to have them take 1 Tbsp of olive oil 3x a day, midway between meals.

She takes at least a Tbsp of olive oil a day herself, I believe, and has been doing so for years.

Erika doesn't have a Unifying Theory of hunger and anti-hunger on the Serengetti plains. She just figures a Tbsp of olive oil 3x a day keeps people full.

I said, "How'd you come up with that?"

Erika shrugged and said, "It's obvious."

more on mitochondria:
Bruce Ames in Discovery
Bruce Ames in REASON
Bruce Ames at fumento.com

The Shangri-La Diet at Amazon
Seth Roberts website

Shangri La diet in freakonomics
Shangri La diet part 2
diet, evolution of the brain, & McDonalds
Marginal Revolution on Shangri La
progress report 7-23-06
Jimmy 7-24-06
mind hacks & Shangri-La 7-26-06
7-29-06 update
my life and welcome to it - 8-6-06 - success
compare and contrast photo op 8-12-06
9-12-06 update
9-17-06 Jimmy is melting
10-4-2006 Dr. Erika's olive oil diet works, too

shangrila

-- CatherineJohnson - 04 Oct 2006

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Catherine,

My husband and I would like to thank you for all your diet posting. We particularly appreciate the pointer to the Daily Plate website.

I am 5'2" and since June I have gone from 157lbs to 138lbs. Weight goal: 115lbs

My husband is just under 6' and he has gone from 225 to 205.5lbs. Weight goal: 175, a weight he hasn't seen since high school.

-- LesleyStevens - 05 Oct 2006

Olive oil is yummy - how does that fit in with the Shangri-La theory?

-- TracyW - 05 Oct 2006

Tracy -- my thought exactly. I love olive oil.

-- GoogleMaster - 06 Oct 2006

Leslie

WOW!!!!

YOU'RE KIDDING!!!

That's amazing.

These are huge weight losses.

-- CatherineJohnson - 06 Oct 2006

On Shangri-La you are absolutely forbidden from drinking the yummy stuff.

You use "ELOO" which stands for "extra-light olive oil."

Extra light olive oil is almost pure yellow because it's had the impurities removed. The impurities are what make virgin olive oil look green, and they give it its taste.

The extra-light olive oil is basically flavorless and yet incredibly disgusting.

-- CatherineJohnson - 06 Oct 2006

I can barely choke the stuff down myself, and in fact have switched to sugar water.

I used to have trouble choking that down, but I'm getting used to it.

-- CatherineJohnson - 06 Oct 2006

Leslie

Are you guys using the ELOO??

Also, my friend wants me to ask whether you bought the book or have been able to follow the diet just from reading ktm (and other sites)?

That's fantastic!

Congratulations!

Keep me posted if you don't mind. (If it's too self-revealing, don't worry about it - )

-- CatherineJohnson - 06 Oct 2006

Erika's diet is sounding appealing to me because I do love real olive oil.

I'm wondering if I ought to try her variant.....

-- CatherineJohnson - 06 Oct 2006

I can't remember if I've mentioned this.

None of the kids at school are calling Christopher "fat" this year.

Actually that's not quite true.

There's one kid left who calls him "fat."

Christopher said, "So I make fun of his lisp."

Middle schoolers are brutal.

-- CatherineJohnson - 06 Oct 2006

I did tell him NOT to make fun of people's lisps.

No matter what.

-- CatherineJohnson - 06 Oct 2006

Anyway, the fact that there's only one kid in all of middle school still calling Christopher "fat" tells me the kids no longer perceive him as fat.

If they did, they'd be saying so.

-- CatherineJohnson - 06 Oct 2006

I've slacked off on The Daily Plate since I discovered they drop out your earlier data as the weeks go by.

Now I'm using an Excel chart for all 3 of us.

Also, I started out entering foods I'd eaten each day but I burned out on that pretty quickly. Jimmy and Christopher were both losing at a good clip without my keeping a food diary for them and obviously I'm not quite as serious about my own low-BMI aspirations as I'd like to be.

However, I think it's a terrific site. (Actually, I didn't find it; a Commenter did.)

If I do need to keep a food diary for Jimmy down the line, I'll use it again.

I may use it for me, too, if I get more motivated (which probably won't happen til spring if experience is a guide).

-- CatherineJohnson - 06 Oct 2006

We've been doing it about a month -- I'd seen the article in the NYT and thought it was interesting, but your posts got me started. I got the book out of the library.

Husband has lost about 6-8 pounds and is slightly lighter than after HS. He started about 3 or 4 days after I did, after giggling at me for a few days and then watching in amazement as I only ate two pieces of pizza and was full. I've lost about 5 pounds and am lighter than I've been in a long while. Neither of us really needed to lose a lot, but had had a couple of more pounds creep up in say the last 6 months.

He's very religious about getting his oil. I, on the other hand, realized how often I put something with flavor in my mouth, even if it's just a bite or a cup of tea. I do find that missing a day of oil ends up in eating a lot more the next day.

The drinking of it hasn't gotten any better. I hold my nose, swallow the owl, swallow the already prepared water, wipe my mouth with a napkin to make sure there's no greasy feel, let my nose go and drink a little more. It's nasty. I can't decide if warmer or colder would be better. It's possible that just the disgustingness of it is what's keeping my eating down.

Now, if only I could get myself back to working out the way I used to...

-- JenL - 07 Oct 2006

I do find that missing a day of oil ends up in eating a lot more the next day.

It really is amazing.

I didn't see this so much in the summer, when my metabolism is apparently quite different.

But fall and winter are completely different; this is when I start bingeing on 3 Musketeers bars, etc. (I shouldn't use the term "binge" lightly. My problem with overeating tends to be eating too much at meals, eating too many carbs, etc. In fall and winter I crave fatty carbs.)

So now, when I miss the sugar water for just one day, I see a huge uptick in appetite.

It's 10/8 now, and I'm gaining nothing, which is very unusual for me. I normally can't even bring myself to get on the scale throughout fall and winter......but I'm sure I gain at least 5 pounds every winter & then usually take them back off in the summer.

I'm not gaining anything.

.5 of the 1 lb I mentioned gaining in the post was gone this morning....basically, thanks to the Shangri-La regimen, I'm easily getting through the fall without gaining.

I'm a believer.

-- CatherineJohnson - 08 Oct 2006

The oil is absolutely repellant.

I don't think it ever gets better.

I've started kind of enjoying warm sugar water; I don't know if that's bad....(doesn't seem to be so far).

-- CatherineJohnson - 08 Oct 2006

Jimmy's down to 204 this morning.

I can't wait 'til he breaks 200.

That's going to be a big moment.

-- CatherineJohnson - 08 Oct 2006

I, on the other hand, realized how often I put something with flavor in my mouth, even if it's just a bite or a cup of tea. I do find that missing a day of oil ends up in eating a lot more the next day.

I've had exactly the same experience!

I have a lot to lose and I've found SLD slow and have never gotten what people call "push away the plate" appetite suppression. (This seems to be the common experience of other over-60 quite overweight women who post on the forums.) On the other hand, I've lost about 10 pounds in a little under 3 months and, like Catherine, very much enjoy not having cravings.

I use Bertolli ELOO floating on top of a bit of water. (I tried ice water but found that room temperature is better.) I never found it disgusting but did have various mild tummy problems at first. On the forums they suggest starting with a VERY small amount, such as half a teaspoon, and sticking with that for at least several days before increasing it a little bit and sticking with that, etc. I think this is worth trying because oil makes more sense to me than sugar.

-- SusanJ - 08 Oct 2006

On the other hand, I've lost about 10 pounds in a little under 3 months and, like Catherine, very much enjoy not having cravings.

Years ago I read a book, written by someone I trusted at the time & would trust today (can't remember more than that), saying that you shouldn't lose more than a half pound a week.

(I think it was 1/2 lb a week.....dang, can't remember for sure. Definitely you weren't supposed to lose more than a pound.)

You're losing faster than that.

The reason for the 1/2 lb a week figure was that it's extremely difficult to lose fat without also losing muscle - which I would think you definitely don't want to do when you're older, since you start losing muscle mass at.....35? 40?

I wouldn't be at all surprised if you're losing almost entirely fat. Very hard to do.

10 pounds in less than 3 months sounds healthiest to me.

CONGRATULATIONS!

-- CatherineJohnson - 09 Oct 2006

Oil has to be healthier.

I'm considering trying Erika's regime.

It can't hurt -

-- CatherineJohnson - 09 Oct 2006

This diet really is amazing.

At this point I'm willing to say that it works, period.

At least, it works for Jimmy and Christopher - and to some degree for me, too.

I'm moving now towards the question of whether it works as a maintenance diet, too.

Obviously we aren't there yet and won't be for several months. Jimmy has 34 pounds left to lose.

But I can see that he's going to lose them.

-- CatherineJohnson - 09 Oct 2006