Through The Minor Ups And Downs, Low-Carb Weight Loss Staying Off

Filed under: Low-carb Tips — @ October 26, 2007

My weight decline: 410 in 2004 and 229 in 2007

When you put yourself out there front and center as a pretty major low-carb weight loss success story, the reaction that people give you about your progress is as varied as there are people in the world. Most people applaud your accomplishments and stand in awe of your continued success. Others doubt you can keep the weight off and stay healthy over the long-term.

But sometimes you receive a “different” kind of response. This one was actually very well thought out and documented by a reader on who read the thread I started in August 2006 called “What Are Your Criticisms Of The Low-Carb Lifestyle?” I was quite impressed by the background this Amazon reader named 2bluesky2 did at my blog prior to writing his comments at Amazon. I do believe he was being very sincere in asking these questions in his post and I’m happy to address them today.

Wanna see what he wrote? Here it is:

Jimmy, I want to ask you about your own weight odyssey, which you discuss frequently on your blog. In looking over your blog, I found frequent references you made to your weight. You also frequently say that your goal weight is 199 lbs. Here is a table compiled from your blog showing your weight over several years:

1999. Lost 170 lbs on lowfat diet, regained it in 4-6 months
01-01-2004. 410 lbs. Started Atkins diet
01-01-2005. 230 lbs. Lost 180 lbs in 2004 on Atkins diet.
11-27-2005. 225
08-14-2006. 240
11-21-2006. 215
12-12-2006. 215-217
12-31-2006. 220
01-31-2007. 229
02-08-2007. 220
06-05-2007. 248
06-08-2007. 235
06-12-2007. 229
06-25-2007. 223
06-26-2007. 222
07-02-2007. 219
07-05-2007. 219
07-06-2007. 218
07-19-2007. 216
07-20-2007. 212
10-04-2007. 220-225
10-09-2007. 223

The table shows your amazing 180 pound weight loss during 2004 for which you can justifiably be proud.

But the table also shows that from November 2005 to August 2006, you gained 15 pounds going from 225 to 240. By November of 2006, you had lost 25 pounds and weighed 215. But by June 2007, you regained 33 pounds and were up to 248. By late July 2007, you had lost another 36 pounds, but since then you regained another 10 pounds or so. I didn’t find any listings of your weight after October 9, 2007. On your September 17, 2007 podcast, you mentioned that your weight had topped out at 253, but you didn’t’ mention whether that occurred in 2006 or 2007.

Achieving major weight loss, as you did in 2004, is a major accomplishment. Thereafter, consistently maintaining weight loss presents different challenges. Your 2004 weight loss is truly remarkable. But your up and down pattern since November of 2005 seems dubious. In the past 2 years you have gained 15 pounds; then lost it and more; then regained 33 pounds; then lost it and more; then regained another 10 pounds or so. Now you are about where you were in November 2005 when you started your up and down pattern. During all of that time, you still never reached your goal weight of 199. As you know, at 6 foot 3 inches your current BMI is in the “overweight” category (and will be until you reach your goal weight of 199). As you have recently pointed out, BMI might not fairly categorize people like yourself who have a significant sagging-skin problem after major weight loss. Still, the 199 target was your own choice, and you haven’t achieved it yet.

Your huge weight loss in 2004 was an inspiring accomplishment. But most people are not facing the challenge you were looking at on January 1, 2004. I think most people face the challenge you faced in November of 2005: maintain current weight, but also hopefully lose another 20 or more pounds. Your 4-year record is awesome. But your last 2 years are erratic. Those who have a major weight problem like you had in 2004 should consider doing what you did. It accomplished a lot for you. But should your recent track record inspire those who have a much smaller weight problem? Your program just doesn’t seem to be working as well for you as you deal with long-term maintenance and losing those last few pounds.

I am not a health professional or expert, but I think an effective weight management program should do three things for a person in your situation. First, within a reasonable amount of time it must get you out of the obese weight range and within, say, 10% or so of your target weight. Low-carb did that for you. Second, within a reasonable amount of time thereafter, it should get you to your target weight. Ignoring your unwanted volatility, you have been basically stuck at around 220 for the past two years. Maybe you should just redefine your target as 220, maybe not. I don’t know. That’s for you to decide. But if 199 is a realistic target, then low-carb is not getting you there anymore. Third, once target weight is reached, the program should enable you to maintain a stable weight with low fluctuations of, say, 2% or so over some extended period (ideally: permanently). Even if you redefine your target weight as 220, low-carb has not enabled you to achieve a stable weight over the past 2 years. You fluctuate too much. Your weight increases of 15 pounds in 2006 and 33 pounds in 2007 are alarming. Those recent gains may seem trivial in view of your major weight loss in 2004, but you are in a different league now. You are not a fat guy anymore. Your 2006 and 2007 fluctuations are very inappropriate for your present size and weight.

My quick-view evaluation:
Major weight loss? Yes!
Achieve goal weight? Not really, unless you fudge the goal.
Maintain stable weight? Nope, no way. Needs improvement.

So where does all this discussion lead? Well, you have to decide that. I think that your program needs some tinkering, and maybe some strategic rethinking. If I were to make a single simple suggestion to you it would be this: start posting your actual and goal weight on your website on a regular basis. Your readers and fans will alert you if/when you need a kick in the behind. That may be all the motivation you need to keep “weight creep” from getting out of control again. I think you will agree that your fluctuations over the past 2 years are not in your best interest. They also do not reflect well on your advocacy of a low-carb program for long-term maintenance.

In this forum you have asked for comments on low-carb. I have had my say. You may not like hearing it all, but I think my observations and comments are within the scope of what you asked for. What do you say? I look forward to your always interesting comments!

Click here to read my thorough response to 2bluesky2′s questions and concerns about my weight management plan.


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