Moderators: devilish_patsy, Sheila, sun123, imlosingw8

Wagon Jumpers - January 17 - 23, 2010 (Closed)

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(I keep the waiting list capped at 4 people as it can be a 16 week wait with that length. We currently have 4 people on the waiting and are not currently taking any names. Please read below and contact supersized for with any questions.)

Welcome to the Wagon Jumpers weekly thread. We are a group of CC members who have identified that one of our main challenges with achieving our weight loss, maintenance or general health goals is consistency.

This thread is designed to encourage long term commitment to our goals by publicly declaring them and asking the other members of this thread to hold us accountable. The primary focus of wagon jumpers is not how much weight you have lost, or need to loose, but what you need to do on a daily basis to meet your long term goals. 

There are two rules for Wagon Jumpers:

1. All members must post once per week between Sunday and Friday.

2. All members must check the thread for members who have not posted by Saturday (a short list is posted on Thursday) or are on the MIA list on Sunday and send them a polite and positive message to stay involved in the group and on track with their goals. 

If you would like to be a member of this thread please see the guidelines below and send me a PM if you are still interested (there may be a waiting list).

Medium Size Group = Some Time Commitment

The original idea of Wagon Jumpers was to create a close community where participants could get to know each other and hopefully form virtual-life and perhaps even physical-life bonds to create a support network as they attempted long term weight loss.

We quickly discovered that this was impossible with an 'always open' group as there were too many people coming and going. For this reason the group is finding its optimum level is between 20 and 25 participants. 

A medium sized group means that we have an active thread that produces between 30 - 45 posts per week. Members do not need to read / respond to every post every week. I do notice that those who respond regularly do tend to keep their goals top of mind, and have a better chance to achieve them. I estimate the average time spent by an active member on Wagon Jumpers to be between 1-2 hours per week. 

If you are looking for an always open group  on CC there are several that operate by different weight criteria, similar motivational patterns etc... There are also many small groups that cap their numbers between 4-10 people to keep the group more intimate, and easier for members to keep up with. 

Interested in Joining?

General Guidelines for Joining

1. Are you a wagon jumper?

Do you know how to loose weight, you often have success but then you find yourself loosing interest in your plan, or sabotaging your plan. It's not the "how" to loose weight that is the problem, it's the "how" to stay motivated.

2. Do you have a long way to go?

This group is designed so that members can get to know each other and support each other. Ideally you are planning to be a CC member and part of this forum for at least 6 months or more to achieve your goals and hopefully stay in motivation for a further 6 months or more.

Yes. This is, a long term plan.

3. Do you have the time?

This is a medium sized group, the thread does move fairly quickly each week. If you do not have regular internet access this is likely not the group for you. 

Still interested?

Send Supersized a PM. (Please do not reply on the thread)

An overview will be sent to you, you will have a chance to ask questions and an invitation will be sent to you once a spot is open. 

Wagon Jumpers Participants

Year 1 - Week 37 Riders:

Supersized  SmileSmile(myself)

Year 1 - Week 33 Riders:


Year 1 - Week 31 Riders:


Year 1 - Week 26 Riders:

Raven21 Smile

Year 1 - Week 25 Riders:

Wenchie58 Smile

Year 1 - Week 21 Riders:


Year 1 - Week 15 Riders:


Year 1 - Week 8 Riders - CONGRATULATIONS 1 YEAR & 2 MONTHS!:


Year 1 - Week 7 Riders:

FigurethefatSmile Smile

Year 1 - Week 5 Riders:

Carryonandon Smile

Week 50 Riders:


Week 26 Riders:


Week 25 Riders:


Week 24 Riders - Congratulations on 6 Months!:


Week 22 Riders:


Week 19 Riders:


Week 18 Riders:


Week 16 Riders - Congratulations on 4 Months!:


Week 12 Riders:


Week 10 Riders:



Week 7 Riders:


Week 3 Riders:


Week 1 Riders:



Missing In Action:


Missing In Action - 1 Week:

Missing In Action - 2 Weeks:



Current Membership: 25

Current Waiting List: 4





Outstanding Wait List Invites: 0




(as set w/o December 13, 2009)

By March 6th, I will be...

Bleedtoblue - NEW: Exercising 3x a week for a minimum of 8 of 12 weeks.

Merimeriqcontrary - NEW: Logging all my food for 5 of 7 days a week consistently for 9 of 12 weeks.

Dothehokiepokie - NEW: Drinking 64oz (2L) of water each day for 5 of 7 days a week consistently for 9 of 12 weeks.

Raven21 - NEW: Exercising for 30 minutes daily for 9 of 12 weeks and MAINTENANCE: drinking at lease 3L of water daily for 9 of 12 weeks.

Supersized - NEW: Achieving a minimum of 50% on my weekly nutrition plan for 6 of 12 weeks and MAINTENANCE going to the gym 3x/week for 9 of 12 weeks.

Peera - NEW:Exercising 3x a week for at least 15 minutes.

Figurethefat - NEW: Drinking 1 litre of water everyday for 11 of 12 weeks and MAINTENANCE: have completed 1250 exercise minutes per month.

Marcekd - NEW: Drinking at least 2 liters of water a day 5/7 days 10/12 weeks.

Defrog3 - NEW: logging my food 3 days/week and MAINTENANCE have taken Abby to each session in the Mommy and Me yoga class.

Germaica - NEW: have exercised 30 minutes 27 times during the 12 week period.

White_Sakura - NEW: be eating 8 sevings of vegetables and 8oz of meat per day for 5 of 7 days per week on 9 of the 12 weeks and MAINTENANCE: getting 5 hours of intentional exercise per week.

Lam7 - NEW: drinking no diet coke for 9 of 12 weeks and MAINTENANCE: exercising at least once per week.

Msmeg1984 - NEW: logging my food 5 days a week for 9 of 12 weeks and MAINTENANCE: Exercising 3x a week for 9 of 12 weeks.

Vanexxag - NEW: have exercised 35 min 3x/week for 9/12 weeks

Nannygabber - NEW: I will be exercising a minimum of 2 hours per week, and I will MAINTENANCE eat an average weekly calorie intake of 1700 calories per day, each for a minimum of 11 out of 12 weeks.

Dovelette - NEW: have exercised a minimum of 3x per week for 9 out of the next 12 weeks.

Laura42 - NEW: Driking 1.25 liters of water daily for 5 of 7 days each week and MAINTENANCE lifting weight three times per week for 10 of 12 weeks.

Kyashiis - NEW: have exercised a minimum of 120 minutes each week and MAINTENANCE will be drinking a minimum of 1 liter of water per day for five of seven days each week.

BigBitty - NEW: going to the gym 2x per week and MAINTENANCE: drinking 2.5L of water daily.

Cawilder - MAINTENANCE: returning to my regular work out which consists of 3 hours of cardio and 1 1/2 hours of strength training and MAINTENANCE: eating an average of 1700 cals/day for 10 of 12 weeks. 

Ncurlee - NEW: have completed 150 min of aerobic exercise for 9 of 12 weeks and MAINTENANCE: be acheiving a 500 calorie deficit on 5 of 7 days a week.

Carryonandon - NEW: Eating 5 fruits/veggies per week 9 of 12 weeks and MAINTENANCE: Exercising 3 times per week each week.



Previous Threads:

Wagon Jumpers - January 10 - 16, 2010

Wagon Jumpers - January 3 - 9, 2010

Wagon Jumpers - December 27 - January 2, 2010

Wagon Jumpers - December 20 - 26, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - December 13 - 19, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - December 6 - 12, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - November 29 - December 5, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - November 22 - 28, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - November 15 - 21, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - November 8 - 14, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - November 1 - 7, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - October 25 - 31, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - October 18 - 24, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - October 11 - 17, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - October 4 - 10, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - September 27 - October 3, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - September 20 - 26, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - September 13 - 19, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - September 6 - 12, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - August 30 - September 5, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - August 23 - 29, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - August 15 - 22, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - August 9 - 15, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - August 2 - 8, 2009

Wagon Jumpers - July 26 - Aug 1, 2009

As always all members are encouraged to tag this thread so that it is easy to find.

53 Replies (last)

Check in:  I hit my targets on both goals this week.  Calorie intake was reasonable on the weekends too.  I was pleased with my performance.

I don't really plan my meals.  I probably should.  Dinner is not a problem because I know what I'm cooking each day just as part of my family orginization. But one of my pitfalls is running around all day and skipping lunch.  Then I come home starving and eat whatever I can grab, which is often a bad choice.  Then I face the dilemma of going very light for dinner to stay within my calorie target, or eating a good dinner and going over.  About half the time I go light on dinner and half the time I don't.  If I took food with me for the afternoon I could probably eliminate this problem. 

Today's thread forced me to sit down and reason this out.  :) Cool.  Now maybe I will do something about it. 

Julie A friend reminded me about D-day yesterday. May have explained a few things. Feeling a bit better today.

Laura The trend line is an average of your last 10 posts. If your last 10 posts show show an average upwards inclination the trend line will continue upwards even if your most recent posts have been downwards. Depending on the weight gained vs. weight lost you will generally seen the trend line start to head downwards again sometime between post 4 - 6 in a downwards direction. The good news is that it also works that way for incidental increase weeks. If you have generally been going in a downwards direction and have one week where you weight in at an increase the trend line will keep heading down so long as upwards does not become consistent.

Neva I'm with you on that kind of planning. I need to carefully plan what is available (I use the plan my nutritionist gave me to have the right foods in the house), if I don't I'll either order out because 'there's nothing to eat' or I'll make crazy pasta concoctions.

Dana 70% is not bad. I try to keep in mind that if I do nothing then I'll be back where my weight was and that was year over year increases. So then I rationalize that if I hit at least 50% of my goals then I should be able to stabilize my weight. Anything above 50% will hopefully mean weight loss. This is of course not terribly scientific but it keeps me motivated. A lot of it of course depends on what goals I set.

I also find I get demotivated and feel like I'm failing unless I'm getting 100% or more. So it will be important for you in the next round to so an evaluation of what you think you can realistically achieve given your past experiences. Set yourself up for success.

On the priorities thing I was noticing the same thing. I'd be super focused for a period of time on: my home, my career, my finances, my health, my family, my friends.... not all at the same time of course. But I'd put a lot of energy into one or two high priority areas that were 'on fire' and get them solved. I figured out after awhile (25 years or so) that this was making me a very good 'firefighter' but that I wasn't doing much to prevent fires. I was great in conflict and problem situations where something needed to be solved, but I wasn't so great at preventing the things that caused the problems.

So a couple of years ago I took this goal setting thing into most areas of my life. I started to set annual, 12-week and daily goals for myself in all the areas. Based on the idea of what can I realistically "do well" in these areas given a year. It's helped a bit, but it's still a challenge.

Sakura I think I'm a bit confused by the amount of information there. You have servings per day, grams and calories all at once. Personally I find it difficult to track in multiple systems at the same time.

What I do know is that most research says that if you increase your protein intake, especially in the morning, you will not feel as hungry. Also, if you are weight lifting then you need to increase your protein intake to fuel your muscles. It is difficult to get the benefits of weight lifting without increasing protein.

I think the general idea (Julie aka Nannygabber would be a great person to ask about this, she's implemented it very successfully) is to try to keep reasonably within a target calorie range (although defaulting to a slightly higher range with increased protein is common) but re-arrange the percentages of macronutrients.

For example:

If your current diet looks like this:

1,500 - 1,700 cal/day

60% carbs, 20% protein, 20% fat

Then what you might do is aim for this:

1,600 - 1,800 cal/day

40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat

The 40/30/30 split seems to be the one that most nutrition books are based on currently. This is basically not significantly increasing what you are eating but re-arranging what it is that you eat.

On fats it basically comes down to good fat vs. bad fat.

Bad fats are fats that raise total blood cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and include things like Saturated fats (coconut oil, palm oil, kernel oil), Trans fats which are also knwn as hydrogenated fats or liquid oils which are manufactured to withstand food protection and make foods last longer and are generally found in packaged foods, fried foods, snack foods, microwaved popcorn, vegetable shortening and margarine.

Good fats are fast that lower total cholesterol and LCL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) and include Monounsaturated fats found in Nuts (peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios) Avocado, Canola and Olive Oil and Polyunsaturated Fats found in Salmon, Fish Oil, Corn Soy, Safflower, Sunflower Oils. Polyunsaturated Fats, especially Fish Oil also contain Omega 3.

Stacey Not sure how old your kids are. Mum started a 'make a dinner' night when we were around 8 years old. We of course cooked with supervision until we were around 12 years old. She gave some basic guidelines like all meals must include vegetables. If you can enlist meal preparation as part of a family activity you may get your family more engaged in food and to tell you what they do like as opposed to what they don't like making it an overall more positive experience for everyone.

Kathy Glad to hear that it slowly sounds like you are on the mend. Toronto has large Chinese and Japanese populations (as well as Latin American) all of which do daily market shopping. I think this must be where I picked up the habit. Now I need to learn how to apply it in a healthy way.

BigBitty I've never managed to make myself eat steamed veggies. I think that hinders my veggie eating. One way to make a fat vegetarian is to be a pastatarian... must make friends with steamed veggies.

Meg Good job on the run. I'll have to look into that to tire my dogs out.

Laura42 Good job identifying that pit fall. See if you can pack some finger food. I hate purse food but I've taken to having a banana on hand, muesli yoguhurt, or stopping by starbucks for a tall decaf soy latte (protein!). 

Sara - Colloquialisms always cause me to question things, and usually generates an onslaught of personal research to ensure I am fully aware of what I am talking about. LOL! I am so naive sometimes. Maybe our vastly different locale has me confused. Your retort to my D-day comment has caused me to wonder if I use the term properly... To me... "D-day" means day of destruction... ultimately (in my mind) the final day of our planet's existence. In local colloquial terms it means "do or die" - the technical meaning which I found on the internet is this...

"D-Day, (despite all the celebration behind the specific one on June 6, 1944) is actually the generic Army term for any amphibious landing. There were countless D-Day's throughout Europe and Asia during WW2, but nowadays when someone says D-Day it's 99% sure they are talking about the Allied attack on Normandy, France in 1944." - Urban Dictionary

I suppose "D-day" could reference many other things on a personal level, to that end, I may have improperly used it, over-personalizing it, a slight exaggeration to my own percieved meaning intending simply to convey that on the following day, I had sincere plans to destroy myself physically by beginning the P90X workouts. Simultaneously giving it a double-whammy meaning by insinuating that my "couch potato" lifestyle would cease to exist. It can also take on other meanings for me personally, IE: that tomorrow may be the day I expect ttom, and anticipate the world as I know it to seize in place until ttom disappears, as if an Atomic bomb was expected... LOL... I would guess that in other parts of the world, "D-day" may not even be a thought, as there wasn't an experience involving local military troops in a so-referenced event. Just making sure we are on the same page. LOL!!

Just FYI - I am in rare form today, and all that was supposed to be a bit of comic relief... IE: funny. I hope no one here takes me too seriously with this stuff... just being my over-analytical self, wishing I would make myself put this much energy into my business and my HEALTH. LOL!

CHECKIN: Ok, time to be serious. I DID IT! I got in the first workout for P90X. Tony Horton is such a stud! He's just plain and simple... all muscle. And regardless if half what comes out of his mouth is corny and tacky... he knows what he is talking about. I am barely walking today due to glute soreness! It's funny but it's not. LOL! Admittedly, I did only half the reps of each exercise, but will soon be going strong and beyond his quota... And I'm doing it again today. YAY! I happen to like sore muscles, they motivate me to keep going. Makes me feel like I actually did something.

SO, food on track, exercise on track, look out 2010, and the rest of my life. I am here to stay!... healthy. Hope you are all having a healthgain week!

Julie, you always crack me up after a hard day at work and school! :X

Congrats on starting the hardcore P90X. Go go go!

D-days mean ttom last days for me also translatable into: I want to kill people using little bits of string, paper balls, napkins, ballpoint pens or anything in close proximity that could be used as a lethal weapon. :P

More check-in - Today is one of the few days in my life when I've actually logged the bad things instead of merely adding them up on paper. (seeing them on a computer screen makes them too real for me). And it's not so bad, even though my present diet doesn't make allowances for fruits: i had an apple and an orange with a thin slice of mozzarella for dinner and logged and all (didn't go overboard, got enough protein, yaaaaay!)

Kathy, when I'm on a vacation I love to shop everyday, it's more inspiring to go out in search of foodstuff (I usually take my bike along) and it certainly works up my appetite in the good way to be at the marketplace surrounded by yummy veggies and fruit. Actually that's my dream to be able to eat anything in moderation. Hooray for variations. And much luck on recuperating after the accident...

Sara, Pasta magic is stupendous, one day... I'll be able to cook some and enjoy eating it without that nagging voice in my head... one day...

Carol, I don't know what to say, except that you are a true hero for not breaking down during a time like this. You deserve a statue. Be strong and know that all our thoughts are with you.


Julie Ah, yes. Okay D-Day can mean many things here. The D-Day that we think of with the states is in relation to the second world war. Less seriously it can mean something like total destruction... some sort of apocalyptic event.... it it involves zombies then it is Z-Day....

What I was thinking of was a lot of Canadian news media referenced D-Day as January 18 (or the third Monday in January) which is typically the "most depressing day of the year" the study speculates this is partly due to the long period between the holiday season and spring break (March) and/or most people receiving their post-holiday credit card bills.

Meri Good job on the logging. I really miss pasta.

Confession I'm having an illicit love affair...

There are several lovers...

Strong, all...

Some hard, but most soft and tender...

Mainly French...

Very smelly...

I'm partial to blue...

Someone save me from this cheese addiction!


Step away from the cheese... slowly and move away from the dark side

Come back to the Laughing Cow...


Just remember that cheese is full of the bad fat, Sara :)  Maybe if you concentrate on eating more of the good fat you won't be craving the cheese.

I used to keep my fat intake around 10% when I was dieting, really shooting for no more than 10 grams of fat a day -- after about 8 months on this site reading the forums I realised that I feel best when my fat intake is between 15 and 20% of total calories.  So if I'm eating 1500 calories a day that would be about 30 grams.  It's easy to figure the fat grams because each gram has about 9 calories which I round up to 10.  20% of 1500  = 300 calories of fat or approximately 30 grams.  That way I can think in grams and calories at the same time :)  

Thinking of my own 60/20/20 target I considered what it would take to get me into the 40/30/30 range recommended in post 9.   Even eating healthy fats I couldn't be comfortable eating 30% fat and 30% protein.  As it is I'm usually around  16% fat and 18% protein with the rest carbs.  No way would I want to give up my carbs for more fat or protein!

Aren't there good carbs and bad carbs?  And where is the fiber coming from when one eats 30% fat and 30% protein?


Weekly update:

Doing well so far this week, although I think I need to stop weighing in everyday again. I know your weight can flucuate from day to day but I hate seeing it go up when I'm being soooo good. Oh well as long as it's down by Friday (official weigh in day) then I think I'll be ok.

On the weekly topic, I plan out breakfast and lunch and to a certain degree supper as well. My husband is currently off work due to his employment being somewhat seasonal so he's been cooking supper lately which I love. He's also very good at working about my not eating gluten, or at least very little gluten. He's also trying to eat heathier so that helps as well. Last night we have baked potatos and baked pork loin, very yummy. He just puts on some spices, adds a little water to the roaster and puts it in the oven for 35 minutes or so. It's easy and delicious (if you like meat that is). I'm also trying to incorporate at least one meat free meal a week. Last week we did a lentil stew. Now it was good but it sort of reeked havoc on my system the next day, maybe too much fibre too fast? I'm going to make another one today and we'll see what tomorrow brings, hopefully it will be uneventfull.

Well that's it for me for the moment but I'm going to try and comment on everyone's posts tomorrow, today only allows for so much personal time on the computer.

Have a great week everyone.



I think the first thing to say here is that I am NOT a nutritionist. I have written to a few friends in the nutrition field for some more specific studies and will post results as I get them.

The second thing to say is that this is definitely a debate, and a high stakes debate at that. Fast food companies who use huge simple carbs (bad carbs) don't want their products being labeled as unhealthy (or more unhealthy than they already are labeled), this debate pits different segments of agri-buisness against each other and there are huge dollars involved. The consumer is caught in the middle. There are no simple answers.

Best for you=Works for you

I firmly believe that whatever is working for you is what is best for you. You can be given the 'best' nutrition plan in the world by the 'best' nutritionist in the world. If it doesn't meet your tastes and you can't get yourself to stick with it, then it's not going to work. So, if you fall outside of optimal recommendations on calories, macronutrients, amount of water to consume, daily exercise - but what you are doing IS working. Stick with it. Small steps.

For example I eat in the 2,000's for daily calories, and I am still loosing weight. That means I am outside of the typical recommendations but it is working for me. Why is it working for me? My daily activity may be higher than some. Rearranging when and what I eat may contribute. The fact that I am a heavier person may allow me to eat more now and still lose weight while I will need to cut back more as I lose weight.

So, whatever I've found below on macronutrients, if you are thinking "not for me!" and what you are doing is working and you know you could not make yourself do this then keep going with what is working.


What are macronutrients?

Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Nutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism, and for other body functions. Since "macro" means large macronutrients are needed in large amounts. The three main macronutrients are:

  • Carbohydrates (carbs)
  • Protein
  • Fat

While each of these macronutrients provides calories, the amount of calories that each one provides varies:

Carbs = 4 cal/g
Protein = 4 cal/g
Fat = 9 cal/g

Each macronutrient functions slightly differently in the body:


These are the body's main source of energy. They breakdown into glucose which acts as fuel for all the tissues and cells of the body.


Is used for growth, tissue repair, immune functions, essential hormones and energy when carbohydrates are not available.


Is for growth and development, helps absorb vitamins, cushions the organs, maintains cell membranes and is the most concentrated source of energy.

Rise of the Low-Carb Diet & Death of the Low-Fat Diet

Two important nutritional discoveries were validated in the last 10 years. The knowledge had generally been around for much longer, however with the rise of the Atkins diet (not new to anyone doing South Beach in the 1970s) an the "obesity epidemic" many countries, universities and nutritionists ramped up studies on what is making people fat and how to counter-act that.

You don't "need" carbs

As you may have noticed all of the macronutrients provide energy to the body. Which means your body is not going to stop functioning if you stop eating carbs. Carbs are simply the most efficient way for your body to get energy. It takes your body much more effort to pry energy out of protein and fat.

There are of course draw-backs. Carbs help keep you 'happy' which we will discuss below as part of carb addiction. They also ensure better functioning of cells, especially in the digestion track.

It is important to note that while many low-carb diets are popular most are not no-carb diets and most reintroduce complex carbohydrates after a short period of time. I could not find any statistically significant studies on the long term effects of no-carb diets.

Fat doesn't make you fat

It seemed like a simple concept. If you are fat you probably ate too much fat. So stop eating fat. Eat low fat. It was also probably somewhat effective since in general if you reduce the amount of calories your body takes in you generally will lose weight. Since fat is the most calorie dense of all the macronutrients this had some legitimacy for awhile.

(see the importance of insulin for why fat doesn't make you fat - Barry Groves PhD)

The importance of insulin

Insulin is the hormone in the body that is responsible for body fat storage. Insulin takes glucose out of the bloodstream. The glucose is converted first into a starch called glycogen, which is stored in the liver and in muscles. But, the body can only store a limited amount of glycogen, so the excess glucose is stored as body fat. This is the process of putting on weight.

Eating fat doesn't raise blood glucose, it doesn't raise insulin levels either. Because fats do not elicit an insulin response they cannot be stored as body fat.

Carbs make you fat

Carbs are rapidly digested and quickly converted into blood glucose. A short time after a carb-rich meal, the glucose in your bloodstream rises rapidly, and your pancreas produces a large amount of insulin to take the excess glucose out.

When your blood glucose level returns to normal, after about 90 minutes, the insulin level in your bloodstream is still near maximum. As a result, the insulin continues to stack glucose away in the form of fat. Ultimately, the level of glucose in your blood falls below normal, and you feel hungry again. So, you have a snack of more carobhydrates., the whole process starts over again. 

The results are you get fatter, but you feel hungry at the same time.

Eventually this can lead to insulin resistance caused by continually high levels of insulin in your bloodstream impairs your ability to switch on a satiety center in the brain. This can lead to type 2 diabetes.

(references Robertson MD, Extended effects of evening meal carbohydrate to fat ratio on fasting and postprandial substrate metabolism; Bruning JC, role of brain insulin receptor in control of body weight.. and a few more if anyone wants them)

RESULTS: An 'war against carbs' that leads to the fad of low-carb diets and low-fat diets being seen as things of the past.

What About the Good Carbs?

Okay so the above doesn't look too good for our macronutrient carbohydrate. We may all be ready to jump on the Atkins wagon about now... but wait a second aren't there good and bad carbs? Doesn't the macronutrient ratios we are all discussing still recommend carbs as the highest intake level? What's going on?

As I mentioned above in the You don't "need" cabs section, while there is an all out 'war on carbs' I could find no statistically significant research that discussed the long term affects of no-carbs. So lets accept that we need some carbs. Once we accept that the question become how much.

Too many carbs

Generally speaking it is widely accepted that the average US citizen is eating too many calories. 65% of people are overweight or obese, 31% are obese. Women increased their daily caloric consumption 22% from 1971 - 2000, men by 7% in the same time period.

While I could not find a reliable site that pinned the average macronutrient ratios for the average American diet (without paying a subscription fee to a scientific journal that is) I did find that soda alone is making up 7.1% of total calories eaten, and when you account for sweets and deserts (this is without the breads, pastas, veggies and grains) it is up to 25%. Some more consumer driven diet sites suggest the average American diet is at best 80/10/10 with at least if not all of the carbs coming from the bad carbs.

(Source: University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources).

Bad Carbs

Monosaccarides or simple carbs are the bad carbs. They are found in fruits, dairy products and most notably are found in processed, refined foods such as white sugar, pastas and white bread.

They are more easily digested by the body. Which, if you go back up to the section on the importance of insulin and carbs make you fat you will understand that digesting carbs faster for faster entry of glucose into the bloodstream is not really a good thing.

The World Health Organization recommends that no more than 10% of your daily carbohydrate consumption should be from simple carbohydrates. Keep in mind that is NOT 10% of your total daily intake but 10% of your carbohydrate intake so 6% if you are eating at 60% carbohydrate and 4% if eating at 40.

Good carbs

Polysaccarides or complex carbs are the good carbs. They are found in vegetables (cellulose), whole grain breads and pasta, brown rice and legumes. The body takes longer to digest these carbohydrates creating a slower release of insulin and glucose into the bloodstream. Yay!

Okay, so we can eat carbs, but we need to watch which kind of carbs we eat.

We have also started to answer the question on how much carbs. We now know that we want no more than 10% of our daily carbohydrate intake to be from simple carbs. But how much of our overall daily intake should be from carbs in general?

Before we answer that lets take a closer look at what the nutritional buzz is about carb-addiction.

Why do I crave carbs

We are going to go back to our friend insulin again.

We now know that when we eat carbs our body releases insulin which will take the blood glucose turn some of it into glycogen for the liver and muscles and store the rest in our fat cells for later. What we now need to know is that insulin does two more things:

  • It is released in waves
  • It stops the body from using body-fat for fuel (for a short period).

The first insulin pulse comes just seconds after you eat carbs. This insulin pulse occurs before the sugar in the food is even reaches your bloodstream. This burst lasts for about 20 minutes before dying down. As the first pulse fades away a second more gradual injection of insulin is released by the pancreas and lasts for several hours.

This means that the first insulin pulse is designed to prepare your body for what is about to happen: shut down the energy burning machine we are receiving a shipment and need to store the incoming energy!

The first insulin release happens because it takes 20 minutes for insulin to have any significant effect on blood-sugar. Without the advanced notice a carb heavy meal could result in symptoms of hyperglycemia including: nervousness, jitteriness, racing heart and pulse, sweaty palms and headaches.

Because insulin has been released into the body and its release has told the body to stop looking for energy in the fat cells, and at the same time the glucose from the carbohydrates has not yet hit the blood stream there is nothing for the insulin to find this first wave of insulin is described as increasing the metabolic background of hunger.

Temporarily the body feels starved for nutrients.

As a result the meal we are eating starts to look and taste better encouraging the body to consume more energy and increasing hunger levels.

This is also one reason that controlled portion sizes and waiting 20 minutes before going for a second helping are good ideas.


1. Our diet is based on carbs - wheat, corn, rice, sugar
2. When we eat meals based on carbs, our insulin spikes
3. When we eat meals based on carbs, our appetite increases
4. When we eat meals based on carbs, food (carbs in particular) taste better
5. When we eat meals based on carbs, we overeat trying to fuel our cells.
6. As a result, when we eat meals based on carbs, we force our bodies to crave carbs.

What does protein have to do with all of this?

If you are eating a carb heavy diet - which most North Americans are - it's almost impossible to cut back on carbs without feeling hungry.

This is where protein comes in.

Dr. Fernandez from the University of Conneticut has been working on nutritional treatment for the obese. He has studies published in 2009 in Experimental Biology and the International Journal of Obesity.

There are a whole bunch of other studies cited on the Health Habits cite, but this one was easy for me to understand.

The study looked at men and breakfast.

The study compared two groups of men. In the first group the men were given fewer total calories for their breakfast but the calories were mainly from protein (mainly eggs). In the second group the men were given a higher total calories but the calories were mainly from carbs (bagel).

The protein group consumed fewer total calories in the 24-hour period after the protein breakfast than the carb breakfast. They also reported feeling less hungry and more satisfied three hours after the protein breakfast compared to the carb breakfast. In the long term the group on the high protein diet lost 65% more weight and consistently reported higher energy levels than the carb group.

Studies from Cambridge University widely support increased dietary protein consumed at breakfast leads to an initial and sustained feeling of fullness... (Brisith Journal of Nutrition 2009).

So what should my macronutrient ratios be!!!!

The bad news is that there does not seem to be any agreement on this.

It is also important to say that even if you get the right macronutrients you still do need to consider total calories in and total calories out. Likewise if you are consuming all bad calories you are going to set your body up for metabolic failure and you need to consider macronutrients in conjunction with - not apart from - calories.

It should go without saying that exercise is also an important part of the equation.

As I mentioned above, there are a lot of big industries that are tied up in our perceptions of foods. So it was interesting to look at the different advice.

United States

On most consumer sites I found a macronutrient ratio that advocated anywhere from 45-60% carbohydrates with one going as high as 75% carbohydrates and dipping fats and proteins as low as 10%.

The USDA recommends 18% protein, 29% fat and 53% carbohydrates. This is for "the average person" they do make a distinction for people trying to burn fat.

The USDA recommends for fat burning: 30% protein, 15-20% fat and 50-55% carbohydrates.

Note the increase in protein for the fat burning. It would seem the USDA is still subscribing to fat = fat theory.


Canada did not make any recommendations for the those who are trying to lose weight. They do however make one heck of a complicated table and break down the macronutrients into:

- Estimated Average Requirements
- Recommended Dietary Allowances
- Adequate Intakes

If I assume that the last is the minimal and the second is the maximum limit while the fist is the average then we get:

protein: 25%, fat: 30%, carbs: 45%

European Union

The EU again did not make any specific recommendations for people who are trying to lose weigh.

protein: 25%, fat: 25%, carbs: 50%.


Barring one of my nutritionist friends getting back to me with wildly different information I would feel confident in saying that most sources are recommending getting close to half your daily calories from carbs.

Since there is a significant amount of research that shows that carbs increase hunger while protein reduces hunger I would also go as far as to say that when you are reducing your calories in order to lose weight, you are statistically likely to have the best results if you increase the amount of protein you are eating as compared to the amount of carbohydrates you eat.

Wow Sara - that's a lot of really good information.  What most surprised me the most is the "fat doesn't make you fat" where you said that eating fat doesn't cause an insulin response.  I've found that for me, eating a little bit of fat (olive oil, butter, ect) with the carbs tends to decrease the effects of the insulin spike you mentioned.

I have PCOS and from my research found that it all starts with insulin resistance.  But I have never been sucessful at low carb diets.  Right now, I average between 45 - 55% carbs which is still high for a someone who should be eating low carb.  I don't know how to decrease that while still eating all the fuits and veggies I love as well as the occasional pasta or bread. 

I'm on some medication right now to help assist my body in processing the insulin.  I truly believe that the medicine and being aware of good carbs vs bad is a significant reason why I am having so much success with weight loss.

I really appreciate the time you put into getting us this wonderful information!

Thanks for all the research Sara.  One thing stood out:

"Some more consumer driven diet sites suggest the average American diet is at best 80/10/10 with at least if not all of the carbs coming from the bad carbs."

This has no basis in fact for me when we know that most bad carbs are combined with heaps of fat.  Pick up an processed food product:  frozen dinner, packaged meal, cookies, cakes, etc. and there is bound to be more than 25% fat in a serve, more like 40%.  So the 10% carb thing makes no sense.

Also didn't see anything much about fiber?  Fiber is so important to our bodies.  Doesn't fiber come from the complex carbs?  Now of course, food manufacturers are adding artificial fiber to their products.  Yuck, yuck and more yuck.  Eh.  

What makes sense is to do what's best for you, as Sara says.  

Sara - Ah, I see the difference, I hadn't even heard of Jan 18th/most depressing day of the year. BUT... it is a very valid point! I can see that totally.

AND... WOW, thats some piece of work on the macronutrient debate. As you mentioned, I did have some success with carefully watching and regulating my macronutrients. I argue with Carbs all the time. They want me, I don't want them! My success was achieved most when I cut the fats, increased the protein, and maximized the quality of the carbs. IE: Old Fashioned Oatmeal as opposed to Ramen Noodles. (I don't think I've eaten Ramen noodles in about three years!) Whole grain (pref 12grain) as opposed to white or white-wheat... my ratios during that time were 40/30/30 (C/F/P) 

I agree with the 300 cals = 30 grams of fat rule (actually ends up being slightly less than 300 cal due to the rounding up as was mentioned) - I always make my fats the "good" kind, Omega3's, etc... by having nuts like almonds, and avocados, olive oil, etc always on hand. I do love cheese, and it is a great protein source due to originating from milk, but if you can gear toward lower fat types, they are a better choice when it comes to ratios.

Carbs... well its simple really. Nothing white. LOL! I know I know... ye olde fad diet verbage, but in this case it works. I don't eat sugar at all, only splenda when absolutely necessary. (I don't even sweeten my tea). Whole grains only, whole plain wild rice only when and if I have rice (cook it in chicken stock for great flavor). Fruits are basically my only source of real sugar. No crackers, etc... I occasionally have tortilla chips with my avocado or salsa. I have bread every day, but its full of nutty tasting granules of various grains. Whole wheat pasta is actually better than the regular stuff anyway... oatmeal if and when I ever have cereal, I usually have eggs for breakfast, sometimes on whole grain toast sometimes plain. I don't eat potatoes, unless its a baked sweet potato... I could go on and on.

Protein. This is what I believe has been my source of success. It was difficult at first to increase it substantially, as I was, as most of us are... accustomed to consuming mostly carbs. But once I got the hang of it, I found it to be very simple. Eggs for breakfast, midmorning snack of fat free cottage cheese and tomato, Tuna sandwich for lunch, activia fat free yogurt for an afternoon snack,  baked chicken for dinner, add in a protein bar (which is like a treat!), and/or a whey protein shake, and there you have it. Not difficult at all for me. I have found that by increasing my protein, I don't even want all those carbs the way I used to be addicted to them... The thought of cake and ice cream rather turns my stomach. LOL! (and today is my son's 18th birthday!) I like what Sara mentioned, that the protein keeps you from being hungry, and that its also a requirement for muscle repair. Both very important for me!

Well... there's my rendition of all of Sara's research. Still, if anyone else is interested in the diet I use as my base guideline from The Firm, I'm happy to send! Message me in my CC inbox, just include your regular email....

CHECKIN: P90X has my thighs feeling like hamburger. I can't even sit, I have to fall. LOL! But... that's what I get for taking too much time off. WAY too much time off. Throwing in the towel is a very bad idea. I sha'nt do that again. Tonight, shoulders and back. Tomorrow I won't be able to type! On track with nutrition. Keeping the protein high.

Healthgain to all!

Figure- In this breakdown maybe you will see where the carbs (aka: fiber) come from...

In a 40/30/30 (C/F/P) example at a very hypothetical 1000 calories:

Carbs -  400 Cal (divide by 4 cal per gram) = 100 grams
Fat -       300 Cal (divide by 9 cal per gram) = 33 grams
Protien - 300 Cal (divide by 4 cal per gram) = 75 grams

You can see you get plenty of carbs, 100 grams coming from whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Never from processed grains or as contributed through equally fatty foods... IE: potato chips or frosting... The carb choices need to be quality complex carbs, just like you said. And I equally resonate that each person's diet is as unique as the individual. If high carbs don't work for me, it doesn't mean that they don't for you...

My thoughts are this, if you're having trouble at a plateau, or just plain not motivated, maybe a new twist will jolt or toggle something to get the motivation flowing again.

... just another of my two cents.



Dana Interesting note about the fats, I was somewhat disappointed on the lack of information of what fats do in relation to weight maintenance, digestion etc... As PCOS and Chrones (did I spell that right) gain more awareness we may find out more about this macronutrient. We're at least beginning to know a lot more about good vs. bad fats.

Laura I likely did not write that section clearly enough. Your take away is not what I intended to convey at all. Sorry for the confusion, lets see if I can do a better job.


I am also highly suspect of the 80/10/10 number. I generally find it is bad practice to accept statistics that are not from: a government source, a published medical journal or a university research lab. So, when I said "more consumer driven diet sites suggested" that was me throwing up a big neon sign saying "I don't trust this number".

I would be very interested to know if any of the research institutions have looked into this. I expect the publicly available information is published in terms of daily caloric intake as oppposed to macronutrient breakdown because there is more public awareness about daily caloric intake.

The numbers that I would trust are true in that section (Too Many Carbs & Bad Carbs) are the ones from the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources program which cite

- soda alone is making up 7.1% of total calories eaten.

- when sweets and deserts are included they account for 25% of calories eaten.

These numbers are shocking to me, but from a source I feel reasonably comfortable accepting.

I did a little experiment to see what I would have to eat to get close I went with:

Breakfast: Rice Krispies & Milk
Snack on commute: Tim Hortons Muffin & Tea with sugar
At desk: Coke
Lunch: McDonalds Big Mac Combo Large Fries & Large Coke
Snack: Coke
Dinner: Spaghetti & Meatballs with Garlic Bread & Coke
After Dinner: More coke & candy with TV

I still had trouble getting the macronutrients much above 73% since yes, most snack foods (cookies etc..) and junk foods (big macs, muffins) and carb heavy entrees (pasta) include high levels of fat as well. So I think this builds a pretty strong case for the 80-carbs/10-fat/10-protein number being really hard to achieve even with a very bad diet.

So yes, I'm skeptical of that number. I did however notice that without making very conscious choices it was very difficult for me to find a typical meal that I would have eaten that brought me anywhere near an area of only 50% carbs. So, just like it was difficult to drive the carb ratio too high as compared to others. It was, for me, very difficult in a take-aware, pre-prepared food culture to get a number less than 65%.

10% Carbs

I think the figure you are looking at here is the section in bold face under Good Carbs I really should have put that closer to the last paragraph in the Bad Carbs section.

The suggestion is NOT that we should aim for 10% of our dietary intake to be carbs. I think that would be incredibly hard.

The recommendation is from the World Health Organization, that out of your total daily carb intake that no more than 10% of  your total daily carb intake should be from bad carbs.

That is, if you eat a diet that consists of 40% carbs, 20% fat and 20% protein then only 10% of that 40% or 4% overall of your total daily caloric intake should be from simple carbs (fruit, dairy, refined and processed foods). Which would leave 30% of your carb intake or 36% of your total daily caloric intake to be consumed in good carbs or complex carbs (veggies, whole grains, brown rice and legumes).

I also think the WHO is recommending this not as a target to hit, I don't think they are saying please try to eat 10% of your carbs as bad carbs, ideally I think they would like to see the level of bad carbs significantly lower, but if you are going to eat bad carbs they are recommending a daily maximum of no more than 10% of your total daily carbohydrate consumption be from the bad carb group with the remaining 30% of your daily carbohydrate consumption being from the good carb group.

On Fiber

Fiber is actually not a macronutrient. If you check the analysis tool on CC you will see it listed with other key dietary elements like Sodium, Sugar, Cholesterol and Saturated Fat.

Macronutrients are made up of series of nutrient groups. For instance both sugar and fiber are primarily found in carbohydrates. While saturated fats, unsaturated fats, amino acids, Omega 3 etc... are found in fats.

According to Health Canada:

"Fiber is a virtually indigestible substance that is found mainly in the outer layers of plants. Fiber is a special type of carbohydrate that passes through the human digestive system virtually unchanged, without being broken down into nutrients. Fiber is important because it has influence on the digestion from start to finish"

My synopsis of the website.

Fiber demands that food is eaten slower because it needs to be chewed more thoroughly. It is bulkier and will fill up the stomach faster. It slows digestion and absorbtion so that glucose enters the bloodstream more slowly.

If we follow this thinking a diet that is high in dietary fiber can do some of the same things a high protein diet will. It should ensure that glucose does not hit the bloodstream as fast causing an insulin spike which induces overeating. It should also slow down eating so that that initial pulse of glucose has time to settle and you feel less like having a second helping and hopefully your tummy will feel full longer since the undigested materials take up more room.

There are two types of fiber:

Insoluble fiber - mainly made up of plants, and it cannot be dissolved in water.

Soluble fiber - found in polysaccarides (good carbs) made up of three or more simple carbohydrate molecules (yes good carbs are made up of bad carbs or more accurate bad carbs are usually good carbs stripped down of their nutritional goodness).

Fiber can be found in: Whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Julie I'm a big fan of the cheats, I know that I can't stick to logging everything all the time or weighing which is why I have my lists of protein + good fat + veggies that I have to have in every meal. I know that I'm getting enough carbs from the veggies (as well as fiber) it makes sure I use the good fats and keeps proteins top of mind.

And again, you led the way on this one for me. I'm a die hard carb-lover. I really couldn't see a day when I would be advocating reducing my carb intake, but really quickly, only after a few weeks I was eating much less and feeling more energy and seeing weight loss. Nothing motivates me like results.

Great job on the work out. I can relate to the not being able to sit down. I'm sure that is going to happen this week as I'm back to the gym.


Funny about the experimental menu, Sara.  It always amazes how other people eat.  Even when I'm on a roll and stuffing my face, I'm still probably eating better than many people :)

I like what Julie says about concentrating on whole grains and limiting carbs.  I usually end up with about 45 grams of fiber per day with my 60% carb diet.  I realise, of course, that fiber isn't a macronutrient :) but it is important for health and also for losing weight.  

Debate is good so I'm glad we've had the discussion.  Thanks!

Hi All!

Carol: I'm sorry for what you're going through. That's definitely a lot. When it rains, it pours, as they say. Do your best with the eating (which seems pretty good by any standard, by the way) but I don't see the harm in a couple of cookies, especially if you didn't run to them for emotional comfort. Lord knows you need to stay strong and focus on more important things right now, so the fact that you managed to eat cleanly despite everything speaks volumes.

Sara: wow that's a lot of good info. Thanks!

Me: doing ok with the weekly goals so far. Eating - so-so. I'm trying to be better when I'm home on the weekends. Stress at work also makes me just want to grab stuff. But lately I've been able to ask myself: ok - so you want ___. Is there another option? How about a fruit, a low cal drink, some crackers or cup a soup as an alternative to those 1/2 dozen cookies?

I attribute this much clearer decision making to exercise. My mind just works so much better throughout the day when it starts off with it's necessary shot of adrenaline...

Planning foods... ha-ha-ha.  I'm lucky if I remember to take the meat out of the freezer. Weekdays are hectic. Weekends are a bit better. It goes like this: if the kitchen is clean, I get really creative with the cooking. If the kitchen is messy, I cook a limited menu. My staples: rice, veggies, meat.

Caveat: my husband is a vegetarian. Correction: pastatarian/cookietarian. If I cook veggies, he'll mostly eat them, but lots of times he won't. Otherwise for him it's bread and cheese galore. I don't always cook for everyone because I just can't make three meals every night (I often make two, or variations on a theme because I have a one year old as well as a teenager). If I can swing the dinner by modifying it, I make it vegetarian. If not, hubby makes his own din-din. Hubby doesn't eat much rice. He is a true pastatarian indeed.

Meg: awesome on your first training day! Keep at it!




Hello everyone, here are our members who have not yet checked in this week, please send them a polite and positive reminder to stay on track with their goals and involved in the group.


Wenchie58 Smile

Carryonandon Smile







Missing In Action:


Hi All, Doing ok. Had two great training runs this week. A little nervous about tonights run though (4.5 miles).

Eating hasn't been too bad, but weight is still back up again to 163. Grrr.

Goals: So far I've exercised at least three times a week! I feel better just knowing it and I love the endorphins from cardio. I am back to lifting (like starting over) and have tried to incorporate yoga into my schedule. I am not very bendy these days. I have achieved my goal of doing five miles on the elliptical. For the moment I've given up on the treadmill and my knees are much happier.


Sorry to be late this week. Thanks for the reminder, Sara. Real Life has been pretty full and stressful.


If I plan my meals and think about how to divide up my calories, I will lose weight. The less thought and planning I do, the less likely I am to lose weight. I see the correlation, yet I can't always manage to plan. I know it helps me if I log my foods and calories...but I've gotten out of the habit. I think my next goal will be something to do with getting control of my eating by logging or planning meals more carefully. I have achieved some success with portion control the last two weeks.


I have lost some of my travel/holiday weight, but not all of it.


Sara reminded me that I've been a member for six months! I know I'd hoped to have lost some weight and am disappointed by that, but encouraged because so many of you have dealt successfully with the same problems and I know I can get there. My husband has decided that he will lose some weight, too. That's a very good thing. Hopefully in the next six months I will be more successful with controlling my weight.

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