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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    Part I - Background

    I am a 37 year old male. I am 5 foot 11 inches tall (= 180 cms). Almost 4 years ago, in January 2006 I weighed 20.5 stone (= 130 Kgs). I was never into sports or exercise when I was growing up, but I was never really significantly overweight until after college. When I did start to put on weight I ignored it, thinking that it was something that I could just deal with later. I always assumed that once I got sufficiently motivated to do something about it then I could just go through an “undo” process. Apparently, this was a huge (literally!) mistake on my part, because when the body takes in more calories than it burns, it decides to create more fat cells. However, when you lose weight the fat cells merely get emptied and are not destroyed. Therefore, a person who has lost weight apparently has a load of “empty reservoirs” ready to accept any excess calories consumed as fat (If anyone has a better understanding of this, then please feel free to correct any mistakes in this admittedly rather crude understanding of how fat cells work).

    Anyway, about 6 months before that, I noticed a weight loss product called Lipotrim, which had just appeared in my local pharmacy. It was promising a safe way to lose weight quickly. I would always be very sceptical about such things, and had never tried any fad diets (or any diets at all!) before this point, so I thought no more about it until a friend of mine contacted me to say that he had lost a lot of weight in a very short period of time using this product, and that his doctor had recommended it to him.

    I spoke with my own Pharmacist, and went to my Doctor for a physical. They both told me that they were aware of the product, and that as far as they were concerned it was quite safe for someone as overweight as me. They told me that it was essentially just skimmed milk powder, fortified with the necessary vitamins and minerals that the body requires in order to remain healthy, in the minimum possible amount of calories.


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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    Part II – The Program

    The Lipotrim literature stated that the product was originally developed in order to provide surgeons with a safe method to get morbidly obese patients who required urgent surgery to lose weight before the surgery as quickly as possible, and that following exceptionally successful results, some GP’s decided to prescribe it to their morbidly obese patients who did not require surgery. Again (according to the Lipotrim literature) following exceptionally successful results some pharmacies began to run the weight loss program. In order to be eligible a person has to be at least 4 stone overweight, and must call into the pharmacy once a week for a check-up.

    On the diet a person consumes 2 shakes a day, and does not eat anything else. It is a Total Food Replacement Program. It costs 80 Euro per week. Black coffee or tea is allowed. In addition, it is also recommended that at least 2 litres of water be consumed each day. Each shake contains approx 280 calories. Therefore the entire intake for each day on the diet would be 560 calories. This would obviously create a large calorie gap, which the body would fill by going into ketosis and breaking down it’s own reserves of fat. In other words if your body required 2,500 calories, it would take the 560 calories from the shakes, and breakdown enough fat by ketosis to get the remaining 1,940 it required. All of the essential nutrients and vitamins are provided by the shakes. In this way a very overweight person could lose a lot of weight quickly and safely (Note: There is also a Lipotrim Maintenance program which is similar to other weight management products such as Slimfast etc., and it should not be confused with the Lipotrim Total Food Replacement Program).


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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    Part III – The Current Situation

    I spoke with Mrs. Duracell, and then I decided to give it a try. I went on the Total Food Replacement Program for 3 months. Yes, that does mean that for 3 months I did not eat anything! Anything at all! Not even a slice of bread! Surprisingly I did not find this too difficult. After the 3rd day my body went into ketosis, and from this point on I had a very even level of energy, and I was not physically hungry. The best way I can describe it is to say that I did get cravings for food, but they were in my head, and not in my stomach! I have heard anecdotal reports that the more overweight a person is, the easier they find the program. I guess this makes sense as the larger a person gets, the higher the amount of calories their bodies require, and therefore the hungrier they get, and therefore the more food they consume… The very definition of a vicious circle! From my own experience I can say that before loosing the weight I was hungry pretty much all of the time, so going on the diet did not feel that different!

    After the 3 months I weighed 13.5 stone (189 lbs = 85.7 Kgs). In other words I had lost 7 stone (= 98 lbs = 44.5 Kgs)! I found that I had an incredible amount of energy compared to what I had prior to loosing the weight. I decided to make the most of this energy while it lasted, by taking up some form of exercise for the first time in my life. I took up jogging.

    Today, almost 4 years later I weigh 14.5 stone (= 203 lbs = 92 Kgs). I have put back on 1 stone (=14 lbs = 6.35 Kgs) since I weighed my lightest. Most of that was weight that I put back on during the first year, when I was learning the lesson that if I did overeat, I would literally convert all of the extra calories consumed to fat. In other words my weight has been more or less stable for the last 3 years.

    I run at least 5 miles every weekday, Monday to Friday, at lunchtime, regardless of the weather. No exceptions. No excuses. I participated in my first half marathon this year finishing in 1 hour 57 minutes. Now I know this is not exactly fast, but I was very pleased with it, and I fully intend to complete my first full marathon before the end of next year.


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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    Part IV - Questions

    I eat pretty much what I want to eat within reason. I find that trying to cut out a specific type of food does not work very well for me, because I only end up obsessing about that particular type of food! Similarly, I also find that calorie counting etc. is not for me either, because again I just end up thinking about food all the time! Therefore I just try to eat reasonable sized portions of pretty much whatever I feel like eating.

    The reactions that I got from most people after loosing the weight initially were interesting. Most people were initially shocked, and then immediately assumed that what I did was extremely dangerous. I would try to explain that both my Doctor and Pharmacist did not consider it to be dangerous, but most people would not accept this. I was usually told that I would either put all the weight back on again very quickly, or that I had probably done some irreversible long term damage to myself!

    I know that Lipotrim worked for me. It was extremely effective, and it definitely changed my life in very positive ways. However, I do have a few questions for any nutrition / medical experts on this forum:

    1. Was what I did dangerous? If yes, then was it more or less dangerous than remaining as overweight as I was?

    2. Was what I read about the history of Lipotrim true? i.e. Was it originally designed for obese patients in need of surgery, and was it subsequently taken on by G.P.’s and then Pharmacies following it’s unanticipated success?

    3. Is my current crude understanding of how fat cells work even remotely close to accurate?

    Thanks (and apologies for the length of this tale),

    Duracell.
    • CommentAuthornova
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    I can offer congratulations on your determination.
    Not many people have had your success.
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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    Thanks Nova.

    Had I known about fat cells merely emptying when you lose weight, then I would definitely not have allowed myself to get as overweight as I did initially!

    Duracell.
    • CommentAuthorMorgenster
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009 edited
     
    On your questions:
    1) Yes and no in that order. It's not recommended unless you're obese because there are risks involved. The caloric defecit will unleash the calories inside the fat cells but that process is way less efficient than burning the sugar and carbs in your diet (if there are any). This means it's not that unlikely to come up short on energy if one would exert themselves during this longterm fasting. In short: it's easier to pass out if you exert yourself.
    Not much is known about longterm effects of this kind of behaviour but then again the holocaust survivors who didn't die in the camps lived pretty long lives after being starved for years. So You're probably fine.
    An easier alternative to fad diets is this eat-stop-eat program I've found. A lot of people find regular fasting (like 1 day a week) much more tolerable than all that constant caloriechecking or diet planning. It seems to work really well for people who want to keep off the layers that might come back. I would not recommend running on those fasting days, however. Especially not longer distances.
    Google intermittent fasting or eat-stop-eat.
    2) Not sure, but I'm pretty confident its succes is wholly due to the fact that people eat nothing but these shakes and are so going into longterm fasting.
    3) For more info on fat cells: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_cells

    Oh and congrats on your run. I take that time to complete a 10 mile run. And I was never fat.
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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    Thanks Morgenster.

    The intermittent fasting idea sounds interesting.

    Duracell.
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    Personally, I do not intend to lose weight. I am taking over the universe, one milliliter at a time.
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      CommentAuthorlegendre
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    @Evolve

    Slightly different strategy, here.

    I'm already very close to being able to eat anything, and when I reach that goal, I will eat everything...

    @Duracell

    All I can do is offer my congratulations. I was pretty hefty in my late teens (265lb or so) but that all went away when I moved out of the house at age 18. Went down to 180 within less than a year, without any attempt at losing weight. Now I'm 40, and back up to 215.. which isn't so bad at 6'3".. but it's more than I'd care to walk around with.

    Will I do anything? Who knows.
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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    @legendre

    85 lbs in a year without even trying? Very impressive! But what is even more impressive is to only have regained 35 lbs over the subsequent 21 years without even trying.

    Well done you!

    Duracell.
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      CommentAuthorlegendre
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    To be honest, and despite all of my food-related silliness, I am always very conscious of how much I eat. So it's not like I've had to try hard to keep most of it off, but it's always on my mind. For one thing, I eat out a lot - and restaurant portions can be pretty absurd.

    I also have a strange neurological (?) issue, which gets worse the older I become. That is, there is an ever-increasing 'lag' between the time that I have a sufficiently full stomach and the time where I actually begin to feel full. These days, I typically end a half-hour meal feeling even more hungry than when I began, or close to it. It's not until 20-40 minutes later that the sensation sets in. In other words, I have to eat by eye and intuition, not by feel.. or I risk very serious overeating.

    Very strange, I'm not sure what causes this, nor have I investigated it.
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      CommentAuthorDuracell
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    AFAIK the 20-40 minute lag time has been well established. This is very often one of the first "tips" that gets passed onto people who are trying to lose weight for the first time!
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      CommentAuthorpcstru
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    @Duracell - Congratulations. I've been trying to lose a bit of weight for the last 6 months and am failing miserably.

    IMO, your milk shake diet is not as dangerous as being overweight. The biggest risk is vitamin and trace element deficiency - energy wise, stored fat is as good as anything.

    Best diet I found was the long term relationship breakup diet, or the "dump and diet" technique. I seem to have put it back on along with a new found contentment.
    • CommentAuthorBigOilRep
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    Posted By: DuracellAFAIK the 20-40 minute lag time has been well established. This is very often one of the first "tips" that gets passed onto people who are trying to lose weight for the first time!

    Indeed. Just the other day I realised that I'd cooked far too much for the Sunday roast, so I got going, very aware of the clock ticking. I nearly exploded later on.
    • CommentAuthorenginerd
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    I have no expertise to offer. Doesn't sound dangerous. Sounds like you picked a controlled calorie diet and stuck to it. That is a difficult, but tried and true weight loss method.
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009 edited
     
    This could be a very long discussion. Just a couple of points. Highly restrictive diets cause weight loss due to an imbalance between energy use and energy consumption. It works out to about 3000 calories per pound (sorry about the archaic American units) for most people. There is an excellent and sophisticated way to track this here. Trust me on the level of technology of this device-- it even incorporates a heat flow sensor and accelerometer and it's not expensive. Quite an accomplishment.

    There are problems with losing weight by severe calorie restriction. The most serious is making sure you get enough vitamins and potassium. Lack of vitamins will make you sick in a few months but it's remediable. Lack of potassium will kill you and there were several document deaths from "liquid protein" diets in the 1970's. So it doesn't much matter which low calorie "meal substitute" you use as long as it contains micronutrients and especially potassium. Strangely for this forum, the weight loss is simply the result of conservation of energy! You lose weight because you MUST burn fuel to live and in this case, you are the fuel.

    The real problem is maintaining the weight loss. It's vastly more difficult than losing it. There is some early evidence that surgical -- (continuing) procedures like stomach banding (lapband) and bypass change secretion of satiety hormones. In one study, 80+% of patients with obesity and type II diabetes improved after banding to the point that they no longer required ANY medication. They also lost weight.

    Anyway, your lack of hunger is due to a lack of carbohydrates in the diet. If you start eating carbs again, especially but not necessarily quickly absorbed carbs, you will gain all the weight back and more. 90+% of people who use crash diets do exactly that and they yoyo sometimes for years back and forth which is extremely harmful.

    Your best bet if you don't want surgery or drugs is to stay on a variant of the diet you started with. Either Atkins or Heller will work (google "the carbohydrate addict's diet").

    Good luck. This would be an interesting discussion but it takes too much time.
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    Posted By: pcstruThe biggest risk is vitamin and trace element deficiency...

    supplementing with lots of vegetables (especially greens and cruciferous vegetables like collards, kale, broccoli, cabbage) would be a good idea that should cover most vitamin and trace nutrient needs without contributing many calories or carbs. The fiber would be beneficial as well.
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      CommentAuthorTrim
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    I like the idea of the Endobarrier a special sheath that goes in the top 50 cms of the intestine so that it stops so much food being ingested also the top bit can be adapted to control the flow of food from the stomach, a known side effect is that it cures type two diabetes.
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2009
     
    Hi Trim, It doesn't stop ingesting, it decreases absorption. It's a new thing and it may cause all sorts of nutritional deficiencies so it's not quite as slick as they'd have you believe. And neither is banding because a lot of people disregard the instructions that go with it -- if they eat junk food they still stay both fat and diabetic even though they have a band. The urge to eat is primal. It's hard to circumvent with medicine.