Mardy Roux

The Immorality of the Obesity Debate

In The Mardy Roux Obesity Treatment Project Philosophy on October 1, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Obese people are sinners. That’s the message that’s being spread far and wide these days, by the medical profession, the government and by those who believe that losing weight is simply a matter of having the willpower that comes with being a person of good character. If you’re fat, then you’re obviously a person with no will power. You’re a failure at life. You’re a glutton and you’re lazy. Everyone KNOWS it’s very simple and easy to lose weight…just eat less and move more! It’s THAT EASY!!! Too bad if you have to work for a living and you’ve gained a lot of weight, because your current boss or potential future bosses are now being indoctrinated against you in an escalating “war against fat people” that is masquerading as some kind of war against the “obesity epidemic”. And it’s a real winner, because fat people are the last stereotype where it’s socially acceptable for people to gang up and become abusive. Even better, the people who would indulge in the war against fat people have the support of doctors and governments who keep repeating the lies that underpin their mythology – you CHOSE to become fat, and you are CHOOSING to remain fat, because the answers are EASY.

It’s remarkable to me that the hatred being gathered against those who have gained a lot of weight includes increasingly common public calls for the obese to be killed by restriction of access to health care. There is a growing segment of the population who really believe that if you’ve gained lots of weight, you deserve to die. If you’re fat and you have a heart attack you shouldn’t get emergency help. If you’re thin and you have a heart attack, even though you may have eaten the identical diet, then you SHOULD get emergency help. You see, being thin, in and of itself, is a worthy characteristic it seems. Thin people are more worthy of being given lifesaving health services. The flip side of the war against fat people, is the powerful subtext that being thin makes one a virtuous person. No matter that you may be a thin person who eats trans fat filled burgers and fries and pizzas five days a week, smokes like a chimney and regularly uses dangerous drugs, your thinness alone denotes you as being “better”. And so, along with the burden of the extra weight we overweight people must carry, we must also bear the burden of constantly having to “prove ourselves” in a world gone crazy. In a world where the thin may sit at a table in the mall chomping down on a Big Mac and be deemed to be in good control of their lives and their selves, but don’t you dare do that if you’re fat.

There is, in an average society, a diverse mix of different kinds of people who have different kinds of metabolisms. The men I’ve known throughout my life invariably lose large amounts of weight if they stop eating dessert for a month or if they swap beer for white wine. They would tell me that losing weight is EASY. All I need to do is give up desserts and drink wine and my weight will fall off. They think. Never mind that I’ve been living that way for years and my weight still increased. There are those who seem to be able to function just fine on a diet of vegetables and grains and who lost weight in doing so. They would tell me that losing weight is EASY. All I need to do is give up meat and eat vegetables and grains and my weight will fall off. They think. Never mind that if I don’t eat meat for a week I completely lose the ability to concentrate and I develop the shakes until I get some red meat into me. There are others who have a wonderful, steady body weight and are “walking proof” of what having a good, healthy, varied diet can do for you. They would tell me to eat a healthy diet, with grains and good fats and lots of vegetables and fruits and some meat and lead an active lifestyle and cook at home and eschew processed foods and my weight will be like theirs. They think. Never mind that I’ve eschewed processed foods for years in favour of a predominantly home-cooked diet overwhelmingly featuring grains, vegetables, fruits, some meat but not too much, and I’ve always been an active person…the kind of person who gets up in the morning and decides to paint the house and then spends every available moment for the next month climbing up and down ladders painting an entire house, only to get fatter. The young people I know can change their diet just a little, add in a bit of exercise and reduce their calories slightly and the weight will drop off. I know that works for them, because it worked for me when I was very young as well. They would tell me to reduce my calories a bit and do some exercise and my weight will fall away. They think. They don’t seem to understand that while I was gaining all this weight that this widely reported weight-loss methodology might have actually OCCURRED to me, and that I might have tried it and it didn’t WORK for me anymore. The joy of being obese is that we are forced to listen to all those who were never fat because of good metabolic luck, or who can easily lose weight because of youth or more metabolic luck, and who assume that because it’s easy for them it’s easy for everybody. And so, because it’s just SO DAMNED EASY TO LOSE WEIGHT we fatties must be the worst kind of people. We must be absolute idiots who cannot do this ONE SIMPLE THING! Either that, or we’re purposely choosing to be fat and to be some kind of a drain on society.

Since the 1960s in our modern youth culture it’s been tough enough getting older. Once you’re over 35 it’s begins to get difficult finding work, because your great age means you’re probably becoming mentally challenged. If you’re good looking then you’re probably smarter than people who aren’t good looking, but by default you cannot be good looking if you’re a hundred pounds overweight. So if you’re overweight you’re probably not very smart. If you’re overweight AND over 35 (over forty if you’re a man) then you probably need to be institutionalized because your mental capacity is deemed to be such that you probably have trouble combing your own hair. Now to add injury to insult, it’s not only our mental capacity that’s being challenged, it’s our worth as human beings. Because fat people are people of bad character who CHOOSE to be fat and who, again by default, are apparently a terrible drain on “the system” as a result. We’ll ignore the inconvenient fact that being a bit overweight is actually a marker for a longer, healthier life than being a bit underweight…the truth has no place in the “War against Fat People”. Apparently, like Hitler or “al Qaeda”, fat people MUST BE STOPPED.

If you’re an ancient person like me, almost 50, then you may recall the great witch-hunt of the latter 20th century…the “War against Smokers”. Smokers were demonized and their sins against their own bodies were happily leveraged into sins against society when the dangers of second-hand smoke were identified. Non-smokers and the truly virtuous loved to hate smokers and still do. But smokers have been ostracized now. They stand hunched over and shivering in the snow outside of warm office buildings sinfully puffing their cancer sticks and casting furtive, guilty glances at the “good” people, the non-smokers as they come and go. But the fat people are still inside, safe and warm. For now.
The War against Fat People is the witch-hunt of the early 21st century. However, unlike the War against Smokers, in which the smokers, while still “bad” were at least considered to be victims of the much more evil empire of the cigarette companies and their powerful mind-control advertising techniques and even more powerfully addictive nicotine, there is no symbol like the “evil cigarette company” to take the pressure off the obese. The obese are not given the opportunity to blame anything or anyone but themselves. They are told that not being obese is a simple matter of taking personal responsibility and that once they too decide to become responsible for themselves, they will automatically join the ranks of the thin and self-responsible “good” people. And yet, only a generation ago we did not have this obesity epidemic. Had we fatties been living only a generation ago we might have been thin and good. How did we turn so bad in just a single generation? What has happened in that time?

Well, here’s a few things that have happened over the course of the last forty years or so:

•    The introduction and propagandizing of the carbohydrate-based food pyramid which is almost perfectly represented by the average thick-crust pizza

•    The over-usage of antibiotics that hasn’t just created “superbugs”, it’s killed off our intestinal flora allowing many of us to suffer from overgrowth of the fungus candida albicans in our systems. Candida albicans overgrowth makes us crave SUGAR, and it’s overgrowth is also widely associated with increases in mercury in our diets

•    The exponential increase of processed foods in our diets with a high likelihood in the past decade of containing high fructose corn syrup, which, as it turns out, is the food that our candida albicans is looking for to help it flourish. HFCS also helps us to develop insulin resistance, which means our bodies turn into efficient fat-storing machines

•    The move of corporations en masse into the funding of research, matched simultaneously by the backing out of government funds for research. This turned research into a profit-based pursuit instead of a pursuit designed to better the lives of the people. And we all know there’s lots of profit in a sickly, drug-addled population, but not much in a fit, healthy population

•    The introduction of “low fat” as being a healthy way of eating, combined with the specific demonization of saturated fats as being dangerous to the human heart, in spite of there being no research base to support the contention. Indeed, the heart-healthy low fat-high carb lifestyle has been marketed to us while heart disease has escalated horrifically. With the dangerous low fat advice supported by unthinking and uncritical governments, processed foods manufacturers soon took to selling us “low fat” frankenfoods in which the fats had been replaced with sugar, helping to create an epidemic of insulin resistance and “metabolic syndrome”.  The low fat fad also led to the irresponsible assumption that polyunsaturated vegetable oils would be a good replacement for saturated animal fats. Liquid vegetable oils needed to be hydrogenated to become solids for much of this replacement, and so the widespread introduction of the deadly “trans fat” took place, accompanied by ridiculous claims that margarine was good for you while butter wasn’t. Look for new evidence in the near future that trans fats and the consumption of their sibling, polyunsaturated vegetable oil have been a powerful factor in the epidemic of insulin resistance, diabetes and of course, obesity itself

•    The loss of real earning power of the individual as ongoing governments have decided to privatize profits and socialize losses (a process started in earnest with the introduction of trickle-down economics in the 1980s), meaning that the wealthy carry almost no burden in society while the poorest amongst us carry an increasing burden and yet have fewer means to enable them to do so. This is a twin edged sword, pushing the middle class to a point at which they only “appear” to be well-off because they have been handed debt instead of prosperity for their efforts, and they are in fact frequently working-poor, often unable to gather either the money or the energy to live and eat better, and with high levels of stress in their lives fatiguing their adrenal glands, a direct cause of weight gain, especially belly fat. The loss of true self-determination that once upon a time characterised the most aspirational features of the developed world must be one of the most stressful events in the recent modern history of those nations

•    The removal of iodine from the average diet. Iodine is an essential element for human life. Without iodine in our diets our thyroids cease to function efficiently, and the networks of hormones in our bodies are compromised. In the early 20th century, modern humans could rely on getting iodine that was routinely added to our salt, and to foods like bread. Iodine has now been removed and has been replaced by dangerous substances like aluminum and halogens like bromines, and even our drinking water has been medicated with the halogen chlorine added to it, and in many cases, another dangerous halogen, fluoride, which is now in our toothpaste as well. Every cell in the human body normally has an iodine content and that iodine allows the cell to function normally, but halogens push the iodine out and REPLACE IT, causing blockages causing our cells to cease functioning at optimal levels. Our metabolisms become severely compromised as a result, and our thyroids soon become crippled, resulting in severe hormonal disturbances that are now at epidemic levels in the population. Is this hormonal imbalance contributing to obesity? Without doubt it’s a major player.

•    The creeping poverty being experienced at national levels, along with the subsidizing of crops like corn has meant it is easier and cheaper to buy a dangerous Big Mac than it is to make a healthy meal at home. And the working poor, struggling with two or more jobs, lack of transport and infrastructure and often without access to anything more than a few mouldy and expensive veges in a box on the floor of a local inner-city convenience store are so exhausted and starved for nourishment that they’ll do whatever is cheapest and easiest to make the pain go away, even if just for a little while

In a world gone insane, in which our very food and political institutions are working against us becoming healthy and fit, it seems fitting that warring against the obese is the perfect way to focus attention away from our broken systems. And if by some miracle the obese lose weight, then the system will still get the credit. If they don’t lose weight, then it’s obviously the fault of the obese themselves. It’s a win-win situation for those who profit by giving the orthodox advice that has a less than 5% success rate. Yet, in the corporate-medical world, low success rates are the name of the game…bums on seats laddie, bums on seats. No major disease has been cured since polio more than half a century ago because there’s no profit in a cure. Instead, pharmaceutical companies are busy creating new diseases by repositioning the symptoms of old diseases as “syndromes” and diseases in their own right with lifelong medication for all being the objective. The profit lies with the chronically ill, and the obese are exactly that. Chronically ill. We have witnessed the monetization of disease and obesity is a big winner in the profitability stakes. Expect obesity only to be classified as a physical and not psychological disease when a lifelong “treatment” in the form of an expensive drug is brought to market.

In this War against Fat People we are now denied access to clear solutions because we are presented with so much competing advice and information that the obese person often has no idea where to turn. Many obese people have tried their doctor, where they were given the useless advice to eat a bit less and do some exercise, and so they turn to late night TV, exercise machines, diet programs in a never-ending merry-go-round of failure to lose weight.  In spite of the characterisation of the obese as “lazy” and “unwilling to try”, they do seem to keep a lucrative, multi-billion dollar industry going.  And almost nowhere in this avalanche of advice is the simple information that obesity is a state of starvation in which the body entombs the individual with fat while starving the body of essential nutrients and energy. An obese person can literally die from damage caused by starvation and still be obese, just as an anorexic person dies from the damage wrought by starvation. That we cannot see past our societal stereotyping of the fat person as being “overfed” means we are just not ready for this truth, although the author Gary Taubes, in his thesis “Good Calories, Bad Calories” cites obese Zucker rats in laboratories dying of starvation while still carrying five times as much body fat as their non-obese siblings. In a metabolism where the stored fat is simply unavailable to the body to keep itself alive, starvation takes place regardless of how much or how little food is consumed. Disingenuous claims that there are “no fat people in concentration camps” miss the point that we really haven’t seen modern people with the diseases caused by modern food additives fall victim to such atrocities. Those who have in the past been such victims have been people unlikely to have been suffering from metabolic syndromes caused by high fructose, trans fat and chemical consumption over many years.

Until we recognise obesity as a physical illness instead of a “behavioural problem” we will not be able to divorce the moralising from the treatment. Who moralises against the cancer patient for the “sin” having cancer? Who moralises against the alzheimer’s patient for the “sin” of having alzheimer’s disease? As a society we don’t, because we believe illness requires compassion, help and treatment…unless you’re fat, in which case you require penance, suffering, humility and with hard work, redemption. It’s almost religious. Strike that. It IS religious this notion that as long as we think sickness or injury or incapacity is somehow self-inflicted then we can discriminate against the sufferer and withhold emotional, and maybe soon, financial and medical support. Yet the fact that many obese people are obese for precisely the reason that they tried to follow the so-called “expert advice” is conveniently ignored. In today’s world it’s all too easy to get fat by following the carb-based food pyramid and eating sugary foods marketed as “low fat”.

Obesity may be a disease of the individual, but it is in reality a major symptom of a diseased society. Poor and non-existent science, a new and emerging form of orthodox medical “religion” in which the conventional wisdom may no longer be questioned, pure political ineptitude and corruptness, the monetization of disease, the destruction of the food supply…all are contributors and the obese are just the most visible victims. Nobody knows the exact cause of obesity, because, in fact, the growing obesity rate is probably a result of the perfect storm of factors that have occurred in our societies in the past half century, only some of which I may have mentioned here. Yet there are some simple truths to consider. Today’s fat people are no more inclined towards laziness and gluttony than their parents were. As a rule, fat people don’t choose to become fat in a society in which fat people are derided, abused and abhorred. The answers to obesity are not easy. They are not simple. Nor does one glib answer resolve all weight problems. And it is outright, plain and simple, IMMORAL to discriminate against people…even fat people.

It is immoral to treat the obese in our society as if they are of bad character and as if they are dullards suffering from poor judgment and low intelligence. A multi-billion dollar industry is thriving based on nothing more than the desperation of obese people who are being failed time and time again by their doctors, governments and research institutions. People who spend so much money on long shot solutions cannot be characterised as “lazy”. They are trying to help themselves, taking personal responsibility it seems, and doing so with full knowledge of the contempt in which society holds them for the sin of having the disease of obesity…the new leprosy. Millions of obese people subsist on diets with calorie levels so low they were classified only last century as starvation diets during research on the issue of starvation. Today those starvation calorie levels are considered the upper limits allowed to the new sub-class who must, for the sake of social acceptability, not be seen to consume as many calories as the thin. As an obese person I refuse to accept my lot as a second class citizen. I refuse to starve myself, and I refuse to allow this reprehensible new form of discrimination to take hold of society without rebuttal. I do not need to humble myself in the presence of the thin. I do not need penance and I do not need suffering, and I do not need redemption. I need HEALING. And because society has failed to offer anything but obstacles, I’ll do it myself thank you very much.

Mardy Roux

© Mardy Roux 2010


Why the Obese Shouldn’t Exercise While Losing Weight

In The Mardy Roux Obesity Treatment Project Philosophy on October 1, 2010 at 2:15 am

Eat more, move less

Whether or not a person needs to exercise is becoming one of the most controversial issues in the weight loss “industry”. The old “eat less, move more” approach has long been the glib answer that many doctors and most naturally thin people are happy to throw in the face of the obese as a “reminder” that they “clearly” eat too much and are just plain lazy. I used to believe this too, and like many overweight people, I was happy to indulge in all the self-recriminations that many thin people would be delighted to have all fat people experience on their road to redemption. My first glimmer that there may be a problem with the whole “eat less, move more” theory came about, ironically, due to an encounter with a professional personal trainer.

Having moved to a new city some years ago, I joined the local health club, and membership gave me a free physical evaluation by one of the personal trainers. I have plenty of experience as a “fitness fanatic”, and although I was already obese as I joined this new club, I was still quite fit. The personal trainer was surprised at my core strength and flexibility, which of course he didn’t usually associate with obese people. I had a couple of sessions with him to fine tune my form in both strength and cardio work, but I didn’t have much to learn on that front. That’s because I already knew what I was doing.

Over a year later I was on the treadmill in my usual spot doing my three-times-per-week-interval-training “cool-down” when the personal trainer came over to chat with me. He commented that he had noticed over a long period of time that I was at the gym almost every day, that I was very dedicated, that my program looked good, that I had great “form” and that he was intrigued that after all of this effort I didn’t seem to have lost weight, or to even have altered much physically, except for a little bit of toning in the legs and arms. At first I wasn’t even sure who he was, but as I recalled he was a personal trainer we started to chat. He commented that he was interested because he was doing his PhD on this issue. He asked me what I ate, and I talked about the kinds and amounts of foods in my diet. It was a just short interaction, but during that time he made a comment that had always stuck with me. He said that I would never lose weight until I ate more, no matter how much I exercised! And that remark became a part of the underpinnings of the way I began to think about the exercise issue once I finally put my mind to it. You mean I have to eat MORE? Even if I exercise LESS? Well. Wow.

The fact was that while the exercise was certainly making me fitter, it just wasn’t helping me to lose weight. As in “lose fat”. This was something I had encountered years earlier, when I was trying to lose weight after having my second child. At that time I followed a brilliant and comprehensive seven-day-per-week exercise plan (which I intend to do again in the future, and will share here on my blog) while eating what would generally be considered to be a very healthy diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, small amounts of fats and lean meats, and everything home cooked from scratch. ZERO processed food! And I didn’t lose weight! Not even after six solid months. I didn’t even change shape. I just became a fitter, stronger version of my overweight self. It wasn’t until I subsequently went onto the Weight Watchers program, which meant I didn’t have the energy to continue with a rigorous 90 minute per day exercise routine (and which caused me to lose my gallbladder), that I actually lost weight. I realised at that point that exercise, even rigorous exercise was just not enough. What I didn’t realise was that the exercise itself may have been preventing the weight loss!

There are different ways to be “overweight”
There are different kinds of “overweight”. Some people are just a few pounds overweight, and maybe up to twenty or thirty pounds overweight (30 pounds or more overweight was the traditional definition of “obesity” before the BMI approach became more common). However once you get up to being quite obese, or even morbidly obese (100 pounds or more overweight) as I was, I think that the “metabolic playing field” might be a bit different from that of the simply “overweight” person. To my way of thinking, obesity doesn’t happen overnight, it happens over a more extended period of time and so the contributing factors have a chance to develop further metabolic complications. By the time a person achieves obesity, they are most probably quite sick in a variety of ways. For this reason, I chose to make a clear distinction between a person who just has “a bit of extra weight” but who may be quite healthy and a person, like me, who is carrying lots and lots of extra weight. Because I think the weight loss implications and methods may need to vary substantially between the two.

When I started outlining my Mardy Roux Obesity Treatment Project I decided that I would go with the perspective that as an obese person, I am a person who is sick.  A person with a debilitating disease. This is a concept that I have subsequently discovered is in serious contention, and which has been presented by Gary Taubes in his superb thesis, Good Calories, Bad Calories. Knowing from my personal experience that I could not rely on exercise to help me lose weight, I pondered what would happen if, instead, I rested. You see, people who are very sick are just not put into rigorous exercise programs. Consider the person recovering from a major surgery, or from a deathly illness. They’re not chased out of bed on day one to get into a gym to lift heavy weights, jog on running tracks or do speed walking. Instead, the majority of the time they are encouraged to rest, while gently mobilising within their capability. If you don’t believe this, just visit a surgical ward in your local hospital. The patients there will not be sprinting up and down the corridors passing batons to one another. They are walking, slowly, often just shuffling, because the medical profession understands that a person does not go from being SICK to being FIT by jumping out of the sick-bed and exercising like a crazy person. Likewise, in my opinion, if obesity is a sickness as I believe it to be, then we will not cure it by jumping straight from inactivity to intense exercise. And the main reason the orthodox medical world doesn’t think this, is purely because they classify obesity to be a behavioural problem and not a physical illness. If obesity, as orthodox medicine contends, is merely behavioural (the euphemism for psychological), then you don’t need to actually heal, you only need to modify behaviour. I believe this is an incorrect and inadequate at best view of the issue. I believe that obese people need to heal first and foremost. And that will be better served in the early days of the process by rest.

Two major factors to consider
A person who is obese is a person who is starving to death. I hope that in years to come mankind will look back on this era, during which the obese were stereotyped as being people of poor character and lacking in self control who lived lives of apparent debauchery, as one to be ashamed of. When a person is starving to death (or even on a low calorie diet, which is also a form of physical starvation) their body compensates by reducing activity. Just like an animal going into hibernation, the human body wants us to conserve what energy we have to run the essential systems of the body. So it slows the activity levels of the body down to a minimum. As we go into “fat storage mode”, which means our metabolism is storing energy away instead of letting us use it, we are forced to slow down. This is not a psychological choice made by the obese person, it is a metabolic survival system implemented by the body. As Gary Taubes would say, we don’t get fat because we move less, we move less because we’re getting fat. And we can absolutely trust in the reverse being true….we won’t get thinner because we’re moving more, we’ll be moving more because we’re getting thinner. We didn’t make a conscious decision to move less as we became obese, and we will not have to make a conscious decision to move more as we become thin. It will happen naturally and instinctively. And I am here to tell you that I am living this process right now, as I write!

The other major factor to consider in terms of exercise versus rest, is the hormonal factor. Stress, which we need to discuss much more both in this blog and in society, will one day receive due recognition for the role it’s playing in causing obesity. If you have the time, think back over your life, and if you’re obese, or you’ve had large weight gains, see if they occurred during or immediately following periods of immense stress. This is more than just the issue of eating comfort foods! This is about the production of the hormone called “cortisol”. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands. When we feel stress, we get a burst of cortisol (and other hormones) which buffers our body and allows us to survive the stress. Research animals that have the adrenal glands removed from their bodies die from the slightest stress, such as a change in room temperature. Without cortisol, we would die of stress. When we experience even relatively small amounts of stress, it’s there in our bloodstream. Yet, one of the interesting things about cortisol is that it causes the body to store fat. In particular, cortisol causes us to store belly fat. It is believed that the extra belly fat might be a form of cushioning to protect the organs in our abdomens, because in nature, “stress” often means you’re under attack and in mortal danger. And I don’t know about you, but if I was in mortal danger, I’d start running away. And that’s why, when we do strenuous exercise, our body also produces cortisol. Strenuous exercise is a signal to the body to store fat.

The mythology of burning more calories than we consume is one I will not discuss in detail here, because it takes so much exercise to burn off so few calories that as a weight loss tool it has virtually no effect. Yes, you may burn a few more calories if you have more muscle mass, and that’s great if you’re a fit 25 year old guy. But if you’re an obese menopausal woman, forget it. You are owned by your hormones and the amount of exercise you’d have to do to make a difference will cause you to gain more fat than you would have lost.

Obesity and adrenal fatigue go hand in hand
I have mentioned before on this blog that if your adrenals are fatigued, then you need to rest. If you are obese, then you probably have fatigued adrenals. If you have metabolic syndrome, or if you at least know you’re insulin resistant then you probably have fatigued adrenals. There are two states the adrenals will go through as you start packing on the pounds, become very overweight, then obese and then morbidly obese, and they are the same as what happens to your pancreas at the same time. First, your adrenals and pancreas go into a hyperactive state. They are functioning too much and producing too many hormones. Your pancreas is pumping out too much insulin (causing you to store fat) and every time you get the insulin hit in your blood, your adrenals respond with a quick pump of cortisol and adrenaline and the cortisol will make you gain a little bit of belly fat. The adrenaline makes you feel panicky and stressed, because you’re in fight or flight mode but not actually escaping, and so handling stress becomes difficult. If you eat sugary foods, or possibly even foods with trans fats (basically anything PROCESSED) as a response, you just gave your body the cue to release MORE insulin, and then MORE cortisol and adrenaline, and you will gain more fat. If you then exercise, you will use up a few calories, but you’ll release even MORE cortisol and gain even more body fat. Yes, you’ll enjoy a few endorphins to calm you down (you ate the sugar because sugar also creates endorphins and that makes your brain feel like you must have run away from the danger causing the stress!) and yes, over a very long period of time you’ll increase your resting metabolism, but this will not compensate for the fat you gained during the process. For the obese person, we must first interrupt the vicious cycle of weight GAIN, and then reverse it, before exercise once again becomes a thing of real value to us.

Adrenals: from working too much to working too little
While you’re becoming obese, your adrenals and pancreas will work their little butts off for you, pumping out insulin, cortisol and adrenaline by the bucketload, until one day you’ll wake up and they’ll be exhausted. They’ll either stop working completely, which would kill you, or more likely, they’ll drop down to a very low level of functionality. When that happens with the pancreas, you will have become a genuine diabetic who needs to take insulin shots. When it happens to the adrenals your doctor will probably ignore it, unless your adrenal functionality is so low it might kill you. This is a sign that you need to REST. You need to rest because rest is one of the main features of rebuilding adrenal functionality. Your adrenals at this stage might be so low they are pumping out almost no cortisol at all and other issues may arise as a result. Inflammatory issues. Such as asthma (when they give an asthmatic “cortisone” to keep their inflammation under control, which hormone do you think they’re supporting?). At this stage you will feel flat as a pancake. You will not be able to handle any stress. Stressful things like overdue bills, answering the telephone, walking around too much, getting out of bed, may all become more than you can handle. In the old days this was called a “nervous breakdown”. You really need to be turning your health around if you get to this stage, and again, strenuous exercise is not the thing to do it. REST is what you need, along with some specifics for rebuilding the health of your adrenals (which is all a part of the long term MROTP anyway).

Obesity is a disease, so you need to heal
So when I talk about “not exercising” and instead “resting” while doing the MROTP, I am not suggesting that obese people should look forward to a life in which they will be an inactive blob. No. I am saying that if you are obese, you need to heal. You need to look after yourself. You rest as much as you possibly can, preferably with your feet elevated. Understand that going from morbidly obese to obese, or from obese to just overweight, is a period of convalescence in which you will become more active as you feel better. Your body will instinctively know what to do. When you find yourself unthinkingly dashing up the stairs to get something, that’s because your body is healing. And your body will be healing because you will be de-stressing, and you’ll be supporting and rejuvenating your adrenals. You will be less tired because you’ll no longer be starving once you begin to feed your body properly (this starts in Phase 3) and stop putting in foods that cause your metabolism to store all your energy as fat rather than making available the energy and nutrients you are providing. When you are no longer starving, you’ll prefer to eat a bit less, you won’t be so hungry, and you won’t have a body that’s constantly trying to go into hibernation. You will spontaneously have bursts of energy that are probably unfamiliar, and as you continue to rest and heal and eat plentiful good foods, you’ll start moving more.

Exercise is for fitness, not for weight loss
In my MROTP I am dealing with the issue of being obese or morbidly obese, not with the issue of being a little bit overweight. Some of what I’m saying may work for those who are only slightly overweight, but my intention was to heal myself, and this is my process for doing it and it’s working. If you go back and read Phase 1, you’ll note that I have never suggested 100% bed rest (although Taubes reports programs from the early 20th century where it was found that complete bed rest was almost essential for weight loss amongst obese patients). I have suggested resting whenever you can rest. Live life peacefully and as stress-free as possible and understand you are convalescing from a serious disease. Don’t do anything strenuous, but take casual, enjoyable walks if you like. Just like if you were recovering from major surgery! Over time, you’ll find you’re doing more without even thinking about it. And one day, when you discover you are no longer morbidly obese and no longer even obese, then you can start building your fitness up!

Remember, weight loss and fitness are two different things. First lose the majority of the fat and then begin a fitness program. The need to put fat people on a strenuous fitness regime is partly a way of making them do penance for having become fat in the first place. The world wants to see fat people suffer a bit so they’ll know to “behave” next time. And it’s also about this naive approach that you must “begin as you mean to end up”. The medical profession want to “fix” us by getting us to go from A to Z in one step. My MROTP is about going from A to B, and then going from B to C and so on through to Z, if Z is even where you want to end up! But I know I’ll never get to Z unless I do it in baby steps.

Rest rest rest at first
So, what am I doing on the MROTP? I’m nine months in, much lighter and “thinner”, although not thin (I may never be thin), and I still rest as much as possible. My energy is coming back. My asthma is almost a thing of the past. I now find myself walking up flights of stairs while talking away, when only months ago the same flight of stairs would have rendered me unable to breathe properly or talk for at least five minutes. When I’m out doing things I notice I walk faster and there’s a spring in my step that hasn’t been there for years. I feel awake and lively during the day and jumping up to do things doesn’t seem like as much of a bother or a drain. Interestingly, the tone of my body has improved, although I haven’t been exercising. My skin is terrific. I am still obese according to my calculations, so I am not considering taking up any exercise programs yet for quite a while, but I am just moving more. Moving gradually towards fitness.

As the weight falls off I am treating my inflammation, my metabolic syndrome and specifically my insulin resistance. I am supporting my adrenals and bringing them back to wellness, and I am doing the same for my thyroid. I am getting better. I’ve been a very sick girl and now I am on the road to wellness. My obesity, which was a big part of my illness, is just one of the issues I hope I will have cured. Somewhere along this journey is a place and time for an exercise program, but as far as I’m concerned it is not here and it is not now.

Mardy Roux

If you are reading this post and wish to know more about the MROTP, then please be sure to read the MROTP rules and the instructions for Phase 1 which you will find here on this blog.

Always consult your medical practitioner before beginning any weight loss program.
© Mardy Roux 2010

Getting the Most from Your Vitamins

In Vitamins. Minerals & Supplements on August 22, 2010 at 9:26 pm

The big questions
If you’ve been following my Mardy Roux Obesity Treatment Project, and if you’ve read up to Phase 2, then you’ll know that in Phase 2 I began adding vitamins to my personal weight loss regime. Over the years I have been researching All Things “Healthy” I’ve noticed that there have been widespread concerns about the effectiveness of the vitamins we take. Are they high quality? Are they “bio-available”? Are they even necessary?

I take vitamins because I believe I need them
For years I didn’t think I needed to take vitamins if I ate a healthy diet. Surely, a healthy diet is enough to provide an average person with all the vitamins and minerals they could possibly need? After all, our ancestors didn’t need vitamin tablets. Well, putting aside the fact that our ancestors were considered “ancient” by their communities if they miraculously made it to the ripe old age of thirty, they were also eating animals and foods that grew in a food chain in which the soils of Earth were fresh and brimming with nutrients. Today, our soils are a shadow of themselves. Mankind processes OIL into fertilizer to get things to grow. Many of the foods we eat aren’t much more than clever holograms of what once was a real food. That might not apply to all of the foods we eat, but how the hell do we know which ones in the fruit and vegetable section of the grocery store DO have nutrients? We don’t. So I for one, am beginning to work on the assumption that I might not be getting every nutrient my body needs from the food I put into it.

There is also the issue of “how much” of any given vitamin or mineral we “need”. If we go by the recommended daily allowances, they are set at the point below which we’re supposed to die some kind of horrible deficiency death featuring deformities and insanity. So we’re clearly talking about a MINIMUM and not an OPTIMUM. And honestly, because we have so much involvement in research by profit-seeking entities who aren’t all that interested in non-patentable nutrition supplements, it’s taking a very long time to understand just how much of anything might be optimum for any of us in general, let alone you or me in particular. So we’re pretty much on our own. We need to work some of this stuff out for ourselves, or, if we’re lucky or have money, we can find a fantastic naturopath or holistic doctor to help us on our way. I am not so lucky, so I’m working this out for myself.

For instance, I now know that my adrenal glands are fatigued and that they need a variety of things for support, and one of those things is a plentiful supply of Vitamin C. I have tested that out for myself, by gradually increasing my Vitamin C dosage over a number of months. I found out how to recognise if I have excessive Vitamin C intake – which I do not – and I’m able to report that I can FEEL THE BENEFITS of the Vitamin C I’m taking! It’s true! Some vitamins and minerals actually have a noticeable impact on our health! If I ever feel that my Vitamin C intake is no longer helping, then I’ll reduce the dosage, slowly to avoid cold turkey effects, and stop taking it. But for now, I know it helps because I get nervous when I see the number of Vitamin C tablets in the bottle getting low….and my brain keeps the message of “must buy Vitamin C” right there in the front of my head until I get off my obese ass and go and buy some! I went through that exact process when I tested Maca Root for a month to see if it helped with adrenal fatigue. I never forgot to take my two daily doses for those first few weeks, and when my first bottle of tincture of Maca Root started running out, it burned a hole in my head until I bought another bottle. It was clearly doing something for me. But before I reached the end of the second bottle, I was forgetting to take it. And after forgetting, I felt no better or worse than I think I would have HAD I taken it. I now have a supplement that’s helping my adrenals far more than the Maca Root ever helped, and there’s no chance of me forgetting to take it! I just had to work this out for myself!

Are the vitamins I buy bio-available?
A year ago I thought I needed to take some B-Complex, and being concerned about the bio-availability of what I was taking, I popped into my nearest health store and bought some liquid B-Complex. Well, if that wasn’t the most disgusting, foul-tasting glug I’ve ever had. I’m cacking a bit just thinking of it. It tasted so horrible I was nauseous for an hour after taking it. I tried it in a banana smoothie, and turned a perfectly good banana smoothie into a giant, horrible cacky brown concoction I don’t even want to think about. I finished the bottle, because I’m not made of money and I hate to waste stuff. But I had to find a different way. I went back to tablets and again wondered if they worked.

I’ve heard stories about people having kilos of un-dissolved tablets in them when they die, with calcium tablets being a major offender. So I remained a bit nervous about the vitamins, minerals and supplements I was taking. And then, I found a simple way to check that what we’re taking is actually going to be “available” to our systems.

The Water Test
Really, what we’re hoping for with any vitamins, minerals, or supplements we take, is that they will DISSOLVE in our gut. If they don’t dissolve, then we cannot access whatever it is that they contain. If we take a capsule, we know that the gelatine outer coating will dissolve and all the tiny particles will be released for our use. But with a pressed tablet or caplet, what do we do? How do we know it will dissolve? We drop it into a glass of water and wait for 15 minutes. That’s what we do! Fifteen minutes in water is a lot easier on a pressed tablet than 15 minutes in the hydrochloric acid of the human stomach. If after 15 minutes the tablet breaks up into tiny particles really easily, then you know that it will do as well in your stomach! Now, if you’re a complete and utter dumb bunny like me, it will cross your mind to do this test on your timed release Vitamin C tablets…but think for a second. THOSE TABLETS…the “timed release” varieties, are DESIGNED to dissolve slowly. So don’t try the water test on timed release tablets! I know my Vitamin C tablets are working because I know how good I feel when I take them because they’re doing what I need to be done right now, which is supporting my adrenals and thyroid.

The big surprise I got when I water tested all the various tablets and caplets in my vitamin, mineral and supplement cupboard, was that all of them dissolved beautifully in the 15 minute water test. Even the calcium/magnesium caplets I buy from my supermarket. I don’t need to pay a small fortune for liquid vitamins, because I KNOW that the ones I’m buying in the supermarket are DISSOLVING. In fact, I only buy a very few things from the health store these days, as I know that the brands I’m buying cheaply at the supermarket are bio-available.

But do they WORK?
Sure, the vitamins and minerals and supplements I’m using may all be “bio-available”, but do they WORK? Well, here’s the thing about that. I’ve taken the time to reconstruct my approach to vitamins, minerals and supplements from the ground up. I’ve taken the time to take an active decision on each and every single thing I take based on the action I need from it. Knowing what I want from a vitamin, for instance, means that after a month or so of taking it, I’m in a good position to know if it works well or not. A great case in point is the brand of Vitamin D I recently bought. It passes the water test, but I gag when I take it. Why is that? I take a variety of things every day and don’t gag on any of them except this Vitamin D tablet. I also keep forgetting to TAKE IT. This means that this is not the right Vitamin D tablet for me. I will go back to the liquid Vitamin D I was taking before, even though it’s a lot more expensive, because, as the only liquid vitamin I was taking, I never forgot it, and I always had a positive feeling from taking it. And I know it had very positive effects on me. I could FEEL IT. I don’t get that from this new Vitamin D I’m taking.

I can only suggest that you too, if you’re following what I’ve been doing on my MROTP, monitor and assess the way you’re reacting to the various vitamins, minerals and supplements you take. If you always remember to take it, and you always remember when you’re running out, then it’s really a good one for you. If you gag, then it might be the brand or the form of vitamin or supplement that’s a problem with your particular system. You have to construct your own approach to this. I can tell you what works for me, but that’s not guarantee it will work the same for you.

Take it slow…
In my Mardy Roux Obesity Treatment Project, I chose to add a few new vitamins or minerals or supplements to my approach each month. In that way I had a month to evaluate the benefit I was getting from the previous lot and adjust my intake accordingly. I also didn’t want to run out and spend a fortune buying lots of stuff I might not really need. And most importantly, I wanted to be able to visualise what benefit I’m getting from every single thing I take, as I take it. And that takes a bit of time!

If you’ve read my MROTP Phase 2 instructions, you’ll see that I’ve written up the REASONS for taking the vitamins I included at that phase. For me, it was just so important to be familiar with those reasons and I encourage you to reread that post until you KNOW every time you take one of those vitamins, what it is you’re looking for it to do for you. And as time passes, you’ll start to get a good feel for whether or not it’s delivering. If it isn’t, then comes the time to re-evaluate…is the dosage right for you…too low…too high….or, do you really need it at all? Unless you are consciously connecting with the REASON you’re taking the tablet at the moment you’re taking it, you will not start to consciously connect with its ultimate effectiveness or otherwise. So know what you want from your nightly Vitamin C. Know what you want from your morning Vitamin D. If you’re following my MROTP you know that I am keeping vitamins, minerals and supplements at the very minimum I think I can manage to get the job done. And when I add another one in at each phase, I will explain exactly WHY I’m doing it, and what the benefit is that I’m looking for.

A framework for success
I can tell you right now, and without equivocation, that I would not be enjoying the success I’m enjoying right now in my MROTP if I wasn’t taking my supplements. They are the framework of support upon which I am allowing my body to heal. And my body must HEAL in order to drop fat. I don’t see my weight loss as my finding some kind of inner good character and willpower, because it’s not that. What I see is that my morbid obesity was due to being UNWELL. And now that I see it’s about taking small and imperfect steps towards becoming “well” as opposed to “good and socially acceptable”, I’m seeing results. Slow, but still certain, RESULTS.

Mardy Roux

If you are reading this post and wish to know more about the MROTP, then please be sure to read the MROTP rules and the instructions for Phase 1 which you will find here on this blog.
Always consult your medical practitioner before beginning any weight loss program.

© Mardy Roux 2010