Forum: Dieters
Topic: Dieters: Frequently Asked Questions
started by: BrianB

Posted by BrianB on Jan. 22 2007,17:47
As we continue to grow, people new to the site invariably have many of the same questions that new people before them have had.  To the extent that my brain can spot repeat questions, I'll try to add them to this FAQ.

Q1: I started on "3 portions" a day instead of 2.  Why, and when do I move to 2 portions?

A1: The clinic told me that if when you start, your weight is greater than that which is considered "morbidly obese", you start on 3 portions a day instead of 2.  At that time, a round number that is below the "morbidly obese" number is flagged as the weight at which you'll switch to 2 portions a day.  If you ask the nurse she can tell you your number because it should already be on your chart.

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Q2: How do I get the "food list"?  All I have is the diet book with the generic food chart.

A2: You need to get a set up as a "patient" on the < Official Dr. B Diet website >.  Your clinic can do this for you.  Once you've got a userid and password that is flagged as a patient, when you sign on you'll see a button for "Patient Area" near the upper left corner that will take you to the food lists and other patient resources.  This is the only way to get the food list.  Please do not post here asking for a copy as they will not be shared.

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Q3: I have the food list, but it is quite unwieldy to try to find things when I'm in the grocery store, etc.  Help!

A3: See < this topic >.  You'll be glad you did.

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Q4: I'm having cravings for "insert food here", what can I eat that's "legal" to satisfy the craving?

A4: BrianB's personal opinion is that if you're craving something, the best thing to eat to satisfy it is nothing.  Cravings are what got many of us into obesity to begin with.  Early on in the the diet, even though I wasn't hungry, I'd have the urge to eat if I was bored, stressed out, etc.  Recognizing that these urges are unhealthy, rather than seek to satisfy them with "legal" foods, I fought them and had only water.  Today I no longer have cravings, and I believe it is due to not "feeding" them early on.

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Q5: How many calories/carbs/fats/whatever do we get on this diet?

A5: On this diet the only thing we "count" is portions.  We leave the carbs, calories, etc. up to the nutritionists at Dr. B.  Just stick to your food list and count your portions, and you're good to go.

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Q6: I've been having trouble with dry skin on the diet.

A6: This may be due to the reduced fat consumption.  Ask your clinic to recommend an acceptable Omega oil supplement or other remedy.

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Q7: Help, my hair is falling out!

A7: It may be that your hair is not actually falling out, but instead breaking more due to being more brittle than usual (due to reduced fat consumption).  The remedy may be the same as Q6, and you should mention it on your next clinic visit.  For some dieters, it may indeed be that you are shedding hairs faster.  Member Hoops posted some excellent information about this in the two posts starting < here >.

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[More added as they come.  PM suggestions to BrianB.  Thread stays locked to keep it neat and tidy.]

Posted by BrianB on Jan. 31 2007,08:46
Q8: I'm traveling to the U.S. from Canada, what U.S. products can I not live without?

A8: A short list follows.  If you know of something that should be added, send BrianB a private message using the "PM" button below.  

Note: Some of these require refrigeration.  If you are traveling in a car and can bring an ice chest, you're all set.  If you're flying, you might need to skip the refrigerated stuff.

1. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (ICBINB) spray.  Most say it's better than the Becel and is readily available in the U.S.

2. AdvantEDGE Carb Control ready to drink whey protein shakes (Chocolate Fudge and Vanilla).

3. Dannon Lite 'n Fit Carb and Sugar Control cultured dairy snack (like yogurt).

4. Vlasic or Mount Olive brand sweet pickles, sweetened with Splenda instead of sugar.  Same "numbers" as dill pickles, but half the salt.

5. Broad selection of sugar free Jello flavors.

6. Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese.

7. Joseph’s Oat Bran & Whole Wheat Flour Reduced Carb Pita Bread (Deli section in Super Wal-Mart)

Again, any additions to this list, send me a PM.

Posted by BrianB on Feb. 19 2007,19:06
Q9: What does "burning +1 or 1+ mean"?

A9: The clinic uses "plus numbers" to more easily refer to what concentration of ketones are present in your urine sample that you bring in.  

< This topic > tells more, but the chart below is probably self explanatory.



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Q10: What does it mean to get a "free Friday" or "no sample Friday"?

A10: Don't fret over this when you're first starting, it is something that may or may not ever happen for you.  Some people get it every week, some people never get it.  If you never get it, it's not a problem and nothing to worry about.  To answer the question however, if your Monday morning sample is burning at a "+2" or better, then you'll be told to collect a sample Tuesday evening and bring it with you Wednesday morning (instead of a Wednesday morning sample).  If that sample is burning at least trace or better, then you'll be told you don't need to bring a sample Friday.

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Q11: I see people talking about "losing their fruits/breads" -- what does that mean?

A11: If you show negative for ketones on a urine sample, typical protocol is to have you not eat your bread and fruit portions until you are showing ketones.  This is to help get you into (or back into) ketosis.

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Q12: What is ketosis?

A12: See < this Wikipedia article > for a technical explanation.  Generally, ketosis is the state where you have exhausted your body's glycogen stores and are taking in a deficit of calories each day, resulting in your energy needs coming from ketone bodies produced by using up your fat stores.  Ketosis is the principal objective and success-mechanism of the Dr. B diet (and other diets).
Posted by BrianB on Mar. 02 2007,20:18
The answer to Question #7 has been updated.
Posted by BrianB on Mar. 03 2007,01:37
Q13: I'm up two pounds today but have been 100% strict.  I weighed in later than usual, but nothing else remarkable about today's weigh in.  Help!!!

A13: One of the things that you realize quite quickly on this diet is how heavy water is.  By definition 1 liter of water weighs one kilogram.  A kilogram is a little over 2.2 pounds.  If you weigh in at an odd time and have already begun your water consumption for the day, and have had a meal, you can easily have consumed several pounds of food and water.  There are two solutions to this -- which you choose is really a matter of personal preference.  One option is to make a concerted effort to have consistent weigh-ins each time.  I have a rule that I follow (which I do not endorse or recommend) that I never eat or drink the day of a weigh in until I've weighed in.  Obviously this is a good incentive to get to the clinic earlier than later.  This can work against you in a way because if you wait too late in the day you'll actually start to get dehydrated (resulting in an artificially low weight which may make your next weigh in seem high instead of the current one).  I also try to wear the same type of clothes each time -- shorts and a t-shirt -- even if it means wearing them under whatever else I'm wearing that day and stripping down to my shorts and t-shirt to weigh in.  Sure others think I'm strange, but they're right.  Option two (probably the better option) is to ignore the little up and down fluctuations that will occur if your weigh ins aren't consistent and focus on weekly or monthly changes.  If you're being 100% strict there isn't much reason why this option shouldn't work for you.  You're already 100% strict, so even if you are up a little, what are you going to do about it other than continue to be 100% strict?  It is a good idea to keep a mental (or even written) note of the things that may affect a given weigh in -- clothes, fluids, meal, etc.  This way if today you're up 4 pounds from the last weigh in, but you've had nothing to eat or drink and are wearing light clothes today, and the previous weigh in you'd have a liter of water and a meal and were wearing heavy clothes -- then you'd know something was off.  I'm probably too much of a slave to the scale, but I really want every weigh in to tell me something, so I go to extremes to make them consistent.  Like I said, it is a matter of preference.
Posted by BrianB on Mar. 03 2007,01:58
Q14: I cannot possibly write all of my foods in these little boxes on the diet sheet.  Do I have to write in everything and if so, how do I do it?

A14: This is a common problem/question.  Even an egg salad sandwich could take up the whole day's box if you write in every ingredient and it's portion (which is what you have to do).  Something more complex (like say the Dr. B vegetable soup recipe) would probably need multiple boxes.  The simple solution is to go buy some 3 inch by 3 inch Post-It notes.  The back side of your diet sheet will comfortably hold 6 of them.  If you have something that you make a lot, write down the ingredients and quantities on the post it note and title it "Egg Salad Sandwich" (or whatever).  Then when you have that, you can just write "Egg Salad Sandwich" on your diet sheet and the nurse can look at the Post-It to see what's in it.  Buy the extra sticky Post-It's if you can so that as you transfer the Post-It notes to a new diet sheet periodically they hold up over time.  Worst case scenario, rewrite them onto new ones now and again.  I come up with new "frequently eaten" items often enough that I'll change the Post-It's out with new ones if I have one for something that I'm not eating anymore.  I keep the old Post-It's in case I ever go back to eating that.  My clinic gave me this tip when I first started but it seems many don't.  It will definitely make your life easier and avoid the need for a microscope to read your diet sheet.

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Q15: I drink more than 10 glasses of water a day, but there are only 10 spots each day to cross off for liquids.  What do I do?

A15: Many of us need to drink more than 10 glasses a day, but few people need to drink more than 20.  The easy solution is to use a "frontslash" (e.g. / ) through the numbers for the first 10 glasses, and a "backslash" (e.g. \ ) through the numbers for the next 10 glasses.  At the end of the day you'll have X's through some numbers and just slashes through others, and you'll know how many glasses you had.
Posted by BrianB on May 03 2007,13:50
The answer to Question #8 has been updated to include the Joseph's LC pitas (thanks to Bernice for the suggestion).
Posted by BrianB on July 05 2007,14:05
Q16: Help!  I've only been on the diet for [2 or 3 - it varies] weeks and my weight loss has stalled.  I lost [10, 15, 20, it varies] pounds so far, but I've only lost [1 pound, or zero pounds, or I'm up a little] this week.  I'm worried about stalling so soon into the diet.   :help1:

A16:  It may be of comfort to know that this happens to most people when they first start any new diet, including Dr. B.  While it is completely normal to panic and think "OMG, if I'm stalling this early, is this going to work", have no fear, all will be fine.  This is a great opportunity to develop a mindset that will carry you through the rest of the diet.

First, you must accept that the scale is only a rough indicator of what is going on.  It can, does, and will deceive you.  Remember, you are trying to lose fat, not weight.  Your scale can only tell you if you've lost or gained weight.  Even if you have a scale that does body fat by electrical impedance, electrical impedance varies so much due to changes in hydration level, etc., that it is only useful on the macro scale (longer time frame) and useless on the micro scale (days or weeks).

Most likely, by the time you hit this "stall" you've already lost enough weight to be a great loss for the month (or more on any other diet).  The reason for the apparent stall is that in your first weeks your body is assaulted with a massive change in the way you are treating it.  You're probably eating less than you ever have, drinking more fluids than you ever have, consuming better (and more) minerals and nutrients, etc.  Your body has to adjust to all of these things.  Usually what happens is that you blow off a bunch of weight for the first week, two, or three.  Most of it is not fat, most of it is you depleting your glycogen stores and the water that is bound up along with the glycogen.  Your hydration level also fluctuates as your body gets a handle on what's going on.  At some point (the point of the apparent "stall") your body recovers a bit, and maybe starts holding on to a bit more water, etc. now that it has figured out what you're doing to it, and numerically the scale seems to level out and not change much.  

This is to be expected and is nothing to fret over.  In fact, you should adopt the mindset that any time you have an extra good week of loss, the following week is likely to be disappointing because part of the previous week's loss wasn't real.  Most likely it was that you were a little more dehydrated than usual, were particularly empty in the bowels, etc.  Conversely, if you have a particularly bad week, you may find that the following week is better than usual.  Perhaps you were over-hydrated, or more full in the bowels, but next week you're back to normal and show a "big loss".

The examples I gave above should press a point -- not all gains and losses matter or count for anything.  Again, you're trying to lose fat, not weight.  Having extra empty bowels doesn't count in that picture, nor does it matter if they are full.  Focus on the long term goal and staying strict and not letting the scale mess with your head too much.

By now you should be "burning ketones", and as long as your strip is positive, then you're losing fat.  Stay 100% strict and now that your body knows what is going on you'll settle into a nice, steady loss.  

All of that said, if weeks go by with no losses, and there is nothing to explain it (like massive constipation or water retention requiring medication), then perhaps something does indeed need adjusting.  Of course that's what the clinic staff is there for -- to help solve these problems.

[Edited to add: If the above didn't help, please go read < my summarized journey > which describes my own experience with this topic, back before there was a FAQ or anybody to tell me it was normal.]

Posted by BrianB on Aug. 21 2007,09:16
Q17: Why is caffeine restricted on the diet?

A17: Caffeine does two bad things that make it a poor choice for the dieter (and especially the Dr. B dieter):

1) It purportedly provokes an insulin response.  If this is true, the insulin release will lower your blood sugar level, which will make you hungry and crave carbs.  Insulin also tells the body to store fat.  All bad.

2) It has a strong diuretic effect (makes you pee out your liquids faster).  Since being in ketosis already seems to have a diuretic effect of its own, and since staying hydrated is so important to good health, adding caffeine to the mix only serves to increase the risk of clinical dehydration and the possibility of kidney stones, etc.
Posted by BrianB on June 24 2008,13:17
Q18: Help! Due to [insert legitimate unavoidable life circumstance, or avoidable life circumstance that wasn't planned for, or bogus excuse for cheating here] I cheated and now I don't know what to do. Might be accompanied by: "I [am or am not] still in ketosis". Most likely also accompanied by "I feel terrible about this." Quite commonly followed with "I don't want to go to the clinic because I'm afraid what they'll say".

A18: For those of you who want the short answer of what to do, it's simple:

a) get back to 100% strict ASAP
b) drink the appropriate amount of fluids as prescribed by the diet (don't under or over consume)
c) fill out your diet sheet honestly
d) go to the clinic for your next regular visit
e) Take the cheat as a lesson learned and don't do it again

If that answer is insufficient, and you prefer a lot more detail and rationale, then you should read our < Treatise on Cheating >.

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