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How sustainable is a CRON lifestyle?


elatedsquirrel
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Hi

I realise that there may be "survivors bias" to any answers here, but I wanted to ask a few questions about the sustainability of a CRON lifestyle.

I'm considering working towards such a lifestyle. However, I'm concerned about a number of things, including that the body's tendency towards metabolic adaption may mean that, if the lifestyle cannot be maintained, then weight gain may follow once it is discontinued.

So, my questions:

  1. How sustainable is the lifestyle?
  2. Are there any ways of predicting how sustainable it might be for a particular individual?
  3. Are there any ways of implementing the lifestyle that might make it more or less sustainable?
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Hi elatedsquirrel!

I've doing CR for a little over 24 years -- it definitely is sustainable.

Tips:  Go onto CR gradually; don't try doing it all at once.  E.g., you might first try changing what you eat slowly, without attempting calorie reduction.  That is, switch, perhaps slowly, to an isocaloric diet of healthy foods -- definitely plant based.  Very little, if any, of red meet, white meat or fish.

Use a good on-line tool to check if your new diet provides all the nutrients believed desirable in adequate amounts -- most of us use Cronometer. (It's free, available on all computer platforms and smartphones.)

Then, slowly reduce calories.  Tip:  Low calorie high fiber foods tend to "filll you up", leaving you satisfied.

It's a good idea to do your bloodwork prior to starting CR, to have a baseline:  You'll find the recommended tests on the homepage of the CR Society.

Hope that helps, and good luck,

  --  Saul

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7 hours ago, elatedsquirrel said:

So, my questions:

  1. How sustainable is the lifestyle?
  2. Are there any ways of predicting how sustainable it might be for a particular individual?
  3. Are there any ways of implementing the lifestyle that might make it more or less sustainable

I agree (for once :-)) with everything Saul says. Some of us have been doing a CR diet and lifestyle for over 20 years. I'd say it takes someone with a lot of self-discipline and temperament that is willing and able to delay gratification to be successful long term. Being independent of the good opinion of other people helps a lot too.

For me eating the same thing every day and eating fewer meals per day (time restricted feeding) has made CR a lot easier. But that may just me. 

Good luck!

--Dean

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3 hours ago, Saul said:

Use a good on-line tool to check if your new diet provides all the nutrients believed desirable in adequate amounts -- most of us use Cronometer. (It's free, available on all computer platforms and smartphones.)

Thanks both.

Does Cronometer work OK for UK nutrition info? I know that carbohydrates are listed differently in European countries compared to US (carbs on EU/UK labels are "net carbs", I believe, whereas in US labels they include fibre).

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28 minutes ago, elatedsquirrel said:

Thanks both.

Does Cronometer work OK for UK nutrition info? I know that carbohydrates are listed differently in European countries compared to US (carbs on EU/UK labels are "net carbs", I believe, whereas in US labels they include fibre).

Cronometer is a great suggestion and a great tool. I pay for the subscription (it's cheap and totally worth it to me). It changed the way I eat and I still measure virtually everything I consume -- I like data and it's kind of fun for me, but different people, different strokes. It should work in Europe rather well, and it's best if you switch to eating mostly whole foods (it uses a variety of private and government databases).  Even for packaged and processed foods, I've been surprised that it recognizes virtually all brands in Europe (including those not readily available in the US).

Time restricted feeding will help with calorie reduction too, a lot. I started with a 12 hr window and currently am at 6-8 hr window. You don't have to be religious about it, but you need to be relatively consistent.

But as Saul suggests, start slowly and add fiber -- many here seem to consume 60-90g per day.

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1 hour ago, mccoy said:

I'm not aware that there is a European version of Cronometer....

No, but many of the databases are non-US, as well as many of the CRON database entries.  You can see the list of data sources here.

When travelling around Europe, Cronometer seems to find virtually every European brand I scan, even if not available in the US (to the best of my knowledge).

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11 hours ago, Ron Put said:

Time restricted feeding will help with calorie reduction too, a lot. I started with a 12 hr window and currently am at 6-8 hr window. You don't have to be religious about it, but you need to be relatively consistent.

That's good. I have already been eating 16:8 for months now.

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19 hours ago, Ron Put said:

But as Saul suggests, start slowly and add fiber -- many here seem to consume 60-90g per day.

Any tips for getting more fibre? I eat porridge with blackberries and raspberries for breakfast, a substantial salad for lunch, and a lot of steamed veg with most evening meals, but my record so far is 58g.

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This is what my sources are based on Cronometer, averaged over 4 weeks.  Others here may consume higher fiber content and may have different or better sources and better suggestions.

The "stew" you see on the list is basically a stew I make and eat on most days.  The exact ingredients are different every time, but generally stuff like lentils, split peas, quinoa, black gramm, chickpeas and occasionally beans or soybeans.  I also usually add things like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach/kale and some beats, onions, garlic.  And lots of spices: paprika, turmeric, cummin, nigella, ginger and olive leaf powder (I don't usually consume olive oil at home, getting my fats from flax, avocado and nuts mostly).

Good luck on your journey.

1383319271_ScreenShot2020-05-14at11_26_34.png.50d0831715109198e943c43c9b155482.png
 

 

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On 5/13/2020 at 1:19 AM, elatedsquirrel said:

Hi

I realise that there may be "survivors bias" to any answers here, but I wanted to ask a few questions about the sustainability of a CRON lifestyle.

I'm considering working towards such a lifestyle. However, I'm concerned about a number of things, including that the body's tendency towards metabolic adaption may mean that, if the lifestyle cannot be maintained, then weight gain may follow once it is discontinued.

So, my questions:

  1. How sustainable is the lifestyle?
  2. Are there any ways of predicting how sustainable it might be for a particular individual?
  3. Are there any ways of implementing the lifestyle that might make it more or less sustainable?

1) I've been at this for over 9 years, though I would consider the first year to be a bit transitionary. It's sustainable for me since it actually has freed up a lot of time for professional growth, personal pursuits, and mental enhancement, simply because I feel better, have more energy, and am in better health. Having said that, there has been a social price which I didn't mind paying since I tend to be an introvert anyway. 

2) What's your lifestyle currently like in terms of diet, exercise, stress reduction, relationships, occupation, and so forth.

3) For me personally, it's all about the power of habit. If you can install habits of one kind or another,  you can certainly move in this direction. For example, once I decided that 'cold-showers' were worthwhile as part of a longevity regime including 'cold-exposure,' I worked to develop this habit. It took some time given that it's not the most pleasurable (initially), but it's now very rare that I miss a cold shower and I more or less do so on autopilot every day. Habit installation can be applied to almost anything. Another example is my post-prandial exercise. The majority of the time I exercise shortly after eating to keep glucose levels low. Again, I don't really think about this since this habit is on autopilot. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, Dean and Saul, agreeing... 

Hey y'all, it's April, a blast from the past!  I've spent the last oh say six years in Public Health specializing in harm reduction approaches to addiction, trauma informed care, and psychopharmacology.  I'm thinking of kicking up a new CR blog, as it's rather topical given the increased risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 if you're obese or have diabetes, and the crisis that's about to hit our healthcare system when all those people who have been neglecting their care for chronic illness (high blood pressure, diabetes, all the diseases of obesity) are about to have even more serious medical problems than before.  I quit blogging largely because as I went into public health, I didn't want my own personal lifestyle to be construed as a recommendation for the general public - doing CR is not desirable for most "normal" people.  

But now I am thinking of starting it up again, or a new one.  The world is changing fast and now that I have my Masters in Public Health as well as some 23 years or so of managing large health-oriented organizations, it seems like a good time to both a) be alive as long as I can b) share some news about how you do this with others who are interested.  I know a lot more at 45 than I did back when I started (29!!!!  I feel like I was 12!)  I've been through a lot since then, including gaining weight and getting high blood pressure, losing it and getting back into shape, teaching in a public school district 99% below the poverty level, giving presentations on non-traditional perspectives on drug use at national conferences, leading an international group of people who seek to change their alcohol consumption but set their own goals (not just abstinence or "sobriety" but including moderation and safer drinking as well)... and I still make an excellent portabello mushroom pizza (you use the mushroom cap as the crust instead of a pizza crust - it's an old favorite!) 

I miss you all... and those I haven't met, and those who don't hang out anymore.  I'll post if I start up the blog again... 2004 - 20012.  Re-start in 2020?

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Hi April,

Welcome back!  
 

I arrived to the scene after your time, but your reputation precedes you.... I for one would enjoy a fresh CR blog, especially one delving deeper in the literature ( more like Reason’s posts but more in depth) if that is your cup of tea.  . 

On the note of spreading the word, I would add that if we ever hold a live CR meeting again, from what I hear about your CR-friendly culinary skill,  I think if word got out that you may consider serving that famous pizza ( or any iteration of the infamous “binging brownies” circulating on the web) it would no doubt would sell out on the first day. 🙂

Edited by Mechanism
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On 5/13/2020 at 3:19 AM, elatedsquirrel said:

Hi

I realise that there may be "survivors bias" to any answers here, but I wanted to ask a few questions about the sustainability of a CRON lifestyle.

I'm considering working towards such a lifestyle. However, I'm concerned about a number of things, including that the body's tendency towards metabolic adaption may mean that, if the lifestyle cannot be maintained, then weight gain may follow once it is discontinued.

So, my questions:

  1. How sustainable is the lifestyle?
  2. Are there any ways of predicting how sustainable it might be for a particular individual?
  3. Are there any ways of implementing the lifestyle that might make it more or less sustainable?

I think you need to take an inventory of your priorities.

For me, great food, great wine, a warm home and enjoying the company of friends and family, engaging conversation, laughter, and sensual and sexual fulfillment are the things that make life worthwhile. I also want more life - so I will do what I can to live as long as possible.

As I've mentioned before, there is a lot of information on the subject of longevity - and much of it is contradictory, unproven, anecdotal - etc. I rely on my personal judgement and a good amount of intuition.

For me, this is self-experimentation and being the greedy creature that I am, I want it all. So - I make it a point to enjoy every day and never take myself too seriously.

 

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