We Can Register It For You Wholesale

16 Aug

Back in May, I posted an entry on the tumblr feed about signing up for the National Weight Control Registry. I had heard about this research program right after I started paleo, but since they only want people to register after they have lost 30 pounds and have kept it off for at least a year. At the time, I had already lost almost 20 pounds in a handful of months so I had no doubt that I would eventually qualify, but in the name of Good Science I decided to wait for the criteria to be met before I registered.

I was only reminded of the program again a few months ago after attending a talk by Dr. Robert Lustig’s at the San Francisco Public Library (the video of which will be posted online eventually. I’m keeping my eye out for it!). At this point, it has been over two years and I am down over 40 pounds, so I figured it was finally time.


I sent them my contact info around the time that entry was posted, but it took almost two months before a large packet arrived for me in the mail containing a bunch of waivers and release forms. For verification, they asked for photos and/or the contact information of a physician you have been working with to lose the weight. I chose the former, as I have photos in spades and, though I do like my doctor, I’m not exactly close with him on this subject so figured it would be best to keep him out of the loop.

I sent in my packet about a week and a half ago, and I expected to go another few months before hearing from them again (no worries, sometimes that’s just how mass survey-research works) but this morning I received an email asking me to take an online survey of my diet and exercise habits. I pulled it up the minute I got to work, eager to confound their data with my routine of high-fat foods and low-intensity exercise (Good Science!!!)

For the sake of bias I won’t say exactly what the survey questions or my responses were, but I will say that I was a little surprised at how the survey was constructed. It is obvious that they have a preconceived expectation of what *should* work, and what successful people probably *will* say about how they lost the weight. There were a lot of questions about organized weight-loss programs and low-calorie foods, and very few about, say, how often I cook for myself and the quality of the ingredients I choose. More vexingly, on the one section asking me what types of foods I eat, they listed foods or food groups and asked you to select how often they are a part of your diet. But the options they gave were “Always,” “Almost Always,” “Sometimes,” and “Rarely.” There was no “Never” column to balance out the “Always.” So while I clicked “Always” for things like butter, I ground my teeth when I had to click “Rarely” for things like cereal, bread, whole-grain pasta, and other things that I literally have not eaten in two years. Although, it was all worth it when I got to a question asking how often I cook my vegetables in things like butter, bacon grease, or other fats, and I was like EVERY! FLIPPIN!! DAY!!!!!

Fortunately, at the end of the survey, there is a section for free-response, so I wrote a couple paragraphs outlining what my basic diet and exercise plan actually consists of. Also I added the other things besides weight loss that have improved, most importantly curing my depression/anxiety, so much so that I have stopped using antidepressants completely.

And if they want more proof of that, I will be happy to direct them to my doctor.


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