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  #1   ^
Old Fri, May-11-07, 20:56
EmmaB's Avatar
EmmaB EmmaB is offline
Happy Loser!
Posts: 814
 
Plan: Atkins food, IF 20/4
Stats: 287/238/165 Female 5'7"
BF:
Progress: 40%
Location: Sydney, Australia
Default Checklist for giving advice

Firstly, let me say that I have benefited from so much great advice given and support provided in these forums. However, I've noticed that people looking for advice on their food intake and weight loss, especially in the newbie forum, frequently receive confusing and sometimes conflicting advice. This is partly to be expected as the board encompasses a range of views on low carb eating. However, I believe we can improve the quality of our replies by considering a few important factors about the person we're advising, before we hit the reply button (in no particular order):

1) What is the person's current weight and height (ascertainable by hovering your mouse over their gender symbol)?

This will help you grasp their approximate required food intake.

2) How much weight does the person have to lose?

This will help you estimate how quickly or slowly they can expect to lose weight.

A careful reading of points 1) and 2) will also help to ring the necessary alarm bells about whether the person needs to be on a weight loss diet at all.

3) What is the person's age and how deep an understanding do they have of the plan they are following?

This will help you tailor your advice to the needs and level of understanding of the person you are advising.

4) What plan are they following?

For example, if they're following SBD, it's probably best not to tell them to eat more fat.

5) How long has the person been on their low-carb plan?

This will help you work out two things:

.....a) whether they are in weeks 2,3 or 4 of their plan and thus probably experiencing Post Induction Stall Syndrome (PISS) and so don't need to change anything at all in their diet but just be patient.

.....b) whether they are a newbie trying to understand their plan and just getting started, or an old hand who knows all the rules and is just looking to tweak something in particular.

6) How much weight have they lost already?

If they've lost significant weight already on their current menu, is it possible that their body is just taking a breather and they don't need to be advised to eat eat more or less of anything in particular?

7) Does the person have any medical conditions or particular dietary requirements?

Now of course, you may not be able to glean all this information from the original post but I would suggest that, if they haven't included all this information, it is worth asking before giving advice.


And a couple of points about the advice you give:

1) Is your advice going to confuse them more?

For example, is your advice a one-liner that won't make any sense to them until they go away and do extensive research on the toxin you're warning them about, supplement you're suggesting, or non-mainstream low carb approach you are advocating? A few judicious links can fix this!

2) Is your advice relevant to the question they've asked?

If they've asked for "help with my diet please", then most advice will be relevant. But if they've asked "will eating this many eggs give me high cholesterol" then they probably don't need to be advised that "you need to eat more vegies or you'll die!"

3) Are you expressing as immutable truth what is, in fact, your personal perspective?

When you tell someone to eat more vegies, you may want to keep in mind that some other people think this is unnecessary. When you tell someone to eat five small meals a day, keep in mind that others would suggest you eat only one meal a day. When you tell them to reduce their egg consumption because it will lead to high cholesterol, remember that many people would disagree with that. The phrases "many people find ...", "in my experience ...", "you may want to try ..." and "YMMV" are all very useful here.


I know that every one of us has the best intentions when we give advice, that we are just trying to help each other however we can, but I believe if we keep the above points in mind, our advice will be better, more helpful and less confusing to those who need it.


Emma

PS: Of course, there is always the possibility that anyone not already using such a mental checklist when they give advice won't have managed to read through the whole of this post

Last edited by EmmaB : Fri, May-11-07 at 21:01. Reason: Formatting
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  #2   ^
Old Sat, May-12-07, 11:27
LoveMyGSDs's Avatar
LoveMyGSDs LoveMyGSDs is offline
Strong Chicks Rock!!
Posts: 8,999
 
Plan: Atkins (total, not net)
Stats: 194/151.2/150 Female 5'5"
BF:35.8%/19%/17%
Progress: 97%
Location: MD
Default

Emma....This is excellent advice. I follow Atkins (1999 version) and I see all too often (mostly not on this board) someone giving advice under the guise of Atkins that just simply isn't in any of the Atkins books and is that advice-givers tweak (or sometimes even a misinterpretation) of Atkins. Tweaks are fine, but it's good to let a newbie know that you're offering your tweak, not something they missed or misunderstood in the book.
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  #3   ^
Old Sat, May-12-07, 14:47
dearmommy's Avatar
dearmommy dearmommy is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 1,354
 
Plan: zeroish carbs
Stats: 388/300/150 Female 66inches
BF:unfortunately
Progress: 37%
Location: Vancouver Is BC Canada
Default

Wow great summary.
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  #4   ^
Old Sat, May-12-07, 17:25
Mallory08's Avatar
Mallory08 Mallory08 is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 833
 
Plan: atkins
Stats: 92/112/120 Female 67
BF:
Progress: 71%
Location: MissISSIPPI
Default

good points i agree... when i have a question i never know if people know i've been eatting this WOE since I was about 17(i'm 21 now) and i feel sometimes like i get advice and people think i havent read the book or i havent been eatting this way for a good while now! very helpful to consider your questions regarding replies!
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  #5   ^
Old Sat, May-12-07, 18:48
Kisal's Avatar
Kisal Kisal is offline
Posts: 14,482
 
Plan: It's anybody's guess!
Stats: 350/250/160 Female 70 inches
BF:
Progress: 53%
Location: Oregon
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mallory08
i never know if people know i've been eatting this WOE since I was about 17(i'm 21 now)
JMHO, of course, but this might be prevented if you were to update your Profile to show a start date that was more accurate than "couple months ago."
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  #6   ^
Old Sat, May-12-07, 22:37
Judynyc's Avatar
Judynyc Judynyc is offline
Attitude is a Choice
Posts: 29,974
 
Plan: SBD->atkins twist->paleo
Stats: 274/000/160 Female 5'6"
BF:stl/too/mch
Progress: 240%
Location: NYC
Default

All good points Emma!!

Thanks for taking the time to write it out.
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  #7   ^
Old Sun, May-13-07, 02:24
rightnow's Avatar
rightnow rightnow is offline
Posts: 18,919
 
Plan: VLC/~keto dirty primal
Stats: 520/398.8/350 Female 66 inches
BF: Why yes it is.
Progress: 71%
Location: Ozarks USA
Default

This is a nice list.
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  #8   ^
Old Sun, May-13-07, 04:42
Absinthe62's Avatar
Absinthe62 Absinthe62 is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 243
 
Plan: Protein Power
Stats: 195/185/140 Female 5'3"
BF:Well-marbled
Progress: 18%
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Default

Quote:
Post Induction Stall Syndrome (PISS)


Gawd I love funny acronyms.

Thank you for a wonderfully written, succinct piece. Are you a technical writer by chance?
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  #9   ^
Old Sun, May-13-07, 05:18
EmmaB's Avatar
EmmaB EmmaB is offline
Happy Loser!
Posts: 814
 
Plan: Atkins food, IF 20/4
Stats: 287/238/165 Female 5'7"
BF:
Progress: 40%
Location: Sydney, Australia
Default

Thanks very much for the positive feedback, everyone!

Judy - no problem, I was happy to write it. Much more fun than studying for my administrative law exam

Absinthe62 - No I'm not a technical writer at all, just a humble law student. But I do have a lot of respect for technical writers and I know at least one or two of them inhabit these boards.
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  #10   ^
Old Sun, May-13-07, 08:57
deirdra's Avatar
deirdra deirdra is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 3,811
 
Plan: HF/vLC/GF,CF,SF
Stats: 197/136/150 Female 66 inches
BF:
Progress: 130%
Location: Alberta
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmmaB
4) What plan are they following?For example, if they're following SBD, it's probably best not to tell them to eat more fat.
Good points, but I disagree with this one. If the plan they are using is not working for them, perhaps they should consider another. I was starving, irritable and stalled for months on an 1100 calorie SBD diet & exercising 10 hrs/wk. Now I am a successful 2000 cals/day Fatkins follower who exercises only 3-5 hrs/wk. Of course one should be considerate of the person's current choice of diet, but I see nothing wrong with describing a change that worked.
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  #11   ^
Old Sun, May-13-07, 09:07
foxgluvs's Avatar
foxgluvs foxgluvs is offline
From Flab to Fab!
Posts: 11,752
 
Plan: Fat Flush / SB
Stats: 300/225/185 Female 5ft 8"
BF:No Thanks
Progress: 65%
Location: UK
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by deirdra
Good points, but I disagree with this one. If the plan they are using is not working for them, perhaps they should consider another. I was starving, irritable and stalled for months on an 1100 calorie SBD diet & exercising 10 hrs/wk. Now I am a successful 2000 cals/day Fatkins follower who exercises only 3-5 hrs/wk. Of course one should be considerate of the person's current choice of diet, but I see nothing wrong with describing a change that worked.


Yes, but you were eating 1100 cals on the SBD diet?? Nowhere in the SB book does it tell you to do that, so in fact, you probably could have changed a little within the plan you were on without having to change over to Fatkins I agree that you can tell people about the posibility of other plans, but that's not what you said.

Quote:
.....a) whether they are in weeks 2,3 or 4 of their plan and thus probably experiencing Post Induction Stall Syndrome (PISS) and so don't need to change anything at all in their diet but just be patient


PISS heh, very good!
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  #12   ^
Old Sun, May-13-07, 09:18
deirdra's Avatar
deirdra deirdra is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 3,811
 
Plan: HF/vLC/GF,CF,SF
Stats: 197/136/150 Female 66 inches
BF:
Progress: 130%
Location: Alberta
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by foxgluvs
Yes, but you were eating 1100 cals on the SBD diet?? Nowhere in the SB book does it tell you to do that, so in fact, you probably could have changed a little within the plan you were on without having to change over to Fatkins
I had tried all variations of SBD, and 1100 cals was the only level I didn't GAIN weight on once I stalled. I've been LCing for 7 years and Fatkins is the ONLY WOE that keeps me thin and happy effortlessly.
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  #13   ^
Old Sun, May-13-07, 09:23
foxgluvs's Avatar
foxgluvs foxgluvs is offline
From Flab to Fab!
Posts: 11,752
 
Plan: Fat Flush / SB
Stats: 300/225/185 Female 5ft 8"
BF:No Thanks
Progress: 65%
Location: UK
Default

Well Deirdra, good for you
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  #14   ^
Old Sun, May-13-07, 09:28
deirdra's Avatar
deirdra deirdra is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 3,811
 
Plan: HF/vLC/GF,CF,SF
Stats: 197/136/150 Female 66 inches
BF:
Progress: 130%
Location: Alberta
Default

Good for you too, Foxgloves, you've made amazing progress! It just goes to show the variety of approaches that work for different people.
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  #15   ^
Old Sun, May-13-07, 17:38
EmmaB's Avatar
EmmaB EmmaB is offline
Happy Loser!
Posts: 814
 
Plan: Atkins food, IF 20/4
Stats: 287/238/165 Female 5'7"
BF:
Progress: 40%
Location: Sydney, Australia
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by deirdra
Good points, but I disagree with this one. If the plan they are using is not working for them, perhaps they should consider another. I was starving, irritable and stalled for months on an 1100 calorie SBD diet & exercising 10 hrs/wk. Now I am a successful 2000 cals/day Fatkins follower who exercises only 3-5 hrs/wk. Of course one should be considerate of the person's current choice of diet, but I see nothing wrong with describing a change that worked.

You make a good point, Dierdra. I certainly think that there are times when suggesting a person change plan could be good advice. The point I wanted to make, though, was not about changing plan but about advice that didn't take the nature of the person's plan into consideration.

"You need to eat more fat so you won't feel hungry" is not very helpful to a person on SBD.

However, if the person is clearly struggling on SBD and has been for some time, something like this could be helpful: "Perhaps SBD is not working very well for you because it tends to have a lower fat content than other plans and fat is what satiates you so you don't feel hungry all the time. You might want to consider switching to a higher fat program like Atkins or even Fatkins <insert link to explanation of Fatkins>. While SBD works great for some people, personally I found that Fatkins works much better for me."

The first quote just confuses people trying to follow a plan, the second quote provides useful information about alternatives.

I hope that clarifies my point a little.

Emma
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