Duffy’s WFPB Journey — July 2014


Note from Jane: This is the latest in a monthly series by Duffy, who went whole food, plant-based late in 2013 with the goal of losing over 200+ pounds. To see previous posts, choose Duffy Chronicles from the Stories menu.


This month’s post is a little bit painful for me to write. This is the second month that I don’t have any significant weight loss progress to report. In fact I’ve gone up and down the scale by 6 lbs, most recently back up again, as I struggle with the pleasure trap.

Last month I wrote three goals for myself. Here is how I did:

  1. No nuts. Absolutely, positively, no nuts. At all.
    • I actually did manage to quit the nuts. And then I was so pleased with myself, I decided to celebrate… by eating nuts. And subsequently plunged right back into the grips of addiction.
  2. Adhere to the low-FODMAP diet.
    • I did this for at least 4 days… except I was still eating watermelon for dessert. Out of 31 that’s not a very high success rate but I did see a good deal of improvement in my IBS symptoms the closer I got to full adherence.
  3. Eat a vegetable at least two meals per day
    • I think I managed this around 4 days also. I even snapped a few pictures of WFPB, Low-FODMAP meals:


So here is my self-analysis regarding why I am struggling so much to give up nuts. This is a direct quote from my 1-25-14 blog post.

I want to eat 100% WFPB so I can shed the excess weight, resolve my health problems and most of all so that I can be unhindered in serving the Lord in every way while on this earth…. at least, I want all of that except when I don’t. Except when I temporarily want to feel numb, escape an emotion, cope with stress, capture a feeling of carefreeness, treat myself, eat what everyone else is eating, etc. Yes that is my problem: I want what is best for me, except when I don’t.

And here is my analysis enlightened by psychologist Doug Lisle’s talk, The Perfect Personality. In his talk, Dr. Lisle talks about the core characteristics of personality which are:

  • Openness to new experiences
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion (or introversion)
  • Agreeableness
  • Stability

He asserts that while there is no “perfect personality” for life, made up as it is of so many different problems, there may be a perfect personality for the problem of adopting and adhering to a 100% whole food plant based diet. If each personality characteristic exists on a continuum, then the perfect personality for solving this problem, according to Dr. Lisle would be:

  • Openness to new experiences
    • Just open enough to consider this new way of eating but no so open as to be seeking new food experiences once the WFPB diet has been adopted
  • Conscientiousness
    • Highly conscientious and diligent
  • Extraversion (or introversion)
    • Introverted; as Dr. Lisle says, we don’t need these people going to parties and facing all those social situations with food!
  • Agreeableness
    • Very disagreeable; the perfect personality is able to say “no” and mean it. They are not pressured to try non-WFPB foods to appease others.
  • Stability
    • Very stable; happy with brown rice day in and day out.

And here am I:

Red= Perfect Personality                     Blue=Duffy

Openness to new experiences










Extraversion (or introversion)















As you can see, I’m a pretty close match on 3 of the 5 factors. I rated myself as a little less conscientious than ideal for the perfect personality, but my real downfall is stability!

I am an emotional person. With chronic depression. And possible bipolar II disorder (which is like bipolar, but with hypomania—less intense highs and more time spent in the lows). The reason that this aspect of my personality isn’t well-suited to the problem of adopting and adhering to a WFPB diet is that, as Dr. Lisle says, I have a tendency to “celebrate and medicate.” And boy isn’t that the truth!! Since I don’t smoke, drink or do drugs, I tend to do my celebrating and medicating both with food. And in this highly addictive food culture, it is also too easy to fall into what Dr. Lisle and his colleague Dr. Goldhamer call “The Pleasure Trap”– a cycle of addiction to overly stimulating fat-sugar-salt laden foods. Thus, the dry roasted, salted macademia nuts that have continued to hold me hostage this past month. Dr. Lisle ends his talk with suggestions for each of the potential downfalls; regarding my tendency to celebrate and medicate, he suggests using WFPB-legal treats. This of course makes lots of sense. However I have found that if I keep any such treats on hand, I cannot stop myself from binging on them. I will literally eat them all until they are all gone, whether I am hungry or not. And that is a problem because most ‘legal’ treats tend to be higher in calorie density than what I need to eat on most days in order to sustain weight loss. This just doesn’t happen with oatmeal and potatoes!

So what am I going to do about it? I’ve decided to eliminate some of the choice making and the focus on what I cannot have in favor of what I am going to eat. So for now, I’m doing what is known in McDougall-land as a “Mary’s Mini”… except modified. A Mary’s Mini, invented by Dr. McDougall’s wife, is essentially a short-term kick-in-the-pants for weight loss, compliance, or what-have-you that limits overeating by limiting variety. A single starch is chosen and eaten in any form for all meals with varied vegetables and fruits added. I chose potatoes. My modification however is that I’m going to continue to have steel cut oats for breakfast. Steel cut oats and mashed potatoes are the two most satiating foods I know of, which should come as no surprise since studies have shown that boiled potatoes are the ultimate most highly satisfying/satiating food.

Mary’s Mini: https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2006nl/june/marys.htm


So next month… pictures of my Mary’s Mini with potatoes (and oatmeal). And hopefully also some weight loss to report.

Still 100% WFPB…. still trying to be better everyday…




  1. Duffy,
    You have many of the same feelings that I do as I want to change, and work hard to do it, but have those days that I give in for the moment and let the addiction take over. I use nuts to keep me from eating sugar. I over eat on nuts if I don’t measure them out., and I still have many days that I eat more than I should.

    My favorite quote is:
    “When a man makes war on his own weaknesses he engages in the holiest war that mortals ever wage. The reward that comes from victory in this struggle is the most enduring, most satisfying, and the most exquisite that man ever experiences.” – Bryant S. Hinckley

    I haven’t felt the “victory” yet, but I am hopeful that some day I will. I have a weakness with food, and I kind of like the idea of “making war” on these weaknesses. It sure is a battle! Some day I’ll win this battle!

    Hang in there!

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