Thursday, March 29, 2012

I Need to Eat More

This month has been particularly stressful and busy, so I've forgotten to eat quite often, which is both good and bad. 

Good because I'm not always hungry. With other diets, I was constantly counting the minutes until I could eat again. It was really depressing. With GP--after the initial three weeks-- I rarely feel like I can't wait until my next meal. 

Bad because I think it interferes with weight loss. Last month when I wasn't dropping weight, I realized I had been fasting probably 3 or more times a week. So I ate more, and the weight loss came back (with some added exercise, it started coming off faster).

I tend to just grab and eat while on the go, which really limits me to non-fatty foods (I wonder if this is the reason I've been craving sour cream every day?), but this week my goal will be Eat More Fat. Funny isn't?  Any other dieter would feel awful pangs of guilt over even thinking about gorging on fat. 

Not us though!


  1. Yes, prolonged calorie restriction (by any means) will lower your metabolic rate. If you are fasting that often, even if inadvertently, it will slow your metabolism. One of the weird things about being a paleo/primal eater is that we easily switch between fasting and eating without ever really feeling ravenously hungry-- it's a blessing and a curse. If you want to increase your hunger response, throw in an extra fruit or starch (sweet potato, yam, squash) in a meal or two and I guarantee you won't be missing meals again.

    Basically, you're probably borderline (or actually actively in) ketosis most of the time if you aren't eating that many fruits or starches. So, when you go into a short fast, the hunger mechanism essentially switches off very easily. While it is nice for this to happen when we deliberately fast, it isn't so good to happen all of the time. While there is a lot of debate over this (hormesis), I favor the line of thought that says that long-term ketosis is not generally a natural state of the human metabolism (it is a survival adaption).

    Like I said, try adding a fruit/starch to a meal or two (start slowly and see what happens) and it will bring you out of this near/at ketosis level a bit and your body's hunger mechanism will kick in when it is supposed to. Then, if you want to intermittent fast, you can easily dip into ketosis without ravenous hunger, but you can do it at will rather than being there all of the time and slowing your overall metabolism.

    As I mentioned earlier today, you can now experiment a bit to find out how your body responds to things. As long as you're still in an overall calorie deficit, you'll still take off fat. Also, as long as you're eating a good deal of proteins and good fats, you won't be hungry all of the time as with low-fat/high-carb diets.

    Just as a rough guideline, one fruit/starch will be equivalent to roughly 20-30 grams of carbs. So, start with adding one a day for 2 weeks and see what happens. If no change, then add another per day. Like I mentioned in the other post, there is no need to actually count calories or grams, but it is good to have a rough idea or guestimate. This method is used to see if maybe your metabolism responds better to slightly higher carb/calories over a longterm calorie restricted diet.

    Another option is to deliberately pull yourself out of ketosis and increase total calorie ingestion by simply adding two fruits/starches a day immediately, then maintaining that for a few weeks, and then dipping back into ketosis (i.e. taking away fruits/starches). It is kind of like hitting a reset button on your metabolism. Granted, this is assuming that fat loss is your overall goal. Also, you can start with the first option and then move into this option very easily-- they aren't entirely mutually exclusive, it is just how they are implemented that differs.

    Either way, you body soon gets used to something if it is done long enough. From what it sounds like, you're currently in or near ketosis. Get out (of ketosis) for a while and see how your body responds. After being out of it for a while, you can always dip back into it in the future for some real quick fat loss.

    1. I almost forgot to mention that if you increase your carb intake as suggested above that you will see an increase in weight of a few pounds. Don't worry about this, all that is happening is that your glycogen stores are being restored (assuming that you were indeed in ketosis). For every gram of glycogen that your muscles store, there is about 2-4 grams of water that gets stored with it. That is why I recommend that if you increase your carbs that you observe any changes over the course of two weeks, because this is plenty of time to allow the initial increase in weight due to glycogen/water to show itself and then observe whether or not the change then has any effects on fat storage/loss. Many people who don't understand this will see the initial increase in weight and then get scared and cut the carbs back immediately. The fact is that you need to eat in order to loss weight effectively, the hard part is finding the sweet spot, so to speak.

  2. It's really hard to remember to eat enough!! I have the same problem. Focusing on what the kids are eating and forgetting to eat. When I do snack b/c i have to grab something or die, it's low fat like celery or apples or moderately fat like yogurt. I gotta make me another batch of those coconut oil-chocolate peanut butter cups!