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Looking for a better understanding.

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  • Looking for a better understanding.

    Okay so I have made a life change as of January 01 2011 and have been eating the PB way since that time. It has not been hard to give up the potatoes and carbs for the most part but I do miss the bread. As I stated in another post I have lost 40 lbs (220 to 180) and BF% of 34% to 18% in 4 months. So for the most part I am very pleased with the results.

    However I am looking to better understand why going from 18% BF to 10% is a harder process then the 34% to 18%. I have been doing a lot of reading and just finished Why We Get Fat as well as The Primal Blueprint and I understand clearly that carb control is how this works. So if we keep our carbs below 50 grams then we can expect to burn fat for our fuel. So if that is the case then what is it that slows down the loss of fat after our initial big loss and is there anything we can do or not do that will bring about the same or close to the same results to move to a single digit BF%?

    I am doing the exercise portion of the PB except the sprinting part. I hate running or jogging but love to walk. If I am going to run then I would rather play ultimate frisbee or touch football and have some fun while doing it.

  • #2
    One reason is that it burns more calories all day long to carry around that 40# you lost. (Though I'm sure it's more complicated than that.)

    height: 5' 10 1/2"
    2/20/11: 210
    9/19/11: 185.5
    goal: #170

    "Decide what to be, and go be it."


    • #3
      If you read the book, you'll see that Mark refers a lot to homeostasis. The body basically gets more efficient at what it's doing and wants to hang on to the fat it has for future needs. You have to switch things up once in a while to kick the body out of homeostasis ... for a while, until you plateau again ... then you switch it up again. Eventually, you should get to where you want to be.
      Newcomers: If you haven't read the book, at least read this thread ... and all the links!

      Jan. 1, 2011: 186.6 lbs PBSW Mar. 1, 2011: 175.8 lbs
      CW: 146.8 lbs
      GW 140 lbs
      A proud member of PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals


      • #4
        I took this from ChocoTaco’s thread which can be found here:

        He explains how a carb reefed works, but also WHY there is a slow down on fat burning…. Check the thread for more, I hope he won’t mind the copy/paste…

        Carb refeeds stimulate weight loss in appropriate candidates. Here's the basic gist of it.

        I'm sure you're familiar with insulin. It's the storage hormone. It tells your muscles to store glycogen, it shuttles amino acids into cells and it stores fat in fat cells. The Primal Blueprint stimulates fat loss by regulating your blood glucose, thereby keeping insulin levels stable and low. This prevents fat accumulation and leads to fat loss over time.

        There is also insulin's anti-hormone: leptin. Leptin is the hormone that tells fat cells to release fat. It's actually leptin resistance that leads to morbid obesity - the insulin keeps shuttling fat into cells, and due to leptin resistance, your brain never receives the signal to release the fat your cells are storing.

        In a normal, healthy person, as insulin rises, so does leptin. This has a counter-balancing effect. As insulin stores fat, leptin releases fat. A person with a proper diet will not gain fat because the hormones will work in harmony. Now, here's the issue:

        As your weight normalizes and your hormones stabilize, your constantly balanced insulin levels will lead to very low leptin levels. This tends to happen when people reach "normal" levels of body fat. You know, when people have those last 10-15 pounds that they just can't get rid of. The low levels of leptin create that plateau effect. Your body just can't release that fat, no matter how low you drop your carbs. Well, that's because the lower you drop your carbs, the lower your leptin levels fall and the harder it is to release fat cells. You already have stable insulin, so low-carbing it won't cause anymore fat loss. It's actually counterproductive. That's where the carb refeed comes in.

        The science behind the carb refeed is by eating lots of carbs over a small window (I do 48 hours), the insulin spikes boost leptin levels. Between the elevated thermogenic levels in the body from all the carbs (fats are not thermogenic outside of MCT's like coconut, carbs are much more thermogenic) and the sudden huge boost in leptin from the insulin spikes, your metabolism goes into overdrive. When you come off that 48 hour carb refeed, your metabolism is now a hot burning oven, so when you snap back into low carb, the residual metabolism boost allows you to release extra fat that you wouldn't normally be able to release due to your low leptin levels. Now, there's a kicker: you have to figure out how to not store excess body fat while carb refeeding. This requires keeping fats very low - under 40g. You can't cook with oil, you can't eat red meat, etc. It's super lean chicken breast or very lean fish for you. When I do a 48 hour carb refeed, I shoot for 250g of carbs each day for a total of 500g of carbs over the 48 hours.

        Now, it's important to use complex carbs in this equation. Vegetables will not work because they don't spike your insulin, and the big insulin spike is crucial. Fruit is a poor choice because of the fructose. Your carbs must be starch, and they should come from skinless yams as a first choice, and white rice or skinless white potato as a second choice. Properly soaked beans can also work (black, pinto, kidney, etc). If you are a man, I recommend eating one small piece of fruit with 2 of your meals - preferably the pre- and post-workout meals. If you are a woman, I suggest half a serving of fruit with the same 2 meals.

        The amount of carbs you intake will vary wildly, and you need to tune it for yourself. As a 5'7", 139lb, highly active 24yo male that works out 6 days a week, 250g of carbs is great for me. Body builders that are over 6 feet tall and weigh in over 220 pounds will frequently eat 500-600g of carbs. Conversely, sedentary women would want to shoot much lower - maybe more like 100-125g. It may not be a whole lot more than they normally take in, but 100g of carbs from fruits and vegetables have a totally different effect than 100g of carbs from yams! The source is most crucial. Btw, the 250g figure includes all carbs. My carb cycle typically includes 1.5 pounds of a lean protein, 6 yams and 2 pink lady apples each day, plus whatever other green vegetables I take in. My total is always around 250g.

        If you still have 48lbs to lose, I would not suggest carb cycling. If you're still too sensitive to carbs, it could backfire. You need to wait until you get down to a more average weight and your hormones stabilize. Being 48 pounds overweight, your leptin levels are probably still elevated. Have you hit a plateau? I would NOT suggest carb cycling until you hit a weight loss plateau. I started Primal in pretty good shape, and over the first 6-8 weeks, while it made me feel a whole lot better, I hardly lost any fat. My weight stayed the same. Since I've started carb cycling, I've lost 6 pounds of fat while increasing my strength and I've been on fire lately.
        To add to that, I have also tried it with good results, not as much fat loss as Choco had but I fall off the almighty wagon too often to see REAL results (for me it’s not a race for abs, but a slowwww methodical walk haha) so I eat junk which interferes with everything he mentioned above. I’d have to do a few weeks of very clean eating before being able to test his theory out fully.

        Also, it isn’t as boring as it may sound, eating lean chicken breast and no-fat sweet potatoes sounds like hell but adding some simple toppings goes a long way. I whipped up some pico de gallo (diced onions, tomatoes, lime juice and cilantro—easy) and topped it with that and it really made the meal pop. I definitely wouldn’t mind eating that twice a day once or twice a week. I’m sure there’s other ways to do it too.

        The biggest take-away is not being afraid of starches, this is still REAL FOOD and carbs alone are NOT the enemy once you’re closer to where you want to be. Carb control works great to lose a lot of body fat, but once you’re down to the wire you gotta play around with hormone signaling through doing this. It also helps athletic performance… A LOT.
        I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


        • #5
          You can also be limited by genetics. Others talk of carb re-feeding to restore leptin but I haven't read much about it personally.


          • #6

            I think more people need to read what I quoted... especially those already relatively lean but still trying to low-carb...
            I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


            • #7
              Thanks for that, iniQuity.

              I'm also pretty sure that from a survival standpoint, carrying around an extra 10-20 pounds of fat is a definite advantage. It's a fuel reserve that doesn't particularly tax or hinder the body. So it makes sense that the body would have mechanisms in place to hang onto it.
              You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!


              • #8
                Originally posted by Grumpy Caveman View Post
                Thanks for that, iniQuity.

                I'm also pretty sure that from a survival standpoint, carrying around an extra 10-20 pounds of fat is a definite advantage. It's a fuel reserve that doesn't particularly tax or hinder the body. So it makes sense that the body would have mechanisms in place to hang onto it.
                Absolutely, kind of makes you think that "the look" some of us want is rather unhealthy, but then again the chances of that type of famine are unlikely (fingers crossed) and at least we know how to fatten up rather quick...
                I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


                • #9
                  I have done a bit of reading on this and it does make sense. Thanks for taking the time to respond to my question.