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I ended my low-carb flu with a carb refeed

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  • I ended my low-carb flu with a carb refeed

    After feeling crappy for a couple of weeks, I read Mark's post about carb refeeds and stuffed myself with carbs. This ended my spiraling-down funk within 30 minutes and brought me back to normal functioning. Given this n=1 experiment, I would encourage anyone else in a similar low-energy condition after a few weeks to try it. I'm going to do another one tomorrow and then go back on low carb and see how it goes.

    Funny that this is supposed to help with weight loss. My only goal was to feel better. But if it restarts fat burning, great.

    One point maybe someone could clarify: why does Mark not recommend the refeed for people who are obese? For them, he says it is probably better to stick with the program and try the refeed when they are down to lean condition. I do not understand the reasoning there.

  • #2
    Can you link the article in which Mark talks about this?
    Free book on Self-change (aswell as Paleo articles) at my website: www.identityisdynamic.com

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    • #3
      This one?

      Carb Refeeding and Weight Loss | Mark's Daily Apple
      Norak's Primal Journal:
      2010-07-23: ~255lbs, ~40.0"
      2011-11-03: ~230lbs, ~35.5"
      2011-12-07: ~220lbs, ~34.0"

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      • #4
        thanks

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        • #5
          At his recent talk in New York, Mark kind of poo-pooed the carb refeed, carb cycling, meal timing stuff. He didn't say it was useless, but he was kind of dismissive.
          If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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          • #6
            Yes while he was definitely a bit dismissive his article kind of states otherwise. From the article posted above:

            The purpose, as I see it, of carb refeeds is the restoration of leptin levels in the dieter. As we know, caloric restriction reduces leptin levels. With lower leptin comes increased hunger and reduced adherence to a diet. Cravings arise. Energy wanes, immunity suffers. The lack of leptin elicits the cascade of hormones that down regulate metabolism and energy expenditure. Your muscles use less energy and become more efficient – but weaker and less effective. Menstruation and fertility become issues. Dropping calories even more just makes the problem worse. You need to restore leptin, at least for a bit, to right the path. A carb refeed can help you achieve this.
            Who needs to reefed? No one “needs” a carb reefed, especially if he or she is feeling good, looking good, and continuing to lose weight with plenty of energy. I never consciously stuff myself with carbs, and I’m doing okay. Remember, too, that a low-carb eating plan doesn’t equal a low calorie eating plan. If your weight loss has stalled, however, and hunger is a constant issue, no matter the depths of your caloric restriction, it may be wise to consider a periodic carbohydrate refeed. If you lack energy throughout the day and your immune system is suffering, you might need to restore your leptin levels with a carb refeed.
            Mark explains it all, plain as day.
            The OP was feeling crummy etc, so a reefed was in order. I’m trying to play with hormone signaling, etc in order to shed more bodyfat, so periodic carb refeeds are something I’m experimenting with. I don’t “need” to do it, but I want to see what it does.
            I don’t think Mark had time to get into the nitty gritty of leptin/insulin and all of that in NYC so I think it was easier to dismiss the topic since it would be one that would bring up many questions and he was on a time constraint. I was actually going to bring up the article at the meet-up but I thought it was best not to after seeing that questions about carbs for athletes and stuff were already being asked.
            I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by bookstorecowboy View Post
              One point maybe someone could clarify: why does Mark not recommend the refeed for people who are obese? For them, he says it is probably better to stick with the program and try the refeed when they are down to lean condition. I do not understand the reasoning there.
              I have to imagine that this is to avoid a rebound carb binge which some obese (and lean) people definitely have problems with. Psychology is a HUGE part of healthy (and shitty) eating and encouraging this kind of cheating behavior can lead to uncontrolled eating and possibly even cause people who struggle with willpower to revert to their old ways. I know I spin out of control once in a while but now that I'm a little more in tune with my body and how craptastic I feel after cheating too many meals in a row. Willpower can be a pain in the ass sometimes
              My Paleo Project:

              www.nutritionator.com

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              • #8
                Why refeed on just carbs, why not just throw in a sweet potato and an extra piece of fruit on a work-out day?
                Primal is not a low-carb diet, so there is no reason why you'd be glucogen depleted.
                Unless off course you're glucogen depleted because you've only recently transitioned into PB (which happened to me), in which case you don't want to give your body more carbs as it is learning to fuel more on fats. Better to take it easy and adjust your work-outs to your energy levels, rather than grabbing some more carb fuel.
                Free book on Self-change (aswell as Paleo articles) at my website: www.identityisdynamic.com

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                • #9
                  Medscape: Medscape Access

                  read through this slide show, it explains a lot
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nutritionator View Post
                    I have to imagine that this is to avoid a rebound carb binge which some obese (and lean) people definitely have problems with. Psychology is a HUGE part of healthy (and shitty) eating and encouraging this kind of cheating behavior can lead to uncontrolled eating and possibly even cause people who struggle with willpower to revert to their old ways. I know I spin out of control once in a while but now that I'm a little more in tune with my body and how craptastic I feel after cheating too many meals in a row. Willpower can be a pain in the ass sometimes
                    Carb-refeeds aren’t cheating.

                    Eating potatoes isn’t cheating, potatoes are food, sweet potatoes are food. Nobody is saying to “re-feed” with pizzas, please don’t misunderstand.
                    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Edje Noh View Post
                      Why refeed on just carbs, why not just throw in a sweet potato and an extra piece of fruit on a work-out day?
                      Primal is not a low-carb diet, so there is no reason why you'd be glucogen depleted.
                      Unless off course you're glucogen depleted because you've only recently transitioned into PB (which happened to me), in which case you don't want to give your body more carbs as it is learning to fuel more on fats. Better to take it easy and adjust your work-outs to your energy levels, rather than grabbing some more carb fuel.
                      That’s what I do (up carbs on workout days) but, again, just saying “carbs” I guess is leaving too much up to interpretation. A primal carb re-feed simply means eating more starch, we tend to prefer sweet potatoes because they’re lower GI and more nutritious than white but I’m having white potatoes today, sometimes I have squash or white rice but I largely prefer sweet potatoes.
                      I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by iniQuity View Post
                        Eating potatoes isn’t cheating, potatoes are food, sweet potatoes are food. Nobody is saying to “re-feed” with pizzas, please don’t misunderstand.
                        I consider "stuffing" myself with carbs, no matter where they come from cheating, everyone has different interpretations of it in their diet. People have varying levels of sensitivity to insulin surges, more physically active people can handle these a lot better and of course wouldn't consider getting some starchy carbs cheating where others would. And he originally asked about the problems a carb filled meal could cause for obese people and I could see a sugary meal, whether it's starch or simple sugar, leading to a craving for past sugary crutches like pizza and sweets. Even Mark mentions multiple times that it's a sensitive subject and can lead to not so good results in some people.

                        I never assumed or said that people were re-feeding with pizzas, please don't put words in my mouth.
                        My Paleo Project:

                        www.nutritionator.com

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                        • #13
                          My main carb was quinoa, which I suspect no one alive has a deep craving for (I kind of liked it, but it isn't exactly a bacon-wrapped fig). I can see that someone who is on a mission to kill carb cravings could be better off avoiding a carb re-feed. I'm not in that position, I think (it was actually pretty easy for me to go off grains and sugar. Dairy was a lot harder than those two).

                          As to why not stick it out, I stuck it out long enough and was feeling steadily worse. I did not have the energy to exercise at all and was sleeping four or five hours during the day (not at night -- during the day, as extra). I felt totally drained, depressed, and mentally foggy. I know people say that this is a stage to PB enlightenment, but I'm not convinced that it would work for me. (I don't doubt it works for some people, as I have read their postings. I think the assumption that it therefore works for everyone is a hasty generalization.) At a certain point you have to address the problem, and I had reached that point. More than two weeks of feeling horrible is enough. Even Mark Sisson says that sustained VLC can put some people in a rut.

                          One factor (who knows?) might have been that I came down with a brutal and exhausting flu about a month ago, right in the middle of going primal. That made me deeply tired, and I didn't recover in the sense of feeling energetic again. Maybe this never would have happened, or would not have taken as long, if I hadn't been ill.

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                          • #14
                            I think stuffing yourself with any food is "cheating". I'd certainly consider the #1 rule of being a healthy weight to be "Stop when you're full".
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                            • #15
                              You don’t have to physically stuff yourself. All you need is about 200g of carbs, which is somewhere along the lines of 3-4 sweet potatoes. This is a lot for some, but you don’t have to do it in a single sitting. I can easily do that in my usual two meals without feeling discomfort.

                              Oh, that would also need to be tailored to your height, activity level and gender. As a pretty active 5’7, 26 year old male, 200-250g is good for me. Somebody smaller could do less.

                              Also, some people reefed on days that don’t necessarily match their LHT days, and experience good results as well.

                              Lastly, if you know yourself and how you react to more carbs then you will be smart enough to make an educated decision. Sweet potatoes don’t make me run for “bad” carbs, if they did I’d probably reconsider eating a lot of them.
                              I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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