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  • How to improve fat metabolism

    Does anyone know how to improve fat metabolism? Not so much in the sense of losing weight, but of being able to effectively run on body fat and feel good while doing so. I ate a carb-heavy CW "healthy" diet (with the occasional pizza thrown in) up through October last year, and then plunged into primal and haven't looked back in the past 9 months. I'm really pretty strict about it, absolutely NO grains, industrial oils, processed foods, etc.

    I've tried various levels of carb consumption, from ultra-low to about 3 servings of moderate carb food (ex: apple, sweet potato, walnuts) per day. I've also tried varying total calories from 1200-1400 on up to 1600-1800. No matter what, I have very low energy levels. If I go too long between lunch and dinner, I start to feel nauseated or even weak/dizzy. It feels like low blood sugar. I'm confused though, I thought that by consistently eating this way, I would force my body to become better at metabolizing fat. It's been a solid 9 months though, with no progress. When I try to work out, I feel like every cell of my body is starved for energy - - but I somehow can't access what I have stored up. All the calculators I've seen put me at ~25% BF so there's plenty there ... why can't I use it? I'm not even all that worried about losing weight (another 20% BF would be awesome ). I just want to find this nice steady energy I've heard about, and stop feeling like I'm swimming underwater if I so much as walk a mile. Any ideas??

  • #2
    are you eating sufficient fats and proteins?

    1200 cals is VERY low, especially for an active person. and unless you're very small, even 1600 is pretty low.

    making too many changes, especially such a dramatically small amount of cals, can make your body stubborn about losing weight. make one change and monitor how you feel for a week or two.
    As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

    Ernest Hemingway

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Sihana
      You may need to play with your ratios, and greatly increase your fat intake while lowering your carb intake. You may never have reached low enough levels to completely transition.

      Do you suffer any vertigo, or any other symptoms besides nausea? At what point does the dizziness/weakness come on, at the same time as the nausea, or later on?
      I've tried going for weeks with <50 grams carbs per day ... I think a lot of days were probably around 25-30 grams. There are small amounts in veggies so it's hard to get any lower than that without cutting out all veggies, even ones like lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, etc. I really thought that doing that would force my body to accept and run on fat, but it didn't seem to do the trick.

      The nausea usually hits me late afternoon, like 5ish when I can't get home to eat dinner til more like 7ish. A small snack like a dozen almonds does seem to help with it. The weakness/dizzyness doesn't usually hit until I try to do something active, like a brisk walk uphill or climbing stairs. Then it's like trying to move underwater. All I can think of is that my body just isn't converting stored fat into energy very well, and I can't figure out where the sticking point is.

      Comment


      • #4
        As I say to a lot of people, intermittent fasting, while hard at first, helps acclimate the body to living off of its own fat. That's how I got started, and then sticking to a VLC diet kept me in the state.

        It initially lowered my energy, but once I got used to living off of the fat in my body, I was also more able to efficiently make use of dietary fats.
        "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by KimInGA View Post
          The weakness/dizzyness doesn't usually hit until I try to do something active, like a brisk walk uphill or climbing stairs. Then it's like trying to move underwater.
          It could be being stuck between the efficient use of different fuel substrates. But it might just as likely be a case of messed up electrolyte balance. (Or perhaps it's both.) At under 50 g of carbs a day you need to have a sufficient intake of both water and electrolytes, particularly sodium, as down at that level the kidneys dump them:

          The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D. Tips & tricks for starting (or restarting) low-carb Pt II

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Drumroll View Post
            As I say to a lot of people, intermittent fasting, while hard at first, helps acclimate the body to living off of its own fat. That's how I got started, and then sticking to a VLC diet kept me in the state.

            It initially lowered my energy, but once I got used to living off of the fat in my body, I was also more able to efficiently make use of dietary fats.
            Is 12 hrs enough? I'm wondering if I can do my normal 2-eggs-and-2-pcs-bacon breakfast at 8:00 a.m., then skip all the way to my normal 1-meat-and-2-veggies dinner at 8:00 p.m.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by noodletoy View Post
              are you eating sufficient fats and proteins?

              1200 cals is VERY low, especially for an active person. and unless you're very small, even 1600 is pretty low.

              making too many changes, especially such a dramatically small amount of cals, can make your body stubborn about losing weight. make one change and monitor how you feel for a week or two.
              I do eat quite a bit of fat and protein. This is pretty typical. When I've added it up it usually comes in around 1700 calories, which should be sufficient for a 140-lb woman. I'm not super active by any stretch. Of course if I wasn't so utterly lacking in energy that would probably be different!

              Breakfast @ 8:00 - 2 eggs and 2 pcs bacon
              Lunch @ 1:00 - Dinner leftovers, like 3 pcs beef short ribs and spaghetti squash tossed in butter and herbs
              Snack @ 5:30 - almonds or a chunk of jalapeno cheese
              Dinner @ 7:30 - Meat and 1-2 veggies, like 5 oz salmon topped with butter & dill plus a sweet potato with butter

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by KimInGA View Post
                Is 12 hrs enough? I'm wondering if I can do my normal 2-eggs-and-2-pcs-bacon breakfast at 8:00 a.m., then skip all the way to my normal 1-meat-and-2-veggies dinner at 8:00 p.m.
                The benefits seem to be optimized at about 16 hours and then everything beyond that is just gravy on the sweet potatoes.

                Certainly 12 hours isn't bad at all, I even encourage it as a baby-step into longer IF periods. But shooting for 16 or even 20 hours for some, would almost assuredly kick in some level of fat metabolism for your body to get used to it. Just be aware, you'll have to be prepared to eat quite a large meal or two once the fasting period is over. You want to be getting your 1600 - 1700 calories in the eight or five hour period that you've given yourself at the end of the fast before you begin anew.

                It's hard at first, but you will learn to adapt to it in short order (unless you have any eating disorders, then I say skip the fasting altogether).
                "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Drumroll View Post
                  The benefits seem to be optimized at about 16 hours and then everything beyond that is just gravy on the sweet potatoes.

                  Certainly 12 hours isn't bad at all, I even encourage it as a baby-step into longer IF periods. But shooting for 16 or even 20 hours for some, would almost assuredly kick in some level of fat metabolism for your body to get used to it. Just be aware, you'll have to be prepared to eat quite a large meal or two once the fasting period is over. You want to be getting your 1600 - 1700 calories in the eight or five hour period that you've given yourself at the end of the fast before you begin anew.

                  It's hard at first, but you will learn to adapt to it in short order (unless you have any eating disorders, then I say skip the fasting altogether).
                  Ok cool. I think I'll start with the 12-hr than, and since my breakfast consists of just scrambled eggs and bacon I think I should still be forced into metabolizing fat for energy. Right? I mean it seems logical but that doesn't mean it's right ...

                  I just want to start seeing some of the good benefits I hear everyone else talking about. The only thing I've seen so far is clearing up of a relatively minor (but gross) digestive issue I had. After 9 months and a total change in my entire diet, I thought I'd see more dramatic results!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    personally, i feel better not eating at night. generally i prefer to eat between 10 and 6. that's it. no snacks before bed.
                    As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

                    Ernest Hemingway

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KimInGA View Post
                      Ok cool. I think I'll start with the 12-hr than, and since my breakfast consists of just scrambled eggs and bacon I think I should still be forced into metabolizing fat for energy. Right? I mean it seems logical but that doesn't mean it's right ...

                      I just want to start seeing some of the good benefits I hear everyone else talking about. The only thing I've seen so far is clearing up of a relatively minor (but gross) digestive issue I had. After 9 months and a total change in my entire diet, I thought I'd see more dramatic results!!
                      You could easily go for more than 12 hours if you wanted by including your sleep as a part of the fasting period. It would look something like this: Breakfast at 10:00 AM. Dinner at 5:00 PM. Snacks in between if you like. Be done eating by 6:00 PM. That's an eight hour window of eating. The rest of the day (and night), you don't eat. Boom, 16 hours.

                      Just a suggestion.
                      "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Drumroll View Post
                        You could easily go for more than 12 hours if you wanted by including your sleep as a part of the fasting period. It would look something like this: Breakfast at 10:00 AM. Dinner at 5:00 PM. Snacks in between if you like. Be done eating by 6:00 PM. That's an eight hour window of eating. The rest of the day (and night), you don't eat. Boom, 16 hours.

                        Just a suggestion.
                        Good suggestion, for sure. I wish I could make our schedules work with it, but my husband doesn't get home til 7:00-8:00 so that kind of throws a wrench in things. I could just skip breakfast and do lunch at 1:00pm, dinner at 8:00pm. Same amount of time as 10:00am and 5:00pm. But I am a grumpypants when I don't have breakfast. We shall see, I'll try breakfast/dinner first and if that doesn't work, then try lunch/dinner only.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Have you had any history of fatigue before switching to primal eating? The reason I'masking is because your low energy may not be caused by diet, though diet could be inadvertently contributing to it. I just recently read a fascinating paper on chronic fatigue that discusses the role of inefficient ATP conversion in the mitochondria. If this is at the root of your fatigue, there are some supplements that are shown to help the mitochondria function better and produce energy more efficiently. One ofthe most important ones mentioned was d-Ribose, in addition to carnitine, coQ10, and a few others. I'm experimenting with these now to see if I can improve my own fatigue. That paper did mention that consuming glucose in the form of starches is beneficial, which was why I said it's possible that diet could be a factor, if not a cause. That paper is linked below:

                          CFS - The Central Cause: Mitochondrial Failure - DoctorMyhill

                          CFS - The Methylation Cycle - DoctorMyhill

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Have you had any history of fatigue before switching to primal eating? The reason I'masking is because your low energy may not be caused by diet, though diet could be inadvertently contributing to it. I just recently read a fascinating paper on chronic fatigue that discusses the role of inefficient ATP conversion in the mitochondria. If this is at the root of your fatigue, there are some supplements that are shown to help the mitochondria function better and produce energy more efficiently. One ofthe most important ones mentioned was d-Ribose, in addition to carnitine, coQ10, and a few others. I'm experimenting with these now to see if I can improve my own fatigue. That paper did mention that consuming glucose in the form of starches is beneficial, which was why I said it's possible that diet could be a factor, if not a cause. That paper is linked below:

                            CFS - The Central Cause: Mitochondrial Failure - DoctorMyhill

                            CFS - The Methylation Cycle - DoctorMyhill

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KimInGA View Post
                              Good suggestion, for sure. I wish I could make our schedules work with it, but my husband doesn't get home til 7:00-8:00 so that kind of throws a wrench in things. I could just skip breakfast and do lunch at 1:00pm, dinner at 8:00pm. Same amount of time as 10:00am and 5:00pm. But I am a grumpypants when I don't have breakfast. We shall see, I'll try breakfast/dinner first and if that doesn't work, then try lunch/dinner only.
                              You don't have to eat on your husband's schedule you know. You could make dinner and then leave him some for when he comes home. If you're worried about getting some time to talk with him/be social, just make time to sit with him when he eats his meal.
                              "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

                              Comment

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