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Thread: Low leptin, refeeds and sleep page 2

  1. #11
    sarah13's Avatar
    sarah13 is offline Junior Member
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    Hi all!

    I'm a 24 year old female and very lean but need to gain weight - fat and muscle - I have been eating fairly primal for the past two months and have lost weight but this was not my intention! I have always been quite small framed, but I weigh 51kg now so have lost half a stone, and I am 5ft 7 so this is too low for my height, but I can't seem to gain any weight. I have had blood tests recently beceause I have had women problems (too low hormone levels to have my monthly flow - sorry guys!) So just trying to gain weight to make my body run normally again.

    Once a week I do an "intensity" workout class - (an hour of intense exercises like squat jumps, pressups, lunges, burpees, mountain climbers, sprinting on the spot, high knees etc.) Then I try and do another 3 workouts, where I run for 25 minutes (sprinting then slower jog), and lift 8kg weights with squats, lunges etc, use the TRX and do bodyweight exercises - totalling an hour 10 minutes per workout.

    Eating wise, a typical day for me is avocado with smoked salmon and a couple of oatcakes for breakfast, or on a carby day a bowl of oats with kefir milk (sorry not primal!) and berries and nuts, lunch usually consists of a big salad with steamed veg - on a carby day sweet potato included, otherwise just greens and tomatoes, peppers etc, with about 100g protein such as sardines, chicken etc. drizzled with olive oil, sometimes I have lentils or rice in my salads depending on whether I think I need the carbs.
    Snacks - handful nuts, oatcakes spread with avocado, chicken breast slices, fruit.
    Dinner - usually a sweet potato and carrots/green beans, with lamb, chicken, or fish cooked in coconut or olive oil. Sometimes brown rice when I've worked out quite hard.
    Protein shake after workouts using sunwarrior protein (17g protein per scoop)
    I put coconut oil in my tea daily to try and gain weight but no luck so far!
    I am very good with eating healthily and never really have a cheat meal or desert - desert for me is generally full fat yoghurt with dark chocolate pieces and fruit with honey! So nothing "bad".

    I track my diet on fit day to make sure I'm getting enough protein and fat, and on a general day I get about 60-70g protein, 55- 60g fat, and 120-150g carbs.

    Any suggestions? I feel quite tired the day after a workout and just feel zonked and low energy, also irritable. I had thought I was doing fine with the carbs but maybe I need to start eating more and doing 1 day of carb refeeding per week? I want to build lean muscle and gain fat and look more shapely! Thanks appreciate any advice.

  2. #12
    Meghanner's Avatar
    Meghanner is offline Senior Member
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    Sarah,
    You're on a primal/paleo forum...so of course we are all likely going to suggest you cut the oats/lentils/oatcakes out of your diet and sub them in with another carb source. Squash, sweet potato, white potato (possibly). Given the macro's your describing there is no way you're eating enough calories to fuel your workouts or body. No wonder your irritable. Up your calories overall and you'll see a great increase in energy. Simple as that.

  3. #13
    diene's Avatar
    diene is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by newbeme View Post
    Just to give some more info on what I define as sleep problems:

    I am tired and feel like I need to sleep when I go to bed, but once in bed I just keep turning and turning, sometimes even for 2-3 hours! Feels terrible, and I never had any problems before going low-carb. While in bed I occasionally feel palpitations, and my thoughts are racing all over the place - I feel restless even though I'm completely shattered.... I am also more likely to wake up quite a few times, like once per hour. Which for me is quite weird. Anyone identify with this?

    Lately I noticed that after adding some potatoes/sweetpotatoes I can sleep through the night without waking, and fall asleep relatively effortlessly. So this - together with me reading up on the importance of carb-refeeds - got me thinking that low leptin levels could be the culprit.

    Thanks for the replies so far - hoping to hear of some more experiences!
    I think this is your body's way of telling you to eat more carbs. If you're already quite lean (so I assume you're not trying to lose weight), why are you doing this to yourself? Sleep deprivation can cause all kinds of problems, and you'd be much better off eating more carbs and getting a good night's sleep than eating low carb. At least do carb refeeds regularly. When I was VLC, I did 1-2 days of carb refeeds weekly. I didn't have sleep problems (unless I'm severely restricting, in which case, I'd have trouble falling asleep, but that's just b/c I'd be too hungry to fall asleep).

    I don't know how low carb you are or how intense your cardio workouts are since you didn't provide a description of what you do. But eating VLC (<50 g per day) and doing high intensity workouts on a consistent basis will wreck your metabolism and your body. In my opinion, it's okay to be VLC and run at a moderate pace (whatever that pace is for you). But anything more intense than that, and you're asking for trouble. If (1) you're not trying to lose weight and (2) you work out a lot, then I don't really see the point of also eating very low carb. Even Mark would agree that people who work out a lot should eat more carbs.

  4. #14
    Meghanner's Avatar
    Meghanner is offline Senior Member
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    A combination of melatonin/5-HTP/L-theanine works great for me! I also am sure to reduce any stimulants after noon. Dark chocolate, coffee, green tea, red wine, any sugars..ect...
    As a side note, if my training volume increases and I'm undereating, I will chronically wake up about 90mins after falling asleep and find myself in front of the fridge NEEDING to eat before falling back to sleep. When I adjust my caloric and carb intake this problem goes away.

  5. #15
    NotJustPaleo's Avatar
    NotJustPaleo is offline Junior Member
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    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    Hi. I've experimented with very low carb days along side my friend who was training for a mens physique competition. I couldn't sleep, I was grumpy and literally couldn't get through the days without falling asleep.

    Carbs are an emotional subject for people, but you definitely need to up the intake. I wouldn't worry too much about adding in some more. Based off your exercise routine, I think you will find you have better workouts, better moods AND better sleep!

    If you try that and don't want to wait for the results..I have a couple recommendations.

    Install a blue blocking app on your phone. Android makes this one.

    Take a valerian root supplement. You will have incredibly vivid dreams and sometimes bad ones. But, it can be fun!

    Drink some chamomile, skullcap or lavender blend tea during your bedtime ritual. Herbs have a very noticeable effect on how deep I sleep.

    Lastly, make sure your room is absolutely dark! I've had a few people respond greatly to turning their phone or other devices over or covering them when charging. Your eyelids are the thinnest skin on your body, they are incredibly sensitive to even the smallest light.

    One more thing, try deep breathing or some sort of progressive relaxation before bed. It takes work to make this a habit, but it can help loosen your stiff muscles as well. Tighten each muscle starting from the feet and work your way up to your neck. You can read more on progressive relaxation here.

    Best of luck!!

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