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  1. #1
    Tawny's Avatar
    Tawny is offline Senior Member
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    Assistance, please

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    I've been doing very well with primal, and I'm into my 9th week of strict primal eating (greater than 90%). My carb count has been around 75 g/day when I've counted. Over the last two weeks, I have eaten two meals/day during the workweek-breakfast and dinner, so I'm eating about every 12 hours. This seems to work best for me with my schedule and I'm managing it very well, no excessive hunger, headaches, etc.

    My typical day:
    Breakfast-3 eggs, spinach, mushrooms, leftover veggies all scrambled in coconut oil, 3-4 sausage links

    Dinner-some sort of meat, a lot of vegetables, fruit (berries, cherries, peaches) with lots of heavy whipping cream

    My exercise routine consisted of occasional runs and lots of long walks, with sprints and strength workouts interspersed when I felt like it. I began a more regimented strength workout 2 weeks ago (today starts my 3rd week). I do 3 workouts/week-deadlifts, squats, pushups, etc-heavy stuff, work to exhaustion. I've been researching eating carbs around workouts because of dizziness, fatigue, feeling like I'm going to pass out for a few minutes toward the end of my workout. I have no problems with this during walks or runs. I added more rest breaks between sets and coconut water after strength workouts and this seems to have helped, though I've only done it twice so far.

    My problem: Over the last two weekends, I have been more tired than usual and have wanted to eat more carbs. I have given in to the cravings and have been able to control my intake, though this has not always been the case in the past. I'm wondering if I really need the extra carbs or if I'm deluding myself. My suspicion was that the increase in exercise intensity has upped my calorie needs, so I've tried eating what were my go-to foods when I first started primal (cheese and nuts) but this hasn't helped. That should be my first clue that I don't need food, just want carbs, and besides, I don't feel like I need more food on the days I've actually done the intense workouts...I've done so well these past two months and want to continue to progress. I don't feel like I can safely experiment with carbs, though, they are like some sort of magical beast to me and I don't want to fall back under their spell! Any thoughts, advice, kicks in the rear?

  2. #2
    NourishedEm's Avatar
    NourishedEm is offline Senior Member
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    Maybe lose some of the fruit and replace it with some starch. If you eat 50g of carbohydrate from sweet potato, it's nearly all glucose. The same value of peaches and cherries will have much less glucose and much more fructose, which is not what your body seems to be craving.

    It's worth a shot anyway.

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    Apex Predator's Avatar
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    "Work[ing] to exhaustion" 3/wk seems a bit much. Maybe try backing off and seeing if that helps.

  4. #4
    Tawny's Avatar
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    @NourishedEm-I can try that. So you do think it's possible that I actually need glucose? I'm so gun-shy about trusting myself with this-It has been so much easier for me to just stay away from it...fruit does not seem to have the same impact for me-I was always more likely to gorge on pasta and bread.

    @Apex-I probably should re-phrase: "Working to muscle fatigue". I recover pretty quickly, and adding 60 sec. rest breaks between sets and drinking coconut water (22g carbs) afterward has helped ease glycogen-depletion symptoms. I have only been working this hard while eating primally for the last two weeks, though, so if tweaking the diet doesn't work I agree that I should probably back off.

  5. #5
    Minxxa's Avatar
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    You sound pretty darn active, so you MAY need a few more carbs (those that work out a lot more will have better info on this!).

    I eat a lot of sweet potatoes myself, they really do a lot for me and I notice the difference on the days I don't have them-- not as full as long, not as much energy, etc. Just a personal antecdote.

    You may want to play around with the fruit. Some peeps do wonderful with it, and for some it triggers some of the same carb/sugary cravings that processed carbs do. It's an individual thing, so I find the best way to see is to try removing it for a few weeks and replacing with something else. Then you can add back in and you should notice any differences a little more clearly.

    I love coconut water for after exercising myself as well-- or anytime I'm feeling a bit dehydrated. Awesome stuff!
    "Boy I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

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    I love coconut water for after exercising myself as well-- or anytime I'm feeling a bit dehydrated. Awesome stuff!
    Best thing I've found to hydrate after a good workout
    Self-realization. I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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    AndreaReina's Avatar
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    Lifting heavy depletes muscle glycogen, so carbs would be indicated. 75g/day doesn't even cover basic physiological needs, let alone glycogenesis. I find that sweet/white potatoes are quite filling for the amount of carbs they give -- at ~17g per 100g, it's 2lbs to hit 150g of carbs. White rice cooked in plain (unsalted) water is also difficult to over-eat unless you load it up with sauce.

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    Tawny's Avatar
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    The coconut water is amazing - I used to get headaches after a tough workout, but no longer! I just wish it wasn't so expensive.

    So it sounds like I should try to replace the fruit with something else - sweet potato or maybe rice(?). I haven't been having issues with the fruit and I don't think it triggers cravings in me. Maybe I should just replace on workout days? I would feel very comfortable experimenting that way-much better than the graham crackers I've been eating the past 2 weekends. Thanks!

  9. #9
    Tawny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndreaReina View Post
    Lifting heavy depletes muscle glycogen, so carbs would be indicated.
    My worry with this has been that I'm not as lean as I want to be, I still have about 20 pounds to lose. But I should be looking at replacing glycogen? I was having problems with lightheadness, shaking, and fatigue toward the middle/end of lifting sessions, but this seems to have resolved with extended rest breaks. I was thinking that the need for carbs for glycogenesis was immediate, but are you thinking that I could be craving carbs later for this reason? I don't have a good understanding of this yet but am reading all I can find...
    Last edited by Tawny; 05-16-2011 at 12:09 PM.

  10. #10
    NourishedEm's Avatar
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    There's no such thing as an essential carbohydrate, your body can make all the glucose it needs, if necessary, but there's some debate as to whether that's an optimal state to be in. Personally I think your 75g per day is an ideal amount if you're trying to lean out.
    That is why I suggested swapping out some fruit for starchy veg, not because I think there's anything wrong with fruit, but because I assumed you didn't want to increase your carb levels yet.
    If you worry about carb cravings, perhaps rice and white potato may not be your best bet just now. Stick with starch that has a lower glycemic index such as yam and sweet potato.

    Good luck!

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