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Thread: 10:30 pm carb cravings...need help page

  1. #1
    brian7972's Avatar
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    Primal Fuel


    I've been primal for 6 months now. Went from 240 to 196 and am feeling great. I've been having a very odd problem the last few weeks while intermittent fasting (which I do 2-3x a week due to scheduling and convenience).


    My fasts typically are 18 hour fasts, broken at 6pm at which point I normally have a Big Ass Salad, some sort of fatty meat with copious amounts of butter, cocunut milk, olive oil, etc. Around 8:30 or so I typically also have 3 eggs or some nitrate-free meat and a piece of cheese or olives. I fall asleep around 9:30 (I get up at 5am). Around 10:30, I awake, ravenously hungry for carbs. I've tried the drink-a-glass-of-water trick, 5-HTP, eat more protein/fat, but I literally cannot fall back asleep unless I have carbs, which, unfortunately, usually consists of peanut butter or something else non-primal. Before I went primal, I used to engage in similar 10:30 pm behavior. I fear that my body craves this insulin release as a precursor to sleep. (Also, I've tried sleeping aids, and all they did was make me eat sometimes unconsciously at 10:30pm!)


    I see three potential problems:


    1. psychological "dependence" on this insulin rush.

    2. intermittent fasting is not for me, and my body needs to eat throughout the day

    3. did I use up my body's "willpower" by 10:30pm and I just simply give in? (Mark had a great post on this concept a while back, which blew my mind and made a lot of sense: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/increase-willpower/)


    Any insights/tips/strategies, etc. would be most appreciated...


  2. #2
    BarbeyGirl's Avatar
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    Hmmm. Sounds like it is more of a mental habit than a physiological need -- but the mind is a powerful thing!


    I used to have a snack every day after getting home from work. Since going primal and shifting my eating schedule later in the day, I don't need that snack anymore. I'm not hungry. BUT, it took me a couple months of self-talk and intentional distraction to convince my body not to *feel* hungry because my brain said "Oh, look, it's time to eat!"


    Working out is the ideal hunger (or fake hunger) elimination strategy for me. That might not work for you in the middle of the night, though!


    How about some other kind of mouth-distraction, like a cup of tea?


    Or maybe a non-food distraction, like soduku or a good book? Perhaps reading books like Protein Power, The Primal Blueprint, etc would be helpful not only as a distraction, but as a constant reminder of why you've made this dietary choice.


    You could try a different eating schedule (maybe go a week or two without IF-ing) and see how you do. If it doesn't work and you find that you prefer the IF schedule, you can always go back to it later.

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    aboutsaffron's Avatar
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    perhaps to get started on cutting out this habit, rather than eating pb or something, try a couple berries? still carbs, but obviously much better than the peanut butter or other fruit you might grab.


    also, i've found that since i started brushing my teeth with baking soda + peroxide, i never want to eat anything after my nightly brushing. something about the happy clean feeling keeps me away from food.

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  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies/tips.


    @aboutsaffron. I've tried the teeth brushing thing (even brushing them at 10:30 when the urge strikes!). I will try the berries idea, but with heavy cream to blunt the insulin response. That's a good suggestion.


    @barbeygirl - I think it's really a mental thing, too. It's amazing how years of bad habits are hard to break! It's funny you mention reading PB and others as a distraction. I don't read at night because (a) during the day, all I do is read; and (b) it tends to ramp my neurons up for my own article/book ideas. However, I do something similar to your suggestion when I get these cravings. I watch The Biggest Loser (mostly to laugh at the CW), Big Medicine, and other obesity/health related shows. Sometimes they help (e.g. during the surgery parts), sometimes they don't (during the meal-eating parts)!


    Sounds like distraction and "self-talk" are going to be what gets me through this. I know that if I can do this two nights in a row, I'm back into heavy ketosis and this is easier to manage. It's the first night and second night that are tripping me up.


  5. #5
    Mr.M's Avatar
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    brian -


    Heh, I had this same exact problem not even a year ago; I definitely know how frustrating it can be.


    What worked for me was going VLC (so severely cutting carbs back to < 10g). Also, I ate my carbs (veggies) at lunch, so nowhere near sleep time. I used to allow myself a "dessert" of a banana before sleep, only to awaken and crave 5 more!


    Make sure to get as satiated as possible before sleeping as well... So, that translates eating a dinner (usually 8oz meat, 1tbsp oil, 1 bacon, 1 egg) and then a meal after dinner but before sleep (4 eggs 1 bacon).


    Judging by what you&#39;ve said you might want to move your salad eating to earlier in the day, and perhaps remove the cheese/olives as well and substitute for something more...bacony.


    Other than that, making sure your sleep area is comfortable for you (I prefer chilly, for instance) and you try to position your body (typically on your side) to avoid waking up due to sleep apnea/snoring (which, I wager is why you&#39;re waking up in the first place).


  6. #6
    Mark Sisson's Avatar
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    [quote]

    Make sure to get as satiated as possible before sleeping as well... So, that translates eating a dinner (usually 8oz meat, 1tbsp oil, 1 bacon, 1 egg) and then a meal after dinner but before sleep (4 eggs 1 bacon).
    </blockquote>


    Just testing blockquotes. Nothing to look at here.


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    Mark Sisson's Avatar
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    [quote]

    ther than that, making sure your sleep area is comfortable for you (I prefer chilly, for instance) and you try to position your body (typically on your side) </blockquote>


    Testing blockquotes again.


  8. #8
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    @Mr. M - yes, I thought of front-end loading my carbs (salad) but that wouldn&#39;t work when I&#39;m IF&#39;ing (I fast until 6pm). Satiation is the key, so I&#39;m going to focus on that as you suggest.


    My sleep area is comfortable, and I do sleep on my side. I really don&#39;t know why I wake up at 10:30 every night, but all I know is that I&#39;m half-asleep and obviously not diligent about what I&#39;m putting in my mouth. Tonight I&#39;m going to try and eat more (and more fat) and report back...


    Thanks for the suggestions...


  9. #9
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    I don&#39;t understand. People here advise on "listening to your body"... if you crave a bloody steak, that&#39;s fine, right? So if you&#39;re craving carbs, why not eat them?

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    Have you tried staying up later than 9:30? I understand you have to wake up early, but if you&#39;re being awoken at 10:30 anyway, then what is the point? Maybe your body is telling you 9:30 is too early to shut down.

    Everything in moderation, including moderation.

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