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    KimInGA's Avatar
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    How to improve fat metabolism

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    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??

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    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sihana View Post
    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.

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    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.

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    Quote 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

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    Quote 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.

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    Quote 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

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    Quote 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).

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    Quote 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!!

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    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

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