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Rant about carb cycling

Old 10-17-17, 06:21 PM
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DMC707
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Rant about carb cycling

This thread is more a rant than a solicitation of advice

Been stalled out on weight loss for several months --

Have been following a NSNG (think paleo) diet plan all along -- not as strict as a monk , but definitely stricter than any "diet" I have ever followed - and its relatively easy to stay on track

I haven't seen the inside of a weight room in more than a year, and I thought to myself, -- if I can stimulate some positive muscle growth - that may fire up the furnace once again.

2 weeks into the gym work, I still find myself lethargic and very weak, so 2 days ago it occurred to me that I might need to re-introduce a few more carbs back into the mix to help fuel the gym work

I'm not talking about cakes and cookies , but I did eat a baked potato ----- the results turned out to be rather "explosive" - and not in a good way

I'm starting to feel a bit better in the gym but that could easily be attributed to some long dormant muscle memory beginning to kick in a bit as opposed to the extra influx of simple carbs
-- make no mistake, the NSNG approach still has carbs, - cruciferous vegetables, cheese, and I even have a beer or 3 on random occasions -- but this potato experience was surprising

I don't know if its because I got such a huge rush of extra carb calories at once that did me in, and if so, if it would be safe to continue with a few more, only perhaps a bit more spread out , say, cut the same potato into thirds and portion it out over the course of a day, or sub in some wheat toast or small pasta plate or something

-- or.... if I should just go back to my NSNG/Paleo drawing board and double down on eliminating unneeded calories

--- an occasional beer keeps me sane -- I'd rather cut out more dairy if it comes down to that -- but if I cut out everything but chicken and broccoli , I will not be a very fun person to live with for long

It feels at times as if I'm using my body as some kind of mad science experiment
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Old 10-17-17, 06:38 PM
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One of my wife's coworkers has been doing the extremely-limited/no-carb/strictly monitored calorie diet with one "all bets are off" day per week. He won the weight loss competition in the department (over 50 people) dropping from ~245 to ~200 during the contest. So it can definitely work.
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Old 10-17-17, 09:25 PM
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I have found with cycling that it's tough to be on hard-core weight loss mode and do tons of cycling at the same time. For long distances/high intensity it's just very hard to fuel that on body fat alone, not to mention it's way easier to bonk if your brain thinks it's being starved of the glucose it needs to function properly.

I've been in weightloss mode, and cycling mode, again recently. I've gone as far as 43 miles on an empty stomach recently, but that was with watching the heart rate monitor fairly religiously and forcing myself to keep the pace down. Honestly I don't really like doing this, so in some of my rides I've eaten 200-300 calories of carbs shortly before a ride and then let the chips fall where they may.

I think there's a good reason why if you look at the various "mass builder" formulas they sell in the supplement stores next to gyms it turns out the primary ingredient is usually sugar of some sort.

At the end of the day, though, I think there's something to be said for throwing in some weight training to keep the fires lit. Yes, weight loss is just a matter of calories in vs. calories out, but calories out includes both basal metabolism and the actual calories burnt doing whatever exercise you're doing, and for most people, the calories burnt during exercise is a minority of all calories used in a day. Keeping the metabolism up is probably more effective for most people than doubling how long they exercise.

I don't eat tons of carbs these days, but after a ride that's been long and strenuous enough that I'm worried about my glycogen stores I'll make a sandwich from a sandwich thin (~100 calories worth of bread) and some turkey or something for protein. Some carbs immediately after strenuous exercise is a good thing. And for long enough or hard enough rides, some carbs during the ride is a good thing too.
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Old 10-17-17, 10:58 PM
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Ok, many years of various forms of diet experience here. The most successful diet that I have used is the high fat low carb option. The thing to remember about all diets is that they restrict your calorie intake. That is the real basics of how you lose weight. What you need to find is a diet that fits in with your lifestyle and desires and tastes for it to really be successful. To keep weight off you have to become comfortable with an intake of calories that is well below what you have consumed to put the weight on. That is also the hard part. But if you can find a diet that is sustainable and has food that suits your tastes then that should give you much more success

So last year I went low carb high fat. What they call banting rather than the western catch diets of keto or paleo. No doubt I was close to being in ketosis as I was sitting around a really low carb intake of around 30g/day. I dropped 17kg in 10 weeks, right in the middle of the summer track season and got faster and set a PB flying 200 qualifier at the end of it all. Over winter I haven't been as strict, but definitely not bad and have rolled into this summer season 8kg heavier, but the vast majority of that comes from hitting the gym pretty hard over winter for strength gains. I haven't put on much extra body fat. AND I also like to have a few beers each week, but these days I drink a beer that has just 2g of carbs per bottle.

Now having said all that, it sounds like you are either on the wrong diet or you are choosing the wrong foods within the confines of that diet. Going HFLC gave a pretty broad spectrum of available foods and I like meat and cheese. The fats consumed really changed the dynamics of my diet, and while I'm not nearly as strict these days I still rely on the fats to sate the hunger and get me through the day. I only eat 2 meals a day now and have ample energy for competition. Only on Saturday I raced my first sprint competition of the year. I had a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs and avocado at around 8:30am. Warmup for the comp started at 12 after a 2hr drive to get to the venue. A qualifier, 4 hard races and warmups/warmdowns for each race over a 5.5hr period and all I had was a small can of red bull to give me an artificial boost before my qualifier. I ate dinner on the way home at around 7pm. I never felt hungry through the comp, and I could have well driven the 2hrs home without dinner, but I didn't want to be eating a meal at 9pm. Most days I will only do lunch and dinner. I do skip "breakfast" but I do have a bulletproof coffee instead. That's been standard for me for about a year now.

An aside, I used to use protein isolate powder to assist with recovery after hard training and weight sessions. It definitely used to assist. When I started the HFLC I wasn't taking the powder and I found that I recovered quite well. I went back on the powder when I started in the gym for winter, more to use up what I had left than for any benefit. I actually recover better now without it than with it

Last edited by brawlo; 10-17-17 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 10-18-17, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by brawlo View Post
Ok, many years of various forms of diet experience here. The most successful diet that I have used is the high fat low carb option.
Thanks for chiming in Brawlo ! Your experiences are especially insightful as I am a trackie as well who has read many of your posts/replies on the track racing sub-forum , -- I have had a long layoff, but hope to return to the boards when the season here starts up again in late February

Every large guy likes to self categorize themselves as a "sprinter" , but for many that term is a crutch which not so secretly means - "I don't have the fitness to hang in a mass start race "

I may not look the best in lycra , but If I am travelling 3 hours to get to my closest track, I want to ride --- and that means developing enough basic fitness to at least be able to sit in for a while

When I was lamenting about the weakness in the gym --- I will admit, -- I was doing zercher squats with a pair of 25's on the bar and it was giving me a pretty deep thigh burn. Never before have I experienced such --- I d ont know what the term is -- fragility maybe --- And my attempts at the flat bench had me feeling as if my shoulders would fail if I used any more than 1 plate -- that's what tempted me to try and introduce some more carbs into the mix --- thinking that it wont fix any musculoskeletal deficiencies, but if I was having an energy lull - it might help

That experiment is effectively over --- so far today I have fueled up with a small cup of guacamole and a bowl of Texas style Chili (no beans , but plenty of beef, onions and peppers)

But what do you do about keeping up with your fiber consumption on a high fat lower carb approach ? Personally I have a stomach aversion to raw greens, but have no problem with them if they are cooked or utilized in a recipe or juiced --- but juicing them effectively removes the fiber benefit entirely
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Old 10-18-17, 02:20 PM
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It worked for me. I dropped about 50lbs on a low carb plan. My mom had a summer of parties because she turned 75, and I fell completely off the wagon and gained some back, but it's coming off again as I cut back on the carbs again.

Once you are in Keto, you will have a lot of energy. Your body will basically produce it for you so long as you don't give it any glucose to burn instead.
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Old 10-18-17, 02:25 PM
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There are bran cereals that have no to almost no added sugar, are fairly low in calories per serving (like 80 calories per serving), and are almost just pure bran manipulated into pellet or noodle form.

Also, I like eating some oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder in it. If I make the oatmeal a little watery I can mix the protein in (I like chocolate flavor in oatmeal the best) and not need any milk. Oatmeal has more carbs than just pure fiber, but oh well, I'm definitely not religiously against any carbs - just keeping the carbs down to a dull roar.

One thing I did in the past when I was being more nazilike in my carb count, and wanted a lot of daily fiber, is to take a large spoonful of sugar-free metamucil in the morning with a huge glass of water. That's really just pure psyllium husk fiber, and will definitely, uh, keep things moving down there.

But again, for me personally it's easier to eat very low carbs if I'm not also trying to ride long and hard. Long and slow is doable, and short and hard is doable, but long and hard, for me, simply requires some carbs. So be it.
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Old 10-18-17, 04:31 PM
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Thanks for the tip on the Metamucil @SethAZ , --

The carbs seem to be have a much more profound effect on me now that I have been limiting them for the past year -- profound as in having to take a nap within an hour of eating anything starchy (simple starches) -- cauliflower doesn't do it, but there I think the caloric value is so low it would take a bucket full of cauliflower to generate the same insulin response as a baked potato or pasta plate -- on the occasions that I might enjoy a beer, typically that is within an hour or 2 of bedtime anyway so I haven't noticed if a beer triggers the "nap response " or not

--- and believe me, when I noticed my tendency to nod off after a starchy meal, the first thing I did was consult my physician to make sure I wasn't tip-toeing into diabetic territory (I'm not - guess I just get sleepy )
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Old 10-18-17, 05:49 PM
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I hear ya. And, since insulin response to spiking blood sugar is what triggers the body to store the sugar away as fat, when I do eat some carbs I try to keep it to either right before (or during) a long ride, or just after the ride so the body can tuck some of it away as glycogen in the muscles and liver. I'll sometimes use a sandwich thin to make something like a couple fried eggs, or some sliced turkey or whatever easier to eat, but the sandwich thin is only 100 calories. I haven't been eating large amounts of carbs like, say, a plate of spaghetti or a few slices of pizza for quite some time now. And if I do, I probably react the same way you do.
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Old 10-18-17, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
Every large guy likes to self categorize themselves as a "sprinter" , but for many that term is a crutch which not so secretly means - "I don't have the fitness to hang in a mass start race "
Now that's an interesting one. The season before I really decided to just do sprinting, I was actually a very good B grade club road rider. For one of the club champs rounds on our hilliest course (not that hilly by many standards) I was there for the final bunch sprint. I was also doing really well on the track in all disciplines (I was club A grade for a couple of years already). The real problem is my size. When pace is constant I could hang in fine, but when thing were surging constantly, I was out. Then there is my height size where when the little guys hunker down, I'm still sitting a foot or so above them in profile. I have to work hard. We have lots of track carnivals over here with a good mix of short to medium length races. A long scratch race would be about 8km. I always batted above my grade in the short stuff, keirins, sprints etc. So a number of years ago I decided to have a go a sprinting with a coach. That was a failure, but a couple of years later (3yrs ago now) I came into contact with some really good helpful and fast guys and decided to have another go. What really surprised me was the fitness level that you really do need to be a decent sprinter!

What brought me to HFLC was one of those helpful guys that was doing the research for his own purposes. Basically it went "for how much work you do, you just shouldn't be that fat/heavy. Maybe you're carb intolerant, it's a thing". So I looked into it myself and read through stuff from Tim Noakes on banting. I had nothing to lose so I did it. Two years before that I also tried the 5 and 2 diet. I lost 10kg in 10 weeks on that, being my most successful dieting to that date, but the lifestyle didn't suit me, and so I rebounded back. I suffered performance drop on that diet and really had to plan my cycling workouts around the starve days. On the HFLC I ended up losing 17kg in a similar 10 week period. I suffered zero performance drop and rather got even faster. No doubting a part of that was the pure weight loss, but my performance definitely didn't suffer.

Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
But what do you do about keeping up with your fiber consumption on a high fat lower carb approach ? Personally I have a stomach aversion to raw greens, but have no problem with them if they are cooked or utilized in a recipe or juiced --- but juicing them effectively removes the fiber benefit entirely
Initially I came to realise that I had an issue with too low fibre consumption So I had to go back to the dietary drawing board and introduce a lot more vegetables. The easy rule of thumb there is to only eat vegetables that grow above the ground. Take peas/beans/corn out of that list too as they are relatively high in carbs. My go to dinner has been zoodles (zucchini noodles). Start with a meat base of either bacon or chorizo, cook, throw in vegetables of choice for fibrous goodness, melt some cream cheese and stir through, throw in the zoodles and mix together and there's an excellent, easy, healthy dinner that even the rest of my family loves. Honestly the hardest part of any diet is eating different foods to the rest of the family. That is possibly part of the HFLC success for me, so much of what I eat, the rest of the family can enjoy also. I mainly do large cook ups of soups or a bake of some sort to take to work for lunches. That keeps the portion size down and stops grazing. Those are also very tasty and I have to keep an eye on the freezer because the rest of the family like to pilfer my ready made lunches
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Old 10-18-17, 06:32 PM
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What I might add to all of that is that low low carb definitely isn't for everyone. I was relatively low carb before I even sunk my teeth into the diet due to my wife's dietary needs. I had already pretty much eliminated breads and potatoes from the diet. Because of that, the initial fat adaptive part of the routine came fairly easy. I know it doesn't for many, but that is all about formed bad eating habits and shaking them.

What also was quite intriguing for me was the protein isolate experience. I found in the past that I needed it as it made quite a big positive impact on my recovery. Once going HFLC I found that I recovered fine without it. If I was a scientist I would definitely be looking into the impact that carb intake has on protein absorption.
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Old 10-18-17, 09:02 PM
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You've really got me thinking, @brawlo. I just rode 1000 miles since I started cycling again in August, and I've been very, very careful about how many calories I ate during the day, and tried to keep the ones I did eat relatively healthy. I didn't lose as much weight as I thought I would, though I did burn some some good body fat, and I can feel the difference in my clothes. I'll be doing some more reading and thinking about my eating plan. I'll look into some more options and see if something along the lines of what you're doing might work for me.

Last edited by SethAZ; 10-19-17 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 10-18-17, 09:29 PM
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Doing the 5/2 diet was the real eye opener for me in terms of the education on how to pick and choose where you get your calories from. How you get your calories will massively affect how they fuel your body. For example for me, let's say I have a really light lunch and about an hour later I feel a pang of hunger. 2 opposite ends of the spectrum, let's say the options are a chocolate bar and a piece of cheese, both 300 calories. If you're strictly calorie counting, they look the same. Have either and you're good to go. Being better educated on how each affects your body though, if you ate the chocolate you'd be hungry again in an hour while if you ate the cheese you might be fine until dinner time. The fats and how they fuel and sate hunger are the key to that style of eating.

On the other hand I know a guy that is a similar size to me, just doesn't carry the fat I do. Similar musculature but pretty much always been lean. Low carb for him meant he was a real mess. It didn't work at all for him, but purely visually, he obviously didn't have a problem processing carbs due to his inherent leanness. I was actually more active than he was. That's just life and everyone's different.

My typical road bunch rides are 1.5-2hrs, 45-50km done on a Sat morning. I won't even have a bulletproof coffee before those, just a sugarless instant coffee made with about 150-200mL of milk. All I take on the ride is water. I have no problems finishing the ride, I just don't have the endurance to fight to the end as the hammer drops, mainly due to my sprint focus of training all week. I'll have a coffee when we get back to the cafe but still nothing to eat until lunch time.

Last edited by brawlo; 10-18-17 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 10-18-17, 09:36 PM
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1000 iles since August is a "no joke"amount -- I know there are guys' out there who do more, but if most of us can manage 100-125 a week, that is great! (I cant -- I forgot to add in my initial post, ive been without my bike for a couple of months doing hurricane relief type work-- it stinks --- been doing a bit of concept 2 rower work at a local gym though - in addition to the sad performances at the weight pile


I love the "NSNG" plan (No sugars no grains) ive been on --- Brawlo mentioned Dr Tim Noakes, --- Tim Noakes is a literary source for the guy that introduced me to this program via a podcast -- he espouses living fat-adapted but not necessarily in full ketosis

I truly like the discipline of following this approach but since I hit a long stall after a initial loss -- I thought I might need to shake thing up


-- it doesn't have to be super bland - yesterday I shook some chicken tenderloins in an egg and almond flour mixture (with some spices thrown in)
low carb chicken tenders resulted and I was stuffed for half the day --- No sides

Chicken fried up in regular batter is usually served up with some toast and some kind of potato product --- but the almond flour helps satiate --- there are even recipes for pizza crusts with the stuff
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Old 10-18-17, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by brawlo View Post
Now that's an interesting one.-----. What really surprised me was the fitness level that you really do need to be a decent sprinter!

. My go to dinner has been zoodles (zucchini noodles). Start with a meat base of either bacon or chorizo, cook, throw in vegetables of choice for fibrous goodness, melt some cream cheese and stir through, throw in the zoodles and mix together and there's an excellent, easy, healthy dinner that even the rest of my family loves. Honestly the hardest part of any diet is eating different foods to the rest of the family. t

Being a sprinter is no joke -- with all the qualifying rounds, then sitting around the infield all flippin day sometimes waiting for your next ride, -- you may only ride 5 times a day, --- but every single time you concentrate on leaving it ALL out there , -- it takes a lot out of a guy ---
-- But I have seen a lot of guys (Masters age gents usually) with a beer gut out there who can still hang for a while from sheer experience and race craft ---- I love seeing a chubby old man on a 30 year old steel bike snipe a whippersnapper 3 yards or less from the line and take a win on racecraft alone gives me hope I guess


Are zucchini noodles roughly the same as what I would call spaghetti squash? -- I have had that -- its a yellow veggie about the size of a pee wee football -- when baked, the flesh when prompted sort of falls apart into a medium that resembles spaghetti ---- Its delicious --- ive had it with butter and olive oil , --- even tried to make some homemade spaghetti sauce once by chopping up my own tomatoes and spices (commercial sauces have a bunch of added sugar) - with good results

Lastly, I am surprised that Australia has Chorizo
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Old 10-18-17, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
Are zucchini noodles roughly the same as what I would call spaghetti squash? -- I have had that -- its a yellow veggie about the size of a pee wee football -- when baked, the flesh when prompted sort of falls apart into a medium that resembles spaghetti ---- Its delicious --- ive had it with butter and olive oil , --- even tried to make some homemade spaghetti sauce once by chopping up my own tomatoes and spices (commercial sauces have a bunch of added sugar) - with good results

Lastly, I am surprised that Australia has Chorizo
Zucchini noodles are made by using a spiralizer and running them through like a pencil sharpener. They're a great alternative to anything that requires spaghetti. I tried making a lasagne once with zucchini "sheets"/shavings but the baking caused too much water to come out of the vegetable and it ended up all mushy.

Of course we have Chorizo! I love the damn stuff! That and bacon (we have much different and tastier style bacon to you poor US guys)
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Old 10-19-17, 06:30 AM
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DMC707, are you tracking calories and macronutrients? If so, what is your daily average/ratio?

Have you exercised while on this low carb diet before?

How long have you been eating low carb?
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Old 10-19-17, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
DMC707, are you tracking calories and macronutrients? If so, what is your daily average/ratio?

Have you exercised while on this low carb diet before?

How long have you been eating low carb?

I did at first, but haven't tracked calories and macros in a while -- that is my next move , to resume the no sugar, no grains approach and start writing everything down again for a week

Ive exercised, but rarely get above zone 2 in my cycling and usually only if I need to boost it a bit if I get gapped in a group ride or if I need to power over a hill. -- But that said, I've never weight trained on a low carb approach until recently (sure, ive hit a hotel exercise room and tinkered with the dumbbells, but by "training" , I mean the prime movers, squats, deadlifts and cleans )
-- my recent experience there with heavier more complex movements had me wondering how the low carb approach was going to affect me on the bike when I started implementing some anaerobic workouts


Ive been "low carb" for over a year, but never low enough to stay in true ketosis - as I had mentioned earlier, I like an occasional beer and at first this didn't seem to be a detriment.

As well, if for instance, my nephew was having a birthday party at a NY style deli, -- i'll go with the flow and have a slice -- as long as its not a daily or even weekly thing. Just from a life perspective, I never want to be the type of guy who smugly sips on a protein shake when he's at a pizza party --- this behavior reminds me of the stereotypical guy training for a marathon who wants everyone to know it.

That said, occasional and rare social instances aside, I never prescribed to the "cheat day" theory - cheat days can turn into cheat weeks and before you know it, you can be back to your old habits again
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Old 10-19-17, 10:16 AM
  #19  
Jarrett2
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Gotcha, sounds like you are doing all the right stuff.

I found I had plenty of energy in the weight room when I was hitting it earlier in the year while low carbing it.

Where I really struggled initially on the LCHF deal was with going fast on the bike for over an hour. That has since returned as my body got used to burning fat and creating glycogen more effectively.

When my GF started, she found that having a big carb day resulted in digestive issues as well. I never had that during my induction into the whole fat-adapted process.

Coupling low carb with intermittent fasting seems work well. Prior to going on vacation, I was eating 8 hours on and 16 hours off, while doing 3-4 meals a day. They say it really kicks in when you can tighten it down to two (~1000 calorie) meals a day in a 4 hour window. I haven't gotten to that level of fasting yet, but that's my next goal.
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Old 10-19-17, 11:02 AM
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SethAZ 
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
As well, if for instance, my nephew was having a birthday party at a NY style deli, -- i'll go with the flow and have a slice -- as long as its not a daily or even weekly thing. Just from a life perspective, I never want to be the type of guy who smugly sips on a protein shake when he's at a pizza party --- this behavior reminds me of the stereotypical guy training for a marathon who wants everyone to know it.
I'm sure you've heard the joke:
"Q: How do you tell the vegans and crossfitters at a party?"
"A: Don't worry about it. They'll let you know."
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Old 10-19-17, 06:41 PM
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brawlo
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Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
When my GF started, she found that having a big carb day resulted in digestive issues as well. I never had that during my induction into the whole fat-adapted process.
That reminds me of my birthday last year. My wife asks what I want for a cake. I say I'll have a cheesecake with a bit of caramel on top. Those were my favourite sweets! So after 3 months of low carb I hook into a healthy piece of cheesecake at lunch and then another at dinner. I had 4 low carb beers over the whole afternoon. Man! I woke the next day feeling like I'd been run over by a bus with one of the worst hungover feelings I've ever had! Sugar hangovers are real!
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