Not exactly weight loss food

January 31, 2009

Just ate a cup of full fat unsweetened Greek style yogurt with peanut butter (natural style, no sugar added). Anti-paleo foods both, but full fat dairy is supposedly good for fertility levels (and yogurt has beneficial bacteria…or so they say). The peanut butter was for flavor.

Just read “The Sugar Fix,” which poses some interesting hypotheses about fructose, but still hasn’t convinced me that glucose and starch are entirely harmless. It’s entirely possible that grains are harmful for reasons having nothing to do with their carbohydrate content (reasons such as gluten, allergens, and anti-nutrients). Natural unprocessed tubers are probably fine. Maybe I’ll try a day of low fat, high potato-content to see if it helps my leptin levels. Gah.

Dinner was some ground chuck, a salad with olive oil, and two glasses of white wine. Breakfast was two eggs scrambled in olive oil with a tsp of butter, and a cup of broccoli with a 1/4 cup of tinned organic tomatoes on a bed of shredded cabbage. Two dried prunes as a snack.

Went up a phase in the TT bodyweight workouts. I usually have no problem with the majority of the exercises, but then one or two will completely kick my duff for two weeks or so. Siff squats. Hands on the ball pushups. 1-legged squats. Of course, I have never been able to do chinups or pullups, but I got a late start even trying, being a girl and all. I might be getting better, though. There’s hope for me yet!


Uh…OCE much?

January 26, 2009

Worked out – pushups, assisted pullups, leg presses, leg curls, leg extensions, stability ball jackknifes, and brief sprint intervals on the treadmill after a 20 hour fast.

I definitely did feel weaker exercising in a fasted state. I couldn’t do as many assisted pullups this week as last week and had to switch to dumbbell rows. Also I was cold (okay, em-effing freezing) all day. If you are looking for the silent evidence, I am she.

I feel like the increased amount of fruit the past few days (I have an actual purpose in eating more fruit; I’m trying to elevate leptin to make myself fertile again – hey, I’m only 32!) just made me softer and fatter. But my legs look thinner. Either that cup of berries induced an insulin surge that caused me to both store fat and cannibalize lean muscle tissue, or I just depleted some of the glycogen that was stored in my quads.

Had a pretty good dinner: salad with a tablespoon of olive oil, about 5 ounces of lean pot roast (I wanted more, but that’s all I could get!), some pan fried peppers and onions, and a handful of walnuts (12 walnut halves). Later, some unsweetened cocoa powder, two tablespoons of coconut milk (the yogurt experiment FAILED, by the way), and 2 ounces of red wine.

Too much food? Probably. I don’t get really hungry when I IF, but I get so, so cold. At least I’m warm now.

I wonder if eating breakfast tomorrow would be a bad move for weight loss, or if it would actually help.

Maybe a late breakfast or brunch, some almonds and a pear? I need to buy more meat, but I think I have a tin of sardines in olive oil that would do for lunch.

Quasi-rhetorical questions re: carbs, leptin, and other

January 24, 2009

Or: I’m in ur experimunts, cnfoundin ur vriables

Weirdly, I’ve been amenorrheic since August, not long after I took up intermittent fasting. TMI, no doubt, but it’s my blog, and I’ll whine if I want to.

What is weird about this is that my body fat percentage is still pretty normal, even high (somewhere between 17-20%), and these days I spend only about 2-3 hours of the week resistance and interval training (just in case overexercising caused the problem).

My latest hypothesis about the cause (a fasting-precipitated drop in leptin, followed by continuing insufficient leptin) prompted what was probably an ill-advised (although at least premeditated) binge on simple carbs (honey, cereal, bread) about two weeks ago.

It hurt. It hurt with pain, a racing heartbeat, rapid weight gain (mostly fat, some inflammation), and reactive skin. It has taken the past two weeks of careful eating and exercise to feel, physically, more like myself. Yikes.

However, I’m still amenorrheic. Either the hypothesis is a bust or the sugar didn’t boost leptin high enough or long enough. I don’t think I can bear going through that again (heart palpitations? scary, you guys), so I decided to just add more fruit to my meals (mid-day probably best). I’ve also started eating breakfast more often, moving from a 15 hour fast 5x a week to a once weekly 20 hour fast, if that.

Quasi-rhetorical questions include:

Is glycogen actually beneficial for muscle cells? Harmful? Neither? Both in different situations?

Chronically elevated insulin would appear to be harmful. Therefore, insulin resistance would appear to be harmful. But are (very) occasional insulin surges in the absence of fat harmful in the long term (as is marathon running, with all that oxidation and stress)?

It seems like Gary Taubes thinks leptin resistance is a marker of metabolic syndrome, but not a cause. In contrast, there is an actual, physical mechanism by which insulin locks fat into cells. Fair enough. But also: Lyle McDonald seems to indicate that leptin does play a role (hence my admittedly fail-tastic self experimentation) in that it sends a signal to the brain as to the body’s state of energy availability. According to McDonald, Leptin scales with 1. body fat percentage, and 2. carbohydrate metabolism within fat cells. Falling or low leptin or leptin resistance registers as starvation and prompts hormonal adaptations that allow the body to conserve energy. In my understanding (or lack thereof), when there is excess energy (sugar) insulin traps the fat inside fat cells, causing fat gain. When there is an energy deficit, declining levels of leptin prompt hormonal changes that protect against fat loss. Leptin resistance causes (mal)adaptations as well.

If, as McDonald says, “Leptin and insulin also both change with changing food intake; leptin levels can drop significantly within a few days of dieting even with no change in body fat levels. Insulin changes meal to meal,” this might have implications for both carb ingestion and intermittent fasting, and the trick would be to find the optimal time tables for each. So, insulin may be the primary mechanism for obesity, and lepin may be a secondary cause (in that it stops the overweight from losing the fat they’ve gained).

No doubt the real story is infinitely more complex, but it’s intriguing so far.

Where would that leave the oft-referenced Paleo people? A moot issue, possibly, as for them energy supply was what it was – either high or low – and if it was intermittently low enough to cause starvation-level drops in leptin, it was never chronically crazy high enough to induce leptin resistance, at least long-term. And if it was generally high (as hunter gatherers tended to be a well nourished lot), well, even the most indolent of hunter gatherers…er…hunted (intermittently?) and gathered (steadily?), and shared their meals with their tribe (probably damn near always). Pure conjecture, of course…

Another question: When does the taste of sweet (fructose containing sugars) track, in nature, with dietary fat? Never? Rarely? Seasonally? My wish list includes a time machine and a microscope powerful enough to show atoms and molecules in action in a human being. Dream big, I say.