Do I need to see a shrink?

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  • posted by chris7922
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    I have been in training for almost a year to do 2 half marathons in October & November

    I have been 276lbs since I started training, the best I got down to was 272lbs

    I go to the gym regularly and run/jog/walk with the dog on most days. I feel fit and people don’t believe I am the weight I am.

    I find myself getting better at the training but then eating more and more carbs and sweets when I think I am making progress. I am hooked on chocolate and will hide it in the car so I don’t take it in the house. I am never losing any weight. I have tried the 5:2 before but never stick to it and am ready to explode in anger at what I do.

    So! am I a nut case who has mental health issues and should I see a professional or are there other things I should consider doing to change this mental cycle I am in

  • posted by Californiagirl
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    Hi Chris,
    Your post strikes a chord with me. You don’t need a shrink.
    I am a “sporty” person who has spent a lifetime in every exercise out there from hiking to skiing to swimming to running — dog walking, horse riding (and horse stall cleaning), weight lifting, gardening (hours and hours)….
    I was (and am) FIT, but I WAS ALSO still FAT and here is what I finally decided:
    If EXERCISE was going make the difference in my weight it would have already done so — as you have found, you are even training for a couple of marathons and you only dropped four pounds.
    I think for people like us, it is our strategy to rely on our exercise to control the weight but sooner or later it just doesn’t work as well because we can eat even MORE (chocolate bats in the car) or we just get older and can’t keep up the pace anymore (I’m 63, so I started gaining as I just couldn’t do hours and hours of exercise every day anymore).
    It takes a mind shift: to control the weight, we have to change the EATING, not add in even more exercise.
    And as I started the BSD, I found a weird thing happening, I lost the weight more quickly when I wasn’t exercising very intensely. In fact, weight loss stalled with heavy exercise and picked up speed with gentle aerobic exercise.
    What moved the scales was two things: cutting the carbohydrates and just eating less with some 19-24 hour fasting.
    Heavy exercise makes you VERY dependent on carbohydrate — it’s totally natural and a healthy thing — you’ve burned calories, built up an appetite and now you are “refuelling”. Best food for that is quick sugar, like bread, energy bars, chocolate, fruit juice…do those sound familiar? You probably reach for that kind of food after training.
    So firstly, start cutting your carbohydrate intake — seriously, it will take a couple of weeks, but you want to get down to 20-50 grams of carbohydrate per day. Just keep eating less carbohydrates and more protein and fat until you are firmly in Ketosis and burning your own fat for fuel.
    Take it easy on the exercise so you
    don’t trigger your appetite. You can get back to it in a few weeks, you aren’t going to lose conditioning.
    Now you can start cutting down calories or doing short fasting sessions. The weight is going to come off as you have a lot of muscle to fuel and now you can fuel it with your own fat stores.
    My thought is this: I am obviously a very efficient body-type — I can work out for hours and barely lose weight. It is clear I have high levels of insulin because I can store fat incredibly easily.
    So for me, the only solution was a change of mind about HOW to eat.
    Check out two references: go online and google Dr. Bikman — he researches insulin and is himself a sports-focused guy so he sees it from that perspective (great podcasts).
    And also get a copy of Gary Taubes book, “Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It” — it changed my life along with the BSD and I consider it a fantastic companion book to the BSD.
    Don’t give up! You are brilliantly posed to suss this — you already have fitness and lean muscle, you just need to get your metabolism supporting all the hard work you have been doing.
    Your body is going to become your friend!

  • posted by JGwen
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    Hi Chris,
    I think its a very wise post from Californiagirl, I just wanted to join the conversation to also put my hand up to being in the same state, people wouldn’t guess my weight from looking at me, and I have an active lifestyle. I have worked out that having a high carb diet from childhood means that I am highly insulin resistant, which means that I have a high background level of insulin all the time and only a small amount of carbs are needed to raise insulin levels enough so that my can not access my fat stores for fuel.

    There is a facebook group for people who compete in sport in ketosis (fat burning mode). The advice they always give out to people who want to change over to being in ketosis is that it takes upto 12 weeks for our bodies to adapt from being fuelled by fat to ketones and during that time you will see a drop in performance. – If you have two events coming up that you have spent the last 6 months training for then maybe you don’t want to try to change too rapidly until after those events.

    Secondly, if you are used to being fuelled by carbs, then what you are used to is having high insulin levels, which pushes what you have eaten into your fat storage, and then your body crashes from a lack of energy so you have to eat again, cutting down on carbs will cut down on those peaks and troughs of hunger.

    Also your range of gut bacteria will have developed to match the type of food you are eating. When you start to cut out the carbs, the high levels of bacteria that can only digest carbs don’t like it. There is a mechanism where the bacteria in our guts can signal to our brain to eat. – Knowing this can help when it feels like there is a little voice in our heads saying eat carbs, eat carbs, they are just trying to avoid having their numbers reduced. These are the bacterial linked to inflammation and cancer, so its better for us to have lower levels of them. – With time and consistency on staying low carb the range of bacteria in your gut will change to match your diet. – The reason consistency is so important is because as well as dying off when you don’t feed them they can rapidly multiply if you return to eating carbs.

  • posted by chris7922
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    Thanks for the posts above, both were good to read and reassuring.

    I’ve not had any sugar / bad carbs since Monday now and am determined to keep this up.

    I did 5 miles this morning at a very slow pace, but I want concerned by that!

  • posted by Californiagirl
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    Good work Chris! Your body is going to start responding very quickly to the lower carbohydrate intake!
    Focus on high quality carbs like greens (chard, spinach, kale) and any green veg except peas and protein like fish and meats, seeds and nuts and fats like grass fed butter and olive oil and avocado and some cheese.
    As you get a couple of weeks of low carb experience, you can try to add in things like lentils and cannellinni beans and some root veggies like beets and turnip — as you add those more carby things in, watch how your body responds — you are looking to discover your PERSONAL carb-threshold — everyone is different and your threshold is uniquely yours. If you stop losing weight, that’s your carb threshold.
    As a sports-person you should be careful also to eat enough protein. I think Dr Bikman would say 1 – 1.5 grams per kilogram of ACTUAL body weight.

  • posted by JGwen
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    Hi Chris,
    Again I agree with most of the advice that Californiagirl just gave you except for one point. – I think using weight loss to judge carb levels is a problem, because you can loose weight by cutting calories and not cutting carbs to the point of being in ketosis, if we couldn’t then Weight Watchers and Slimming World wouldn’t exist. –

    I agree that if you eat too many carbs you will get a step up in weight as the body then stores water, but I don’t think that can be exactly matched to carb levels required to be in ketosis.

    If your carb levels are low enough that your insulin levels are low enough that you are in ketosis (fat burning mode) then your body is taking the additional calories it needs for fuel from your body fat.

    However, if your carb levels are just high enough to raise insulin levels so you are not in ketosis then your body is going to make up the calorie deficiency from other tissues. Including muscles. After a period of weight loss your body will then start to become more efficient, reducing your metabolic rate to match the calories you are eating.

    Therefore I don’t think you can judge the ideal carb level from weight loss. –

    Personally I use a cheap hand held breathalyser as a way of monitoring for the byproducts of burning ketones in my breath. Its an AT6000 and only cost around £10 from Amazon. It means I can be sure of my personal carb levels and not run the risk of eating just a few too many carbs.

    I find my personal carb limit is around 25 – 26 grams of carbs a day, 28 to 29 grams of carbs definitely puts me out of ketosis for 24 hours. So thats how sensitive I find I am to carb levels at present.

    I recently came across an interesting article on building muscle while eating low carb, moderate protein, ketogenic diet. – It has quite a number of useful links to research papers at the end of the article. It may be something you are interested in. I will post a link to it on the Take a Look at This Thread, which is the place we all tend to post links to interesting articles.

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