Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thoughts on Insulin Resistance and Carbs

I've been doing a lot of thinking about carbs, gluten, grains, sugar, and insulin resistance. I know how much better I felt eating 90ish grams of carbs per day on Medifast. I am thinking that in addition to logging calories and staying around 1500-1600 (for now), I will start to focus more on bringing those carbs back down under 100. I know some folks think that is not low enough... that 60 or even 20 would be better. I may go that low but I think I will try to lower them a week or two at a time so I can see and feel the effect on my body more clearly. Starting tomorrow I will aim for under 100 g carbs/day. I also do try to keep the protein up above 80 (closer to 100) g/day. As for fat, funny how some people say I eat too much fat and others say it's not enough. Truth is, I don't know, so for now I will focus on the *quality* of the fat. If I am going to be eating 40% of my calories from fat, they need to be GOOD fats, not crap. Not Crisco or fried food or processed junk. I need to watch my dairy fat intake because I tend to love the cheese too much, but I feel fine about eating things like free range eggs, pastured meat, olives, avocado, and olive oil. I also eat some nuts and seeds but they can be carby so I have to stay moderate with those.

I've been eating more processed foods than I think is ideal, but I have a lot of random low carb/high protein stuff laying around here that I am using up (leftover Medifast meals and the like). I also like having a few things on hand to grab and go for convenience; when I am out for hours it is easy to grab a bottle of water and a protein bar. This morning I had a sudden change of plans which gave me no time to make myself breakfast, so I grabbed an Eas AdvantEdge Fudge Shake from the fridge. I *really* like these; they are really filling and only have 4 g carbs. I need to make up some egg-and-veggie cups in muffin tins and freeze them so I have something easy to nuke and bring along when I am in a rush like that. But the shakes are good, and so are a lot of Kay's Naturals products which are high protein and low carb too. I do have a mini cooler for the car, and when I have more time I toss in a packed lunch or some sliced chicken and raw veggies with a little ice pack.

This morning I hit the gym as usual and gave it my all on the weight circuit. In addition to the dozen Life Circuit machines I started with, I now also do hip adduction and abduction (which was part of my physical therapy list of exercises) and another exercise that I don't know the name of, but it works the deltoids by raising your bent arms up to shoulder height, pressing against weights. Next time I am going to find a few more back strengthening exercises as well.

Whenever I workout at the gym, I get so, so tired about 3/4 the way through. I start to feel lightheaded sometimes and like I almost can't complete the workout. I always press through, but have been wondering if insulin resistance has anything to do with it. What I eat beforehand doesn't seem to have any effect; I just get so drained and I do crave carbs after a workout. I am also cold all the time, wearing sweaters even when it is over 80 degrees.

Today's breakfast was black coffee and a protein shake. After the gym I had some low carb cereal and unsweetened almond milk. Lunch was a big salad: spinach, mixed greens, tomatoes, a hard boiled egg, cubed grilled chicken, and low fat Ranch. I am just finishing off an iced coffee (plain) with a splash of half and half... and thinking it would be a good idea to start drinking my iced coffees black more often. I totally love my *hot* coffee black, but still like either a little Splenda or a Tbsp of half and half in the iced drink.

I will post my nutrition stats later, after I finish out this day (with probably another salad and some tuna or salmon). Enjoy your evening!


MargieAnne said...

Hi Lyn.

You mentioned feeling fatigued and cold. Both these things suggest to me that you might have under-active thyroid issues and probably adrenal fatigue or depletion. Your life has been full of all kinds of stress for so long both are possible.

I suggest you look into the nutritional requirements to balance these two areas.

I am amazed that this time around doing low carb I have not suffered the horrible feeling of being chilled from the inside out. The core of my being would get cold and the only way I could warm up was to climb into a hot bath and soak until warm again. I think, for me, going wheat free has healed something. Even my skin is looking better in that while there is some looseness there is none of the deflated balloon look or feel.

I'm not suggesting wheat is your problem because I know you have dealt with this. I am suggesting that you keep searching for nutritional advice and keep tweaking your diet and eventually you will find the right nutritional balance for yourself at this time.

I am not losing weight at the moment, or if I am it is very slow. I too am researching and tweaking to find the right balance for the stage I am now entering.

All the best as you continue to improve your health.


Taryl said...

Under 100 is a good place to go, but as you acknowledged lower will likely be better. Nutrient dense foods tend to also be lower in carb with very few exceptions, and those are wise to focus on. For more reading on this, and regarding fat, Mary Enig is incredible. Also Bernstein, Atkins, and even Taubes are going to be very helpful to you for sorting out good from not so good.

In general high omega three saturated fats, some omega six from meat and nuts, and sparing use of unsaturated plant fats like olive and avocado oil (always cold pressed) are good. Rancid oils, seed oils like soybean/cottonseed/corn/shortening are terrible for your body and damage cells.

The fats I focus on are lard, tallow, bacon grease, butter, heavy whipping cream, and things like olive oil and flax oil as a condiment on salads. Fats from fatty fish are hard to beat, and the best healthy animal fats are from well marbled cuts of lamb and beef. It's not actually obscure dietary information, if you're not buying into the food pyramid/grain and soy lobby nutritional information that has been pushed hard the last forty years and seen us growing fatter and sicker all the while.

The Weston Price foundation has great data. The general low carb groupings on sites like Low Carb Friends, and specific plans that focus on fat and protein and quality, colorful veggies (Paleo, Atkins, etc) are excellent sources for recipes, community, and a deep wealth of knowledge regarding fat, insulin response, nutritional at large. To put it simply, we want to eat in a way that doesn't promote obesity. One you understand the hormonal causes of the SYMPTOM that is obesity, the ways of eating to support this and maximal health become a lot less foggy.

One last resource to look into was the first who started me out on this journey (and I've been doing this, with no big regains, for four years now) - Dr. Amanda Sainsbury-Salis and her books and research on hunger and satiety, which center around leptin. No matter what plan you choose, her work can greatly benefit you and improve the success and satisfaction you feel on a given plan. Highly, highly recommend her.

I hope that information dump gives you a place to get started. You can do this, but you HAVE to be in it for the long haul. Less tweaking, more zen with doing what makes you feel more vitality and less exhaustion/pain/hunger/etc. I'd be shocked if higher fat and lower carb didn't help you immensely with that :)

Vickie said...

Try increasing your morning protein. I have been in many exercise programs with women who had the feelings you describe, they increased protein and did much better.

I eat a huge breakfast. I think I have left it for you before - oatmeal/milk/ground flaxseed AND egg beaters omelette/avocado/salsa. About 450 calories. I eat about two hours before exercise.

jenfromtheburgh said...

My friend struggled with this as well and her primary doctor referred her to an endocrinologist due to gainging quite a bit of weight despite the fact that she was exercising on a regular basis and eating healthy 90% of the time.

jenfromtheburgh said...

My friend struggled with this as well...despite exercising on a regular basis and eating healthy 90% of the time, she gained a significant amount of weight after losing quite a bit. Her primary doctor referred her to an endocrinologist.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Lynn!
I wanted to mention something that I have started hearing about recently. It's called IF or Intermittent Fasting. I don't have a lot of info or experience with it, but it sounds like a possible tool for weight loss and the theory makes sense. Take care!

timothy said...

hows your blood pressure and circulation sweeite, when mine gets low i get cold and my skin gets visibly pale. glad you're making a plan and sticking to it, good things are bound to happen!

Vicki said...

Hi Lyn,

Here's a blog entry I thought you'd enjoy reading:

All the best,

stephanie said...

Hi Lyn - as to getting tired during your workouts - I agree with the other commenter that a dose of protein is a good idea. And I would try it during the workout. There are a lot of "recovery" drinks out there that you can sip on but I just use a high quality protein powder (sun warrior is awesome - on amazon) and water. Sip that when you begin to feel fatigue. It makes me feel much better and I find that my muscles recover faster as well.

Anonymous said...

on the fat thing i have no idea but my suggestion on the carbs is not to go under 100 (since your body needs a certain about of carbs to function) and to eat low glycemic foods alllll dayyyy.....low glycemic carbs only if u are insulin resistant...the spark people website explains the dangers behind the under or over consumtion of fat, protien and carbs each day...might wish to give it a read.