Low Carb too Long?
- 11-15-2012, 01:56 PM
Low Carb too Long?
Background:The first 20+ years of my life I was raised as a vegetarian. Very little protein and lots and lots of carbs. Pasta, cakes, brownies, bagels, pb&J, chips and diet soda. I've had love handles since I was 10-11 years old and have struggled with my bodyfat ever since. I started eating meat when I was about 22 and drank like a college kid from age 19-26. I have weighed around 185-200 for most of my adult life but ballooned up to 255 about 5 years ago (engagement, wedding, baby, stress). I learned about carbs and ketogenic dieting and have dropped my weight to about 197lbs and 17% bodyfat. I have lifted for 10 years and done HIIT for the last 2 or so.
I imagine I have been insulin resistant for many years because I've had love handles since my youth. Even now, I have love handles and my fat loss has stalled for the last year or so.
My fasting blood sugar is 99 but my insulin was <2. Total cholesterol is also low at 126. Testoserone is (low per M.D.) 517 on 100 mg/week tesy cyp. He wants it to be around 800.
My anti-aging doc recommended that I meet with a nutritionist because he feels I am pre-diabetic.
My research so far tells me perhaps I've been too low carb for too long and thus stalled my fat loss? Not even running Clen seems to help with weight loss now. Does overtraining play a role in these low levels? I was training 6-7 days a week and burning 700-1100 calories in 80 minutes (heart rate monitor). I've decided to take 2 days off starting this week, but same intensity workouts.
Using a calorie tracker, my daily macros have been around 50g carbs, 100g fat, 300g protein.
I have been waiting my whole life for some good answers and just now at age 34 I feel like I'm starting to get somewhere. Any thoughts?
- 11-15-2012, 02:08 PM
Meh, with those Marco splits, you're not really on a keto. Do you ever carb up? What's weight lifting routine look like?
What's you daily diet look like?Serious Nutrition Solutions Representative
11-15-2012, 02:10 PM
11-15-2012, 02:33 PM
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11-15-2012, 02:53 PM
I haven't really been having scheduled refeeds or carb ups. I guess I am afraid of gaining more fat? But I will start that carb-up today. Training has been 8-10 minutes on the stairs then squats, plyo jumps, pull ups, rows, jump rope, tabata sprints pushing the treadmill, stairs + 60lbs, handstand pushups. I've laid off chest for awhile because my left shoulder is inflamed and pushes make it worse. I used to do dips + 75-90lbs, 275lb decline and 250 flat.
Daily diet has been basically
60g protein shake preworkout 430am
60g protein shake post workout
chicken breast + beef jerky for lunch
3-4 T peanut butter and protein pudding snack
dinner spinach + chicken breast + olive oil or blue cheese
25g casein + 2T peanut butter
Just about last week I started intermittent fasting for 16 hours/day from 630pm-1030am. That means fasted workout pre&post since I train at 5am. But I'm not sure if that's a good idea either. Just wanted to change something up
11-15-2012, 02:54 PM
11-15-2012, 08:31 PM
If you haven't had a good carbup in awhile that could be the reason your weightloss has stalled. If I was you I'd go out and have 600g+ of carbs simple and complex. I remember kleen saying a little while ago about restoring leptin levels you can carbup with like 1200g of carbs over a 36 hour period. Either way by the sounds a carbup is overdue waay overdue.
11-15-2012, 08:40 PM
Whats your total caloric intake for the day?
More than likely your problem is you have been calorie deficient for too long
"The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance." - Socrates
11-15-2012, 08:46 PM
Definitely implement a refeed/carb up.
Also you need to track your macros in order to subtract from some things (macros) so once weightloss has stalled you can ensure it continues.
E-Pharm Rep... PM me with any questions or concerns
11-15-2012, 08:57 PM
OK so time for more carbs.
Even though too many bad carbs for too many years got me where I am I suppose the body is more complicated than the all or nothing approach.
Total calories averaged around 1900/day which is probably too little as well.
I was just reading how pre workout drinks can enable people (like myself) to over train, so that is probably another factor.
So..more carbs, but to be honest I don't even know where to begin. I mean, aren't all carbs just broken down into sugar regardless of being simple or complex? So why does it matter then, and what are the best carbs to eat?
11-15-2012, 09:05 PM
Also what bf % would you say your at? 1900 calories is lowER but not crazy low and i can almost guaruntee the reason weightloss has stalled is because you havnt cut calories down to facilitate more weightloss.
Also stop thinking about over training. So many people overthink that.
E-Pharm Rep... PM me with any questions or concerns
11-16-2012, 01:17 AM
Not so much more carbs on a day to day basis but more carbs on one day ie refeed day when your depleted after a week of low carbs you can have a mix of simple and complex carbs to replenish your glycogen stores and it won't go to fat. The reason you steer clear of simple carbs usually is due to the insulin spike it gives you but on your refeed day it doesn't really matter
11-16-2012, 09:57 AM
good stuff guys, thank you all
it's mentally tough since i've had love handles my whole life and they don't seem to change. Even though I have some abs definition in the front the sides just hang there. fkn gross
11-16-2012, 02:45 PM
Here's my labs. Still waiting on the cortisol. I've been reading that low carb may be the reason for the super low insulin but pre-diabetic fasting blood sugar?
The doc said Vit. D, zinc, and magnesium are low, as well as Total Test and DHT.
He told me to meet with a dietitian and take alpha lipoic acid. Up the test cyp to 120/wk and recheck in 4 weeks.
EDIT.... The rinky-dink operation that did my bloodwork did not attach cortisol times to results. They also only sent me 3/4 results. But if I am normal, the results will be highest in the morning and lowest at night. The results I have are:
.26, .09, .08 (mcg/dL)
11-17-2012, 08:59 AM
* number one, it's possible that you are inventing the problem yourself to a certain degree.
here's what i mean: eating a low-carb diet WILL make you look deflated and flabby. so will excessive low-intensity cardio.
with the macros that you've described here, it's possible that 50% of your problem is simply that you're evaluating yourself at the worst possible time. if you are looking in the mirror after eating less than 100 grams of carbohydrates/day and, in your words, "burning 700-1100 calories" through low-intensity** cardio, then OF COURSE you're going to look like utter craptasticful sweet mercy of jesus.
try eating 1-2 days of a lower-fat, higher-carb diet, with less salt and/or a diuretic (anywhere from caffeine to an actual diuretic pill), and only then do the whole "mirror, mirror on the wall" thing. you may be pleased, at least more than you've been thus far.
(** if you can do it for 80 minutes, then it's low intensity.)
* dude, you are eating way too much protein for the workout schedule you have described. 300g would be appropriate if you were lifting like a madman, but, with the workout you've listed here, it's possible (ironically) that some of those calories, especially the whey shakes, are acting as "empty calories".
you could probably eliminate one of the whey shakes/day without much in the way of adverse effects. ymmv, but you should try it.
* you should try more of a "zigzag" diet.
the problem with any constant macros is that they are, well, constant -- meaning that your body will habituate to them. once that happens, it's bad news in terms of trying to make any further progress.
so, instead, try random permutations of low-carb, medium-carb, and high-carb days (don't go ape****, by "high carb" i'm still talking like 250 grams). ideally, the high-carb days should occur either on workout days or immediately afterward.
* finally, at the risk of being overly blunt, it seems you may be guilty of manufacturing some of the stress that made you gain weight.
here's what i mean:
you wrote that "engagement, wedding, baby" were three stressors that caused you to gain weight.
now the last one, i totally feel you, i'm there too.
but, the first two?
look dude, "engagement" should not be stressful -- it just shouldn't. at. all. unless you're a montague and she's a capulet, which is doubtful. otherwise, engagement should be nothing, apart from a nice excuse to start making her do all the nasty things she's been saving for The One (that's you).
and, "wedding"? that can be stressful... for women. for us dudes, it's basically something where we absent-mindedly nod "hmm, yes" when she shows us color palettes, suddenly realize 5 days ahead of time that we need to call a tux place, show up, get gloriously tipsy, mingle, and then have repeated sexual debauchery in the honeymoon suite while all the little people get to clean stuff up. and, maybe, if we're the modern type, write a check.
if, on the other hand, "engagement" and "wedding" really WERE stressful, then that suggests that you may just be too reactive to her random womanly vicissitudes of emotional whimsy. see, if you just basically ignore all of her moods and/or respond the way you would to a twelve-year-old (except in the case of things that are actually really serious, but those are rare), then you'll be happier, she'll be hornier, and everyone will win.
* if your shoulder hurts, consider a rehabilitation program.
if you have done too much "typical American lifting" (i.e., the ratio of chest:back in your workouts is a lot : a little), then, well, your back muscles probably suck.
in that case, you should do more back -- but probably not the exercises that you had in mind. instead, you should do more of the back exercises that round out the stability of the shoulder joint. stuff like lying face down on the bench, taking 5-pound girly dumbbells (or even just your bare arms, at first), locking your elbows, and lifting them behind your back for 15-20 reps. do 3-4 sets with your arms perpendicular to your back, and 3-4 sets with your arms overhead as far as your flexibility will allow.
(this will HURT, embarrassingly much so, if you have never done it before.)
after a few weeks of this, if you are not a former professional baseball player, your shoulder pain should be gone.
good luck, and keep fighting the good fight.
11-17-2012, 09:13 AM
dude, i just saw your labs. holy hypothyroid, batman -- you need to take levothyroxine, f***ing STAT.
your t4 level is 0.9, compared to the laughable "normal" range of 0.8-1.8.
see, this is one of those hormones for which the supposed “reference” range is just a joke. (for another such example, note that the “reference” range for free test starts at 250, which, for non-senior citizens, is actually well into the hypogonadal zone.)
your t4 should be *at least* at the high end of that range, preferably a little higher. just monitor your TSH and make sure it doesn't drop to zero.
your estradiol is also pretty high. consider an aromatase inhibitor -- those are normally part of PCT, but see if your doc will just give you an rx for one.
in fact, you may just want to go ahead and run a "PCT" as though you had just finished a cycle, even if you haven't done a cycle. that should do a lot as far as correcting some of the hormonal imbalances.
if you take care of these two factors, you should be chillin.
also. go to a drugstore and spend a few bucks on the following.
* vitamin D3. try to take 10,000 iu per day.
* vitamin A. try to take 50,000 to 70,000 iu per day (that's going to be 6 to 9 softgels a day). this is going to do wonders for your immune system, and, in turn, all that stuff that your immune system governs indirectly. (a lot of stress, and resultant hormone levels, is simply due to an exhausted immune system. you may be surprised how much you can improve by just starting to pop 4-5 softgels of vitamin A when you wake up and then another 2-4 softgels in the evening.)
* N-acetyl-cysteine ("NAC"). this is a bit harder to find, but you can always order it on the internet if you can't get it locally. good stuff for your lipid profile and mood, among MANY other things, if you are eating that kind of diet.
god bless you, man, a lot of what you're going through sounds annoyingly familiar.
11-17-2012, 12:46 PM
Awesome man, I appreciate your input. As far as the stress and all that wedding stuff, that was 5 years ago. The main point with that background info was that I've had love handles my whole life, regardless of my weight. And even when I went from 200 to 255 to 197 in the past couple years, I still carry fat specifically/only in the love handles.
My workouts are the opposite of low intensity. My heart rate averages 75-85%. That's part of my frustration. I drink pwo drinks for the stim and focus and workout as hard as I can.
I did bloods but stopped my multi and D a couple days before just to see my base levels. So they may/should be a bit higher usually.
I will look into the supps you mentioned and the thyroid supp. I do have most of a bottle of erase pro so perhaps I will run that until my next blood check in 4 weeks.
I guess the bottom line for me is that low Carb/high exercise has not reduced the love handles, and hopefully the supplements and test cyp and Carb cycling will be the solution. But low T4 also makes you gain fat so I will ask the doctor about it asap.
11-17-2012, 09:49 PM
hey, here's some other stuff to think about. this is a very familiar situation, both from my own experiences and from those of my friends.
* the t4 level is a good litmus test for your doctor. if he thinks t4 = 0.9 is ok, fire him and find a new doc.
* as far as the love handles are concerned.
that may just be the way you are. not to say that you can't get rid of them, but they may be the very last thing to go. you may have to get absolutely shredded before they go down at all.
you might even have an "awkward stage" during which your front abs are pretty sliced but you still have shakira hips. (sartorial tip: if you get to this point, do not, i repeat do not, wear workout shirts that are too fitted.)
second, your skin might just be looser there, from whatever lifelong pattern of fat accumulation. when it comes to love handles, it can be surprisingly hard to differentiate between excess fat and loose skin.
to determine, try on a pair of jeans a size too small (you can button them, but sitting down is hard). then, see what happens to your obliques. if the jeans push them into gentle curves like a woman's, above the waistline, then that's actual body fat that you can lose. if your skin hangs limply downward, then you've just got too much skin, and that's that.
in the latter case you can still get ripped -- and you can camouflage the extra skin by destroying your obliques in your ab workouts -- but it won't completely go away (and you'll still have to think twice about fitted t-shirts).
- about the cardio, the numbers doesn't smell right.
you said 700-1100 calories burned in 80 minutes. that's only 500-800 cal/hour, which isdefinitely NOT "high intensity". if you are at 75-85% of peak hr for the whole time, these #s are nonsense.
just as a reference -- on days when i have about an hour's worth of business calls to make, i'll get on the treadmill, with my phone and a good noise cancelling mic headset, and walk up a slight incline (10-11%) at about 2.5 mph while i make the phone calls. (i work from home.) needless to say, this is not high intensity; i don't even breathe hard, and as far as my clients can tell i'm just chillin on the couch. even that burns 600-700 calories per hour, or 800-950 calories in 80 minutes. and, i weigh 20 lbs less than you. you do the math.
so, the question is, where are you getting these numbers?
- if you KNOW that's your actual burn rate (as in, "you did the math with your food diary"), then your thyroid problem is basically an emergency.
- on the other hand, if that's just what the treadmill says, you're probably burning more. (if your treadmill doesn't let you input your weight, it will assume you weigh only 140-150 pounds.)
- finally, how confident are you that your macros and calories are accurate?
i ask this for two reasons. first, your given macros are perfectly round numbers (50, 100, and 300), which just seems too good to be true -- makes them seem like ballpark guesses. second, most people just don't think about everything that has calories in their diet. (fish oil? 10 calories per softgel. chewable vitamin c? 10 calories each. that small amount of oil that your vegetables are cooked in? potentially hundreds of calories. a sprinkling of parmesan cheese on your food? 100 calories. and so on)
50c/100f/300p is only 2300 calories/day. (actually slightly less, since the average protein has about 3.85 cal/gram, not really 4.) that's less than you need to maintain your bodyweight of ~200 pounds even if you sit behind a desk all day, let alone if you actually get off your ass and work out.
still, let's assume, for the moment, that your macros and calorie counting are perfectly on point. well then....
if you really ARE eating only 2300 cal/day, AND you are burning 1000 cal/day (or probably more -- see above) with your cardio, then that's a net of only 1300 cal/day -- or even less (!!) -- which is so low that it will push your body into anorexic-chick mode. in that case, thyroid or no thyroid, your metabolism will try to **** itself, because it thinks you'll die if it doesn't.
if you are, in fact, consuming only 2300 cal/day, then lay off the freaking cardio -- you shouldn't be doing much (if any) of it. with 80 min/day of cardio on that diet, you are forcing your body to become "resource efficient" -- which is a nice way of saying that it will leach muscle to create additional fat stores, and won't bother with trifles like, say, repairing your injured shoulder.
oh, and, also, if you are starting to enter starvation mode, guess what else goes down? if you said "thyroid function", you win the prize!
although you are not an anorexic chick, your labs actually point to the first stages of this problem. see, your rT3 (reverse t3) is right in the middle of the range ... which wouldn't normally be an issue, but that's unusually high for someone with t4 levels as low as yours. there is, however, one condition that causes rT3 to rise while t4 plummets, and that is when your body thinks it's starving.
finally, you're forgetting that the entire point of following a low(er)-carb diet is so that you don't have to bother with things like cardio, and can just diet and lift. if you do any significant cardio, you need carbohydrates, period, or you'll leach muscle like crazy.
in general, you should never undereat by more than about 500 cal/day (relative to maintenance level) for more than a couple of days in a row. and if you are doing all this cardio, then you have to take that into account in determining your maintenance level.
according to what you've stated here, you are undereating by 1000 or more calories per day, so that's probably the genesis of your problem. too much of a good thing, and all that.
try doing less cardio (a LOT less ... maybe none at all), eating almost the same diet, and see what happens to your labs.
11-18-2012, 01:32 AM
Wow, I really appreciate your input. I will comment more later but here's an example of one of my workouts. This particular one was 10 sets of 5 which took about 38 minutes and around 750 cals at that point, followed by lifting until I hit 1000 cals. I wasn't clear about my heart rate and calories burned. I do wear a heart rate monitor to get my hr and caloric information and track with my fitness pal for macros.
Just looking back at my entries, NET calories are averaging between 1800-2300 from July-October.
The other thing is I wasn't sure about taking erase/pro (I have both) and upping my carbs and doing less cardio. I don't want too many variables at one time, but I don't want elevated estradiol. I also don't want my blood work in 4 weeks to reflect the erase work because we're trying to dial in the testosterone mgs if I'm going to stay on an AI, I'd like an rx and not just erase forever. I guess I will book another appt this week to go over all this with the anti aging doc.
*also found out last night from my mother that her whole side of the family was type I diabetic. And she has been on synthroid her whole life. My dad was adopted so no history available. And they took me to an endo at age 8 because I started puberty.
So now this whole situation leads me to think its thyroid issues. Might explain why I'm 5'9 and my brother is 6'4. Wow
11-18-2012, 10:03 AM
If you have a history of diabetes limit your intake of carbs...look into eating fat instead for energy.
11-18-2012, 10:24 AM
11-18-2012, 04:23 PM
So your telling him not to have a carb refeed to get his calories? How do you propose he gets his muscle glycogen stores replenished?? I agree a Keto type diet would probably be best for him considering some of his bloodwork but unless he wants to waste away to be a skinnyfat anorexic with love handles he needs a good carbup. This will replenish his leptin levels and get his metabolism fired up.Originally Posted by vassille
11-18-2012, 04:53 PM
Doc appt today. I will ask for T4 and arimidex.
On a side note, I've been taking erase pro 1/day for the last 2-3 days. Last night I woke up completely soaked in sweat. I mean wet spot from my waist to my shoulders. I assume this means estradiol going down and/or test going up?
11-19-2012, 04:38 PM
11-19-2012, 08:08 PM
just home from the doc. He said cortisol saliva results are in but the lab didn't identify the times on each sample reading. He said it is necessary to determine if i have a cortisol problem before he treats a thyroid problem.
I am going to book a 5th doctor opinion asap, an endo. This guy I've been seeing is a little to homeopathic for me.
11-20-2012, 07:52 AM
Im not going to call you out on your statements but I'd suggest you do some research on ketogenic diet.
I've been doing keto for a long time and im still 240lbs and not wasting away even though I eat hardly any carbs
11-20-2012, 08:21 AM
Oh I'm well aware of the ins and outs of a clinic keto diet. All literature i have read states quite clearly that if you lift weights then a refeed is in order to replenish glycogen stores. Do you need carbs to survive? No you don't there's no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. BUT your body can't and won't store fats inside your muscles so if you do like to lift an lift hard then carbohydrates are necessary.Originally Posted by vassille
11-20-2012, 07:49 PM
The thing that's interesting is that our bodies can only store about 250g of glycogen. Now to put that in perspective if you eat nothing else one day that only lasts you maybe a day. Eating a refeed meal to replace glycogen once a week is kind saying, if I throw a rock in a pond will really make a difference which it wont. Now if you drop trucks and trucks full a rock then that;s the equivalent of eating 100s of grams of carbs which will make a difference.
Glycogen in the liver is used for balancing blood glucose. Glycogen in the muscle is used for a quick burst of energy if let's say you are in danger then the body will suck as much glycogen from the muscle as possible to give you a chance to run.
This stored glycogen is not used to sustain daily methabolism unless you starve. If you starve, in that case, adipose fat is used for energy and ketones which are a byproduct of fatty acids methabolism will be used for brain function and there is a minimal fat converted to glycogen so the blood glucose stay constant.
If you are a sprinter and need a burst of energy then carbs are a good addition to be able to perform the best you can. But even in that case you dont need a lot of carbs but more targeted carbs.
What im trying to say is that the carb craze is just that...carb craze. Ppl go way overboard with the carbs and come up with the weirdest explanations on how to eat them and such. I eat carbs and im not saying dont eat them, but we need a lot less carbs than we think and when we eat them a little goes a long way.
11-20-2012, 07:57 PM
Some people DO need all of those carbs, upwords of 600-800 a day at times or maybe even more.
Also you made a reference to throwing a single rock into a pond, making that as an example to a refeed day on a keto diet. I think people have the idea that your going to use all of those carbs within the next day or so. This for most isnt the case. Those carbs will fuel most of your workouts for the next week for most people and consuming only 250 gms of carbs on a refeed will be severely cutting yourself short.
E-Pharm Rep... PM me with any questions or concerns
11-20-2012, 10:04 PM
I understand the argument and I get that nobody want to sell themselves short, from a practical standpoint wouldnt be easier instead of eating 600-800g of carbs to cut that down a bit and eat more fat?
After all fat produces 96 ATP and I think carbs produce 36ATP dont remember exactely but is somewhere around that. If energy production is what we are taking about, eating a lot of carbs is, to me at least, wasteful. I rather use some carbs and increase fat and protein.
I know there are many views on this subject but im taking practicality here. I def can say that even when I was goin crazy lifting I couldnt eat 800g of carbs a day. I dont know about others but it takes me 3 hours to digest a meal, 100g of carbs per meal that;s 8 meals there no way ...I give props to those who can eat like this day in and day out! for real!!
The one person who ate crazy amount of food was Phelps. But he was def eating a lot of fat to make up a good portion of the calories.
Many times ppl eat carbs and cut the fat out which if energy production is the goal doesnt make much sense to me.
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