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Women who have become fat-adapted--give me hope...

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  • Women who have become fat-adapted--give me hope...

    Hi, I've been struggling to lose weight on primal. If you read my previous posts, you'll see that I lost weight initially, but then the weight crept back. Then I started fasting, and lost weight again, but then that weight crept back too. Now I'm heavier than I was when I first went primal in April (most likely because I've been cutting down on the cardio--running is the only thing that never fails me as far as weight loss goes).

    I pretty much want to give up at this point. Running is more enjoyable if I'm not severely restricting my carb intake. (I'm not fat-adapted yet, obviously). The only thing that's keeping me going at this point is the promise of fat adaptation. Is it real? How long does it take to become fat-adapted? Mostly, I'd just like to hear your success story. Did you struggle with being primal at first but eventually succeed? For me, success = weight loss (well, fat loss really--I couldn't care less about what the scale says--what I care about is losing the excess abdominal fat). Sorry, I know some people disapprove of this attitude, but I am what I am. I'm already healthy so I have no other way of measuring success.

    So, did you eventually succeed? After how long? And how did it finally work out for you? Did you change anything? I just need some hope here...The Cheez-Its are calling to me.

    My journal

  • #2
    I think fat adapted means you can go longer without food without feeling weak. But for me, I eat tons of fruit, and I can still fast for quite long if I want. I'm young with a high metabolism but even my 55 year old dad eats a lot of carbs and can fast for long amounts of time. Some people maybe have to restrict carbs to feel better while eating less. eventualy the whole idea is, "what can I do to make a caloric defecit feel the most comfortable". If carbs make you binge on bacon and cheese, it's maybe a bad idea. but if an apple makes you binge on another apple, you got yourself a whopping 70 CALORIES! I think it's hard to gain weight on fruit.

    You definitely do not have to go low carb to lose weight, it might make it easier
    well then


    • #3
      First of all, you have to decide ahead of time how you are going to choose to answer the Cheez-Its when they call out your name. What are you doing with them in your house anyway? If you really don't want to eat them, because you know they are just a bunch of chemicals that taste like cheese and are bad for your long-term health, then you should have them far enough away that you don't hear them, even when they are screaming at the top of their lungs!

      Primal is not a diet, it is a way of eating and living for life. So I think, there is no going on and off and on and off. Either you buy into the philosophy or you do not.

      I don't know about the details of what you are eating and how many hours or intensely you are exercising, but IF it is inline with the The Primal Blueprint, then you just have to give it time. I know some people require more carbs to feel good, but from the posts I would guess that most of them are sticking to primal carbs, not Cheez-Its.

      Based on my experience and what I have read I am fat-adapted (It takes quite a long time for me to feel any hunger - like half a day). It took about a month to get to that point. However, I strictly followed the Primal Blueprint. No added sugar, No processed foods, No seed oils, No grains of any kind, No legumes, No snacking, No Cheez-its.

      I have lost just over 20 pounds and I think I will reach a good weight if I lose another 10. I also need to work on building muscle and that it the latest change I am making (bought a bike). One step at a time.
      Last edited by jojohaligo; 09-03-2012, 06:24 PM.
      Female, age 51, 5' 9"
      SW - 183 (Jan 22, 2012), CW - 159, GW - healthy.

      Met my 2012 goals by losing 24 pounds.
      2013 goals are to get fit and strong!


      • #4
        Hi Serenity, take heart, you can do this.

        I discovered Primal about 11 weeks ago and found it really didn't take long to get into fatburning mode.

        I was already going to a weights class at the gym twice a week and had got rid of the obvious junk in my diet - fizzy drinks, packaged food with additives, margarine etc. Thought I was eating healthy but still carrying extra fat and feeling bloated even though Cheez its have never called to me.

        The key that made the difference was dropping grains, the weight started to fall off and now my belly is flat (well, enough for me, not like a model but that's ok, it's not the look I'm going for now that I'm 48).

        So, what I ate: Breakfast - eggs and maybe some silverbeet or mushrooms. Lunch - dinner leftovers or failing that a large salad with chicken, feta, avocado. Dinner - meat and veges (eg steak and salad, chicken and coleslaw, pork and apple sauce). No potatoes while losing weight but I eat them now. Snacks - not really while in weight loss mode. Maybe a banana and berry smoothie if very hungry, which I mostly wasn't.

        I think another key for you might be to build some muscle with some weights work, or just pushups, planks and squats etc. That will keep you strong while losing fat.

        Good luck, I'd love to know how you get on. A.
        Annie Ups the Ante


        • #5
          We all have those things that call us ... and, depending on what else is going on, they can be pretty damned attractive.

          I have found learning more helps - I recommend Phinney and Volek, both books -- The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable (9780983490708): Stephen D. Phinney, Jeff S. Volek: Books and The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance: Jeff S. Volek,Stephen D. Phinney: 9780983490715: Books

          Over on Paleobird's MOAR FAT thread -- -- you can find a lot of discussion around making it work.

          My n=1 -- I concentrate on getting protein in my window (or range, if you prefer), keeping carbs down to my level (which is pretty durn low), and the rest is fat. It can come from butter or from my butt - both are acceptable. As for exercise, it will take a few days before you feel better. A very important piece is sodium. Phinney and Volek explain it, but the short version is that, when you go below 50g carb (+/-), you need more sodium in your diet or you'll feel like crud. Possibly left over, congealed crud.

          Your body is rebalancing and a whole bunch of things change. I simply salt my food liberally; their recommendation is bone broth. But that makes a huge difference in completing the fat adaptation.

          Since you're a runner, you may appreciate this -- Western States 100 – Low Carber Wins Ultramarathon – Steve Phinney and Jeff Volek Study | Me and My Diabetes


          • #6
            Annlee - I'm so glad that I read what you posted about salt. I love sea salt, so now I'm going to feel just fine about using it when I want! Have any of you found that Primal eating has made you extremely thirsty? Is it just me? I'm drinking several liters a day at least.


            • #7
              Serenity, I too have had an initial weight loss and then a major stall. I have read Paleobirds "eat moar fat " at length, and have taken bits and pieces here and there....... and come up with a plan that I hope works for me. I am now day three and the weight is decreasing quietly ! My ratios may not work for you but do your homework, and come up with a starting point. Document it like I am, and keep it simple. My food this week is a bit boring but that to me is irrelevent, because my primary goal is to find a ratio that works for me. I agree with the sodium also. My body craves salt. I used to love fish and chips and I think it was the salt content, now I still love fish and chips, but sweet potato chips and cooked slightly differently !!!!!!!
              Anyway good luck and do keep us posted
              "never let the truth get in the way of a good story "

              ...small steps....


              • #8
                serenity - I'm so hoping for a switch over to fat burning as well! I wish you success!


                • #9
                  I second Annlee about the Phinney and Volek books. The Low Carb Living one is geared for a wide audience while the Low Carb Performance one is geared toward more athletic people.

                  You also might like to read the blog of Dr Peter Attia called The Eating Academy. He really knows his stuff and breaks complicated thick science down to be understood by non- biochem majors.
                  He says that the two biggest mistakes people make when trying to get into ketosis on low carb are eating too much protein and too little salt.
                  Last edited by Paleobird; 09-03-2012, 03:08 PM.


                  • #10
                    Hmm the fact that you're having cravings and thinking about giving up suggests to me that you're just not eating enough. It's hard to tell though as you haven't listed a typical day's food. I've come across a lot of people who seemed to stall when their calories went too low. Of course, it's different for everyone!

                    I'm still slowly losing weight... but if it stalls, or whatever, I will probably have to kick things up a notch and re-jig the way I eat. For now it SEEMS to be working. Am I fat adapted? Well I'm not sure. I eat breakfast... because I always have. Can I go a few hours without eating? Generally, yes. But if I didn't eat for a day I'm sure I'd know about it. I haven't had this "low carb flu" thing either... which sort of confuses me, as I don't eat many carbs at all. (I may have some blueberries with 10-14g of carbs and some veggies with, again, about 10g carbs... and then whatever carbs are in the other stuff I eat, which is not many).

                    So yeah, I guess it works differently for everyone, and you have to be willing to experiment a bit to see what works for you!


                    • #11
                      Are you hungry a lot? I have found that when I'm hungry between meals, I tend to eat junkier items - nuts, ice cream, chocolate. I have been slowly losing weight, 17lbs since February. When I make a conscious effort to be sure and eat enough at meals, I lose. When I eat less, I stall or gain weight. Sounds counterintuitive, but this has been happening for months now. When I start thinking about snacking, I have started to ask myself if I'm hungry or just want the treat. If I'm not truly hungry, I find something else to distract me. I eat more now than before - 2 burgers for dinner, 3 eggs for breakfast, large chunk of protein at lunch, along with heaps of veggies. It took me about 4 months to get all this sorted out and I had a major stall for about 8 weeks where I lost nothing (4/28-6/23). I listened closely to my body and this past week lost 1.5lbs!


                      • #12
                        Serenity, not knowing anything about you it's hard to know if you are just trying to lose the last couple vanity pounds or if you have been insulin resistant and on your way to metabolic syndrome or what your situation is. Anyway, you can become fat-adapted without having to go ketogenic, for one thing. You can also become fat-adapted through a healthy primal diet combined with running, too. I highly recommend Phil Maffetone's Big Book, either the general one for Health and Fitness (that's the one I have) or his Big Book of Endurance training.

                        According to Phil, fat adaptation is both a function of diet AND exercise. He specifically recommends running at what is called your Maximum Aerobic Fitness. He's got a formula for determining what your maximum heart rate should be and your fitness is determined by your performance at that heart rate. It's a very low heart rate. Embarrassingly low. You train at this heart rate and slowly improve your speed until you are able to run very fast at this very low heart rate. This is true aerobic fitness. The reason why it is true aerobic fitness is because you'll be using body fat for energy. Anything faster and you turn off that body-fat pathway and turn on the anaerobic pathway and start burning sugar for energy instead. If you've been running above your MAF, you've been sabotaging both your fat-burning adaptation AND your physical endurance and fitness and probably your weight loss, too. It's all very interesting. I bought a heart rate monitor and am looking forward to seeing how out of shape I truly am. I hope it's not too horrible.
                        Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


                        • #13
                          As sbhikes said, fat adaptation does not necessarily mean long term ketosis. Not everyone does well on vlc. You might consider moderate levels of clean, primal carbs--that might help with the cravings and may make a difference for fat loss. I'm a fairly active mid-30s woman, and I found that a little more carb helped me get past my stall and has seen me continue to lose. I still don't eat tons if carbs (in the 100-150 range), so I can stay fat adapted because I do not eat carbs in excess of what will replenish glycogen stores. This means I can still fast and don't need sugar infusions to do hikes and stuff, so I remain metabolically flexible.

                          At this point, doing some experimentation will hopefully help break the stall. It sounds like what you're trying isn't working for you, so it can't hurt to play around and see what might get things going again for you.
                          “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

                          Owly's Journal


                          • #14
                            Hi there,

                            Fat adaptation is definitely real, and it does give great energy. When I first when Primal a few years ago it took about 3 weeks. After a year or so I slipped back into carb eating (via fruit) and gained a bunch of weight back. So, more recently, I went low-carb again. I am older now (menopausal) and it took a lot longer to adapt. You will know you are adapted when you can eat very low-carb on a given day (30-40) grams and not be hungry/tired.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by serenity View Post
                              Did you change anything? I just need some hope here...The Cheez-Its are calling to me.
                              Throw away your box of Cheez-Its.

                              Get a massive block of Colby Cheese.. slice up the whole thing, thin slices, like 1/8". Thin. Allow to come to room temp. If you want, dust them with some cayenne pepper or something.

                              Bake on parchment at 300* for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool at room temp. Place on microwave-safe plate that's lined with parchment paper and nuke the chips (about 5-6 at a time) for 45-60 seconds.

                              Allow to cool again.

                              You will never go back to Cheez-its, they are puffy, bubbly, MORE crunchy than crackers, salty, fatty, proteiny goodness.

                              In my personal experience, carbs (like eating an apple) isn't just that simple for me. I eat an apple with almond butter, then I want yogurt and primal nut granola and raisins, then I want almond flour baked muffins, then..... ETC. You get the point. For me, carbs is a downward spiral, I'm not very tolerant of them, they don't fill me up. However, eating half a plate of mixed fresh veggies with butter and a couple of eggs, and CO in my coffee.... I'm good for a long time, with no cravings between.

                              Mixing carbs with fat is a no-no for me (and others, I think). Makes me swell up like a puffer fish.

                              Make the chips. You'll thank me.