2

votes

Why can't I fast and what could I modify to allow my body to go longer without food?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 01, 2010 at 11:26 PM

For most of my life I have needed to consume food almost constantly in order to prevent dramatic drops in mental clarity and physical strength. My body also struggles to utilize stored energy during sleep. I often wake from otherwise restful sleep feeling starved and nauseas.

Prior to going paleo I had to consume large carbohydrate rich meals every 2 to 3 hours in order to maintain basic functioning. After switching to a paleo diet with a caloric ratio of 60%-70% fat, 20%-30% protein and 10% carbohydrate I was able to achieve higher overall energy and gained an additional hour of stamina. Higher proportions of carbohydrates (root vegetables) give me slightly more energy but create food cravings that are not present otherwise. I prefer being in a state of ketosis. Above a certain point, 700 calories or so, the amount of food I consume in one meal does not impact how long I am able to go before needing additional fuel.

I'm male, 6' 3", 160 pounds, age 22. I am prone to injury and struggle to put on weight (muscle or fat) despite being physically active.

Blood/urine tests have revealed a slight Vitamin D deficiency, but no signs of diabetes, hypoglycemia, hyperthyroidism or undernourishment.

I consume 2000-3000+ calories per day primarily through pastured dairy, beef, fatty fish, omega 3 eggs and coconut milk. I eat absolutely no gluten, corn, nuts, sugar/HFCS or fruit juice.

I supplement with 5000 IU of Vitamin D and fish oil (1320mg EPA/1550mg DHA) daily.

Fasting currently kills me. After just 6 hours without food I begin struggling to follow conversations and cannot accomplish basic tasks efficiently.

Cebbca9a78d5612bf3468b273c2010d5

(452)

on September 13, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Adam asked a good question in his original post, and now that cannabis is brought up, I fear the entire thread will be erased, as always seems to happen when weed enters the conversation.

13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on October 11, 2010
at 03:01 PM

if you prefer to test on your own, buy a meter and some strips and get the details over at www.bloodsugar101.com That way you can test the effect of full meals and not just a sugar solution.

C64b5c2eb0f75c6bdfd5ea6010967f5c

(10)

on October 05, 2010
at 04:39 PM

On second thought, those are minimum numbers. Add 200-300 calories of eggs, 300-600 more to my dairy total and 200 more to Meat. Wow, I should edit the original post to say 3000-4000+ calories a day.

C64b5c2eb0f75c6bdfd5ea6010967f5c

(10)

on October 05, 2010
at 04:22 PM

Buying a glucometer is a good idea. I don't recall ever feeling at my absolute worst during a blood test and measuring during a crash could be illuminating. However, If my body is dependent upon a constant stream of fresh glucose wouldn't I have seen much lower gains in performance switching to a low carbohydrate diet?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 05, 2010
at 04:14 PM

Is cannabis Paleo? Cause if it is, I gotta get me some!

C64b5c2eb0f75c6bdfd5ea6010967f5c

(10)

on October 05, 2010
at 04:13 PM

Being able to fast for a whole day is an ideal. Right now having to eat is an incredible burden. If I could find a diet enabling me to go 6-8 hours without feeling crippled it would be a huge boon.

C64b5c2eb0f75c6bdfd5ea6010967f5c

(10)

on October 05, 2010
at 04:07 PM

Exercise primarily consists of 2-3 20-30 minute sprinting sessions per week with an occasional 5-10 mile run every other week, very brief 5-10 minute HIIT with a medicine ball twice a week, and pull ups/chin ups twice a week. Average Day: 1200 Cream 700 Whole Milk 300 Butter 800 Meat (Beef, Sardines) 100 Vegetables(Broccoli, Cauliflower, Leafy Greens) I probably average closer to 3000 calories than 2000.

C64b5c2eb0f75c6bdfd5ea6010967f5c

(10)

on October 05, 2010
at 03:53 PM

An OGTT is definitely worth pursuing. My last blood test was performed after fasting. I eliminated dairy from my diet for a little over a year and ultimately concluded that it does not influence my appetite. Dairy does contribute to increased feelings of nausea after sleep, but consuming kefir for several months has mostly remedied this issue.

F8fa4b0809d3b74fcf0361c0d53b60c1

(911)

on October 04, 2010
at 06:23 AM

Being able to go a mere 4 hours without food is hardly "fasting," that is basic functionality!

0dbd6cbb96871e07d062fea7e37b0a18

(120)

on October 03, 2010
at 03:39 PM

Come to think of it, it is very easy for me to skip meals while working. I can weight train fasted as well, BUT look out come end of the day. I will be doing some eating.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 03:10 AM

Hmm, good point. I guess we need more info on exact caloric intake. Eating more than 3,000 should be enough unless he is exercising a ton. But we need more exact info.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on October 02, 2010
at 01:56 AM

Since OP is 6'3" and 160, I'm not sure I agree with you there....

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 01:23 AM

Actually, I am a bit of the reverse. When I am working, I tend to forget about eating and am too distracted to care about minor hunger pains. At home, I think about food more unless I find an interesting subject that requires hours of very important internet surfing..

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 01:09 AM

Dude, you gotta read the question. This guy already eats plenty. The problem is not with his consumption.

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6 Answers

2
0dbd6cbb96871e07d062fea7e37b0a18

on October 02, 2010
at 01:17 AM

All I can think of is reduce stress. I can fast easily on weekends without work stress or gym stress. Not such great results during the week with both factors

0dbd6cbb96871e07d062fea7e37b0a18

(120)

on October 03, 2010
at 03:39 PM

Come to think of it, it is very easy for me to skip meals while working. I can weight train fasted as well, BUT look out come end of the day. I will be doing some eating.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 01:23 AM

Actually, I am a bit of the reverse. When I am working, I tend to forget about eating and am too distracted to care about minor hunger pains. At home, I think about food more unless I find an interesting subject that requires hours of very important internet surfing..

1
0dbd6cbb96871e07d062fea7e37b0a18

on October 03, 2010
at 03:36 PM

Im wondering why at your size you are even trying to fast. The reason I fast is to sharpen insulin resistence and lean up, but it sounds like you are already fairly lean. If I try to fast when I am at my lightest weight I have the same problems you have.

F8fa4b0809d3b74fcf0361c0d53b60c1

(911)

on October 04, 2010
at 06:23 AM

Being able to go a mere 4 hours without food is hardly "fasting," that is basic functionality!

C64b5c2eb0f75c6bdfd5ea6010967f5c

(10)

on October 05, 2010
at 04:13 PM

Being able to fast for a whole day is an ideal. Right now having to eat is an incredible burden. If I could find a diet enabling me to go 6-8 hours without feeling crippled it would be a huge boon.

1
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 01:08 AM

Personally, I would suggest you do not attempt to fast for long periods unless you can figure out what is causing this problem. What you are describing is not normal body functioning and you do not want to allow yourself to get to the point where your brain is not getting enough energy to function properly. If I had to guess, it sounds to me as if your body is having trouble storing energy and possibly also retrieving it. Thus whenever you are no longer digesting food for a while, you are running out of energy. The brain is the biggest energy hog and the most sensitive organ so it will often feel the deficit first and most.

What should happen is when you digest, you use some of the fuel for immediate energy needs and you store some for later. Some hours later, when you haven't eaten for a while, the body should be able to retrieve that stored energy and keep you going for quite some time. But sounds like that is not happening. Instead of retrieving stored energy, you are crashing and have to eat again quickly to keep stable.

THere are probably hundreds of possible links in the chain that could be causing this problem. At least, make sure that when you say no signs of hypoglycemia, they did testing far enough away from food intake to make sure they would have caught it. To be sure, I would buy a cheap glucometer at the store and next time I had one of these crashes, I would quickly test my blood glucose to make sure it is not low. That way, you can make SURE it is not a blood glucose issue. Doctors have been known to be wrong at times!
;-)

Another potential cause might be overactive thyroid (hyperthyroid) or digestive malabsorption. If it's any consolation, I've known a few other people with similar probs. They just HAD to eat regularly or they would mentally crash. But they lived normal lives otherwise. They just had to make sure they had food regularly and kept snacks around at all times just in case. One of those people even later physiologically changed after around 50 and then began to put on weight and develop metabolic syndrome. Now he gets fat easy whereas before he was always hungry, eating a ton, and skinny like a bean. And of course, he ate all kinds of food including unhealthy crap. So it's good that you are eating healthy now to avoid other worse problems later.

Just remember that paleo eating guidelines are designed for the average person but they may not always be the best advice for every single person. SOme people have special physiology. Sounds like you are one that cannot safely fast and should for healthy reasons eat regularly and whenever hungry, at least unless you can decipher the exact root cause of your problem and treat it directly. Meanwhile, eating healthy will always help and you may even experience slowly improving health if you keep eating healthy like you have. Not all paleo eating benefits come immediately. Welcome to the board and lets hope eventually we can together figure this thing out.

C64b5c2eb0f75c6bdfd5ea6010967f5c

(10)

on October 05, 2010
at 04:22 PM

Buying a glucometer is a good idea. I don't recall ever feeling at my absolute worst during a blood test and measuring during a crash could be illuminating. However, If my body is dependent upon a constant stream of fresh glucose wouldn't I have seen much lower gains in performance switching to a low carbohydrate diet?

0
13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on November 10, 2010
at 07:21 PM

Did you make any progress with this?

0
13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on October 02, 2010
at 01:03 PM

How long have you been eating this way?

You blood tests for hypoglycemia - was this an OGTT? That would show that you can handle sugar, but perhaps you don't handle something else on your menu.

You could try eliminating dairy for a time or test for casein intolerance. Casein can affect digestion and absorption in much the same way as gluten.

13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5

(2339)

on October 11, 2010
at 03:01 PM

if you prefer to test on your own, buy a meter and some strips and get the details over at www.bloodsugar101.com That way you can test the effect of full meals and not just a sugar solution.

C64b5c2eb0f75c6bdfd5ea6010967f5c

(10)

on October 05, 2010
at 03:53 PM

An OGTT is definitely worth pursuing. My last blood test was performed after fasting. I eliminated dairy from my diet for a little over a year and ultimately concluded that it does not influence my appetite. Dairy does contribute to increased feelings of nausea after sleep, but consuming kefir for several months has mostly remedied this issue.

-1
D05e94d3fa7fbf32eb56445ad932f654

(773)

on October 01, 2010
at 11:45 PM

Have you considered smoking cannabis? I've found that it helps increase my appetite. In fact, I once smoked one evening and ate A LOT of food (paleo foods, of course) soon after. The next morning and day, my body didn't feel the need for food in a long time. I think if you are really struggling to get more comfortable with fasting, this might be a good way to get started.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 03:10 AM

Hmm, good point. I guess we need more info on exact caloric intake. Eating more than 3,000 should be enough unless he is exercising a ton. But we need more exact info.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 02, 2010
at 01:09 AM

Dude, you gotta read the question. This guy already eats plenty. The problem is not with his consumption.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on October 02, 2010
at 01:56 AM

Since OP is 6'3" and 160, I'm not sure I agree with you there....

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 05, 2010
at 04:14 PM

Is cannabis Paleo? Cause if it is, I gotta get me some!

C64b5c2eb0f75c6bdfd5ea6010967f5c

(10)

on October 05, 2010
at 04:39 PM

On second thought, those are minimum numbers. Add 200-300 calories of eggs, 300-600 more to my dairy total and 200 more to Meat. Wow, I should edit the original post to say 3000-4000+ calories a day.

C64b5c2eb0f75c6bdfd5ea6010967f5c

(10)

on October 05, 2010
at 04:07 PM

Exercise primarily consists of 2-3 20-30 minute sprinting sessions per week with an occasional 5-10 mile run every other week, very brief 5-10 minute HIIT with a medicine ball twice a week, and pull ups/chin ups twice a week. Average Day: 1200 Cream 700 Whole Milk 300 Butter 800 Meat (Beef, Sardines) 100 Vegetables(Broccoli, Cauliflower, Leafy Greens) I probably average closer to 3000 calories than 2000.

Cebbca9a78d5612bf3468b273c2010d5

(452)

on September 13, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Adam asked a good question in his original post, and now that cannabis is brought up, I fear the entire thread will be erased, as always seems to happen when weed enters the conversation.

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