3

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Feast Day (calorie glut vs. restriction) to break a fasting plateau?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 07, 2011 at 3:25 AM

Not sure if this question has been asked yet, but here goes:

I normally RF (Regularly Fasting) everyday. I begin eating at 3-4pm, and stop around 11 or 12 at night. I seem to have been coasting on a major plateau for about 4 or 5 months now, after strictly adopting this protocol. I am definitely becoming leaner than I previously was before Paleo, albeit very slowly.

I was wondering if having a few consecutive "Feast Days" i.e. with no set eating schedule, caloric overload of safe Paleo foods would jump start my metabolism, and tell my brain via hormones that I'm not in a set of "famine circumstances" and that burning stored body-fat is optimal. I recall maybe Stephen-Aegis or Travis Culp mentioning this about plateau busting, here on PH sometime ago.

I've had a similar result where my body seems to go into fat-burning overdrive if I have a large cheat, or over eat SAD foods the previous few days. Again, this could just be that I tend to shun rich foods if I've cheated or have rhinitis-type allergic reactions to gluten (aka sneezing, wheezing, runny nose, etc...) and avoid food.

I'm wondering if I can achieve the same effect with Paleo foods. What is the science behind this? Does it work? Should I regard IF/RF as a maintenance protocol rather than a "leaning out" angle of attack once I've reached a certain level of fitness?

Clarification - this is not a cheat day question. I'm not advocating pizza or going off the rails with a gluten bomb...I'm simply asking if adding more Paleo-safe calories, say going from 2,000-3,000 calories daily while RFing, to a few days of 6-8,000 cals will have any effect on burning fat, and what the ratios of those meals should be.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 08, 2011
at 05:28 AM

That looks like a pretty good diet. You may not like the sound of this, but cutting out dairy and increasing walking would get you to your goal.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 08, 2011
at 02:29 AM

I also take cold showers every day, or at least finish each shower with cold water for about 4-5 minutes.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 08, 2011
at 02:29 AM

Lots of raw grassfed beef, occasional liver, bacon, eggs, onions, garlic, mushrooms, spinach/kale/leafies, dulse and kelp occasionally, whole roasted chicken 1-2x a month, as much bone broth as I can stomach, usually 1-2 cups black tea with hvy cream and cinnamon a day, some sweet potato PWO, stay away from nightshades, try and eat as much shellfish as I can, oysters, etc.. I do dairy like hard cheeses, heavy cream, butter and ghee, little to no fruit or sugar except for the occasional dark chocolate or haagen dazs indulgence.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 08, 2011
at 01:41 AM

That's awesome; what do you eat?

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 08, 2011
at 01:11 AM

The most efficient way to store energy for humans is to take dietary fat and put it into fat cells. If you take your current diet and add 1000 calories of fat to it, you will store probably about 950 of those calories as bodyfat. It won't jump-start anything. If instead you just increase your carb intake to 50-75g a day, you'll appease your hypothalamus to a much greater extent. As far as I know, the hypothalamus is completely unaware of how much fat you eat, only how much fat you store (which is essentially the same thing). Protein won't really jump-start anything either.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 08, 2011
at 01:10 AM

The most efficient way to store energy for humans is to take dietary fat and put it into fat cells. If you take your current diet and 1000 calories of fat to it, you will store probably about 950 of those calories as bodyfat. It won't jump-start anything. If instead you just increase your carb intake to 50-75g a day, you'll appease your hypothalamus to a much greater extent. As far as I know, the hypothalamus is completely unaware of how much fat you eat, only how much fat you store (which is essentially the same thing). Protein won't really jump-start anything either.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 08, 2011
at 01:07 AM

I think this is related to my previous question about RFing: http://paleohacks.com/questions/72805/rfing-versus-ifing#axzz1d40NywNK

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 08, 2011
at 01:03 AM

I thought I understood this...but does fat intake translate directly into stored fat if it leaves an excess amount of BG after calorie needs are met? What I'm trying to do is switch my hypothalamus out of fat storing mode, i.e. lean circumstances such as our ancestors must've faced in winter, into adipose-burning mode.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 07, 2011
at 06:34 PM

I'm having a Twilight Zone moment here. You're worried about a little excess glucose being stored as fat, so you want to eat fat instead?

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 07, 2011
at 05:26 PM

I usually stay pretty close to ZC or VLC, except on workout days, where I'll have carrots or potatoes, and have been since January.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 07, 2011
at 05:25 PM

I have definitely been of the mind in the past to eat a sweet potato or two on workout days when breaking my fast, is that what you mean? I worry about excess carbs, after topping up glycogen being stored as fat, which is why I'm wondering if I could just feast on MORE protein and fat?

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 07, 2011
at 05:24 PM

I occasionally do have some haagen dazs vanilla ice cream, as it does not make me feel too bad, and some 70% or higher dark choclate.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 07, 2011
at 05:23 PM

Yes, I'm not talking about straying from the diet at all, hence why I said "safe Paleo food." i.e. MORE steak, MORE creamed spinach, MORE coconut oil, MORE bacon, MORE eggs, etc... Excess Paleo calories.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 07, 2011
at 05:21 PM

Travis: I tend to run pretty hot anyway, if you know what I mean. I'm always opening the window full blast in winter, throwing off the comforter at night while my GF is complaining about freezing. I never really get too cold.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 07, 2011
at 05:21 PM

Dorado: I guess I'm in a muscle-building/fat-loss stage...and that's where I want to continue to be. I think it's possible to gain lean muscle mass continually whilst still dropping bodyfat, until an optimal level is reached. At least I hope it is...

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 07, 2011
at 05:19 PM

Yeah, that's where I first learned about IFing...

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 07, 2011
at 05:12 PM

I dunno man, I up my fat intake when I start to drop below 12% because I start freezing my (fairly insubstantial) ass off. I'd be Chilly Willy if I were in single digits year-round, and that's with a high protein/high carb diet (i.e. high thermogenic food).

Medium avatar

(8239)

on November 07, 2011
at 04:11 PM

Also: if I recall, Martin Berkhans says getting lean is 80/20 percent diet/exercise. He acknowledges that diet alone will/can do it, but adding workouts is optimal (defined in part as: faster). For me that's weights with a lil cardio. BTW: if cardio is part of your protocol, be sure to do it near tail end of fasting, when fat burning is predominant.

Medium avatar

(8239)

on November 07, 2011
at 03:33 PM

Helpful info, that you've been making progress, albeit slower than you'd like. Question. Are you currently in a "lean out" phase (caloric deficit aimed to lose fat with adequate protein to maintain muscle)? Or are you in a higher-caloric mode, hoping to build muscle now while also continuing to lose fat?

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 07, 2011
at 03:14 PM

Have you checked Martin Berkhan's Leangains site? Your situation is exactly what his protocol about (getting to to single-digit BF).

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 07, 2011
at 07:55 AM

I've gotten much leaner than I ever have been, and I think that maybe my body just thinks "ok, this is good enough." But to my mind it isn't. I haven't actually invested in any bod-pod sessions or anything, but by looking at myself I can tell that I'm somewhere around %12 or under, and would like to drop down lower.

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3 Answers

2
Medium avatar

on November 07, 2011
at 05:07 PM

It would only make a difference if the feast were carbohydrate-rich. The hypothalamus will intervene and clamp down on metabolic rate etc. if it senses that body fat or glucose availability have dropped too low. It's far more common to do this with carbohydrate restriction than an overall deficiency in bodyfat (unless, dare I say, your hypothalamus isn't receiving the leptin signal being transmitted). Daily calories are irrelevant and not being tracked outside of glucose availability and total fat stores.

One thing that the hypothalamus has no control over is how much ATP it takes for myosin and actin to bind to each other. As such, you can burn plenty of fat with a garbage RMR via low intensity exercise. Muscle repair itself is a good ATP sink as well. It'd probably be a good idea to have your hypothalamus on your side, however.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 07, 2011
at 05:25 PM

I have definitely been of the mind in the past to eat a sweet potato or two on workout days when breaking my fast, is that what you mean? I worry about excess carbs, after topping up glycogen being stored as fat, which is why I'm wondering if I could just feast on MORE protein and fat?

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 08, 2011
at 01:03 AM

I thought I understood this...but does fat intake translate directly into stored fat if it leaves an excess amount of BG after calorie needs are met? What I'm trying to do is switch my hypothalamus out of fat storing mode, i.e. lean circumstances such as our ancestors must've faced in winter, into adipose-burning mode.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 08, 2011
at 01:10 AM

The most efficient way to store energy for humans is to take dietary fat and put it into fat cells. If you take your current diet and 1000 calories of fat to it, you will store probably about 950 of those calories as bodyfat. It won't jump-start anything. If instead you just increase your carb intake to 50-75g a day, you'll appease your hypothalamus to a much greater extent. As far as I know, the hypothalamus is completely unaware of how much fat you eat, only how much fat you store (which is essentially the same thing). Protein won't really jump-start anything either.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 08, 2011
at 01:11 AM

The most efficient way to store energy for humans is to take dietary fat and put it into fat cells. If you take your current diet and add 1000 calories of fat to it, you will store probably about 950 of those calories as bodyfat. It won't jump-start anything. If instead you just increase your carb intake to 50-75g a day, you'll appease your hypothalamus to a much greater extent. As far as I know, the hypothalamus is completely unaware of how much fat you eat, only how much fat you store (which is essentially the same thing). Protein won't really jump-start anything either.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 07, 2011
at 05:26 PM

I usually stay pretty close to ZC or VLC, except on workout days, where I'll have carrots or potatoes, and have been since January.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 07, 2011
at 06:34 PM

I'm having a Twilight Zone moment here. You're worried about a little excess glucose being stored as fat, so you want to eat fat instead?

1
Medium avatar

on November 07, 2011
at 04:55 AM

I'm wondering if you might already be on the lean side. Because if so, it does seem that the hypothalamus has a genius for fat preservation, and thus has to be cajoled to give it up after a certain degree of seemingly rapid progress has been achieved. I'm pretty lean myself, and am doing an IF program at present (or to use your term, RF, since it fact I'm doing 16/8 on an ongoing basis). I'm finding that the "easy" fat seems to have gone already. Such that, at this point (in a lean phase rather than build phase), I find that I'm maintaining my present body weight. Yet, according to both the mirror and fat-percentage measurement (hydrostatic), I appear to be replacing fat weight with lean tissue and bone weight. The seeming "slowness" of it all occasionally tempts me to play with steepening my current caloric deficit, but then I realize doing so might only trigger ever-vigilant hypothalamus into something akin to overdrive. So, I have opted to avoid declaring that I may be in "plateau" or "stall," and that, rather, I might simply be making slower progress than my impatience would prefer. By the way, this is all in the context of three weight sessions per week, Leangains model. Finally, I haven't experimented with anything like the Feast Days you mention, so I can't add anything by way of first-person empiricism here.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 08, 2011
at 05:28 AM

That looks like a pretty good diet. You may not like the sound of this, but cutting out dairy and increasing walking would get you to your goal.

Medium avatar

(8239)

on November 07, 2011
at 04:11 PM

Also: if I recall, Martin Berkhans says getting lean is 80/20 percent diet/exercise. He acknowledges that diet alone will/can do it, but adding workouts is optimal (defined in part as: faster). For me that's weights with a lil cardio. BTW: if cardio is part of your protocol, be sure to do it near tail end of fasting, when fat burning is predominant.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 08, 2011
at 01:41 AM

That's awesome; what do you eat?

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 07, 2011
at 07:55 AM

I've gotten much leaner than I ever have been, and I think that maybe my body just thinks "ok, this is good enough." But to my mind it isn't. I haven't actually invested in any bod-pod sessions or anything, but by looking at myself I can tell that I'm somewhere around %12 or under, and would like to drop down lower.

Medium avatar

(8239)

on November 07, 2011
at 03:33 PM

Helpful info, that you've been making progress, albeit slower than you'd like. Question. Are you currently in a "lean out" phase (caloric deficit aimed to lose fat with adequate protein to maintain muscle)? Or are you in a higher-caloric mode, hoping to build muscle now while also continuing to lose fat?

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 08, 2011
at 02:29 AM

I also take cold showers every day, or at least finish each shower with cold water for about 4-5 minutes.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on November 07, 2011
at 05:12 PM

I dunno man, I up my fat intake when I start to drop below 12% because I start freezing my (fairly insubstantial) ass off. I'd be Chilly Willy if I were in single digits year-round, and that's with a high protein/high carb diet (i.e. high thermogenic food).

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 07, 2011
at 05:21 PM

Dorado: I guess I'm in a muscle-building/fat-loss stage...and that's where I want to continue to be. I think it's possible to gain lean muscle mass continually whilst still dropping bodyfat, until an optimal level is reached. At least I hope it is...

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 07, 2011
at 05:21 PM

Travis: I tend to run pretty hot anyway, if you know what I mean. I'm always opening the window full blast in winter, throwing off the comforter at night while my GF is complaining about freezing. I never really get too cold.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 08, 2011
at 02:29 AM

Lots of raw grassfed beef, occasional liver, bacon, eggs, onions, garlic, mushrooms, spinach/kale/leafies, dulse and kelp occasionally, whole roasted chicken 1-2x a month, as much bone broth as I can stomach, usually 1-2 cups black tea with hvy cream and cinnamon a day, some sweet potato PWO, stay away from nightshades, try and eat as much shellfish as I can, oysters, etc.. I do dairy like hard cheeses, heavy cream, butter and ghee, little to no fruit or sugar except for the occasional dark chocolate or haagen dazs indulgence.

0
E167c0387a5f0b87bb1f2c3e6aec73a8

(1240)

on November 07, 2011
at 04:31 PM

No. Is not going to help you in any shape or form. always avoid toxins like gluten and veg oils ( and combinations) . slightly modify your diet. (more fat, less fat, more protein, less protein, smaller eating window, larger eating window, more calories, less calories, less variety) keep fasting. if its a mind thing, include some rewards like - real- ice cream, dark chocolate, here and there .

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 07, 2011
at 05:23 PM

Yes, I'm not talking about straying from the diet at all, hence why I said "safe Paleo food." i.e. MORE steak, MORE creamed spinach, MORE coconut oil, MORE bacon, MORE eggs, etc... Excess Paleo calories.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on November 07, 2011
at 05:24 PM

I occasionally do have some haagen dazs vanilla ice cream, as it does not make me feel too bad, and some 70% or higher dark choclate.

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