Let me please start off with a few questions that I think will resonate with a wider audience. For cisgendered women and other normatively female-bodied type paleo people, when you want to maintain the curves just in those places deemed socially acceptable (butt, hips, breasts), where do you aim for in terms of carbohydrate intake? What if, hypothetically, you were underweight and sporting only an A-cup?
Alternatively, if a girl going through puberty went on a low carbohydrate (LC) diet and started an intermittent fasting (IF) schedule, would it interfere with the timeline of their bodies development?
My issues are a little different than those in both above suggested cases, though incidentally, I am undergoing what is essentially puberty, if really for a second time, starting at the tender age of 25. As of today, I believe, I'm one year on transgender Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
Most trans girls like me reach near-normative body fat distribution (butt and hips) one to two years into hormones, with breast development continuing slowly for years after. Less to normative female-body standards, however, I am 6'3" and weigh 135lbs, and though I am still doing much better for the curves than I was a year ago, I worry that the process of fat redistribution has been hindered largely by the lack of body fat available for redistribution in the first place.
135-150lb appears to be my set point, the range from which deviation seems futile. I wonder whether being on hormones will change my set point over time, however, as women generally have more fat than men. My body just hasn't seemed to figure out that it's trying to stretch the fat that I actually do have over the twig that is my body. I thought I would gain weight with hormones, but I think I've instead lost weight, probably from the three ounces of muscle mass I had prior to medical transition. The muscle atrophy in my arms is surprisingly visible.
I'm newly on what I am aiming to be a pesco-vegetarian paleo diet, and I am trying to figure out what my daily carbobohydrate intake should be. I've currently been aiming for 100-150g/day, along with 50g or more of protein, but I've also started a daily 18/6 intermittent fasting schedule for which 50-80g might more effectively put my body in ketosis. My issue, of course, is whether putting my body in ketosis is really a good idea when I actually WANT FAT, if only in the "right places", according to social norms? And is there really any point in IF unless I am also on a LC diet?
What I like about the idea of IF on a 50-80g carb diet is training the body to initiate fat-burning metabolism (ketosis) on an as-needed basis. As long as my body is not in ketosis 24/7, would I still be able to deposit new fat stores according to my body's hormonal trajectory?
A little personal background: My goals with paleo and IF are general health maintenance and improved cognitive functioning. I am autistic and was also recently diagnosed with co-morbid ADHD-I. The dietary changes I have made in the way of paleo and fish oil supplements have had a noticeable effect on the ADHD symptomology, and particularly with the "brain fog" that would sometimes come over me.
(If you see anyone off topic in the way of cissexism, please join me in a little ad hominem fun! Point and laugh to your hearts content, but remember to then abruptly move on. It gets boring after a while.)
asked byAnya_M_Z_ (30)
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on May 16, 2012
at 01:04 PM
Welcome to the world of being a woman. The fat is never distributed where you want it.
on May 16, 2012
at 02:08 PM
I seriously want to arrest, convict, and lock up your doctors.
But to you point- EAT SOME FOOD! It would be a good idea your calories come from paleo sources, but the overriding factor, in your case, is fucking survival. You need protein. You need calories. You need fat. Hell, you need ice cream. Avoid the ones with grains or legumes, but in your case milk may be medically necessary because it encourages growth. Seriously, go buy a gallon and eat it. It makes no sense whatsoever for you to IF. It already sounds like you are engaging in an extremely sophisticated version of medically assisted suicide, no need to drop intermittent fasting into the mix. You should be eating like 4000 calories a day until you are back up to a decent weight for your size.
on May 16, 2012
at 03:08 PM
At 6'3" even a setpoint of 150 seems extremely low, although 152 would put you at a BMI of 19. At 135 do you find you get colds and such a lot?
With reduced testosterone you're going to find it more difficult to build muscle mass than in the past, but at a bodyweight of 135 I suspect you would benefit by adding muscle as well as fat. Do you have adequate energy and strength to sustain yourself through your daily life? Are you using one of the stimulant meds for ADHD? They may suppress appetite.
More fat would be good. Salmon. Macadamia nuts. Coconut oil. Ghee.
on May 16, 2012
at 12:25 PM
In response to 'And is there really any point in IF unless I am also on a LC diet?'
Mark Sisson did a 7 part easy-read series on the benefits of IF. Part 1 is weight loss, but the next six involve cancer risk reduction, brain activity, longevity and enjoyment of life, the benefits of exercising in a fasted state and different methods of fasting and picking one that works for you. Here's a link below.
In regard to socially acceptable fat deposits and repositioning, well, you might not end up with most or all of what you want, but it sounds like you're really healthy and doing well and on a great path, so congratulations!
on September 28, 2012
at 09:00 AM
One year is nothing in the world of HRT. It took me two years and a switch from oral to injectable Estrogen before I started seeing any real hip sentiment. I'm 6'-2"and after 2.5 years on HRT, I've settled in at 155 lbs (vs 175 pre-transitiion.) At one point, before I started HRT, in an effort to eliminate upper body muscle mass, I starved myself down to 140 lbs. As far as fat, keep in mind that it does not "redistribute." Fat doesn't migrate. What happens is that under the influence of estrogen, existing fat stored in "male" areas (typically belly) will diminish. At the same time, your body begins to accumulate reproductive fat, which is qp quite different from a male who is overweight. Reproductive takes priority, and once it has accumulated, your body is loathe to rid of it. This is the fat that ensures a baby can be carried full term, so when a female diets, she'll lose whatever fat she's added after puberty, but losing that pubertal fat is extremely difficult. So, you need to EAT, because like you pointed out, you're going through puberty, and your hormones are trying to prepare your body to make babies, even though that's obviously not possible.. Also keep in mind that while anti-androgens reduce testosterone considerably, as long as your testicles are intact, your body is going to be hormonally confused, and you won't get full fat distribution. Most people see additional changes after they have surgery.