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Help me understand my sleeplessness and a fix, please?

Answered on December 05, 2013
Created December 05, 2013 at 10:28 AM

I am a 21 yr old female around130lbs, 5'8" and have been eating paleo (no grains, sugars, very limited fruit or high glycemic veggies, no soy, gluten, dairy, etc.) for several years. I have been eating 1300 calories/day for 3-4 years and the last couple aobut 30% comes from healthy fats. I tried a keto diet for 3 months last year and it kept me up at night and I began binging again so I went back to some more carbs-especially at night-and in particular kabocha squash (sweet japanese pumpkin). I became addicted to kabocha over the years-relying on it to fill me up, satisfy my cravings and put me to sleep. But a couple days ago I decided this habit is not healthy for me physically, spiritually,emotionally and I have to let it go. So-now all of my carbs consist of low glycemic veggies with about 1 cup of pumpkin in deserts, maybe half a banana in a smoothie, and an occasional teaspoon of arrowroot flour. Therefore, most of my calories are coming from fats and some protein. I feel better over all but night time is the worst. I can only sleep on and off for a couple of hours. I have a racing heart and mind. This happened when I did a keto diet before and when I tried intermittent fasting for 3 months as well. I still eat most of my food (and carbs) at night so I am astounded that the mere elimination of say half a kabocha pumpkin would keep me from sleeping. I understand this has something to do with my liver/hyperglycemia/insulin...can someone please explain? And if this will go away or how I can fix it without adding back in kabocha or too many starches?

I read a lot of paleoforwomen.com (stephani ruper) and understand women have different needs but i honestly love a lchf diet MINUS not being able to sleep!

Thanks for any and all help!:)

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B2b1b555c7263bf0a092a61a05ff4c43

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on December 05, 2013
at 08:38 PM

If you do come across this podcast link I would love to listen. Thank you:)

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4 Answers

1
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on December 05, 2013
at 11:39 AM

What superdad said, + 1300 calories a day is waaaay to little. Try to eat the starches at night, and the fat/protein earlier in the day.

Your Basal Metabolic Rate - the amount of calories you need to barely exist (breathe, stay in bed, not move around) is 1440 calories. You are absolutely not eating nearly enough.

From the same link above:

Harris Benedict Formula

To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:

  1. If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
  2. If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
  3. If you are moderatetely active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
  4. If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
  5. If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9

Mind you, counting calories is not necessary, but you're obviously undereating by a whole lot.

Your blood sugar is dropping, in order to keep your brain alive, cortisol is signaled to initiate gluconeogenesis. Since you're undereating, you're probably undereating protein as well, so the process will make glucose from your muscle protein.

You want to keep your muscle, it's very important for your metabolic capability, and the ability to dispose of excess glucose (otherwise it goes to fat stores.) When this process starts catabolizing muscle tissue to make glucose for your brain it does so all over your body - sounds harmless, but keep in mind that your heart is also a muscle, and that this becomes a dangerous situation if you chronically undereat protein.

Low Carb High Fat is fine, but do keep the carbs over 50g-100g/day, and make sure you get at minimum 3 palm sized portions of meat a day.

Going VLC and doing IF is a formula for disaster. Do one or the other, but not both. You can get away with it for short periods of time, but in the long term, there's a heavy price to pay, and you'll find you won't accelerate fat loss, you'll cause stalls.

0
C4deaa6bb01626b4569e8992890381ab

on December 05, 2013
at 11:03 PM

Be careful haleye, sometimes being so uptight about food can have negative effects, you are starting to sound a little carbophobic, i started like this too, i lost 12kg doing low carb which was great..but i kept on the low carb train (under 40g most days) for roughly 2 years. I'm not saying low carb is bad as such, but i do think it's unnecessary unless you genuinely don't do well with carbs. I now eat White potatoes & white rice regularly with no adverse effects. As well as a good fat loss tool, ating very low carb can also stall fat loss & even promote weight gain in some cases by decreasing insulin sensitivity. The top & bottom of it is..Some folk need to do low carb for health reasons, this is great as the pros outweigh the cons for them, unless you fall into that category then there's no reason why good clean carbs will damage your health or make you gain weight. As for your set point, i'd suggest veeery slowly increasing your caloric intake week by week, you seem to be able to track your food down to the last calorie so you shouldn't go far wrong. Then when your set point has shifted, just kick back & relax...Food is here to enjoy as well as nourish....hope this helps.

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0
B2b1b555c7263bf0a092a61a05ff4c43

on December 05, 2013
at 08:38 PM

Thank you Raydawg for your detailed response. I understand 1300 calories sounds low, and it is not easy to do. I have been doing it every single day (to the "t" with a food scale and everything) for 3-4 years minus occasional binges. I do not anticipate on doing IF anymore because anytime I try to even skip breakfast, I can no longer sleep well. I read so much about low carb and high fat and to be very careful not to eat too much protein. And with my calories so low, I tend to have a hard time making most of my calories come from fat so I worry of over eating protein. I do not believe I eat too little protein..probably too much. I see so many good things about running on fat for fuel or at least keeping carbs very low to keep blood sugar stable. But I don't want to harm my body...I just want to be a healthy size. And my body will gain weight if i eat too much squash-because I reset my "set point" to such a low calorie diet. So im not sure what to do. I don't want to have to indulge in starches every night to be able to sleep......

0
C4deaa6bb01626b4569e8992890381ab

on December 05, 2013
at 10:38 AM

It sounds like your blood sugar is dropping & cortisol is spiking which is making you wake up..rapid heartbeat is a sign. Try having some fruit before bed & you should be good to go. Chris Kresser mentioned it in one if his podcasts.. I am on my phone in work so can't post a link I'm sorry. Hope this helps.

B2b1b555c7263bf0a092a61a05ff4c43

(0)

on December 05, 2013
at 08:38 PM

If you do come across this podcast link I would love to listen. Thank you:)

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