Thursday, 24 May 2012

Back on the IF bandwagon - and its working

After the rodent study I decided to get back on the IF bandwagon, especially given what we also learnt about diurnal cortisol in the same post. The biggest point about diurnal cortisol is not to eat for atleast 3-4 hours after waking up, let the cortisol come down before you start munching on grub.

Anyway, I have been doing 23/1 IF since, and I was pleasantly surprised that my glucose tolerance was considerably higher. In line with diurnal cortisol, I have been waiting until 4pm-6pm in the evening and then consuming all my calories in one large meal, ive even been sneaking in some carbs in the form of candy and banana's. Im also taking 1000mg metformin with the meal, and pre-loading with 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar.

I dont restrict myself, I dont count calories, I just eat whatever I want and eat to hunger. My estimate is it comes out to about 2200 calories.

My plan was to continue this for a few days until I became accustomed to the circadian rhythm of feeding, and then transition more into a ketogenic diet but still keeping the 23/1 feeding pattern. I needed to eat higher carb and bit of junk food in the beginning to keep myself satisfied and not strain myself with cravings while my body adjusted to the new 23/1 pattern because ghrelin is also on the circadian clock and it takes time to adjust. Eating ketogenic on 23/1 will inadvertently lead to reduced calorie intake because it wont be easy eating 2200 calories of low-carb in one meal, not unless I start drinking pints of cream.

OK, so yesterday was my first low-carb day on the IF 23/1 and today I had some comments from work colleagues "hey it looks like your losing weight", tbh my trousers do feel noticeably looser. Great! I never weigh myself on the scales because its just playing mind games with yourself, I just go by how I feel and how my clothes fit. I actually did 23/1 back in 2007 and looking back now I remember that's when I also managed to get down to my lowest weight, alas, everything literally went "pear-shaped" though when I started my new job and came under stress and pressure.

Stress and depression make me crave sucrose laden foods. This has been the prime reason I have yo-yo dieted so much. Sucrose is how I artificially raise my mood to cope with stress and depression. Although sucrose tends not to make me gain weight in small amounts, once I get the mood high from sucrose foods I end up binging on huge amounts and its very hard to pull myself away from it.

I cant eat just one strawberry lace or just one drumstick lolly, as soon as I get the taste of sucrose on my tongue I just get completely mind-controlled and consume it all. I.E. hyperphagia , Fruit does not have the same affect at all. Only human engineered foods cause these addictions.

I want to quickly comment on something else aswell, Today I had only bacon and eggs for my meal. Anyway about 30 minutes after the meal I got very drowsy, and it was lights out, I must of napped for about 1 hour. This is post-prandial somnolence, and I was surprised that this happened because I had assumed this phenomenon was primarily a function of the tryptophan:LNAA ratio in the blood, and that only high carb meals that spike insulin were capable of post-prandial somnolence by shunting more tryptophan into the brain.

Sigh, so thats another theory out of the window. Unless the egg white had something to do with it? I ate 4 egg whites in the meal, and egg whites are high in tryptophan ( but they are high in BCAA aswell! ). This study used something called hydrolysed egg protein to raise the tryptophan:LNAA ratio. No idea what that is, and it probably isn't the same as fried egg whites. So meh.

Anyway, the rodent IF study has finally nailed it into my brain, that when you eat is likely just as important as what you eat. I'm sure I wont stay 23/1 forever, but I will keep the lessons that rodents teach us in mind. 23/1 is good for weight loss, and I will probably resume 2 meals per day in a 6 hour window in the future for maintenance.

hhhhmmmm, im sure the government nutrition guidelines of eating 3 meals per day must be causing more harm than good.


  1. Best of luck with your new feeding regimen! I've always wanted to try the "all you can eat in one evening meal" diet. I'm doing two meals a day within a six hour window at the moment and it is working fabulously. Your post on cortisol diurnal rhythm reinforced my belief that eating breakfast is harmful.

    Btw, wrt depression amd self-medicating with carbs, I know what you mean. The effect is very transient though, sure you get the serotonin spike, but the withdrawal phase is terrible. I find my mood to be much more stable on VLC but it has to be really strict VLC, not some half-arsed version of it.

  2. Congrats on the weight loss :)

    Metformin is usually taken twice per day, unless there is a reason the patient cannot tolerate such a high dose like nausea/vomiting, hypoglycemia, or other sensitivity. The best time to take metformin would be the AM because that is when gluconeogenesis is highest/IR is highest. What dose are you taking, 500 or 1000?

    Interesting regarding that you use sweets to cope with stress and depression, with loss of control around them. My response to sweets at this point in time is to become high as if I took drugs/alcohol and this suppresses my appetite; any increased apppetite is a function of the carbs and it occurs 1.5-2 hrs after eating in line with insulin production. In depression my physical hunger is much higher, but it is for all foods and it is less of a craving and more of a food vacuum "never satisfied" situation.

    Have you considered trying tramadol as needed for stress/depression? I almost never have depression any longer, since using omega 3s, magnesium, my st johns wort/isolated amino acids/light therapy and changing my work schedule to be 3 days per week (that helped a lot ;D)
    In the past when depression was more of a problem, I would hit tramadol as needed and found it to be immediately effective to raise my mood at least slightly higher than it was. Tramadol raises serotonin, norepinephrine, and endorphin; endorphin disinhibits dopamine producing motivation and interest (and serotonin also raises endorphin independently of the direct augmentation via tramadol). This is similar to antidepressants and similar to sugar.

    The good thing about tramadol is it actually works, unlike SSRIs, and it produces a mood change immediately similar to other effective drugs like stimulants or opiates. It also is not a controlled substance like percocet. In my experience the mood benefits of tramadol last relatively long for the dose; a baby dose of 25mg tramadol would have a noticeable mild mood augmentation for at least a day or two, whereas with a percocet you are higher for 4 hrs and then just as low again.

    Of course some people become addicted to tramadol so people with drug or alcohol problems should avoid this...but IMO it is a much healthier alternative and probably much more effective too, compared to using sugar (or trying to abstain from sugar).

    1. Oh and of course, the ketogenic diet...which controls my depression best of all. Since returning to ketosis several months ago my mood has been ridiculously stable. If I eat excessively to grow body fat rapidly I notice my mood suffers but otherwise I have absolutely zero signs of depression in ketosis.

  3. Thanks for feedback!

    Sidereal yeh 2 meals in 6 hours is what I consider most balanced and most sustainable, I will go back to this myself at some point. I cant deny however that weight loss is better for me on 23/1 though.

    Wooo, cheers for the tramadol tip, ill try and get some to keep on hand. Actually depression is only a minor thing for me, 99% of the time my mood is stable and quite mellow and consistent, but im prone to traumatic depression. Like if something MAJOR bad happens to me in real life I tend to slip into depression coma that lasts weeks/months.

    Stress on the other hand is a much bigger problem for me, I get stressed easily, and overly anxious when put under pressure. This is where I mostly tend to slip up and turn to sucrose foods to balance the stress.

    Im definitely a sucrose addict, whats interesting is it doesnt matter how deeply depressed I am, or how anxious/stressed I am, once I have the sucrose sweets going it completely and instantly lifts and normalises my mood. Its like magic dust, but the feeling goes away as soon as I stop eating it. So I have to reach for the next sweet, then the next, then before I know it ive gone through several bags of sweets.

    Are men more prone to addiction behaviour I wonder?

    My metformin is 500mb tablets, I am self-diagnosed dont forget :) Good point about taking it in morning though when glucogeogenesis is highest, ive mostly been taking it in late afternoon/evening. duh!!!

  4. I really, really want to IF, eating in the late afternoon/evening if not a 23/1 like you. Eating later in the day as opposed to the morning seems to provide a lot of benefits for me. But I find I just can't seem to get any momentum. The hunger gets distracting, and I convince myself IFing is a bad idea today because [blah blah dumb rationalizing], and then the minute I've eaten I feel like an idiot.

  5. Getting on to 23/1 can be a bit difficult, hunger and feeding is also controlled by the circadian clock so if you consistently eat at certain times of the day it will be very difficult to break those habits.

    I found it easier to resist hunger in the morning than the evening. Snack cravings at night are brutal hard to resist, so if I have a large all-in-one meal at around 4pm-6pm, I dont get those snack cravings at all.

    2 meals in 6 hours window is still a perfectly fine form of IF, infact I do this on my nightshift's when 23/1 is impractical. lunch + dinner. and dont eat when cortisol is high!