Are You A Fat Burner or a Sugar Burner?

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Raw Cheesecake and Chocolate Cake with Butter Cream Frosting

I enjoyed reading this article at Mark's Daily Apple: What Does it Mean to Be Fat Adapted? Mark goes into detail answering the question, and then he says to ask yourself a few basic questions:

  1. Can you go three hours without eating?  Is skipping a meal an exercise in futility and misery?
  2. Do you enjoy steady, even energy throughout the day?
  3. Are midday naps pleasurable indulgences, rather than necessary staples?
  4. Can you exercise without carb-loading? Have the headaches and brain fuzziness passed?

I thought it was pretty cool that I seem to be a fat adapted… I can easily go 3 hours without eating.  Nowadays I have my big protein breakfast, then bring a tin of sardines with me to have for lunch at work.   Then I'm good until I get home, and that might be 7 or 8pm at night before I arrive home.

I can easily skip a meal, which is amazing. I remember it was i.m.p.o.s.s.i.b.l.e. for me to skip a meal. I couldn't even fathom or consider skipping a meal because I would get cranky, shaky and brain fogged.

I do pretty much have steady energy throughout the day. I was thinking the other day how I don't even consider getting coffee [affiliate link].  I have never really been able to drink coffee, but I would drink four ounces if I needed an energy boost, or if I didn't get a good night's sleep.  I would also have times where I would almost fall asleep while driving. That was awful. I'd clap my hands in front of my face to try to wake myself up.  I'd slap my cheeks in an effort to wake myself up. It is not safe driving at 70mph while nodding off!

I used to have to take at least one and sometimes two naps on the days I'm at home.  I don't have to any longer.

I never really did anything special before exercising, and I currently am not exercising since I'm trying to heal my adrenals.  I don't have brain fuzziness any longer.

Food used to be a lot more important to me than it is now.  I had to bring a food bag with me wherever I went. I used to bring leftovers from dinner, and I had to use the kitchen stove to heat my food, which took 5-10 minutes. Now I just pop my tin of sardines open, or open a package of nuts. It takes so much less time now.

This is how it used to be for me:

  • Breakfast:  Yogurt or kefir shake, or two scrambled eggs [affiliate link], or broth with vegetables blended into a cream soup with a couple egg yolks.
  • Mid-morning snack:  Hunk of cheese, or nuts and a piece of fruit, or maybe a cup of yogurt.
  • Lunch: Leftovers from last night's meal
  • Mid-afternoon snack for on the way home from work:  Piece of fruit, or nuts.

Heaven help me if I got caught in traffic on the way home.   Oh dear. I would be so ravenously hungry by the time I got home I would just stand at the stove and shovel food into my mouth.  My husband used to cook dinner and it was always a buffet of carbohydrates… homemade baked macaroni and cheese, cornbread, peas, home baked bread, mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuits.  I loved those foods, and he loved cooking them for me, because he knows how much I loved them.

So now this is what it looks like for me:

  • 50 grams protein for breakfast.  This might be 8 ounces of beef with a couple tablespoons butter, or chicken breast, chicken thighs, hamburger, pork chops or bacon.   I try to remember to have a cup of broth with breakfast.
  • Lunch = 1 tin of sardines most often, sometimes I'll have 1 ounce of sunflower seeds, cashews or almonds [affiliate link] (this is when I'm in a super hurry and forget to grab my tin of sardines, so have to go to the corner convenience store and buy something – I should just bring those tins of sardines with me and stash in my desk)
  • Dinner – whenever I get home, ideally before 7pm.  I usually have about 6 ounces of meat with dinner, salad or vegetables on the side, ferments.

Yesterday was a great demonstration of how it's changed for me.  I promised one of my coworkers that I would make to allergy-friendly desserts, which were both GAPS legal, for her birthday party.  I don't usually leave home on the weekends, if I can help it, but I wanted to attend her birthday party so I left home around 11am to head into town for the party.

For breakfast around 6am I had half of a hot pork sausage link (about 4 ounces) and 5 slices of bacon.  On the way out the door to the party I took 5 more pieces of bacon with me that were left from breakfast.  When I got to the party I helped to set up, and got the desserts I'd brought cut and into the pretty little paper cups.

While at the party, there were vegetables and fruit that I could have eaten, but instead I decided to eat some of the desserts I'd brought – I ate those around 2pm.  After the party I did some grocery shopping for my youngest sister, who my mom told me was running short on food.  I dropped by and dropped off the food, then headed to my mom's house. I was only there a few minutes and then headed out to another errand.  Then I decided to visit another sister.

By the time we met up it was almost 9pm and she was going to Wet and Wild in north Phoenix.  I used to go there every summer with my boys when they were younger and we lived in town.  I would save money every month all year long to buy passes because it is actually affordable to visit those water parks when you do it that way.   My last “meal” had been the desserts and I wasn't really hungry. But I had my tin of sardines with me and I decided to eat them before we went into the water park.  I did eat my sardines and I was fine with that for the rest of the night.  My sister had brought salad with her and she ate salad before we went into the park, an hour later after we got out of the park, and around midnight when I was planning to leave she offered me a piece of grilled chicken breast.  I wasn't a bit hungry though, and I got home around 1:30am and still wasn't hungry. I went to bed and I was fine.

I was a little bit freaked out about being in the heavily chlorinated water, and the smell of chlorine was overpowering while in the water. I know it causes a toxic load on our bodies to be in swimming pools, but I go swimming about once a year if that, and I wanted to spend time with my sister and niece and grand nephew and it was fun playing and floating in the wave pool.  Since I am on adrenal support I gave myself a “stress dose” before we went into the park, and then I felt a little sick to my stomach after we left so I administered another “stress dose”.  The stomachache dissipated after about 15 minutes.

I haven't felt too bad today. I got a good night's sleep and slept well.

So what about you?   Would you say you are fat adapted?

 

 

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21 comments to Are You A Fat Burner or a Sugar Burner?

  • Thanks for the food for thought in this post. what is the yummy treat in the picture? (yes, I know, my eyes went straight to the sugar so what does that tell us?! haha)

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    LOL, Julie! The ones in the front are these: http://detoxinista.com/2011/02/raw-chocolate-swirl-cheesecake-bars/ The cake behind is this one: http://glutenfreeeasily.com/starlene-chocolate-cake/ and the frosting on the cake behind is Butter Cream Frosting, my review is here: http://gapsdietjourney.com/2012/05/recipe-review-modern-alternative-mamas-buttercream-frosting/ Those were the desserts I mentioned having for lunch earlier in the day. 🙂

    [Reply]

    julie Reply:

    I did not think that chocolate or maple syrup were on the GAPS “yes” list…Looks good though!

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    Dr. Natasha has approved cocoa powder as long as you have no digestive problems, and I substituted honey for the maple syrup. The raw cheesecake bars are amazing and taste just like cheesecake. 🙂 From Dr. Natasha’s FAQs http://www.gaps.me/preview/?page_id=32 re: cocoa:

    Question: When can cocoa be introduced?

    Answer: Cocoa is SCD illegal. However, I find that many people can start having it occasionally on the Full GAPS Diet, once the digestive symptoms are gone. Find pure organic cocoa powder. Mixing the powder with some honey and sour cream makes a delicious dessert, and you can add it to your homemade ice cream or cakes. After trying it for the first time, observe your patient for any reactions. Cocoa is very rich in magnesium and some essential amino acids and, unless your digestive system is not ready for it, there is no need to avoid it.

  • I really enjoyed his post as well! Like you, I think I am fat-adapted. It is no problem for me to skip meals. I do it more than I would like to admit. Not intentionally, but because I am not hungry in the mornings when I wake up and then I get busy working and before I know it, it’s lunch time. Some people say it’s not healthy to skip breakfast, but I’ve actually been doing some reading on skipping meals and it doesn’t seem like it’s as bad for us as the “experts” say. I am kind of the opinion that I’ll eat when I’m hungry. If I’m not hungry, I’m not going to force myself to eat. I’ve also never carb-loaded for exercise and I feel like I can maintain pretty even energy throughout the day. I say listen to your body and give your body what it needs (not necessarily what it wants!).

    I love sardines! Used to hate them, but I have recently started enjoying them and try to eat a couple cans a week! They are a great lunch — filling and fast!

    Great post Starlene!

    P.S. I would love to indulge in mid-day naps! Wouldn’t that be great! 🙂
    Jessica recently posted..52 Weeks of Bad A** Bacteria – Week 25 – Kefir Ice CreamMy Profile

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    Hi Jessica! I used to hate sardines, too. My mom has always loved them and I thought they were just horrid. But then a friend of mine told me they were a good source of calcium so I decided to give them a try. I found a brand that is in olive oil and pretty “clean”. Then I realized what an easy way to take lunch. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

    [Reply]

  • Molly

    I think that I am fat adapted now. It has taken about a year to get to this point but if I eat scrambled eggs and bacon for brunch, I don’t eat again until dinner. I am not a morning person. I get up at 9:30 and have tea with 2T of coconut oil which keeps me running smoothly until 1 or 2 pm. I then eat eggs and bacon and don’t eat again until dinner at 8. I have started Zumba classes. And the only thing I want is water! I’m never hungry at class at 6:15 pm. No snack needed. If I need a snack it is usually raw cheese. My husband who still eats bread and fruit is hungrier than I am. Although he has lost a lot more weight than I have.

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    Molly, cool! It does sound like you are fat adapted. It’s nice not to have to be a slave to food. Would love to try Zumba one day! I have the DVDs and tried them once but oh so hard to keep up with the steps. I’ll try again someday. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    [Reply]

  • Like you, I used to have to bring food with me everywhere I went. I have been doing Kruse’s BAB for two weeks now and have already noticed a huge improvement in hypoglycemia symptoms. GAPS had improved those symptoms some, but nothing like eating in a Leptin Reset manner has. That BAB is hard to get down though! F-U-L-L is an understatement!
    Nicole, The Non-Toxic Nurse recently posted..Coconut Oil: Why My Family Eats It and Other Saturated Fats, Our Favorite Coconut Oil Brand, and a BOGO Sale!My Profile

    [Reply]

    joyce Reply:

    what is Kruse’s BAB? thanks, Joyce

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    Joyce, Nicole was referring to Dr. Jack Kruse’s recommendation on the Leptin Reset to eat what he calls a Big A$$ Breakfast. Basically you’re having 50 grams of protein for breakfast. Read more about it here: http://jackkruse.com/the-leptin-rx-faqs/ I started eating the big protein breakfast on October 31st and it has really helped a lot. I tried to cut down on the amount of protein but spent the day hungry so I am sticking with it for now. Hope that helps! 🙂 Starlene

    [Reply]

    joyce Reply:

    Thanks Starlene,
    Very interesting; I just read this in his blog “check your reverse T3. It will be elevated. I also recommend simultaneously checking a salivary cortisol level. With LR, you will always see higher cortisol levels later in the day.”
    My T3 is low and I have to take Armour Thyroid to get it up to a decent level. In addition, my afternoon and PM Saliva Cortisol tests are off the charts low–I have severe adrenal fatigue.
    However, I do feel extremely fatigued if I miss a meal and feel like my blood sugar is really low.
    Hmmm–am I a Leptin Resistant or all my endocrine problems making me have the symptoms of Leptin Resistance? Sometimes the more I look for answers, the more confused I get!
    thanks, Joyce

    Starlene Reply:

    Hi Joyce, I’ve also read the book Mastering Leptin http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1933927259/gpj-1-20 which goes into some detail explaining how it all works. From what I understand, if we are leptin resistant then everything else is messed up. I too have the high reverse T3 and have been forever contemplating the T3 only protocol outlined in the book Stop the Thyroid Madness (as well as the site) but have not yet made the final decision. I was all ready to start on it, but then a bunch of stuff happened and I never did get follow through. I wrote about it here: http://gapsdietjourney.com/2012/02/my-recent-visit-to-the-naturopath/ If I were you, I would try the Leptin Rx by Dr. Kruse. It can’t hurt to eat your food in a different way than you are now. I think I needed more protein in my diet. As long as your digestion is good it should be helpful.

    Starlene Reply:

    Hi Nicole, yes, Dr. Kruse’s leptin reset has been a huge improvement for me. After about a year on GAPS I was finally able to eat three meals a day but I still had some problems with being hungry. The leptin reset and having the big protein breakfast has really helped a lot. I have had a couple of days where I missed my breakfast and I was hungry throughout the day. I did find it hard at first to eat so much protein – I have *never* been a breakfast person but after a couple weeks I got used to it. Now it’s nothing to eat 8 ounces of meat – providing it is freshly cooked. Some days I go with leftovers from the previous night and I just don’t like reheated meat. I hope it gets easier for you to eat the BAB. 🙂

    [Reply]

  • I would say I am definitely getting there because I remember the days when I first started, I was hungry all the time. Now, I do not feel hunger as much. I do tend to snack on my kids’ food without realizing it. I think it is because after buying healthy meat and organic veggies (usually) I do not have money left over for nuts, so I get a lot of my fat and protein from animal foods, which means I can eat fewer times a day than someone who loads up on lower fat carby foods. I am bad about eating my sardines and I know I need to use those as a snack. I have a bunch of sardines and other seafood snacks like kipper snacks and I have not touched them lately. Thanks for the reminder! I am glad you had fun. I am not confident enough to risk chlorine yet, for one thing it would be super bad on my hair and I would just get so much anxiety about what it could be doing to my kids. I did fill up their little pool in the yard because it was so hot yesterday. Nito stopped thru any time he needed to cool off.

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    Hi Charlotte, that is definitely a good sign that you are not as hungry. 🙂 Yeah, it would probably be very bad to go to a water park or chlorinated pool with Nito. Do y’all have natural bodies of water near where you live? I think the nearest lake from where I live is about 100 miles. ~Starlene

    [Reply]

  • joyce

    Hi Starlene,
    Thanks for the answer above re: T3, etc. I couldn’t seem to reply to your reply! I was finally able to raise my T3 using Armour Thyroid over a period of about year or so. (As you know, Armour has T3 and T4, so I didn’t have to do the T3 protocol, though I should recheck my “ratio” on their on-line calculator.) I would say definitely do the T3 protocol–from my recollection it only takes about 8 weeks. (The STTM people really know what they are talking about, though it can be overwhelming.) However, my holistic MD told me that of the 5 people that she put on a T3 protocol, it only worked for 2 people.
    Another point, if your Adrenals are not working properly, as is the case with mine, no matter how much Thyroid meds you take, you won’t notice any difference–you must heal your adrenals first. (I am taking 30mgs of Cortef a day to help my Adrenals, but still have a long way to go, though I have much more energy.)
    Do you recommend buying the book MASTERING LEPTIN? I am the kind of person who likes to understand everything about a protocol before I use it, LOL!
    I am really glad that I found your blog!
    take care,
    Joyce

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    Hi Joyce, it looks like we are kind of on the same page. 🙂 On the T3 protocol they are saying 12 weeks to clear the reverse T3. But then I hear a lot of people going onto Armour or Naturethroid getting the high rT3 again and staying on T3. Yes, that is what they say on the lists I’m on, get the adrenals supported and doing well first before tackling the thyroid issues. I am using HC to support my adrenals and I need to move on to the next step I have just waited so long now my labs are so old and I stopped taking my temp regularly… just seems like so much work. I did find the Mastering Leptin book helpful – the authors have a bit of a different slant on their “rules” vs. Dr. Kruse’s “rules” but I liked how they explained the hows and whys and whats. Dr. Kruse is very black and white, whereas the ML authors were a bit more understanding. As one example, Dr. K would say don’t eat after 7pm or you’re setting yourself back two weeks every time you mess up, but the ML authors say to make sure you have I think it was at least 10 hours in between dinner and breakfast. So that helped me because sometimes I don’t get home until after 7, and I can’t go without eating dinner – which is what Dr. K says if you can’t eat by 7, drink some water, be intimate with your spouse and go to sleep. I would then be up all night long hungry if I tried that. Glad to meet you! ~Starlene

    [Reply]

    joyce Reply:

    Hi Starlene,
    I had not heard that before that people have done the protocol and then getting the high rT3 again on Armour. I wonder why? What do you mean about moving onto the next step? Thanks for the info about the book; I think I will buy it. I have to tell you that I find the NTH-Adrenals Yahoo Group really overwhelming and sometimes even have anxiety attacks when I read some of the posts. I have never taken my temps regularly either, because of having to take them at multiple times, not getting any sort of exercise at all before taking them, etc. I have not started GAPS yet, but hope that it will help with my endocrine issues as well as my gut issues. I also have brain fog that I just can’t get rid of. I don’t mind the fatigue as much as I do the brain fog–it drives me crazy!

    Take care,
    Joyce

    [Reply]

  • How interesting is this? I think after reading your post I am finally understanding my husband’s eating habits… after eighteen years! I always wondered why he acted like he MUST have something to eat and NOW. For most of my life, I’ve been able to skip meals, like you are describing. He must be a sugar burner, and even though I still have intestinal issues, I must be more of a fat burner. That is food for thought. I off to read Mark’s Daily Apple post, thank you!
    Mary recently posted..My Newest Discovery: Wilderness Adventures – Nut ButterMy Profile

    [Reply]

    Starlene Reply:

    It is very interesting how we can all be so different. And I’m thankful our bodies can change when we give them the proper nutrition. The other day I had to fast for 8-12 hours before having blood drawn and it was a piece cake. Three years ago it would have almost killed me, and I actually ended up fasting for 14 hours and wasn’t even really hungry when I ate. I did decide to eat though because I could tell my thinking processes were just a bit off and I had to work and be able to concentrate. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed that article at Mark’s Daily Apple too. I thought it was very helpful.

    [Reply]

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