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BG trials and tribulations and a fasting success

Discussion in 'Fasting' started by AdamJames, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. AdamJames

    AdamJames Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I've been really struggling with blood sugar control in the last couple of months. The timing has coincided with starting to do a huge amount of walking in Snowdonia at the weekends, and stopping counting calories.

    It's been very frustrating because on the surface, I'm living a healthy lifestyle - if someone tells you they've quit alcohol and junk food, radically reduced carbs, often goes for an hour's walk after work, and clocks up 15-20 hours walking in Snowdonia at the weekends, you'd probably think they are on the road to improving health.

    But my blood sugar has been at chronically high levels and, tellingly, my weight has gone up quite considerably (7kg) in those two months. I'm confident that some of that will be muscle, but most of it will be fat. I'm pretty sure I'm a classic case of over-eating after 'big exercise' - if I eat what 'feels right' after the big days in the hills, I gain weight - apparently a well known and studied phenomenom. And in all my experiments last year, I realised that calories are a massive influence on my fasting blood sugars the next day, regardless of macro nutrient ratios.

    My next HbA1c test is in 3 weeks, and, considering the regularity with which I've been getting 9.5 mmol/l readings, I'll be straight back on medication.

    So I've become very calorie-conscious again, and have started a concerted effort to lose weight and get the bg down. Finding a balance whereby I can do my supposedly healthy hobbies at the weekends but not gain weight and get constantly damaging blood sugar levels is clearly going to take some work.

    I've been doing some experiments with fasting recently. So far I've found:

    * My first fast (quite some time ago now, before this 'difficult period') involved eating 'breakfast' a couple of hours after I woke up, on a non-work day, then nothing till the next day. I was really surprised to end up with a fasting bg of 3.9, even before the fasting day had ended. 3.9 turns out to be my low-point, which is apparently common. So my bg had 'bottomed-out' within a day.

    * Many times I have 'fasted' in the sense of not eating after 7pm, then having breakfast over 12 hours later. This doesn't seem to make much difference.

    * I recently did a 36 hour fast (no food at all one day) which involved quite a bit of walking in the morning of the no-food day. Not a bad result by the next morning - about 5.5 I think, but considering the effort was a lot more than when I'd got a 3.9, it was a bit disappointing. However this was in the recent period where I've been struggling with bg generally.

    * Realising that I could combine fasting with walking quite comfortably, I tried fasting while on one of my 'big walk' days in Snowdonia. I gave up after a couple of hours, because I was exploring new terrain and doing a lot of navigation. I find using an OS map and a compass very mentally taxing and I always struggle mentally when fasting. I had something to eat and within an hour I was enjoying things again and knew exactly where I was (in more than one sense!). The previous 36 hour fast was far more manageable because the walking I had been doing then didn't require any mental alertness, I'd just been plodding along on routes I knew well. I could 'push through' the waves of mental fog with no issues.

    * I tried skipping breakfast on a work day. This was a disaster. My job involves sitting in front of a computer and thinking. I was hopeless, frankly it didn't feel right to be claiming a wage. I over-compensated with food at lunch time, but could work very well in the afternoon.

    So, so far (and I gather this may change), with fasting, it seems that I can't combine it with any activity that requires mental alertness. But I can combine it with surprising amounts of exercise.

    However, the best result I got with fasting was the first one. What were the potentially important factors there? I don't know, but possibly:

    * Having breakfast in the morning.
    * It was not during a period of over-eating - I'm pretty sure I was in a period of weight loss.
    * It involved very little movement during the day - just lounging around at home.
    * There was no need for mental alertness.

    So I've been busy the last few days trying to recreate this scenario. Calorie counting and exercise leaves me in no doubt that over the last 3 days I've been considerably 'in deficit' and hopefully the liver is getting cleared out of fat and all that stuff.

    Yesterday morning I woke with a bg of 7.3 mmol/l. Really not great, but better than the 9.5's I've often got recently. So the effort has worked to some extent, but nothing dramatic. Now time to try to repeat the 'successful fast'...

    I had breakfast a couple of hours after waking up, like the first time. And it was similar in calories (600-700) and macro nutrients (lots of protein, fat, and 10-20g carbs). Then I lounged around the rest of the day. I did 'have' to go on a 30 minute bike ride to get some shopping as my car has broken down, but I took it very slow as I wanted to avoid 'exercise' as such.

    Mental fog was present as always, so I watched the new series 'Lost In Space' on Netflix which is actually much more enjoyable when you've lost the ability to think critically :)

    I also slept on the couch on and off - the previous day's exercise and reduction in food, combined with the fasting, were taking their toll. Or was it 'Lost in Space'? I was worried the sleeping may screw things up. What does the liver do during/after a siesta? I don't know.

    Anyway before I finally went to bed yesterday, I was at 4.9 mmol/l. Not bad. I was actually quite hopeful that I may be able to get a 3.9 by the morning.

    This morning I woke up and felt very weak and shaky. I got a reading of 4.2. It was a special occasion so I took another one for accuracy and got a 3.7. So I'm going to call it 3.9! I'd 'bottomed out' again and, after months of awful readings and feeling certain I'd be back on medication, it has given me hope.

    It's just a first step in trying to get back on track, but a very good one. Now I need to go back to carefully monitoring what I eat. In particular if I can find a way of still doing the big walks at weekends and keeping weight and blood sugar on track, then I may have this problem 'solved' enough for now.

    Breakfast this morning was 2 eggs, 1 sausage, mushrooms, 2 slices of bacon, a cup of tea with a bit of milk in, and, just because I could, some guacamole:) The guacamole was with the food, not in the tea. That's an experiment for later:)

    580 calories, 7g carbs. Two hours later, my bg was 6.5. I'm going to call that 'not horrific', at least it's well within the guideline of 7.8. It may well have included an element of 'liver dump' as well, since my bg started off at rock-bottom and I'd just woken up. This is the first time in a long time I've woken up with a non-destructive blood sugar level, have eaten a very satisfying breakfast, and am still possibly not in damage territory. And I'm no longer weak and shaky. I may even go for a nice bike ride to my local walk as the weather looks lovely outside.

    So anyway, re fasting, it doesn't look like I will be able to incorporate it into my lifestyle very often, but it can be a very useful tool to help get things back on course!
     
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  2. DCUKMod

    DCUKMod I reversed my Type 2 · Master
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    Have you used a Libre during your difficult period where you could compare the traces with a better time? If you have been waking to higher numbers, you may be experiencing dawn phenomenon? Do you have, or have access to, a body composition monitor set of scales? I find that useful too.

    In your "difficult" phase, were you plain old eating enough?
     
  3. AdamJames

    AdamJames Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    No, I still haven't tried a Libre. It's on my horizon when I get some spare money.

    From many many experiments however I'm convinced that I don't ever get a liver dump during the night. Sometimes within an hour or two of waking up, but never overnight so far. That includes the 2 times I've 'bottomed out' - I wake up with a 3.9 - my body seems happy to keep me at that low level until I get up and do any real moving around.

    I haven't got high-tech scales, that's also on the cards when I get some spare money! I did monitor my stomach at the widest point, and it was definitely expanding a month ago, in line with my weight increase. I haven't measured my stomach recently as I've lost the tape measure - I must look for that! Also, while I wasn't counting calories in the sense of restricting them, when I realised I was putting on weight a while ago, I remembered what I'd eaten over the previous few days and totted things up, and it was definitely an excess of calories, so I've definitely been 'eating enough'!

    I'm pretty sure that's the nub of the problem - balancing the increased exercise with not over-eating as a consequence.
     
  4. rab5

    rab5 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    what is your diet.....?
     
  5. Blood-Sweet-and-Tears

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    By the way, sleep is just as important as your diet. I read an article where it said that if you get less than 8 or over 8 hours of sleep, you're gonna have high BG, so 8-hour sleep is exactly what your body needs. Hope this makes sense.
     
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  6. bulkbiker

    bulkbiker Type 2 · Oracle

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    Not sure you are quite right in saying "as important" whilst sleep is quite important as important as diet I doubt.
     
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  7. AdamJames

    AdamJames Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, missed this post. I hardly ever remember to come back to threads unless I get an alert!

    The best summary of my diet over the last few months would be to eat 20-50g of carbs per day, a moderate amount of fat, and not count calories.

    However for a week or so recently I did count calories during the week (not at weekends when out walking) and that helped a lot to keep me on track.

    Funnily enough this weekend just gone I've made my most accurate effort yet to count calories both during a weekend of walking and for 2 days afterwards, but not let the numbers stop me eating what I wanted.

    It was as I had suspected: I'm almost certainly eating well under maintenance calories during the big walking days because my appetite lowers during exercise. I say "almost" certainly because for the 3 days the numbers where something like 1800, 2400 and 3400. I'm pretty sure that on a day where a 100kg man with a heavy rucksack walks up and down hills however, 3400 calories is less than maintenance. Sure enough my weight had dropped when I got back home.

    But then in the two days afterwards, I had over 5,000 calories one day and I stopped counting in disgust at 6,000 the next day. It really felt "right", as in I was eating food until I felt mentally alert and physically capable if you know what I mean. This food was same sort of food - it doesn't take many carbs at all for me to get high fasting levels - it just takes weight gain.
     
  8. KK123

    KK123 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi Adam, are you saying that you consumed 6000 calories whilst keeping the carbs under 50?? What would that consist of?
     
  9. AdamJames

    AdamJames Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Ironically, the one time I monitored calories accurately I didn't monitor macro ratios! I'm going to say that the ratios will be roughly the same, so carbs will almost certainly be getting on for 100g. I should add however that I've proven to myself time and time again that I can have say 300g of carbs in a day and lower my fasting levels so long as calories are low. But if I have enough calories to gain weight, even if carbs are low, my fasting levels go up.

    Also, I've been experiencing this weight-gain-after-walking thing for months now, including a while back when I was on very low carbs indeed, where I'm pretty sure the total will have been less than 50g even if I was eating enough to gain weight quickly.
     
  10. DCUKMod

    DCUKMod I reversed my Type 2 · Master
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  11. AdamJames

    AdamJames Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    You tell me. :(

    I did quite comfortably get down to 93kg and felt I could keep going forever, when I stayed at home each day, no jaunts to Wales, and just did an hour walk each night. Logic says I should go back to that lifestyle and give up my hobby at weekends, for a few months at least. I'm just enjoying the big walks so much, and I stubbornly refuse to believe that I can't incorporate them into a healthy lifestyle, even though all the data tells me it's a problem.

    Another option, since my weight keeps hovering around 100kg, I'm sick of my stomach, I can't get anywhere with the idea of 'eating to satiety' regardless of food types, I can't do my job when I try to get fat-adapted, and I'm always hungry anyway, I figure I may as well do the ND. That magic 100kg is possibly a sign from above as it's the starting figure so often quoted.

    I just don't know. Any ideas?

    What would a rational person do?
     
  12. AdamJames

    AdamJames Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I do still have ideas to try while still going on the big walks at weekends, but I'm losing hope.

    One is to deliberately eat a fair bit more than my appetite tells me to while I'm on the walks - I could do that and still lose weight, and maybe I won't crave food so much in the days afterwards?

    Another is to accept that I'm basically still a carb-burning machine since I can't get properly fat-adapted, so to eat what I used to eat years ago when in the hills - flapjacks, porridge etc - just eat them before the walking, taking advantage of the fact I seem to be able to avoid big spikes if I do that. Maybe the keeping carbs low, but not being fat-adapted, is confusing my poor body?

    Another idea is to try to use sleep rather than food to regain energy in the days after the big walks. If I could force myself to get to sleep very early on Mondays and Tuesdays maybe that would help. Certainly the way I experience hunger on those days is a lot of it feels like tiredness - I only become alert once I've eaten a lot of food.

    Anyway these are all just possibly desperate ideas.

    I'd much rather somebody else told me what to do and then it's their fault when it all goes wrong.
     
  13. Blood-Sweet-and-Tears

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    Well, at least it's true for me, as I noticed my blood sugar was higher when I either didn't get enough sleep or slept in so...
     
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