Embark on a journey of understanding endocrinology, leveraging hormones for body control, and dispelling prevalent diet misconceptions. This detailed guide, while still evolving, provides insights into achieving a healthier physique and mind.
A pivotal moment in my understanding of body maintenance came when I delved into the roles of the insulin and glucagon hormones.
These two hormones play a dance of balance: while insulin facilitates the storage of energy into fat cells, glucagon acts as the key to unlock and utilize this stored fat. A crucial realization was that if insulin levels never drop to their baseline, accessing stored fat becomes a challenge. This means that the common advice of “eating less but frequently” can inadvertently hinder fat burning and potentially harm metabolic health.
My most effective strategy for managing body composition has been a blend of fasting, intermittent fasting, and the ketogenic diet. Not only has this approach yielded personal success, but from a scientific standpoint, it also emerges as a potentially swift and health-conscious choice.
The landscape of dieting advice is vast, but unfortunately, much of it is riddled with misconceptions. A fundamental error in many diet regimens is that they allow only minimal time in the actual fat-burning zone. By constantly consuming even small amounts of carbohydrates throughout the day, the body’s insulin levels remain elevated, effectively blocking the burning of stored fat.
Prolonged low-calorie diets that include these carbohydrates can lead to a host of issues. Not only can they cause a metabolic slowdown, making weight loss even more challenging, but they can also manifest physical symptoms. Feeling perpetually cold, falling ill frequently, and experiencing heart arrhythmias are just some of the potential side effects.
I encountered these pitfalls firsthand during my teenage years. Guided by a personal trainer’s advice, which seemed logical at the time, I unknowingly embarked on a path that was scientifically flawed. It’s a lesson that underscores the importance of understanding the deeper mechanics of our body’s response to food, rather than just following conventional wisdom.
The Science Behind the Routine
At the heart of body maintenance and weight management lies a delicate interplay of hormones, primarily insulin and glucagon. These hormones, often overlooked in traditional diet advice, are central to how our bodies store and use energy.
The science of body maintenance goes beyond simple calorie counting. It’s a deeper understanding of our body’s hormonal responses and metabolic processes. By aligning our dietary habits with this science, we can unlock more effective and sustainable ways to manage our health and weight.
Insulin and Glucagon: The Energy Regulators
Insulin is often dubbed the ‘storage hormone’. When we consume foods, especially those rich in carbohydrates, our body releases insulin. Its primary role is to help cells absorb glucose from the bloodstream and store it for future use. On the flip side, glucagon acts when energy is needed, signaling the body to break down stored fat into glucose, which cells can then use for energy. The catch? If insulin levels remain elevated, glucagon can’t do its job effectively, meaning the body struggles to burn stored fat.
The Pitfalls of Traditional Diets
Many conventional diets advocate for frequent, small meals throughout the day. While this might sound logical, it can keep insulin levels perpetually high, effectively locking away the body’s fat stores. This constant state of energy storage, without adequate fat-burning phases, can lead to weight gain and metabolic slowdowns.
Moreover, prolonged low-calorie diets that don’t reduce carbohydrate intake can exacerbate this problem. Not only do they hinder fat burning, but they can also lead to adverse physical symptoms. The body, expecting a constant supply of energy but not receiving enough, might react with feelings of coldness, susceptibility to illnesses, and even heart arrhythmias.
Fasting and the Ketogenic Approach
Fasting and the ketogenic diet offer a different approach. By significantly reducing carbohydrate intake, the body is forced to look elsewhere for energy. This is where stored fat comes into play. The body begins to produce ketones, an alternative energy source, by breaking down these fats. This state, known as ketosis, maximizes fat burning and can lead to improved weight management and metabolic health.
Additionally, fasting periods allow insulin levels to drop, facilitating the switch from energy storage to energy utilization. This not only promotes weight loss but also offers benefits like improved hormone regulation and enhanced cellular repair processes, such as autophagy.
Potential Risks and Precautions
While the benefits of fasting and a ketogenic approach are promising, it’s vital to approach them with caution and knowledge. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet or fasting routine, and be vigilant about potential signs of distress in your body.
While the science-backed approach of fasting and a ketogenic diet offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to be aware of potential risks and take necessary precautions. Here are some critical points to consider:
1. Risk of Hypoglycemia During Fasting:
When you fast, your body relies on stored fat as its primary energy source. However, there’s a limit to how quickly your body can convert this fat into usable energy. If your energy expenditure—through physical activity or other means—exceeds the rate at which your body can produce energy from fat, you can run into a problem: hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia refers to abnormally low levels of blood sugar. Symptoms can range from feelings of dizziness, shakiness, and irritability to more severe manifestations like confusion, unconsciousness, and, in extreme cases, it can be life-threatening.
It’s crucial to listen to your body during fasting periods. If you start to feel any of these symptoms, it’s a sign that you might need to break your fast and consume a source of glucose.
2. The Dangers of Refeeding Syndrome:
Re-feeding syndrome is a potentially fatal condition that can occur when reintroducing food after a period of prolonged fasting or malnutrition. As food is consumed, there’s a sudden demand for electrolytes in the body to help process the incoming nutrients. This can lead to a rapid drop in essential electrolytes like phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium, leading to severe complications.
Symptoms of re-feeding syndrome include weakness, confusion, seizures, and respiratory failure.
- To avoid this, it’s essential to reintroduce food slowly after a prolonged fast, starting with small, nutrient-dense meals.
- It’s also crucial to monitor electrolyte levels and consider supplementation if necessary.
This article isn’t finished and will get updates over time. The steps mentioned here can be tough and risky because they might cause low blood sugar when combined with exercise.
Be careful and talk to your doctor before trying them. Pay attention and read more about items marked with ⚠ as these can land you in hospital.
Goals of the body maintenance
- Lower body fat mass –> Esthetics and ease of movement
- Balance hormones –> Not constantly hungry –> Easier weight management
- Utilize autophagy to recycle damage cells –> Less cancer risk
- Lower blood pressure –> Less anxiety
- Improve caffeine sensitivity –> Fitness supplements work better –> Better quality of sleep
- Improved sleep –> Better fat loss and hormone regulation
- Reduce the amount of estrogen
- Burn visceral fat –> Cure non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Better eyesight –> Lower intraocular pressure due to less retained liquids
- Improved dental health –> Low-carb diet starves a lot of the bacteria that can cause gingivitis.
- Start weight: 91,4 kg
- Target weight: 80,0 kg
- Weight difference 11400 g
- Stored energy to burn 102 600 kcal
- Average energy expenditure from fitness tracker 2 825 kcal / day
- Take lab measurements before and after
|Height||192.1 cm||Weight||91.4 kg|
|BMI||24.77||Body fat||19.9 %|
|Fat mass||18.2 kg||Lean mass||73.2 kg|
|Neck||38.7 cm||Arms||30.3 cm|
|Hips||103,0 cm||Shoulders||117,0 cm|
|Waist||98.5 cm||Forearm||25.7 cm|
|Chest||105,0 cm||Thighs||62.1 cm|
Blood pressure measurements
|Systolic blood pressure||127 mmHg|
|Diastolic blood pressure||83 mmHg|
Lab Results Overview
|Fasting Plasma Glucose||5.2 mmol/L|
|Fasting Serum Insulin||3.9 mU/L|
|Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c)||32.0 mmol/mol|
|Serum testosterone (10:30 AM)||34.0 nmol/L (980.9 ng/dl)|
|Serum testosterone (free)||518 pmol/L (149.4 pg/ml)|
|Estradiol (Estrogen)||0.14 nmol/L|
|Serum Sex Hormone Binding Globulin||35.0 nmol/L|
|Fasting Serum Colesterol||3.8 mmol/L|
|Fasting Serum (HDL)||1.5 mmol/L|
|Fasting Serum (LDL)||2.1 mmol/L|
|Fasting Serum Triglycerides||0.44 mmol/L|
|Full blood count||Nothing worth mention|
Most of the lab results are within the expected range, indicating a typical and healthy profile.
The testosterone levels are notably high, especially when considering my historical values. The current DHEA supplementation is suspected to be the primary cause of this elevation.
The estrogen levels are slightly elevated for a male. However, this can be attributed to the current body fat mass, which can influence estrogen production.
Fasting Insulin and HOMA-IR:
The fasting insulin levels are surprisingly low, leading to a lower HOMA-IR value. While this would typically indicate good insulin sensitivity, I question the lab’s accuracy based on my personal health history. A value between 1.5-2.5 would be more in line with my expectations, suggesting mild insulin resistance.
Phase 1 – Transitioning from Glucose to Ketones (3-7 days)
In this phase, the goal is to shift the body’s primary energy source from glucose to ketones. By fasting and consuming an electrolyte mix with multivitamins, we make sure there are no deficiencies.
This not only helps in preserving muscle mass due to the promotion of growth hormone but also ensures a smoother transition between burning carbs and fats, reducing discomfort. Monitoring this transition is helpful mentally, so you can get the feeling like you are progressing and your hunger is not for nothing. Monitoring is done using urinalysis reagent strips and specific monitoring tools.
- Why? To efficiently burn stored fat and protect muscle mass.
- How? By fasting and consuming specific nutrients.
- Promotes growth hormone, preserving muscle.
- Utilizes autophagy, recycling damaged cells.
- Reduces the discomfort of transitioning from carb to fat burning.
- Monitoring: Using urinalysis reagent strips and the CareSens Dual Blood Glucose & Ketone Monitor.
- Get proper sleep, it will protect your muscles.
- Electrolyte mix with Sodium, Potassium and Magnesium
- Black coffee
- Make sure you have some keto-friendly backup snacks available in case you go hypoglycemic. Cheese, eggs etc.
- No exercise to avoid hypoglycemia ⚠
- Do not break fast with carbs ⚠
- Avoid re-feeding syndrome ⚠
- Absolutely no alcohol ⚠
- No zero- or low-calorie sweeteners as they might cause insulin response.
What to expect
- Feeling hungry in waves that come and go with your usual meal-times –> Ghrelin waves
- Constantly thinking of food
- The best night of sleep you ever had
- Feeling bad due to hypoglycemia –> Read more below how to deal with
Avoiding Hypoglycemia During the Transition
As you embark on the journey of transitioning from glucose to ketones, it’s essential to be vigilant about the potential risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. During this phase, your body is still adapting to efficiently burn fat for energy, making it easier for blood sugar levels to drop to concerning levels.
- Why It Happens:
In the initial stages, fat-burning mechanisms haven’t fully activated, leaving a gap in your body’s energy source. This can lead to a drop in blood glucose levels.
- Monitor Your Feelings:
If you start feeling dizzy, shaky, or just “off” in any way, it’s crucial to check your blood glucose levels.
- Immediate Action:
Should your blood glucose readings be lower than expected, it’s essential to eat. However, to maintain the benefits of fasting, opt for zero-carb foods.
- Suggested Foods:
A few eggs or a couple of slices of cheese can help stabilize blood glucose without introducing carbs to your system. After eating, give your body some time to adjust and monitor how you feel.
- Suggested Foods:
Remember, while the goal is to transition to ketone burning, your safety and well-being are paramount. Always listen to your body and take necessary precautions. Having to eat a bit of keto-foods is not a forfeit nor quitting. Its just a small patch.
Phase 2 – Bulk fat loss (cut) (34 to 90 days)
- 16:8 intermittent fasting, ultra low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet
- 25 g of carbs per day allowed, 70 % of energy from fats, 25 % of energy from variety protein.
- Bulletproof coffee with 14 g of butter, 14 g MCT-oil, collagen peptides and 2 cups of black coffee, blended, daily between 9-12 PM
- Adjust the speed of fat-loss by daily caloric amount starting with 1400 kcal per day
- Good quality fats, olive oil, animal based fats, butter, MCT-oil.
- Maximize omega-3 from food, supplement if neccessary.
- Collagen Peptides
- Moderate protein, high fat. Mostly animal products and meat.
- Light exercise on gym / bike / swimming
Heart rate kept below 120 BPM
- Absolutely no alcohol ⚠
- Avoid vegetable and seed oils (Omega-6)
- Avoid plant based foods
- Avoid high intensity exercise
- Avoid over-eating protein
Phase 3 – Endurance (bulk) (60 days) (TBA)
High-carb low fat 2 825 kcal / day + expenditure + slight 5 % surplus from protein.
High intensity interval training on bike.
- Garmin Index Scale
- SECA Ergonomic circumference measuring tape
- Omron M7 Intelli IT (HEM-7322T-E)
- CareSens Dual Blood Glucose & Ketone Monitor
- Mission Urialysis Reagent Strips (KET + GLU)
- Collagen peptides –> Avoid pregnancy scars
- Finasteride 1,2 mg (hair loss drug)
- Dehydroepiandrosterone 25 mg (to counter finasteride side-effects)
- Vitamin B 10 000 ug + Zink 10 mg + Selen 55 mikrog (hair loss supplement)
- Vitamin A 900 ug (every other day)
- Vitamin D 100 ug
- Magnesium 188 mG (ummalate, bi-glysinate, citrate, l-threonate)
- 10 g electrolyte mix daily
- Fish oil capsules for Omega-3 (I used E-EPA 640 mg, E-DHA 460 mg)
Electrolyte mix 10g
- Sodium 700 mg
- Potassium 400 mg
- Magnesium 120 mg
- Calcium 20 mg
- Cloride 1 160 mg
- Bicarbonate 160 mg
- Vitamin C 160 mg (200 %)
- OptiMSM (2000 mg)
- B1-vitamin (Thiamine) 11,8 mg (1073 %)
- B2-vitamin (Riboflavin) 15 mg (1071 %),
- Niacin (B3-vitamin) 50 mg (313 %),
- Pantothenic acid (B5-vitamin) 23 mg (383 %),
- B6-vitamin (Pyridoxine) 8,22 mg (587 %),
- Biotin (B7-vitamin) 150 mikrog (300 %),
- Folic acid (B9-vitamin) 400 mikrog (200 %),
- B12-vitamin (Cobalamin) 10 mikrog (400 %),
- C-vitamin (ascorbic acid) 500 mg 625 %),
- Magnesium 100 mg (27 %),
- Zinc 10 mg (100 %).
Resources and Further Reading