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Old 01-29-2012, 11:15 AM   #1
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The "breakfast for better sleep" experiment

Posting this for Joedi, and in case anyone else might find it helpful:

Recently I've been having trouble both falling asleep and waking up in the morning.
I've been out of work for just over a year, and although I may have gotten into some lazy habits, I do feel quite ashamed when I sleep until 11:30!!! But even though I get into bed at midnight (normal for me for years, even when working), I might not fall asleep until 3 or 4 am, then I'll wake up at 6 & read for a couple of hours before sleeping a little more--I'm not actually getting more than 7 or 8 hours of sleep, though, and often only 5 or 6!

Anyway, between trying IF and JUDDD, I've been delaying eating until as late in the day as possible. A few days ago it sort of popped into my head that perhaps this is related to my sleep problems. IIRC, Dr Kruse says in his Leptin Reset something to the effect (I'm super-paraphrasing) that eating breakfast shuts off cortisol, which is key in the regulation of the circadian rhythm. I remember reading years ago that your cortisol levels start to rise if you go long periods without eating (an argument in favor of the eat-frequent-small-meals plan). So this made sense to me.

Cortisol is (or should be) highest in the morning--it helps wake you up. In people with insomnia, bipolar & other disorders, it is often "reversed" and highest at night, which is when melatonin should be kicking in. But melatonin production is suppressed while cortisol levels are high (making it hard to fall asleep), and vice versa (making it hard to wake up).

So, for the past few days (with no regard to calories or JUDDD or anything!), I have been forcing myself to have breakfast.

Results so far:
Tuesday, no breakfast: bed 1 am, fell asleep 3:30 or 4am,
woke 6-8 (Wed), slept 8-11:30
Wednesday, breakfast: bed midnight, fell asleep quickly,
woke 6-10:30 (Thurs), nap til 1:45 (oops! )
Thursday, breakfast: bed midnight, fell asleep quickly,
woke 6am (Fri), did not go back to sleep!
Friday, breakfast: bed 11:30pm, fell asleep quickly,
woke 9am(Sat)!!! <--very early for me on a weekend!!!
Saturday, breakfast: bed 2am, fell asleep quickly,
woke 10am (Sun)!

Weekdays are harder for me because I get up at 6am to make sure my son doesn't miss the school bus!
I prefer to go back to sleep for a little bit because it is so cold in our house and it saves money if I don't turn the heat on til later.
But I'd like to get in the habit of waking by 9 in case I find a job soon!

Anyway, so far it does seem that I'm falling asleep earlier and waking up earlier/less groggy.
While I've gained a bit and haven't lost any weight this week, it has been rock-steady since starting the experiment: exactly 275.2 every day since Thursday.

I really have no idea what this will mean for my plan--whether I'll be JUDDDing or IFing or LCing.
But having healthy sleep patterns should pay off in many ways--having more time to look for a job, being more productive around the house, feeling like less of a slag....
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Last edited by piratejenny; 01-29-2012 at 11:32 AM.. Reason: grammar, clarifications
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:33 AM   #2
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Good luck with this! I spent YEARS not being able to get to sleep for hours, and then not being able to get back to sleep if I woke up during the night. Hell on earth! And now I sleep like a baby. I don't know what changed, but this last year it's been great. Don't know whether it's JUDDD or whether it just somehow adjusted itself for the better. Now I go to sleep about 11:30 to midnight and, for the most part, sleep well until 6:30 in the morning, when I wake up naturally. If I have to get up to pee during the night, I am able to fall right back to sleep immediately. It's bliss!

I sure hope you can find out what will work for you, because I have nothing but extreme sympathy for those who suffer from insomnia as I used to. At least if you can sleep in, in the mornings, that helps. I think. Maybe it only serves to strengthen your abnormal sleep cycle. I don't know. Hope this works for you.
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:43 PM   #3
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Thank you, Pat!

I don't think my sleeping was so out of control until very recently...but it has gotten bad in the last 2 weeks or so, and I just felt like it was getting more and more off every night.

I've had much worse problems (worked a night shift a few years ago, and had terrible nightmares more recently), so getting this under control is very important!!!!!
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:06 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by piratejenny View Post
Thank you, Pat!

I don't think my sleeping was so out of control until very recently...but it has gotten bad in the last 2 weeks or so, and I just felt like it was getting more and more off every night.

I've had much worse problems (worked a night shift a few years ago, and had terrible nightmares more recently), so getting this under control is very important!!!!!
I hope you get yourself settled back into a good sleeping time period, and able to actually find sleep during those hours you are in lying in your bed!

A sister has got herself into sort of sleeping two separate chunks of time out of each 24 hours. It started when she had a friend overseas she wanted to visit with, so the time difference had her altering her hours of sleep. Then it just got to be her new brain setting.
I don't think she could sleep a straight 7 or 8 hour night if she had to. It becomes very frustrating.

I wonder if there are online articles, information about resetting your brain. Maybe even nightmares would disappear if your brain and the hour of the night didn't come together at some particular time during your sleep cycle but instead met at that point somewhere earlier or later.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:43 PM   #5
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Thanks for doing this and posting about it, Jenny!

I have also been having sleep issues for a while now. I've always been a night owl, but had been trying to get to sleep a bit earlier (asleep before 12:30 would be nice, and go from there But I'll lay there wired up. Once I fall asleep, I sleep pretty hard.

I may try b'fast too.

What kinds of b'fast foods are you having, and about what time?
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:58 PM   #6
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Trying for high-protein, high-fat breakfasts, in the spirit of Dr. Kruse's leptin reset--
eggs, sausage (breakfast or Italian), hamburger, pickled herring, liver pills, whatever...!!!
Haven't worked back up to 50g protein yet!
But today I had a pretty carby Mexican breakfast w/corn tortillas & refried beans--egg & cheese for protein.
It kept me full for a good 7 hours, in spite of those dastardly carbs...
I will let you know if the carby breakfast has a different effect than the protein ones.

Also, Dr K says b'fast should ideally be eaten within 30 minutes of waking up.
I don't know if he means you should finish or just make an effort to start by then.
I probably start closer to 45-60 minutes, because it takes me a while to cook that big breakfast!

I may also try doing "Atkins Fat Fast" on alternate days in lieu of regular DDs, for now, so that I can still get in a decent breakfast. That's hard for me to do on 500 calorie DDs!

Last edited by piratejenny; 01-29-2012 at 06:05 PM..
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:37 PM   #7
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I'm going to try an experiment in the blender in the morning of a scoop of protein powder, some whole milk plain yogurt, some whole milk, and fruit. Maybe some AS. If I get it right, it should be about 25 g. protein and be fast to make. Hopefully yummy.

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Old 01-29-2012, 08:11 PM   #8
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I hope the experiment yeilds some good results for you, Pirate Jenny. I like to make some Jenny-O turkey breakfast sausage links and munch on them slowly throughout the morning. They are 45 calories apiece. I do find protein especially helpful the mornings.

I'd thought that I was sleeping better since starting JUDDD, but not lately. My problem is not sleeping long enough into the morning-whatever time I go to bed, and I do run to getting late to bed. Sometimes VERY late. The days I had improvement were non work days, and they were both darker than usual days because of weather conditions. I'm thinking I was more relaxed (cortisol is a stress hormone). Also may get a sleep mask.
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:41 AM   #9
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Glad it is working for you, pj! I don't think I could do the breakfast thing on a dd, as I don't eat till later- if I do I am hungry all day - but I may try it on an UD. I have no trouble sleeping late... Just getting to sleep before about 2am!
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Old 01-30-2012, 04:45 AM   #10
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7:45 - I'm having a cup of whole milk plain yogurt with 1/2 scoop protein powder and some blueberries & raspberries mixed in. About 15 g. protein. This is unusual for me to eat as soon as I get up, so I really hope this works to help me sleep better tonight.

Good luck everyone with the experimenting!
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:50 AM   #11
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Interesting! Before JUDDD, i was a religous breakfast eater. Even if I didn't really eat much during the rest of the day (oh who am i kidding, of course I did!), I still had sleep issues! I keep reading that you should shut off the tv and computer no less than 1 hour before bed. What the heck am I supposed to do then? All kidding aside, I see what they mean. I'm up about 5 a.m. daily, and usually pass out (sometimes in front of the tv!) between 8:30-9. Even when I force myself to go to bed in my own bed (no tv in the bedroom), I still wake up in the middle of the night. It's like my body only likes to sleep 4 hour blocks at a time. Needless to say I sometimes spend my days totally exhausted and totally caffinated.

Sorry for the ramble, but I don't think eating breakfast has anything to do with sleep issues. It might also be due to what one eats during the day. I think in Feb when I do my no-sugar-challenge I will watch how well i'm sleeping. I bet you it has something to do with that. PJ, don't you have blood sugar issues?
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyKT View Post
Interesting! Before JUDDD, i was a religous breakfast eater. Even if I didn't really eat much during the rest of the day (oh who am i kidding, of course I did!), I still had sleep issues! I keep reading that you should shut off the tv and computer no less than 1 hour before bed. What the heck am I supposed to do then? All kidding aside, I see what they mean. I'm up about 5 a.m. daily, and usually pass out (sometimes in front of the tv!) between 8:30-9. Even when I force myself to go to bed in my own bed (no tv in the bedroom), I still wake up in the middle of the night. It's like my body only likes to sleep 4 hour blocks at a time. Needless to say I sometimes spend my days totally exhausted and totally caffinated.

Sorry for the ramble, but I don't think eating breakfast has anything to do with sleep issues. It might also be due to what one eats during the day. I think in Feb when I do my no-sugar-challenge I will watch how well i'm sleeping. I bet you it has something to do with that. PJ, don't you have blood sugar issues?
In the past, I hadn't always fallen asleep early when I ate b'fast either, but this way is a little different: you are supposed to eat b'fast within 30 min. of getting up, and it should be a high protein meal. My 15 or so g. this morning was just a start, I think you are supposed to work your way up to about 50 g. if you can. Not sure how to do that yet.
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:00 AM   #13
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Good luck to you, I have issues with sleep as well, but skipping breakfast is key to keeping my appetite under control, I just can't do it. I don't usually eat until 6pm on a down day, and not until after 1pm on an up day. I don't graze I just do big meals. I don't sleep in though, I'm up by 8am at the latest, the 2 and 5 year old don't let me sleep later than that! I would probably have better luck if I went to bed before 12:30am, but I just have too much to do in the evenings!
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:09 AM   #14
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Interesting! Before JUDDD, i was a religous breakfast eater. Even if I didn't really eat much during the rest of the day (oh who am i kidding, of course I did!), I still had sleep issues! I keep reading that you should shut off the tv and computer no less than 1 hour before bed. What the heck am I supposed to do then? All kidding aside, I see what they mean. I'm up about 5 a.m. daily, and usually pass out (sometimes in front of the tv!) between 8:30-9. Even when I force myself to go to bed in my own bed (no tv in the bedroom), I still wake up in the middle of the night. It's like my body only likes to sleep 4 hour blocks at a time. Needless to say I sometimes spend my days totally exhausted and totally caffinated.

Sorry for the ramble, but I don't think eating breakfast has anything to do with sleep issues. It might also be due to what one eats during the day. I think in Feb when I do my no-sugar-challenge I will watch how well i'm sleeping. I bet you it has something to do with that. PJ, don't you have blood sugar issues?
Post your observations and results as you go along. This will be interesting.

For myself, I've never been a breakfast eater much. Occasionally, but usually I don't want anything until late morning or midday. Maybe a cup of coffee, these days, but even then.. most often not.

I've had times of terrible sleep and now sleep like a baby. But whether I eat breakfast or not, and when, has not changed over the decades, other than over a couple of periods. For myself, I'd say it has nothing to do with whether I start eating within minutes of waking.

For myself, that seems like it would only serve to make my calorie intake larger, make me fatter. Eating breakfast has never served to reduce my appetite for following meals, so has always just added to the calorie total of the day. So I don't force the issue on myself against my bodies wishes anymore, just on the thought of someone who writes and article or the advice of someone else. I did go through a period years ago of eating breakfast every morning, on the advice of a co-worker who told me I needed to.. it was the most important meal of the day! So I started eating breakfasts, and looking back on that period now in hindsight, that was also the period when I started getting fat. Don't know whether adding breakfasts to my days caused it, but it certainly did add those additional calories to my days, so it probably didn't help me.
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:19 AM   #15
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One of the sites that I read alot on Intermittent Fasting is Martin Berkhan's site Leangains. So I headed over there to see what he said about cortisol and fasting, since he's so pro fasting. So he does say that there is a cortisol spike in the morning and that fasting will change the rhythm of the cortisol during the day but it doesn't change the AMOUNT overall. So it seems that maybe eating the breakfast will be useful for you for sleep if it changes the rhythm, but for anyone else that sleeps fine it will probably not change anything for them.

Quote:
Myth: Fasting increases cortisol.


Truth

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that maintains blood pressure, regulates the immune system and helps break down proteins, glucose and lipids. It's a hormone that's gotten quite a bad rep in the fitness and health community but we have it for a reason. The morning peak in cortisol makes us get out of bed and get going. A blunted morning cortisol peak is associated with lethargy and depression. Cortisol is elevated during exercise, which helps mobilize fats, increase performance and experience euphoria after and during workouts. Trying to suppress acute elevations of cortisol during exercise, or the normal diurnal rhythm, is foolish. Chronically elevated levels of cortisol, resulting from psychological and/or physiological stress, is another thing and unquestionably bad for your health; it increases protein breakdown, appetite and may lead to depression.

Short-term fasting has no effect on average cortisol levels and this is an area that has been extensively studied in the context of Ramadan fasting. Cortisol typically follows a diurnal variation, which means that its levels peak in the morning at around 8 a.m. and decline in the evenings. What changes during Ramadan is simply the cortisol rhythm, average levels across 24 hours remain unchanged.

In one Ramadan study on rugby players, subjects lost fat and retained muscle very well. And they did despite training in a dehydrated state, without pre-workout or post-workout protein intake, and with a lower protein intake overall nonetheless. Quoting directly from the paper:

"Body mass decreased significantly and progressively over the 4-week period; fat was lost, but lean tissue was conserved..."

"...Plasma urea concentrations actually decreased during Ramadan, supporting the view that there was no increase of endogenous protein metabolism to compensate for the decreased protein intake."

In one study on intermittent fasting, the fasting group even saw "significant decrease in concentrations of cortisol." However, this study should be taken with a grain of salt as it had some flaws in study design.

In conclusion, the belief that fasting increases cortisol, which then might cause all kinds of mischief such as muscle loss, has no scientific basis whatsoever.

Origin

Prolonged fasting or severe calorie restriction causes elevated baseline levels of cortisol. This occurs in conjunction with depletion of liver glycogen, as cortisol speeds up DNG, which is necessary to maintain blood sugar in absence of dietary carbs, protein, or stored glycogen. Again, it seems someone looked at what happens during starvation and took that to mean that short-term fasting is bad.
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:24 AM   #16
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Post your observations and results as you go along. This will be interesting.

For myself, I've never been a breakfast eater much. Occasionally, but usually I don't want anything until late morning or midday. Maybe a cup of coffee, these days, but even then.. most often not.

I've had times of terrible sleep and now sleep like a baby. But whether I eat breakfast or not, and when, has not changed over the decades, other than over a couple of periods. For myself, I'd say it has nothing to do with whether I start eating within minutes of waking.

For myself, that seems like it would only serve to make my calorie intake larger, make me fatter. Eating breakfast has never served to reduce my appetite for following meals, so has always just added to the calorie total of the day. So I don't force the issue on myself against my bodies wishes anymore, just on the thought of someone who writes and article or the advice of someone else. I did go through a period years ago of eating breakfast every morning, on the advice of a co-worker who told me I needed to.. it was the most important meal of the day! So I started eating breakfasts, and looking back on that period now in hindsight, that was also the period when I started getting fat. Don't know whether adding breakfasts to my days caused it, but it certainly did add those additional calories to my days, so it probably didn't help me.
Sure hope my sleep gets regulated eventually too! I have just always been a night owl, but I notice I feel and even look a little better if I can get to sleep earlier. I also like that if I wake up earlier as a result of going to bed earlier, I have a nice morning with lot more day to enjoy, lol. So I like that part too.

At my current sleeping habits, I can easily outsleep my teenage son, and there is just something wrong with that

I'm trying these little "home remedies" and tweeks in case there is something to it and it can help my fall asleep faster.

I won't eat b'fast on my DDs still, but on my FDs it doesn't really matter if I eat more or eat earlier, and in fact, perhaps I need to eat a little more.

I'm with you though in not needing b'fast. I'm just not usually hungry in the a.m. and can get by on coffee all morning. So this is a change in eating habits for me for sure.

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Old 01-30-2012, 07:38 AM   #17
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Interesting, Julie.

Sophiethecat, I'm usually in bed between 11:30 and midnight and my eyes pop open again about 6:30 the next morning. And if I have to wake up to pee in the middle of the night, I go right back to sleep almost immediately. Good sleep these days. So hopefully as you gain more of the benefits of fasting, you will experience this better sleep as one of them!
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:42 AM   #18
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The ONLY thing that helps me sleep is exercise, much to my dismay--since I hate exercising.
I have the exact sleep problems many of you have listed, but if I walk on the treadmill for 30 min. each day--I sleep like a baby. I have to force myself to do it, though, even though it's right in front of a TV in the basement!
Wish I could just take a pill.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:09 AM   #19
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Thanks, Julie, for that info.
I really do think fasting is healthy, and I've seen the "small frequent meals" plan debunked too often to buy into it, and I know that cortisol is good for us...
but I'm hoping the timing of meals, exercise, etc can establish a better sleeping pattern.

For example, when I was doing IF, I liked having a later window like 4-9pm so I could eat dinner with my son or friends. But perhaps an earlier window like 12-5 would actually be healthier for me. Or maybe it doesn't have anything to do with anything! lol

Last night my sleep was horrible.
Went to bed at 11:30, slept 2:30-4, 4:30-6, 6:30-11.

I don't know if there is a connection, BUT I had a carby breakfast with probably less than 20g protein.
OTOH, I ate around 11-12 and it kept me full for at least 7 hours.
Then I had dinner at about 7:30pm and didn't fall asleep until 2:30am,
so that's another 7 hours of being awake without getting hungry.

This happened on Saturday, too, when I went about 8 hours between breakfast (10am) and dinner (6pm).

So as much as I understand the "skipping breakfast so you don't eat all day long", if I have a big breakfast, I can skip lunch & use my remaining calories for a lovely dinner and a little snack or dessert like yogurt...on UDs! I don't know how I'm going to do DDs, although I may try a 1200 calorie Atkins Fat Fast in a couple days when I have money to go grocery shopping.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:35 AM   #20
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I finished my b'fast at 7:45 and am just now real hungry and eating a nice lunch at 12:30. Almost 5 hours between b'fast and lunch. Just making the observation for the experiment.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:37 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjsam1156 View Post
The ONLY thing that helps me sleep is exercise, much to my dismay--since I hate exercising.
I have the exact sleep problems many of you have listed, but if I walk on the treadmill for 30 min. each day--I sleep like a baby. I have to force myself to do it, though, even though it's right in front of a TV in the basement!
Wish I could just take a pill.
YES! I need to do this, too! I just looked at my journal; the night I slept best was Friday night (12-9am without waking up), and I had done 45minutes on my elliptical that afternoon!

I have read that exercise helps us use cortisol properly. Or maybe it's adrenalin? Anyway...
When we get emotionally stressed (money worries, people being rude to us, traffic, etc), we can have the same "fight or flight" response as if we'd been physically threatened...but since we then don't usually fight or flee, the hormones just circulate around in our blood & can cause damage, weight gain, etc. In The Gabriel Method, the author suggests doing a few minutes of exercise if possible after something like that happens--walk around the block, go up & down a flight a stairs, do a few jumping jacks.

So, I've heard it described as exercise "using up" or "flushing out" the cortisol/adrenalin etc...I don't know if that's an accurate or scientific explanation...but
I keep forgetting that exercise is good for so many reasons, even if I don't seem to lose weight from it!!!

Hey! That sneaky cortisol!!! It "INCREASES blood sugar through gluconeogenesis"!!!
Well, I don't want too much of THAT!!! Because
Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyKT View Post
PJ, don't you have blood sugar issues?
yes, yes I do!!!

Last edited by piratejenny; 01-30-2012 at 09:39 AM.. Reason: grammar
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:42 AM   #22
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I remember reading an article by Paul Jaminet (I think?) that said that intermittent fasting may not be the best for those with blood sugar issues, I'll try to find it again.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:56 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by fleur View Post
I like to make some Jenny-O turkey breakfast sausage links and munch on them slowly throughout the morning. They are 45 calories apiece. I do find protein especially helpful the mornings.
Bob Harper would be so proud of you!
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:03 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Hazelsmrf View Post
I remember reading an article by Paul Jaminet (I think?) that said that intermittent fasting may not be the best for those with blood sugar issues, I'll try to find it again.
Thanks, I'd be interested to see what he has to say.
I wonder if he means for BG control, or for other health issues?

Because IF seems to be great for my blood sugar, actually.
It's usually high, and fasting helps keep it normal.
But it doesn't seem to be helping weight loss in any extraordinary way.

Roubidoux is a Type 1 and says JUDDD works well for her BG.
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:37 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piratejenny View Post
Thanks, I'd be interested to see what he has to say.
I wonder if he means for BG control, or for other health issues?

Because IF seems to be great for my blood sugar, actually.
It's usually high, and fasting helps keep it normal.
But it doesn't seem to be helping weight loss in any extraordinary way.

Roubidoux is a Type 1 and says JUDDD works well for her BG.
I'm wondering if I imagined it or I'm on crack because I can't find it now, argh!
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:56 PM   #26
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Ok I found it, it was not Paul Jaminet but this article:

Intermittent fasting, cortisol and blood sugar

But FYI, that guy is not a doctor so keep that in mind.
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:43 PM   #27
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Ok, thanks.
Very interesting.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:47 AM   #28
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Well, I did start getting VERY sleepy around 12:30 a.m. but made myself stay up til 1 a.m. to finish a show I was watching with my Gma. But I could barely keep my eyes open.

That is unusual for me to feel that sleepy at that time. Usually I make myself go to bed and lie there waiting to get sleepy. I fell right asleep as soon as the show was over and slept all night. I don't know if it had to do with the b'fast, but I'll try it again on my next FD.

I woke up at 8:30 which was pretty nice too. Hopefully can start waking even earlier so I have more day to enjoy, lol.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:38 PM   #29
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Well, FWIW, the Leptin Breakfast (aka the BAB--Big *Ahem* Breakfast )
seems to be suppressing my appetite all day.

Both yesterday & today I ate around 11 or 12 (still waking up late...hope to change that soon), was not hungry for dinner but had a few bites when I cooked for my son around 5pm. Last night around 11pm I had a couple crispbreads with cream cheese so I could take my meds; tonight I'm just having a cheese stick (80 calories).

It's a weird combination of being hungry & not being able to think of anything I want to eat. I seriously don't even want any flavor in my mouth, not even coffee or tea or a Crystal Light-type drink...usually I can't get enough "flavor" and sweet drinks, hard candy, gum, etc!

Yesterday (Monday) and today I did start taking a green drink (Green Vibrance), so there's a possibility that is having an effect. But on Saturday I went about 7 hours between brunch & dinner, and on Sunday, about 8.

I guess there is a difference between the breakfast that will set me off eating all day and the BAB!!!
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:10 PM   #30
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What did you eat and how much protein did you get up to?
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