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Old 02-14-2011, 11:32 AM   #1
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Carb cycling...do you?

I have heard about carb cycling, and how it helps some people to 'confuse' their metabolism and ultimately lower their weight.

Here are some questions I have about it:

Does anyone here do it/has tried it? What were your results?

How many carbs did/do you 'cycle' and how often?

What do you eat on your non carb-cycle days (how many carbs, fat, protein, whatever)?

Is it bad for a diabetic?

Did you gain back your 'atkins loan' by going off plan even for a day?

If so, did you feel like the weight you lost back on plan was fruitless or slower loss?

Just curious to hear everyone's thoughts. I am always looking for new info!
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:40 PM   #2
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Interested to hear peoples' responses-

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Old 02-14-2011, 12:42 PM   #3
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me, too.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:43 PM   #4
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:50 PM   #5
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Me too!!! I was thinking about giving this a try since Atkins has kinda stopped working for me...
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:51 PM   #6
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LOL I hope somebody answers us Inquiring minds want to know, apparently!
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:56 PM   #7
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from what I can tell, this is not a good idea for diabetics or others with problem insulin metabolisms. I know some people have been very successful with it, but I will be surprised if they end up being "us." I know my body isn't the LEAST bit confused by extra carbs. it grabs them with glee and plasters them on my stomach for posterity! LOL

I do have to say, though, that higher carb can be another name for lower calorie... if people eat more bulky vegetables, sometimes they can cut calories without getting so hungry. if the increase in carbs is SMALL and the decrease in calories significant, probably they do lose more, but not BECAUSE of the higher carbs per se. that is my take on it, happy to hear if there are "case studies" here with other facts.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:02 PM   #8
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(Response I want to hear): Yes, I started having a no-holds barred carb blow-out every Saturday starting about 6 months ago. I went from losing .5 lbs a month to a reliable 3 lbs a week. It seems the more I take in on Saturday, the further I'm down the following Friday. As an added benefit - the closer I come to goal, the faster it seems to be coming off!
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:03 PM   #9
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Sorta, I do Juddd and LC so on my down days I will have less carbs then on my up days.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:03 PM   #10
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Every time I have read carb cycling it has been in relation to body builders where they do a form of Keto-cycling to keep plenty of glycogen (or whatever its called) in the muscle mass to keep weight lifting maximized. Not really familiar with it as a form of weight loss.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:03 PM   #11
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Oh and the scale started moving down. KInda slow but oh well at least its moving down
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:05 PM   #12
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I am almost afraid to post my opinion about this! I know this is a heated issue here, or has been in the past but IMO most people that are seriously overweight prob. have some metabolic issues such as insulin resistance. Again this is my opinion. I know I did (do?).

I know it works well for some people that are very active but I would not ever recommend it to anyone that really has metabolic problems. Certainly not for anyone with diabetes or even borderline diabetes.

I tried it for a stall last year and it just was a disaster - triggered me big time. Again YMMV.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:27 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by daisyHair View Post
I am almost afraid to post my opinion about this! I know this is a heated issue here, or has been in the past but IMO most people that are seriously overweight prob. have some metabolic issues such as insulin resistance. Again this is my opinion. I know I did (do?).

I know it works well for some people that are very active but I would not ever recommend it to anyone that really has metabolic problems. Certainly not for anyone with diabetes or even borderline diabetes.

I tried it for a stall last year and it just was a disaster - triggered me big time. Again YMMV.
Don't worry, that is the kind of answer I was looking for...some real life experience! I was thinking I might get that answer... But I had to know. I cannot imagine that ANY carb increase can be good for insulin resistance, but who knows!?

I did see a story about a man who lost over 400 pounds doing carb cycling, so I was curious. Also because it seems to be a confusing term that gets thrown around, and I'd like more background.

Of course we ALL want to hear that it is OK to have a carby day...I have some serious doubts that it would do anything but bounce me up and down on the scale because of the time and effort of getting back into ketosis every time...but who am I to say!? I can only speculate.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:33 PM   #14
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I think I will stick to what I am doing.................but plan to read up on this as it seems interesting. JUUDD interests me, too. But interest is just that.
I really appreciate hearing about others' experiences.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:48 PM   #15
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I asked this question some time ago and the response was not to do it. But silly me did it anyways, and then i was back to starting again this January with more weight to lose
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:05 PM   #16
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I carb cycle. I'll try to answer as many of your questions as I can, but not necessarily in order.

The reason I do it is to try to increase muscle while simultaneously losing fat. So, I use it as a weight lifting tool and a fat loss tool. If you search for things like CKD, TKD, Anabolic Diet, you'll see how some people implement it.

I'm currently doing somewhat of a modified TKD, Leangains style. I keep fairly low carb on non workout days, and then I'll eat the bulk of my calories and carbs post workout on workout days. I throw in some Intermittent fasting into the equation - that's part of the Leangains approach.

So far, it has worked well for me to lose a moderate amount of fat and increase strength. I don't calculate anything. I just go on hunger when I eat, and try to stop before I'm stuffed. I don't snack at all. Typically I eat 2 to 3 meals a day.

On higher carb days, I go lower fat but keep protein high (carbs help fat get stored as fat from what I understand). On low carb days it's pretty much Atkins Induction style - maybe a small amount of fruit thrown in. Protein high on those days as well.

I hit a wall when lifting heavy if I don't throw carbs into the equation somehow. I did great when I first restarted my lifting program on very low carbs, but eventually it caught up with me and I couldn't make very many gains in the gym.

There's some evidence that persistently "low carbin'" can cause the thyroid to be somewhat under-active. Also, there's evidence that Testosterone can be suppressed from persistent low carbs. (I'm not sure how it affects Estrogen or many other hormones). So, the carb cycling is supposed to remedy those issues.

I don't know if it is bad for diabetics.

My weight will fluctuate about 3 to 5 lbs from water and glycogen levels in my body. It always drops back to "normal" or lower when I go low carb for one to two days.

I wouldn't recommend carb cycling for everybody. I consider it an advanced "diet technique." It takes some additional self control if one deals with cravings. If one is only worried about fat loss without much worry about muscle, staying low carb for a long time "might" not be detrimental. (sorry to throw this in this paragraph - but we also have to look at Serotonin levels and the affect carbs might have on that).

Some things I've learned that work really well for me to lose fat, independent of carbs:

1) Less frequent meals. I always gained weight when trying bodybuilding type eating of 4 to 6 meals a day.

2) No snacks, even low carb. Kinda goes with #1. I call this "walking the hunger line." Hunger is a natural feeling. We shouldn't be scared to get good and hungry for the next meal. If we are always trying to eat to stave off hunger before it happens, I don't think that is natural.

I'm not sure if 1 & 2 apply to diabetics or not. I'm just saying what works for me.

All of the above being said, I do believe there isn't such a thing as an essential carb - at least based on everything I have read. People can and do survive on very low carbs indefinitely. But, I do believe that throwing some carbs in the mix can help people get past stalls. Possibly due to the hormonal activation from the carbs.

Anyway, I hope my experience helps answer some of your questions.

ETA: My carbs are usually non-fun carbs. Rice with shrimp or chicken,etc. I don't eat ice cream, pizza (fat with carbs), etc, except once every few weeks, maybe for one meal. I try to control everything carefully in how I combine my food as I outlined above.
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Last edited by yorick; 02-14-2011 at 02:35 PM..
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:14 PM   #17
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Thanks for the insight Matt ... your use of carb cycling is how I usually have heard it used with success ... those folks pushing the muscle mass up and % body fat down.
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:39 PM   #18
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Hi All,

The term "carb cycling" tends to be used as a catch-all for three different types of carb integration: (1) true carb cycling ("CC"), (2) a cyclical ketogenic diet ("CKD"), and (3) and a targeted ketogenic diet ("TKD").

Generally speaking, these approaches are best suited to (1) individuals who are already fairly lean and trying to strip away remaining bodyfat while preserving as much muscle tissue as possible, and/or (2) individuals whose exercise modality is glycogen dependent (for example, I do a lot of high-rep bodyweight training that falls squarely within the glycolytic energy system).

While ketogenic diets have been shown to be more protein-sparing than high-carb/low-fat diets, the body becomes much more stingy about giving up the last of its fat stores and more prone to cannabilize lean tissue when the dieter is already fairly lean. This isn't really a problem for individuals who still have a substantial amount of fat to lose, and in my view, the various forms of carb cycling are inappropriate for them and usually just lead to problems that outweigh (no pun intended) any potential benefits. A lean person who uses a carb cycling approach is manipulating the anabolic properties of insulin to, inter alia, maximize protein synthesis, which is of course a dangerous game for diabetics and those with metabolic syndrome.

CC usually inolves waving carb intake over the course of a week, which might be low/low/moderate/low/low/high/moderate or some combination thereof. a "low" day in this setup is usually around 50g carbs/day and a "high" day may be upwards of 3-4 g carbs per pound of bodyweight. A CC setup will usually not have the dieter in ketosis at any point.

A CKD involves a sustained period of ketosis followed by a "reloading" or "refeeding" phase. An example of this would be 5 days of less than 20 grams carbs per day, followed by a 36-hour reloading period, then back to VLC. Ideally, keeping protein intake constant during both the depletion and reloading phases, the reloading period should be a "reverse diet," with high carbs and low fat (to keep calories somewhat in check). However, many people just eat freely during the reloading phase (a "dirty" carb-up) and the extent they can get away with this varies from person to person. I had the most success with a 2-week CKD cycle where I reloaded (dirty) every other weekend from Friday evening through Sunday brunch. I found that I just kept cyclically dumping the same pounds of glycogen and water without enough of a sustained period of fat loss when I tried to do it weekly.

A TKD involves targeting or "bracketing" carb intake around workouts, to provide just enough for glycogen to be available for training and for post-workout recovery. The range is usually 50-150 grams of carbs total.

Regards,
Stack

ETA: I see my man Matt posted a similar response while I was drafting this. Didn't mean to be redundant.

Last edited by Stackdiesel; 02-14-2011 at 02:40 PM..
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:48 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Stackdiesel View Post

ETA: I see my man Matt posted a similar response while I was drafting this. Didn't mean to be redundant.
But, I didn't use any Latin in my post.

Good info Stack. You always say things the way I wish they came from my brain to the keyboard.
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:51 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yorick View Post
I carb cycle. I'll try to answer as many of your questions as I can, but not necessarily in order.

The reason I do it is to try to increase muscle while simultaneously losing fat. So, I use it as a weight lifting tool and a fat loss tool. If you search for things like CKD, TKD, Anabolic Diet, you'll see how some people implement it.

I'm currently doing somewhat of a modified TKD, Leangains style. I keep fairly low carb on non workout days, and then I'll eat the bulk of my calories and carbs post workout on workout days. I throw in some Intermittent fasting into the equation - that's part of the Leangains approach.

So far, it has worked well for me to lose a moderate amount of fat and increase strength. I don't calculate anything. I just go on hunger when I eat, and try to stop before I'm stuffed. I don't snack at all. Typically I eat 2 to 3 meals a day.

On higher carb days, I go lower fat but keep protein high (carbs help fat get stored as fat from what I understand). On low carb days it's pretty much Atkins Induction style - maybe a small amount of fruit thrown in. Protein high on those days as well.

I hit a wall when lifting heavy if I don't throw carbs into the equation somehow. I did great when I first restarted my lifting program on very low carbs, but eventually it caught up with me and I couldn't make very many gains in the gym.

There's some evidence that persistently "low carbin'" can cause the thyroid to be somewhat under-active. Also, there's evidence that Testosterone can be suppressed from persistent low carbs. (I'm not sure how it affects Estrogen or many other hormones). So, the carb cycling is supposed to remedy those issues.

I don't know if it is bad for diabetics.

My weight will fluctuate about 3 to 5 lbs from water and glycogen levels in my body. It always drops back to "normal" or lower when I go low carb for one to two days.

I wouldn't recommend carb cycling for everybody. I consider it an advanced "diet technique." It takes some additional self control if one deals with cravings. If one is only worried about fat loss without much worry about muscle, staying low carb for a long time "might" not be detrimental. (sorry to throw this in this paragraph - but we also have to look at Serotonin levels and the affect carbs might have on that).

Some things I've learned that work really well for me to lose fat, independent of carbs:

1) Less frequent meals. I always gained weight when trying bodybuilding type eating of 4 to 6 meals a day.

2) No snacks, even low carb. Kinda goes with #1. I call this "walking the hunger line." Hunger is a natural feeling. We shouldn't be scared to get good and hungry for the next meal. If we are always trying to eat to stave off hunger before it happens, I don't think that is natural.

I'm not sure if 1 & 2 apply to diabetics or not. I'm just saying what works for me.

All of the above being said, I do believe there isn't such a thing as an essential carb - at least based on everything I have read. People can and do survive on very low carbs indefinitely. But, I do believe that throwing some carbs in the mix can help people get past stalls. Possibly due to the hormonal activation from the carbs.

Anyway, I hope my experience helps answer some of your questions.

ETA: My carbs are usually non-fun carbs. Rice with shrimp or chicken,etc. I don't eat ice cream, pizza (fat with carbs), etc, except once every few weeks, maybe for one meal. I try to control everything carefully in how I combine my food as I outlined above.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stackdiesel View Post
Hi All,

The term "carb cycling" tends to be used as a catch-all for three different types of carb integration: (1) true carb cycling ("CC"), (2) a cyclical ketogenic diet ("CKD"), and (3) and a targeted ketogenic diet ("TKD").

Generally speaking, these approaches are best suited to (1) individuals who are already fairly lean and trying to strip away remaining bodyfat while preserving as much muscle tissue as possible, and/or (2) individuals whose exercise modality is glycogen dependent (for example, I do a lot of high-rep bodyweight training that falls squarely within the glycolytic energy system).

While ketogenic diets have been shown to be more protein-sparing than high-carb/low-fat diets, the body becomes much more stingy about giving up the last of its fat stores and more prone to cannabilize lean tissue when the dieter is already fairly lean. This isn't really a problem for individuals who still have a substantial amount of fat to lose, and in my view, the various forms of carb cycling are inappropriate for them and usually just lead to problems that outweigh (no pun intended) any potential benefits. A lean person who uses a carb cycling approach is manipulating the anabolic properties of insulin to, inter alia, maximize protein synthesis, which is of course a dangerous game for diabetics and those with metabolic syndrome.

CC usually inolves waving carb intake over the course of a week, which might be low/low/moderate/low/low/high/moderate or some combination thereof. a "low" day in this setup is usually around 50g carbs/day and a "high" day may be upwards of 3-4 g carbs per pound of bodyweight. A CC setup will usually not have the dieter in ketosis at any point.

A CKD involves a sustained period of ketosis followed by a "reloading" or "refeeding" phase. An example of this would be 5 days of less than 20 grams carbs per day, followed by a 36-hour reloading period, then back to VLC. Ideally, keeping protein intake constant during both the depletion and reloading phases, the reloading period should be a "reverse diet," with high carbs and low fat (to keep calories somewhat in check). However, many people just eat freely during the reloading phase (a "dirty" carb-up) and the extent they can get away with this varies from person to person. I had the most success with a 2-week CKD cycle where I reloaded (dirty) every other weekend from Friday evening through Sunday brunch. I found that I just kept cyclically dumping the same pounds of glycogen and water without enough of a sustained period of fat loss when I tried to do it weekly.

A TKD involves targeting or "bracketing" carb intake around workouts, to provide just enough for glycogen to be available for training and for post-workout recovery. The range is usually 50-150 grams of carbs total.

Regards,
Stack

ETA: I see my man Matt posted a similar response while I was drafting this. Didn't mean to be redundant.
Excellent posts both of you!
Thank you.
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:57 PM   #21
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Wow, thank you for the time you took to help me understand this.
I really appreciate the insight.
You both look great!
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:19 PM   #22
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WOW; thank you both for the detailed answers!! Very informative and excellent!

I don't think it is for me at this stage (because of my high insulin resistance)...but who knows, there are some good ideas there that I may use if i get closer to goal. It will depend on a lot!

But thank you both for the excellent information.
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:23 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stackdiesel View Post

A CKD involves a sustained period of ketosis followed by a "reloading" or "refeeding" phase. An example of this would be 5 days of less than 20 grams carbs per day, followed by a 36-hour reloading period, then back to VLC. Ideally, keeping protein intake constant during both the depletion and reloading phases, the reloading period should be a "reverse diet," with high carbs and low fat (to keep calories somewhat in check). However, many people just eat freely during the reloading phase (a "dirty" carb-up) and the extent they can get away with this varies from person to person. I had the most success with a 2-week CKD cycle where I reloaded (dirty) every other weekend from Friday evening through Sunday brunch. I found that I just kept cyclically dumping the same pounds of glycogen and water without enough of a sustained period of fat loss when I tried to do it weekly.
This sounds vaguely similar to the HCG protocol (minus the hormones!). I can imagine that the 2 week cycle would be much more effective than the 1 week, for the same reason that you listed!

This is exactly what I wanted to know-the cyclical dumping of glycogen and water...hmm!
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:43 PM   #24
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from what I can tell, this is not a good idea for diabetics or others with problem insulin metabolisms. I know some people have been very successful with it, but I will be surprised if they end up being "us." I know my body isn't the LEAST bit confused by extra carbs. it grabs them with glee and plasters them on my stomach for posterity! LOL

I do have to say, though, that higher carb can be another name for lower calorie... if people eat more bulky vegetables, sometimes they can cut calories without getting so hungry. if the increase in carbs is SMALL and the decrease in calories significant, probably they do lose more, but not BECAUSE of the higher carbs per se. that is my take on it, happy to hear if there are "case studies" here with other facts.
I got a good chuckle about your body knowing exactly what to do with the extra carbs!



You may be right about the result that balances out when higher carb must be offset by lower calories overall, else weight gain starts in again.

I do calorie cycling with JUDDD, and find that you are exactly correct when it is looked at from the other side of the coin. In order to have a low calorie day, carbs must also be held pretty low. That chocolate brownie would make the calories mount up way to fast! LOL And keeping calories at my own personal level for maintenance on Up Days means that I'd be smart not to indulge in much that is very high carb, because once again, that will also be high calorie and displace more healthful foods that deserve a place in my weekly diet.
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:52 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by stardustshadow View Post
WOW; thank you both for the detailed answers!! Very informative and excellent!

I don't think it is for me at this stage (because of my high insulin resistance)...but who knows, there are some good ideas there that I may use if i get closer to goal. It will depend on a lot!

But thank you both for the excellent information.
I'm glad that you got some good info from this thread.

Sometimes it is hard to balance all of the info "out there" without second guessing whether we are really doing the "perfect" plan.

Unless you have a really long stall, diabetic or other health issues, etc., you can't go wrong with continuing on the path you are on. You have made amazing progress. Your focus, progress, and knowledge are all things that inspire many of us on the forums. Keep up the good work.
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:02 AM   #26
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Seems like you have already gotten some really good answers here, but figured I'd throw my 2 cents in as well!

Basically, I do end up carb cycling while doing my own version of IFing. As I have previously mentioned, I combine IF, fat and/or egg fasts, and a "free meal" throughout the week. I find that each aspect seems to fulfill something that my body needs/likes (some lowcarb/low fat days, some high fat/high protein days, some higher carb/lowfat days)

As Yorick mentioned, there is typically a small up after a carbier day, but I typically follow my free meal day by a complete 24 hour fasting day which tends to take care of any mild water weight rather quickly. I'm not sure how well this would work for anyone that has blood sugar issues or carb/sugar sensativities. I personally have no trouble flip flopping back and forth and find no lingering carb cravings the following day. There is lots of good info out there on different methods of carb cycling and worth looking into for anyone that is interested!
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:08 AM   #27
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:58 AM   #28
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Thread jack: stardustshadow, I keep meaning to compliment you on your avatar. You always look SO lovely!!!! GREAT necklace in this shot!
Goodness, thank you!! That is nice of you to say

The necklace is Swarovski. I used to work for them (really great place to work, BTW). I have sooo much bling because of that job!
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:05 AM   #29
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I'm glad that you got some good info from this thread.

Sometimes it is hard to balance all of the info "out there" without second guessing whether we are really doing the "perfect" plan.

Unless you have a really long stall, diabetic or other health issues, etc., you can't go wrong with continuing on the path you are on. You have made amazing progress. Your focus, progress, and knowledge are all things that inspire many of us on the forums. Keep up the good work.
Thank you!!

I actually am diabetic. That makes losing harder for me than it may be for others. I have had a serious stall, which I did manage to break through. But after that I am losing *SLOWLY*. I appreciate that I am losing, though, believe me.

I have been trying to work in ways to confuse my body a bit (calorie cycling, for instance, or having days with high fat, and other days with higher, but not too high protein. I found that watching the protein just to make sure I don't overdo it, helps, since I have diabetes I have not, so far, allowed my net carbs to go over 20/day).

I guess I just keep hearing these terms tossed around, and was wondering about how it really worked. I love learning about what other people do, as well. I will eat this way for life, so the more ideas/knowledge and variety the better!

Thank you for sharing *your* knowledge!

This may come in handy in the future. Despite my weight, I was always pretty athletic. I used to do weight training (with some pretty serious weights, too). I currently run, but I would like to get back into weight training. So maybe some of this info will be good to keep in mind then!
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:00 AM   #30
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Good Morning!

I am a T2 Diabetic with Insulin Resistance. Reg LC works for me, but then my losses slow down and I stall.

In January, I started the JUDDD program (there is a group here under "Other Plans". It is actually calorie cycling, but as SoHappy wrote, it ends up being carb cycling as well for most people.

There are Dd (Down Days) where my calories and carbs are intentionally low (for me it's 500 cals and <20 carbs) and then UP days, where they are more moderate (for me it's 1500 and 30 carbs) and MD (Medium days) where it's in-between (for me it's 1000 cals and 30 carbs). EACH person is different on how they cycle, how many cals and carbs and what they eat. There is a LOT of personalization. And no set foods to eat. For me, I MUST stay lower carb because of my Diabetes.

If you read about it the plan activates a gene that helps us lose weight.

As a T2 Diabetic AND hypothyroid, I can attest that since I started on JUDDD I have never felt better and I am losing weight like crazy.

I don't believe it *high carb* days for me, ever, as a Diabetic and I don't plan to cheat or binge, I just intentionally cycle these days and for me, a very, very slow loser, it's working like nothing else.

AND, my voracious appetite has become more manageable among other benefits.

Just something to consider. I wish you the best.

Last edited by RealFoodLiving; 02-15-2011 at 08:02 AM..
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