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TOPIC: How long did it take you to become 'fat adapted'?

 
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September 16, 2013 7:46 AM
I was able to curb hunger the first two weeks, and then my sugar / carb cravings were ridiculously intense for days! I was starving all day long no matter what I ate!

I finally gave in a few days ago and immediately felt better after eating some carbs. That of course led to two days of completely falling off the wagon! My husband hasn't had this problem at all. He is never hungry and hasn't been craving grains or sugar at all. He's also been dropping weight like crazy so I'm sure that's been motivating for him :)

I've spent the weekend researching everything I can about switching over to fat burning from sugar burning and I fit all of the symptoms of not being there yet. lol

I've increased my fat intake to 75%, 20% protein and 5% carbs as best as I can manage. I'm cutting out as many nuts as I can, and fruit for the time being. It's only been a couple of days but so far I don't feel any better yet. I don't want to have to do this for too long, as I would like to increase my fruit and veg intake as soon as I can.

I've also tried just intuitive eating, so if I'm hungry then eat. If not, then don't. Well, I'm always hungry and some days are up to 2500 cals! My TDEE is somewhere around 2100 so that's not helping. :)

Does anyone have any experiences that can give me hope? LOL I just want to get to a point where I'm not freakin starving ALL the time!!
September 16, 2013 8:14 AM
sorry, I was closer to your husband. Within two weeks most of my cravings went away. If I do have sugars - its kinda all over though - I can really get into it if I step my foot in the water.
Sounds like you are doing the right thing. I did have one measured piece of dark chocolate a night as my treat. I also did count calories on here for some time. I still think accountability is a good thing.
  2359867
September 16, 2013 8:28 AM
Maybe for you, 5% carbs is too low? Try upping to 10% with that being from veggies and the carbs found in protein sources like chicken for instance. My go-to is sauteeing veggies (carbs) with fatty oils like olive or coconut. Its a double whammy that can fill me up even without a separate protein source.
  31333634
September 16, 2013 8:48 AM
I can't exactly pinpoint an amount of time it took my body to get fat adapted, but I would say probably somewhere in the region of 2-3 weeks personally. I had the initial carb flu as most people do, but my determination not to give in (thankfully) was much stronger than I thought!

Try getting your carbs to 10% as suggested ^^ and keep all the carbs you eat mostly from veg. Try to stay away from the fruit as much as possible and keep the sugars low, so also try to steer clear of sweet potatoes, carrots and any other yellow or orange veggies as they tend to have in a bit of sugar too (all natural of course).

I don't eat a lot of fruit, I also tend to steer clear of the super colorful veggies and try to stick to greens and whites as much as I can, but some days I do throw in some pumpkin or carrots, but never together.

As for my snacks (when I first started and needed the snacks, I would go for almonds, cashews, and occasionally some hard grating parmesan which was a bit naughty. A little while ago I got to the stage where I don't need to snack and only do so if I'm finding it hard to make all my calories in my meals.

Hope this helps in some way :) and good luck! It's not an easy road but you WILL get there!!
September 16, 2013 9:44 AM
I get fat-adapted fairly quickly and for me, high fat low carb is the healthiest lifestyle. Giving in to the carb craving is the worst thing, because, as you experienced, the cravings just get more powerful and control becomes impossible. Most people can become fat adapted in two weeks, but a few need longer.

Sometimes one will feel better indulging on carbs because it's a bit of a "high". The fact that the higher carbs made you feel immediately better but then you "fell off the wagon" indicates that you do indeed need to keep sugar to a minimum.

With these kinds of struggles I would encourage you to keep fruit very limited (ie only berries) and get your carbs from salad vegetables until the cravings are resolved. Fructose will NOT help right now. 5% worked great for me in the beginning, but you may be fine at 10% as mentioned if you get them from veggies.

I'm really very suprised that you are struggling with hunger IF you are meeting your 75% fat goal.

Something that worked for me: during the first week of going ketogenic (and maybe two weeks for you), I allow myself to eat as much as I want to feel full and satisfied. No limit, but I did pay attention to satiety and stopped when full-learning not to eat out of habit. But I still counted the macros to make sure that I was 75-80% fat, 15-20% protein, and 5% carb. Until you are fat adapted, the calories are not the main focus. A couple weeks of eating a lot won't blow the whole thing. Get your hunger and cravings under control first, then pay attention to reducing. There is no need to be hungry to lose weight.
  19823492
September 16, 2013 9:46 AM
It took me almost 2 weeks to the day to be in ketosis.I was able to tell by the breathe and the awful taste in my mouth as well as the change in the smell of urine.
Seeing that you have so little weight to lose,I would think that being at 10% might be better for you.
Stick with it and try and get past the hump,it is a huge pain in the ass but worth it in the end.
Also,once you are in to ketosis,coming out for a day and then going back in is far easier..it's not a 2 week period again.
Good luck!
September 16, 2013 11:48 AM
Thanks everyone! Actually, I had originally had my macros set for 15%c, 20%p, and 65%f....that was great for the first two weeks. As soon as I hit the two week mark, for a couple of days it was as if I hadn't eaten all day. Even at 2000 calories! It was extremely distracting! :)

My aim was to keep carbs between 50g and 100g per day...closer to 50g if I could help it. Then it just wasn't enough....I thought perhaps a temporary shift to 5% would help and I could start adding back sweet potato and banana. I really miss my banana. lol

I guess I'll just have to wait and see.....if I had only toughed out the next four days that would have put me at the 3 week mark and perhaps it would have been the breakthrough point! Hopefully I'm not starting a complete ground zero again.....:) Perhaps you guys are right and I should just go back to what I was doing the first week or two and 'muscle' through the hungry days!! haha
September 16, 2013 5:29 PM
Bananas are awfully high in sugar... berries are a safer bet, at least for me.

I think it took me about ten days to get into ketosis, and I never had the carb flu, though if my carbs go much over 80g in a day the carb cravings start to wake up.
September 16, 2013 6:40 PM
Did any of you used ketostix to determinate how much you actually in ketosis? I am not aiming for ketosis, but I have ketones in my urine. If I go under 125 g carb , trace amounts start to show up. If I go under 105 g carb , small amount. Now I am eating around 85, and low medium level show in the ketostix.
September 17, 2013 8:28 AM
I didn't check last week but I did this morning....there are trace amounts. I've been under 50g per day for the last 4 days.

The last two weeks I was between 50g and 100g per day, so not really sure if any amounts would be detected. Based on the hunger I still felt, I'd say that there wasn't. :)
September 17, 2013 9:37 AM
QUOTE:

I didn't check last week but I did this morning....there are trace amounts. I've been under 50g per day for the last 4 days.

The last two weeks I was between 50g and 100g per day, so not really sure if any amounts would be detected. Based on the hunger I still felt, I'd say that there wasn't. :)


Yes, hunger is a good guide. If you are struggling with hunger or cravings then you are not fat-adapted. It depends on the person and lifestyle whether ketosis would be present between 50-100 grams- over 50 would not be beneficial for me personally. I recently changed my carb macro from 5% (20g) to 10% (40g) and to me that is LOTS of carbs. I don't even get close to the upper end on most days. So even at around 30 grams of carbs I have large amounts of ketones.
  19823492
September 17, 2013 10:46 AM
QUOTE:

Thanks everyone! Actually, I had originally had my macros set for 15%c, 20%p, and 65%f....that was great for the first two weeks. As soon as I hit the two week mark, for a couple of days it was as if I hadn't eaten all day. Even at 2000 calories! It was extremely distracting! :)

My aim was to keep carbs between 50g and 100g per day...closer to 50g if I could help it. Then it just wasn't enough....I thought perhaps a temporary shift to 5% would help and I could start adding back sweet potato and banana. I really miss my banana. lol

I guess I'll just have to wait and see.....if I had only toughed out the next four days that would have put me at the 3 week mark and perhaps it would have been the breakthrough point! Hopefully I'm not starting a complete ground zero again.....:) Perhaps you guys are right and I should just go back to what I was doing the first week or two and 'muscle' through the hungry days!! haha


Keep in mind, too, that your hormone levels are shifting - not just because of the diet change, but also because of your normal hormone cycles. Even if you're like some of us and you have dysfunctional hormones, the change in diet might trigger them to start functioning more normally. This can sometimes cause cravings for things like carbs, as well, as the different places in a woman's cycle raise certain flags.
September 17, 2013 4:59 PM
I started this in earnest on August 31st, and as of last week have settled on 10% carbs, 25% protein, and 65% fat. In my body I can feel that I am getting close to perfect with this amount of calories and these ratios, and in fact I've had days where I just can't eat any more, and have to eat a tablespoon of almond butter or some avocado to bump it up so MFP doesn't give me the "Omg you eat like a 15 year old tumblr user, wtf?" error.

But in my mind, I will always love food, and I know that I will always crave the things I know are terrible for me. My husband is not at all this way; we had a funny discussion a while ago about how I have brain-hungry and stomach-hungry, which are two completely different things. :)

So, instead of the sushi rolls that I crave, I get sashimi, which I adore. Instead of a big burger I make seasoned burger patties and top them with safe condiments and sauces. I find that I have the most success and contentment when I can cook something myself that mimics the textures and flavors, but in a healthier, safer way. I am positive that if I ever do get fat-adapted, I will still crave these things. But just because I crave them doesn't mean I am bound by that, know what I mean?
September 18, 2013 5:57 AM
It took me a month. I had the worst carb flu. I thought it would never end then in the 2nd month it all came together. I hope it dont take you this long, but some people it does take longer.
  5189397
September 18, 2013 7:42 AM
haha spatula! .....15 year old tumblr user....that made me laugh!

and thanks purple...actually that last few days I've been able to keep my carbs to under 50g and I have felt 100% better! That's worked out to an average of 8% of my daily cals.

I'm thinking that the most effective macros for me are also the 10/65/25 split.

@dragon....my husband will tell you that I absolutely have regular hormone (read: attitude) shifts! lol I'm sure that has a lot to do with it as well.

I've also found that this week I've regained strength and energy for kickboxing class, however time will tell if that was just from my massive carb re-load on thursday and friday. :) Plus I haven't been able to complete a 5km run since starting Primal 3 weeks ago. I might give one a try either tomorrow or the weekend and see how that goes. I don't mind doing sprint intervals, lots of walking, etc. in lieu of running, but I did enjoy that runners high and the time to myself when a 5km was easy.
September 18, 2013 8:20 AM
This is the best article I've seen to explain this - although they are using the Phinney / Volek term "keto adapted", vs Sisson's "fat adapted".

http://www.ketotic.org/2012/05/keto-adaptation-what-it-is-and-how-to.html

QUOTE:

In their recent book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, Volek and Phinney describe two stages of keto-adaptation. In the first few days of a keto diet, your body is still running on glycogen stores. This is the toughest part of the process, because in order to break the vicious cycle of glucose-based metabolism, you have to avoid eating carbohydrates, even though your glycogen stores are dwindling. Fat metabolism is still not optimized, and ketone production hasn't become significant.

Another noticeable effect in the first days is water loss. One of the inefficiencies of glycogen storage is that it needs to be stored with water. It takes about 3 or 4 grams of water to store a gram of glycogen [1] . This means that as you deplete your glycogen stores you could lose up to 2 kg of water! Not only that, but high circulating insulin levels cause water retention by inhibiting sodium excretion (see e.g. [2]). The keto diet lowers insulin levels and increases insulin sensitivity, allowing excess fluid to be released. These combined effects are the origin of the claim that the weight lost on keto diets is due to water loss. In the very beginning, this is true, but subsequently, of course, it is not.

When glycogen runs out, you start producing ketones, and some are excreted in the urine. This is easy to measure, and some keto dieters use it to know if they are hitting a low enough level of carbohydrate restriction. This also marks the beginning of the second stage of keto-adaptation. Ketones are now becoming available for fuel, but they haven't yet risen to their stable adapted level. There is an interesting interplay between ketone use in the muscles and the brain. When ketone levels are low, the muscles tend to use them directly for fuel, but as levels increase, the muscles use them less, turning to fat for fuel instead. The brain, on the other hand, uses ketones proportionally to their concentration in the blood. This means that at low levels of ketones, the brain's supply is not much affected, because the muscles intercede, but above some threshold, the brain's supply rapidly becomes much higher. At this point, the brain can rely on ketones, and since it is no longer susceptible to running out of fuel, the need to eat frequently throughout the day to maintain mental function disappears. The muscles in turn now rely on fat: they finally have access to a virtually unlimited supply of energy, which is particularly valuable for athletes.



Also noted:
QUOTE:

Finally, keep your dietary carbohydrates low. The worst scenario is to eat some every few days -- you will set yourself back, and be in perpetual limbo. Now is not the time to experiment with your carbohydrate tolerance, or eat foods you aren't sure about the content of. Commit to a very low level of carbohydrate intake, and stay with it consistently for at least long enough to get ketone production in full force. Most people we have talked to, if they experienced any discomfort at all, felt fully functional within 4 or 5 days. However, metabolic changes continue for at least two weeks and often more [6]. We recommend a 30 day trial at near zero levels of carbohydrate, to give yourself a chance to experience a completely keto-adapted state.
  30259907
September 18, 2013 9:31 AM
Kira, that's really helpful, thank you for posting those!
September 18, 2013 11:41 AM
yes ditto^^ thank you!
September 18, 2013 5:03 PM
bump
  636335
September 19, 2013 6:04 AM
Thanks for this post. I struggle to get into ketosis, even staying at <50g for 30 days had no effect. When I go lower i get so crabby and eat everything in site my cravings are so strong. I do loose weight, but am holding on to belly fat. Even after cycling across europe this summer I still can't get rid of that belly.... I'm going to try again to get into Ketosis.
  28554445
September 19, 2013 9:58 AM
QUOTE:

Thanks for this post. I struggle to get into ketosis, even staying at <50g for 30 days had no effect. When I go lower i get so crabby and eat everything in site my cravings are so strong. I do loose weight, but am holding on to belly fat. Even after cycling across europe this summer I still can't get rid of that belly.... I'm going to try again to get into Ketosis.


You can't spot reduce fat. If it's genuinely fat, then the only thing you can do is keep losing weight.

You can, however, be sure you have a strong core. No, that doesn't mean do a hundred situps a day. There's more to your core than just abs. Squats (weighted, body weight, pistol, etc), planks, pushups, and a number of other exercises can help you strengthen all of your core muscles, making that area less saggy-looking.

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