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Afternoon sugar crashes back stronger than ever - since starting exercise....

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I completed a whole30 a couple of months ago very successfully and within a week I had no cravings and felt on top of the world, even if I felt a bit peckish occasionally - that made me feel lighter and strong. That time I did no exercise as I wanted to focus on food.

Went off the rails a bit in between and wanted to do a second whole30... This time decided that - since I knew what I was doing and knew it could be tough but that I can do it - I decided I would include exercise.

I have been trying to 'start' for 2 weeks now. My sugar crashes/cravings mid afternoon - evening are so strong that I would eat ANYTHING. I am beside myself with exhaustion/hunger/cravings for carbs. It is like a power greater than me has taken over.

The only difference is that I am exercising. As follows:

Day 1 HIIT - total 20 mins High Intensity (30 secs high, 40 secs rest)

Day 2 Resitance training for 30 mins - a circuit of core exercises, increasing weights each week

Day 3 rest

Day 4 as Day1

Day 5 as Day 2

Day 6 and 7 rest

I think that is a fairly balanced program. It also makes me feel good. But my tiredness and energy crashes are totally different this time round and I can 't seem to get totally with the programme this time.

Any thoughts/advice?

I am doing an autoimmune version (no eggs/nightshades/nuts).

Thanks for any help.

All the best

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OK I'm having a couple of pork burgers for breakfast. Possibly a tuna salad with avocado, olives for lunch. Trying to include big amount of tuna. Or a burger. With salad with say cauliflower, spinach etc in addition to avocados. Then, as I've been feeling so tired, I've tried a couple of times to up my carbs by having some raspberries (I have avoided fruit until now - I think I am very carb sensitive) as a desert. Same outcome with or without fruit.

From this point onwards (about an hour after lunch) I am ravenous and wanting sugar sugar sugar - even if I manage to 'stuff' myself on lunch with huge portions.

For supper I will have chicken or fish or burger with veg, lots of green ones. Lots of water.

Trying to stay off nuts/seeds but with the hunger attacks / frenzied need for FOOOOOOD (even though I am full in my belly) I have been having seeds (I am allergic to nuts) in the afternoon as a snack.

Last time round I didn't snack, didn't crash, certainly didn't feel driven to sabotage my willpower to such a level!

The only thing that is probably not optimum is that I go to the gym fasted - but early in the day. I don't have time to cook my breakfast before the gym. I don't feel hungry in or after the gym. In fact, the period directly after my exercise (the 3-4 hours of the morning) are definitely my least hungry time. But I do make sure I have my breakfast as soon as I return from the gym in the morning (only about 10 am).

Any brain waves?

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That sounds a lot like the "low carb flu" http://www.marksdail...om/low-carb-flu Things that help: more fat, more salt! - add a couple of grams a day, more water, back off on the exercise for a bit. Don't expect to be up to par for 1-4 weeks. (depends on the person) Once you are through it, you'll feel much, much better.

If you work out a lot though, you'll need more carbs. Sweet potatoes are classic workout fare, but other paleo carbs include beets, carrots, taro, plantain (OMG fried plantains), winter squashes, pumpkin, onions! and of course fruits.

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Thank you. That's helpful. The only odd thing is that I didn't have this with such intensity last time round - it was tough for the first week then it seemed OK. This time I can't seem to get through the first week. Does exercise make the low carb flu WORSE do you reckon? I don't think I work out a lot, just try to do minimum that makes an impact! Might try the plantain though, sounds good...

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Like you, I have experienced ferocious hunger soon after eating a big meal. For me, it is typically a one day thing that passes. I usually eat a sweet potato when I am hungry, mostly because I keep baked sweet potatoes in the refrigerator all the time.

The protein and fat of your meals sounds okay, but like Kayell says, you might want to add vegetable-based carbs. I wonder if your body has become fat-adapted yet. When you are fat-adapted, your body draws on fat stores comfortably and your energy levels tend to stay even. When your body is not fat-adapted, you need/crave sugar/carbs frequently. The way to become fat-adapted is to eat protein and fat, avoid sugar, and give your body time to adjust.

I wonder if the rhythms of your hormones are off related to a late breakfast and extra cortisol related to your workouts. Could you eat a piece of cold chicken on the way to the gym? I can eat on my way from the car into the gym and be okay, but your stomach may need more time. However, it would be ideal if you could get something in before working out because it sends the right signals to your hormones and helps get them in line. I also think a small post-work out meal would be important for you, even when you are not hungry. Your not being hungry when you should be hungry is the sign that your hormones are not on a friendly schedule. The fix is to eat when you should be eating even when you are not hungry. Some chicken and a baked sweet potato at the gym would be ideal.

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Tom thanks so much for this well considered reply. I guess I should get one notch more organised and prepare that chicken for the morning... You are right, I don't think I am in that fat-adapted state yet... I guess I just need to try to stick it out. Interestingly today I didn't go to the gym and it's all MUCH easier - not craving the carbs in the same way (although still craving a bit, but this is fine for first week) - not feeling insane need for SUGAR!

Of all the explanations your hormonal one seems to make most sense... Do you really think NOT being hungry after the gym is a sign that my hormones are out of whack? Do adapted people get hungry after the gym?

Thanks for your tips and sound encouragement

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