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Struggling with light headedness and food comas with intermittent fasting
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beta_plus Offline
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Struggling with light headedness and food comas with intermittent fasting
tl;dr:
Has anyone out there struggled with feeling light headed and/or getting really bad food comas while trying intermittent fasting? Were you able to find a solution to them or did you just have to deal with it?

long part:
I have been intermittent fasting for the last 2 months by not eating Breakfast, trying not to eat lunch, and just eating dinner. I drink water and black decaff coffee to keep my hunger at bay.

I have seen some decent progress, but not as much as I would have liked. My gut has decreased significantly, but is not gone. There is still a stubborn 1/2 of an inch of flab. While I would like to eventually move to a consistent 20-4 intermittent fast (fast 20 hours, eat for four) and can now usually do that or better on Saturdays, I have run into two problems.

1) I get light headed. Unfortunately, my work requires that I stay mentally sharp so I usually have to break my fast at no later than 1:30 PM on weekdays, only a couple of hours into when my body feels like it is consuming body fat (I feel the skin on my face and lower legs and arms tighten).

2) If I do break my fast later than 1:30, I get a really bad food coma. If I wait until 5 or later its usually so bad that I have to lie down for an hour. Once the coma is over I get a weird headache for the rest of the day and feel off. I am guessing this is because all of the blood in my body from my head to my stomach in search of calories.

For some reason, when I plow through on Saturdays I generally don't have these 2 problems, but then by early Saturday evening I am not doing anything too intellectually challenging. When I try again on Sunday, I run into the 2 problems above.

I would like to emphasize that hunger is not the issue. By drinking lots of brita filtered water, I rarely struggle with it. I usually break my fasts because of feeling light headed, not hungry.

Are there any tricks for dealing with this?
(This post was last modified: 07-30-2015 07:50 PM by beta_plus.)
07-30-2015 07:49 PM
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Hannibal Offline
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RE: Struggling with light headedness and food comas with intermittent fasting
How much are you eating all at once when you break your fast? If you're only eating one or two very large meals, you will get sleepy. This is caused by the body's insulin response to the meal. Insulin increases uptake of every amino acid to the muscles except tryptophan. The brain then uses the excess tryptophan, which converts to seratonin, which then converts to melatonin, then you pass out because you ate too many plates of ribs and cornbread at Famous Daves.

I recommend doing 18 hour fasts instead, and trying to have a meal every 2 hours, or three meals altogether. If you're fasting every day and not eating enough fats (or calories), yeah you're going to be tired and feel like shit all the time. I don't recommend fasting every day like that, shit, the Eat Stop Eat book by Brad Pilon recommended 18-24 hour fasts once or twice a week!

If you don't know what healthy fats are, then eat like 7-10 fish oil capsules every day and don't be afraid to use butter.

This part is a bit more brosciency, but if you're not eating vegetables or other complex carbs I would do that too.

Are you getting proper amounts of electrolytes (aka you're not pissing every 10-15 minutes)? Dehydration can make you feel like shit; a lot of it has to do with how much water you actually hold on to versus how much you're drinking.

The solution sounds gross, but you can make a tea out of beef or chicken boullion cubes which will supply your body with electrolytes during your fast.

[Image: ING-chicken-bouillon-cubes_sql.jpg]

You don't want to drink Gatoraide, the sugar will ruin your fast. A chicken boullion cube has 15 calories and these for macros.

Quote:Calories 15
Calories from Fat 9
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 1140mg 47%
Carbohydrates 1g 0%
Protein 0.4g

Read more: Calories in Knorr - Chicken Bouillon Cubes, Knorr | Nutrition and Health Facts http://www.caloriecount.com/calories-kno...z3hQrYTaVA

Are you drinking a shitload of caffeine during your fast? That tends to give me a headache. I'm talking like 6 cups of coffee here. If you're drinking a lot of caffeine you might want to cut back on that and drink caffeine free diet drinks.

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07-30-2015 09:40 PM
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not_dead_yet Offline
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RE: Struggling with light headedness and food comas with intermittent fasting
Why are you doing 20-4? That seems a little extreme.

I've read that 16-8 is adequate, and personally I have no trouble doing 18-6.

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07-31-2015 09:00 AM
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PUA_Rachacha Offline
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RE: Struggling with light headedness and food comas with intermittent fasting
(07-30-2015 07:49 PM)beta_plus Wrote:  tl;dr:
Has anyone out there struggled with feeling light headed and/or getting really bad food comas while trying intermittent fasting? Were you able to find a solution to them or did you just have to deal with it?

long part:
I have been intermittent fasting for the last 2 months by not eating Breakfast, trying not to eat lunch, and just eating dinner. I drink water and black decaff coffee to keep my hunger at bay.

I have seen some decent progress, but not as much as I would have liked. My gut has decreased significantly, but is not gone. There is still a stubborn 1/2 of an inch of flab. While I would like to eventually move to a consistent 20-4 intermittent fast (fast 20 hours, eat for four) and can now usually do that or better on Saturdays, I have run into two problems.

1) I get light headed. Unfortunately, my work requires that I stay mentally sharp so I usually have to break my fast at no later than 1:30 PM on weekdays, only a couple of hours into when my body feels like it is consuming body fat (I feel the skin on my face and lower legs and arms tighten).

2) If I do break my fast later than 1:30, I get a really bad food coma. If I wait until 5 or later its usually so bad that I have to lie down for an hour. Once the coma is over I get a weird headache for the rest of the day and feel off. I am guessing this is because all of the blood in my body from my head to my stomach in search of calories.

For some reason, when I plow through on Saturdays I generally don't have these 2 problems, but then by early Saturday evening I am not doing anything too intellectually challenging. When I try again on Sunday, I run into the 2 problems above.

I would like to emphasize that hunger is not the issue. By drinking lots of brita filtered water, I rarely struggle with it. I usually break my fasts because of feeling light headed, not hungry.

Are there any tricks for dealing with this?

Not everyone is cut out for intermittent fasting. I tried it for about eight months a few years ago, and, although I got down to 12% body fat, metabolically speaking I was a mess by the end: constant blood-sugar issues, struggled with breathing (climbing up a flight of stairs made me winded), brain fog, joints hurt, etc.

Your symptoms are similar to mine. Some people just need constant food, especially carbs. Once I began eating three square meals a day plus snacks and began ingesting carbs, my symptoms slowly went away (it took about a full year for all the symptoms to go away). I can only guess what was wrong, but I think my system was so stressed that it constantly pumped adrenal hormones in my system, causing thyroid issues, high cortisol, insulin resistance, etc.

If you have some side effects, then I would advise aborting your IF regimen for the time being. Focus on smaller, more frequent meals with low-glycemic carbs. I keep my calories around 2,500 and just exercise more. I'm not 12% bodyfat anymore, but I'm engaged now, so I'll drink some beer now or have dessert with my girl. I think I could get myself down to 12% if I concentrated on it more, but I don't really care anymore if I have a six pack or not.
07-31-2015 02:30 PM
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Saladin Offline
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RE: Struggling with light headedness and food comas with intermittent fasting
I've been doing 16 hour fasts, and occasionally 17-18 hours.

A couple of cups of green tea throughout the fasting periods keeps me very mentally sharp and focused without getting hungry.

I eat very well in the eating window though, plenty of carbs, fat, and protein. Lots of green veggies.

IF is very solid for me. I'd suggest you cut down to 16-18 hours of fasting and see how that works.

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(This post was last modified: 07-31-2015 03:11 PM by Saladin.)
07-31-2015 03:10 PM
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RE: Struggling with light headedness and food comas with intermittent fasting
Try basic paleo, or just a somewhat-compressed basic paleo, like eating between 12pm-9pm, with carbs only after workouts.

No need to destroy yourself just for "gainz". Go with a diet that's a) healthy and b) good for body re-comp. That's the minimal effective dose.
07-31-2015 04:42 PM
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RE: Struggling with light headedness and food comas with intermittent fasting
The food "coma" is unavoidable with IF'ing. Cramming your daily calorie allowance in 4 hours is going to cause a massive insulin spike no matter what you eat.

As for the light headedness though - that's odd. Your mental clarity should be improved during the fast.

Have you stopped taking anything recently (or quit smoking, etc.)?

You might want to try caffeinated coffee with coconut oil. Keeps me razor sharp during my fasts.
07-31-2015 06:27 PM
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STriple-R Offline
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RE: Struggling with light headedness and food comas with intermittent fasting
Post your diet. We can help you much better when we know what you are eating. IF for me is easy but it tends to get more of a struggle when I'm not eating right. Nutrition is key here! You should not feel exhausted or any other unwanted side-effects.

Are you working out (you should anyway)? If yes, are you able to maintain (or even making progress) the level you were at BEFORE starting IF?
07-31-2015 08:33 PM
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Hades Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Struggling with light headedness and food comas with intermittent fasting
I think IF in general is a really stupid idea considering that a quality whey isolate is like 100 calories per scoop (about 23 grams of protein).

If you had two shakes per day, two scoops apiece, that would be only 400 calories and probably a little better than half of all the protein you would need. Since protein itself has a thermic effect, it would be 300 'net' calories per day, maybe less.

I know I'm going to get the 'fasting purists' commenting that you shouldn't eat food during the fast but need I remind anybody that you need a ludicrous amount of protein to refill glycogen stores? It's not going to impede your fat burning one bit, if anything it will probably help it since you're a lot less likely to fry your adrenals and develop metabolic syndrome, and you might actually be able to spare muscle mass while on the cut.

Try the shakes. You probably won't be as light headed.
(This post was last modified: 08-01-2015 08:38 AM by Hades.)
08-01-2015 08:34 AM
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StrikeBack Offline
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RE: Struggling with light headedness and food comas with intermittent fasting
#1 problem with people trying out IF at first is that they don't eat enough, period. They simply remove breakfast and still eat the same for lunch and dinner (or other meals of the day), then wonder why their energy level tanks. It's because you're eating way less calories!

Check that first before you look for other potential issues.

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08-02-2015 05:20 AM
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General Mayhem Offline
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RE: Struggling with light headedness and food comas with intermittent fasting
I used to get lightheaded sometimes with IF not sure why. I recently switched from IF to more of a eat when I want to kind of a thing.

I am much leaner now and I feel a lot better. It is also summer and I spend a lot of time outside.
08-02-2015 02:21 PM
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RE: Struggling with light headedness and food comas with intermittent fasting
Thanks for all of the advice guys. There is a lot to digest here (pardon the pun).

Right now I'm going to scale it back.
08-02-2015 03:14 PM
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