I have been following that fat loss discussion with interest and wanted to present you with a weird case study: Me. At least, according to a GP I talked about it once, I'm "...one of those
, a friend of mine is doing a study on your sort up in Perth, would you like to be a subject?" I'd have jumped at it had I lived in Perth, but an 800km round trip on a regular basis was going to be too tough.
Basically, I've observed, all of my life but even more so towards middle age, that I can't readily access my fat reserves (/ possibly my glycogen reserves) for extra calories if I'm sedentary or only lightly active and skipping food during such low levels of activity. I've never been able to do the 24-hour famine at school, etc. What happens when I fast during low activity levels is that I get hypoglycaemia symptoms: I feel weak, get nauseated, trembly, experience brain fog and coordination problems, and more often than not, since my 30s, end up with a shocking migraine on top of the rest of it. So, it's important for me to eat about 5 times a day, healthy stuff and with bits of quality protein throughout, when I'm not super-active - basically to graze - and that's how I stay level.
I've had blood tests during those episodes and they confirmed I was borderline hypoglycaemic when that happens. We checked out my pancreatic function, but that was ostensibly normal - I'm not diabetic, and not pre-diabetic. Still, another thing that happens to me that doesn't seem to happen to most people is that I really can't tolerate high levels of sugar, especially on an empty stomach. They actually taste disgusting to me - it makes me feel ill to contemplate eating sugary icing, the same way it makes me feel ill to contemplate eating a lump of lard. I'm sure that's not just a mental thing, but that it's rooted in physiology - my body is saying, "Don't do this, it's not good for you." ...which is not the same as, for instance, not liking the taste of pineapple or of stuffed capsicum - I could make myself eat these things if nothing else was available, and am pretty sure I wouldn't get in too much trouble as a result.
A few years ago, we bought some commercial iced coffees at a mall coffee chain, and I had a disgust response at the sky-high level of sugar in my drink. It was at least twice as sweet as the already over-sweetened dairy drinks sold in cartons - it was really shocking. But, I was also really thirsty, and really annoyed to have spent $5 on a drink that my body was saying it didn't want. I said to Brett, "I'll drink it because it's a waste of money and resources to throw it away, but never again, I swear!" And I drank the stuff - it took me about 10 minutes to force myself to do it - and when I got up, I nearly blacked out, broke out in a cold sweat, and felt like I was spinning. I could not walk in a straight line. My doctor thinks it was hypoglycaemia brought on by an emergency response by the pancreas to ridiculously high sugar levels - basically crashing the sugar levels down trying to stop them from spiking. He said, "How convenient that you have a body that's telling you to avoid this rubbish, rather than craving it!" I've learnt that I will never eat or drink anything over-sugary again, no matter that it's already bought or who bought it...
So to function optimally, I graze - eat about five times a day, and not huge amounts at a time, generally - and try to include quality protein at each meal. During low activity levels, I will get into trouble if I do not pay attention to this.
Yet during moderate to strenuous exercise, I never get these symptoms, and I also know my body is accessing the fat reserves then (as well as the glycogen), because I can always feel the difference in the pinch test over the abdomen after half a day of intense uphill-downhill bushwalking. The big question, and the one that researcher was trying to find out, is why I can access fat reserves fine in those situations, but not when my body isn't under significant load.
What this means, in practical terms, is that I'm the sort of person who'd have great trouble getting rid of fat by fasting or by restricting calorie intake - my metabolic rate drops if I don't graze - I'm the sort who needs to exercise
And that's what I've quite spontaneously done most of my life - felt the need to move. I was also a great fidget as a young person. Our national treasure, Dr Karl, has shown why and how fidgeting helps keep people trim: https://www.abc.net.au/science/artic...0/05/56899.htm https://www.abc.net.au/science/artic...7/21/38121.htm
...basically, I'm a bit like a highly strung horse. I started out underweight as a child and with failure to thrive, and didn't come out of childhood with many fat cells. How much of that was growing up wired by cPTSD is speculation, but I'm sure it played a role.
I am too asleep to edit this, and check if I've drifted off course or said incoherent things - and I know there'll be things I've forgotten. I'll try again tomorrow!
I'm actually falling asleep...
Late night last night, and just had dinner, and much blood has been requisitioned by my stomach. I hope this post makes sense!
But anyway, fasting works for some people and not for others. Lots of people at Brett's workplace are doing calorie restriction for at least a few days each week and are mostly having good results, losing around half a kilogram a week, which is great if you're trying to kick out the fat in a sustainable manner.
One complicating factor is the idea that "At 40, you get to choose between your face and your posterior." Well, for me, my face and the round thing that wants to nest around my navel - the posterior never puts on weight.
And while we're on this, isn't it interesting how this abdominal fat distribution pattern is a bit like the Cushings pattern in humans.