Epic Lunches

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I’ll be the first to admit – I’m enjoying Chief-style eating.  By Chief, I of course am referring to sporadic 180 commenter Chief – the One and Only.  Chief has advocated since his first appearance here that one feast per day is all a person really needs, and that
this practice is congruent with many traditional cultures (not that I really care about traditional cultures’ eating habits, but that was part of Chief’s reasoning).

So by Chief-style, I’m referring to glorious buffet-style eating to the point of maximal fullness, followed by not eating again until I am really hungry (usually sometime the following day).  At first I was resistant to this idea, as buffet-style eating has always shown to increase the number of calories people eat when eating to appetite.  Best put perhaps by the server where I ate today when I told her I was trying to muster up the courage to eat some rice pudding even though I was already stuffed.  She said, “you have to.  It’s a buffet!”  Classic.  But lo and behold, it makes you more full, and less hungry later.

I’m now living at the beach close to Sarasata, FL,  and Sarasota, being heaven’s waiting room and all, seems to have a $10  all-you-can-eat buffet on just about every corner.  I’m taking full advantage of this.  Between Troyer’s Dutch Heritage (there’s a strong Amish presence in Sarasota – Amish paradise?) and the little Indian buffet I hit Friday and about an hour ago, every possible food urge I might have is being fully and thoroughly satisfied.  It’s like Thanksgiving feast every single day.

My interest in this type of eating began back in  July when I started following RBTI.  In RBTI, it is believed that eating most of your food midday and then eating light in the evening is superior.  While this is debatable (certainly from the standpoint of body composition), the powerful
impact of eating with a long semi-fasted period each day really caught my attention.  My appetite, and many others that I communicated with, was really beaten down by this practice.  Suddenly, I was losing weight to appetite with no macronutrient restriction of any kind – and eating plenty of hyperpalatable food that anyone would consider “fattening.”

I lost 20 pounds, and recently threw in some exercise to complete my return to a more lean and muscular physique.  Only now I’m much more muscular than I was the last time I was at single-digit body fat (I’m actually not too far from being back at single digit body fat levels at the moment).

All the while I have noticed no adverse consequences from a metabolic standpoint unlike other times I have lost weight over the past couple of years (which was always temporary).  And the results I get from exercise seem to be superior as well, with no revolt like I was getting a year ago – like inability to sleep and feelings of carpal tunnel in the wrists and forearms.

In short, when I eat absolutely anything and everything that I want to the last bite of sickeningly-sweet rice pudding, and then have a nice fast afterward, I get leaner.  And my appetite gets lower, not higher, as I get leaner.  So obviously this approach, for me personally (and for advocates of this approach like Johnny from Lean Saloon and Martin from Leangains), has some ability to change the normal homeostatic feedback mechanisms that control body fat levels.

Effect on leptin? The known increase of growth hormone induced by fasting?  Who knows. Whatever is going on is clearly interesting.

So that’s an update on what I’m doing.  Doesn’t exactly make for interesting blog fodder.  “Hey uh, eat whatever you want and uh, uh, then don’t eat for a while.”

But hopefully you find this just as relieving as I have.  No macronutrient, fatty acid, amino acid, starch vs. sugar, or other masturdebates necessary.

These lunch feasts of mine?  Although I don’t keep precise track, when I have tried hard to estimate caloric intake, it usually runs right around 2,000 calories or slightly higher.  Today I managed to choke down 1 plate of salad, 3 plates of Indian food, a bowl of rice pudding, and a 16-ounce orange juice.

Breakfast is usually a bowl of cereal and a couple pieces of fruit.  After lunch I haven’t been eating much of anything, and haven’t wanted to.  The only thing I have eaten is a couple of dates during the late afternoon dip that can sometimes hit after these epic buffet pigouts.  But I expect to overcome this slumping tendency.  Today I feel really good actually.  Clear-headed and energized straight through the post-buffet period (PBP).

While my first impression of intermittent fasting (if you want to call it that – partial fasting or quick fasting or something seems more accurate to me), was great skepticism and concern, I’m at least open-minded to it now.  But I’m sure there are contexts in which it can be highly detrimental (paired with say, carbohydrate restriction, done by an anorexic, combined with long-duration exercise, and many other individual factors), so don’t try it blindly if you have an inkling to see what it does for you.

Be warned – not everyone can go long periods without food.  They just don’t have the glycogen storage capacity or adrenal strength to do so – something that is best restored by lots of rest, eating tons of foods with an emphasis on carbohydrates, and occasional sessions of high intensity exercise (which stimulate the body to increase glycogen storage capacity).

Note, I wouldn’t be too deterred by any changes you experience during the first few weeks of doing it.  Reducing meal frequency is a big and tumultuous transition for the body, and it can come along with lots of low metabolism/adrenal stress symptoms until the body adjusts to the regularity of a new eating schedule.

Anyway, hope you found this interesting.



  1. Lucky you being able to loose weight and gain muscle mass! Could it be because you are a male? I was normal weight when I started RBTI and I’ve gained 10 pounds! Life isn’t fair! I wish I had a penis.

    • No definitely not. There are plenty of fat RBTI-ers. And I’ve seen some males gain weight and many females lose it. It doesn’t seem to have some gender bias. There are lots of factors involved in my losing of weight. One is that I had JUST gained most of that 20 pounds. It was therefore easier to lose. It wasn’t stuck with me for 5 years or anything like that, but only a few months. And I only lost about half of it with the dietary change. The other half came from incorporating exercise – a blend of weights and hiking at first and then just weights and high-intensity intervals the past month.

  2. Hey Matt,
    Very interesting article! In the past, I tried Martin’s Lean Gains (probably not to the fullest) and didn’t notice much of a difference. I was already pretty lean though. I notice sometimes for me, if I eat a ton of food at once, I tend to feel pretty tired afterward. Could this just be a transitioning? Maybe my body has trouble digesting all of the food at once because it’s not used to it? Thanks. I really like all of the ideas being thrown around here lately, especially with regard to exercise.

    • It’s natural to feel tired when insulin spikes. Usually the greater the tiredness the greater the stress hormone production. Generally the longer I go without food the more sleepy I get when I eat. This is partially due to the quantity consumed, but mostly due to the extent to which adrenal hormones are activated. When overly active, they tend to immediately shut down and go on vacation when insulin rises -thrusting the body into a parasympathetic-dominant state. This is not necessarily a bad thing I suppose – just natural up and down cycles that become more pronounced when you eat less frequently. Whether this takes some negative toll remains to be seen. In the past I assumed it did. But I can’t in good conscience stay closed-minded about it.

  3. Chief should move his buffet-ass and bring his blog on line! ;)

    • Seconded. When last I emailed him several months ago he indicated it should all be coming up sometime around the end of the year. Well it’s the end of the year, and although he’s popped up a few times on 180, I have yet to see his blog. But no complaints. I got nothing but man-love for the guy.

      • Hii everybody, thank you for being patient for personal reasons I had a really intense year that required a major getaway and dropping my blog work cold… i swear the blog is days away. when i last was working on it due to JT and Matt pushing for a concise explaination i had 7 posts ready .. im now done with 17 and I’m just getting my geeks squad to prevent insane spam and make it as user friendly as possible as well as making a few other surprises work well .

        everything I’ve been working on for years is coming to fruition 2012

        • CHIEF!

          Really great to hear you’re that close to getting your work online! And good to have you back. Hope you get to stick around for longer this time. Definitely looking forward to learning from your blog in 2012! Almost there. Congrats! :)

        • Chief’s masterpiece to be unleashed!! We will certainly enjoy it. I will probably not get out of my pajamas the day it comes out. Oh wait, I never get out of my pajamas every day!!! (Okay, that was a lie. Just worked out AND went to the gym in non-pajamas. But I’m back in my magic $8 pajama shorts now. 3:30 pm). No buffet today, tragically.

        • Hell yeah… (uttered Dr Dre style)

          • Shouldn’t everything be uttered in Dr. Dre style? Keep they heads ringin!

  4. Cool- will keep an eye on your IF-style experiments. I’ve always had a soft spot for the approach.

    Any thoughts on whether the big meal has to be mid-day (before 2pm presumably)? If not, is it just the metabolic entrainment that’s beneficial and not as much the RBTI-inspired sugar regulation?

    • Berkhan addressed this in one of his more recent posts, showing that muscle mass retention and fat loss seemed to be superior when the food was consumed late at night instead of earlier in the day. Score point 1 for Chief on that one.

      • Would you still recommend a bigger mid day meal on the basis on RBTI? Or a bigger evening meal based on Berkhan’s/Chief’s findings and perspective? Or are you agnostic about it now?

        • I will continue under the influence of RBTI for a while. But I wouldn’t mind switching it up some time for comparison’s sake. Maybe sometime next year.

  5. I think the holy grail would be low eating frequency AND quantity. That’s how Luigi Cornaro got really old while keeping his mental and physical faculties: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luigi_Cornaro
    But how to do this in a physically degenerated body and a toxic and mineral depleted environment is another question. I guess we got to settle for compromises.

    • As long as mitochondrial energy is produced at a high rate, there’s nothing wrong with eating a diet with fewer calories. Getting maximum energy out of minimal calories is probably the best. Even in rodent studies you’ll see a decrease in appetite with an increase in mitochondrial activity. As most 180 followers experience, after a few weeks or months appetite usually falls considerably. But there are contradictions to this as well, and many, such as Ray Peat, think that the maximum amount of calorie consumption per unit of lean mass is a strong indicator of overall metabolic excellence. Longevity isn’t necessarily my concern though, but maximizing how I feel and perform this week, this month, and this year. Any intelligent person will always seek a high quality life over a high quantity life. Of course, if you can have both, that would be nice.

    • Good point about the depleted environment. I wonder if Peat’s right insofar as we tend to consume nutrient depleted foods, and therefore, the more calories we can consume and remain weight stable, the better our nutritional status…

  6. Matt – Are you still following any of the other RBTI principles? Are you exercising pre buffet meal?

    • I try to avoid virtually all of the “no” foods. Sometimes a little chocolate or some nuts sneak in there, but I have my doubts that small amounts affect me significantly. I also asked Santa for a water distiller for Christmas. I do check my “sugars” when I suspect a crash and follow the “rules of the sugar” when applicable.

      I try to exercise pre-buffet. Like an hour beforehand. I like some kind of physical activity every day. Not always intense. Sometimes just a walk. But I don’t like to exert myself too hard without being able to have some food after, so I do my computer work and reading and stuff to the evening hours – post buffet. Ideally.

      • What about PUFAS, Matt? I have been eating the RBTI recommended foods at the recommended times, and avoiding most of the “no no’s”. Still not sure what to do about PUFAs. Do you try to avoid or limit them now or is this just not something you worry about at this point?


        • I don’t go to great lengths to avoid them like I once did. But with RBTI you are already not consuming any nuts and seeds. Total fat intake is generally lower. Most of the fat I consume is dairy fat, which is a great fat from that standpoint. I don’t use many liquid oils in my home cooking. If I do I use olive oil, which is much lower in PUFA than most of the other liquid oils. But I am much more relaxed about this now. I’m putting more focus on the distance to the nearest buffet and what people are saying about Tim Tebow than I am the PUFA content of my diet.

  7. I’ve had some interesting experiences with All You Can Eat places. For my birthday a few years back I hit up this sushi place, where it was all you can eat for like $30…. I crammed down probably 7 rolls (CA rolls, Philly Rolls, Salmon, Spicy Tuna, etc) before the Golden CA Roll (deep fried in tempura batter) showed up. I new I was getting full, but two pieces in to that Golden CA Roll things got dicey. I had not experienced any fullness until this point, and when it switched, it was pretty freaky. I stopped for a few seconds… attempted to keep everything down… Dashing to the bathroom, but I didn’t make it. I swear 50% of it came up on the first go and then rest once I made it to the bathroom. Needless to say…most embarrassing Bday ever!

    I have had interesting experiences with Intermittent Fasting as well…. I really enjoying skipping breakfast… on par with what I did most growing up as well. One meal a day worked well for me, after a few days transition, but then I’d binge every couple days at lunchtime. Overall I think I wasn’t eating enough for it to work, but I can say it did help with my “fullness sensor” issue, so it may be something worth revisiting if my RBTI stint doesn’t workout.

    • I am wary of undereating for sure. I muscle down the food. Not to the extent that you do with your Kobayashi birthday fail, but I try. I think it’s important to have a nice adrenal repreive with a big feast every day.

  8. matt have you experimented with fasted workouts. i’ve been doing them for a couple months and i’m still amazed at how easy they are. and since i feel the same before doing it and after carbing out i think thats a good sign that my adrenals are cool. if only they could stop my temp bouncing up and down and keep my hands warm, but thats a life long problem and another story

    • The erraticism (if that’s a word) of your temperature and hand and foot temp fluctuations is probably due to wildly erratic swings in the sugar levels in your cells. Low sugar = cold hands and feet. See if you can figure out if there is any consistency there as to times that you crash and what precedes the crash – like eating a big meal, or hard exercise, or drinking alcohol for example. Let me know and perhaps we can troubleshoot this for you.

      I am interested in fasted training as well. I know the performance of the exercise is usually lower, but because it depletes glycogen so thoroughly there is potentially an upside to it. I have steered clear of it because I feel a little uncomfortable with the idea that you are burning less carbohdyrate and more fat to do the exercise. I think of this as being synonymous with stress, and I get that dizziness and fruity breath whenever I get beyond the barriers of my glycogen supply. It happens much faster in a fasted state. If I try it for a while, I will let you know my personal opinion of it as it pertains to my body.

      • Hmm that is very interesting… Thank you Matt, for this tidbit. I will definitely pay closer attention to my random bouts of icy extremities. I have already applied one RBTI idea to my own life with resounding success- I occasionally wake up in the wee hours of the morning with racing thoughts, and I’ve found that having a small sugar snack on hand for these mid-night awakenings really does the trick. My favorite is a nice big organic unsulfured dried apricot. 10g s of almost pure glucose baby!

        • Get on the meal schedule with consistency and catch your daytime crashes and you are unlikely to wake up having a sugar crash in the 2-4am window anymore at all. No bedside snack required.

          • Not sure what you mean by “…and catch your daytime crashes”, Matt. (I am doing “RBTI Lite” – just following the meal times, eating the recommended foods at the recommended meals, avoiding most of the “no no’s”.) Do you mean if you experience a “low” in the late afternoon, and feel cold and are craving something sweet, you should consume something/drink something? If so, what? I thought snacks were not recommended so I just try to tough it out until dinner.


          • Yes, those dips are often very significant. By catching the crashes I mean seeing that the refractometer reading has dropped. If you don’t monitor that, then you err on the side of caution and assume that your sugar has dropped on you if you are feeling tired, grouchy, shaky, or any of those types of feelings – especially at 3pm, which is the most common time to experience a crash.

            When that happens, what I do is eat 1-2 dates, a small handful of raisins, or equivalent. You don’t want more than 5-10 grams of total sugar. It only takes a tiny amount. And there’s no need for a full “snack.” Just a bite.

  9. Not that I don’t believe you, but you should take a pic and show everyone once you’re at single-digit body fat; makes the post much more believable to skeptics.

    • If I get really lean there will definitely be pics involved. But I’m not going to force anything or make myself sick trying to impress people with a temporary snapshot. So there’s no guarantee that I will get very lean. But I’m satisfyingly lean at the moment. I’m not very good at estimating body fat percentages, but I’m maybe 12-13% bf at the moment. Let’s say 9-10% bf in the pig’s head photos from 3 years ago.

  10. Hey Matt,

    1. Do you target particular foods or food types at the buffet or just take a bit of everything you fancy on the day?

    2. Do you get any digestive problems from eating such a huge meal at once? I sometimes get diarrhea when eating large amount like that, which I always thought was maybe because it was just too much for me to digest and absorb at one time, leaving some of the digestible food to go into the colon and let the bacteria go mad and maybe also if there was sugar and salts still in there it would pull water into the colon or prevent it absorbing much water and drying out the feces.

    3. Are you worried about the quality of food at these cheap buffet places and how it might affect you if you keep eating tons of it every day?

    • 1) Not really. I mean, I won’t eat tons of fried food. Maybe a little. I don’t typically eat very much meat, but sometimes if I’m in the mood for it I will go nuts on it. So it all depends. I feel the day and try not to think about it too much if the food looks good. I also go for variety, eating like 30 things all at once to make it the biggest digestive challenge I can!

      2) No. I actually do better from a digestion standpoint to eat a lot and then let the digestive organs rest before cramming more food in there. I definitely feel like I have above-average digestive equipment, but it hasn’t always been that way. For 3 years I had indigestion after everything I ate, no matter how big or small. So I do believe that strength can be built with persistence. A big meal every once and a while will probably cause distress. But when it’s habitual your body has a much better chance at making the proper adjustments and rising to the task.

      3) No. I feel better and look better so it’s really not that big of a concern. If something gets me down the road I’m cool with that if I’m trading feeling and looking better for it every day until that day arrives. But like I said, I do try to avoid the greasier stuff and fried foods and things that I know are cooked in low-quality, oxidized vegetable oils and steer towards stuff that isn’t. Of course some junk will always work it’s way in. I’m okay with that. Perfectionism with diet never got me very far.

  11. “Be warned – not everyone can go long periods without food. They just don’t have the glycogen storage capacity or adrenal strength to do so – something that is best restored by lots of rest, eating tons of foods with an emphasis on carbohydrates, and occasional sessions of high intensity exercise (which stimulate the body to increase glycogen storage capacity).”

    Maybe this is why I fared so horrifically on RBTI meal patterns. I’ve since found out that I have adrenal fatigue (low cortisol levels) and am working on resolving that. But my blood sugar levels are a million times more stable now that I eat 3 proper meals a day (sometimes 4, when I can swing it).

    • I have one woman that I work with eating every 30 minutes during waking hours, slowly working towards lengthening the time in between meals. Some small, sugary and/or starchy snacks would probably help you out too. But progress towards going longer without food. I do think that the amount of time a person can go without feeling overly hungry or grouchy or grumpy or tired is a pretty good indicator of their overall health status. But you won’t get very far by not eating when your body needs food, so this progression has to take place automatically over time. It can’t be forced.

      • Yeah, I definitely experienced what happens when you try to force it! Right now, 4-5 hours between meals seems right, and starchy foods are definitely my friend.

        I’m glad you made the point about IF not being right for some people. I think it’s helpful for people to see reasons why they might want to avoid a certain approach, based on level of health. I had an incredibly stressful summer (stressing the adrenals) on top of having gone off the pill (hello hormone issues, and stress). Doing the RBTI patterns and eating too little at night was probably the worst possible thing I could have done.

        • Recognizing and appreciating individual health circumstances and lifestyles is something I’m developing more and more of an appreciation for. Context is everything. IF is probably terrible for an endurance or really high level athlete, because of the stress – which has almost identical impacts to the type of stresses you underwent this summer. One of the reason Berkhan’s approach works so well is that it is paired with large feedings and very small amounts of only-anabolic exercise. In other contexts it could be a catastrophe.

      • More interesting stuff again. It seems when you just relax and tune in to your body, it just seems to know. That’s why I’m having a hard time being strict with RBTI. After 2 to 3 months on RBTI, I was unable to ascertain that it was addressing my problem directly. It seems that a lot of times just intuitively eating whatever I feel like eating, even beyond hunger, really does help. But this means eating what you really feel like eating, and not what you feel like you’re expected to eat (which could be a bowl of chocolate or similar item at a holiday function)… I had a night of terrible sleep over Thanksgiving break which I’m attributing to a bowl of dark chocolate pieces my mom put out after dinner. I knew I didn’t want any but I just sort of thought whatever and ate some anyway.

  12. Hey Matt,

    Just read your recovery diet book…awesome read. I am coming off the Sisson Paleo/low carb diet (last 6 monthss) and only after a few days of adding oatmeal to my breakfast (the carb horror…66 grams of it!) I feel so much better…no more dizziness when standing, or cold body, etc.

    Anyway, for the last month I’ve done a two-meal day M-F, with three meals on weekends (with Sunday being even more liberal…a quasi-cheat day). I also do resistance training M-W-F and intervals on T-R-Sa at 5:30am (so working out fasted). I think it’s great and I am looking forward to doing this schedule again WHILE on carbs again (so happy!). So far my morning workouts have been more energized. Glad to see you giving it a shot…I was going to contact you to get your opinion on fasting in general. I’ve done the occassional 24-hour fast (1-2 days a week via Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat) but prefer the two 2 meal solution 5 days a week (as advocated on theiflife.com).

    Thanks for all your efforts.

    • The horror! Don’t you know what that oatmeal will do to your insulin!??!! It will make it spike! And send a bunch of prime fuel into your muscles and make you feel warm and energized and horny and otherwise great! Don’t do it man! Go back to your caveman diet!

      • Thanks Matt…yeah I am done with the Primal Blueprint stuff. I did learn some good things from it (like actually going to my local Farmers Market and buying really good meat and eggs) but I found it too hard to be that carb restricted. I definitely enjoy the 2-meal solution 5 days a week. Looking forward to learning more of your experiences with IF…now where are my Quaker Maple Flavored oats? :)

      • This raises ANOTHER question for me. (Thanks for your other answers, Matt. Much appreciated!)

        Prior to starting “RBTI Lite” (no supplements or water regimen or testing, just the recommended type foods at the recommended times and avoiding the “no no’s”), I followed Peat’s recommendations for a year. (And gained 30 lbs. Not happy about that since I am morbidly obese and diabetic type 2.)

        Following Peat’s recommendations, if I avoided starches (except potatoes), my blood sugar was quite stable. But if I would cheat once in a while, and have a good size serving of pasta or some other starch, I would pay a price. Shortly after the meal, I would feel extremely chilled and my muscles would get extremely tight and sore, as my blood sugar dropped which I assumed was due to a large release of insulin, and then a short time later, I would feel extremely hot and my face would be flushed and I would get a bad headache and my scalp would be burning and my blood sugar would be in the 200’s. I had learned from Peat that this was due to the cortisol responding to the big “hit” of insulin.

        Since starting RBTI seven weeks ago, I haven’t checked my blood sugar and I don’t plan to, either. I am enjoying the food and the vastly improved sleep schedule and don’t want to take a chance on getting “bad news” with my meter. (Did I mention that RBTI cured my lifelong sleep disorder in just 24 hours?) When I started eating the carby breakfasts, the mega lunches, and the dinners, which often involve Deboles pasta, I expected to have these constant blood sugar roller coaster rides, starting with the chills/muscle aches leading to feeling hot, flushed, with a bad headache. But it’s not happening! WHY, when I am eating a LOT more starch?

        Does it have to do with the time of the day, because cortisol normally drops during the day and rises at night? (And I used to be up ALL night, until 6 A.M., and ate “dinner” at midnight.) Am I getting less insulin resistant? Are my cells more able to take up the sugar?

        Now I am responding as you said, feeling warm and energized after eating meals with all this starch. Blows my mind. Just can’t stop wondering WHY!
        Any theories, Matt?

        • Haha, not many theories. I think of Peat and RBTI as almost being two extreme polar opposites. Peat’s work is all science with a terrible translation into an actual diet that improves health as advertized. RBTI makes no flippin’ sense, has the shadiest and wackiest scientific backing or lack thereof, and works like a damn miracle.

          As for starch and insulin and type 2 diabetes, most type 2’s don’t have an insulin spike. Insulin spikes in healthy people, which in turn stores sugar out of the blood and into muscle cells for heat and energy. Type 2’s have a slow, steady rise of insulin that remains elevated almost all the time, but with no dramatic spikes in response to food (which is why blood sugar climbs so high). Peat’s problem is that he focuses solely on sugar levels in the blood – which is wacky because virtually NO ONE has “hypoglycemia” or actual low levels of sugar in the blood. Ever. But low sugar levels at the cellular level? Hell yes. That’s what people are feeling when they experience “low blood sugar,” many of the symptoms triggered by the adrenaline surge that comes in to raise the sugar in the blood and deliver more sugar to the cells. I think if you tested with a glucometer you would find that your blood sugar is much lower, and that when you were feeling terrible and had blood sugar in the 200’s you were probably crashing on the refractometer. The glucometer and refractometer are more opposites than they are something that correlate to one another.

          This will be a book project next year – discussing blood sugar vs. refractometer. The real, inside scoop on “hypoglycemia’ if you will.

          • What… you’re gonna explain the science of RBTI’s refractometer…. crap now I’m gonna have to buy another of your books!

          • Not exactly. Just explain the science of blood sugar and why “hypoglycemia” is sort of a science fiction term (which is why mainstream medicine hardly acknowledges there being such a thing as hypoglycemia except in diabetics on insulin), then talk about how the refractometer is awesome, how to use it, and what to do to keep it more stable in the ideal range. It will be a short one, but very valuable information for those who suffer from what they, in their minds, think is low blood sugar (more like, low cell sugar… and salt too probably).

          • have you already written about this ‘science of blood sugar’ somewhere, or is that still to come? I have experienced the symptoms of what is generally called ‘hypoglycemia’ for several years and would love to have more understanding of all of this… So far it has seemed to explain why I can’t get rid of my weight – because my hunger seems way out of sync with my physical needs, and I’ve had these ‘episodes’ when I tried to be physically active… So what am I missing?

          • You are missing a lot. I have to finish up this Paleo book project, but soon after I finish that up I plan on writing a short book called “Handbook for Hypoglycemia” or something like that. Stay tuned for that. It won’t be expensive, or a tough read. Just remember that there is the equivalent of about a sugar packet in your entire bloodstream at any given time. This amount is not significant. And it’s probably not what is causing your symptoms. It probably has more to do with the sugar in your cells, muscles, liver, and so on.

            For now, try drinking juice, milk, and similar beverages in lieu of plain water/coffee/tea/alcohol when, and only when, you are thirsty. It will probably help.

            When your hands and feet get cold, you feel a strong urge to urinate or have clear urine, and feel some of the symptoms coming on – have a handful of dates and/or pretzels.

            Those two things will help you a lot for now. Those are short-term fixes though. You should probaby eat more carbs and get more rest and better sleep for now – raising metabolism/body temperature up to the ideal level and keep hands and feet toasty warm.

            If your hands and feet are always warm and you have really yellow urine and rarely have to pee, let me know. It’s probably something else if that’s the case.

          • Thanks for the response… does ‘low cell sugar’ have to do with insulin resistance? I’ve experienced some improvement with magnesium supplements, but haven’t been able to keep them up lately…

            One thing that has been puzzling me for a while is that the more I drink, particularly water or milk, the thirstier I get. So I have been drinking only when I’m really thirsty and was wondering whether that was wise… Any experience/opinion in that area?

            I do eat plenty of complex carbs and for the past several weeks I’ve been doing carrot and apple juices multiple times a day, 8 oz at a time… Cold hands and feet are still an issue though… and the other day I did some relatively mild exercise and then had the shakes for a couple of hours. Look forward to hearing your perspective when you can get to the book.

          • Taking in excess water will increase the sensation of thirst. That is the danger. And it causes you to experience many negative symptoms, the least of which is cold hands and feet. It basically induces a baby version of this…


            Overconsumption of any type of fluids can cause this though. The lower metabolism gets, I find the easier it is to trigger this. I suspect the juices are not doing you any favors. You would actually feel better and be thrust into a much healthier metabolic state if you were to eat cookies instead :)

          • I agree 100%! Sometimes I try to “translate” what is going on with my body on RBTI into “Peat speak” (you know, REAL science), and it can’t be done! (And Peat didn’t exactly boost my confidence by telling me that I would be better off reading tea leaves than trying to figure anything out with a refractometer!) But as you said, I think Peat falls short on translating the science into a diet that works for people. I think he understands how the body works better than anyone else on the planet, but most everyone who follows his recommendations gains weight, become constipated, and experiences insomnia. (None of which is SUPPOSED to happen!) Whereas with RBTI, the “science” makes no sense, but it has miraculously cured my lifelong sleep disorder, I feel MUCH happier, and I am eating all of my favorite foods which normally make me gain weight like crazy and instead I have even lost a couple of pounds! (Of course, I keep waiting for my left arm to fall off or something terrible to happen because I just CANNOT believe that I can really eat this way without paying a very big price down the road! And since you have a 6 month head start on me, please DO let me know if your left arm falls off! :-) (In the meantime, I am thinking I need to move. I love watching the moose, deer, and coyotes up here in the woods of northern Maine, but it is at least 4 hours to the nearest Indian buffet!) :-)

  13. Interesting that you mention disastrous results if one IFs on restricted carbohydrate. I’ve been experimenting with IF for over 3 years and am quite comfortable going over 18 and even 24 hours without food, but I had always been low-carbing it Primal Blueprint style. Then I tried the one giant meal a day thing for a while. There came a point where all my fatloss ground to a halt at around 17%. These days I’m doing more of a Leo DiCaprio IDGAF strut when it comes to food, grains in particular. So I might try this and see how it goes.

  14. Totally interested in the IF experiment. I’ve read about “Eat. Stop. Eat” and been curious about it. Jay Robb has/had an eBook called the “Six-Pack Diet” where you eat only two meals a day; I was nursing at the time and didn’t try it. This is a little unrelated but I’ve been reading about kefir fasts (2 cups raw kefir 3X a day). I would do that while nursing…

  15. “Chief has advocated since his first appearance here that one feast per day is all a person really needs…”

    Really interesting that you’ve been gravitating towards the one big meal lately. And glad you’re experimenting with IF again. I’m definitely interested in seeing how things progress with it. My body’s seemingly natural tendency to IF on its own is why I’ve been researching IF for a few years now. I haven’t really been able to find any good reason why it isn’t okay – for me anyway. I don’t restrict anything. Except the top 5 RBTI no-foods now, for the most part. When I end up only fitting in one main meal a day, I only feel concerned about whether I’m eating enough overall. So I make it a bigger meal.

    Besides gravitating to IF, my body also tended toward a Chief-style schedule with the one main meal at dinnertime. Maybe it’s the Native American in me? :) But like I said before, that could have been caused by my life-style and my body adapting to ‘my’ tendency to get busy and not even think about food during the day. Until well it’s suddenly evening time and I’m hungry. So I was curious about this. And since I’ve had more free time this month, I’ve been experimenting with my eating schedule.

    Since I’ve been eating breakfast and a 1:30ish lunch, I ‘have’ noticed that I’m not all that hungry in the evenings like before. So most evenings something light for dinner is fine. And I’m sure if I ate bigger lunches, I would have ‘no’ hunger at night, like I used to have little to no hunger during the day. Sometimes now I’m not all that interested in dinner at all. But sometimes I just wanna eat! And when that happens I’m sure it’s because I haven’t eaten enough that day.

    Still, all of that tells me I can manipulate my eating schedule easily. And that I can do either schedule. But it doesn’t quite tell me which one OR even if one is more optimal for me – yet.

    Even now that I’ve been able to shift my “tendency” to a more RBTI-style schedule, I still don’t usually feel hungry in the AM. But I try to eat some breakfast. Usually just a bowl of Life cereal with sliced banana thrown in. Or just fruit. I get sick of oatmeal. Plus cereal is way more quick and easy. I’m all about quick and easy when it comes to food/eating cause yes I want to be able to eat and get back to important stuff. That’s why I love the idea of only one big meal a day. Then I only have to think about food – stop to eat – once a day lol :)

    Plus, always loved buffets lol. I can remember Sir. George’s in CA being my first buffet experience as a kid. We went at least once a week. And I’ve preferred them ever since. I think it was the variety that got me. Gotta have variety. And I love to try different foods and buffets. I always try a little bit of ‘almost’ everything.

    Anyway, this post definitely helps me understand a little more why IF has been what feels natural to my body. Maybe? But definitely interested in seeing how things progress. And still really curious about the Chief-style VS the RBTI-style eating schedule.

    • I think a person could train their body to get used to whatever schedule they wanted. There are instances where you wait and listen to intuition, but there are plenty of times when you can take the lead and your body will follow and get in synch with what you are nudging it to do. And since it’s the holidays, I’m flexible. I think what I will do is eat til I’m really full when I do eat, and not eat much again until the hunger has brewed up nice and strong. That’s more in line with holiday feasting season anywho. But I’m thinking next year I might try flip-flopping the meal schedule. If you want some good reading on big breakfast vs. big dinner, Martin’s post on it is a must read…


      • Yep I read that :)

  16. “Only now I’m much more muscular than I was the last time I was at single-digit body fat…”

    Geez, hope you don’t break me when you “squeeze” me lol :)

  17. Matt I’m honored to be referenced in your blog twice now with this one and the weird Al post.

    damn couldnt you warn a brother in advance i missed some good convo … lol

    only have had sporadic internet / electricity … so sporadic my comments have been

  18. Debs!!

    Where you been? You okay sweets? Hope so! :)

  19. Not going to bed with food in my stomach has always resulted in feeling my best the day after even if I eat what ever I want throughout the day, that said I also have a hard time sleeping doing this and I do not need to lose any weight ( I could gain some) but when I go to bed with a full stomach I feel nauseated the next day I don’t know what to do? any advice?

    • I would eat lighter in the evening, maybe not taking it to extremes of a total fast. Especially if you are already lean and don’t have any extra body fat to eat during the fasted state.

  20. Interesting post & conversation. I did a lot of 24 hour fasting about 3 years ago (2 times per week, sometimes 3) using a 1200-1400 calorie breakfast to kick off and break the fast. I dropped a lot of bodyfat, but wasn’t lifting weights so I got a bit too skinny looking. Appetite got really low after a while, and I started to get very cold during the middle of the fasts. I eventually dropped the fasting as it just wasn’t feeling good any more. Adrenal fatigue and maybe a little metabolic damage were part of the picture at that point.

    A few months back I hit a rhythm of lifting 3 times per week, doing some kind of bodyweight cardio 2 times per week, power walking most days, and eating 5 meals a day with carbs in the first 4 meals. Everything was going great…so great, in fact that I neglected to take a week off from exercise to let my body heal some little injuries and at about 12-13 weeks of near daily working out, my adrenals got pretty fried. Cortisol was too high, energy levels were really low, libido crashed, etc. I had to take 3 weeks off from working out, eat even more carbs and accept the fat gain that resulted, just to get my hormone profile back to a happy place again.

    My point is that I think that tending to the adrenals may be one of the most important and chronically overlooked factors in our health. While I’d love to do some 24 hour fasts to drop a bunch of bodyfat, I’m going to take a totally different approach and see how it goes. I’m going to keep eating every 2.5-3 hours with plenty of carbs (sweet potatoes, quinoa, fruits, even a bit of ice cream here and there), and intelligently cycle exercise so that I’m creating an optimal environment for glucose transport into muscle and burning fat through exercise rather than “fasting” it off. I’ll let you know how it goes in a couple months. :)


  21. I do what I call a cycle. I feast but I won’t feast again until my body has made a major solid body waste movement. It can be up to 2 and a bit days between feasts and sometimes it’s as quick as 8 or ten hours. On average I’d say it’s about a day and a half. I usually eat a waste marker like raw beetroot or corn to make sure I’ve gone a full cycle between feasts. Two things happen here. When I eat I’m usually pretty hungry so I eat a lot (3,000 to 4,500 calories in a sitting). I also tend to stuff myself silly to make sure that I’ll get on with the next cycle as quickly as possible. It seems odd but my peak energy usually occurs after waste elimination but before the next feast.


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