Menopausal Woman about to do "Kettlebell Muscle" Program. Nutrition Help?

DancingLion

Double-Digit Post Count
I'm back with an update... if you have time to weigh in on next strategy I'd appreciate it!:)

Diet Road Map

To reiterate, you first need to find out where you are on the "Diet Road Map" rather than guessing.



Not So.

The key to increasing weight is to increased caloric intake, irregardless of it being fat, carbohydrates or protein.

How did you determine that carbs = hypertrophy?



Not So

The "Eat Fat" and "Get Fat" believe died long time ago. However, the problem is statement like this keep it alive.



A Reduction in Calories it the key to losing weight. It doesn't matter where it comes from.

Research does indicate that it preserves muscle mass during a deficit.



Calorie Reduction should be at the top of the list for weight loss.



Based on what research study?

Kenny Crodale
 

DancingLion

Double-Digit Post Count
I'm back with an update... if you have time to weigh in on next strategy I'd appreciate it!:)

"Dunked", oh OK. I haven't had that sort of testing, but I've had the Bod Pod. Both are supposed to be very accurate.



Stress adds up... "all stress comes out of the same bucket" as Brett Jones says. Most experts recommend skipping your training for the day or going significantly lighter if you are short on sleep or otherwise under-recovered.



Sounds good, keep us posted! What will you do for training, continue with the Kettlebell Muscle program? Are you able to follow the guidelines within it?
 

DancingLion

Double-Digit Post Count
I'm back with an update... if you have time to weigh in on next strategy I'd appreciate it!:)

Eat to Perform -

They have a good calculator. It gives you the calories you need to maintain your weight.
Generally speaking adding 200-500 cals to that number will yield muscle gain.
However, I'd recommend starting with that number. Their calculator gives out a realativeley high figure. It will probably be enough to ensure muscle gain without fat gain. If you find you do not gain muscle simply add 200 cals and see again what happens.
 

Snowman

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Hey @DancingLion, although I've been following this thread since it began, I haven't commented on it since everyone else was already putting out the same advice as I would have given. I'll throw my 2 cents in now, though, since it looks like I'll beat everyone else to the punch ;). If I can ask one very blunt question: what makes you think you need to change something? It sounds like you hit the jackpot; you've been giving your body the sleep, food, and exercise stimulus it needs, and your body has been responding extremely well. Unless I missed something, my advice would be to keep on keepin' on until your results stop being spectacular. Granted, I have my own biases regarding food types, nutrient timing, and training methods, and there are little tweaks that I could suggest you make. The problem is, I couldn't guarantee that my suggestions would actually improve the results you're already getting. Even if your progress is slowing down, I would take a good, hard look at how your body is currently responding to you behaviors before changing it up.

If you are quite sure that you've milked all the progress out of your current methods, then my next bit of advice would be to make very gradual changes. If 90% of what your doing is still working, and just 10% of it needs to be changed (which is probably the case), you don't need to swap out the whole thing. Just make little adjustments until things click back into place. For instance, while you could play with nutrient timing a little, I think it's clear that your current total caloric intake is entirely appropriate, and probably shouldn't be changed significantly. For your training program, you would probably be fine changing the program, as long as you keep the average level of "training stress" at a level similar to what it is now.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
I agree, sounds like you are on the right track now! Keep doing what works... (sleep, etc.)... work hard often in training... take it easy sometimes in training and life.... stay the course. Good to hear things are working out.
 

Snowman

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
One thing I forgot to add: unlike some folks, I think it's completely legitimate to make changes purely for the sake of change. It's important for most folks to be doing something they enjoy, and sometimes that means change for the sake of change. I just think it's important to be honest with yourself about why you want to make a change, since that will best direct the change.
 

DancingLion

Double-Digit Post Count
Thank you so much for chiming in. I guess what I was wondering was WILL my body respond similarly if I repeated but progressed the same program? I would LOVE to keep this and just add reps/sets/weights but I've heard rumblings of needing to switch up programs after 6 or so weeks(except for S & S , ROP) so rather than free style now that I have some traction and have reversed most of the damage I wanted to consult "The Learned Council" for thoughts on how best to proceed. Spooked I guess. Want to keep what I just earned and add to it. :) So was that "Bro Science"? About needing to switch programs? If so I'm perfectly happy to drive in this lane another 6 weeks.

A few more details; I train fasted. Break my fast with an eggwhite, whey and pea protein shake(Wasn't sure which one my body would like best so I did a scoop of each daily at about 25g each=75g ) 1 scoop of collagen peptides daily in as empty stomach=18g protein and another 75g-85g from my food.(I know that's a LOT. but I had to stop the bleeding/muscle loss) I do IF with a 20/4 window . Non training days 16/8. Huge salads with baked chicken thighs, purple yams or scrambled egg whites w/veggies and organic ground turkey or grassfed 85%lean beef, wild rice with ghee. Tons of ghee on everything. I literally ate those meals over and over for 7 weeks. 2300 every day. No fasts. (I used to do a 24hr fast once or twice every week but kept losing muscle when I did)
Double kettlebell lifts only. I'm giving so many details so that you can suggest tweaks to maximize my results. I'll begin another 6-8week program next week (once I've thoroughly geeked out on it with you good folks;)). Thanks for reading. Thanks everyone for your encouragement, support and sharing your knowledge. :)

Hey @DancingLion, although I've been following this thread since it began, I haven't commented on it since everyone else was already putting out the same advice as I would have given. I'll throw my 2 cents in now, though, since it looks like I'll beat everyone else to the punch ;). If I can ask one very blunt question: what makes you think you need to change something? It sounds like you hit the jackpot; you've been giving your body the sleep, food, and exercise stimulus it needs, and your body has been responding extremely well. Unless I missed something, my advice would be to keep on keepin' on until your results stop being spectacular. Granted, I have my own biases regarding food types, nutrient timing, and training methods, and there are little tweaks that I could suggest you make. The problem is, I couldn't guarantee that my suggestions would actually improve the results you're already getting. Even if your progress is slowing down, I would take a good, hard look at how your body is currently responding to you behaviors before changing it up.

If you are quite sure that you've milked all the progress out of your current methods, then my next bit of advice would be to make very gradual changes. If 90% of what your doing is still working, and just 10% of it needs to be changed (which is probably the case), you don't need to swap out the whole thing. Just make little adjustments until things click back into place. For instance, while you could play with nutrient timing a little, I think it's clear that your current total caloric intake is entirely appropriate, and probably shouldn't be changed significantly. For your training program, you would probably be fine changing the program, as long as you keep the average level of "training stress" at a level similar to what it is now.
 
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Snowman

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
So was that "Bro Science"? About needing to switch programs?
Yes and no. Your body adjusts rapidly to aggressive programs, but it also plateaus rapidly with aggressive programs, which means you need to change things often. The more taxing the program, the shorter you can do it for. I think the idea of needing to constantly cycle programs is one of those things that applies to pro athletes, but it doesn't carry over as well to the "non-elites." Six weeks is kind of arbitrary, though. Many programs are 6-8 weeks long, but I think that has more to do with results-based-adjustment and attention span than anything. If you felt good and made good progress during the entire cycle, I would just take a recovery week and then hit it again. Your results will likely not be quite as good the second time around, but based on how good they were the first time, you could still make a lot of progress with a second cycle. Then compare the results from the two cycles, and see if you want to run it a third time or totally switch to something else.

I do IF with a 20/4 window . Non training days 16/8.
That's more or less as aggressive as I would ever tell anyone to go with time restricted feeding (which was the main thing I was alluding to when I talked about nutrient timing), so if you're feeling good with it I certainly wouldn't worry about changing that. I'm not entirely convinced that long fasts are very necessary when someone is fasting for 16-20 hours each day. Maybe a 2+ day fast a few times a year, but I would intentionally hold off on that until your body composition has been stable for a few weeks.

scrambled egg whites
Just out of curiosity, is there any reason you avoid egg yolks? I assume it's not a fat thing, based on all the ghee.

Edit: I should have said this right off the bat, but congratulations on the weight gain!! It takes a lot of guts to make a big change in direction and stick with it long enough to see what happens. We humans tend to be pretty bad at changing behavior, no matter the logic behind it, but you just got after it :)
 
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DancingLion

Double-Digit Post Count
Thank you so much. I was determined to pull myself out of the tailspin my health was in. My soul exited my body the first time I realized I'd lost muscle!:mad:I think the scrambled organic liquid egg whites were a mental hold over about max protein for min calories. I was told maintenance for a 50yr old woman was 1375!!(what crap) I honest to heaven thought I was eating FAR too much at 2300. I could tell I was gaining weight. I didn't realize it was muscle. I felt "super pudgy fluffy" so I hedged my bets and went for the whites rather than whole egg. In the back of my mind were the comments I'd received when last I posted about it being inevitable that I gain fat while "bulking" but that didn't happen. I didn't gain an ounce of fat! (How did that happen?!) I'm 50, menopausal and all my reading said I'd only be able to put on 1 pound of muscle per month! Where did THAT number come from? So when I stepped on the scale and was 149.8 from 143 I just KNEW it was fat. Not so. No fat. Zero. I just want to know the science/math of what happened so I don't upset the apple cart again. So the weekly 24 hour fasts further cut my already far too low calories last time..got it. That plus inadequate protein seems to explain the muscle loss along with high volume lower weights in my training(300 light swings a day=cardio). I'm going to run the double bell complex it again and see what happens. I wasn't bored and I can progress myself. Most Friday's I seriously STRUGGLED to finish 5 sets. 3 of 6 weeks my form was suffering so I dropped back down to 3 sets. I have yet to own 5 sets. So I'll go with 4, 3, 5 then 445, 555etc. The double14kg were challenging. Shall I try for double 16kg in order to progress further? Or are the additional sets enough for now?(more "geekery"!):D

I appreciate your time.

Yes and no. Your body adjusts rapidly to aggressive programs, but it also plateaus rapidly with aggressive programs, which means you need to change things often. The more taxing the program, the shorter you can do it for. I think the idea of needing to constantly cycle programs is one of those things that applies to pro athletes, but it doesn't carry over as well to the "non-elites." Six weeks is kind of arbitrary, though. Many programs are 6-8 weeks long, but I think that has more to do with results-based-adjustment and attention span than anything. If you felt good and made good progress during the entire cycle, I would just take a recovery week and then hit it again. Your results will likely not be quite as good the second time around, but based on how good they were the first time, you could still make a lot of progress with a second cycle. Then compare the results from the two cycles, and see if you want to run it a third time or totally switch to something else.


That's more or less as aggressive as I would ever tell anyone to go with time restricted feeding (which was the main thing I was alluding to when I talked about nutrient timing), so if you're feeling good with it I certainly wouldn't worry about changing that. I'm not entirely convinced that long fasts are very necessary when someone is fasting for 16-20 hours each day. Maybe a 2+ day fast a few times a year, but I would intentionally hold off on that until your body composition has been stable for a few weeks.


Just out of curiosity, is there any reason you avoid egg yolks? I assume it's not a fat thing, based on all the ghee.

Edit: I should have said this right off the bat, but congratulations on the weight gain!! It takes a lot of guts to make a big change in direction and stick with it long enough to see what happens. We humans tend to be pretty bad at changing behavior, no matter the logic behind it, but you just got after it :)
 

North Coast Miller

More than 2500 posts
Thank you so much. I was determined to pull myself out of the tailspin my health was in. My soul exited my body the first time I realized I'd lost muscle!:mad:I think the scrambled organic liquid egg whites were a mental hold over about max protein for min calories. I was told maintenance for a 50yr old woman was 1375!!(what crap) I honest to heaven thought I was eating FAR too much at 2300. I could tell I was gaining weight. I didn't realize it was muscle. I felt "super pudgy fluffy" so I hedged my bets and went for the whites rather than whole egg. In the back of my mind were the comments I'd received when last I posted about it being inevitable that I gain fat while "bulking" but that didn't happen. I didn't gain an ounce of fat! (How did that happen?!) I'm 50, menopausal and all my reading said I'd only be able to put on 1 pound of muscle per month! Where did THAT number come from? So when I stepped on the scale and was 149.8 from 143 I just KNEW it was fat. Not so. No fat. Zero. I just want to know the science/math of what happened so I don't upset the apple cart again. So the weekly 24 hour fasts further cut my already far too low calories last time..got it. That plus inadequate protein seems to explain the muscle loss along with high volume lower weights in my training(300 light swings a day=cardio). I'm going to run the double bell complex it again and see what happens. I wasn't bored and I can progress myself. Most Friday's I seriously STRUGGLED to finish 5 sets. 3 of 6 weeks my form was suffering so I dropped back down to 3 sets. I have yet to own 5 sets. So I'll go with 4, 3, 5 then 445, 555etc. The double14kg were challenging. Shall I try for double 16kg in order to progress further? Or are the additional sets enough for now?(more "geekery"!):D

I appreciate your time.

Way to go!

First off, don't bother changing diet or programming unless and until you stop seeing positive adaptations.

Meaning it is perfectly OK to change just because you want to or to try something new, but don't think you need to preempt your body's response.

As for the muscle gain charts and such, they are a guideline. Some muscle mass gain is often from increased glycogen stores, which bind more water.

1 pound/month is a good target and that rate gets increasingly difficult to hit the further you get from a lean sedentary baseline weight. If you have been historically any more muscular than you are currently, it is considerably easier to put that mass back on than to earn it the first time.

All those carbs and no fat gain...whooda thunk ;).

Again, way to go! I was wondering how you'd gotten on.
 

Snowman

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
scrambled organic liquid egg whites were a mental hold over about max protein for min calories.
That makes sense. I was just curious. I don't think I could do just egg whites, just egg yolks on the other hand...:p

all my reading said I'd only be able to put on 1 pound of muscle per month! Where did THAT number come from?
That's usually a good estimate for gaining muscle, but what you're doing is re-gaining muscle. It's a subtle difference, but a significant one, and I think it explains why you gained so much muscle, so fast, without "collateral damage" i.e. fat gain.

Shall I try for double 16kg in order to progress further? Or are the additional sets enough for now?
Seeing as your goal is still hypertrophy, I would lean towards doing a few more reps with slightly lighter weights. Sticking with the 14 kilo and working on "owning" the program at that weight seems like a good idea.
 

Snowman

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I've been debating mentioning this, but I'll throw it out there; maybe it's useful, maybe it's not. There are two big schools of thought regarding managing body composition. One is focused on calories, one is focused on the hormonal response to food (and yes, that is an oversimplification). Just so my biases are clear, I'm pretty firmly in the hormonal camp. I think the "calories in:calories out" idea is an accurate description of thermodynamic fact, but it's almost useless when it comes to explaining why our bodies do what they do. Here's an example of what, in my understanding, happens when long term weight loss is pursued purely through caloric restriction:

Bob is overweight, and decides to do something about it. Bob knows that 3,500 calories=1 pound of fat, so he decides to figure out how many calories he's consuming, and cut 500 cal per day in order to lose a pound a week. He's currently eating 3,000 cal/day, so he drops it to 2,500. He enjoys stable weight loss for a while (maybe 1-3 months), but then he stops losing the weight.

----TIME OUT---What's happened is Bob's body is experiencing mild, chronic malnutrition. It has responded by gradually reducing his metabolic output until it matches his food input. His body has ensured that calories in=calories, in order to help him "survive." If he continues consuming 3,000 cal/day, his body will drop his metabolic rate a little bit more, until calories in>calories out, allowing his body to get back to his previous "safe" weight.---TIME IN---

Bob refuses to rebound to his previous weight, so he proactively cuts his calories down to 2,000/day, and his weight loss journey continues. That is, for while, until it starts to slow down again. He drops to 1,800, then 1,600, and finally ends up at a strict 1,400 cal/day diet. He is tired, moody, often cold, mentally dull, and having difficulty sleeping (and sleeping isn't the only bedroom related activity where there's issues).

---TIME OUT---Bob's body has gradually dropped his metabolic rate to match his food intake. In the process, it has down regulated all sorts of systems in order to save energy (and save Bob from the perceived impending starvation), and left Bob with the metabolic capabilities of a child. As he has continued to reduce his caloric intake, his stress levels have gradually risen, resulting in consistently high levels of systemic cortisol, and decreased insulin sensitivity.---TIME IN---

I won't finish Bob's story, but if we were to use statistics as our guide, Bob's stressed out mind would eventually run out of willpower, he would end his diet, and within a year he would be back at his original weight (plus a few pounds, just in case he starts to starve again). This is what happens when calories are the only consideration in a diet. If we start managing hormones, like insulin, cortisol, and growth hormone, we can actually change the weight that the body wants to be, along with changing what the body does with the calories it gets. Appetite is reduced, calories are reduced, metabolism is adjusted based on metabolic demands (as opposed to metabolic limitations), and the body can gradually shed weight in a way that is comfortable and sustainable. Not to mention that it still satisfies the gods of thermodynamics, providing weight loss by indirectly ensuring that calories in<calories out.

God bless you if you read that all ;)
 

offwidth

More than 5000 posts
@Snowman
Would it be a safe summary to say that we might be looking at a 'combination ' of hormonal response and energy balance? Or is that off the mark?
 

Snowman

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@offwidth I think that's a pretty safe assumption, that the two are intertwined. The question that people can get all argue-y about is how. I would say it's more a matter of the hormones driving the energy balance. While simply eating more or eating less will certainly cause some hormonal changes, which would then alter the energy balance, there are plenty of other nuances that will make more meaningful changes. For instance, insulin levels determining wether your body stores nutrients as fat or breaks down fat for energy. While eating pretty much anything will cause insulin to rise to varying degrees, eating sweet, refined, carbs (soda, candy) will raise insulin levels more than an isocaloric portion of fat and fiber (avacado, coconut). You can intentionally shift the energy balance toward storing fat or burning it based on what you eat and when you eat it, even if calories are equal. Like I said, I think energy balance is a factually accurate way to describe what happens based on the laws of thermodynamics (e.g. you lost weight because you converted body mass to energy at a greater rate than you converted food mass to body mass), but it doesn't really explain why that happened.
 

offwidth

More than 5000 posts
The more I read and experience first hand, the more I am inclined to have the same perspective.
However... I've never been concerned with weight or body composition, but I do have a vested interest in food as fuel.
 

DancingLion

Double-Digit Post Count
Okay, I read it all and gratefully accepted the blessing that came with it!;)

Now. How to apply? Please say more about this.

I am menopausal. I'm 50yrs strong. I did wonder how much that played a part in the results I experienced the first two(failed) runs at building muscle. Along with the problems in my program (300 light double swings daily for a month, low protein, low sleep).

I wondered if my hormones were jacked from the stress of over training/sleep deprivation and low calories).

I didn't mention that in addition to the getting unlimited sleep and only training M/W/F I am now supplementing with 100mg of dhea and nervous system tonic herbs(holy basil, skullcap, st. Johns wort/ashwaganda/astragalus/lemon balm) daily.

Can we surmise that my (MUCH) improved results had thier roots here as well? I realise that you're not an herbalist as I am so may have limited knowledge of these plants but they work WONDERS to smooth the road for menopausal symptoms aka; wild hormonal fluctuations) I stopped having hot flashes and slept well this entire training round of 7 weeks. I don't eat junk. Me "going off the rails" is organic cheese and crackers or occasionally ginger snaps and dark chocolate...And Funyuns!:D

I know you said there are different schools of thought about how to achieve a more hormonally balanced body while cutting but what are some of your thoughts on how to do it? I would love to plug-in any that I haven't heard of and see what happens. I do at some point in the future (next summer?) want to reduce the fat. I'm at 32lbs of fat 117.3 lean mass/21%BF now, which is fluffy for me. I'd love for 10-12lbs of that fat to go but if I can't do a sensible "cut" without jacking up my metabolism I won't do it.

Thanks again for your time and input. :)

I've been debating mentioning this, but I'll throw it out there; maybe it's useful, maybe it's not. There are two big schools of thought regarding managing body composition. One is focused on calories, one is focused on the hormonal response to food (and yes, that is an oversimplification). Just so my biases are clear, I'm pretty firmly in the hormonal camp. I think the "calories in:calories out" idea is an accurate description of thermodynamic fact, but it's almost useless when it comes to explaining why our bodies do what they do. Here's an example of what, in my understanding, happens when long term weight loss is pursued purely through caloric restriction:

Bob is overweight, and decides to do something about it. Bob knows that 3,500 calories=1 pound of fat, so he decides to figure out how many calories he's consuming, and cut 500 cal per day in order to lose a pound a week. He's currently eating 3,000 cal/day, so he drops it to 2,500. He enjoys stable weight loss for a while (maybe 1-3 months), but then he stops losing the weight.

----TIME OUT---What's happened is Bob's body is experiencing mild, chronic malnutrition. It has responded by gradually reducing his metabolic output until it matches his food input. His body has ensured that calories in=calories, in order to help him "survive." If he continues consuming 3,000 cal/day, his body will drop his metabolic rate a little bit more, until calories in>calories out, allowing his body to get back to his previous "safe" weight.---TIME IN---

Bob refuses to rebound to his previous weight, so he proactively cuts his calories down to 2,000/day, and his weight loss journey continues. That is, for while, until it starts to slow down again. He drops to 1,800, then 1,600, and finally ends up at a strict 1,400 cal/day diet. He is tired, moody, often cold, mentally dull, and having difficulty sleeping (and sleeping isn't the only bedroom related activity where there's issues).

---TIME OUT---Bob's body has gradually dropped his metabolic rate to match his food intake. In the process, it has down regulated all sorts of systems in order to save energy (and save Bob from the perceived impending starvation), and left Bob with the metabolic capabilities of a child. As he has continued to reduce his caloric intake, his stress levels have gradually risen, resulting in consistently high levels of systemic cortisol, and decreased insulin sensitivity.---TIME IN---

I won't finish Bob's story, but if we were to use statistics as our guide, Bob's stressed out mind would eventually run out of willpower, he would end his diet, and within a year he would be back at his original weight (plus a few pounds, just in case he starts to starve again). This is what happens when calories are the only consideration in a diet. If we start managing hormones, like insulin, cortisol, and growth hormone, we can actually change the weight that the body wants to be, along with changing what the body does with the calories it gets. Appetite is reduced, calories are reduced, metabolism is adjusted based on metabolic demands (as opposed to metabolic limitations), and the body can gradually shed weight in a way that is comfortable and sustainable. Not to mention that it still satisfies the gods of thermodynamics, providing weight loss by indirectly ensuring that calories in<calories out.

God bless you if you read that all ;)
 

DancingLion

Double-Digit Post Count
Also supplement with Sun, Cow, Grass bone broth collagen powder and vital protein collagen peptides daily.
 

Snowman

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I am menopausal. I'm 50yrs strong. I did wonder how much that played a part in the results I experienced the first two(failed) runs at building muscle.
I wondered if my hormones were jacked from the stress of over training/sleep deprivation and low calories
The menopause part of the equation is a little out of my depth, but I do know that estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone levels are start to drop off, which tends to predispose women to carrying more fat mass. We can usually assume that someone who's stressed beyond their ability to recover is going to have a sub-optimal hormone profile, whether the reason is because of poor sleep, emotional stress, training stress, malnutrition, etc. Part of the issue could have been that you were pushing your body harder than you realized due to unaccounted-for hormonal changes (which is not uncommon), but that's just speculation.

I am now supplementing with 100mg of dhea and nervous system tonic herbs(holy basil, skullcap, st. Johns wort/ashwaganda/astragalus/lemon balm) daily.

Can we surmise that my (MUCH) improved results had thier roots here as well?
I can't really weigh in on the efficacy of of these supplements, but if you're taking something and it's reducing menopause symptoms and their related stressors, you're probably on the right track.

I'm at 32lbs of fat 117.3 lean mass/21%BF now, which is fluffy for me. I'd love for 10-12lbs of that fat to go but if I can't do a sensible "cut" without jacking up my metabolism I won't do it.
First off, let's acknowledge how well you're doing. I mean, 21% BF as a 50 y/o female is nothing to scoff at, even if it is a little heavier than you would like to be. It sounds like your goal is to drop from 21% to 16%. I think it's worth stepping back for a second to appreciate that it's a pretty lofty goal. Totally doable, but a lofty goal nonetheless. Just like any loft-but-achievable goal, I think the key thing to appreciate is the level of consistency over time that it will take to achieve and maintain your goal. Obviously, consistency is not a problem for you, but you might have to give yourself permission to take a period of months or years to get where you want to go.

Not long ago, my mom decided to give the time restricted feeding thing a try, essentially doing 16/8 on most days. After a couple months she got to where she could comfortably stick to it, and asked me what to do next. Knowing that she's just as prone to rebounding as anyone if things get too hard, I advised her to just stick with it for at least a couple months before worrying about what to do next (minimizing processed carbs, etc). Just because she could do it easily didn't mean that her body was done adapting. I explained that you can still be making improvements even if your not actively changing your behavior.

I share that because I think those kinds of situations are pretty common, in both training and nutrition. We make a change in behavior, observe a change in our body, and then assume that we need to make another change in behavior if we want to see further changes in our bodies. Sometimes this is true, but sometimes the answer is to just stay the course for a while and see what else happens. In your case, you're already doing a hell of job behaviorally. Time restricted feeding is, as far as I know, the single best way to ensure healthy cycling of insulin and growth hormone on a daily basis. The low periods of insulin during your fasting phase each day, combined with the low incidence of processed food in your diet, means that your body spends relatively little time in "fat storage mode." Your improved sleep and adequate caloric intake are going to ensure that your body is recovering well from life's stresses, meaning your cortisol cycles are probably pretty solid (assuming you don't have any crazy social/emotional stress going on). Of course, the only way to be sure of those things is to do a series of blood/saliva tests at different times of day, but that can be a little difficult and expensive to pull off. My point is, this might be a good time to just wait and see what happens for a while.

One thing that could be fun, is to take one or two days a week and just track your calories without trying to hit your target. The goal being to 1) see how your appetite compares with your pre-determined calorie target, and 2) see how you feel after a day or two of just eating however you want. Stick with the same eating schedule and foods, but just eat as much as you feel like when you eat, stop when you get full, that sort of thing. You might end up +/- a few hundred calories at the end of the week, but it really shouldn't be enough to make a difference. Now that I think about it, it would have been interesting to see, if you had done that for one day every week or two, if your appetite changed in the last 6 weeks. Anyways, it could be an interesting thing to track for a few weeks (or months), while you're waiting to see what else your body does.
 
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