First, a little background. I'm a pretty fit person, 24 yrs old, 6' tall 185 lbs I don't know exactly what my body fat is but I would guess somewhere in the 8-12% range. My problem is trying to use my diet to maximize energy levels. Due to my job and commute, my only option is to crossfit at 5am. I've been testing different ways of eating based on the leptin reset (I used to be a lot heavier growing up - 235 lbs in 7th grade!). I think my biggest issue is the when/what to use as carbs. I find that my energy levels drag like crazy if I try to do too low carb but I can also tell how low my energy is after an insulin boost.
My current diet looks something like this.
4:40am wake up, drink a glass of salt-water, eat ~4 dried plums, go to crossfit for an hour (high glucose to fructose ratio)
6:00am cook breakfast of 3-4 eggs, protein equivalent of 1-2 chicken breasts, 1/4 chopped onion, 1/2 red pepper, handful of spinach, 3 large scoops of mashed sweet potatoes (approx 1 medium sweet potato), butter/coconut oil so the food doesn't stick.
12:00pm large bowl of paleo chili - ground meat, onions, peppers, tomatoes and spices. A few dried plums if I'm feeling the low carb energy slouch.
6:30pm This has the most variation: Generally a good source of protein ~35-50 grams, 2-4 cups of broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, squash frozen veggie mix, spinach salad with olive oil and tomatoes.
I've just started having a sweet potato right before bed to boost insulin and trigger serotonin production. It seems to be working well: I slept like a baby last night and woke up refreshed on my own at 5am (no crossfit today). I'll alternate between salted and unsalted water throughout the day (I suspect my adrenals are fried mostly from years of late crazy nights in college followed by strenuous workouts)
On the weekends when I don't crossfit, I drop the sweet potato from my breakfast and have it post workout (something easy like 2mile recovery run or yoga) which is usually lunchtime.
Am I just not getting enough carbs in general? When I first started the reset ~ a week ago, I was hungry for all 3 meals and I ate till I was full every time. Now I'm not really hungry and I get full before I finish everything on my plate, generally saving leftovers.
I know that I've read that Chris Masterjohn (the daily lipid blog) has stated that carbs before bed help him sleep. There's also a book called "Lights Out" that I believe recommends a spoonful of raw honey before bed to help with sleep. I WISH I could give you a scientific study to back that up, but I'm on my phone so I can only give you what's in my head (scary! :) )
Anyways, that's not surprising that the sweet potato is helping with sleep. I'd just play around with your carbs to see what you need. The perfect health diet blog recommends 20% (I think...) carbs for your diet if you are INactive. Doing Crossfit, at 5 am several times a week would increase your need for glucose, I'd think. I know when I was Crossfitting at 6 am almost 5 days a week, I got too low carb and I was into overtraining territory. I NEEDED more carbs. You have to take into consideration your lifestyle. I was breast feeding a new baby, we had just moved to a new state, I was homeschooling my older 2 kids and my husband's job had started requiring much more traveling. It was stupid of me to go too low carb, given all that.
So, I think you just need to play around with it and see what happens. It sounds like you're on the right track :)
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