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fuel for studying??


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well, so after weeks of feeling exhausted, trying to work and lose weight, I was eating low gl ( which is basically low carb) and walking over an hour a day and trying to juggle teaching, my own classes and research. weight loss is slow and I am perpetually exhausted.


today after getting up at 6.30 I was exhausted by 6pm and hadn't done a lot, felt a bit listless all day (had a nap in fact). so anyway i went and bought 2 slices of cake, and wow suddenly i was awake and full of energy and motivated to study. I remember when i was doing my masters I would get u at 7.30 too as I had class, and most evenings at 6/7 i would have a small sugar/chocolate treat and then continue to work until 10pm ( I took a break midday for about 3 hours) Other than that I ate healthily and exercised quite a bit (1 hour walk per day, gym every other day) so I even lost 8-9 lbs over 4 months b/c i was working and exercising and otherwise eating healthily. sure it was slow, but I was extremely productive, a bit of machine really when it came to study. These days on my low gl diet (pretty much no sugar) i crash at about 6 and thats it; no study. if I have afternoon classes its a real struggle. and by then end of week ( sometimes earlier)I'm just craving food and exhausted, but not really from overwork, which is the really stressful part.


then I came accross these articles which seemed to explain it


http://www.fed.cuhk.... a metaphor.pdf


Beliefs about willpower determine the impact of
glucose on self-control
Veronika Joba,1, Gregory M. Waltonb, Katharina Berneckera, and Carol S. Dweckb,1
any thoughts?
I'm thinking of trying to stick to 1450 cals a day, but include a sugary treat, maybe even full fat coke, which has sugar but no fat, and see if that improves my energy levels.
Anyone else have similar experiences with sugar. whats funny is that i don't really consider myself to have a sweet tooth, I prefer cheese and pizza to chocolate, so i really think it is physiological
Edited by elise123
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I'm not sure about beliefs on willpower, but I can tell you that I am generally a "low energy" type person and my brain starts to blur...at about 6 pm lol and that is with 7 hours of sleep. This has always been the general pattern for me. I am easily mentally exhausted with classes and schoolwork...and people while trying to sound and appear smart. 


I don't have a sweet tooth either, and rarely add sugar to my cooking...so I try to get in other ways. Since I know myself, I always pack a snack - but not cake - some cranberry juice, green grapes, steamed edamame, or maybe even a PB&J sandwich and this allows me to function until...7 p.m.? How is your energy level in the afternoon? I find that taking a micro-nap, like for 15-20 minutes also allows me to regain alertness---if I am tired enough to nod off in the middle of the day, I know I really needed that nap. Also, I try to do schoolwork earlier in the day although I tend to be a night owl (my brain blurs but not to the point of sleepiness,just non-functioning)


It's been almost 1.5 months into my program and I have lost about 5 or 6 pounds. I wasn't dieting but I normally watch what I eat (like you, low carb) and try to exercise 3-4 times a week (just cardio, it makes me feel better). But I lost weight ::shrugs:: (if you want my stats I can post that too LOL). To be sure, I eat 3 times a day and also snack, but I don't count calories because I am lazy.  

Edited by iampheng
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the link is this, Self-Control Relies on Glucose as a Limited Energy Source: Willpower Is

More Than a Metaphor..... i lose self control I find when I am running low on energy and feel fatifued and this seemed to explain it--- the other article claims in depends on your beliefs concerning will power--- but with me i feel its not beliefs concerning will power- its simply I don't have mental or physical strength left to anything- be it study or excercise self control
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You know your body best. If it reacts this way to lack of sugar, maybe you should find a way to avoid such situations. But I'm not sure having coke or chocolate is the best way to go, because you may get a fast high, but it'll also go away faster. I'd try small amounts of complex carbs throughout the day and see how my body reacts well to that. I also like fruit like bananas and apples, and I'd recommend trying high-fiber foods, grains, etc. Also, drink more water. If possible, drink only water. Most people don't drink nearly enough and that can make you tired too. 

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I don't have much of an opinion on that. I've watched people do sporting/athletics, but haven't participated so much. I know that calories = energy. A calorie is a measurement of heat. I also know that metabolism makes a difference. Calories stuck into storage tends to fatigue people. I have half the caloric requirements as my spouse, even though he's older, because of metabolism. I'm sedentary and he's pretty much ready to do any advanced military maneuver at any time, physically.


One of things he talks about that you didn't is vitamins. Skip sugar in favor of vitamins. 12 ounces of regular V8 juice (the pure veggie, no fruit stuff, preferably low sodium) will have more impact on energy than 12 ounces of soda. Add some coffee to that, and there's some more energy. Sugar is cheap energy because it's empty calories. Once you burn through the simple carbs, there's nothing left for the body and the sugar crash comes. It's why those 5 Hour Energy things are packed with B Vitamins. B Vitamins are full of energy.


Have you considered shifting from walking to weight lifting as your primary exercise? Walking just burns calories while you're walking; it won't really do much else for you. Lifting weights will build muscle, and this muscle will raise your basal metabolic rate. A higher BMR means your body burns calories all day long, not just while you're exercising. You should also hop onto a BMR calculator and figure out what your BMR is. That's the calories you burn every day just existing. A pound of fat is 3500 calories. In order to lose a pound of fat a week, you should eat 3500 fewer calories a week than your BMR + activities (there are calculators for that, too, which will add average calories a person will use in a sedentary life all the way through highly active life). You may not be getting enough calories, or enough nutrients, or both. Losing more than a pound to two pounds a week tends to put the body into storage mode, where the body slows the metabolism as much as possible in order to conserve calories. The symptoms for super slow metabolism include exhaustion.


If exhaustion is an ongoing problem, your university will most likely have a nutritionist you can see at the health center. S/he can help you pick your diet and discuss your weight loss plans and goals. Exhaustion is also a symptom for other things. You can get a physical at the student health center to check for other problems.

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Different diets affect people in different ways.  I absolutely cannot maintain a low carb diet.  Even when I tried (vegetarian south beach, nothing extreme) I felt progressively worse until I was so cranky that I had trouble functioning at work, instead of feeling crappy for a few days and then much better.  I lose my energy and eventually lose the will to eat and have to force food down.  Most people I know that tried low carb diets felt fine after a week, but I have encountered a couple of people who had the same experience as me.  It could be that you are one of us who cannot function without starchy carbs.  Try eating more of them, like potatoes, legumes, whole grains, etc and you may not need anything as intense as cake to get your energy up.

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There's a difference between low GI and low carb. 


Try natural sugar instead of refined - grapes, apples, etc. If it's truly the sugar, then you won't notice a difference in your ability to study, as it's sugar either way, but you'll be eating healthier. If your ability to study is not the same eating natural sugar as it is eating junk food, then the evidence would suggest the dependence on "sugar" is psychological.

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Just popping in here to say that I think protein is key.  A handful of almonds for a snack or chicken for dinner makes a huge difference in energy level for me. And that boost lasts much longer than a sugar boost.  Plus, no crash!

Edited by MoJingly
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