If you are anything like me when it comes to weight training, or exercising period for that matter, you hate to miss a workout! When I first started having problems with Reactive Hypoglycemia or Idiopathic Postprandial Syndrome, it affected everything!
I could no longer eat like before. I could no longer train hard like before. I had no idea what was going on, what to do and couldn’t seem to get a straight answer from anyone on what I should be doing… and yes, anyone included my doctors!
So, I had to try and beat this thing on my own. The dizzy spells, the panic attacks, the hypoglycemic episodes, the weakness, the fatigue, the shakes, the heart palpitations… and, well, I did!
I didn’t get the right formula in a day’s time! It literally took almost 2 months to get my diet nailed down and for my body to adjust.
I researched everything on the net. I talked to dietitians, nutritionists, bodybuilders, personal trainers and honestly tried to avoid doctors, they only seemed to make it worse!
For the sake of keeping things short, and getting right do the heart of what “works” (for me anyway), I found that a diet high in fat, protein, fiber and very low in carbohydrates kept me from having any episode at all! That’s right! My diet eliminated my episodes all together and for good!… but don’t ask your doctor(s) about this, because chances are they have no idea and only want to stick you on some medicine!
Hopefully by now you know that eating refined foods, simple carbohydrates and sugars, caffeine and alcohol will cause you (a person with Reactive Hypoglycemia or Idiopathic Postprandial Syndrome) to have an episode. However, if you are working out, you are definitely going to need some carbohydrates right?… Complex carbohydrates that is!… but getting the perfect amount and knowing how to eat them is key!
What I did when I first changed my diet was to go on the Ketogenic diet for about 5 days straight. (You should research the Ketogenic diet more. Basically it’s a diet that gets your body to switch from burning carbohydrates as a fuel source to burning fat as a fuel source.) I recommend not working out and consulting someone knowledgeable about this diet (or your physician, if they truly know about it) before doing this.
I can’t tell you how long you will need to stay on the Ketogenic diet, it will vary from person to person. However, after you think you have reached ketosis (the state where your body is burning fat as an energy source), you should be ready to re-introduce small amounts of complex carbohydrates (raw oatmeal) back into your body to help you through workouts. If you are going to be training, and especially training hard, you will need some form of carbohydrates.
Making the switch from carbohydrates as a fuel source to fat as a fuel source will not be fun at first! You will be tired, cranky and have zero energy! However, your blood sugar is stabilizing. Again, consult with someone knowledgeable about this diet before you begin.
Now, once you have gone “x” period of time on the Ketogenic diet (amount of time depends on individual), start having some small amounts of complex carbohydrates in the morning such as raw oatmeal (quarter to half cup with butter and/or coconut oil if you are weight training). The important thing here is to eat this with butter, some heavy cream and/or a tablespoon of coconut oil. This will slow down the absorption of the carbohydrates and keep your insulin levels from spiking. This is crucial to avoiding a reactive hypoglycemic episode. So remember that as a general rule; whenever you eat complex carbohydrates, make sure to eat them with fat.
Depending on your day, and how intense your workout will be, you may want to have a quarter to half of a sweet potato at lunch with butter and a tablespoon of coconut oil. Along with each meal, have some protein and fats like steak, cottage cheese, whey protein, peanut butter, etc. (I have a sample diet on my website.) You will want to eat small, frequent meals about every 2 to 2 and a half hours. Your body will adjust and you will be back to feeling normal.
Now, it’s workout time, what do ya do? Well, remember, your diet has to always fit your activity. So, you have to take in enough carbohydrates to get through your workout (think about intensity and the length of time you will be training), but not so many carbohydrates you kick your body out of ketosis (that whole deal where your body is burning fat as an energy source). Your complex carbohydrates from breakfast and lunch may work fine, but, if you are doing high intensity training, you may want to try eating 2 to 4 glucose tabs while working out. These tabs are made of Dextrose and are immediately absorbed and will be used immediately for energy to help you get through your workout.
Now, if you are eating every 2 to 2 and a half hours a day, you will be eating about 7 meals a day give or take, and only 2 of those meals will include small servings of complex carbohydrates depending on your workout for the day. The rest of the meals should include foods like, whey protein shakes, cottage cheese, steak, eggs, fish, bacon, almonds, peanuts, peanut butter, decaf coffee with heavy cream, etc. (For more information on a sample diet, see my website.)
There are a lot of unknowns in all of this because obviously every individual is different. It make take some people 5 days to reach Ketosis and other people 10 days to reach Ketosis on the Ketogenic diet. Some people may do just fine with a half of a bowl of oatmeal in the morning for their workout others might need the quarter to half sweet potato and the glucose tabs. You will have to learn by trial and error what works for you. Keep a detailed food journal and tweak your diet as needed, but remember the key points here. Don’t eat sugar, refined foods, simple carbohydrates, caffeine or alcohol. Eat more fat, protein, fiber and when you do eat your small amounts of complex carbohydrates, eat them with fat. Eat small meals 2 to 2 and a half hours throughout the day, and be consistent! This is the key to stopping your episodes!
Anupam Ghose, a physician by training, was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) in 2017. After the diagnosis of T2DM, he followed a low carbohydrate high fat diet and reversed his T2DM within a year. Now he has one main goal in life and that is to make people understand that the conventional method of treating T2DM is not beneficial. Type 2 diabetes is reversible and the best way to reverse T2DM is through diet and lifestyle modifications. He now decided to help people with type 2 diabetes by offering online coaching to reverse their diabetes.