5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
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What am I doing wrong?

by (1405)
Answered on September 12, 2014
Created November 15, 2012 at 2:56 AM

So, I have been paleo for 6 months now. Since then I have not lost any significant amount of weight. I decided to get into ketosis and try that as well. I have been in ketosis for three weeks now, and still have that stubborn fat on my stomach. My diet consists primarily of meat, eggs, and leafy greens. I do 20 hour fasts twice a week.

The only problem is that I am in college, with a meal plan, so I cannot know exactly what is in all the food I eat, but I have been trying my best to get what I need.

I am an 18 year old female, 5'5" and 123 pounds. I lift weights about three times a week, and do minimal HIIT on the stationary bike.

Also I have been having crazy loud digestion, bloating, and constipation since starting keto, and I don't know if they correlate.

I feel like since I am pretty young, this should be easy, but it isn't.

Please help me if you can!

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d
1673 · November 17, 2012 at 11:47 PM

Then don't eat nuts, period ;)

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 17, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Poor college student here! :P

Aa78c339d5f97e14f5d477a6cc108e5a
30 · November 17, 2012 at 3:54 PM

http://breakingmuscle.com/womens-fitness/female-guide-getting-lean

6554fd49a0ca08456adbbe75c99d8a01
18 · November 16, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Ketosis is by definition a condition of excess ketone bodies at the point where it's unhealthy. High ketone bodies aren't neessarily ketosis, just higher than normal, so that's still fine. Alcohol aggravates ketone production. Ketogenic acidosis (sort of synonymous with ketosis) depresses the brain and can lead to a coma. The fruity breath in alcohol induced comas are the very same ketone bodies. For this reason, a collapsed diabetic (diabetic coma, also from ketosis) may be mistaken for a 'wino'. All this does not apply to you though, as you are not consuming excess alcohol or are diabetic.

Aa78c339d5f97e14f5d477a6cc108e5a
30 · November 16, 2012 at 6:05 PM

switch up little things one at a time. If you change your calorie goal, fat goal, eating window, etc... all at once you arent going to know what works and what doesnt. I know paleo isnt really for counting calories- but making sure you are eating enough and not over is relly helpfull to me. I use myfitnesspal. Every week or so i think, what do i want to switch up. what do i like? what am i craving and why? usually i can drop weight quickly so within a week ok 2 i can tell if im on a roll. Dont let it stress u out. do what u like and track.

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d
1673 · November 16, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Fuck cashews. Buy macadamias instead. Yes, they're expensive, but way, way, WAAAAAAY better than cashews. And eat something with 'em, like an apple. Macadamia nut butter slathered on apple slices is badass!

06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6
5006 · November 16, 2012 at 12:32 AM

I would only add some rows and try to develop a chinup/pullup to your exercise routine. It's pretty BAD@$$ to see a women bang out some pullups to go along with your other lifts. Your body is probably very well adapted to the current load so possibly changing up the programming for a 1-4 weeks is in order. Focus on the HIIT and limit the weights to twice a week, just something to change it up. I would also look into cutting down to 1 fast per week and doing a little more "carb back-loading" and see what happens. Have some fun with the self experimentation!

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 10:07 PM

I have done a lot of research on ketosis myself, and it is not harmful to the body at all, unless one does not have insulin. Many organs prefer fat to glucose. I wanted to try ketosis, yes for fat loss, but also because carbs have never sat well for me. I felt bloated and uncomfortable after having sweet potatoes or a lot of rice, etc. I read "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes, and it squashes a lot of those miss conceptions. And even when I do drink, since I am doing a ketogenic diet, I stayed away from all the high calorie/high carb drinks!

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 10:01 PM

I do try and make sure to eat a lot before I fast, and also eat until I am full. I have never been one for portion control, because I would always seem to binge on cashews later if I eat less at dinner. I guess my stress really is the big problem, it is just that the fat has always been there regardless of how stressed I have been, so I didn't think that was too important. Thank you!

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 9:58 PM

I am not afraid of muscle, I actually embrace it, and enjoy looking toned in my legs and arms. I would like it on my abdomen too! I hit the salad bar very often! I have a jar of coconut oil in my dorm room that I have spoonfuls of often. I will try sprinting!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b
24548 · November 15, 2012 at 7:56 PM

23% is on the low end of what is safe for women. 20-30% is average, and going under 25% can affect menstruation in many. There is supposed to be a pouch of fat on the lower belly, you won't see it in magazines, but it is crucial for reproduction later.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b
24548 · November 15, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Some thoughts on where to begin with the adrenal issues. Eat enough, until you are full, don't worry about ketosis, for now. Don't overdo the exercise for now. No fasting until adrenal issues are resolved, it can be stressful to the body, especially women (I have a theory about the breakdown along gender lines of hunters vs. gatherers --->gathering = eating more often). Try to get to bed by 10pm every night, sleep with earplugs and blackout curtains or sleep mask if it is loud or bright outside. Take Ashwagandha tincture when you wake up, and mid day for a few weeks. Get enough salt.

366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424
2988 · November 15, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Gotcha. Well, good luck!

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Well the ketostix never went all the way dark purple, but I had the symptoms starting at about day four: fatigue, headache, metallic breath, smelly urine. And the ketostix always seemed to be darkest around 2-3 pm.

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 4:57 PM

How long should I try a different thing until I know it isn't working? People have been telling me that I am just being impatient, so I don't know how long to try fasting or ketosis or limited calories, or something like that until I know it won't work. When would I start seeing results if I find something that does work?

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Yes and yes. What do I do about it? /:

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 4:55 PM

I recently had my body fat content tested and I am at 23%. I am certain that means I can safely lose some. I don't care about the weight, since I know muscle weights more than fat, I just care about finally getting rid of the fat on my stomach!

Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b
4400 · November 15, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Paleo doesn't make you lose weight, but it helps get things closer to where they should be. 5'5" 123 is where you should be (I don't know your build, how muscular you are, etc, so I could be wrong). So if you want to be unnaturally lean, paleo alone won't get you there. Maybe a good approach is paleo plus self-acceptance, which plenty of 5'5" people have to do at a lot more than 123.

2e777bbcd49262eb31a24f821abec6bc
1974 · November 15, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Hmm I am getting negative ratings but let me add that I am very lean, have lost inches since starting paleo, am very active, and manage to be at an ideal weight without eating low carb. My blood work is wonderful. I don't quite understand the whole low carb fad. We are certainly meant to eat fruits and veggies. I love the idea of the paleo diet but many people seem to twist it from its healthiest version to some incredibly high fat, high protein diet, which is not optimal.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0
7370 · November 15, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Try LC without the fasting, get lots of sleep, and do planks for your tummy muscles. It might just be that tightening them will help.

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11488 · November 15, 2012 at 11:01 AM

How do you know you are in ketosis? What are the ketostix saying?

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 5:38 AM

In the beginning of my ketosis journey, I tried to keep starchy vegetables and leafy greens as much as meat and fat, but those kept me from getting into ketosis right away, so now I stick to lots of meat and maybe a spinach salad at lunch or dinner. So are you suggesting I just stick with meat and leafy greens like I am doing?

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 5:35 AM

I know sleep is a really big thing to watch. I am pretty good at getting at least 7 hours a night. Since I do monitor these things closely, I do feel like stress is part of what is keeping me from my goal, I just feel like I am doing something wrong. So I shouldn't be fasting? I have been doing it to try and fix the digestion problems I am having. I focus on four main lifts: deadlift, back squat, bench, and shoulder press. And do high weight with low reps.

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 3:14 AM

I have just always wanted to lose it, and thought a drastic diet and exercise change would be the sure way to do that!

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366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424
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2988 · November 15, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Ketosis did not work for me either, and fasting made me gain weight -- my body does not like to be in starvation mode. Of course, everyone is different! You might try it for a bit longer to see what happens, but if it doesn't work, you might consider going back to a moderate carb diet, stop fasting, try to lower your caloric intake by a small amount (make sure you're eating enough fat & protein so that doesn't make you hungry) and move more. I find the amount of time I spend sitting to be a bigger factor than how much or how hard I exercise: if you spend a lot of time sitting, try to sit less. Just standing helps, but also any bit of movement: walking, slow jump roping, etc. If you can find a podium to do some of your school work standing up, that would undoubtedly help. When you're tired and must sit, try sitting on exercise ball so you can at least engage your core muscles. I've been amazed at how much more I can eat when I don't let myself sit down very much.

But, it may also be that even if you lose 5 more pounds (and given your height, seems unwise to go much farther than that) you will still have a layer of fat on your stomach. At some point you have to worry more about your health than your appearance. The few times I have dropped enough weight to get a reasonably flat stomach, my face has looked awful and I've not had the energy or immune function that I ought to.

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 4:55 PM

I recently had my body fat content tested and I am at 23%. I am certain that means I can safely lose some. I don't care about the weight, since I know muscle weights more than fat, I just care about finally getting rid of the fat on my stomach!

366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424
2988 · November 15, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Gotcha. Well, good luck!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b
24548 · November 15, 2012 at 7:56 PM

23% is on the low end of what is safe for women. 20-30% is average, and going under 25% can affect menstruation in many. There is supposed to be a pouch of fat on the lower belly, you won't see it in magazines, but it is crucial for reproduction later.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6
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11194 · November 15, 2012 at 5:36 PM

A drastic diet will very likely be met with stubborn resistance. Wolframalpha says your B.M.I. is normal and your ideal body weight is actually 8lb heavier.
A more appropriate protocol is this- eat paleo, eat enough calories/nutrition and lift heavy things. You could sprint once or twice a week too- sprinting might be enough by itself. This will help body recomposition. You will stay at or near the same weight, but things will shift. You will put on a little muscle, but do not be afraid, you will not look too muscular unless you start using steriods.

One possible approach to the college situation is to eat paleo stuff like fruit,fish, eggs, the salad bar- all the extra lean stuff that they are unlikely to be able to hide anything in- and then bring your own saturated fat. I've got a jar of ghee on my desk right now.

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 9:58 PM

I am not afraid of muscle, I actually embrace it, and enjoy looking toned in my legs and arms. I would like it on my abdomen too! I hit the salad bar very often! I have a jar of coconut oil in my dorm room that I have spoonfuls of often. I will try sprinting!

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0
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7370 · November 15, 2012 at 3:11 AM

At your height, your weight sounds fine. There has been lots of discussion here about whether fasting is good for women (many say no), how much tummy fat is actually good for women (we generally need some), and how tummy fat is the last to go. Search for tummy or stomach fat, and you'll see lots.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0
7370 · November 15, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Try LC without the fasting, get lots of sleep, and do planks for your tummy muscles. It might just be that tightening them will help.

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 3:14 AM

I have just always wanted to lose it, and thought a drastic diet and exercise change would be the sure way to do that!

Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b
4400 · November 15, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Paleo doesn't make you lose weight, but it helps get things closer to where they should be. 5'5" 123 is where you should be (I don't know your build, how muscular you are, etc, so I could be wrong). So if you want to be unnaturally lean, paleo alone won't get you there. Maybe a good approach is paleo plus self-acceptance, which plenty of 5'5" people have to do at a lot more than 123.

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d
2
1673 · November 15, 2012 at 2:20 PM

I'm not crazy about ketosis, unless it's for medical reasons. I don't think women should fast either. We need our body fat for making babies.

Abdominal fat can accumulate due to high cortisol levels, meaning your adrenals are out of whack. Are you tired in the mornings? Is your period inconsistent?

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Yes and yes. What do I do about it? /:

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b
24548 · November 15, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Some thoughts on where to begin with the adrenal issues. Eat enough, until you are full, don't worry about ketosis, for now. Don't overdo the exercise for now. No fasting until adrenal issues are resolved, it can be stressful to the body, especially women (I have a theory about the breakdown along gender lines of hunters vs. gatherers --->gathering = eating more often). Try to get to bed by 10pm every night, sleep with earplugs and blackout curtains or sleep mask if it is loud or bright outside. Take Ashwagandha tincture when you wake up, and mid day for a few weeks. Get enough salt.

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 17, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Poor college student here! :P

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 10:01 PM

I do try and make sure to eat a lot before I fast, and also eat until I am full. I have never been one for portion control, because I would always seem to binge on cashews later if I eat less at dinner. I guess my stress really is the big problem, it is just that the fat has always been there regardless of how stressed I have been, so I didn't think that was too important. Thank you!

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d
1673 · November 16, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Fuck cashews. Buy macadamias instead. Yes, they're expensive, but way, way, WAAAAAAY better than cashews. And eat something with 'em, like an apple. Macadamia nut butter slathered on apple slices is badass!

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d
1673 · November 17, 2012 at 11:47 PM

Then don't eat nuts, period ;)

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18 · November 15, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Warning: Big Wall of Text: Please read, I tried to write with little technical jargon, but please ask if you have questions and I will elaborate.

Ok, here's the low down:

Ketosis: This is a state of elevated ketone bodies within your body. What are ketone bodies? They are the byproduct of an incomplete free fatty acid break down. They raise the acidity of your blood.

A ketogenic diet is related to increased resistance to epileptic seizures. This is not relevant to you is it?

You know why ketosis results in fruity breath? Because your blood acidity is rising so high that the body tries to maintain the internal balance (homeostasis); you exhale extra CO2 and ketone bodies. It's a coping mechanism. Does that ring an alarm bell? It should. Therefore high levels of ketones should be avoided.

Do you want to lose fat? Dieting is not the way to go. What you need is a calorie DEFICIT. This means: Total energy expenditure (TEE) > Total energy intake (TEI). The best way to achieve this is through a combination of regular exercise and balanced diet.

Exercise at ~50-70% (moderate intensity) of HR max (HRM ??? 220 - age, therefore about 202bpm for you). This training zone is ideal for burning fat. Higher intensity, at the range of 80% and above will utilise mostly carbohydrate sources.

Eat carbs, protein and fats.

I can't stress enough how important it is to combine exercise and reduce caloric intake. Fat loss is the most effective then. You might not lose weight, because you gain muscle mass which is heavier than fat. You'll probably stay the same weight but become slimmer.

Just dieting and sedentary lifestyle lead to lean mass loss, not fat loss.

When not enough glucose or stored glycogen is available (reduced carbohydrate intake), the body will preferentially break down intramuscular proteins into amino acids, which are used in gluconeogenesis to produce glucose, the one and only energy source that the brain can use. (Ok, that's a half truth, after about 48hours of starvation, blood ketone levels rise so high that the brain will use this left over scrap food to keep functioning, in order to spare the scarce glucose).

Tips & Infos:

  1. Big calorie burner exercises: rowing machines, HIIT, swimming, nordic skiing. I might be biased towards rowing machines since I'm a rower. But they truly are full body training, calorie annihilating monsters.

  2. Fat has a higher chance of being stored as fat than do carbohydrates, protein and alcohol.

  3. Female individuals have higher body fat % than men; it is healthy, as long as it isn't in excess. Everything in moderation, as they say.

  4. I read you are in college; if you consume a lot of alcohol, then stop. Lot's of excess calories in alcohol that you don't need. Of course, a glass of wine every now and again has been shown to be beneficial ;)

Sources: Various specialist textbooks and journal papers. I am currently studying sports and Exercise Science (Biology, health related nutrition, exercise physiology etc), I row, am very lean with 7% body fat. That's almost unhealthily low, but I do eat a lot and am gaining lean weight as a result of resistance training in addition to aerobic exercise. I eat maybe 300g rice per day (dry weight). That's a lot of carbs. BMI = 21.

6554fd49a0ca08456adbbe75c99d8a01
18 · November 16, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Ketosis is by definition a condition of excess ketone bodies at the point where it's unhealthy. High ketone bodies aren't neessarily ketosis, just higher than normal, so that's still fine. Alcohol aggravates ketone production. Ketogenic acidosis (sort of synonymous with ketosis) depresses the brain and can lead to a coma. The fruity breath in alcohol induced comas are the very same ketone bodies. For this reason, a collapsed diabetic (diabetic coma, also from ketosis) may be mistaken for a 'wino'. All this does not apply to you though, as you are not consuming excess alcohol or are diabetic.

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 10:07 PM

I have done a lot of research on ketosis myself, and it is not harmful to the body at all, unless one does not have insulin. Many organs prefer fat to glucose. I wanted to try ketosis, yes for fat loss, but also because carbs have never sat well for me. I felt bloated and uncomfortable after having sweet potatoes or a lot of rice, etc. I read "Why We Get Fat" by Gary Taubes, and it squashes a lot of those miss conceptions. And even when I do drink, since I am doing a ketogenic diet, I stayed away from all the high calorie/high carb drinks!

Aa78c339d5f97e14f5d477a6cc108e5a
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30 · November 15, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Ive beein messing around with IF for months and my hormones got way off. It doesnt seem to do anything different then when i just crossfit and watch my calories on a paleo diet. Ive read a lot about fasting for women, and you need to be careful that you dont fast too long. Women do better on short fasts, like a 12/12. maybe throw in a full day every other week or so. Fasting seems to work better with men. Listen to your body. If something isnt working, stop doing it. dont force it because someone else had success.

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 4:57 PM

How long should I try a different thing until I know it isn't working? People have been telling me that I am just being impatient, so I don't know how long to try fasting or ketosis or limited calories, or something like that until I know it won't work. When would I start seeing results if I find something that does work?

Aa78c339d5f97e14f5d477a6cc108e5a
30 · November 16, 2012 at 6:05 PM

switch up little things one at a time. If you change your calorie goal, fat goal, eating window, etc... all at once you arent going to know what works and what doesnt. I know paleo isnt really for counting calories- but making sure you are eating enough and not over is relly helpfull to me. I use myfitnesspal. Every week or so i think, what do i want to switch up. what do i like? what am i craving and why? usually i can drop weight quickly so within a week ok 2 i can tell if im on a roll. Dont let it stress u out. do what u like and track.

Aa78c339d5f97e14f5d477a6cc108e5a
30 · November 17, 2012 at 3:54 PM

http://breakingmuscle.com/womens-fitness/female-guide-getting-lean

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1974 · November 15, 2012 at 1:15 PM

To lose weight, you just need to excercise more and eat less. Going very low carb is not healthy since your body needs adequate levels of all three macro nutrients. Take out a couple hundred calories a day and add a couple miles of running each morning and the weight will come off.

2e777bbcd49262eb31a24f821abec6bc
1974 · November 15, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Hmm I am getting negative ratings but let me add that I am very lean, have lost inches since starting paleo, am very active, and manage to be at an ideal weight without eating low carb. My blood work is wonderful. I don't quite understand the whole low carb fad. We are certainly meant to eat fruits and veggies. I love the idea of the paleo diet but many people seem to twist it from its healthiest version to some incredibly high fat, high protein diet, which is not optimal.

C061117b42c212043a6853b8571c24de
0
90 · November 15, 2012 at 4:14 AM

have you substantially increased the number of veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage and raw veggies while going into ketosis? for me, eliminating these and other high FODMAP fruit and veggies has made a world of difference in terms of IBS symptoms and I'm finally starting to lose that last bit of stubborn fat.

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 5:38 AM

In the beginning of my ketosis journey, I tried to keep starchy vegetables and leafy greens as much as meat and fat, but those kept me from getting into ketosis right away, so now I stick to lots of meat and maybe a spinach salad at lunch or dinner. So are you suggesting I just stick with meat and leafy greens like I am doing?

06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6
0
5006 · November 15, 2012 at 4:04 AM

How is your sleep? College can be a stressful time and it appears that you are monitoring your food intake and fitness levels to point of causing yourself unneeded stress. This could possibly be compounded by any sleep issues you may be having (late night exam cramming and other fun stuff). All of these stressors coupled with fasting plus some high intensity exercise may be what is keeping you from your goal.

On a seperate note: What does your weight lifting routine look like?

Matt
PhysiqueRescue.com

5f678ffff153bfc8a17ac1ee438c054f
1405 · November 15, 2012 at 5:35 AM

I know sleep is a really big thing to watch. I am pretty good at getting at least 7 hours a night. Since I do monitor these things closely, I do feel like stress is part of what is keeping me from my goal, I just feel like I am doing something wrong. So I shouldn't be fasting? I have been doing it to try and fix the digestion problems I am having. I focus on four main lifts: deadlift, back squat, bench, and shoulder press. And do high weight with low reps.

06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6
5006 · November 16, 2012 at 12:32 AM

I would only add some rows and try to develop a chinup/pullup to your exercise routine. It's pretty BAD@$$ to see a women bang out some pullups to go along with your other lifts. Your body is probably very well adapted to the current load so possibly changing up the programming for a 1-4 weeks is in order. Focus on the HIIT and limit the weights to twice a week, just something to change it up. I would also look into cutting down to 1 fast per week and doing a little more "carb back-loading" and see what happens. Have some fun with the self experimentation!

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117
-1
25467 · November 15, 2012 at 7:25 PM

When you are not hitting your goals adapt. I wrote about that today here: http://www.jackkruse.com/the-change-rx/

Then when your ready to adapt your template maybe consider this: http://www.jackkruse.com/brain-gut-6-epi-paleo-rx/

Good Luck and I hope this helps you.

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