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skinny and big belly from paleo?

Commented on January 03, 2014
Created January 03, 2014 at 1:01 AM

Hi all,

I'm a 33 year old male following a paleo diet closely for 6 months. Since about month 1, my body changed. Since then everyone tells me I look "too thin", my face is a bit gaunt and my shoulders have become quite thin.

My belly however protrudes significantly. My pants are falling off my butt, but they are very tight at the front around the button, cutting into my stomach especially when I sit down.

My weight on the scale remains the same as it was pre-diet, 5'9 and 165 lbs.

Any ideas what could be going on? Am I bloated or just getting fat and out of shape? I look like the "before" photo from paleo before/after success stories - skinny with a big belly.

NOTE: for health reasons I can't seem to tolerate any berries, and have to limit quantities of green fibrous veggies as they flare up my ulcerative colitis. I also can't have any carbs or starches like sweet potato it flares up my ankylosing spondylitis.

---

Example of a daily diet -

Breakfast:

4 cups breakfast shake (grapes, pineapple, hemp milk, spinach blended)

1 larabar

Lunch:

grilled chicken breast OR grass fed beef patty OR salmon steak

big bowl of green salad, 1 avocado, 1/4 cup olive oil

Snack:

1-2 almond cookies (mainly almond flour, grass-fed butter, bit of sugar)

Dinner:

grilled chicken breast OR grass fed beef patty OR salmon steak

big bowl of green salad, 1 avocado, 1/4 cup olive oil

Snack at night

veggies (broc, red pepper, etc.) with eggplant/tahini dip

3/4 cup of walnuts, coconut milk, raisins, and dark chocolate piece

handful of grapes

1/4 cup leftover chicken/beef/fish

---

Exercise: 10-12 min simple cross-fit routine 4-5 times/week (circuit of pushups, situps, squats, etc. without stopping)

794c83621975db6a18b1f2ee4cbefcb3

(0)

on January 03, 2014
at 02:05 AM

Thanks!! You are the 3rd person out of 3 to recommend dropping the breakfast shake so I guess that is an obvious action.

Just curious what makes you say increase fat/protein/calories? I'm afraid that I would have an even bigger belly if I did that :)

What suggests I'm bloated/FODMAPs-intolerant and not just gaining a lot of belly fat? I'm not sure how to tell the difference.

794c83621975db6a18b1f2ee4cbefcb3

(0)

on January 03, 2014
at 01:43 AM

Thanks!!

Hemp milk is the only commercial faux-milk I've found that doesn't have carrageen so I was hoping it was more acceptable. As with the other reply I got however, it sounds like reducing fruit would be a good idea.

I agree this might be bloating - at one point I "reverted" back to a western diet for a few days and the problem seemed to resolve very quickly (stomach shrunk back down, my face and shoulders quickly started to fill out again)

794c83621975db6a18b1f2ee4cbefcb3

(0)

on January 03, 2014
at 01:38 AM

Thanks! I should add - for health reasons I can't seem to tolerate any berries or large quantities of green fibrous veggies as they flare up my ulcerative colitis, or any carbs or starchy veggies as they flare up my ankylosing spondylitis.

I will definitely try to up my lean protein intake and reduce fruit.

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4 Answers

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Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on January 03, 2014
at 01:51 AM

You sound like you aren't absorbing a lot of your food. Likely FODMAPS-intolerant, too (bloating.)

Eat more nutrient-dense animal-sourced food. More fat, a bit more protein.

Drop the breakfast shake & most veggies & avocados.

Drop the chicken breast!

Eat organ meats, seafood & eggs for micronutrients.

Eat eggs and bacon or a steak/eggs or a burger/eggs for breakfast.

If you can tolerate dairy, add in cheese, sour cream and heavy cream to up your calories/fat.

Cut down the workout to 3 days a week for a few weeks and see how you feel.

794c83621975db6a18b1f2ee4cbefcb3

(0)

on January 03, 2014
at 02:05 AM

Thanks!! You are the 3rd person out of 3 to recommend dropping the breakfast shake so I guess that is an obvious action.

Just curious what makes you say increase fat/protein/calories? I'm afraid that I would have an even bigger belly if I did that :)

What suggests I'm bloated/FODMAPs-intolerant and not just gaining a lot of belly fat? I'm not sure how to tell the difference.

0
5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on January 03, 2014
at 01:39 AM

Foods high in fructose (grapes etc) can cause bloating. Have you tried eliminating FODMAPS?

Personally I found that faux 'milks' made me bloated with the additives in the boxes (carrageen), so when I want them I make my own, usually almond. You may also want to try removing any fruit and replacing it was starches like sweet potato for your carbs on workout days.

You could try swapping your breakfast for something like an omelet with bacon or steak and some veg. Keep playing around with the foods and keep track of how you're feeling. N=1 you often don't realize how bloated you are until you actually aren't. Good luck!

794c83621975db6a18b1f2ee4cbefcb3

(0)

on January 03, 2014
at 01:43 AM

Thanks!!

Hemp milk is the only commercial faux-milk I've found that doesn't have carrageen so I was hoping it was more acceptable. As with the other reply I got however, it sounds like reducing fruit would be a good idea.

I agree this might be bloating - at one point I "reverted" back to a western diet for a few days and the problem seemed to resolve very quickly (stomach shrunk back down, my face and shoulders quickly started to fill out again)

0
22d080deda84b604cc65e65cb5c979c0

on January 03, 2014
at 01:33 AM

That's paleo-ish but it's not good for body composition.

Diet:

I would recommend reducing your fruit consumption, increasing your GREEN/fibrous vegetable consumption (broccoli, kale, spinach, asparagus), decreasing fat consumption, and increasing protein consumption.

Eliminate all dried fruit, tropical fruits, chocolate, pseudo-paleo products (like almond cookies and hemp protein). Although plant fats are healthy, moderation is very key here. Avocado and almonds are really great for you, but limit those to 1 serving a day (like 1oz of nuts as a snack or 1/2 an avocado and 1tsp of olive oil on a salad) THe rest of your fat should come from the animals you're eating like chicken/salmon/sardines/bison/beef, etc. If you want fruit, shoot for berries instead and keep it to your post-workout period. Depending on the type of workouts you do, and/or when you hit a plateau, cycle in carbs from clean starches every 3-4 days, then cycle them back out.

If you really like protein powder, choose a high quality whey instead as it will help improve body composition by increasing the number of glut-4 transporters in your muscle cells, which will increase carbohydrate tolerance.

Exercise:

While 12 minutes a day is documented MINIMUM effective dose to improve metabolic markers, it won't do much in the way of improving body composition by dropping fat mass, particularly because it's just not enough. Train for strenghth and/hypertrophy and then you can add in HIIT training (i.e. crossfit) as a "finisher" or on seperate days. Also, LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio never hurt anyone as long is you're not overdoing. HIIT followed by LISS is good combo too.

I didn't say it would be easy, but I hope that helps you out some.

Best of luck :)

794c83621975db6a18b1f2ee4cbefcb3

(0)

on January 03, 2014
at 01:38 AM

Thanks! I should add - for health reasons I can't seem to tolerate any berries or large quantities of green fibrous veggies as they flare up my ulcerative colitis, or any carbs or starchy veggies as they flare up my ankylosing spondylitis.

I will definitely try to up my lean protein intake and reduce fruit.

0
22d080deda84b604cc65e65cb5c979c0

on January 03, 2014
at 01:15 AM

20% Improper exercise. 80% Improper diet structure (calories, macro-ratio, and nutrient timing)

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