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Losing too much weight on low carb

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 15, 2013 at 11:54 AM

I believe I am one of those body types that is just very thin naturally which is due to genetics although I got into Paleo because I was gaining weight slowly over the last few years and getting up to 190 lbs and feeling gross; Pants stopped fitting even when I bought a larger size than i'm use to. No sleep. I was eating at least 500g carbs a day and mainly the worst foods that when I look back on couldn't believe I ate that way for so long. I adopted low carb really well and stayed VERY low carb for last 6 months. I dropped alot of weight and within first month was down almost 30 lbs. Now i've still been losing a little weight and i'm at around 140 lbs. I look very thin right now. My issue is not how I feel, as I feel great almost all the time. I haven't been sick since adopting paleo as well. It's more of an asthetic thing. I would like to gain back to around 155 as I think it puts me at a good place. i'm 6'1" btw and 28 years old. My typical day results in around 2500 calories eaten although with my added carbs it could jump to 3000 some days. I did try overeating 3000+ calories a day for a bit and still was losing weight. I felt it was costing a bit too much money so just cut back to eating a big meal until I was full 3 times a day.

Due to a high LDL cholesterol result a month ago i've decided to up my carb intake to around 100g a day at least in hopes to change that around and also hopefully gain a bit of weight on top of it. It hasn't been working so far. My question is: Is upping carbs more to 200g+ a day going to help at all or should I be doing heavy weight lifting as well? Hoping some thin people could give some tips on gaining. I don't have access to good quality dairy so cut it out. I've added potato and white rice and try to eat a portion of it everyday. I know I should work out more as currently I do some excersize which is mostly cardio once a week (rollerblading / running).

Any help from you super skinny paleo dudes would be appreciated!

Edit: What i'm eating:

Breakfast - plantain, 3-4 eggs, 5 peices of bacon or piece of fish or ground beef (>30g protein), take a iodine, selenium and omega 3 supplements.

Lunch - Big salad with a protein source

Dinner - Rice or sweet potato with brocolli or some other veggie and a salad with a protein.

I cook with coconut oil only. I sometimes use butter but rarely. I sometimes make a big kale shake for lunch if i'm in a rush and cant make something (1L with kale or spinach, berries, avacado, coconut milk). My portions are pretty big. A have large plates and they are always extremely packed with food.

9c594bfaeb36a7c5336e01118b952123

(20)

on July 16, 2013
at 01:59 PM

Yeah this is a good point. I have no desire to or think I could ever be like a body builder. My goals are not very big in that I would like to gain an inch or so on the waistline and weigh around 160-165. It think with strength training my current body fat converted to muscle will easily do that. My hip bones stick out a bit too much right now so a little meat would be nice

9c594bfaeb36a7c5336e01118b952123

(20)

on July 16, 2013
at 01:56 PM

Good call Brad. I know I can gain weight but maybe the level of carb intake it takes is so high that it wouldn't be noticable. I think if I just stick to strength the weight or being skinny won't matter. It's probably just because i'm weak right now

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 15, 2013
at 07:40 PM

Ya, if you're strapped for cash or don't have easy access to a gym, getting to some of the bigger lifts can be hard. I wouldn't bother trying to pick up the equipment on your own, as (hopefully) you'll be making gains quickly enough that you'll need more weight (and a safer environment) than you can get on your own. Best to stick with bodyweight exercises in that case, like you noted; pushups and weighted squats (just grab a backpack and load crap into it) are excellent and definitely don't forget about pullups :)

9c594bfaeb36a7c5336e01118b952123

(20)

on July 15, 2013
at 06:14 PM

I know of this website. A month or so into Paleo I was doing body weight stuff at the gym at my condo. I moved and during moving phase didn't get to work out and dont have anything to work with at new house. My goal was to get into heavy weight lifting but in the meantime bodyweight is my best bet for cost effectiveness in short term. Maybe I already know the answers and just looking for reaffirmation and/or other small tricks/tips that might not be common.

9c594bfaeb36a7c5336e01118b952123

(20)

on July 15, 2013
at 06:12 PM

I added what I was eating on a typical day. I don't really care about supplements in terms of weight gain or muscle gain. i'm basically looking to gain some mass back to not look so extremely thin. Muscle mass seems to be best bet and i'll focus on that.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 15, 2013
at 02:26 PM

What ARE you eating? You mention carbs, but you give no info on what you actually eat, besides total calorie estimate. What activity do you participate in?

9c594bfaeb36a7c5336e01118b952123

(20)

on July 15, 2013
at 01:12 PM

Thanks for the great comment. I do have a chrono-meter account and have tracked some typical days. I will try doing it more closely. I'm currently looking at getting a olympic bar and weights to do stronglifts program. I'm strapped for cash right now so hopefully in a couple pays can afford something. right now i'll do body strength training as it is free. My cardio is very minimal and is for fun not excersize. I would consider myself extremely sedentary right now. I will see how it goes in the next couple months. Thanks!

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on July 15, 2013
at 12:32 PM

Chris, really try and focus on trying to increase your muscle mass. If you use them they will come. It doesn't need to be complicated, you don't need supplements. Just eat food and if you did 10 push-ups today, aim to do 11 tomorrow.

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5 Answers

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2
048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

on July 15, 2013
at 12:28 PM

You got it right in your last sentence. You're doing cardio, which can be great for many reasons but not to gain weight... You also guess it right: you should do some strenght training if you want to gain weight, because the only way to gain lean muscle weight is to force the body to create lean tissue by overcoming some kind of strenuous effort that involves your muscles.

If you up carbs to +200gr a day sure it will be easier to gain weight than if you do 100 but just getting weight up as body fat has no sense at all... if you're not going to do strenght training then my take is it's better to stay thin and skinny than fat and skinny... all your body fat you might carry is filled with inflammatory cytokines that raise body inflamation and cause most of the current health problems... so if you have a natural ability to stay lean at 100gr a day I'd keep it like this, or If you're willing to get higher, then add some resistance training so at least you can redirect this carbs to fuel your muscles not your belly!

best answer

2
C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

on July 15, 2013
at 12:34 PM

Speaking as a fellow hardgainer also in the process of attempting to put on muscle, I'd say that (at least from my perspective) it doesn't much matter whether you're eating more carbs or more fat; if you want to gain weight, you just have to eat MORE. Most people, when they're trying to put on muscle, just aren't eating enough. Try tracking your food through a food journal like Cron-o-meter for a few days, to make sure you're getting enough. I know that at my BF% and weight, for me to put on about a pound a week of lean muscle mass, I need to be eating about 3500 calories a day. I still struggle to hit that most days, but tracking definitely helps.

That being said, you'll find it'll probably be cheaper to introduce more carbs rather than more good quality fat. Starchy vegetables will be your best bet, so yams, white potatoes, squash, plantains, etc.

If you're trying to put on muscle, you should definitely be doing heavy lifting, yes. The recommend range for muscle hypertrophy is 6-8 reps per set, for 3-4 sets, while the recommended range for strength gains is 3-5 reps a set for 4-5 sets; you can honestly do either one of these and see improvements. Check out Starting Strength, Stronglifts, Body by Science, or any of the other heavy lifting guides out there for specifics on what to do, but I'd aim for getting squats, bench press, deadlifts, and either bent-over rows or pullups into your routine about 3 times a week (all on barbells mind you, not dumbbells).

Finally, a note on price. It WILL be expensive to do this, there's no getting around it. You're just buying more food than before and that's going to cost you no matter what; however, when you put on that muscle, you'll be able to drop your food intake back down to only about 100 or 200 calories more than what you need to eat nowadays to keep it. Just think of it as an investment in your health and your self-esteem :)

9c594bfaeb36a7c5336e01118b952123

(20)

on July 15, 2013
at 01:12 PM

Thanks for the great comment. I do have a chrono-meter account and have tracked some typical days. I will try doing it more closely. I'm currently looking at getting a olympic bar and weights to do stronglifts program. I'm strapped for cash right now so hopefully in a couple pays can afford something. right now i'll do body strength training as it is free. My cardio is very minimal and is for fun not excersize. I would consider myself extremely sedentary right now. I will see how it goes in the next couple months. Thanks!

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 15, 2013
at 07:40 PM

Ya, if you're strapped for cash or don't have easy access to a gym, getting to some of the bigger lifts can be hard. I wouldn't bother trying to pick up the equipment on your own, as (hopefully) you'll be making gains quickly enough that you'll need more weight (and a safer environment) than you can get on your own. Best to stick with bodyweight exercises in that case, like you noted; pushups and weighted squats (just grab a backpack and load crap into it) are excellent and definitely don't forget about pullups :)

best answer

1
37cc142fbb183f2758ef723a192e7a9d

(1353)

on July 15, 2013
at 09:28 PM

I'm the same, natural ectomorph and not alot I can do about it. One thing I realized is that alot of "us" are capable of being very strong with wiry, high density muscle, so I started to focus more on strength rather than size and just accepted my narrow frame. Having this mindset was helpful too in another way which is that it gave me back mt love of running as soon as I realized it doesn't matter if I'm narrow, only how strong I am.

9c594bfaeb36a7c5336e01118b952123

(20)

on July 16, 2013
at 01:56 PM

Good call Brad. I know I can gain weight but maybe the level of carb intake it takes is so high that it wouldn't be noticable. I think if I just stick to strength the weight or being skinny won't matter. It's probably just because i'm weak right now

1
6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

on July 16, 2013
at 07:00 AM

Not quite as tall as you, but the men on the other side of the family are very thin - 140 pounds or indeed under 5 foot 10. The up side is they live into their 90s at the same weight and are amazing both in terms of good health and ability to move around, keep up with active life to a very old age so I am not too bothered about my teenager who is very very thin at 115 although his arms are painful to look at and family members seeing him swimming all ask me about anorexia (which he doesn't have). What is clear is they are not so interested in eating very much. If I compare his muscular strong fit twin the quantities they eat differ. We have to remind one to eat.

I suspect people like I am who struggle to keep weight down simply think about food more of the day, eat more and keep shoveling it in whether it is good food as I eat now or junk.

So perhaps do not worry about wanting to look like those awful looking body builders with ludicrous muscles and who many women find physically repellant. Instead eat in a way where you can sustain a weight for life which keeps you slim and healthy. I adore bikram yoga. Try something like that. The ability to bend and stretch I suspect I keeps people better able to function into their 90s than building a lot of pointless muscles trying to emulate a look magazines portray but which many women don't even like in a man. It is the body builders and ex rugby players who turn to fat in their 40s not the thin yoga cyclists in my view,

9c594bfaeb36a7c5336e01118b952123

(20)

on July 16, 2013
at 01:59 PM

Yeah this is a good point. I have no desire to or think I could ever be like a body builder. My goals are not very big in that I would like to gain an inch or so on the waistline and weigh around 160-165. It think with strength training my current body fat converted to muscle will easily do that. My hip bones stick out a bit too much right now so a little meat would be nice

1
Ac04066a888a3f0b66f9a2935a6117c3

(315)

on July 15, 2013
at 01:48 PM

While I cannot help you on the gaining weight part, I understand the strapped for cash bit. I stopped lifting this summer(trying to save some money) and started bodyweight exercises. This website helped me plan some simple workouts:

http://www.nerdfitness.com/bodyweight-training-resources/

Hope this helps!

9c594bfaeb36a7c5336e01118b952123

(20)

on July 15, 2013
at 06:14 PM

I know of this website. A month or so into Paleo I was doing body weight stuff at the gym at my condo. I moved and during moving phase didn't get to work out and dont have anything to work with at new house. My goal was to get into heavy weight lifting but in the meantime bodyweight is my best bet for cost effectiveness in short term. Maybe I already know the answers and just looking for reaffirmation and/or other small tricks/tips that might not be common.

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