1

votes

Tunnel vision and frightening cognitive decline a few days in

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 22, 2011 at 10:14 PM

I wanted to try paleo out, but have no idea how to deal with dairy so I started with: get fat to 60-70% and drop grains as my goals. I've been doing this almost a week, and I have been in a deep tunnel vision and mental fog. I'm scared that I don't even have the rational judgement ability to save my life if I need to run to taco bell and get a five buck box to survive. Scared as heck driving to work that I'm basically a drunken driver, and scared I'll get fired from my new job because 'pretending' I can think straight at all is not going to fake the sober coworkers out. I used to spend my spare time studying foreign languages, but definitely have not had the mental clearness to even dream of doing that this past week. Just wasting away staring around the room in my spare time, and feel like I'm sleeping 2 hours a night or less but actually getting 8.5 (best I can do with having to work).

male, 210lbs, 5` 11, never any health problems and had awesome health and sleep before on 3-5 cans of pops a day + unlimited taco bell and pop refills, chips, mcdonalds, etc.. (Weight a bit high but extremely stable for years and years)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 24, 2011
at 12:21 AM

yeah, that's because fat creates satiety. I've had the same problem. I need 1000 cals a day and I'm a tiny woman. I'm betting you need around 2000.

507a43b2a190776060b8b142b464e808

(88)

on March 23, 2011
at 04:40 PM

Thanks, I was looking for any odd things that I should check out on the off chance something unusual is wrong

507a43b2a190776060b8b142b464e808

(88)

on March 23, 2011
at 04:39 PM

Is there a way to calculate my caloric need with hight weight? I'm pretty sure google would give results right away, but I don't know if the high-carb diet figures are applicable? Weirdest part is not feeling hungry if I actually need more calories...

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 23, 2011
at 03:31 PM

That's a good point, Melissa. If he's overweight, he could be living on his own fat, though.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 23, 2011
at 03:29 PM

I'm not sure this is what's going on given that he's not getting enough calories...

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 23, 2011
at 03:28 PM

Calories are king. You are going to have to do another protocol or increase your food budget. If you want a cheaper protocol I recommend Perfect Health Diet. I'm on a very tight budget and the addition of rice/roots makes my diet MUCH cheaper.

7402630da1d0b9bb97d614fe402d032a

(290)

on March 23, 2011
at 02:08 PM

I agree with the baby steps. I too felt light headed and brain foggy at the start. Here and there I have eaten the wrong thing either by mistake or just because I felt like eating an icecream. The thing is my weight has continued to drop and I never kept a food journal or even counted calories as that is just too difficult for me. I enjoy rose hip tea with lemon grass and ginger.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on March 23, 2011
at 12:31 AM

In addition to eating too few calories to start with, it seems likely you could be going through some serious caffeine withdrawal if those sodas contained caffeine. Eat more and eat some sweet potato or potato with butter along with the protein and fat. Don't expect to spend the same amount of $ for quality food that you spent for Taco Hell garbage. And don't give up this early! 30 days (with fine tuning along the way) seems reasonable to trial a new way of eating.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 23, 2011
at 12:28 AM

Gonna be alot more expensive when stat paying me to fix you soon.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 22, 2011
at 11:19 PM

You could start at a higher number of carbs per day and slowly decrease it if you want. From what you're describing, the reaction is severe enough (probably from just how many carbs your body is accustomed to) that you should eat some carbs for a while and see what amount you're comfortable with. I'd start at 100-150g a day and then decrease it if necessary.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 22, 2011
at 11:18 PM

At that point, you may feel better than normal, although I have heard of people who say they never feel quite right in ketosis. You'll have to see, I guess. Your question about a gradual transition is a good one. I'm not sure. At some point there is going to have to be a qualitative change, but it might be less harsh if you're eating more carbs. I hope someone else will chime in about that. I think going into ketosis gets easier over time. I never had it that bad, but the only problem I can remember in recent years is fighting carb cravings, which can haunt me for several days.

507a43b2a190776060b8b142b464e808

(88)

on March 22, 2011
at 11:08 PM

Oh sorry forgot: also does this happen only to 1st timers, or are there people who go in and out of low carb paleo that face this every time they transition?

507a43b2a190776060b8b142b464e808

(88)

on March 22, 2011
at 11:06 PM

At that point will i feel good as normal? Also, ... is it only possible to get to ketosis with the adjustment phase (horrible) or can you enter it so slowly and gradually that this wasted 1+ week would not have to happen?

507a43b2a190776060b8b142b464e808

(88)

on March 22, 2011
at 10:43 PM

Is this level of mental fogginess safe and normal? I did get a few google hits for 'light headedness paleo'. But I would be only so HAPPY to 'just' be light headed at this point.

507a43b2a190776060b8b142b464e808

(88)

on March 22, 2011
at 10:36 PM

Yesterday is the first time I've ever recorded: breakfast 2 organic eggs and tea with 1.5oz cream to get 300calories; lunch turkey 245 calories + .5lb frozen brussel sprouts with .5oz butter + hongkong milk tea (low sugar mix i made) 173 calories; then for dinner burrito bowl of 1oz sour cream 1oz mexican cheese 138 calories of chicken strips (half bag from grocery store deli). Finally I saw calories were so low that I had 1.5oz of almonds and .33 lbs strawberries mixed in 1 cup of whole fat organic yogurt. final calories 1795; fat/carbs/protein were 100.5/98.1/130.3

507a43b2a190776060b8b142b464e808

(88)

on March 22, 2011
at 10:17 PM

Also added up calories the other day and was shocked that I only barely hit 1000 without cheating and adding 1/4 stick butter and massive cream to tea (I didn't feel starving though). Extremely hard doing this on my food budget $~4.50/day. (vs Taco Bell $.59 tacos etc.)

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7 Answers

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4
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 22, 2011
at 11:04 PM

You are experiencing low carb induction flu: your body is adjusting to running on fat (and ketones) instead of sugar. You can either do paleo that is not low carb, as Travis suggests, or wait it out. It should only last a couple more days. I think it's worth it. I think ketosis is an extremely healthy state. However, you can certainly be paleo and not low carb. It's up to you.

507a43b2a190776060b8b142b464e808

(88)

on March 22, 2011
at 11:08 PM

Oh sorry forgot: also does this happen only to 1st timers, or are there people who go in and out of low carb paleo that face this every time they transition?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 23, 2011
at 03:29 PM

I'm not sure this is what's going on given that he's not getting enough calories...

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 23, 2011
at 03:31 PM

That's a good point, Melissa. If he's overweight, he could be living on his own fat, though.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 22, 2011
at 11:18 PM

At that point, you may feel better than normal, although I have heard of people who say they never feel quite right in ketosis. You'll have to see, I guess. Your question about a gradual transition is a good one. I'm not sure. At some point there is going to have to be a qualitative change, but it might be less harsh if you're eating more carbs. I hope someone else will chime in about that. I think going into ketosis gets easier over time. I never had it that bad, but the only problem I can remember in recent years is fighting carb cravings, which can haunt me for several days.

507a43b2a190776060b8b142b464e808

(88)

on March 22, 2011
at 11:06 PM

At that point will i feel good as normal? Also, ... is it only possible to get to ketosis with the adjustment phase (horrible) or can you enter it so slowly and gradually that this wasted 1+ week would not have to happen?

2
344102b6bc599c7c3f1f58ca0ac29513

on March 23, 2011
at 08:42 AM

Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. There's no need to go gung-ho straight away. If you are really suffering and fear for your safety, take baby steps. Yeah, yeah, I know it's not masculine to take the softly softly approach, but your body might like a gradual change. Add back one or two sodas a day or a Taco Bell meal, but work steadily over the course of a month or two to get to 100% paleo. If you enjoyed pristine health on your junk food diet, it's not going to matter in the greater scheme of things if you eat 6 more tacos and 10 cans more of coke before changing to a healthier eating plan, especially if your other meals are delicious meats, fats, fruits and veggies!

I guess a lot of people won't like this answer, but human endeavour will never be 'all or nothing', so our diets shouldn't be either.

You might also want to look into things that control blood sugar like licquorice tea (only if you don't have high blood pressure) and chrome. Perhaps even things like ginko biloba or ginseng to improve evergy and clarity of thought.

7402630da1d0b9bb97d614fe402d032a

(290)

on March 23, 2011
at 02:08 PM

I agree with the baby steps. I too felt light headed and brain foggy at the start. Here and there I have eaten the wrong thing either by mistake or just because I felt like eating an icecream. The thing is my weight has continued to drop and I never kept a food journal or even counted calories as that is just too difficult for me. I enjoy rose hip tea with lemon grass and ginger.

2
Bee1be034ef8da3e1e5cf9587b8bb690

on March 23, 2011
at 05:39 AM

Gary Taubes, in "Why We Get Fat," suggested drinking/eating bone broths to help get over the "Atkins Flu." Upping your iodine was another suggestion. And yes, I remember feeling miserable, but I knew the cause: low carbs and NO caffeine. Talk about withdrawal symptoms! Have some complex starches to get you through this.

My experience with the transition to ketosis is that the third to fifth days are the worse, and then usually about 7th to 10th day I feel amazingly good. Energy, mood, focus all improve.

As for sleep? I always lose some sleep after doing too much carbs. It's usually because once I start eating clean again, I stop retaining water, and thus end up in the bathroom at 2:00 in the morning for bladder relief. Yeesh.

2
Medium avatar

on March 22, 2011
at 10:35 PM

Just eat some quality carbs like potato, sweet potato or rice. I think the idea that ketosis is necessary is scaring off a lot of people in the beginning. You probably hit several hundred grams of carbs per day before, so you're still going to lose a lot of weight, especially if you don't drink soda.

507a43b2a190776060b8b142b464e808

(88)

on March 22, 2011
at 10:43 PM

Is this level of mental fogginess safe and normal? I did get a few google hits for 'light headedness paleo'. But I would be only so HAPPY to 'just' be light headed at this point.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 22, 2011
at 11:19 PM

You could start at a higher number of carbs per day and slowly decrease it if you want. From what you're describing, the reaction is severe enough (probably from just how many carbs your body is accustomed to) that you should eat some carbs for a while and see what amount you're comfortable with. I'd start at 100-150g a day and then decrease it if necessary.

2
8f24c914fa9538f3a9460e9a782c0d7d

on March 22, 2011
at 10:30 PM

"had awesome health and sleep before on 3-5 cans of pops a day + unlimited taco bell and pop refills, chips, mcdonalds, etc"

Hmmmmmm............

2
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on March 22, 2011
at 10:25 PM

What are you eating? Listing it out may help us see what's going wrong. 1000 calories isn't going to work, that's for sure, but let's see what that's composed of.

507a43b2a190776060b8b142b464e808

(88)

on March 22, 2011
at 10:36 PM

Yesterday is the first time I've ever recorded: breakfast 2 organic eggs and tea with 1.5oz cream to get 300calories; lunch turkey 245 calories + .5lb frozen brussel sprouts with .5oz butter + hongkong milk tea (low sugar mix i made) 173 calories; then for dinner burrito bowl of 1oz sour cream 1oz mexican cheese 138 calories of chicken strips (half bag from grocery store deli). Finally I saw calories were so low that I had 1.5oz of almonds and .33 lbs strawberries mixed in 1 cup of whole fat organic yogurt. final calories 1795; fat/carbs/protein were 100.5/98.1/130.3

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on March 23, 2011
at 12:31 AM

In addition to eating too few calories to start with, it seems likely you could be going through some serious caffeine withdrawal if those sodas contained caffeine. Eat more and eat some sweet potato or potato with butter along with the protein and fat. Don't expect to spend the same amount of $ for quality food that you spent for Taco Hell garbage. And don't give up this early! 30 days (with fine tuning along the way) seems reasonable to trial a new way of eating.

1
6371f0ae0c075ded1b8cd30aafd4bf16

on March 23, 2011
at 03:01 PM

I have an answer different then what is being suggested in the other answers. I would go get checked for Diabetes or some sort of Glycemia. I'm a type 1 diabetic and I start experiencing the same thing when my blood sugar is too low. Usually around 60 I start getting blurry vision and feeling faint. At that point I get anxious. I was in class the other day and I was listening to the instructor but was having a hard time comprehending anything. I went out to my truck and checked my blood glucose level and I was at a 35. I went to find a candy bar. When I found one I could even explain to the guy selling them what I wanted.

507a43b2a190776060b8b142b464e808

(88)

on March 23, 2011
at 04:40 PM

Thanks, I was looking for any odd things that I should check out on the off chance something unusual is wrong

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