1

votes

Hack my fatigue, please

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 25, 2011 at 10:27 PM

I started with Paleo in March 2010. I've played around with various things in the year+ and have recently been going more Primal (adding more fat, fattier meats). I never went through carb-flu or typical detox type fallout, when first eliminating grains, sugar, etc.

The one thing that I have NEVER been able to figure out is my constant fatigue/tiredness. Some days (like today) are worse than others.

Getting better at sleep was perhaps my greatest challenge of the past year. Prior to making it a priority, a typical night would be 5-6 hours (for social reasons and "lack" of time). I've always loved sleep and even when I would sleep little, would revel in 10-12 hours at least once a week.

However, for months now, I consistently get at least 8+ hours of sleep a night. 9-10 is average. It's become a priority and I've made major lifestyle changes to accomplish this. Sleep is solid, dark room, same times, etc. I can sometimes wake up without an alarm, but find myself not wanting to get out of bed and then fall asleep for another 45 minutes.

I had blood work done a month ago and iron/hemoglobin levels were all normal. Years ago, I had low iron levels and what I'm feeling is that same 'type' of tired:

I feel tired all the time and have never experienced the 'energy' that so many talk about. I feel particularly sluggish today and I just looked in the mirror and look like I haven't slept in days! (I've had 10 hours of sleep the last 3 nights.) This is ridiculous!! I shouldn't feel this tired.

All advice/suggestions are greatly appreciated!


Here's details as to diet/lifestyle:

I'm 36 year old female: 5'6", 148 pounds, with 32% BF (according to my home scale). Personal goals are fat/weight loss.

(Edit to add: When I started in March 2010 I was 186# with 38-40%BF. I've been at a 145-150# since October 2010. I've been playing around with different things and my BF is slowly going down, with weight staying around that mark. Trying to get into the 130's on weight and 20's for BF.)

Diet is typically/roughly: 50g-100g carb (on the lower end of that), 80-125g protein, 60-100g fat. I just started adding a little dairy in April 2011.

I drink 1-2 8oz cups of coffee in the morning and cut it off by noon. (Weekends may be slightly more). I've taken a coffee break for a couple weeks and didn't notice a difference.

Typical food:
bfast: 2 eggs, onion, veggie, pasture butter.

Mid-morning: coffee w/ full-fat milk.

Lunch: Salad greens + protein (canned tuna or salmon, or left-over protein from previous night's dinner), avocado

Dinner: veggies + protein (beef, fish, pork, lamb, etc)

Typical veggies: zucchini, yellow squash, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower

Occasional: red wine, cheese (jack, swiss), macadamia nuts

Workout: 3 days/week, 45 minute sessions: body weight, kettlebell/weight, cardio intervals.

Supplements: I take 1000-2000mg D3 on occasion, but typically get enough sun exposure (10-15 minutes mid-day). I haven't taken it for a few weeks and never noticed a correlation to increased energy by taking it.

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on March 19, 2012
at 05:08 PM

Acupuncture is great and definitely worth pursuing, but you should still have your thyroid tested. If you do have Hashimoto's (and you are in the right "group," so its likely) you would need to (at least temporarily) cut eggs, dairy, nuts and nightshade vegetables. I'm a year older than you and I have Hashimoto's. It primarily affects women and most are diagnosed in their 20's or 30's. Seriously, get tested.

Ede6029838b9d17195c84bab64a5d88d

(181)

on May 30, 2011
at 03:00 AM

isn't Gokhale's book about posture? how does it relate to sleep?

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:23 PM

I'm not super active, other than my MWF workout. As much as I try to get in a walk/hike, it often doesn't happen. I gain weight rapidly with any sort of sugar - so, I'd say: no, I don't have a good handle on it. (We are talking an easy 10 pounds gain in 2 weeks). Weight loss/mgmt is the goal and quite honestly, I'd take the bouts of tired over gaining weight. I DO think my body responds better to a low-fat, high-protein, zero-sugar diet (in weight loss term). I've been fearful of fat for so long, so trying a higher fat diet has been mind-blowing: satiating w/ no weight gain ramifications.

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:19 PM

Your banana comment made me remember I used to eat bananas daily - until I tried to cut them out (for sugar/starch reasons). I wonder if that has something to do with it... I just don't recall NOT feeling tired.... I had cut out all salt for the bulk of my weight loss last year and am adding it back in (with the foods: bacon, salted mac nuts). I haven't had an issue when I've eaten potatoes or rice ... so at least that's to my benefit.

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:17 PM

Thanks for the specifics... super helpful! I'll have that looked into. A friend just started up with an acupuncturist she swears on - so I might just go that route.

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:15 PM

re: feeling on life - I feel good about my life in general. I'm in better health/shape than ever before. And there's no other stressors involved. I've been perplexed that I'm getting so much sleep and still feel tired mid-day (as if I only got a few hours of sleep).

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:14 PM

re: energy - the only other time I've felt like this is when I was iron deficient (due to heavy/long menstrual cycles). That was resolved and energy returned. The bizarre thing about what I'm noticing is I'm find in the morning and about 4-5 hours into the day, I'll be a walking zombie. My blood tests confirmed the iron wasn't the issue. I thought it was working out/muscles needing to rebuild, etc. But I'm not so sure this week (I'm taking a week off). I stay in bed in the morning b/c I love snuggling in bed. My bed might be too cozy. ;)

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 01:06 AM

Do you have good control over insulin? Are you active? Sports? Ideally you want to be athletic - muscle helps you control insulin and allows you to consume much more carbohydrate effectively. Don't sit around. Remember that calories always count through this. Eating fat is healthy and SAD is wrong BUT if you eat a lot of protein and a bunch of good starch obviously something has to be lowered - fat. You can't stuff down heavy cream and butter like people seem to have an affinity for here:) Be strong, take control, be confident. If what you're doing ain't working CHANGE!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 01:02 AM

I know it's scary to start starch. Don't worry though, just understand that you can and will go back to what worked up till now if everything goes to shit. Count calories, eat protein at one gram per pound of body weight, eat maybe 100 grams of starchy carbohydrate pet day for a week or two. Cut back on fat to make up the calories. You'll have yo track all this if you're serious. Livestrong dot com is good. Assess after maybe one month? Then add or subtract carbohydrate. I think you'll feel good. Again, I don't know about your metabolic health. Can you handle carbohydrate ok?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 12:57 AM

Eat kelp or at least nori once or twice per week. gout for sushi and get a seaweed salad regularly.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 12:56 AM

Check out Gokhale's book. Changed the way I sleep.

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 26, 2011
at 12:26 AM

Thanks for sharing your experience. I feel like I've slept well, when I wake (most nights), and am ok for a few hours, but find myself absolutely exhausted about 4-5 hours into the day and for the rest of the day.

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 25, 2011
at 11:57 PM

Thanks - I'll definitely take that into consideration & thanks for the details on the tests. On a side note: whenever I track my food w/ fitday, my B12 and D is always above 'normal'. For instance: yesterday: B12 was at 7.9mcg (328% RDA) and D was 23.6mcg (469%).

43d33eea1cbc69af32352b1753a40458

(125)

on May 25, 2011
at 11:27 PM

I second the B12 or D3 deficiency. It is difficult to get enough through sun exposure unless you live south of Atlanta. Occasionally taking 1000-2000 mg of D3 is probably not anywhere near enough. You should probably get your levels checked and shoot for 60 or above. Also, make sure they do the 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. It might help to get your ferritin levels checked too. It is the most important iron test, but frequently overlooked.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on May 25, 2011
at 11:19 PM

Eggs and yogurt are the only two things that have much... I usually eat three eggs per day but I think that's less than 70% of my RDA. If I were you I wouldn't start supplementing with straight iodine, since that could be harmful if you do in fact have thyroid issues, but eating a bit of seaweed or taking a kelp pill 2-4 times per week could be beneficial.

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 25, 2011
at 10:58 PM

How much did you incorporate before you noticed a change? Meaning: one serving a day, for a few days, etc? I also edited some info on weight. From Mar-Oct 2010 I dropped 40 pounds w/ Paleo, and have been maintaining since. Recently, I feel like my body composition has been changing with the increased fat and lower carbs (I played around cutting out all fruit). But even with the fruit I would still feel exhausted - didn't really seem to notice a difference either way. I'm a little nervous the increased starch will affect my weight-loss, but if I can maintain and increase energy, I'm game.

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 25, 2011
at 10:53 PM

re: Iodine: not particularly other than what's in eggs, any cheese, butter, nuts - and the occasional use of coconut aminos w/ cooking. What kind of level do you aim for?

B4ec9ce369e43ea83f06ee645169cee0

on May 25, 2011
at 10:51 PM

maybe a lack of B-12? or vitamin D? I've been low in iron, B12 and vitD (not at the same time) and when any of the three are low they seem to give me the symptoms you're describing.

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9 Answers

2
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 25, 2011
at 10:36 PM

Firstly I've never carried that amount of weight so I'm not sure if how you're feeling is not unusual for someone in your situation.

I would say that what worked for me when, after over 2.5-3 years of LC/VLC, I felt lethargic a lot of the time was adding starch to my diet. Sweet potatoes at first,, then white potatoes, squashes, any tubers.

I want to add though that I was fit and NOT trying to lose any weight, I was merely living life, maintaining as it were.

Try cutting back on the fat and substituting with starch. Youll most likely feel a boost in energy, mood, emotionetc.

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:23 PM

I'm not super active, other than my MWF workout. As much as I try to get in a walk/hike, it often doesn't happen. I gain weight rapidly with any sort of sugar - so, I'd say: no, I don't have a good handle on it. (We are talking an easy 10 pounds gain in 2 weeks). Weight loss/mgmt is the goal and quite honestly, I'd take the bouts of tired over gaining weight. I DO think my body responds better to a low-fat, high-protein, zero-sugar diet (in weight loss term). I've been fearful of fat for so long, so trying a higher fat diet has been mind-blowing: satiating w/ no weight gain ramifications.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 01:02 AM

I know it's scary to start starch. Don't worry though, just understand that you can and will go back to what worked up till now if everything goes to shit. Count calories, eat protein at one gram per pound of body weight, eat maybe 100 grams of starchy carbohydrate pet day for a week or two. Cut back on fat to make up the calories. You'll have yo track all this if you're serious. Livestrong dot com is good. Assess after maybe one month? Then add or subtract carbohydrate. I think you'll feel good. Again, I don't know about your metabolic health. Can you handle carbohydrate ok?

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 25, 2011
at 10:58 PM

How much did you incorporate before you noticed a change? Meaning: one serving a day, for a few days, etc? I also edited some info on weight. From Mar-Oct 2010 I dropped 40 pounds w/ Paleo, and have been maintaining since. Recently, I feel like my body composition has been changing with the increased fat and lower carbs (I played around cutting out all fruit). But even with the fruit I would still feel exhausted - didn't really seem to notice a difference either way. I'm a little nervous the increased starch will affect my weight-loss, but if I can maintain and increase energy, I'm game.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 01:06 AM

Do you have good control over insulin? Are you active? Sports? Ideally you want to be athletic - muscle helps you control insulin and allows you to consume much more carbohydrate effectively. Don't sit around. Remember that calories always count through this. Eating fat is healthy and SAD is wrong BUT if you eat a lot of protein and a bunch of good starch obviously something has to be lowered - fat. You can't stuff down heavy cream and butter like people seem to have an affinity for here:) Be strong, take control, be confident. If what you're doing ain't working CHANGE!

1
Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on May 26, 2011
at 03:48 AM

Prior to going paleo, was your energy good? Has fatigue ever been a problem in the past, like it is now? You said you made major lifestyle changes to accomodate sleep change from 5-6 hrs/night to your current 8-10. Are you happy with whatever those changes were? Did you change or give up something that you miss? When you write aboout waking up in the am, you write not that you feel so tired you don't want to get out of bed, but that you just don't want to get out of bed - get up - and then fall back to sleep for 45 min.

Diet/food aside, how do you feel about your life and whatever you are doing every day that you get out of bed to do? Food/diet aside, how is the life you are living feeling to you? If you didn't feel fatigued, would your life feel great? Would you be happy and postively anticipating what you are getting out of bed each am to do?

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:14 PM

re: energy - the only other time I've felt like this is when I was iron deficient (due to heavy/long menstrual cycles). That was resolved and energy returned. The bizarre thing about what I'm noticing is I'm find in the morning and about 4-5 hours into the day, I'll be a walking zombie. My blood tests confirmed the iron wasn't the issue. I thought it was working out/muscles needing to rebuild, etc. But I'm not so sure this week (I'm taking a week off). I stay in bed in the morning b/c I love snuggling in bed. My bed might be too cozy. ;)

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:15 PM

re: feeling on life - I feel good about my life in general. I'm in better health/shape than ever before. And there's no other stressors involved. I've been perplexed that I'm getting so much sleep and still feel tired mid-day (as if I only got a few hours of sleep).

1
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on May 25, 2011
at 10:40 PM

It looks to me like you are doing absolutely everything right.

I would get bloodwork done to test every aspect of your thyroid function. Many people have found that a lower-carb, paleo-type diet worsens or even triggers hypothyroid issues.

Also, do you have a good source of iodine in your diet? I take kelp pills semi-frequently because I hardly get any iodized salt. Eating seaweed works too, if you like it.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on May 25, 2011
at 11:19 PM

Eggs and yogurt are the only two things that have much... I usually eat three eggs per day but I think that's less than 70% of my RDA. If I were you I wouldn't start supplementing with straight iodine, since that could be harmful if you do in fact have thyroid issues, but eating a bit of seaweed or taking a kelp pill 2-4 times per week could be beneficial.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 12:57 AM

Eat kelp or at least nori once or twice per week. gout for sushi and get a seaweed salad regularly.

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 25, 2011
at 10:53 PM

re: Iodine: not particularly other than what's in eggs, any cheese, butter, nuts - and the occasional use of coconut aminos w/ cooking. What kind of level do you aim for?

0
C8cb066c43e06d0cc1d867cdc7d6d933

on March 19, 2012
at 04:41 PM

try to avoid every dairy products.

0
535fafe8afe6923870905c707c4f4454

on May 26, 2011
at 05:28 AM

I am scared, personally, to add in starchy carbs.. I geuss I am VLC normally cause my only carbs come from green veges/cauliflower occasional turnip and carrot. My goal is autoimmune and fixing my blood sugar issues - so my strategy has been to add around 150grams of Sweet Potato post exercise and hopefully work that amount up over time. PWO seems like the best way to get the benefits of carbs without the negative effects or mindset - working for me so far. Good luck!

Edit: sorry this wasnt much of an answer to the original.. With Paleo 1.5months and some normal sleep I find I get less fatigue throughout the day now (ie I dont need a nap), however I do get zombified due to just running out of energy. Adding in tiny bits of carbs (in with my protein and fats) here and there really helped me overcome this and make it through my day.

0
9ac8a7b68cf079b22de42b703e466e64

(787)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:22 AM

yeah i was feeling the same way as you. i was on a somewhat similar plan with carbs pretty low. some days i'd have some energy, but on many i just wouldn't want to work out, walk up the stairs, etc. I've since added in carbs like others recommended. I don't have a problem with potatoes or white rice so I've been having them a couple times a week. Also, I'll have sweet potato and the very occasional banana. Honestly, I feel like a different person with moderate carbs, mostly in the form of starchy carbs i.e. not fruit sources though i have some. I finally felt that elusive energy that everyone talked about. Another suggestion, what helped with me, was increasing my salt intake

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:19 PM

Your banana comment made me remember I used to eat bananas daily - until I tried to cut them out (for sugar/starch reasons). I wonder if that has something to do with it... I just don't recall NOT feeling tired.... I had cut out all salt for the bulk of my weight loss last year and am adding it back in (with the foods: bacon, salted mac nuts). I haven't had an issue when I've eaten potatoes or rice ... so at least that's to my benefit.

0
F6ea948ab43dc51d72509c0989e670fe

(1639)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:04 AM

I would recommend checking a couple different things...

Thyroid. Not just TSH, but T3, T4, and antibodies. Also check for Hashimoto's (auto-immune). If they're messed up, make sure to see someone who knows how to deal with it. Or find a naturopath or endocrinologist who does. Normal dr's don't know what they're doing with this half of the time...as I found out the hard way.

Iodine? If you test postive for hashimoto's, you don't want to take it. But if you don't, talk to your doc about supplementing and see if that helps. I just take kelp.

Vitamin D3, K2, B-12 deficiencies. I know you say you take vitamin D (1-2k i.u.'s). @the_quilt has talked about needing levels into at least the 70's when testing blood. As for myself, I take about 8-10k i.u.'s a day. Anything less and I feel miserable. I might go higher for supplementation depending on what my latest bloodwork comes back with (I live in Seattle).

Saliva test for cortisol. Preferably over a day period of time (4 test tubes). Might have to do it yourself, test runs around $150-200 through a private lab.

As for myself, I've been dealing with thyroid issues for 10+ years. I've probably had adrenal fatigue for at least as long, but was only diagnosed with that and out of control cortisol in the last week. So I'm on adrenal supplements to get my fatigue under control, and I feel great. The best benefit? I finally don't crave sugar and carbs like they're going out of style...

I've also heard great things about acupuncture for fixing things like this. Maybe it's worth a shot?

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 26, 2011
at 05:17 PM

Thanks for the specifics... super helpful! I'll have that looked into. A friend just started up with an acupuncturist she swears on - so I might just go that route.

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on March 19, 2012
at 05:08 PM

Acupuncture is great and definitely worth pursuing, but you should still have your thyroid tested. If you do have Hashimoto's (and you are in the right "group," so its likely) you would need to (at least temporarily) cut eggs, dairy, nuts and nightshade vegetables. I'm a year older than you and I have Hashimoto's. It primarily affects women and most are diagnosed in their 20's or 30's. Seriously, get tested.

0
Ede6029838b9d17195c84bab64a5d88d

(181)

on May 26, 2011
at 12:18 AM

Lots of carbs, no carbs, it did not make any difference in my case. Blood work did not reveal anything abnormal. Saliva Cortisol levels were at the lower boundary, highest in the morning, lowest in the evening. My guess is it is not the amount of sleep but the quality of sleep that matters. I have vivid active dreams and when I wake up in the morning I feel like I've been working all night. I concluded that diet is not an issue because varying diet and supplements including D3 and others don't make any difference whatsoever. I think if I manage to get a full night sleep without remembering any dreams that would take care of this sluggishness. Trying different sleep techniques hasn't worked yet. Not willing to take sleep drugs. Still looking for answers.

1b85b7649707eb07f26bb0fb0dc874c1

(125)

on May 26, 2011
at 12:26 AM

Thanks for sharing your experience. I feel like I've slept well, when I wake (most nights), and am ok for a few hours, but find myself absolutely exhausted about 4-5 hours into the day and for the rest of the day.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 26, 2011
at 12:56 AM

Check out Gokhale's book. Changed the way I sleep.

Ede6029838b9d17195c84bab64a5d88d

(181)

on May 30, 2011
at 03:00 AM

isn't Gokhale's book about posture? how does it relate to sleep?

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 25, 2011
at 11:49 PM

You need more carbs. A lot more. Try it and see. I am not talking about half a spoonful of potato either. Give it a go for a couple of weeks and see how it goes.

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