20

votes

Paleo fatigue....no, I'm not talking about eating

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 28, 2011 at 5:00 PM

What I am talking about is a growing fatigue with trying to "nail down" paleo on a daily basis, and feeling the ground shifting under me. I know the predictable response: "The basics are easy...just avoid grains and sugars...etc." But is it so easy? Case in point, dairy. I am reading Robb Wolf's book and he says to avoid it completely. I turn over to Dr. Harris's blog, and he calls whole cream "diesel" or basic fuel. If I stay on Dr. Harris's blog, I read that I need to go into ketosis and stay there to lose fat, and Mark Sisson agrees that -50 g of carbs is "effortless" weightloss. But I'm not losing, despite being in ketosis for over a month, and so then I read here that cortisol from too few carbs might be to blame, but then I go back to Dr. Harris, and sure enough, he advocates being in ketosis. So, is it cortisol or not? I come here and dig through the archives, or I visit other sites, or I read further into Wolf or Cordain or Devany or Sisson, or..or...or...or.... I'm starting to feel more obsessed with food and what I should or shouldn't eat than a 15 year old anorexic. I went into ketosis because I thought it was easy...eat -50 g. of carb, workout in a sane way, enjoy "effortless" weighloss, then start adding back some carbs when I get to an ideal body composition. But that's not working, and, according to some expert bloggers, shouldn't be working, except for the other expert bloggers, who assure me that it should.

I hope you don't down vote this. I'm frustrated, and I'm tired of spending hours a day reading and reading, trying to figure out what I "should" eat, based on a philosophy of eating that predates language. This ought to be less involved, it feels like. Or, given that it's based solidly in science, there ought to be more consensus among bloggers. "Do what feels right for you" is at best disingenuous; it's either based in science or not. Ketosis is either good for fat loss, or it's not, yes?

Help.

0b177701d919967125bad776fc0f1edc

(140)

on March 29, 2011
at 03:32 PM

best advice right here...filter!

F6c1df7d5699661bd1f0d6d0a6c17fc6

on March 29, 2011
at 11:43 AM

My apologies. My comment was a bit blunt. But yes, there is an overabundance of ellipses and a lack of spaces and paragraphs that made it impossible for me to read yesterday, after a long day at work.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:40 AM

But for now you can do some self-experimentation, one month at a time. I'm doing something like that right now. It's eye-opening.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:39 AM

@Brad: Well, maybe ketosis works for most people but not for all. I mean, what basics can anyone really agree on other than the three horsemen are bad (gluten, excess fructose, excess linoleic), animal fat is good, sleep a lot, and get some exercise? But I feel your frustration. Maybe in 50 years all the science will be better worked out. Nutrition is just a crazily complex thing with lots and lots of variables.

Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on March 28, 2011
at 11:50 PM

What kind of testing? Keep in mind, I live in rural Maryland, in the mountains; there aren't likely to be any Drs here other than very conservative, CW types.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 28, 2011
at 09:34 PM

This is why you need testing from a clinician

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 28, 2011
at 07:29 PM

Yeah, Brad. I just don't think there can be a consensus because everyone is different. Each researcher, blogger, nutritionist is still going based on their results and the results of people that they have been involved with.

Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on March 28, 2011
at 07:16 PM

But I DO get what you mean, and again, I appreciate it.

Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on March 28, 2011
at 07:15 PM

I do hear what you all are saying (and thanks, Melissa), but at the same time, I think my point was about LACK of consensus on basics like ketosis for fat loss vs. cortisol. That seems like it's bigger than a 'tweak', yaknow?

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 28, 2011
at 06:27 PM

Indeed, Melissa is wise. It seems like there's a consensus answer on this thread centered around her response. Something like: stick to the paleo basics that all the bloggers seem to agree on, and from there you'll have to do self-experimentation. Especially if, like Brad, you've already done a lot of reading in the paleosphere. I would just add one thing: self-experimentation can require a lot of discipline, which can be annoying, but in the end I think it's worth it.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on March 28, 2011
at 06:17 PM

you and me both. i totally understand this question but there can be so many answers. metabolic damage and insulin sensitivity has done different things to alot of us and we're kind of trying put an engine back together without a manual haha.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 28, 2011
at 06:05 PM

Aww, thanks LB. You are pretty damn cool, yourself. It's really just that I've been doing this (weight loss) a long time and pretty much hit every road block possible.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on March 28, 2011
at 06:03 PM

melissa, you're awesome :)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 28, 2011
at 06:01 PM

Awesome that you are no longer plateau'd, Todd! \o/

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on March 28, 2011
at 05:44 PM

Agreed. I felt the exact same frusterations as you Brad. One blog says this, one contradicts, etc. It wasn't until Melissa pointed out I wasn't giving each tweak time to show, or not to show, desired benefits. I was in the exact same boat as you, and while I have not figured it out yet, I am no longer plateaud.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 28, 2011
at 05:44 PM

I read it fine Brad, it could use a little help with spacing though. No big deal.

Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on March 28, 2011
at 05:36 PM

Impossible to read??

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on March 28, 2011
at 05:33 PM

Melissa is wise.

F6c1df7d5699661bd1f0d6d0a6c17fc6

on March 28, 2011
at 05:29 PM

Please reformat. Impossible to read.

  • Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

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9 Answers

33
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on March 28, 2011
at 05:22 PM

I would stop reading, Brad.

You need to figure this out yourself with your body. Every body is slightly different, what works for one never works for all.

Come up with a couple of different protocols. Do it ahead of time, not reactionary. Give each new protocol a full month before you switch to something else.

Examples:

Month 1: Raise carbs to 100g per day from good sources like vegetables and tubers. Fat at 60%, carbs/protein 20%ish each. Keep fruit and nuts to 1-2 servings per day. Workout hard 3 days per week. Sleep well.

If that doesn't work, then move on to the next tweak.

Month 2: Lose the dairy, keep everything else the same.

If that doesn't work, move on to the next tweak, try carb cycling or protein cycling or intermittent fasting. Give each new protocol a full month to take affect.

Don't count on anyone else to tell you what works for your body.

I do feel your pain with this, Brad. I haven't come to that point with Paleo, but I did get overwhelmed while I was trying to lose weight occasionally. I had to learn to trust my body and how it reacted to things, whether it was what was "supposed" to happen or not.

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on March 28, 2011
at 05:33 PM

Melissa is wise.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 28, 2011
at 06:05 PM

Aww, thanks LB. You are pretty damn cool, yourself. It's really just that I've been doing this (weight loss) a long time and pretty much hit every road block possible.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 28, 2011
at 06:27 PM

Indeed, Melissa is wise. It seems like there's a consensus answer on this thread centered around her response. Something like: stick to the paleo basics that all the bloggers seem to agree on, and from there you'll have to do self-experimentation. Especially if, like Brad, you've already done a lot of reading in the paleosphere. I would just add one thing: self-experimentation can require a lot of discipline, which can be annoying, but in the end I think it's worth it.

Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on March 28, 2011
at 07:15 PM

I do hear what you all are saying (and thanks, Melissa), but at the same time, I think my point was about LACK of consensus on basics like ketosis for fat loss vs. cortisol. That seems like it's bigger than a 'tweak', yaknow?

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on March 28, 2011
at 05:44 PM

Agreed. I felt the exact same frusterations as you Brad. One blog says this, one contradicts, etc. It wasn't until Melissa pointed out I wasn't giving each tweak time to show, or not to show, desired benefits. I was in the exact same boat as you, and while I have not figured it out yet, I am no longer plateaud.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on March 28, 2011
at 06:03 PM

melissa, you're awesome :)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 28, 2011
at 06:01 PM

Awesome that you are no longer plateau'd, Todd! \o/

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on March 28, 2011
at 06:17 PM

you and me both. i totally understand this question but there can be so many answers. metabolic damage and insulin sensitivity has done different things to alot of us and we're kind of trying put an engine back together without a manual haha.

Aebee51dc2b93b209980a89fa4a70c1e

(1982)

on March 28, 2011
at 07:16 PM

But I DO get what you mean, and again, I appreciate it.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 28, 2011
at 07:29 PM

Yeah, Brad. I just don't think there can be a consensus because everyone is different. Each researcher, blogger, nutritionist is still going based on their results and the results of people that they have been involved with.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:39 AM

@Brad: Well, maybe ketosis works for most people but not for all. I mean, what basics can anyone really agree on other than the three horsemen are bad (gluten, excess fructose, excess linoleic), animal fat is good, sleep a lot, and get some exercise? But I feel your frustration. Maybe in 50 years all the science will be better worked out. Nutrition is just a crazily complex thing with lots and lots of variables.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:40 AM

But for now you can do some self-experimentation, one month at a time. I'm doing something like that right now. It's eye-opening.

5
425aa4bfb79556ed50ea693c3edd7e13

(609)

on March 28, 2011
at 08:39 PM

Part of the problem is that paleo as a movement has attracted a lot of kooks (various real-life roleplaying things like "why can't I go around barefoot?", questions about non-clinically defined issues like "adrenal fatigue") and crackpots ("I take random non-paleo chinese manufactured supplement X consisting of totally unknown and probably month to month inconsistent ingredients and it's totally cured my X!") in addition to the science crowd. As such, a whole mass of standard homeopathic and alternative medicine stuff (including cleansing, ...) shows up mashed into the science-derived paleo basics.

You're going to need to filter.

0b177701d919967125bad776fc0f1edc

(140)

on March 29, 2011
at 03:32 PM

best advice right here...filter!

4
03281912f1cb9e4e771a8a83af302e3a

(1204)

on March 28, 2011
at 05:54 PM

There can be a large amount of cognitive dissonance within the Paleo-sphere. This is a very good question.

The more frustrated you get, the more difficult things will be. Work slowly and deliberately, but don't obsess over everything. Eat Real Food. The gray areas are where the greater Paleo community may be divided on things such as dairy, potatoes, ketosis; but if you remove the seriously destructive things like gluten and seed oils first, you can start to experiment on yourself with the small things.

Focus on getting the best food sources in your body first, and then worry about the nitty-gritty.

4
C029fb3c7c1f1ed4a004390bef728e2d

on March 28, 2011
at 05:43 PM

I would eat larger meals with a higher fat content and fast longer between meals. I would eliminate dairy as it causes a heavy insulin response (casein protein causes insulin levels to spike).

If I was you I'd have a huge lunch and dinner (a late dinner) and completely skip breakfast. Eat like a pig for lunch and dinner tho, enjoy yourself.

3
958192b8b234831ee368575482bd0152

(30)

on March 29, 2011
at 11:39 AM

Hey Brad,

If the way you're eating now isn't making you lose weight, despite being in ketosis, then you obviously have to change the way you're eating. Regardless of what the latest Paleo-guru author says, everyone has their metabolic quirks. In the middle of 2010 after steadily dropping 6-8 lbs. a month with virtually no effort, I was less than 30 lbs. from my goal weight when I hit a plateau. Didn't lose a single pound FOR 4 MONTHS. After much frustration & experimentation with new workout programs, inc. running (which did nothing but make my knees ache -- after shrinking my wallet by $160 for the damn shoes!), bench presses & clean-&-jerks (got up to 50 lbs. & got big, broad shoudlers for my troubles -- which I thought couldn't happen to women!), & kettlebell training (which did change my body for the better! but at this point, I think I need some sessions with a real trainer), I decided to eliminate artificial sweeteners from my diet. I know there are people online who swear that Splenda/Nutrasweet is pure poison, a neurotoxin that causes sexual dysfunction, cancer, MS, Lupus, Alzheimer's & every other freakin' thing. Look, I'd been using Nutrasweet/Splenda since the 1980s -- if the stuff really is poisonous, I'd be dead a dozen times by now. However, I had read, in more than once place, that Splenda/Neutrasweet can inhibit weight loss. So I figured eliminating it was worth a try.

I switched to Agave syrup for a couple of weeks, then I discovered Coconut Blossom Sugar (which is costlier & harder to find, but totally worth it health-wise). Coconut Blossom Sugar is a natural product, still hand-made (apparently, the stuff doesn't lend itself to large-scale manufacturing processes) with the lowest Gylcemic Index (GI) & Glycemix Load (GL) of any sweetener I've found to date. I try to keep my BS below 100 (80-90) before meals & below 125 within an hour after a meal. So I became my own lab rat. I had a BS monitor (which is unfortunately now broken) so I checked by BS after having a cup of hot green tea with coconut sugar, which bought by fasting BS up to 112. (Tea with Agave syrup bought it up to 135.) When I drank the coconut sugar & tea with a normal breakfast (eggs & bacon), my BS peaked at 120. Ninety minutes post-prandial, it was back below 100. And 12 days after switching to coconut blosson sugar, I'd lost a couple of pounds -- & continued losing consistently. So switching to Coconut Blossom Sugar was the answer for me.

My suggestions for you:

1. START MONITORING YOUR BLOOD SUGAR BEFORE & AFTER MEALS

I'm not diabetic but my Da developed Type-2 diabetes in his 6o's, which makes me predisposed to it, so I started monitoring my own BS over the last couple of years. He's deceased now (not from anything related to diabetes), but what I've learned over the last 10 years of reading & self-experimentation has me convinced that he could have reversed his diabetes if he'd changed his diet. I believe MOST Type-2 diabetics can cure themselves if they're willing to ignore most of the conventional wisdom & switch to a VLC/Paleo-type regimen. I say all that to tell you that you need to start monitoring your BS too, Brad. BS meters are cheap as chips now (my doctor actually gives them away) but I think you still need an Rx for the lancets & strips. I've been following this guy's blog (Dr. William Davis) for about a year now & his info on BS & its importance in relation to weight loss & overall health had been very insightful. (BEST TIP: Even a single serving of 'bad foods' -- inc. oatmeal, which most folks consider a 'good carb' -- does real damage to your body in terms of glycation. Which makes it much easier to skip that slice of pizza or 'just 1 cookie'.)

BS values mean differet things for different people, depending on your age, body type, family history & a host of other factors that Dr. Davis talks about in his blogs. But generally speaking, if you can keep your fasting BS <100 before meals, with an increae of not more than 25mg/dl immediately after eating & a return to <100 within 1 hour post-prandial, you'll be safeguarding your health & losing weight at the same time

2. CUT OUT THE CARBS COMPLETELY (inc. all sweetners) FOR 7-10 DAYS Seriously -- your body doesn't need carbs to function, so get rid of them for a week. No sweetners whatsoever -- if you drink a lot of tea (& I do), get used to drinking it unsweetened (green tea isn't bad unsweeetened) -- or switch to plain water with meals. Zero fruit, zero dairy (except butter or cheeses & make sure those are from grassfed cow's milk). No tomatoes, no carrots, no sweet potatoes or root veggies. If you simply 'have to' have veggies on a daily basis, stick to the Very Low Carb varieties: any & all types of lettuce, all the leafy green stuff (kale, collard greens), all the cruciferous veggies (cabbage, broccoli (yuk!), brussel sprouts.) INuts are OK but only Macadamias or Pecans becasue they're VLC (<1gm carbs per 2 tbsp. serving). Cut out carbs, continue with your usual workout regimen & see if you've dropped any weight after Day 7. (If not, keep at it for another 3 days.) If you've lost at least 2 lbs. at Day 10, then it's a good bet that artificial sweetner was inhibiting your weight loss.

3. IF YOU DON'T ALREADY, MAKE SURE ALL YOUR BEEF IS GRASSFED, DITTO FOR YOUR BUTTER & CHEESES For me, the hardest thing about going Paleo has been the cost! With the recent spike in gas prices, I've had to stop buying organic veggies over the past few weeks & return to using conventionalaised produce in order to continue buying grassfed beef. Gassfed beef, butter & cheeses contain Conjugated Linoleic Acid. CLA has been shown to increase fat metabolism. (But it only works when the CLA is consumed in it's naturally-occurring form - i.e. in foods.) Luckily, my local Whole Foods always has grassfed beef on hand. I don't get the variety I'd like in terms of the cuts they have available. But I can always find grassfed ground beef & Kerrygold butter there. (The Kerrygold label doesn't say 'grassfed', but their website states that their cows are grassfed.)

4. IF ALL ELSE FAILS, CONSIDER CHANGING YOUR WORKOUT If you know for sure that your eating habits aren't the problem, try a new fitness regimen. Kettlebells are my workout-of-choice. I haven't tried CrossFit Training yet, but what I've read about it makes sense. And from the videos, it looks like fun!

-- RC

3
66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

on March 28, 2011
at 06:10 PM

i think it's a great question, brad and one there can be a lot of paleo answers to and i think that may be why it seems as if the ground is shifting beneath you. LC paleo usually works for almost everyone for stripping bodyfat relatively quickly. and it's true that ketosis is a great tool for getting bodyfat off rather quickly. before giving up on ketosis, i am curious as what have you done to test if you're in ketosis or not. it seems that it's virtually impossible not to lose weight if you're truly in ketosis- but some people do seem to have a harder time than others getting into ketosis.

once in ketosis for a while, you may want to think about adding some intermittent fasting to the mix. for me, it was like putting a supercharger on what ketosis was already doing...

2
Medium avatar

on March 28, 2011
at 10:26 PM

Paleo in general is a better choice for fat loss than the SAD because the level of appetite is markedly less. Many of us have reported being stricken by just how many hours we can go before our stomach starts growling again. So, if you are experimenting with different meals with satiety in mind, most of the details will take care of themselves. You should be able to get 5 hours out of every meal easy, so if you're not, then something has gone awry. What you want is a high nutrient density, a high level of satiety and a low amount of calories. It's the intersection between those things that creates a good fat-loss diet.

I just construct a lot of meals where half the plate is comprised of eggs or meat of some kind, and then some vegetables or berries and I'll have a potato or sweet potato the size of my fist every day.

Twice a week you need to be eating 1/4lb of ruminant liver for the insane micronutrient density. Toss your multivitamin and eat liver instead. Don't overdo it though.

Find some kelp that you like and start eating it regularly or take an iodine or kelp supplement of some sort.

Take 4-5000IU of vitamin d3 a day. The liver will take care of the vitamin A that needs to complement it and if you eat grass-fed butter, you'll be eating plenty of vitamin K2, which is also complementary with D3, though there is some in liver.

As far as exercise goes, I think everyone should do some kind of resistance training. Find something that you will actually be able and willing to do for a long period of time. Don't construct some kick-ass workout that you'll only do twice realistically. I just do a simple full-body workout a couple times a week. You can skip cardio and just walk as much as possible. Throw your TV in a ditch, shoot it with a rifle and use the extra time to walk for a few miles a day.

2
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on March 28, 2011
at 06:06 PM

The Simple Answer is Self-Experimentation.

We mention N=1 alot here on PH. Everyone is different. Most of the literature put there is in generalities.

Until you experiment Personally you won't know how YOU are effected.

The great news: once you learn how YOU react, the stress goes out the window :)

1
Af9537cfa50562b67979624e9007e12a

(1334)

on March 28, 2011
at 09:53 PM

I find that staying in any one mode for more than 2 or 3 weeks is counter productive anyway, I work out like crazy for a few weeks, then take a week off, no set schedule. same with food, VLC for a couple weeks, then have a couple stupidly high carb/wrong meals, then go right back. this behavior seems to cause a re-set of things, and make it all work right again. besides, you won't lose fat as well if you are all stressed out.....

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