Been going Paleo for a little over a week, ZERO energy and nauseated. HELP!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 11, 2012 at 4:26 PM

I've been going paleo for over a week. I so badly want to keep with it, at least for 90 days to see how it affects my health (hopefully for the best). I am an active person and in pretty decent shape. I've read other posts about cutting down on cardio and only weight training. I'm in the military and must be able to keep up a decent run time to pass my physical tests. Cutting my cardio is not an option. I've been going by the meal plan almost exactly in Robb Wolf's "The Paloeo Solution". The day I started paleo, I felt horrible. I had no energy, I was sick to my stomach, and I was light headed... I figured, "ok, maybe a couple days of this to cleanse my body is normal." Its been over a week, and I get winded just going up the stairs in my house. I feel no different than the first day I started. Could I still be getting used to the diet? Am I just not getting enough carbs? Any help would be greatly appreciated!



on July 11, 2012
at 04:57 PM

Sounds like not enough carbs. Can you edit your post to give a sense of foods and quantities in a typical day?

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8 Answers


on July 11, 2012
at 05:55 PM

As previously mentioned by some of the replies here.

You're not getting enough carbohydrates. Whether in the form of "safe starches" (sweet potatoes). Or if it doesn't really matter, go with Tim Ferris's Slow Carb approach (Black Beans)

Now let's break this down

  1. You're experiencing a normal "symptom" of someone that's not fat adapted. You'll go through this lack of energy for as short as a week to as long as a month. Drink water, eat more fat, increase protein intake and every now and then a few "safe starches".

  2. Yes you most definitely can cut back on you're "Cardio". Go lift heavy and do some sprints. If you don't mind a little foul language, have a read;



on July 11, 2012
at 05:36 PM

What you are experiencing is normal given that your body will go through a mild adeptation phase. I would recommend 2-3 meals per day with a good mix of protein, fat and some safe carbs, no snacks. Why do you need to snack if you eat a decent meal. Snacking only tells your body that you don't need to get fat-adapted since you are getting some food every few hours. You want to allow your body to up regulate fat metabolizing enzymes. Give it a chance. For a more specific answer to your question, give more specifics on what you are eating, when, and what activities you are participating in.


on July 11, 2012
at 07:35 PM

I think you need to get fat adapted first and then to get enough carbs for handling your day.

Carbs are great for short, intense energy bursts, whereas fat is a little bit slower. Ideally you use only glycogen for your carb bursts, not glucose directly. So have enough carbs to keep your glycogen storage up, but not too much.

I became fat adapted in about a week by just not eating every other day. I wasn't even eating Paleo the days I ate. I got pretty lean. Fasting will tell your body to up the fat metabolism pronto :-)

That may be too much for you and what you could do instead is skip breakfast or eat only fat at breakfast (e.g. coffee and heavy cream), and then have your carbs and protein during a n 8-hour (for example) window. That way you'll provide energy and your body has to learn to bridge those 16 hours without incoming glucose.

Before long you won't need your glucose shots and then you can start eating carbs again. Generally you want to limit them to about 600 calories although your activity level is important.


on July 11, 2012
at 05:34 PM

When I first started, I was tired and irritable. I believed it was the body's way of detoxing some of the garbage that I've been putting in my system over the years. I drank a LOT of water (coffee only in the morning) and ate only protein (eggs and meat) and veggies. I don't know what your diet was like prior to starting Paleo but if there was sugar and lots of grains involved, I'd assume you're going through withdrawal of some sorts which could explain the headaches. Remember that you're now getting carbs from veggies and not grains so I'd suggest upping that portion. Just make sure you're eating enough. The headaches and tiredness will pass. Keep in mind that your body used to use other things for fuel/energy. You've just thrown it a monkey wrench and it doesn't know what to do yet. Give it another week and I'm sure you'll be just fine.


on July 11, 2012
at 05:33 PM

Ditto on checking your caloric intake. Use something like MyPlate to check the number of calories you are getting. Add some sweet potatoes to your meals if you want to up your carbs and still be paleo friendly.


on July 11, 2012
at 05:08 PM

The same thing happened to me. I am never the tired type, especially at work, and was exhausted while doing Paleo whereas I thought I would have more energy. I am an athlete and am quite sure it was due to lack of carbs.

My Paleo diet would be something like eggs with veggies for breakfast, fruit for a mid-morning snack, chicken and kale for lunch, nuts for a mid-afternoon snack, and then either fish/lean red meat and veggies/salad for dinner.

I missed the carbs and decided to modify my diet to have more carbs, such as organic/gluten-free pasta, and rice, and I've felt fine since. While I know the aforementioned is not wholly Paleo, I honestly don't really care. It's about listening to your body and giving it the nutrients it needs.

I still don't eat dairy, soy or bread, but have ventured away from the semi-strict Paleo diet in order to balance my nutrition and sustain energy throughout my busy days.

Good luck!



on July 11, 2012
at 05:02 PM

What are you eating each day? Are you getting enough food in? enough liquids? When I started, I found (and I'm still finding) that when i don't eat enough I'm always tired. Keeping up the normal run schedule I used to do was difficult at first as I transitioned and I found I had to back down for a little bit before ramping back up as my body adjusted to how it was being fueled. running is now MUCH much easier.



on July 11, 2012
at 04:40 PM

Check your caloric intake. Are you getting enough? Also, posting what you typically eat and do in a day is immensely helpful.

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