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Skinny Guy on Paleo: Day 5

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 13, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Hi all,

I'm doing the paleo diet for several reasons: to try to gain weight in a healthy way, cut out unhealthy food, and to support my fiance as she is doing paleo too (she has skin allergies and bloating issues; we've tried many different diets and fasts over the years and none helped).

We both felt great for the first few days, but the low energy dips and foggy-headedness has set in since then. We've both tried to cut back on our exercise for now (we usually work out 5 times per week) and we've tried to up our fat intake.

Yesterday I had, in the following order: -a smoothie with raw eggs, coconut milk and fruit; -some raw walnuts, almonds, and cashews; -leftover paleo spaghetti (lots of grass fed ground beef, veggies, and spaghetti squash); -chicken salad (two chicken cutlets, half slice of thick bacon, 1 avocado, juice of 1 lemon, 1 big piece celery, basil, parsley, onion, and 3 or 4 handfuls of greens) -more raw nuts, including raw macadamia nuts -steamed broccoli, roasted cauliflower, turkey sausage cooked with onion, bell pepper, and a litte grass fed butter

That's basically how we've been eating (I have to eat more than her, as I'm more hungry; I'm trying to gain weight, she's trying to lose a little) and I feel like crap. I picked up some acetyl l-carnitine last night, to try to help the transition ease over...

I ate healthier than the general US population before this. A bowl of steel cut oats each morning with fruit, always eat tons of veggies, we juiced nearly everyday and made smoothies with fresh fruit and veggies. We limited our grain intake and tried to stick to gluten free for a while. I was a coffee drinker (everyday). I recently cut out cream and used grassfed butter (it's amazing!). I've been alternating between coffee and tea on a daily basis. I haven't experience the awful withdrawal headaches thankfully.. but, I suppose my symptoms could be from coffee withdrawal too?

My big concern is that I'm losing a little weight and I'm already skinny. I'm about 5 10 and weigh 136. When I started paleo I weighed 138.5.

I should mention, I've tried to gain weight in the past, both with healthy and unhealthy diets, and they never worked. I could eat over 6,000 calories a day and not gain anything (I tried this, to stock up before a jaw surgery and it didnt work, it just bloated me).

I also have a history of anxiety problems, which I'm sure isn't helping with the mental aspect of things. I'm near the end of a grad program, working a job I dislike and trying to find a full-time job elsewhere. And we're having financial problems, so the relationship hasn't been great lately. STRESS.

As I briefly mentioned above, I would eventually like to gain more muscle mass on this diet. I don't want to be huge, but not like stick.

Well, that was a long post. I welcome any thoughts and advice. Thanks.

C5c1073ffc65c5b737408d1d6cc68e86

(610)

on March 13, 2013
at 02:36 PM

Rick: I agree here with greymouser. You need to get some dense root veggies in your diet in order to gain weight and up the carbs a bit. This will probably help with your crappy feelings as well.

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Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on March 13, 2013
at 02:26 PM

I would eventually like to gain more muscle mass on this diet. I don't want to be huge, but not like stick.

Okay, let's look at your diet ...

Yesterday I had, in the following order: -a smoothie with raw eggs, coconut milk and fruit; -some raw walnuts, almonds, and cashews; -leftover paleo spaghetti (lots of grass fed ground beef, veggies, and spaghetti squash); -chicken salad (two chicken cutlets, half slice of thick bacon, 1 avocado, juice of 1 lemon, 1 big piece celery, basil, parsley, onion, and 3 or 4 handfuls of greens) -more raw nuts, including raw macadamia nuts -steamed broccoli, roasted cauliflower, turkey sausage cooked with onion, bell pepper, and a litte grass fed butter

That is not bad, honestly, but it's not great. The main thing I'm seeing lacking from this is tubers, more/denser squash, roots, sweet potatoes, and all related (potatoes, taro, yucca, etc). For most, I'd say make the nuts a sometimes-food, but in your case, definitely stick with that if it doesn't interfere with you being able to eat more tubers/roots. Also I should mention: it can't hurt to add some fish to the meat you are eating - good job on the beef, but prefer fish over chicken or pork.

Working out 5ish times a week is fine -- but keep the the exercise varied day to day. For example, don't run 10 miles 5 days a week, that may encourage muscle catabolism. If you keep exercise varied, and especially lift heavy things and also do movements like squats and lunges, you just need to have your diet augment and complement your exercise to encourage the body to grow.

I firmly believe that dense carbohydrates can help you here. Generally stick with the diet you have, just add some tubers/roots to nearly every meal.

C5c1073ffc65c5b737408d1d6cc68e86

(610)

on March 13, 2013
at 02:36 PM

Rick: I agree here with greymouser. You need to get some dense root veggies in your diet in order to gain weight and up the carbs a bit. This will probably help with your crappy feelings as well.

0
A8dc0864e48ea2e8368b7a93f06dd850

(115)

on March 13, 2013
at 02:28 PM

I don't have particular advice, but would also like to share something as your situation sounds similar to ours. My husband is also on the skinny side, athletic though, 5'9'' and was 128 pounds before he decided to start gaining weight. He's 143lbs now and is stuck at that weight. He recently changed jobs going from swimming instructor to an office job, so can no longer have all 3 meals at home and exercise 2 hours a day, so I imagine his weight will go down again. Anyway, paleo didn't work for him in terms of he needed a lot of carbs to gain and maintain weight, of course lots of fat too, he's Asian and a paleo non-believer, he does all this healthy stuff for me. So he ended up eating a lot of basmati rice. I can not take away his morning bread from him, as he can only eat 1-2 eggs in the morning and then feels stuffed, but can down 4 thick slices of toast. Only thing I can say is you need a lot of carbs and maybe a different exercise routine? What do you usually do?

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