4

votes

first month of paleo: what was your experience?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 20, 2011 at 3:21 PM

I'm new to paleo and would like to have an idea of what kinds of things I can expect, good or bad, within my first month. I know results vary a lot depending on the person and their diet previous to making the switch, but I'd love to hear about everyone's personal experiences. any problems that had to be overcome or waited out are of particular interest, along with any necessary tweaks you found you had to make in fat/protein/carb ratio, mood changes, energy levels, etc. I want to hear it all!

0006976d648025769c9a9820dd40589a

(75)

on May 21, 2011
at 06:00 PM

the night sweat thing is interesting to me. i don't know the physiology behind it but when i cheat and eat grains, even a tiny bit, i will have terrible night sweats

D8195c5ae6c967027a3133d74969d0e1

(543)

on May 20, 2011
at 11:58 PM

not at all! I don't understand it - when I first went vegetarian I had more difficulty adjusting to that! Now I know why!

Ab566019baa884ec9e3327c108586ff8

(1055)

on May 20, 2011
at 10:26 PM

I admire anyone who can do that!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 20, 2011
at 10:10 PM

There used to be anyway a lot post-WAP people on here and in my local scene. Not sure anymore. I still think WAP is solid and works for many people so the proof is in the pudding. I just think it makes more sense ditching grains altogether. I still receive and read my Nourishing Traditions:)

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:58 PM

I would go whole hog, but I just can't afford the week of afternoon crashes it creates, but I am having less desire and just do it from time to time :)

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:40 PM

glad you found something that's working well for you. I've been allowing myself little bits of sugar too, but I'm now into week 2, and I'm hoping I can soon let it go...

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:38 PM

it's very encouraging to hear that you kind of naturally weaned yourself off the sugar and carbs.

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:36 PM

great to hear you had such positive results, even coming from WAP. I'm still trying to figure out what works for me, which includes dairy right now, but maybe I will cut it out in the future...

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:34 PM

sounds great! I hope I end up with the antsy energy too.

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:30 PM

I'm coming from gluten free so I thought it would be simple, but it was definitely hard for me to let go of the rice, quinoa, etc. and the sugar, don't get me started on that!

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:28 PM

was the transition for your stomach difficult coming from a mostly vegetarian diet? did you have to do anything special?

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:26 PM

yes, you are definitely lucky to be able to control your environment. yesterday I spend the entire work day with a huge plate full of doughnuts, cookies, and brownies one foot from me. torture!!

D8195c5ae6c967027a3133d74969d0e1

(543)

on May 20, 2011
at 06:55 PM

forgot to mention how mood-changing this is!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 20, 2011
at 05:27 PM

What have you been eating up till now? SAD? WAP? vegetarian etc?

C9b0f49cc58a60afffe5ca15f823efb0

on May 20, 2011
at 04:32 PM

Thanks for posting this question. I was going to ask it myself soon as the whole fam and I are going sudo-paleo in June and full on paleo in July. I'm loving this site for all of the brain picking! :D

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12 Answers

4
5266ac5977ec9d80ac8047697dbbe55b

(738)

on May 20, 2011
at 04:33 PM

I just remember thinking that I was making things up - I had tried a bunch of new, different, but incredibly unsustainable, things in the past with regard to diet/exercise, and was chalking things up to the "honeymoon phase" or a placebo effect. However, there were just some things that, after a while, I could not deny. My energy levels were up and consistent, I wasn't running for the coffee machine like clockwork when my brain would shut off an hour or so after lunch, I was falling asleep earlier and waking up earlier after sound, restorative sleep, I felt so much stronger while exercising, my skin was clearing up, my sweat wasn't smelling bad, no night sweating, etc etc. A lot of things that I considered "normal" started disappearing, and now I wonder how I ever could have accepted them as normal! Too many positive aspects to count - every aspect of my health/life got, at the very least, a small boost in the first month.

I should mention that I was definitely more sugar/carb heavy in the beginning, but my "weaning" off kind of took care of itself. I definitely had more fruit, dark chocolate, and stevia in the first month than I've had, or even craved, in the months since. I really don't think reaching for berries when/if you would otherwise be reaching for some terrible Neolithic frankenfood is the worst thing. I know others will differ on this...but when I am too hard on myself in the beginning of any lifestyle change, I usually find some self-convincing excuse to quit and go back to my old ways. So for me, a "sweeter tooth" that I satisfied with paleo foods went away pretty quickly as my body adapted to all the other great things I was consuming.

The most helpful thing that has kept me moving is without a doubt online community. A few articles a day keep the statin-prescribing overweight doctor away. I definitely recommend figuring out RSS through something like Google Reader and subscribing to blogs you enjoy, that way there is for sure something new to read each day. Good luck!

0006976d648025769c9a9820dd40589a

(75)

on May 21, 2011
at 06:00 PM

the night sweat thing is interesting to me. i don't know the physiology behind it but when i cheat and eat grains, even a tiny bit, i will have terrible night sweats

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:38 PM

it's very encouraging to hear that you kind of naturally weaned yourself off the sugar and carbs.

3
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 20, 2011
at 05:33 PM

I had five years of WAP behind me when I came to paleo. My transition to strict paleo was very easy. No problems at all.

I def noticed and notice consistent higher energy throughout the day everyday. Y mood is always good.

Never feel bloated. On wap even though the grains are soaked etc I still felt full and bloated after eating them.

Weight management is easy without counting anything. You can indeed overdo anything though. I've put on weight, dropped weight etc with paleo. Calories still count, maybe less than when eating SAD though.

I eat around 150-200 grams of carb from mostly starch Per day and always feel ready for action with this. I am active and lean though.

I def think this is best way to eat bar none. Avoid grains legumes and dairy, done. Tinker with macro nutrients as needed for your own goals. Welcome. All the best.

D8195c5ae6c967027a3133d74969d0e1

(543)

on May 20, 2011
at 06:55 PM

forgot to mention how mood-changing this is!

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:36 PM

great to hear you had such positive results, even coming from WAP. I'm still trying to figure out what works for me, which includes dairy right now, but maybe I will cut it out in the future...

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 20, 2011
at 10:10 PM

There used to be anyway a lot post-WAP people on here and in my local scene. Not sure anymore. I still think WAP is solid and works for many people so the proof is in the pudding. I just think it makes more sense ditching grains altogether. I still receive and read my Nourishing Traditions:)

2
Ab566019baa884ec9e3327c108586ff8

(1055)

on May 20, 2011
at 06:31 PM

my husband and I went cold turkey off of a bad SAD diet in Mid Jan. we did the whole9 30 day challenge. and other than a few "accidental" tiny cheats (not correctly reading labels or knowing what hidden ingredients we were looking for) we were 100%. I think weaning off of sugar would have never worked for us. I am thankful everyday that I am a stay at home mom and have full control of my environment. The bad food are gone and I don't have to watch co-workers eat or turn down bad foods. My husband on the other hand has the complete opposite being that he works in food service and is constantly surrounded by it all the time. I KNOW I couldn't have been as strong as him in a similar situation.

For me the first 2 weeks were the hardest,..it got easier everyday after that. We are going on 4.5 months now. I have lost 40 lbs and hubby has lost 30. He is 5 lbs away from his goal weight, I have another 40 to go. Neither of us have worked out consistently, but are active around the house.

I get frustrated when the scale doesn't move for a week or so,..then bam I'm down 3-4 lbs. Hopefully that will continue and i can be down 20 at the end of summer and 20 more by jan of next year,....that's the goal anyways.

We took pics the night before we started paleo and now every 30 days - that has been a great motivator to help see progress.

The most important thing is getting started but not fretting over every tiny detail - it comes to you as you get farther in. Just eat as cleanly as possible without ALLOWING cheats for the first 30 days and then you'll be motivated to keep it going.

Ab566019baa884ec9e3327c108586ff8

(1055)

on May 20, 2011
at 10:26 PM

I admire anyone who can do that!

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:26 PM

yes, you are definitely lucky to be able to control your environment. yesterday I spend the entire work day with a huge plate full of doughnuts, cookies, and brownies one foot from me. torture!!

2
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on May 20, 2011
at 04:28 PM

I was "mostly Paleo" (or so I thought) for years, and went strict about a month ago. Even though I didn't eat a lot of bad carbs to begin with (the occasional pizza, pasta, or bagel), I was surprised by how much different I feel.

I was having daily (sometimes hourly) IBS type symptoms and got onto the fermented food bandwagon, which helped but not completely. Switching to Paleo (specifically dropping sugar and grains) completely "fixed" my digestion within about 3 days. It was like flipping a switch. I never before thought that I might be gluten intolerant, but now I wonder (need to get myself tested). Since then, when I cheat with some grains, I pay for it for about 1-2 days.

I also went fairly low carb (my diet of choice anyway), and found the Paleo diet is a natural appetite suppressant. I found it easy to skip breakfast and/or lunch. I also got a LOT more energy. I had been running every other day, and used the off days to relax. Now, on my off days, I get antsy and can't sit still, so I am now getting significant exercise every day.

Obviously, less food and more exercise means weight loss. I was not really looking to lose weight, though maybe lose an inch or two at the waist. After 2 weeks I was already getting comments from people asking if I had lost weight, and all of my pants are loose, and I'm wearing jeans that I haven't been able to fit into in 5 years. I haven't been on the scale in about a week but I'd guess that I've lost 5-6 pounds (down from ~225#).

I also sleep like a rock, I have never been a good sleeper, but now at bedtime I can't stay awake and sleep much better.

My moods have also been better, I don't get grouchy as easy, there are less swings, and generally I feel more composed all of the time. I think part of this is due to vitamin D supplements I started taking at around the same time. I never get that blood sugar crash feeling that I used to get which was really rough on my moods (as my wife will tell you), even first thing in the morning.

So, in short, it's really been fast and amazing in just a short time.

About the only thing that I've given up that I miss is beer, but I had a couple the other night and they did not even taste good. All alcohol hits me harder now, which might actually be a good thing. I have never been big on sugar and starch anyway so I don't really miss any of that. I would like to have crackers every now and then for cheese and whatnot but it is not a big deal. Considering you can have all of your basic meat+potato dishes and any fruit or vegetable, it is an easy "diet" to keep. I cook a lot of traditional French and Euro style food and have barely changed how I cook. I still make some pasta for the wife + kids but the entree and side dishes have remained the same.

I drink more water, I'm not dying thirsty but do drink a bit more of it than I used to. Also, if you are avoiding sugar and don't want to overdo it with either caffeine or alcohol, water is pretty much your last choice for beverage.

I have started to crave more salt, maybe because I'm not getting any sodium in processed foods, or because I'm starting to get deficient on some vitamins or minerals. I have a bunch of high-mineral salt (i.e. Celtic sea salt and pink Himalayan salt) and can almost eat it with a spoon. The only supplement I'm taking is vitamin D (600IU/day) and the occasional 500mg vitamin C. I used to take flax seed oil daily, but feel that I don't need it any more.

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:34 PM

sounds great! I hope I end up with the antsy energy too.

1
D8195c5ae6c967027a3133d74969d0e1

on May 20, 2011
at 06:53 PM

I was mostly vegetarian when I went on Paleo almost 100 days ago - yes I'm counting! I took to it like (fill in your own cliche) - the most rewarding thing I've done for my health in my 64 years. From day 1 - I've not had a single negative response physically - I was amazed that I wouldn't experience some sort of sugar shock, hunger (I'm never ever ever hungry) - meat is a delicious food source (who'd-a-thunk?!) - not to mention no more meds for RA and very little occasional osteo-a pain, no reflux, and 30 lbs lost without trying - I haven't been 100% because on a fixed income after being disabled from the RA (no longer applicable, but hard to reverse) - I can't afford this diet - I eat from the supermarket (horrors!) so I supplement with vit - d3 and lots of Omega 3's - I eat plenty of avocados! I had a problem a few wks. ago when I ate an entire 85% choc bar - Loves me chocolate - woke up next day with a headache - so I have just a little square now and then! My favorite dessert is either some fruit - or some fruit with coconut milk - put in the freezer - sometimes with a teeny drizzle of honey - and if I really pig out - topped with crushed pecans! Sweet - is no longer "appealing" to me - never thought those words would escape my lips! I love eating this way! and so does my body - wish I knew about this 40 yrs. ago!

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:28 PM

was the transition for your stomach difficult coming from a mostly vegetarian diet? did you have to do anything special?

D8195c5ae6c967027a3133d74969d0e1

(543)

on May 20, 2011
at 11:58 PM

not at all! I don't understand it - when I first went vegetarian I had more difficulty adjusting to that! Now I know why!

1
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on May 20, 2011
at 03:47 PM

For me, getting off of sugar and grain products in the first month was pretty tough. I had to cheat once or twice a week, but worked it out eventually. I still ate A LOT, but it's what I ate that changed. Also, my weight loss was rapid at first (averaged 15 lbs/month), which of course excited me and helped me stay on track. My weight loss slowed since then, so be prepared for that and don't get discouraged.

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:30 PM

I'm coming from gluten free so I thought it would be simple, but it was definitely hard for me to let go of the rice, quinoa, etc. and the sugar, don't get me started on that!

1
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on May 20, 2011
at 03:34 PM

I recently got back on the wagon(1). It reminded me of starting the first time.

I really crash hard when I come off sugar, that made my first month hard. This time I am trying to gracefully reduce instead of going cold turkey, mostly this amounts to a little sugar ever third day or so. This had made it a lot easier for me this time around. I am also keeping carbs a little higher with no grains, this also seems to help. I know it isn't whole hog, but my body seems to like me going a little more gently this time.

I also get really thirsty. I don't force water, but I end up drinking a lot more at first.

Oh and at least for me there is a period of irregularity while my digestion adapts, I find that taking Magnisum is helping with that this time around.

(1) Yea, I totally fell off the wagon and had a horrible few months (pneumonia, lots of migraines, fatigue, joint pain, oh and I gained 30 lbs). Then I tired to get back on and had a sandwich after a week without grains. I got a blazing migraine within an hour. I realized I had FAR fewer migraines on paleo and so I jumped back on full force. Since then the only migraine has been after eating Mongolian BBQ and not being careful enough about gluten in the sauces.

7b439bc3c2033329fc3c64937825ac6c

(255)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:40 PM

glad you found something that's working well for you. I've been allowing myself little bits of sugar too, but I'm now into week 2, and I'm hoping I can soon let it go...

1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on May 20, 2011
at 07:58 PM

I would go whole hog, but I just can't afford the week of afternoon crashes it creates, but I am having less desire and just do it from time to time :)

0
F6ea948ab43dc51d72509c0989e670fe

(1639)

on May 21, 2011
at 09:38 PM

I dropped 15 pounds without weighing and measuring my food.

My hair changed color. I lost most of my white, and some of my gray. My beard and hair are darker in color. Any wheat/sugar eaten immediately brings back the white...

I can eat spicy foods (I attribute this to healing the gut). Went from tolerating 1 star thai, to enjoying 5 star thai food and asking for the spice rack to give it a bit extra oomphf.

My personality changed. I used to be super-easy going, but am now done with any sort of political bs or office politics. I just tell the truth and speak my mind. Definitely no fear of other people.

Lost my allergies to plants, green things, and trees. No allergy meds needed!

No brain fog after the first week.

Lost my cravings for "non-paleo food" after about 10 days.

Clear skin. Noticed it after day 15 or so. Have always had bad acne.

Increased energy. At times, I had to workout to sleep. Also, reduced recovery times after working out.

Different schedule. I noticed my body naturally resetting my bedtime earlier than I'm used to. I started getting tired around 10-11 p.m., instead of 2-3 a.m.

0
0006976d648025769c9a9820dd40589a

on May 21, 2011
at 06:01 PM

At first I dreamed about grains. I'm not kidding. I dreamed about bathing in tubs of oatmeal and about eating bowl after bowl of Cheerios. But after a few weeks it stopped. I never crave them anymore unless I'm having a really bad day.

0
Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on May 20, 2011
at 09:34 PM

I went from SAD to paleo cold turkey for the first month. My experience was:

First week: VERY hungry. I ate and ate and ate. I felt good though and the appetite gradually tapered off.

Second and Third week: Brain fog. I didn't really notice it myself at the time, but people around me asked. I attributed it to drinking less coffee. This also passed.

Fourth week and beyond: all good

0
13db020c06c22c2f8b129034ddc013e4

on May 20, 2011
at 08:41 PM

First few weeks I had pretty fast weight-loss (8# or so) and blood pressure shot down (so I went off meds). After that the weight loss stopped for a few weeks then resumed (about 1# per week), and my blood numbers stayed the same. This seems like a common pattern on Paleo (big drop, then plateau, then the 'whoosh' resumes).

The first week or 10 days I had outrageous levels of energy. Like I was on meth. I think it was probably a side-effect of ketosis. That calmed down, but I still have a lot of energy compared to pre-Paleo.

About 4 weeks in, got my cholesterol checked and my HDL and triglycerides had declined, my LDL had gone way up. Worried about the HDL, I read (here) that your numbers will get worse temporarily, since weight-loss itself worsens HDL (since you're 'living on lard').

I found cuts heal slower and bruises stay around longer. The latter seems due to weight loss (capillaries are newly semi-exposed), I'm not sure why the former. I'm in Florida, it's been getting hotter, so that could be something to do with it since I had the same living in Thailand.

After about 2 weeks I became more sensitive to sugar, so even a glass of milk tasted really sweet. This seems common.

Hope some of this is useful!

-2
368712635a54d64a3464af89f67b2c47

(-28)

on May 20, 2011
at 06:54 PM

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