24 yrs old, female, 5'8", 108 lbs
Been doing Paleo plus raw dairy for about a month. Started high protein, moderated carb, fats were too low. I've adjusted to high fat and moderate protein while cutting carbs down to 30-40 grams a day. Exercise daily, cardio and 3 x week heavy weights. Pretty strict, very little cheating.
I drink about 175-200 oz of water daily, and it still doesn't quench my thirst. My mouth is dry, I sometimes get dull headaches, my lips are chapped, I have always struggled with constipation but it's gotten much worse. I have all the classic signs of dehydration, but how can that be when I drink so much water?
Is this an electrolyte imbalance? Please help me! Also, the thirst gets worse as the day goes in.
asked byowletkeeper (5)
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on November 20, 2015
at 10:30 PM
Why do you think your dietary fat was "too low," before switching to higher fat? Based on what rationale?
As for the thirst issue, I have no definitive answer. I'm sorry.
However, from someone who has crashed-and-burned from too much stress (excessive exercise, intermittent fasting, insufficient sleep) and too little carbs, I sincerely implore you to re-examine your current regimen.
You're very young and your body can be pretty forgiving...for a while. But, if you keep pushing it, you may cause irrevocable harm. I'm speaking from experience. I realize this sounds alarmist and perhaps even over-the-top. That's fine. I wish I had listened to those that tried to warn me. This is my attempt to try and help someone else prevent the mistakes I made.
1. Forget about scale weight. It's practically meaningless. Your height/weight seem pretty ideal. "Ideal," that is, in the sense that you're not overweight or obese. And, to my point about scale weight being practically meaningless, no one needs a scale to determine if they are overweight or obese. They only need a mirror. Women receive too many negative and harmful messages--directly and indirectly--from society and the media about their bodies. Young women, in my view, are the most vulnerable. Perhaps not you, I'm generalizing.
2. Take it easy on the exercise. Yes, I realize this website is called PALEOhacks, so the idea of doing less is blasphemous. I get it. Again, I'm providing an opinion, based on my own experience of doing what you're doing--which is likely OVER-doing it. Find things that allow you to be active, but with so much structure that it's classified as "exercise." Depending on where you live and the climate, that may or may not be so easy. Where I live, we can hike in the mountains, ride bikes, walk in the park, etc. The point is to find physical activity that's fun. (e.g. Playing Frisbee, softball, basketball, etc.)
3. EAT MORE CARBS! This should be #1, but I was afraid you might stop reading. Regardless of what anyone says, carbohydrates are the preferred/optimal fuel for your body.* I realize that people CAN and DO fuel themselves with fat. Even athletes. However, that does not mean it's ideal. How many people fuel themselves with Pop Tarts and Big Gulps? I mean, they're still functioning, right? (rhetorical question) Even Loren Cordain stated that "fat burns best in a carbohydrate flame." The more exercise you do, the more carbs you need. (See #2) Robb Wolf has stated this, too, regarding carbs.
4. Eat plenty of calories. Self explanatory. Aside from skipping "junk" calories (which I'm sure you already avoid), also skip calories from beverages like smoothies and protein shakes. Get your nutrients from whole foods in their natural state. You should eat FOOD, not MACRONUTRIENTS. The macro-/micro-nutrients come along with the food and include far more than fat, carbs, and protein.
5. Get plenty of rest. This is so huge, I could not possibly do it justice in a pithy post. But, related to #2, sleep should be of paramount importance--for your mental, physical, and emotional health. This doesn't mean just sleeping, it means resting and relaxing. Reading a book, listening to music, meditating, watching an enjoyable movie, etc. It means doing things that lower your stress level.
I believe this would be a good starting place for you...IF you're in the mindset to try something different, in order to get a different result. If you're not, then, of course, there's no sense trying.
My perspective is too many people are trying to "Paleo" too hard. As I mentioned in a different post, "Paleo" doesn't even have a singular definition anymore. And, when people start trying to force their bodies to follow some "plan," rather than their own internal guidance, eventually, things can start to go wrong. Maybe it even starts with something strange--like excessive thirst.
Do what humans have done for thousands of years. Or, better yet, avoid what humans have NOT done for thousands of years. All the other noise about insulin, carbs, ketosis, macronutrient rations, etc., is, for most people, just that--a lot of noise.
Good luck and let us know how it goes.
*For anyone else reading this that wishes to vehemently disagree, please do so--internally, to yourself. I have no desire to "debate" anyone on the topic. Since this is my opinion, a debate would be ridiculous. I respect peoples' choice to eat whatever they want, whether that's sweet potatoes, cow's milk and blood, whale blubber, or 30 bananas a day. Whatever you choose, I wish you health.
on November 20, 2015
at 07:14 PM
It's been almost 2 years now and I thought I'd give an update given the recent activity. I started taking Natural Calm magnesium supplement each day and it's helped tremendously. Also gained about 10-15 lbs which has probably aided as well. Thanks for the help everyone!
on November 19, 2015
at 03:44 AM
You are severely underweight. That's more likely to be your problem than simple dehydration. You also need protein (albumin) to hold water in your blood stream. At your level of malnutrition, it's unlikely that anything is in balance.
on November 16, 2015
at 05:54 AM
I've had unquenchable thirst before as well. It turned out to be magnesium at the time. It's simple to test: Take 100% of the RDA of magnesium and see if it helps or put a pinch of epsom salts in a cup of warm water and see if it tastes good. It took me a while to figure out as I never knew one could be "thirsty" for magnesium.
Sometimes my thirst is caused by need for sodium or potassium. It takes a little experimenting, but after a while, you can recognize your different thirsts and won't have to guess.
on January 20, 2014
at 12:52 PM
I've been adding a little salt to my "buttered greens" stir fry every day, but that's about it. I have a big pot of bone broth on right now. I'll add some salt to that and see how I feel.
I ate a big green banana after posting last night and felt better. Thanks for all the input. I hate feeling so miserable!
on January 20, 2014
at 10:39 AM
When I first started the Paleo diet, I hit this pretty hard. Super thirsty all day long, drinking water all day, peeing frequently. Eventually, this turned into sore leg muscles and it was confusing for a minute. The solution was salt.
I noticed it takes a full day or two to modulate my water retention after changing the electrolyte balance.
What I did was take a 20+ year diet of high salt low potassium low exercise, and instantly flipped it to a high potassium low sodium, low calorie diet with moderate exercise and faced the problems you describe. I started supplement magnesium, but it didn't help until I got my sodium under control. I now put salt on my salads, eat broth several times a week, cook with soy sauce / salt, and occasionally add salt to my water (around 3-5g/d.)
When I had gone straight to a mostly fruit/veg diet, I was lucky to get over 1g a day.
on January 20, 2014
at 07:15 AM
@owletkeeper apologies I miscalculated the conversion from ounces to litres, that seems a lot of water so please ignore my previous answer :)
on January 20, 2014
at 07:13 AM
@owletkeeper I am having dehydration issues too. I have read a lot on the subject and it is widely known that your body will repel water when you remove the carbs from your diet, so factoring that in, as well as the exercise output you mention, I would imagine that there is an argument that you could increase your water intake by 50% again.