1 Week on Paleo - Feel Like Garbage

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created April 05, 2012 at 3:16 PM

The first few days I had the shakes in my hands whenever I got hungry. Now I no longer get the shakes. I just feel sick and tired all the time. Last night I could barely keep my eyes open til 8pm. Slept from 8 to 7:30 this morning and still feel tired. My arms and legs feel like dead weight and feel very weak. I have to force myself to eat now because I just dont feel hungry at all.

My typical meals.

Breakfast: Pice of fruit. Apple or Banana ~100 calories

Lunch: Bowl of Meaty Chili ~500 calories

Dinner: two chicken breasts and a cup each of steamed brocoli and carrots. ~600 calories.

EDIT - a Lot of people have wondered about my height/weight and activity level. So here it is. 6'0" or 182 cm. 338 lbs or 153 kilograms. Activity level: sedentary. Spend all day at work in front of a computer. When I say I dont feel hungry i mean that literally. Just thinking of food makes me feel like i'll vomit.



on April 05, 2012
at 10:09 PM

You desperately need a regular course of intense exercise at least a half-hour at a minimum of four days a week. Maybe every day if you can manage it. You need to be sweating every day if possible. Unless you sweat how can you release the toxins from your organs ?



on April 05, 2012
at 09:29 PM

It takes a lot of muscle to mover around 338 pounds so I agree that you are probably shy on the amount of protein you are consuming. To add to that however, you are detoxing from the sugar, gluten, processed food that you used to put into your body. It is going to take a little bit of time to get past that. You are now on the right 'medicine', paleo food, and you have give it time to work. Many people take 2 weeks or a little longer to get past this stage. Keep going on this path, paleo, it will get better. And congratulations for making this leap into health. You can do it!



on April 05, 2012
at 08:45 PM

What a load of crap these responses are. This guy could NOT EAT A THING for the next 6 months (literally) and nothing bad would happen.* This is backed by solid scientific research. You feel like garbage because you sit at a computer all day and weigh 300+ lbs. Don't feel bad about not feeling hungry, eat some protein and drive on man! As soon as you can, start walking as much as possible. You WILL feel better. Good luck and welcome aboard.



on April 05, 2012
at 07:47 PM

Dude like others have said eat!! Start with your breakfast add 34 pieces of bacon, 3 eggs, and half an avacado for a start!



on April 05, 2012
at 06:48 PM

OMG - what in the world are you doing to yourself... Are you on hunger strike? If you are, I hope you have a very good cause. Go on Terry Wahls diet version of Paleo (it is Paleo but it is more prescriptive). You will get your energy back.



on April 05, 2012
at 06:43 PM

a Lot of people have wondered about my height/weight and activity level. So here it is. 6'0" or 182 cm. 338 lbs or 153 kilograms. Activity level: sedentary. Spend all day at work in front of a computer.



on April 05, 2012
at 04:53 PM

Maybe it's not paleo, maybe it's the fact that you're eating 1200 calories a day.



on April 05, 2012
at 04:31 PM

Eating just fruit for breakfast would throw me into a very unpleasant sugar high/crash, which feels a lot like shakes in the hands.



on April 05, 2012
at 04:17 PM

Dood, eat some food.

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17 Answers



on April 05, 2012
at 03:53 PM

The other posters are right -- 1200 is the absolute minimum you should be consuming ever, and there are very few people (other than those on strict calorie restriction plans) who dip that low at all. Calorie intake is the primary concern, but there are some other tweaks that may make you feel better as well.

  • Eat more! (This is the first thing you should do, and I almost guarantee you'll feel better.) If you don't eat enough calories,
  • Increase fat intake: you aren't eating a lot of fat, so it seems. Get some fattier chicken (thighs) or eat it with the skin on, put olive oil, coconut oil, or butter on your veggies, and have an avocado or some nuts on occasion.
  • Have some protein at breakfast: Eating nothing but fruit for breakfast gives your body a huge dose of fructose and not much else. Have some protein (eggs, chicken, BACON) if you can, or at least some nuts or another fat.

Jumping straight into paleo is a big adjustment -- especially if you're coming from typical SAD eating -- so congratulations on making the leap. Your body might take a while to adjust, but you will feel much better once you adjust.



on April 05, 2012
at 04:42 PM

I don't like saying "That's not paleo" because it usually smacks of elitism.

However, while your food has paleo components... "that's not paleo".

Eat some meat! Chicken doesn't count. Try eating 3 meals with a bare minimum of 700 calories each and see if you still feel like "garbage".

Let's theoretically compare what you are eating, and what I would eat given the same:

Before:Breakfast: Pice of fruit. Apple or Banana ~100 calories
After:Breakfast: 8 large strawberries, two eggs fried in butter, 4oz of kale sauteed in bacon fat, 2oz pastured pork sausage. ~700 calories (guess)

Before: Lunch: Bowl of Meaty Chili ~500 calories question? no-beans chili or chili with beans?
After: Lunch: Bowl of no-beans beef chili, one avocado, 1oz pork skins, 1 lime, juiced. ~800 calories (again, a guess)

Before: Dinner: two chicken breasts and a cup each of steamed brocoli and carrots. ~600 calories. After: Dinner: 16oz grass-fed ribeye seared in cast iron, pan deglazed with red-wine to pour over the finished steak, broccoli and carrots stir-fried in coconut oil and seasoned with sea salt. ~1300 calories (yet another guess, but after a year of logging my food, I'm pretty sure it's close)

See the difference?

EDIT Sure enough, I did the math just to make sure I wasn't talking out my a.. . According to CRON-o-Meter that breakfast is 703.8 calories, that lunch is 925 calories (whoops), and the dinner was 1163 calories. A daily intake of 2790 calories, 63% fat (198gm), 10.5% carb (82gm), 26.5% protein (188gm)



on April 05, 2012
at 03:30 PM

If "Dood" implies that you are a dude (i.e. male), then 1200 total calories a day is awfully low. I eat 1500 on my rest days, and an easy 2000 on workout days -- and I'm losing weight.

Please increase your food intake. To me, that is dangerously low.


on April 05, 2012
at 04:22 PM

Eat more of everything, especially protein and fat!!!



on April 05, 2012
at 05:12 PM

This may have already been said, but...you may want to think about eating some food. To figure out how many calories you should be eating, use a site of calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate) and adjust for activity level (sitting or standing work ect.) Then use a site like fitday.com to calculate how many calories you are burning in addition activities each day in terms of workouts and sports. THEN MAKE SURE YOU ARE EATING AT LEAST THAT MUCH.

As you make the transition from SAD to paleo, don't worry about trying to cut calories. You'll die. I'm a 150 pound woman and if I was eating what you are eating, I would be sobbing in a pile on the floor and gnawing on my own arm in desperate search for sustenance. My BMR alone (the amount of calories I would burn just by being alive even if I was in a coma) is about 1400 calories, to give you an idea of what you are trying to do here. Once you have converted to primarily fat-burning (I've been eating lacto-paleo for about 4 months now and I'm STILL working on it), then you can worry about calorie cutting if you want to lose weight. But first things first.

If you try entering an account of what your diet was like before trying paleo and see how many calories you were eating then (be honest!) in comparison to now, you will see that your discomfort is due to starvation in general and not paleo in particular.

If you are not feeling hungry, there have been some good posts in the past about sneaky ways to get paleo calories in without stuffing yourself.



on April 05, 2012
at 03:59 PM

Mix up that chicken with some grass-fed red meat. Eat more fat. And by all means, EAT MORE.

Add some bacon to that breakfast!I do best with heavy protein and fat in the morning, and save my fruit (when I do eat it) for lunch time.

If you are training your body to run on fat instead of carbs, you need to give it fat. You can't expect it to run on nothing.



on April 05, 2012
at 07:51 PM

If I were eating lean. dry chicken breasts, and steamed vegetables for dinner, the thought of food would make me ill, too. Eat some fat. It's good for you.

Based on your food choices, and your stats, I'm guessing that the reason you are on this diet is to lose weight. The most effective way to lose weight (and also the healthiest) is to eat a low carb diet -- with plenty of calories, and plenty of fat. It's the hormonal effect of food that tells your body whether to burn fat or store it, not the energy availability.

I recommend reading Gary Taubes' Why We Get Fat, for a start.


on April 05, 2012
at 04:53 PM

As the other paleo users have said - eat more. Easier said than done, of course.

The difference between pre-paleo and post-paleo is greater for some than it is for others - the biggest change is removing grains. When you remove grains, you're skimping on a LOT of carbs. If you feel tired all the time, perhaps it's the carb withdrawals. Instead of having a piece of bread, or whatever you'd have pre-paleo, eat a sweet potato. Bam.

Starting the day off with fruit is generally a no-go in my opinion - if you eat fat/protein first thing in the morning, your body will notice there's no carbs and kickstart the fat metabolism process(as well as protein). If you start the day with carbs, then your blood sugar bounces up first thing in the morning, settling you in for carb metabolism for the day.

Easy pro-tip to get a tad more fat in the diet? I make a chai tea latte with coconut milk, vanilla extract and cocoa(or coffee with the same ingredients). I find that when I do this, whether it be mid day or morning, I get a really happy-go-lucky buzz and I'm filled with (excess) energy for at least an hour(perhaps when I stick to my paleo guns I'll be like this all the time...)

TL;DR: Eat more, start the day off with fat instead of carbs, stick with it.


on April 05, 2012
at 04:24 PM

I agree with everyone. Eat more. Eat more greens (breakfast lunch AND dinner), eat more fat. It isn't bad for you!!! Get some eggs or meat in the morning. It will keep you feeling great all day!!! I eat my fruit only after I work out. I'm on week 6 and feel awesome. I didn't feel perfect at first, but I was coming from a grain focused diet that didn't work for me!


on April 05, 2012
at 04:19 PM

Increase your food intake!

Stop counting calories, worry about the quality of your food choices, consume until you're full.

Go protein heavy in the morning, and mix up the types of veggies that you're eating.



on April 05, 2012
at 03:29 PM

Dood-i don't know how big you are, but that sounds like a very small amount of calories. See what happens if you add a little bit more food. You may also want to add a little bit more fat. The first few weeks will be a time of experimentation, while you figure out what works for your body and while you adjust to this new way of eating, but do try to make sure you have enough energy for your fuel tank while doing so.



on April 05, 2012
at 03:19 PM

try reading this:


it does get better. you just have to rough it out!


on April 05, 2012
at 09:55 PM

You need to build your meals and eating around a plan that brings together sufficient mass of protein, fat and carbs (calorie wise) in proper proportion to your metabolic requirements and activity levels. Think of it as a detox phase or stabilization stage until your body adapts to the new regimen. I've never had that kind of dramatic reaction to ANY diet I've ever tried. Reducing carbs by eliminating mainly grains, cereals and legumes will be tricky because you need to find adequate substitute carbs from raw nuts, greens, fruits and veggies. For every food you eliminate you need to precisely determine its replacement in adequate proportions of protein, fat and carbohydrate. I personally think raw nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans and even occasionally peanuts from the shell) are great replacements for the old carb sources at every meal. You can use a handful of raw nuts to fill out the gaps in your meals. Large leafy greens can be ;used in lieu of bread or tortillas to make "sandwiches" of animal protein foods like lean meat, chicken or fish. The key to successful and relatively painless paleo convergence is adequate REPLACEMENT of the foods to be eliminated from your regular diet. My biggest replacement issue now happens to be beer and ale, which I love (like wine too) with so many foods. So I am experimenting with hard cider as a substitute for Guiness or Stella Artois. That's my general method. The worst effects I discerned from going "cold turkey" to basic paleo was occasional mild sense of fatigue or tiredness and powerful cravings for things like sugar, chocolate, coffee. Over time the cravings weakened and disappeared. Whenever I feel cravings I munch on a handful of some raw nuts or a piece of fruit. Berries are best but an occasional apple or banana is ok. I use slices of avocado to get that fatty richness into a meal. I use sliced cucumber and cherry tomatoes to get more carbs. A sweet potato with only some cinnamon added or even a tiny dash of real butter is a great way to get paleo carbs into your diet.



on April 05, 2012
at 10:09 PM

You desperately need a regular course of intense exercise at least a half-hour at a minimum of four days a week. Maybe every day if you can manage it. You need to be sweating every day if possible. Unless you sweat how can you release the toxins from your organs ?



on April 05, 2012
at 08:05 PM

Holy hell. I eat your whole day in my breakfast I think. Eat some food, that would make anyone feel terrible.


on April 05, 2012
at 08:00 PM

I assume you're trying to lose weight, hence, eating such a small amount of calories with little fat.

I know others here have already given you advice, but I just wanted to reiterate that you should not be afraid of fat.

Eating such a low amount of calorie will shock your body into starvation mode, and your metabolism might lower, making it even harder to lose weight.

I hope you take care of yourself. Tweak your plan a little and then report back to let us know how you're doing! Coconut oil is pretty easy to sneak into your food if you don't want to buy a bunch of new ingredients and use your leftover chicken, other meat, etc.


on April 05, 2012
at 04:24 PM

Your biggest meal of the day should be breakfast and needs protein! :) That's what's going to give you fuel for the rest of the day.



on April 05, 2012
at 03:29 PM

First of all, its NORMAL. I couldn't workout for two weeks as i felt absolutely crap. I could barely even make it to work in one piece.

BUT THEN... It gets much better. The energy starts coming and you feel great. Stick with it.

Also You might not be eating enough calories.. I don't know your height, weight, activity level..

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