2

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Why does my skin and energy get so much worse when I eat paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 06, 2013 at 5:27 AM

So I've been struggling with severe food addiction for 2.5 years. I literaly live off candy, fast food and soda. To give you some idea of how bad it is, I kept all of my receipts from 2011. I went to: -taco bell 369 times -domonies 301 times -mcdonalds 523 ( the great mcflurry binge of summer '11)

...and 2012 was worse than 2011.

Throughout all of this time, I've ben trying and failing to "go paleo." I can't tell you how many "last crunchwraps" I've had on sunday night before "next monday" which was always "the day."

I tried a few times, but in two years never went more than 8 days, usually never passing 3 or 4.

Last october I went paleo for a full month. I made sure I had enough fat, I was relatively low carb, and everything was organic/ grassfed. I only felt worse. My skin got much worse, worse than it's ever been, and my health felt terrible, worse than I can ever remember. Finally in November I just couldnt take it and binged on pizza, milkshakes and snickers...and immediately felt better. Skin was noticably better the NEXT DAY, my energy improved, and I felt good all through the holidays.

I was doing a few things wrong, especially overdoing the meat- I was easily having 6 pounds of beef a day which wasn't good for me at all.

In January I got 5 days of paleo in, then caved, with the same results. Skin and energy got worse, but improved when I binged.

So now I'm finishing day 2 of paleo again, and this time I feel it really is do or die.

Why do things get so much worse? Is this normal? How long should it take to improve? I just can't imagine things being worse after a solid 3 months like this, so I'm just going to stick with it no matter what.

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on February 06, 2013
at 02:50 PM

Good list VB! I agree - anything is better than fast food.

2e777bbcd49262eb31a24f821abec6bc

(1974)

on February 06, 2013
at 01:57 PM

awesome advice!

1f9527e79d0378418c6db93384e3d929

(154)

on February 06, 2013
at 01:27 PM

I don't know who Ray Peat is but I agree, you totally seem to need the carbs. Paleo doesn't mean low-carb neither does it mean only meat (eating so much meat I can't imagine having any room for vegetables and fruit). Ow don't forget to try and implement some organ meat or fattier meats. Lots of people end up eating too much muscle and not enough fats. Wasn't there a thing called rabbit starvation?

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 06, 2013
at 10:54 AM

i'm guessing you also posted under user 'Jeff Isbell', did you try the sweet potatoes, how did they go? http://paleohacks.com/questions/174035/will-i-still-get-paleo-benefits-if-i-eat-daily-sweet-potato , http://paleohacks.com/questions/174044/how-long-will-it-take-to-fix-health-after-2-5-years-of-suicide-diet

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 06, 2013
at 10:43 AM

take baby steps...& slowly transition yourself, slowly reduce the bad stuff & add/increase the 'clean' stuff, ie. reduce pufas, reduce grain products, reduce processed foods, increase fresh foods, increase 'single ingredient' foods. You seem to be swinging from one extreme to the other

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5 Answers

11
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on February 06, 2013
at 06:08 AM

Tom, 6 lbs of meat a day? This is way too much, too much food in general... Try more veggies.

I believe that the problem is that when you're going Paleo, and starting losing weight, your toxins in your fat storage get released throughout your body. It's a common problem. Cholesterol goes up too at that stage too. It's these toxins that make you feel so bad, and make your skin look bad too. You would continue having much of this problem as you'd lose weight, or at least in the first few months. This is why you should lose weight SLOWLY, or you could seriously poison yourself (or it could lead to death for very obese people that have really bad toxins in their fat storage). So the keyword here is SLOWLY.

The following information is for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to be personal medical or dietary advice. I'm not a doctor. So, instead of trying to "go Paleo", which is obviously incredibly difficult at this point, I'd do the following:

  • Go gluten free. No more fast-foods. You cook at home. Gluten exposure must be eliminated.

  • Cook with the right oils only: coconut oil, grass-fed butter, olive oil for salads, animal fats. Remove all margarine/vegetable oils.

  • Decrease your sugary, gluten-free desserts to 1 a day. Do have as many fruits as you want, but only up to 1 teaspoon of RAW, LOCAL honey a day. If you feel that you need extra sugar, you go for fruits. Try to reduce your diet sodas overtime.

  • Eat everything else Paleo, AND non-Paleo that you want, e.g. white rice, corn, beans, dairy, soy, gluten-free baking products, potatoes etc.

Gluten is usually the biggest problem for health, so removing this should be a priority. It's the first thing you remove, regardless. You should not cheat with it, or you can get more sick if you haven't ingested it for a while. Then, it's the vegetable oils that promote inflammation, and then you just try to reduce a bit your sugars.

In the meantime, eat enough to feel full, but not over your limits. Make sure you eat enough veggies. A few nuts too (except peanuts). Also, fish (especially wild salmon), shellfish (especially oysters), meat, offal, and eggs as well. There are many websites out there with Paleo or plain gluten-free recipes.

When in 5-6 months time you'd have adjusted to this lifestyle, then, remove the sugary dessert (continue to have as many fruits as you want, and a bit of honey). Then, every month after that, remove one by one the non-Paleo foods. So for example, on the 7th month remove the corn (and its byproducts), on the 8th month remove the soy (and its byproducts -- you can still have wheat-free tamari soy sauce), on the 9th month remove the gluten-free baking products (e.g. cereals, breads etc), on the 10th month the legumes, on the 11th month the white rice, on the 12th month remove the already-reduced-by-now diet sodas and non-fermented milk (continue having fermented goat kefir/yogurt, and goat/sheep cheese if you like though). No reason to remove potatoes (if it's white potatoes, just make sure you skin them).

So instead of going cold-turkey, give yourself a YEAR to get there. In the meantime, you will be losing weight, but at a more healthy rate, and more sustainably. Do some meditation to try to get off your addiction to grains and sugar. And drink enough water, in order to get rid of most of the toxins. Also, you might want to have a doctor checking you out while dieting, just to make sure your toxins don't wreck any havoc. Good luck!

Feel free to email me any time you want if you'd like some moral support!

2e777bbcd49262eb31a24f821abec6bc

(1974)

on February 06, 2013
at 01:57 PM

awesome advice!

2
Cc69a51b427eaad36251cce9dcca4d3a

(1074)

on February 06, 2013
at 09:04 AM

Metabolic typing Diet: you're most likely a carbo or mixed type. Eat more carbs, not so much meat/fat but healthy carbs in the form of fruits/vegs/tubers/white rice. Read Stephan Guyenet's blog about food reward (food addicts most definitely need to reduce food reward, doesn't mean you need to reduce carbs). If you need clarification, just write below.

2
7cf9f5b08a41ecf2a2d2bc0b31ea6fa0

on February 06, 2013
at 08:40 AM

Finally in November I just couldnt take it and binged on pizza, milkshakes and snickers...and immediately felt better. Skin was noticably better the NEXT DAY, my energy improved, and I felt good all through the holidays.

Sounds like thyroid issues with Paleo, try Ray Peat, more sugar, fruit instead of vegetables, less muscle meat, eliminate PUFAS completely (nuts, oils, salmon)

After suffering through strict paleo I'm having much more success on this type of diet and can only assume it's an issue of thyroid function

1f9527e79d0378418c6db93384e3d929

(154)

on February 06, 2013
at 01:27 PM

I don't know who Ray Peat is but I agree, you totally seem to need the carbs. Paleo doesn't mean low-carb neither does it mean only meat (eating so much meat I can't imagine having any room for vegetables and fruit). Ow don't forget to try and implement some organ meat or fattier meats. Lots of people end up eating too much muscle and not enough fats. Wasn't there a thing called rabbit starvation?

1
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on February 06, 2013
at 08:50 AM

You can find different approaches and see which works for you.

What to try:

  1. Autoimmune Paleo

  2. Low carb/Low FODMAP Paleo

  3. Ray Peat

  4. GAPS

  5. SCD (you can download the intro protocol for free)

  6. Raw Paleo

  7. Jack Kruze leptin re-set

  8. Terry Wahls Paleo

  9. Perfect Health Diet

  10. Weston Price

One of these approaches would work, I am sure.

Make sure you get plenty of bone broth on a daily basis.

If everything fails, go to a good naturopath or take a SIBO methane/hydrogen test. It means that the diet alone won't help you.

I am sorry to hear that you have to experience all this. If you keep trying, eventually, you will find a way to solve it.

Remember - anything is better than fast food. Anything.

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on February 06, 2013
at 02:50 PM

Good list VB! I agree - anything is better than fast food.

0
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on February 06, 2013
at 10:31 AM

Eating tens of thousands of calories of junk food will doubtless make your skin 'glow' and you feel full of energy. Eating more than a couple of pounds of beef will just make you feel sick and full of beef. I would suggest eating beef and sweet potato instead.

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