3

votes

More dramatic than usual diet transition, and when will I stop feeling bad

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 19, 2011 at 8:29 AM

Bottom line, I'm doing paleo and I'm losing weight rapidly but feel terrible and I'm extremely irritable with friends and family. By terrible I mean: constant hunger and distracting cravings, inability to concentrate, sleepiness, shakiness and occasional cold sweats, notable weakness during workouts, both running and lifting. I run 2+ hours and I expect to be weak at first and kind of view this as forcing my body to adapt. My only goal is weight loss (in first week went from 200 to 190). So the question is, how long does feeling terrible usually last? And also, often when I eat protein now, my stomach ties itself into a know and I have to wait by the sink and clench my teeth because I feel like I'll throw it back up. I'm not nauseous at all, but my stomach rebels, almost like after taking a shot of super-hard alcohol. This never happened to me before. What's the fix for this?

More details follow for those interested.

Diet: I was a lifetime super-high-carber, not by design, just by impulse. Seven days ago I started on a diet of (pretty much only) tuna fish, skinless chicken, green leafy vegetables. No cheat days, no starches. No fruit, as little fat as possible, no eggs, vitamin supplements allowed. Yes I know paleo lets you eat fats but I'm trying to create a calorie deficit and fill myself with low-calorie greens for satiety, also to lower cholesterol.

Exercise: traditionally I've been only a high mileage runner. My mileage had fallen off (5 slow miles a week?) but in the week before I started this diet I started doing 50+ per week, running every day. (Spare me lectures about chronic cardio, this part isn't negotiable.) But the fatigue I'm feeling now is very different from what I felt before when I had a profound high mileage ramp-up. To avoid muscle wasting as much as possible, I've begun an upper body regimen as well. Never did any upper body before. Now I'm doing curls and bench presses along with pushups or situps every morning and night. I expected to be sore from this although one thing my new regimen has NOT done is make me sore, oddly enough. (It did but only the first couple days.)

Finally, I've also recently gone cold turkey on caffeine, although I've done this before and the feeling crappy from no caffeine lasts only 3 days. I'm 7 days out.

When will I start feeling, not even good, just not horrible?

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 21, 2011
at 12:37 PM

6. There are a lot of very smart, very experienced people here. While they may occasionally disagree with each other on details, when this many of them tell you the same thing, it's worth considering that they are correct!

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 21, 2011
at 12:36 PM

1. You are eating too much protein. Skip the low fat protein and get high fat, healthy protein sources - wild salmon, grass fed beef or lamb. 2. If you don't eat a higher proportion as fat, you won't lose weight (at least not sustainably) and you will get sick. 3.Fruit pwo is fruit post work out - ie. eat some carbs after your workout - most people here actually use sweet potatoes or potatoes instead to avoid fructose. 4.Lots of research ie. electrolytes. 5. Nonetheless, the mass of combined changes you are making guarantees that you will fail.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 21, 2011
at 08:33 AM

Why are you punishing your body like this? This sounds like the crazy stuff people are prone to just before a high school reunion. You need to chill or you are going to put yourself in the hospital. Coconut oil has been shown to speed up weight loss, so even if you are feeling sheepish about fat, even just a spoonful of coconut oil before each can of tuna will probably speed things up for you and make you feel better at the same time.

6b72eeb3f0c98b487f712efcb5092c90

(293)

on August 19, 2011
at 04:57 PM

I don't think this is harsh at all. My short answer would have been "you'll start feeling better when you stop acting stupid." Way too little food, way too little fat, way too much exercise, way too many extreme changes all at once. This isn't paleo or primal; it's masochism and possibly an eating disorder.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on August 19, 2011
at 04:47 PM

EAT. MORE. FAT. No wonder you feel like sh*t! Eat the chicken skin! Eat butter, ghee, coconut milk, tallow, bacon, lard, drippings...FAT! It doesn't make you fat. In layman's terms, it gives your body the fuel it needs to power those runs and workouts you're doing.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on August 19, 2011
at 03:51 PM

Up the fat! It's really important for transitioning to low carb. You could play around with reducing calories once you're fat-adapted.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 19, 2011
at 03:36 PM

actually, as i reread your post, you worry me more. don't bother reading our responses. just stop what you're doing before you get hurt.

3fe2bf1367970868757ddf7ed7c62531

(817)

on August 19, 2011
at 11:59 AM

yes eat more fat. your body is going to freak out if it is not getting any ... I agree with Cliff, you might just gain it all back if you go this way of no fat and all

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on August 19, 2011
at 11:23 AM

The food doesn't sound like NEARLY enough

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11 Answers

10
6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on August 19, 2011
at 12:42 PM

You CAN NOT do endurance exercise and weights on a calorie deficit. End of story. You need to eat fat and you need to eat starches. Sorry Masochist, but your plan is bad and you are going to feel shit. 1) eat enough carbs for you running - sweet potato, potatoes, rice (if you have to) etc. 2) eat some fat. Fat is filling and good for you. Eating fat will not raise you cholesterol. Please read this

http://www.cholesterol-and-health.org.uk/dietary-cholesterol.html

Specific line of interest -

"The evidence is clear and unequivocal: Eating a diet high in cholesterol, does not increase blood levels of cholesterol or the numbers of heart attacks."

When you say you feel nauseous from protein, what source of protein are you talking about? You say you eat tuna and chicken. They both have protein. Do they make you sick? What's wrong with grass fed beef?

Sorry if I sound harsh but your diet/weight loss/cholesterol reduction plan is far from paleo and I don't think very healthy at all. I think you need to do some more reading, try Marks Daily Apple. Also That Paleo Guy has some great resources for endurance athletes. He is a cyclist (like me) but the principles are the same.

Good luck

6b72eeb3f0c98b487f712efcb5092c90

(293)

on August 19, 2011
at 04:57 PM

I don't think this is harsh at all. My short answer would have been "you'll start feeling better when you stop acting stupid." Way too little food, way too little fat, way too much exercise, way too many extreme changes all at once. This isn't paleo or primal; it's masochism and possibly an eating disorder.

10
030167d1516b20d4a79f326dded608b0

on August 19, 2011
at 10:36 AM

You've introduced a lot of variables into this equation. Under eating, new workout regimen, quitting caffeine, and overtraining at a calorie deficit all while you're body is learning to become fat adapted is a recipe for pain, and possibly injury.

Is there a reason your are making all of these changes at once? To be cliche - this is a marathon, not a race.

My guess is that you aren't eating enough to support you energy expenditure. You need to eat, a lot. Everyone is different, but I try to make sure and eat about 40% fat, 40% protein, and 10% carbs from greens and sweet potatoes. I lift / Crossfit pretty hard 3 times per week and eat somewhere around 2500-3000 calories per day (I'm 5'6", 145).

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on August 19, 2011
at 11:23 AM

The food doesn't sound like NEARLY enough

6
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 19, 2011
at 03:31 PM

1) you're overtraining in a period of keto-adaptation, which is not a good idea. 2) you must consume fat on a diet like this, or it will not work. period. 3) you must consume more salt! your kidneys will excrete sodium on a low-carb diet, and your balance is probably way off, especially given the running you do. eventually, if you don't consume a lot more salt, you'll throw your potassium levels off too.

just cutting carbs out can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. please be careful.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 19, 2011
at 03:36 PM

actually, as i reread your post, you worry me more. don't bother reading our responses. just stop what you're doing before you get hurt.

6
3fe2bf1367970868757ddf7ed7c62531

(817)

on August 19, 2011
at 12:00 PM

Short story: you are over training and under eating. Eat some more and allow your body to rest!

5
279700a1070c65fc144eceaa642dcbc7

on August 19, 2011
at 09:37 AM

You will start feeling better as soon as you stop overtraining. I'm also pretty sure your diet lacks some key nutrients.. Also, eating little to no fat can lead to something called rabbit starvation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_starvation

4
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 21, 2011
at 10:54 AM

I must say, I feel like you are putting all of us on to see if you can work up a good lather here. "Masochist"...really? This is a hoax, right?

If you are for real you seem woefully ignorant of the basic tenets discussed on this board with your dietary choices and the reasoning behind them. If paleo is your inspiration for this, you seriously are not getting it. There are 7000+ questions to peruse, that would lead you to smarter choices than this. It would especially behoove you to follow the link about "rabbit starvation" in Ginnungagap's answer. People have died on protein liquid diets that were low fat.

If you are sincere, here's the dealio. Your stomach hurts because you are asking it to digest more protein than you have stomach acid for. It is not a coincidence that many of the fast track weight loss people on here eat a ratio of 60+% fat, 25-30% protein, and the rest as carbs. Guess what makes stomach acid? Fat! Fat eaten to satiety doesn't make you fat, but excess protein can, so you aren't doing yourself any favors trying to force endless cans of tuna down your gullet. If your stomach needs a jumpstart, you could try adding Betaine capsules and digestive enzymes at the beginning of your meals. I'm guessing undigested food is being forced through your digestive tract, so you aren't even benefiting from the food you are eating. You are grumpy and feel like crap because you are starving.

I spent 8 weeks eating exactly as you have described, at the direction of my now fired doctor. It nearly killed me, I was suicidal by the end of the 2 months. So please take this seriously. I don't care how much weight you lose, it isn't worth destroying your mental health and your relationships.

As far as cholesterol goes, my numbers seem to come back inversely proportionate to the common wisdom about dietary fat. The whole reasoning behind the high protein/low carb/low fat diet my doc put me on was to reduce cholesterol. It did no such thing. My numbers only came down after I said, "To hell with this lowfat BS!" and started eating a significant amount of my calories as saturated fat, mostly from cows. So don't make me come over there and slap some sense into you!

Also don't worry so much about the calorie deficit thing, I was shocked and amazed when I started plugging my intake into Fitday. If I keep fat at 50%+ of calories, I have to struggle to eat more than 1800 calories a day. It is super satiating, so you end up eating less and feeling better.

Sorry for the dressing down, but I am seriously worried about you. I've already done this experiment and can look in the crystal ball for you.

4
66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on August 19, 2011
at 02:57 PM

As other have said : stop over training. Eat more, esp good fats and beef. Do not restrict calories. Not sure about your sleep but getting enough sleep is very important. Eat some starchy veggies. Also you are asking your body to adapt to some big changes give it a few weeks, nothing will change over night.

4
78972387772c994caa78513a83978437

on August 19, 2011
at 11:12 AM

Start eating fat, starchier veggies. More protein if you're going to be training that hard. And read this book: http://www.amazon.com/Good-Calories-Bad-Challenging-Conventional/dp/1400040787

4
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on August 19, 2011
at 10:27 AM

Trying to have some crazy calorie deficient to lose weight is probably just gonna harm you in the long run. You for sure need to eat fat and more food, stuffing yourself with greens and working out is recipe for disaster. You don't even do supplements? What is the goal with that?

I would start eating fat with every meal at the very least, maybe some fruit pwo. Maybe you won't lose weight as fast but you'll probably be more likely to not gain all the weight back once you go off the diet and you'll feel way better.

How much weight are you trying to lose?

3fe2bf1367970868757ddf7ed7c62531

(817)

on August 19, 2011
at 11:59 AM

yes eat more fat. your body is going to freak out if it is not getting any ... I agree with Cliff, you might just gain it all back if you go this way of no fat and all

3
A6e2b231f69366ce825476c5a6dcfff6

(1967)

on August 21, 2011
at 06:15 AM

Eat more fat!!! Because...

Your body can only absorb a limited about of protein at a time. So if your not eating much in the way of carbs, and not much fat, then you have no energy.

Once your eating enough fat, and your body is used to using it as fuel, it will use any available fat stores you have as a fuel source.

Also, I've found the best way for me to feel satisfied is fat + protein. If fills me up and I'm not hungry for 12 hours.

Go for the beef. It's really tasty.

0
Dffbbb5cb8de630d1434960d241b41e7

on August 21, 2011
at 02:29 AM

Thanks for everyone's contributions and for your concerns. I do realize that this is not exactly kosher paleo but paleo is my inspiration for this.

Answers for contributors who asked further questions:

  • Both tuna and chicken have induced this stomach-clenching response. They are currently my only protein sources. I eat 6-7 cans of tuna per day along with 3 boneless chicken patties. I'm all for eating more protein, so would welcome suggestions - just haven't eaten this way before and don't know what other lean protein sources there are.

  • When you say the diet won't work with no fats - meaning, I won't lose weight? That's #1 for me. If I have to choose between losing weight and retaining performance, I'll throw performance out in a heartbeat.

  • What is "fruit pwo"? I'm trying to lose 30 lbs (currently 5'9", 190 lbs, down from 200 lbs., 20 more.) I recognize that how I'm eating right now isn't sustainable and plan to restart starches in four weeks regardless what weight I'm at.

  • Not eating supplements = no evidence that the vast majority do anything. If there's evidence please send and I will take into account. Same goes for potassium and sodium. There is potassium and sodium in all food. Ion channels in renal tubules take care of balancing that for us and are capable of much more extreme work than what I'm asking of them.

  • I'm doing this all at once because I find making big changes is more successful for me when I go cold turkey; otherwise I don't stick to things. After four weeks I do plan to reintroduce starches. Right now I'm trying to force my body to adapt as fast as possible.

Thanks again

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 21, 2011
at 12:37 PM

6. There are a lot of very smart, very experienced people here. While they may occasionally disagree with each other on details, when this many of them tell you the same thing, it's worth considering that they are correct!

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on August 21, 2011
at 12:36 PM

1. You are eating too much protein. Skip the low fat protein and get high fat, healthy protein sources - wild salmon, grass fed beef or lamb. 2. If you don't eat a higher proportion as fat, you won't lose weight (at least not sustainably) and you will get sick. 3.Fruit pwo is fruit post work out - ie. eat some carbs after your workout - most people here actually use sweet potatoes or potatoes instead to avoid fructose. 4.Lots of research ie. electrolytes. 5. Nonetheless, the mass of combined changes you are making guarantees that you will fail.

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