I am 27, 5'5, ~100 lbs, small frame and relatively lean (my Tanita monitor says I oscillate between 11-13% Body fat but i don't really believe that) with trouble spots that i want to be rid of.
I have been pretty intense with my workouts and watching what i eat since early 2010 and lost quite a bit of body fat (@ 17% body fat in March 2010) but not Paleo (ie i was consuming 'complex carbs' such as oats, barley, as my main carb source etc). Since going ~85% Paleo in Jan 2011, I lost a few more lbs of body fat and generally feel great, eg that my hungeris much more regulated (don't need frequent meals, don't get ridiculously hungry, don't need a huge amount of food to be satisfied, etc.), as long as i didn't just come out from a workout. The first month or so were fine but since about late Feb/March, I have been getting severe cravings for sweet things (ie waking up in the middle of the night and search the kitchen for sweets). I don't stock any dessert at home but there is always that bottle of honey or something lying around in the corner of that drawer. I have generally lost a taste for starch (e.g., pasta, pizza, bread, etc.) but sometimes i cannot stop thinking about desserts and EVERY trip to a coffee shop with a pastry display is a BATTLE of willpower. Everytime there is left over muffins or brownies in the office from a meeting, i will not be able to resistm, even if i've just eaten breakfast or have home brought healthy paleo lunch with me. I am wondering why? I didn't seem to have a problem with this before going Paleo, why is it that i would generally have less interest in other types of starches but not for dessert type sugars (but increased lack of control)?
Lately i have been indulging in HUGE slices of cake once a week from Suzie Cakes, i always feel like crap after ,and i know i will but I'll still eat it!! What is wrong with what I'm doing? I haven't really put on weight but it has definitely affected body composition in certain places.
I work out 5 days a week, min 2 hrs (2 hrs cardio or 1 hr cardio/plyo + 1 hr weights/strength). 2 hr cardio always includes intervals and it will be 1 hr spin + 1 hr kbox or 1 hr spin + 1hr boxing; sometimes it will be 1 hr spin + 1 hr swim). Sometimes I'll do a third hour of yoga for stretching.
I plan to eat anywhere between 1100-1500 of healthy calories on a normal day (days w/o cakes) but I end up grazing on sweets which brings my calories to 1400-2000 calories. I typically plan to get about 1-2 table spoons of healthy fats, 35-65 grams of protein (depending on whether i strength train) into my diet. I realize that i may not be adding enough healthy fats into my diet but is that the only issue?? I have tried to add more table spoons of fat into frying meats for my meals but I find that I still have a desire for sweet things afterwards. Please help!!!
asked bygimmeMoreLiver (333)
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on May 11, 2011
at 07:39 AM
It sounds to me like you're creating a large calorie deficit with your workouts, and you have no real weight to lose. It's no surprise to me that you are having intense cravings for sugar.
I'd add fat and low GI carbs PWO....maybe some low-fructose fruit like melon or berries.
Do you really feel like you have fat to lose at 5'5" 100lb? I just can't imagine that...but your best bet will probably to create a much smaller calorie deficit.
on May 11, 2011
at 02:13 PM
I have always thought that if you are basically healthy (sounds like you are), having an intense craving means that you are deficient in something in your diet or pushing your body too hard. The craving usually leads you to eat some kind of food that is high in calories and immediately satisfying (cake, chocolate, ice cream) when in fact your body is craving some nutrient(s) or is overly taxed.
I agree with other posters that, just based on the numbers, 5'5" 100# doesn't sound like you have much to give away, in fact you might be underweight. Trying to lose weight from here might not really be feasible/sustainable. Trying to get and remain below 10% body fat is getting into body builder territory, which is usually not sustainable/healthy and requires some radical short-term techniques that might not be too good for you.
Some people say that lots of cardio when you are relatively thin can encourage your body to retain weight, your body does not want to lose its stores since it expects to do major cardio work every day, and every day it is begging you to restore its sugar and starch sources.
Instead why don't you try to gain 5 pounds of muscle, which should help your appearance and "trouble areas". Replace the sweets with proteins and a little bit of fat, which should be satisfying and keep you out of the coffee shops.
Or, cut back on the cardio, and instead go for long walks and decrease the overall intensity of your days, and see if that causes any favorable changes.
on May 11, 2011
at 02:51 PM
Echoing everyone else. I'm 5'5" @ 130 lbs and medium framed. The least I've weighed, I think, is 110lbs and had a few nicknames at the time suggesting I needed to put on some weight.
I think probably you're not meeting your body's food needs considering your level of activity. There are some days when I undereat (it just works out that way) and CRAVE carby things until I eat some real food. Eat more. Maybe cut down on the activity. Or both.
on May 11, 2011
at 08:41 AM
Echoing Forrest, do you really have fat to lose? Even though I'm a guy and obviously we're built differently, I'm 5'4" and 139lbs and I feel like I'm pretty close to where I want to be - whenever I've been as low as 130/135lbs it becomes unsustainable and people tell me that I look gaunt...
My suggestions would be to decrease the amount of exercise you are doing drastically - 2 hrs for five days a week is just too much unless it is low intensity. Increase fats. If you crave sweet things then maybe incorporate something like creamed coconut into your diet - loads of healthful fats with a wonderful sweetness, and very filling. Creamed coconut and berries would make a great dessert.
1100-1500 calories is probably fine for your current weight, but not with the amount of exercise you are doing.
on October 07, 2012
at 09:53 AM
I know this is late, but 5'5 and 100lbs is pretty low, more so if thats mainly muscle and not body fat...BMI 16.5!!! I know BMI isn't everything, in the case of someone athletic and muscular it would be HIGHER than your average person.
I'm 5'3 and 106, people tell me I am "skinny", even though I am muscular, I also have BED from years of disordered eating, I too have the very same amount of calories, and though my workouts are smaller, I have EXACTLY those cravings, and I put weight on in an instant..
with 2 hour workouts and only eating 1100-1500 there is NO WAY you are eating enough,
You say when you work out less your weight creeps up, I imagine this is because your body is crying out to gain weight as such a low BMI is stuggling to support itsself on what you're giving it and the pressure you're putting it under.
on May 15, 2011
at 11:06 PM
You said you were 85% paleo. That's the problem. The 15% of bad is whats starting the cravings and then you indulge and it's a vicious cycle. Go truely 100% low-carb paleo with no cheats for a month and all of this will go away. I was a huge dessert person with a crazy sweet tooth. I though paleo was going to be impossible because I just couldn't live without my desserts and snacks. But I gave it an honest effort (not easy!), and now all of that stuff just disgusts me. I have no cravings, I don't miss anything (other than a philly cheesesteak), and never even think about indulging. When there are snacks at work I just feel smug because of all the people who just can't resist. It's a great freedom, but you need to make the transition, so that your body learns to be without it.
on May 11, 2011
at 09:27 PM
ditto on the need more fat, add a whole avocado with a bit of olive oil drizzled on it with salt/pepper for a quick fat booster thats good and healthy (home made mustard is also great with the oil)
a bit of coconut meat, coconut cream, coconut milk could also help add more fat.
coconut mixed with a bit of butter (ghee) and almond butter always cuts any cravings I have.
between adding any/all of those three suggestions to your current diet, should help reduce cravings.
I'm 5'2 and 123lbs and my goal is 120, 115 lowest...but i'm already being told i'm skin and bones....they dont see those trouble spots, so I get it!! Exercise to tone, adding some muscle might balance some things out for you.
on May 11, 2011
at 07:20 PM
Eat (lots) more saturated fat like tallow and lard. It's only healthy and doing that will curtail your cravings for carbohydrates of all kinds including sweets.
on December 14, 2012
at 09:05 PM
Have you studied the metabolic pathway of ketosis? This is why the paleo diet can be challenging. Check out Nora Gedgaudas and Mark Sisson. Read Rosedale. It will take up to SIX weeks for your body to adjust, but you will feel so much better on a very low carbohydrate diet. See "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek. I am opposed to artificial sweeteners, but do a small amount of stevia. I am diabetic and the VLCD has kicked the butt of that problem! I also have much more energy. I agree with those above about your weight and height. Also, Mark Sisson explains why chronic cardio is so devastating. When you stress your body that way, (and our Paleo ancestors did not) you secrete cortisol, and this hormone makes you HUNGRY! Simplified explanation....the books by the authors above have given me many answers. The encouragement here on the internet has given me hope. Thank you for sharing and good luck!
on October 07, 2012
at 02:52 PM
that is a lot of exercise for very few calories you are ingesting. at your height, you need about 1,400 calories a day just sitting- this is for your bodily functions- breathing, heart beats, digestion.
i am very thin, too, but i think you should cut back on the exercise. i don't do any more than 20-30 minutes a day. i used to do the 2-3 hours in the gym when i was an exercise addict and then binge because i was so hungry. it just doesn't work long term. it really messes up your relationship with food.
on August 07, 2011
at 09:47 PM
Can i ask a question for "Miked" and others who are contributing...when you guys say abstain and get your body used to being without...we are speaking specifically about White sugars, refined sugars anything like that correct?
What about Stevia? Honey? things like that? will these keep the body in the sugar craving mode?
on May 30, 2011
at 08:37 PM
I think i have hacked this. I stopped all workouts for 4 days while eating as I usually do and had minimal sugar desires. Yesterday, I resumed my usual workout (1 hr cardio + 1 hr weights), had a high protein/fat/LC (50gm carbs) meal afterwards but I still experienced intense sugar cravings that led me to eventually eat honey by the spoonful in the middle of the night!!! Any thoughts on why this workout would lead to such a craving even after a pretty big post workout recovery meal? Cardio + weights would appear to be a pretty standard workout for someone who is pretty athletic...
on May 15, 2011
at 10:28 PM
Its interesting how SO much of cravings is psychological. I thought i wanted cake and bought some from Whole Foods, cut myself a big slice after my workout thinking it would be oh so satiating, but it was really disappointing and now my stomach hurts, and now all I want is some liver fried with veggies. I think part of it is just getting over what you THINK you want from old habits and realize that you don't really want something. I went from a 2*alcholic drinks/night to less than 1 *drink/week now, it took me a few months when i realized that I need to cut booze consumption to when I implemented it, at that point, it was really easy. Sometimes now, i'll pour myself a nice glass of red wine and I'll have a few sips and I won't feel like it anymore; same thing with bread-based, pasta, type things. I hope that it is a phase thing too with sweets & cakes ;)