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Exhausted on paleo!

Answered on May 09, 2014
Created May 08, 2014 at 10:26 PM

Hi all,

I'm dazed and confused and very, very tired, all day, every day.

I've been paleo for 2 months, I would say 90%. I was lowish calories for 2 weeks ( I need to lose about 30 pounds, and haven't lost any fat in 2 months, I know from my clothes). The only benefit I've reaped so far from going paleo is no more bloating, which is great. But. I don't understand why I'm so tired, and I haven't been able to lose any weight. I literally have no energy. I exercised too much the first month, then dialed it back down this month, but I'm more tired than ever. All I can think of is my sleep is not optimal, but it doesn't make sense that this would be the only reason for this extreme fatigue....

I asked my dr for a thyroid test, thyroid malfunction runs in my family, he only tested TSH and T4, both normal, even within narrower ranges than conventional medicine.

I'm at a loss...can someone pinpoint something I might have overlooked?

Thanks in advance!

5b9a25a1a676397a25579dfad59e1d7b

(2318)

on May 09, 2014
at 03:54 PM

100-150 grams of carb when you're exercising intensely or generally quite active is considered low carb IMO. I was in the 100-150g range and I was WIPED. Experiment by adding in an additional 50-100g carbs from starchy sources on days when you workout. It made a night and day difference for me when I added more carbs in my diet in general. Paleo does not equal low carb. In some instances, being too low carb can actually stall your weight loss efforts.

Medium avatar

on May 09, 2014
at 12:39 PM

Well, that does't sound too bad. Hopefully it's just a phase but if not don't be afraid to go to the doc, least then you can work on it. I'd say the biggest energy thing for me was the salt, I forget why but it can be a big thing for people doing paleo. Best of luck :)

27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

(227)

on May 09, 2014
at 12:12 PM

I'm not supplementing with sodium but I do eat a LOT of sea salt. I don't know if that means my body is craving salt and maybe I would benefit from supplementing. I don't think I'm low carb, I was for 2 weeks when I was tracking my food, between 30 to 100. Which is not that low I think. But I've upped that now, not sure how much, not tracking anymore, but definitely in the 100 to 150 range I think. Thanks for your reply!

27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

(227)

on May 09, 2014
at 12:09 PM

Thanks @paleot, I've been watching the sessions since the first day. Very interesting information.

27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

(227)

on May 09, 2014
at 12:08 PM

@Mr_Snowman, I tried paleo for a few weeks 3 years ago, I remembered I felt much better then than I do now on it, but it also was too difficult for me to sustain. So I went back to a very SAD diet until 2 months ago when I started it again, this time I went paleo gradually and feel this is what I want to eat for the rest of my life. I have gained a lot of weight in those years, I'm unable to lose that weight so far. Maybe my system is so messed up that I have to get worse before I get better? Trying to stay positive....

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on May 09, 2014
at 05:18 AM

I've been watching a really great series on thyroid health. It might be a little late, but you should certainly look into it.

http://thethyroidsessions.com/schedule/

It looks like the earlier videos are already starting to come down. There's been a bunch of good info.

Be803dcde63e3cf5e21cc121097b8158

(529)

on May 09, 2014
at 03:32 AM

Just curious. I noticed your PH account was created 3+ years ago. But you say you've only been on paleo for 2 months. Does your diet change regularly? Your weight?

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5 Answers

0
E24390f6d880f9144cdf7ab13220a84a

(3)

on May 09, 2014
at 07:22 PM

issakova, you are living on 1400 calories per day? Of course you are wiped. You are in starvation state almost from calorie deprivation alone.... Why so extreme?

Anything below 50 grams of starchy carbs a day is considered ultra-low carb and you could argued <40 grams is a ketogenic diet. Anything under 100 grams is considered low carb. So 30 to 100 is a wide range, and I would expect anyone under 50 grams to have the energy wipeout you describe.

Try the following:

1) Learn which foods are starchy (e.g., rice, grains, tubers, fruit juices, simple sugars added to drinks and recipes) and start to count those. It's important to correlate those levels to both weight goals and energy.

2) Eat your non starchy meal before the starchy parts. That means fats, meats, and vegetables that are non-starchy first. Eat the starchy parts after. That will lower the glucose rise significantly.

3) In each 12 to 16 oz of water, add 1/16 teaspoon of celtic sea salt. That's at the absolute low end of supplementation, and some people will need more. I let my body be my guide, but I also get basic metabolic panels ever month to make sure I am in range.

4) Stay around 100 to 150 grams of starchy carbs until you recover your energy levels.

0
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on May 09, 2014
at 01:20 PM

As others noted, restricting carbs can kill your energy, though this varies per person. I was ok with super low carb (< 25g per day) for about 6 weeks but after that started to flop a little but I am still low-ish carbs, most days around 50g and never more than 100g. This is especially true if I exercise hard (i.e. Crossfit), I really need carbs to refuel. This causes me to gain a little weight / girth but it is just miserable for me to try to go without the carbs.

Also if you're restricting calories, I would occasionally (say once every week or two) have a really big satisfying meal, really pig out, though keep it Paleo. Sustained reduced calories can slow your metabolism and make it hard to lose weight and decrease your energy. If you eat well once every 7-14 days you'll find it easier to stick to the diet at other times.

What you're trying to do is trigger fat burning in your boy so you will burn stored fat for energy. When this happens it's like an energy waterfall, you'll be bouncing off of the walls. Sounds like you haven't done it yet. For me what did it was the combination of low carb and strength-based exercise. This didn't last forever but I did lose about 6 inches off of my waist and 25 pounds.

0
27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

on May 09, 2014
at 12:17 PM

Thank you for your thoughts @RonBurgundy. I really don't think I'm low cal or low carbs. I only tracked my food for 2 weeks, and during that time I tried to stay around 1400 cal/ and between 30 to 100 g carbs. That's the lowest I've been and only for 2 weeks. Now that I'm not tracking I'm pretty sure I'm around 2000 calories, which kind of scares me, since I want to lose weight, but I'm trying not to stress about it. I also have sweet potatoes, some rice occasionally and some dark chocolate. I did go overboard with exercising, but I've dialed that down, anyway I'm so tired now I have to push myself to go to yoga...I'm hoping this is just a phase and that if I push through it I'll eventually feel better and stronger.

Medium avatar

on May 09, 2014
at 12:39 PM

Well, that does't sound too bad. Hopefully it's just a phase but if not don't be afraid to go to the doc, least then you can work on it. I'd say the biggest energy thing for me was the salt, I forget why but it can be a big thing for people doing paleo. Best of luck :)

0
Medium avatar

on May 09, 2014
at 11:51 AM

@issakova I had these symptoms for the first month or two. My mistakes were: insufficient calories, excessive exercise, obsessing about calories/macros..etc, insufficient fat, insufficient salt (hight quality rock/sea salt obviously), insufficient water. I also went too far with the whole war on sugar and now have a serving of rice/potato every other day or so and cycle in and out of low GI in that way. I basically eat 3 large plates full of food every day, each plate is about 1/3 animal protein, 2/3 steamed veggies with a pinch of high quality salt and a spoon of coconut oil on top. I also have about a spoon of goats cheese, a spoon of dried sultanas or similar, and a spoon of nuts every day. Every other day or so some of the veg on one plate gets replaced with rice/potato. The key is not to thrash your body by making nutrition and exercise so stressful that it panic stores fat. You want the body to perceive that the environment is plentiful and consistent so that it knows it serves you to change your body composition.

0
E24390f6d880f9144cdf7ab13220a84a

(3)

on May 09, 2014
at 07:52 AM

How many grams of starchy carbs are you eating per day? In my experience, the energy issue correlates to going low carb, not Paleo.

Are you supplementing extra sodium? How much?

27a29804a79e90f5b8193ea33f392852

(227)

on May 09, 2014
at 12:12 PM

I'm not supplementing with sodium but I do eat a LOT of sea salt. I don't know if that means my body is craving salt and maybe I would benefit from supplementing. I don't think I'm low carb, I was for 2 weeks when I was tracking my food, between 30 to 100. Which is not that low I think. But I've upped that now, not sure how much, not tracking anymore, but definitely in the 100 to 150 range I think. Thanks for your reply!

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