2

votes

hack my incessant weight gain...

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created November 22, 2011 at 3:02 AM

I am at my last nerve so maybe someone can help on here.

I have been Paleo for 9months, I eat around 1500 cals a day trying to maintain my weight after a 30lb loss. I have not cheated with a drip of starch/grain, sugar (not even honey) or dairy in 6months, i eat strictly meat, veg, and some fruit...(only about 1 apple a day or a few berries)

I workout everyday...alternating Cardio...and HIIT except 1 rest day a week. My weak spots are often overdoing some no sugar added chocolate (mostly cocoa butter in it) or having too many coconut oil based chocolates (frozen coconut oil with cocoa and a little stevia)

I am constantly craving sweets, its a daily struggle to not binge on anything that will taste sweet. It has resulted in a couple binges on anything sweet. But nothing severe...

Recently i tried upping my calories (As per Paleo Hacks recommendation of my last question) that perhaps i was in fat storage and not getting enough calories. I upped them from fats...and keep my carbs below 100g everyday.

I have been gaining weight incessantly...I checked last week to see where I was on the scale...136lbs (i'm 5'9" and 27yrs old) all week I was working out and eating a little more calories...I checked this week at my doctor's office because they wanted to run blood work. I am up 10lbs...and have been feeling just horrible. Slow, sluggish, and I feel bigger, just like I have put on weight, my clothes aren't fitting etc.

LET ME REPEAT ( I eat strict Paleo, clean as as whistle, I train hard and watch calories sometimes, I don't touch starch,sugar, or any dairy, i do not go near anything that ins't LOOW GI) there is no possible way that I am triggering an Insulin response and activating fat storage..unless I am nuts. But I am definitely gaining fat...I also IF 1-2 times per week...which used to work really well but it now just causes me to feel bloated and terrible.

My doctors have run every possible hormone panel and blood test available, everything is normal.

I do not understand...can fats be stored as fat? I thought that if paired with low Carb it was ok?

I feel so discouraged, lost in the kitchen with what to eat, lost at the gym with what to do...I just want to get back to where I was and stay there.

What is happening?

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on November 25, 2011
at 07:24 AM

Thank you so much, very helpful Daz. Greatly appreciated.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:42 PM

& you may find this chart useful to determine if you have any adrenal &/or thyroid related symptoms http://www.drrind.com/therapies/metabolic-symptoms-matrix

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:36 PM

Estrogen: limit/avoid estrogenic foods (milk may be an issue, avoid soy,...). google estrogenic

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:32 PM

& get good sleep, between 7 & 9 hours (it varies between people). try to go to bed early ie. around 10 to 10.30pm (make sure its before 11pm).

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:30 PM

& when you return to training reduce your training to 2 or 3 times max a week. & make each training session something different, hitting different muscles, so your muscles have more time to repair & recover between workouts.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:28 PM

if your stress is training related. then take a break from all training for 2 weeks (10 days min). just do easy walks (maybe easy standing bike if you have to go to the gym). keep you heart rate down, do not stress your body. When i had high cortisol (tested by 4 x saliva tests) i ended up taking 26 days off all hard exercise. it was longer than i has planned but felt it was working for me.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:16 PM

chronically raised cortisol is caused by stress to the body. the stress can take many forms & you may have more than one. they probably breakdown into 2 main areas; physical or mental. ie. Physical: injury, illness, over training etc. Mental: work, life etc

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:13 PM

firstly i am not at doctor so i am not an expert in these things, but here are some thoughts/ideas;

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on November 23, 2011
at 06:04 AM

Daz, this is what I think is going on too. I am on the pill because I am in the serious relationship, so i think my estrogen is high from that, any ideas how to lower it without going off? How do i lower cortisol? And my doctor says my thyroid is perfect. Should i only workout a couple times a week? and recover the rest?

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on November 22, 2011
at 02:31 PM

no no i don't think I'm overweight... i just want to maintain around 140 give or take a few lbs...and curb this gaining.

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on November 22, 2011
at 02:30 PM

Thanks so much for your input. Staying between 136-140 is my goal. It puts my BMI in normal range. I am completely happy there, do not think I am overweight there or anything. This hack is just about my gains...and lack of ability to maintain that. @Beth - Cardio is usually a 30minute workout including either an inclined Walk..or a light jog for warmup, then i'll do a set of HIIT in the middle of 30sec sprints, 45secs rest...or something like that. IS that activating cortisol do you think?

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on November 22, 2011
at 11:56 AM

What kind of cardio are you doing? Maybe you've been overtraining and underfeeding long enough for your body to start compensating, probably via a lowered metabolism. For your level of activity, 1500 cals may well be bordering on a starvation diet!

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on November 22, 2011
at 09:57 AM

I am a 5'10 male and I weigh 156 pounds and I am skinny. I don't think you are overweight at all.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 08:08 AM

also see Paleo4ever's previous (related) question here http://paleohacks.com/questions/70640/weight-maintenance-problems-bruising

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 22, 2011
at 06:55 AM

Agree wtih Amanda. at 136 your BMI is under 20. How is this a problem?

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on November 22, 2011
at 06:13 AM

Maybe it's worth not insisting on low carb? you could try upping your fruit intake. Kurt Harris is a banana fan. Apples are good, as are grapefruit and kiwi. Satisfies cravings, gives you micronutrients.

B58511bcd1ecc0dd4ad8130859513c81

(430)

on November 22, 2011
at 06:07 AM

I would suspect that at 5'9" and 136 pounds you are probably gaining weight because you need to. Paleo has a funny way of evening your body to a healthy weight. IMO

B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:46 AM

Thanks for the clarification - I misunderstood. Given that clarification I too would suspect that the cause could be from over training - unless Paleo4ever is a long time seasoned athlete, well conditioned to such training volumes. Personally from here I would be getting my cortisol levels checked - including the cortisol cycle as Daz suggested.

13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:37 AM

The way I read it (and looking at her previous post), I think she increased her calories to 1500 (from 1300). An active 5'9" woman should be eating a lot more calories than that. Her BMR is about 1450 with no activity.

13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:32 AM

She increased her calories *to* 1500 (from 1300). An active 5'9" woman should be eating a lot more calories than that.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:23 AM

with the hormone panel, did they check Cortisol x 4 (ie. throughout the day). & did they check the Estrogens (e1, e2, e3)? The first thing that comes to mind reading this & your previous post http://paleohacks.com/questions/70640/weight-maintenance-problems-bruising ...is that you may have Chronically high cortisol, ie. your body is stressed, potentially from over training & you body needs time to recover/repair. & perhaps you have high estrogen as well.

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8 Answers

5
24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on November 22, 2011
at 11:50 AM

It sounds to me like you have some body image issues going on here. At your height and weight, you should not be gaining weight eating a nut (previous post) or having muscle turn to fat in some uncontrollable fashion (again, previous post). A lot of this is most definitely in your head.

I tend to "build" muscle quickly as well. Even with my pudgy upper arms, when I did the 100 pushup challenge last year I could see noticeable differences in my arms, and yet I know I didn't build a lot of muscle or lose a lot of fat in the process. And when I stopped doing the pushups due to an injury, I could again see the difference in tone, but I know the muscle wasn't turned to fat. So at your considerably more lean weight, I imagine "buffing up" and getting lax has an exaggerated effect on the reflection in the mirror. Been there, done that in my late teens and it set me up for a decade of eating disorders.

You've also unfortunately brought into this insulin nonsense. Your fat cells secrete their own hormone in response to ingested fat that favors fat storage. It's called acylation stimulating protein, ASP. So obsessing over every gram of carb when you're lean thinking it's going to trigger your fat cells to go rogue and store fat is not productive. You would probably do well to lower the fat and up the carb content of your diet. One thing I've learned from hanging out here for the past few months is that Paleo is not as exclusively low carb as it once seemed.

I would also diligently track your intake for a couple of weeks while staying away from the scale. Write down and account for every morsel. I think you'll be surprised that you're probably eating more than 1500 cal/day. A still very active, former elite athlete, 5'9", 27 y.o., unless you've been crash dieting, regaining, crashing, etc. your caloric intake doesn't seem feasible to me. Frankly, if it is truly 1500 cal/day, perhaps weighing just 5 lbs or 10 lbs more will put you in a place where you can peacefully maintain your body.

5
13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:30 AM

Looking at the older post it doesn't look like you've changed much since then. 1500 calories is still not nearly enough--and I suspect you may be over-training, too.

4
4c197bf333480ae7c349acddb781cb40

on November 22, 2011
at 04:58 AM

You are 5'9" and 136 lbs. and you think your fat or overweight? I don't think you are overweight at all.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on November 22, 2011
at 09:57 AM

I am a 5'10 male and I weigh 156 pounds and I am skinny. I don't think you are overweight at all.

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on November 22, 2011
at 02:31 PM

no no i don't think I'm overweight... i just want to maintain around 140 give or take a few lbs...and curb this gaining.

1
B5c546053f675b66bc29f2299d416857

on November 22, 2011
at 04:47 AM

Check your thyroid levels! I have graves diease and that will put weight on me for no reason if my levels are off. Also your probably restricing too many calories, especially for the way you are training. I do crossfit, run and swim masters swimming and I eat about 2,200 to 2500 calories a day. Start lifting weights maybe, you might be in a cardio burn out, muscle burns fat. Womens body tend to hold onto fat, maybe your body needs more veg and fruit carbs.

1
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:57 AM

I would try walking and lifting heavy weights. Eating a big breakfast with eggs and some fat.

1
B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:28 AM

Sure can be frustrating when you think you're doing everything right but your not getting the results you're expecting.

Without knowing more about you I can give you a few things that might be worth thinking about. I assume with your tests you got a thyroid panel done and everything looked good?

Did you get cortisol levels checked? If not, you may want to consider how your general stress levels are and the quality of your sleep. Also depending on your exercise history it maybe possible that you're doing too much, which has lead to chronic elevated cortisol, and that will prohibit fat loss.

The other thing is that you said you increased calories and started putting weight on. Maybe 1500 calories, even though it doesn't sound much, is about right for you - or you have miscalculated how many extra calories you have added and are simply gaining weight due to that. So it may well be worth dropping your calories back to 1500, as that appears to be the only thing that you have really changed.

Regarding sugar cravings:-

-L-Glutamine ??? (great to curb carb cravings), an amino acid, can stop cravings fro sweets starches and alcohol instantly, as the brain is able to use L-Glutamine temporarily for fuel. It is also the #1 food for enterocytes, the cells that line the small intestine, and can greatly help regenerate gastrointestinal mucosa. Usually comes in 500 mg capsules, but can be purchased in solely powder form (which is how I take it) and needs to be take on an empty stomach for best effect. Start with the lowest dose and increase as necessary. Can also be absorbed sublingually under the tongue for immediate effect, (which is how I take the powder.) Up to 2 grams (2,000 mg) or even more may be necessary. (Caution: refrain from using L-Glutamine if you knowingly have cancer, as L-Glutamine can serve to fuel certain types of tumor growth)

-Gymnema sylvestre from Standard Process ( 4,000 mg. 3x per day) also helps knock out carb cravings. In extremely addicted individuals, twice this amount may be needed to successfully eliminate cravings. This is a great tool that can be likened to ???bicycle training wheels??? while dietary modifications are being made. After a time, this will no longer be needed once healthier eating habits are adopted. It also possesses compounds that may support the restoration of insulin sensitivity.

Taken from http://divinehealthfromtheinsideout.com/2010/11/taming-the-carb-craving-monster-with-nora-gedgaudas/

13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:32 AM

She increased her calories *to* 1500 (from 1300). An active 5'9" woman should be eating a lot more calories than that.

13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:37 AM

The way I read it (and looking at her previous post), I think she increased her calories to 1500 (from 1300). An active 5'9" woman should be eating a lot more calories than that. Her BMR is about 1450 with no activity.

B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:46 AM

Thanks for the clarification - I misunderstood. Given that clarification I too would suspect that the cause could be from over training - unless Paleo4ever is a long time seasoned athlete, well conditioned to such training volumes. Personally from here I would be getting my cortisol levels checked - including the cortisol cycle as Daz suggested.

0
6552b83c231aa0cdab273c50234d3db7

on November 22, 2011
at 04:00 AM

Wow that is a LOT of training! I think too much too. What's the quality of your sleep like?

0
543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 22, 2011
at 03:27 AM

with the hormone panel, did they check Cortisol x 4 (ie. throughout the day). & did they check the Estrogens (e1, e2, e3)?
The first thing that comes to mind reading this & your previous post http://paleohacks.com/questions/70640/weight-maintenance-problems-bruising ...is that you may have Chronically high cortisol, ie. your body is stressed, potentially from over training & your body needs time to recover/repair.
& perhaps you have high estrogen as well (or a high estrogen/progesterone ratio).

Edit: ideally you want: Healthy thyroid, low cortisol, and low estrogen.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:36 PM

Estrogen: limit/avoid estrogenic foods (milk may be an issue, avoid soy,...). google estrogenic

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:13 PM

firstly i am not at doctor so i am not an expert in these things, but here are some thoughts/ideas;

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on November 23, 2011
at 06:04 AM

Daz, this is what I think is going on too. I am on the pill because I am in the serious relationship, so i think my estrogen is high from that, any ideas how to lower it without going off? How do i lower cortisol? And my doctor says my thyroid is perfect. Should i only workout a couple times a week? and recover the rest?

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:32 PM

& get good sleep, between 7 & 9 hours (it varies between people). try to go to bed early ie. around 10 to 10.30pm (make sure its before 11pm).

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:28 PM

if your stress is training related. then take a break from all training for 2 weeks (10 days min). just do easy walks (maybe easy standing bike if you have to go to the gym). keep you heart rate down, do not stress your body. When i had high cortisol (tested by 4 x saliva tests) i ended up taking 26 days off all hard exercise. it was longer than i has planned but felt it was working for me.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:30 PM

& when you return to training reduce your training to 2 or 3 times max a week. & make each training session something different, hitting different muscles, so your muscles have more time to repair & recover between workouts.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:16 PM

chronically raised cortisol is caused by stress to the body. the stress can take many forms & you may have more than one. they probably breakdown into 2 main areas; physical or mental. ie. Physical: injury, illness, over training etc. Mental: work, life etc

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on November 23, 2011
at 10:42 PM

& you may find this chart useful to determine if you have any adrenal &/or thyroid related symptoms http://www.drrind.com/therapies/metabolic-symptoms-matrix

59ee717de524f921efb7f2984157339f

(871)

on November 25, 2011
at 07:24 AM

Thank you so much, very helpful Daz. Greatly appreciated.

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