I am ready to give up -- info overload!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 27, 2013 at 11:14 AM

I have been following what I considered Paleo now for almost a year. I have seen autoimmune issues leave as well as lost 15-20 pounds.

I have 20-25 more pounds to loose and have started running. I was eating less than 15 carbs a day, and added in some sweet potatoe- gain, then in an effort to combat that started intermittent fasting- holy GORGE! And that brings us up to speed. I am now 9 pounds heavier than where I was, swollen, back to drinking loads of caffiene and quite depressed overall. I don't know what to do...

On VLC I was eating bacon and eggs, both commercial in the morning, sometimes sausage. Then chicken, tuna (canned), salmon (canned), or pork- basically whatever meat was available or left over- for lunch- with mustard or mayo- and then usually beef- either hamburger or steak for dinner.

So when my weight stalled I thought, too much fat/protein so I tried to adjust, and got lost in macros, and then discovered that this isn't even considered Paleo. And began reading and researching. All the while my weight increasing and I am utterly confused.

Can someone help me figure this out please? I am female, small frame, 150 currently, 5'4. On week 3 of C25K. I want something I can be on forever, and I really would like some carbs if possible, I am a happier person with carbs, but I like the energy level I had while on VLC...IDK...that's why I am here. Logistically and economically grass fed/organic is not an option. There nearest place is 2.5 hours away, and with the amount of meat we eat I spend $800-1000 on food as it is for 4 people per month. Which is up from previous months of $600. Organic produce is limited to what is available at Walmart or Kroger- and Walmart and Kroger are 30 minutes away. These are not meant to be excuses, just being sure I am conveying the situation accurately.

Thank you all so much for reading this.



on July 30, 2013
at 03:36 PM

couch to 5k is one of the worst 5k plans out there -- ESPECIALLY for beginners. You need to learn how to run and run efficiently the jog/walk crap encourages poor running technique. Running a 5k is easy. Do one sprint session per week (try to work up to 6-8 200s at 85% with 1 minute rest between). Do one tempo interval session per week (5 minute jog followed by as far as you can go at your race pace followed by 5 minute jog work to the middle being 5k). Do one slow jog of race time + extra time (work up to 15-20 minutes longer than 5k) -- slow means so you can hold a conversation



on July 27, 2013
at 01:41 PM

I cant vote up because I am long time lurker, nonposter, but thank you for the encouragement.

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10 Answers


on July 27, 2013
at 01:38 PM

First off, if you are VLC and add back any carbs, you WILL gain some weight, but it will just be glycogen(plus water). There is no way around that fact, but it is not a bad thing. Focus on body composition, not what is on the scale. VLC can be unsustainable long term because with such a restricted diet, when people cheat, they really cheat. Avoid grains, processed foods, vegetable/grain/seed oils, trans fats, and chemical psuedofoods and you will see amazing results over the Standard American Diet. If you can afford pastured meats, and hormone free meats, all the better. Do what you can do, and you will reap nearly all of the benefits. Don't forget that exercise and sleep play important roles in overall health as well. Good luck with your journey.



on July 27, 2013
at 01:41 PM

I cant vote up because I am long time lurker, nonposter, but thank you for the encouragement.


on July 27, 2013
at 01:53 PM

Well, for one thing: calories in, calories out. You're probably just eating a few more calories than you're burning.

Anyway, yeah, the info overload: I get that too. It's good to just back off sometimes. Step away from any strict diets and just try to eat nutritious whole foods. Not necessarily organic or anything, just real food. It's possible to do on a budget. Experiment, find what you like, find what works for you, and listen to your body. That last part is important! I try to listen to my body FIRST, (I learned to do it while I was losing weight) then if I have any problems or questions, that's when I do a little research. I don't get the overload that way.

It's good you've started doing cardio, that will help you keep up your energy levels while you play around with your diet.

And remember the human body is a durable, adaptable thing. :)


on July 30, 2013
at 06:00 PM

Just anecdotal, but it seems to me a lot of people initially feel great on VLC but that changes after a while and they don't feel good or mentally healthy anymore on VLC. Stacy at Paleoparents has written about this, along with others. IF can be awful for women. I know you said "information overload" but do consider checking out paleoforwomen--she has a great post on IF and women. I would suggest for weight loss and general health not running. Walk a lot, add strength workouts, and put in an interval workout one day a week. Eat whole foods and don't stress about macros. Make sure you're getting lots of sleep--you don't mention that, and it is key for me when I am concerned about my weight (which is always).


on July 30, 2013
at 04:25 PM

Eat meat, organs, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit and nuts.

Potatoes and rice are ok in moderation, particularly after exercise.

Try to minimise exposure to refined sugar and "vegetable" and seed oils. They are really bad for you.


on July 30, 2013
at 02:57 PM

I agree with what I am reading here...80% diet and 20% working out seems to be the ticket! Mix things up a bit! VLC is so hard, srsly 20 grams is super low and what I understand to be ketogenic. It's easy to over think this stuff because it is really so simple, but that is the beauty of it. Sweet potatoes have about twice the carbs of carrots, so have the sweet potatoes as a treat. Summer squashes, carrots and Brussels sprouts are awesome roasted. Nuts and fruits are great in moderation, but lots of people over do them. You don't mention your fat intake, but it's beneficial to add in the good fats like avocado. Do your best with buying the high quality foods. It isn't always easy to find the 'good' stuff, but do the best you can to keep it anti-biotic and preservative/pesticide free. Mix up your workout with some weight training, even if it's body weight. Try some air squats, push-ups and sit-ups for strength. Good luck! Don't give up! You can do this, I know you can.



on July 30, 2013
at 01:37 PM

Check out the perfect health diet. CHeck out their series on the dangers of going too low-carb.


Their diet gives you exactly what to eat,


and by the way, you shouldn't feel hungry or binging!

Also, they talk about how autoimmune issues are often caused by gut issues - i.e. bacteria or wheat which changes the permeability of your intestines, so if you can, start making bone broth, which helps with absorption of your minerals/vitamins.

Finally, supplementation. Paul's theory is that weight gain can be caused by a multitude of things - malnutrition, hypothyroidism, an infection, etc. and that what drives you to eat is a deficiency in something like magnesium, chromium, vanadium, molybdenum, iodine, selenium, etc. etc.

With the change in our soils and the way we farm, supplementation is really important. Our fruits, vegetables, and perhaps even meats are not as nutritious as they were several hundred years ago.

Further, in the midst of your autoimmune condition, you need a lot more vitamins and minerals to fight it than someone else, especially Vitamin D3.

The human body has a narrow range in which it likes nutrients, so the key is to get enough, but not too much.

Good luck, and I highly recommend their book!

Their diet is the best one, most scientific and reasonable one I've found for losing weight.




on July 28, 2013
at 05:36 AM

Okay, so we are the same height and I started this year on your weight, so pretty similar (and female). What about only drinking water? I drink nothing else so give up all the caffeine.

Perhaps replace walking with the running as weight loss tends to be 80% about the food and only 20% the exercise. I am not saying exercise is bad just that when you are wanting to lose weight regularly too much new exercise like your new running may just give you more appetite and shock the body a bit.

Give up all processed foods. If you really need more carb one day have one small baked sweet potato with butter. Eat as much fat as you can.

If you are depressed that may be because you have gone a bit too low carb for good mental health for you - not enough to release enough seratonin in the brain. In that case the answer might be a few more higher carb veg like butter nut squash, carrots and onions.

Remember that 150 pounds is weight many obese people would love to be and better to stick around there or losing a pound every 2 weeks than coming off track, going back to lots of processed foods and over eating and putting lots of weight on.


on July 27, 2013
at 04:53 PM

It's tough, I agree, I'm not sure Paleo Hacks is the place to do accurate research but it is interesting to say the least not to mention nice for compassionate companionship on the Paleo Journey. Have you read Robb Wolfe's book 'The Paleo Solution"? It is very helpful, as well as Sarah Fragaso "Everyday Paleo" as she includes Colour pictures of recipes, exercises and has a weekly shopping list with meal plan for budget conscious families.

Some Paleo folks say divide your plate in half and half your plate should be veggies either cooked or salad style, a palm sized amount of meat and a small serving of fats ie avocado, EVOO (on salad) or nuts. Some say a cheat meal once a week so you don't feel you are missing out. Some advise against it for many reasons but especially the havoc you are creating in your gut. Some folks experiment to determine what their bodies can tolerate or not. Mark Sisson's Paleo diet is called Primal which accepts some dairy. Some people have health conditions ie celiac, nut, and or egg allergies that they are forced into a clean living paleo diet. Peter Attia, a doc with an interesting talk on TED talks has a website on healthy eating, he doesn't come out and say Paleo but he uses the principles to beat obesity. But no matter what I think you have to be careful, Robb Wolfe talks about this a bit. Listen to your body, be gentle with yourself, talk to your doctor, keep reading and don't give up.



on July 27, 2013
at 03:22 PM

I've been reading lots on VLC/keto diets lately and it sounds like you felt better on VLC. This seems to be in line with those kind of diets being better for folks with autoimmune troubles. If weight loss was the only reason for switching to more carbs then I would rethink that. Also, for me, sustained running/jogging only signals my body to hang on to weight. I ran a marathon a couple of months ago and was never heavier. IMHO I would cut the starch and stick to leafy veg for nutrients. Figure out your protien req. which I would guess is about 60-80 grams and adjust fat to put you in a calorie deficit. CICO actually does matter for some of us.

I totally get your feeling of "information overload" you can get from reading all of the paleo/diet dedicated websites and blogs. Good luck.


on July 27, 2013
at 02:22 PM

I'm 100% with you on the 'info overload' part. For now we've settled on the basics as laid out over on Kurt Harris' site. Kurt evidently completely bailed on any sort of internet discussion or presence, probably due to the paleo bickering and dogma.

I like it for its relative simplicity. Note that he believes that certain starches are just fine as part of paleo/low carb - potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, etc. You might try using those for your additional carbs if you are reducing fats and working on your overall ratios.

Possibly related, check out Go Kaleo - she's more on the calories in-calories out side of things, but it's damned hard to argue with her fitness levels.

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