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Overtraining, overeating and gaining weight (and an extra waking up at early dawn)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 19, 2013 at 8:57 AM

Before the paleo-lifestyle I had some problems with anorexia. It is not a point now, but from October, since I totally changed my way of life, it was hard for me to get over the fact that I HAVE to gain some weight. From the point when I felt that I reached something "ideal" for my height, I started to do weightlifting and run for hours to feel myself a little bit "protected" from obesity. Maybe because of the overtraining I got stuck in this vicious circle, in which I overeat, and later try to compensate on the calories with the huge amount of sports...I wake up every night 2 years from now (around 3/4 am), but now it became HORRIBLE. When I wake up, I feel a kind of invincible hunger and in these periods I could eat a tons of meat, nuts or sausages.


Before these foods I ate veggies all night long, but my stomach became huge and beside the discomfort feeling it was quite painful for days (but on the other hand I didn't gain weight, unlike now)...I am totally devastated, I feel I will never find the control on my diet... What do you think, intermittent fasting could be a solution? It happened to me last night again, after a 2 hours heavy training. I tried to eat dried fruits and apples before the sport, but it didn't helped me out. (By the way, I totally avoided them for years, the only exception was the avocado!)


I hope that there is anyone, who got over something similar, or just simply can help me out a bit, how to manage the nutrition with that amount of sport, and avoid the overeating. I need to loose some weight too, since these periods at night throwed back on me... I can't tell you how thankful I would be!

  • (21 years old female, 158 cm, and 50 kilos now)

Eccdc4a151a251107ade4d052c3978df

on March 19, 2013
at 09:57 AM

Oh and on top of that, IF made my digestive issues a lot worse and made my sex drive disappear. Although it's been 4 months, I'm still recovering from all these things.

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2 Answers

1
Eccdc4a151a251107ade4d052c3978df

on March 19, 2013
at 09:32 AM

I'm 21, 158 cm and weighing about 49 kilos, ha! I used to be bulimic, so I can totally understand the feeling of not being in control.

The first thing I would do, is stop obsessing about your weight. Really, throw away your scale if you have to. Obsessing about numbers is just plain unhealthy.

The second thing I would do, is stop overtraining! Exercise is healthy, in moderation. Running for hours messes up your cortisol (which I think you've got a problem with, more about that later). Instead, I would try to incorporate some gentil exercises, like yoga and walking. Also try to get outside in nature. Nature's a great stress buster.

Waking up around 3/4 am, feeling really hungry, is a sign of a cortisol imbalance. Your bloodsugar gets so low, that your adrenals starts producing surges of cortisol to get your bloodsugar back in balance. This wakes you up, feeling extremely hungry. Solution? Eat more! I always get these problems when I haven't eaten a proper amount of calories. Also, a teaspoon of honey before you go to bed, can help with this. I also would definitely add some safe starches and fruit to your diet. Look some information up about the symptoms of high and low cortisol, and see if your symptoms match.

I also wouldn't recommend intermittent fasting. People with eating disorders shouldn't practice IF in my opinion. Just stick with 3 meals per day. I tried intermittent fasting for a couple of months, and it really messed me up. It made me depressed, didn't make me lose weight at all, bad skin, ... But it did make me realise I've got some serious issues with adrenal fatigue, and the IF did a good job aggrevating it, yaaaayyy. There's also evidence IF is wonderful for men, but not for us women.

Eccdc4a151a251107ade4d052c3978df

on March 19, 2013
at 09:57 AM

Oh and on top of that, IF made my digestive issues a lot worse and made my sex drive disappear. Although it's been 4 months, I'm still recovering from all these things.

1
048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

on March 19, 2013
at 09:28 AM

I think that many people here has experienced at some point most of the feelings that you have had, in the end a great bunch of the paleo community has it's goal on getting fit and knows the pain of having been in poor condition in the past.

My personal advice would be that you need to let go right now your feelings of guilty for having eaten too much. This is the MOST IMPORTANT think you could ever do for you. Having control over you and feeling OK is very important for one self to become happy and proud and evolve as a person. Then, when you feel OK and are happy, the cravings start to disappear and everything starts to fall in place. I guess you have noticed by now, cravings are mostly a stress related thing, very different to actual hunger triggered by starvation or real need. You need to avoid at all cost feeling bad and avoid situations that will put you under pressure as they trigger cravings the most. Have always a positive mind and when you're near to loose control, think again of your goal and focus on it, know how well you will feel when keeping things under control and how bad you've felt when overdid it.

As for the nutrition, you're here and know already the paleo patterns of eating and what's real food and what is crap, so you are one step further into success, just need to get control of your timings and quantities. Remember that NO EXERCISE CAN UNDO the effects of overeating, a 1h intense workout won't make disaparear a 3000+ kcal feast of fast food, never. So overtraining will make no sense, even worse because high cortisol and provoked fatigue will make you feel worse and don't support your goals. Staying balanced over time, eating real food, good fats, moderate protein, moderate to low fiber carbs, no junk and sugar, iso-caloric or slightly under-caloric will bring the most benefits in the long term, there's no shortcut to success.

Some tricks I have used to fight cravings: engaging in some activities that will keep my mind focused and not thinking about food, meeting with friends, going out for a walk, cleaning my teeth (yep, that would make me feel stupid to eat just after eating my tooth!). Coffee also helps a lot, and if none of these work, then maybe you can look into some supps that may help. I used some fat burners in the past that manage hunger really well, specially those that have Yohimbe in it. But IMHO, have been a lot of time not using them and I've more or less succeeded, finding a natural way to mantain yourself on track is always better than relying on supps.

With all this being said, you're numbers aren't that bad, I'm sure you're in better place than you think, also remember that we guys like gals with some curves and not skinny so no problem either ;)

Good luck!

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