3

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Hypoglycemia when Paleo

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 04, 2011 at 10:44 PM

Hi, I've been trying to go Primal/Paleo for well over a year, and have encountered many hang-ups. The biggest one lately has been the blood sugar lows. I am 5'5" and weigh 221lbs. I am obviously very interested in using this diet/lifestyle to lose weight. I have succeeded at getting almost all grains out of my house. (I have a small bag of flour for making bechamel and some whole wheat spaghetti for guests). I have succeeded at eating plenty of fat, fasting 16 hours, etc.

Every time I try to fully commit to the low-carb aspect of this diet, I find myself with blood sugar lows. Especially when I exercise. (This problem is much worse if I have recently pigged out on carbs. I eat compulsively, so when they're around, they get shoveled in :/ )

Does anyone know the best way to handle this? If I ignore the low, will my body eventually produce what it needs, or will I go into a hypoglycemic coma? I am extremely cranky when my sugar drops, and since I am caring for my two small children, keeping my sugar up is rather important. Should I eat small amounts of sweet potato and slowly wean myself off the carbs?

I'm breast-feeding my 3 month old, if that makes any difference. I'm also rather inactive, mostly due to depression. I spend most of my time obsessing about food in some form or another. I know I have a problem, and eating this way (especially conscientious deliberate fasting) has been quite an improvement from where I was before.

F0f1de77dac8b6f7a1b815d473295d42

(0)

on May 22, 2011
at 03:38 AM

Keep in mind that low blood sugar messes with emotions. Depression & brain fog are low blood sugar's best buddies.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on May 05, 2011
at 10:21 AM

@sara it's harder with men because those who didn't start out heavy have this wonderful mechanism that makes them think they're 18 when they look in the mirror. does wonders for their egos but nothing for their health, unfortunately. seems like with men, it takes a major health even to wake them out of the malaise.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 05, 2011
at 01:36 AM

Sara, as far as your husband goes, you have to want it or it's pointless. There was a "click" moment for me and I never turned back. I think until you get that, your just playing at weight loss.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 05, 2011
at 01:35 AM

I cook mine whatever works best for the meal. Sometimes they are hardboiled or overeasy and I place them on top of the meal so the yummy yolk gets all over. Oooh - you could do eggs benedict with a nice fattening hollandaise sauce. I love them over crabcakes. You can google paleo crab cakes and find some great recipes. (I'm hungry now)

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on May 05, 2011
at 01:25 AM

I think you're right. I've noticed that boys who were fat as kids are very woman-like with their body image issues. I was a bulky kid who got fat with my early puberty. Went down-hill from there. My husband has packed on a lot of weight since we married and pretends he doesn't care. Any tips for that one?

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on May 05, 2011
at 01:22 AM

I'm not on any meds (thank goodness!) except pain killers as-needed (try not to) for my back. I'm going to physical therapy, but have a hard time with getting myself to do the exercises at home.

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on May 05, 2011
at 01:20 AM

Thanks! Do the eggs need to be cooked any particular way? I guess that sounds silly, but satiety wise it makes quite a difference, so I thought I'd ask.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on May 05, 2011
at 01:18 AM

@melissa that's because unlike most men, i was an extremely fat kid who had body issues becuase of it even after i lost the weight freshman year of college. I think it may have been a similar experience to what women feel, being that their body images are constantly being directly or indirectly scrutinized by society. but yeah, you're doing the angels' work here :)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 05, 2011
at 12:57 AM

I am also off all meds and doing well with depression issues too! It's amazing what changing your food can do!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 05, 2011
at 12:20 AM

@LB, I think you and I could be a dangerous weight loss coaching duo! Not many men get the emotional part as well as you do. @hcantrall, thank you so much! I've been through a lot, but it's been worth every bit.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 05, 2011
at 12:20 AM

Yay! You are not alone, Sara. Seriously. <3

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on May 05, 2011
at 12:15 AM

Your post made me cry. In a good way, I think? Thank you so much for this, Melissa. I will definitely be emailing you.

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on May 05, 2011
at 12:14 AM

My mom did that with my candy. My husband thinks that's why I feel the need to eat any treats all at once - it was either that or never get to eat them. This Halloween I succeeded at some control. Her half a pumpkin full of candy lasted 3 days I think.... I have a glucometer, since I had diabetes with this last pregnancy. That threw me off track for a while, for sure. I managed it by diet rather well, surprisingly.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on May 04, 2011
at 11:51 PM

You're awesome Melissa - my hero, that is all I have to add to this =)

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on May 04, 2011
at 11:34 PM

this is so on point, melissa. it is basically the guide for anyone with a lot of weight to lose.

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4 Answers

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7
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on May 04, 2011
at 11:21 PM

Hi Sara!

I am a former binge / resticter, so I know your pain. I have really found that setting limits (calorie counting) and eating every 3-4 hours is what has worked for me.

6 years ago I was 5'2" and 247lbs. I lost 111lbs, but it took me a full 4 years to get down to 150 and another year to get to my final goal weight of 136.

I would avoid fasting, your metabolism is still damaged and you need to fix it before you start fasting. When you do fast, you need to be sure you are not using it as a punishment for a binge.

I would try to get your eating as close to 100% Paleo as you can first, when you have food issues trying to 80/20 it just puts you in a bad position. You can watch the carbs, but you don't have to be ridiculously strict. Give yourself a starch a day and one or two servings of fruit, the important thing is to eat healthy. Then once you think you can handle it, I would drop some of the carbs and watch your protein/fat/carb ratios a little more closely.

Baby steps! When you have a lot of weight to lose it can be overwhelming, but losing it properly takes time, I think. As I made my weight loss journey, I learned so much. I lost weight, I gained some back, I lost it again, it's not going to be perfect.

Also, when recovering from a binge, it's important to acknowledge it, forgive yourself and MOVE ON. Make the very next thing you put in your mouth healthy. Do not use it as an excuse that the day is ruined, or the weekend or the week.

I hope some of this helps, if you have specific questions please feel free to ask them here or you can email me at sherpamelissa at gmail dot com. I track my food on Livestrong, so if you are interested in that feel free to friend me there. The link is on my profile. You can also see some before/after pics, so you know I"m not making this all up!

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on May 05, 2011
at 01:18 AM

@melissa that's because unlike most men, i was an extremely fat kid who had body issues becuase of it even after i lost the weight freshman year of college. I think it may have been a similar experience to what women feel, being that their body images are constantly being directly or indirectly scrutinized by society. but yeah, you're doing the angels' work here :)

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on May 04, 2011
at 11:34 PM

this is so on point, melissa. it is basically the guide for anyone with a lot of weight to lose.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on May 04, 2011
at 11:51 PM

You're awesome Melissa - my hero, that is all I have to add to this =)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 05, 2011
at 12:20 AM

Yay! You are not alone, Sara. Seriously. <3

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on May 05, 2011
at 01:25 AM

I think you're right. I've noticed that boys who were fat as kids are very woman-like with their body image issues. I was a bulky kid who got fat with my early puberty. Went down-hill from there. My husband has packed on a lot of weight since we married and pretends he doesn't care. Any tips for that one?

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on May 05, 2011
at 12:15 AM

Your post made me cry. In a good way, I think? Thank you so much for this, Melissa. I will definitely be emailing you.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on May 05, 2011
at 10:21 AM

@sara it's harder with men because those who didn't start out heavy have this wonderful mechanism that makes them think they're 18 when they look in the mirror. does wonders for their egos but nothing for their health, unfortunately. seems like with men, it takes a major health even to wake them out of the malaise.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 05, 2011
at 01:36 AM

Sara, as far as your husband goes, you have to want it or it's pointless. There was a "click" moment for me and I never turned back. I think until you get that, your just playing at weight loss.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 05, 2011
at 12:20 AM

@LB, I think you and I could be a dangerous weight loss coaching duo! Not many men get the emotional part as well as you do. @hcantrall, thank you so much! I've been through a lot, but it's been worth every bit.

2
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on May 04, 2011
at 11:12 PM

My wife's eating habits changed radically when she was pregnant and breast feeding. Since you are breast feeding a little one, I would not look at your current situation as a long term one. Your hormones changing and having to eat for two (still true while breast feeding) will make it difficult to establish a new eating plan. A lot of people report an adaptation period when trying to go low carb, it might not be the best idea to try to make that change while you are breast feeding.

On the other hand, breast feeding is a good way to lose weight. If you can be sure you are getting robust nutrition from your meals, you could take advantage of this time to more easily lose some weight by keeping a modest calorie intake, because your body will be losing lots of calories from the milk production.

Also even though I am sure you have your hands full with the baby, be sure that your are exercising regularly, ideally at least something every day. This will improve both physical and mental health. Walking 30-45 minutes a day can make a huge difference.

I find that when I go low or no carb, it completely eliminates the blood sugar swings. It isn't low blood sugar so much as blood sugar that goes from a peak to a valley after digesting starchy food. Going low carb means there is never any peak, so there are no valleys. However, the first week or two of this can be difficult as your body is adapting. So it can take some work to get there.

If you still feel like you are stuck, you should seek out a health care person in your area who is familiar with the Paleo diet. My wife had great luck with a local midwives program, which was very female-focused and open to nontraditional/alternative approaches to health. Good luck!

1
2193cb1eca1a0eda4b2cad910074634e

on May 04, 2011
at 11:31 PM

Bless your heart you do have your hands full!

I am a grandma now so my perspective is a but different. My son was born with nurse midwives at a birthing center. I breast fed him until he was almost two. I have been a runner for 25 years so I was running while breast feeding. I was running long distance and training for a marathon during this time. Needless to say the 80 pounds I gained while pregnant with him fell off in no time.

What I learned from that experience is this: You can reduce your caloric intake while breast feeding. Your body will produce the milk for your child. People have been birthing babies and breast feeding for thousands of years through feast and famine. Granted there was infant mortality...

Now for carbs...Emily Deans. I suggest googling her and reading up on depression and diet. I have suffered from depression and back in the day deadly PMS all my life. Now that I don't have the hormonal fluctuations I learn the cravings for carbs were a sign that I shouldn't eat them because they would make all of my psychological issues worse! Better late than never.

Since eating Paleo I am medication and depression free for the first time in my life! AND feel functional and clear headed! It was the carbs and processed foods all along! BTW I was the mom who ate ALL the kids holiday candy forcing the kids to hide it on mom and could consume an entire package of cookies with out blinking an eye!

I don't have kids at home any more but I can imagine it would be difficult to eat Paleo with small children BUT I also believe if you are doing what is right for them you are doing the right thing!

Also another website that has been informative is http://www.carbohydratescankill.com/ Dr. Su is approachable by email and is willing to answer your questions especially about low blood sugar. You might want to invest in a glucometer (CVS has them with a 100% rebate on the cost) to test your blood sugar over a couple of weeks to see exactly what is going on. I have been doing this and it is very educational.

Good luck to you! I hope this has been helpful!

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on May 05, 2011
at 12:57 AM

I am also off all meds and doing well with depression issues too! It's amazing what changing your food can do!

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on May 05, 2011
at 12:14 AM

My mom did that with my candy. My husband thinks that's why I feel the need to eat any treats all at once - it was either that or never get to eat them. This Halloween I succeeded at some control. Her half a pumpkin full of candy lasted 3 days I think.... I have a glucometer, since I had diabetes with this last pregnancy. That threw me off track for a while, for sure. I managed it by diet rather well, surprisingly.

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on May 05, 2011
at 01:22 AM

I'm not on any meds (thank goodness!) except pain killers as-needed (try not to) for my back. I'm going to physical therapy, but have a hard time with getting myself to do the exercises at home.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 04, 2011
at 11:27 PM

Hey there -

Good for you for still trying. You will get there! This site has some great threads that you will find useful:

Hypoglycemia:

http://paleohacks.com/search?q=hypoglycemia#axzz1LPEv0fPd

Paleo and Breastfeeding:

http://paleohacks.com/search?q=breastfeeding#axzz1LPEv0fPd

I had awful hypoglycemia before paleo and ate every 2 hours or I would get blackouts and be the biggest bitch on the face of the earth. I now eat 1 or 2 x's a day, feel satiated (not full) and rarely get the shakes and bitchitude. It takes some time but upping the animal and eating at least 2 eggs with my meals has helped a lot. Good luck!!!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 05, 2011
at 01:35 AM

I cook mine whatever works best for the meal. Sometimes they are hardboiled or overeasy and I place them on top of the meal so the yummy yolk gets all over. Oooh - you could do eggs benedict with a nice fattening hollandaise sauce. I love them over crabcakes. You can google paleo crab cakes and find some great recipes. (I'm hungry now)

1fc9c11cf23b2f62ac78979de933ad83

(2435)

on May 05, 2011
at 01:20 AM

Thanks! Do the eggs need to be cooked any particular way? I guess that sounds silly, but satiety wise it makes quite a difference, so I thought I'd ask.

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