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.
asked bySara_5 (2435)
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on May 04, 2011
at 11:21 PM
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!
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!
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!
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:
Paleo and Breastfeeding:
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!!!