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MONSTROUS appetite, can't seem to identify cause

Answered on February 02, 2014
Created January 30, 2014 at 10:52 PM

This might be a very LONG post, but I want to provide detail as I am new to PaleoHacks and only started paleo/primal eating in October 2013

18 year old male, 5'8" and about 145lbs/15% body fat, desperately want to get back down to my leanest of 135-138ish and 4-6% body fat.

For the past few months, my appetite has been absolutely INSANE. I'm talking meals of about 1600-3000 calories in one sitting, totaling up to 4000-7000 calories on each day that my appetite does go out of control. I'm not sure if there might be some sort of nutritional deficiency/imbalance or external factors that may be triggering this absurd appetite.

Dietary staples include the following...

-Veggies: kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, bell peppers, onions, eggplant, tomato, zucchini, yellow squash

-Meats/Fish/Eggs: grass-fed beef, grass-fed liver (my FAVORITE, probably consume more liver than any other protein source), eggs (organic but not pastured), wild-caught fish at least three times per week (salmon and sardines)

-Fats: grass-fed butter, avocado, coconut oil or butter, almonds

-Carb sources: sweet potatoes (garnet and satsumaimo) and fruit occasionally (usually only during a binge in which I have a couple bananas to complement an entire jar of almond butter and grass-fed full-fat Greek yogurt)

-Other: Aged hard cheeses (close favorite next to liver but easy to binge, so I stopped buying regularly), full-fat grass-fed Greek yogurt, occasional flax seeds (rare), coffee (usually 2 cups each morning, but more on days when I am extremely stressed with homework)

-EVERYTHING I eat is organic except for avocados

Every meals consists of a HUGE salad based on one kind of leafy vegetable plus all the non-leafy ones listed, a generous serving of protein (usually liver or steak), and liberal use of fats. However, I will find that even after a fairly large meal, I suddenly go insane and before I know it I've consumed a few thousand calories in one sitting. For example, today's meal consisted of about 12oz liver, a pound of raw beef, three 8oz avocados, a stick (8 tablespoons) of butter, a cup of ricotta cheese, and a massive raw salad.

I have experimented with just about every possible balance of macronutrient ratios, from keto to high carb and everything in between.

I have acknowledged what kinds of foods will easily set off binges... cheese, yogurt, and nuts/nut butters particularly. However, my main issue isn't refraining from buying the most problematic foods. It is the fact that I regularly go off on binges on ANY paleo/primal fare despite the fact that I do NOT consume ANY artificial sugar-laden SAD foods, vegetable oils, or processed junk. It's all too common to hear people say that it's almost impossible to overeat on non-starchy vegetables, meat, fish, etc. but I seem to prove that idea false.

I reached my lowest weight and a decent waist size (although at 8-9% fat as opposed to my leanest of 4%) going keto while just coming back into running after a month off exercise from a VERY stressful cross country season in which I had to quit mid-way due to high stress of balancing an extremely rigorous workload at school with college applications, less than 5 hours of sleep per night, and my coach's expectation that I must drop my 5K race time from 18:35 to 16:50 or better in one season.

Exercise is still the same as when I eased back into running after the break: 4-6 miles, three to five days per week, although some weeks I get 7-12 hours of homework and don't get to exercise at all.

My stress levels are still extremely high, mostly from school (Top 8% of class, all college-level courses except for English class), poor sleep quality, and frustration with body image. The binges started becoming frequent a couple weeks after reaching near ideal body composition, but have gone from once every other week to pretty much every other day.

Also, I have a history of dieting dating back to 14 years old at same height but 170lbs

In summary, my question is: Could it be a nutritional issue or lifestyle factor causing these insane binges every other day, or is it probably something else? Feel free to ask for any missing details.

8fc1d7a8dc2318f960450a0de632bfe6

on February 02, 2014
at 05:08 PM

The side of the container says "recommended daily dosage is two level tablespoons". All the research I have done supports one to two tablespoons a day as being safe and beneficial. I do one tablespoon before breakfast and one before lunch. I only eat those two meals per day.

Bdbeed2f84b5ddd3f9417044136e8b98

on February 02, 2014
at 04:41 PM

Is the consumption of gelatin on daily basis safe for you?

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8 Answers

0
8292546789ca48c32ead34c6e884d059

on February 02, 2014
at 09:46 PM

I have recently experienced how low magnesium can trigger binge attacks. Stress can cause magnesium loss. Epson salt soaks might be a good way to go about it if you can't get the stress reduced.

0
Medium avatar

on February 02, 2014
at 05:16 PM

If other possibilities don't pan out, it might be worth checking for any parasite infection.

0
52c9752a7944acc73f13db48fef20517

on February 02, 2014
at 04:22 PM

It sure sounds like youre just going too hard. You cant run from a lion and digest one at the same time. I had the same problem. I work out in the mornings and would work my second shift job n then go work out again. Always always hungry. By cutting out the workout after work and implementing IF i got it under control, most days. I find now that if im hungry, just eat. Hard to remember that. What works for me is find the 8 or so hours of the day youre most hungry or able to access food the best. In those eight hours whatever crosses your mind to eat, eat it. Trust yourself and your body. If it helps finish your eight hours with a big meal (though i find now that im not hungry outside of my window i eat basically the house for breakfast and wait for my stomach to say more food) IF might work for you, might not. Judging by your activity level i really wouldnt think VLC will work for you. You have to trust your body first and foremost and remember it will store, and ask for, what it needs. Just keep your stress managed. However you need to.

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6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

on February 02, 2014
at 04:13 PM

I also find it pretty easy to over eat on paleo although I feel really good eating this way. 1000 calories a time of nuts and raisins. I also have to avoid cheese as you do too because of that risk.

Large amounts of sweet potato when I am not hungry too.

I am old enough to to be your mother and I'm female. A healthy 18 year old who is not overweight should probably just concentrate on life and the food will settle down. Perhaps try not having any cheese ever and no nuts.

Also perhaps have 3 meals at the same times every day and no snacks.

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9d87a1382bdabcf260190d6cc35eb77e

on February 01, 2014
at 09:43 PM

have you gotten bloodwork lately? i feel like there may be something going on hormonally, particularly with your thyroid, that's causing the excessive hunger. i would absolutely ask you doctor about your symptoms and try to slow down a bit/de-stress as well.

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8fc1d7a8dc2318f960450a0de632bfe6

on January 31, 2014
at 11:36 PM

Gelatin! I struggled with extreme hunger despite eating very good, balance paleo meals (fat, protein, veggies, high in calories). Then I discovered gelatin. Dissolve some before you eat anything, drink that down with a big huge glass of water (or I do it in my coffee with coconut oil in my magic bullet). After doing this eat a good meal and it will seriously control your hunger. It's been a freaking miracle for me AND it's super good for you. I use great lakes grass fed from amazon, but plain old knox at the grocery store will work.

Bdbeed2f84b5ddd3f9417044136e8b98

on February 02, 2014
at 04:41 PM

Is the consumption of gelatin on daily basis safe for you?

0
Medium avatar

(238)

on January 31, 2014
at 05:41 AM

It's better to burn out then fade away!

18 and stressed in high school, all of which is self created pressure. Lighten up enjoy your youth by being a kid.

0
Be803dcde63e3cf5e21cc121097b8158

on January 31, 2014
at 02:18 AM

You may be eating Paleo, but your lifestyle is about as divorced from the Paleo concept as one could get.

The high stress, poor sleep, over training and obsession with eating/low body fat will cost you dearly. A harmful lifestyle cannot be offset by eating healthy food.

I would start by increasing your sleep to 7-9 hours a night, and think about quitting some of your activities.

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