Paleo Diet Woes?

  • kuroshiro

    Posts: 786

    Dec 30, 2011 3:34 AM GMT
    So I'm almost a week into the Paleo diet and I'm just about dying. I'm almost certain I'm doing something wrong (or am I?)

    Right before Christmas I started the diet. It actually wasn't that hard to implement since I more or less was already following it. Anyways, as time goes on I've noticed that I'm sleeping strangely (aka feeling like I'm not sleeping), suffer from headaches (though not really a full headache), and have a lack of energy... quite lethargic.

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    I've tried counteracting the lethargic state by having some fruit and nuts and what not, but that doesn't seem to get me very far before I'm dragging again.

    I find this to be highly annoying! I've read a couple of the books, but I can't really follow the recipes since I don't eat half of the stuff they have listed in there, so I've pretty much had to modify it myself. I'm pleased with the results I've seen in the past week, but it makes me wonder in the long run...
  • DesireIron

    Posts: 426

    Dec 30, 2011 3:38 AM GMT
    What exactly are you doing for a paleo diet? Are you eating enough fresh veggies to get sufficient B vitamins?
  • kuroshiro

    Posts: 786

    Dec 30, 2011 3:44 AM GMT
    I generally have at least a cup/cup and a half of carrots with my dinner and a yam or mushrooms. My snacks are either apples, bananas or oranges (with some more carrots and celery at work). My breakfast is usually chicken and eggs, etc.

    I lack a bit in the veggie category since I don't like many. Peppers, carrots, yams, mushrooms is probably the few that I do (and my problem I suspect). I'm not fan of broccoli, avocados, brussel sprouts, etc).
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    Dec 30, 2011 1:35 PM GMT
    Sounds like you're adjusting to significantly lower carb intake than you're used to. If the situation doesn't improve, consider adding back some "safe starch", like potato, sweet potato, or white rice.
  • DesireIron

    Posts: 426

    Dec 30, 2011 2:01 PM GMT
    kuroshiro saidI generally have at least a cup/cup and a half of carrots with my dinner and a yam or mushrooms. My snacks are either apples, bananas or oranges (with some more carrots and celery at work). My breakfast is usually chicken and eggs, etc.

    I lack a bit in the veggie category since I don't like many. Peppers, carrots, yams, mushrooms is probably the few that I do (and my problem I suspect). I'm not fan of broccoli, avocados, brussel sprouts, etc).

    Maybe you need some greens. Try Romaine lettuce or Spinach. Virtually green vitamin pills.

    It's too bad you dont like Broccoli or Brussel Sprouts... I like to steam them for 2 or 3 minutes, leaving them still crunchy, then putting vinegar on them.

    Food List
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    Jan 08, 2012 7:18 PM GMT
    It's the sugar detox. It feels like death, but will improve slowly.
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    Jan 08, 2012 7:35 PM GMT
    I understand your dislike of many vegetables, but you might start giving a few a try. I am obsessed with butternut squash at the moment. Grocery stores are now carrying pre-diced butternut squash which makes it easier than peeling and chopping. I also like spaghetti squash - which you can use in place of pasta if you wanted to make like a sauce based dish. - It doesn't taste the same, but it's actually pretty good.

    Also, if there are veggies you are on the fence about. I am not a big fan of asparagus, but I can eat it if I drizzle it with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil - a tiny bit of S&P and roast it in the oven. - You can do that with most any veg.

    You might also try grilling them.

    I like to grill zuccini and yellow summer squash.


    I tried Paleo for about 2 weeks and I started feeling weak, too. I thought it was because I wasn't eating enough protein. - but - buying all organic proteins was a bit too expensive, so I backed off from that plan.
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    Jan 08, 2012 7:43 PM GMT
    Suggestions to deal with Paleo lethargy, based on personal experience:
    * stop eating fruit, except maybe at dinner time.
    * eat big salads 2-3 times per day
    * eat more green veggies.
    * use plenty of olive oil or coconut oil with every meal, but especially in the morning. it will make you feel full and satisfied and provide calories to keep you moving. e.g., I use 1/3 cup of olive oil with breakfast, less for other meals.
    * make sure you are eating plenty (tons) of meat protein, avoiding protein powders and processed meat products. You really have to do a lot of home cooking to achieve this, so make in large quantities.
    * avoid grains, including rice, and avoid white potatoes (which convert quickly to sugar, and you don't want sugar). Avoid sweets.
    * eat a small amount of paleo starch (like sweet potato or butternut squash) with every meal. This, and the olive oil, is how I got rid of the total lethargy. Energy levels returned to normal as soon as I did these things.
    * eat three meals a day instead of grazing all day with 5 or 6 meals. Your food will digest much better as the alimentary canal will not be under constant bombardment.
    * this diet is deficient in some minerals, so take a full spectrum mineral supplement.
    * drink plenty of water between meals
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    Jan 08, 2012 7:58 PM GMT
    Eat. You don't really realize how many calories are in grain products until you take them out. So eat eat eat. It was quite a surprise to me how much I can put away =)

    You might want to read Finn Christo's blog post on his first (shit) week of Paleo: http://www.modernpaleowarfare.com/2010/10/shineh-new-blog.html
    Sounds pretty much like what you are going through and he's stuck with it 15 months now.
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    Jan 08, 2012 8:03 PM GMT
    kuroshiro saidSo I'm almost a week into the Paleo diet and I'm just about dying. I'm almost certain I'm doing something wrong (or am I?)

    Right before Christmas I started the diet. It actually wasn't that hard to implement since I more or less was already following it. Anyways, as time goes on I've noticed that I'm sleeping strangely (aka feeling like I'm not sleeping), suffer from headaches (though not really a full headache), and have a lack of energy... quite lethargic.

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    I've tried counteracting the lethargic state by having some fruit and nuts and what not, but that doesn't seem to get me very far before I'm dragging again.

    I find this to be highly annoying! I've read a couple of the books, but I can't really follow the recipes since I don't eat half of the stuff they have listed in there, so I've pretty much had to modify it myself. I'm pleased with the results I've seen in the past week, but it makes me wonder in the long run...


    Well, first off, diets are supposed to help, not hinder you. If you think something is wrong or out of whack, then something probably is wrong and out of whack. I was on a 1,450 Cal. Diet, and it was very unhealthy. I was hungry most of the time, and starved myself basically. So, I raised it 500 calories more, and I feel SOOOOOOOOO much better right now.

    And hey man, I'm just as new to this as you are. So, no pressure haha.
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    Jan 09, 2012 12:47 AM GMT
    I'm new to it too, this is my 2nd time around doing it. The first time, I completely neglected the fact that my body needs carbohydrates and fats. I became cranky and my energy level plummeted. Now that I've found some balance I'm losing weight and maintaining my energy levels. I pretty much avoid bread altogether but I do have the occasional carb here and there such as rice and potatoes.

    It's a work in progress like anything else. Have to listen to your body and don't go to hardcore that you give up everything.

    Weight Tracker 2012 (yeah I have a spreadsheet for that)

    1/8/12 213.4
    1/7/12 213
    1/6/12 217.8
    1/3/12 219
    1/2/12 220
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    Jan 09, 2012 12:50 AM GMT
    Your body hasn't learned to stretch it's glycogen stores yet. Stick with it and you'll feel better in the long run.
  • kuroshiro

    Posts: 786

    Jan 09, 2012 5:45 PM GMT
    grofte saidEat. You don't really realize how many calories are in grain products until you take them out. So eat eat eat. It was quite a surprise to me how much I can put away =)

    You might want to read Finn Christo's blog post on his first (shit) week of Paleo: http://www.modernpaleowarfare.com/2010/10/shineh-new-blog.html
    Sounds pretty much like what you are going through and he's stuck with it 15 months now.


    Oh my god. I can't thank you enough for that blog! It's freaking hilarious! Genius!
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    Jan 09, 2012 6:17 PM GMT
    I had the opposite reaction. I got my energy back...I could do manual
    Labor side by side with a 20 year old again.

    Eat small portions of quality meat at each meal.
    Eat steamed broccoli, zucchini, cooked carrots and lettuce mixes
    Paleo is a full fat diet. Add coconut oil, olive oil, butter , almond butter, peanut butter that you might have been afraid to eat because of the old busted fat myth.

    You can't skip meals. Carry nuts and dried fruit ( check the label no additives or sugar) with you.

    You are allowed 20 % cheat food. That is two meals a week. That will
    Help with the transition.

    A friend last year lost 40 lbs on Paleo without exercises.... But you don't seem to have that problem.
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    Jan 10, 2012 10:35 PM GMT
    carb flu. it´s normal. It will pass. Make sure you are eating enough to get the calories you need. Big mistake to start with is just leaving out the grains from your plate and keeping the same portions for everything else. You can´t do that. You need more. Also, snap out of the teen "don´t like veg" thing. You need to eat LOTS of vegetables and a lot more variety.

    Paleo is a pain in the ass and I miss crunch stuff, but it´s built on logical and scientifically documented ideas and it works.

    And also it´s not a religion: if you can eat rice and be fine then eat rice. I find it doesn´t create too many problems if I have it 3 or 4 times a month. Wheat, even a small amount of flour in a sauce, makes me ill.
  • allatonce

    Posts: 904

    Mar 05, 2012 9:11 PM GMT
    Ok so I've been doing a quasi-paleo diet for a couple months now and it WORKS. Better than anything else in my life. I am still eating some beans and occasionally on weekends (social situations) I will go off diet and have some wheat products but I am very happy. Took me a bit to get over it too. And yes, you definitely eat more than you think you will. I feel so good now though. Recommend to anyone in a plateau/rut.
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    Mar 05, 2012 9:14 PM GMT
    From what you're listing as your main food items, it seems you're not getting enough fat and protein. You need to eat more meat. You should be eating more meat than fruits and nuts.

    Kitchen-Talks-Paleo-Diet-Pyramid.jpg
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    Mar 05, 2012 9:21 PM GMT
    bostonxfit saidFrom what you're listing as your main food items, it seems you're not getting enough fat and protein. You need to eat more meat. You should be eating more meat than fruits and nuts.

    Kitchen-Talks-Paleo-Diet-Pyramid.jpg




    This food pyramid made me laugh . It's how I eat but it's opposite of the idiotic doctor recommended one.
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    Mar 05, 2012 9:28 PM GMT
    Alpha13 saidThis food pyramid made me laugh . It's how I eat but it's opposite of the idiotic doctor recommended one.


    Isn't it funny how doctors actually still prescribe low-fat diets as the way to go? Every single one of my diabetic or pre-diabetic friends are told to eat the right carbs (i.e. whole grains). Seriously. I don't think a single one of these friends has ever even tried a ketogenic diet at the recommendation of a doctor.
  • xKorix

    Posts: 607

    Mar 05, 2012 10:06 PM GMT
    I'd look at your fat intake. Paleo is a high fat diet. Lots of fat! Do you eat oils like Coconut, Olive, and fish oil?
  • kuroshiro

    Posts: 786

    Mar 06, 2012 6:01 PM GMT
    Yeah, I'm starting to wonder if the Paleo diet is really the way to go for me or not. I started my Fitness Nutrition Specialist certification last week and diving into the nuts and bolts is slowly starting to open my eyes to things.

    As I told imasrxd, what I started to notice is my muscles cannibalizing themselves. I started losing definition in my chest first, which was really weird given how I had built my pecs up rather nicely (since my current pic that is). I'm not sure how this was happening, but it was happening. Even if I broke the foods up into smaller portions spread throughout the day, I was still dragging my ass... so then I changed everything.

    I was up to nearly a pound of chicken for one meal, 2 cups of carrots and a giant sweet potato for my pre-work meal. Nearly three hours later I felt as if I ate nothing at all, so I'd snack on some almonds, 2 bananas and an apple. Two hours later I'd be starving again so I'd follow that up with a yogurt (chobani, yes I know it's not paleo but... it's my weakness) and about 6 ounces of chicken. At this point it would be about... 3:30 in the morning or so (since I work overnight) and for some reason I'd feel absolutely stuffed like I was bloated and didn't want to eat for the rest of the day.

    So, I'd hold off eating again until 'breakfast' which would be at 7 when I'd grab a coffee with my boss to wake up. I'd have another 2 bananas for my next snack, finish out my shift and hit the gym. After my workout, I'll usually grab a protein shake from the gym and then head home. For the 4 hours or so I'd still be up I'd have another 2 bananas, 4 eggs and 6 slices of canadian bacon... sometimes another yogurt tossed in.

    I was doing that for almost a month until I just... had no energy to hit the gym and started eating "garbage" again. It wasn't really garbage, but I was consuming oatmeal, cereal, a bagel with my coffee at work, etc. I'm not sure what it was but it's like everything just drained from my body and I can't rebound :/ It sucks.

    I've been trying to get back on course again but, I'm dying in the energy department. I need an AED to jump start me again haha
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    Mar 06, 2012 9:17 PM GMT
    Sounds to me like you threw your body into shock with the sudden diet change.

    Go back to "regular" eating, and replace one or two food items at a time so your body can adjust. Then it'll be much easier to sustain the Paleo while enjoying some non-Paleo food in the process.
  • kuroshiro

    Posts: 786

    Mar 07, 2012 3:20 AM GMT
    Well that's just the thing. For about two solid weeks I was awesome. I had a ton of energy, I was moving like lightning at work, hitting it hard at the gym and feeling great. I'm wondering if a slight slip up in sleeping contributed to all that... *ponders this some more*