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What if you're underweight...can this program still work for you?

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  • What if you're underweight...can this program still work for you?

    Hi,

    I'm way too skinny. I'm a mostly vegetarian, breastfeeding mama who has no energy and needs to gain some weight back. I would love to find something to help combat my fatigue. I'm done with being a vegetarian--I have devoted 10 years of my life to being a vegetarian and I don't feel healthy--I can't keep weight on, I'm anemic, and I'm too tired! I like the idea of the primal diet, but don't know if it's appropriate for someone who has trouble keeping weight on--let alone taking out anymore carbs. I'd love some advice about incorporating meat back into my diet, so far I've been eating chicken a few times a week for about a year but that's it, I tried fish for the first time this week and got a stomach ache--don't know if that was just coincidence. Also, I'd love to hear from any other nursing mamas about how this works. And especially from people who have underweight issues.

    Thanks,
    Lily

  • #2
    My vote would be yes. The PB isn't really about weight loss, though it helps a lot of people do that. It's about being healthy, putting the correct nutrients into our bodies, eliminating the toxic stuff. Frankly I think the biggest selling point of the PB is the increase in energy most people get, which it looks like you'll need!

    Try googling both "vegetarian" and "breastfeeding"... though not at the same time! I know we have had many threads on both breastfeeding moms and on people moving over from being vegetarian. There should be some really good info on there from people that have already been there and can help.

    I don't have a lot of info on underweight, but my feeling is slowly your body will get to whatever equilibrium it wants to be at. For some people that is on the thinner side, but if your'e getting all your nutrients and get your system back to where it should be, it should definitely be healthier.

    Welcome!
    sigpic "Boy I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

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    • #3
      We have many former vegetarians on this site, and Ill wait for them to give you the run down on adjusting to animal proteins- very common! but I would just as a side note recommend you incorperate things like real butter and olive oil into you veggies and cookied dishes. Sweet patatoes would be nutritious and a good carb for breastfeeding and in general. Heavy cream in coffee or tea and also coconut milk, like from the can perhaps in a shake or with some cereal. Although its not exactly primal due to soy, I use firm tofu as a source of protein and just fry it up in olive oil and butter with spices to up my fat level for energy. Easy on the tummy

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      • #4
        PB is about overall health. Overweight people can lean out, underweight people can gain muscle mass especially with a higher nutrient and probably higher protein diet. If you want to gain, pretty easy - just eat tubers, fruit, almond butter, coconut milk and oil and/or dairy if you like it (I don't). Some chocolate might be good too

        If you are anemic, you probably need some red meat. In terms of adjusting I probably don't have the perspective to help you, but have heard Robb Wolf recommend NOW food enzymes for digestive issues. I'd say start small, let your body adjust, maybe have some kim chee or something like that with a few bites of easier to digest meats. Fish 'should be' as easy or easier to digest than chicken as many varieties are pretty light. In terms of meats, make a pot roast, chili which is basically long stewed ground beef, or pulled pork... all of these can turn out really tender.

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        • #5
          I was hoping to have more responses from people with underweight issues and how this program affected that.

          Thanks!

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          • #6
            We do address the subject of adding weight around here a lot. Adding weight with women is the same as it is for men. You need to get plenty of protein and left heaving things. Being vegetarian makes it more difficult to get enough protein and women tend to askew lifting for fear of looking man like. There are lots of women on here that are working out doing things like Crossfit and improving their body compositions around here.
            http://www.facebook.com/daemonized

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            • #7
              Hello, I was a vegetarian for a little over 3 years and was a miserable skinny fat 150lbs, 5'10" male. Since feb Ive gained atleast 15lbs (suspect it may be 20 now but i dont have a scale) eating primally. The lean mass gains are probably much higher but ive been shedding flab at the same time. The first few months my gut was recovering from all the damage the high grain diet did. Lots of probiotics + clean primal diet and I think Im getting allot more nutrition from my meals now. Feel great, look greater.

              Be sure to incorporate lots of yummy fats to make up for carbs removed. If your not too keen on meat yet, use avacados and coconut products.
              I dont fear fruit and i try to eat as many veggies as I can. Meat and fat till im satisfied. Now, 6 months in, i feel I am way more intune with what my body wants/needs.

              Good luck!
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Lily View Post
                I like the idea of the primal diet, but don't know if it's appropriate for someone who has trouble keeping weight on--let alone taking out anymore carbs.
                The diet (together with the right activity - and even to a certain extent without it) helps you put on muscle. A little more muscle is what most people need whether they're over- or under-weight. That's what's most "natural" for us - in the sense that given a diet and exercise pattern that are in line with our evolutionary history and our needs - and, therefore, optimal for us - that's the kind of build you get. ("Natural" in an Aristotelian sense, if you like - realized potential.)

                And those who do need a few more carbs - people with heavy physical demands on them, such as athletes - can get them in a "primal" way by eating starchy vegetables, such as sweet potatoes or squash.

                I'd love some advice about incorporating meat back into my diet, so far I've been eating chicken a few times a week for about a year but that's it, I tried fish for the first time this week and got a stomach ache--don't know if that was just coincidence.
                Could be. If you've not been used to eating first-class protein or that fat that tends (and should) accompany it, digesting it might be slightly problematic at first. Perhaps take a probiotic, and if digestion still seems to be a problem take some digestive enzymes for awhile.

                It's not just the protein but the good fats that we need, so be sure to get enough butter and coconut oil. Eggs are good, too. There are some notes omn foods for nursing mothers here - if you miss the grains out, these suggestions are pretty Primal:

                http://www.westonaprice.org/children...g-mothers.html

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                • #9
                  well i used primal to recover from anorexia... so essentially 'vegetarian' when i was active in the disease

                  i was low carb for about 2 year, zero carb for a year and then screwed my head on correctly and found marks daily apple and primal.

                  i started at about 88 lbs standing 5'8, 6-ish yrs ago....over the course of like 3 years and low carb/zero carb i got up to about 105 and was still very disordered unfunctioning and 'still in the game' of anorexia, i wasnt willing to let it go. then i found primal in february, started eating a sh*tload of food and now am 120 however now i am 5'7 i have bone problems, but the pain has been immmmmmmmensly improved with primal. it is totally possible, and is only as hard as YOU make it. just eat real food and a lot of it. when i was having trouble continuing gaining i turned to a lot of full fat FAGE, cottage cheese, and coconut milk and haha 100% cacoa bars....with lots of macadamia nut butter and a crapload of nuts.

                  when you are underweight dont freak about some of the things other people here do like PUFAs and Omega ratios. coming from an underweight position is a host different than overweight. as long as you are eating primal, just eat.

                  my advice...read about evolution and nutrition from good sources. being comfortable with what you eat is a huge key to eating in itself. until i 'got it' ad understood food and nutrition i was unable to stop freaking out and questioning everthing.

                  start loading up on the meat, but understand WHY it is important, WHY it is nourishing and WHY you need it.
                  Get on my Level
                  http://malpaz.wordpress.com/

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MalPaz View Post
                    i turned to a lot of full fat FAGE, cottage cheese, and coconut milk and haha 100% cacoa bars....with lots of macadamia nut butter and a crapload of nuts.

                    when you are underweight dont freak about some of the things other people here do like PUFAs and Omega ratios. coming from an underweight position is a host different than overweight. as long as you are eating primal, just eat.
                    +1 - oh nut butter is soooo good.

                    My apetite has "leveled off" a little now as I get closer to my natural weight, but I defeintaly went through a period of eating as much as I could and loving it. Be sure to get ALLOT of sleep as well, thats when your body does its repairing. I pretty much stopped working out when I first starting eating PB and napped all the time. My body just wanted me to sleep so it could rebuild.
                    sigpic

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                    • #11
                      I don't think that I do anything different or special b/c I'm breastfeeding. That said, I've been getting used to the idea of plenty of meat & natural fats for several years and eat a LOT of it. The Weston Price link given above will probably talk about the importance of superfoods like fermented cod liver oil, organ meats, grassfed butter, and some others - for all people, but especially preconception and for women during pregnancy & nursing.
                      5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
                      Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
                      Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
                      Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
                      ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lily View Post
                        I was hoping to have more responses from people with underweight issues and how this program affected that.

                        Thanks!
                        Howdy! I started this diet ~8 months ago in order to help manage my Crohn's disease. At the time, I was around 40 pounds underweight (i.e. skeletal). Since going primal I've regained about 15 of those. It has been slow, but I'm also fighting a disease that causes my body to waste away. More importantly, however, is that I feel much healthier. I had severe iron deficiency anemia and severe B12 deficiency pernicious anemia and associated memory and balance problems. All of this is essentially gone. I've gone from barely being able to climb a flight of stairs to banging out 8 mile mountain hikes. So yes, this diet still works for those who need to gain :-)

                        As for the stomach issues with meat - I used enzyme caps the first couple of months until my digestive system could recover. You may need to do the same while your body readjusts to foods it hasn't seen in 10 years. Good luck!

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                        • #13
                          This is good news, as my husband is very lean and more than he'd like to be. He's been weight training for years to help keep his weight up, but has a poor appetite and also does heavy physical labour in his occupation. Hernia surgery this spring has caused him to lose a lot of hard-earned size/weight while recovering. I've been hoping that switching to primal eating with me will help him with this. I've also convinced him to follow Mark's suggestions and not lift as often or for as long, as I've suspected he was over-doing it. He's finally seeing the light. We haven't fully switched over to the eating yet, though. I'm trying to decide if I should use up our supply of brown rice, rolled oats, etc. first and go into gradually that way or just get rid of it all and dive in. We are already partially eating primal as we run out of those things and don't replace them.

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                          • #14
                            omg i forgot about the sleep!!!!!!!!!!!! soooooooo important times a gazillion...
                            Get on my Level
                            http://malpaz.wordpress.com/

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                            • #15
                              I have been primal for close to a year and have been underweight since I was 3 years old. I consider being very thin normal and healthy for me and doubt I will ever be otherwise. I am also a former vegetarian.

                              Primal has been wonderful for me in so many ways and I'll never go back, but I have not gained significant weight (just about 4-5 lbs up from my baseline of the last 5 years). I'm maintaining effortlessly (ie without having to stuff myself to discomfort) close to my highest-ever poundage though, which is great. I think I just need to buckle down to weight training and I'll bulk up a little more. I have great muscle tone but could make huge gains in strength. I also have a normal body fat percentage which I'm not looking to decrease.

                              I would recommend primal to anyone no matter their shape, size, health issues. I would not recommend very low carb diets for us skinnies, though, no matter the reason for the thinness (seems wholly genetic for me). Lots of carbs make me sick, that's for sure, but I feel and look my best with a moderate intake of primal carbs along with tons of fat and adequate protein. I aim for 1g protein per pound bodyweight.

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