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Eating Primal and Underweight

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  • Eating Primal and Underweight

    I love eating primal, but as an ectomorph, the cleaning up of my diet has resulted in my going from fairly skinny to very skinny. Some of this is good news, my body fat dropped from 12 to 7%, and since eating primal I have managed to get rid back pain that I had been suffering with for some time. I also like the fact that I'm not bloated after dinner, which is what used to happen when I was eating huge plates of potoatoes.

    However, friends and family have been concerned about my weight loss. I'm a 27 year old male, 6 foot 2, and currently weigh 135 lbs - underweight by anyone's standards. I put a typical day's eating into fitday recently and discovered that I'm not getting anywhere near enough calories; whilst I'm getting a good range of nutrients, I'm eating only 1500 calories per day on average:

    Food Log:

    Nutrient Breakdown:

    I'd like to put on some lean mass, but I'm finding it hard to up my calories whilst remaining primal - has anyone else experienced anything like this?

  • #2
    I assume you work out?


    • #3
      Eat more meat. Add more fat. Fat is easy to add by cooking with it.

      My MDA journal

      Primal Ponderings- my blog- finally added some food pron :P

      And best of all my Body Fat Makeover!!


      • #4
        Looking at your food log, you could easily add more fat by adding coconut milk/cream to the fruit or double cream if you eat dairy, a dressing to the salad (I adore EVOO with balsamic vinegar), cook your meat in butter or coconut oil and maybe add some butter to your veg? Broccoli + butter = delicious imo!
        Add some more meat (bacon with breakfast?..or indeed bacon with everything! lol!) as well and you'll see a difference in both calories and ratios I think while still being primal
        Newly primal mama. Taking my family along on the walk to a healthy, strong and happy primal life.
        Losing fat, building strength, having fun.
        My journal is here (please ignore my excessive use of exclamation points and smilies, I just can't help myself! )


        • #5
          1500 calories? that's what most people eat to lose weight. Coconut or heavy cream will get your fat up. Drink heavy cream, it's a delicious creamy fat bomb. Put in some cinnamon and nutmeg too...mmm.


          • #6
            My husband has the same delima....except he weighs less than you he is 27 yo 6'2 and is struggling to maintain 130....i will be watching this thread for advice as well


            • #7
              Eat more meat. Aim for 1g protein per lb lean body mass, that'll be about 125g for you. Raw meat is about 17-20g protein per 100g, depending on how fatty the cut. If you aim for 40g protein per meal that's 200g raw meat, so you're looking at about 600g per day. That'll add some fat by itself, plus you'll be using fat to cook your meals as well. You didn't input any pure fats; what are you cooking in? Use fat every time you cook -- butter, lard, coconut oil, tallow. In my BAS I use 50g of olive oil -- that's 450 calories right there, not counting anything else.

              If you cooked some meat in a skillet put a half-cup of wine, broth, whatever tasty liquid in the pan after you remove the meat -- leave the heat on. Scrape to release the tasty browned bits and let the boil away until you're left with about a quarter of it, then kill the flame and add a knob of butter. Stir to incorporate the butter, it'll form a nice sauce to pour over the meat. If you want throw some aromatics (garlic, onion, chives, scallions, etc) with the liquid. Like mummybeelee said, butter is a great topper for any vegetable.

              EDIT: my non-lunch meals are typically enough meat to get 40g protein (~500cal, but I like the fatty cuts), plus about a pound of total vegetable, cooked in fat. With that much veg, I can easily add a couple ounces of fat, which add another 500 calories. Leafy greens I eat less than a pound because you don't get that much in a bunch (besides they're much more nutritious), but they've got plenty of surface area to hold fat.
              Last edited by AndreaReina; 01-29-2011, 07:36 PM.


              • #8
                It seems to me that increasing carbs by eating more fruit and starchy vegetables might help with weight gain as well. Re: PR carbohydrate curve.
                42 yo female; 5'8"
                Oct 2009: 205 lbs
                Dec 2010: 167 lbs
                Current weight: 158 lbs (first time under 160 in 17 years!!!)
                Goal weight: 145 lbs


                • #9
                  Of course you are getting really skinny. You aren't eating much. Here's a sample menu for a day:
                  breakfast: 5 eggs in butter or coconut oil, veggies or meat if you want
                  lunch: salad with a 8 oz salmon, lots of dressing- try to use one that is low in bad fat
                  dinner: 1 lb. steak, veggies if you want. Eat the entire steak, including the fat on the side and everything.
                  snack: nuts, cheese, meat, whatever.

                  You can add in some starchy veggies if you want, but I suggest not.
                  This should keep you from losing and probably boost you to just really skinny, not super duper skinny. What you might have to get into your mind is that with what you have, you must eat past fullness. So, you may not be hungry, but eat. You can do this however you want, skipping a meal or something, but you still have to get some food into you.


                  • #10
                    I agree with the above - more meat, more fat. Cream on berries is totally awesome. Drink some coconut milk (you can dilute it with water if it's too thick and it still tastes great), cook with lots of good oils. Put some chopped bacon in that spinach.


                    • #11

                      Eat more food!

                      I am smaller than you in every which way. I eat a good percentage more and I am just as lean and I am pretty skinny if you ask me.

                      On 1500 calories I would feel like I'm going to die.

                      Reading your post makes me want to go eat more.


                      • #12
                        I would take a month and not eat primally. I would basically eat everything you can fit inside you without exploding. A dozen donuts in the morning, cherry pie for lunch, chicken fried steak for dinner etc.

                        the 135 lb 6'2" is more of a concern than nutrition at this point I would think O_O. That's seriously broken. Do you have an eating disorder?

                        and it doesn't look like you are eating primally; it looks like you are eating 90% vegetarian. You need to start eating meat the size of your hand -- ideally with every meal.

                        jesus I feel like the mother on The Nutty Professor. Eat something! Now eat some more!
                        ad astra per aspera


                        • #13
                          I am an inch shorter you and weigh ~ 165 pounds and eat twice as many calories as you do. You are starving yourself. Start eating more food and lifting weights. I recommend the starting strength program (I've just restarted it). Once you start eating more calories and exercising properly it only gets better.

                          The easiest way to get calories is to eat real food - steak, eggs, lamb, bacon, more steak etc. Exercising will increase your appetite. And don't forget to eat lots of fat. You need the fat for energy and growth.
                          A steak a day keeps the doctor away


                          • #14
                            We're only really assuming that he's working out though. If you're not working out multiple times a week then you're not really gonna gain weight. Your body doesn't just pack on loads of muscle unless you tell it that it is not strong enough for the difficulties you face on a regular basis. That's what muscles are, it's your body's adaptation to an external stress.

                            In addition to increasing you caloric intake you should keep in mind that if the whole high fat thing is new for you then your body might not be up to speed on producing optimum amounts of hormones. Low fat/High carb diets do hellacious things to your endocrine system and lead to situations such as "ectomorph" and "hard gainer". Once you body actually gets used to being provided with the appropriate building blocks for your hormones, and you're working out sufficiently, then you'll pack on the muscle.
                            "You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."


                            • #15
                              I'm a 29 y/o male, 5'10 and currently at 162lbs… I was able to gain 4 pounds in the last 3 weeks and here is how it worked out for me:

                              #1 I try to get at least 3000 calories daily which is really difficult for me. Before I always around 2000-2300 calories and drop fat/weight like crazy. Funny thing is I was always full. Taking that extra 700–1000 calories, that's where it gets hard for me but I was able to do that with a few "secrets." This is usually the "extra" stuff I eat in addition to what I usually cook. Not everyday though, I alternate between them.

                              #2 Avocados. I'm lucky cause I love them. I eat one avocado per day on average. That's 300 quality calories right there. Sometimes I make guacamole with 2 avocados and some olive oil. Close to ~800 calories, boom! And it's very delicious, to me at least.

                              #3 Coconut butter. Earthfare has the Artisana brand. It's delicious! I think it costs something like $15 bucks but it gives you close to ~2600 calories. In the winter, it tends to get a little too hard and not very creamy. So when I boil water, I put the jar on top of my electric water heater and it's ready in 2 minutes. Mix 4 tablespoons with a cup of blueberries and you get a nice ~450 calories.

                              #4 Whey protein shake. I know it's not really primal and I'll stop taking it daily once I reach my goal (at LEAST ~170lbs). I prepare it once for convenience. Half of it 30mins before the workout, and the rest, after the workout. It usually includes half a banana, milk, warrior whey protein (chocolate one tastes awesome!), almond butter, whole cream. The whole thing is usually ~450-500 calories. Quick, easy and delicious.

                              #5 Sweet potatoes (only after workout). Close to 200 grams will give you something like ~200 calories. 1.5 tbsp butter on top of it equals 350 calories.

                              #6 Nuts, nuts, nuts. I soak them overnight once and eat daily. Usually a mixture of macadamias, almonds and pistachios. 1 serving from each. Total calories = ~520 calories. Again, I'll probably eat half of it when I reach my goal.

                              #7 Hummus (only after workout). Athens brand is made with olive oil so I buy that. It's not primal but I don't mind after workout. I eat it with baby carrots instead of chips. Goes surprisingly well. I eat the whole thing after a workout. Close to ~400 calories with carrots.

                              #8 This is the one that I don't really comfortable doing but oh well: low-carb fast food! I know it's not the best food to eat but again, once I hit that 170 mark, I won't eat it as frequently. Right now I eat low-carb fast food 3 times a week. I alternate between mcdonalds (2 double quarter pounders, without the bun = ~1050 calories), five guys (2 cheeseburger, ditch the bun ~1200 cals), hardees (2 low carb thickburgers ~1000cals), jimmyjohns (2 "unwitch" hunter club = ~900cals). I buy some grass-fed beef as well but I can't afford it everyday. I already feel like I'm spending lot of time in the kitchen so LCFF makes it easier on my schedule. Let's say 2 double quarter pounders from McDonalds plus the salad I make: ~1700 calories on a single meal. That's pretty good. That means I have to go for 1300 more calories. The shake and the nuts will take care of almost ~1000 of it. And the rest is usually eggs. But planning around 1 large (not large, HUGE) meal usually works for me. Otherwise I tend to over-think it. Mentally I usually prepare myself to the giant dinner that I'm gonna eat in the evening which is ideally higher than ~1500 calories.

                              Sometimes I struggle hitting the 3000 mark because I'm just simply full to a point that I can't even look at the food. On heavy days, I force myself to take 3000 cals for sure. On medium days, I tend to stay around ~2800-2900. On light & rest days I try taking at least 2700cals. More is better obviously.

                              That's pretty much what I do and like I said I gained 4 pounds in 3 weeks and I'm definitely a hard-gainer. I'll clean up my diet once gain 8 to 10 more pounds.

                              For exercise, I do the AOS Kettlebell Program. It is more of a fat burn thing but I was able to make some strength and mass gains. My arms and my torso is slowly getting thicker without adding too much fat. On swing days (2 days a week and pretty intense) I try to make up with the after-workout carbs like hummus and sweet potatoes. On medium/light days I try to keep my carbs roughly around ~75grams. On hard days probably something close to 125–150.

                              It's definitely hard for me to eat when I'm not hungry but it's definitely worth the effort.
                              Last edited by Placebo; 01-31-2011, 12:14 AM.