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How long can carb flu last?

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  • How long can carb flu last?

    I just convinced a friend to try paleo about 2 weeks ago. She complains that she is always hungry and tired and didn't think she was losing any weight. I listened to what she was eating and I figured out she was eating too much nuts and not enough animal protein. Even after correcting this she still says she is always hungry and tired. It has been two weeks so far and I feel bad just telling her to wait longer and it will go away. How long can carb flu last? Is there anything that can be done to end it sooner?
    Fitness Wayne | Paleo Health, Exercise and Weight Loss Blog
    Fitness Wayne Facebook Page

  • #2
    Maybe she's not eating enough calories. Maybe you should refer her to this site or give us more info to go on. Generally when people start a "diet", they automatically eat too little because this is how "CW dieting" often works. This would be my first thing to check.

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    • #3
      To quote Paleobird and her infamous slogan, tell her to "EAT MOAR FAT".

      The carb flu took me down for four days. But things like berries with cream, almond butter, and bacon kept me satisfied physically and emotionally.
      "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."-Winston Churchill

      "Keep Calm and Carry On"-British Wartime Poster

      "Don't Panic"
      -H2G2

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      • #4
        Carb flu lasted probably 3-4 weeks for me when I first went Primal. It was HORRIBLE. Tell her to have faith, she will turn the corner and don't give up. IT WILL GET BETTER!!! Also, the weight loss doesn't magically happen right away. It's like any other time you change your way of eating, you have to give it a month or two before weight loss will start happening. Patience is where it's at.

        And I second, eat MOAR FAT! Is she buttering or putting coconut oil on her veggies? Using full fat cream or coconut milk in her coffee?

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        • #5
          FIVE WEEKS for me, and then a few more where I would have alternating on-days and off-days until I have mostly on-days now. And the off-days are my own damn fault...

          Have faith - the corner will turn. IMHO, the longer you have the carby flu, the more you needed Primal!!

          Make sure she has read and REREADS her PB book and all other resources (Nora Gedgaudas, whoever else is in the paleo/primal/ancestral reading pile she should have) to keep the reasons why she is walking this path fresh in her mind. I did that quite a few times when I thought - especially as the weeks rolled by and I still felt like shit - it would never end and Mark didn't know his butt from a...

          A thought - since you "convinced" this friend to do paleo, how invested is she in this?!?! Like someone else stated, if this is just another quick "diet" for her, she ultimately won't last it out, I think, because her head really isn't in the right place for this kind of lifestyle change.
          I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC

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          • #6
            Yeah five weeks of carb-flu for me too, it was nasty!
            Primal since May 2012. Loving life and down 50lbs.

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            • #7
              Make sure she is adding salt to her food and getting extra potassium and magnesium as these are flushed from the body with the water lost when you transition to low carb.

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              • #8
                I am coming out of day 5 or so of carb flu from going VLC and sugar free. I found a recommendation to eat more fat (heavy cream in coffee, coconut oil treats, butter on veggies), drink ore water, and take magnesium. In 2 days, I am feeling pretty good from a ton of fat. Tell her to try a few days of more fat and more water and she hopefully it will turn the corner for her.
                My journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread70684.html

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                • #9
                  Five weeks for me. The first week was the easiest. Then I lost the ability to hold a conversation with people. Then I started to feel weak and tired. Then I started feeling good. Then the fourth/fifth week was the worst. I cramped up to the point my arms were curling in on themselves and I thought I would die. Potassium, magnesium and licking salt off my hand fixed that up and it's been smooth sailing ever since.
                  Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                  • #10
                    I have been eating low carb for 2 years now, and Primal for a year or so.

                    Fortunately, I did not have the carb flu. I think thats because I did not skip on calories. I ate until I was satisfied, and never went hungry. Maybe that might help her as well?

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                    • #11
                      You might direct her to the blog of Dr Peter Attia, The Eating Academy for some good tips on transitioning to low carb.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for the advice guys, I will pass it along to her.
                        Fitness Wayne | Paleo Health, Exercise and Weight Loss Blog
                        Fitness Wayne Facebook Page

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                        • #13
                          I am so glad I read this Forum! I have been Primal for about 6 weeks, commitment level 100%. This is not my first time around but I'm in it for the long haul this time. I felt more energy, positive and "wow I can't believe I don't crave sugar." Things were going very well. Not a lot of weight loss but I felt/feel that will fall into place later. I am on the second week of the worst energy drop, my housemate calls me a mucus monster in the morning, some hacking up junk and I get an occasional headache. I don't have sinus or respiratory infection. It just takes a lot to get motivated and I don't feel the energy I used too. I caught a flu meds commercial on TV and thought... "Maybe that's it, carb flu." I just didn't think it would happen after I'd been at it for a few weeks and felt so great in the beginning.
                          When I read that people experience it for five weeks or longer I know I am on the right path. Also I have been cutting back the past couple weeks to encourage weight loss and that may have stepped up the symptoms. I'm going to add the fat back to where it was. Thank you again for posting your own experiences one and all.

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                          • #14
                            Mine lasted over 2 weeks. What actually helped a lot was a good probiotic.


                            Wanderin Jack

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                            • #15
                              Took around five days for me (basically totally dysfunctional during that time), but for some people it takes more like four weeks.

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