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  • The Fatigue Factor

    I'm now on the 6th week of a paleo approach to eating, but have already hit a plateau. I've got about 100 pounds to lose, so this shouldn't be a problem this early in the process, and it's unbelievably frustrating. I am generally healthy (high blood pressure is an issue to some extent, low vitamin D, a blood test 2 weeks ago suggested high-ish thyroid numbers).

    But my main issue is fatigue. Very tired, all the time.

    I decided to do a basic paleo style plan, including dairy. I tend to eat out a lot, I have worked hard to curb this but on occasion have been eating pre-made salad dressings, takeout burgers without the bun, etc. Have been lifting weights and doing interval-style cardio once a week, plus some walking a couple of times a week as well. This will become easier to manage if this winter ever comes to an end Was taking 1000 I.U. of Vitamin D for a few months (probably 5 times a week or so), upped that to 6000 per day a few weeks ago.

    During the first 3 weeks, I lost about 10 pounds, and felt little "bursts" of energy on a few occasions. Things were really looking up. However, during that 4th week, I felt essentially the same as I did before the paleo diet. Lots of fatigue. Also stopped losing weight, and have gained a couple of pounds since then.

    The only change I really made was upping the carbs a little bit by eating more fruit (mostly blueberries & bananas). This past few days, I tried a high carb day, and ate bread on a couple of days hoping to maybe shake things up a bit.

    So the question is, what would you fine folks recommend I do next? I know I should up the exercise. But it's tough with the fatigue. Should I worry more about eating more carbs? Less? Is dairy known to cause fatigue? Start counting calories?

  • #2
    How long have you been at a plateau? Before I started Primal, I did Weight Watchers for about six months and lost 50 pounds. About twenty pounds down, I got stuck and was stuck there for five weeks. Then, like magic, I started losing again. I didn't change anything along the way.

    The moral to the story is don't get discouraged. Getting stuck at a weight is somewhat normal. Have faith that you will lose weight at some point if you keep eating right.

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    • #3
      Before I started paleo, I was trying to eat healthier and counting calories. Lost about 10 pounds over 6 weeks or so. When I started paleo, I lost another 10 pounds over the first 2-3 weeks. (Hard to say exactly since I have been generally trying to ignore the scale, checking once a week or so). Into the 4th week, I gained a couple of pounds back, the fatigue seemed to be back to where it was pre-paleo, and I've been right at that weight for the last 2-3 weeks. I realize it's a small sample size, but I should not be plateau-ing this early, and the fatigue has me concerned.

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      • #4
        I have to eat very low carb to lose. I thought for a long time that low carb didn't work for me, but then by mistake I realized it did. I ate absolutely nothing but meat for four days for reasons unrelated to trying to lose weight and BOOM! weight started falling off. I think you should ditch the bananas for a few days and see if there're any other carbs that you feel you can cut out. I'm not suggesting that you go super low, but maybe see what happens if you do a couple of weeks of no fruit other than berries and no starchy veg.

        Another idea is to try religiously measuring/counting/tracking everything. I hate doing that, and can't sustain it for any length of time, but when I do it, it's usually a little kick in the butt and I hadn't realized how much I was really eating.

        Right now I'm on a bit of a plateau after having lost almost 65 pounds. But I've been stuck since July. And I can't bear to take my own advice to get moving again. Gosh, I hate counting! lol

        Oh, and another thought... is the exercise new to you? Exercise really seems to slow my weight loss down a lot and may have even pretty much stopped it (I have been exercising a lot the last few months). Recently I had an injury and had to slow down a lot for about three weeks and I lost 7 pounds and then totally mysteriously managed to put it back on w/o changing anything. But I kinda think that stopping my exercise was what made me lose for a minute there.
        Jayne

        I have t1 diabetes, am working on losing the last few pounds and getting huge benefits from once a day eating!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rubidoux View Post
          I have to eat very low carb to lose. I thought for a long time that low carb didn't work for me, but then by mistake I realized it did. I ate absolutely nothing but meat for four days for reasons unrelated to trying to lose weight and BOOM! weight started falling off.
          You lost water weight as your muscles became deprived of glycogen. I'm pretty sure OP is interested in fat loss. This isn't to say that low carb doesn't cause fat loss (I'm a fan of ketosis myself), I'm just saying that it really is a calorie deficit that is the main causative factor of weight loss. How to achieve and maintain that deficit is where different diet factors (low carb, high carb, low fat) etc come into play.
          Love, peace, and bacon grease.

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          • #6
            Try a high carb/ low fat diet. Much better energy levels.

            Comment


            • #7
              Supplement 10,000 IU Vit D every day in the winter time. Re-test your levels when it's warmer out.

              What are you eating right now? Walk us through an average day of meals.

              An easy change to try: more carbs, less fat. Try some potatoes and add less fat to your foods. Play with your macros. A common problem I see for people starting out is cutting out too many carbs and just adding tons of fat. That isn't really what paleo/primal is about.
              Depression Lies

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Demosthenes View Post
                You lost water weight as your muscles became deprived of glycogen. I'm pretty sure OP is interested in fat loss. This isn't to say that low carb doesn't cause fat loss (I'm a fan of ketosis myself), I'm just saying that it really is a calorie deficit that is the main causative factor of weight loss. How to achieve and maintain that deficit is where different diet factors (low carb, high carb, low fat) etc come into play.
                I'm a little confused... I was eating very low carb all along, like for the last 3 years w some breaks, but certainly for the last year I've been very low carb. Then I had an injury and had to pretty much stop exercising and I lost weight at that point. I agree that it was probably water, but I'm not sure why my muscles would have become deprived of glycogen at that point because I was eating the same all along. But yes, I do agree it was probably water. I still feel deep in my soul that at least for me exercise makes weight loss much more difficult. There is the problem of having a larger appetite, but I have had significant periods of time where I was exercising pretty hard and not eating more because of it, and still not losing.

                And I agree that the bottom line is a calorie deficit but I can't get near that deficit if I'm eating carbs. I don't necessarily believe that low carb is right for everyone, and definitely not as low carb as I do, but OP said the only thing that changed was adding carbs and then he/she felt less energetic and stopped losing weight. That's what happens to me when I add carbs, too.

                And btw, when I eat almost any carbs at all (like anything beyond green leafies), I feel less energetic. As it is, I eat between 12 and 20 grams of carb most days and normally do my workouts toward the end of my 23 hour fasts and feel insanely more energetic than I did 20 years ago when I was naturally thin and eating SAD.
                Jayne

                I have t1 diabetes, am working on losing the last few pounds and getting huge benefits from once a day eating!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sounds like you might not quite be fat adapted. How many carbs are you eating and when?

                  I can eat anywhere from 50-150 gms a day and have great energy as along as avoid carbs early in the day. I do all my back loading at dinner. I kick start the fat burning process in the morning with bulletproof coffee and that is plenty to hold me over for even 5 hour bike rides -- not to mention an 8 hour work day.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rubidoux View Post
                    I have to eat very low carb to lose. I thought for a long time that low carb didn't work for me, but then by mistake I realized it did. I ate absolutely nothing but meat for four days for reasons unrelated to trying to lose weight and BOOM! weight started falling off. I think you should ditch the bananas for a few days and see if there're any other carbs that you feel you can cut out. I'm not suggesting that you go super low, but maybe see what happens if you do a couple of weeks of no fruit other than berries and no starchy veg.

                    Another idea is to try religiously measuring/counting/tracking everything. I hate doing that, and can't sustain it for any length of time, but when I do it, it's usually a little kick in the butt and I hadn't realized how much I was really eating.

                    Right now I'm on a bit of a plateau after having lost almost 65 pounds. But I've been stuck since July. And I can't bear to take my own advice to get moving again. Gosh, I hate counting! lol

                    Oh, and another thought... is the exercise new to you? Exercise really seems to slow my weight loss down a lot and may have even pretty much stopped it (I have been exercising a lot the last few months). Recently I had an injury and had to slow down a lot for about three weeks and I lost 7 pounds and then totally mysteriously managed to put it back on w/o changing anything. But I kinda think that stopping my exercise was what made me lose for a minute there.
                    I have had some success in the past counting calories, and I know ketosis works. It's just that keto is extremely difficult and seems unnatural to me. One of the major appeals of paleo to me is avoiding calorie counting and the extremes of dieting. I thought paleo was largely about low-carb to lose weight, although I have seen some of the recent threads & discussions about high-carb, low-fat working for some people. Definitely food for thought there.

                    I did find those first 3 weeks that hunger was definitely reduced, there were points when it got to the time where I would normally eat, and still felt totally full. The last 3 weeks, hunger has definitely increased. Probably not to the levels of pre-paleo due to decreased blood sugar ups and downs.

                    I should add that in addition to upping the fruit, I did introduce some sweet potato as well. Thought I'd found the "sweet spot", but apparently not.

                    Re: exercise, it's not new to me. I've always tried to keep somewhat active and fall into the "okay but not enough" range most of the time.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MarkChopper View Post
                      Try a high carb/ low fat diet. Much better energy levels.
                      I may have to try this at some point. The threads regarding it are definitely interesting. I just think that as hard as paleo is for me to keep doing, that would be even harder.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by daytripper View Post
                        I may have to try this at some point. The threads regarding it are definitely interesting. I just think that as hard as paleo is for me to keep doing, that would be even harder.
                        Depends on how you do it. Usually a diet of mostly starches and moderate fat is what people try and they usually causes weight gain and overeating because starch spikes insulin and fat gets stored easier.

                        A diet primarily of sugar and lean protein is much easier and satisfying (for me anyway) because sucrose does not spike insulin nearly as much and refills liver glycogen faster which keeps blood sugar stable and provides a satiated signal to the brain. Fruit, low fat dairy, lean meats/shell fish works great for me.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by namelesswonder View Post
                          Supplement 10,000 IU Vit D every day in the winter time. Re-test your levels when it's warmer out.

                          What are you eating right now? Walk us through an average day of meals.

                          An easy change to try: more carbs, less fat. Try some potatoes and add less fat to your foods. Play with your macros. A common problem I see for people starting out is cutting out too many carbs and just adding tons of fat. That isn't really what paleo/primal is about.
                          I have already added in more fruit and sweet potato, along with the odd baked potato. I may try the flavourless oil idea (1 TBSP or so once a day, with no food within one hour on either side) as it seems people have had a lot of success with this in reducing overall hunger.

                          Typical Day: I tend to alternate between scrambled eggs and bacon one day, and Greek yogurt with some chia seeds and blueberries the other. Along with coffee. For lunch, either a steak or some kind of meat, perhaps a chicken salad. Sometimes a smoothie (almond milk, coconut milk, banana, spinach, kale, almond butter, protein powder). For dinner, usually some kind of red meat, hamburgers, pork or steak, side salad or potato. Or else a stir-fry with meat and veggies in olive oil. For snacks, some coconut chunks, nuts or fruit, or a few TBSP's of cottage cheese. As mentioned, sometimes a salad from Wendy's, or a burger with the bun removed. Usually a small glass of kefir in there somewhere.

                          Overall, I think I'm doing reasonably well. May simply be a matter of needing to keep an eye on the calories while increasing the exercise. Also, it's really difficult to find pastured meat, so I get regular supermarket meat and butter.

                          I did a diet similar to paleo last year for 6 weeks, and it was miserable. I couldn't wait for it to end. I feel like the removal of both grains and dairy made it extremely difficult. That's why I left dairy in this time, and it's been relatively easy. Also having a better understanding of why paleo makes sense thanks to Mark, Abel James and Chris Kresser.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MarkChopper View Post
                            Depends on how you do it. Usually a diet of mostly starches and moderate fat is what people try and they usually causes weight gain and overeating because starch spikes insulin and fat gets stored easier.

                            A diet primarily of sugar and lean protein is much easier and satisfying (for me anyway) because sucrose does not spike insulin nearly as much and refills liver glycogen faster which keeps blood sugar stable and provides a satiated signal to the brain. Fruit, low fat dairy, lean meats/shell fish works great for me.
                            Has Mark ever commented on this type of diet? Because it seems to be the opposite of paleo in some ways. I never bought into the "avoid fruit" argument because I think it's absurd. This viewpoint has been cemented after reading some recent articles about our long-ago ancestors and fruit. I am 100% convinced that they had access to it, and ate a lot of it. Perhaps this ties into what you are saying.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by daytripper View Post
                              Has Mark ever commented on this type of diet? Because it seems to be the opposite of paleo in some ways. I never bought into the "avoid fruit" argument because I think it's absurd. This viewpoint has been cemented after reading some recent articles about our long-ago ancestors and fruit. I am 100% convinced that they had access to it, and ate a lot of it. Perhaps this ties into what you are saying.
                              Yea I just argued that in another thread, fruit was abundant.

                              I don't think Mark talks much about the other spectrum of ancestral eating, the high carb way. He kind of pigeonholed himself with his carb curve. He mentioned some similarities and difference between the primal diet and the ray peat diet once.

                              Anyway, if you do decide to give it a try and need any tips or help, feel free to PM me and also check out the Ray Peat threads here.
                              Last edited by MarkChopper; 02-24-2014, 04:06 PM.

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