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Thread: Recovering from VLC page

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    CoS's Avatar
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    Recovering from VLC

    Primal Fuel
    In June, I switched to the primal diet and I believe I really messed myself up. All summer long, I was trying to lift and sprint and stay active while eating under 50 (most times under 30g) carbs, and I never made the connection that I was hurting my body. In August, I had low testosterone (low total, low free, low LH) and low thyroid (Free T3). I was put on T cream and Armour thyroid. I kept eating low carb, even as my symptoms worsened. Taken off of meds in December,and after various tests, she said my lab results were abnormal but my symptoms were non-specific, so she released me. I then found out that I'm also anemic.

    So, I did some searching online, and oops: eating very low carb for too long can mess with your endocrine system. That explains the dead metabolism, terrible mood, mental fog, cold hands/feet, and muscle wasting. So now I'm trying to get a grip on this stuff and would appreciate any help/advice.

    I noticed that I put on water weight 2 weeks ago when I started upping my carbs, but my mood, temperature, and workouts have improved immensely. I live on campus, so my food sources are limited. Carbs = sweet potatoes, quinoa, peas. Protein = chicken, tuna, whey, liver, greek yogurt. Fats = avocado, walnuts, coconut oil. I can get pretty big ass salads for lunch, so that's not a problem.

    I'm shooting for around 120g carbs on moderate cardio days and ~210-220 on heavy lifting days, around 50 on my off days. 170-190g protein, and I eat high fat/low carb on my off days. Sticking to about 2000 calories a day. 200 lbs, 5'11, 21 year old male. Since my testosterone and thyroid are down, I don't think my BMR is very high, so its hard for me to gauge whether I'm eating too much or too little.

    I have noticed that after being low carb for so long, if I have 1/4 cup quinoa (31 carbs) for breakfast at 8am and a sweet potato for lunch at 11:30 (60g carbs), I'm ready to fall asleep by 1. I hear you're supposed to eat higher carb on workout days, but my energy just crashes and it seems counter-productive. Should I concentrate my carbs a few hours before and after my workouts? Any advice?

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    Is lowered T3 resulting from a low carb diet problematic? - PaleoHacks.com
    You may find the response by Ambimorph to be interesting. It's the very long 2nd one. It's worthwhile to read the entire post. This is the conclusion he/she came to.
    In conclusion, no, I do not consider it dishonest to minimize the observation that low carbohydrate diets can lower T3. Such lowering is protective of lean mass, and does not appear to be harmful or indicative of hypothyroid. It is completely reversible, which indicates that it is not causing an impairment of function, but rather is part of normal thyroid function. Finally, it may even be beneficial.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Highest squat: 167.5 x 2. Current Deadlift: 190 x 3

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    I'll give it a looking over. I will say, however, that if what my body was going through was beneficial, in terms of low energy, low T, and poor mental health, then I'm not sure our definitions of that word are the same.

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    I can not offer any advice although your post may be the wake up call I needed. I think I was running myself into a similar situation... I'm 20 year old college student, working out 6 days a week, eating less than 75g of carbs regularly. I have had terrible moods lately, mood swings, random hair loss, and now that you mention it...cold feet/hands.

    Just added almonds back into my diet, as well as a daily banana. Throwing in some occasional rice too.
    Hope you get everything back on track, I think this is a warning that a lot of people need.

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    Cos- I've been following some of your posts about your health issues. To be honest, I would really be surprised if your issues were all the result of going low carb. If I recall correctly, you had significant issues before starting primal, right?

    I've never been a low-carb primal person, but it doesn't seem to me that so much damage could be done in just a few months of low carb eating.

    Do you know what type of anemia you have?

    I'm not saying you should stay low carb - adding some in is a good idea. I just have a feeling something else is going on here.
    Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

    http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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    I lost 100 lbs on CW before going primal. My severe mood swings and physical symptoms I've described did not start until I started eating very low carb. And when I say low carb, I'm talking stressing out about broccoli because there are 6g carbs in 2 cups. Serious low carb. From June to March.

    Looking back at MyFitnessPal entries in May of last year, I was eating around 300-350 carbs from milk, fruit, peanut butter, oatmeal, beans, and rice. And then BOOM, middle of June I dropped down to 15-30g. No middle ground. This post would have been helpful back when I was first starting: http://drcate.com/going-low-carb-too...one-imbalance/
    Last edited by CoS; 03-10-2012 at 03:07 PM.

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    I hear you're supposed to eat higher carb on workout days, but my energy just crashes and it seems counter-productive. Should I concentrate my carbs a few hours before and after my workouts? Any advice?
    Why not just take a breath, eat the primal foods- the meats, veggies, fruits, etc. etc. and eat in a way that makes you feel the best for a while? Justeat what you kind of feel like eating that falls within that realm and don't worry about hitting certain numbers on certain days. If you lift and feel the need for a banana, eat it. If running makes you want something high in protein, eat it.

    You need to figure out what works for you- unfortunately trial and error.... All of the foods on the plan are healthy for your body, but we all kind of need a different mix of the good stuff to be our best. I feel better a little heavier on the protein, a little lower on the fat and a little higher in the carbs. I just kind of get a feeling about what I want. Right now, I feel like I need a hunk of protein... so chicken breast it is! Had too much fat yesterday so I want proteiny and light today.

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    Yes, I have been VLC for a while. I was just diagnosed with hypoglycemia after suffering from a slew of hypothyroid like symptoms. My thyroid tested fine. I am now be adding back good Primal carbs to balance out my meals. Thanks for the Dr. Cate link. It gave me a few more pieces of my puzzle.

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    Magnolia -that's what I'm doing. I'm trying to figure out what ratios work for me. I'm keeping a journal to try to match my mood/energy with what I'm eating. I live on campus, so my primal options are limited, but I do eat the foods I like. I've found that fructose gives me terrible stomach problems, so I don't go there often. I do, however, love me some nut butter and chocolate. So I'm not depriving myself by any means.

  10. #10
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    What was your diet like while VLC? Were you eating liver, animal fat, coconut oil, and fish? Just wondering.
    Thanks

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