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Thread: New to Primal and feeling worse—what am I doing wrong? page

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    Primalgj's Avatar
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    New to Primal and feeling worse—what am I doing wrong?

    Primal Fuel
    Hi there,

    This is my first post on MDA, so please excuse me if I'm going about this the wrong way, but I after going at it on my own for a bit, I thought I should reach out to the community for help. My issue is this (will go into more detail below): I went gluten free a little over a year ago and primal about three weeks ago, but my energy levels are low, my eyes are burning, I haven't slept well in two weeks and I have a ridiculous thirst, and I haven't seen the dramatic changes in physique/burst in energy that others have. What am I doing wrong?

    Background:

    - To tone down habitual stomach pains, I went gluten free in August 2011 and have eaten that way (relatively easily, actually!) for ~95% of the time (something breaded, or bite of a dessert of someone's birthday, etc. make up the other 5%). But, I did rely heavily on carb-heavy/starchy foods to replace bread/pasta, e.g., rice, beans, potatoes.

    - I began using non-processed sugar many years ago, but decided at the beginning of this summer to relinquish my use of maple syrup, raw cane sugar, honey, etc. (in teas, baking, coffee) after delving into Sarah Wilson's writing. This is also when I began using a lot more non-processed coconut milk, raw/virgin coconut oil, chia seeds etc. (Not only in my diet, but began switching out chemical beauty products for ones that I could actually eat!)

    - I leaned toward Chronic Cardio workouts. My weekly mix included: running/elliptical/stairs for ~30 minutes, sprints/hill runs, biking for 45M-60M, free weights for 20M, yoga for 30M.

    - My nutrition generally consisted of about 45% fat, 35% carbs, 20% protein, or ~90g fat/day, ~150g carb/day, ~61g protein/day

    Then last month I began getting more interested in the primal way of life because even with those changes to my diet, I still always felt tired, lacked energy even after a restful sleep, I had trimmed down a little, but I had yet to get the muscle definition/toning I wanted, and my skin had started acting up.

    After reading through a LOT of the archives of this site and Nora G.'s Primal Body, Primal Mind, three weeks ago I embarked on a full force primal diet, e.g., no carbohydrates from starches (which was a big difference from just being gluten-free), militantly watched out for sugar added to foods I was buying/consuming, significantly upped my protein (harder than I thought!), and began following the Primal philosophy on working out.

    I did see a few pounds drop quite easily, but still haven't noticed drop in layer of fat on my body AND I feel more tired and listless than before! My symptoms don't seem to be the "carb flu", but maybe it is? Or, maybe I'm not being patient enough? (My macronutrient breakdown over the last three primal weeks: 65%/93g fat, 14%/45g carb, 22%/69g protein, on average.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Danielle5690's Avatar
    Danielle5690 is offline Senior Member
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    At first glance, it looks like your electrolytes are off. Try adding in real salt (not the white processed stuff) and/or some mineral supplements and see how you feel.

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    When you drop carbs, your body also flushes fluids quite fast. First of all drink until your thirst is satisfied. Second, all that fluid loss can cause an electrolyte imbalance. This in turn causes extreme lethargy. The solution is to drink 1-2 cups of bouillon / day. Try it. You will be surprised at how much better you feel immediately.

    LOL cross posted with Danielle. Celtic sea salt can be found cheaply on Amazon. I also add that to my food.
    Last edited by Pebbles67; 09-26-2012 at 07:52 AM.
    Paula Primal since 9/24/2010
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    Thank you both, so much!

    Since it'll take some time to order proper salt and won't be able to get any bouillon into my system today (unless I track down a good place near my office, bc stuck in all day conference and don't have any at home—will also get home very late), any suggestions for quicker ways to get some electrolytes into my body today? I know to steer clear of Gatorade and its ilk, but if I were to run out to the drugstore for mineral supplements, what would I get? (Is there a blanket supplement? Specific ones I should get into my system?)

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    yea sounds like you are suffering from electrolyte loss and can benefit from drinking a salty broth. Try the bone broth perhaps. Also you can eat starches like sweet potato, yams etc. Those are primal I believe. Anyway the reason you feel tired is because your carb intake in relatively low and is close to ketogenic diet. It takes a while to adjust but I think 3 weeks is/should be the time when most people have adapted. anyway try the broth or up your carbs and see what happens

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    Miss Understood's Avatar
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    You can buy Celtic or Himalayan salt in most grocery stores. I buy mine at the grocery store or at places like Costco or BJ's.

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    You may be surprised that you can get herb ox type bouillon cubes in the small food/snack sections of many drug stores. Bone broth is great, of course, but I don't have time for that.

    Yes and add some starchy veg or sweet potato if you want.
    Paula Primal since 9/24/2010
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    Noted! Thanks, y'all! Will run out for some salt/bouillon cubes (there's a local deli nearby and also a Whole Foods, so am sure I can find them there) at our next break.

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    Just take a salt packet you can get in any gas station or fast-food restaurant and pour that into your hand, or just use plain old table salt you have in your kitchen. Lick it off and chase it with a large glass of water. You will feel better in a half hour or less and you won't get any MSG like you will from cubes, nor will you have to cook anything.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Heaviest squat: 180 x 2. Heaviest Deadlift: 230 x 2

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