add in some carbs
Does anyone else have the problem of losing too much weight eating paleo/primal?
Basically I was introduced to Whole 30, primal, and paleo early summer 2011. Whole 30 was recommended by my physical therapist at the time because I've been dealing with a strangely resistant shoulder repetitive strain issue (still persisting - over two years now) and he was confounded enough to see if my diet could be part of the issue. Eating differently than the SAD was new to me but I gave it a try.
Some quick background info about me - I'm 35, female, 5' 11". Always been very nonathletic and skinny with little to no muscle tone, what I call 'skinny fat'. I did not care about losing weight when I started the new way of eating, as weight was never an issue for me. I was mostly interested to see if it would help with my RSI, or my ever present fatigue, or my digestion issues ( frequent diarrhea and bloating). I grew up on a standard American diet, with the combination of some good food (mom had a vegetable garden) combined with lots of bad food (grains/beans/pasta, commercial meats, vegetable oils, lots of junk food and soda)
Initially I lost a good 5 pounds and my almost constant stomach bloat that had been around for last couple years completely went away. I've gone through varying versions of primal from then until now, sometimes including dairy sometimes not, symptoms including grains, sometimes not, as I wrestled with my own beliefs and doubts and theories and peer pressures and sugar addiction.
For the last couple months at least I've been doing pretty much strict paleo, thinking that inflammation is probably a huge part of my problem regarding the RSI and half convinced that I might be celiac, though Dr. was not interested in proving it. I increased my veggie intake (trying to get 6 to 9 cups a day), went out of my way to make sure I was getting organic eggs and organic grass fed meat, avoiding all processed food, and not eating out at all, and limiting my sugar is much as I can. My fruits are limited mostly to berries, though I definitely would sneak in a banana here there.
Annoyingly, this new healthy way of eating is not really improved my constant fatigue or diarrhea issues. But more important than that, I really cannot seem to stop losing weight. Initially before I started I was about 140 lbs. For my height that was fine, though the muscle fat ratio was not good. Since the initial 5 lb loss I've been losing steadily an additional a pound or two every month regardless of how I vary my diet (as long as it's still minus grains). Every time I think it's as low as it should go, and I hope that it plateaus, it just keeps getting lower. Right now I'm down to 119. I was very concerned around 125, and I don't understand why it just keeps going down. at 119 my BMI is 16.6. This is definitely underweight.. I think I weighed this much in junior high.
I've always had what seems to be a high metabolism (despite my fatigue and constant lack of energy), my body just never cared about storing fat. And now that I eat healthy I can't seem keep the weight on. I could start eating starches and grains again, but I'm distressed at the idea of doing that because I care about my health, and I don't think adding a bunch of bloated weight is going to really help my situation. my doctor wants me to gain 15 to 20 pounds. I have no idea how to do this without going back to starches. I'm pretty sure I get enough calories. A typical day is around 1500 - 1700. I've been adding shakes that usually include coconut milk, frozen berries and protein (hemp or Garden of Life brand protein) just to try to get some more calories in, but doesn't seem to matter. I've also tried eating more nuts of varying kinds, but they often cause digestion issues for me too - not fun.
I'd love to add some muscle, but my RSI prevents me from exercising my upper body. My glutes and abs could really use some tone.. But I'm doubtful that exercising them will gain me the kind of weight that I need. I started doing 30 min. of cardio 3-5 times a week a couple months ago to try to help with RSI, and Ive played around with lower body machines at the gym, but so far do not really see a difference in tone. I'm always a little confused as to how much weight I should be lifting when it comes to lower body, and what kind of reps and sets etc to actually build muscle, as exercise is not really something I've done seriously at all before.
I'm frustrated... I'm looking for any and all advice regarding ways to gain weight without compromising the health of my diet. thanks in advance.
add in some carbs
You need to eat more.
You glutes and legs are the biggest muscles in your body, so exercising them will add muscle. In addition if you did weight squats in a 5x5 style they stress your whole body and you will grow. Perhaps not as well as a whole body routine but you will grow.
As for the weight you start light to work on form adding weight each session.
In a few weeks you will get to a weight where you can just manage 5 reps - rest 3-5 min and do it again, then rest and do it a third time. You can do sets of 3 or 5.
Next session in a couple of days you add a bit more weight. As soon as you can manage 3x5 or 5x5 the next session y ou add weight again...simples.
Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
Don't forget to play!
You need to find out what's behind the constant fatigue and digestion issues as it could be something really serious. If you're not eating gluten then it isn't celiac. It could be anything from Chrohn's to h.pylori so you really need to go back to your Doctor. If he still doesn't take you seriously or investigate further then find yourself another Doctor.
+1 to what StoneAgeQueen said. Also, it might be a thyroid issue. Get yourself checked out, because you aren't healthy, even though some of your symptoms have gone away.
My wife was always constantly tired until she started using butter instead of margarine and drinking cream instead of milk.
So perhaps you just aren't getting enough calories?
Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.
Griff's cholesterol primer
5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
bloodorchid is always right
I was losing weight at a REALLY rapid pace at first. Even more than the honeymoon period most paleo/primal newbies experience. Fasting actually proved to be the lifesaver for me.
This may or may not work for you, but what I do every now and then is to have days where I consume something like 3,000 calories in a day (almost double my caloric maitinance level) or even 3,500 calories (all healthy primal eating though). Then, I go on a fast for about 48 hours. I end up eating away the fat that that day put on me but not really getting into the weightloss zone. I'm now effectively "leaning out" more than actually dropping more weight which has shown the few times I've bothered to weigh myself.
After breaking the 48 hour fast, I eat one meal a day for about two or three days in a row that hits my maintenance level (so as not to lose or gain in significant amounts). Then, wash, rinse, head into heavy eating day all over again. This halted the weightloss and turned it into more of a "fat loss" experience.
Anyway, it worked for me, though your milage may vary! But it's another strategy to consider at least.
I've noticed people often assume they are eating more than they actually are when they can't seem to gain.. Cutting out sugars, grains, pastas, etc will eliminate that constant need to be fed & you will be satiated more now.. That often works against people like me & you bc we need the calories.. I'm similar to you, fat burner, calorie burner, hard gainer, thin, All those adjectives! BUT, you NEED calories (assuming there is no underlying thyroid or dysfunctional gland activity) if you're stuffing 3k calories a day in your body (clean primal food) you will gain weight
When I first began my primal journey, my body dumped tons of water, inflammation, unraveled digestion congestion & leaky gut-ness from YEARS of damage & torture created by my SAD (& grain heavy bodybuilding diet).. After these eliminations took place, my body calmed, healed & began repair & rebuild.. I too was shocked @ how thin I got & panicked, but it all makes sense now..
I still think we need calories.. I sneak them in with some dairy bc frankly living off ribeye & New York strip gets expensive.. So I elect for some dairy to boost calories.. Avocados, eggs, almonds, heavy oils on salads, yogurt, cheeses, meats are all staples.. You just gotta eat more of that stuff..
I would suggest taking it easy on the cardio.. Burning calories will only chew up your caloric energy, you're looking for calorie surplus..
Nap more if you can.. I also thought the fasting improved digestion & "heal to gain" for me as well (as mentioned above)..
General theme is: more calories, less burning
Also, if you're battling diahrea type stuff, watch the "add more carbs" suggestions.. IBS-D may be more your "type" condition, & more carbs like potato, fruit &/or general primal starches may run through you, as they do me.. My body prefers boosting the fat numbers for gains
oh & stress will make it worse! (this is where the naps help) ha, I know it's tough, but "Don't Worry, Eat Happy" maybe is your new theme
Last edited by abc123; 10-05-2012 at 06:15 AM.