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Thread: Need help: Paleo, IF, and no energy! page

  1. #1
    dvuong's Avatar
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    Need help: Paleo, IF, and no energy!

    Primal Fuel
    Greetings!

    I've been on the paleo wagon for a few months now and recently starting IF about 3 weeks ago for at least 5 days a week (Mon-Fri) mostly following Leangains protocol of 16/8 but more often on weekdays, it's like 19/5. I've been coming across several issues ever since starting paleo and IF but not necessarily both at the same time. I'd like to know some of your thoughts on what could be the cause and if there are any possible solutions.

    First, some facts about me. I'm 28 yo female, 5'2"ish and have been stuck at 120-123lbs for the last few months but also not really concerned about the number on the scale as my main goal is to get rid of stomach fat. I am a runner who is training for a 1/2 marathon and log about 30-40 miles/week. I don't do any strength or weight lifting. While IFing, I eat around 1-2pm and it usually consists of 4-6 oz of protein with at least 3 servings of veggies, some fat, and sometimes a handful of mixed nuts. Right before dinner, I will snack on a couple servings of carrot sticks and ~ 1 TBSP nut butter and sometimes a little bit of fruit. For dinner, I'll have about 4-6 oz of protein with another 3-4 servings of veggies cooked in fat. I do my runs fasted.. On weekdays, I will usually run 6 miles around noon and then sit down to my meal about an hour after I finish my workout. My eating and running window is a little different on weekends but I still run fasted.

    So here are some of the issues I'm dealing with:
    1) Really struggling with energy. I was a previous carb addict and so ever since I started going paleo, my energy level has tanked. I've been thinking it's the carb flu but is it possible for the carb flu to last so many months? Some days, my legs feel like dead weight and it feels a chore to just walk around, which makes my motivation to run also difficult. I thought I'd be much more fat adapted by now.
    2) I wake up STARVING in the mornings. I resist the urge to eat and just drink coffee and water until lunch. The feeling of hunger usually decreases and becomes mild once I get moving and get my fluids in but I figured with 3 weeks under my belt, IF would get easier.
    3) Haven't noticed much change in my measurements and weight still stuck at 120-123lbs. More importantly, stomach fat really is stubborn and won't budge.

    So, what are your thoughts? Sorry the post is so long.

  2. #2
    Leida's Avatar
    Leida is offline Senior Member
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    You are a runner. Fasting and limited carb consumption is not optimal for your training regimen. I suggest you take a look at the PHD diet, that is a Paleo version that emphasizes starches, such as sweet potato and white rice in addition to the Primal selection of meats, vegetables and fruit over fat content. My mother who is an avid biker and hiker, had fantastic results with it for both overall fat loss and belly fat loss (she basically lost her 20+ years gut in 6 months going from ~ 150 lbs to 120 lbs at the height of 5'6"). Unless you have diabetic or pre-diabetic condition, give a try to reducing fat and adding a serving of a safe starch with every one of your 3-4 meals a day, starting with a breakfast right after your run (if you run the first thing). A nutritional breakfast >> coffee for health and wellness imo. Also, supplement a LOT with home-made beef bone broth.
    Last edited by Leida; 10-01-2013 at 08:46 AM.
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    I also have this problem, I train in the mornings and always feel fine but by the afternoon my legs feel like lead and very heavy. I also love my running but struggle to find enough energy, am going to try to add more healthy carbs in to see if it helps , sweet pots , butternut squash, quinoa, parsnips. Hopefully this will help.

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    IFing isn't for everyone. And if it is, it isn't for everyone as a lifestyle. If you're starving in the morning, you're not listening to your body by not eating - especially while training.

    With your activity level, I'm not sure 12 oz of meat per day is adequate. If it's good quality meat, that's somewhere between 70 and 85 grams of protein. Not a lot for someone training. There is a lot more nourishment in a nice hunk of meat than in a handful of nuts.
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    It looks like you're eating around 1,200 calories per day. For someone running 30 - 40 miles per week, that's not much food at all.

    Cardio + IF + low carb + calorie restriction doesn't sound like a very good idea. Fasted running might be okay, but I don't think waiting an hour to eat afterwards is worth your while. Try bringing a bottle of coconut water with you when you go running, or drinking some 15 - 30 minutes after. I would definitely increase your carb intake -- eat fruit, potatoes, sweet potatoes, raw honey, and maybe some white rice here and there.

    Calories are not the end all be all, but they are important. If you're trying to lose 5 - 10 pounds, you could afford to eat around 1,700 calories per day. If you'd like to maintain your current weight, you could probably eat 2,000 - 2,200. Try eating more on workout days and less on rest days.

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    Great replies by Tarek and Leida. You're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole with the IF, low carb, low calories coupled with lots of cardio and high activity. You're body is telling you what you're doing is not working.

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    Seconding what the others have said, if you are very active, low-carbing it is going to hurt more than it helps. I'm very active myself, and I reached my goal weight with a high carb/high protein/low fat diet. It's not strictly what Primal advocates, but it works for me. I'm also very active.
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    Thanks everyone for your reply. I think I will try to increase my carbs a bit. I've estimated most days I eat between 1200 - 1500 cals. Even though I wake up hungry, I enjoy IFing because it means I get to have larger meals when it is time to eat. The constant calorie restriction diets I was on in the past always left me feeling hungry so I enjoy the feeling of being full and satisfied. It's also nice to not have to think about what I want to eat for breakfast and have to spend time making it.. Though nowadays, I do crave a bacon and egg scramble in the mornings.

    So, tell me how you guys think I did with my meal for lunch.

    - About 1/3 lb roasted potatoes with olive oil that I got from Whole Foods.
    - 4 cups of sauteed cabbage in about 1 teaspoon ghee to go with my spaghetti sauce below
    - Spaghetti sauce that had about 2-3 ounces GF beef, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers
    - 1 hard boiled egg

    Too much? I entered all of this into MFP and it's saying I had about 50g of carbs and 650 cals.
    Last edited by dvuong; 10-01-2013 at 02:01 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dvuong View Post
    Greetings!

    I've been on the paleo wagon for a few months now and recently starting IF about 3 weeks ago for at least 5 days a week (Mon-Fri) mostly following Leangains protocol of 16/8 but more often on weekdays, it's like 19/5. I've been coming across several issues ever since starting paleo and IF but not necessarily both at the same time. I'd like to know some of your thoughts on what could be the cause and if there are any possible solutions.

    First, some facts about me. I'm 28 yo female, 5'2"ish and have been stuck at 120-123lbs for the last few months but also not really concerned about the number on the scale as my main goal is to get rid of stomach fat. I am a runner who is training for a 1/2 marathon and log about 30-40 miles/week. I don't do any strength or weight lifting. While IFing, I eat around 1-2pm and it usually consists of 4-6 oz of protein with at least 3 servings of veggies, some fat, and sometimes a handful of mixed nuts. Right before dinner, I will snack on a couple servings of carrot sticks and ~ 1 TBSP nut butter and sometimes a little bit of fruit. For dinner, I'll have about 4-6 oz of protein with another 3-4 servings of veggies cooked in fat. I do my runs fasted.. On weekdays, I will usually run 6 miles around noon and then sit down to my meal about an hour after I finish my workout. My eating and running window is a little different on weekends but I still run fasted.

    So here are some of the issues I'm dealing with:
    1) Really struggling with energy. I was a previous carb addict and so ever since I started going paleo, my energy level has tanked. I've been thinking it's the carb flu but is it possible for the carb flu to last so many months? Some days, my legs feel like dead weight and it feels a chore to just walk around, which makes my motivation to run also difficult. I thought I'd be much more fat adapted by now.
    2) I wake up STARVING in the mornings. I resist the urge to eat and just drink coffee and water until lunch. The feeling of hunger usually decreases and becomes mild once I get moving and get my fluids in but I figured with 3 weeks under my belt, IF would get easier.
    3) Haven't noticed much change in my measurements and weight still stuck at 120-123lbs. More importantly, stomach fat really is stubborn and won't budge.

    So, what are your thoughts? Sorry the post is so long.
    Sorry you are not feeling well! I've experimented on myself and have done alot of study on this kind of stuff. It is definitely a problem when you have low energy, especially as a serious endurance athlete. You only need to make a few tweaks in your diet and you will feel better in a few days I bet!

    You should not be waking up ravenous, that is against the point of this type of eating. You are showing all of the signs that you are undereating. If you are tired and have persistent bellyfat you are showing the classic signs of undereating. That belly fat is a product of cortisol release which is induced through your training and undereating. These are both stressors to the body and the body reacts as if a famine is coming. The bodies natural reaction to this type of stress is to retain fat, particularly around the mid-section.

    As an athlete I believe you must have some source of starch in your diet. For your training and size I would think you would need 200-300 calories a day from starch+ the 200 calories a day I assume you are getting from above-ground vegetables. As far as the starch source goes, any form or rice or potatoes will do. I would also skip fruit entirely until you got the body composition you want. Fruit is fine if you are as lean as you want but fruit is a simple sugar and when you eat these you get cravings for more. I believe there is a big difference between fruit and starch, starch being my preferred source of fuel when I am not trying to lose bodyfat.

    I believe you can do IF but only if you are eating adequate calories and pay attention a little bit to food timing. I do IF and eat 3-4 times a day during the 8 hour time window. I am sort of a strength athlete (kettlebells, bodyweight stuff), I do about 80% strength and 20% conditioning work. I train fasted before I start eating at 11am. I am able to do this because I make sure to eat my starch (white rice) with my last measl of the day at about 5 and 7pm. I make it to eat a large fatty/protein breakfast and the same my last meal of the day + some starch. During the 8-hour eating period I eat whatever I want but not in large quantities since I am usually training people and only snack. That first meal of the day keeps me satiated for most of the day and the meal I eat at the end of the day is fuel for the next days training. You must not undereat while doing IF, you will feel ill very quickly.

    How come no strength training? This will improve your running and help reduce your bellyfat to a very large degree!

  10. #10
    Hannakb's Avatar
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    So, part of primal is to listen to your body, right?
    Your waking up starving, ignoring your body & not eating?
    If your time constrained for brekky, there was a yummy looking recipe on MDA last week (I think) lining cupcake/muffin tins with meat (you could do bacon), cracking an egg into it & baking. Keep in the fridge & have one to go

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