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  • Exhausted on Primal, Please Help

    Hi All!

    Glad to be here. I'd love some suggestions to help me figure out why I am so tired on primal. I was vegan for over a decade and for the last year or two of it, I was mostly paleo...meaning very little grains or legumes, low sugar. I did eat a ton of soy though and some sprouted seed grains in protein powder.

    July 1st, I committed eating a primal diet (around that time I also began introducing meat, fish, eggs, etc. into my diet).

    I ate 100 % primal for a full month sticking to 100 carbs or less. I discovered that if I went below 75g of carbs, I simply would not be able to sleep. No anxiety or spinning thoughts, just radically awake. I found if I went over 70-75 g of carb in a day, I would sleep.

    I didn't have much carb flu, because I ate a fairly low sugar diet prior to the switch (and had the cab flu a year ago when I tried to be a pegan (vegan paleo;-)

    I initially felt some better more sustained energy, but that quickly tanked. I became very low energy, mood was uninspired (which is not normal for me, I am usually an enthusiasm explosion of intensity and joy most of the time.)

    I should mention I was doing four days of crossfit a week.

    After reading the primal blueprint book, I have reduced my crossfit workouts to 3 times a week, plus added walking. I haven't started a regular sprint routine because I am so tired.

    From all the research I have done, I narrowed it down to either not eating enough carbs, or simply not eating enough. I seem to have symptoms of both.

    I was averaging 2000 calories or less per day (I am a 176 lbs. male 19.9 % body fat 39 years old).

    Typical macros are 60-65% fat, 20-30% protein, the rest carbs. I know primal doesn't advocate counting, but Im doing it to 1) make sure I eat enough and 2) Track carbs. When I don't track them its easy to get under 75 and then my sleep won't happen.

    So I am trying to get up to 2500 per day, but am not used to eating that much. On this diet, I am never hungry.

    On workout days I have begun eating 75g of carb right after my workout in the form of a fruit smoothy. I don't get a sugar high, but my mood immediately brightens...I may also eat a yam or some almond tortillas with breakfast. Yesterday I tried for the first time to eat over 100g of carbs (it was a workout day) and got up to about 140.

    Since eating more and eating a few more carbs my energy has gotten slightly better, and enthusiasm for life has come back some, but I still am tired and wake up lethargic, which is also not usual for me.

    Last thing to mention, I did not see any change on the scale, but 'may' feel a little slimmer. My hope is to have the boundless energy everyone is talking about, and get down to about 14-15% BF.

    I feel like I have never eaten better, but I can't be this tired all the time. So far, I felt better on a vegan diet (aside from the soy bloat), even though I am enjoying primal meals alot. I would really like to continue eating this way...the lifestyle make so much sense to me.

    Your thoughts and experience would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    Alexander

  • #2
    I'm same height and age as you and weigh 168 lbs. Calipers put me around 16% bf last I checked. I only lift weights 2x/week and hit the sauna 5x a week. I am regularly active with rec sports and I walk to and from work. So I would say that we are comparable....however your cross fit is a glycogen intensive activity vs my lifestyle.

    That said I definitely eat more calories than you. I haven't counted, but I am sure I get at least 100g/protein per day (usually more) from animal sources. I'm usually bellow 75g of carbs so the rest is fat.

    For you, I would set protein at a decent level (probably 100-130 at least) and increase calories via carbs. Pre and post workout are perfect places for them. Like I said, your exercise choices are far more glycogen intense than mine.

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    • #3
      Eat more carbs, cut the calorie-equivalent in fat. Low carb is fine for the average American couch potato, but it's a disaster for sports performance.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by sharperhawk View Post
        Eat more carbs, cut the calorie-equivalent in fat. Low carb is fine for the average American couch potato, but it's a disaster for sports performance.
        Well according to Dom D'Agostino it actually isn't - but it takes 6-12 months to get back in the grove if you go keto as an athlete (and then you need to go keto - not just low carb).

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        • #5
          Thanks!

          Yesterday I increased carb to about 150, and almost felt like a normal person. No slight headache, didn't feel like I was going to die of exhaustion.

          I guess had it in my mind that I needed to keep it to 100 if I wanted to lean out, but I was just reading in another post from a crossfitter that they still leaned out on 150-200g.

          A high intensity training carb curve chart would be nice:-)

          Feeling more hopeful:-)

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          • #6
            With your heavy exercise, I think the decision to go with the higher carb intake is in order, and my long standing thing is to eat to meet your hunger, without regard to the calories, relying on your body to direct the appropriate fuel consumption.

            Hopefully you are on the right track and will see benefits soon.
            The Buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future. So for today: I choose to be happy. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Ale View Post
              I guess had it in my mind that I needed to keep it to 100 if I wanted to lean out, but I was just reading in another post from a crossfitter that they still leaned out on 150-200g.

              A high intensity training carb curve chart would be nice:-)
              Weight loss can happen at any carb percentage. If you are hypocaloric, you will lose. Low carb can help you lose weight if and only if it helps you to eat less food.

              Comment


              • #8
                Mark has several posts specific to crossfitters. Here are most recent ones...

                http://www.marksdailyapple.com/are-c...al-compatible/

                http://www.marksdailyapple.com/cross...ance-recovery/

                As to the low carb paradox.....some do better low, and some do better with more. Targeted ketogenic diets load carbs at pre and post workout. You can get all the benefits of low carb AND refill your glycogen for the next day with this approach. Glad you are feeling a bit better.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ale View Post
                  Thanks!

                  Yesterday I increased carb to about 150, and almost felt like a normal person. No slight headache, didn't feel like I was going to die of exhaustion.

                  I guess had it in my mind that I needed to keep it to 100 if I wanted to lean out, but I was just reading in another post from a crossfitter that they still leaned out on 150-200g.

                  A high intensity training carb curve chart would be nice:-)

                  Feeling more hopeful:-)
                  I went from the 150s, lost 35 lbs and have kept it off for 2 years now (still under 120 lbs) and my diet is nearly 300g carbs!!(~75%) And I can maintain my weight loss with just 7-10 hrs of exercise/week, mainly cycling, walking, hiking and bodyweight exercise. I eat around 1800 calories and keep fat under 15% and protein around 1g/kg. I'm healthier than I've ever been before and feel great. My cholesterol also dropped 100 points to normal levels after switching from the high saturated fat primal diet to a lower fat 95% plant-based diet.

                  In fact, the reason I struggled with weight loss when I was on primal for nearly 5 yrs, is because of low energy levels. I just could never bring myself to stay active and didn't realize the diet was the problem. I just thought I was lazy and unmotivated. It's only in hindsight that I was able to see that eating more carbs has made all the difference. So the myth about carbs preventing weight loss or as primal blueprint says, risking diabetes, is not true, since my blood sugar and A1C are perfectly fine and in the normal range.

                  Bottom line, is - listen to your body! If you're not feeling good on low carb and the issue resolves when you increase carbs, then it's a no-brainer that you should eat more carbs. And if weight loss is the issue, then the problem is not the carbs, it's the total calorie intake versus energy expenditure. ANY diet will cause weight loss if one burns more energy than they consume. So the logical thing is to pick the one that you feel good on and that is sustainable while enabling you to achieve your goals.

                  *Starting Wt - 151 lbs (January 2015) * Current Wt - 113 lbs (November 2016)
                  *95% Plant-Based (from June 2015) ~ *75%Carbs *10-15%Protein *10-15%Fat
                  *Exercise ~7-10 hrs/week

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Meh, when I talk about the benefits I am not particularly talking about weight lost. Mitochondrial density, hormonal regulation, resetting satiety mechanisms and autophagy come to mind though. Hell, we could write a whole book on fasting and ketosis and their effects on these (and people have!).

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                    • #11
                      "If you are hypocaloric, you will lose."

                      I think this usually true, but I have been way too low according to those general calculators which say I should be eating more like 2500-2700 instead of the 1800-2000 on average I was eating.

                      My weight hasn't budged an inch on primal in 2 months. Maybe a little leaning out...but very little. I'm guessing it's because the calories have been too low?

                      Would you agree?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ale View Post
                        "If you are hypocaloric, you will lose."

                        I think this usually true, but I have been way too low according to those general calculators which say I should be eating more like 2500-2700 instead of the 1800-2000 on average I was eating.

                        My weight hasn't budged an inch on primal in 2 months. Maybe a little leaning out...but very little. I'm guessing it's because the calories have been too low?

                        Would you agree?
                        This quote "If you are hypocaloric, you will lose." It is like saying that if you squat down you will be shorter. It is both true and useless at the same time. The very definition of hypocaloric is to be taking in less calories than we use for energy. It is a useless statement because it ignores that the foods we consume can alters how we use them. It ignores what type of weight we will lose in said hypocaloric state. It ignores hormonal satiety signaling.

                        Taken one at a time we will start with one you have already experienced. Hormonal satiety signaling is quite high with food on a primal/paleo protocol because animal protein with whole natural plants is very satiating. This means we can better trust our body to tell us when to stop eating. It also means that we don't need to rely on willpower as heavily. Willpower is finite. We only can endure so many stressors. A constant battle to remain hypocaloric based on will alone is doomed to fail.

                        Food types and being nutritionally repleat can have a large impact on metabolic health. We could get very technical on this one, but no it is easily enough recognizable as a truth without going too deep.

                        Then there is the type of weight we lose. This one is huge. You need sufficient protein to retain lean mass in a hypocaloric state, else all your efforts to stay hypocaloric will just cost you muscle, organ, and bone tissue. We don't want to burn these for energy...we want to burn fat! This is why we actually require MORE protein in a hypocaloric state than we do at maintenance or hypercaloric.

                        Given the above I think it is fairly obvious why a primal approach works. Very little reliance on willpower since we eat high satiety promoting a proper hormonal response, nutrient dense, and sufficient dietary protein/fat/cholesterol. Sure you may need to tweek it to your specific circumstances or performance goals. But the framework is solid.

                        For you....I can't say without a bit more knowledge. Did you do pre/post body fat%?
                        Last edited by Neckhammer; 08-13-2017, 06:01 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks!

                          I don't have a post BF% yet. I did the water tub BF thing and won't have another until September, when they come back to the gym. So for now I'm just guessing. The person who did it suggested I only lose 5-6 lbs and have the feet be gains to get down to 14-15%.

                          at the moment, given my energy fluctuations, my main focus is feeling healthy, and less on losing weight. My assumption is if I'm eating in a way that is healthy for me, my body will change accordingly.

                          Yes, the satiety thing works too well! I'm hardly ever hungry. And eating 2500 calories can feel like work.

                          What you say makes sense. I appreciate what you wrote.
                          Last edited by Ale; 08-13-2017, 11:08 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KimLean125byMar15 View Post

                            ANY diet will cause weight loss if one burns more energy than they consume.

                            This is so wrong I cant even begin to start how. I'll explain it in terms of the Twinkie diet because I know that one, and not any other 300 carb diet.

                            The twinkie diet is almost 1/2 the SAD for carbs. 300 vs over 500.
                            The Twinkie diet was 75% of the calories and he lost weight on that.

                            But he also cut carbs by nearly 50% and likely insulin by even more than 50%. Why more than 50% - cos fast acting processed carbs typically spike your insulin and then it drops off fast too.

                            So the twinkie diet cut insulin by over 50% and cut calories by 25% - it is a very easy game when you have a full functional pancreas.

                            When you are insulin resistant, and you cut calories by 10% by swapping fat for carbs, you will make so much more insulin - you will gain weight.
                            Cutting 10% calories and raising insulin by 10% = 0 loss.

                            Any diet that addresses both insulin and calories in your individual case - will get you weight loss.
                            Its all about the macros - even if you don't know what yours are. Macros determine calories and insulin and there is an individual component to the macro-insulin equation. CICO is almost completely bogus, cos CO depends on the CI composition and your own body's reactions to those.
                            Last edited by srinath_69; 08-14-2017, 06:36 AM.

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