Where is that Paleo energy I keep hearing about?

by 688 · June 02, 2011 at 04:31 AM

Hello people. I apologize for my very noob question but I am lost...what am I doing wrong? I hear about people having so much more energy on Paleo but that doesn't seem to be the case for me.

I notice that I am more clear headed, but now I get tired very easily. By the end of a work day I have little energy left to do regular household chores...let alone excersie. Over the long weekend I attempted a reasonable uphill hike that took about an hour and experienced so much fatigue I was worried. At the top of the trail I had to sit down to keep my legs from buckling and I was very dizzy. Once I returned home I slept the rest of the day.

Please help me with your input.


30 y/o 153 lbs (started out at over 168lbs)

I've been eating Paleo for about two months. I've removed grains, dairy, sugar (except from fruit or the occasional cheat of 80% dark chocolate squares), and tubers. I still eat salt....AND I don't primarily eat grass-fed (maybe once or twice a week).

Prior to eating paleo I had frequent hypoglycemic attacks, since the first week of paleo I have had no trouble with attacks and can fast between meals easily.

I had a series of blood-work done prior to beginning Paleo (TSH, Lipid, ALT, etc) and everything was normal except for my vitamin D. I am now taking 1000 IU daily as recommended:

VIT D, 25-OH, D2 < 4 ng/mL
VIT D, 25-OH, D3 20 ng/mL
VIT D 25O HYDROXY, Total 20

Finally, and maybe more importantly - I do not feel rested in the morning. When I got to sleep I am out within 5-10 mins and have very vivid dreams. I feel like I am out all night long (I don't remember tossing and turning or waking up) , but it doesn't feel like I've been sleeping either...

Sorry if it's information overload but I could sure use some guidance. I want to stick with it because I do feel better in so many ways but I cant stand to be so exhausted all the time.

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9 Replies

2979 · June 01, 2011 at 07:52 PM

Way way too low calories! At the risk of making a snap judgement I'd say you're tired because you're starving. This is a common problem in any diet, and a frequent temptation for Paleo beginners - trying to have the best of both worlds, 'paleo foods' + calorie restriction.

It doesn't work. Your body will insist on getting its calories and unless you have amazing will power it'll backfire in a huge rebound.

Actually, when changing to a diet like paleo you need MORE calories not less. Your body needs to heal and get stronger, not be starved at the moment there's relief from the old diet.

I'd add it via fat, and lots of it. Don't worry about the lean meats get whatever is tasty and fresh. Consume the bacon fat with the bacon - you'll be amazed how good it makes you feel! Eat lots of eggs - I've been frying mine up with liver in coconut oil lately and it's really tasty! The first time I ate a couple tablespoons of butter straight I felt shockingly wicked - and felt great later and do it almost daily now.

I do NOT recommend trying to get your fat from nuts or from most common plant sources with the exception of coconut (Some paleos object to olive oil even - I use it but not as a staple so don't worry about it). I consider nuts an occasional treat, but as a calorie source they have way too many carbs (and other stuff that I don't pay attention to because the carbs are more than I can handle already).

565 · June 01, 2011 at 02:38 PM

The body needs time to re-learn to use fat as fuel. In your case, it might be taking a little more time than usual. How many grams of carbs are you eating per day? If it's very low, say under 100, try bumping it up a little. If it helps you feel more "normal" you can start to wean down from there. Have a sweet potato with dinner, and maybe some berries with lunch. Don't overdo it, but test yourself a little.

It's a very difficult transition to go from operating on high carbs to attempting a jump into ketosis. The fact that you got so tired from the hike means your body is not efficiently burning fat for energy yet. Give yourself some leeway. Eat some more carbs. And take it from there.

6140 · June 01, 2011 at 02:01 PM

Hum, to go for the low hanging fruit I would try some Magnisum. I like natural calm, I was skeptical because it is so much more expensive, but it really does help me sleep and feel more rested.

8753 · June 01, 2011 at 02:01 PM

First off I'd say you are just starting out so you need to let your body 'heal' as all the effects of gluten etc are detoxifying. Your body is also adjusting to no sugar and other processed foods so you might feel bad for a while before you start feeling better.

From personal experience, I'd say you might need to take it easy until you actually start feeling more stable, then try a hike or other forms of exercise but working up to it, don't over do it.

Most likely you will start to feel the boost of energy once your body is detoxified and perhaps enter ketosis. For me, I feel a natural caffeine like high and that means I'm in ketosis.

You didnt indicate how many calories per day you take in, where your % fall (fat, carbs, protein). this could be part of it if you aren't getting enough fuel for your body. Dizziness can be from low blood pressure or blood sugar, but if your food intake is balanced you should be able to control this. (from this board it seems 55-60% fat, max 25%protein and remainder carbs....VLC = <50g per day)...this should put you in ketosis

Perhaps you could give a bit more dietary info for others to hack more specifically.

2689 · June 01, 2011 at 03:43 PM

I went through a period of general exhaustion. I've been on Paleo coming up on one year now and for several months I didn't really want to do anything but sit on the couch. I still have stretches of days where my brain does not seem to want to boot up.

I don't think it's strictly related to diet as this seems to be a "come-and-go" symptom: one day I'm fine, the next day I don't want to move. I have been to the doctor a couple times, but all my lab work is normal and they don't really have a diagnosis for "feeling blah, not quite myself." I've been researching different conditions on my own to see if anything fits.

My current idea is that my allergies/sinusitis (undiagnosed sinusitis; diagnosed chronic inflammation from allergies) is wearing me out. All the doctor has told me is to take Zyrtec (the side effects are horrible and the symptoms don't go away, which is why I think it's sinusitis).

I've been trying raw honey and I am beginning to supplement...I've always hated taking pills (even vitamins), so I'm extremely nervous about the supplements but I've got to try something.

I know this doesn't really answer your question, but I hope it points you in the right direction to take control of whatever your body is going through. Good luck!

702 · June 01, 2011 at 03:02 PM

I've been Primal for 2 years, and I'm experiencing the same thing. I had a huge burst of energy around 3-4 months into it, but since then I've been tired all the time. My sleep quality is the same that Eazine described. I've tried increasing my carbs, decreasing my carbs, using magnesium, eating lots of fat. I don't seem to have the energy for exercise anymore, let alone daily activities. My weight loss has been stellar - I've lost over 100 pounds - and I have no problem keeping it off. But I can't seem to get out of bed in the morning, though. I've tried different beds, sleeping positions, pillows, even sleeping pills and melatonin. Anyone else experience this? Perhaps I'm not eating enough?

2297 · June 01, 2011 at 02:52 PM

have you challenged dairy or gluten?

688 · June 02, 2011 at 04:31 AM

Thanks for the advice everyone. Im looking at making some changes and hopefully getting some energy back. I went out and bought some additional grass fed cuts and some uncured pork & sausage. I'm a little worried about ruining my progress but I know I can't keep it up with the way things are going.

I'm still a little confused so I have more reading to do ( geeze there are a lot of different paleo theories ) This whole time I thought 3/4 veggies ( with 2-3 fruits or so) and 1/4 meat was the way to go, but I guess I was way off. Oh well - on ward and upward!

On a good note my better half has decided he wants to go Paleo too :)

688 · June 01, 2011 at 02:42 PM

I don’t normally count calories. I use to, but I never felt the need to with Paleo since there doesn’t seem to be any way to really over eat once all the grain, cheese, and sugar is gone...also I've just been eating until I am full.

After imputing yesterday’s food in and got: Banana, fresh, 1 medium (7" to 7-7/8" long) 109 Grapefruit Juice, 70 Alfalfa sprouts, 1 cup 10
Red Ripe Tomatoes, 1 cup cherry tomatoes 31 Avocados, California (Haas), 0.5 fruit 144
Baby Carrots, raw, 20 medium 67 Beef, round steak, 4 oz 150 Fried Egg, 1 large 92
Coconut Oil, 1 tbsp 117 Pumpkin Seeds, 25 grams 112 Asparagus, fresh, 15 spear 55 Raspberries, 1 cup 60

Meal TOTALS: 1,017

My day is spent behind a computer so I try to reserve really rich things like rib eyes as a weekly treat. I also try to change my food up quite a bit so that I am getting a lot of diversity in my meals.

As for fat, maybe that is where I am confused…can I just get my fat from adding extra nuts? Also, I thought it was important to stick with lean meats. Thoughts?

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