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Where is that Paleo energy I keep hearing about?

by (688)
Updated about 24 hours ago
Created June 01, 2011 at 1:50 PM

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.

Background...

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.

Fe87afa634afe26f4f6fd956abe0b46a
565 · June 02, 2011 at 8:26 PM

Yup, after seeing the daily food intake I would definitely agree with you.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821
8757 · June 02, 2011 at 5:05 PM

use fitday.com and you can easily just from the % chart if you are balancing things right, if not you just add more of whats missing.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821
8757 · June 02, 2011 at 5:04 PM

yep, the easiest way to add fat is: ghee/butter, olive oil, avocado, fresh coconut, coconut milk, nuts if you tolerate. Up your calories (too loose weight you -about 500 calories from what you need per day==rough estimate)but 1000 is way too low. Just adding more fat should up it right away.

98148e265e1a9b27ce1c206190c1b8a4
5136 · June 02, 2011 at 1:12 PM

a food chart seems pretty complicated, and you don't have to necessarily rule anything out, just not eat so much of ALL of it all in one day :). what i would do is eat more fat and some more protein, because there's not a lot in your diet, and let your sugar cravings die down naturally. Then you won't be eating a bag of carrots and a ton of fruit.

967229edcc94a66580110324524feb49
688 · June 02, 2011 at 4:39 AM

Yes I admit I am a sucker for fruit. I've been drinking grapefruit juice to ensure my potassium is in range, but I could replace the banana...it's just an easy breakfast ( which is no excuse). I guess I will need to find a food chart with sugar for veggies and choose ones that are more suited to my needs.

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2977 · June 02, 2011 at 4:27 AM

Normally I'd agree - it certainly took me quite a while before ketosis became normal (but then I'm quite a bit older, alas). But in Eazine's case I think it's too few calories - just 1,000 in a day? That's not so much 'paleo' (it seems) as it is *fasting*.

98148e265e1a9b27ce1c206190c1b8a4
5136 · June 01, 2011 at 11:14 PM

um, i see some issues here. for one, thats a lot of fruit in one day. you ate a banana, drank some grapefruit juice, ate a cup of cherry tomatoes, a cup of raspberries and 20 baby carrots? those are all little sugar bombs. Keep some berries and some carrots/tomatoes but fewer! And only 4 oz of steak, 1 egg and 1 tbsp of coconut oil (which you may have used to fry the steak so potentially you only got part of that fat)? Seems like your proportions are off. Lay off so much sweet fruit/veg and up your meat and fat some. 1000 calories is way too low too especially if you're having energy issues.

030167d1516b20d4a79f326dded608b0
863 · June 01, 2011 at 8:02 PM

You've gotta crank up your total caloric intake, no wonder your exhausted. Nuts are calorically dense, but also high on Omega 6 fatty acids. If you eat nuts, try to stick to Macadmias (see: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/nuts-omega-6-fats/) I'm with @Bristlebeard, fatty cuts of meat are your best bet. Start thinking of them as fuel, not treats :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · June 01, 2011 at 6:45 PM

I'm in the same situation as you. It would be great to get in contact and help each other out. my email is cloudffvii88@gmail.com, my website is anewrespect.com

967229edcc94a66580110324524feb49
688 · June 01, 2011 at 4:25 PM

I'm lactose intolerant. Not sure how gluten affects me.

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4086 · June 01, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Just eating more should tell you the answer to that. But my first thought is how is your life/stress? Are you depressed? Do you get enough vitamin D? Get some blood work done to rule out any thyroid issues or discover if you are lacking in vitamins.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117
25467 · June 01, 2011 at 3:33 PM

You need a tune up check......organic acid profile and cortisol levels with capacitance testing. It could be as simple as a co factor deficiency or lack of water.

Fe87afa634afe26f4f6fd956abe0b46a
565 · June 01, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Yeah, I've got to agree with both comments here. Melt some kerrygold butter on your broccoli (a lot of butter), eat a couple more eggs, sautee your veggies in coconut oil, eat some grass fed ground beef. It really does sound like you need a lot more fat in your diet if what you posted above is typical for you.

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8270 · June 01, 2011 at 2:59 PM

1000 calories/day sounds pretty damn low to me.

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172
2297 · June 01, 2011 at 2:55 PM

I wouldn't stick to just lean meats. You need to make sure that you are getting enough fat for fuel, and as long as it's grass-fed or the like, you should definitely eat the fattier cuts.

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172
2297 · June 01, 2011 at 2:54 PM

I wouldn't stick to just lean meats. You need to make sure that you are getting enough fat for fuel, and as long as it's grass-fed or the like, that you should definitely eat fattier cuts.

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172
2297 · June 01, 2011 at 2:53 PM

I'd definitely say it could be an issue with not getting enough fats in your diet. You might want to roughly measure them out, just to make sure you're getting enough. You'd be surprised how hard it can be to eat enough fat sometimes.

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9 Answers

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498
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2977 · June 01, 2011 at 7:52 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).

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565 · June 01, 2011 at 2:38 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.

Fe87afa634afe26f4f6fd956abe0b46a
565 · June 02, 2011 at 8:26 PM

Yup, after seeing the daily food intake I would definitely agree with you.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498
2977 · June 02, 2011 at 4:27 AM

Normally I'd agree - it certainly took me quite a while before ketosis became normal (but then I'm quite a bit older, alas). But in Eazine's case I think it's too few calories - just 1,000 in a day? That's not so much 'paleo' (it seems) as it is *fasting*.

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6235 · June 01, 2011 at 2:01 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.

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8757 · June 01, 2011 at 2:01 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.

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172
2297 · June 01, 2011 at 2:53 PM

I'd definitely say it could be an issue with not getting enough fats in your diet. You might want to roughly measure them out, just to make sure you're getting enough. You'd be surprised how hard it can be to eat enough fat sometimes.

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2682 · June 01, 2011 at 3:43 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!

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742 · June 01, 2011 at 3:02 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?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117
25467 · June 01, 2011 at 3:33 PM

You need a tune up check......organic acid profile and cortisol levels with capacitance testing. It could be as simple as a co factor deficiency or lack of water.

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1
4086 · June 01, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Just eating more should tell you the answer to that. But my first thought is how is your life/stress? Are you depressed? Do you get enough vitamin D? Get some blood work done to rule out any thyroid issues or discover if you are lacking in vitamins.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · June 01, 2011 at 6:45 PM

I'm in the same situation as you. It would be great to get in contact and help each other out. my email is cloudffvii88@gmail.com, my website is anewrespect.com

13c5a9f1678d75b93f269cdcf69f14d5
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2319 · June 01, 2011 at 2:52 PM

have you challenged dairy or gluten?

967229edcc94a66580110324524feb49
688 · June 01, 2011 at 4:25 PM

I'm lactose intolerant. Not sure how gluten affects me.

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688 · June 02, 2011 at 4:31 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 :)

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821
8757 · June 02, 2011 at 5:05 PM

use fitday.com and you can easily just from the % chart if you are balancing things right, if not you just add more of whats missing.

967229edcc94a66580110324524feb49
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688 · June 01, 2011 at 2:42 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?

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172
2297 · June 01, 2011 at 2:54 PM

I wouldn't stick to just lean meats. You need to make sure that you are getting enough fat for fuel, and as long as it's grass-fed or the like, that you should definitely eat fattier cuts.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f
8270 · June 01, 2011 at 2:59 PM

1000 calories/day sounds pretty damn low to me.

98148e265e1a9b27ce1c206190c1b8a4
5136 · June 01, 2011 at 11:14 PM

um, i see some issues here. for one, thats a lot of fruit in one day. you ate a banana, drank some grapefruit juice, ate a cup of cherry tomatoes, a cup of raspberries and 20 baby carrots? those are all little sugar bombs. Keep some berries and some carrots/tomatoes but fewer! And only 4 oz of steak, 1 egg and 1 tbsp of coconut oil (which you may have used to fry the steak so potentially you only got part of that fat)? Seems like your proportions are off. Lay off so much sweet fruit/veg and up your meat and fat some. 1000 calories is way too low too especially if you're having energy issues.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821
8757 · June 02, 2011 at 5:04 PM

yep, the easiest way to add fat is: ghee/butter, olive oil, avocado, fresh coconut, coconut milk, nuts if you tolerate. Up your calories (too loose weight you -about 500 calories from what you need per day==rough estimate)but 1000 is way too low. Just adding more fat should up it right away.

Fe87afa634afe26f4f6fd956abe0b46a
565 · June 01, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Yeah, I've got to agree with both comments here. Melt some kerrygold butter on your broccoli (a lot of butter), eat a couple more eggs, sautee your veggies in coconut oil, eat some grass fed ground beef. It really does sound like you need a lot more fat in your diet if what you posted above is typical for you.

030167d1516b20d4a79f326dded608b0
863 · June 01, 2011 at 8:02 PM

You've gotta crank up your total caloric intake, no wonder your exhausted. Nuts are calorically dense, but also high on Omega 6 fatty acids. If you eat nuts, try to stick to Macadmias (see: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/nuts-omega-6-fats/) I'm with @Bristlebeard, fatty cuts of meat are your best bet. Start thinking of them as fuel, not treats :)

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172
2297 · June 01, 2011 at 2:55 PM

I wouldn't stick to just lean meats. You need to make sure that you are getting enough fat for fuel, and as long as it's grass-fed or the like, you should definitely eat the fattier cuts.

967229edcc94a66580110324524feb49
688 · June 02, 2011 at 4:39 AM

Yes I admit I am a sucker for fruit. I've been drinking grapefruit juice to ensure my potassium is in range, but I could replace the banana...it's just an easy breakfast ( which is no excuse). I guess I will need to find a food chart with sugar for veggies and choose ones that are more suited to my needs.

98148e265e1a9b27ce1c206190c1b8a4
5136 · June 02, 2011 at 1:12 PM

a food chart seems pretty complicated, and you don't have to necessarily rule anything out, just not eat so much of ALL of it all in one day :). what i would do is eat more fat and some more protein, because there's not a lot in your diet, and let your sugar cravings die down naturally. Then you won't be eating a bag of carrots and a ton of fruit.

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