Eating Paleo and have extreme fatigue-horrible

by 5 · July 02, 2012 at 08:25 PM

Hi there,

I am ending my 3rd week of eating strict Paleo and I still am experiencing extreme fatigue. The first 10 days I understood it, my body detoxing, etc. At this point I am feeling very defeated.

I take a multi vitamin, fish oil and magnesium. My meals consists of protein, carbs and fats.

All I want to do is sleep. Any ideas??? Please help.


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6 Replies

4234 · July 02, 2012 at 05:51 PM

If your carbohydrate content is significantly lower than what it used to be, you may still be adjusting. It took me 5 weeks of adjusting and week 5 was actually the worst week of them all. I thought I was going to die. But that's because I hadn't heard about magnesium, potassium and sodium all being helpful. I supplemented and felt instantly much better and this was also when my weight loss finally began to happen and I started getting that incredible feeling of health everybody talks about. I think it still took me a month or two more to return to my previous level of exercise performance. I know the experts like to say it all takes just a few days, but not for all of us.

2711 · July 02, 2012 at 12:47 PM

How many carbs are you eating per day and are they vegetable, starch, or sugar?

If you are getting less than 600 calories of combined protein and starch carbs you may find that your body is down regulating your T3 thyroid hormone in order to conserve glucose. This can make you extremely tired and feel like you are on the verge of hibernating.

Check out http://perfecthealthdiet.com/category/disease/diabetes/ for a more detailed explanation. You may be hypothyroid and never have known it until reducing your carb intake.

I believe this because it happened to me until I raised my carbs to about 80 gms starch per day.

Good luck.

EDIT- because I can't seem to comment for some reason. It just won't do anything when I try.

I understand where you're coming from in the comments, Sam. Its a bit more than an n=1 experiment with no data for me though. I had the blood tests that showed it likely to be true in my case. My T3 lowered and my TSH rose with a VLC diet (25 gms/day veggies) and then T3 moved upward and TSH lowered after I increased carbs to provide more glucose (80+gms/day starch). Sure, it could have been something else but I'm convinced enough.

I AM hypothyroid and it may be that you may have to BE hypothyroid in some form for this occur in you. I'm speculating that Sandra could be hypo and not been previously diagnosed.

Adding some carbs that will lead to increased glucose availability is easy to try and not harmful if it doesn't work. I just provided a possible explanation along with a link to some, at least plausible, science to back it up.

24412 · July 02, 2012 at 08:25 PM

"I start every morning with a green smoothie shake which is loaded with greens and protein powder plus coconut oil or chia or flax. Lunch is always veggies, a protein and some fat. Snacks are usually nuts and then dinner a repeat of lunch. So, probably about 50% veggies, 30% protein and 20% fat. What if anything am I doing wrong?"

Green smoothies are good here and there, but longer than a few days and they can do a doozy on the thyroid from the goitrogens in the raw greens, and if you lack oxalobactor bacteria in your gut, up your chance of developing kidney stones. It isn't nearly enough calories for starting the day in my opinion either because between the seeds and the greens you are getting more bulk than easily digestible nutrients.

I would focus on getting yourself a good dose of really real food when you get up, a good sized portion of meat or eggs, and veggies or starchy tubers if they sound good to you in the morning. Starting the day with good chunk of animal has been the best change I've ever made to my diet energy-wise. The other big piece of the puzzle for me has been to add more salt, salt=energy for me. Generously salted steak for breakfast has been nothing short of miraculous.

Everyone is a bit different in what fuels them best, but I didn't hit my stride until got my macros to 60+% fat, 20-25% protein, and the rest carbs in the form of mostly starch with some fruit, and throwing in green veggies randomly, I don't neglect them, but don't stress if they didn't make it into the meal, and they usually show up more as a handful of herbs shredded and sprinkled on top of my food, than a big serving. It is really easy to undereat if the vast majority of what is on your plate is vegetables. If that is your preferred plate layout though, I'd recommend drenching your veggies in melted fats, like pan drippings or butter.

Good luck!

11555 · July 02, 2012 at 07:36 PM

The more information you provide, the closer you can come to getting a good answer.

Try tracking your food intake for a few days with a online program like cronometer so you can see exactly how many carbs and calories you are consuming. It's not unusual for someone new to eating paleo to be consuming too few calories, and that will certainly make you very tired. Also, if you are low carb, which is likely, and even if not low carb, you're undoubtedly eating less carb than you were, you may need to add some salt (@ 2 gms) per day. If you are working out vigorously you'll need more carbs than if you are concentrating on weight loss or control of diabetes or insulin resistance.

Added: Read the posts here http://paleohacks.com/search?q=faileo#axzz1zUnkALER to make sure you aren't actually on the Faileo diet, very common for people new to eating paleo.

4176 · July 02, 2012 at 06:24 PM

Add in some fruit

609 · July 02, 2012 at 12:37 PM

It sometimes takes more time than you think to get rid of all the Standard American Diet (SAD) crap that your body has stored up. Some feel the difference immediately, for others it could be a month or more.

Other questions:

  • Have you had your hormones/thyroid checked? Any other underlying health problems?
  • Do you exercise?
  • Are you tracking your macro nutrients (i.e. are you getting enough fat and protein)?

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