Apologies for the length. Long time lurker, first time post. I am a 22 year old female, and I have been paleo for a year. I have been in a very long relationship with my excruciatingly gorgeous boyfriend, yet I have for the past few months had trouble having any interest in sex. It's been bothering me enough to embarrassingly turn to PaleoHacks, yet I haven't found much guidance.
Edit Let's clarify my diet and my typical food intake. Morning: 4 slices of thick bacon, 3 eggs (onions, peppers, garlic) cooked in ALL of the leftover grease. Ketchup, 2c coffee. Followed by a snack, either an orange or Fage full-fat greek yogurt and raw honey. About 1c of yogurt, 1 tbs of honey.
Mid-day/Evening: Varies with Whole foods hot bar. Sometimes salmon sushi, often chicken thighs and spinach/broccoli, meats cooked in coconut milk, sausage, and other greasy meats. I go home and eat my 90% dark chocolate from Lindt. Drink some green tea with jasmine. Sometimes eat larabars. I often eat white rice, white potatoes, and sweet potatoes, so I do NOT stay under 50g of carbs. If I notice I am low carb, I eat them. Recently I've been stacking my plate with broccoli, carrots, and salad-things.
I'm a tiny [small frame, 5'0"] 97 lbs, and I probably eat about 1,400-1,500 cal a day. I eat until I have a food baby, okay? Every time. My weight is genetic, we're all this small. My grandmother and mother are smaller than me, and look pregnant. Idk. I have a sweet tooth, and I give into it in "Paleo" ways, such as dark chocolate and paleo baked goods. I am lactose intolerant and never indulge in grains. I take fish oil supplements, and drink a LOT of black coffee daily. Possibly around 2 "Klean Kantines" worth a day?
I just started crossfit [1mo], and otherwise run short distances for fun. Before that, I did StrongLifts. I'm a science student, and have a heavy workload, which often stresses me out. I don't have eyes for any other men, either. My boyfriend attempts to be romantic and I just can't psychologically get into it. It's extremely upsetting. When I was on the SAD/vegetarian diet, this was not an issue, even with my chub. Now, I seem to be fixated on my little stomach puff and feel self-conscious and can't get into anything.
Okay, sorry for the novel. Any advice is extremely appreciated.
I feel like such a dork posting this - but while you get the hormonal thing examined, you could maybe work on exercising your major sex organ (your brain!) and figure out what makes you turned on at this juncture in your life. I think it helps to just lay the grooves for the future, you know? And I'd do a lot of that thinking/feeling alone. Ever heard or read about women (married with kids stage in their life women) who say that scheduling sex got them back in the rhythm of actually having spontaneous, more frequent sex? Sex begets sex. So maybe treat yourself to some sexy. Go channel (or google) some Betty Dodson or Nina Hartley. IfyaknowwhatImean.
I am NOT saying this is in your head. At all. I'm just a big believer in behavioral modification complimenting all kinds of other concrete things. Can't hurt, might help.
"Now, I seem to be fixated on my little stomach puff and feel self-conscious and can't get into anything." If your fixated on this then its likely your own self image/self esteem that is holding you back. An awareness of your body is great, but beware seeing each and every little DIFFERENCE as an IMPERFECTION. Get comfortable with yourself. Many women (and men) feel renewed vigor and sexuality from exercise and improved body body comp. The self confidence is the on switch...for you it seems like the extra awareness has become more of an obsession and resulted in the opposite reaction. I dunno the cure, but just pointing out a possible problem.
Are you on the pill? Is your cycle normal? How often do you work out? Have you plugged a typical day into Cron O Meter or Fitday and seen any low numbers for micronutrients (like mg)? Maybe too personal, so you can ignore if you want, but do you have dryness down there?
Another weird question, but might be relevant, but do you find the food you eat (not the desserts and treats) pleasurable to eat?
I would see a doctor and also consider seeing a counselor at your school. Yes, food and fitness can affect libido, but so can stress and body-image issues.
I would also ditch the fish oil and start eating some reasonable amount of fish instead. I have personally experienced weird hormonal effects from fish oil. I'm not sure why, Chris Masterjohn thought it might have to do with my particular polymorphisms for fatty acid metabolism, where EPA might interrupt arachidonic acid turnover for me, but either way, it never ceases to surprise me how often supplements CAUSE problems instead of fixing them.
I am wondering about a zinc deficiency. Also D3. Worth checking out. Both needed for hormonal balance.
I got both dialed in and my libido & juiciness is back (and I'm 49, FWIW.)
You are likely eating too little and exercising too much (for your caloric intake). Insufficient caloric intake can produce a condition called amenorrhea, where your reproductive system shuts down and you stop menstruating because you can't exactly support a baby if you don't have enough energy available, and by the standard of pretty much any caloric needs calculator you aren't getting enough. People lose their sex drive without enough calories, naturally. You will need to eat more food if you continue to do crossfit, or even in general. I think that the difference is explained by the added exercise mostly. Paleo diets tend to make people reduce their caloric intake but so do vegetarian diets, I don't know what you were getting before. That will also probably help you cope with stress because exercise on a low calorie diet is pretty stressful. Also magnesium will help you.
When you say that your diet is high in calories yet you aren't getting enough calories that suggests an eating disorder. You say you have a chub and you are 97 pounds. That is hard to believe. And I'm sure even if you have a bit of body fat it looks fine.
Best of luck.
I know Ray Peat might seem a bit controversial on here, but I recommend you read his guidelines. For me, it upgraded my sex drive as if I was a teen again within a very short time. I think his diet fits the Paleo framework nicely in many ways, but it is more specific and requires a few adjustments. So unless you have alternatives, I recommend you experiment for a short term and see if it makes a difference.
As I said, the adjustments can be very very specific (eg., high importance of what food to combine, why you should favor milk/cheese over yogurt, and what to do if you are cow milk intolerant). If you are going to do it, be sure to read in full both the general idea and the recommendations for the implementation:
Note that I got all results without doing the thyroid supplementation. I pretty much did all the rest in detail. And I continued with the general Paleo recommendations including liver for Vitamin A.
Heya weenie (lawlz) - I'm not going to suggest anything other than yoga, since everyone else has pretty much covered it. You mentioned stress is a big thing in your life due to classes and probably the low-level stress your belly poof causes you and all that. So, yoga. That helps me sh*tloads. I'm an entirely different person with yoga. It's calming and meditative, takes you away from the stress so your mind and body can relax into enjoying life (and sex). (Also helps with anger issues, which you also mentioned. Several studies have shown that yoga helps to re-wire your brain, calming down angry and type A personalities.)
Another thing that helped me that would probably help you is thinking about stress logically. Byron Katie's books are amazing for dissecting what exactly is stressing you out and how exactly to knock it off. Hope that helps, in addition to your zinc/D3.
And don't stress about having to do "all these things" now to get yourself on track. ;D One thing at a time. You are doing just fine, you just need a little adjustment.
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