First of all, let me say hello :D also, thank you for taking the time to read my post, and if you reply, thank you in advance!
Many questions do not seem to contain enough information to warrant a response, or get a response that is "shooting in the dark" because of the lack of info. I truly would like help, so I am sorry if I OVER info.
First of all, I do not live with a lot of stress. Most all of my stress is only related to my body, but I do not let it get to me frequently. I am mostly used to the pain/ frustrations by now.
Here goes with my past, because I think it is very relevant. I obtained most of this fat in my teenage years, and since then have been on a very low calorie diet. In the beginning it was for weight loss (didn't work) and now it is just a lifestyle. I consume about 1200 calories normally in any given day, simply because that is what I have gotten my body used to. So. I assume I have a very slow metabolism. I never feel hungry, however...
I am a female, mid 20s. I am overweight, or rather "over fat". According to charts and such, my weight is perfectly normal, while my fat content is high. I weigh 129lbs, I am 5 foot 5 inches, but am about 29% body fat. I really don't care about the charts, but about how I feel. I feel heavy, lethargic, tired, inflamed joints, hair loss etc etc. The list goes on. I want to lose fat, not weight. I couldn't care less about that. I also want to clear up these chronic health problems...
I workout lightly 3-4 times a week. I walk about 3+ miles 4 times a week. I do the stationary bike lightly also about 2-3 times. Once a week, I do heavy lifting. In between I do light free weights, or freestyle dancing ;p.
I have been on this specific diet below for nearly a month. I calculate percentages, and keep it at Fat 50%, Carb 20% (or a bit below) and Protein 30%. Grams of carbs between 50-65.
A normal day in my diet is:
Breakfast: Greek yogurt a cup of berries, or 2 eggs cooked up in olive oil with a side of spinach.
Lunch: Ground beef with broccoli, or chicken with green beans. Both cooked with olive oil, or coconut oil.
Dinner: Chicken and broccoli (or green beans or spinach) cooked in oil, or ground turkey with tomatoes.
Snack: Almonds about 4x a week. Cheddar cheese, I also have about 4x a week. Every now and then I have a bit of dark chocolate. Sometimes I just eat raw spinach by the handful.
Supplements: Daily multivitamin, probiotic cap, omega 3 salmon pill (no omega 6).
Drink: Water, water, water. Now and then I also drink 2% milk infrequently, and full fat coconut milk.
Thats it really, I have no desire to binge, so I don't. I don't cook with sugar, and very little salt.
This all said, I have lost 4lbs, and am now dead stationary. I would be happy about this, but for the knowledge that this is probably nothing but water loss.
I assume I will hear that I need to eat more calories. Sure, I probably would agree, but I feel like my body (having been in starvation mode for so long) Is going to grab everything, every extra calorie I put in and store it as fat.
My diet before? Around 1400 calories of 70% carbs, 15% fat, 15% protein. This, on the advice of a personal trainer. A year later, ridiculous time spent in the gym and many, many tears of frustration... I lost 4lbs total.
I am frustrated, tired, sick, low libido, shedding hair like mad, chronic headaches, regular bowel problems, dry skin, problems maintaining deep sleep, the list goes on. I don't know what to do. I have had plenty of blood workups, and have no hormonal (that they detected..) problems, my thyroid, cholesterol and blood pressure are just fine.
Do I need to modify my diet or things it contains for fat loss, or to alleviate some of these symptoms? Do I just need to eat more? I realize I am not asking doctors for help hear, but you are all real people who have actually been through many of these things, and may be able to see what I am going through with greater clarity. To doctors, I am healthy, normal weight, nothing wrong with me at all. I also know I have only been on this new diet for a month, and everything takes time. I am not expecting a miracle. It took a long time to get here, and it will take a long time to get out. Time is not a concern.
I need to lose this fat, it is dragging me down. I also cannot continue on with this level of pain and problems. Does anyone have any advice?
Thank you very much, I am sorry for the length of the post, but with something such as this, I thought I may get more help, the more detailed I was.
Patience is needed here. Your body will require some time to heal. It took me about 6 months to turn things around and I had a really good diet (plus gluten) pre-Primal.
Agree with other posters. Stop counting calories & focus on nutrient-dense foods to replenish. Also gut healing. Hormonal balance will help you drop the fat & maintain the loss.
SLEEP is key.
Liver, eggs, salmon, hard cheese, gelatin. Kefir & kombucha. Drop the nuts & any raw veggies for now to help your gut to heal.
Get your D level checked & sun/supplement to 50-60 ng/ml. Do a zinc tally test (google it) you are probably deficient. If so, 50 mg zinc picolinate for 3 months & retest. Magnesium citrate 200-600 mg before bed for constipation. (Magnesium glycinate if constipation isn't a problem.)
Read my blog post for more suggestions (it's for fertility, but the same goes for hormonal balance.)
EFT is a great self-help tool for stress relief.
Eat more. Track your nutrients on cronometer. You are probably really deficient at that tiny calorie intake with workouts and cardio. Forget about the weight for now. Your most important goal is to rebuild your health and provide your body with enough material to ramp up your metabolism. See a paleo-oriented nutritionist/dietician.
Definitely agree that you're going to have to rebuild your health. Make sure to get the sat fats, and don't do too much running, I'd say switch to more weight training, but actually lift some weight, don't stay light.
The sat fat recommendation is primarily for increasing hormones, since sat fats are the building blocks for hormones. Hit up some butter, like use it a lot, for the majority of your fats for a while.
The World Health Organization lists 21-33% body fat as the normal and healthy range for women aged 20-40. 29% is squarely within that range. Anything under 21% is considered under fat and should be avoided if possible to maintain hormone production. If the weight is mostly distributed in your lower belly and thighs that is a sign of health, people you've seen who have lost their thigh fat can get into trouble with bone density, mental health, and hormone synthesis. If you feel more jiggly than you want to be, like others have said, up the weight you are lifting.
Personally, I would find a naturopath who can work with you to go deeper into your health issues. Many things can seem in range and look normal with a basic panel of tests, but if you feel unwell, you need to keep pushing to find out what is wrong, and the longer appointments provided by naturopaths (1 hour vs. the average ten minute MD visit) affords more time to work together and sort things out.
Have you been tested for lead exposure, pesticide exposure, etc.? A heavy metal burden on the body can cause all of the things you have described, but so can anemia, b-12 deficiency, magnesium deficiency, food allergy or sensitivity, etc. You've begun your sleuth work on this, but you haven't completed it, keep looking.
When feeling unwell for any reason, I tend to hit the bone broth with sea salt pretty hard (headaches can be caused from lack of salt, and more health problems are caused by salt deficiency rather than too much, we are salt water batteries after all, and it is good to stay conductive). It couldn't hurt to add some broth or gelatin to your meal plan for a month if only to heal your gut a bit, tighten up the junctions, and make sure your misery isn't being caused by leaky gut.
Good luck, and I hope you feel better soon.
Carbs at 50-65 grams/day is low-carb by any standard. For that, you need to consult with experts on low-carb diets, not your average Paleohacker.
If I could recommend one source, it would be this (especially since you are exercising):
The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance [Kindle Edition], Stephan Phinney, Jeff Volek
The Kindle Edition is six bucks, but if you don't want to spend any money, email me at email@example.com and I can loan you a digital edition for two weeks for free.
One thing that stands out is your low sodium intake. Restricting salt is one of the worst things you can do on a low-carb diet.
1) Your diet and exercise schedule seems really good. I wouldn't worry about missing some tiny thing in terms of food or exercise right now -- it's too early, your body is still adjusting, you need to give it time.
2) Are you on hormonal birth control? If so, for how long? Some women just find it impossible to lose fat while they are on the pill.
3) 4 pounds in "nearly" a month is as much weight as someone your size should lose in a month. You should not be discouraged because you didn't lose more. If you are losing more than a pound a week when you are 5'5" and 129 pounds, you are probably losing too fast. You don't want to shock your body into starvation; stress will spike your cortisol. You want to aim for slow, steady fat loss, and for someone small like you, a pound a week is the most I would recommend.
4) It seems you are stressed out and suffering, and I wonder if you have a history of disordered eating? You say that you do not care about charts or what is considered the normal weight for you, you encourage us to disregard the fact that your weight is normal, and you seem very upset by the excess weight you believe yourself to be carrying. I'm concerned because you said that you "cannot continue on with this level of pain and problems." A few perceived extra pounds should not make you so miserable, and I have to think that some of the problem is in your head, not your shape. I also have a (mild) ED history and it's very hard for me to accept that my body is fine. I went to a few different doctors last year for various health problems, and they all mentioned that I was "thin" or "small" or "a stick" (not true). I was surprised each time because I just never, never see myself like that. Some days I will be very aware of the "extra" padding on my thighs and upper arms, and I will think that it's time to lose a few pounds, and then I'll go out and see my friends and they will say, "Have you lost weight?" and "Don't lose any more, you're getting too thin." I have to trust them and know that I do not need to lose weight and that the voice in my head is crazy and not to be heeded. I may have permanently skewed my perception of my own body, but my health no longer has to suffer for it. Just curious if any of these thoughts strike a chord of recognition for you. Good luck.
My recommendation after a positive experience once I went paleo: replace your normal gym routine with CrossFit. Seriously changed my life and I go only twice a week...leaving me with 10+ hours (that I'd normally spend at the gym each week) to do other things I love.
Hi Anna, that is interesting because it seems like you have a pretty good diet and exercise regimen going on. What I noticed is you didn't mention any raw vegetables- I would suggest adding lots of salads in with lunch and dinner as well as juicing- have a green juice every day which will help you detoxify- a simple juice is cucumber and lemon and ginger which always energizes me. I would also recommend adding some sauerkraut in there.
Have you heard of the Body Ecology Diet? Sometimes our gut is so damaged from previous foods/lifestyle that we need to rebuild it before we can be healthy. This was the case with my sister who despite eating a "perfect" diet- zero sugar, zero grains, all pastured-meats and fresh, organic produce- was still sick. She is currently a few months into the body ecology diet and finally doing better (on this you have a lot of bone broth/sauerkraut- the focus is on healing the gut).
Those are my thoughts- just don't give up- it can be really frustrating to feel like you are doing everything right and still not getting anywhere- i know the feeling :/ But if you stick to your goal of achieving better health you will get there!
It sounds like you might have subclinical hypothyroid, which would mean your adrenals are most likely taxed also. Which also means your hormones are out of whack, despite what your dr's tests are saying. Google hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue and see if it describes your situation. Dr. Lam has a great website http://www.drlam.com/articles/adrenal_fatigue.asp
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