I've been increasingly strict paleo for about six weeks. I've always suffered a lack of energy, but have been hoping my dietary changes would change that. I would greatly appreciate any feedback you can provide.
I'm a 43-yo woman, 5'7", 159 lbs. I've been averaging about 1700 calories/day: 65% fat, 20% protein, 15% carbs. I mostly eat fatty beef, eggs, avocados, coconut milk & oil, canned salmon, veggies, no more than 1 serving fruit/day, bacon fat for cooking, occassional grass-fed butter. No other dairy, nuts, minimal fruit as I'd like to lose about 15 lbs. I take a multi-vitamin, 5000 i.u. vitamin D, 2000 mg fish oil (krill).
I don't work out as much as I'd like, mostly because of the lack of energy. I walk 30 min. 3-4x/week, do push-ups, squats, yoga a couple times/week.
I recently (and reluctantly) cut out the eggs as I've been trying to find the culprit for my eczema. It seems to be helping.
How am I doing here? Am I missing something? In most respects I feel much better: no more bloating, mood-swings, migraines (whew!), but I'd LOVE to feel what it's like to actually have energy! Is there some tweaking I can do to optimize my diet?
Thanks in advance for your help.
My thought is that you are still feeling the effects of the 'flu like symptons' from removal of processed foods.
When I started I didn't think I had any flu like symptoms at all, but somewhere at about 3 months I literally WOKE UP, my head was clear and my energy level was incredible and I now know that was it!!
Hang in there! Perhaps someone else with more experience with the diet aspect can review your food intake.
Could you go without eating ANY fruit, like for a week? I saw dramatic results when I cut out all fruit, and now I only eat berries and once in a blue moon bananas. If I eat watermelon, pineapple, or anything else very sweet I get an immediate sugar rush and crash. I think when you're starting out it's better to eat less variety so you can really gauge your body's reaction to certain foods. Also try changing fat percentage to 70-80% of your diet. I was able to do this easily by having coffee with pastured cream for breakfast, as cream is mostly fat and a less problematic form of dairy.
If this works and kick-starts your ketosis, then you'll see results in faster weight loss and higher energy levels and alertness. I noticed my belly slim down after years of having a stubborn pouch. When I hit a weight loss plateau, I found that I was too stressed out from lack of sleep and not enough carbs. So instead of getting my carbs from fruit, I substituted starchy foods like sweet potatoes and white rice. I'm now able to maintain my weight +/- 3 lbs while following paleo principles anbout 80% of the time, no need to closely monitor my diet.
I wouldn't worry about getting into ketosis or anything. I doubt I'm in ketosis and I've got energy to spare. I eat as much protein and fat as I possibly can. Some veggies for nutrients. Vitamin D supplements unless I lay in the sun that day. 183 lbs @ 6'4" <10% body fat.
How is your sleep? That's the biggest source of fatigue for me. I tried being really strict about my sleep for a few weeks. Blackout curtains. No alarm. Ease out of bed. I felt absolutely amazing. Bouncing off the walls energy. Try sacrificing a little extra time from your day for a week or so and be really diligent about getting full "as-needed" sleep. Let your body wake you up, not your alarm or the sun. See what happens :D
Ok. I just noticed your followup comment about sleep, but if you're using an alarm, then I'd still try and get more and see how it works.
Obviously there could a whole raft of intricate issues that are effecting your energy levels. One key nutrient that you're probably lacking, looking at your diet, is magnesium. And you could possibly do better with more vitamin A.
Magnesium can be difficult to get from the diet due to soil degradation, however bone broths can be good and the other option is supplementation.
For vitamin A I would eat ruminant liver 1-2+ a week. It's magic stuff.
One final suggestion is to check your digestion. You can have your diet perfectly dialed in, but if you're not digesting and absorbing it, then it just doesn't matter.
I believe fat is indeed good for us to eat. However I think many people get enough thru normal meat consumption and cooking mediums. I'd say shoot for one gram per ideal body weight of protein, then maybe 150-250 grams carb, then only add more fat in the diet to satiate. So, none if none is needed. Classic bodybuilding cut protocol. I don't profess bodybuilding but we can selectively use their protocols since they are time tested and proven. I have had much success with this.
Sleep + Calories. Make sure you're getting enough of both.
Your food looks good, your calories look low.
Don't worry as much about a "deficit", hormonal changes from low carb + exercise will positively affect your weight loss far more than sabotaging your caloric intake, and you will find it easier to stick with, as endorphins and satiety are better bedfellows than exhaustion and hunger.
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