To begin with, a disclaimer: Please don't jump on me about tracking my weight because a poor indicator of overall health. Also, in this post I will reference using a calorie counting app on my phone. I understand calorie counting is rather dated and an incomplete / somewhat inaccurate way of monitoring your diet. That is not what I was using it for. Please read on.
I started paleo back in April of this year. I did this largely for health reasons, and to “rehab” myself from the desk job I've held for the last several years. At my peak (6-ish years ago) I was 135 lbs, lean and strong. At 165 and “insulated” I decided to do something about it. I lost about 2 inches off of my midsection, and dropped around 15 lbs.
I started going back to gym about a month and a half ago. School and work conspired to keep me sedentary until just recently, I was pleased with my progress so far on paleo so I didn't sweat it. After I started lifting (stronglifts 5X5) I had my expected early gains and again was pleased. This was supplemented by walking the dog for 30+ minuets 2X per day, and the occasional sprint/run/walk through the park. I have also started rock climbing and road biking on alternating Sundays.
Then I went on a cruise (late honeymoon.) I gained about 3 lbs over the course of the trip, eating mostly paleo to paleo-ish. I continue to gain weight. I would say this is (at least in part) due to new muscle growth from the workouts, but my lifts are all down and continue to drop. I have also added about a half an inch to my midsection.
I slept more and better than I have in a very long time. But when I returned things seemed to go south. I haven't slept well at all. I wake frequently throughout the night. I credit part of this to the fact that my bedroom isn't as dark as I'd like (wife likes the light) but my sleep quality is much less than it was before the trip. Also, staying asleep is not my only issue. I've battles my whole life with a nagging inability to fall asleep, but its been worse in the last few months. My mind just races when I try to fall asleep. The "mental clarity" that many report upon going paleo seems to be urging my mind into overdrive when I try to down-cycle it.
In an attempt to trouble shoot my negative progress, I started using a food tracking app on my phone. I found that I'm eating way less protein that I thought, usually less than 60g/day. My caloric intake is also below where I'd like it to be – often in the 1100-1200 calories per day range. I know this HAS to be part of the problem. But I'm not starving myself: I just don't feel hungry so I don't eat.
The bulk of my eating is done at breakfast, and my meals seem to drop off as the day goes on. My last meal is usually around 8:30 – 9:00 in the evening when my wife gets home (I cook for the both of us.) I go to bed around 9:30 – 10:00 and get up at 5:00am. Ideally I would stay asleep all night, but the last week and a half or so I've been waking 3-5 times a night. I've noticed the most frequent waking between 1:30 and 4:00.
My Plan Gym: Get my diet back on track by increasing protein. I don't fell I need to increase fat too much right now as appetite is not the issue. I'm going to start supplementing with protein powder in my drinks throughout the day to sneak in more of the stuff. Probably I will use a whey based protein as have no issues with dairy (I eliminated it for 30 days then reintroduced it without issue.) I plan to keep the workout consistent (its a proven program) and see if I can eat my way back into the “green.”
Weight/Size: Dietary solution again. My waist size and midsection size seem to have increased as my strength decreased, which to me suggests increase in body fat and a decrease in lean mass. Weight wouldn't be a concern except that I seem to be adding body fat. Before the trip I was starting to be able to see intercostal muscle, but I can no longer see it. I think increasing protein while leaving everything else in place should preserve the muscle while allowing lyposis to take care of the body fat.
Sleep: No idea. I know darkening the room would help, but I don't know why my sleep is deteriorating. If the environment stays the same, I would expect no change in sleep quality. This is not happening. Any guesses on this one would be welcome.
Well guys, that's about all I can think of at this moment, I'll edit in more details if I think of something significant. Can yall hack my problem apart and help me get back on track?
Looking at my food list below, I feel like there is more protein that what is being tracked by this app. But if there isn't a lack of protein, what would be the cause of my workouts crapping out?
I'm going to suggest that you eat more. Get your protein to between 35 and 50% of your calories or maybe even up to 1g per pound of lean body mass per day. Get your fat to between 50 and 60% of your calories. you will have to play with it a little to find the right balance for you. Yes...continue to count your calories. Far too many look to low carb, paleo, primal, etc... as a lazy way to avoid counting calories. I'm sorry if i offend anyone but that's what it is... a lazy shortcut and it's also the primary reason that those who do fail on this type of eating do fail... They still end up over or under eating.
I'm actually a strength, physique, and fitness coach who does nutritional counseling as part of my services...the main part of my client's training program is teaching them how to eat. Yet, for my most recent contest cutting diet, I missed on my own calories. I simply underate. I won and the recomp was successful since I only lost about 4 pounds and dropped several percent of body fat. (between 15 and 20 to 8 or 9)...
I never managed to get into ketosis for the cutting diet...what went wrong? Why did I struggle with fat loss and have to do extra cardio? I found out today... I've jacked my calories up by about 1000 per day and voila... ketosis today... WHEN I DON'T WANT IT. I actually was in ketosis all along but since my calories were too low I was burning them for energy.
Increase your calories and you will likely have more energy, do better in the gym, boost your metabolism, and resume your fat loss.
1 find your LBM 2 Make a starter diet consisting of 15 calories/lb of LBM and eat 60% fat, 35% protein, 5% carbs.
Eat the same thing every day for two weeks. If you aren't burning fat, repeat using 14 calories/lb of LBM... and so on until you reach the bottom level of 10 calories/lb of LBM. When you are burning fat...stick with what you've got. use www.fitday.com to make your diets and use it to change things up so you don't get bored, keeping variety in foods but keeping the macros about the same.
Once you've counted your macros and calories for a while, then it will come automatically and you won't have to do it anymore... you'll just know.
BTW...ever notice most successful paleo folks end up being too skinny without enough muscle? Or too soft looking? It's not because the diet is unsound, it's not because the training methodology is unsound (the one suggested in primal blueprint by sisson....although I think mine is better because it's more specific...his is outstanding)... It's because people don't eat the right amount of food.
EDIT: If you are eating the right amount of fat in your diet...your sleep will likely improve. As will getting the right exercise for your body, giving your HGH a natural boost...that gives better sleep too.
it sounds to me like there is a lot of stress in your life. dont take it personally, but even the tone of your post sounds a little anxious/edgy. you know you need to eat more calories and more protein, and you know you need to sleep more/better and i think those things are super important, but im wondering if maybe some stress/anxiety is whats getting in-between you and doing what you know you need to do?
What are you eating that you're only getting 60 grams of protein a day? Protein powder is less than ideal. I don't even understand how paleo can mean 60 grams of protein a day. Do you eat meat?
You really need to get on top of the sleep! Sleep-wise, I'd do some light's out therapy, perhaps some melatonin. In addition to the starvation hypothesis offered by bill, some cortisol issues may be a cause or result of your sleep derangement. Lights out, reduce screen/electronics time, perform bed time routines, take a hot shower prior to going to bed, and take the melatonin prior to getting in the shower. Mattress comfort may be an issue. You may have the wrong type of mattress for you sleep type. Also, assess your stress levels. Stress causes sleep disturbance, and cortisol can be CAUSING the sleep disturbance.
The food diary you listed doesn't look too bad. I'd probably up the protein, accompanied by an increase in carbs to stimulate some insulin, increase hunger, and perhaps get you to increase your caloric intake. I agree your body may be in starvation mode.
Instead of adding in protien powder I would up the eggs in the first meal and maybe add some protien to the salad. Also some starchy tubers added to the salad or PWO could help with a lot of your issues. Get calories to at least 2000-2500 possibly more once you have stabilized.
Natural Calm for your sleep. Magnesium seems to be super important in helping you relax, destress, and fall/stay asleep. I only tend to use it when I'm sleeping somewhere other than my own place, my room is a cave and I stay away from electronics as much as possible before bed.
Poor sleep can have every effect that you've described so I'd try to dial that in as much as possible and see if anything gets resolved.
And eat more like the others said!
Assuming your fairly low-carb your symptoms are very familiar to me. When I first started LC paleo my strength went up and I filled out in lean mass, but as time went on I started to wake in the middle of the night with a surge of "lets have sex or go run up a mountain" and my strength started to deteriorate as well as my endurance.
Some people thrive very well on LC, some people don't. I'm one of the people who don't. I thought when I started to have problems it was because I wasn't eating enough or I had some type of deficiency. I meticulously tracked all my stats. The last thing I did was add more fruit and potatoes and in a few days I went back to normal and sleeping like a baby. I stopped going to the gym while I was adding in more carbohydrates (was only lifting twice a week prior) and 4 weeks later I set a PR in every lift I did as well as doing 100 consecutive push-ups and 50 consecutive pull-ups 3 days later.
Quite honestly when people go paleo a lot of them go paleo and LC at the same time. In my opinion that is one too many variables that change to really find out what is causing your health ills. Often just eating whole foods and not limiting your macronutrients is all that is needed to bring about the health benefits of eating paleo.
Again my opinion is that the proper way to go paleo is to first eat clean and only if you have a specific reason to do so THAN go low-carb. You shouldn't do both at the same time although going paleo often includes eating less carbohydrates; but you shouldn't make an explicit effort to get below a certain amount of carbohydrates unless you have a specific reason to do so.
Good luck, try some potatoes and fruit.
So last night I took 6mg of melatonin at 8:00, and ate dinner at 7:30. No food intake after that. In bed by 9:15, but not really falling asleep until 10-10:30-ish (my usual) I still woke up throughout the night. Once at 11:30, once at 12:45, and again at 3:00. At least I feel a little more rested.
Today would be a gym day, but I have to work this evening so I'm going to have to push it until tomorrow. Hopefully no more negative trends.
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