I've had a strange experience with paleo. Nearly 9 months in, and I've never looked worse on a daily basis in my life. All of the physical transformations people usually describe are played in reverse for me. I'm a slim, 26 y.o. male, no chronic health problems, and lately I wake up with the following symptoms, which I never had on my crappy mostly vegetarian/peanut butter and jelly diet:
1) Puffy face (eyes) and hands, especially in the morning. The face tends to sort itself out by night, but my hands almost always feel like 10 lbs of fluid in a 5 lb bag.
2) Reddish nose. It looks like I have a sunburn.
3) Abdominal weight gain. My weight was always extremely stable, even in the first few months of paleo, yet I've gained something like 12 pounds of belly fat.
No matter what I do, or what I tweak in my diet, nothing seems to have a strong correlation. VLC, starches, changing protein, no salt, NoSalt, more water, supplements, full elimination diet,....I even went back to eating garbage for a week, and I looked exactly the same. One strange aspect is that every few weeks, all of these symptoms will disappear, if just for a couple days. Only then do I realize how just plain sick/hungover I usually look, because my hands and face feel drained and I recognize myself in the mirror. Had robust bloodwork done, including a morning cortisol blood serum, which was 9.4 ug/dL. My doctor thinks I'm full of it. No allergies besides a common mold allergy, but I don't have any of the respiratory symptoms. I take Mg and FCLO, plenty of sleep, no coffee. Digestion has been fine.
Anyone have such an experience, where the Before/After photos are switched? I read testimonials from the converted and it just baffles me. A lot of people's lingering problems on paleo are exactly that: problems left over from their SAD days. Stalled weight loss, not sudden weight gain etc... Yet I had none of this on SAD.
UPDATE 8/2012: So all of the stuff above and everything else I'd been complaining about on this site (constant flushing, swollen hands, numbness, lightheadedness, depression), which all lasted for about a year and was oddly starting become normal to me, cleared up almost immediately since switching to a Ray Peat diet several months ago as a lark. I know, I hate to say it, I thought he was a kook too. But it was startling, within one week I looked like a different person. I hardly think about food anymore because I'm not constantly managing symptoms. I have a lot of energy, my skin is better, my mood and creativity have improved immensely, have lost all of the extra weight, and my libido is back. Eating paleo as practiced by people in nearly every permutation (Kurt Harris, PHD, Weston Price etc), sent me down a rabbit hole that cost me thousands of dollars spent on supplements/tests/appointments and countless hours obsessing over food, and I'm glad to be out of it.
I agree with you that something isn't right, but you haven't given us enough info to make intelligent guesses.
While you're in the consultation process with your doctor, you need to take another look at which foods you're eating plus when.
Have you tried a Whole30 or a strict elimination diet? How did you react to that? Do you start your day with meat/fat before moving on to veggies? Do you normally emphasize fat or starch? What happens when you reverse that?
Is your appetite good, or is it off? How much do you move around? How's your sleep?
The questions are endless ...
I didn't notice you saying how many calories you're eating daily. Perhaps you're not actually eating as much as is required by your body and the abdominal fat is a stress response. You mentioned you're very active so that may come into play.
Sounds like a candida overgrowth. In one of his posts, Paul Jaminet noted that both high HDL and LDL can potentially promote a candida overgrowth, and if you were doing a VLC diet then you might have run into that. http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=4066
So have you tried doing something like 50% carbs, 30% fat and 20% protein, or did you just add a cup or two of tubers to your already low carb high fat diet? Try taking pantethine, it is really good for combating the toxic effects of candida. http://www.wellnessresources.com/studies/pantethine_activates_aldehyde_dehydrogenase/ and it also helps to efficiently metabolize blood lipids. Give it a month with it and see if that helps while you work on candida. I don't know if it really is a candida infection but it is a good guess. You might have to be patient and work at it with anti-fungals.
Chriskresser.com has some interesting stuff about not having results with a Paleo type diet. If I remember correctly, it had something to do with gut flora and probiotics. I believe the gist was bad bacteria in the gut thrive on certain foods and wreak havoc in yer body. Looks like he just posted a podcast on his site regarding this.
I would have your doctors do a full autoimmune blood work run up. There are a lot of people with some low titers of lupus or low antibodies to Sjogren's, but do not have the classic symptoms, just other weird symptoms.
Your update is very interesting.
More carbs! Some people just need them to function well.
This is interesting from Perfect health diet http://perfecthealthdiet.com/category/diets/ray-peat-diet/
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