Paleo and syndrome X

by 816 · May 05, 2011 at 10:39 AM

So my husband and I have been eating primal/paleo after reading "The Primal Blueprint". My husband has been insulin resistant, hypoglycemic, obese, asthmatic for many years. His asthma has improved significantly since we introduced magnesium supplementation. He hasn't been falling asleep after meals since switching except when he cheats by drinking an aspartame laced diet soda. He is trying hard to overcome this addiction. My question pertains to weight loss. He hasn't really lost any weight yet. It's been about 30 days. He works in an auto shop all day and is on his feet and walking a lot, but he's too tired and footsore to workout. I can't nag him into doing it because I want to stay married to him :/

Will the weight start to come off? What else should I be doing? His appetite is decreasing over time and I include lots of satiating fat in our meals. Any suggestions aside from the obvious exercise?

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4 Replies

5105 · May 05, 2011 at 02:06 AM

drinking diet soda is a significant obstacle to regaining his health. As for the fat not melting off yet, I wouldn't worry about it. He has a very broken metabolism right now, so his body is spending its time working on that right now. Once his body gets that fixed, then it will turn its attention to taking some weight off. It doesn't always happen all at once. There is a lot of er... cr*p in his system that his body needs to work out of his system.

If he's on his feet a lot at work and walking, he's already ahead of the game. I don't think you have to "nag" him into anything, except the soda - figure that out. Really, just let him heal for a little while and his body will start to remember what it's supposed to do.

16813 · May 05, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Some additions to the above.

I'd add switch the magnesium with ZMA, and add some melatonin as well. This will increase testosterone, so it will help improve the hormone balance in a positive way.

The fact that he walks around all day long is great, especially if he lifts heavy things from time to time. The bad part of working in an auto shop is going to be the exposure to all the toxins, from not just car exhaust, but all the other stuff like motor oil, etc. Plastics and things like BPAs are estrogenic and can cause weight issues as a side effects. So he'd need to take a look at what he's exposed to there and see if he can limit exposure. DIM might help counter some of this.

The diet soda thing is horribly bad. Aspertame is an excitotoxin which does a lot of damage to all sorts of tissues including both brain and organs, and is a carcinogen. The stuff breaks down to formaldehyde and can and do cross the blood-brain barrier.

Regular soda with sugar would be better health wise (though the sugar will prevent weight loss.) Soda that's made with high fructose corn syrup will make it much worse as it will cause non-alcoholic fatty liver, which does the same damage as alcohol.. So in my book, I'd rather drink alcohol (but again, this will prevent weight loss.)

Speaking of which, I'd remove all fruit and especially juice (except maybe lemon/lime juice in NorCal margaritas.)

The caffeine in the soda will also keep him from sleeping, and thus prevent weight loss. This is very critical if the fat pattern is love handles since those are cortisol related.

In my own case, I noticed a huge improvement within one month in terms of weight loss - I lost 5lbs and gained muscle. But I do lift weights almost every day (different muscle groups every other day, and sometimes if I feel a bit burned out, I skip a day entirely.)

If you and he are actually worried about weight loss, get a body fat monitor, one that will also tell you muscle mass and water weight. Better ones come in the form of a digital scale. He'd step on it with bare feet and it will tell him body fat percentage as well as muscle mass.

Weight in LBS by itself is a useless measure because you don't know if you're holding on to water, or gaining muscle. Mine tells me fat as a percentage of body weight, so I do a bit of math to figure out the actual pounds of fat, pounds of water (I know, water is supposed to be measured in gallons or liters), and pounds of muscles and track these daily and track these in a spreadsheet (so it does the math for me). This way I know exactly what's going up and what's going down and can take notes such as "Well, yesterday I did a leangains style IF, or yesterday I had a cheat meal because I went out and ate non-paleo and had beer, or yesterday I had a lot of energy and worked out a lot more and I see a slight increase in muscle mass, etc."

To me, seeing this progress is very encouraging. You don't have to do this, it's just a motivator.

Once he gets all the variables down (especially stress), he can accelerate the weight loss with intermittent fasting 1-2x a week. It sounds painful, but it's very easy if you do it leangains style. He'd have dinner before 8pm, then skip breakfast and have lunch the next day. That's a 16 hour fast and he's all set.

1047 · May 05, 2011 at 02:15 AM

Other answers are great but the biggest thing (IMHO) hasn't been mentioned yet. Sleep! Make sure he's getting as much sleep in a pitch black room as possible. 8 hours is the absolute minimum. Check out the book Lights Out for more background on this.

Jillian Michaels and Dr. V have beat this to death on her new podcasts, and Robb Wolf has as well, they mention it almost every show.

Good start, btw! Don't lose heart. You guys will see more results soon.

1034 · May 05, 2011 at 02:03 AM

I've had a similar problem where I was not able to lose weight for quite a time and I decided to supplement with Vitamin D3 to try it out. The weight started to come off right after that. Now this is personal experience and I'm not sure it would work for everyone but I don't think adding it in could hurt.

For a more personal question, is your husband fully committed to eating paleo/primal or have you been forcing him to? What are the chances that he's eating non-paleo at work?

On a different note, I gave up diet soda and it was fairly hard and if I ever get the craving, I have one of these. http://www.amazon.com/Zevia-Natural-Diet-Soda-12-Ounce/dp/B001KUSLGY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1304560787&sr=8-1

It's made with stevia and a bit of erythritol as far as I remember, and is about as natural as a soda can get. A whole lot better than aspartame, in any case. Another option would be buying seltzer water and squeezing a lemon in there for a makeshift "lemon soda".

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