Saturday, July 7, 2012

Listen to Your Body, or Power Through?

I feel really lousy. I do not feel *sick* as in germ/virus kind of sick. I just feel icky. I wonder if it is the high fat content of my diet. I wonder if it is the 'carb flu' many of you have told me about. I wonder if I am just not meant to eat this much meat.

A long time ago I read a diet book called Eat Right 4 Your Type. (It seems there is always some new, breakthrough, amazing, this-is-the-answer diet book out there, doesn't it?) It came out in 1997 so I would wager that is the year I read it. Anyway, according to that book (which classifies people's ideal diets by their blood type) I should eat a mostly vegetarian diet, with less meat and lots of produce and plant-based foods. And I have always felt *better* eating that way. It's just very hard to maintain because I was hungry all the time and I felt like my blood sugar was all over the place with a diet of mainly vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. But I did feel lighter and more energetic. Eating more meats and fats and no grains or legumes means I am less hungry, but have been tired and headachey and just plain feeling off.

Who knows? It's all one big experiment to me. Try this, try that. Find what works. I will keep eating Primal for at least another week but I tell you what, this headache and fatigue really needs to go away for me to continue long term. I have to wonder at what point it is prudent to 'listen to my body' and say hey, this sucks... or if it is wiser to 'power through it' and see if I feel better eventually.

Breakfast was a scrambled free range egg topped w/1 oz cheddar and 1 small pastured sausage patty with 1 sliced kiwi fruit and black coffee. I had lunch at a festival; I got some meat/veggie kabobs with about 2 oz chicken, 3 oz beef, mushrooms, onions, and pineapple. I also drank a small iced latte (no sugar). Came home and had a slice of cheese.

That's all for now.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're not losing weight and you feel lousy. Why torture yourself?

Caz said...

Hi Lyn, these are my thoughts, take them or leave them.

I would say cut back on the meat - e.g. instead of having a meaty meal, have a salad jammed full of different greens, peppers, tomatoes, olives and avos.

And give it time. I also think you need to cut out the stuff like chocolate - it is just prolonging the switchover.

And think about whether you are really hungry when you are eating or just eating because you think it is time to eat.

Karen said...

2-3 weeks for the low carb flu for some people. Amount of gluten before starting may or may not indicate the length of the low carb flu

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/low-carb-flu/#axzz1zu2z6YkU

Power through and don't give up. Major life changes take time, so stick with it. There are no fast fixes. Well, ok, medifast was fast ( for me) but no matter what weight loss tool you use, you have to stick with it.

Keep going. Stick with it. Perserverence is key. Karen P

Caz said...

AND, no offence, but I wouldn't trust the signals your body is sending you. Your hunger signals are completely out of whack and your body's sense of what is good for it is probably completely out of whack too. Primal/Paleo/whole30 is also about fixing your body. And that takes time.

Anonymous said...

hi- i am a long time regular reader and have never commented until now. i have followed your journey for the last several years and i will say this - i don't think there is one solution for everyone. i really don't. after a long relationship with someone, i moved out on my own and after awhile i suddenly realized that i hadn't eaten meat in months. it was just my natural choice. i like meat, i don't have anything against meat, but it's just not what i naturally gravitated towards when left totally on my own. after about 2 years eating that way, i finally went dairy free for the last 3 months, and found that i feel even better. but here's the thing - i'm not saying that's what you should do. i guess my point is, what's right for me and my body isn't necessarily right for someone else. and i think if the way you are eating currently doesn't feel right to you, then maybe it isn't. i feel like a lot of people who comment on your blog are always pushing one diet or another. i feel you like you have been doing this long enough that you know just as much as anybody else, if not more. you are the expert here. and you are definitely the expert when it comes to your body. you will figure it out :) have confidence in your knowledge and your choices. thinking good thoughts for you.

Jennifer McNeely said...

I think you should listen to your body!! That is where we go off in the first place. When you learn to listen to your body, you would not eat anything but what it needs. It does have a voice. I am like you, feel better eating plants/ etc, but have blood sugar issue, so it definitely a challenge to get it right! I do think doing a 30 no allergen diet is a GREAT idea, then you will KNOW what foods to avoid, or go have a blood test at a good ND s office for 400$! When you do the elimination diet there are definitely withdrawal symptoms, but from what I can see, you are having plenty sugars, carbs, caffeine etc so that should not be an issue here. If you are tired, rest!! Even if its a minute or 2, our bodies work very hard for us and its our job to respect that and listen to the messages. Good luck, this work can take a lifetime to get it right, so go on you for continuing the search for what is right for you!

Kara said...

Everyone who has tried an elimination diet or a primal/paleo diet has said that there's a week or more of "break in" that you have to power through - that includes headaches, fatigue, and general malaise befoe you get to the good part.

My honest opinion, Lyn? Is that you're suffering from what Lyle McDonald calls "f-around-itis". Since you left Medifast, you bobble from this plan to that plan to "sort of" paleo/primal to "sort of" whole foods to "sort of" ... whatever. For a week or so. And then there's something that you don't like or you don't feel it's working and you move on to something else.

You need to pick a plan and stick with it - REALLY stick with it, not just "sort of" stick with it - for a minimum of 6 weeks before you start throwing out "I'm not meant" and changing things up again.

Kara said...

Oh and btw, Eat Right For Your Type has been thoroughly and completely debunked.

Anonymous said...

I know you've probably answered this times 10, but you're sure your thyroid is operating in the "normal" range? Before I went on thyroid medicine, I thought I was depressed. I could barely get out of bed in the morning. I think if you concentrate on eliminating processed foods and sugar and focus on "clean" eating, it seems that could take you far. I try to maintain low carb - eliminating breads and pastas and monitoring natural sugars - perhaps low-glycemic is a better description. While I would never describe myself as "high energy", it's not my nature. I have the energy to run 3.5 miles and maintain my daily routine.

Lyn said...

Anonymous~

I have had my thyroid checked (blood tests) 3 times since I started blogging, and it always came back normal. I am not sure offhand exactly what tests they did but it was in response to my tiredness complaints.

kristi said...

You must be A+. I am and it says that I should eat vegetarian, and weirder still, I am a vegetarian. I guess when I made that decision when I was 8, I knew what my body needed. Anyway, I have tried eating primal (vegetarian style which is a bit weird), and it literally killed me. I felt so yucky and I stuck it out for 6 weeks. On the 6 week date, I switched back to low fat, vegetarian and low to mid carb and I felt 1000% better. I am sure that everyone is different. Good Luck

Kristi

Anonymous said...

On the one hand.. I think you should stick with it a little longer. I know myself I am always having these bouts of feeling bad and thinking it is related to the diet and then it never actually turns out to be. I think 2 weeks to be sure it is actually the diet and not something else. Then you will be able to say -- this didn't work for me without doubts.

On the other I have to agree with the plan pusher comments. I have never seen such a movement to push this Paelo plan. And the bottom line.. no weight loss. Your blog is called "Escape from Obesity" if something isn't helping you escape from obesity immediately move on. I lost 9 lbs on my first week on my diet... and yup I escaped from obesity.

I agree that you have been bouncing around from plan to plan but you will know immediately when something works for you. I lost a lb or more every day my first week on my plan -- from day one - that sure helped me stick to it... even though it meant no more candy or the foods I loved.

I wish I hadn't spent the time I did trying low carb over and over and over again (in different iterations - I believe one was eat right for your type) hoping that *this time* it would work.

You know this isn't going to work, thus you desire to jump ship.

Jac said...

Funny, I've been reading your blog for a long time, but have recently become much more of a frequent commenter! :)

I know you're not exactly Whole30-ing, but this timeline I think still applies: http://whole9life.com/2012/06/the-whole30-timeline/

Also, Mark Sisson says it takes 2-3 weeks for people to become efficiently "fat adapted" where they start burning body fat as fuel. My advice (for what it's worth) is to power through to the 3-week mark. If you still feel lousy, abandon ship. Praying for you to feel like yourself again.

Amanda said...

I'd say power through and do the Whole 30. One thing I've learned about my body is that it can be a lying liar that lies. This is especially the case when I'm trying a new system of eating or trying to get back on track after a nutritional hiatus. It takes more than a week or so to work through withdrawals and get through to the other side.

MargieAnne said...

Changes in diet can be so frustrating as your body adjusts.

I know you haven't made major changes because some of the "new things" you were already doing.

My advice for what it's worth is hang in there.

But also be a little more creative with your proteins if you can. I eat a zillion eggs because they're easy, versatile, quick and cause me no digestion problems.

I also eat a fairly generous amount of yoghurt but maybe that's not allowed on the Whole 30?

All I can really say is that an experiment cannot be conclusive if you don't stick with it long enough and it's my belief that this way of eating is really worth it and flexible enough to make personal tweaks once you know what works.

Hope you feel much better very soon.

BTW I have discovered that I am low in potassium and it's not nice. This is not because my diet is lacking but because I take a diuretic as part of controlling blood pressure. It's time to come off but not until I've discussed it with my doctor.

Blessings.

Anonymous said...

I think if you feel better eating more veggies, you should do so. On a primal plan, veggies should be the greatest part of your meal, volume-wise. There don't seem to be many here, except for the kebabs. Also, I feel way better when I cut out fruit. There's a ton of sugar in pineapple, and I know people will say "it's fruit! It's good for you!", but my personal experience has been that I feel better without it. (RA sufferer here.)

Michelle.

LHA said...

So many interesting thoughts and strong opinions. I can see both sides of this. My instinct always says if it doesn't feel right to you and you feel worse physically, then you are probably on the wrong track. However, I am not nearly as knowledgeable as some people who have commented from their own experience or research.

Lyn, there was one thing I wanted to just gently remind you of. A few weeks ago you wrote a very powerful post in which you swore that you were going to start putting yourself first and not wear yourself out completely doing things for others. From the minute I read your post about how tired you were but how much you had to do with company coming, etc., I thought of that. I'm just giving you a little nudge to say that whatever the reason for your tiredness, you owe it to yourself to rest and not push yourself beyond your limits. As a mother of four, I sympathize with all you have on your shoulders, but just remember to take care of yourself first so that you can ultimately take care of the ones you love.

Good luck with your decision on food changes. We're all pulling for you!

timothy said...

of course i dont know your body but the energy and feel good i get from a low-carb diet requires much lower carbs than you have been doing and cutting out all sugars even natural ones. so i doubt if it's carb flu. have you tried cutting red meat back and going to a more fish/fowl based diet? when i eat too much red meat it definately affects me negatively. whatver you do/try dont give up as long as you're moving forward even the failures teach you something and knowledge is power. xoxoxo

Em said...

I had a pretty low-energy, fuzzy-headed week or so the week I started going primal, but when it lifted I felt great.

I would consider eating more overall food (and perhaps slightly less dairy). I know it makes you nervous to exceed calorie limits, but please consider feeding yourself to true satiety as you make this transition. I had a hell of a time doing this as I did; I would stand in my kitchen going, "really? you're still not sure you're full after an 8-oz. burger patty and a salad?" and agonizing over eating anything else, but I tried to think of it like an experiment, and I made myself more food. I would wake up and fry three eggs and several slices of bacon. And I didn't gain weight. Part of what felt so right about Primal to me was that I didn't have to fight my hunger anymore: I got to honor it instead. I could stop trying to "control myself." Giving that up felt really, really freeing, and that freedom was compounded when I felt the relief from sugar and grain cravings that came with getting a couple of weeks of high-fat, high-protein clean eating under my belt. Eating until you're full is going to make you feel better. This is just my experience; your decision is yours. But either way, I hope you feed yourself until you're full.

Anonymous said...

Have you considered laying off the chocolate for a week or so? It does have a tendency to trigger headaches in some people.
I think u should stick with Primal for awhile. Don't give up for at least two months.
Allison

Anonymous said...

I agree with Em. It takes energy to grow your new mitochondia organelles. They're so precious. (And they burn fatty acids like forest fire once you grow them)...chin up dear, just a few more weeks to go!

Nutmeg1976 said...

HI! I found your blog when I googled 'kohlrabi greens'. I was curious to see how you were doing two years later and was very pleasantly surprised to see that you are giving the primal lifestyle a chance.

One, if you feel like you need more veggies, well than eat more veggies! There is nothing wrong with eating a lot of veggies when you are primal. I lost the bulk of my weight while eating a lot of fresh produce everyday. My macro ratios stayed pretty similar to how I ate before ditching the grains. The difference was I was able to lose weight, unlike when I ate a 'sensible' diet.

You probably are going through a low carb flu and powering through isn't a bad choice. But, you can add in more veggies and then gradually decrease if you need to. I personally can't lose weight if I eat less than about 50-75 grams of carb a day. Eating paleo/primal is not a specific calorie or carb range, adjust it to suit your needs. Just do it without adding back the big offenders like grains and legumes. You can do it!

Anonymous said...

There is about a 2-3 week period, when people transition over to a low-carb/moderate protein/high fat diet, when they feel like crap. You're probably going thru that. Read The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, it's really informative about how the body responds to and metabolizes the various macro nutrients.

-KathyA

Caz said...

I think you should also cut down on the bacon. It is just so salty and processed and normal bacon is NOT a primal/paleo food. There is all sorts of rubbish in there. Eating too much bacon can also make you feel like crap.

Anonymous said...

I was curious, so I looked up info on the "eat right for your type" diet. http://www.lose-weight-with-us.com/blood-type-diet.html Glad to find out it's been debunked (sounded suspicious from the beginning!). According to my blood type, no wheat. NO WAY!

Betsey C. said...

Hi Lyn, I am so sorry you are still feeling head-achy and ill. I hope you are able to enjoy your guests and the birthday celebration.

I know we are all different, but sometimes I feel like a real oddball, because I feel best with a balanced diet that includes lots of carbs in the form of whole grains like brown rice, wheat bread and potatoes, with moderate amounrs of meat and fruit, and lots of veggies. I am down 50 lbs. I eat quite a bit of dairy, too, in the form of yogurt and skim milk.

I felt awful when I tried to do low carb the one time I tried it. On the second day, I fainted when I stood up too quickly. No thanks! But lots of folks swear by low carb, so we are indeed different in how our bodies react to food.

Good luck to you as you try to find your perfect way of eating, and I hope you feel better soon.

Betsey in Chicago

Anonymous said...

I am on my second week of Primal plan. I only had a slight headache once a day: and so ate another 25gms of carbs (Kashi bar) and no headache. So thats' 'listening to your body' and 'powering thru' combined. Low carb is under 60-80 carbs 'day depending on your activity etc. Primal newbies are told to EASE into it and DON"T Micromanage - just eat the optimal foods and live your day and move on. I am feeling less hunger without all the former carbs and I see I am losing weight slowly and easily. What a relief!!!!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog since I started Medifast and first time I have ever commented. I know several people on the Whole 30/Paleo/Primal diet that also do crossfit, so maybe the energy will kick in after a few weeks. But they also eat something called a "meatzza" which I just can not see being healthy. Just my opinion.

If not, eat what makes you feel like a person. MF has helped me lose weight and I plan to transition to some other type of healthy eating once I reach my goal weight. I can identify with your struggle as I am sure many who read your blog do also. Low-fat, Low-Carb, high fiber, low glycemic, etc. with all these product pushers in the market who knows what to eat! I hope you find the right balance and I will continue reading & cheering for you!

Anonymous said...

I started Primal plan 3 weeks ago. This week I bought fab new cookbook "Paleo Comfort Food"!! for new ideas. Also bought this new microwave grill pan set from QVC to cook burgers, meats . fish and wow! - so much easier!!! I am doing a whey protein shake (vanilla) too in this hot weather..love it!! This Primal just makes eating easier for me..choices are clear ie no more "one cookie? teo cookie? 3?"I am sleeping better and am a bit leaner too. Very pleased.
Katie 49 yo

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's the nitrates in the daily bacon that giving you headaches?

Beth

lisa~sunshine said...

Medifast was low carb as well so I guess I'm wondering.. did you go through the carb flu then? I've went low carb before and did do the headache and overall yucky feeling but it only took 2 days and I felt better.. I guess I would be curious about this 3 weeks of feeling ill.. seems really long.. and then if you eat primal but eat something else.. like at a birthday party.. how will you feel? I mean can you eat this way for your life and be okay.. do you think what you are doing is sustainable for you?

Jane said...

I'm sorry you are having a rough time. I am also having a hard time figuring out what is best for my body! I hate that always hungry feeling, as well as the headachy icky feeling! Sometimes figuring out what works can be so painful!

Lyn said...

lisa~sunshine~

I did have a 'carb flu' feeling when I started Medifast *some* times (I restarted several times), and not other times. When I did have it, it was 2 or 3 days and then over.

I do think this particular way of eating is sustainable for me. Lots of people don't eat grains, and usually even at parties there are veggies, fruit, cheese, that kind of thing. And for my own birthday and family pparties I can learn to bake with grain-free flours. The lack of energy and how I feel is not sustainable though, so I hope that changes in the coming week.

Diandra said...

What works for some may not work for others. So if this way of eating makes you feel bad, stop it. I remember your posts from a few years ago about how good it made you feel to eat lots of fresh stuff - try to get back there again. Maybe you can mix your old ways of eating with some of the Paleo aspects until you feel good and find something that is sustainable in the long run?

lisa~sunshine said...

I guess only time will tell then.. I know that my diet before was low in fat.. and low in carb.. I think more comparable to your medifast.. than primal.. so maybe that has something to do with the longer carb flu feelings..

It does make sense that our energy comes from carbs.. and since you are restricting them.. you would feel down and with less energy..
I will be curious to watch your plan.. at the present moment I eat very few grains.. actually more fruits and veggies.. but I found that I gained with the higher fat count.. and not a gain into my apple shape but my hips got larger and I gained into a pear shape more.. I think controling the calories was harder for me.. but I was using almond butter which isn't a easy thing to measure.. although the primal way of eating doesn't count calories.. but then again removing a entire food group almost would cause you to free up a lot of space for calories..

Anonymous said...

Birthday treats - I've made a great chocolate cake, substituting regular flour with soy/garbanzo bean/ww pastry flour and then subbing out the sugar for splenda and then using a cream cheese/whipping cream topping with berries. I know, it's not paleo (not intended to be) and it's not exactly low calorie, but at our house it's been a great option for a birthday cake. We feel like we've had a special birthday treat, but haven't gone "off the wagon" with a bakery cake full of sugar and white flour.

Amy said...

Lyn, I think it is important to listen to your body. It will tell you when something is out of balance. You seem to have a really good idea of what healthy eating is, a balance of good carbs, good fats, and lean protein. Many people on low carb diets get too much protein, which puts added stress on the liver. I think it is all about achieving a balance that works for you, and not using someone else's roadmap.

Anonymous said...

There are a thousand websites that have dessert recipes (baked things) that use almond flour - low carb eating and gluten free. I've had cookies, mffins and cakes from these over the years and they do satisfy!! :) Great brownie recipe too wit walnuts! Just sayin'...