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Recovering from Paleo, Desperate for help!!

Blog Forums Dieting Sucks! Recovering from Paleo, Desperate for help!!

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    I originally posted this in the eating disorder forum but I guess I should have posted it elsewhere?!!

    Hi guys, I am in desperate need of help here, please give me all/any input you have.
    I am female, 33 years old, 5?9 and weigh about 230lbs

    June 2012 to May 2013 I did a Paleo diet. I was pretty strict while doing it but would slip up about once a month and eat some type of fast food/junkfood and then go right back to Paleo. During the first few months I felt fantastic tons of energy, hormones were stable, sex drive through the roof, no cravings, no headaches nothing. Then something happened. Around the 2 month mark I started having symptoms like anxiety attacks, light headed, weird headaches, depression, mood swings, hormones went wacky, and I began having extremely oily skin and hair. I felt like I wasn’t strict enough and began getting stricter and stricter with myself and the symptoms just kept getting worse. Finally I decided I had to end this cycle when I woke up one morning with eczema rashes in random places, including around my eyes (WTF!)
    I feel I should point out that during this whole time I only lost 8 pounds and not a drop more.
    That brings me to May 2013 when I went back to eating the food again. I did not however eat anything that was packaged/processed at all. Everything is homemade including bread products. I felt fantastic and everything I was experiencing went away. After about 2 months I decided I needed some junk food/fast food in my life so I began eating out about once a week AND allowed more processed things in my life. BIG MISTAKE!! I have horrible daily headaches now PLUS, when I am ovulating or its TOM I get BAD migraines. This has been going on for several months now, 6 to be exact. I basically live on Advil(bad I know). I have weaned myself off of the Advil and end up going back on it after about a week because of the headaches.
    Now let me explain something. I did NOT have this problem before embarking on a Paleo diet. Hubby and I would eat out whenever we felt like it without any side effects. Plus I could buy things like instant oatmeal, cereal and packaged bread and the random oreo /dorito/pepsi without having any effect what so ever.
    I cannot even take the whole food vitamin I was taking for a year before going Paleo because it causes side effects now.
    UGH, can someone please tell me what is wrong with me?!! Is this ever going to get better or am I doomed to a life of living in the dam kitchen?!!


    I’m sorry to hear that you are experiencing these reactions. Now, I am by no means an expert, but I would suspect that perhaps your gut flora have been altered as a result of your paleo diet experience, and are not currently able to processes such foods as a result – currently. Whether this is permanent or only temporary I can’t say for sure, but I believe that you should see some improvement as time progresses. I had an issue like this for awhile once I incorporated carbs back into my diet, but the symptoms weren’t as drastic as yours seem to be.
    Best of luck


    That is very interesting. I believe you could be on to something there. Now that I think about it I do experience other symptoms when I eat processed food as well like bloating, heartburn upset stomach and it always ends with me being backed up or visiting the toilet too much.

    My husband it currently experiencing something similar to me but the poor guy practically lives in the bathroom after fast food.

    I guess I am just very impatient, I just thought after 9 months my body would be all brand new again! Ha!


    Be careful you’re drinking enough. When I refed, I had to really limit my fluids for a while. Then, as my metabolism improved, I started feeling a kind of hunger or something I couldn’t quite pin. Finally figured out I was thirsty! I have to drink a lot more fluids now. I drink tea and water quite a bit, still have yellow pee.

    The Real Amy

    Maybe probiotics would be helpful, Mommyof3. You could always try digestive enzymes as well when you eat out. Probably will just take time.

    Ashley is right about liquids, too. I feel horrible when I don’t drink enough. Some people have higher needs. I drink a couple of liters of water some days and still pee yellow.


    It’s been awhile since you first posted, mommyof3inidaho, but I wanted to share a few thoughts.

    First, I agree with elfman5150 about the flora being severely altered while on a paleo diet. Food with high levels of ‘prebiotics’ such as bananas, potatoes, apples, and most other tubers and fruits will help selectively feed the ‘good bugs’ and give them the opportunity to re-take their appropriate spot within the circle of life in the gut. Eating ‘junk food’ tends to feed stuff very UNselectively, which means UNTIL your good bugs are up to speed, junk food will exacerbate dysbiosis and result in any number of symptoms including what you are having. I know some people do well with PRO-biotics (supplemental bacteria), but I think ‘PRE-biotics’ (foods with specific types of fibers) are better in your case since there is no evidence that you don’t have the proper bacteria, just that you need to start feeding them after this long period of starving them. It will take months to re-establish proper flora composition.

    You can read my reply to another post here for more info on this kind of thing:

    Second, I think electrolytes/fluid balance have a huge impact on headaches and so on. Sodium, Potassium, and Fluid must be in proper balance. As a rule, too much sodium and/or not enough potassium can cause headaches. Too much potassium and not enough sodium can cause lethargy and/or hypothermia and/or anxiety issues. Drinking water modulates all of this by lowering both potassium and sodium in the blood, and potentially lowering potassium within cells. What I mean to say by all of this is that you may try displacing some ‘junk food’ with bananas and fruit and potatoes (increasing potassium) to see if that helps. If it is to help, you should notice it within hours to days. If it hasn’t helped within a few days, forget it.

    Third, I wanted to mention nutrient deficiencies and dynamics. Carbohydrates and the resultant insulin surge stimulate the uptake of a wide variety of nutrients (potassium, b vitamins, and other stuff) INTO cells, OUT of the blood. I think paleo and other restrictive diets tend to commonly be low in certain nutrients. However, it is UPON increasing carbs that the deficiency manifests itself because only then will the blood level of these already-borderline-depleted nutrients drop (as they are shuttled into tissues). Some of the most prime culprits are potassium, magnesium, thiamin, and other B vits. You may want to try supplementing some magnesium and a decent b complex to see if that helps your headaches. Fruits and tubers should give you plenty of potassium. [As a brief albeit important aside: I’m not fond of b complexes with thiamin (B1) as ‘benfotiamine’ for refeeding deficiencies since this form is a synthetic fat soluble nutrient that does not follow the same pharmacodynamics as water-soluble thiamin. So the b complex should have B1 as Thimain HCL.]

    Some supp ideas could be the following (just ideas to consider):

    The latter is a full multivitamin but I like it because it has natural folate and b12 and because it has more thiamin in proportion to other B-vitamins than most supps.

    I hope experimenting around with these things will help lead to the promise land. Please keep us all informed on your progress!

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