Hey everyone and welcome to Paleo diet for beginners. In todays article, I would like to talk about and highlight why you may experience sudden drops in energy levels and the role that your relationship with carbs play in this. This is especially true when first embarking on your paleo diet for beginners journey.
The inspiration for this article comes from a very good friend of mine who I recommended get on the Paleo diet and to be honest, she absolutely smashed it.
She lost over a 100 pounds in a few months. She followed a strict Paleo diet (but shunned all carbs and fats) and ran about 20 miles a week!
The problems she complained about were that she felt like she had no energy and she didn’t have any muscle definition.
Paleo Diet for beginners, carbs and why I have no energy?
The media these days have labelled carbs as evil and bad for weight loss but this is a great example why you should be incorporating some carbs in your diet to keep up your energy levels and also prevent you from losing muscle mass that your body worked so hard to build.
Don’t get me wrong, carbs in excess will definitely lead to weight gain. If your aim was just weight loss without exercise, I wouldn’t bother too much about carbs, you could do without but if you are looking to incorporate a training programme (like my friend) here’s why you should incorporate some carbs in your diet.
I am going to highlight some studies conducted in this respect (references below) that all prove that consistent exercise which is at least 30 minutes long, 3 times a week at a Vo2 max level above 65% increases GLUT 4 expression in muscles.
So what does this GLUT 4 transporter do? It transports the required glucose from your body’s glycogen reserves (energy stores) to your muscles to fuel your exercise.
Scientists have concluded that the body stores about 2000 calories of glucose as glycogen. If you don’t move much, you will burn about 600 calories. Imagine, you exercised and then also cut out carbs from your diet? You will run out of energy in about a week max (like my friend)
Then what happens is that your workouts get less high intensity as you will start to burn fat for energy (ketogenic). This is a slower process and is not good for high intensity training.
After reading this, you are probably thinking, that’s great news. Burn fat. But the problem here is that our body goes into starvation mode (which is a survival mechanism) that down regulates metabolic processes which is not good especially if you want to build muscle.
Another effect of going into starvation mode is the reduction of levels of Leptin in your system.
What is Leptin?
This is the hormone that is down regulated when you are hungry. This when problems happen, this is when you start craving things. I was fine for the first week or so but then you cave and binge eat.
Cravings are kind of a double edged sword, eat too much and you get cravings. Eat too little and you still get cravings.
So what works?
Well what worked for me was by limiting my carbohydrate intake to 150 – 200 g a day. I stuck to my best friend the sweet potato.
Research recommends consuming this after training as the increased GLUT 4 receptors will ensure that the glucose derived will go straight to the muscles.
To conclude, your body transformation is an ever changing process. What worked for me 2 months ago won’t work today. I absolutely swear by the Paleo diet (as you can probably tell) and using this lifestyle, I constantly tweak my macronutrients based on what goals I want to achieve.
I hope this article will help you like it helped my friend. Remember, this problem is a good problem to have because it means that you have actually taken the first steps and some of you may have even attained ketosis. Now it’s time to address some of the after effects.
Thank you for reading, in next weeks article, I am excited to talk to you about the Paleo diet and superfoods. This is quiet a controversial topic in the Paleo circles so I think its going to be a good one.
What are your thoughts on this? Would love to hear from you in the comments below?
This is a great reason why Paleo diet for beginners are proud to promote the benefits of leading a Paleo lifestyle
PS – Before you start on the Paleo Diet, take moment to check out my free eBook. It will save you a ton of time as I share the mistakes I made first time round and how to fix them.