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paleo diet conclusions

When I last posted about my diet, I was lamenting my misapplication of a reduced-carb paleo approach. I never made a really concerted effort to become fat- or keto-adapted, and as a result I ended up with a lot of hypoglycemic panics and a lot of muscle loss. The paleo community doesn’t talk much about this kind of thing, but I suspect I’m not the only one who’s gone through it. But on the other hand, the community does emphasize self-experimentation and customizing the diet to your needs, and it’s not like anyone was holding a gun stone axe to my head and forcing me to stay with it.

My approach to recovery was to increase my daily calories by 10-20% and to make sure I didn’t let my blood sugar get low (I wasn’t measuring it, and so I may be misapplying the concept, but I can definitely tell the difference between normal hunger and panicky hunger with mood swings). This was physically very uncomfortable for about a week, but I got used to it. By mid-October, my weight was close to what it had been at the beginning of the year. Around that time I started doing some strength training and have been continuing to gradually put on weight since then. This has also been great because getting back into strength training was one of my goals when I started paleo, but I wasn’t able to do it because of joint problems. I dealt with this by working under a trainer who had me start with the mildest exercises possible, and rigorously sticking with his prescriptions no matter how embarrassed / impatient / affronted I was. It worked!

Anyway, it looks like we’ve closed this chapter. I’ve learned a lot from being on a paleo diet, and I was able to fairly conclusively rule out most of its more categorical recommendations. I’ve gained back the weight I lost, and may have even found a sustainable way to start gaining some strength.

I admit that it’s a little triggering to watch the numbers on the scale creeping up, even though I know how inane that is, especially when I’m working out and trying to put on weight. Part of me insists on doing naive extrapolation: If my weight went up 10% between September and November, then in two years I'll weight twice what I do now! But this is... unlikely.

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