Help with Paleo Diet
Hello all....It's been a while since I've visitied this great forum and I need some advice from anyone willing to toss some ideas/thoughts my way. First, a little history about myself. I'm retired Military (US Marines and Army National Guard) and I'm now a software developer. I'm almost 47 now and I've pretty much beat myself up with everything from bike racing, running, boxing, and bodybuilding over the years since I was 17. Back in the 80's was my first experience with weight lifting....an as you know, ultra low-fat diets were all the rage. Who was I to argue, so I fell in with that crowd and never looked back. I had not a hamburger or slice of pizza for more than 20 years. For most of that time I seldom ate meat...most of my protein came from various (nearly fat free) protein powders. I figured protein was protein so who needs meat? My dietary fat intake remained at theanemic sub-10 percent level for years. I never had a problem with this. Not only was I strong as hell, I could kick the skinny guys' asses on a 10k run. I know my carb intake was very high and my protein intake was moderate at best. Back then, my carbs were things like sourdough bread (could scarf down a loaf in one meal), fat-free cookies and....well, you get the picture. This worked fine for me in my younger years.
When I retired from the military, I did hard, all day long blue-collar work for about 5 years. I worked hard all day and then worked out at night. I was ripped and strong, so my high carb diet was serving me well. People were amazed that I didn't eat meat and practically no fat of any kind. Everything changed when the internet came along and I got exposure to new ideas about diet and nutrition. I started reading about how horrible my current diet was (i.e. white flour is poison, high carbs lead to diabetes, etc.). This really got me thinking....Also, when I reinvented myself and became a programmer/software guy I suddenly found myself chained to a desk for most of the day. I couldn't continue to eat like I was before without gaining weight, no matter how much I worked out.
Fast forward to today. Years ago, I switched the kinds of carbs I was eating. Currently, I eat lots of whole barley (boiled as you would rice, this is the lowest glycemic index grain), winter squash of all kinds, salad vegetables of all kinds. All of my protein is very low fat, and I use no added oils or fats. I weigh about 160 now and my body fat is very low....I mean I can see every vein in my torso and can't pinch anything anywhere. So, what's the problem then? I feel like crap, that's the problem. I can only eat this way for so long before I start losing too much weight and losing strength, despite a high carb intake. Now, I can easily eat bread and rice and get much stronger...but soon afterward I will get puffy and not feel so good.
I have tried low carb dieting at least three times and failed.....usually when I'm in the same condition as I am now, very lean, not fat. I have never went low-carb to lose weight. I always did so because I wanted to believe it was healthier. The same thing happened every time: I felt great at first, mostly from the increase in calories I presume....but no matter how long I try to "adapt to burning fat", it never works for me. My workouts and endurance start to suffer. I then up the calories with more protein and fat. This puts weight on me, however I get no gain in strength or endurance. In the end, I give up and go back to my old ways.
I can't figure out what I am doing wrong....is it possible that some people are genetically programmed to thrive on carbs? I wouldn't think so....my ancestry is from ScotLand/Northen Ireland. Or maybe all those years of no-fat, high carb eating have permanently deranged my metabolism? The way I eat "semi-works" for me but I hate it. I really love things like salmon, coconut, etc. and I want a real food diet like that to work for me. I was thinking of going Paleo....and unlike my past low-carb efforts, maybe incorporating some "friendly carbs" like sweet potatoes, winter squash, etc.
I used to read the posts on this forum quite a bit in the past and you all seem to be very knowledgeable when it comes to Paleo/Low-carb.....I would greatly appreciate any knowledge and experience you can share with me.