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I Can't Seem To Follow A Strict Diet

When I eat very clean I always end up getting depressed, lethargic, sick with colds, and having no sex drive. I am 30 years old and 6’1 185 lbs. My goal is to gain about 15 lbs. I feel so much better when I just eat anything and everything I can- I have greater energy, libido, and a better overall feeling. I just feel healthier in general I guess.

I have tried to follow a strict diet several times and I have ended up quitting because of different symptoms. I tried cutting out sugar compeletely and in a week’s time I had no energy to work out and had gotten the flu. Can anyone relate to this or am I just different?

You’re probably overdoing it, and/or don’t really understand what “eating clean” means. Here are some easy guidelines to get started:

Do eat plenty of protein
Do eat lots of vegetables
Do eat some fruit
Do eat low impact carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and brown rice, but only for breakfast or your post workout meal.

Do not eat anything that has sugar, white flour, corn, soy, potatoes, or corn syrup in the first three ingredients.

Exactly what “strict diet” are you following?
What is your definition of “very clean”?
When you say that you feel better when you eat “anything and everything”, what exact foods fall into this category?

If you want some help, we will need more detail. Do you keep a food diary? Post one day of eating from your “anything and everything” diet. Then post one day from your “strict diet”, so we can see what you are doing.

This is why I hate the term “eating clean.” It means different things to different people.

Chances are that you’re eliminating “bad” food and not replacing them with healthier alternatives. Regardless of how healthy you eat, you still need to eat enough to fuel yourself.

Ok here is what I ate today. I am just eating as much as I can and whatever I want.

Breakfast

1/2 a cup of raw oats mixed 2 cups of low fat milk and brown sugar

Snack

About 20 pita chips

Lunch

Medium sized grilled steak with
mushrooms and onions. A cup of white rice. 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Dinner

1/2 a whole thin crust cheese pizza and 2 garlic rolls

You need vegetables and fruit regardless of if you’re following a plan or just eating whatever you feel like.

[quote]SuperDog wrote:
Ok here is what I ate today. I am just eating as much as I can and whatever I want.

Breakfast

1/2 a cup of raw oats mixed 2 cups of low fat milk and brown sugar

Snack

About 20 pita chips

Lunch

Medium sized grilled steak with
mushrooms and onions. A cup of white rice. 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Dinner

1/2 a whole thin crust cheese pizza and 2 garlic rolls

[/quote]

At first I didn’t read your first sentence, and assumed that you were giving us an example of what you think clean eating is! Almost shat myself.

I guess the sample diet is an example of dirty bulking?

Are you happy with your current BF level? If so, keep your current diet and add more protein ,fruit, veggies and good fats. If you want to lose some fat, keep a food log for a week and see what the cals, fat, protein and carbs add up to. Your clean diet probably had drastically less carbs and fat, which would make you feel like crap. Have you picked a diet you would like to follow?

Eventually, for health purposes you’re going to want to get away from lots of starches and processed sugars.

One thing you’re also forgetting, or may not know, is that the first 3 weeks of a strict diet are often miserable, as your body learns to switch fuel sources from simple sugars to alternatives. Prime example–many people going from a healthy high carb diet to a healthy low carb diet report miserable fatigue and lethargy for about 2 weeks before their bodies switch to using fats for fuel.

My hunch, however, is that when you “eat clean” you are doing one or more of the following:

a) eating far too little–in other words, cutting out bad stuff but not replacing your missing calories with healthy alternatives, as a poster above said.

b) not eating enough fruits or veggies to get your vitamins, leading to lethargy and sickness.

c) not sticking to the diet long enough to get past the transition period.

My money is on all three.

Take it one meal at a time.

Add in more meals. Move away from a breakfast lunch and dinner format to just 5 or probably more feedings a day (feeding could be go from protein shake to a full meal). That will help you add more calories if you need to and also regulate blood sugar better.

This miserable feeling you are getting from eating clean may be a transitory feeling experienced from a shift in dietary habits as Aragorn said, or it may be in your head. Regardless push through it because believe me you are not different, eating brown sugar, vanilla ice cream and cheese pizza is not somehow healthy for you and bad for everyone else. That stuff is just bad from a health perspective and also for giving your body the tools to add the muscle you want. Eating a clean diet(that definition is variable based on your goals) or an overall “healthful” diet IS the way to definitively increase your libido, feelings of wellness and overall health.

[quote]SuperDog wrote:
Ok here is what I ate today. I am just eating as much as I can and whatever I want.[/quote]

In your post, you said that you are looking to GAIN 15 pounds. If this is a typical day of eating, and if you train with any kind of intensity, you’re not going to achieve your goal, so I added on some suggestions for you.

[quote]
Breakfast

1/2 a cup of raw oats mixed 2 cups of low fat milk and brown sugar[/quote]
Cook the oats, drink a glass of whole milk, get rid of the brown sugar, and eat an apple or some berries instead.

[quote]
Snack

About 20 pita chips[/quote]

Ditch the starchy carbs. Eat a big handful of almonds or nuts instead. Wash it down with green tea.

[quote]
Lunch

Medium sized grilled steak with
mushrooms and onions. A cup of white rice. 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream.[/quote]

Mmmmmmmmmm…steak is good. Get rid of the white rice. Substitute a little brown rice and add on a truckload of whatever green vegetables you can tolerate. (Seems like most men never eat anything green) Toss the ice cream. Eat some healthy fats, why don’tcha? Drizzle some virgin olive oil on your vegetables, or take some fish oil instead.

Hey. You forgot to eat in the afternoon! How about some cottage cheese? Turkey? More nuts? Tuna? Eat something, for goodness sakes!

This ain’t nothing but useless starchy carbs. You want to add muscle, don’t you? Eating all these processed carbs at night is detrimental to your goal of adding 15 pounds! Sheesh! You need lean meats, poultry or fish here, not pizza. You want to eat bread? Make SURE it’s whole grain bread. More green veggies at dinner, too. And some more fish oil.

Do you workout at night or before dinner? Then have a protein shake, and put some healthy fat in it. I like the chocolate flavor, and I put in a tablespoon of natural peanut butter.

You have to eat more food and it has to be healthy food if you want to add muscle. You also have to train like a Mofo, too. Since you didn’t mention your workout regime, I will assume you are here because you are already training hard and heavy. So, search around this site for a good bulking diet to follow. There are quite a few experts on nutrition here, and all their advice is free.

[quote]SuperDog wrote:
I guess the sample diet is an example of dirty bulking?[/quote]

More like just eating whatever the heck he feels like. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s certainly not going to help achieve any physique goals.

Also I am taking 2000 mg of fish oil everyday. Is that enough?

[quote]SuperDog wrote:
Also I am taking 2000 mg of fish oil everyday. Is that enough? [/quote]

Enough is a subjective term, here, and it depends how much Omega 3’s you need, how much healthy fat is already in your diet, or whether or not you are suffering from inflammation due to stress. That being said, I usually average 9 grams of fish oil every day. Some people take 20 grams a day for their needs.

Supplements, vitamins, nutrients, macros, calories, etc. need to be tailored to YOUR individual needs and goals, not someone else’s.

Read some of John Berardi’s articles on diet. I also suggest you do some research. Again, like I said in my post above. There is free expert advice on this site…read the articles on diets for a clean bulk. Use the search function to find them, or start with this:

It’s John’s top ten tips, gives you a basic overview of his philosophy

Or find another coach/author that you like, and follow his advice.

You get sick and feel like crap because you aren’t getting enough fat. Fats form the foundation to your immune system and a number of hormones, sex hormones included. You can eat too clean. This is what’s prob crashing your libido, plus the transition into ketosis like Aragorn stated. Just follow YoMomma’s recommendations and you’ll be OK the next time around.

When you start a new diet, don’t just jump into it at once, take it slow