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New member, ex-Atkinseer

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  • New member, ex-Atkinseer

    Hi everyone,

    Wow, what a great website and forum. I've been reading about the primal idea for a couple of weeks and decided to jump on in today. I have read the Paleo Diet by L Cordain, but prefer the Primal Blueprint approach. I'm still working through the book but feel I have a grasp of the basics and want to get on with feeling good now!

    For the past three years I've followed Atkins on and off, which seems quite similar to PB. However, I had various problems with it and want to improve on what that taught me about carbs and PB seems the best way to go.

    I am keen to see if I can lose weight on PB without going into ketosis (personal preference), or whether PB allows ketosis but in a different way to Atkins.

    I am a keen kickboxer (hence the ninja, which is a little tongue in cheek) btu think that there has to be a better way of training than always adding in hours and feeling fatigued all the time, so the PB fitness approach intrigues me, as does the lifestyle element.

    I'm sure I'll ask a heap of questions around hear and look forward to reading your own stories.

  • #2

    Former Atkinseer, here, too. I found Atkins effective, but restrictive and had me worried too much about counting carbs. That being said, I don't eat much differently on PB than on Atkins. The 20% model in the PB is a blessing and a curse for me (which I'm struggling with, sometimes). What I do to "fix" it is to put otherwise "good" things into my 20% (red wine, cocoa nut balls, etc.)

    Because I still have about 15-20 lbs to lose (after having lost 50), I find myself in ketosis eating under 100g of carb a day.


    • #3

      I have tried Atkins briefly before, and I find that the Ketosis on PB is different. While in the induction phase of Atkins, I was consistently light-headed, constipated, and unable to exercise due to getting very dizzy. I can be in Ketosis on PB and not really even notice and difference from normal.


      • #4

        Thanks for the replies.

        The 20% rule could be good for me, or disastrous, I think! It will help me to have a social life anyway...

        Thanks for the info Dagny. I kind of liked Atkins ketosis, even induction, but my husband wasn't a fan, if that's not TMI. He said I smelled weird and I hated the thought of that.


        • #5

          Welcome! I've been low-carbing (more loosely but very successfully) for two years, and am now definitely affiliating with the Primal camp.


          • #6

            By definition, you can't lose fat without going into ketosis. Why would you want to avoid ketosis? It's not the same as the low-carb flu, which is what Dagny was describing, I think.

            Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

            Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is:

            Ditch the scale!:

            My Success Story:


            • #7

              Griff - I wondered if it was possible to avoid ketosis because of what I was saying about smell. Low carb flu I can cope with. I thought it might be possible with PB because of what Mark has written about the carb curve with 'sweet weight loss spot' above the section labelled 'Keto/IF' (p.227 in my edn).

              Also I wondered if the ketosis would be experienced differently in PB and prevent the problem I mentioned. Any thoughts? I could be grasping at straws tbh.

              PrairieProf - thanks for the welcome.


              • #8

                @Primal-Ninja. The only thing that smells weird is my breath, which can easily be cured with some gum haha

                Natural Selection:


                • #9


                  By definition, you can&#39;t lose fat without going into ketosis.</blockquote>

                  A lot of people lose fat without going into ketosis. Ketosis means high levels of ketone bodies in the blood. Even if your adipocytes are releasing fat more than they are storing fat, it doesn&#39;t mean that the levels of ketone bodies will become high enough to become ketosis. Besides fat can be burned without having to be converted into ketone bodies.

                  I have lost 40 lb, never had bad breath and it&#39;s a very rare day when I eat less than 50g carbs, although I never count, but I eat two to three pieces of fruit every day. Bananas, apples, oranges... And a couple of times a week I eat sweet potatoes.

                  Height: 5'4" (1.62 m)
                  Starting weight (09/2009): 200 lb (90.6 kg)
                  No longer overweight (08/2010): 145 lb (65.6 kg)
                  Current weight (01/2012): 127 lb (57.5 kg)


                  • #10

                    Well, friends, I&#39;m still working on practice, to see if my mental picture of this theory really works -- so far so good -- but I don&#39;t think you need to go into ketosis to lose weight.

                    You need to burn fat instead of sugar, of course, but if I&#39;ve understood the various books right, ketosis is partial burning of fat, so that ketones are "wasted" -- hence the bad breath. But if you burn fat all the way down to water and carbon dioxide, you wouldn&#39;t be throwing off ketones, would you? And the fat would still be gone.

                    Maybe somebody deeper into the subject can explain how this works.

                    I have a theory -- well, it may be what other people have written -- or it may be what I&#39;ve made out of what other people have written. It has to do with insulin, and its function. Insulin goes way, way back in evolution, even very small and primitive life forms have it. I read that its function is to slow down life processes when conditions are not good, so that animals can live until conditions get better, and then fatten and reproduce (and die). Hence the experiments lengthening lifespan by underfeeding. This doesn&#39;t work for old fat animals, by the way, they do terribly when underfed. The CW people like to ignore that when they espouse half-starving oneself for longevity.

                    The removal of excess sugar from the bloodstream may be crucial for us in a cheap-carb era, but that wasn&#39;t insulin&#39;s main role in life.

                    It&#39;s anabolic. It moves all kinds of nutrients into the cells, not just sugar. So when we&#39;ve been chowing down on sugar and starch, and the cells develop resistance to insulin (in self defense, to keep from being drowned in sugar), it isn&#39;t just sugar which the cells feel starved of -- it&#39;s everything. No wonder we get cravings.

                    This is really important for me, because I am in my sixties, and gradually aches and pains and poor muscle repair has been making my life a misery, in spite of eating lovely organic grass-fed meat, free range eggs, good European cheeses ... I&#39;ve still shown signs of protein deprivation, even with good quality protein at every meal.

                    Now, I consider this problem an inheritance from a lifetime of ill-advised dieting (literally -- the diet advice out there absolutely STANK through most of my life). Faced with a series of stupidly constructed artificial famines, one after another, my body in its great (if inconvenient) wisdom is trained to change to famine-mode at the first drop of abundant calories -- "here we go, she&#39;s doing it AGAIN ..." holding onto every bit of stored fat and hopping into gluconeogenesis with dizzying speed. ----and there went all that nice protein, while I continue to ache all over, and take months (or years) to repair injuries from ONE hour doing a new little activity. (I scythed weeds in the yard for an hour, and the aches in my upper arms stayed around for over a year .... grrrrrrrr .... now finally lessening a little, hopefully from masses of PRIMAL meat and fat at every opportunity.)

                    Diets which work for younger people, especially those who haven&#39;t "dieted" themselves into this messy situation, don&#39;t necessarily work for someone with such honed diet-reflexes, possessed by many older women who just tried to take advice and control their weight over and over again. (WHINE ("There Ain&#39;t No Justice" comes to mind ...)

                    There is a way back, and I think that several people I admire have figured out what to do. Insulin has to work right, to get all nutrients, especially amino acids, back into those cells. So, the ways of eating which seem effective, especially for diet-exhausted people, seem to use rhythm to help things out. They all have ways to relieve the heavy-duty carb restrictions which Atkins, in particular, lays on people. I&#39;ve found several variations -- the ZigZag diet, Rob Faigin&#39;s twice-weekly carb loads (and very lowcarb the rest of the time), and Mark&#39;s 80-20, and acceptance of different levels of carb, up to 150 grams/day. Dave Draper, bodybuilder, wrote a book trying to help the obese, and he mentioned a system used by many pumping iron -- you low-carb during the week, but on weekends anything goes. He says that after the carb-loading of the weekend, he would get two days when his endurance and upper weight limits would expand, as his muscles were pumped -- then it would get exhausted, and he&#39;d soldier on until the next weekend, when he&#39;d repeat the process.

                    I think this intermittent thing will serve us all well, and maybe we should be a little more aware of how we are doing it. The low carb phases, especially with some exercise to clear the sugar out of our blood, lessens the insulin resistance -- but if it&#39;s continued non-stop, especially for those who have dieted far too much, the insulin stays too low to get good things into the cells. But then once insulin resistance is down, and we have one little carb-thing -- the fruit, some honey, the red wine and chocolate -- we get a little but manageable surge of insulin, the cells are responsive because their resistance is lower -- and in go the nutrients. We feel EVER SO MUCH better!

                    By the way, there&#39;s an insulin trick which severe diabetics know about. Luckily I&#39;m not one, hopefully never will be, but I&#39;ve read Bernstein&#39;s book. Even if you eat low carb heavy protein and fat food, if you eat TOO MUCH OF IT AT ONCE, so your stomach is literally very full, the pressure kicks in an insulin release, even in the absence of carbs.

                    This could give some very STRICT low-carb people a little escape clause, without their knowing it. If they overate at one meal just once in awhile, every few days, they&#39;d get that little surge of insulin which could get the good stuff into their cells.

                    I&#39;m new to Primal, down about six pounds in two weeks, feeling my way with how to make this work for me. My goal is to replenish everything, heal up everything, and gradually become more active as it is more possible for me. I&#39;m looking to build up, not whittle down. And the fat will find its own way off once the energy cycle and nutrient supply systems are working.

                    I envy those who are young, what they call "diet-naive", and resilient, who can go for it without having to dodge around obstacles. For such people, any number of variations on the Primal theme will work just fine. The rest of us have to think and cope and puzzle out our own versions which will work for us. I&#39;m working out a gentle ebb and flow, going by my morning glucose readings. Yesterday for the first time (after two weeks of very low carbs to get into fat-burning) I had an orange in the morning (tree-ripe, brought from Southern Cal by the relative of a friend), a teaspoonful of honey in my tea, and a big apple (Melrose, home-grown, unsprayed) in the evening. Also some Italian gorgonzola cheese ... oh goodness it all was so good ... and this morning sugar 105 versus 102 yesterday. Now several days low, and then if morning sugars are still good, I&#39;ll try the same thing again.