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  • Help getting started

    Hi all.

    I'm having a pretty rough time over here and would love some advice, or support, or something. I got the book from the library, read it cover to cover, and re-read certain parts - loved it, and it clicked. It made sense. It just sounded like the right thing to do.

    But there's a few bumps in my road. Maybe I just need some support - my family won't give it, they think I'm neurotic and overly-worried. But here:

    Five months ago I quit smoking. I'm 24, and smoked a pack a day since I was nearly 16. The day after college commencement, I put them behind. I'm so glad to be rid of the feckin things. But it hasn't been easy. My relationship with food has gone absolutely haywire as a result. I've put on about 8 lbs already, I'm cyclically craving sugar, and it's scaring the hell out of me. I have a history of bad food relationships - the whole reason I started smoking to begin with was to lose weight, I struggled with anorexia as a teen. My self-image is awful, but for the past few years I've realized it's not a food problem, it's a me problem, and so me and food have been ok. Until now.

    This weight gain, and new, insatiable, awful, bottomless appetite/craving/madness is starting to cause old issues to resurface. The problem is that while before I would just stop eating for days on end, now I cannot stop.

    I know that going primal/paleo would help with this. I know it would help put those cravings at bay. I just want to be able to spend my weeks NOT obsessing about food - because that is what it has quickly fallen into, each day my first thoughts upon waking up have become "food food food, what will I eat, what will I avoid" along with awful feelings of guilt when I eat something I feel I shouldn't have, etcetera. It's madness! Life is so short, and there are so many better things to focus on and worry about. I can't take it anymore!

    I feel like going primal will help. But here's the other problem: each time I have tried to switch over (ie. attempted to do a Whole30 sort of thing) I am plagued by an incapacitating carb/sugar flu. It scares the daylights out of me. Unfortunately, I'm currently in a high-stress situation with my four jobs, and the insane hours that I've been working, and student loan bills are coming up, and I can't afford (nor will my bosses allow me) time off work, but I'm nearly unable to function when that flu is happening. It feels almost like my brain will bleed out my nose or that I will pass out at any moment.

    I just am not sure what to do. I don't want to obsess over food anymore. I don't want to put on any more weight. I'm not overweight, I never have been, but if I keep going at the rate I am going, I certainly will be. I want to be able to eat intuitively, naturally, without worrying about what I'm doing, without having uncontrollable cravings. I want to be able to enjoy life and focus on other things, not this =[

    Aye. I'm sorry if this is basically a big whiny rant. I just don't have anywhere else to turn, nobody to talk to about it. I have no primal friends, and everyone thinks I'm crazy!

  • #2
    Hi, welcome from another newbie.

    I had the carb flu too. Felt tired, crappy, brain fog. I looked up what to do, and ended up taking multivitamins and eating more fat. I pigged out on cheese, eggs, nuts and sliced roast beef with mayo and horseradish. And took a couple of pain relievers. Doing these things all seemed to really help. The multivitamins were not anything special - they were what I had on hand, which is ones for my kids (because I want them to get vitamin D in the winter.) I mention the type of vitamins because you don't need to stress about getting a special type right now - get what you can pick up easiest.

    It does sound like you are under a lot of stress right now, I hope that my suggestions help so that you can relieve yourself of at least one source of stress. Oh, and congratulations on quitting smoking! Give yourself lots of pats on the back for that and put aside the money that used to go to that and use it to pay down your loans.


    • #3
      You might see if you could get hold of one of Julia Ross's books "The Diet Cure" or "The Mood Cure" -and start with having a look at those sites online. My understanding is that cigarettes, sugar, and even anorexia are attempts to self-medicate. What people are self-medicating are low levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. There are analyses and quizzes you can do to help identify which. Eating enough good quality protein is important but in the short term you might need to supply the amino acid from which a neurotransmitter is made directly.

      The long working hours aren't going to be helpful. Getting really good quality sleep plays a huge part.


      • #4
        Welcome to the forum!

        Have you tried to make the shift gradually? You said that the sugar cravings come during cycles. I would try to start eating a bit more fat and a bit less sugar when you feel that the next sugar craving wave is waning a bit, then gradually erase the bad stuff out of your diet. If you break it during the next cycle, that's fine, and you'll be able to try again.


        • #5
          You don't have to be low carb. Make the switch slowly, dropping grains first. Then drop bad oils. And then get rid of any remaining sugar.


          • #6
            Hey Schapiro, I quit smoking as well a few years back and put on quite a few kgs, and I definitely understand the compulsion to turn to food. I had no knowledge of Primal when I quit smoking and filled up on sugar and carbs. When I went Primal I did a whole30 and did have bad sugar cravings the first few days, the best thing for me was to eat protein and fat with guiltless abandon, knowing I was helping my body by cutting out the carbs.

            I told myself I could eat as much as I wanted from my ok foods, and I did. I may have been over on my calories those first few days, but it really helped me beat the carb flu and cravings, I ate fat and protein until I was stuffed and the cravings did subside over time; it's unlikely you'll crave sugar when you're stuffed with a huge steak. Best of luck.


            • #7
              I was a huge bread addict and quitting the comforting dough can be super tough.

              I agree that because of the severity of your symptoms, a slow and systematic reduction would be a better approach than cold turkey since you can't afford to be under the weather.

              Make sure to carry yummy smacks like cheese, quality unsweetened jerky, almonds, or something of that nature to munch on when the sugar cravings hit. It is best to feed the sugar craving with some satiating protein/fat than to give it the sugary burst it wants. That is the best way to break through the cravings in my experience.

              If you eat bread (or your carb-vice of choice) thrice a day currently, take a week and do twice a day. Then take another week and do once a day. Take 2 weeks at once a day if needed, keeping yourself supplied with those nummy protein snacks. Then, finally, say sayonara to the breads for good.