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Hello! A couple of newbie questions...

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  • Hello! A couple of newbie questions...


    I've recently started a transition to a primal diet, partially to lose some weight but more so to feel healthy and in control of my eating. My question has to do with the transition. I've been sort of easing in, knocking off one "bad" item every few days i.e. start out with no sugar, then no fruit --- this was a lifesaver, I think I've self diagnosed as having fructose malabsorption, I LOVE fruit, would eat huge quantities, but it doesn't agree with me and I feel 100% better without it--, then no grains, then no dairy (other than skim milk in my coffee which I'm keeping for awhile) then no legumes, and so on. As I started I let myself eat as much as I wanted just to break my "addictions" : the past week has been no calorie restriction although my mental counter has me over maintenance by about 500 each day. I think I'm at the point where all of the "bad" stuff has been eliminated from my diet and I plan to aim for 80/20 and then 90/10, leaving cheat room for wine once a week and maybe some nachos or a convenience food I couldn't avoid. So yeah, my questions are these (sorry for the rambling):

    1) I have been super hungry, less so when I added white potatoes as needed, so I think/know that my carbs will have to stay between 100-150 (I am one of those darn chronic cardio people plus I waitress a few shifts a week, am a full time student and volunteer at a hospital--I stay busy). But I want to drop to a 500 cal deficit after the holidays (just trying to stay primal, not lose weight this next week). Will the hunger stop? Which is more satiating, fat or protein? They both seem to work (provided I throw in starch and veg) but fat is so calorically dense that I don't want to overdo it. I am going to drop nuts after the new year.

    2) I like sweet potatoes but cannot eat them: have tried for years and they always make me ravenous and queasy: a sure sign something isn't right. White potatoes seem to satisfy me and never raise my blood sugar a great deal, even when eaten alone. I have read the comments re: glycoalkaloids and inflammaton but I really feel healthy and vital when I eat them. So has anyone else made this substitution with success in health and weight loss?

    3) Has anyone else found that a transition of a week or so is easier than cold turkey? Were you then able to stick to a primal plan without cravings?

    4) My diet as I start out is going to be simple until I figure out what works for me and what doesn't, but could you tell me if this is suitable to start?
    Meat (lean, as I can't afford organic at the moment), sardines (tinned in olive oil), wild salmon (tinned), organic omega 3 eggs, egg whites, EVOO, coconut oil, white potatoes, some pumpkin and squash if they're on sale, bell peppers, tomatoes, occasionally some grass-fed organic butter. To drink: water, coffee, green and black tea. My foreseeable cheats are the aforementioned wine and nachos or vodka soda and pizza once or week or less.
    I am pre-training for my first triathlon (just to finish, not compete), so I put in 1-2 hours of slow cardio a day on average.

    I already feel so much better: my bottomless sugar cravings are gone (although I am craving sticks of butter so that is a bit worrisome :P), my mood is more stable, I seem to have dropped some water weight...all good signs I so appreciate any input and I'm stoked to start this lifestyle and meet this community!

  • #2

    With the triatlon training the carbs from the potatoes should be good for you, and you are right to listen to your body

    If you substitute the lean meat for fattier meat it is cheaper, and the fat will keep you more satiated
    And change the egg whites to whole eggs, no need to avoid the yolk. And you could change the skimmed milk in your coffee to cream.

    I changed cold turkey without a problem, I didn't get carb flu, but do what feels best for you.

    Maybe berries like blueberries will work for you as fruit, they are low in sugar.

    Overall it looks like you are doing a great job already


    • #3
      Thank you my concern with full fat meat that isn't organic is the toxins and hormones in the fat: if I can't afford grass fed shouldn't I stick to lean cuts and get far from oil eggs and sardines? Thanks again for the encouraging words


      • #4
        That makes sense, but the fatter cuts and minced meat are cheaper so you might be able to afford those sometimes. I used to alternate between regular stuff and organic or get organic in the weekends. And the non-grass fed organic is better then the regular meat.

        Lamb and wild salmon (I get it for a good price frozen, the fresh salmon in my supermarket is farmed) are also good.


        • #5
          Hi, also a newbie, I've been full paleo for almost 4 weeks, I've found a no-carb diet difficult if I do more than say one hour's worth of walking on a day, therefore I've begun to use potatoes as a carb source, as well as whatever I get from other veg such as carrots, especially while my body is learning to become fat burning. I've had a couple of evenings where I am totally zonked out after excersise because I hadn't eaten any carbs so I 'm still learning how and when to use them. When I started I was eating a lot of spanish omlette (tortilla) - which contains potato, and the weight was still falling off me, so its about using it judiciously and not becoming too fanatical about being carb-free. I would have used more fruit but I've lost the taste for eating more than one or two pieces of fruit per day, which is probably about right anyway.
          Healthy is the new wealthy.


          • #6
            cao, I already feel so much better: my bottomless sugar cravings are gone (although I am craving sticks of butter so that is a bit worrisome :P)
            You are craving butter. This should tell you something. Your fats are too low. The hardest thing about this way of eating is letting go of the Fear of Fat.


            • #7
              Paleo isn't low can be for weight loss if you want it to. Eat your vegies.
              Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
              Don't forget to play!


              • #8
                haha, think so, he hardest thing about this way of eating is letting go of the Fear of Fat,thank you


                • #9
                  Eat more fat. Seriously, a lot more fat. your body will adapt. The most energetic I've been in my entire life was when I was in full-blown ketosis buring body fat. Veggies do not equal a lot of carbs. Don't let anyone tell you that eating vegetables is NOT a low carb diet. Look it up. You would have to graze all day...


                  • #10
                    I agree with the above posters about needing more fats in your diet. I tried to stay with super lean meats and would get ravenous and devour a bowl of trail mix. Whole eggs, BACON, and butter should be regular foods (Don't want to get into a bacon argument here, but I love it and bacon grease makes great eggs). Broccoli with butter and some nice parmesan with a steak were my staples when losing weight- seriously half to 2/3 of my plate was broc. other than that do not worry about the potatoes. Eat what makes you feel good and now that you are fully in primal mode it will get easier. I have been 90/10 or better for 7 months and LOVE it.
                    Male 40 Years Old
                    210 LBs - 5/14/12 - SW
                    ??? LBs- GW
                    36"- Starting pant size
                    32" - Current Pant size


                    • #11
                      Hi Cao I'm new too. Just stopping by to say hi and offer my support.


                      • #12
                        I'll second what everyone's said about the virtues of fat and veggies (throw some leafy greens into your plan there! They are the bestest!). But I'll add one more thing:

                        Calories are complicated. You said you're letting yourself eat as much as you want while you transition, which I think is an excellent idea, but it sounds like you've got calorie restriction intentions coming up. I'd caution you not to set any calorie restriction goals right now. Some people find it's helpful or necessary for weight loss on PB. I, on the other hand, found that when I went primal I started eating a lot more, in terms of both volume and calories, and didn't gain any weight at all.

                        So whatever "maintenance" baseline you're working from now, it'll probably change once you're adjusted to primal. You're going to have to pay very close attention to what your body does once it's adjusted before you start jimmying with calories. If you find you can lose weight just eating primal foods - then just stick with that! If you find you can lose weight working with Mark's carb curve, then just work with that. If you've given both a solid go and you're still not losing, give calorie restriction a try. But if you start arbitrarily restricting calories before really exploring how your body reacts to the new way of eating, you may find yourself feeling tired and crappy no matter now 80/20 or 90/10 you are.

                        Good luck, and let us know how it goes!
                        Last edited by Sasha the Cat; 12-31-2012, 08:03 AM. Reason: typing "carbs" when I meant "calories."


                        • #13
                          Wow, thank you everyone for the replies What a lovely community! Owen, you sound a lot like me, how are you feeling at this point? How long have you been doing primal? And Amanda: thanks for saying hi! How have you been getting on? I slipped off the primal wagon over the holidays but have been back on the past week and I feel wonderful. Still doing lean protein, eggs, sardines, veg, and white potatoes with additional fat in the form of coconut oil and olive oil. The only "cheat" in the past week were a couple of skim lattes: I am going to try bulletproof coffee recipe tomorrow When I added a bit more fat and a lot more fiber I felt the satiety people have spoken of: I'm really pleased thus far.
                          Has anyone else read Tom Venuto's book The Bodyfat Solution? He's not primal but he has a lot of solid commonsense advice that I enjoyed a great deal. Any thoughts on him?


                          • #14
                            Hey cao,

                            I am an ease in person. Not very many are here, I think. My main problem with easing in is that it's also easier to ease out! My advice for your update on foods is to keep doing what you're doing. You said you have found the satiety without bulletproof coffee so don't go crazy with tweaks yet. Use some heavy cream in your coffee if you do dairy. Venuto still advocates for grains and that messes up a lot of people. I think he also fails by treating what's going on in your head as somehow separate from the foods you eat. There are lots of people on this forum who find certain foods trigger certain behaviors (especially eating behaviors). Anyways, you're tweaking too fast. Stick to one way of eating for 6 months and then tweak.

                            Something you might look into as far as finding cheap sources of grass-fed fat is looking at lard. I never even was aware of the stuff before I went primal. However, even the grass-fed animal lard rendered by the store is cheaper than decent butter! I do a lot of free-range chicken thighs as well because they are cheap.

                            Of course, I'm also lucky to have an excellent co-op grocery store in my town!


                            • #15
                              There are two things that make me hungry:

                              1. Lots of cardio - as soon as I stopped doing chronic cardio and started lifting heavy instead, I noticed that my appetite was suppressed after a working out rather than my feeling ravenous.

                              2. Not eating enough fat - if you're trying to lose some weight then you may want to lower your carb a level that is right for you. However if you want to avoid energy slumps I reckon it's important to compensate by eating more fat. This, probably more than anything else, for me, stopped me from feeling hungry a lot.

                              I'm actually quite interested to see what is going to happen to me over the next couple of months re point 1, as I'm about to start half marathon training (after 5 months out from running) - although I'll be a lot more careful about how I train this time round....I know now that more miles is not better!