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Help me untangle my head, please ???

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  • Help me untangle my head, please ???

    Hi Folks,

    Sorry, this is a bit long :-(

    As the title says, I’m getting Primal all tangled up with all the cock-eyed diet stuff I’ve done all my life and I’m getting upset and confused

    Brief history – I’m 46yrs old next Sunday, I was a slightly chubby child who ended up thinking she was ‘a fatty’ and started cal counting aged 14 (trying to diet away my big boobs that got me teased at school). Later I added ‘low fat’ to the Cal counting, and then exercise. Sometimes it worked for while but never very long. Largest size was 12st 12 (180lbs) and lowest was 9st 7 (133lbs).

    I starved then binged and my eating was often comfort eating to relieve stress, loneliness, pain, unhappiness and emotional abuse. I felt great when a diet was working but crashed terribly when I ‘cheated’ and ‘failed’ and spend a lot of my time in self loathing and misery, feeling ugly and outcast, avoiding photos like the plague, and steadily getting older and feeling my life and health slipping away.

    My lowest was 3 yrs ago when I was at my heaviest and most miserable but managed to find the courage to leave the emotionally abusive Ex and start again. The first thing I did was vow to sort out my weight as all my confidence was linked to this, so spent 2 months on the Cambridge diet (VLC, low carb, meal replacement diet) and this was the first ever diet that really worked. The weight fell off, I had more energy, my reflux went, but my insomnia was worse, my hair was falling out, and physically I was weak. I didn’t care though, I went down to 10st 4 (144lbs) in 2 months and looked and felt great. I became totally hooked though on what the weighing scales said every day, and whether or not I was in Ketosis.
    Of course, I couldn’t keep it up and the weight crept back on over the next 2 yrs and now I am 11st 12 (166lbs) and back to loathing my self for the way I look and feel, and for failing again.

    About 3 weeks ago I found the New Atkins book which seemed to be much healthier than when I tried years ago so started on that. I go into ketosis quickly, in just 2 days, and lost a couple of lbs, then met up with my brother who has been Primal for 2 months, lost 20lbs and looks great. He told me to lok up MDA which I did, and suddenly everything seemed to make sense. I loved the whole life change approach, loved the science (because I have an enquiring mind and like to know ‘why’), and loved the simple idea of not poisoning our bodies.
    I started Primal 2 weeks ago and felt better straight away. This way of eating is easy for me, I didn’t miss the grains etc (as long as I can keep my dairy which I tolerate well !), the reflux went, I had more energy and, amazingly, my insomnia improved. Because I had come from Atkins and low carb there was no dramatic weight loss (3 lbs in a week) but I did see a shape change so kept reminding myself this was a long, healthy journey etc and I managed to convince myself, but now it has all gone wrong in my head.

    I work as a baby nanny in short contracts and my current client is naturally skinny and doesn’t look like she has ever had a baby so I feel fat beside her. Also, we have just been to St Tropez for 5 days and met up with her friends (all skinny, well groomed, and 15 yrs younger than me). I know I shouldn’t compare myself to them but I couldn’t help it especially as I was wearing my ‘fatty’ swimsuit and they were all in bikinis, I felt awful, 10 times bigger than I really was, ashamed of myself, hating myself, imagining they were laughing about my size (actually they were all really lovely people who never said anything bad to to me at all).
    I managed to stick to Primal for the first 2 and last day but for 2 days went mad on croissant, biscuits and sugar in a sort of self destructive slef punishment.
    I got back yesterday in a confused panic. I put back on the 3 lbs I had lost and also struggling with the slower, healthier long term weight loss idea. I hate myself so much and am back to wanting the weight gone NOW, and wanting to see the scales go down and my clothes getting looser NOW !

    My mind is like a pinball machine dashing from diet to diet, maybe I should try Atkins again ?, or Dukan (maybe low fat is quicker) ? , or VLC meal replacement diet ?, or maybe try primal but low fat ???

    I have the Primal blueprint book and this site, and really want to make it work but am now confused about how much fat I should eat ? Is it a bad thing to keep an eye on my calories ? How can I get the quickest weight loss which I need for my emotionally fragile state of mind ? If I do it properly will it really work ? I always have the feeling that there is something wrong with me and that things work for other people but won’t work for me.
    Because I work in other peoples homes and work 24 hrs 6 days a week with only 1 to 2 hrs off a day my ability to exercise is sometimes limited though I can usually manage an hrs walk a day or a 2 min steady run, but have no access to Play and haven’t started the push ups, planks etc. (tiredness and laziness plus the unpredictable nature of newborn babies ! and their families !).

    I probably sound a mess but I just wondered if anyone has any suggestions as to how to get a healthier mindset (let go of all the old crap) and how to lose some weight quickly to keep me motivated so I don’t give up and ‘fail’ again. I am always alone and all my confidence is linked to my weight/size and I am trying to really sort out my life once and for all and need to be confident and strong. Any ideas ???

    Thanks for listening, xxx

  • #2
    If you start a "diet" and then give it up, it will matter exactly zero, right? So speed of weight loss is not an interesting measure. Persistence of weight loss is.

    I would suggest stepping into it. Switch th paleo foods. Stick with it a few weeks. Losing weight? No? Then what to change? Maybe cut back a few foods that you've noticed you have a problem with. Maybe you count calories. Keep making "nudges" as you develop a healthful lifestyle you can live with.

    And you sound like someone who really needs a hobby like weight training. Something that puts your value on your body on something other than looks.
    “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” W. Edwards Deming
    Blogging at


    • #3
      god, if you can do 2 months of Cambridge you deserve a medal!
      stragely enough the diet i'm following shares some of the principles eg I also eat 4 times a day and take in about 800 calories but I use Very Low Carb primal foods.I eat extremely well and have lost a lot of weight.(its a lot cheaper than Cambridge and much more enjoyable
      I'd suggest forgetting everything you thought you knew about diets and stick with grain free primal foods
      When I'd had enough of the grain and starched based 'diabetic eating for health' diet (eating for health, my ass!) my weight was 242.5 lbs. On starting primal- 18th April 2013 weight : 238.1.
      27th July 2013. weight after 100 days 136.9 weight lost 101.2lb ; that's 105.6lbs since I stopped the 'diabetic eating for health'
      new journal


      • #4
        I would have you consider a few things, your history suggests a lousy relationship with food and body image which leads me to think you may be somewhat unhealthy and suffering from long term poor food choices. I would suggest you forget about loosing weight for the moment and concentrate on getting healthy food into you long term. Let your body heal itself and find a new sense of balance with food, get your hormones back to where they need to be.

        Being overweight compared to others is a poor way to measure self worth and self respect and it sounds like you let that poor self image drive you instead of a desire for your health. Eat well, eat lowish carb and make sure you get lots of different veggies and some fruit, dont go VLC yet. Eat a goodly amount of protein from healthy sources ( about 1 gram of protein for every pound you weigh now. ) Let fat fall where it may and dont go overboard with it yet.

        I suggest before you try to loose weight and jigger around with different hacks, that you learn how to live and eat paleo/primal and do so for 6 months at the least before you start trying to "loose weight". Get your head and your body healthy with all the good food you need to do that and once that happens, if you are not yet you will be loosing weight at a comfortable slow pace.

        Seek some mental peace, seek exercise, seek to play and seek to love yourself and your body will heal itself, if you stress out and change paths every 2 weeks you will only get lost.

        People want it all now, but "now" is a cheat that steals happiness and health. It took you years to get where you are, it may take some time to get back to where you need to be. Take that time, do it for your health.
        Primal since April 2012 Male 6' 3" SW 345lbs CW 240lbs GW 220lbs and when I get there I am getting a utlikilt. This one actually.

        Join me at, where all the cavemen hang out.


        • #5
          Hi folks and thank you so much for responding to my epic post !
          I haven't figured out quotes yet so bear with me.

          @loafing cactus - I was all over the place and your quick response had a very steadying influence, thank you :-) Your advice to just make the changes and stick with it before making nudges to find a lifestyle I could live with was so sensible it helped ground me again.

          @CarbDodger - I wish I could forget everything I already know about diets (not that easy when its ingrained) but I am trying to let it go, slow process I think, but then everything about this life change is prob going to be slow so I have hope. It also helps to know someone who is doing VLC primal and I may come begging for ideas if I end up doing that :-)

          @Warmbear - what can I say to someone who nearly had me in tears with your gentle post, except Thank You. You are right, I do have a lousy relationship with my food (and also myself) but I have been lucky with my genes I think because I don't have any major health issues (so far) except reflux (result of stress induced ulcer) and a chronic bad back (made worse by inactivity and stress) and insomnia (also made worse by stress)..... spot the common factor ! lol. Worrying about my weight is such a habit that it would be impossible to let it go completely but I am going to try and let it slide as much as I can, focus on eating healthily and, as you say, let my body heal itself.
          I will have to make a REAL effort to stop my poor self image drive me as it only ever tries to prevent me from being happy and living well, another work in progress.

          I am going to do what you all suggested and concentrate on learning how to eat and live Paleo.
          I have joined Paleotrack and will keep an eye on my calories but leave them alone until I am settled with primal then reassess.
          As Warmbear suggested I will seek exercise, seek play, seek self love and, most importantly to me at this stage in my life, seek mental peace.
          This is a complete life overhaul so I will take it slowly, learn all I can from MDA and this site, and have faith in Primal and myself.
          Thanks again everyone :-) xxx


          • #6
            Your story is very typical so don't feel like you have failed in any way.

            I'd recommend a steady progression beginning with cutting out grain products( bread, cereal, pasta, rice etc ). Maintain a high amount of protein, good fats, lots of water and leafy veg. The weight will quickly come off and you will start to feel much healthier. Once you become settled into this new regime then maybe start looking a little more closely at how to modify it even further by moderating other high glycemic foods etc. Sharing diet and fitness is very important to keeping it up so come on this forum regularly and try to find like minded friends that you can share ideas with !

            Just read your last post so I'll add that I wouldn't start counting calories. All calories are not equal, you will quickly come to know what foods you should eat and in what quantities without calorie counting.
            Last edited by OldSchhool; 07-08-2013, 01:31 PM.


            • #7
              Hi there Dragonette,
              Have you ever read women ,food and God? It helped my relationship with food, perhaps it may help you too.
              Keep coming back here and posting and reading, reading,reading. Trust that you will find your way and become the person you were meant to be whatever your shape. Good luck.
              link to my journal


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dragonette View Post
                This is a complete life overhaul so I will take it slowly, learn all I can
                THAT is the way to do it. My family aren't very supportive but can see the results as I lost 62lbs in a year without feeling hungry or going into an exercise frenzy. Just find primal type food that you like and stick with them. I also reward myself every day with a small bar of dark chocolate as I believe we need treats to keep us from feeling deprived on occasions.
                Why use a sledge hammer to crack a nut when a steam roller is even more effective, and, is fun to drive.


                • #9
                  It may be too restrictive for you, but you might want to look into doing a Whole30. I found it very freeing. You're discouraged from tracking anything, including weight (no weighing or measuring), for the month.

                  I agree that weight training may be of great benefit to you.
                  Depression Lies


                  • #10
                    Some people find it empowering to make a huge change all at once, but other people find it overwhelming (then if they don't follow every last piece of Primal right away, they label themselves a failure and go find a donut... Not a good cycle but easy to fall into). Baby step your way into it. Personally I started with breakfast, and focused on finding a decent replacement for my toasted whole wheat English muffins and peanut butter. Once I conquered that, I could start making other changes with confidence. If you're going to a grocery store, pick out an unfamiliar vegetable and bring it home. You're not limiting yourself or denying yourself anything -- that's what people on diets do. You're actually expanding your horizons and finding more freedom. I know that sounds like a crock, but it's true.


                    • #11
                      I understand the addictiveness of seeing the weight change on the scale and the despair of seeing it go up again. What I did was to chart my weekly weight so even when it's not moving, I can see the long-term gains. I print the graph every week and stick it on the wall where I can see it and remind myself how well I've done. Doesn't stop me weighing daily, but it does put it into perspective and has helped to avoid too many panic stations over what appears to be a stall, but in the longer term is just a blip.
                      Me, My Father and The Alzheimer's -


                      • #12
                        Newbie here too! *waves* Well, new to MDA. But I did a Whole30 that turned into a Whole100 starting in March, and it literally changed my relationship with food. I'd highly recommend looking at their site,, as they are getting ready to start a Whole30 challenge month in August.

                        The community aspect helps a lot, for me. And the underlying foundation is about being healthy, not about losing weight. No counting calories, no weighing (AT ALL), but the results are astounding. I'm a different person than I was in February. When I turned 50.

                        You can do this, seriously.