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My True Primal Story by SweetPickles

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  • My True Primal Story by SweetPickles

    Hi! I'm SweetPickles (like the bus) and I am on my ninth day of going Primal.


    Two weeks ago, I read Why We Get Fat. And just over a week ago, I read the Primal Blueprint in one sitting. I knew I had that found out about something good because of the positive Amazon reviews, which I also credit for helping me pick out quality accessories for my iPhone. Anyway, I made myself one last bowl of popcorn later that night and the next day I said goodbye to grains, just like in the Jeff Buckley song.


    We both cried a little, but I think deep down we really knew that steak and I were going to be much better fit.

    I am a 35 year old woman, 5'10", and I currently weigh approximately 195. My highest weight ever was about 260 - yikes! That was about 10 years ago, though. Through CW techniques, I have managed to keep my weight below 200 since then, but I've never really gotten as trim as I've wanted to be. My lowest weight (for my wedding) was 175 and I've mostly hovered around 185 by running, doing Bikram Yoga, and doing Weight Watchers. (Stop booing, I didn't know any better.)


    So, this summer, I hit a wall. I gained weight and my usual ways of battling it did nothing. I biked, I ran, I ate no brats. I guess you all know where I'm going with this.


    By September, I couldn't zip up my regular, not skinny, jeans without a muffin top. Luckily, it got cold so I just started leaving my coat on all the time, but I was getting frustrated and also bored with wearing the same three things that fit. I started researching and plunked down for Gary Taubes' book, which lead me to find the PB.


    And so far, this has been amazing. It's only nine days, but I can zip up my jeans again w/o muffin, in fact, they are a little loose. I am guessing I am about 195 right now, but I do know I am noticeably trimmer in my face and in my waist. I have been exercising, but not all that much because I've been busy. I'm having a great time and the food! Oh, the food! Yeah, I could get used to this.


    But here's the part I really want to share: I have rosacea that acts up in cold, dry weather. I get glowing, bright red, raw skin and I flush frequently - it's embarrassing, to say the least. I've tried all sorts of topical treatments (which made it worse) and painful IPL treatments (which resulted in some temporary improvement). However, I haven't had IPL for quite a while and for about a week now, my skin has been much less reactive and less dry, which I attribute to both getting grains out of my diet and getting more fat in. It looks normal - dare I say pretty? As far as I am concerned, that alone is reason enough to stick with it.


    Anyway, I'm really grateful to be here and can't wait to share more of my primal adventure. Thanks for reading!
    Last edited by SweetPickles; 10-25-2011, 03:34 PM.
    My True Primal Story

  • #2
    Welcome SweetPickles. I'm glad primal is going well for you. We are here if you have any questions. Grok on!
    Ancestral Health Info

    I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

    Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.


    • #3
      Thanks so much, Hedonist!

      And you know, I like that you have a blog for those who are not into the cave thing - I think of myself as more bobo than cavewoman. I would have been the one in the tribe who didn't hunt or gather anything. I might have gotten into cave painting, but more likely, I would have worked hard to provide constructive criticism to the painters.
      Last edited by SweetPickles; 10-26-2011, 05:25 AM.
      My True Primal Story


      • #4
        I have a refrigerator full of lovely eggs and organic ground beef, plus lots of fresh vegetables from the garden of Mr. SweetPickles. So why do I want to go out for dinner? I know that I can have much better food at home for much less money, but I feel really good and I want to be one of the ones who walk in the sun.

        Today I ate:
        2 sausages
        3 slices of bacon
        2 eggs scrambled with cheddar cheese, onions and red peppers
        1 oz almonds
        1 tossed green salad with chicken breast and olive oil dressing
        1 small apple

        So, dinner....
        Could be a sort of pastaless lasagna with the ground beef, tomatoes and peppers. Or, I could tell Mr. SP that we should go out - we haven't done that much lately, mainly because I didn't want to put on real pants. Decisions, decisions. I'll have to see how the mister feels when he gets home.

        I think I've already indicated that I am fairly useless at anything of practical value. No? Well, I'm indicating it now. You know that game, "Lifeboat" where you pretend you are on a boat and you have to decide who the most valuable members of the group are and then get rid of the dead weight to ensure the best chances of survival? Yeah, I hate that game. I can't build a fire, identify poisonous mushrooms, or perform an emergency tracheotomy. So what? Fine, I'm going to have my own lifeboat where we sit around and discuss Foucault and die quickly.


        Cooking is also one of those things I don't really do. But Mr. SP is a marvelous cook and does all of our cooking happily. Combine that with his mad gardening/foraging skills and I have no excuse not to eat properly. I'm not exactly sure why he lets me stay on his lifeboat, but I'm a pretty lucky lady and I don't really feel the need to ask too many questions.

        As for the primal lifestyle, well, Mr. SP is always supportive. He was supportive when I did Weight Watchers, that time I thought we should give up red meat, and when I made him cook with virtually no oil and butter. And now, he has been at his best yet with shopping and cooking primally. He loves rice and pasta and baking bread, and I was afraid he would feel limited, but opening the door to all the good oils and animal fats has really excited him. He just doesn't like it that he doesn't get all the skin and fat to himself anymore.

        Mr. SP is a slender and active guy. He isn't going totally grain-free like me, but he's already got a lot of the primal lifestyle going on - slow, steady activity, lifting heavy things, and his fingernails are always dirty. I think I can live with that.
        My True Primal Story


        • #5
          The night before last we did end up going out for dinner. Mr. SP was tired and happy to have a night off from cooking. Shiitake soup, beef, broccoli for me, sausage and mussels for him, yum. We went to a restaurant that makes really good bread but I didn't have as hard a time ignoring it as I thought I would - just didn't appeal to me. I had a nice glass of wine instead. Mr. SP had moved the breadbasket to his side so I couldn't reach it easily and I was like, no, put it right in the middle so I can dance close to the fire.

          They also have amazing butter which was harder to pass up, even though I didn't have anything to put it on. And so I may have dipped my soup spoon in once, twice, three times a lady. Because that's how I live now.

          I'm on day 12 now and things are still going well, still shrinking, still feeling good, and working on a primal exercise/activity routine which for me includes a lot of walking, Bikram yoga (I take it easy) and very short sprints which are exhilerating - a big change from before. In Bikram classes I used to go full throttle and feel like passing out. And I'm no super runner or anything, but I would focus on how many calories I could burn jogging on the treadmill. I used to take the bus or drive places to allow myself more time to get home and do heavy cardio - no more of that.

          But I need to start lifting heavy things, which is not part of my normal routine at all. I need to get on board with strength training, so this weekend, I'm going to plan some ways to start incorporating strength workouts in.
          My True Primal Story


          • #6
            Some people like to go out on the weekend. Not me. Fridays are quiet stay in nights for me. Husband is at work, it's my special time. I can do whatever I want - watch my stories, read the obituaries, sit on the davenport.

            Old Man, look at my life.

            What group of people besides primals likes to talk constantly about their ailments and what they ate? One of the great things about keeping this journal is that it brings out the senior citizen in me, which is awesome because now my wardrobe makes much more sense.

            What I ate today: (cue soundtrack music, Van McCoy's The Hustle)

            3-4 egg omelet with peppers, tomatoes, onions
            2 hardboiled eggs
            handful of walnuts
            handful of almonds
            large spinach salad with tomatoes, walnuts, chevre, and dressing
            glass of red wine

            That's not a lot of food, I guess, but I'm not that hungry and I'm also not inclined to get up off the sofa. Since beginning this new woe, I'm not really sure when I'm hungry or not. Sometimes I think I'm not hungry, and then there's a steak, and bam, it's gone, and then I think I'm starving, and I eat one of my two hardboiled eggs, and I can't eat the second one. It's kind of strange. I mean, I could eat, but I don't feel that dizziness or crankiness coming on like I did before at the end of the day. I'm wondering how my body will let me know when I want to eat? Do they sell an app for this? I guess I'm supposed to "listen to my body" and get to know my hunger signals, but Grok probably just ate when there was food. Maybe he learned to save some for later, I don't know, but I don't think he thought about whether or not he was really hungry or not.
            My True Primal Story


            • #7
              Late yesterday morning I hit a bit of a wall. I thought I was already done with the adjustment - I thought I was now a fat-burning machine! - but maybe not. I was lethargic - not really "foggy" but just tired - flu like. Ohhhh....wait, low carb flu! Oh, now I get it. Day 13 = flu day. D'oh!

              And hungry. And eggs weren't cutting it. I'm glad I'm keeping this journal, because now I can look back at what I ate the day before. Nope, not enough food. But my body didn't tell me I was hungry! Body, we need to learn to communicate better before it comes to this. Why didn't you tell me how you were feeling? You talk and I'll listen. We can work it out. I'm not going anywhere.

              I am really trying to avoid being hungry, and part of that might be some fear that if allow myself to get too hungry I will lose control and eat all of the Halloween candy. This sort of concern is really left over from years of low-fat diets, when I've been more or less constantly hungry and always walking that line between being "good" and binge eating. But yesterday I did feel a little bit of that desperation and I didn't like it at all. Bacon helped, and I eventually perked up, but there were some emotional things going on as well as physical.

              Feelings, nothing more than feelings.

              I bottle my negative emotions tightly. Tightly! In my marriage, Mr. SP is really good at expressing his feelings but I like to push everything way down inside where it's all dark and slimy. Sort of a switch of traditional gender roles. (I suspect that the idea that women are always great about expressing their feelings and that men are not is bunk, but anyway, we all know how that drill goes).

              When faced with something unpleasant, painful, or irritating, I squelch the anger and discomfort and concentrate on the positive, I take ibuprofen, I watch TV. This is the modern way and I'm very good at it. Of course, eventually, I get pretty stressed out trying to keep all this stuff buried.

              On the other hand, I hate being negative. I hate complaining. I'm like a high school gym teacher with one of those "no whining" signs up at all times. That is the other side of the modern way - I think many times when we do express our emotions it turns into a broken record and we just ruminate over and over - never "letting it out" but instead letting it build unto itself until it has a life of its own. This is not usually my style, but I think it's equally stressful.

              So, what to do? One of the things that I've been working on is getting comfortable with not being comfortable all of the time, both physically and emotionally. I'm not sure if it's my natural instinct or my learned instinct to try to kill every negative feeling that comes my way immediately, but the impulse is strong. But it's okay to be a little sad, or angry, or hungry - and I don't have to bury it or let it become the dominant thing about me, I just have to go with it.

              I imagine that Grok and Grokette didn't think about emotions as things that needed to be dealt with externally, but rather as things that they just felt. And I also suspect that they didn't see physical and emotional feelings as being as separately as we do in the modern world, but maybe that's another topic.

              So, in conclusion: I'm working on dealing with my discomforts in what is perhaps a more primal way. So I'm hoping this will help me ride out any more "flu" that comes my way - both the hunger and the panic. Until the next steak comes along.
              Last edited by SweetPickles; 10-30-2011, 03:25 AM.
              My True Primal Story


              • #8
                This morning for breakfast we had sausages and strawberries with heavy unsweetened cream. Other than our Saturday night steak dinner and eating out, it was probably our most expensive primal meal yet. I feel very spoiled.

                My grocery bill is high, but it isn't really higher than it was before, mostly because we were already big spenders when it comes to food. We aren't wealthy by American standards, but both my husband and I place a high value on quality food both for health and flavor, and so we have sought out organic and grass fed meat and eggs for quite some time now - and now that we're buying more of that, it's costly. But, we aren't buying prepackaged foods like crackers, cereal, tortilla chips, and frozen dinners - all of which were very expensive, particularly because we purchased the organic versions at our local co-op. Yep, we did that.

                Anyway, we cut corners in other ways, for example don't have cable TV (though I do love cable TV, the trashier the better...), and we have one car and no plans to add another one. Mr. SP grows almost all of our vegetables and forages for things like mushrooms, apples, and berries. Not huge sacrifices, really. These were decisions made by us years ago because we love food. We're really lucky to be able to choose to spend our money this way, and lucky to have access to wonderful farmer's markets and stores.

                But now we are planning our meals more carefully and we've really been enjoying it more than ever. You know that cheesy cover of that cookbook, Make it Paleo? Not knocking the book, it's on my Christmas list, but the cover is like a steamy hunk of Velveeta. Anyway, that's how we've been with this primal cooking and eating thing. It's actually brought us closer together, even if Mr. SP wants to have his with a side of rice.

                Yesterday we went shopping and we spent about 50 dollars at Costco on bulk amounts of pork, walnuts, and almonds. We spent about 60 dollars at our coop on bacon, sausage, ground beef coffee, eggs, bananas and avocados (can't grow those in Wisconsin!), spinach (supplementary - can't grow enough for our needs) chocolate and heavy cream. We spent a final 40 at WF on strawberries, a chicken, some really delicious cheese, and olives. I expect all of this stuff to last two weeks, so not so bad.
                My True Primal Story


                • #9
                  SweetPickles, I'm really enjoying your journal! Just two weeks in and you're eating, living, and writing like a veteran. Keep this up and you'll drop right through your wedding weight, and you'll feel better at that weight as well.

                  Having a supportive spouse may be the greatest advantage of all. Especially one who gathers and grows. Mr. SP sounds naturally cut out for primal and I expect this will be a very instructive experience for him as well.

                  I loved this:

                  "What group of people besides primals likes to talk constantly about their ailments and what they ate? ...senior citizen..."

                  Haha! I need to get one of those seven-day pill organizers large enough for bacon.


                  • #10
                    Thanks Timothy, for reading and for your kind words. I'm very lucky to have that kind of support. Mr. SP did eat a big old bagel this morning and I say, if that's what's working for him, so be it. We have to respect each other's decisions, you know? And, I know his grain consumption has gone way down since I started primal.

                    Originally posted by Timothy View Post

                    Haha! I need to get one of those seven-day pill organizers large enough for bacon.
                    Love that idea! If you forget to take your bacon on Monday, you have to double up on Tuesday.
                    My True Primal Story


                    • #11
                      Your story needs more dragons.


                      • #12
                        What I ate today:

                        Breakfast: 1 hard-boiled egg, 3 sausage links

                        Lunch: 1 chicken leg, cup of strawberries

                        Dinner: Ground beef casserole with ricotta, tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini and a spinach salad with avocado and peppers. Thanks Mr. SP! It was amazing.

                        Well, I think I might be on the verge of "breaking through" carb mode and becoming a fat burner. I think that because I ate a very light breakfast - I was going to eat 2 eggs and 5 sausages, but was too full. Then I went to Bikram yoga and wasn't hungry for several hours after that. Then when I finally ate my lunch at 3:00, I couldn't finish that either - left my apple and my egg for tomorrow. And just now, I was hungry for dinner - but ended up giving some of my food up to Mr. SP.
                        My True Primal Story


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DarthFriendly View Post
                          Your story needs more dragons.
                          I disagree - I think it needs more cowbell!
                          Last edited by SweetPickles; 11-12-2011, 06:09 AM.
                          My True Primal Story


                          • #14
                            Day 18!

                            What the hell is up with the end of daylight savings this year? What is this, Indiana? I need that morning light to start my day. My bedroom windows face west so it seems like the sun doesn't come up until about 8:00. Politically, I'm no libertarian but I think the government should stop telling the sun what to do. Why isn't Ron Paul addressing this issue?

                            I have to say, this hasn't been too hard. After years of CW eating, I feel like I'm on a huge break from dieting. The first couple of days it really was like, "Can I really eat this?" and after that, it's been kind of like one big party. Because for as long as I can remember, I haven't been able to eat anything, anything without some idea of guilt or virtue attached. Everything I put in my mouth had some moral judgment attached to it. Whether it was a salad or "healthy" grains or whether or not I was swallowing my gum, I was doing it to be a better, thinner person. And if it was anything I actually wanted to eat, I'd think: Do I need this? Do I deserve it? If I eat this now can I eat that later? It was relentless, but honestly, it's been that way since I was probably about 12 years old so it seemed perfectly normal to think of food this way. I didn't know it was possible to eat without that kind of guilt or stress.

                            I've probably had more fat in the last 2.5 weeks than I had all summer, and it's hard to miss the bread when I'm still eating the butter. Now, if I were not having dark chocolate and wine, it would be much harder. I may have also gone a little overboard with the heavy cream - definitely stretching the boundaries of moderation and sensible indulgences.

                            Treat your self!

                            So I started using PaleoTrack. Not for accountability - that's what this journal is for. The tracker is for informational purposes so I can make tweaks if I want to and so I actually see how much whipped cream is going into me. Confessional: I think I prefer unsweetened heavy cream to bacon.

                            I'm still breaking through the carb mode, though. I do seem to be able to go without snacks and wait longer between meals, but I go from slightly sluggish to very energetic and back again. I've also been insanely tired at night - extra hours nannying and teaching this week. Don't know if I've lost any more weight, but my clothes are still growing.
                            My True Primal Story


                            • #15
                              Day 21 is here! I never said I was following a 21 day challenge, but I never said I wasn't, so it seems like a great excuse to celebrate. So we're having mussels! I drove home from Whole Foods at about five miles an hour with my precious loot, as if I had a newborn baby in the backseat.

                              Yay! Can't wait.

                              Day 21! It seems like a long time ago since I started this up, and I noticed that very quickly I started talking about eating primally as not something I was just trying out, but something that I had fully integrated into my lifestyle - sort of, "No bread for me" vs. "No bread for me right now." I started thinking long-term right away - I was already thinking about how to tackle the holidays a couple of days in, for example.

                              I fully embraced this not as a challenge, but as a lifestyle. But now things are settling into more of a routine with meals and cooking, which makes it easier, but also makes it a little more...routine. So perhaps this is really where my real challenge will begin - keeping things interesting.

                              I've seen people who post who say they were primal for however long, fell off the wagon, and are now returning, and I didn't really understand that - I mean, treats and cheat days, sure, but who would want to go back to eating a low-fat, high carb diet full of gluten on a regular basis? But now I wonder if it's boredom, especially if because of family, financial, work or other types of situations, we aren't able to have as much fun with food and play. And although I'm still having a blast with the food and have no intention of living any other way, I'll admit that being able to eat animal fat, while still delicious, is not quite as thrilling as it was three weeks ago.

                              I know that I have so many recipes to explore and so much wonderful food to try. But today I thought about having steaks and was like, "meh." How can I possibly be unenthusiastic about steak? Juicy, red verging on bleu, a little cool in the middle, grass-fed steak?

                              I'm still not feeling it, damn it. My sense of steak had better come back.

                              But today I did try something new. I tried Crossfit for the first time. And it kicked my ass. And it was so much fun! I went to a beginner's drop-in. I really struggled with the burpees. I did better with the lunges and squats, because as one of the instructors pointed out, I have strong legs (thank you, Bikram) but overall I was wrecked by the end of the workout. I was the slowest one of the beginners group. But then, I had a drink of water and caught my breath for a couple of minutes, and I feel amazing. It was hours ago and I still feel a little high. Right now I can't wait to do it again, though we'll see what soreness tomorrow brings.
                              My True Primal Story