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Primal Journal - Sherissima

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  • Primal Journal - Sherissima

    Hi everyone!

    I have been following the Primal Blueprint quite strictly for 2 weeks now. Today, I did the weighing and measuring thing, and I have shed 6 kg, my BMI is down from 34 to 32, and my waist has reduced 2" (my hips have gone down by 3", but I have a pronounced apple shape due to PCOS and insulin resistance). I think it's working!

    A few words about me: I'm a 39 year old woman living in London, UK. I'm tall (5'10") and have found it easy to put on muscle when weight training in the past (which has happened twice in my life, both times lasting only a few months). As I already mentioned, I have PCOS and am taking metformin - a good thing, as type 2 diabetes runs in my family (older sister, mother, grandmother). However, I'm hoping that through eating healthily, in the Primal way, I will improve my body composition and normalise my hormones. I also need to reduce my BMI under 30 so I can be referred to a Fertility clinic for IVF, but I hope to continue until my BMI is in the normal range (under 25).

    I've tried low carb diets in the past (Atkins, 10 yrs ago, and Schwartzbein, more recently), and they worked well for me. Until I relaxed too much with 'treats' and started eating both high carb and high fat! Madness! That's why I'm taking Primal seriously, and have cut out all processed foods, grains and dairy. Well, I'm doing a dairy challenge - after 1 month I'll re-introduce some cheese, cream and butter into my diet and see how it goes. If I don't get diarrhoea and/or cravings, then I'll continue with it. But only organic, and possibly goat or sheep - after all, I don't want to grow into a cow!

    OK, this is getting long already! So, what do I eat? Mostly eggs and veg for brekkie (fried in coconut oil or poached in the microwave), meat or fish with salad for lunch and the same for dinner, but with cooked veggies (steamed, roasted or stir-fried). If I need a 'dessert' or a snack, I have some raw nuts, frozen berries or coconut milk (or a combination).

    I don't know if it's the ketosis (probably, as my appetite has gone way down) but I was getting slightly bored with that simple menu. So yesterday I made some omelette cupcakes with l/o roast chicken, mushroom and rocket that I had for breakfast today (and will have for 2 more days). Also, a delicious chicken liver pate with orange and brandy, using goose fat and ghee instead of butter. Divine for lunch with a big salad sprinkled with some pine nuts!

    Well, that's it for my first journal entry. Please feel free to comment! )

  • #2

    Yesterday was my first bout of (beginners) IF!

    In the past, I was quite taken by the semi-CW of eating little and often, 3 meals +2 snacks in between. I'm also one of those people who can and wants to eat first thing in the morning...

    Well, yesterday was Saturday, and at 10 am (usually we snooze until 12ish) I jumped out of bed, full of energy, and dragged my SO to the local farmers' market. I got some cheap avocados (7 for £1), huge red peppers, enough Jerusalem chokes for a nice roast or 2, some flat mushrooms, and - most importantly - some farm bacon and gluten-free sausages! )

    We got home and had a magnificent brunch - bacon, mushrooms, eggs (all in lovely bacon grease and ghee), fresh radishes and coffee (and a few supermarket pancakes with maple syrup for my SO who's not fully Primal, though very supportive of my efforts). That was around 1pm, meaning that my fast lasted about 17 hours. Nothing spectacular, it would seem, but very new and exciting for me!

    In the evening, I stuffed some rolled up lamb breast with rosemary, garlic and pine nuts and slow roasted it in a low oven. 15 mins before taking them out, I added a tin of flageolet beans in the roasting tin (mostly for my SO, who loves them, but I also had a little) and served it all with a salsa salad of cucumber, tomato, red onion, pepper, avocado and black olives, dressed with EV olive oil and the brine from the olive jar.

    Fitday calculated it all as 1600 Kcal

    Fat 67%

    Carbs 8%

    Protein 25%

    No alcohol, though you could add a glass of wine to the roasting tin, but we didn't have an opened bottle.

    Looking back, I'm slightly concerned that I didn't eat enough calories. After all, I'm 5'10", though I would like to get rid of around 20kg more of excess fat weight. On the other hand, I was satisfied with my meals and didn't feel hungry in between... I suppose one should listen to ones' body? Forgive me for being unsure of that, after all it was listening to my carb-addicted body that made me reach 35 BMI!


    • #3

      Hey nice to see another Brit on board!

      I've shamelessly copied down your patť recipe, it sounds gorgeous... not so keen on the jerusalem artichokes though! Ahem.

      I've found the key is to listen to my body - I did track my food on fitday for a while, and while it was useful to get a rough idea of what was going on, it also led to the mindset of "ooo I've got 50g carbs left to eat, pass those almonds...and pistachios....and raisins...."

      Well done on the 6kg! You'll be ready for IVF in no time


      • #4

        Thanks, NM! Hope you like the pate, it's really easy to make and tastes yummy

        Regarding listening to my body, I'm still recording every day's food on Fitday. At first, I was worried that I would indulge so much in fatty meat that I'd end up ingesting 4-5000 Kcal per day! No, it didn't actually happen. On the contrary, after the first week I was so deeply in ketosis that I'd lost my appetite, and seeing 1200 Kcal in the evening made me have some pecans and a cup of coconut milk. I don't want to put my body into starvation mode!

        By now, though, I have a reasonable idea what is a normal portion size for me, so Fitday is not necessary any more.


        • #5

          Yesterday's meals:


          2 lamb sausages

          1 sliced pepper fried in coconut oil

          mug of white tea


          4 organic chicken wings, grilled with tandoori spices (meat was terribly tough and not at all fatty; won't try those again)

          salsa made with cucumber, pepper, avocado and black olives



          Slow cooked organic pork shoulder roast (YUM! I'll be investing in that one for sure!)

          Jerusalem artichokes, parboiled then roasted in pork fat )

          12-15 frozen cherries + the same quantity of mixed almonds and pecans

          The organic meats are from my Well Hung Meat online order. So far, lamb shoulder chops, mutton rolled breast, beef mince (SO different from supermarket mince!) and the pork were very successful. The chicken I wouldn't recommend, unless for soup - and it's a bit too expensive for just that purpose.

          Today, I wasn't in the mood to eat until almost noon - albeit, I went back to bed after my SO left for work and I slept another couple of hours. Now, I had a brunch consisting of l/o pork and a green salad and am feeling very, very full! Haven't yet decided what I'm making for dinner, but it will have to be something not terribly fatty...


          • #6

            I was a bit down this morning, when the scale showed exactly the same number as 8 days ago. That's after 6kg lost in the first 2 weeks! I expected that the downward trend would continue, even if not that strongly. On the other hand, looking at the last 3 weeks altogether, not a bad job! I suppose the body needs a bit of time to re-adjust to lower fat levels.

            It can't be anything else, can it? I'm eating less than 50g carbs per day, most of those from veggies (I also have a little fruit and a few nuts, but not every day), and my calorie intake is fairly low (1500-1600 on average). Fat is 60-70% of my diet, protein 20-30%. That should be OK, or..?

            Yesterday's food:

            2 slices bacon

            2 eggs in bacon fat and coconut oil

            handful of watercress

            white tea

            6 small chicken wings, grilled

            green beans and cherry tom salad

            1.5 Tbs HM hazelnut butter (crunchy)

            3 gluten-free sausages

            1 onion, caramelised in ghee

            grilled mushrooms

            cos lettuce with vinaigrette

            This came to 1668 Kcal

            Fat 70%

            Protein 24%

            Carbs 6%


            • #7

              After a bit of a moan in another thread, the fat loss continues, slowly but surely.

              The tips I've picked up from the other thread:

              1. Get more (intensive) exercise

              2. Reduce my salt intake

              If it gets really bad (ie. putting back on a considerable amount of weight) then:

              3. Cut out nuts

              4. Reduce carbs to Atkins induction level

              Hopefully it won't happen!

              Many people suggested I stop looking at the scale number, but I'm afraid I can't do that yet. I need to get under 30 BMI (ie. lose 7 kg) for medical purposes (referral to IVF). Though, looking at my tall body, broad shoulders and strong legs I don't seem to be that far away... But the scale (and my wobbly belly fat) doesn't agree.

              Anyway, at this stage, if things are still going well, I plan to end my 1 month no-dairy challenge on Valentine's day. I'll probably try some cream in my coffee and a piece of runny cheese after dinner, and see what happens! If I don't suffer any reactions, then I will re-introduce dairy into my diet (still in limited quantities - very calorific, at least the things I like!).


              • #8

                Primal eating - pros:

                1. I feel more energetic

                2. I enjoy the food I eat

                3. I eat to satisfaction and don't feel hungry or think about food all the time


                Weight loss problems. After a sudden drop (6 kg - 13 lb) in two weeks, I have been losing and gaining the same pound (half a kilo) for three weeks now. What gives?

                In the past, I have lost more weight, rather more smoothly, by eating less fat and more (healthy) carbs. Some people have suggested that I'm eating too much protein (120g per day) - but that's just (!) 2-3 eggs and bacon for breakfast, 2 chicken thighs for lunch and a steak for dinner. I thought that was normal, especially for someone like me, 5'10" and still having around 20 kg (45 lb) to lose...

                I read a couple of journals where people started losing weight on a different low carb diet, then switched to Primal. Is it possible that Primal really works best for maintenance?


                • #9

                  I just realised I've been posting bits about my progress on other threads here, but haven't updated my journal, so here goes.

                  The weight loss has resumed, and I think I understand a bit better what makes my body tick. Everyone here has been very helpful, but the problem with this site is that Primal is much more than a weight loss plan. On the contrary, people like me seem to be in a minority compared to ripped athletes who want to reduce their BF to 6% And I want to be one of them one day... )

                  Anyway, Primal is great, but each of us has to tweak it in some way to make it just perfect. For me, it seems that my body can tolerate dairy but not grains (they give me unbearable, unbeatable cravings) and, at this stage, I need to control not specifically calories (as I'm not overeating due to being satisfied with the food) but PROTEIN.

                  Yes, protein is necessary, and athletes and fitness buffs of the world need loads of it. Me - not as much. I found some old Protein Power (Dr Eades) texts and calculated that my daily protein intake should be around 85g. Now, that's proportionally quite a bit less than 120-130 I was eating! And I remembered gluconeogenesis - the body can convert excess protein into glucose, which rather defeats the point.

                  Again, this is not something that many people will need to bear in mind, but it seems that I have to. After all, my poor body has been ravaged by PCOS, insulin resistance and obesity for almost 20 years (though I did lose weight several times on LC diets). I'm hoping that the Primal way of being will repair my health and that one day I will be as carefree about (healthy) eating as many on this board.


                  • #10

                    Just to say I'm still here )

                    In total, I've lost almost 10kg (over 20 lb), and I feel and look much better than only 2 months ago.

                    I got a new job, within walking distance, so I get to walk at least 20 mins per day (or twice that, if I don't wait for the bus back home).

                    I still haven't done any weight training, and HIIT is quite beyond me. Planning to ease into Tabata with 4 x 10 sec intervals... one of these days. I checked out a local gym, and decided to save the £55 monthly fees for something else, fitness related, that I might actually do. Like a frisbee, or a bike (haven't had one since the age of 11). The problem is, I already have a cupboard full of unused fitness equipment, such as inline skates, skipping rope, Swiss ball (not blown up), dumbbells... How can I get motivated to exercise?

                    Funny thing happened last night. After a few days of quite low calories (I think I was too excited about my new job to eat), I ate over 2200 Kcal yesterday. Mostly fat, though, a whole tin of coconut milk in my HM Thai curry, and some raw nuts with salted butter as a late night snack! I don't know what came over me, but I really felt hungry for fat...

                    This morning, though, I didn't feel like eating at all, and had a kind of short IF as my first meal of the day took place around 3 pm. I suppose it all balances out, now that my body responds to its optimal diet, not a sugar-insulin vicious circle.


                    • #11

                      Again, still here, life is Primal!

                      For the last week or so, I have stopped entering my food into Fitday. I think I now have the hang of it! And I&#39;m still pleased with my progress, it&#39;s not all scale numbers (haven&#39;t reached my health goal, BMI<30) but my shape that&#39;s changing. My belly, which looked 11 months pregnant, has definitely shrunk, meaning that I&#39;m getting rid of that visceral fat which is so dangerous for the body.

                      I&#39;m eating dairy at present, though only cheese and butter seem not to give me GI problems. When I use cream (I love it in sauces, actually, for me it is a sauce!), the next day I&#39;m in pain, or maybe even feverish.

                      Nothing else to report, except I&#39;m IF-ing this morning, due to the above mentioned issue with cream I had last night!


                      • #12
                        Again, still here and enjoying it!

                        Since I started the PB, on the 14th of January, I have lost 12.5 kg or 27.5 lb. Which is nice! (Said in the Fast Show voice). I am about a pound away from reaching my first goal, getting my BMI to under 30. I'm seeing my GP on Monday to prove to her that I lost weight, so she can re-refer me to the Fertility Clinic. The first time I was there, beginning of January, my history was taken by a junior doctor, and the consultant then refused to see me as my BMI was 34. That was extremely frustrating, to say the least! I reacted to it by overeating comforting carbs, as I always used to do. Then, a few days later, I woke up and said "Right, I will be healthy!", and started following the Primal Blueprint. I had been reading MDA for a while already, but I just couldn't get motivated to start. I suppose that arrogant consultant did me a favour!

                        Anyway, as I have mentioned elsewhere, my body has started to shrink in the places which, in the past, used to be the last to go: my double (triple!) chin and huge belly. There's still a way to go, but it's all going the right way! Also, I'm enjoying the food immensely, I love feeling energetic and knowing I'm rebuilding my body and health. Primal is so easy to follow, I don't feel deprived at all, on the contrary I often admire the taste and nutrition I'm getting from my food. For Easter, I made veggies and dessert for the whole family (we celebrate together with my sister and her adult children/partners) and everyone loved them. The dessert was a version of Jamie Oliver's Chocolate Pots, with different textures (choco cream, mousse and whipped cream) and absolutely no added sugar. OK, there was some booze in it (Grand Marnier), but it was a Primal dessert that I enjoyed, that satisfied me and didn't give me any cravings. Result!

                        I should also mention that I've stopped recording my food intake on Fitday, as by now I have a good idea of what I'm putting into my body. I have also noticed that my appetite is self-regulating, in that if I eat a lot one day, I will naturally eat less the next day. Conversely, if I feel hungry, the best way to assuage my hunger is to eat fat. So, a couple of slices of bacon, half a cup of cream or coconut milk, or even a slice of butter. Yum!


                        • #13
                          Yay! Sounds like you are doing awesome! So you want to have a baby soon? That's such good motivation to get healthy!
                          Awesome weight loss.


                          • #14
                            Well done, you're doing fantastically well!
                            Good luck for the referral, I hope they don't keep you wainting too long


                            • #15
                              Thanks so much, Zoe and NMG!

                              Today being May Day, I'm setting out a couple of goals for the month.

                              1. Reduce dairy - no cream, butter only for cooking (not melting in the microwave and licking!) and only goat/sheep cheese, not every day

                              2. IF once a week, at least to lunch

                              3. Start a Spartan 300 challenge (50 each of hip rotations, squats, pullups, pushups, crunches and something else that I'll have to google!). I intend to begin with 10 of each, once I found out exactly what to do (can you do pullups without a bar?)... Maybe do them every other day, or 3 times per week. My goal is to actually be able to do all 300 by the end of the month.

                              I want to raise my fitness level, which is pathetic at present (OK, I walk 30 mins every day, big deal). And I also want to lose more weight - this past month I've been dancing around the 30 BMI - a pound under, a pound over - and I want to be clearly under for my Fertility clinic appt. Which still hasn't been set, not a surprise knowing the NHS. BTW, my GP was quite impressed with my weight loss and said it was very noticeable!

                              The reason I'm cutting down on dairy again is twofold. Firstly, butter is very tasty, but it doesn't fill me up. Or, even if it does, I'm suppressing my body's signals just because I like that taste in my mouth - and that's not healthy. Also, having had 2 cappuccinos per day for 3 days in a row (because of having to work in a place where there was no kettle and no herbal teas on sale) made me all bloated and gave me a painful tummy. So, if milk is not good for me, how can cream be so? And I do like it, occasionally. Well, I can have it again after May, if I wish.