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a kid keeping it simple

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  • a kid keeping it simple

    I'm a chick, 5'3, 23 years old. Grew up on sugar and loved it. Effortlessly skinny until college; didn't even know what a calorie was, much less what it meant to have body image issues. With the beginning of my first semester, though, it took me about a month to put on ten pounds, then fifteen. The weight gain stopped there; but being the nerd I am, I immediately started obsessively researching nutrition, exercise, and the physiology behind it all. Unfortunately, as a result of this new obsession, I picked up a nasty binge/restrict habit. I've done it all when it comes to food, in a seemingly endless effort to find psychological peace, self-love, and a way of eating that really works, in every sense that a way of eating can.

    Five years later, I'm still spending a depressing amount of my time dealing with the sugar binge/deprivation cycle, plus a couple of other compulsive behaviors that tend only to surface around an overeating session. If you're an astute reader, this whole story probably sounds awfully familiar. I think in extremes: I eat impeccably well and otherwise take care of myself-- until I don't. And then it's an all-out "Why the hell not?" kind of thing. Typical, huh?

    This whole primal deal is still a relatively new endeavor for me. When I first discovered MDA, I put in a good, solid month of primal eating. I felt awesome, looked great, and felt like I was on top of my food struggles at last. Can you sense where I'm going next? Yeah, well. One "why not?" pint of ice cream, a few final exams, and two trips to Europe later, I was only managing to eat primally about 50% of the time on a good day, and my familiar old binge behaviors came knocking. It's been about six months since that fateful, creamy pint, and I'm about ready to dig myself out of this hole now.

    I know what to do. Cut out the sugar, and I stop having wet dreams about cookies and cake (no joke, I get those, and they're intense). Get in my fatty meats, and there's no hunger to deal with. Avoid counting calories, and I stay sane-- because for me, quantifying my intake quickly becomes a consuming, compulsive preoccupation.

    So yeah. I guess I could come up with numeric goals, but while I may not have a sound body image, I'm aware that my weight is a relatively healthy one (I'm about a US size 4). Instead, I'd like to keep things simple, as my title states. My primary concern is just this: to be consistently primal, with an end goal of achieving the binge-free life of which I know I'm capable.

    What I'm eating tomorrow:
    Breakfast - Bacon and eggs.
    Lunch - Tuna and pesto.
    Dinner - Beef, onion, and mushrooms.

  • #2
    Hi roden,

    I want to greet you although I am still quite new here, as you see from my post count. But I have been reading here for years and am an old hand at primal (several years). Your story touched me, and I have seen too many threads going under and people vanishing again because no one answered their first post (happened to myself on another forum).

    So I wish to cheer you on. You are exactly the age of my own daughter, and I am so sorry you got into this binging / restricting circle. Primal is a good beginning to solve your problem. On various forums I have seen how people with eating disorders have had success when they strictly cut out sugar.That said, I do not want to make light of eating disorders and have no personal experience with them.

    Now I sounded much more serious than I meant to be. You are young, you are at a normal weight, and you know what you are up against. That is a great starting point! Being a nerd is also helpful; just do not believe everything that you read on the internet or even on this forum.

    Your meals sound good; I just hope those are not mini-portions. If this is for example 50 grams of tuna, it is too little!

    Wish you lots of luck! Bess


    • #3
      Danke schön, Bess! Ich habe seit ein paar Jahre Deutsch studiert, und bin nach Leipzig diesen Sommer geflogen. Ich freue mich Ihnen zu treffen, und ich danke Ihnen, für Ihren Aufmunterung! Hoffentlich können wir Freunde werden.

      I plan to eat WHEN, and I'm not really measuring my portions. For instance, breakfast includes two pieces of bacon and three eggs pan-fried in leftover bacon grease, and lunch is a whole can of tuna plus several spoonfuls of pesto. It's important to me that I focus on nourishing myself, instead of eating as little as possible. Again, thanks for the kind words!


      • #4
        Wow, this is the second time in a few days that I meet someone on these forums who speaks German and has been to Germany. Do you study German as a pasttime, or are you in German Studies at a University? Dein Deutsch ist sehr gut. Aber du darfst ruhig "du" sagen, in Internetforen duzen sich nämlich alle, egal, wie alt man ist. (For the non-German speakers: just a remark about a peculiarity of the German language.)

        Your attitude to food sounds fine, and the amounts look like real food! I really think the keyword is "nourishing oneself". You might try to eat more veggies. The BAS (Big Ass Salad) is sort of proverbial on the forums (maybe salad greens, whatever vegetable you like to eat raw, and some protein like eggs, cold chicken, leftover meat or cheese if you do dairy). Or cooked veggies with butter, or you can bake them in the oven with whatever condiments you like. Your plan for tomorrow sounds a bit like Atkins phase one.

        But you are still a beginner, and I think the most important thing now is really to feed yourself and get out of this vicious binging circle. Just eat real food.

        Looking forwand to see how your story continues. Alles Gute, und wir lesen uns bestimmt bald wieder. (All the best, and we'll certainly read from each other soon.)


        • #5
          I decided to learn German for fun. I think it's a beautiful language! Plus, it has so many interesting nuances. Thanks for the grammar tip.

          You're right that I'm rather low on veggies at the moment. I'll incorporate some more into my eating tomorrow as per your suggestion. My urge to cut out nearly everything but meat is just another example of my tendency to think in extremes, and that's something I need to work on.

          Today I stuck to my meal plan, with the addition of two small snacks: a few tablespoons of sauerkraut, and about 1/4 cup of homemade coleslaw (cabbage, lettuce, carrots, mayonnaise, sour cream, white vinegar, and S&P). As it was my first day back on strictly primal foods, I did experience a bit of nausea and headache, but the blood sugar stability makes the re-adjustment phase worth it.

          What I'm eating tomorrow:
          Breakfast - Bacon and eggs.
          Lunch - Tuna with some olive oil and seasoning, and a side of coleslaw.
          Dinner - Mixed vegetable and egg stir fry.

          (I'm already noticing the mental and emotional effects of keeping a public food journal here. It's super encouraging to be surrounded by so many other likeminded folks. Thanks for reading my story, even if you're just lurking. )
          Last edited by roden; 08-18-2012, 08:10 PM.


          • #6
            Your food sounds good! Congrats on sticking to your plan. As the extra snacks on the first day consisted of veggies, no problems there! The dizziness seems to be a frequent side effect of cutting carbs - low carb flu! Primal doesn't have to be low carb or very low carb, but maybe it's a good start, especially as you say that you feel the positive effects on blood sugar already. You should work out something that is sustainable in the long run. Get variety in so you don't get burned out on Primal food. Maybe even add some fruit in (gasp!) if you are so inclined. (I'm diabetic so I go very low on the fruit, but you are young and healthy.)

            I just reread your first post and want to urge you not to give up when you eat something "wrong". You sound like you try to be perfect, and if you aren't, you tend to throw in the towel. Don't put so much pressure on yourself! If you fall into that ice cream bucket, forgive yourself and go back to Primal with your next meal. And while you eat that ice cream, enjoy it and don't beat yourself up. The 80:20 rule (i.e. your'e still getting most of the advantages of Primal when you keep to it 80 % of the time) was invented because people are fallible and not robots.

            Glad that you like German! It is such a difficult language that I thought people only learned it if it was inevitable. (Was a teacher of German as a foreign language for some years.)

            You're right about the effects of a public journal. (Okay, erm ... I don't keep one, but that's for personal reasons.) When I last looked, your journal had 62 views, that's a lot of people following your story.

            Good luck to you! Waiting for the next installment of your journal ...


            • #7
              I'm doing my best to stay away from sugars and sweeteners of any kind, since they're so triggering for me. Otherwise I'd be more willing to add in some fruit like you suggest.

              But, then again, despite the fact that I stuck to my sugar-free meal plan all the way through dinner, today was very much a struggle. I had some pretty intense nausea throughout the day, and immediately after dinner I experienced some strong cravings for sweets. It sucks. My last binge was not all that long ago, so it's still very fresh in my mind, and I can remember in detail just how disappointing each item that I ate turned out to be... not to mention the horrible aftermath of sweating, shaking, and being unable to sleep. Even though I'm able to recall all of that so vividly, the urge to binge again is, quite stubbornly, still there.

              I resisted the craving hit the best I could. I ate liberal amounts of almonds and sunflower seeds. They certainly filled me up, but that crazy compulsion to go buy some sugar is so maddening. I'm just waiting it out at the moment, and hoping tomorrow will be easier.

              One thing: I think I need to quit planning meals in this journal. One of the major aspects of my issues surrounding food is the amount of time I spend thinking about food in general. I can spend hours at a stretch reading about eating, everything from cooking to disorders to diet plans to published research; and if I'm honest with myself, I very rarely learn anything new from it. It's just mindless noise at this point. It does nothing but enable me to obsess about what I'm doing with regard to food. I truly think my published goals should have more to do with my direct mental health and less to do with keeping tabs on how I'm eating.

              My goal for tomorrow:
              Visit no websites focusing on food, with the exception of one journal check. Oddly enough, this one's going to be difficult as shit...


              • #8
                In this case I think it is really a good idea not to post food plans. As I said I have never experienced eating disorders, but if thinking about food so much can trigger a binge for you, then just post general goals as you did today, and tomorrow you write if you succeeded.

                In my opinion, the most important thing now is to overcome the sugar habit. If it helps you to stuff yourself on nuts or other primal foods, do so for the beginnig. You said you are at a normal weight, so if you do this for a limited time not much harm will be done.

                Maybe you should have a strategy ready for if / when you binge. It has happened before and may happen again. Please do not think: "I will never make it" or "Primal didn't help me", but brush yourself off and rather think "okay, that didn't go so well today. Tomorrow will be better."

                Viel Erfolg!
                Last edited by Bess58; 08-20-2012, 01:36 AM. Reason: spelling


                • #9
                  just stopping by to wish you well with your primal adventures. A lot of what you wrote about the thinking behind the binge resonated for me, I empathise. Good luck and I'll be popping by regularly to check in on you.
                  I like badgers, books and booze, more or less in that order.


                  • #10
                    Berries and dark chocolate might help you get past your cravings. Dark chocolate has less sugar and tends to be richer and might be a good substitute.
                    Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
                    Don't forget to play!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dirlot View Post
                      Berries and dark chocolate might help you get past your cravings. Dark chocolate has less sugar and tends to be richer and might be a good substitute.
                      Hello roden!

                      I don't really, truly binge, but I will take on just ANYBODY in the Sweet Tooth and Fat Craving departments, and I use dark chocolate and Larabars to help myself. After the initial sugar-weaning shock your tolerance for sweet does start to change, and now I am really, truly happy with dark chocolate. I am a bit of a wuss, at about 65% cocoa, but I regularly bite into bits of 85% and even 90% for some palate training. My current rave is Paul Newman 65% dark with orange essence. Honey, you won't be disappointed in this bar!!! I get mine at the health food store.

                      Good luck, and I will be following!
                      I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the suggestions, y'all. I absolutely love squares of 85%, and historically they've been a solid way for me to kill a craving. Honestly, I had let dark chocolate fall completely off my radar... living as a student, I have a tendency to automatically write off the more expensive items when I go grocery shopping. At the same time, I would consider the extra expense as an investment in this case, so fuck it.

                        Actually, I have a very astute boyfriend who happens to be stepping up his game to help me with all of this. He's always been supportive of my efforts to go primal, and when I was ranting to him about my crazy food craziness yesterday, one of the things he suggested was that I eat some dark chocolate on a regular basis to keep my happy levels (sanity levels) high. Obvious, right? I always make things too complicated, man.

                        He went even further than that, though, and offered to start planning and cooking my meals for me. This is huge, and not just because I work and go to class every day. If you've ever experienced disordered thinking, then you know what a weight is being lifted off my shoulders here. Everyone's different, of course, but for me, this just clicked. My biggest battle every day is waffling between counting and planning, and trying NOT to count or plan... and now I won't be doing either. He started this morning, and the difference was like night and day. Nothing works perfectly, and not everything works permanently. I'm okay with that. It got me through today, and it might get me through tomorrow, and that's just how I need to roll with this stuff. One day at a time, folks.

                        Oh, forgot to mention that I succeeded in my goal for the day!
                        Goals for tomorrow:
                        1. No food websites
                        2. Acquire some DC!

                        God I am neurotic.


                        • #13
                          Congrats for avoiding the food websites! "One day at a time" is a great motto.

                          And I'm so glad to hear that your boyfriend is so helpful. Is he primal too? If not, he will be through the cooking for you. Dark chocolate is a great idea.

                          I don't think you are neurotic, it is just very difficult to break deeply ingrained habits and trains of thoughts. In my opinion that is the most difficult part in lifestyle changes, and Primal is one. At this point in your journey, I think it's even more important than what's on your plate. Good luck for today!


                          • #14
                            Welcome aboard, and well done so far. I have worked with people in the past who were trying to quite smoking etc, and thought going cold turkey would be the answer. It wasnt. As soon as they had one slip up they told themselves they had tried and failed and went back to how they were before. Like you said role with the punches. Plan a little, but with wiggle room, treat each success/slip up, good/bad day as lessons.

                            It took Thomas Edison 2,000 attempts to get the first light bulb to work. Afterwards he didn't look back with a heavy heart at all those failed attempts, instead he told himself he had discovered 1,999 ways to NOT make a lightbulb.

                            It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out....Its the grain of sand in your shoe.


                            • #15

                              are you still with us? How is the goal-setting going?

                              Wish you all the best, Bess