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Life of a Primal College Student

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  • Life of a Primal College Student

    I'm a twenty-year old college student in my third year of a bachelorís degree in biology and I have been primal for about six months now. I am 5'0", female, and currently weight about 133 lbs. When I started this change in early May, I weighed something like 163 lbs. I have been overweight for a few years and got kind of tired of being fat. Not only have I lost weight, I have seen excellent results in energy gain and mood elevation as well. I have also noticed fewer issues with skin blemishes, skin irritation or sensitivity and dandruff - extras that I never expected.

    For a little background, I live with my grandparents and my family is "southern". Our typical dinner includes some kind of meat (maybe fried); beans, potatoes, corn, or rice; and bread. We also enjoy a good amount of greens but corn is considered a vegetable at the table. My grandparents initially thought I might be crazy when I told them about what I was going to be eating. They thought I might not be getting a good-rounded diet by restricting foods. A month or two before this I had tried a lower carb-low fat diet that really didn't set with me well. I spent most of my time denying myself foods instead of replacing them. Of course my grandparents thought that a month or so down the road I would give this up as well.

    At first eating was a chore because I wanted nothing more than a piece of the wheat bread I had been eating several slices of daily. I had to learn new ways to eat and think of food as well as just slow down. Everything I ate felt like a topping to a slice of bread or the side that is supposed to go on rice. Having dinner with my family wasn't as easy either as they had no intention of changing their habits. I had to cook for myself and temptation was all over the counters, in the pantry, and in the fridge. Seeing as how I don't buy the groceries, I cannot eliminate these sources of temptation, so instead I steeled my determination.
    After the first month I was feeling energized, light, and enjoying my food immensely. I started losing weight at a pretty good pace as well. I found my caloric goals and macro ratios very easy to attain without even logging my food as I went. I was in my last term at a community college and was only taking two classes so making food everyday was pretty easy.

    Then I finished there and had to move on. Now I am far into my first term at a university and making food for lunch is a labor intensive process that doesn't always happen. Lots of other things have changed as well.
    Our family has suddenly lost a lot of income, and our family size has grown by three individuals (two of whom eat a lot). Now I am finding myself eating more fruits and starchy vegetables than ever and the carb percentage keeps growing. I have had a few days where I just ate cookies or pizza too (it's never as pleasurable as I think it will be though). My weight-loss is definitely dropping off and my weight is plateauing. I gained back a few pounds due to excessive cheat days but overall the trend is a good one.
    None of my clothes fit right anymore. I have invested in a leather belt to keep all of my pants up. I fit into some clothing that has been stored away in my closet for few years. I am eating a lot less food at a slower pace and taking the time to enjoy almost every bite. My next expenditure will hopefully be a good food processor. Right now I am chopping, cutting, and grating everything by hand with knives and a cheese grater. This limits what things I can do with raw materials.

    I am still eating regular mayonnaise (when I eat it), non-organic foods and typical local supermarket meat but this area doesnít have much to offer in the ways of local food from what I am finding. The local CSA is no more and small farms are selling to companies instead. I found grass-fed beef but for $7 a lb with a minimum order of 1/8 of a steer. I donít know anyone to split it with and the family is concerned about investing money in meat that could spoil during a power outage. I havenít found eggs or chicken yet. There is supposed to be a new farmerís market in the area but they are only open on Tuesdays, which are super-busy days for me (I donít get home until way past dark). Other non-primal things I still eat some of: ketchup, breakfast sausage, cooked beans (infrequently), the occasional scoop of peanut butter (really infrequent), and take-out food on campus (like takeout Chinese).

    Hopefully here I can connect a little with other people who can relate as well as journal my progress and thoughts. Of course today Fitday is having issues so I can't go back and look at some of my logged data. I will fill that in later I guess. If anyone has any suggestions for food logging someplace that is more stable, I'm all ears.

  • #2





    My carb amount has been steadily creeping up.

    Weight Summary

    I don't have as many data points as I'd like.

    And I had a weight goal in the beginning of the year to be at 115 by the end of December. The goal was just a casual thing to start with. My progress hasn't been too far off.

    Last edited by Cynere; 10-30-2012, 06:25 PM.


    • #3
      To start this off.

      Breakfast: sweet potato, radish, parsley, egg, and summer sausage scramble coated in coconut oil and a cup of orange juice

      Lunch: can of sardines in mustard sauce, 5 prunes, handful of mixed nuts (no peanuts)

      Dinner: corned beef brisket, green bean/broccoli mix, a quarter of a sweet potato (with a pat of butter), 2 small tangerines


      No exercise other than walking and lifting elderly people. I was able to grout tile on Sunday though, so I am a little sore. I find myself not hungry early in the morning but I am starving by 10am. Unfortunately I am at school by then and I have to have a lunch packed by 7:30 am or I don't bring one. This leads to eating out on campus which is a nightmare as a primal person and an even worse nightmare for one on a budget.


      • #4
        Breakfast: pear

        Lunch: 1 can of tuna, regular mayo, sweet pickle relish, baby carrots, a couple cubic inches of colby cheese

        Early Dinner: bowl of vegetable beef soup, beef hotdog and ketchup, handful of mixed nuts (no peanuts)

        Second Dinner: 4 oz turkey sausage, fried egg in coconut oil, 5 grapes


        I had an amazingly long nap between classes today; I slept 3.5 hours. I woke up thirsty though. I am not sure if I have been particularly hungry today or just tempted. My unnecessary ketchup, random bits of corn in the soup, relish and what not have padded my carb amount. I feel cheated that I could be eating grapes instead (which are so much better tasting). Am I being hard on myself for eating an estimated 102g of carb? The sources are kind of bad but it's what is around.

        I packed the lunch and got ready this morning in some 40 minutes, that's really quick for me because I like taking my time in the mornings... but I also like sleeping. I will sleep 10+ hours without issue on a given day if I am able to. It's like I am never done sleeping. I always wake up to my alarm on the weekdays. On the weekends I wake up at 9am or so without an alarm.

        For some background, I didn't pick a turkey sausage to be healthy. Pork doesn't agree with my stomach or the stomachs' of any of my family members. I love pork bacon and ham but it doesn't love me.

        I cancelled my gym membership a couple months ago since I transferred to a university with a gym. I haven't used the school gym yet though. To be honest, I didn't use the gym much either. My bad timing landed me with a nasty maintenance fee for the next year that was charged to my account well before it was supposed to be "taken out". It's really sad that companies would alienate clients for $30. Had I cancelled four days earlier, the fee would not had been charged. However, I had no way of knowing that the effective fee date was one totally different than what was posted around the gym. I see that I'm valued; maybe it had something to do with being a month to month member.

        Anyway, my school has some retarded system where you have to sign up online the day before for group classes and it won't let me log in without going to the gym first. I also have to take some health assessment before I am even allowed in the gym. I just wanted to do a 30 minute group stretching class. Maybe I should be doing this instead of sleeping for three hours... nah.


        • #5
          I ate some fantastic turkey meatballs with a coconut dipping sauce (the recipes from Primal Blueprint: Quick and Easy meals, with some adjustments). I was going to take a picture of my lunch but I ate it, and the rest of the family devoured the other meatballs. Oh well, so tasty. We are cooking a big salmon fillet tonight too. I love grocery shopping week. I am so excited about eating scallops at some point this month.

          On an different note, I have no idea what my digestive system is doing. For a month or so I was having constipation issues and then a little before the weather turned colder I became relatively regular again. Now I am flip-flopping to the other side, maybe I ate something that didn't agree with me. I'm a snacker and sometimes I end up with oatmeal cookies instead of nuts. : ( Speaking of snacking, I ate a couple pizzelle cookies today. They were really tasty but not necessary.

          I ate dinner yesterday around 8pm, slept at 3am and woke up at 8am unfortunately. I didn't get to eat food until noon and man was I hungry. I love how I can grocery shop for hours (not overspend while I am hungry), and then go home to make food (eat 40 minutes later) without being super grumpy. Good stuff.


          • #6
            I didn't eat terribly healthy today.

            Breakfast: 3/4 of a pomegranate

            Lunch: takeout Chinese bourbon chicken and mixed veggies

            Snack: the other 1/4 of the pomegranate, 7 or so baby carrots

            Dinner: 1 slice of veggie pizza, and two deep-fried and breaded chicken wings

            The wings and pizza were purely convenience and the only thing ready to eat when I got home at 7:00pm. My lunch was supposed to be prepared this morning at 7:00am but I ended up enamored with a pomegranate and was running late so I didn't pack one aside from what I had as a snack.

            At 5pm though I went to a stretching class which was nice. I got in 30 minutes of relaxing stretching and then ate my pomegranate and carrots on the ride home. I am looking forward to exercising more at school. There is a pylometrics class offered that looks very interesting but I think that might be too much too soon right now. I really don't do much else than walk at the moment and I don't want to be sore. I signed up for a spinning class instead that way I can keep tabs on how much I exert myself.


            • #7
              Doing okay. I ate some things at social gatherings but it won't kill me.

              Breakfast: 1 fried egg in coconut oil, 2/3 hand sized slice of turkey ham and probably some maple syrup

              Lunch: can of tuna, 2 tbs mayo, some mixed dried berries, parsley, several tbs crushed pineapple, slivered almonds

              Dinner: 4.5 eggs accompanied by a generous portion of salsa. (and a quarter size bite of an apple fritter)

              My weight has increased by a couple pounds but it's hard to say if I am cheating too much. I have a habit of getting up to 115g or 130g of carb when my goal is 70 or so. I will be scheduling a body fat test soon to get a better idea of where I am.

              I went shopping the other day and ended up buying a medium camisole (I normally wear a large or even extra large shirt). I also bought medium and large undies (almost always wear extra large). Still haven't figured out a fitting bra size.


              • #8
                You are doing a good job in difficult circumstances, Cynere. It's hard to avoid and limit carbs, they are not only prevalent but also cheap - except that you end up eating more which is not cheaper in the long run, but still...

                Anyway, keep doing the best you can, it's great to be able to reward yourself with buying smaller clothes. Congratulations!
                Annie Ups the Ante


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Annieh
                  You are doing a good job in difficult circumstances, Cynere. It's hard to avoid and limit carbs, they are not only prevalent but also cheap - except that you end up eating more which is not cheaper in the long run, but still...

                  Anyway, keep doing the best you can, it's great to be able to reward yourself with buying smaller clothes. Congratulations!
                  Thank you Annieh. It is difficult. I really appreciate your post. This morning there was an open package of iced cookies on the counter, leftover biscuits on the stove, a sponge cake in the fridge and a tres leches cake below the sponge cake. It's almost unreal how much "food" there is in this household that I am supposed to navigate smartly around. I can only imagine what this will be like after I graduate and I try to go out into the world on my own. I am going to be eating potato flakes from a box.

                  Tonight I came home to a 2/3 empty box of fried chicken left on the counter. I was too tired and ended up eating some. :/ It was 8:30pm and no safe food to eat in sight. They apparently ate a dinner entirely of fried chicken. It's much easier to fight this sort of situation off when your stomach doesn't feel pressed up against your spine. I left home this morning at 7:30 am and packed a lunch but it feels crazy to pack two meals. Beef jerky is crazy expensive and nuts and fruit are easy to overeat (also not cheap).

                  Breakfast: two fried eggs and lunch meat turkey ham (best I could do)
                  Lunch: leftover turkey (and some cranberry sauce, I'm bad), and leftover stir fry veggies plus some leftover cooked celery and jicama. I really wanted more turkey but there was less than a cup shredded left to eat for lunch. (I bought the jicama on a spur of the moment because I had never seen a whole one. My cashier rang it up as rutabaga for 0.88 cents a lb even though I told her what it was. I guess she wasn't listening.
                  Dinner: two pieces of fried chicken and a navel orange (I was just too tired to fight dinner).

                  Yesterday mashed potatoes, canned carrots and bottom round was dinner. I opted for jicama and celery plus my bottom round. The night before was spaghetti, which I ended up making my 1/4 lb of burger into meatballs in a sugar-free, jarred pasta sauce. I guess dinner wins this time.

                  On a different note, I bought two medium shirts yesterday that were one sale. One is almost too small but it was one of only a few left on the shelf for a reduced price; I have a feeling that they run small. The other shirt is perfect.

                  I wore the sort of tight one to yoga and pilates classes this morning. I have all sorts of sore muscles from pilates but yoga is fun. It's great that the university offers these services or I would still be running in slow motion on an elliptical by myself at a local gym. I am thinking about going to another spinning class this weekend but I am hesitant as my butt hurt for over a week last time. I want to take my mother and show her how bad her diet and smoking habits are for her (she thinks she is 20 still). : )


                  • #10
                    You're doing great!

                    Believe me, it's MUCH HARDER when you have food around that's not primal than it will be on your own - even when broke.

                    If you have to, see if eating potato or white rice at home has the same effect on your health/weight as has eating random grainy things. I don't notice nearly the bad effects from potato/rice and am much less likely to give in to bad stuff lying around if I know that instead I could microwave a potato. If you're gonna cheat, cheat wisely!

                    Good job!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sarasue624 View Post
                      You're doing great!

                      Believe me, it's MUCH HARDER when you have food around that's not primal than it will be on your own - even when broke.

                      If you have to, see if eating potato or white rice at home has the same effect on your health/weight as has eating random grainy things. I don't notice nearly the bad effects from potato/rice and am much less likely to give in to bad stuff lying around if I know that instead I could microwave a potato. If you're gonna cheat, cheat wisely!

                      Good job!
                      Thanks, Sarasue. I don't think white rice would be a good idea because I tend to eat four servings at a time of it. As for white potatoes, I actually prefer sweet potatoes over them. White potatoes don't get me very excited. I really like winter squash though, perhaps I should buy more of that.

                      My biggest issues are how long it takes to prepare good food, and the inconvenience of it (portability especially). I have tried cooking up extra portions but somehow I either end up eating them before I get to use them at school or someone else eats them because they are even more convenient than terrible not-food. My family likes the taste of everything I cook, and they will eat it with gusto on bread and rice. I guess I need to stop being such a pansy and make meals happen.

                      On a sidenote, our two tag-along family members have left so it's just me, my grandparents, and a great grandparent. However, we have not gone back to regularly scheduled dinners for the most part. My mother donated me some resources last month to supplement food, and it was a feast.


                      • #12
                        Well, I am feeling that chicken today and it isn't terrible but it could be better. Today has been okay, I slept in until it felt like 3pm (lo and behold it was actually 9am). I was going to do a fitness assessment but I got hungry and made lunchbreakfast instead. I opted not to rush crazily to the school. I enjoy taking my time in the morning.

                        Breakfast: 1/2 sweet potato and 3tbs sour cream, about 1/6 lb of 85% ground beef, little rectangle of swiss cheese (cheese is starting to smell really bad to me), a couple slices of tomato

                        Lunch: 1/2 sweet potato and no sour cream, 1/3 lb 85% ground beef, two more little cheese rectangles, the rest of the tomato from breakfast, 3/4 cup or so of leftover spinach from a long eaten fritatta

                        Dinner: 12 pieces of salmon and vegetable sushi from the school convenience store (full of all sorts of unpronounceable things).

                        However, I ate at 10am, 3pm, and 6pm. I didn't get home until 11pm where I would have had to prepare my own fish before eating. I did not eat the one deep-fried fish fillet left on the plate either. I don't mind cooking the fish, but now I can cook it for tomorrow's lunch or breakfast. I also thoroughly enjoyed the sushi so I will call it a victory.

                        For the first time in a while I did not eat ketchup with my ground beef. I really wanted to around lunch but after I was full it didn't matter anymore. I also drank something like 2 liters of water today; I have been really thirsty. I found out that I fit in a size 9 pair of jeans that I have never been able to wear as I was too large when I obtained them. This is pretty significant because these jeans have no stretch in them whatsoever.

                        Celebrate the little victories I suppose. I am looking forward to doing the fitness assessment. Apparently I will receive information about my body fat composition as well as muscular endurance and flexibility. Speaking of flexibility, I have all sorts of sore muscles from pilates. It's not enough to keep me from comfortably walking to my classes, to the student union and up and down stairs though so I imagine I'll be fine. : )
                        Last edited by Cynere; 11-27-2012, 09:42 PM.


                        • #13
                          Wow, it has been two weeks.
                          Well, I did some celebrating with friends which somehow led me to eat a myriad of weird things like jelly beans and the greater portion of a package of gingerbread flavored oreos. I also ate several chunks of a tiramisu that I made over the weekend. And then I ate food from Denny's including a fried appetizer sampler. I feel like crap and I drank a whole two liter of Coca Cola Zero today... by myself. I drank only three glasses of chlorinated water over three days. I want to sleep this sick off.

                          I am partly ashamed of myself and mostly just barfy.

                          Breakfast: Some 2am Denny's hobbit pot stew, bite of bread, several onion rings with marinara sauce, a chicken tender and a fried mozzarella stick
                          Lunch: Leftover Denny's from 2am
                          Dinner: Veggie stir fry with beef plus about a cup of rice
                          Unnecessary After Dinner Snack: two mini Reese's cups

                          I'm going back to sleep to sleep this nasty off. Finals are over though, so that's a plus. I am a belching, nauseated eating machine.


                          • #14
                            Well, this morning there are no eggs and last night my grandparents used my tuna to make a macaroni salad. Two thirds of what they made is sitting in the fridge now. I think that they don't want to buy food anymore. I am not sure what's going on.


                            • #15
                              In a few hours I depart on a 3 week long out of state trip. I really wish my seborrheic dermatitis would go back into remission. I honestly think school-related stress has caused this to flare up as I am a very anxious person. My food cheating could have something to do with it. Regardless, I am a splotchy faced freak especially after a shower now. Eventually I will win.