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Is it really sustainable long term?

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  • Is it really sustainable long term?

    Hey everyone,

    I'm a newbie. I've been lurking for a while, and I've had most of my questions answered, but I keep coming up with the nagging question of sustainability.

    I'm a 24 y/o gal. I weigh about 235-240 right now. 5'8" (though I used to be 5'9"). I've come to the conclusion that I'm fat as hell. It didn't take much scientific inquiry to reach this conclusion--just a mirror and two eyes.

    Recently I joined weight watchers. I have been on WW for about 3 weeks now and I'm down around 10#. But I'm running into the age old problem of counting points. It's tedious and I forget/give up for days at a time. (As an aside--WW is not so bad. They focus on whole foods more than ever, so they're trending primal, if you will.) In the past I got down to a very reasonable 170 lbs. on WW, but stopped counting and gained. I know that it can work, but counting is not my thing.

    However, I'm wary of committing to the Primal Blueprint because I was on a low carb diet before, and it's hard for me to see the differences between that and PB. I had great success on that "go around" but as soon as I went off the diet, the weight piled back on. I know a major difference here is that PB is a way of life, whereas I was young (17ish) and impulsive around food.

    My question is for those of you who have been on PB for a long time. Can you really resist the carbs and sugar for years? OR does the 80-20 rule cover those necessary moments of weakness? (I also know that the 80-20 is not a free-food pass, but would it cover, for example, a meal at a really ritzy place that included some carbs in the elf-food meal you get?) The 80-20 rule is a bold step against all-or-nothing thinking, and I love that idea, but I'm talking about decades of eating this way.

    Thanks in advance for your responses.

  • #2
    Certainly it does cover them but you may not even want to eat those bad foods once you really see some progress, especially wheat *cringe*. Most of us are believers in fixing the biological problems that cause us to gain weight and be overly hungry in the first place. I think that once you get going you will find that the fat melts off effortlessly and without all of the stress and hunger of traditional "diets".

    I used to be absolutely ravenous when I was doing the low fat, low calorie thing. I wasn't fat but I thought it was healthy for some silly reason. Now I enjoy my meals and never have cravings for any bad foods save for a sweet craving every now and then. But that's what fruit is for. There are some pretty good replacements for bad foods in the recipes section and you may love the food so much that you will not want to cheat, or maybe you will and I don't think that it will be too bad occasionally. I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that grains and sugar can be as difficult as drugs to quit, in fact they are drugs in every sense of the word.

    Long-term? Likely viable. In the short term you can turn your body into a fat-burning machine and become very healthy. Do stick around, comment and question. We will help you make it work. Perhaps start a journal in the journals section; if you do that you will be more aware of exactly what you're doing and you will get some pretty excellent advice from the seasoned members.
    Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

    Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!


    • #3
      Read everything you can. Once you understand the damage wheat and grains do to your body, you won't want them anymore. Before you start, just read read read. I found many excellent sites linked in this forum - heartscanblog, coolinginflammationblog. Read all of Mark's 101. Read Good Calories, Bad Calories.


      • #4
        It's not a diet. It's a way of life. I was within three pounds of 400 even when I started PB over a year ago. Now I'm in the 310-ish area, with no hunger and no cravings, and I'd never go back to what I used to eat. I've never even fallen off the wagon. Once you get past the carb flu, you won't even think about carbs or sugar any more. You won't even want them, and the thought of eating them may even make you sick.
        Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

        Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is:

        Ditch the scale!:

        My Success Story:


        • #5
          Originally posted by Bettty View Post
          However, I'm wary of committing to the Primal Blueprint because I was on a low carb diet before, and it's hard for me to see the differences between that and PB. I had great success on that "go around" but as soon as I went off the diet, the weight piled back on. I know a major difference here is that PB is a way of life, whereas I was young (17ish) and impulsive around food.
          The PB is low carb, because it eliminates grains and table sugar - and the processed foods that so often contain sweeteners like HFCS.

          OTOH, low carb diets are low-carb more just because the people are promote them are switched on enough to know that that's best for fat loss.

          The Primal Blueprint is very much about food quality - buying fresh, high quality foods as near to to the source as you can get. Grains are out not just because of their carbohydrate content, but because of the significant autoimmunity problems they cause:

          The PB is also concerned with thing like omega-3/omega-6 balance. In ancestral diets, this was around 1:1. In modern diets, most people tend to be much higher in omega-6, mostly owing to all the vegetable oils that people add in cooking and that are added to processed food. This even affects the meat and eggs you might buy, because of what intensively farmed animals are fed, which is why Mark recommends, among other things, taking fish oil.

          The PB also recommends supplementing vitamin D unless you an get out in the sun regularly. Also, taking a magnesium supplement is in - magnesium tends to be low in modern foods, perhaps because of soil depletion. Both those things likely bring you closer to ancestral patterns of eating/living, and there's also some evidence that there is direct benefit to doing that:

          Then there are these extra-dietary factors in Primal living - like getting enough sleep. The book Lights Out, by experts in the field, reckons research indicates most people need up to nine-and-a-half hours of sleep a night in winter - and that at any rate you should get as much as you can - and in total darkness, using blackout curtains, and even taping over LEDs on radios etc. Otherwise, your hormones get screwed.

          So low-carb diets and the PB get to more-or-less the same place, but not totally for the same reasons. Also a low-carb diet might see, say, a little bread and a little fruit as being equally benign, since it's only concerned with total amount of carbohydrate. The PB wouldn't, because of the autoimmunity issues with grains. Low-carb diets don't also necessarily care about food quality, might recommend processed foods, and might see nothing wrong with omega-6 high vegetable oils (since they're low-carb, right?) A standard low-carb diet probably won't tell you to supplement with vitamin D and magnesium.

          My question is for those of you who have been on PB for a long time. Can you really resist the carbs and sugar for years?
          It's not a problem for me. I haven't eaten many sweet things for years. Most cakes, sweets/candy, jam/jelly, etc. I other don't care for much or can take or leave. I've never added sugar to coffee or tea. Actually, I always loved meat and preferred my main course to the pudding even as a child - which surprised me when I realized it, as everyone always makes so much of the pudding.

          Tastes vary, of course. I know some people do literally lust for these things. A little now and then is not likely to do you any harm. On the other hand, tastes do change and when you're used to a more primal eating pattern you may find you don't really want them so much.

          I guess I did used to drink more beer than was good for me. I tend to drink other things like wine and cider (i.e. drinks without gluten issues) now - and those not that frequently, now. I really did used to look forward to a drink at the end of the day, but now I eat better I find I don't really even think about it. So, yeah, what you want can change.

          Plenty of meat and vegetables, some fruit and nuts, good fats, and plenty of sleep, and what you want might well change.


          • #6
            I am only two months in and used to have a serious chocolate habit - very little self control but many things have amazed me about PB, not least of all the lack of cravings for junk food and carbs. Interestingly enough I think if you lapse at all it turns into a learning process. I've only strayed twice - once out of necessity and the other week when I had a piece of homemade sourdough bread. Just a small chunk but boy, did I regret it - terrible aftertaste for several hours, felt a bit grim and could tell that my stomach didn't like it. Try it again? Nope, don't fancy any bread at all. I do indulge in the 'authorised' treats of a square of 85% dark chocolate now and then and perhaps 2 or 3 glasses of good red wine a week. Totally works for me and keeps you on track. I only have it if I feel I've earned it so it becomes a treat. Everything seems nicely balanced now. My advice would be not to run if you're not being chased, dive in and give it a real go, you'll probably find you don't think about or worry about cravings as much as you thought you mght.


            • #7
              I've been eating primal-ish for almost a year. I still want things I shouldn't have, so the cravings and *taste* for carbs and sugar don't always go away. However, the cravings are so much weaker and I feel so much more in control of my eating. About a week ago I decided to splurge and we went out for deep dish pizza, and I followed it with a brownie hot fudge sundae. So many people on the forum will say they just can't eat those things anymore or don't even like them. I still thought they were awsome! But the difference for me was that I had no problem going right back to primal the next day - in fact looked forward to it because I enjoy eating primal.

              One of the biggest changes for me is how when I'm eating primal, I can go much longer periods of time without feeling crazy hungry. When I was a grain and sugar addict, I had to constantly feed the monster, and yet I was never satisfied.

              I think if you completly cut out the grains and sugars for at least a week, and eat lowish carb, like don't go crazy with fruit, maybe one or two servings at the most per day, you will really feel the change. I am finding I am good with around 100 carbs a day, but you might want to try going lower until the cravings subside.

              Edited to add: When I do these totally non-primal splurges, I don't get the urge to do another one for a long time! Or sometimes it's just a little splurge, like an ice cream cone with the kids. So I think the 80/20 is awsome - it IS what makes it sustainable.
              Last edited by Minky; 09-29-2010, 04:35 AM.


              • #8
                Only you can answer this question. My wife couldn't make it 3 days. I've been doing it for about a year. Grain-free lo-carb eating is extremely difficult for some people, and regardless of what folks say, it is a deprivation diet. Give it a try and see how you do on it. If it's not for you, there are a number of choices between WW and PB.


                • #9
                  I am new and I agree with blank_faceplate that "different strokes for diffterent folks" but let me tell you why I think this is my stroke.

                  I was labeled "hypoglycemic" about 25 years ago. I had kids, gained weight, the usual story ... tried this and that and the other thing to lose ... had some success but a lot more failure. A few years ago, I was told that I am an "early stage diabetic". I see my dad and I know my future. I work in the healthcare industry. Like most overweight people, I know more about nutrition (according to conventional wisdom, anyway) than I should.

                  But ... I am realizing every day since I started (not quite two weeks ago) why this is working, and will continue to work, for me.

                  First of all, despite the fact that I had rice, quinoa, pasta, etc in my pantry ... I rarely ate it. It's not that I dislike those things. If it's on my plate, I will eat it. But, when I throw a meal together, whether ravenous or reacting to a que (it's lunch time!), I want protein and vegetables. As a matter of fact, whenever conversations turned to those of us with blood sugar issues, and people (even type II's on med's) say "I just have some orange juice", I would always say, "OH! I can't do that! My sugar would spike and plummet. I need fat and protein, so I have a handful of nuts." I was thinking about this the other day when one of the teeny, weeny nurses I work with was drinking some OJ because she felt weak ... and the usual conversation ensued.

                  This IS a very natural way of eating ... for me. People are noticing that I've lost weight (I was losing before I started because I decided to stop drinking alcohol for awhile. I don't drink "alot" by most people's standards but, because I am a lightweight, I consume excessive calories along with the alcohol to slow absorption) but I'm not going to spill the beans until I've lost enough that someone asks, "What the hell are you doing?" As I mentioned before, I work in healthcare. I am surrounded by nurses and doctors and they would roll their eyes at the notion that saturated fat could be our friend. So ... when I lose another 13 pounds and my blood work reflects what I know it will (thyroid issues, early stage diabetes and cancer mean I will have regular blood work until the day I drop), people are going to want to know.

                  ALSO, and this is the foremost motivator for me ... as much as I'd like to say that I don't need immediate gratification, I do. Yeah, I want to lose weight ... but as much as I have to lose, that's a string of mini goals (yay! I lost a pound!) up to the big goal (yay! I lost fifty pounds!). I want something more RIGHT NOW to keep me going in the face of panzit (I work with a lot of Filipinas and they make this delicious noodle dish) and birthday cake. So ... what is that? Well, no more bloating, no more gas ... my skin looks better than I cannot tell you when ... no more brain fog ... no more horrendous symptoms when I am hungry, just some comfortable little signs ... no more "OMG! I can't be hungry! I just ate two hours ago!" THESE ALONE are reasons for me to continue to eat this way. Sure, I still have cream in my coffee but, this weekend, I will experiment with coconut milk ... I have cheese in the fridge that I did not give away when I gave away the grains. I went to a fair last weekend and I had a lobster roll (read: white bread) for my first meal and a soft taco (white tortilla) and some of my sil's lemonade. *shoulder shrug* I did not crash and crave carb's.

                  So ... I think, before anyone tries any big lifestyle change of any kind, they need to ask themselves, "What do I want from this?" because that's an indication of what is right for you, and your ability to make the change.

                  good luck!


                  • #10
                    Honestly I dont even follow the 80 20 rule more like 99.9 0.1

                    Even then it's because i have to

                    My thoughts are if you really rely on or are gonna binge on that 20% then this lifestyle is unsustainable for you


                    • #11
                      Done properly it is totally sustainable. Done improperly it is not. Eat a ton of vegetables (especially green leafy ones), a lot of meat and other proteins sources, some berries, fruits, and melons, then top it off with nuts and seeds. You won't even miss the grains and legumes. Good luck to you on your diet goals.
             do you look, feel, and perform? -- Robb Wolf

                      My Blog.


                      • #12
                        Primal Blueprint is generally lower-carb by default; by design, it is sustainable, because it relies on food.

                        I eat lower carbs because I generally have to, and it's something I struggle with, and I use my 20 percent for non-ideal foods because otherwise I wouldn't be doing this at all. Just the way I work.

                        You are worried about weight, but want sustainability as well. My 2 cents: unless you are "broken" I don't see why you need to worry about going and sustaining low-carb; it will either happen, or not, according to your tastes and goals; see if you lose weight when you switch to real food; if you don't, when you're used to eating real food and having a lower carb intake just because of the scarcity of processed foods, then play around with lowering natural sources of carbohydrates and see if that makes a difference.

                        I've said it before and I'll say it again--I am not a fan of religiosity in most things, including religion and diet, so some might consider me a bit of a heretic around here. But that's not going to change me.


                        • #13
                          Your question is fair if you look at this like another type of diet, especially if you can't yet see the difference between this and Atkins.
                          This is not a weight loss program of any sort and shouldn't be compared to weight loss programs. The reason people lose weight on PB is because their bodies are returning to their natural state of balanced health. Having excess body fat is supposed to be a natural "appetite suppressant" if your hormones are working properly, and eating natural whole veggies, meats, and fruits as well as doing smart exercise gets you to that properly functioning place.

                          I am in month 7 and have absolutely no desire / plan / subliminal urge to go back to being sickly, lacking energy, fat and weak. The health benefits of following PB go far beyond weight loss (I lost 40 lb and am basically within my ideal weight range now) and just make me a happier more satisfied person every day. Besides that, my tastes have really changed and pancakes, bread, sodas, etc., really are not very appealing any more.
                          So though I haven't "lasted" a year yet, I couldn't imagine NOT lasting the rest of my life.
                          If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least and this (personal fave):


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by blank_faceplate View Post
                            Only you can answer this question. My wife couldn't make it 3 days. I've been doing it for about a year. Grain-free lo-carb eating is extremely difficult for some people, and regardless of what folks say, it is a deprivation diet. Give it a try and see how you do on it. If it's not for you, there are a number of choices between WW and PB.
                            I agree with this. When I tell people at my work that I don't eat grains they talk about how I'm so strict with myself. If the majority of people I encounter see it as restrictive, then it likely is restrictive. Even when I tell them I can still have unlimited quantities of fruit and vegetables they still seem uncomfortable.


                            • #15
                              If you're serious about losing weight, the first thing you must understand and accept is that DIETS DON'T WORK. Weight Watchers is pretty much a starvation diet - now things like THAT are unsustainable. It works while you're on it, but it does not lead to a lifestyle change, which is a MUST for losing weight and getting healthier. There's no quick and simple way to do it and maintain it for life. It took me over a year to lose 15 lbs of post-baby weight (and I was only about 5 lbs overweight). Start small, don't set your goals too high, and don't listen to conventional "wisdom", especially about eating less and exercising more, because it's all nonsense. Nutrition and metabolism are just not that simple! As others have already pointed out, PB is not a diet, it's a way of life.

                              From my own experiences with it, I can tell you that prior to it I though I would never be able to give up carbs - in particular, the thought of giving up pasta and pizza seemed ludicrous to me. Six months later, the sight of those things just leaves me indifferent. I still have things like pasta and rice in my cupboard (husband eats them), but even when I cook them I'm never tempted to sneak a bite. I've been freed from constant hunger and overeating. Food is more enjoyable now, and satiates me for longer. Everyone is different, I guess, but why not give it a try? You have nothing to lose by trying, and possibly a lot to gain.